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THE island of Jersey is about eleven miles long and from four to five miles wide, and in appearance and character it is like a little England lying all by itself out in the middle of the sea. During the week that Mrs. Morelle and her party remained in the island, they made excursions all over it, sometimes in a carriage and sometimes on foot. They found that the island was densely populated, and that the scenery was delightful in every part.
There are no large towns in Jersey except St. Helier, which is the port of arrival and departure for the steamers. Instead of towns, the island is divided into parishes, with a venerable old church in the centre of each. The spires of these churches can almost all be seen from any high eminence in any part of the island, and like lighthouses and beacons for ships at sea, they serve as landmarks for pedestrians in their excursions. Wide and handsome government roads, smooth and hard as a floor, and with a
neatly finished sidewalk upon one side, connect all the principal districts with each other; and the whole intervening country between these great thoroughfares is intersected in every direction by winding country roads, bordered by hedges or old mossy walls. Besides these, innumerable green lanes and pretty paths are everywhere to be seen meandering among parks and gardens, and bringing into view a charming succession of elegant coutry seats, large farm houses, government edinces, venerable churches, inns, little shops at corners formed by cross roads, thatched cottages, and other such features of rural scenery as always mark a rich and populous country district in any part of England.
The first excursion which the party made, after they became settled in their home at Mrs. Jones's, was a walk around the shores of the bay of St. Aubin, the wide bay which they had seen opening before them on the southern side of the island as they approached it from the sea. It was on the morning of the first day after they were settled in their lodgings that they took this walk. When they set out from home they intended only to ramble about, for an hour or two, in the environs of the town, but they accidentally fell into the road leading along the shore of the bay, and were insensibly drawn on by the
beauty of the scenery and the various objects of interest which attracted their attention, until they reached St. Aubin itself, at the further end of it, three miles away.
They passed out from the town, in commencing their excursion, by a raised walk running along a parapet wall, over which they could look off upon the sea. The tide was up and the bay was full. By looking back they could see the town, and the immens fortifications crowning the hill behind it, in the background of the view, and below, in the foreground, the long piers forming the harbor were seen extending along the shore, and out into the sea, for a great distance.
Opposite to them, at the distance of about a mile over the water, was Castle Elizabeth, looking as if built up from the bottom of the sea. It was really built upon an island; but the ground and the rock which formed the foundations of it were so completely covered by the walls and battlements of the fortress that it seemed almost as if it were a floating castle, anchored like a ship in the midst of the waves.
"That is the castle," said Grimkie, “that we can go out to on foot when the tide is down."
"I don't think I shall go out to it on foot," said Mrs. Morelle.
"With India rubbers, mother," suggested Florence. "We might go with India rubbers, even if the sand should be wet."
So they walked on. The great sweep of the bay was before them, with vessels and sail-boats going to and fro upon it. The margin was lined with a smooth sandy beach of the ordinary width. Then came the road, a little higher up upon the land, passing, like the beach, in a grand semicircular sweep, and bordered on both sides. with gardens, cottages, suburban villas, neat little shops at corners where branch roads came down into it, and pretty one-storied inns, with woodbines and honeysuckles trained up over the windows and doors.
Beyond, the land rose abruptly, sometimes in smooth green slopes, sometimes in terraces and gardens, and sometimes in a range of precipitous cliffs, on the brow of which parties might here and there be seen walking to and fro, or standing on the brink and looking off over the sea.
The road was filled with carts, carriages, pedestrians, market people going toward or coming from the town, country women driving donkeys, and every now and then a large omnibus filled with passengers, both within and upon the top.
Indeed the road seemed to pass through a continuous village for a large portion of the way, so
that Mrs. Morelle was drawn on insensibly as it were, without observing how far she was going away from home. There was a good smooth sidewalk all the way, which made it very easy walking, and then the village of St. Aubin, nestled snugly in its romantic little valley, was before them all the time, and enticed them on.
For as the bay was semicircular in form, the village, being close to the shore, near one extremity of it, was in full view everywhere along the road.
When the party reached the middle of the bay the prospect over the water was very grand. The whole bay was now spread out before them, with the two great promontories at its two extremities bounding the view. At the foot of the promontory on the left was the town of St. Helier, with its long piers, and the castle on the island, and the long lines of fortifications on the heights. At the other end of the bay was another promontory, smooth and green above, but rocky and precipitous toward the sea, with the hamlet of St. Aubin at the foot of it. The town of St. Aubin too had a little harbor for fishing vessels, formed by means of piers, and a castle on a rock at a short distance from the shore.
After stopping to admire this view for a few