Afoot in England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about Afoot in England.

He said that he was over seventy, and had spent the whole of his life in the neighbourhood, mostly with cows, and had never been more than a dozen miles from the spot where we were standing.  At intervals while we talked he paused to utter one of his long shouts, to which the cows paid no attention.  At length one of the beasts raised her head and had a long look, then slowly crossed the field to us, the others following at some distance.  They were shorthorns, all but the leader, a beautiful young Devon, of a uniform rich glossy red; but the silky hair on the distended udder was of an intense chestnut, and all the parts that were not clothed were red too—­the teats, the skin round the eyes, the moist embossed nose; while the hoofs were like polished red pebbles, and even the shapely horns were tinged with that colour.  Walking straight up to the old man, she began deliberately licking one of his ears with her big rough tongue, and in doing so knocked off his old rakish cap.  Picking it up he laughed like a child, and remarked, “She knows me, this one does—­and she loikes me.”

Chapter Seventeen:  An Old Road Leading Nowhere

So many and minute were the directions I received about the way from the blessed cowkeeper, and so little attention did I give them, my mind being occupied with other things, that they were quickly forgotten.  Of half a hundred things I remembered only that I had to “bear to the left.”  This I did, although it seemed useless, seeing that my way was by lanes, across fields, and through plantations.  At length I came to a road, and as it happened to be on my left hand I followed it.  It was narrow, worn deep by traffic and rains; and grew deeper, rougher, and more untrodden as I progressed, until it was like the dry bed of a mountain torrent, and I walked on boulder-stones between steep banks about fourteen feet high.  Their sides were clothed with ferns, grass and rank moss; their summits were thickly wooded, and the interlacing branches of the trees above, mingled with long rope-like shoots of bramble and briar, formed so close a roof that I seemed to be walking in a dimly lighted tunnel.  At length, thinking that I had kept long enough to a road which had perhaps not been used for a century, also tired of the monotony of always bearing to the left, I scrambled out on the right-hand side.  For some time past I had been ascending a low, broad, flat-topped hill, and on forcing my way through the undergrowth into the open I found myself on the level plateau, an unenclosed spot overgrown with heather and scattered furze bushes, with clumps of fir and birch trees.  Before me and on either hand at this elevation a vast extent of country was disclosed.  The surface was everywhere broken, but there was no break in the wonderful greenness, which the recent rain had intensified.  There is too much green, to my thinking, with too much uniformity in its soft, bright tone, in South Devon.  After

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Afoot in England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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