Page:Studies of a Biographer 3.djvu/284

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
272
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

Scawfell. But this may be due to the suggestion that it is a miniature of the Alps. I appeal, therefore, to the Fen Country, the country of which Alton Locke's farmer boasted that it had none of your 'darned ups and downs' and 'was as flat as his barn-door for forty miles on end.' I used to climb the range of the Gogmagogs, to see the tower of Ely, some sixteen miles across the dead level, and I boasted that every term I devised a new route for walking to the cathedral from Cambridge. Many of these routes led by the little public-house called 'Five Miles from Anywhere': which in my day was the Mecca to which a remarkable club, called—from the name of the village—the 'Upware Republic,' made periodic pilgrimages. What its members specifically did when they got there beyond consuming beer is unknown to me; but the charm was in the distance 'from anywhere'—a sense of solitude under the great canopy of the heavens, where, like emblems of infinity,

I have always loved walks in the Fens. In a steady march along one of the great dykes by the monotonous canal with the exuberant vegetation