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Title: Of Walks and Walking Tours - An Attempt to find a Philosophy and a Creed
Author: Haultain, Arnold
Language: English
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  #His Life and Opinions#

  Illustrated with many Important Portraits
  Demy 8vo, cloth gilt. #18#s. net

  "A thoroughly readable book."--_London Times._

  "Of its human and literary interest we could hardly speak too
  highly."--_Birmingham Post._



  Illustrated with many Important Portraits
  Demy 8vo, cloth gilt. #18#s. net.

  _All Rights Reserved_

  [Illustration: ON THE BANKS OF THE RHONE.]


  _An Attempt to find a Philosophy
  and a Creed_


  Author of "Hints for Lovers"
  "The Mystery of Golf"
  "Goldwin Smith: His Life and Opinions"



  "_De naturâ Rationis est res sub quâdam
  aeternitatis specie percipere._"

  --Spinoza, _Ethics_, Part II.,
  Proposition xliv., Corollary ii.


The writing of this little book has given me a great deal of pleasure.
That is why I hope that, here and there, it may give pleasure to others.

And yet it was not an easy task. Nature's lessons are hard to learn.
Harder still is it to translate Nature's lessons to others. Besides, the
appeal of Nature is to the Emotions; and words are weak things (save in
the hands of a great Poet) by which to convey or to evoke emotion. Words
seem to be the vehicles rather of ratiocination than of emotion. Is not
even the Poet driven to link words to music? And always _le mot juste_,
the exact word, is so difficult to find! Yet found it must be if the
appeal is to avail.

       *     *     *     *     *

If, in these pages, there are scattered speculations semi-mystical,
semi-intelligible, perhaps even transcending the boundaries of rigid
logic, I must simply aver that I put in writing that only which was
given me to say. How or whence it came, I do not know.--And this,
notwithstanding (or, perhaps, in a way, corroborative of) my own belief
that no thought is autogenous, but has parents and a pedigree.

I have tried, quite humbly, to follow, as motto, the sentence chosen
from Spinoza. Yet, with that sentence always should be read this
other, taken from Pascal: "_La dernière démarche de la raison,
c'est de reconnaître qu'il y a une infinité de choses qui la
surpassent._"--Always emotion, imagination, feeling, faith, try to soar
above reason; and always they feel the inadequacy of words.

I have incorporated in this book some parts of my "Two Country Walks in
Canada"--now long out of print (itself comprising an article from _The
Nineteenth Century_ and another from _Blackwood's_); also (with the
permission of the editor) an article in _The Atlantic Monthly Magazine_;
and Sections 22 and 23 first appeared in _The Canadian Magazine_.

Geneva, 1914.


  CHAPTER                                  PAGE

       I. Golf and Walking                    1

      II. The Essence of a Walk               5

     III. Notable Walkers                     9

      IV. My Earliest Walks                  15

       V. India                              17

      VI. English Byways                     21

     VII. A Spring Morning in England        25

    VIII. Autumn Reveries                    29

      IX. Spirituality of Nature             34

       X. Practical Transcendentalism        40

      XI. Spring in Canada                   45

     XII. Autumn in Canada                   53

    XIII. Winter in Canada                   59

     XIV. The Mood for Walking               72

      XV. Evening Meditations                78

     XVI. The Unity of Nature                91

    XVII. The Instinct for Walking          103

   XVIII. A Woeful Walk                     105

     XIX. Autumn in Canada again            107

      XX. The Walking Tour                  133

     XXI. The Tramp's Dietary               140

    XXII. Practical Details                 152

   XXIII. The Beauty of Landscape           159

    XXIV. Warnings to the Over-Zealous      180

     XXV. How that all points to the
          Infinite                          188

    XXVI. The Pleasures of Walking          198

   XXVII. Is Walking Selfish?               216

  XXVIII. The Pæan of Being                 223

          Index                             227



Golf and Walking

§ 1

Many are the indictments which are brought against Golf: that it is a
deplorable waster of time; that it depletes the purse; that it divorces
husband and wife; that it delays the dinner-hour, freckles fair feminine
faces, upsets domestic arrangements, and unhinges generally the mental
balance of its devotees. Yet perhaps to each of such charges Golf can
enter a plea. It repays expenditure of time and money with interest
in the form of health and good spirits. If it acts the part of
co-respondent it is always open to the petitioner to espouse the game.
If it keeps men and women away from work and home, at least it keeps
them out on the breezy links and dispels for a time the cares of the
office or the kitchen. If it tans--well, it tans, and a tanned face
needs no paint, and is, moreover, beautiful to look upon. Nevertheless,
one indictment there is against which it is not in the power of Golf
to enter a plea. It has killed the country walk. "A country walk!"
exclaimed a fellow-golfer to me the other day. "I have not taken a
country walk since I began to play."

There are, I know, who affect to believe that Golf consists of country
walks, diversified and embellished by pauses made for the purpose of
impelling little round balls into little round holes; that mind and eye
are occupied chiefly with the beauties of Nature, and that the impulsion
of the insignificant sphere into the insignificant void is, as it were,
but a sop to Cerberus, or a cock sacrificed to the Æsculapius of
this sporting age. "How greatly," said to me once a fair and innocent
stranger to my links--"how greatly this beautiful landscape must enhance
the pleasure of your game!" _O sancta simplicitas!_ Far be it from me to
explain that as a rule the horrid golfer only drank in the beauties of
that landscape when the game was over, and he was, perchance, occupied
in performing a similar operation upon the contents of a tumbler at his
elbow as he reclined in an arm-chair on the verandah.--And yet, and yet,
our links _are_ beautiful, and one and all of us their frequenters know
and appreciate to the full their beauty; but _not_, I think, at the
moment of "addressing the ball."--No; Golf is Golf; a country walk is
quite another thing; and the one, I maintain, has killed the other.


The Essence of a Walk

§ 2

For, mark you, the essence of a country walk is that you shall have no
object or aim whatsoever. The frame of mind in which one ought to set
out upon a rural peregrination should be one of absolute mental vacuity.
Almost one ought to rid oneself, if so be that were possible, even of
the categories of time and place: for to start with a determination to
cover a certain distance within a specified time is to take, not a walk,
but a "constitutional"; and of all abortions or monstrosities of country
walks, commend me to the constitutional. The proper frame of mind is
that of absolute and secure passivity; an openness to impressions; a
giving-up of ourselves to the great and guiding influences of benignant
Nature; a humble receptivity of soul; a wondering and childlike
eagerness--not a restless and too inquisitive eagerness--to learn all
that great Nature may like to teach, and to learn it in the way that
great Nature would have us learn.

Yet, true, though we take with us a vacuous mind, it must be a plenable
mind (if I may coin the word), a serenely responsive mind; otherwise we
shall not reap the harvest of a quiet eye.

  "How bountiful is Nature! he shall find
  Who seeks not; and to him who hath not asked
  Large measure shall be dealt,"

sings Wordsworth; and of Nature and of Nature's ways no one had a
greater right to sing. Wordsworth must have been an ideal country
walker. "The Excursion" is the harvest of innumerable walks, and when
Wordsworth depicts the Wanderer he depicts himself:

                        "In the woods
  A lone Enthusiast, and among the fields,
  Itinerant in this labour, he had passed
  The better portion of his time; and there
  Spontaneously had his affections thriven
  Amid the bounties of the year, the peace
  And liberty of Nature; there he kept,
  In solitude and solitary thought,
  His mind in a just equipoise of love."

Only, "the w . . . w . . . worst of W . . . W . . . Wordsworth is," as a
stammering friend of mine once remarked, "is, he is so d . . . d . . .
d . . . desperate p . . . pensive." (I was expecting a past participle,
not an ungrammatical adverb for the "d.")--He is; and like, yet unlike,
Falstaff, he is not only pensive in himself, but he is the cause of
pensiveness in other things--to wit, his "stars," his "citadels," and
what not; and certainly his diary of "A Tour in Scotland" makes the
driest reading I know.--Nevertheless, Wordsworth must have been an ideal
country walker. He was

  "A lover of the meadows and the woods,
  And mountains; and of all that we behold
  From this green earth";

and if we would understand him, we ourselves must

                          "Let the moon
  Shine on us in our solitary walk;
  And let the misty mountain winds be free
  To blow against us."


Notable Walkers

§ 3

All great souls, I venture to think, were at some period of their
lives walkers in the country. Jesus of Nazareth spent forty days in the
wilderness, and the three years of his mission were, we know, spent
in unceasing wandering. And whose heart does not burn within him as he
reads the moving narrative of that seven-mile country walk which he took
with two of his disciples to the village called Emmaus? It was after a
forty days' solitary sojourn on Mount Sinai, too, so we are told, that
Moses came down armed with the Decalogue; and was it not after a similar
Ramadan retreat that Mohammed returned with the novel doctrine that
there was no God but God? Enoch, we know, walked with God; and it is a
childish fancy of mine which I am loath to relinquish that God took him,
and that he was not, for because he was so delectable a companion. Of a
surety the Sweet Singer of Israel must have wandered much in the green
pastures and by the still waters; he who kept his father's sheep; who
slew both the lion and the bear; who sang the high hills, a refuge for
the wild goats, and the rocks for the conies.--Indeed, if one comes to
think of it, how much literature owes to the country walk! It was to
that long walk outside the wall of Athens, and to the long talk that
Socrates held with Phædrus under the plane-tree by the banks of the
Ilissus, that we owe one of the most beautiful of the Dialogues of
Plato. There had been no Georgics had not Virgil loved the country.
Horace must as often have circumambulated his Sabine farm as he
perambulated the Via Sacra. Chaucer must sometimes have pilgrimed afoot,
and Spenser, trod as well as pricked o'er the plain. Shakespeare's
poaching episode gives us a glimpse into his youthful pursuits. Milton
"oft the woods among wooed Philomel to hear her evensong"; and even
after his blindness "not the more ceased he to wander where the Muses
haunt clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill." "The Traveller"
of Goldsmith was the outcome of a walking tour; so was Robert Louis
Stevenson's "Travels in the Cévennes with a Donkey". To how many minds
walks about the green flat meads of Oxford have been a quiet stimulant
we may get a hint from more than one of Matthew Arnold's poems. Was
it to Newman that Jowett, meeting him alone and afoot, put the query:
"_Nunquam minus solus quam quum solus?_" Of Jowett's walks many a tale
is told. Of De Quincey, who spent his youth in wanderings; of William
Cowper, the gentle singer of the "Winter Walk"; of Thoreau[1]; of
Mr John Burroughs[2]; of Richard Jefferies[3]; of Mr Hamilton Wright
Mabie,[4] the discoverer of the Forest of Arden; of Mr Henry Van Dyke[5]
who would be, I warrant me, an incomparable companion for a walk,
and whose books make the pent-up sigh for the open; of "A Son of the
Marshes"[6]; of Dr Charles C. Abbott,[7] that indefatigable Wasteland
Wanderer; of Mr Charles Goodrich Whiting,[8] the Saunterer; of that
prince of walkers, of whom _The Spectator_ said it was "half a pity
that such a man could not go walking about for ever, for the benefit of
people who are not gifted with legs so stout and eyes so discerning,"
I mean that erudite nomad, George Borrow[9]; of Senancour, who in his
journeys afoot experienced _illusions imposantes_[10]; of Sir Leslie
Stephen[11]--of these and many another lover of outdoor Nature it is
needless to speak.


My Earliest Walks

§ 4

The earliest walks which my own memory recalls were rather curious ones.
We were in Burma, a country in which, in the dry season, exercise must
be taken about daybreak or sundown, or not at all. We walked--and before
breakfast; and always we were accompanied by a pet cat, a sharp-nosed
"toddy-cat" (so they called him), indigenous to the country, and not
unlike the American raccoon, very affectionate and very cleanly. But
the cat was not our only companion, for just overhead, screaming
threateningly, were always also, and all the way, a flock of kites--the
mortal enemies, so I must suppose, of Hokey-Pokey (thus was named our
'coon-cat pet).--Now I come to think of it, it must have been a funny
sight: a family afoot; in the rear an impudent cat with tail erect;
overhead irate and clamorous kites.



§ 5

My next walks were on the Nilgiris, the Blue Mountains of India.
Ah, they were beautiful! The seven or eight thousand feet of
altitude tempered the tropical sun, the mornings were fresh and
invigorating--your cold bath was really cold, and spring seemed
perennial. Hedges of cluster-roses bloomed the whole year round; on the
orange-trees were leaf, bud, bloom and ripening fruit, also the whole
year round. Heliotrope grew in gigantic bushes that were pruned with
garden clippers. Through the grounds about the house flowed a babbling
brook, widening here and there into quiet ponds, from the sedgy edges
of which green-stemmed arums raised their graceful cups. In the deep
valleys grew the tree-fern; here and there a playful waterfall gushed
from the hill; and everything was green.--No; two things were not green:
the one, the hot and hazy plains, shimmering in yellow dust as seen from
the shoulder of a hill; the other, the gigantic Droog, a mighty mountain
mass rearing its head, sombre and silent, on the other side of a deep
ravine. The Droog was purple: not with the pellucid purple of a petal,
but with the misty blue-black purple of the bloom of a plum.--Ah, it was
all very good. Never shall I forget the convolvulus that decorated
the northern verandah before the heat of day shrivelled the delicate
corollas. There were rich bass purples that stirred one like the tones
of an organ. There were soprano pinks so exquisite that a _pianissimo_
trill on a violin seemed crude in comparison. Their beauty was all but
audible: it penetrated the senses and reached in to some inner subtile
psychic centre, there to move emotions which must remain unsaid.--This
was in India.--There is something perfervid in the fascination of the
East. The West may clutch the thrilled heart with a steely clasp; the
East holds the soul in a passionate embrace.--Ah, India, beloved
India, my first nurse and I trust my last; "not were that submarine,
gem-lighted city mine" would I relinquish hope of seeing thee again,
adored India: old majestic land; land of ancient castes and alien
creeds; land of custom, myth, and magic; land of pungent odours,
stinging tastes, and colours dazzling as the sun; land of mystery, of
pageant, and of pain! Ah, subtile, thralling, luring India!--India
is like Samson's lion: it has been conquered by the young and lusty
Occident, and in its old carcass its conqueror finds both meat and
sweetness;--and it serves for a riddle to others. To complete the
analogy, there are those who are trying to plough with Samson's heifer.


English Byways

§ 6

My next walks were in England. For their size, the British Isles
probably afford the most varied tramping ground of any country in the
world. Within a few hundred miles of radius you get infinite variety:
the rolling downs; the quiet weald; hilly Derbyshire; mountainous Wales;
Devonshire's lanes; the Westmorland or the Cumberland lakes--these for
the seeker of quiet. For the more emprising there is the wild and broken
scenery of the northern isles; and the lover of the homeless sea can
choose any shore to his liking.

§ 7

There is an impression abroad that in England you must confine your
steps to the high-road. That has not been my experience. True, you
must not expect everywhere to be allowed to stalk anywhere across
country--unless you are following the beagles; but, so numerous are the
byways and bridle-paths; so easy has access been made, through centuries
of hereditary ownership, from one field or stile or farm to another; so
generous, too, are so many landlords, that one can travel for many and
many a mile without doing more than cross and recross the road. But true
it is also that, in order to do this, you must know something of the

       *     *     *     *     *

One much-hidden entrance to a most sequestered spot I hope I do no wrong
in revealing here.--London stretches out north-west almost to Uxbridge,
nearly twenty miles out--that is, habitations line almost every inch
of the way. After Uxbridge, the road is hard, dry, and comparatively
uninteresting. But, near a cross-road, where is a house on either side,
if you look carefully to the right you will dimly discern, beneath
the shade of low-bending boughs, and almost hidden by these, a simple,
unpretending stile. I recommend you to climb over it, for it is the
entrance to a great, quiet, secluded spot, several acres in extent,
thickly wooded with superb beeches and firs, so thickly wooded that
the sky is invisible and the earth wholly in shade. But for the extreme
kemptness of the underbrush (and the fact that you have just stepped out
of the London road), you might be in a primæval forest of the West. Nor
is this the sum of its beauty. High though it is above the surrounding
country, embosomed in this forest is a lovely lake, exquisite in its
colouring, reflecting, as it does, the cloud-flecked sky, and, all round
its rim, the bending boughs of the beech. Typical of England are this
lake and park. They are private property, of course; but the owner gives
every wayfarer leave of access. Typical of England: tenacious of rights,
yet just, nay, generous, to all.


A Spring Morning in England

§ 8

He who knows not England I will here permit to peep into a page of a
diary giving a glimpse of a morning dawdle on the Sussex Downs:

  "Royal Oak Inn,
  "Village of Poynings,
  "_27th March 18--_, 11.30 A.M.

"The little maid is laying the other half of this table to supply me
with eggs and bacon....

"I got me out of Brighton early, walked through Hassocks and
Hurstpierpoint, and strolled on in any direction that invited (for I had
the whole lovely day to myself), choosing chiefly byways and sequestered
paths approached by stiles.

"The day was superb. The sky, after a rainy night, was a rich deep
blue, and across it sailed great white-grey clouds, the shadows of which
chased each other--albeit solemnly and with dignity--over field
and meadow. The fields, sown with corn already tall, were burnished
green--they shone in the sunlight. The meadows were deeper in colour.
The slopes of the downs changed their hues every moment; every acre
changed, according as it caught the light direct, or through a thin
cloud, or was immersed in shade by a big and thick one. The ditches and
the little banks by the road, out of which the trim hedgerows sprang,
were green with a hundred little plants and weeds--the dock, the nettle,
groundsel, stick-a-bobs, ivy of every hue and shape, mullein, the alder
well in leaf, and the hawthorn here and there in flower.--

"Breakfast over. The most delicious bacon, the freshest of eggs, milk
that might have masqueraded as cream; and all served with the extremity
of respectful civility. A fire smouldering in the hearth; a terrier
longing to make friends; otherwise they shut the door and leave me to
quiet privacy.

"The greenness of the hedges was exquisite. And here and there the
primroses in profusion--and the violets--and birds. England teems with
life. I heard the thrush--'It _is_ Spring! It _is_ Spring! O the joy!
I tell you it is--is--is!' And the blackbirds screaming out of a bush,
pretending to be frightened, but only looking for an excuse to shout.
The ring-doves, really disturbed and rising with noisy wings. The rooks,
lost in real wonderment that anyone should stop and look at them for
five minutes, and 'cawing' and 'cahing' in vociferous interrogation.
Querulous tits, chirping hedge-sparrows, cheeping linnets and
finches--by the hundreds and hundreds."

       *     *     *     *     *

A mere peep (but a peep photographed on the spot), and giving but a poor
glimpse of a scene the exact like of which you will not get elsewhere
the wide world over.--And, by the way, shouldst ever find thyself
at this self-same village of Poynings, omit not to examine the Early
Perpendicular church;--the alms-box is an ancient thurible.


Autumn Reveries

§ 9

This was in the spring. Autumn in England is equally lovely. In the new
world--at least in the northern regions--there is a chill in the fall of
the year. The cold north-western winds, cradled amidst palæocrystic ice,
and blowing over tundra and prairie, are untempered by Gulf Stream or
ocean. Untempered, too, by cloud and moisture, they cut keen, and reveal
the leafless landscape in all its bareness. And it may be that they
bring with them the thought that for many months to come that landscape
will be bare indeed--unless covered with a shroud of snow.

