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ford in her turn, quickly roused into most comfortable self-forgetfulness. "I am really pleased. She'll make you a good, smart wife. Ain't all the folks pleased, both sides?"

"Yes, they be," answered John soberly, with a happy, important look that became him well.

"I guess I can make out to do something for you to help along, when the right time comes," said aunt Bickford impulsively, after a moment's reflection. "I've known what it is to be starting out in life with plenty o' hope. You ain't calculatin' on gettin' married before fall, or be ye?"


"Long in the fall," said John regretfully. "I wish t' we could set up for ourselves right away this summer. ain't got much ahead, but I can work well as anybody, an' now I'm out o' my time."

"She's a nice, modest, pretty girl. I thought she liked you, John," said the old aunt. "I saw her over to your mother's, last day I was there. Well, I expect you'll be happy."

"Certain," said John, turning to look at her affectionately, surprised by this outspokenness and lack of embarrassment between them. "Thank you, aunt," he said simply; "you 're a real good friend to me," and he looked away again hastily, and blushed a fine scarlet over his sunbrowned face. "She's coming over to spend the day with the girls," he added. "Mother thought of it. You don't get over to see us very often."

Mrs. Bickford smiled approvingly. John's mother looked for her good opinion, no doubt, but it was very proper for John to have told his prospects himself, and in such a pretty way. There was no shilly-shallying about the boy.

"My gracious!" said John suddenly. "I'd like to have drove right by the burying ground. I forgot we wanted to stop."

Strange as it may appear, Mrs. Bickford herself had not noticed the burying

ground, either, in her excitement and pleasure; now she felt distressed and responsible again, and showed it in her face at once. The young man leaped lightly to the ground, and reached for the flowers.

"Here, you just let me run up with 'em," he said kindly. ""T is hot in the sun to-day, an' you'll mind it risin' the hill. We'll stop as I fetch you back tonight, and you can go up comfortable an' walk the yard after sundown when it's cool, an' stay as long as you're a mind to. You seem sort of tired, aunt." I don't know but what I will let you carry 'em," said Mrs. Bickford slowly.

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To leave the matter of the rose in the hands of fate seemed weakness and cowardice, but there was not a moment for consideration. John was a smiling fate, and his proposition was a great relief. She watched him go away with a terrible inward shaking, and sinking of pride. She had held the flowers with so firm a grasp that her hands felt weak and numb, and as she leaned back and shut her eyes she was afraid to open them again at first for fear of knowing the bouquets apart even at that distance, and giving instructions which she might regret. With a sudden impulse she called John once or twice eagerly; but her voice had a thin and piping sound, and the meditative early crickets that chirped in the fresh summer grass probably sounded louder in John's ears. The bright light on the white stones dazzled Mrs. Bickford's eyes; and then all at once she felt light-hearted, and the sky seemed to lift itself higher and wider from the earth, and she gave a sigh of relief as her messenger came back along the path. "I know who I do hope 's got the right one," she said to herself. "There, what a touse I be in! I don't see what I had to go and pick the old rose for, anyway."

"I declare, they did look real handsome, aunt," said John's hearty voice as

he approached the chaise. "I set 'em up just as you told me. This one fell out, an' I kept it. I don't know's you'll care. I can give it to Lizzie."

He faced her now with a bright, boyish look. There was something gay in his buttonhole: it was the red rose.

Aunt Bickford blushed like a girl. "Your choice is easy made," she faltered mysteriously, and then burst out laughing, there in front of the burying

ground. "Come, get right in, dear," she said. "Well, well! I guess the rose was made for you; it looks very pretty in your coat, John."

She thought of Albert, and the next moment the tears came into her old eyes. John was a lover, too.

"My first husband was just such a tall, straight young man as you be," she said as they drove along. "The flower he first give me was a rose.'

Sarah Orne Jewett.



THE squire was from home for a day or two, on business. When he came back, he asked the ladies, "What have you been doing while I was away?" They answered, "We took Mr. Foster to Camelot, to convince him that it was Cadbury in Somersetshire, and not Winchester, which he declared Caxton to have said it to be."

Squire. Caxton was a wise as well as a good man, and his knowledge was great; but even he did not know everything. In the Introduction to the Globe Edition of Morte Darthur you will find the reasons for holding that King Arthur's Camelot-probably from Camelus, the Celtic god of war — was the Cadbury Castle you saw yesterday. But perhaps you are already convinced that you had seen the true Camelot, and that Arthur really held his court there?

Foster. Certainly. I felt like Mopsa, who loved a ballad in print, because then she knew it to be true.

Squire. I should like to hear your account of the expedition. I know you keep a journal.

