KIPLING'S SUSSEX - online book

An illustrated descriptive guide, to the places mentioned in
the writings of Rudyard Kipling.

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ROUND ABOUT RYE                 83
On the evening of my tour about Rye, I re­turned feeling very weary to a certain hostelry and demanded entertainment, and after a meal I went into the bar to drink beer with some labourers, a tramp, and a local gentleman. The latter was of no great age, but of a venerable appearance. He was perhaps fifty years old, but he had let his hair grow longish and wore a soft felt hat crushed on his head in a careless manner. His features had the preoccupied look of the dreamer and idealist, and his whole appearance marked him as one of those who are care­less about external show and consider life too valuable to be frittered away by money-making more than is absolutely essential for nature's most primitive needs. Presently I moved my measure of ale to his table, and began to talk to him of how good the gods had been to the people of Rye in granting them such a beautiful old town with its treasures of oak, and overhanging gables, and bulged leaded windows—all immemorial things. Much to my interest the local man informed me he had lived in the town for fifty-two years, and his family had lived there for three hundred. Sitting in the long smoke-scented twilight the stranger unfolded himself like a lotus to the Egyptian moon. He was a worthy man—the child of
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