Far different is autumn in England--I write (this time) situate in the
basin of the Thames, and for many weeks I have been watching summer
slowly give up its glowing glories in order that other glories, not
less wonderful in colour, may take their place. For England is never
colourless; nay, in England, all through the year, the colours are warm
and sweet and comforting. The very trunks and twigs of the trees are
warm with browns and greens and purples, the result of the mosses and
lichens, minute epiphytic and parasitic vegetation which the humid
climate so greatly fosters. Even brick walls, the stepping-stones in
brooks, wooden palings--everything constructed by man, Nature soon
mellows with a gentle hand; so that, in place of stark and staring
edifices where the bare boards or the dull paint form blotches on the
scene, you have everywhere a great harmony of colour--violets shading
into green; greens gliding into softest yellows; and these again
deepening into warm and beautiful orange and gold and red.

A long, long tramp through beechy Buckinghamshire one day revealed at
every step beauties that filled the eye--and filled the heart. No pen
could do them justice; and, among painters, only the brush of a Corot
could attempt their depicture without depriving them of their exquisite,
their almost evanescent, softness. A great mist lay over the land;
a gentle, noiseless mist that hid from you the horizon and the outer
world; that shut you in from the outer world; lured you into that mood
of quiet reverence in the presence of quiet, wonder-working Nature;
and revealed to you ... I cannot tell all that was revealed. I can only
point to this and that beautiful little thing or vision, themselves but
emblems of a Beauty and a Mystery invisible.

Again I saw the little ivies in the ditches. Again I saw unnumbered
little leaves and stalks and tendrils in the hedges; all, of shape and
texture and colour actually and positively divine. The hedges, a tangle
of twigs thick with a hundred growths, were mighty marvels that no human
clipping and pruning and trimming could diminish. And at every few paces
rose out of these hedges, on either hand, old majestic elms, great in
girth, tall of stature, interlacing their branches high overhead and
making for pygmy me, who walked that winding lane, a wondrous fane in
which to worship.--It was not exactly what one saw with one's bodily eye
that roused worship in that fane. What was it?...

As morning grew towards noon, and the sun gained power, that gentle
mist--so noiseless, like an angel's hand laid soothingly on me and on
all that hemmed me in--the mist mysteriously withdrew itself. But only
to show fresh loveliness. On either hand were meadows, still lush with
grass; or brown and furrowed fields, shot through with the myriad tips
of growing corn; and here and there in scattered heaps lay the rich
leaves of the oak and the elm and the beech, brilliant in their orange
and russet, and here and there lit up, like burnished gold, by glints of
sunshine from between the clouds.

For miles, quiet little scenes like this filled the eye and the
heart--entrancing, exalting, humbling.

Wherein lay the secret of their appeal? Why is it that field and
hedgerow, winding lane and interlacing boughs, strike upon the emotions
of man?


Spirituality of Nature

§ 10

One thing at least is certain. Of this human race, of which each of us
frail and wailing mortals is a fragment, this kindly or unkindly thing
we call "external Nature" is at once the mother, the cradle, and the
home: out of it we came; in it we play; from it we delve our livelihood;
and--to it we go. For it is also our grave. But, unlike the mournful
mounds, so pitilessly ranged in regular rows--as if, 'fore God, to
accentuate the fact that in Death this impotent thing called sapient
man meets at last a uniforming and levelling foe--unlike those mournful
mounds we see in cemeteries, external Nature is a grave out of which
there is a perpetual and unceasing resurrection. Nature is at once the
tomb and the womb of life. What was once soil and rain and sunshine
becomes grass--then hay--then beef or mutton or milk--and, in time,
the very bone and muscle, the very laughter and tears of the child that
plays in those fields. And when bone and muscle lay down that subtle
thing called Life, give up the spirit and lie inert, they enter once
again into the tomb and womb of Nature, and the mighty cycle begins

§ 11

And this "spirit" is not a thing apart, a thing outside Nature; breathed
into man at his birth, and wafted to some mythical heaven--or hell--at
his death. Actually and actively in great Nature, manifesting itself as
soil and herb and sunshine, is immanent that which, when metamorphosed
into so-called human Life, manifests itself as feeling, imagination,
emotion, faith. There cannot be anything _in esse_ in Man that was not
aforetime _in posse_ in Nature.

§ 12

Never shall I forget the day upon which--and the walk during
which--there flared upon me like a great and sudden light the fact that
the whole cosmos was _alive_--was Life; that it was not composed of
two dissimilar things: (_a_) a gross and ponderable "matter"; and (_b_)
an immaterial imponderable "mind." There is no such dichotomy in Nature.
All is immaterial, spiritual, living. Every particle in me is alive;
but every particle in me came from Nature; and, as I cannot create
life, life must have existed potentially in those particles. My bodily
mechanism is merely a transmutation of one form of life into another.

What we call "life" is a process; a process kept agoing by (_a_) the
ingestion of surrounding material; and (_b_) the reproduction of the
individual which so ingests.

Look at that field of oats growing there to the right. You will admit,
will you not, that those little green blades just springing from the
soil are actually and veritably the matter of the field in which they
grow? The silicon and phosphorus and oxygen and nitrogen and carbon and
what-not, which were in the air or soil, will by next July be gluten
and protein. If you and I should haggle over the origin of the first
oat-seed, at least if it did not spring from this particular field, it
had not, I take it, any ultra-terrestrial origin.--Or granted it had,
as, I think, Arrhenius argues, that origin was not extra-cosmic: it
came, certainly, from somewhere within this our visible universe. Good!
Let us go back.--The oats then--that is, the gluten and the protein--are
but the matter of soil and air and sunshine in another form. So, then,
is the porridge in your plate. So, then, are _you_, surely. You and I
_are_ this external Nature in another shape; and if we had _n_ senses
and a mind endowed with powers of discernment and of comprehension
_n_thly more powerful than at present, we might be able, not only to
see the process of transformation in its every stage, but--to understand
that matter is immaterial, is spiritual (whatever that word may
connote); and that ourselves, the porridge, the oats, the soil, the
earth--the Cosmos, are, is ... one and a Mystery. In Nature, as in
Man, resides that Spirit of Eternal Things which we call Life: a thing
incomprehensible and divine; transcending thought; one and a unit; one
with the thing that is, and one with that which asks itself what it
is and whence it came; revealing itself under the aspects of time and
space, yet unbounded by time or space; manifesting itself under an
infinitude of forms, yet remaining one and the same; at once the
revealer and the revealed; the thing thought of and the thing that


Practical Transcendentalism

§ 13

But of what avail are transcendental themes like these for the conduct
and comfort of life? What light are they to our path? To what goal do
they point?

It is not a question that needs to be asked. Were no investigation to be
undertaken, no theories formed, save for some definite and preconceived
purpose, it may be that no new path would be found, no more distant goal

And yet these meditations, such as they were, crude in matter, inchoate
in form, mere adumbrations of a truth all too dimly perceived, brought
comfort. Once more they took me away from the trivial and the ephemeral.
Above all, they took me away from the geocentric. So many creeds, so
many religions, pin me down to this little planet. How many earths are
there in the visible heavens? Are there terrestrial sinners on each and
all? If so, for how many deaths did the vicarious mercy of the Almighty
call? And even if we travel outside the realm of Christendom, still we
find our little earth regarded as the centre of thought, the only scene
upon which the great drama of Being is enacted: for so many philosophies
and religions accentuate the isolated existence of individual human
beings, and limit their application to the periphery of this speck in

I like the larger aspect. When we look up to the stars and remember that
they are suns about which probably revolve an infinitude of habitable
earths--earths of every conceivable and inconceivable kind, and peopled
probably with an infinitude of beings--also of every conceivable and
inconceivable kind--some perhaps as gross as we, others breathing airs
of heaven, requiring neither senses nor anatomical organs, enjoying "the
communion of saints" by powers and processes outside the ken of touch or
speech or vision ... we link ourselves with the immensity of Being;
we are not separate little entities trudging a few miles of earth, but
particles of Omnipresent Life, partakers in the history and destiny of
All that Is.

§ 14

There is a practical side, too, to these transcendental themes. For what
is Conscience, that inward monitor which, whatever your creed, bids you
walk thus and not otherwise, that applauds you when you do right, and
shames you when you go wrong? From one point of view, Conscience is the
evolved consensus of mankind, that inherited instinct which declares
that only such actions as subserve the welfare of the race are right,
and that all others are wrong; and that distributes its sanctions
accordingly. From another, and perhaps a rather fanciful, point of view
(and yet one that may appeal to those who look forward to a life after
death and cling to a possibility of communication between dead and
living)--from another point of view, Conscience may be the inaudible
voice of myriads of fellow-creatures like unto ourselves, who, having
passed through the trials and temptations of this life, and viewing this
life from the plane of a life supernal, shout spiritually, warningly,
in our psychic ears when they see us doing the things that brought them
ill. But from another and cosmic point of view, it is that absolute and
categorical imperative which dictates that each attenuated portion of
the All shall act in Unison with the All, in the history and destiny of
which each attenuated portion partakes.

But I digress.


Spring in Canada

§ 15

My next walks were in quite another hemisphere--to wit, in the great and
growing colony of Canada.--From many points of view Canada is one of
the most interesting of countries. From the rank of a somewhat humble
dependency, made up of a heterogeneous collection of provinces, she
has sprung within the last few decades into the rank of a proud and
self-conscious nation. The contrast is notable. Indeed the country is
one of contrasts. Her climate, her scenery, her sentiments, her people,
her politics, all exhibit extremes the most extraordinary. A winter
of Arctic severity is followed by a tropical summer. Within sight of
luxuriant pastures glide stupendous glaciers. Flattest prairies spread
to the feet of mountain ranges the rivals of the Alps; prim fields,
orchards, and vineyards encroach upon primæval forests. Along with the
hardy apple and the far-famed No. 1 Manitoba wheat, this land produces
strawberries, peaches, grapes, and melons. Constitutionally content with
British connexion, her people are intimately influenced by ideas and
manners American. Indeed, her people are as heterogeneous as herself.
The Maritime Provinces of the extreme east hardly call themselves
Canadian; Quebec is French; Ontario is Canadian to the core; so is
Manitoba; in the North-West Territories are settlers from almost every
nationality in Europe; British Columbia, in the extreme west,
again, fights shy of the cognomen Canadian. Newfoundland holds aloof
altogether. A rude and toilsome social life goes hand in hand with
patches of refinement and culture unmistakable. Canadian cheese took
the prize at Chicago; Canadian poetry has been crowned by the Academy.
Lauding democratic institutions to the skies, Radical to the last
degree, Canada nevertheless contains within herself castes and cliques
in their horror of such principles almost rabid. With a political
system the counterpart of the British, her politics are rife with
personalities, election protests, corruption trials.

However, I am not here concerned with political or social tendencies or

§ 16

Soon after I arrived I betook me, one spring, in my canoe, down the
banks of the River Otonabee. Pitching a tent, I made this a focus from
which I radiated in any direction I chose--dawdling and sauntering and
lounging and seeing what there was to be seen.

And what is there to be seen? Well, let me give you here another little

I write, sitting ensconced, sheltered from sun and wind, between two
huge roots of the stump of a burned pine on a bare hill overlooking the
river. Not a place in which to see much, you would say. Pardon me,
you are wrong. You, shut in between four superficies of wall-paper,
a whitewashed ceiling, and a carpet, know absolutely nothing of the
clouded sky as I know it, gazing at it unconfined from horizon to
zenith. Far overhead, the delicatest vapoury cirri fleck the purest
blue; in the distance, bold, rounded, white cumuli rise above a misty
haze of grey, against which as a background rise in points and
curves and lines dark green firs and round-topped birches and emerald
hill-sides; and below these, and nearer, comes the water--in no two
spots the same--ruffled and unruffled, wavy and still, dark blue and
lead-grey, in eddies and in currents; here dimpled, there like a
mirror; now dazzling you with a thousand flashing, floating stars; there
sullenly bearing up the reflections and shadows of the great, dark trees
above it--at one moment thus, and while you say it, otherwise.--For
a symbol of God--serene, shapeless, profound, in eternal repose,
unchanging, all-embracing, majestic--give me the blue sky; for a
symbol of Man--tossed, shapen, ever at strife, changeful, unresting,
evanescent, with dark depths and foul weeds, sombre and woeful when
deprived of the light of heaven, and beautiful only when beautified by
skyey tints--give me the water. And after the water, and closer, comes
my foreground--tufted grass and brown soil, with dandelions and clover
and mullein, and here and there a piece of glistering granite or a
quaint-shaped, rotting tree trunk. Amongst these hops fearless, while I
sit still and silent with half-closed eyes, the thrush or the grey-bird,
chasing insects a few feet from my foot; while above me, on the
very stump against which I lean, perches the various-coloured
high-holder.--Truly, it seems as if Nature had taken me to be one with
her, recognised me as part of her manifold immensity, looked upon me as
a consort, a co-mate.

And am I not a part of her? It needs not to comprehend the harmonious
workings of mighty natural laws to perceive the unity of all things.
Each minutest spot on this earth verifies the truth. I need not move a
step to find evidences of it. I look at my blackened stump, and not
one square inch can I find which is not instinct with evidences of life
within life; life interfused with, dependent on, correlated with other
life, with signs of the ceaseless being born, growing, dying--with
processes interlinked with processes. It is a universe of processes,
this in which we live; not a universe _in which_ this, that, and
the other separate thing exists for a time, but a universe _of_
subsistences, made up wholly of interdependent existences. Wherever I
look on my trunk I see mosses and lichens and creeping ants and beetles,
and the holes of boring worms, and the marks of woodpeckers' beaks,
chrysalises, seeds, twigs. To each of these the stump is its universe:
they regard it as we do the solar system, as a place, a locality, made
for them to inhabit. They do not understand that the tree is itself but
part of a greater whole of life, of thought; a link in an endless chain
of existence. And so we often forget that this infinitely various
and changing universe which we call ours, which we look upon as our
habitation, our dwelling-house, in which we move about as lords and
masters, is after all but an infinitesimal fragment of the real demesne
of the true Lord of the Manor. And what if after all we were not even
bailiffs of this manor? What if we were but the furniture in some small
attic--mirrors, it may be--and that what we call our universe prove to
be nothing more than the small part of this attic which is reflected in


Autumn in Canada

§ 17

This was in the spring. But I remember an autumn walk in Canada that was
very different from this, both in the locality chosen and in the scenes

Late in October once, a friend and myself had three whole days'
holiday!--rare and joyous boon! We took a train to the little Ontarian
town of Stayner. From Stayner to the shores of the Georgian Bay was a
little trudge of about three miles. But a trudge it was; for the train
had been late; our knapsacks were heavy; the sun had set; and both
darkness and hunger came on apace. But at last the shore was reached.
And what a shore it was! For, beating on it from far away to the north
was a wealth of waters--oceanic in magnitude, sombre as the sea and, as
the sea, mysterious.

As we walked, the night closed in, the northern night, so beautiful,
so clear, so immense. But it was chill and dark, and either we must
advance, or we must seek shelter where we were. Shall it be a leafy
"lean-to" under a pine, constructed of heaped-up boughs, or shall it be
a trudge to a civilised hostelry? Such were the problems discussed over
sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs (washed down with sandy water from the
bay), as we sat on a wave-washed log, the wind blowing strong in our
faces. The ground was damp as damp; the pines seemed lugubriously
incompetent to shelter from the growing gale. Blankets we had none;
night was upon us.--We decided to walk.

On the left was this rolling Georgian ocean, seemingly illimitable. In
its northern stretches it reached up to Hudson's Bay, to the Arctic;
and by its southern streams it drave down to Lake Ontario, to the St
Lawrence, to the Atlantic. It was one with this Atlantic; it was one
with the Pacific; it was first cousin to the Indian Ocean, and but once
or twice removed from all the waters of the world, since they and it had
a common origin.

The walking was superb. The sand was firm as asphalt: on the right was
dimly visible a friendly fringe of trees--pine and scrub and brushwood;
on the left there was ever that never-ceasing roll of waves--waves once
more linking me with Ostend and Hove, Rotterdam and Rangoon, St John
in New Brunswick, Ascension Isle, the Cape of Good Hope, and the
palm-fringed coast of Malabar.

We walked. And we walked fast. But not too fast to notice. There was no
moon. The stars came out, and in that pellucid northern air, where was
no dust of road nor smoke of chimney, those stars shone as assuredly
never can they shine elsewhere. It is a literal fact that, in order to
determine whether or not the great luminous patches which I gazed at
overhead were the veritable Milky Way or only drifting clouds lit up by
starlight, I had to look again and again, and to take note as to whether
there was perceptible any change of shape. There was not. It was the
Galaxy itself; but so revealed, so clearly seen, so unremote, as it
were, that once again the great portals of the Infinite seemed to open,
and to permit a glimpse into the mysterious abode of Being--inadequate
term by which we feebly connote the supreme unity of all that is. To
permit a glimpse, too, into that puzzle of puzzles, the not impossible
identification or unification or intussusception of that All with
the smallest of its integral contents. For was not that assemblage
of suns--those masses of solar systems, so numerous as to seem but a
mist--was it not actually depicted on the tiny retina of the eye? It
was; and, through this depicture, it was, as it were, intellectually
embraced in the thinking mind behind; a fact symbolical of the truth, as
yet but dimly comprehended, that in very deed the infinitesimal unit and
the mighty All are one and identical.

However, ontological speculations under an autumnal sky have their
limit; and glad indeed were we, after long search among the pines and
the hemlocks, to find, albeit it was late, a hostel in which were warmth
and shelter for the night.


Winter in Canada

§ 18

I remember me, too, of a notable winter's walk in Canada.

For some reason, one night in mid-January, Sleep forsook me. After
wooing her in vain, I rose at three and lighted an ungainly but highly
satisfactory stove. It had a draught like a Bessemer furnace, drawing
through an ugly stove-pipe which ran bolt upright, turned sharp before
it reached the ceiling, and disappeared in a hole in the wall--an
apparatus quite the most conspicuous article of furniture in the room
(it was in a hotel). On this I warmed a cup of tea, then donned all the
warm clothing I could find; and in some forty minutes was afoot.