Foster (fetches a notebook, and reads from it). "We got to Sparkford at about one o'clock on a day of terrible midsum

mer heat; from there we drove to South Cadbury, about two miles off. The drive was across a plain; in fact, the end of the great valley which runs up from the sea, roughly speaking, bounded by the Mendip range on one side, and the Polden hills, parallel to Mendip, on the other, and the beginning of the downs which join on to the system of Salisbury Plain, shutting in the valley at right angles to Mendip and the Polden hills. In this great trench are islands: near the sea, such ones as Brent Knoll; further up, Glastonbury Tor; and furthest from the sea, and just under the downs, lies Camelot. As we drove, we could see, looking towards our right, the downs bounding the horizon with their characteristic slopes, the flat tops and steep sloping sides and general plainness of surface which give to downs an individuality among hills. Along their ridges were to be seen scars on their sides showing old encampments. Close under these downs stands Camelot, a long, regularly sloped hill, quite isolated, its top at a distance looking nearly horizontal, while the two ends present a slope of about the same angle; the side towards us was thickly wooded, and so no ramparts were

to be seen. At South Cadbury, a pretty village, with its little church and pollard poplar-trees round it, we began our walk. A narrow lane, with steep banks, leading out of the highroad, and called Castle Lane, began to go up the hill. After a short distance we reached a gate: here the lane widened, and seemed to go straight up the hill in a broad ditch. A short way up, roads branched to right and left; on the one to the left was a gamekeeper's cottage. These branching roads were, in fact, the first ditches at the top of the first slope of earthwork. Before telling of our ascent of the fort, I will describe the general lines on which the defenses are made, as this will simplify the account I am going to give of the details. Imagine to yourself a plain out of which rises a hill, two hundred feet high, of regular shape on the northern side; a slight slope up from the plain suddenly turns into a steep rampart of about fifty feet, so steep that we, like Camden, found it easier to run down it than walk. Gaining the top of this first rampart, you find yourself on a narrow edge, sloping steeply down to a ditch, a slope of perhaps ten feet; from the bottom of this ditch rises the second rampart, of about the same height as the first, which again ends in an edge sloping down to a second ditch, from which rises the third rampart, like the second, but not so high as the first and second, though as steep; this, too, has its ditch, and from it rises the fourth and last rampart. The top of this one is embanked about ten feet above the nearly flat top of the hill. This is a space of some twenty acres, and at the eastern end enters the roadway leading up from the bottom to where I have said we first began to climb, the roadway cutting through ditches and ramparts. This entrance was, no doubt, protected by the iron gates which still live in tradition. So the road enters the oval top of the hill at the eastern end. Opposite, at the western end, another road just like this

one comes up from the bottom; a little to the north of this western gate the ground rises in a knoll, called Arthur's Castle, and is the highest part of the hill, being five hundred feet above the sea. It has steep sides, which seem partly the result of art, and partly natural.

"One could not help being struck by the simple earth walls and their primitive strength, and feeling how different must have been the people who lived here in rude strength from the gorgeous images of the Camelot of Malory. How entirely the life here must have differed from the medieval surroundings from which he drew his color! And we could not help wondering who were the people who began to make a fortress out of the hill, and what were the names of those who had brought these earth mounds and ditches to such perfection of strength. Strange that the genius that planned and the energy that executed should have left only the work accomplished, and no record of those by whose might it was framed! Strange that a people so great, who could carve the everlasting hills into citadels, and whose mounds and ditches have survived 'the drums and tramplings of three conquests,' 1 should have left no name even in the histories of nations now dead! "But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the Pyramids? Herostratus lives that burnt the temple of Diana; he is almost lost that built it.'1 "The greater part of the hill is wood

ed. This, unfortunately, hides the ramparts and ditches, except at close quarters, but then they are seen clearly. We made our way up through the eastern entrance, walked across the oval top, and went out at the western gate down the hill to the bottom, where we found a wall below the last rampart shutting in the hill from the fields round. We then 1 Sir Thomas Browne, Urn Burial.

resounded to the busy life of a capital city of the old British kingdom, or had echoed to the battle cry of a mightier race, the torrent of whose conquest this

walked round the northern slope inside this wall, in search of the Wishing Well. After going a little way, the squire's daughter saw a cow". Squire (interrupting). And you all citadel had stayed, but not arrested. ran for your lives, I suppose?

Foster. No, we did not. The young lady only availed herself, as her father would have done, of the opportunity for the exercise of the higher criticism, as you will see if you let me go on,


saw a cow on the top of the first rampart above us (here not very high), and thought this might indicate water. We went to the place only to find a muddy pool, and were thinking of going on farther, when the other lady of the party, her sister-in-law, noticed, a little to the right of the pool, a few steps above it, a small inclosure some twenty feet square, made by a low, dry wall; going into this, she found the well. The second rampart slopes up at the back of the little inclosure, making one of its walls; in its side, on the ground, is the Wishing Well. A block of stone, about four feet long, has been hollowed out into a circular arch, the inside of which is cut into a scallop shell; this block might be the top part or roof of a semicircular niche, though here it rests on no pillars, but on the ground, so the opening is only some two feet high and three long; the surface of the water was about a foot below the ground, in a little basin built, apparently, of brick, on the same plan as the scalloped roof, that is, in front straight, the back a half-round. The water was of crystal clearness and of icy coldness. Although the shape of the stone was evidently not very old, possibly of the time of Queen Anne, as it is sometimes called Queen Anne's Well, still, here it seemed a living thing of the past. The soft gurgle of the spring, as it ran away in some hidden channel, heard only when one bent close to the water, made one feel it was thus that this spring ran when those ramparts over our heads, now slumbering in peaceful decay, had

Not only did the well put us in touch with the clouded forms of long past history,' but we also thought of those whom poets have made much clearer.

