We sculled up to Walton, a rather large place for a riverside town. As
with all riverside places, only the tiniest corner of it comes down to
the water, so that from the boat you might fancy it was a village of some
half-dozen houses, all told. Windsor and Abingdon are the only towns
between London and Oxford that you can really see anything of from the
stream. All the others hide round corners, and merely peep at the river
down one street: my thanks to them for being so considerate, and leaving
the river-banks to woods and fields and water-works.
Even Reading, though it does its best to spoil and sully and make hideous
as much of the river as it can reach, is good-natured enough to keep its
ugly face a good deal out of sight.
Caesar, of course, had a little place at Walton - a camp, or an
entrenchment, or something of that sort. Caesar was a regular up-river
man. Also Queen Elizabeth, she was there, too. You can never get away
from that woman, go where you will. Cromwell and Bradshaw (not the guide
man, but the King Charles's head man) likewise sojourned here. They must
have been quite a pleasant little party, altogether.
There is an iron "scold's bridle" in Walton Church. They used these
things in ancient days for curbing women's tongues.