My point of departure was a little Ontarian country town of some ten
thousand inhabitants--we will call it Dummer. Dummer stood in a slightly
higher latitude than the parallels which run through the belt of country
skirting the northern shore of the Great Lakes, along which are dotted
most of the centres of population; and accordingly it was exposed to
a slightly severer wintry climate. At the time of my visit it was
enveloped in snow. Snow lay deep over the whole land, thick on
every roof, over the edges of which it protruded itself in irregular
curves--solid cataracts suspended in air, and vainly endeavouring to
complete their descent by long six-foot icicles. Snow-white was every
road, save for the two dirty grooves beaten down by the hoofs of horses.
Snow covered the country, far as the eye could reach; glistening like
glaciers on the hill-sides, deep purple and blue in the patches shaded
by the pines; only the woods showing black against the dazzling white,
the perpendicular walls of the wooden farm buildings, the solitary trees
and shrubs, and the straggling snake-fences--long, unshaped logs of
split timber, their ends placed zigzag the one over the other, to keep
the structure erect--relieved the white monotony. And yet this belt of
country is almost in the same latitude with the south of France, with
the Riviera, whence but a few days before I had received in a letter a

When I started, there was no moon, there were no stars; my sole light
was the skyey reflection of the electric lamps of the city; and only
this for many miles enabled me to distinguish the grooves in which I had
to walk from the high ridge of snow between them which I had to avoid.
When I skirted the lee side of a high hill, or passed the distal edge of
a thick wood, I floundered from one to other in the dark. The landscape,
such of it as could be seen under a leaden-grey sky, was a vast
monochrome, an expanse of dull white picked out with blotches and points
and lines of black. Not a living thing was to be seen. Not a sound was
to be heard. And, what particularly struck a lover of country walks,
not the faintest suspicion of any kind of a scent was to be detected.
Everything seemed to be dumb and dead; and the tiny flakes which fell in
myriads, fell so silently, so pitilessly, had seemingly for their object
the making of all things, if possible, still more dumb and dead.--There
is always something poetic about snow in England. There is something
playful and jocular in the way in which lusty standard rose-trees, stout
shrubs, and sturdy hedges don aged Winter's garb, as a laughing maid
will half demurely wear her grand-dam's cap. In the Western Hemisphere,
away from the genial influences of the Gulf Stream, even in the same
latitudes, winter is a more serious matter. The snow comes "to stay."
There is little jocosity about it. It lies several feet thick. If it
disappears during a temporary thaw, it comes again very soon. Here the
trees do not sport with it. They put up with it. They stand knee-deep in
it, leafless, motionless, scentless, soundless. If there is a wind, it
sweeps through them with a long thin swish, like the wail of a host
of lost spirits seeking shelter. Not a branch falls--the autumn blasts
brought down all that was frangible. Only frozen tears fall, fall from
the ice-encrusted twigs. For miles on either side of me stood these
patient trees; thick, black, heavy-boughed cedars, their stout trunks
buried in snow, squatting, like Mr Kipling's Djinn of All Deserts, on
their haunches and vainly "thinking a Magic" to make idling Winter "hump
himself"; beech-trees, naked but for a few scattered sere and yellow
leaves fluttering about their waists; the drooping-branched elm, not
half so graceful as when full-leafed; elegant maples with a tracery of
twigs far too fine to be compared to lace. These trees formed often the
outermost fringe of thick woods. Into these I penetrated. A profound
silence pervaded them, a silence so intense, so all-embracing, it seemed
to overflow the forest, to go out into space, to enwrap the world in
its grasp. Not a thing stirs. To be alive in that shrine of death-like
soundlessness seems desecration. It is supreme, infinite, absolute; you,
the living, moving onlooker, are finite and relative, a thing of time
and space. To think is to disturb the serenity of its repose, for to
think is to attempt to limit it, to reduce it to the level of yourself,
and no thought is large enough to compass it. Only some shaggy elk,
hoofed and horned, diabolically crashing through crust upon crust of
superimposed layers of frozen snow; and only demoniacal little troops of
wolves, pattering fiendishly, are fit to defy or to disturb this deity
of Quiet. It is large, expansive, in its influence. Summer sights
and sounds bind you to a spot, limit your attention to a locality,
accentuate the petty, the individual, the trivial. The wintry woods, the
white unfurrowed fields, stimulate no sense. The soul of man seems bared
to the soul of Nature, and human thought and the universal mind seem
contiguous and conterminous.--Silence affects the mind as darkness
affects the senses: both in their impressiveness quicken the faculties
to the utmost; and yet, as no sense can perceive the impalpability of
darkness, so no thought can pierce the impenetrability of silence.--One
must visit a wintry clime to experience emotions such as these.

As I walked, the wind rose, and its noise in the convolutions of
the ear, so still was everything else, became almost annoying in its
resounding roar. I had followed devious and untravelled ways in the
semi-darkness, and this wind it was that told me when again I reached
a high-road--namely, by the whistling of the telegraph wires. I
never heard such obstreperous wires. They made an Æolian harp truly
hyperborean in timbre and volume. Every note in the scale of audible
human sound seemed struck; and were there such a thing as an acoustical
spectroscope, it would have shown, not only every tone and semitone in
the gamut, but ultra-treble and infra-bass notes also. And it was played
_fortissimo_. Those wires shrieked, bellowed. Whether at that early hour
they were carrying messages, I do not know; but all the intensity of
human anguish, human happiness, and human woe seemed to be flowing
through their scrannel lengths; and the thin hapless things plained of
their freight to the unheeding winds. It was a weird sound far out there
in the desolate wild, with not a soul to hear or sympathise--for I, what
was I in all that huge expanse? They wotted not of me.

Then the great sky by degrees broke up into masses of cloud, and here
and there between them shone out the steady stars--imperturbable,
piercing, shaken not by the slightest twinkle. One rich and brilliant
planet in the west glowed argent in the blue--a blue into which the
eye penetrated far, far into infinity. The Canadian sky is ever lofty,
pellucid, profound; very different from the close canopy so common in
cloudy England.

But it was high time to turn homewards. A faint light overspread the
east; things began to take shape; houses, instead of appearing as dark
blotches against the white, now looked like habitable dwellings; the
separate boughs were distinguishable on the trees. As one neared the
town signs of life were seen--and smelled; the pungent odour of the
"coal-oil" with which the impatient and unthrifty housewife coaxed
her wood fire more rapidly to catch, smote almost smartingly upon
the nostril. Sleepy-eyed mechanics, buttoned to the throat, heavily
"overshoed," and with hands bepocketed, strode sullenly workwards. Later
on "cutters"--so are called the comfortable little one-horsed sleighs
just seating a couple--sped hither and thither. Then a milk-cart or two
glided past, the cans wrapped in furs, the hairs on the horses' muzzles
showing white with cleaving ice. Later still, and when within the
precincts of the town proper, children were met espying sleighs on which
to get "rides" to school. It was a different world now. A dazzling
sun transformed the dull dead landscape of the night into a blinding
spangled sheet of purest white. Involuntarily the eyes half closed
against that glare. No wonder the sub-Arctic eye lacks the large frank
openness of those of softer realms; against even the summer sunshine the
protection of approximated eyelids is needed, as the crow's-feet of the
farmers' features prove. If Canada has earned the title of Our Lady of
the Snows, she certainly equally deserves the title of Our Lady of the
Sunshine; nowhere is sunshine so bright or so abundant; so bright and
abundant that it is not unreasonable to suppose that it has not a little
to do with the elimination of that "phlegm" from the descendants of the
immigrant of that land to the folk of which the French attribute that
characteristic. "There are few, if any, places in England," says the
Director of the Meteorological Service of Canada, "that have a larger
normal annual percentage [of bright sunshine] than thirty-six, and there
are many as low as twenty-five; whereas in Canada most stations exceed
forty, and some few have as high a percentage as forty-six."[12]
"Weather permitting" is a phrase but rarely heard in Canada.

But my early morning walk was over. It was one I would not have
exchanged for many another taken under more genial skies.


The Mood for Walking

§ 19

A morning walk is worth the effort of getting up. Much would I give
to have been of that party which, in sixteen hundred and something,
"stretched their legs up Tottenham Hill towards the Thatched House in
Hoddesdon on that fine fresh May morning"--I mean Messrs _Piscator_,
_Venator_, and _Auceps_. I should have been _Peregrinator_; and whereas
_Piscator_ praised the water, and _Venator_ the land, and _Auceps_ the
air, as the element in which each respectively traded, I should have
praised all three, for the pedestrian's pleasures derive from no single
one. And to walking I should have applied dear old Izaak Walton's own
phrase, that it, like angling, was "most honest, ingenious, quiet, and
harmless."[13] Upon quiet, Walton sets extraordinary stress. Quoting
with approbation the learned Peter du Moulin, he tells us that "when God
intended to reveal any future events or high notions to his prophets, he
then carried them either to the deserts or the sea-shore, that having
so separated them from amidst the press of people and business, and the
cares of the world, he might settle their mind in a quiet repose, and
there make them fit for revelation."[14]

It is strange that Izaak Walton, himself apparently a most quiet and
contented old man (he lived to be ninety-one), should, writing at sixty
years of age, and two hundred and fifty years ago--when I suppose
there was no faster or noisier thing than a galloping horse--should so
insistently preach and teach quiet. Yet, perhaps we must remember that
he lived through the Great Rebellion. The last words of his book--and he
puts them into his own, _Piscator's_, mouth--are:

  "And [let the blessing of St Peter's Master be] upon all that are
  lovers of virtue, and dare trust in his providence, and be quiet,
  and go a-angling. Study to be Quiet.--1 Thess. iv. 11."

Why, I do not exactly know, but there is to me something
straightforward, honest, and simple-minded in the idea of ending a book
with the words "and go a-angling." This and the quotation from 1 Thess.
iv. 11 sum up for me the character of the man and the book.

§ 20

Walking rivals angling in demanding and engendering quiet. "To make a
walk successful," says another dear old gentleman, writing at the same
time of life but in modern times, "mind and body should be free of
burthen."[15] The true and abiding joy of walking is in calm. "The
mood," says John Burroughs, "in which you set out on a spring or autumn
ramble or a sturdy winter walk ... is the mood in which your best
thoughts and impulses come to you.... Life is sweet in such moods,
the Universe is complete, and there is no failure or imperfection
anywhere."[16] Only Nature can induce such moods--

  "Dear Nature is the kindest mother still,"

says the soul-tossed, self-torturing Byron. Books, music, art, the
drama, philosophy, science--at bottom there seems to be something
disquieting in these. They come in such questionable shape. They are the
works of man; and we never altogether trust the works of man. We never
feel, even with the first of those who know, that our fellow-man, who
is, after all, like unto ourselves, has answered every question, allayed
every doubt, stilled every fear. Was something of this in Matthew
Arnold's mind when he cried:

  "One lesson, _Nature_, let me learn of thee,"

and prayed her to calm, to compose him to the end?--But enough in praise
of calm. Calm is compatible with the highest and most exuberant spirits.
Indeed, high and exuberant spirits are the first and natural outcome of
a mind at peace with itself. Good old Walton is continually breaking out
into pious or pastoral song--and making milkmaids and milkmaids' mothers
break out into song, too.


Evening Meditations

§ 21

If, as Messieurs _Piscator_, _Venator_, and _Auceps_, and their tuneful
milkmaids, show, early morning walks tend to blithesomeness of heart,
evening walks tend perhaps to meditation of mind. As day wears on--I
do not know, I may be wrong, but to me it seems that as day wears on
it takes a more sombre aspect. It was at dusk that Gray's Elegy was
written. In the very sound of Milton's simple words,

  "Then came still evening on,"

there is to me an echo of quietness, perhaps of melancholy.--Many a
lesson I have learned by quiet meditation in quiet scenes, prolonged far
into the night.--Indeed, he is a wise walker who chooses for himself one
or more secluded spots, sequestered deep, whither he may go, there to
commune with himself; or to hold high converse with the mighty dead;
or to lend an expectant ear for the dryads of the woods; or, if nothing
more, to rid him of the petty perturbations incident to a life lived
between four walls, a floor, and a ceiling, and broken into fragments by
clocks which strike the hours and watches which point to the minute.

§ 22

One such spot I have, and from it many a lesson I have learned.--It is
a great amphitheatre, Nature-made, vast and open. It slopes to the north
and west, and all about it and about are green trees--green trees and
shrubs and lowly plants. In the whole space I am the one spectator--save
for little grasses that stand on tiptoe to look and listen; save for
little weeds that nod their heads; and a beetle crawling heedless over
dry and shining grains of sand. In the orchestral centre, where, in
ancient Greece, should stand the lighted altar, there chances to be a
little crimson maple; and behind and beyond rise verdant hills. Before
me, as where should be the stage, stand, in green habiliments, beech
and elm and fir; oak and cedar; lithe and virginal saplings;
broad-shouldered pines, staid and stalwart--a goodly company, goodly
and green, wondrous green; and for me they act and pose and sing.... The
drama opens.

       *     *     *     *     *

There is no fanfaronade. On the left, against a dove-grey cloud, the
topmost twigs of a silver poplar rustle, the signal to commence. Gently,
and with grace supreme, the boughs begin a cosmic song, and sway the
while they chant. They dip and fall, and lightly rise; take hands and
touch, and smile, and sing again. Troop after troop takes up the measure
as the wind sweeps through the trees, and there is revealed to the eye
and to the ear sound and motion obedient to an unseen power.... The
movement deepens. Great masses join the dance, swell the vespertinal
hymn. Huge and cumbrous boughs sweep back and forth, melodious,
eloquent; and from tremulous leaf to swaying limb rises a choric song,
beautiful, wonderful.... Of what is it that they speak?

       *     *     *     *     *

Presently, beneath the dove-grey cloud, the red sun momentarily shows.
Gleams strike the amphitheatre, the stage. My neighbour grasses glint in
the sheen, the beetle's wing-sheaths glow; the sand grains glisten,
and, overhead, the veined leaves of the larch, which before were black
against the sky, become translucent to the light. The massed greens grow
radiant; solitary boughs shake sunshine from their locks; the shrubs
stand out overt; a divine gleesomeness fills all the wood.... Whence
comes the mystic impulse?

       *     *     *     *     *

Then slowly evening falls. The wind dies down. A fitful breeze, now
warm with Summer's breath, now chill, strays aimless; and the major song
sinks to a key in flats.--The sun sinks. The green shadows grow black;
and where before was great leafage, is now a great gloom, in which even
the white-stemmed birches lose their tapering limbs. Gone are the leaves
of the larch; the shrubs hide; the beetle creeps out of sight. A far-off
rill mingles a bass _maestoso_ sob with its treble trill; and slowly, very
slowly, a thin thin mist creates itself in every cranny of the dell.
Only I am left, dull of hearing, miscomprehending, obtuse.

Only a little scene in an unending play; for all through the night, and
for endless days and nights, before man was, and long after man will be,
these leafy persons uplift that solemn chant, enact that choric
dance: now frolicsome and free; now plaintive: now expectant, patient,
still.... What is it that they hymn?

§ 23

It is but little that I, I and the heedless beetle, comprehend of this
mighty but mystical drama. Some supernal power impels them, so it seems,
and they hymn and praise this power; some hidden force, emanating in
regions far beyond the sun, yet immanent in the grass blade, in
the leaflet, in the sand grains at my feet. Often a darksome power,
ruthless, blind; slaying horde on horde; spilling blood like water;
scattering real pain and poignant agony like hail; yet often thrilling,
joyous, tremulous with bliss--inscrutable, recondite, dark. It is formed
and transformed into myriad shapes, out-running time, out-living life;
muted and re-muted, here into gross and ponderable matter, there into
filmiest air; anon revealing itself as exuberant life; again vanishing
in so-called death; a breath; a spirit; the soul of eternal things....
Some hidden power they hymn.

       *     *     *     *     *

The darkness deepens. The mist grows thick apace, heavy and sombre. The
keen jagged edge that cut the horizon is blunted. The mystic play is
withdrawn; the persons of the drama vanish; and spectators and
stage, proscenium and scene, the ampitheatre, the open earth, and the
illimitable sky, are blent into one dark and invisible whole.

       *     *     *     *     *

Then in the silence of night I heard the soundless voice of that Spirit
of Eternal Things: that Mystery, impenetrable as the dark, impalpable:
revealing itself as one with the shapes it took and one with the impulse
they obeyed; in the grass blade and the leaf, and in the wind to which
they swayed; in the ponderous earth that, darkling, rolls through space,
and in the subtle mind that holds this earth in fee. The vast and the
far-off were embraced in the vision, for from the remotest star came
rays that united me with it. The minute and the trivial were summoned
from their hiding to prove themselves near and akin. Magnitude
and proportion were swallowed up in unity; number and computation
disappeared in a stupendous integer. Not a leaf shook, not a bud burst,
but was moved to motion and to life by forces infinite and remote,
ante-dating sun or star, one with sun and star, older than the Milky
Way, vaster than the limits of vision. For in each leaflet of the
boscage ran a sap ancient as ocean; and but yesterday, in the history of
Time, that whole assemblage was something far other than it is. Bud and
leaf were but manifestations of a something supreme--a Force, a Spirit,
a God; a mysterious Thing that took hold of dew and sunshine and soil
and transformed them into shape and perfume. And sunshine and dew and
soil were in turn themselves but mutations of things, chemical elements
or movements of molecules; and these again but mutations of things
more subtle still--atoms or electrons, infinitesimal and innominate
particles; till ultimately, surely, we arrive at something immense,
immutable.--Something there must be behind all change; behind all
appearances Something that Appears. And the last appearance, and the
sum-total of appearances, must be potential in the first, as in the
acorn is contained a potential forest. Given one acorn, and enough of
space and time, and there is actually possible a cosmos of oaks; and
every oak different, and no two twigs alike. So, could we explain the
electron, we should comprehend the inane; in the moment lies concealed
the æon. Indeed, it is only to time-fettered space-bound man that these
are not one and identical. And, if in leaf and bud, then in perceiving
mind. For somehow mind, this wondering mind of man, arose upon this
planet; uprose, appeared, became. No trailing comet, surely, in wanton
sport, showered mind upon this world. Whencesoever it arose, being
here, and fed and nurtured by all things here, emergent from matter, a
fragment of earth and sea and sky, surely in this mind of man must also
be that self-same hidden power....

       *     *     *     *     *

I, too, then, was one of a mystic band, was in the hands of the
self-same power, was indeed but a mutation amid its mutations, and had
a part to play on my little stage, a part without which the mighty drama
would be incomplete, however lowly it were. For, as by inexorable law
the youngest leaflet in that dell was potentially existent from before
all time, could not help but be and sway and flutter in the breeze, so
I in my little world. But what the mighty drama portended or portrayed
I knew as little as did the heedless beetle that had crept out of sight;
and surely, he, poor little soul, had as much right to know as I--not
many mutations, on this paltry planet, separated me from him. Only
I saw, behind all, some ineffable power enacting an ineffable drama:
playwright and protagonist in one; conceiving and enacting an endless
plot; manifesting itself to itself, yet ever remaining the thing
unmanifest; sundering itself into innumerable myriads, yet remaining one
and a whole--incomprehensible--divine.[17]

By degrees the great sky broke up into clouds. A half moon, cut into
fantastic shapes by the twigs, peered through the trees; and as I
thridded the boles--I miscomprehending, obtuse, merely a larger atom in
a small inane, finding my devious way by a doubly reflected light--the
scene was shifted, fresh actors called, and the great drama went on,
unfolding for ever a tale without end.


The Unity of Nature

§ 24

The lesson I learned was this: Nature is vast. Nature knows nothing
of Time. Nor does Nature know anything of Space. It is we who import
spatial and temporal limitations into Nature. Because we look up with
two eyes, and feel forth with two arms, and walk about with two legs,
we think, not only that _our_, but that _the_, universe is an infinite
sphere!--an actual objective sphere of which each stupidly assumes that
_he_ is the centre! Which means that there are, supposedly, millions
of centres, and each centre changing its place by millions of miles a
day!--positive proof of the preposterousness of the assumption.--To
an animalcule born and bred inside an old garden hose, the universe, I
suppose, is an endless tunnel. To a baby cockroach hatched between floor
and carpet, the universe is a limitless plane. Well, we are animalcules
on a little rolling clod; and this clod may bear the same relation to
some supernal, _n_-dimensional mansion and garden--and gardeners and
Owner, as does my supposititious caoutchouc hose or patterned carpet to
some terrestrial demesne.

       *     *     *     *     *

And so with Time. Time is a matter of individual memory, of remembering
past events and of anticipating (which is memory reversed, as it were;
memory projected) events to come. And memory, as we know it, is purely
a matter of this or that sort of nerve-substance in the brain. Had we no
memory, we should know nothing whatsoever of time; an event would be
a point, and no past point could be recalled, nor any future one
conjectured. So, could an infinite number of memories coalesce, there
would be no time either, for in that case all events would occur here
and now.

       *     *     *     *     *

Nature--the Cosmos--the All--the Deity ... _He_ is not limited by
cubical contents nor by clocks striking the hours.

§ 25

How convey a notion of this mysterious Unity? Shall we essay a gross and
inadequate analogy?

