The start had been originally fixed for 4 a.m., but a slight hitch in the arrangements hindered us an hour.
Punctually at 5 a.m., in the quiet and calm of the grey morning, after having our book signed, the word to "Go" was given, and the start was made.
Everything had been carefully thought out by me long ere this, and the daily distances and stopping places for each night settled, at any rate for the earlier stages of the walk. During the first week I kept strictly to my book, but later it was exceeded.
The exact route mapped out by "Dr. Deighton" was followed, which is much farther than the one usually favored by End-to-End record-breakers; but to come back to the walk proper.
The morning air had such an exhilarating effect upon me that it was with difficulty I was able to keep myself from going at five miles per hour, for, be it known that when over 900 miles lies before one, the physical powers Have to be conserved, or at any rate not squandered, or failure is inevitable.
My attendant on his bicycle caught me up before I had gone a mile.
The knapsack, which contained a complete change of clothing along with other trifles indispensable to such an undertaking, was carried by him. Also the book for the reception of signatures of people who saw us pass en route.
This is of the greatest importance, in view of the many bogus records the public have had foisted upon them. In duty to the said public we publish our list of signatures.
With a cheery "How do you feel?" my attendant caught me up. He also felt the responsibility of his position, as I could tell by the eager look upon his face.
A little further on, he hurriedly dismounted and flung a horseshoe after me,—a token of good luck.
Now, I have always prided myself on my absolute freedom from all superstition, but this littlt rusty token picked up by my friend cheered me more than I care to admit. The Irish blood in me showed itself.
The surface of the road was in perfect condition hereabouts, free from mud and dust. A little later, under an avenue of trees which stretched for some considerable distance, it was rather greasy. Now we emerged into the open again with Penzance not far ahead.
The town hall clock at this place (10 miles) was passed at 7.20.
At this early hour the sun had considerable power, foretelling a sultry day. The shops were not as yet open; but a few business early birds wending their way slowly along the streets enquired politely where I was bound for, and -were interested when told.
The first stopping-place was at Hayle, 8 miles further. This town was reached at 9 o'clock —exactly the time I intended arriving.
A breakfast consisting of eggs, white bread, tomatoes, and weak tea was here partaken of, and the journey was resumed after a halt of half-an-hour.
At 10.45, Cambourne (23 1/2 miles) was left behind. The thriving town of Redruth, with its electric trams, and Chacewater were passed; and by 1.45, the city of Truro was entered. The inhabitants turned out in full force, quite a crowd collecting while we were having our dinner.
One hour-and-a-quarter for this meal; and amidst a good round of encouragement, the 14 miles stretch remaining to be covered that day, was entered upon. The heat was now intense; indeed, it was one of the hottest days of a very hot summer; but it seemed to have little or no effect upon me.
Grampound (44 ¾ miles) was passed at 4.50, and by 6.15 St. Austell was reached, and the first day's journey ended.
A lecture at 7.30 (which was attended by a large and eager crowd) rounded off this day, and I retired to rest at 9.30.