A Walk from London to John O'Groat's eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 348 pages of information about A Walk from London to John O'Groat's.
One thing would seem evident.  They are older than the Order of the Garter, and belonged to feudalism.  They are the living spirits of feudalism, which have survived its human retainers by several hundred years, and now represent the defunct institution as pretentiously as in King Stephen’s day.  They are as fond of old Norman castles, cathedrals, and churches, as the very ivy itself, and cling to them with as much pertinacity.  For several hundred generations of bird-life, they and their ancestors have colonised their sable communities in the baronial park-trees of England, and their descendants promise to abide for as many generations to come.  In size, form, and color they differ but little from the American crow, but are swifter on the wing, with greater “gift of the gab,” and less dignified in general deportment, though more given to aristocratic airs.  Although they emigrated from France long before “La Democratic Sociale” was ever heard of in that country, they may be considered the founders of the Socialistic theory and practice; and to this day they live and move in phalansteries, which succeed far better than those attempted by the American “Fourierites” some years ago.  As in human communities, the collision of mind with mind contributes fortuitous scintillations of intelligence to their general enlightenment; so gregarious animals, birds and bees seem to acquire especial quick-wittedness from similar intercourse.  The English rook, therefore, is more astute, subtle, and cunning than our American crow, and some of his feats of legerdemain are quite vulpine.

The jackdaw is to the rook what the Esquimaux is to the Algonquin Indian; of the same form, color, and general habits, but smaller in size.  They are as fond of ancient abbeys and churches as ever were the monks of old.  Indeed, they have many monkish habits and predilections, and chatter over their Latin rituals in the storied towers of old Norman cathedrals, and in the belfries of ivy-webbed churches in as vivicacious confusion.

There is no country in the world of the same size that has so many birds in it as England; and there are none so musical and merry.  They all sing here congregationalwise, just as the people do in the churches and chapels of all religious denominations.  As these buildings were fashioned in early times after the Gothic order of elm and oak-tree architecture, so the human worshippers therein imitated the birds, as well as the branches, of those trees, and learned to sing their Sabbath hymns together, young and old, rich and poor, in the same general uprising and blending of multitudinous voices.  I believe everything sings that has wings in England.  And well it might, for here it is safe from shot, stones, snares, and other destructives.  “Young England” is not allowed to sport with firearms, after the fashion of our American boys.  You hear no juvenile popping at the small birds of the meadow, thicket, or hedge-row,

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A Walk from London to John O'Groat's from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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