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Legend Of The Brothers' Steps

( Originally Published Late 1800's )

I send you for insertion a copy of an old letter in my possession, respecting "The Brothers' Steps." If any correspondent can give any farther account of them, it will be esteemed as a favour.

WM. HERBERT.

To MR. JOHN WARNER, near Holborn Bridge, London.

MY DEAR FRIEND, July 17, 1778.

According to your request, I shall give you all the particulars I have been able to collect concerning the Brothers' Steps. They are situate in the field about half a mile from Montague House, in a North direction ; and the prevailing tradition concerning them is, that two brothers quarrelled about a worthless woman, and as it was the fashion of those days, as it is now, they decided it by a duel. The print of their feet is near three inches in depth, and remains totally barren ; so much so, that nothing will grow to disfigure them. Their number I did not reckon, but suppose they may be about ninety. A bank on which the first fell, who was mortally wounded and died on the spot, retains the form of his agonising posture by the curse of barrenness, while the grass grows round it. A friend of mine showed me these steps in the year 176o, when he could trace them back by old people to the year 1686; but it was generally supposed to have happened in the early part of the reign of Charles II. There are people now living who well remember their being ploughed up, and barley sown, to deface them; but all was labour in vain; for the prints returned in a short time to their original form. There is one thing I nearly forgot to mention : that a place on the bank is still to be seen, where, tradition says, the wretched woman sat to see the combat. I am sorry I can throw no more light on the subject ; but am convinced in my own opinion that the Almighty has ordered it as a standing monument of His just displeasure of the horrid sin of duelling. I remain, your loving friend,

THOS. SMITH.



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