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.
and write home a series of communications to be inserted in our little village paper.  But, on second thought, on considering the size of the sheet, I found it would require four or five years to print in it all I was likely to write, at the rate of two columns a week.  So I concluded that the easiest and quickest way would be to make a book of my Notes by the Way, and to send back to my old friends and neighbors in that form all the observations and incidents I might make and meet on my walk.  The next thought that suggested itself was this,—­that a good many persons in Great Britain might feel some interest in seeing what an American, who had resided so long in this country, might have to say of its sceneries, industries, social life, etc.  Still, in writing out these Notes, although two distinct circles of readers—­the English and American—­have been present to my mind, I felt constrained to face and address the latter, just as if speaking to them alone.  I have, moreover, adopted the free and easy style of epistolary composition, endeavoring to make each chapter as much like one of the letters I promised my friends and neighbors at home as practicable.  In doing this, the “I” has, perhaps, talked far too much to beseem those proprieties which the author of a book should observe.  Besides, expressions, figures and orthography more American than English may be noticed, which will indicate the circle of readers which the writer had primarily in view.  Still, he would fain believe that these features of the volume will not seriously affect the interest it might otherwise possess in the minds of those disposed to give it a reading in this country.  Whatever exceptions they may take to the style and diction, I hope they will find none to the spirit of the work. 
                                           Elihu Burritt.

London, April 5th, 1864.


Motives to the walk—­the iron horse and his Rider—­the losses and gains by speed—­the railway track and turnpike roadTheir sceneries compared.

One of my motives for making this tour was to look at the country towns and villages on the way in the face and eyes; to enter them by the front door, and to see them as they were made to be seen first, as far as man’s mind and hand intended and wrought.  Railway travelling, as yet, takes everything at a disadvantage; it does not front on nature, or art, or the common conditions and industries of men in town or country.  If it does not actually of itself turn, it presents everything the wrong side outward.  In cities, it reveals the ragged and smutty companionship of tumble-down out-houses, and mysteries of cellar and back-kitchen life which were never intended for other eyes than those that grope in them by day or night.  How unnatural, and, more, almost profane

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