Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Roads.
R. BURTON, of Cambridge (from whose journal we have already quoted) had some experience of Sussex roads in the middle of last century; and his evidence is not of a favourable character. He entered the county from the Surrey side, by way of Stone Street, a relic of the ancient Romans and their road-making (whence the name of the village), which called up all his classic enthusiasm. " As to the Romans," he exclaims, " I praise them for many of their high-souled and magnificent ideas, but not least for their public establishments and works; and on this very day most especially do I praise them, while travelling on this stone causeway; for, from the moment I left it, I fell immediately upon all that was most bad — upon a land desolate and muddy—whether inhabited by men or beasts a stranger could not easily distinguish — and upon roads which were—to explain concisely what is most abominable— Sussexian."
He had previously described Sussex as " a muddy, fertile, and pastoral country, smooth and flat, indeed, when seen from afar, but not easy to ride or drive through; so that, having thereby earned a bad name, it has passed into a by-word, and any difficulty hard to get through or struggle against, may, by a simile, be called ' the Sussex bit of the road.'"
This is hard, indeed, upon Sussex; but "worse remains behind." Going into details (which in this case, we take it, meant rucks and quagmires and "fondering roads"), the learned Doctor declares that " No one would imagine them
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