+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

One great source of enjoyment in that walk
was its unexpectedness. A walk is never so
good as when it comes upon one by surprise.
I had set out originally, meaning to walk four
miles to the mail-coach, from an out-of-the-
way inn. I had not booked my place; the
mail was full; and so the walk began.

Another improvised walk was contrived in
company. One quiet autumn afternoon, I sat
with a couple of good friends, one old, one
young, in the garden of a rustic public-house
in Cheshire. There was a big tree overhead,
and a small spire among adjacent bushes,
and there was some tea (the produce of our
native hedges) on the table before us. Far
away the Mersey glittered in the afternoon
sun; the smoke of Liverpool dulled the
horizon. On the other side were the Welsh
mountains.

"Glorious out-door weather!" said one
of us.

"How beautiful the mountains look!" said
another.

"I should like to be among them."

"Let us go!"

Elder friend laughed, but younger friend
looked serious. "It is only nine miles to
Chester; we can sleep there to-night, and
walk round North Wales in about five days."
Elder friend thought us mad; but, finding
us in earnest, and not disposed to be knocked
down by a mere clean shirt difficulty, he
agreed to carry word to our friends that we
should be home in less than a week. Off
we set.

Oh, the delight of a first trudge into North
Wales thus suddenly presented to the fancy;
when satisfaction comes at once with the
first burst of strong desire. We might have
made up our minds to go on that day
fortnight, have thought about it, have got up out
of our beds to start, and finally have set
about it as a preconcerted business, with a
fog upon our spirits. But we did nothing so
stupid. Since there was no reason why we
should not give rein to the humour, while
our hearts were open to the promised pleasure
and under the very sunlight, while still in the
very mood of buoyancy that had begotten the
desire to tread the mountains, off we went.
The Cheshire girls in their Welsh jackets
were figures on the frontispiece of the great
book of pictures with which we were setting
out to fill our memories. Villages fixed
themselves house by house, and black beam by
black beam, upon our hearts. We can tell
any man upon our death-beds how many geese
were busy about nothing on a little triangle
of green that faced us as we rested by the
handle of a village pump. The short cut
over the fields that we made brought us, to
our dismay, when evening was far advanced,
down to the dirty banks of the broad estuary
of the Deeever so many miles from Chester
and there were our Welsh mountains
ominously full of night, over the way, quite
inaccessible.

That is another of the glories of foot
travelling. I would not give a song for the
society of a pedestrian who was not a bold
fellow at short cuts. There is an excitement
in trespassing and going astray out of the
bondage of paths over an unknown country
steeple-chasing for a place to which one has
never been in his life before, but which he
hopes by his superior ingenuity to get at by
a road unknown to any of his fellow-creatures.
The wonder as to what may be the result,
and the strong, wholesome emotion that
makes the heart beat, as though one had
taken suddenly a shower bath when something
wonderfully unexpected comes in sight, is a
fine tonic for the jaded spirits. It was a fine
surprise for us to come down upon the muddy
waters of the Dee, when we believed we
might be on the point of getting into Chester.
A finer surprise of the kind is to come down
from behind a hill upon the dashing breakers
of the sea itself by moonlight, when one
thinks he has achieved a short cut to some
town twenty miles inland. The dashing of
fire is nearly as good an accompaniment to
such a surprise as the dashing of water.

I remember one night being out on business
in deep snow. I was on horseback then.
Trying to get home in the dark, long after
midnight, I became more and more
perplexed; and suddenly a turn of the road
brought me into the immediate presence of a
set of blast furnaces, spouting up fire into the
dark sky, and clamouring fiercely in my ears.
I did not in the .least know what blast
furnaces they were, had never seen them before;
and their huge power made me aghast
at the sense of my own helplessness. I
suppose that is the reason why such a thing
as a blast, furnace, or the thunder of the sea
upon a shore, can impress helpless mortals
who have lost their way with such peculiar
emotion. It is an emotion very wholesome in
the main, as every emotion is that is entirely
natural.

To go back to the Dee. I need not say that
having come upon its estuary, we had nothing
to do but trace the river up its course to find
our way to Chester. There we slept soundly,
true to our purpose, and, the next morning,
we set out into Wales. Some day I may
think it worth while to trouble the world
with some of my experiences in Wales
during one or two trips as a pedestrian.
I intend nothing of that sort now. As I
write, I can recall the solemn closing of the
hills about our road at twilight, and the glitter
of the afternoon sun through the bushes
as we lay over the clear trout stream in some
happy valley. We enjoyed also the trout;
we did indeed. We were amused at the
portmanteau travellers, who at Llanberis
furnished themselves with guides and ponies
and donkies (lacking mules), for the ascent of
Snowdon, the great British Chlmborazo. The
path being obvious, we took no guides, and
simply walked up after dinner and walked

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.022 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.029 seconds, 2.05 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.089 seconds, 3.65 MB
Application afterRender: 0.128 seconds, 3.99 MB

Memory Usage

4216976

21 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = 'e81c9c83fc6a46fac40c78523a4f6e88'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1657032377' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = 'e81c9c83fc6a46fac40c78523a4f6e88'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( 'e81c9c83fc6a46fac40c78523a4f6e88','1657034177','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE alias = 'page-26'
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE alias = 'page-26'
  9. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE id = '87'
  10. UPDATE jos_toc_pages
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='87'
  11. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 85)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  12. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE alias = 'page-26'
      AND id_volume = 44
  13. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '44'
  14. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '1161'
  15. SELECT id, title,alias
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE  id_volume = 44
      ORDER BY ordering ASC
  16. SELECT id, DATE, id_page
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE  id_volume = 44
      ORDER BY ordering ASC
  17. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_parameter
      WHERE `group` = 'voice'
  18. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_parameter
      WHERE `group` = 'voice'
  19. SELECT id, title,alias
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE id_volume = 44
      AND ordering > 34
      ORDER BY ordering ASC
      LIMIT 1
  20. SELECT id, title,alias
      FROM jos_toc_pages
      WHERE id_volume = 44
      AND ordering < 34
      ORDER BY ordering DESC
      LIMIT 1
  21. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 85 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None