After lunch, to Stonehenge, I think that I was more impressed by the Plain than by Stonehenge, where behold the ubiquitous game of golf, two other carriages and a camping-photographer; his pony was wandering about in a sack. More in keeping, a great flock of sheep and lambs, with bells, attended by a shepherd, drinking in a shallow pond near the Stones, but they wandered off over the grass roads before I could get my camera ready.
The Plain is anything but flat, and most of it is broken up in cultivation, but there are no hedges, and some ways, open undulating land gives one a strange feeling of size. There seemed to be no cattle whatever, great flocks of sheep, but most of them still penned. The corn just beginning to show green, thousands of skylarks singing and running among the tussocks. Signs of hares which we did not see.
The first view of Stonehenge is disappointing, not because it is small, but because the place whereon it stands is so immense. The stones are large enough to satisfy anybody, but I had not the least idea that they were all crowded together in a grove, I do not think a larger space than our back garden. The number of mounds like gigantic mole-hills, and the straight Roman roads are almost as striking.
We passed fine Earthworks at Old Sarum and Amesbury. Came back by Lake House and the valley of the Avon. Very sweet. We drove a long way over the springy turf, most curious. It must be a fine place for funguses, gigantic fairy rings appeared on the slopes.
I had the misfortune to twist my ankle getting out of the carriage, not badly, but a singularly indiscreet choice of location, the middle of Salisbury Plain! I fell over a certain camera of papa’s which I opportunely broke, a most inconveniently heavy article which he refuses to use, and which has been breaking my back since I took to that profession. Should I get a camera of my own it will not be a bad bargain. N.B. I did no particular damage, but it was the last straw of clumsiness. We had fortunately taken a long walk in the morning round the water meadows of the Avon.
We went by Crane Bridge, looking over at the great trout in the beautiful, clear, chalk stream. Further on we saw others, and the water was alive with shoals of grayling and minnows. It was the first warm, mild feeling of spring, and we heard the cuckoo. It was hot dragging home along the road. I noticed when we were driving on the Downs we were coming with the wind, under the shadow of a cloud, and several times when we almost overtook the edge of the shadows I could feel and see the hot dither from the ground, where the sun had recently been ousted, an instance of the amount of heat refracted from the chalk.
I am afraid I shall never have a very reverent memory of Stonehenge by reason of certain shells which I found behind some nettles right under one of the standing stones. I thought they were uncommonly fine ones for such bare pasture, but failed to find a single live one, which was not surprising, for they were periwinkles. That part of the story is very fine so long as one finds it out for oneself.