There are in the blood of man little things called white corpuscles.
They are alive; they are, in fact, little living personages. Indeed,
it would be hard to deny that they possess a certain sort of
"intelligence"; for, according to the phagocytic theory, they attack
their foes and help their friends. Now, if these white corpuscles ever
reason about the world which they inhabit, they must think that it
consists of an immense red ocean in a perpetual flux, limitless and
restless, and peopled with myriads of beings like unto themselves. Yet
they are an integral part of the human frame; indeed without them the
human frame could not be what it is. Well, man's place in _his_ universe
may be very similar to that of the white corpuscle in its; and the
intelligence and nature of the Being of which man forms an integral
part may be as inconceivable to man--to bewildered man, buried 'neath an
ocean of air, and blown about space without even a "by your leave"--as
are man's to the leucocytes of the blood.

If there is no such thing as Space objectively existing outside our
groping human selves; and if there is no such thing as Time, also
objectively existing independent of our remembering and anticipating
human selves; if also Death is but Life undergoing Change (for Life is
not a thing extraneous to the cosmos, and there is nothing in the cosmos
that can ever go out of it); if even Change itself is but a process so
named because of the necessities of our temporal and spatial conditions;
and what we call "multiplicity" or "manifoldness" merely a word coined
by our incompetence to perceive the interdependence of all that is
... why, then, surely, one with and interpenetrating our own little
space-bound, time-fettered lives, there must be an Absolute Life,
indiscerptible because coherent; immutable, because unspatial;
inexorable, because timeless; not to be gainsaid, because all-embracing;
whose behests the human spirit, because identical with and contained in
it, must and cannot but obey.

§ 26

However, that there is a flaw in my Philosophy and a flaw in my Creed, I
do not conceal from myself.--If, underlying and upholding all phenomenal
multiplicity, there is a noumenal unity, how it comes about that there
is evil and suffering and injustice and pain I do not know. Nor do I
know how, if that Unity (including man) is governed by infrangible law,
it comes about that we obtain notions of Responsibility and Will; how we
feel that we ought to act thus and not otherwise, and have the power to
choose the good from the evil.

Yet I comfort myself thus:--Human reason, after all, is inadequate
for the explanation of anything superhuman. But there may be in man a
faculty of imagination or feeling or emotion or faith--call it what you
like--that _insists_ upon our trying to act thus and not otherwise; upon
our helping on the good and eradicating the bad; and that leaves the
problem of the Origin of Evil and the problem of the Freedom of the Will
to another sphere and another stage in the upward emergence of mind.

§ 27

Of the Origin of Evil I have no solution whatsoever. Why it is that not
a single human being can go through his short threescore years and ten
without pain, anguish, disappointment, the heartache, and the thousand
natural shocks that flesh is heir to; why

  "But to think is to be full of sorrow
    And leaden-eyed despairs";

why this solid earth is drenched with blood, and on every square inch of
its surface are creatures slaughtering and stuffing creatures into their
maws; why torture and agony--mental and physical--should be rampant;
why innocent little babies should suffer lingering deaths--racked with
pain--weak--gasping ... upon this heart-rending enigma I dare not dwell.
But I cannot accept the incredible solution that an Almighty Being
created this cosmos out of nothing thus, and, having created it thus,
looks on at this his appalling creation unmoved.

§ 28

On the Freedom of the Will may I quote myself? Matthew Arnold has given
me precedent.[18]

  "There are just two misleading terms in that little phrase, the
  Freedom of the Will, and these are just the words 'freedom' and
  'will.' There is no such thing in the bodily frame as a separate
  entity or faculty called a 'will' walking about like a pilot on deck
  and directing the course; and, if there were, such pilot would not
  be 'free' from the influences of wind and tide. The bodily frame is
  like a ship, with its captain and crew. The captain has to go by the
  chart (that is, by his knowledge and experience of life), and
  the crew have to trim the sails (that is, adapt actions to
  circumstances). The captain (that is, the higher coordinating
  centres) is not 'free,' for he is dependent on his crew (to which
  we may compare the nerves and the ganglia)--which, in turn, are
  dependent upon weather (that is, our surroundings). The captain may
  'will' as much as he likes, but if his crew are mutinous, or the
  winds contrary, he will not make port. 'Will power' at bottom
  merely means an intelligent captain and an obedient crew; and
  'putting-forth' or 'exercising' will power merely means that captain
  and crew must work in harmony. So that, if attention, if virtue, if
  conduct and character depend upon will power (as of course they do),
  Aristotle seems to be perfectly right in saying that the secret of
  these is ἑξις, or habit or practice: only a trained crew
  can work the ship."[19]

§ 29

One thing only is certain--and whether the certainty derives from a
rational or an emotional, a social or a cosmic, an evolutionary or an
intuitive, a political or an ecclesiastical source, I do not stay to
ask--one thing only is certain: _The evil that there is, it is our
bounden duty to alleviate_; "le monde subsiste pour exercer miséricorde
et jugement"[20]; and I care not a fig that I have no metaphysical,
philosophical, ethical, or religious basis of argument to adduce for
this untransferable onus of Duty.

And I take comfort, also, in the thought that, after all, Reason has had
very little to do with the moral progress of mankind. "C'est le cœur
qui sent Dieu, et non raison."[21] Answer me this one question: Which
have exercised the greater influence for good: reasoned-out systems of
philosophy; or religious evangels whose tenets no one could prove? How
many pious followers has Spinoza or Leibnitz or Nietzsche? And how many
Buddha or Confucius or Mohammed or--with all reverence be added his
name--Jesus of Nazareth?

But the critic will say: If the religious tenet is incapable of
proof, by what criterion can we judge of the authenticity of any
evangel?--Well, if it teaches to alleviate suffering and to do the
Right, that is criterion enough for me.

Return we to the humble topic of walking.


The Instinct for Walking

§ 30

For many reasons, walking seems to be an ingrained instinct of mankind.
I cling to the perhaps fanciful theory that no primitive instinct of
man is altogether lost. It is modified, amplified, refined; that is all.
With all our culture, we are barbarians still. Man is a clothed savage.
And now and again he delights in doffing the clothing and returning
heartily to savagery. How delightful the feel of the briny breeze and
the boisterous wave on the bare pelt! Mr Edward Carpenter rails at the
(I think) eleven layers of clothing that intervene between our skins and
the airs of heaven. Walt Whitman revelled nude in his sun bath. What a
treat too, sometimes, to get away from the multi-coursed dinner and to
bite downright audibly into simple food in the fresh air, and to lap
water noisily from the brook! Well, walking, perhaps, is the primal
instinct, ancient as Eden, where the Lord God walked in the garden in
the cool of the day. And, if my theory is correct, walking will persist
till in recovered Paradise man walks with his Maker again. No mechanical
contrivance for locomotion will extirpate the tribe of tramps, of those
who walk from love of walking.


A Woeful Walk

§ 31

But not all walks are occasions of unmitigated pleasure. By no means. A
certain trudge, which particularly lives in my memory, was one of almost
unmitigated pain.--No; I will not say that, for wert not thou, L----,
cheeriest of companions, with me? What a walk that was! It rained the
long day through, and as we strode westward, a cold, wet wind from
the east blew hard. The roads were impassable for mud; the trees were
leafless; the fields bare. Inns there were none, and at the thirteenth
mile I broke a nice big flask of port wine or e'er a blessed sip of
the liquid (I mean a sip of the blessed liquid) had passed our lips. A
woeful walk was that, and woeful pedestrians were we.--Yet, somehow, it
is with the extremest pleasure that now I recall that trudge. To beguile
the time, and to try to forget the rain, we improvised a play, and
shouted dialogues as we strode. We covered forty miles at a stretch; and
whether it was the play, or the fresh air, or the exercise, or L----'s
indomitable Mark Tapleyism, we limped (no, we lamely ran the last few
yards) into our destination, in spirits, at least, buoyant, jubilant,
and secure.--How mad and bad and sad it was! And oh, how we were stiff!


Autumn in Canada Again

§ 32

Yet another country walk taken in England's North American dominions
lives most pleasantly in my memory.

Two of the clock one autumn afternoon found me free. I had hoped to have
lost no time in beginning to put enormous stretches of space between me
and my desk. Not that this desk had not its pleasures, and many of them;
but one craves a change of mental atmosphere, however salubrious
that usually respired. The temptation, however, of calmly and in
self-righteously indolent manner enjoying the sweets of freedom was too
strong, so I lounged a whole afternoon, and not till daybreak on the
following morning was I booted, knapsacked, and afoot.

The task of putting space between me and my desk was not one as easy as
I had anticipated. It was hours before the dust of the city was shaken
off, and the mud of the country allowed to take its place; the tedium
of the streets at that unfrequented hour of the day made them seem
interminable. For was I not craving and in search of country sights
and sounds? And yet for miles not one met the eye or ear. Yes, I am
forgetting: there was one which made up for much monotony. On a humble
cottage wall facing the south, far out in the suburbs, was a wealth of
flowering convolvulus such as I had rarely or only in India seen before.
The sight was entrancing. The various-hued blossoms seemed blatantly to
trumpet forth their beauty to the sun, to borrow the terms of sound and
to apply them to colour. And what colour was there! That deep, soft,
velvet purple, powdered with snowy pollen--what a profound, what an
acute sense it produced of something altogether beyond the limitations
of time and space, of something mysterious, beneficent, divine. Never
before did I see so deep a meaning in those words: "Consider the lilies
of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and
yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed
like one of these." How paltry, how tainted, seemed all human greatness
beside those simple petals; how marred, how deformed! And why? Why
should Nature alone be able to smile openly before her Maker's eyes, and
man be ever hiding himself from the presence of the Lord God? Ah! there
is more than one interpretation of the text, "All have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God." ... Those brilliant blossoms aroused many
a thought. How earnestly have all poets of Nature striven to find
expression for the emotions that natural beauty evokes! And yet none has
completely succeeded, and none will succeed till the hidden links are
discovered between the beautiful thing, the mind that perceives it, and
the Hand that fashions it. How is it that a sunset, a landscape, a green
field even, or a growing fern, will sometimes in a moment of time
cause to blaze up in a man a thrill, a joy, so intense that under
its influence one feels dazed and dumb? A great power is, as it were,
suddenly let loose; beauty incarnated momentarily reveals its divine
presence, and one feels an all but overwhelming impulse to yield oneself
to it and be rapt away whithersoever it leads. But--whither it leads we
cannot go.

Of all poets who have given utterance to this deep and mystical emotion,
Wordsworth perhaps has best succeeded. What can rival the following
lines?--which will bear constant quotation:--

            "For I have learned
  To look on Nature, not as in the hour
  Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
  The still, sad music of humanity,
  Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
  To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
  A presence that disturbs me with the joy
  Of elevated thoughts: a sense sublime
  Of something far more deeply interfused,
  Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
  And the round ocean, and the living air,
  And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
  A motion and a spirit, that impels
  All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
  And rolls through all things."

If only Wordsworth had written oftener in that strain of higher mood! To
me this passage, even with just such narrow meaning as one not worthy to
call himself a Wordsworthian can read into it, has been invaluable. In
the mass of that hidden, cloudy, inner signification with which (I think
it is Mr Ruskin who insists that) all poetry should be instinct, these
lines are marvellous. They more nearly reach the goal of that "struggle
to conceive the inconceivable, to utter the unutterable, that longing
after the Infinite, that love of God," which Professor Max Müller
describes as the basis of all religions, than all the creeds such
religions have constructed.

Wordsworth saw, as perhaps no one before him ever quite so clearly
saw, the Spiritual Unity underlying those two things:--the one called
External Nature; the other, this spark of life called the Human
Soul--the product of, and burning in, that External Nature, as a flame
feeds upon the air which it illumines.--But to return to my walk.

§ 33

Curiously enough, I had hardly reached the confines of the town which
I was leaving before I fell in with a youth apparently possessed of the
same motive as myself--namely, to enjoy to the full the delights of the
country after a year's inclusion in a thronged city; and, in order the
better to do so, to use as means of locomotion his own two legs, and
a stout stick. I say "apparently," for very short converse with him
revealed the fact that he was utterly blind to the charms of Nature. He
was nice-mannered and polite to a degree; but as a companion to aid in
discovering rural beauty he was simply worse than none at all. His two
negative or denominatorial eyes and ears completely cancelled, made
useless, and altogether put out of existence my two positive or
numeratorial senses. I was prepared to take infinite delight in the
most trivial and insignificant of Nature's works, to extol her most
commonplace manifestations, to find the longest sermons in the tiniest
pebbles; but to do this by the side of the most antipathetic of, to all
intents and purposes, blind and deaf of fellow-pedestrians--it was out
of the question. I nothing extenuate nor set down aught in malice when
I say that that utterance of his most pregnant with observation of the
passing scene was contained in the words, "That's a potato-patch!" The
early morning sun fought its way between dense grey clouds, and fell in
cheering light on the tops of the trees, and in silver showers on the
gleaming lake below; the rich green meadows caught the rays, the very
air seemed laden with treasures of sunlight; young and graceful maples,
in crimson autumn tints, like Mænads at vintage-time, flung flaming
torches towards the sky, unmindful of the morn; the sumach and the
gorgeous virginia-creeper were ablaze with beauty; yet of all this
he saw nothing; a brown potato-patch by the highway rim a brown
potato-patch was to him, and it was nothing more. Yes, by the by, it was
something more: it was an appreciable piece of property, a prospective
town lot at so much per foot frontage, one-third cash down and the
balance in half-yearly instalments to suit the purchaser, all local
improvements paid by.... At least some such jargon caught my inattentive
ear. Real estate is, I gladly grant, a topic of (often too) absorbing
interest; but one does not exactly wish to be confronted with intricate
monetary calculations, connected with barter and commerce, when engaged
in the not very kindred and decidedly delicate task of wooing
Nature. Barter and commerce when Wordsworth is ringing in one's ears,
incorporated companies and syndicates when bird and bush ask your
attention--these things, in the language of the pharmacopœia, are

§ 34

I had thus two causes of complaint against my companion. So I left him:
I took a bypath; he kept to the highway. Nor was I sorry. It is pleasant
now and again for short periods to get away from one's fellow-men.
Familiarity breeds contempt, it is said; perhaps it is as true of
aggregations of men as of individuals. At all events, one comes back
from a temporary seclusion with a sweeter temper, a more kindly and
tolerant regard for those about one. Nor was I sorry. The main road
contained too many curious starers. To walk for pleasure was a thing
wholly outside the limits of their comprehension. "'Tisn't 'cause
'tis cheaper?" asked one irrepressible inquirer (always this matter of
money!); and he was still more puzzled at the explanation that hotel
bills largely exceeded railway fare....

§ 35

Yet one seeks entertainment when travelling long alone. The mind becomes
overfull, it gathers from every sight and sound and scent, and craves
another mind as depositary for the surplus, as sharer of the spoils. In
time also it wearies of constant observation, and would give much for a
companion. In lieu of a concrete one, I found myself quite unconsciously
imitating Macaulay, and substituting an abstract one by quoting Milton;
and never did his ponderous yet marvellously poised lines sound to me
so grand as when rolled _ore rotundo_ to the accompaniment of Ontario's
rolling wave. M. Henri Cochin, Matthew Arnold tells us, speaks of "the
majestic English iambic." It is to Milton surely that the English iambic
owes the praise of majesty. To me, I confess, the exceeding beauty of
much of Milton's verse is a snare--as is also much of Mr Ruskin's prose:
the ear is so captivated by the sound that the mind strays from the

§ 36

Toronto was my starting point, and my course lay eastwards on the
northern shore of great Lake Ontario by what is always known as the
Kingston Road, one of the oldest in the country, the precursor of the
Grand Trunk Railway, the track of which, indeed, it closely follows.
The country through which it runs varies but little in scenery, being a
great undulating stretch of fertile land thickly settled with farms
and orchards, and as thickly wooded with pine, maple, larch, elm, fir,
beech, hickory, and other trees common in Canada. Here and there a small
river runs to the lake, and here and there the shore rises into cliffs
of eighty or a hundred feet. Cows and sheep, and pigs and poultry, meet
one all along the road, showing us the occupations of the inhabitants;
as do also the fields of barley and wheat, and the great orchards gay
with the unrivalled Canadian apple, which gleams at us from the boughs
with every hue and size. The Kingston Road is a king's highway with a
vengeance; hard, well-travelled, and dotted, I should say, along its
whole length, with comfortable, often elaborate, habitations standing in
the midst of fields and trees. At every ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty
miles these habitations cluster into villages or towns; sometimes
where road and railway intersect, when there spring up factories and
warehouses; sometimes down by the shore, when there rise elevators
and wharves. I cannot pretend to say that these are interesting. They
consist for the most part each of one straggling main street, itself
a part of the Kingston Road, and differentiated from it only by the
unkempt habitations that line its length, and by the inevitable wooden
pavements, broad in the central portions, but narrowing to a single
plank in the outskirts--where, no doubt, it was in reality, if not
in name, the "Lovers' Walk." They were not quaint, no ancient and few
historical traditions clung to them, neither did they appear to me to
possess any distinguishing characteristics.

§ 37

I have spoken of a quiet country town. A country town of a Sunday
afternoon in Canada is the quietest of existing things. Everything in
it seems lifeless. Not a sound is heard from any side. One's own
cough startles one in the very streets. Two cows slowly wend their
way homewards; an over-ripe apple falls heavily in an unkempt front
garden--even these signs of semi-life are a relief. Rows of youths,
all dressed in sombre black, and all smoking cigars fearfully if not
wonderfully made, lean against the walls of the inn at the corner, or
stand in silent knots about the horse-gnawed "hitching-post." The jaded
afternoon sunlight falls slantingly and weariedly on untidy plots in
which weeds strive for mastery successfully with flowers, on empty
verandahs with blistered paint, on the dusty grass encroaching ever on
the street. I enter the inn. It is chilly, and in the common room which
serves many purposes a battered stove lacking two-thirds of its mica
radiates a dry and suffocating heat. On deal chairs, mostly tipped up,
sit the youths but just now lounging without. They say nothing; only
they sit and smoke, and spit--how they spit! They themselves probably
are all unconscious of the incessant salivary sharp-shooting; but I--I
sit in terror, like a nervous woman dreading the pistol shots on the
stage. Soon church bells begin to clang. None heeds them, nor are they
over-inviting; one is cracked, they are not in harmony, and they seem to
be ringing a race in which the hindmost is to win. In the space of about
an hour, however, the youths begin to move, as if with the feeling that
at last will come a small relief from the awful _ennui_ which they cannot
express. Church is coming out. They go out and draw up before the doors.
A heavy yellow light streams across the street, and with it issues an
odour, perhaps, of sanctity, but much disguised by kerosene. Greetings
follow between the out-coming damsels and the waiting youths, and
curious raucous laughs intended to be tender are heard disappearing into
darkened ways. Soon all is again hushed, and but for here and there the
slow and lugubrious sounds of hymn tunes played on old and middle-aged
organs, the little town might be a buried city of the East.

