Miss Letitia has returned from Squire Charlesworth's farm, after meeting some farmhands at lunch-time.
An evening in the Horne Goat
That evening, some twenty young men thronged the bar of The Horne Goat, quaffing their beer after a hard day’s labour. They had heard that I was interested in ‘something in the old manner’, from my lunchtime companions, and were eager to make my acquaintance. After dinner, which I had caused to be brought to my room, on account of my headache, I went down and joined them in the bar. As is customary in such remote areas, women do not go into bars, but these gallant labourers seemed gladly to make exception for me. Indeed, their generosity was remarkable: I was not allowed to go thirsty, for my cup was continually replenished, even before it was empty. When I enquired which of them could render for me any songs of their fathers, or grandfathers, there was much argument and dispute amongst them as to who should sing first. One sang of lambs separated from their ewes and said that he was my lamb and I should let him snuggle up to me as a lamb to its ewe. Another sang of the loneliness of the shepherd, and the gladsomeness when he returned to his sweetheart. Others sang of hunting the black hare, of their old sporting gun, and one of some farm machinery and its ‘reciprocating motion’. When I required of him an explanation of this, there was much jollity and he said he needed my help to demonstrate it. Everyone was much amused by my attempts to follow his instructions, and I found it a mirthful and pleasing occupation. I do not recall getting to bed, nor undressed, but I do recall them all promising to return the following evening with more of this fascinating rustic culture.
to be continued