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A DUTCHLIKE LANDSCAPE.
the same time. We presumed that the majority of these were employed in raising water from the low lands into the drainage dykes; they could not surely be all for grinding corn. From the mills close at hand through those in the middle distance to the others space-diminished far away, it was a striking study in vanishing perspective. The whole scene was wonderfully Dutchlike; it was in truth an English Holland that we were travelling through, a rich, moist, green land, intersected with dykes, dotted with frequent windmills, and made cheerful by redroofed homes. A land of slothful rivers with lazy craft thereon; a dreamy land where people are given to live long, make haste slowly, and grow neither very poor nor very rich.
Crossing a river, a railway, and a great straight dyke one after the other, we came to St. Olave's, where once there stood a stately priory, famous for its charity.
When yonder broken arch was whole,
Close by the waterside here we espied the Bell Inn, an ancient hostel, picturesque and homely. It looked like an angler's resort, and doubtless many a follower of the gentle craft' has made this primitive house his quarters for a time, and I trust that they one and all have had good sport. An artist in search of 'fresh woods and pastures new' might do worse than bring his easel hither; certainly there is no lack
of good picture-making material round about, and the scenery has the stamp of a sturdy individuality. Moreover, a pertinent moreover, it has not been sketched, painted, and photographed endlessly from every available point of view, and has therefore the desirable quality of freshness.
Writing of painting from nature, on looking over my sketch-books (the outcome of many tours), I have been struck by the changeful characteristics of the scenery represented therein. I think now, that on seeing a faithful sketch I could tell at a glance whether it was intended for a scene in Wales, or Cumberland, or Yorkshire, or Devonshire, and so forth, so individual and pronounced in reality is the English landscape, as varied as it is beautiful. And it seems to me that frequently certain scenery has stamped its individuality upon the painter, who has lived amongst it, loved it, and drawn it, putting his whole soul into his work. It can only be painted best in one way; he discovers this way and so paints it. It is the scenery that impresses its character upon the painter's mind, and makes what we are pleased to call his style. For instance, in some parts of North Wales I am at once reminded of David Cox ; in like manner the Thames to a more or less degree recalls to me Vicat Cole, the rural wayside scenery of Southern England suggests Birket Foster, portions of Suffolk at once bring before me Constable; so do the characteristics of different classes of scenery stamp themselves upon the artist who paints first for love and last for gold. Whilst sketching a Welsh moorland, some years now past, a friend remarked
to me, 'Trying to paint like David Cox, eh?' Now I was doing nothing of the kind, not even thinking of him, but solely of my work, striving as well as I knew how to portray on paper the wild scene that was before me, just as it came, with all its wonderful combination of brightness and gloom, of solemn breadth and silvery atmosphere. This I know, that if my sketch had any of the feeling of David Cox about it, at however great a distance, it was in the scene first, for it was not within myself.
Leaving St. Olave's we left for a time the flat country. Our road now led us up a moderate rise, past woods of dark Scotch firs, then by a sandy gorse-grown common, the bright gold of the gorse blooms contrasting strangely and most effectively with the sombre green of the firs. Quite a change this poor dry parched soil after the luxuriant fresh pastures of the marshlands, where the cattle were buried knee-deep in the long grass; and the atmosphere was changed as well, for it too was dry and balmy, laden with the resinous odours of the pine trees and fragrant with the rich perfume of the gorse.
Next our road brought us to the rural hamlet of Fritton, whose quaint little church, with thatched roof and round tower, is as interesting to archæologists as it is charming to less learned folk by reason of its picturesqueness. Here we caught our first sight of a Broad, and a very beautiful one it proved to be, and greatly were we impressed by its quiet loveliness. Fritton Broad, or Decoy as the local people have it, is some three miles long, but