§ 38

Yet no doubt it had its tragedies, this seemingly peaceful and
sequestered spot: indeed signs of most pathetic tragedies came under my
own eyes, few as were the hours which I spent in it. Hanging about the
unpretentious hostelry about which those uncouth youths gathered, were
two specimens of what was once humanity that made the heart ache to look
on. One was a case, I think, hopeless: a gaunt and dirty figure, his
last drink still dripping from his beard, clothed in the vilest of
shirts, and in things that were once trousers, which last hung loose
over large and faded carpet slippers, he moved disgust as well as pity.
The other was of a different class. Drink had been his bane also,
but there was not in his face that absence of all shame, that despair
merging into careless defiance, which stamped his fellow-sufferer's case
as beyond the cure of man. They called him "Doc," and there were still
evidences of birth and education upon his bloated features. What had
driven him thus far? I could not help but conjecture. Was there a
woman at the bottom of it? If so, where and what was she now? Somebody
else's.... But this was idle guesswork. There was yet another case,
a woman herself this time, still more tragic. Her motto, stamped upon
every feature, expressed in every gesture, was "The heart knoweth its
own bitterness." A tall, dark, and once handsome spinster, a _femme de
trente ans_, she waited upon us at table; but with such an air of utter
indifference, with such complete abstraction from things material and
ephemeral, that she awed the very persons to whose wants she ministered.
Her face wore a settled and unaltering expression of something missed
yet never to that day for one moment forgotten. A machine could not
have carried plates and moved dishes with more unfailing stolidity. Her
thoughts were remotely away in the past, and it seemed as if nothing,
nothing upon all this earth, could fetch them back. Cato's statue would
have smiled as soon as she. It was pathetic in the extreme. One longed
to give her if but one moment's peace of mind. Did she _never_ forget?
What was it she brooded on? How long would the feminine heart and
brain stand that strain? Tragedies! Yes, there were tragedies there, as
everywhere else.

§ 39

Such is Sunday in a country town. But in truth, after the rush and hurry
of city life, in the country it seems always Sunday. There is a leisure,
a calm, a restfulness, and, away by the fields, a quiet sanctity
which pervades its every part and unconsciously influences its every
inhabitant. By degrees, too, on the traveller through the country this
calming influence comes. The still green meadows, the gently swaying
boughs, the sunshine sleeping pillowed on the clouds--all tend to
meditative and restful peace, and one reaps the harvest of a quiet eye.
And if one yields to this beneficent mood there is much, very much, to
be gained. Alone with Nature, all around the spacious earth, above the
immeasurable heavens, alone in a vast expanse, one finds oneself, in
Amiel's fine phrase, _tête-à-tête_ with the Infinite. At such times
the great problem of Life flares upon us like a flash of lightning, so
sudden, so intense, so vivid is its irruption on the mental vision. Time
and space, like the darkness of night, are annihilated, earthly bounds
are burst, and there is revealed a realm of Being beyond the confines
of the relative, the limited, the finite. We recognise the infinity of
unity, the brotherhood of all things. Terms of proportion and comparison
lose their significance: there is no great or little, important or
trivial, for the minutest object is an essential part of the All,
without which this All would cease to be.

§ 40

Curious thoughts, or "half-embodyings of thoughts" as Coleridge called
them, that lonely walk aroused. What _was_ this All? And what portion of
this All was I--I, this tiny biped crawling ant-like between earth and
sky? I looked over the flat earth, and remembered that it was not flat
but round, and but one of myriads like itself, and among them, perhaps,
as paltry as, upon it, I. I looked up at the sky, filled with the
radiance of the sun, and again remembered that, sown through space like
seed, were countless other suns, and ours perhaps the least in all that
host. And when night came, and the stars shone, I remembered that even
then I saw only what came in at the pin-prick of the eye, and that to
the mighty All that myriad-studded sky was perhaps as trivial as to it
was earth or sun. Yet, trivial as we were, we were not naught--not quite
nothing. That was the wonder of it. So far from naught, indeed, that
to me, this tiny biped crawling, himself was very important; his
little pains, his aches, even these his questionings were very real. If
incommensurable suns swung high overhead, he at least was the centre of
his own little world, and not the most astounding facts of science could
alter or remove that egocentric view.--And, if not nothing, if something
in all that vast inane, then what? How came it that, prompted by what
entered at that pin-prick eye, something within him could fling itself,
fling itself faster than light, far beyond the outermost boundary of
vision, and put to the immensity of Being questions which, could Being
hear, would surely put it to the blush? Those pains, those aches, were
they nothing to the All? To the tiny mighty atom they were much.--But
the world spun round, and the sun set, and darkness was upon the face of
the deep.

§ 41

It is well now and again, I think, to withdraw into the holy of holies
of one's own self, "where dwells the Nameless,"[22] in its shapeless and
vague impenetrability, "as a cloud." The world is too much with us. The
myriad trivial details of everyday life hide from us that of which they
ought in reality perpetually to remind us. For, after all, what is all
action, even as manifested in these trivial details, but a struggle to
overcome space and time, the limitations of the finite; and what, again,
is all thought but a struggle to conceive the infinite?

§ 42

Yet another thought this spacious prospect gave me. The endless green
fields and the endless blue lake seemed a symbol of the unrealisability
of the ideal. With both I was enamoured, and with the beauty of both I
craved in some dim and unknown way to take my fill of delight: both were
at my feet, but both stretched away and away until they met the eternal
and unapproachable heavens at the horizon. Yes, the fields were green,
but not the spot on which I stood; the water was blue, but not in the
cup with which I tried to assuage my thirst.--But there is a limit to
ontological and psychological speculations of sombre hue.


The Walking Tour

§ 43

Up to the present we have considered the country walk only. The walking
trip or tour is a more serious affair. If it requires as vacuous a frame
of mind, it necessitates a more deliberate preparation. Much depends
upon the country and the locality chosen. If inviting hostelries abound,
one needs to weight oneself with little; if they are infrequent, or
nonexistent, food and clothing become matters of moment. This may sound
a truism; but it is a truism that many a tripper wishes he had laid more
earnestly to heart when, miles from house and home, he finds himself
wet, hungry, and fatigued. It is better to carry a few extra pounds far
than to run short soon; for a worn-out body means a useless mind, and
hunger and cold, with their attendant depression of spirits, not only
rob the tour of its pleasure, but rob the tourist of his zest.
Start, therefore, comfortable, and comfortably provided. This is not
Sybaritism; it is common-sense.

For an extended trip, send on some luggage ahead, if you can; and some
money (I speak of civilised regions). It is impossible, if you are
alone--unless, like Stevenson, you hire a donkey--to transport on your
own back food and clothing to keep you going for more than a few days
at a stretch--unless you shoot, or fish, or trap--which is sport or
prospecting, not walking.

Your first care should be for your feet--another truism not seldom
neglected. See that your boots fit--_fit_, remembering that the feet
swell (I speak to tenderfoots).

If you are unaccustomed to walking, a good plan is to start with an
extra pair of leather soles inside your boots. These can be taken out
when the feet swell.

If you prefer shoes to boots, wear gaiters or putties--to keep out the
wet in winter, to keep out the dust in summer. The only occasion upon
which I suffered from blisters was on a sixty-mile walk in tennis shoes
on a dusty road in August. Take two or three changes of socks. If you
walk in a populous region, carry a pair of light shoes. These will come
in handy if you run across a friend who asks you to dinner. Carry also
a collar or two; not only hosts and hostesses, but landlords and
landladies look askance at too trampish an appearance. I once felt
rather uncomfortable sitting at the head of a table d'hôte at the
excellent Hôtel Kaltenbach on the American side at Niagara (the
landlord knew me well), for I was in rough flannels and tweeds, and
my fellow-guests were dressed like (and some of them probably were)
millionaires and millionairesses. _Verbum sapientibus satis._--Do not
refuse an invitation to dinner. Follow Napoleon's advice and let
the country you pass through support you, falling back upon your own
food-supply when necessary. Help yourself to as much fruit as you can,
or as the owners thereof and their dogs permit. A too concentrated diet
is unwholesome. Expatiate upon this to the owners of orchards, and--back
your theories with a dole.

§ 44

But nothing equals the evening meal cooked over your own fire--if you
are not too tired to cook it. Of the cookery I shall speak later;
but the fire is as invigorating as the food. Would you taste the
consummation of human masculine contentment, stretch your tired legs
before your own fire after a long, long walk followed by a full meal:
your chamber, the forest primæval, green, indistinct in the twilight;
your couch, the scented earth; your canopy, the heavens, curtained with
clouds; in your nostrils the incense of burning wood; in your heart the
peace which the world giveth not.--The elaborately ornamented modern
hearth, with its carved oak or its sculptured marble, is the direct
lineal descendant of the nomad fire--the earliest institution of man,
the first promoter of civilisation, the binder-together of troglodytic
families into tribes. "Hearth and Home" is an ancient, a very ancient,
sentiment. It dates back, I take it, to the Glacial Epoch--far enough,
in all conscience.--In my mind's eye I see the shivering Cave-man,
appalled at the encroaching ice, the deepening cold. He gathers wood,
huddles him in caves, the drops from his furry, ill-smelling
clothing (there was no tanning then) sputtering in the flames. For
self-protection, and from lack of fuel, family makes alliance with
family, and the first-formed human community squats silent about
the first-formed human hearth. What friendships must have there been
cemented, what tales told; what a strange first unburthening of human
heart to human heart! What ecstatic love-making, too, must have been
enacted in the darksome corners of the sooty cave, the while the grey
gorged hunters snored, and toothless beldames gesticulated dumb-crambo
scandal by the smouldering brands!--No wonder præhistoric associations
cluster even now about what is too often represented by a flamboyant
mantelpiece with immaculate tiles and polished brasses. _Pro Aris et
Focis!_ The smoking altar is the consecrated symbol of the lowly hearth.


The Tramp's Dietary

§ 45

As to food--bacon, flour, and beans are the stand-by. The curious in
the matter of concentrated and portable foods will do well to consult
Nansen's elaborate and carefully calculated lists of these.[23] Carry
some chocolate: it staves off hunger and is nourishing. Milk, if you
can get it, has wonderful staying powers, and by most people--especially
under stress of prolonged exertion--is easily digested. Wear wool next
the skin, and wear it loose. Let everything be loose. And see that
your tailor puts pockets--deep and wide ones--in every conceivable and
inconceivable part of your costume. As to books, sketching or writing
materials, or a camera--every tramp has his hobby: indulge yours to
the full; what are you walking for if not to enjoy life? Lastly, do not
forget that, if you are not far from the haunts of men, you will over
and over again be indebted to your fellow-men for little kindnesses and
civilities. A pocketful of small change will make many a rough place
smooth. I might mention also _sotto voce_ that so will a flask of good
whisky. To these you may add a couple of bandages, some chlorodyne, a
few ounces of cognac, a small styptic, a needle and some thread, a small
razor, and a cake of soap. Also, if you wear an eye-glass or glasses,
by no means forget to carry some extra ones. As for the rest, a pipe,
a very big pouch of tobacco (many will dip into it), a stout stick, and
abundance of matches ought to make you independent of everything and
everybody for days together.

§ 46

A word, too, on beverages, which are as important as is food.--Eschew
alcohol in every shape or form, unless you are dog-tired at the end of a
long day and must make a few miles ere nightfall. Alcoholic stimulation
spells ruination to muscular exertion the moment the stimulus has passed
off. It was said that on the march to the relief of Ladysmith in the
South African War the drinkers could be told as plainly as if they had
been labelled.

The best example I know of the wise and efficacious use of alcohol is in
Edith Elmer Wood's "An Oberland Chalet." The author, her sister-in-law,
and her brother, with a guide, were climbing the Strahlegg Pass.

                                  "All the way up that eight hundred
  feet of rock wall, there was never a ledge large enough to rest on
  with the entire two feet at once!... The numbness of my hands was so
  great that my control over them was most uncertain. My life and
  that of my companions depended on the grip I should keep with those
  cramped, aching fingers, but though I concentrated my will power on
  them I felt no certainty that the next minute they would not become
  rigid and refuse to obey me.... After the first few minutes, I never
  looked downward. I was not inclined to dizziness, but the drop was
  too appalling.... Once we got all four on a little ledge not as
  wide as the length of our feet, but solid enough to stand on
  without balancing. We paused there to take breath, and somebody said
  'Cognac.' Now our experience in the Alpine hut the night before had
  nearly made teetotalers of us. But at this moment we decided that
  stimulants might have a legitimate use. Frater produced his silver
  pocket flask and handed it round. We took a swallow in turn, and it
  was like liquid life running down our throats. I never experienced
  anything so magical.... I was at the very last point of endurance.
  I had lost faith in ever reaching the summit of the cliff. I had no
  more physical force with which to lift my sagging weight upward. I
  had lost the will power that lashes on an exhausted body. My numb
  hands were stiffening. My lungs were choked and labouring. I
  could neither go on nor go back. Then those two teaspoonfuls, or
  thereabouts, of fiery cognac that burned down my throat sufficed
  to give me back my grip on myself, physical and mental. I moved my
  cramped fingers and they answered. I took a deep long breath and
  felt strengthened. A hope, almost a confidence, crept into
  my heart that we might reach the top alive."[24]

§ 47

The best all-round stimulant is tea. I say it advisedly, knowing full
well that to Dr Alexander Haig and the anti-uric-acid dietists tea
is Anathema Maranatha. But every mining prospector, every railroad
constructor, every lumberman, every out-in-the-wilds worker throughout
Australia and America drinks tea--proof, surely, that it is efficacious,
even if it be in a sense deleterious. In huge quantities, and constantly
taken, I dare say it is deleterious. But personally I know of no
pick-me-up preferable to tea, when, cold, hungry, and tired at the end
of a long day's tramp, you find yourself "all in" and unable to eat.

I recall an instance of the extraordinary efficacy of tea--quite weak,
but hot. It was at the end of a forty-mile walk through a monotonous
country in cold, wind, and rain. We arrived tired out; and although we
knew we were hungry (for we had had precious little to eat all day),
the thought of food was repulsive, though the restaurant we had reached
displayed a variety of viands. I ordered hot tea in the biggest teapot
procurable. It was brought. We sipped I forget how many cups each. Then
we supped indeed; and after supper one of the party proposed to walk the
forty miles back!

       *     *     *     *     *

Perhaps Dr Haig will say that plain hot water would have done just as
well. Humph! Give me weak, but good, tea.

Hot milk, of course, is an incomparable pick-me-up. But who, on a
trudge, can always, by demanding it, obtain hot milk? If you can get it,
milk, in any shape or form, is unrivalled. More than once it has raised
me from the depths of low spirits, produced by hunger and thirst and
fatigue, to the most contented of moods.--I was walking once on a hot
summer's day along a barren and dusty road where was no habitation nor
signs of men. My knapsack was empty, so was my water-bottle. Not a brook
or a stream could I find. It was late in the day. I was heart-sick and
weary. But the miracle happened. Did I believe my eyes, or was that a
man there milking cows over yonder in that field? I made straight for
him, and, after passing the time of day and being generally polite (the
while my tongue clave to my palate), I presently asked if I might have
some of his priceless liquid--I called it simply "milk." Genially he
pointed to a pail--_a pail_, and bade me help myself. I put that vessel
to my lips, and I rather think that the vertical arc described by any
given point on the periphery of the bottom of that utensil during the
process of deglutition was not a small one! When I put that pail down
(and a twenty-five-cent piece beside it) I was a new man, and laughed at
miles and melancholy.

       *     *     *     *     *

Very often, when walking, especially in hot weather, one finds oneself
tired when only a few miles have been covered. It is not real fatigue;
it is want of fluid. The skin exudes moisture; the blood thickens; the
serums and synovial fluids run short; waste matter is not excreted; the
muscles and tendons require lubrication. A copious draught of water will
put all to rights. Not everyone knows this. I myself owe the hint to a

§ 48

Each walker must, however, discover for himself what is the food best
suited to his needs--remembering always that it is quite possible to
spoil a whole day by even trivial dietetic mistakes. If you walk to see
and to enjoy, unless you possess that youth which can digest anything,
and that vitality which can attack anything, take heed as to what you
eat and what you attempt.--Most unfortunate is the remembrance of an
otherwise lovely walk I took one day over one of the most lovely of
the passes of the Jura. The day was superb; the road by the soft green
pastures was superb; and superb was the climb through the tangled
brushwood of the slopes. Filmy clouds formed themselves to leeward of
the peaks and hid the tops of the pines; above, I gazed into a deep blue
sky; beneath, I gazed into a deep green vale; and a tumbling brook sent
its music up the heights. But--I had started foodless, and had stuffed
into my pockets only a stodgy roll and a box of sardines. By noon I was
hungry. I finished the roll _and_ the sardines. With deplorable result.
The pancreas rebelled, the senses were dulled, and all the beauties of
the Jura were lost upon _heu me miserum_!--Fellow-tramp, take thought
for your provender--and "provender" good old Dr Johnson defines as "dry
food for brutes."--_That_ is the diet to walk on.

§ 49

But, after all, one's impedimenta must be chosen according to one's
tastes. Mr Hilaire Belloc equipped himself for his seven-hundred-mile
walk from Toul to Rome with "a large piece of bread, half-a-pound of
smoked ham, a sketch-book, two Nationalist papers, and a quart of the
wine of Brulé"[26] (but one halfpennyworth of bread to this intolerable
deal of sack!); though farther on he tells us he also carried "a needle,
some thread, and a flute."[27] But then Mr Belloc's path lay through
thickly-peopled districts; he rarely slept in the open; travelled
in summer-time; and not once, I think, lighted a fire: and certes he
reached Rome in sorry plight.


Practical Details

§ 50

And now for some hints on the practical details of walking tours of more
arduous character and more extended length.[28]--Suit the weight of your
knapsack or pack to your strength, leaving a large margin for comfort.
If you travel in regions uninhabited by man, and the climate is
rigorous, a shelter at night is all-important. Therefore carry a light
blanket: a warm head and face induce sleep; so does a change to dry
underclothing at the end of the day. For really hard trips, when you
walk all day and walk far, you will need, to replace used-up muscular
tissue, each day:

  3/4 lb. of flour;
  3/4 lb. of bacon;
  1/2 lb. of beans;

--and to these you should add dried fruit or rice. The best dried fruit
is a mixture in equal parts of apricots and prunes. Take an abundance
of tea: nothing takes the place of tea; and supply yourself with pepper,
salt, sugar, candles, and soap. Your cooking pots should fit the one
into the other. These things, with a small frying-pan, an axe (to
cut poles for your evening shelter and wood for your fire), a file to
sharpen this, and some stout wire hooks by which to hang your pots over
the fire, complete, I think, the sum-total of your absolutely necessary

§ 51

The sedulous, however sage, have little idea how large a part of active
life depends on food. To stay-at-homes, who go down to the dining-room
when the gong sounds, a meal seems a mere incident of life, an
intermission from work, an opportunity for a family chat. The traveller
on foot soon learns that a meal is of the most vital importance. Every
reader of Nansen's thrilling narrative must have noticed this. Even in
Mr Belloc's literary "Path to Rome" one is struck with the intrusion of
this unliterary topic, and the more literary "Inland Voyage" of Robert
Louis Stevenson is not free from it. While even in that delightful, and
delightfully feminine, "An Oberland Chalet," which I have already cited,
although the foods were generally cheese or cakes or _petits pains_, and
the drinks chocolate or milk or _café au lait_, the mention of edibles
and potables is frequent.

The importance of a supply of food has so often been borne in upon me
that I am inclined to believe that the political community is coæval
with the pantry. Even amongst animals, only those form commonwealths
which form common stores of food--as the ant and the bee.

The pedestrian gains a practical insight into this wide-reaching
influence of a storage of food. Not for half-a-dozen hours can he
subsist before its importance is impressed upon him by most painful
pangs. If, therefore, sedulous sage, you set out on a long hard walk
without due provision for the allaying of hunger, you will come to
grief. I make no apologies, accordingly, for minute instructions on that
topic here.

§ 52

The bread of the Western prospector, my fraternal informant tells me, is
the bannock. Dost know how to make a bannock? You must have with you
a bag containing flour (of the highest grade, made from hard wheat),
baking powder, and salt, thoroughly mixed beforehand. (Use twice as much
baking powder as the instructions on the tin direct. Half a cupful of
salt will suffice for ten pounds of flour.) Open this bag, and make a
depression in the contents with your fist. Into this pour a cupful of
water. Stir the sides of the depression into the water till you get a
stiff dough. Spread this dough in a clean greased frying-pan. Hold the
pan over the fire till the under side of the dough is slightly browned,
then take the pan off the fire and set it up on edge to allow the top of
the bannock to toast, and your bannock is made--and very delicious you
will find it if you are hungry, and hungry you certainly will be.