"Feigned of old or fabled since, Of faery damsels met in forest wide By Knights of Logres or of Lyones, Lancelot of Pelleas or Pellenore.' For, at Camelot, Arthur and his knights still ride at the full moon and water their horses at this well. The hill of ramparts and ditches rose in the imagination to something much more than a stockaded camp of a savage tribe, and, like Leland before us, we felt that we were at the local habitation of those airy nothings, those fancies of poets' brains, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, whose deeds had played as important a part as had Troy the ancient, and influenced the modern world as greatly. Whether it was from such thoughts as these or not I cannot say, but the water of the Wishing Well seemed a draught inspiring beyond all other water. But we had other things to see yet, and above all to prove if the hill were hollow; for the legends of the country assert that a noise made at King Arthur's Well is heard at the Wishing Well; so the ladies stayed at the latter, while I started in search of King Arthur's Well, the other spring on the hill. This I found at no great distance, close to the cottage, and on the left side of the eastern road up the hill. This was a stone with a round hole in it about two feet across, the well below being a circular place about four feet deep, full of filthy and all but stagnant water, and quite powerless to excite the imagination. At the appointed time I made much noise by hitting boards and sticks on the mouth of the well; but on going back to the Wishing Well found


that my noises had not been heard. Considering that we had drunk deep of the clear spring, I was relieved to think it did not communicate with the poisonous waters of King Arthur's Well. We now set out to see more of the southern side, and, walking along past the cottage, found ourselves on the top of the first rampart. On the southeastern slope the walls of earth stand out in bald grandeur, for there are no trees, and here we could appreciate the enormous strength of the ramparts rising tier above tier over our heads. I have seen other camps of this kind, but never anything like this; the steepness of the sides and the regularity of the slopes make it a striking spectacle. As we got farther round on the south side, trees began again, though more scattered; and as we climbed up gradually, startling countless rabbits, and at one place a badger, the views became of great beauty, till, reaching the top of the southern side, near the west gate, we looked down on the village of Sutton Montis. thing could have been more lovely. A little brook with willows skirted the fortress, after leaving the downs opposite whence it rose; across this brook lay a vast orchard, the orderly rows of its great trees clearly seen from our height; beyond this came the pleasant villages and farms adjoined,' - one especially glowing roof of almost crimson tiles took the eye; beyond this, again, the church, and then the vast sweep of view towards Dorsetshire. From here we went through the western gate of the top of the camp, and descended the hill by the road at that end, leaving Camelot by the west, having come there by the east. We then went a pleasant way across the grounds, orchards and fields, till a path near the river took us back into Sparkford, where the interval till our train was due was filled by many cups of tea in a pleasant old inn. The train took us home in a golden evening, and we were left with visions of romance NO. 435.


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Squire. Very good geography, physical, military, and archæological; not without a touch, too, of purple patch, and some of a very fine purple.

Foster. If it had been full moon or the eve of St. John, I think I should have begged the ladies to stay with me, or to leave me there, that I, too, might hear and see Arthur and his knights come riding down King Arthur's Lane, as, according to local tradition, they have never left off doing since the days of Leland, whose account I have just been reading, who tells us of the silver horseshoe that one of them had cast in such a ride.

Squire. I have often fancied that if I had the poet's gift of looking into and seeing the imaginary past, while the senses of the present are laid asleep, the vision would come to me on the grassy mound called Arthur's Castle, at the top of the hill of Camelot. Even now that vision rises before me with successive magic scenes, "apart from place, withholding time," but always in that golden prime of Arthur and his knights. I seem to see the town of Camelot, while within the hall is the Round Table, its seats filling with knights come to the feast of Pentecost, though Arthur will not take his place till he hears from Sir Kay, the Seneschal, that an adventure is at hand, since some unknown lady or knight can be seen riding down the road. Scene after scene rises before me of things done, and words spoken, and quests undertaken, in that hall; and not least that when the Holy Grail, covered with white samite, passed through, offering every knight for once to partake of that mysterious food, and awaking in him the resolve to achieve that quest. And then,

"I see no longer, I myself am there," among the crowd of ladies and knights 1 An account of an actual visit, by my son, Mr. Henry Strachey.

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