It was built as it were within a crescent, formed by low hills sloping down to the river; the Church, school, and other remnants of the old collegiate buildings lying in the flat at the bottom, and the rest of the town, one of the small decayed wool staples of Somerset, being in terraces on the hill-side, with steep streets dividing the rows.
Where the slope is gradual, and the soil fit for cultivation, these terraces, some very narrow and others of considerable width, rise one above the other to the distance of miles, with the hamlets of the cultivators scattered over the hill-side, presenting to the eye of the traveller an aspect of scenery which is not to be seen in Europe, so far as I am aware.
"I am again at work upon the hill-side, and the sun is again about to go to bed. I am collecting my tools to descend to my cottage down in the village below, where it is already dark, when I raise my eyes, and see coming over the hill six soldiers. In the midst of them is a tall man with his arms bound tied to his sides like this!"
This employment, by showing that the lilies had a money value, put a new branch of traffic into the heads of these thoughtful children, already accustomed to gather heath for their father's brooms, and to collect the dead furze which served as fuel to the family. The next year we lost sight of them. No smoke issued from the small chimney by the hill-side.
The foes never came, however, and the roofs and walls of the block-houses have gradually tumbled in, and the gun-carriages for they managed to drag heavy ordnance up the steep hill-side have rotted away, whilst the old-fashioned cannon lie, grim and rusty, amid a tangled profusion of wild geranium, heath and lilies, I scrambled up to one of the nearest block-houses, and found the date on the dismounted gun to be more than a hundred years old.
If we could get through it to the bare hill-side, there, as it seemed to me, was an altogether safer resting-place; I thought that with my matches and my camphor I could contrive to keep my path illuminated through the woods. Yet it was evident that if I was to flourish matches with my hands I should have to abandon my firewood; so, rather reluctantly, I put it down.
In the midst of this they reached the landing-place, from which they walked through drenched heather and blinding rain to the White House. Thus, drearily, the picnic ended! One morning the Sudberry Family sat on the green hill-side, in front of the White House, engaged in their usual morning amusement feeding the cocks and hens.
The environs of Ramelton are wonderfully beautiful, sudden hills, green vales, lovely nooks in unexpected places, waters that sparkle and dash, or that flow softly like the waters of Shiloh, great aristocratic trees in clumps, standing singly, grouped by the water's edge, as if they had sauntered down to look about them, or drawn up on the hill-side many deep, stretching far away like the ranks of a grand army.
In the midst of this clearing stood a rough cabin, or rather half-cabin, of logs; for the back of it was formed by a ledge of slaty rocks, some ten or twelve feet in height, which here cropped out of the hill-side.
Neat, populous villages, hung upon every hill-side—the southern side invariably—and there were no shortcomings in the accommodation for man or horse. But our finances were in a miserable plight; and our sustenance during the two and a half days occupied in tramping the more than eighty miles between Brünn and Vienna, consisted for the most part of fruit, bread, and water.