BLTC Press Titles

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Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Journal of a tour and residence in Great Britain, during the years 1810 and 1811

by Louis Simond



measured time, and spreading its white foam among the black rocks of the shore.

The sun had no share in the splendour of the scene, for it was not visible, nor any part of the sky; a misty, drizzly something, like rain, drove along in the blast, and .made us tolerably wet; particularly as some deceitful appearances of fair weather, and the heat, had induced us to leave our umbrellas and great coats at the lodge. On our return to the hotel, we shifted and dried ourselves; called for a post-chaise, and pursued our journey through an endless succession of streets, and arsenals, and dock-yards, and barracks, two miles in length; some of which we might have seen, but felt no sort of inclination. At last we regained the country ; it is pretty enough; the same waving surface checquered with enclosures, and dotted with cottages and gentlemen's houses, all with their dark masses of pines and firs, and the same thickets of laurel, arbutus, and laurestinus, as at Mount Edgecumbe. The cottages are all thatched, the walls partly stone, and partly pist, and with casements. The people, in general, look healthy and clean; much fewer children to be seen about the houses than in America.

January 3.—Slept at Ivy-bridge, a pretty name, and a pretty place;—wall-flowers full blown here, and in many places on the road,—and of course


much ivy about it, and a clear boisterous little stream. The house superlatively comfortable; such empressement to receive you,—such readiness to fulfil every wish, as soon as expressed,—such good rooms, and so well furnished,—such good things to eat, and so well dressed. This is really the land of conveniences, and it is not to be wondered at that the English should complain of foreign inconveniences in travelling. All this politeness and zeal has, no doubt, a sordid motive; you are caressed for your money; but the caresses of the world have not in general a much purer motive. The semblance of bienveillance should not be blamed hastily. Fair raiments do not always cover a fair skin. It may be as well to remain ignojrant of the defects of the mind, as of those of the person; to suspect them is quite enough. The roads are far from magnificent} tbey are generally just wide enough for two carriages; without ditches, but well gravelled with pounded stones, and, though very dirty, not deep. A high artificial bank of stone and earth, with bushes growing on the top, too often intercepts all view beyond the next bend of the road, not a hundred yards of which is visible at one time. The horses are in general weak and tired, and unmercifully whipt,—so much so, as to induce us often to interfere in their behalf, choosing rather to go slower than to witness such cruelty.

January 4.—We slept last night at Exeter, and are arrived at Taunton; 64 miles in two days. We are in no haste. The approach to Exeter is very fine; you see from a hill the vast extent of country below, with an estuary at a distance, and hills in gentle swells lost in the horizon; it gives the idea of an ocean of cultivation. The cathedral is a venerable pile, built in the year 900, (my information comes from the old woman who shewed it). Outside it appeared to me less light and airy than Gothic architecture generally is, according to my recollections. Objects seen again, after an interval of many years, appear no longer the same, although unchanged in reality, and although we have not seen, in the mean time, any other objects of the same kind that could alter the scale of our ideas. Memory is not a book where things and events are recorded, but rather a field where seeds grow, come to maturity, and die. The silent operation of time on all that lives, perfecting and destroying in regular succession, seems to extend to the mechanical skill of our fingers. The artist draws better after laying down his pencil for some time, or plays better on an instrument; fencing, swimming, are improved likewise. We have, however, neither studied nor practised; the mind, as far as we know, has been inactive, as well as the hand. Should we know little before the interruption, we are apt indeed to forget that little; but, if the skill was sufficiently perfect, it increases during a certain period of inaction; becomes stationary when longer intermitted; and is lost at last by protracted disuse.

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