How happy did I feel when I again found myself out of their town, although at that moment I did not know where I should find a lodging for the night, and was, besides, excessively tired. But I pursued my journey, and still kept in the road to Derby, along a footpath which I knew to be right. It led across a very pleasant mead, the hedges of which were separated by stiles, over which I was often obliged to clamber. When I had walked some distance without meeting with an inn on the road, and it had already begun to be dark, I at last sat me down near a small toll-house, or a turnpike-gate, in order to rest myself, and also to see whether the man at the turnpike could and would lodge me.
After I had sat here a considerable time, a farmer came riding by, and asked me where I wanted to go? I told him I was so tired that I could go no farther. On this the good-natured and truly hospitable man, of his own accord and without the least distrust, offered to take me behind him on his horse and carry me to a neighbouring inn, where he said I might stay all night.
The horse was a tall one, and I could not easily get up. The turnpike-man, who appeared to be quite decrepid and infirm, on this came out. I took it for granted, however, that he who appeared to have hardly sufficient strength to support himself could not help me. This poor looking, feeble old man, however, took hold of me with one arm, and lifted me with a single jerk upon the horse so quick and so alertly that it quite astonished me.
And now I trotted on with my charming farmer, who did not ask me one single impertinent question, but set me down quietly at the inn, and immediately rode away to his own village, which lay to the left.
This inn was called the Bear, and not improperly; for the landlord went about and growled at his people just like a bear, so that at first I expected no favourable reception. I endeavoured to gentle him a little by asking for a mug of ale, and once or twice drinking to him. This succeeded; he soon became so very civil and conversable, that I began to think him quite a pleasant fellow. This device I had learnt of the "Vicar of Wakefield," who always made his hosts affable by inviting them to drink with him. It was an expedient that suited me also in another point of view, as the strong ale of England did not at all agree with me.
This innkeeper called me sir; and he made his people lay a separate table for himself and me; for he said he could see plainly I was a gentleman.
In our chat, we talked much of George the Second, who appeared to be his favourite king, much more so than George the Third. And among others things, we talked of the battle at Dettingen, of which he knew many particulars. I was obliged also in my turn to tell him stories of our great King of Prussia, and his numerous armies, and also what sheep sold for in Prussia. After we had been thus talking some time, chiefly on political matters, he all at once asked me if I could blow the French horn? This he supposed I could do, only because I came from Germany; for he said he remembered, when he was a boy, a German had once stopped at the inn with his parents who blew the French horn extremely well. He therefore fancied this was a talent peculiar to the Germans.
I removed this error, and we resumed our political topics, while his children and servants at some distance listened with great respect to our conversation.
Thus I again spent a very agreeable evening; and when I had breakfasted in the morning, my bill was not more than it had been at Sutton. I at length reached the common before Derby on Friday morning. The air was mild, and I seemed to feel myself uncommonly cheerful and happy. About noon the romantic part of the country began to open upon me. I came to a lofty eminence, where all at once I saw a boundless prospect of hills before me, behind which fresh hills seemed always to arise, and to be infinite.
The ground now seemed undulatory, and to rise and fall like waves; when at the summit of the rise I seemed to be first raised aloft, and had an extensive view all around me, and the next moment, when I went down the hill, I lost it.
In the afternoon I saw Derby in the vale before me, and I was now an hundred and twenty-six miles from London. Derby is but a small, and not very considerable town. It was market-day when I got there, and I was obliged to pass through a crowd of people: but there was here no such odious curiosity, no offensive staring, as at Burton. At this place too I took notice that I began to be always civilly bowed to by the children of the villages through which I passed.
From Derby to the baths of Matlock, which is one of the most romantic situations, it was still fifteen miles. On my way thither, I came to a long and extensive village, which I believe was called Duffield. They here at least did not show me into the kitchen, but into the parlour; and I dined on cold victuals.
The prints and pictures which I have generally seen at these inns are, I think, almost always prints of the royal family, oftentimes in a group, where the king, as the father of the family, assembles his children around him; or else I have found a map of London, and not seldom the portrait of the King of Prussia; I have met with it several times. You also sometimes see some of the droll prints of Hogarth. The heat being now very great, I several times in this village heard the commiserating exclamation of "Good God Almighty!" by which the people expressed their pity for me, as being a poor foot passenger.