I HAD long ago determined to leave London as soon
as the means should be in my power, and, now that
they were, I determined to leave the Great City ; yet
I felt some reluctance to go. I would fain have
pursued the career of original authorship which had
just opened itself to me, and have written other
tales of adventure. The bookseller had given me
encouragement enough to do so; he had assured
me that he should be always happy to deal with me
for an article (that was the word) similar to the
one I had brought him, provided my tenns were
moderate ; and the bookseller's wife, by her compli-
mentary language, had given me yet more encourage-
ment. But for some months past I had been far
from w^ell, and my original indisposition, brought on
Ch. XXX.] A RESOLUTION. 265
partly by the peculiar atmosphere of the Big City,
partly by anxiety of mind, had been much increased
by the exertions which I had been compelled to
make during the last few days. I felt that, were I
to remain where I was, I should die, or become a
confirmed valetudinarian. I would go forth into
the country, travelling on foot, and, by exercise and
inhahng pure air, endeavour to recover my health,
leaving my subsequent movements to be determined
But whither should I bend my course ? Once or
twice I thought of walking home to the old towD.,
stay some time with my mother and my brother,
and enjoy the pleasant walks in the neighbourhood ;
but, though I wished very much to see my mother
and my brother, and felt much disposed to enjoy
the said pleasant walks, the old town was not
exactly the place to which I wished to go at this pre-
sent juncture. I was afraid that people would ask.
Where are your Northern Ballads ? Where are your
alliterative translations from Ab Gwilym â€” of wliich
you were always talking, and with which you pro-
mised to astonish the world ? Now, in the event of
such inten'ogations, what could I answer ? It is
VOL. II. N
266 POOR EQUIVALENTS. [Ch. XXX.
true I had compiled Newgate Lives and Trials, and
had written the life of Joseph Sell, hut I was afraid
that the people of the old town would scarcely con-
sider these as equivalents for the Northern Ballads
and the songs of Ah Gwilym. I would go forth
and wander in any dii'ection but that of the old
But how one's sensihihty on any particular point
diminishes with time; at present I enter the old
town perfectly indifferent as to what the people may
be thinking on the subject of the songs and ballads.
With respect to the people themselves, whether, hke
my sensihihty, their curiosity has altogether evapo-
rated, or whether, which is at least equally probable,
they never entertained any, one thing is certain,
that never in a single instance have they troubled
me with any remai'ks on the subject of the songs
As it was my intention to ti'avel on foot, with a
bundle and a stick, I despatched my trunk contain-
ing some few clothes and books to the old town.
My preparations were soon made ; in about three
days I was in readiness to start.
Before depai'ting, however, I bethought me of my
Ch. XXX.] THE PIECE OF GOLD. 267
old Mend the apple-woman of London Bridge.
Apprehensive that she might be labouring under
the difficulties of poverty, I sent her a piece of gold
by the hands af a young maiden in the house in
which I lived. The latter punctually executed her
commission, but brought me back the piece of gold.
The old woman would not take it ; she did not
want it, she said. " Tell the poor thin lad," she
added, " to keep it for himself, he wants it more
Eather late one afternoon I departed from my
lodging, with my stick in one hand and a small
bundle in the other, shaping my course to the south-
west : when I first anived, somewhat more than a
year before, I had entered the city by the north-
east. As I was not going home, I determined to
take my departure in the direction the very opposite
Just as I was about to cross the street called the
Haymarket, at the lower part, a cabriolet, di'awn by
a magnificent animal, came dashing along at a
furious rate; it stopped close by the curb-stone
where I was, a sudden pull of the reins nearly
bringing the spirited animal upon its haunches.
268 FLASHING EYES. [Ch. XXX.
The Jehu who had accompUshed tliis feat was
Francis Ardry. A small beautiftd female, with
flashing eyes, dressed in the extremity of fashion,
sat beside him.
" Holloa, Mend," said Francis Ardry, " whither
bound ? "
" I do not know," said I ; " all I can say, is, that
I am about to leave London."
" And the means ? " said Francis Ardry.
" I have them," said I, with a cheerful smile.
" Qui est celui-ci?" demanded the small female,
"^ O'est .... mon ami le plus intime; so you
were about to leave London without telling me a
word," said Francis Ardr}% somewhat angrily.
'' I intended to have written to you," said I :
" what a splendid mare that is."
" Is she not ? " said Francis Ardry, who was
holding in the mare with difficulty ; " she cost a
" Quest ce qu'il dit ?" demanded his companion.
