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rounding country for some miles she did not admire, from the small quantity of trees scattered over it, as she was partial to rich woods and groves to diversify the
The creariness of Salisbury Plain, impressed her with gloomy ideas, and the chalky soil had not such a pleasing appearance, she thought, as the black or red earth of other places through which she had travelled. The snow-white cottages, however, struck her as extremely pretty.
They proceeded to Blandford, Dorchester, and several other places, till they came within some distance of Charmouth ; and the country in that situation highly pleased her, as the coach drove by the side of lofty hills, and appeared, should it by any accident overset, as if it would be precipitated into the beautiful and fertile vallies beneath ; for a very low and slight fence could not retard its progress downwards. The preceding parts of Dorsetshire she had passed through were fine, open, and cul
tivated, with a distant view of the sea; yet were not so well clothed with trees, nur had she previously perceived such pic. turesque dales.
The gentleman, to their regret, now left them, and Amelrosa entered Charmouth with the ladies only, (who were going as far as Honiton) and thought it a very neat pleasant place, delightfully situated, commanding a view of the sea and a charming country. Several ragged boys and girls came running barefooted by the side of the coach, holding out shells, sea-weed, and curious pebbles, entreating the passengers to purchase them. Amelrosa distributed some halfpence among them; the other ladies followed her example, and all expressed their concern, that the parents of these children should suffer them to lead a life thus idle, wretched, and unprofitable; which must ultimately tend to their getting bad habits, and prove their ruin. The ladies, who told her they frequently travel
led that road, asserted it was customary for them, constantly to watch for every carriage that passed, and importune the travellers in a similar manner. They were very
fine children, but sun-burnt to a dark brown, though naturally fair ; and their light hair scorched with the sun, stood almost erect on their heads, and resembled dried hay or flax. Sometimes, the ladies said, they had girls of fourteen or fifteen, acting the same part, and equally ragged, without shoes or stockings.
Tke stage now stopped and set Amelrosa down at a mean inn, where a respectable looking old man, with white hair and a placid benevolent countenance, was standing at the door. Seeing her alight, and arrived at the time mentioned in her letter, this old man, who was Farmer Heartwell, introduced himself to her, concluding she was the young lady he expected, as she answered to the description Lucy had given him of her. His exterior was mild and G 6
prepossessing, and pleased Amelrosa so much, that she was delighted at his being there thus opportunely to receive her; but observed, that he seemed to regard her with an earnest look of surprise.
A horse with a pillion was immediately led out of the stable, and being assisted to mount it, Heartwell, who got up to ride before, placed her little box in front; and one of his labourers that had accompanied him, taking her trunk on his shoulders, (as she had left every thing she did not absolutely want under the care of Mr. Melyille,) in this procession they proceeded to Stoke Morton.
This village consisted of about a dozen cottages and a country church. It was interspersed with orchards, gardens, and elm trees, above which the steeple of the church rose, and at a little distance looked like a small inhabited wood. Farmer Heartwell's habitation was at the extre
mity of the village, with none of the other cottages near it; and was the most romantic, pretty, rural dwelling she had ever beheld. It was a clean white building, one story high, with antique casements and a large porch at the door, filled on each side with fine myrtles and geraniums in pots. Round the lower casements sweet briar, scented peas, and clustering roses, diffused delicious fragrance; while a mantling vine luxuriantly spread its bright green foliage and curling tendrils to the top of the thatched roof, and in autumn its purple branches peeped from beneath the shadowing leaves,
A small paved court was in front, for the convenience of coming to the door on horse back in bad weather, and on each side was a neat railed garden, with several beehives in it, and filled with a profusion of beautiful and curious flowers, plants, and shrubs of every description; Heartwell being an excellent gardener, and