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* He could not deny, that, looking round upon the dreary re.
gion, and seeing nothing but bleak fields, and naked trees, hills obscured by fogs, and flats covered with inundations, he did for some time suffer melancholy to prevail upon him, and wished himself again safe at home.”
Travels of Will. Marvel, Idler, No. 49.
It was in the beginning of the month of November, 174, when a young English gentleman, who had just left the university of Oxford, made use of the liberty afforded him to visit some parts of the north of Eng. land; and curiosity extended his tour into the adjacent frontier of the sister country. He had visited, upon the day that opens our history, some monastic ruins in the
county of Dumfries, and spent much of the day in making drawings of them from different points ; so that, upon mounting his horse to resume his journey, the brief and gloomy twilight of the season had already commenced. His way lay through a wide track of black moss, extending for miles on each side and before him. Little eminences arose like islands on its surface, bearing here and there patches of corn, which even at this season was green, and sometimes a hut, or farm-house, shaded by a willow or two, and surrounded by large elder-bushes. These insulated dwellings communicated with each other by winding passages through the moss, impassable by any but the natives them, selves. The public road, however, was tolerably well made and safe, so that the prospect of being benighted brought with it no real danger. Ştill it is uncomfortable to travel, alone and in the dark, through an unknown country, and there are few or.. dinary occasions upon which Fancy frets