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off, and his tongue was sore for weeks afterwards ; he could see no pleasure in smoking. When he was a young man he used generally to walk to Lincoln and back on Sundays, a distance of twenty-nine miles, besides doing his regular work as a farmlabourer on week-days, for which he was paid the exorbitant wage of from 75. to gs. a week, out of which he actually managed to pay rent for a cottage and brought up a family of twelve children. “My hours of toil were from six o'clock in the morning till six o'clock in the evening, and I had to start from my home at five and got back at seven.” We thought the expression “my hours of toil” much to the point; but he did not appear to consider that his life had been a particularly hard one, indeed he remarked that he could not understand the present generation—"they can neither work nor walk," and he praised God that he could still work!
Then we visited a Mrs. Sarah Watson, who said she was born in 1805. When she was a girl she saw a man hanging on a gibbet at Harby in Lincolnshire, which stood on the spot where he committed a murder. She used to go out to the gibbet with friends to watch which of the murderer's bones would fall off next! “Ah! them were the good old days,” she exclaimed, “life were exciting then. Now I cannot walk; but I'm fond of reading. I've read the Bible through from the first page to the last, all save the hard names, and I've begun it afresh but have not got through it again yet. I've read Pilgrim's Progress; that is an interesting book, I did enjoy it.” There was some
thing very pathetic in our talks with these poor and patient old folk, and I could moralise here were I inclined that way, but I prefer to leave my readers to do this for themselves. I give the text and spare the sermon!
A cross-country road—A famous hill-Another medieval inn—"The
Drunken Sermon ": -Bottesford-Staunton Hall—Old family deeds — A chained library-Woolsthorpe manor house — A great inventor !—Melton Mowbray-Oakham A quaint old manorial custom-Rockingham Castle— Kirby.
FROM “Beckingham-behind-the-Times” we drove on to the old historic town of Grantham, a town that still retains much of its ancient picturesqueness though it is certainly not slothful, but rather pleasantly progressive. Our road led us through a very pretty country, but the way was rather hard to find as the turnings were many, the guide-posts few, and some of the few illegible. As we drove on, the distance showed clearly defined and darkly blue, we could plainly see the spire of Claypole church on the horizon, rising sharply into the air over wood and field ; now there is a local saying at Beckingham that “when you cannot see Claypole church spire, it is sure to be fine,” if the converse of this meant rain we ought to have had it, for besides the barometer was low and falling, and the sky cloudy, so the road being good, though narrow, we sped along with what haste we could.
At Fenton, the first hamlet we came to, we pulled up a few minutes in spite of the threatening
weather, to inspect a picturesque and interesting old manor-house, a little off the wayside, a house somewhat modernised, and apparently turned into a farmstead. Just above one of the windows of this was a stone inscribed “1507—R. L.,” and in front of it separated by a little garden, which erst doubtless formed a courtyard, stood a gray old Jacobean gateway, with a coat-of-arms boldly engraved on the top. Just beyond this time-toned manor-house was the ancient church, worn and gray; the hoary church and old-time home with its quaint gateway made a very effective picture; a genuine bit of old England. Manifestly the country about here is not one given to change, it all bears a mellow, peaceful look that comes of contented abiding, and is so soothing to the eye, wearied with the ugliness of modern towns, and the architectural eyesores of the modern builder.
Then proceeding in due course, we passed through Stubton, a little hamlet in no special way noteworthy, with its churchyard by the roadside, a goodly portion of the latter being taken up with a yew-enclosed tomb. We needs must carry our dignity down to the grave—but how of the humble dead who lie beneath their grass-grown graves un-monumented ?
Forget not Earth, thy disappointed Dead !
In another mile or two we reached the charming village of Brandon situated in a wooded valley, backed by a long line of church-dotted hills ; a line of hills stretching far away to the right and left that form the backbone of Lincolnshire, and are known locally by the curious title of “the Cliff.” From this pleasant rural spot an excellent going road brought us to another pretty village with a grand and very interesting-looking church, in the quiet God's acre of which was a quaint sun-dial raised on the top of a tall stone pillar; the church doors were carefully locked, so we did not see inside. As at Fenton, so here, close by the church, stands an old manor-hall, a pleasant bit of past-century building.
Soon after this we struck upon the old Great North Road and began to mount the long and stiff Gonerby Hill, famous in the old coaching days as the worst "pitch” on the road between London and Edinburgh. It is a striking fact that the worst hill on the old main high-road, close upon four hundred miles in length, should be in Lincolnshire, a county supposed to be so flat! It may be remembered that Scott, who frequently travelled this road, makes mention of this hill in The Heart of Midlothian. Jeanie Deans, on leaving the Saracen's Head at Newark, bound for Grantham, was assured, “ It was all plain road, except a high mountain called Gunnerby Hill about three miles from Grantham, which was her stage for the night. * I'm glad to hear there's a hill,' said Jeanie, 'for baith my sight and my very feet are weary o'sic tracts o' level ground-it looks a' the way between this