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In taking leave. of this interesting work, we ought perhaps to apologize to the publisher for the very free use we have made of its pages, but as a bookseller, we hope we shall have not injured him; and as a liberal man, we reckon upon his forgiveness, for the sake of the fair writers that have beguiled us. The work in truth has been of greater use, as well as pleasure to us, than we expected it to be; for with buoyant hearts, we have great cares, and are subject to severe attacks of illness; and these sometimes encompass us so strongly, and all at once, that having other writing to do as well as the present, we fear we make but a sorry business of some of our pages. Our health is really better than it was ten years ago; but our tasks have increased; and it is difficult for the greatest resolution to hold on an even course under all sorts of fluctuosities. Hold on we shall, and we trust successfully; but this explanation must account meanwhile for any immediate failure of promise which we are unfortunate enough to make.
Published by HUNT and CLARKE, York street, Covent garden; and sold by all Booksellers and Newsvenders in town and country.-Price 4d.
PRINTED BY C. H. REYNELL, BROAD STREET. GOLDEN SQUARE.
No. XXIX. WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 1828.
Something alone yet not alone, to be wished, and only
to be found, in a friend.”—SIR WILLIAM TEmple.
A WALK FROM DULWICH TO BROCKHAM.
(Concluded from page 363.)
WE left Morden after tea, and proceeded on our road for Epsom. The landscape continued flat, but luxuriant. You are sure, I believe, of trees in Surrey, except on the downs; and they are surrounded with wood, and often have beautiful clumps of it. The sun began to set a little after we had got beyond the Post-house; and was the largest I remember to have seen. It looked through hedges of elms and wild roses; the mowers were going home; and by degrees the landscape was bathed in a balmy twilight. Patient and placid thought succeeded. It was an hour, and a scene, in which one would suppose that the weariest-laden pilgrim must feel his burden easier.
About a mile from Ewell a post-chaise overtook and past us, the driver of which was seated, and had taken up an eleemosinary girl to sit with him. Postillions run along a road, conscious of a pretty power in that way, and able to select some fair one, to whom they gallantly make a present of a ride. Not having a fare of one sort, they make it up to themselves by taking another. You may be pretty sure on these occasions, that there is nobody "hid in their vacant interlunar" chaise. So taking pity on my companions (for after I am once tired, I seem as if I could go on, tired for ever), I 29
started, and ran after the charioteer. Some good-natured peasants (by the bye they all appear such in this county) aided the shouts I sent after him. He stopped; and the gallantry on both sides was rewarded by the addition of two females to his vehicle. We were soon through Ewell, a pretty neat-looking place, with a proper old church, and a handsome house opposite, new, but in the old style. The church has trees by it, and there was a moon over them.—At Ewell was born the facetious Bishop Corbet, who when a bald man was brought before him to be confirmed, said to his assistant, "Some dust, Lushington:"-(to keep his hand from slipping.)
The night air struck cold on passing Ewell; and for the first time there was an appearance of a bleak and barren country to the left. This was Epsom Downs. They are the same as the Banstead and Leatherhead downs, the name varying with the neighbourhood. You remember Banstead mutton?
"To Hounslow-heath I point, and Banstead down;
Pope seems to have lifted up his delicate nose at Twickenham, and scented his dinner a dozen miles off.
At Epsom we supped and slept; and finding the inn comfortable, and having some work to do, we stopped there a day or two. Do you not like those solid, wainscoted rooms in old houses, with seats in the windows, and no pretension but to comfort? They please me exceedingly. Their merits are complete, if they are wide and low, and situate in a spot at once woody and dry. Wood is not to be expected in a high street; but the house (the King's Head) was of this description; and Epsom itself is in a nest of trees. Next morning, on looking out of window, we found ourselves in a proper country town, remarkably neat, the houses not old enough to be ruinous, nor yet to have been exchanged for new ones of a London character. Opposite us was the watch-house with the market clock, and a pond which is said to contain gold and silver fish. How those delicate little creatures came to inhabit a pond in the middle of a town, I cannot say. One fancies they must have been put in by the fantastic hand of some fine lady in the days of Charles the Second; for this part of the country is eminent in the annals of gaiety. Charles used to come to the races here; the
palace of Nonsuch which he gave to Lady Castlemain is a few miles off; and here he visited the gentry in the neighbourhood. At Ashted Park, close by, and still in possession of inheritors of the name of Howard by marriage, he visited Sir Robert Howard, the brother-in-law of Dryden, who probably used to come there also. They preserved there till not long ago the table at which he dined.
