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.
So far from obstructing them, he finds it good policy to straighten and round them up, and supply them with convenient gates or stiles, so that no one shall have an excuse for trampling on his crops, or for diverging into the open field for a shorter cut to the main road.  Blessings on the man who invented them!  It was done when land was cheap, and public roads were few; before four wheels were first geared together for business or pleasure.  They were the doing of another age; this would not have produced them.  They run through all the prose, poetry, and romance of the rural life of England, permeating the history of green hedges, thatched cottages, morning songs of the lark, moonlight walks, meetings at the stile, harvest homes of long ago, and many a romantic narrative of human experience widely read in both hemispheres.  They will run on for ever, carrying with them the same associations.  They are the inheritance of landless millions, who have trodden them in ages past at dawn, noon, and night, to and from their labor; and in ages to come the mowers and reapers shall tread them to the morning music of the lark, and through Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, they shall show the fresh checker-work of the ploughman’s hob-nailed shoe.  The surreptitious innovations of utilitarian science shall not poach upon these sacred preserves of the people, whatever revolutions they may produce in the machinery and speed of turnpike locomotion.  These pleasant and peaceful paths through park, and pasture, meandering through the beautiful and sweet-breathing artistry of English agriculture, are guaranteed to future generations by an authority which no legislation can annul.

A walk of a few miles brought me in sight of Tiptree Hall; and its first aspect relieved my mind of an impression which, in common with thousands better informed, I had entertained in reference to the establishment.  An idea has generally prevailed among English farmers, and agriculturists of other countries who have heard of Alderman Mechi’s experiments, that they were impracticable and almost valueless, because they would not pay; that the balance-sheet of his operations did and must ever show such ruinous discrepancy between income and expenditure as must deter any man, of less capital and reckless enthusiasm, from following his lead into such unconsidered ventures.  In short, he has been widely regarded at home and abroad as a bold and dashing novice in agricultural experience, ready to lavish upon his own hasty inventions a fortune acquired in his London warehouse; and all this to make himself famous as a great light in the agricultural world, which light, after all, was a mere will-o’-the-wisp sort of affair, leading its dupes into the veriest bog of bankruptcy.  In common with all those bold, self-reliant spirits that have ventured to break away from the antecedents of public opinion and custom, he has been the subject of many ungenerous innuendoes

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