Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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96                          THE SHADOW OF THE PEER                     chap.
bacon have an appropriateness that make them a more desirable food than ambrosia. The little parlour is wainscoted with the votive paintings—a village Diploma Gallery—of artists who have made the " Swan " their home.
Fittleworth has a dual existence. In the south it is riparian and low, much given to anglers and visitors. In the north it is high and sandy, with clumps of firs, living its own life and spreading gorse-covered commons at the feet of the walker. Between its southern border and Bignor Park is a superb common of sand and heather, an inland paradise for children.
Petworth station and Petworth town are far from being the same thing, and there are few more fatiguing miles than that which separates them. A 'bus, it is true, plies between, but it is one of those long, close prisons with windows that annihilate thought by their shattering unfixedness. Petworth's spire is before one all the way, Petworth itself clustering on the side of the hill, a little town with several streets rather than a great village all on one artery. I say several streets, but this is dead in the face of tradition, which has a joke to the effect that a long timber waggon once entered Petworth's single, circular street, and has never yet succeeded in emerging. I certainly met it.
The town seems to be beneath the shadow of its lord even more than Arundel: it is like Pompeii, with Vesuvius emitting glory far above. One must, of course, live under the same conditions if one is to feel the authentic thrill; the mere sojourner cannot know it. One wonders, in these feudal towns, what it would be like to leave democratic London or the in­dependence of one's country fastness, and pass for a while beneath the spell of a Duke of Norfolk, or a Baron Lecon-field—a spell possibly not consciously cast by them at all, but existing none the less, largely through the fostering care of the townspeople on the rent-roll, largely through the officers controlling the estates; at any rate unmistakable, as present in the very air of the streets as is the presage of a thunder-
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