a walk through texts

"Among the advantages I have gathered from my tour, I count as not the least the proficiency I have acquired in the gentle art of strolling. I can now perform a feat which I believe few town-bred men can accomplish with ease or grace: to walk a good English mile in an hour. This is not quite as easy as it may appear: the first essential to success is that the stroller must free his mind from all thoughts of time, ambition, over-drafts, assignments, leases, bonds, agreements, formulae, loans, interests and other such tricks of commerce. He must be prepared to pass the time of day with hawkers, beggars, parsons, squires, haughty dames, tramps, unfortunates, and bottom dogs generally; and when he receives a surly answer or a stony stare he must smile and pass on. I consider it good form to be an attentive listener to long, incoherent accounts of fearful ailments told by garrulous old ladies. Above all, the great secret is sympathy. A ramble in the proper frame of mind can see a complex world in each clear pool of a brook, or he can regard the tumbling ocean as a mere moisture covering a portion of a whirling atom of dust [...] This is a subject as fluent as the oak, and to set down all that is likely to arrest attention would require the compass of an encyclopaedia. In due time a speed of one mile an hour is found too rapid, and the resentful stroller will cry: 'Be hanged to this scurrying pace!! I am going to take my time!!"

Charles Hurst, The Book of the English Oak, London: Lynwood & Co., 1911