Beans are a more troublesome affair, for, unfortunately, they take from
two to four hours to boil. But beans are the mainstay of life on a tour.
There are two good varieties: the small white, and the larger brown.
Take both, and before starting clean them thoroughly from dust and grit
and stones--thoroughly. As soon as your fire is lighted, put on your
beans in cold water with no salt, and keep them boiling. As soon as they
show signs of softening, add a piece of bacon or a ham bone and some
pepper and salt. When ready--eat. If they are not ready for you when you
are ready for them (and this coincidence is, alas, rare with beans), the
pot should be filled up with water, the remains of the fire raked into
a circle, in the centre of which the pot should be kept for the night:
they will then make a dish for breakfast, when they may be eaten as they
are, or can be fried. If drained fairly dry, they may be carried as they
are and used for luncheon.--But the best thing is to make a bannock of
them. Take a clean frying-pan with plenty of bacon fat in it, and mash
the already boiled beans in this with a fork. Heat, with stirring, till
the mass is dry enough to set; then fry on both sides. This will keep
for days, "and is," says my authority, "the finest food I know of for
emergency trips."


The Beauty of Landscape

§ 53

May I here request the reader to accompany me in a short
digression?--Few things are pleasanter than a walk in which one turns
down any lane that invites.

One of the first delights of walking is the pleasure derived from
the passing scene.--What is the secret of the pleasure derived from a
beautiful landscape--or, as a matter of fact, from almost any landscape?
For apparently a landscape need not be actually beautiful in order to
give pleasure. "I wouldn't give a mile of the dear old Sierras," says
Bret Harte, "with their honesty, sincerity, and magnificent uncouthness,
for 100,000 kilomètres of the picturesque Vaud."[29] And even Mary
MacLane, rail as she did at the barren sands of Butte, Montana, in her
"Story,"[30] when she left them wrote, "I love those things the best of
all."[31]--Bret Harte and Mary MacLane may give us a clue to the secret.
It is not merely the contour or the colours of a landscape that delight;
it is the associations that cling to it.--But what of a scene which
is quite new to the eyes? Still, I think, association. "Scenery soon
palls," says George Borrow, "unless it is associated with remarkable
events, and the names of remarkable men."[32] And Ruskin, you will
remember, when gazing at the broken masses of pine forest which skirt
the course of the Ain above the village of Champignole, in the Jura,
found that the impressiveness of the scene owed its source to the fact
that "those ever-springing flowers and ever-flowing streams had been
dyed by the deep colours of human endurance, valour, and virtue."[33]

Packed away in the brain and mind of man must be subtle and secret
memories dating back through unknown ages of time.--A gaseous theory,
perhaps, but one which Senancour has liquefied into the pellucid
sentence:--"La nature sentie n'est que dans les rapports humains, et
l'éloquence des choses n'est rien que l'éloquence de l'homme."[34] The
great fight for life, the stern joys of life--the ferocious combat, the
thrilling love match, the myriad sensations and emotions evoked by man's
physical environment, and his struggle for existence therein--surely
these live somehow somewhere packed away in his brain to-day--just as
some migratory and nidificatory memories must be packed away in the
brain of a bird. It is these dormant cosmic memories that a landscape
revives. On how many a plain to-day does there not flow veritable human
blood remuted into sap!--Terrene Nature was man's ancestral home and no
man can gaze upon it unmoved.

§ 54

The freedom of a great expanse seems to arouse primitive instincts.
Idylls are not enacted in drawing-rooms. It is the odorous glades are
Hymen's haunts. In the meads of Enna Proserpine was wooed. Zephir won
Aurora a-maying. On Latmos top Endymion was nightly kissed. In the
boscage Daphnis proposed--and was there and then accepted.[35] If only
Fashion would decree that honeymoons should be spent under Jove! Lovers
ken the banks where amaranths blow, and poets build their altars in the
fields. How actually physically exhilarating sometimes is

  "The champaign with its endless fleece
    Of feathery grasses everywhere!
  Silence and passion, joy and peace,
       .    .     .     .     .     .
  Such life there, through such lengths of hours,
    Such miracles performed in play,
  Such primal naked forms of flowers,
    Such letting Nature have her way."[36]

There must survive in the cosmic consciousness of the race, deep-seated
and ineradicable memories of primæval nuptials. What a pity it is that
that supreme, that sacred drama called "Love" should be enacted by
youths and damsels, not in secluded groves amidst perfumed and amorous
blooms, but in ball-rooms and boudoirs.[37]

§ 55

It is a complex, it is a profound enigma, this of the appeal of the
beauty of nature to the senses and emotions of man. For Beauty, we must
remember, is not an attribute of the external thing. Beauty is in the
soul that feels, the mind that thinks, the memory that remembers. _That_
is beautiful which brings to mind and memory and soul, ecstatic thrill,
exalted feeling. _That_ is beautiful which makes for the preservation
and propagation and (which should make for the) elevation of the
race.--And this is why Beauty is of various kinds. There is a Beauty of
the senses, and there is a beauty of the soul--as there is a terrestrial
Aphrodite, and an Aphrodite uranian.[38] Though why the earthly and the
heavenly Aphrodites should not join hands, I do not know. Perhaps it is
only when they do join hands--when there is at one and the same time
a spiritual obsession and a physical oblation--that Beauty becomes
transfigured before us, reveals her divine nature radiant through
fleshly vestments. Ah! this occurs only when we are on the Mount.

§ 56

After all, did John Ruskin really get to the bottom of this matter
of the appeal of Nature to the heart of man? Is the beauty of any
particular scene due to the generic fact that "those ever-springing
flowers and ever-flowing streams had been dyed by the deep colours of
human endurance, valour, and virtue"? If my theory is right that beauty
is subjective, not objective; that the connecting link between the
natural object and the emotion which it evokes is that of memory or
association, surely we must seek for a more particular, a more personal
explanation than this of Ruskin his "human endurance, valour, and
virtue." Well, I too have lounged a whole morning on a mountain top not
far from the spot of which Ruskin wrote. Before me was the valley of
the Arve; behind me, the valley of the Rhône: both, from that height of
vision, and on that perfect day, breathing prosperity and peace. Square
mile after square mile of fertile land lay under my eyes: farms and
vineyards, fields and meadows, all watered by winding streams. Dotted
about, here in groups, there discrete, were the tiled roofs of cottages;
and all through the verdure, in long white curves with an occasional
tangent, here hidden by boscage, there emerging in the sunlight, ran the
good white roads of France. The sweet grass on which I lay was thickly
strewn with flowers, and the air brought scents sweet as softest
music heard afar. To right and left in the middle distance rose Alpine
peaks--light green at their bases, dark green in the zone of the pines,
lifting grey or green or purple masses towards the clouds; and
straight in front, some seven leagues away, stretched the rugged jagged
snow-capped chain of Mont Blanc.

It was early morning, and it was one of those perfect summer days when,
as one lay supine, one could actually perceive the filmy clouds vanish
into invisibility; while, as an addition to the blessings of the scene,
there came to my ear the tinkling bells of the cattle.

And the region was thick with the memories of human endurance, valour,
and virtue. Cæsar's legions strode that soil. Long before Cæsar came,
marauding bands had met and fought. And, since Cæsar's time, owing
to the fortunes of war, war in which man fought hand-to-hand with
man--opposed shield to javelin, discharged the feathered arrow, or
pointed arquebus and carronade--the very ground on which I walked had
changed owners innumerable.

It would be difficult to choose a more appealing scene.--And yet, if
I probe my own heart to the core, if I tell my inmost thought, to me
a sunny--or even, for that matter, a misty--scene in pastoral
England--Surrey or Bucks or Berks, Kent or Devon, Sussex or Herts, where
you will--rouses more poignant emotions than all the plain of Haute
Savoie backed by the Chaine du Mont Blanc.

       *     *     *     *     *

Mr Kipling, in his simple language, has come nearer to the truth than
has Ruskin with all his felicity of phrase. It is not the associations
connected with human endeavour _in the mass_ that make any particular
scene to appeal, it is the associations connected with our own little
selves; it is because "our hearts are small" that God has

  "Ordained for each one spot should prove
  Beloved over all."[39]

But, indeed, I think that the great Darwin long ago, quite
incidentally--and quite unwittingly--put his finger upon the crux of the
problem. Speaking of the beauties of the landscape of the East Indian
Archipelago he says: "These scenes of the tropics are in themselves so
delicious, that they almost equal those dearer ones at home, to which
we are bound by each best feeling of the mind."[40] The sublime and
beautiful in Nature call forth our admiration, reverence, awe; it is the
simple scenes, to which associations cling, that call forth our love.

Nature--the sun, the sky, the earth, the sea--is always beautiful,
because Nature, as Man's primæval habitat, has embedded in the memory
of Man primæval associations; but for any one particular scene to arouse
emotions deeper than those evoked by mere form and colour, that scene
must arouse associations embedded in one's own memory or in those of
one's forbears. It may be that this is a generalisation shallow and
jejune. Yet I make it, remembering torrid India; wide Canadian snows;
the Alps and the Jura; the Rhône; the Rhine; the Irawadi; lovely,
lovable England; and those perfumed slopes of le Grand Salève, inhabited
on that early morning only by myself and those grazing cows.

§ 57

Those mild-eyed cattle interested me. They were very gentle, very sleek,
very quiet and patient; large of bone, lactiferous; and, beneath all
their passivity, I should imagine they possessed potentialities of
heroism and endurance unknown to their bovine fellows of the plains. And
if I may judge from the features, figures, and expressions of the women
of this same region, too, I should be inclined to conjecture that they
were not dissimilar in character to their kine. They too are quiet-eyed,
deep-bosomed, large-framed, heavy-buttocked; and in the expression of
their faces there is something patient and heroic. And the youthful
tender of those cattle--he too was interesting. He lay prone on the
grass, his back to Mont Blanc. If he exercised his own limbs but little,
he faithfully performed all the duties appertaining to that state of
life into which it had pleased God to call him by springing every twenty
minutes to his feet and shouting orders to his dog--the faithful sub
or deputy herdsman, who kept the cattle from straying too far. I envied
that youthful herdsman his pleasant occupation. Life in that mountain
air must be sweet to the senses, as companionship with those gentle kine
must be quieting to the mind.

§ 58

It was a wonderful morning, that. How quiet it was, how peaceful! Those
mighty mountains were so still, so soundless. When I was out of sight of
the cattle, the only noise that reached my ear was the hum of the bee at
my elbow, the song of the lark overhead. Nature seemed at peace. Nature
seemed to fraternise with Man. A great comradeship was abroad. With my
own eyes I saw three cows come to their keeper's side, close up to him,
and he, kind soul, stroked their soft and wrinkled cheeks. With my own
eyes I saw a young and curious heifer walk up to the recumbent dog--her
deputy-herdsman--and sniff his hide; and he, good creature, never
twitched an ear!--though presently he did move off, moving somewhat
stiffly, as if his dignity had been ruffled.

       *     *     *     *     *

And the flowers at my feet, on every side! It was not grass I lay on; it
was blossoms--lovely scented blossoms; and as I looked along the slopes
it was flowers I saw, not blades of grass: it was on a purfled plain I
lay, a plain of blue and green and yellow and purple.--At first I could
hardly bring myself to crush these buds. I kept to cart tracks, to
cattle-paths. But in time these ceased, and I could not choose but
crush. And then ... came a curious thought; one I hardly like to put
on paper. Yet of itself it came, and some perhaps will interpret it
as reverently as did I.--Nature was in repentant mood, and, like
the Magdalen, was once again bedewing Man's feet with her tears, and
bescenting them with her spikenard. She made amends, as it were, for her
treatment of Man.--Fickle, feminine Nature, from whose loins we come,
from whose breast we suck our livelihood; from whom we wrest our
pleasure--with much cost--much cost and strife....

§ 59

Strife! The very word was like a bell to toll me back. Those very
flowers were fighting for their lives. Their very scents and colours
were but enticements for the bee--for the bee which, in turn, with toil,
garnered honey against chimenal famine. And those still, stupendous
mountains--silent, superb--immobile, massive; their very crags bespoke
tremendous struggle, immense upheaval, and the grinding of ice and
glacier. Indeed the solid earth and all about me was unrestful,
rushing.--I lay on my back on the grass and thrust my finger towards
the sky. It seemed steady enough in all conscience. Yet I knew that as
a matter of fact that fingertip of mine was performing most astounding
feats. It was rushing through space. And in its rush it was pursuing a
path would take an expert astronomer to determine. With the rotation of
the earth, it was flying eastwards at more than a dozen miles a minute.
With the revolution of the earth, it was rushing round the sun some two
or three miles in that minute. And with the whole solar system, it was
leaping towards the constellation of Hercules with leaps of more
than seven hundred miles in each minute![41]--Seven hundred miles a
minute![42] It is inconceivable. That enormous mass, the sun, into a
spot on which, hundreds of our earths could be dropped like a handful
of pebbles into a puddle, it and the farthermost of its planets, three
thousand million miles away--all rushing through space ... twenty
miles while I sneeze; thirty thousand miles while I sit at dinner;
half-a-million miles between going to bed and getting up.... What a
stupendous journey! What a mighty company! Where to? What for? Why this
terrific expenditure of energy?--Think of the _ergs_ necessary to propel
that mass! What is being _done_? Who does it? And for whom?

Nothing is immobile in Nature. Nothing is stationary in Life. To exist,
to be, to live, is to become, to change, to strive, to achieve. The
seeming peace about me was outcome of infinite struggle. Only by
struggle does life evolve, does man aspire.

       *     *     *     *     *

Return we to my theme.


Warnings to the Over-Zealous

§ 60

Now, I know precisely what will happen. Some epimethean enthusiast,
carried away by the anticipated delights of a walk, will suddenly make
up his mind to take one; will hastily stuff some things into a bag,
and will start off at four o'clock in the morning with some vague and
distant goal in view. He will think to roll John Burroughs and Richard
Jefferies into one in his minute observation of Nature, and to outdo
Wordsworth and Amiel combined in his philosophico-poetical disquisitions
on the same; he will rid his mind of the world and the worldly, and
float in themes transcendental and abstruse. But I think I know what
will happen. By the afternoon of that selfsame day he will be hungry,
thirsty, footsore, and tired. His boots will be tight; his bag as heavy
as his spirits; his head as empty as his craw. Instead of observing
Nature he will find Nature--in the shape of the rustics (and the
rustics' dogs)--very narrowly observing him, not always with sympathetic
or benignant gaze. Instead of deep and transcendental meditations rising
spontaneously to his mind, he will find curt and practical questions
assailing his ear as to who he is and what he is doing there.--My
dear but epimethean enthusiast, you must know that Nature is a jealous
mistress. If so be you are sedulously engaged for fifty weeks in the
year in the pursuit of pelf, think not to woo her by a half day's
worship at her shrine. Even if your courtship be sincere, it must be
slow. Not in forty-eight hours will you brush away the cobwebs of the
workaday world and prepare for the reception of sweet Nature's
influence a mind free from all uncharitableness: their skies, not their
characters, they change who sail over-seas. From all blindness of heart,
from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy, you must seek to be delivered,
else you will walk in vain. For most men walk in a vain show, and
the perpetual perambulation of the streets of Vanity Fair is a poor
preparation for the Delectable Mountains.--But take heart. If you will
keep but a corner of your mind free from the carking cares of barter and
commerce--if only by half-holiday jaunts and Sabbath-day journeys, great
will be your reward. By the end of the third or fourth day's tramp, what
with the exhilarating exercise, the fresh air, the peace and loneliness,
the long hours of mental quietude, the freedom from the petty
distractions of social and official life, if you are humble and
childlike, the world forgetting by the world forgot--the scales will
fall from your eyes; then indeed you will see--and feel--and think. The
trivial little objects at your feet, equally with the immense expanses
of earth and sky, will lift you high above themselves; the wet and
drooping high-road weed, the tender green of a curled frond, the soft
ooziness of a summer marsh--the sense of beauty--of the fitness of
things--of their immense incomprehensibility--the wonder of it all ...
words seem useless to say how such things sink into the soul, plough up
its foundations, sow there seeds which, like the Indian juggler's plant,
spring up at once and blossom into worship, reverence, awe.--Believe me,
I am not extravagant or hyperbolic, nor do I beguile with empty words.
If you will not hear me, hear the simple-minded Richard Jefferies:

  "I linger in the midst of the long grass, the luxury of the leaves,
  and the song in the very air. I seem as if I could feel all the
  glowing life the sunshine gives and the south wind calls to being.
  The endless grass, the endless leaves, the immense strength of the
  oak expanding, the unalloyed joy of finch and blackbird; from all
  of them I receive a little.... In the blackbird's melody one note
  is mine; in the dance of the leaf shadows the formed maze is for me,
  though the motion is theirs; the flowers with a thousand faces have
  collected the kisses of the morning. Feeling with them, I receive
  some, at least, of their fulness of life. Never could I have enough;
  never stay long enough.... The hours when the mind is absorbed by
  beauty are the only hours when we really live, so that the longer
  we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched
  from inevitable Time.... These are the only hours that are not
  wasted--these hours that absorb the soul and fill it with beauty.
  This is real life, and all else is illusion, or mere endurance. To
  be beautiful and to be calm, without mental fear, is the ideal of
  Nature. If I cannot achieve it, at least I can think it."[43]

Which passage has received the _imprimatur_ of quotation by no less
an authority than Lord Avebury (better known, perhaps, as Sir John
Lubbock), himself not only a man of science, but a statesman and a man
of affairs as well. Listen:

"The exquisite beauty and delight of a fine summer day in the country
has never perhaps been more truly, and therefore more beautifully,

       *     *     *     *     *

But surely, with all deference to the learned quoter, there is something
deeper in Richard Jefferies, these his dithyrambs, than a description of
a fine summer day. Surely Jefferies finds himself here, in Amiel's fine
phrase, _tête-à-tête_ with the Infinite, and tries, poor soul, in vain
to find vent for his thoughts. It is not a picture, it is a poem.
Nor needed it the Pageant of Summer to transport this poet thither.
Jefferies was here viewing Nature through a seventh sense--a sense more
delicate than that of sight or sound, the sense that Maurice de Guérin
has defined as,--

  "Un sens que nous avons tous, mais voilé, vague, et privé presque de
  toute activité, le sens qui recueille les beautés physiques et les
  livre à l'âme, qui les spiritualise, les harmonie, les combine
  avec les beautés idéales, et agrandit ainsi sa sphère d'amour et

It is not Richard Jefferies his catalogue of the things he saw which
moves us to admiration and delight, it is his sense sublime which
enabled him to rise from the things which are seen to the things which
are unseen, to rise above the _hic et nunc_ of the parochial and to
peer into the _illuc et tunc_ of the eternal. He saw "into the life of
things," and in him the finite stirred emotions which savoured of the


How that all points to the Infinite

§ 61

Of a sober truth, could we only realise it, all things point to the
infinite. Not a cobweb, not a wisp of morning mist, not a toadstool, not
a gnat, but has a life-history dating back to the dark womb of Time,
or ere even meteoritic dust or incandescent nebulæ were born; dating
forward too, could we trace it, to the dark doom of Time, if for Time
there be a doom. Who can understand it? Who shall explain it?--any part
of it? Take Burns his simple line,--

  "Green grow the rashes, O."

To explain "green" is not within the power of profoundest oculist
and physicist combined: on the question of the colour-sense alone the
scientific world is divided and has for years been divided; and of the
precise action of chlorophyll--the green colouring-matter of plants--it
is almost equally ignorant; while of the train of connected phænomena,
from the chemic and catalytic action in the leaf, through the
stimulation of the retina, the transmission along the optic nerve, the
sensation in the corpora quadrigemina of the brain, to the concept in
the mind, we know absolutely nothing. To define and classify the rushes,
also; to know exactly their place in the vegetable kingdom and how they
came there--their evolution from lower forms, the modifications wrought
in their structure by environment and internecine strife--that is beyond
the wit of botanist and palæophytologist in one. And as to that simple
verb, "to grow," dealing, as it does, with life itself in its inmost
penetralia, that has baffled, and probably will for ever baffle, the
whole host of physical and metaphysical experimenters and speculators
world without end. When we can explain Life, we shall be within
measurable distance of explaining the Life-Giver.--Tennyson saw this:

  "Flower in the crannied wall,
  I pluck you out of your crannies,
  I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
  Little flower, but _if_ I could understand
  What you are, root and all, and all in all,
  I should know what God and man is."

§ 62

But my song has grown too advent'rous. Let us descend th'Aonian
mount.--This, however, let me say: If to somewhat abstruse ontological
speculations such as these you like to add scientific or other knowledge
of the region of your walk--something of the geology, palæontology,
mineralogy, zoology, botany, archæology, history, well and good. No sort
of knowledge but is profitable for doctrine. The interest and pleasure
of walking are greatly enhanced by noting and being able to account for
the thousand and one natural phænomena which greet the eye even in the
shortest stroll; and few things sooner oust petty worries from the mind
than such occupation. Happy is the man who can do this. I, alas, cannot
help you here. I have but a bowing acquaintance with Science, though it
is always with a deep reverence that I doff my hat to her. Nevertheless,
with this I console myself; it seems to matter but little with what sort
of eyes you look on Nature, provided you really look. Give her but
the seeing eye and the understanding heart, and she is lavish of
her gifts.--And (let me roun this in thine ear) perhaps she prefers
(woman-like) the understanding heart to the seeing eye; though
(woman-like again) she likes to be admired as well as understood--though
never (and here most woman-like) does she like to be too curiously
regarded.--Sometimes, I confess, I have envied him gifted with the
scientific eye: him in whom a granite boulder in a grassy mead rouses
long geological trains of thought; to whom the dwarfed horse-tails by
lacustrine shores paint pictures of dense equisetaceous forests; for
whom a fossil trilobite calls up visions of Silurian seas; him too have
I envied who can classify common plants or recognise and name the stones
at his feet: can tell us why the lowly daisy is superior to the lordly
oak; can expatiate on crystallographic angles; and learnedly descant on
amphibole or pyroxene. For myself, I am not versed in the mechanism of
Nature. I have never asked to see the wheels go round. I like to see her
smile, and am not careful as to what oral or buccal muscles are brought
into play for that smile. That she has an anatomy I suppose. But I
bethink me of Actæon's fate, he who saw Dian's naked loveliness
too near. So thou, beware lest thine eye see so much that thy heart
understand too little. Keep thy mind "in a just equipoise of love."
Accomplish that, and no knowledge is too high for thee.

§ 63

Here, however, it is but right to enter a _caveat_. It must be admitted
that it is not given to everyone to hold high converse with Nature.
Nature speaks a cryptic tongue, and unless one has paid some heed to
her language her accents are apt to fall upon deaf ears. Nor can anyone
translate Nature's language to those unversed in her speech. If you
think to hear her voice while the din and clatter of business or
mercature are ringing in your ears, you will hear nothing. Nor, for that
matter, will you see anything. Trees and fields and clouds you may
see, or may think you see; but they will say nothing to you, will mean
nothing to you. To their mere beauty you will be blind; for beauty is a
thing to be felt, not seen.

Goethe declared that Beauty was a primæval phænomenon which had never
yet made its appearance.[46] To Euripides--~kluôn men audên,
omma douch horôn to son~.[47]

And Shelley declares--

  "Fair are others; none beholds thee,
       .     .     .     .     .     .
  And all feel, yet see thee never."[48]

Beauty is _felt_. That is the clue to the secret. The appeal of natural
beauty is to the heart, to the emotions, not to the intellect. The eyes
of the wisest savant may miss what Nature will reveal to the veriest
babe. This is what Mr Edward Carpenter means when he says, albeit in
somewhat extravagant language--

  "As to you, O Moon--

  I know very well that when the astronomers look at you through their
  telescopes they see only an aged and wrinkled body;

  But though they measure your wrinkles never so carefully they do not
  see you personal and close--

  As you disclosed yourself among the chimney-tops last night to the
  eyes of a child--

  When you thought no one else was looking.

         *     *     *     *     *

  Anyhow I see plainly that like all created things you do not yield
  yourself up as to what you are at the first or the thousandth onset,

  And that the scientific people for all their telescopes know as
  little about you as any one--

  Perhaps less than most.

  How curious the mystery of creation."[49]

The poet, bereft of words whereby to give vent to his emotion, falls
back on "the mystery of creation."--Not dissimilarly says Carlyle,
"The rudest mind has still some intimation of the greatness there is
in Mystery."[50] And again, "The _mystical_ enjoyment of an object goes
infinitely farther than the _intellectual_."[51]--It is not alone the
indescribable colour of the delicate corolla, nor is it the minute
knowledge of its astonishing structure, that causes to blaze up in the
beholder a sense of something profound; it is not alone the majestic
heap of the cloud, nor the piercing radiance of the quiet stars, known
to be incomputably distant, that lifts one to the contemplation of
the lofty; it is the immanent, the permanent Mystery that pervades and
unifies all that ever was or is or shall be.

       *     *     *     *     *


The Pleasures of Walking

§ 64

"But what possible pleasure, what possible profit," I can hear the
practical and common-sensible man asking, "is to be gained from
walking--_walking_? Surely walking is the paltriest of sports. Why not
write of riding, driving, rowing, bicycling, motoring, aeroplaning--any
mode of locomotion rather than that of mere trudging?"--Well, in a
technical and paronomasiacal phrase, the question really _solvitur
ambulando_. For one thing, horses have to be baited, boats caulked,
bicycles pumped up, balloons inflated, and motor cars eternally tinkered
at--aeroplanes fly far beyond my welkin. For another thing, not the
least of the practical blessings incident to a walk is that you are
beyond the reach of letters and telegrams and telephones. You are
not likely to be served with a writ when walking; you can laugh at
_capiases_ and injunctions; drafts at sight and judgment summonses
cannot easily overtake you on a trudge. "I have generally found," says
De Quincey, "that, if you are in quest of some certain escape from
Philistines of whatsoever class--sheriff-officers, bores, no
matter what--the surest refuge is to be found amongst hedgerows and
fields."[52] (Had De Quincey lived in the twentieth century, truly he
might have added that it is amongst the fields and hedgerows also
that one gets away from that pest of civilisation, the pene-ubiquitous
advertisement.--And not always even amongst fields and hedgerows, as
the landscape-spoiling hoardings along the routes of our railways prove.
Like Nero, I sometimes wish that the erectors of sky-signs and the
daubers of barns and fences had but one neck that I might ... that I
might--lay upon it a heavy yoke of taxation.--I throw out that hint to
any Finance Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer that may care to act
upon it.)

But far rather would I reply to my quærist in other words than
mine.--"I went to the woods," says Thoreau, "because I wished to live
deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.... I wanted to
live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.... Our life is frittered
away by detail.... In the midst of this chopping sea of civilised life,
such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand and one items
to be allowed for that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go
to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, he must
be a great calculator indeed who succeeds."[53]

Hear, too, Henri-Frédéric Amiel:

  "_1st February 1854._--A walk. The atmosphere incredibly pure--a
  warm, caressing gentleness in the sunshine--joy in one's whole
  being.... I became young again, wondering, and simple, as candour
  and ignorance are simple. I abandoned myself to life and to nature,
  and they cradled me with an infinite gentleness. To open one's heart
  in purity to this ever-pure nature, to allow this immortal life of
  things to penetrate into one's soul, is at the same time to listen
  to the voice of God. Sensation may be a prayer, and self-abandonment
  an act of devotion."[54]

Or hear a greater man than these--hear the great Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
he who divided with Voltaire the intellectual realm of the eighteenth

  "What I regret most in the details of my life which I have forgotten
  is that I did not keep a diary of my travels. Never have I thought
  so much, never have I realised my own existence so much, been
  so much alive, been so much myself if I may so say, as in those
  journeys which I have made alone and afoot. Walking has something in
  it which animates and heightens my ideas: I can scarcely think when
  I stay in one place; my body must be set a-going if my mind is to
  work. The sight of the country, the succession of beautiful scenes,
  the great breeze, the good appetite, the health which I gain by
  walking, the getting away from inns, the escape from everything
  which reminds me of my lack of independence, from everything which
  reminds me of my unlucky fate--all this releases my soul, gives me
  greater courage of thought, throws me as it were into the midst of
  the immensity of the objects of Nature, which I may combine, from
  which I may choose at will, which I may make my own carelessly and
  without fear. I make use of all Nature as her master; my heart,
  surveying one object after another, unites itself, identifies itself
  with those in sympathy with it, surrounds itself with delightful
  images, intoxicates itself with emotions the most exquisite. If, in
  order to seize these, I amuse myself by describing them to myself,
  what a vigorous pencil, what bright colours, what energy of
  expression they need! Some have, so they say, discerned something
  of these influences in my writings, though composed in my declining
  years. Ah! if only those of my early youth had been seen! those
  which I have composed but never written down!"[55]

Thus wrote the great Jean-Jacques in the calm of his declining years.
Those walking inspirations must have been potent indeed to have left so
lasting an impression.[56]

§ 65

But Thoreau and Amiel and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are perhaps counsellors
of perfection; exemplars too remote for our purpose. Permit me then to
resort to an _argumentum ad hominem_.--I knew a man who one summer tried
to do two and a half men's work in one. For five days in the week it
took him from early in the morning of one day till early in the morning
of the next. On Saturday afternoon he was free, and on Saturday he took
the boat to a village twenty-one miles distant. Sunday afternoon was
devoted (alas, necessarily) again to work,--but in the open air. At
two-thirty on Monday morning he started on his return journey--afoot;
breakfasted halfway in; and was at his desk in as good time as
spirits.--Profit? That early morning walk picked him up for the week.
Pleasure? My dear practical sir, would you had been with him! Would you
had felt the quiet, the serenity, the calming influence of unsullied
Nature; the supreme repose in those early morning hours, the solitude,
the vastness, the expansion of soul and spirit beneath the silent stars,
the quiet morn. He saw the full moon pale and set; he saw great Nature
slowly wake; the sleepy cows knee-deep in clover; the fields begemmed
with dew; the little pools--pools which at noon would be muddy
puddles--glistening like emeralds and garnets in the dawn. By degrees,
growing things were individualised. Each shrub, each creeping thing,
had a life of its own. The veriest weed was exalted into a vegetable
personality which had dealings with the Infinite and the Divine: and
"all flowers in field or forest which unclose their trembling eyelids
to the kiss of day" spake to him.--He was alone--alone with unhurrying,
uncareful Nature. The peace of untold æons entered his soul and couraged
him to battle with the petty and the trivial for five more wearing days
without a qualm.--Profit? Pleasure?--What nag, what buggy, what skiff,
what bike, what motor, what dirigible balloon, or hydro-aeroplane would
have got him that? In simple truth, of all that he learned and did
during those arduous weeks, only those lovely lonely walks live in that
man's memory to-day.--Would that oftener we bathed our thirsty souls in
the dews of the dawn! Would that oftener men gat them away from offices
and counters and desks--nay, from balls and bats and cleeks--away into
the quiet country, where nor strife nor struggle, noble or ignoble,
has place or worth! The world is too much with us. Call-loans--narrow
margins, with a slump in the market--killing races with a dark
horse--quickly changing quotations--prolonged ill luck--unstable
tariffs--strikes and rumours of strikes--such things perturb the human
mind. Well, I know few more efficacious antidotes to mental perturbation
than an early morning walk. It is a psychic as well as a sanitary

§ 66

It is also a mental tonic--even in homœopathic doses.--I took last
Sunday a little four-mile stroll before breakfast, and its calming and
beneficent influence is with me still. No one was about; I had the whole
country to myself, and I bathed a tired head in the spacious quietude of
earth and sky. From a height I looked over a great and restful country,
across the sleeping town, and far away over the peaceful lake. Above
it all stretched the benevolent heavens, brooding over this pendent
world.--I thought I saw fixity in the midst of motion; substance beneath
evanescence; unity in multiplicity; a sort of goal where everything was
cyclical; an end where all things seemed only means; infinity lurking
in finitude; a divine inhering in the human. After the treadmill of the
week it was uplifting, exalting. I inhaled great draughts of air from
ultra-planetary spaces; I fed on manna fallen from the highest heavens.
This tiny planet, with its trivial cares and duties, vanished from my
eyes, and I cooled my brow in the clouds of the holy of holies.--But
none the less did I recognise the all-importance, to it and to me, of
earth's small cares and duties. Were they not part of that infinite
multiplicity in which lurked that infinite unity? Did they not go to
make up the "spiritual economy"[57] of the cosmos? But I saw them in a
newer light--a larger light than merely solar, and they took on a new
aspect, and declared themselves integral portions of that divine All
without which that divine All would cease to be.

There is something strangely pure and purifying about early morning air.
It is Nature's great steriliser. It is aseptic; and none breathes it
but is more or less cleansed of the taint of noontide life. The noxious
germs of care and anxiety cannot live in it. It is a magnificent
bactericide. Nature is herself then. Even the denizens of Nature seem to
know this, for never is bird or beast more blithesome than at dawn.

§ 67

For lonely souls, for luckless souls, there is, perhaps, after all is
said and done, but one source of solace. "Nothing human," said Eugénie
de Guérin, "nothing human comforts the soul, nothing human supports

  'À l'enfant il faut sa mère,
  À mon âme il faut mon Dieu.'"[58]

Well, those who think their God has revealed himself in the Canonical
Books will go to their Bible; those who think he has chosen the
channel of a Church will derive ghostly strength from their spiritual
counsellors; but those who think the Nameless has nowhere so plainly
shown himself as in his works, will seek in the face and lineaments of
Nature that consoling smile which every lonely soul so miserably craves;
and fortunate it is that not over his works, but only over his words,
theologians so wrathfully wrangle.--Art thou cast down, and is thy soul
disquieted within thee? Dost distrust thyself? Has love grown cold? And
hast thou caught on thy leman's lips a sigh not meant for thee? Is there
none to whom thou canst go, on whose bosom to rain out the heavy mist
of tears?--Go thou to Pan; betake thee to the fields; betake thee to
the woods; pour out thy contrite heart at the altar of the universe, and
thou shalt be comforted. What matters it the petty perturbations of the
mind? What signify the paltry upheavings of the heart? Lay thy tired
head on Nature's breast. Friendship may fade, ideals vanish, passion
wane, the darling desire upon which thou hast staked thine all may
prove to have been snatched from thee before thy very eyes.--Take heart.
Always there is at hand the Infinite and the Eternal: about thee, above
thee, in presence of which the petty and the paltry flee away.

I know no more comfortable medicament than the quiet companionship of
Nature. The trees breathe a salutary air. The fields invite to repose.
A calming influence pervades unwalled, unceilinged earth, and there
the crumpled soul has room in which to smooth itself out: the noxious
bacilli which infest its folds are swept away; ill-natured thoughts take
flight. How paltry seems a passing quarrel beneath the boughs of a hoary
oak that has witnessed a hundred fights! How puny a callous rage beneath
the capacious sky!

For, believe me, Great Pan is _not_ dead. Nor, believe me, are any that
go to him in any wise cast out. He cares not of what Church thou art a
child, nor does he fence his tables. Worship at whatsoever shrine thou
choosest, always he will welcome thee to his, for Pan is beloved of all
the gods.

Ach! There comes a time when nothing seems worth while; when gaiety
palls, and even sorrow dulls instead of stirs; when nothing seems of
any use, and one feels inclined to give up, to give up.--To such I would
say, pull on thick boots, clutch a stout stick, and go for a country
walk--rain or shine.--It sounds a preposterous remedy, but try it.
Nature never gives up. Not a pygmy weed, trodden under foot of man, and
covered up and overwhelmed with rival growths, but battles for its life
with vim. Nor does it ask for what it battles. Neither does it question
why more favoured plants are so carefully nurtured, and it, poor thing,
is dragged up by the roots.--Take a country walk, and look at the weeds
if at nothing else.

And remember, this is a legitimate remedy, preposterous though
it may sound. So many prescriptions for the heartache are
illegitimate--stimulants, or narcotics, or stimulant-narcotics: sport,
work, play, hazardous adventure, the gaming-table or the betting-ring,
to say nothing of the cup that inebriates but does not cheer. A country
walk is but "letting Nature have her way," is but giving an opportunity
for the _vis medicatrix naturæ_. Try it; do not, like Naaman, prate
of Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, but go wash in Jordan seven


Is Walking Selfish?

§ 68

But is it not a selfish pleasure, this that is to be gained by rural
peregrination, I shall be asked. Bluntly I answer, No. A country walk
makes one blithesome; and than blithesomeness there is no greater foe
to selfishness. Had Bacon not declared that gardening was the purest of
human pleasures, I should be inclined to give the palm to walking.

We are too gregarious. We live too much in herds, and we consider too
much what the herd will think of our petty individual ways. Civilisation
is not an unmixed boon, and artificial combinations of men taint
the natural simplicity of the race. In combining together for mutual
protection against a common foe we forget that sometimes a man's foes
are those of his own household. Each feels that the eyes of the world
are upon him, and always he is subconsciously occupied in conforming
himself to the world. A political community not only curtails the
individual's freedom of action for the good of the whole, it curtails
also his freedom of thought and manner. What is the result? The result
is that "self-consciousness" has taken on a new and sinister meaning.
Instead of denoting the especial and distinguishing characteristic of
emancipated reason, self-consciousness has come to denote a painful
cognisance of the fetters that our fellow-reasoners have put upon
reason. We are the slaves of ourselves. Only the child and the savage
are free to "live deliberately," to "live deep and suck out all the
marrow of life." Long before the child has developed into the grown, and
the savage into the civilised, man, that silent and unseen but tireless
architect, Convention, builds about him an invisible but infrangible
wall of reserve: his spontaneous emotions, his natural affections, his
aspirations and ambitions, must filter through crevices and peepholes
instead of exhaling from him as a rich and original aura.

Already the taint is perceptible in our literature. The centripetal
tendency is not a purely economic one. Commerce and industry draw the
crowds to the cities, and immediately there arises a set of writers who
write only of the city. How large a proportion of our fiction portrays
only the wretched drawing-room intrigue, the wretched rivalries of
wretched citizens. The Epic was buried three hundred years ago. The Ode
is dead. The Lyric is dying. Now we have the Novel and the Problem Play,
the sensational Newspaper and the Picture Magazine. In time, I suppose,
we shall come to the Snapshot and the Paperette. Already we are almost
there.--Was it for this that the mighty Areopagitical pleader for the
Liberty of Unlicensed Printing strove?

I wish that whole populations of crowded cities could be turned out
hebdomadally to take long week-end walks in the country, there to mew
its mighty youth and kindle its undazzled eyes at the full midday beam;
there to slough off the skin of daily toil, cleanse itself from the
dross of money-getting, and learn that there is something in life more
worth living for than the weekly wage, and other joys than those
of _panem et circenses_.--But this is a wild dream. As well try to
rehabilitate the Bacchic dance and Chian wine in place of Football and
beer or Baseball and peanuts.--Yet methinks I have heard of wilder. What
did Jean-Jacques and his school really mean by "back to nature"?

