Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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XLII
ANOTHER MILLER
431
cannot have perplexed the horse so much as his master's idea of mercy ; for when its back was over-loaded, not only with sacks of flour, but also with Coombs, that humanitarian, experiencing a pang of sympathy, and exclaiming " The marci-ful man is marciful to his beast," would lift one of the sacks on to his own shoulders. His marcy, however, did not extend to dismounting. Our Sussex droll, Andrew Boorde, when he invented the wisdom of Gotham, invented also the charity of Coombs. But the story is true.
Coombs must not be considered typical of Sussex. Nor can the tricyclist of Chailey be called typical of Sussex—the weary "man who was overtaken by a correspondent of mine on the acclivity called the King's Head Hill, toiling up its steep­ness on a very old-fashioned, solid-tyred tricycle. He had the brake hard down, and when this was pointed out to him, he replied shrewdly, " Eh master, but her might goo backards." Such whimsical excess of caution, such thorough calculation of all the chances, is not truly typical, nor is the miller's oddity truly typical; and yet if one set forth to find humorous eccentricity, humorous suspicion, and humorous cautiousness at their most flourishing, Sussex is the county for the search.
It ought to be known that those Londoners who would care to reach Sussex by Roman road have still Stane Street at their service. With a little difficulty here and there, a little free­dom with other people's land, the walker is still able to travel from London to Chichester almost in a bee-line, as the Romans used. Stane Street, which is a southern continuation of Erming Street, pierced London's wall at Billingsgate, and that would therefore be the best starting point. The modern traveller would set forth down the Borough High Street (as the Canterbury Pilgrims did), crossing the track of Watling Street near the Elephant and Castle, and so on the present high road for several not too interesting miles ; alongNewington Butts, and Kennington Park Road, up Clapham
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