Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Wherever military life takes his family, Lavengro learns the local language and customs. In Scotland, he studies under a master of Norse extraction, while his father’s regiment is stationed at Edinburgh Castle. In Ireland, where he visits the Castle of Cashel, he trades a deck of playing cards for language lessons and begins a lifelong fascination with racing horses. In Wales, he is entranced by the ancient culture and astounds adults by learning to speak Welsh as quickly as he learned to ride horseback. By the time he returns to England, he is proficient in all the languages of the British Isles.
*Norfolk. Region in eastern England, along the North Sea, where Lavengro’s family settles after the Napoleonic Wars, There, in East Anglia, Lavengro receives a modest amount of formal schooling. On rambles through the countryside, he meets Gypsy horse traders whose values he prefers to those of his Anglo-Saxon neighbors. One Gypsy youth, Jasper, becomes his lifelong friend. He briefly contemplates a career in the law, then opts for a literary life and looks for work as a translator of literature.
*London. Capital of Great Britain where, after arriving by coach, Lavengro stays in the hostels of Cheapside and wanders among bookshops. He meets a publisher who commissions him to write about the urban poor. He writes the stories of debtors and criminals in the notorious Newgate Prison. He also writes about the shopkeepers and peddlers on London Bridge. On long walks outside the metropolis, he discovers such remnants of “Old England” as the fair at Greenwich, south of London on the River Thames.
*Stonehenge. Neolithic stone circle dominating the Sarum Plain north of Salisbury that Lavengro travels to on foot. There, he talks to a shepherd about such matters as the meaning of life, where Stonehenge’s great stones came from, where the stars are from, and where the local people originated.
*Chester. English town near the Welsh border where Lavengro interviews both officials and peasants. Half of his adventure is always mental. As he arrives at new destinations, he reflects on local legends and literature and especially on the words that people use.
Mumper’s Dingle. “Beggar’s valley” on the Welsh border where Lavengro builds a makeshift forge and supports himself briefly by shoeing horses. There he meets more traveling Gypsies, including a beautiful young woman who shares his passion for languages, and a widely traveled postman who tells of his travels overseas. There, Lavengro’s episodic story ends. Borrow continued the story in Romany Rye (1857).