« AnkstesnisTęsti »
rare thing to come upon an hotel in the course of construction in the country, away from towns and villages, but the beauties of the long neglected Broads are becoming better and more widely known, and tourists are finding their way to these parts. Artists, fishermen, and yachtsmen have discovered a new holiday ground here. One unfortunate result of this is (so the landlord of our hotel at Yarmouth told us when chatting with him over our evening glass and pipe in his cosy bar), that a few of the Broads being private property, the owners of them are getting alarmed at the ever increasing number of visitors, and though no objection was ever made to the comparatively few boating-men and fishermen who used to frequent them, the owners in question now fear that in time a public right of way and sport may be established, and therefore have forbidden strangers upon their private waters. This is a most regrettable fact, but the landlords are acting well within their rights, and a few tourists have so trespassed, poached, and misbehaved themselves that the owners of property in these parts have ample excuse for their action. However, happily there is a right of waterway through the majority of the rivers and Broads, so that the closing of a few against travellers does not matter so much as it otherwise would, but some very pretty stretches of water are now, alas ! forbidden to the general tourist. Still I understand even in these cases permission to boat upon them is not always withheld if asked, but the asking is troublesome, and there is a fair possibility of a refusal.
It has often struck me, were it feasible, what a good thing it would be if the Government could purchase the right of way for tourists over certain districts of beautiful country, so that all could enjoy them without let or hindrance. The Government of the United States has done a very wise thing (practicable with them) in securing certain districts in their territories, famous for their scenery, as National Parks for the use of the public for ever, under reasonable and necessary restrictions, reserves in which even the enterprising builder cannot run up an hotel without permission, and where the scenery cannot be utterly spoilt by the speculator. If only our own lovely Lake District, a part of Wales, certain portions of the beautiful Highlands, Devon, and other holiday grounds could be converted into National Parks! I must confess that in some parts of the country no small amount of my enjoyment of beautiful spots has been marred by finding these spots carefully fenced in and a charge made for admission. One resents this making a peepshow of Nature at so much a head. A certain charming waterfall I know of has been ruined by a hideous boarding around, so placed that even a glimpse of it cannot be had from the road as formerly. The owner excused himself to me for this act on his part by saying that he had provided a guide to show the fall from the best points of view, and that he had made gravel paths to these (smooth gravel paths by the side of a wild waterfall!), and that if he had not blocked the view from the road no one would pay the guide to take charge of the fall—as though anyone would run away with it—and any damage a few misguided tourists would do would be as nothing to the ugly hoarding and tidy trim paths that seem strangely out of place on a rugged mountain side. People are beginning to find the cash value of scenery. I have been told, I do not know how far it may
be true, that the owner of a few acres of wild unprofitable mountain land in a district now haunted by tourists, land that formerly he could neither let nor sell, has found a little gold-mine in the shape of a waterfall, which he has enclosed and charges so much for admission to view it; the property is now, I understand, a profitable one, and not in the market. By the way,
I was very much amused when travelling in California. Riding through a famous valley on one occasion I read the notice, "To the Falls.' Descending to inspect these on foot, I passed a shanty on the way. Here by the side of a box with a slit in it was written, “This Fall is on private property ; you are welcome to see it and stay as long as you like; on your return you can drop what you think the sight is worth into this box. This, I think, is quite unique; the fall was not fenced in, you had no guide to bother you, and it seemed to me that you could
pay or not. An American gentleman I was with from down East,' a wealthy citizen, to my surprise passed the box and put nothing in. ‘Guess it's a mighty good thing in falls,' said he to
that man's mighty sharp,' pointing to the shanty, but I don't take kindly to that there box affair ; guess it's no more his property than mine. No, sirree; see now, I know my countrymen better
THE SIGN OF THE FALGATE.
than you. We've got a fine park in my city, and there's a grand gateway into it; I knew an enterprising citizen just commencing his career stand by that gate one Sunday, and when he sighted a stranger from the country, up he went to him and demanded a quarter admission, and he did very well at it, but I guess he made a mistake when he took me for a stranger. That's so.'
But I have sadly wandered from the land of the Broads to far-off America ; let us return to our pleasant English road. Driving on we came to a humble thatched wayside hostel, the Falgate to wit. The sign of this inn, of which I have given a drawing in the early part of my book, consists of a small gate, hanging in the usual fashion over the roadway, and upon it is inscribed, a line to each bar of the gate :
This gate hangs high
But hinders none;
And travel on.
Passing through much the same class of flat Dutchlike country--a landscape composed of green plains varied by tall poplar trees and spreading elms, traversed by reed-grown rivers and willow-bordered streams-in due course we arrived at Stalham, where we pulled up at the door of the Swan. Just on the outskirt of the village, with only a garden between it and the road, we noticed a charming old house, of which we made a sketch. A picturesque place it was, grandly built, with thick walls and great chimneys. The windows were quaintly shaped and evidently had been considered by the ancient architect as a feature in the design ; they were something more than mere square glazed holes to let the light in. The form and detail of a window, broken by mullion and transom and varied by shaped leaded panes, have much to do with the beauty of a building. Better surely such quaint quarrelled lights than sheets of meaningless plate-glass; for, having our plate-glass, is it not a fact that we forthwith proceed to hide its bareness with lace curtains ? The weakest part
of a modern house, artistically and architecturally considered, is its windows; externally they are uninteresting, and internally they fail to suggest enclosed space.
The Swan at Stalham proved to be a homely inn, clean and comfortable. We found the fare there excellent, though plain, and the landlord most civil and obliging. What more could a traveller desire ? As the hostel had stabling attached to it, we determined to rest at Stalham awhile, and explore the local waterways and Broads by boat; a capital quiet centre this for the purpose.
Having secured our quarters at the Swan, we strolled down to the riverside and proceeded to • interview' the man there who lets out boats and yachts on hire. We learnt that we could hire a small yacht (if we could sail it ourselves) for the moderate sum of 31. a week. This certainly cannot be deemed an excessive charge, as the craft is supposed to serve as an hotel, there being sleeping accommodation aboard for two in comfort or four in discomfort, the only extra expense being the pro