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TOVIL. bridge, near Seven Oaks, under a very neat tomb (raised in his life time), with an inscription to his memory.
This sketch of Maidstone and its vicinity shall be closed with the mention of the little hamlet of Tovil. It lies near the end of the road which leads to Tunbridge, is divided into Upper and Lower, and spreads itself over some extent of ground. The walk from hence to Maidstone, about a mile in length, is beautiful for the variety of its prospects. On the left you look down into a meadow, through which glides the Medway with an uninterrupted placidity. On its banks are seen animals of various descriptions, partaking of that repast with which nature has furnished them; and the angler may be here and there espied, inveigling the finny prey. In front, at the termination of the vale, lies the town of Maidstone, the antique tower of whose church enriches the landscape. Still further on, at the extremity of the horizon, is perceived the range of the Boxley hills, which form a kind of rampart; far beyond lie Rochester, Chatham, Sheerness, and the German ocean! The view, taken altogether, cannot fail of striking the eye and of impressing the beholder. Accustomed to such scenes, we are not apprized of their exquisite beauty; but a stranger passing this road will be alive to its charms, and feel delightful sensations.
Tovil contains 'mills for the manufacturing of paper, and also one oil mill, whose stampers disturb the repose of those who have not been used
NATURAL PHENOMENON. to their ungracious and monotonous sounds. In a secluded spot, on the borders of a rivulet which turns these mills, and which abounds with fish (belonging to my industrious friend, Mr. J. P-e), * I have sat for hours with my angle, gratified by the surrounding scenery. Indeed the spot is truly pastoral, and reminded me of THE DIALOGUE in my old friend Walton, between the angler and the milkmaid, terminating with a song of exquisite simplicity:
THE MILK-MAID'S SONG.
And you must remember also, my young friend, how often at the close of a fine summer's evening, you have observed the diminutive insects playing in the solar beam, and seeming to enjoy the most perfect felicity. This natural phenomenon, by which the eye of the angler is often delighted, has thus been described enthusiastically by a modern Poet
Some to THE SUN their insect wings unfold,
THE REV. JOHN WICKE. 489
Upon a little eminence close to the village of Tovil, is a burying-ground belonging to the Baptists, and open for interment to individuals of that denomination throughout the kingdom: here lie the remains of many worthy families. It was first set apart for this purpose in the reign of Charles II.; and though it wants both a greater depth of mould and an easier access, it is placed in a romantic situation. The cemeteries of the ancients were thus removed from the glare of public observation, because silence and solitude best become the mysterious state of the dead
O! when shall spring visit the mouldering urn;
Among the inhabitants of this cemetery is to be ranked my worthy father-in-law, the Rev. JOHN. WICKE, born at Taunton, 1718, and died at Maidstone, 1794, in the 76th year of his age. He was upwards of half a century pastor of the congres gation of General Baptists, and teacher of youth in the town of Maidstone—he was highly respected through life, and at his decease every proper token of regard was paid to his memory. He was the intimate friend of the great and good Dr. Nathaniel Lardner, three of whose posthumous dis
OTHAM-LOOSE. courses, now included in his works, he edited with an hallowed vigilance: thus their names will go down together to postery.
Otham and Loose are also little villages in the vicinity of Maidstone, with whose rural beauties it is impossible not to be pleased.
To conclude, MaidsTONE is a respectable town; and with regard to its inhabitants, I have witnessed their social and hospitable disposition. To the family of the P--s I feel myself indebted on numerous occasions. Indeed, I scarcely ever unfold the map of Great Britain without being struck with the consideration—how many thousand families are therc even among my own countrymen, with whom I shall never be acquainted, but with whose sentiments and manners I should, in case of personal knowledge, have been delighted! A few years ago, Maidstone and other places, mentioned in the course of these Excursions, which I now hold in estimation, were only geographically known to me; since that period they have been visited by me.' This pleasing idea of human nature may be extended to every civilized region of the globe. The race of man, amidst all its obliquities, exhibits lineaments of the divine image (in which it is created) by the cultivation of its rational powers, and by the expansion of its benevolence. Let us aspire after every species of intellectual and moral improvement. Thus will our felicity be most effectually secured; thus shall we be assimilated to the Deity.
We now left MAIDSTONE, and set out for the 491
FARNINGHAM. metropolis. The road, thirty-five miles in length, is not only good, but pleasant, exhibiting throughout the fertility of an highly cultivated country. Wrotham, the first stage, is situated at the foot of a hill. The church is a venerable structure, and the living one of the richest in the kingdom. Close to the inn, a few years ago, Colonel Shadwell was shot dead by a deserter whom he was about to seize; and a small stone affixed to the wall commemorates the event. The summit of the hill, which is gained by a steep ascent, commands a sweeping prospect over Maidstone, down even to the Weald of Kent, checquered by a luxuriant profusion. Pausing at this spot, and contemplating with admiration the almost boundless horizon, the eye is at once struck with that fertility for which the county of Kent has been long distinguished.
Our next stage was Farningham, where we dined; its situation is rural; a fine clear brook runs close by the door of the inn, on whose surface the scaly tribe were seen playing with their characteristic agility. The church, at some little distance, has a rustic appearance; and from the inscriptions in the church-yard, which contains a MAUSOLEUM, it appears that persons have been brought hither from the metropolis for interment, Here I strolled for a quarter of an hour, till dinner was ready. There is a propensity in most individuals to frequent the repositories of the dead: