Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson


























































































 -   This slow
levelling process has been going on for centuries, and it was
doubtless in this way that the buildings - Page 80
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This Slow Levelling Process Has Been Going On For Centuries, And It Was Doubtless In This Way That The Buildings Within The Walls Were Pulled Down Long Ages Ago.

Then the action of the earth-worms began, and floors and foundations, with fallen stones and tiles, were gradually buried in the soil, and what was once a city was a dense thicket of oak and holly and thorn.

Finally the wood was cleared, and the city was a walled wheat field - so far as we know, the ground has been cultivated since the days of King John. But the entire history of this green walled space before me - less than twenty centuries in duration - does not seem so very long compared with that of the huge earthen wall I am standing on, which dates back to prehistoric times.

Standing here, knee-deep in the dead ruddy bracken, in the "coloured shade" of the oaks, idly watching the leaves fall fluttering to the ground, thinking in an aimless way of the remains of the two ancient cities before me, the British and the Roman, and of their comparative antiquity, I am struck with the thought that the sweet sensations produced in me by the scene differ in character from the feeling I have had in other solitary places. The peculiar sense of satisfaction, of restfulness, of peace, experienced here is very perfect; but in the wilderness, where man has never been, or has at all events left no trace of his former presence, there is ever a mysterious sense of loneliness, of desolation, underlying our pleasure in nature.

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