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

’Because, so be there be no sheep, no milk, you know; and what there ben’t is not worth having.’

‘You could not have argued better,’ said I; ’that is, supposing you have argued; with respect to the milk you may do as you please.’

‘Be still, Nanny,’ said the man; and producing a tin vessel from his scrip, he milked the ewe into it.  ‘Here is milk of the plains, master,’ said the man, as he handed the vessel to me.

‘Where are those barrows and great walls of earth you were speaking of?’ said I, after I had drunk some of the milk; ’are there any near where we are?’

‘Not within many miles; the nearest is yonder away,’ said the shepherd, pointing to the south-east.  ’It’s a grand place, that, but not like this; quite different, and from it you have a sight of the finest spire in the world.’

{picture:’The nearest is yonder away,’ said the shepherd, pointing to the south-east:  page329.jpg}

‘I must go to it,’ said I, and I drank the remainder of the milk; ‘yonder, you say.’

’Yes, yonder; but you cannot get to it in that direction, the river lies between.’

‘What river?’

‘The Avon.’

‘Avon is British,’ said I.

‘Yes,’ said the man, ‘we are all British here.’

‘No, we are not,’ said I.

‘What are we then?’

‘English.’

‘Ain’t they one?’

‘No.’

‘Who were the British?’

’The men who are supposed to have worshipped God in this place, and who raised these stones.’

‘Where are they now?’

’Our forefathers slaughtered them, spilled their blood all about, especially in this neighbourhood, destroyed their pleasant places, and left not, to use their own words, one stone upon another.’

‘Yes, they did,’ said the shepherd, looking aloft at the transverse stone.

’And it is well for them they did; whenever that stone, which English hands never raised, is by English hands thrown down, woe, woe, woe to the English race; spare it, English!  Hengist spared it!—­Here is sixpence.’

‘I won’t have it,’ said the man.

‘Why not?’

’You talk so prettily about these stones; you seem to know all about them.’

’I never receive presents; with respect to the stones, I say with yourself, How did they ever come here?’

‘How did they ever come here?’ said the shepherd.

CHAPTER LXI

The river—­Arid downs—­A prospect.

Leaving the shepherd, I bent my way in the direction pointed out by him as that in which the most remarkable of the strange remains of which he had spoken lay.  I proceeded rapidly, making my way over the downs covered with coarse grass and fern; with respect to the river of which he had spoken, I reflected that, either by wading or swimming, I could easily transfer myself and what I bore to the opposite side.  On arriving at its banks, I found it a beautiful stream, but shallow, with here and there a deep place where the water ran dark and still.

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