Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 669 pages of information about Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.

CHAPTER LX

The still hour—­A thrill—­The wondrous circle—­The shepherd—­Heaps and barrows—­What do you mean?—­Milk of the plains—­Hengist spared it—­No presents.

After standing still a minute or two, considering what I should do, I moved down what appeared to be the street of a small straggling town; presently I passed by a church, which rose indistinctly on my right hand; anon there was the rustling of foliage and the rushing of waters.  I reached a bridge, beneath which a small stream was running in the direction of the south.  I stopped and leaned over the parapet, for I have always loved to look upon streams, especially at the still hours.  ‘What stream is this, I wonder?’ said I, as I looked down from the parapet into the water, which whirled and gurgled below.

Leaving the bridge, I ascended a gentle acclivity, and presently reached what appeared to be a tract of moory undulating ground.  It was now tolerably light, but there was a mist or haze abroad which prevented my seeing objects with much precision.  I felt chill in the damp air of the early morn, and walked rapidly forward.  In about half an hour I arrived where the road divided into two, at an angle or tongue of dark green sward.  ‘To the right or the left?’ said I, and forthwith took, without knowing why, the left-hand road, along which I proceeded about a hundred yards, when, in the midst of the tongue of sward formed by the two roads, collaterally with myself, I perceived what I at first conceived to be a small grove of blighted trunks of oaks, barked and gray.  I stood still for a moment, and then, turning off the road, advanced slowly towards it over the sward; as I drew nearer, I perceived that the objects which had attracted my curiosity, and which formed a kind of circle, were not trees, but immense upright stones.  A thrill pervaded my system; just before me were two, the mightiest of the whole, tall as the stems of proud oaks, supporting on their tops a huge transverse stone, and forming a wonderful doorway.  I knew now where I was, and, laying down my stick and bundle, and taking off my hat, I advanced slowly, and cast myself—­it was folly, perhaps, but I could not help what I did—­cast myself, with my face on the dewy earth, in the middle of the portal of giants, beneath the transverse stone.

{picture:I cast myself with my face on the dewy earth.  The spirit of Stonehenge was strong upon me!:  page326.jpg}

The spirit of Stonehenge was strong upon me!

And after I had remained with my face on the ground for some time, I arose, placed my hat on my head, and, taking up my stick and bundle, wandered round the wondrous circle, examining each individual stone, from the greatest to the least; and then, entering by the great door, seated myself upon an immense broad stone, one side of which was supported by several small ones, and the other slanted upon the earth; and there, in deep meditation, I sat for an hour or two, till the sun shone in my face above the tall stones of the eastern side.

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Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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