From John O'Groats to Land's End eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,027 pages of information about From John O'Groats to Land's End.

We must own to a shade of disappointment when we reached the last stone and could walk no farther—­a feeling perhaps akin to that of Alexander the Great, who, when he had conquered the known world, is said to have sighed because there were no other worlds to conquer.  But this feeling soon vanished when with a rush came the thoughts of those dear friends at home who were anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones whom they had lost awhile, and it was perhaps for their sakes as well as our own that we did not climb upon the last stone or ledge or rock that overhung the whirl of waters below:  where the waters of the two Channels were combining with those of the great Atlantic.


We placed our well-worn sticks, whose work like our own was done, on the rock before us, with the intention of throwing them into the sea, but this we did not carry out.

We stood silent and spell-bound, for beyond the Longships Lighthouse was the setting sun, which we watched intently as it slowly disappeared behind some black rocks in the far distance.  It was a solemn moment, for had we not started with the rising sun on a Monday morning and finished with the setting sun on a Saturday night?  It reminded us of the beginning and ending of our own lives, and especially of the end, as the shadows had already begun to fall on the great darkening waters before us.  Was it an ancient mariner, or a long-forgotten saint, or a presentiment of danger that caused my brother to think he heard a far-away whisper as if wafted over the sea?


   Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
   fear no evil:  for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they
   comfort me.



We retraced our steps to the “First and Last House in England,” where we found our driver waiting for us with his conveyance, which we had now time to examine, and found to be a light, rickety, two-wheeled cart of ancient but durable construction, intended more for use than ornament, and equivalent to the more northern shandrydan or shandry.  The strong board which formed the seat was placed across the conveyance from one side to the other a few inches below the top-rail, and would slide to any point required between the front and back of the trap, the weight of the driver or other passengers holding it in its place.  It would only hold three persons, including the driver.  The first difficulty that presented itself, however, was the fact that we were not sufficiently provided with warm clothing to face the twelve-mile drive to Penzance in the cold night air; but, fortunately, our friend had an overcoat which had been brought out by the driver; so after a short consultation we arranged that I should sit between the driver and our friend, a comparatively warm position, while my brother sat on the floor of the conveyance, where there was a plentiful supply of clean dry straw, with his face towards the horse and his back supported by the backboard of the trap, where our presence on the seat above him would act as a screen from the wind.

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From John O'Groats to Land's End from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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