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A ROADSIDE WINDMILL.
the devil,' which did not much help to enlighten
The country now became level; wide fields of breezy grass' were on either side of us, a green world stretching far away, growing from green to grey, and grey to hazy blue on the long circling line of the horizon. Here and there were scattered pleasant-looking farmsteads with stacks and sheltering trees around. One farmhouse we passed had been rebuilt, but strangely enough the ancient chimneys of a former structure were retained, a curious admixture of the new and the old. Presently, as we journeyed on, we came to an old friend, a windmill by the roadside busily at work, with the miller's home close by. We pulled up here to make a sketch of this.
The windmills of Eastern England generally differ from those of hilly counties in being built taller, in order to obtain the necessary wind power clear of trees. Indeed, it is strange how the build of windmills varies in different parts of the country. A tall Suffolk or Norfolk mill with its great spreading sails would soon be strained and useless on the exposed South Downs. But this roadside windmill which we stopped to sketch, for some reason hard to understand, was not a tall one; indeed, its sails, as they swept round and round with a great swish, swish, swish, came so close to the ground as almost to make us feel uncomfortable. A blow from one of those mighty arms would have put a sudden end to our outing.
It is a picturesque old building,' we remarked
to the miller by way of saying something, and as a change from the everlasting topic of the weather; and writing of this latter we have found that a miller's idea of good weather does not always coincide with our own. A wet blowy day that sets his sails in rapid motion is better weather by far to him than a day of sunshine and gentle airs. Different people see the world from different standpoints. Again, in Wales we made a mistake in saying to an old miller, whose ancient water-wheel we were sketching, 'What a gloriously fine summer we are having! Hope it will continue.' To which civil remark we received a wholly unexpected rejoinder: 'It's all very well for you artist chaps to call it glorious weather; I calls it wretched. Ain't rained anything worth speaking about for nearly a month, and I'm short of water. How am I to get a living if I can't work?' But to return to our Suffolk miller, said he in answer to us, 'She may be picturesque or she may not, but she ain't nearly as useful as she might be,' 'How's that?' we asked. Well, you see, sir, she's far too low. The trees around have grown up since she were built, and we lose a lot of wind by them. It's not so much matter in the winter time, but in the summer the foliage do make a lot of difference. She ain't much use on to do work in the summer unless we has a good stiff breeze.' And upon the principle that beauty is as beauty does' it was clear that the miller did not consider his mill beautiful, and manifestly would rather have had it more useful and less picturesque; and after all he was right, for is not the first business of a windmill to grind corn?
A ROMANTIC TOWN.
After a time the stretch of level country came to an end, and our road was once more pleasantly undulating. The only building of interest on the way was an old and lonely country church, standing by itself, villageless, on rising ground. Where the congregation came from was a puzzle to us; but though the living inhabitants seem few and far between, its crowded God's Acre tells of many bygone generations of worshippers sleeping there. Indeed. the very churchyard is raised considerably above the level of the land around, owing, presumably, to the interments of centuries. A sad and mournful churchyard, striking a solemn note strangely out of harmony with the smiling sunlit landscape, it seemed as though it had the gathered gloom of ages upon it. The brightness of the day served but to emphasise the grey desolation of the ancient fane, and to add an additional melancholy to its neglected grassgrown graves. We were glad to drive on.
A few miles more brought us to Bungay, a sleepy, rambling old town, picturesque and romantic, possessing many quaint houses of ancient datesome with curious carvings thereon-boasting also of a seventeenth-century market-cross and a ruined castle set on a height overlooking a winding river and a far-spreading wooded country. Surely such a town deserves the term romantic, although it is only in Suffolk and not somewhere abroad difficult of access?
As we drove into the place we noticed two inns, evidently old coaching hostelries. Strangely enough, though both possessed their ancient and finely iron
wrought sign-supports, neither support retained its signboard. We patronised the one beneath the castle walls, and, entering, asked if we could have some lunch. Tourists and travellers (other than ⚫ commercials') are manifestly rare in this part of England, for the civil landlady actually appeared taken slightly aback at our simple request. We've only a commercial room,' she replied, and there is a dinner just going in there, if you don't mind joining it; otherwise I am sorry that you will have to wait till it's over.' We were hungry, and we said that we would not mind 'joining it,' so we were shown into the commercial room, where we found a sumptuous repast spread, with champagne on the table, and a chairman presiding. We felt a little strange at first, as we did not understand commercial etiquette. We understood a good deal more of it after that dinner. It appears that one of the oldest travellers presides, and is the chairman for the day.' As each party comes in he says, 'Gentlemen, permit me to join you,' and he 'joins' after the chairman replies, Certainly, sir; most pleased to have your company.' Then after a time, in our case, the chairman remarked, 'This is a free house, I believe, gentlemen. Will you order what wine you please? Then, as each individual took his first glass, he turned to the head of the table, and said, 'Your health, Mr. President; gentlemen all,’ and we felt rather like a fish out of water, for in our ignorance we had actually sat down to table without even begging permission; we had taken our ale (wine we had not dreamt of ordering) without drink
AN OLD FEUDAL STRONGHOLD.
ing to the health of the president and gentlemen all.' We had an excellent dinner, the best we had had on the way, so far, and this over, whilst the diners sipped their wine-(it was Saturday, and the 'commercials' were taking a half-day's rest after their week's work)—we listened to many a joke, and came to the conclusion that a commercial traveller's life was rather a 'jolly' one. But possibly we saw only the bright side of it, for one of the company said to us, upon our remarking that we thought they must be very prosperous to indulge in such good fare and wine, You see, sir, it's our holiday. We work hard all the week, and Saturday afternoons we forget business'—which they seemed to do very thoroughly, and, whatever else they did, they certainly did not 'talk shop.'
We remained only a short time in the company of the 'commercials,' and leaving them we strolled out to take a leisurely inspection of the quaint old town. We first wended our way to the ruined castle, which is situated on an eminence at the back of the hotel. This old feudal stronghold (in its day considered impregnable) stands upon a bold height overlooking the fertile valley of the Waveney. Th dignified and commanding situation of this ancient castle is more what one would expect to find in the hilly north country than in the peaceful, pastoral land of Suffolk. It is now very ruinous, and consists only of some battered walls and the remains of two round towers. This formidable stronghold was built (we discovered in hunting the history of it up) by one Roger Bigod, who took part with