Page:Highways and Byways in Sussex.djvu/259

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XXIV
231
COBBETT AGAIN

stone. The soil hath been entirely washed from off them, and in many places, from the interstices by which they are divided, one perceives these crags with bare broad white foreheads, and, as it were, overlooking the wood, which clothes the valley at their feet. In going to the place, I passed across this deep valley, and was led by a narrow foot-path almost trackless up to the cliff, which seems as one advances to hang over one's head. The mind in this passage is prepared with all the suspended feelings of awe and reverence, and as one approaches this particular rock, standing with its stupendous bulk poised, seemingly in a miraculous manner and point, one is struck with amazement. The recess in which it stands hath, behind this rock, and the rocks which surround it, a withdrawn and recluse passage which the eye cannot look into but with an idea of its coming from some more secret and holy adyt. All these circumstances, in an age of tutored superstition, would give, even to the finest minds, the impressions that lead to idolatry."

And this is Cobbett's description, in the Rural Rides:—"At the place, of which I am now speaking, that is to say, by the side of this pleasant road to Brighton, and between Turner's Hill and Lindfield, there is a rock, which they call 'Big upon Little,' that is to say, a rock upon another, having nothing else to rest upon, and the top one being longer and wider than the top of the one it lies on. This big rock is no trifling concern, being as big, perhaps, as a not very small house. How, then, came this big upon little? What lifted up the big? It balances itself naturally enough; but what tossed it up? I do not like to pay a parson for teaching me, while I have God's own Word to teach me; but if any parson will tell me how big came upon little, I do not know that I shall grudge him a trifle. And if he cannot tell me this; if he say, All that we have to do is to admire and adore; then I tell him, that I can admire and adore without his aid, and that I will keep my money in my pocket." That is pure Cobbett.