Easter Sunday

Over Salisbury Plain

BEFORE the first brightening of the light on Sunday morning the rain ceased, and I returned to Dunbridge to pick up the road I had lost on Saturday evening. Above all, I wanted to ride along under Dean Hill, the level-ridged chalk hill dotted with yew that is seen running parallel to the railway a quarter of a mile on your left as you near Salisbury from Eastleigh.

Looking back at West Dean Hill


The sky was pale, scarcely more blue than the clouds with which it was here and there lightly whitewashed. For five miles I was riding against the stream of the river which rises near Clarendon and meets the Test near Dunbridge. The water and its alders, many of them prostrate, and its drab sedges mingled with intense green and with marsh-marigolds’ yellow, were seldom more than a hundred yards away on my right. Pewits wheeled over it with creaking wings and protests against the existence of man.

Jefferies Monument in Salisbury Cathedral

“Who, observing the works of Almighty God
With a poet’s eye, | Has |
enriched the literature of his country, | and |
won for himself a place amongst | those |
who have made men happier, | and wiser.”

If Jefferies had to be commemorated in a cathedral, it was unnecessary to drag in Almighty God. Perhaps the commemorator hoped thus to cast a halo over the man and his books; but I think “The Story of my Heart” and “Hours of Spring” will be proof against the holy water of these feeble and ill divided words.

Venus at Erlestoke

A timber-yard, a “George and Dragon,” and many neat thatched cottages compose the wayside village of Erlestoke. Water was flashing down the gutters. Quite a number of people were on the road, but no one could tell me the meaning of the statuary niched on the cottage walls. It must have come from “some old ancient place,” they said. An old man who had dwelt for eighteen years in one of the cottages thus adorned, and had worked as a boy with old men that knew the place, could tell me no more. Some of the figures were nudes—one a female, with the coy hands of Venus, rising from her bath—others classical, and symbolic or grotesque: all astonishing in that position, ten feet up on a cottage wall, and unlikely to have come from the old church in Erlestoke Park.

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