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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The View from Honeyman’s Hill

By George Berkeley (1685–1753)

[From Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher. 1732.]

WE amused ourselves next day, every one to his fancy, till nine of the clock, when word was brought that the tea-table was set in the library: which is a gallery on the ground floor, with an arched door at one end, opening into a walk of limes; where, as soon as we had drank tea, we were tempted by fine weather to take a walk, which led us to a small mount, of easy ascent, on the top whereof we found a seat under a spreading tree. Here we had a prospect, on one hand, of a narrow bay, or creek, of the sea, inclosed on either side by a coast beautified with rocks and woods, and green banks and farm-houses. At the end of the bay was a small town, placed upon the slope of a hill, which, from the advantage of its situation, made a considerable figure. Several fishing boats and lighters, gliding up and down on a surface as smooth and bright as glass, enlivened the prospect. On the other hand, we looked down on green pastures, flocks, and herds, basking beneath in sunshine, while we, in our superior situation, enjoyed the freshness of air and shade. Here we felt that sort of joyful instinct which a rural scene and fine weather inspire; and proposed no small pleasure in resuming and continuing our conference, without interruption, till dinner: but we had hardly seated ourselves, and looked about us, when we saw a fox run by the foot of our mount into an adjacent thicket. A few minutes after, we heard a confused noise of the opening of hounds, the winding of horns, and the roaring of country squires. While our attention was suspended by this event, a servant came running out of breath, and told Crito that his neighbor, Ctesippus, a squire of note, was fallen from his horse attempting to leap over a hedge, and brought into the hall, where he lay for dead. Upon which we all rose, and walked hastily to the house, where we found Ctesippus just come to himself, in the midst of half a dozen sun-burnt squires, in frocks and short wigs, and jockey-boots. Being asked how he did, he answered, it was only a broken rib. With some difficulty Crito persuaded him to lie on a bed till the chirurgeon came. These fox-hunters, having been up early at their sport, were eager for dinner, which was accordingly hastened. They passed the afternoon in a loud rustic mirth, gave proof of their religion and loyalty by the healths they drank, talked of hounds and horses, and elections, and country affairs, till the chirurgeon, who had been employed about Ctesippus, desired he might be put into Crito’s coach and sent home, having refused to stay all night. Our guests being gone, we reposed ourselves after the fatigue of this tumultuous visit, and next morning assembled again at the seat of the mount.