This Ashted is a lovely spot,-both park and village. The village, or rather hamlet, is on the road to Leatherhead; so indeed is the park; but the mansion is out of sight; and near the mansion, and in the very thick of the park and the trees, with the deer running about it, is the village church, small, old, and picturesque,—a little stone tower; and the churchyard, of proportionate dimensions, is beside it. When I first saw it, looking with its pointed windows through the trees, the surprise was beautiful. The inside disappoints you, not because it is so small, but because the accommodations, and the look of them, are so homely. The wood of the pews resembles that of an old kitchen dresser in colour; the lord of the manor's being not a whit better than the rest. This is in good taste, considering the rest; and Col. Howard, who has the reputation of being a liberal man, probably keeps the church just as he found it, without thinking about the matter. At any rate, he does not exalt himself, in a Christian assembly, at the expense of his neighbours. But loving old churches as I do, and looking forward to a time, when a Christianity still more worthy of the name shall be preached in them, I could not help wishing that the inside were more worthy of the out. A coating of shining walnut, a painting at one end, and a small organ with its dark wood and its goldenlooking pipes at the other, would make, at no great expense to a wealthy man, a jewel of an interior, worthy of the lovely spot in which the church is situate. One cannot help desiring something of this kind the more, on account of what has been done for other village churches in the neighbourhood, which we shall presently notice. Epsom church, we believe, is among them; the outside unquestionably (we have not seen the interior); and a spire has been added, which makes a pretty addition to the scenery. The only ornaments of Ashted church, besides two or three monuments of the Howards, are the family 'scutcheon, and that of his Sacred
Majesty Charles the Second; which I suppose was put up at the time of his restoration or his visit, and has remained ever since, the lion still looking lively and threatening. One imagines the court coming to church, and the whole place filled with perukes and courtiers, with love-locks and rustling silks. Sir Robert is in a state of exaltation. Dryden stands near him, observant. Charles composes his face to the sermon, upon which Buckingham and Sedley are cracking almost unbearable jokes behind their gloves; and the poor village maidens, gaping alternately at his Majesty's sacred visage and the profane beauty of the Duchess of Cleveland, and then losing their eyes among "a power" of cavaliers, "the handsomest men as ever was," are in a way to bring the hearts, thumping in their boddices, to a fine market. I wonder how many descendants there are of Earls and Marquises living this minute at Epsom! How much noble blood ignobly occupied with dairies and ploughs, and looking gules in the cheeks of bumpkins.
Ashted Park has some fine walnut trees (Surrey is the great garden of walnuts) and one of the noblest limes I ever saw. The park is well kept, has a pretty lodge and game-keeper's house with roses at the doors; and a farm-cottage, where the "gentlefolks" may play at rustics. A lady of quality, in a boddice, gives one some how a pretty notion; especially if she has a heart high enough really to sympathize with humility. The late Earl of Exeter lived unknown for some time in a village, under the name of Jones (was not that a good name to select?) and married a country-girl, whom he took to Burleigh House, and then for the first time told her she was the mistress of it and a Countess! This is a romance of real life, which has been deservedly envied. If I, instead of being a shattered student, an old intellectual soldier, "not worth a lady's eye," and forced to compose his frame to abide the biddings of his resolution, were a young fellow in the bloom of life, and equally clever and pennyless, I cannot imagine a fortune of which I should be prouder, and which would give me a right to take a manlier aspect in the eyes of love, than to owe everything I had in the world, down to my very shoe-strings, to a woman who should have played over the same story with me, the sexes being reversed; who should say, "you took me for a cottager, and I am a Countess ; and this is the only deception you will ever have to forgive me." What a pleasure to strive after daily excellence, in order to show one's gratitude to such a woman; to fight for her; to suffer for her; to wear her name, like a priceless jewel; to hold her hand in long sickness, and look in her face when it had lost its beauty; to say, questioning, "You know how I love you?" and for her to answer with such a face of truth, that nothing but exceeding health could hinder one from being faint with adoring her. Alas! why are not all hearts that are capable of love, rich in the knowledge how to shew it; which would supersede the necessity of other riches? Or indeed, are not all hearts which are truly so capable, gifted with the riches by the capacity?