I felt in excellent trim on arising this morning, with the exception of a slight soreness of the right heel.
By a quarter to five we had made a start, and again we went the wrong way, but did not go far out of our course. A farmer in a wagon just happened upon us at a critical point. We should have gone through Broad Clyst, but this village was left a little to our right. This was the only point where we missed going by the exact rout mapped out.
Two miles before reaching Cullompton, our first stopping place for the day, a rude reminder of old times was met. Several women and girls wending their way to work passed us. I knew at once by their manner and bearing that they were victims of the cursed factory system.
We learned while at breakfast that it was as I thought.
Cullompton is one of the best of many peaceful places in lovely Devonshire. Instead of the gutters being choked with refuse, as we often see in that latest product of civilization, the up-to-date town, a stream of clear water runs on either side of the street, giving a delightful sense of coolness on a hot day.
I fell to wondering why people leave this life of peace and quiet, so conducive to the development of all that is best in us, to go to towns and cities to lose both body and soul in the fierce race for wealth; and whether those who have done this, and have been successful in the efforts, in a material sense, do not in their moments of reason repine for the peace and purity of the life and home they have left behind.
Taunton (38 miles) was reached and dinner partaken of. Again we had plenty of time. Indeed, I felt that we were wasting it; but in my calculations I had not reckoned on being in such splendid physical condition. Just over an hour-and-a-half was spent here, Bridgwater being reached at 5.45 p.m.
An enthusiastic cyclist accompanied us all the way from Taunton to Bridgwater, and among other interesting pieces of local information he told us that all the bathbrick used the world over comes from the latter place, being made out of a sand peculiar to this place. I retired rather early, but the church bells, just outside my bedroom window, kept me awake. Eventually they ceased; I fell asleep, and awoke at 3.55 a.m. on the morning of the fifth day.