Monday, January 31, 2011


Staying Put

William Cobbett, Rural Rides (August 27, 1826):
In the midst of this, I got, at one time, a little out of my road, in, or near, a place called TANGLEY, I rode up to the garden-wicket of a cottage, and asked the woman, who had two children, and who seemed to be about thirty years old, which was the way to LUDGARSHALL, which I knew could not be more than about four miles off. She did not know! A very neat, smart, and pretty woman; but, she did not know the way to this rotten-borough which was, I was sure, only about four miles off! 'Well, my dear good woman,' said I, 'but you have been at LUDGERSHALL?' 'No.' 'Nor at ANDOVER?' (six miles another way) 'No.' 'Nor at MARLBOROUGH?' (nine miles another way) 'No.' 'Pray, were you born in this house?' 'Yes.' 'And, how far have you ever been from this house?' 'Oh! I have been up in the parish, and over to Chute.' That is to say, the utmost extent of her voyages had been about two and a half miles! Let no one laugh at her, and, above all others, let not me, who am convinced, that the facilities, which now exist of moving human bodies from place to place, are amongst the curses of the country, the destroyers of industry, of morals, and, of course, of happiness.
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