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- Downs until you approach the domain of Goodwood come on the race-course, with its half-mile, mile, and three-mile course; not now crowded with the most aristocratic company in Europe, but, to my mind, something infinitely better in the solitude and silence. As you leave the race-course, going towards the house, you see one of the richest prospects that can fill the eye and mind; not unlike Petworth, but infinitely larger, along the road by the thick plantation, down that shadowed combe, beyond those cedars as numerous and beautiful as on Lebanon itself, over the smooth turf, until you come down, looking towards the new spire of Chichester Cathedral, and the gleaming sea, to that southern line of rail that cuts off the down country from the belt of watering-places that fringe the coast.
Then there is no want of incidents. These parishes have their moral topography, and most of them special points of interest. Adventures there are few or none. The country is becoming less and less favourable to the growth of adventure.
I saw a very sad scene the other day. I had gone with some friends to the summit of a noble eminence, a popular place of resort. A carriage presently drove up, out of which a gentleman feebly descended. He had scarcely drawn in the keen breeze when he fell prostrate. He was taken into an adjoining little hotel, but died in a few minutes. It cast a sad gloom over our spirits. It was sad to see the carriage driving back with the widow, and the husband left behind. Then you meet with the man who is bringing his horses here to hunt, and who will hunt three days a week from the first of November to the first of May. My Lord has, he told me, fifty horses in his stables, and eighty couple of hounds; and they have so many foxes that one may be turned out fresh every morning. Then every now and then you have a picturesque group; perhaps the vagrant, dark-eyed gipsy that will seek to tell your fortune; or the travelling showhouses, whose horses are feeding on the abundant roadside margin; or the artist sketching some features of the landscape; or the shooting party resting from their labours, while the birds lie at their feet and the dogs are panting by their side; or that idyllic story of love, so old, and so eternally fresh and new.
Well, I must copy out the sonnet that my poet has written, as a pendant to these notes. Like all true poets he is fond of the moon, and she shall teach us her own gentle lesson
* I watched the pale moon going up the sky
On her calm path of duty. Not less clear
Woods and Waters.
SEPTEMBER is the most enjoyable month of the
year, whether in town or country, and all those who can afford it, and a vast number who can't afford it, then take their holiday. They are scattered abroad, speeding across the seas, skirting lakes and glaciers, climbing mountains, traversing galleries, investigating
People give anxious glances at the Continental Bradshaw, a most attractive publication; and men who are left in town turn to the insular edition to see how they may get away to the uttermost part of our island. It has always appeared to me that there are a class of persons, an exceedingly numerous class, who are never satisfied with pleasures unless they are expensive, and who gauge their pleasure by what they have to pay for it; and who lose the delights that lie immediately at hand because they cannot reach sufficiently far to attain those at a distance.
All Roederer's or Mumm's champagne have never equalled the pure draughts of water which I have quaffed on Ben Lomond or Loch Katrine; and
many crowded tables d'hôte at foreign hotels are forgotten as I recall long wanderings amid remote English landscapes and the simple refreshment taken beneath the shadow of some mighty elm or beech planted in front of a village hostel. After all, the simplest and most genuine delights of the summer and early autumn are the woods and waters ! And these are so easily accessible to us all. If, instead of being afraid of solitude, you love her, and find her most companionable, then you will enjoy her most thoroughly, not in surveying sights and scenery which you are ordered to admire, and which levy fatiguing claims on your attention, but when you thoroughly enjoy your leisure in the tranquil home delights of meadow, stream, and grove. Horace was a sensible man, if any, and he knew what fine scenery was and appreciated Soracte; but, above all things, he enjoyed the woods and waters, and we like him at his best when he is lying on the green turf listening to the stream, or listening to the music—the only music that could lull his poor fevered friend Mecænas to sleepof falling water.
Yes ; I like this bank and the swaying boughs, and the modest refreshment provided against the certainty of the afternoon summer thirst. And here is a huge quantity of books wheeled out to me, very pretty in their rainbow-coloured bindings—that is to say, the new books that have come from publishers or the town