Puslapio vaizdai



everyone we came across. Besides, was not our bagman a wanderer by road like ourselves? and the road, like the hunting-field, is very democratic, and well it is that it should be so. Even were we not ourselves once, in spite of the spruce phaeton, though somewhat mud-splashed on the occasion, taken for 'commercials' and duly shown into the 'commercial room,' and did not we spend a very 'jolly' evening in their company, and did not we find them thoughtfully considerate for each other, though it was rather embarrassing when they asked us in what 'line' we were, and for whom we travelled? We tried our best, however, to act our part, and succeeded fairly well, though I fear we aroused the suspicion of one 'gentleman' who travelled in the stationery line,' and who would cross-question us in a rather unpleasantly close manner, though for all most goodhumouredly, till, much to our relief, he was called to order by the chairman of the day, with 'No business, gentlemen, after supper, please.' We were duly grateful to that chairman !

We inquired of the commercial traveller who arrived just as we were about to depart from Saxmundham as to the accommodation we should be likely to find at Halesworth, where we intended to spend the night. To our query he replied, 'Oh, you'll be all right at Halesworth; it is a town lighted with gas.' It was manifest in his opinion that whenever a town was lighted with gas, there the traveller would be sure of comfortable quarters, though personally we failed to see the necessary inference; but his experience of country travel was greater than ours,

for he told us he had been on the road for thirtysix years come next spring.'

As we drove along we observed ahead of us dark. threatening clouds collecting, and a distant growl of thunder warned us to prepare for a storm, so for the first time since we left London our mackintoshes were donned and the waterproof aprons got out, and all made ready for bad weather. The wind came and went in a fitful manner, now stirring the leaves of the trees, anon dropping away altogether, a few drops of warm rain fell as large as half-crowns, then a sudden gust swept by, swaying the branches of the elms that bounded our way, and giving us quite a shower-bath by the collected moisture blown down. Everything foreboded a heavy storm, and we drove along apace in hopes to gain some shelter before we experienced the worst of it. There was an ominous silence all around; the only sounds we heard were the clattering of our horses' hoofs and the crunching of our carriage wheels upon the road. But it is not always the expected that happens ; suddenly a gleam of sunshine struggled forth from out of the grey sky above, then as suddenly disappeared, then another came, and vanished in like manner, till at last the sun gained the mastery, and the confusion of crested cumuli gradually melted away and left us once more in a world of warmth and sunshine. We afterwards found out that our hurrying on nearly brought us into the very thick of the downpour.

As the weather improved we moderated our pace. The few drops of rain already mentioned were


all we had; we had simply just touched the fringe of the storm; but the rapidity with which the thunder clouds sprang up and vanished was almost phenomenal.


Driving on we found ourselves all at once in the midst of a most charming little village, with neat cottages and pretty well-kept gardens on either side. of the way. This romantic hamlet reminded us much. of Shanklin, or rather of what Shanklin was before it became a watering-place, prosperous and commonplace. Yoxford is the name of this picturesque Suffolk village. Over the doorway of one of the rustic cottages here we read the following poetical effusion; is it the beauty of the spot, I wonder, that causes even the sweep to proclaim his trade in verse? Should not, however, a sweep know how to spell chimney? But perhaps this is a mere matter of detail. Here then is the verse:

James Majourm does live here,

He sweeps the chimineys far and near;

If your chiminey get on fire,
He'll put it out at your desire.

These poetical trade advertisements are not uncommon in rural England; oftentimes, so we were told, these verses are written by the village schoolmaster. Here is another specimen, exhibited in the shop window of a shoemaker, that we noted elsewhere:

Good people all, I don't refuse

To make or mend your boots and shoes;
My leather's good, my price is just,

My work's the best, I give no trust.

And here is another from a village public house :

[ocr errors]

A mile out of Yoxford the roads and country gave signs of the storm that we had so fortunately escaped. 'You've had some rain here,' we remarked to a farmer who was leaning over a gate. 'Had some rain!' he replied indignantly; 'we've had a mighty lot, and all my hay out. Never see'd it come down heavier in my life, and it thundered terribly; and the worthy man would hardly credit. us when we said we had only experienced a few drops. Wherever was you?' said he, and we explained that we were a mile or so on the other side of Yoxford. Well, to be sure,' he exclaimed, 'it's just too bad; they wants rain bad in them parts; we don't want any more here at present-had far too much already. Never you try farming, sir; it's very trying to the temper, and it ain't profitable neither.' We duly sympathised with the farmer, though for the life of us we could not restrain a smile at his remarks; all the same we thanked him for his advice.

[ocr errors]

You travel far, you travel near,
'Tis here you get the best of beer;

You travel east, you travel west,
You pass this house, you pass the best.

[ocr errors]

Our road now took us to Bramfield. Here our attention was at once arrested by a very quaint and unique church; so far, in all our home travels we had never seen any sacred structure the least resembling it; the building stood upon a rise, so that its peculiarities were manifest. In the first place the church had a round tower, and this was detached and standing at some distance apart from



the main structure; moreover, the roof of the edifice was of thatch. We had never seen a church with a round tower before, or one with a thatched roof, though we afterwards found out that thatched. churches and round towers were not uncommon in Norfolk, but I believe this church of Bramfield is unique in having its tower both of this form and detached.

We inquired of a lad if he knew where the clerk lived; he said he did; this was so far satisfactory, but indefinite. To a further query he stated that the clerk's house was down the street next door to a Mrs. Somebody's; this was not much more to the point. However, we finally arranged that the lad should go and fetch the clerk for us, promising him a sixpence for himself on his return with that individual, whereupon he set off as fast as his legs would carry him, and soon came back with the clerk's son carrying the keys. I suppose you will go up the tower first,' said the boy; 'people mostly do.' As we did not feel much inclined, without the prospect of some reward, to mount the many footworn steps, we asked if there were any view from the top. To this he answered, There is not much of a view, but people go up there to cut their names and the shape of their feet on the leads, and I thought perhaps as how you might like to cut yourn; he even seemed surprised when we stated that we would forego that pleasure. Then we entered the ancient church, and were delightedly surprised at its beautiful and interesting interior, which we appreciated all the more because we were

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »