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.

Will the trees of the hedge-row be exposed to the same end?  I think they will.  Though trees are the most sacred things the earth begets in England, as has already been said, the farmer here looks at them with an evil eye, as horse-leeches that bleed to death long stretches of the land he pays 2 pounds per acre for annually to his landlord.  The hedge, however wide-bottomed, is his fence; and fencing he must have.  But these trees, arising at narrow intervals from the hedge, and spreading out their deadening shades upon his wheatfields on either side, are not useful nor ornamental to him.  They may look prettily, and make a nice picture in the eyes of the sentimental tourist or traveller, but he grudges the ground they cover.  He could well afford to pay the landlord an additional rentage per annum more than equal to the money value of the yearly growth of these trees.  Besides, the landlord has, in all probability, a large park of trees around his mansion, and perhaps compact plantations on land unsuited to agriculture.  Thus the high value of these hedge-row trees around the fields of his tenant, which he will realise on the spot, together with some additional pounds in rent annually to himself and heirs, would probably facilitate this levelling arrangement in face of all the restrictions that the law of entail might seem to throw in the way.

If, therefore, the hedges of England disappear before the noiseless and furtive progress of utilitarian science, the trees that rise above them in such picturesque ranks will be almost certain to go with them.  Then, indeed, a change will come over the face of the country, which will make it difficult for one to recognise it who daguerreotyped its most beautiful features upon his memory before they were obliterated by these latter-day “improvements.”



Immediately after breakfast the following morning, my kind host accompanied me for a mile on my walk, and put me on a footpath across the fields, by which I might save a considerable distance on the way to Saffron Walden, where I proposed to spend the Sabbath.  After giving me minute directions as to the course I was to follow, he bade me good-bye, and I proceeded on at a brisk pace through fields of wheat and clover, greatly enjoying the scenery, the air, and exercise.  Soon I came to a large field quite recently ploughed up clean, footpath and all.  Seeing a gate at each of the opposite corners, I made my way across the furrows to the one at the left, as it seemed to be more in the direction indicated by my host.  There the path was again broad and well-trodden, and I followed it through many fields of grain yellowing to the harvest, until it opened into the main road.  This bore a little more to the left than I expected,

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