ROTTINGDEAN AND WHEATEARS
Ovingdean—Charles II.—The introduction of Mangel Wurzel—Rotting-dean as a shrine—Mr. Kipling's Sussex poem—Thomas Fuller on the Wheatear—Mr. Hudson's description of the traps—The old prosperous days for shepherds—Luring larks—A fight on the beach—The town that failed.
Beyond Kemp Town's serene and silent line of massive houses is the new road that leads to Rottingdean. The old road fell into the sea some few years ago—the fourth or fifth to share that fate. But the pleasantest way thither is on foot over the turf that tops the white cliffs.
By diverging inland between Brighton and Rottingdean, just beyond the most imposing girls' school in the kingdom, Ovingdean is reached, one of the nestling homesteads of the Downs. It is chiefly known as providing Harrison Ainsworth with the very pretty title of one of his stories, Ovingdean Grange. The gallant novelist, however, was a poor historian in this book, for Charles the Second, as we have seen, never set foot east of Brighton on the occasion of his journey of escape over the Sussex Downs. The legend that lodges him at Ovingdean, although one can understand how Ovingdean must cherish it, cannot stand. (Mock Beggars' Hall, in the same romance, is Southover Grange at Lewes.)
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war. Oving-