Popping Stone extract from D. Hinckes Bird, 1877, Lytham Southwards to Lancaster . . etc


. . . we proceed by the banks of the river through as charming a dell as it is possible to imagine, and come to what would be possibly more stimulant and restorative than both the mineral waters or all put together; the Popping Stone - where Sir Walter Scott is said to have popped the question to Miss Carpenter, - and close to it a Thorn tree, - should be Sweet briar or Tulip tree, - known as the Kissing Bush; where the compact is supposed to have been sealed and cemented. The stone, though large, is now much rounded, and only half its original size; owing to the idiotic credulity of ambitious Benedicts constantly chipping off bits to take away with them; - the abstracted portions being said to be very efficacious when placed under the pillows of the fair sex, causing them to dream of their future partners; it seems to be unfair that it should only apply to them. To prevent the utter and complete annihilation of this important national institution, possibly, - for the good of future generations it might be replaced by one in granite as less impressionable; - but perhaps not. My friend wandered up the vale while his companion, like

"One morning this cherub at the gate
Of Eden stood disconsolate,"

and would not have answered for what rash deed he might not have done had any desirable party presented herself; - but possibly, and perhaps fortunately - it was not the season,

"There is a tide in the affairs of men," etc;

so I concluded philosophically it was not to be and all for the best, for

"There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will;"

the Popping Stone was untested by the burning question and the Kissing Bush innocent of osculation; - tearing myself from this magnetico-electrical attractive block which will have a deal to answer for, I join my jeering, jocund, jaunty, jesting, jocular, jolly, but jegune journeyer and we follow the rugged bed of the river, stepping from stone to stone, to the waterfall of Cramel Linn . . .