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As I looked in the direction of the river, I saw a red light sailing down the broad stream. It was from a barge. How often had I heard from the river's brink, the awful imprecations of a blaspheming bargeman! It was not, however, likely that in such a night an oath would be heard, or that the name of the High and Holy One would be taken in vain. Drenched to the skin, I plodded along, sometimes in the road, and at other times over the broken ground that skirted the river.
As the storm abated, I looked up, as a chastened child, in humble thankfulness. Oh that we were more sensible of our manifold mercies! "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !" Psa. cvii. 8.
On the morrow, I heard of the ravages of the storm. The river had overflown its banks. The meadows were flooded, and the ferries were impassable; neither Fidoe nor old Wigley would venture across. Near Mordiford, a large barge was stranded; the top of the mast only was to be seen above the water; two lives were lost. At Sellack, the water had risen to the churchyard wall. At Nottington, and Basham, and Poulston, and Pengethly farms, orchard trees had been beaten to the ground; and at
Stoke and Holm-Lacey, many a giant oak, the growth of centuries, had been torn up by its deep-struck roots.
At Hoarwithy, at Caplor, and King's Caple, it was the same; mischief had been done every where: trees had been levelled to the ground, and houses unroofed: and, under an oak, sixteen or eighteen sheep were struck dead by the lightning.
Yonder, over the river, is Holm-Lacey. A canonry occupied the place in the reign of Henry III. I remember when the goodly mansion there, in the park, was tenanted by the old duke of Norfolk the beautiful carvings by Gibbons, and the old family portraits, gave, and still give, an interest to the place. The present occupier has spared no expense in improving the princely dwelling. He has walked with me through every chamber of that goodly dwelling.
For some weeks I have been in the neighbourhood of the Wye, now visiting the cottages, and now partaking the hospitality of the farmhouses and the mansions of the gentry around. A London visitor is not an unwelcome guest in the country. Give yourself no airs; accommodate yourself to circumstances; be not insensible to kindness; try to make yourself agreeable; and show the kind people that you are
happy, and you will find welcomes "as plenty as blackberries," go where you will.
I have often spoken of Fawley Court, and sometimes I have called it Old Court; but no matter! call it what I may, it is a dear old mansion, and I could now be garrulous in its praise, for I love its battlements and shadowy porch, yea, the very ivy that clings to its venerable and venerated walls. It once was a mansion of the Kyrles, of which family was the famous man of Ross. Its battlements, projecting windows with stanchions of stone, and porch with double doors, have long been familiar to me. Fawley is thronged with shiny and shadowy associations. How intelligibly should passing events whisper in our ears, "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear!" 1 Pet. i. 17. Hill Eaton, too, has not been forgotten. Who would expect, in a farm-house, the strings of the harp and the keys of the piano to be struck with such flying fingers as those which I have witnessed in this abode! Often has the voice of psalmody, richly accompanied, rung around me in the room that overlooks the foldyards. Alas! the sister minstrels are divided; the younger has been beckoned away from the world, and Hill Eaton has a new tenant. Basham, long the stronghold of time-honoured customs, not much
observed in other places, is changing its inhabitants; for the strongest walls cannot keep out death. It still possesses, however, in its present occupier, one of the kindliest spirits that ever animated humanity. Moraston, thou hast hearts beating beneath thy hospitable roof that are not likely to lose the place they occupy in my remembrance.
Pennockston (I know not if I spell the name right) stands at a little distance from the river Wye. The court yard at its entrance, and the garden grounds to the south, with their terrace and secluded walks, give an interest to this goodly mansion. I have been rambling from one spot to another, with a friendly inmate, whose invalided frame seems hardly equal to the exertion. How often is cheerful, interesting, and Christian conversation a cordial to the heart of the afflicted, medicine to the mind, "oil to the joints, and marrow to the bones !
I have passed the river, standing in the big horse-boat. When I was last here, Fidoe, the ferryman, was lusty and strong. It was then that I jocosely intimated to him the possibility of my setting up a boat, by way of opposition to him; when he drily advised me to put it off till after the winter, lest I should take cold in my under
taking. Since then, the lusty and strong boatman has become weak! and Old Humphrey is not likely again to cross the stream in the big horse-boat piloted by Fidoe the ferryman. Though the river, for the most part, flows rapidly between lofty wood-crowned banks, at times it alters its character, and then, fairest of British streams! romantic Wye!
Is calm, and soft, and silent: clear and deep
Pool Hullock, or Pool Hullick, is a neat cottage-looking habitation, midway between Ross and Hereford, standing in a pretty garden, laid out tastefully in diamond, oval, triangle, and other formed parterres, edged with fresh green box, and abounding with flowers. Peace to its inmates!
Birch is a pleasant-looking mansion, near the turnpike road, standing on a slope, and commanding a sweet prospect. The beautiful white rose tree, abounding with flowers, that climbs up one of the light pillars of the veranda, attracts every eye. The church and parsonage house are adjacent. Birch has an hospitable