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The Cheviots

I repeatedly walked through that country up to
Edinburgh and down by myself in subsequent years, and
nowhere remember such affectionate, sad, and
thoughtful, and in fact, interesting and salutary journeys.
I have had days clear as Italy. . . days moist and dripping, overhung with the infinite of silent grey - and perhaps the latter were the preferable in certain moods. You had the world and its waste imbroglios of joy and woe, of light and darkness, to yourself alone. You could strip barefoot if it suited better, carry shoes and socks over shoulder, hung on your stick; clean shirt and comb were in your pocket; omnia mea mecum porto. You lodged with shepherds who had clean solid cottages; wholesome eggs, milk, oatmeal, porridge, clean blankets to their beds, and a great deal of human sense and unadulterated natural politeness. Canty, shrewd, and witty fellows, when you set them talking; knew from their hill tops every bit of country between Forth and Solway, and all the shepherd inhabitants within fifty miles, being a kind of confraternity of shepherds from father to son. No sort of peasant labourers I have ever come across seemed to me so happily situated, morally and physically well-developed, and deserving to be happy, as those shepherds of the Cheviots. Ofortunatos nirnium! But perhaps it is all altered not a little now, as I sure enough am who speak of it!
Thomas Carlyle

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