" II dit que le jument est bien beau."
" Allons, mon ami, il est tard," said the beauty,
with a scornful toss of her head ; " allons ! "
Ch. XXX.] HOW BEAUTIFUL. 269
" Encore un moment," said Francis Ai'dry; " and
when shall I see you again ? "
" I scarcely know," I replied : " I never saw a
more splendid turn out."
" Qu'est ce qu il dit ?" said the lady again.
'' II dit que tout I'equipage est en assez bon
'^ Allons, c'est un ours," said the lady ; " le cheval
meme en a peur," added she, as the mare reared up
" Can you find nothing else to admire hut the
mare and the equipage ? " said Francis Ardry, re-
proachfully, after he had with some difficulty
brought the mare to order.
Lifting my hand, in which I held my stick, I
took off my hat. " How beautiful !" said I, look-
ing the lady full in the face.
" Comment ? " said the lady, inquiringly.
" II dit que vous etes belle comme un ange," said
Francis Ardry, emphatically.
^' Mais, a la bonne heure! arretez, mon ami," said
the lady to Francis Ardry, who was about to drive
off; " je voudrais bien causer un moment avec lui ;
arretez, il est dehcieux. â€” Est-ce bien ainsi que vous
270 BON JOUR, MONSIEUR. [Ch. XXX.
traitez vos amis?" said she, passionately, as Francis
Ardry lifted up his whip. " Bon jour, Monsieur,
bon jour," said she, thrusting her head from the
side and looking back, as Francis Ardry drove off
at the rate of thirteen miles an hour.
tHE MILESTOKE. â€” THE MEDITATION. WANT TO GET UP? â€” THE OFF-
HAND LEADER. â€” SIXTEEN SHILLINGS. â€” THE NEAR-HAND WHEELER.
In about two hours I had cleared the Great City,
and got beyond the suburban villages, or rather
towns, in the direction in which I was travelhng ; I
was in a broad and excellent road, leading I knew
not whither. I now slackened my pace, which had
hitherto been great. Presently, coming to a milestone
on which was graven nine miles, I rested against
it, and looking round towards the vast city, which
had long ceased to be visible, I fell into a train of
I thought of all my ways and doings sinoe the
day of my first anival in that vast city â€” I had
worked and toiled, and, though I had accomplished
nothing at all commensurate with the hopes which
I had entertained previous to my arrival, I had
272 THE MEDITATION. [Ch. XXXI.
achieved my own Hying, presented my independence,
and become indebted to no one. I was now quitting
it, poor in purse, it is true, but not wholly empty ;
rather ailing it may be, but not broken in health ;
and, with hope within my bosom, had I not cause
upon the whole to be thankful? Perhaps there
were some who, arriving at the same time under
not more favourable circumstances, had accom-
plished much more, and whose future was far more
hopeful â€” Good! But there might be others who,
in spite of all their efforts, had been either trodden
down in the press, never more to be heard of, or
were quitting that mighty town broken in purse,
broken in health, and, oh! with not one dear hope
to cheer them. Had I not, upon the whole,
abundant cause to be grateful ? Truly, yes !
My meditation over, I left the milestone and
proceeded on my way in the same direction as
before until the night began to close in. 1 had
always been a good pedestrian; but now, whether
owing to indisposition or to not ha\ang for some time
past been much in the habit of taking such lengthy
walks, I began to feel not a httle weary. Just as I
was thinking of putting up for the night at the next
Ch. XXXI.J WANT TO GET UP? 273
inn or pubJic-house I should arrive at, I heard what
sounded like a coach coming up rapidly beliind me.
Induced, perhaps, by the weariness which I felt, I
stopped and looked wistfully in the direction of the
sound; presently up came a coach, seemingly a
mail, drawn by four bounding horses â€” there was no
one upon it but the coachman and the guard ; when
nearly parallel with me it stopped. " Want to get
up?" sounded a voice, in the true coachman-like
tone â€” half querulous, half authoritative. I hesi-
tated ; I was tired, it is true, but I had left
London bound on a pedestrian excursion, and I did
not much like the idea of having recourse to a
coach after accomphshing so very inconsiderable a
distance. " Come, we can't be staying here all
night," said the voice, more sharply than before.
