Image from page 163 of "The Brighton road : the classic highway to the south" (1922)
Publisher: London : C. Palmer
Contributing Library: Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine
Digitizing Sponsor: Tufts University
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toend in some tangled and trackless forest, sodensely grown do the trees look from thisdistance. It was here, at a wayside inn, that the presenthistorian fell in with a Sussex peasant of the ancientand vanishing kind. He was drinking from a tankard of the pea-soupwhich they call ale in these parts, sitting the whileupon a bench whose like is usually found outside oldcountry inns. Ruddy of face, with clean-shaven lipsand chin, his grizzled beard kept rigidly upon hiswrinkled dewlap, his hands gnarled and twisted with 148 THE BRIGHTON ROAD toil and rheumatism, he sat there in smock-frock andgaiters, as typical a countryman as ever on Londonstage brought the scent of the hay across the footlights.That smock of his, the round frock of Sussexparlance, was worked about the yoke of it, fore andaft, with many and curious devices, whose patterns,though he, and she who worked them, knew it not,derived from centuries of tradition and precept, hadbeen handed down from Saxon times, aye, and before
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THE SWITCHBACK ROAD, EARLSWOOD COMMON. them, to the present day, when, their significance lost,they excite merely a mild wonder at their oddity andcomplication. He was, it seemed, a hedger and ditcher, and hisleathern gauntlets and billhook lay beside him on theale-house bench. Ive worked at this sort o thing, said he, inconversation, for the last twenty year. Hard work ?yes, onaccountable hard, and small pay fort too. THUNDERFIELD CASTLE 149 Two and twopence a day I gets, an works from sevenomarnings to half-past five in the afternoon for that.Youll be gettin more than two and twopence a daywhen youre at work, I reckon. To evade that remark by an opinion that a countrylife was preferable to existence in a town was easy. Theold man agreed with the proposition, for he had visitedLondon, and a dirty place it was, sure-ly. Also hehad been atop of the Monument, to the Tower, and tothe resort he called Madame Two Swords : placesthat Londoners generally leave to provincials. Thus,the countr
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