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.
the ground the scrawny, bony creature that generally tugs in the costermonger’s cart.  It is in the coal region or trade that you meet with him and his driver in their worst apostacy from all that is seemly in man or beast.  To watch the poor creature, begrimed with coal-dust, wriggling up a long, steep hill, with a load four times his own weight, griping with his little sheep-footed hoofs into the black, slimy pavement of the road, while his tall, sooty-faced and harsh-voiced master, perhaps sitting on the top or on a shaft, is punching and beating him; to see this is enough to stir up the old adam in the meekest Christian to emotions of pugilistic indignation.  It has often cost me a doubtful and protracted effort to keep it down.  Indeed, I have often yielded to it so far as to wish that once more the poor creature might be honored of God with His gift to Balaam’s ass, and be able to speak, bolt outright, an indignant remonstrance, in human speech, against such treatment.  It would serve them right!—­these lineal descendants of Balaam, who have inherited his club and wield it more cruelly.

A word or two more about this animal, and I will pass on to others of more dignity of position.  He is the cheapest as well as smallest beast of burden to be found in Christendom.  You may buy one here for twenty or thirty English shillings.  I am confident that they would be extremely serviceable in America, if once introduced.  It costs but very little to keep them, and they will do all kinds of work up to the draught of 600 or 800 lbs.  You frequently see here a span of them trotting off in a cart, with brisk and even step.  Sometimes they are put on as leaders to a team of horses.  I once saw on my walk a heavy Lincolnshire horse in the shafts, a pony next, and a donkey at the head, making a team graduated from 18 hands to 6 in height; and all pulling evenly, and apparently keeping step with each other, notwithstanding the disparity in the length of their legs.

It would be unjust to that goodwill to man and beast which is being organised and stimulated in England through an infinite number of societies, if I should omit to state that, at last, a little rill of this benevolence has reached the donkey.  That most valuable and widely-circulated penny magazine, “The British Workman,” and its little companion for British workmen’s children, “The Band of Hope Review,” have advocated the rights and better treatment of this humble domestic for several years.  His cause has also been pleaded in a packet of little papers called “Leaflets of the Law of Kindness for the Children.”  And now, at last, a wealthy and benevolent champion, on whom the mantle of Elizabeth Fry, his aunt, has fallen, has taken the lead in the work of raising the useful creature to the level of the other animals of the pasture, stable, and barn-yard.  Up to the present time, every creature that walks on four or two legs, either haired, woolled, or feathered, with the single

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