" I can ride a httle way, and get down whenever I
like," thought I; and springing forward I clam-
bered up the coach, and was going to sit down upon
the box, next the coachman. " No, no," said the
coachman, who was a man about tliirty, with a
hooked nose and red face, dressed in a fashionably
cut great coat, with a fashionable black castor on
his head. " No, no, keep beliindâ€” the box a'n't for
274 THE OFF-HAND LEADER. [Ch. XXXI.
the like of you," said lie, as he di'ove off; " the box
is for lords, or gentlemen at least." I made no
answer. ^' D . . . that off-hand leader," said the
coacliman, as the right-hand front horse made a
desperate start at something he saw in the road ;
and, half rising, he with great dexterity hit with his
long whip the off-hand leader a cut on the off cheek.
"' These seem to be fine horses," said I. The coach-
man made no answer. " Nearly thorough -bred," I
continued; the coachman drew his breath, with a
kind of liissing sound, through his teeth. " Come,
young fellow, none of your chaff. Don't you think,
because you ride on my mail, I 'm going to talk to
you about 'orses. I talk to nobody about 'orses
except lords." " Well," said I, " I have been called
a lord in my time." " It must have been by a
thimble-rigger, then," said the coachman, bending
back, and half turning his face round with a broad
leer. " You have hit the mark wonderfully," said
I. " You coaclunen, whatever else you may be, are
certainly no fools." "We a'n't, a'n't we?" said the
coachman. " There you are right ; and, to show
you that you are, 1 11 now trouble you for your
fare. If you have been amongst the tliimble-
Ch. XXXI.] SIXTEEN SHILLINGS. 275
riggers you must be tolerably well cleared out.
Where are you going? â€” to ? T think I
have seen you there. The fare is sixteen shilHngs.
Come, tip us the blunt; them that has no money
can't ride on my mail,"
Sixteen sliillings was a large sum, and to pay it
would make a considerable inroad on my slender
finances ; I thought, at first, that I would say I did
not want to go so far ; but then the fellow would
ask at once where I wanted to go, and I was
ashamed to acknowledge my utter ignorance of the
road. I detennined, therefore, to pay the fare, with
a tacit determination not to mount a coach in future
without knowing whither I was going. So I paid
the man the money, who, turning round, shouted to
the guard â€” '' All right, Jem ; got fare to .... ;"
and forthwith whipped on his horses, especially the
off'-hand leader, for whom he seemed to entertain a
particular spite, to greater speed than before â€” tlie
A young moon gave a feeble hght, partially illu-
minating a fine of road which, appearing by no
means interesting, I the less regretted having paid
276 THE NEAR-HAND WHEELER. [Ch. XXXI.
my money for the privilege of being hurried along it
in the flying vehicle. We frequently changed horses ;
and at last my friend the coachman was replaced hy
another, the very image of himself â€” hawk nose, red
face, with narrow-rimmed hat and fashionable ben-
jamin. After he had driven about fifty yards, the
new coachman fell to whipping one of the horses.
" D . . . this near-hand wheeler," said he, " the
brute has got a com." " Whipping liim won't cure
him of his com," said I. " Who told you to
speak?" said the driver, with an oath; ''mind
your own business; 'tisn't from the like of you I
am to learn to drive 'orses." Presently I fell into
a broken kind of slumber. In an hour or two I
was aroused by a rough voice â€” " Got to
young man; get down if you please." I opened
my eyes â€” there was a dim and indistinct Hght, like
that which precedes dawn ; the coach was standing
still in sometliing like a street; just below me stood
the guard. " Do you mean to get do\NTi," said he,
'â€¢' or will you keep us here till morning? other fares
want to get up." Scarcely knowing what I did, I
took my bundle and stick and descended, wliilst
Ch. XXXI.] ALL RIGHT. 277
two people mounted. " All right, John," said the
guard to the coachman, springing up behind;
whereupon off whisked the coach, one or two indi-
viduals who were standing by disappeared, and I
was left alone.
THE STILL HOUR. â€” A THRILL. â€” THE WONDROUS CIRCLE. â€” THE
SHEPHERD. HEAPS AND BARROWS. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? MILK
OP THE PLAINS.â€” HENGIST SPARED IT. â€” NO PRESENTS.
