Anything but a cheerful feeling possessed me, when at 4 a.m. accompanied by my attendant and Manchester friend, another day's work was commenced.
Between my blistered feet and a cold driving rain, to say nothing of the shocking roads, the outlook was gloomy indeed.
Preston was or1ginally fixed upon as the stopping place for the night, but I determined to try if possible to reach Lancaster, 21 ¼ miles beyond.
At Swinton and Bolton the mill hands were going to their daily toil. By the time Horwich was reached I was, to use an athletic term, decidedly "groggy," and my Manchester friend's face was wearing a very gloomy expression. There we had our first meal, and started out again in the rain.
By the time we had reached Chorley (23 miles) the rain had ceased, but my feet were worse than ever. At Preston we had dinner. Just previous to this, one of the blisters had burst, but the other pained me very much.
For those who have never enjoyed the doubtful pleasure of walking with blistered feet, allow me to introduce you to an experience which once having gone through you will never forget. This is what happens:—
Unconsciously at first your feet begin to blister. Your first intimation of the fact comes to you, perhaps, from stepping on a stone, or a slight twist on a rough part of the road. Presently the blister bursts, and for a minute or two the agony is excruciating. Then all pain leaves for a time. If the blood is in good condition, and if you have sufficiently trained your feet, so that they are able to bear the strain put upon them, they will from this time harden; but woe be to you, if you are wanting in physical fitness, for, first inflammation, and then festering, sets in, the end though is only a question of time.
When I started from Preston, after dinner, I went with a decided limp. My Manchester friend left us here looking very sad. I did not know then what the load on his mind was—I know now.
He had been with me during the worst time I had on the whole journey with my feet.
Now we had a splendid stretch of road before us to Lancaster. By the time the "Hamilton Arms" was reached at 5.25, and tea had been partaken of, my feet had healed and I felt like a giant refreshed.
Any fears that may have been entertained regarding my feet now vanished, for we knew the worst was over, now that the sets were left behind.
"Harmers" Temperance Hotel, Lancaster, was entered at 8.75 p.m., and by 9.15, both my attendant and myself were fast asleep.