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are a number of most interesting old houses and inns, the fronts of which are decorated with curiously carved woodwork. These ancient houses tell of a time when the wealthy shopkeepers and even merchants lived on the spot where their business was conducted. The fanciful conceits of some of these old carvings-grotesque jokes in wood--are very refreshing to the eye in this matter-of-fact age, so spontaneous and essentially non-mechanical are they, so well do they express the playful spirit of the mediæval craftsmen. We have so long and successfully been converting our workmen into human machines, that the inventive faculty of the old-time craftsman is no longer to be had, even if we would pay for it. Now and again too, in some out-of-theway corner of this riverside Ipswich, may be found charming bits of old hammered ironwork, not yet bought up by the emissaries from Wardour Street. In the present day the modern builder procures his ironwork ready made from Birmingham, and the same stock patterns meet the traveller all over the country. The designs are not always bad in themselves, only one becomes weary in time of the endless sameness and the monotonous repetition of similar forms.
Perhaps amongst the many quaint buildings of which Ipswich can boast, after Sparrowe's House, that of the ancient Neptune Inn is the most interesting. This bears upon its front the date of 1639. Externally and internally this fine relic of past-time architecture abounds in richly-carved decorations ; within the mantelpieces and wainscoted rooms are
especially worthy of note. Manifestly this must have been a house of consequence in the days gone by. It would be interesting to learn the history of this old place, for it is one of those buildings that seem to breathe of romance. What merry-makings must have taken place in its olden chambers! If only for one short hour we could re-people these with the guests gathered therein, say one winter's night when Charles II. was king—if only!
The road from Ipswich to Woodbridge traverses Rushmere Heath, a glorious open expanse.
A wide sea of yellow gorse was on either side of us, across which we watched the mighty cloud shadows come and go. The peculiar perfume of the gorse was almost overpowering, and the golden glory of the far-spreading waste, lit up as it was by the bright sunshine, was a miracle of glowing colour. Well might Linnæus have been struck silent with admiration on his first beholding an English gorsestrewn common in all its wonderful beauty ; even fair Italy, that land of colour, cannot show tints more gorgeous.
This heath was once famous for its highwaymen, and a gibbet was erected upon it for their special benefit. Truly in those good old times a driving tour could hardly have been undertaken without a possible acquaintance with the knights of the road. To some bold spirits it is just possible that the spice of danger and the possible adventure of such a meeting would lend zest to such an outing. For myself I am fain to confess that I prefer the peaceful present. The bold highwayman may be a very picturesque person
age on paper ; I prefer him, however, thus poetically considered, to the stern reality.
At the little village of Kesgrave, about half way on our stage, is a quaint old church, and in the too thickly peopled God's Acre that surrounds it are as many as eight fine yew trees. Finding the sexton there we asked if there was anything of interest to
In reply he pointed out to us a tombstone to Repronia Lee, who, as the inscription informed us, was 'Queen of the Gipsies,' and died at the age of twenty-five. It would seem that this is the buryingplace of that royal house. We were not even aware till then that the gipsy tribe had a queen to rule over them, and we were even obliged to confess our woful ignorance to the sexton, who had the advantage of us in this important matter. We discovered here also another rather curious tombstone to the memory of a horse dealer, quaintly carved with the figure of a man holding a horse.
Continuing on our way we passed through some more wild open country, till at the bottom of a hill we came to the pretty hamlet of Martlesham, situated by the side of a pleasant stream, which our trusty map dignified by the title of the river Fyn-a toy river, truly; this stream is crossed by a picturesque bridge. The old grey bridge, primitive village, and tiny river, together form a subject worthy of the artist's brush. Here we found a country inn, the Red Lion to wit, and very red the Lion was, as red indeed as a plentiful supply of the most brilliant vermilion could make him. This sign has a history ; it was formerly the figure-head of
A VERY RED LION.
one of the Dutch ships of war that were captured at the battle of Sole Bay, at least so tradition says ; this figure-head is now placed under the great gable of the inn and does duty as a sign, and a very quaint and effective one it makes. This Lion has become famous, and a local saying has it, “As red as the Martlesham Lion,' though à propos of what I do not know, so that it would appear that this Lion has a reputation for colour to keep up, which may account for its assertive hue. Strangely enough, this is the second time that we have come upon a country inn-sign made from the figure-head of a Dutch ship, in both cases the carvings representing lions, and likewise both being painted a startling red.
· Woodbridge is one of those old-fashioned towns that may be described as more interesting than picturesque ; as we had still an hour of daylight left on arriving there, we took an evening stroll round the place. In a narrow street leading down to the river we came upon a curious relic of the past. By the side of an ancient building we observed a huge crane, constructed of large beams of timber, leaning over the street. We inquired of a native the purpose of this, and were informed that formerly it was employed to weigh loads of hay and straw that were shipped here, the curious feature of the arrangement being that the wagon with its freight was bodily raised in the air during the proceeding. This primitive method of weighing goods was, we were told, actually employed till within a dozen years ago.
The tidal river Deben here (sung of in pleasant verse by Bernard Barton, the little-known East Anglian poet), with its wooded banks and old-time buildings, its water-mills and rough timber jetties, is most picturesque. We made our way to one of these old mills, and finding the worthy miller himself within, and not indisposed to chat, we entered into a conversation with him and soon became acquainted with the peculiarities of tidal mills. It would seem that the water supply of these is unfailing, which is one advantage, but of course the mills have to be worked according to the state of the tide, which sometimes serves only in the night time, which is somewhat inconvenient. It appears that when the tide has flown in the water is held back by floodgates, and when the tide ebbs the stored-up water is employed to drive the mills. It was suggested some time back by an eminent engineer that when our supply of coal became exhausted, perhaps, owing to our insular position, we might still retain something of our manufacturing supremacy by the erection of tidal mills around our coasts. I cannot agree in this opinion after inspecting a tidal mill. When we have to trust to such a changing motive power as the tides, I fear that there will be but little left of our manufacturing supremacy. Windmills, watermills, and tidal mills are picturesque, but hardly commercially satisfactory. It may even be that the twentieth century may see a new motive power. Who, after recent discoveries, can say what hidden possibilities may not be awaiting birth in the womb of Time? How intensely interesting it would be to