Now for a ramble in ulster and deerstalker,
It was his express wish to take in some fresh air,
And first we attended the place at Nine Elms, our beginning, where the Embankment holds the Thames, the edge of, the fringe before the sea.
We took the road’s meander back past the Kennington Oval and its gasometer (three-quarters emptied that day), up to the City & South London Railway station of Kennington, then keeping south on the Brixton road.
Him all the time breaking our progress for his inspections: a limestone buttress and railings at the junction with Loughborough Road, also, still on the Brixton Road, a pause to plot the line of gas lamps as we could see them arrayed in front of us in a slight depression of the contours.
—The alignment, he explained.
To the crossing with Coldharbour Lane,
Then on Effra Road, and instead of continuing on the road up and over to Tulse Hill, he veered east towards Herne Hill, down Brixton Water Lane, keeping the rise of Brockwell Park to our right. In Croxted Road he stood, gathering the lie of the land: a natural valley, it would seem.
—The name means ‘crooked’, and this is said to have be a Pilgrim Road, he confided.
And he stood there for about five minutes before pronouncing himself satisfied. Continuing south, we saw All Saints Church on our right, and went another mile to West Norwood. At the foot of Knight’s Hill, the road delicately forked by Saint Luke’s, and hard by the new cemetery, we had come four and a half miles from the river.
—If we were to walk further, he said, we would reach Beulah Spa, and then Sydenham Wells.
Iron rosettes, iron ivy tendrils picked out in green, Coalbrookdale wrought, with fine traceries,
The gates of the cemetery opened.
—Let us go in and find whether the Superintendent, or one of his assistants, is here and can help us. Their records should prove invaluable.
And on consulting his halfhunter:
—It being about three o’clock, the hour of good light we have left to us may suffice.
Download whole book
When No One is Looking by Hannah Shilling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.