To me, I confess, this polipetal or city-seeking tendency in modern life
(if I may so call it) wears a most serious, a most sinister aspect. So,
I am inclined to think, it did to Ruskin. "I had once purposed," wrote
John Ruskin half-a-century ago, "to show what kind of evidence existed
respecting the possible influence of country life on men; it seeming to
me, then, likely that here and there a reader would perceive this to be
a grave question, more than most which we contend about, political
or social, and might care to follow it out with me earnestly. The day
will assuredly come when men will see that it _is_ a grave question."[59]

If we read history aright, always the bloated city succumbs to the pagan
horde. It is in the crowded city that all that is in the world, the lust
of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,[60] have
most free play. And it is in the city, where division of labour is daily
carried to greater extremes, that men's activities as a whole have least
free play. The result is twofold: the nobler emotions are stunted;
the baser passions are stimulated. Socialism (whatever the precise
prescription so labelled may be) is no remedy for this. Perhaps Rousseau
reasoned better than he knew.

In a sense, however--thanks to whatever gods may be!--as a matter of
fact there is quietly going on a constant recurrence to Nature. The
United States of America, Canada, Australia, South Africa--what but
wholesale emigration from over-populous or over-pragmatical centres is
the source and origin of these? Colonisation is the protest against
the social, political, economical, or religious constrictions of the
crowd.--It is precisely these constrictions, my practical quærist, that
I am tempting thee now and again to flee. _De te fabula narratur._


The Pæan of Being

§ 69

Have I too much belauded the country walk? I do not thereby decry
the outdoor sport. The thorough sportsman is the noblest work of God
(apologies to the shade of Alexander Pope!). Athletics, said that
acute philosophical historian, Goldwin Smith, "wash the brain." Well,
sometimes I think a really good country walk cleans the soul. You
get away from rivalries and trivialities; from scandal, gossip, and
paltriness; you get away from your compeers and your neighbours--perhaps
you learn for the first time who your neighbour is--namely, your
fellow-farer in distress, as the Good Samaritan long ago taught; you get
away from barter and commerce, from manners and customs, from forms and
ceremonies; from the thousand and one complications that arise when a
multitude of hearts that do not beat as one try to live in a too close
contiguity. It was only when the inevitable third party appeared upon
the scene (as I think someone must have said) that Adam and Eve ceased
to be good, put on clothes, and hid themselves from the voice of the
Lord God walking in the garden. It is easy to be generous amongst trees
and grass and running water; one feels good 'neath the blue firmament on
the open earth; ghosts vanish that scent the morning air, and glow-worms
pale their uneffectual fire. For to everyone--I care not whether theist,
deist, or atheist--to everyone Nature instinctively, spontaneously,
proclaims herself an infinitely adorable Mystery. If there is anything
above and beyond the ephemeral and the fleeting; if there is somewhere
some immensity of Being, some source of All, would it not be well
sometimes to make haste and bow the head towards the earth and

Some immensity of Being. It is to this that in reality all Nature
points. The clouds, the skies, the greenery of earth, the myriad forms
of vegetation at our feet, stir as these may the soul to its depths,
they are but single chords in the orchestra of Life. It is the great
pæan of Being that Nature chants. By them it is that we perceive "the
immense circulation of life which throbs in the ample bosom of Nature, a
life which surges from an invisible source and swells the veins of
this universe."[62] Through them it is that we detect the enormous
but incomprehensible unity which underlies this incommensurable
multiplicity. The wavelet's plash; the purl of the rill; the sough of
the wind in the pines--these are but notes in the divine diapason of
Life, of Life singing its cosmic song, unmindful who may hear.--Alas,
that so few hear aught but a thin and scrannel sound!



  Abbott, Charles C., 13

  Action, a struggle to overcome space and time, 131

  Advertisements, hint as to taxing, 200

  Alcohol, proper use of, 142 _et seq._

  All, the, 129 _et seq._

  Amiel, Henri-Frédéric, 128;
    quoted, 201, 202

  Aphrodites, the two, 165

  Appearance, something behind, 87

  Arve, the river, 167

  Autumn in Canada, 107 _et seq._

  Autumn reveries, 29

  Avebury, Lord, quoted, 185, 186


  Bannock, the, 156

  Beans, how to cook, 157, 158

  Beauty, 110;
    the appeal of, 164 _et seq._;
    subjective character of, 165;
    various kinds of, _ibid._;
    Goethe on, 194;
    Shelley on, 195

  Being, the pæan of, 223 _et seq._;
    immensity of, 225

  Belloc, Hilaire, quoted, 151

  Beverages, 142 _et seq._

  Blood corpuscles, an analogy from, 93 _et seq._

  Boots, 135

  Borrow, George, 14;
    quoted, 160, 161

  Browning, Robert, quoted, 163, 164

  Buckinghamshire, a walk in, 31 _et seq._

  Burma, 15

  Burroughs, John, 12;
    quoted, 75, 76

  Byways, English, 21 _et seq._


  Calm, Matthew Arnold on, 77

  Campbell, Professor W. W., quoted, 177

  Canada, spring in, 45 _et seq._;
    autumn in, 107 _et seq._;
    53 _et seq._;
    winter in, 59 _et seq._

  Carlyle, Thomas, quoted, 196, 197

  Carpenter, Edward, 103;
    quoted, 195, 196

  Cattle, mountain, 172

  Cave man, the, 138, 139

  Cities, crowded populations of, 218 _et seq._

  Civilisation a mixed boon, 216 _et seq._

  Companion, an uncongenial, 113, 114

  Conscience, 42 _et seq._

  Cosmos, the, 93

  Country, the, calming influence of, 127


  Darwin, Charles, quoted, 170, 171

  Death, a change, 95

  De Quincey, Thomas, quoted, 199

  Details, practical, 152 _et seq._

  Dietary, the tramp's, 140 _et seq._

  Downs, the Sussex, 25 _et seq._

  Drama, a natural, 79 _et seq._


  East, the fascination of the, 19

  Emigration, 222

  England, byways in, 22 _et seq._;
    a spring morning in, 25 _et seq._

  Enthusiasts, cautions for, 181 _et seq._

  Euripides, quoted, 194

  Evening walks, 78 _et seq._

  Evil, origin of, 97 _et seq._


  Fatigue, a fictitious, 148

  Fire, the nomad, 137 _et seq._

  Food, 140;
    importance of, 149 _et seq._; 154 _et seq._;
    details concerning, 153 _et seq._


  Georgian Bay, the, 53

  Glacial epoch, the, 138, 139

  Goethe, quoted, 194

  Golf and walking, 1 _et seq._;
    indictments against, _ibid._;
    vindication of, 2;
    misapprehension concerning, 2, 3

  Guérin, Eugénie de, quoted, 211

  Guérin, Maurice de, quoted, 186, 187; 225, 226


  Haig, Dr Alexander, 145

  Harte, Bret, quoted, 159, 160

  Hassocks, 25

  Hearth, the, 137, 139

  Hurstpierpoint, 25


  Ideal, unrealisability of, 132

  Impedimenta, 151

  India, 17 _et seq._

  Infinite, the, 128;
    how that all things point to the, 188 _et seq._

  Instincts, primitive, 162 _et seq._


  Jefferies, Richard, 12;
    quoted, 184, 185


  Kipling, Rudyard, quoted, 170

  Kingston Road, the, 119, 120

  Knapsack, contents of, 152 _et seq._


  Landscape, the beauty of, 159 _et seq._

  Life, a process, 37 _et seq._;
    omnipresent, 42; 95;
    an absolute, 96

  Literature, modern, 218, 219


  Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 12, 13

  MacLane, Mary, quoted, 160

  Meditations, evening, 78 _et seq._

  Memories, cosmic, 162

  Memory, idea of time dependent on, 92, 93

  Milk, value of, 147

  Milky Way, the, 56

  Morning air, a steriliser, 210

  Morning walk, an early, 205; 208

  Morning walks, 72 _et seq._

  Mountains, peacefulness of, 173, 174

  Müller, Max, 112

  Multiplicity, subjective character of, 95

  Mystery, the, of nature, 39; 85;
    Carlyle on, 196, 197


  Nature, spirituality of, 34 _et seq._;
    a universe of subsistences, 51;
    unity of, 91; 93;
    beauty of, 164 _et seq._;
    man's primæval habitat, 171;
    the language of, 193, 194;
    companionship of, 213

  Neo-Platonists, 90

  Nilgiris, the, 17


  "Oberland Chalet, An," quoted, 143

  Ontario, lake, 118, 119

  Otonabee, river, 48


  Pantry, the antiquity of the, 155

  Pascal, quoted, 101

  Plato, quoted, 165

  Plotinus, 89, 90

  Poynings, village, 25


  Reason, inadequacy of, 97;
    and moral progress, 101, 102

  Religious tenets, criterion of, 102

  Responsibility, 96, 97

  Rhône, the, 167

  Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, quoted, 202-204

  Ruskin, John, quoted, 161; 220, 221


  Salève, the Grand, 167 _et seq._

  Savoie, Haute, 172

  Science, 191

  Seclusion, benefits of, 117

  Self-consciousness, 217, 218

  Sénancour, quoted, 161

  Sense, a seventh, 186

  Solar system, motion of, 176, 177

  "Son of the Marshes, A," 13

  Soul, the, 113

  Space, subjective character of, 91; 95

  Spirit of eternal things, the, 39, 85

  Stayner, 53

  Stephen, Sir Leslie, 14

  Strife, universality of, 176

  Sunday in a country town, 121 _et seq._

  Sunshine, Canadian, 70, 71


  Tea, as a stimulant, 145 _et seq._

  Tennyson, quoted, 190

  Thatcher, T., quoted, 75

  Thoreau, Henry D., 12;
    quoted, 200, 201

  Thought, a struggle to conceive the infinite, 131

  Time, subjective character of, 91, 92, 95

  Toronto, 119

  Tragedies, 124 _et seq._

  Transcendentalism, practical, 40 _et seq._

  Troglodytic families, 138


  Unity, a spiritual, 112, 113

  Universe, the, imagined as a sphere, 91

  Uxbridge, 23


  Van Dyke, Henry, 13


  Walk, the essence of a, 5 _et seq._;
    a woeful, 105 _et seq._

  Walkers, notable, 9 _et seq._

  Walking tour, preparations for a, 133 _et seq._

  Walking tours, 133 _et seq._

  Walks and walking, effects of golf upon, 2 _et seq._;
    essence of, 5 _et seq._;
    proper frame of mind for, _ibid._;
    the mood for, 72 _et seq._;
    the rivals of angling, 75;
    instinct for, 103, 104;
    the pleasures of, 198 _et seq._

  Walks, my earliest, 15 _et seq._;
    in Burma, _ibid._;
    in India, 17 _et seq._;
    in England, 21 _et seq._;
    on the Sussex Downs, 25 _et seq._;
    in Buckinghamshire, 31 _et seq._;
    in Canada, 45 _et seq._;
    on the banks of the Otonabee, 47 _et seq._;
    by the Georgian Bay, 53 _et seq._;
    on the outskirts of an Ontarian country town, 59 _et seq._;
    a woeful walk, 105, 106;
    from Toronto, along the Kingston Road, 107 _et seq._;
    over one of the Passes of the Jura, 149, 150;
    on the Grand Salève, 167 _et seq._;
    early on Monday mornings, 205, 206;
    of a Sunday before breakfast, 208 _et seq._

  Walton, Izaak, quoted, 72, 73, 74

  Warnings, 180

  Whiting, Charles Goodrich, 13

  Will, 96, 97;
    freedom of the, 99 _et seq._

  Winter in Canada, 62 _et seq._

  Wood, Edith Elmer, quoted, 143 _et seq._

  Woods, Canadian, 63 _et seq._

  Wordsworth, William, quoted, 7, 111, 112


[1] See Henry D. Thoreau's "Walden"; "A Week on the Concord and
Merrimack Rivers"; "Winter"; etc.

[2] See John Burroughs, his "Birds and Poets"; "Locusts and Wild Honey";
"Pepacton"; "Signs and Seasons"; "Wake Robin"; "Winter Sunshine"; etc.

[3] See Richard Jefferies, his "Amateur Poaching"; "Field and Hedgerow";
"Wild Life in a Southern County"; "Nature near London"; "Round about a
Great Estate"; "Wood Magic"; "The Story of my Heart."

[4] See Hamilton Wright Mabie's "In the Forest of Arden"; "Under the
Trees and Elsewhere"; etc.

[5] See Henry Van Dyke's "Fisherman's Luck, and some other Uncertain
Things"; "Little Rivers: A Book of Essays in Profitable Idleness"; "Days
Off, and other Digressions"; etc.

[6] See "In the Green Leaf and the Sere," by "A Son of the Marshes."
Edited by J. A. Owen. Illustrated by G. C. Haïté and D. C. Nicholl. Also
"Drift from Longshore," by the same author and editor.

[7] See Charles C. Abbott's "Upland and Meadow"; "Wasteland Wanderings";
"The Birds About Us"; "A Naturalist's Rambles about Home"; "Outings at
Odd Times"; "Recent Rambles, or, In Touch with Nature"; "Travels in a
Tree Top"; "Birdland Echoes"; "Notes of the Night, and other Outdoor
Sketches"; etc.

[8] See Charles Goodrich Whiting's "Walks in New England"; etc.

[9] See George Borrow's "Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery."

[10] "Obermann," lettre ii.

[11] See his "In Praise of Walking," in _The Monthly Review_ (London:
Murray) of August, 1901.

[12] Mr Robert F. Stupart, in the "Handbook of Canada," published by the
Publication Committee of the Local Executive [of the British Association
for the Advancement of Science], Toronto: 1897, p. 78.

[13] See "The Compleat Angler," chapter i.

[14] _Ibid._

[15] See a delightful letter to _The Publishers' Circular_ of September
the 27th, 1902; vol. lxxvii., p. 325, on "A Plea for a Long Walk," by T.
Thatcher, of 44 College Green, Bristol, England. Also another letter by
the same writer on "42 Miles on 2d. at the Age of 64," in the same
periodical in its issue of April the 25th, 1903; vol. lxxviii., p. 457.
The "2d." means that his food consisted of dry brown-bread crusts only,
the cost of which he computes at twopence.

[16] "Pepacton," Foot Paths, p. 205.

[17] _Confer._--"The primal One, from which all things are, is
everywhere and nowhere. As being the cause of all things, it is
everywhere. As being other than all things, it is nowhere.... No
predicate of Being can be properly applied to it.... It is greatest of
all, not by magnitude, but by potency.... It is to be regarded as
infinite, not because of the impossibility of measuring or counting it,
but because of the impossibility of comprehending its power. It is
perfectly all-sufficing."--"The Neo-Platonists: A Study in the History
of Hellenism." By Thomas Whittaker. Cambridge, 1901. Chapter v., pp. 58,

[18] See his General Introduction to Ward's "English Poets," vol. i., p.
xvii. London and New York: Macmillan, 1880.

[19] "The Mystery of Golf." By Arnold Haultain. Second Edition. Pp. 153,
154. London and New York: Macmillan, 1910.

[20] Pascal, "Pensees," XVI. iv.

[21] _Ibid._ iii.

[22] Tennyson, "The Ancient Sage."

[23] See his "Farthest North," ii. 73 _et seq._; 76 _et seq._; _et

[24] "An Oberland Chalet." By Edith Elmer Wood. London: T. Werner
Laurie. No date, but probably _circa_ 1912. Pp. 256-260.

[25] And I thank you, C.B.L.

[26] "The Path to Rome," p. 16.

[27] _Ibid._, p. 341.

[28] For these I am entirely indebted to my younger brother, Professor
Herbert E. T. Haultain, A.M.Inst.C.E., etc.

[29] Quoted in _The Academy and Literature_ (London) of October the 4th,
1902, p. 340.

[30] "The Story of Mary MacLane," by Herself. Chicago: Herbert S. Stone
& Company, 1902.

[31] In _The New York World_ of September the 14th, 1902, p. 7.

[32] "Wild Wales," Introduction.

[33] "The Seven Lamps of Architecture," chapter vi., The Lamp of
Memory, §i.

[34] Obermann, Lettre XXXVI.

[35] And his bride complained of the damp! (βαλλεις εις ἁμαραν με,
και ειματα καλα μιαινεις.--Theocritus, Idyll XXVII. 52).

[36] Browning, "Two in the Campagna."

[37] _Confer_ Edward Carpenter: "The Drama of Love and Death: A Study of
Human Evolution and Transfiguration," page 51. London: George Allen,
1912. Also Mr Havelock Ellis, his "Studies in the Psychology of Sex,"
vol. vi., p. 558.

[38] See Plato, Symposium, 180:--"παντες γαρ ἱσμεν, ὁτι ουκ ἑστιν ἁνευ
Ἑρωτος Ἁφροδιτη, κ. τ. λ."

[39] "Sussex," first stanza.--"The Five Nations," p. 69. New York:
Doubleday, Page & Co., 1903.

[40] "The Voyage of the _Beagle_," chapter xx.

[41] Professor W. W. Campbell, of the Lick Observatory, California,
computes the velocity of the Solar System through space at approximately
nineteen kilomètres per second (see Lick Observatory Bulletin, No. 195,
vol. vi. (1910-1911), p. 123. See also Bulletin No. 196, vol. vi., pp.
125 _et seq._). What, in interstellar space, the precise curve described
by my finger nail was, especially if to rotation, revolution, and the
approach to Hercules, we add nutation, tidal drag, and the precession of
the equinoxes, to say nothing of earth tremours, I should much like to

[42] All my figures are, of course, rough in the extreme; and I give
Professor Campbell the benefit of about fifty miles a minute because he
says "approximately."

[43] "The Pageant of Summer."

[44] "The Pleasures of Life," Part II., chapter viii.

[45] "Journal, Lettres, et Poemes," p. 17. Paris, 1880.

[46] "Das Schöne ist ein Urphänomen, das zwar nie selber zur Erscheinung
kommt."--"Dichtung und Wahrheit."

[47] "Hippolytus."

[48] "Prometheus Unbound."

[49] "Towards Democracy." Third Edition, pp. 149, 151. London: Fisher
Unwin, 1892.

[50] Essay on Characteristics. Works (Shilling Edition), ix. 15.

[51] Essay on Diderot. Works, x. 26. The italics are Carlyle's.

[52] Additions to the "Confessions of an Opium-Eater," p. 381. Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1876.

[53] "Walden," pp. 98, 99, in David Douglas's Edinburgh Edition, 1884.

[54] "Journal Intime," p. 45. London: The Macmillan Co., 1890.--I avail
myself of Mrs Humphry Ward's admirable translation.

[55] "Confessions," Partie I. Livre IV. Paris: Lefevre's Edition; 1819,
vol. i., pp. 259, 260.

[56] Thirty-four years separated the tour of which he speaks from the
date when he penned these words.

[57] The fine phrase of Mrs Humphry Ward. See her preface to her
translation of Amiel's "Journal," last paragraph.

[58] Eugénie de Guérin, "Journal et Fragments," p. 181. Twenty-fourth
Edition. Paris: Didier et Cie, 1879.

[59] "Modern Painters," Part VI., chapter i., paragraph 7.--Vol. v., pp.
5 and 6 of Messrs George Allen & Sons' edition.

[60] 1 John ii. 16.

[61] Exodus xxxiv. 8.

[62] "Cette immense circulation de vie qui s'opère dans l'ample sein de
la nature; ... cette vie qui sourd d'une fontaine invisible et gonfle
les veines de cet univers."--Maurice de Guérin, "Journal," p. 22. Paris,

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