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.
exception of the donkey has had the door of the Agricultural Exhibition thrown wide open to it, to enter the lists for prizes or “honorable mention,” and for general admiration.  A pig, whose legs and eyes have all been absorbed out of sight by an immense rotundity of fat, is often decked with a ribbon, of the Order of the Garter genus, as a reward of merit, or of grace of form and proportions!  Turkeys, geese, ducks, and hens of different breeds, strut or waddle off with similar distinctions.  As for blood-horses, bulls, cows, and sheep, one not versed in such matters might be tempted to think that men, especially the poorer sort, were made for beasts, and not beasts for men.  And yet, mirabile dictu! at these great social gatherings of man-and-animal kind, there has not been even “a negro-pew” for the donkey.  A genuine, raw, Guinea negro might have as well entered the Prince of Wales’ Ball in New York bare-footed, and offered to play a voluntary on his banjo for the dancers, as this despised quadruped have hoped to obtain the entree to these grand and fashionable assemblies of the shorter-eared elite of society.

But this prejudice against color and long ears is now going the way of other barbarisms.  The gentleman to whom I have referred, a Member of Parliament, whose means are as large as his benevolence, has taken the first and decisive step towards raising the donkey to his true place in society.  He has offered a liberal prize for the best conditioned one exhibited at the next Agricultural Fair.  Since this offer was made, a very decided improvement has been noticed among the donkeys of the London costermongers, as if the competition for the first prize was to be a very large one.

It will be a kind of St. Crispin’s Day to the whole of the long-eared race—­a day of emancipation from forty centuries of obloquy and oppression.  Doubtless they will be admitted hereafter to the Royal Agricultural Society’s exhibitions, to compete for honors with animals that have hitherto spurned such association with contempt.



I reached Saffron Walden at 4 p.m., notwithstanding my involuntary walk of six extra miles in the morning.  Here I remained over the Sabbath, again enjoying the hospitality of a Friend.  And perhaps I may say it here and now with as much propriety as at any other time and place, that few persons, outside the pale of that society, have more frequently or fully enjoyed that hospitality than myself.  This pleasant experience has covered the space of more than sixteen years.  During this period, with the exception of short intervals, I have been occupied with movements which the Friends in England have always regarded with especial sympathy.  This connection has brought me into acquaintance with members of the society in almost every town in Great Britain in which they reside; and in more than a hundred of their homes I have been received as a guest with a kindness which will make to my life’s end one of its sunniest memories.

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