"The story of a studious young man
who takes to the roads with a tinker's cart and pony. The town of Horncastle
appears in The Romany Rye, but to understand it fully, one needs
to read Lavengro first. He tries his hands at blacksmithing, mingles
with Gypsies, pugilists and others adrift in the country, meets the tall,
queenly blonde Isopel Berners, with whom he camps in a dingle, has disputes
with a Jesuit priest, and after negotiating the purchase of a fine horse
which he plans to sell, finds himself at Horncastle, an episode filling
the last 12 chapters of The Romany Rye.
- "The town was a small one,
seemingly ancient, and was crowded with people and horses."
"It is here, at the horse fair, that
he meets a number of shady and not so shady characters, each of whom has
a story to tell, and later visits the church, where his guide reflects
on events of the Civil War and the impact of Oliver Cromwell on the town.
Blending lively dialogue between Gypsies, jockeys and fairground characters,
with a dreamlike quality that makes it hard to distinguish fact from fancy,
The Romany Rye remains a mysterious and fascinating work." (from a biography of the author by the George