After standing still a minute or two, considering
what I should do, I moved down what appeared to
be the street of a small straggling town ; presently
I passed by a church, which rose indistinctly on my
right hand ; anon there was the rastling of fohage
and the rusliing of waters. I reached a bridge, be-
neath which a small stream was running in the di-
rection of the south. I stoj)ped and leaned over
the parapet, for I have always loved to look upon
streams, especially at the still hours. " What
stream is this, I wonder ? " said I, as I looked down
from the parapet into the water, which whirled and
Leaving the bridge, I ascended a gentle accHvity,
and presently reached what appeared to be a tract
Ch. XXXII.] A THRILL. 279
of moory undulating ground. It was now tole-
rably light, but there was a mist or haze abroad
which prevented my seeing objects with much pre-
cision. I felt chill in the damp air of the early
mom, and walked rapidly forward. In about half
an hour I arrived where the road divided into two,
at an angle or tongue of dark green sward. " To the
right or the left ? " said I, and forthwith took, with-
out knowing why, the left-hand road, along which I
proceeded about a hundi'ed yards, when, in the
midst of the tongue of sward formed by the two
roads, collaterally with myself, I perceived what
I at first conceived to be a smaU grove of
bhghted trunks of oaks, barked and grey. I stood
still for a moment, and then, turning off the road,
advanced slowly towards it over the sward; as I
drew nearer, I perceived that the objects wliich had
attracted my curiosity, and wliich fonned a kind of
circle, were not trees, but immense upright stones.
A thrill pervaded my system; just before me were
two, the mightiest of the whole, tall as the stems of
proud oaks, supporting on their tops a huge trans-
verse stone, and forming a wonderful doorway. I
knew now where I was, and, laying down my stick
280 THE WONDROUS CIRCLE. [Ch. XXXIL
and bundle, and taking off my liat, I advanced
slowly, and cast myself â€” it was folly, perhaps, but
I could not help what I did â€” cast myself, with my
face on the dewy earth, in the middle of the portal
of giants, beneath the transverse stone.
The spirit of Stonehenge was strong upon me !
And after I had remained with my face on the
ground for some time, I arose, placed my hat on
my head, and, taking up my stick and bundle, wan-
dered round the wondrous circle, examining each
individual stone, from the greatest to the least ; and
then, entering by the great door, seated myself upon
an immense broad stÂ©ne, one side of which was
supported by several small ones, and the other
slanted upon the earth ; and there, in deep medita-
tion, I sat for an hour or two, till the sun shone in
my face above the tall stones of the eastern side.
And as I still sat there, I heard the noise of bells,
and presently a large number of sheep came browz-
ing past the circle of stones ; two or three entered,
and grazed upon what they could find, and soon a
man also entered the circle at the northern side.
" Early here, sir," said the man, who was tall,
and dressed in a dark green slop, and had all the
Ch. XXXIL] THE SHEPHERD. 281
appearance of a shepherd ; '* a traveller, I sup-
pose ? "
'â€¢' Yes," said I, '' I am a traveller ; are these
*' They are, sir ; that is, they are my master's. A
strange place this, sir," said he, looking at the
stones ; "' ever here before ? "
*' Never in body, frequently in mind."
" Heard of the stones, I suppose ; no wonder â€” all
the people of the plain talk of them."
" What do the people of the plain say of them ? "
" Why, they say â€” How did they ever come
here ? "
" Do they not suppose them to have been
brought ? "
'' Who should have brought them ? "
" I have read that they were brought by many
" How did they bring them ? "
" I don't know."
" And what did they bring them for ?"
" To form a temple, perhaps."
282 HEAPS AND BARROWS. [Ch. XXXII.
"What is that?"
" A place to worship God in."
" A strange place to worship God in."
" It has no roof."
" Yes it has."
" Where ? " said the man, looking up.
" What do you see above you ? "
" The sky."
" Have you anything to say ?"
" How did these stones come here ?"
" Are there other stones like these on the plains ?"
" None ; and yet there are plenty of strange
tilings on these downs."
" What are they ? "
" Strange heaps, and barrows, and great walls of
earth built on the tops of hills."
" Do the people of the plain wonder how they
came there ? "
" They do not."
Ch. XXXIL] WHAT DO YOU MEAN ? 283
" They were raised by hands."
" And these stones?"
" How did they ever come here ? "
" I wonder whether they are here ? " said I.
" These stones ?"
" So sure as the world," said the man ; '' and, as
the world, they will stand as long."
" I wonder whether there is a world."
" What do you mean ? "
" An earth, and sea, moon and stars, sheep and
" Do you doubt it ? "
" I never heard it doubted before."
" It is impossible there should be a world."
" It a'n't possible there should'nt be a world."
" Just so." At this moment a fine ewe, attended
by a lamb, rushed into the circle and fondled the
knees of the shepherd. " I suppose you would not
care to have some milk," said the man.
" Why do you suppose so ?
" Because, so be, there be no sheep, no milk, you
know : and what there bent is not worth having."
