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Crotchet Castle

3. The Roman Camp
He loved her more then seven yere,
Yet was he of her love never the nere;
He was not ryche of golde and fe,
A gentyll man forsoth was he.
The Squyr of Lowe Degre.
The Reverend Doctor Folliott having promised to return to dinner, walked back to
his vicarage, meditating whether he should pass the morning in writing his next
sermon, or in angling for trout, and had nearly decided in favour of the latter
proposition, repeating to himself, with great unction, the lines of Chaucer:
And as for me, though that I can but lite,
On bokis for to read I me delite,
And to 'hem yeve I faithe and full credence,
And in mine herte have 'hem in reverence,
So hertily, that there is game none,
That fro my bokis makith me to gone,
But it be seldome, on the holie daie;
Save certainly whan that the month of Maie
Is cousin, and I here the foulis sing,
And that the flouris ginnin for to spring,
Farwell my boke and my devocion:
when his attention was attracted by a young gentleman who was sitting on a
camp stool with a portfolio on his knee, taking a sketch of the Roman Camp,
which, as has been already said, was within the enclosed domain of Mr.
Crotchet. The young stranger, who had climbed over the fence, espying the
portly divine, rose up, and hoped that he was not trespassing. "By no means, sir,"
said the divine, "all the arts and sciences are welcome here; music, painting, and
poetry; hydrostatics and political economy; meteorology, transcendentalism, and
fish for breakfast."
THE STRANGER. A pleasant association, sir, and a liberal and discriminating
hospitality. This is an old British camp, I believe, sir?
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Roman, sir; Roman; undeniably Roman. The vallum is
past controversy. It was not a camp, sir, a castrum, but a castellum, a little camp,
or watch-station, to which was attached, on the peak of the adjacent hill, a
beacon for transmitting alarms. You will find such here and there, all along the
range of chalk hills, which traverses the country from north-east to south-west,
and along the base of which runs the ancient Iknield road, whereof you may
descry a portion in that long straight white line.
THE STRANGER. I beg your pardon, sir; do I understand this place to be your
property?
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. It is not mine, sir: the more is the pity; yet is it so far well,
that the owner is my good friend, and a highly respectable gentleman.
THE STRANGER. Good and respectable, sir, I take it, means rich?
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. That is their meaning, sir.
 
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