The road now winds pleasantly through the valley, but not within 대전오피 sight of the river until past the outlying houses of the little village of Fetcham. On gaining the point where the road from Great Bookham to Leatherhead falls into the one we are following, look out for an unassuming left-hand turning past the railway arch, leading in a hundred yards to Fetcham mill-pond. This is a lovely spot, where the wild-fowl congregate, and well worth halting at on a summer’s day, but tucked away so artfully that it will scarce be found save by asking. It is a long sheet of water, with reeds, and an island in the middle, and a peep back towards Leatherhead from the farther end, where the church tower peers above the trees. Flocks of moor-hens, a few couples of stately swans, and some domestic ducks form[32] the invariable feathered company of the pond, and not infrequently the coot takes up his quarters here, with myriads of dabchicks; the great swans and little dabchicks, swimming together on the water, forming the oddest of contrasts: the swans like warships and the dabchicks like little black torpedo-boats.

Cycles can be walked along the path to the far end of the pond, where the road is reached again.
Leatherhead itself lies off to the left, less than half a mile distant, reached by a many-arched bridge straddling athwart the Mole, here a divergent and sedgy stream broken up by osier aits. On the other side of the bridge stands that crazy old inn, the “Running Horse,” claiming a continued existence since the fifteenth century and[33] to have been the scene of the celebrated “tunning of Elynor Rummyng”; but, like the silk stocking so long and so often darned with worsted that no trace of the original material remained, the “Running Horse” has in all these six centuries been so repaired here and patched there that he would be a bold man who should dare swear to a fragment of that old house remaining.
Elynor Rummyng was a landlady who flourished in the time of Henry the Seventh. Skelton, poet-laureate of that day, in a long rambling set of rhymes, neither very elegant nor very decent, describes her and her customers at great length. As for Elynor herself, he says she was so ugly that

“Her visage it would assuage
A man’s courage.
Her loathly leer is nothing clear,
But ugly of cheer, droupy and drowsy,
Scurvy and lousy, her face all bowsy,"—
with much else in the uncomplimentary kind.
She was, Skelton goes on to say, “sib to the devil”; she scraped up all manner of filth into her mash-tub, mixed it together with her “mangy fists,” and sold this hell-broth as ale—

“She breweth nappy ale
And makes thereof port-sale
To Travellers and Tinkers, to Sweaters and Swinkers
And all good ale-drinkers.”
There is no accounting for tastes, and, reading Skelton, it would seem as though the whole district crowded to taste the unlovely Elynor’s unwholesome brew, bringing with them all manner of goods—

“Insteede of quoine and mony, some bring her a coney,
And some a pot with honey; some a salt, some a spoone,
Some their hose, some their shoon; some run a good trot,
With skillet or pot; some fill a bag full
Of good Lemster wool; an huswife of trust
When she is athirst, such a web can spin
Her thrift is full thin.
Some go straight thither, be it slaty or slidder,
They hold the highway, they care not what men say,
Be they as be may. Some, loth to be espied,
Start in at the backside, over hedge and pale,
And all for good ale.
Some brought walnuts,
Some apples, some pears, and some their clipping-shears;
Some brought this and that, some brought I wot ne’er what,
Some brought their husband’s hat,"—
and then, doubtless, there was trouble in the happy home.

Why the crowd resorted thus to tipple the horrible compound does not appear: one would rather drink the usual glucose and dilute sulphuric acid of modern times. The pictorial sign of the old house still proudly declares—

“When Skelton wore the laurel crown
My ale put all the alewives down.”
To do that, you would think, it must needs have been both good and cheap. Certainly, if the portrait-sign of Elynor be anything like her, customers did not resort to the “Running Horse” to bask in her smiles, for she is represented as a very plain, not to say ugly, old lady with a predatory nose plentifully studded with warts.

Leatherhead is a still unspoiled little town, beside its “mousling Mole,” as Drayton calls that river. “Mousling,” probably because of the holes, or “swallows,” as they are called, into which this curious river every now and again disappears, like a mouse, as the poet prettily expresses it.

IGHTHAM MOTE AND THE VALE OF MEDWAY
From Sevenoaks, on the South-Eastern Railway, let this tour be begun; from that Sevenoaks Station rejoicing in the eminently cricketing name of “Bat and Ball.” There are reasons sufficiently weighty why the starting-point should not be fixed nearer London, chief among them being the hilly nature of the way. Sevenoaks itself, quite apart from the rather uninteresting character of its long street, does not bulk largely in the affections of the outward-bound wheelman, for to reach it one has a more than mile-long climb. But, setting our faces eastward, and avoiding Sevenoaks town, an easier beginning presents itself along the road to Seal, where, leaving behind the trim gardens and modern villas that form a kind of suburban and secular halo around the railway, we plunge into a woodland district.

Seal village is a harbinger of the Thoreau-like solitudes that succeed along the road to Ightham, standing as it does at the gates of Seal Chart, where, away from the road on either hand, stretch such crepuscular alleys of murmuring pines that even Bournemouth itself never knew. Does there exist a cyclist who can hurry along this road and not linger here, to rest his trusty steed[37] against the corrugated stem of one of these aromatic giants of the forest, and listen to the intoning of the wood pigeons in the cathedral-like half-lights? If such there be, surely he merits the Tennysonian description, “a clod of thankless earth.” The far-spreading woods are unfenced and quite open to the road for one to wander in at will, and never a sound in their solitudes but belongs to the woodlands themselves; the cooing of the pigeons, and the rustling of some “sma’ wee beastie” disturbed by the crackling of the dry twigs under your feet. The squirrels themselves are noiseless and, to the unpractised eye, invisible; but there are many of them overhead, running with lightning speed along the red-brown branches of the pines that so accurately match the rust-red hue of their fur, and so help to conceal them from casual observation.

Following the road and the woods for two miles, the highway dips sharply, and takes a left curve just where you glimpse the blue smoke rising from the rustic chimneys of a wayside inn, down on whose lichened roof you look in descending. To dismount here, just as the view begins to disclose itself, is the better way, for only thus will you be in full receipt of the beauty and the exquisite stillness of the scene. The woods recede, like some clearing in a Canadian forest, and, standing back from the road, you see the inn whose roof-tree was first disclosed. On the other side of the highway, swinging romantically from the branches of a great Scotch fir, is the picture-sign of the house, bearing the legend, “Sir Jeffrey Amherst, Crown Point,” and[38] showing the half-length portrait of a very determined-looking warrior, clad in armour and apparently deep in thought; while in the background is a broad river, across whose swift current boat-loads of soldiers, in the costume of two centuries ago, are being rowed.