284 MILK OF THE PLAINS. [Ch. XXXII.
*' You could not have argued better," said I ;
'* that is, supposing you have argued ; with respect to
the milk you may do as you please."
'' Be still, Nanny," said the man ; and producing
a tin vessel from his scrip, he milked the ewe into
it. " Here is milk of the plains, master," said the
man, as he handed the vessel to me.
*' Where are those barrows and great walls of
earth you were speaking of," said I, after I had
drank some of the milk ; " are there any near where
we are ? "
" Not within many miles; the nearest is yonder
away," said the shepherd, pointing to the south-east.
'' It's a grand place, that, but not Hke this ; quite
different, and from it you have a sight of the finest
spire in the world."
" I must go to it," said I, and I drank the re-
mainder of the milk ; *' yonder, you say."
" Yes, yonder ; but you cannot get to it in that
direction, the river Hes between."
'' What river ? "
" The Avon."
" Avon is British," said I.
" Yes/' said the man, "we are all British here."
Ch. XXXII.] HENGIST SPARED IT. 285
^' No, Tve are not/' said I.
" What are we then ? "
" A'n t they one ? "
" Who were the British ? "
" The men who are supposed to have worshipped
God in this place, and who raised these stones."
" Where are they now ? "
'' Oui' forefathers slaughtered them, spilled their
hlood all about, especially in this neighbourhood,
destroyed their pleasant places, and left not, to use
their own words, one stone upon another."
" Yes, they did," said the shepherd, looking
aloft at the transverse stone.
" And it is well for them they did ; whenever that
stone, which Enghsh hands never raised, is by Eng-
lish hands thro^Ti down, woe, woe, woe to the
English race ; spare it, English ! Hengist spared it !
â€” Here is sixpence."
" I won't have it," said the man.
" Why not ? "
" You talk so prettily about these stones ; you
seem to know all about them."
286 NO PRESENTS. [Ch. XXXII.
" I never receive presents ; with respect to the
stones, I say with yourself, How did they ever come
here ? "
" How did they ever come here ? " said the
THE RIVER. ARID DOWNS. â€” A PROSPECT.
Leaving the shepherd, I bent my way in the di-
rection pointed out by him as that in which the
most remarkable of the strange remains of which
he had spoken lay, I proceeded rapidly, making
my way over the downs covered with coarse grass
and fern ; with respect to the river of which he had
spoken, I reflected that, either by wading or swim-
ming, I could easily transfer myself and what I
bore to the opposite side. On arriving at its banks,
I found it a beautiful stream, but shallow, with here
and there a deep place, where the water ran dark
Always fond of the pure lymph, I undressed, and
plunged into one of these gulfs, from which I
emerged, my whole frame in a glow, and tinghng
with delicious sensations. After conveying my
288 ARID DOWNS. [Ch. XXXIII.
clothes and scanty baggage to the farther side, I
dressed, and then with hurried steps bent my
course in the direction of some lofty ground;
I at length found myself on a high road, leading
over wide and arid downs; following the road
for some miles without seeing anything remark-
able, I supposed at length that I had taken the
wrong path, and wended on slowly and disconso-
lately for some time, till, having nearly surmounted
a steep hill, I knew at once, from certain appear-
ances, that I was near the object of my search.
Turning to the right near the brow of the hill, I
proceeded along a path which brought me to a
causeway leading over a deep ravine, and connect-
ing the hill with another which had once formed
part of it, for the ravine was evidently the work
of ai't. I passed over the causeway, and found
myself in a kind of gateway which admitted me
into a square space of many acres, surrounded
on all sides by mounds or ramparts of earth.
Though I had never been in such a place before,
I knew that I stood within the precincts of
what had been a Roman encampment, and one
probably of the largest size, for many thousand
Ch. XXXIIL] A PROSPECT. 289
warriors might have found room to perform their
evolutions in that space, in which corn was now
growing, the green ears waving in the morning
After I had gazed about the space for a time,
standing in the gateway fonned by the mounds, I
clambered up the mound to the left hand, and on
the top of that mound I found myself at a great
altitude ; beneath, at the distance of a mile, was a
fair old city, situated amongst verdant meadows,
watered with streams, and from the heart of that old
city, from amidst mighty trees, I beheld towering to
the sky the finest spire in the w^orld.
And after I had looked from the Eoman rampart
for a long time, I hurried away, and, retracing my
steps along the causeway, regained the road, and,
passing over the brow of the hill, descended to the
city of the spire.