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narrow, more like the reach of some fine river than what we imagined, from the term, a Broad should be. This sheet of silvery water is surrounded by pleasant green woods which double themselves in the stilly flood below. The Mirror Broad we thought that it might be aptly called, but it may not be always as smooth and glass-like as when we saw it, for there was then not a ripple upon its sheltered surface, and not a leaf of all the foliage around stirred in the windless air. A profound peace seemed to rest upon the spot, a quiet nook of earth, given over to a delightful slumbrous tranquillity that knows nothing of the hurry and rush of this steam-driven age, a spot to dream in, the world forgetting and by the
Now on the level horizon straight in front of us Yarmouth came into sight, and beyond a gleam of the distant sea stretching vaguely far away till lost in a mystery of pearly grey. We hurried on, for the daylight was fast fading, already the moon was showing in a ghostlike fashion, and we had no desire to be belated on our lonely way. By degrees the trees grew fewer in the landscape, the scenery also grew more and more desolate, and all things became strangely blended and uncertain in the gathering gloom. Now and again from the distant town we caught sight of a gleaming light, and one glittering restless weather vane reflected back the last lingering rays of the setting sun. Arriving at Yarmouth we had some difficulty in threading our way through the mazes of its crowded narrow streets, but eventually, after many windings that took us past endless quays
INNS WITHOUT STABLING.
and over narrow bridges, we managed to puzzle our way to the Victoria Hotel, which we chose on the recommendation of the landlord at Beccles because it had stabling attached, a very essential matter for us. I know nothing more dispiriting than arriving late, with tired horses, at a large town, and finding that our inn has no stabling attached. This happened to us once upon a former journey, a result that necessitated our driving round about in search of livery stables, a proceeding that did not add to our pleasure nor improve our temper. Strangely enough, it was the old coaching inns of the place that were without stables. The Victoria was a modern hotel.
What a quaint old-fashioned town is Yarmouth, or rather I should say ancient Yarmouth, for the modern part that faces the sea is of the usual watering-place type, ugly and prosperous appearing, with commonplace stucco houses; paraded, well lighted, well drained, and healthy doubtless, but monotonously uninteresting. Old Yarmouth in parts is wonderfully like a Dutch town; the quay especially, with its Flemish-looking houses, its fishing smacks and inland trading wherries harboured there, all of which remind one of Holland. The grouping of houses around the quay is most picturesque. I never saw anything so foreign-looking in England before. The place is full of architectural pictures. I wonder Yarmouth is not more considered by artists than it is. I can only suppose that being in England, readily accessible, painters can see no romance in it, so go abroad for their poetry. That which is difficult to obtain, that which costs us
money and trouble to reach, we strangely prize the most. The glamour of distance (to the majority of people) is as incomprehensible to me as it is an undoubted fact. The mere virtue of distance, for distance sake, I have yet to learn.
Yarmouth possesses many old houses of great antiquarian interest. Amongst these is the Star Inn, a fine Elizabethan building, having some good carved oak work in its ancient chambers. The Nelson Room here is well worth seeing. Number 4, the South Quay, is also another fine example of old English architecture, though spoilt by its modern front which effectually conceals its antiquity, but the interior contains much excellent carved woodwork of the sixteenth century. It was in this house, tradition asserts, that the leaders of the Commonwealth held council and finally decided upon the execution of the unfortunate Charles I.
The Toll-house in Middlegate Street is another very quaint building, having a curious outside stone staircase protected by a projecting porch quite unique in its way. Internally it boasts of a fine hall with a grand timbered roof, which our ancestors thought fit to plaster over, but the plaster has fortunately been removed and the interesting original construction shown in all its beauty. Why, I wonder, were our forefathers so given to plaster and whitewash? why did they so delight to paint carved oak and panel? and even worse than this, having painted the rare carved oak, they would grain their wretched paint to imitate (a long way off) oak again. Could folly further go? But I must not be too hard upon
A KIND OFFER.
our ancestors who cannot reply to my criticisms, for even to this day the love of paint is still retained by many, who it appears to me should know better. I have a friend who is the lucky possessor of a fine country house; the hall and staircase of this are of mahogany beautifully carved. Though not of the best period of English architecture, the work is thoroughly honest, and as good as it can be. An architect who was on a visit to my friend actually recommended him to paint all the panelling and staircase white and yellow; his reasons I know not, but the fact I can vouch for.
The exceedingly narrow lanes called 'Rows' (of which there are over a hundred) are a peculiarity of Yarmouth, and not to be desired elsewhere; so narrow indeed are they that vehicles termed locally trollies' have been especially designed to traverse them. We saw nothing to admire in these rows; their narrowness is inconvenient and not picturesque, they have no redeeming merit. But I must be excused from saying more of Yarmouth ; we took our outing to see the country, not towns. Besides, I am not writing a guide-book, nor have I the slightest desire to compete with such.
The landlord of our hotel proved to be an enthusiastic yachtsman, and kindly offered to take us for a long cruise, if we could afford the time, along the neighbouring rivers and Broads, but we preferred to keep to the road with its ever-changing scenery and varying interests. I merely mention this goodnatured offer as a fair sample of the unvarying kindness we met with from all those we came across
during our journey. Everyone seemed to take an interest in our driving expedition (the landlords of the inns that we stayed at from time to time especially), and did all that lay in their power to add to the pleasure of it. Driving by road is a very different thing from railway travelling surely? Who ever takes a particular interest in the railway tourist? He is too ordinary to be remarked upon, he comes and goes and pays his bill (at least it is to be hoped so) like the rest of his kind, but the mere fact that we had come all the way by road in the good oldfashioned manner that prevailed before George Stephenson invented the iron horse, seemed to attract a kindly attention to us. We were interesting.
From an old work that we came across at our hotel we learnt that the Yarmouth churches fared exceedingly badly at the time of the Commonwealth. Most if not all of the exceedingly fine old brasses that they contained were forcibly removed and melted down, and sold as mere metal. Not content with stealing (I can use no other suitable word) the brass memorials of the innocent dead, according to the authority of the old work in question, even the very gravestones in the churchyards were dug up and made some into grindstones, the broken fragments of others being employed to scrub the decks of vessels; and thus it was the sailors, seeing from the remains of inscriptions thereon that these stones had once formed portions of church monuments, came to call them 'holy-stones,' a term still universally employed.