A Walk from London to John O'Groat's eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about A Walk from London to John O'Groat's.

Royston is a goodly and comfortable town, just inside the eastern boundary of Hertfordshire.  It has its full share of half-legible and interesting antiquities, including the ruins of a royal palace, a cave, and several other broken monuments of the olden time, all festooned with the web-work of hereditary fancies, legends, and shreds of unravelled history dyed to the vivid colors of variegated imagination.  It also boasts and enjoys a great, breezy common, large enough to hold such another town, and which few in the kingdom can show.  Then, if it cannot cope with Glastonbury in showing, to the envious and credulous world, a thorn-tree planted by Joseph of Arimathaea, and blossoming always at Christmas, it can fly a bird of greater antiquity, which never flapped its wings elsewhere, so far as I can learn.  It may be the lineal descendant of Noah’s raven that has come down to this particular community without a cross with any other branch of the family.  It is called “The Royston Crow,” and is a variety of the genus which you will find in no other country.  It is a great, heavy bird, larger than his colored American cousin, and is distinguished by a white back.  Indeed, seen walking at a distance, he looks like our Bobolink expanded to the size of a large hen-hawk.  To have such a wild bird all to themselves, and of its own free will, notwithstanding the length and power of its wings, and the force of centrifugal attractions, is a distinction which the good people of this favored town have good reason to appreciate at its proper value.  Nor are they insensible to the honor.  The town printer put into my hands a monthly publication called “THE ROYSTON CROW,” containing much interesting and valuable information.  It might properly have embraced a chapter on entomology; but, perhaps, it would have been impolitic for the personal interests of the bird to have given wide publicity to facts in this department of knowledge.  For, after all, there may exist in the neighborhood certain special kinds of bugs and other insects which lie at the foundation of his preference for the locality.

The next day I again faced northward, and walked as far as Caxton, a small, rambling village, which looked as if it had not shaved and washed its face, and put on a clean shirt for a shocking length of time.  It was dark when I reached it; having walked twelve miles after three p.m.  There was only one inn, properly speaking, in the town, and since the old coaching time, it had contracted itself into the fag-end of a large, dark, seedy-looking building, where it lived by selling beer and other sharp and cheap drinks to the villagers; nineteen-twentieths of whom appeared to be agricultural laborers.  The entertainment proffered on the sign-board over the door was evidently limited to the tap-room.  Indeed, this and the great, low-jointed and brick-floored kitchen opening into to it, seemed to constitute all the living or inhabited space in the building.  I saw, at a

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