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our little inn informed us. Certainly it is one of the largest, but it appeared to us that the Broads are all about equally beautiful, and, save in size, that there is not much to choose between them. Their surroundings are very similar ; they are specially characteristic as a whole, not individually one from another.
The church of Barton Turf is interesting on account of its richly painted rood screen. It also possesses some curious old brasses; one of these runs as follows:
I besheche all peple far and ner
With the possible exception of the obsolete word 'gaf,' signifying 'gave,' the inscription is easily rendered into modern English. These old Norfolk country churches abound in quaint brasses ; the archaic spelling of the legends upon many of them, however, is frequently most perplexing. Some we could make nothing of, notably one or two very ancient ones that we discovered in the most interesting church of Sall which we visited later on. Here is another inscription upon a brass at Holme, a village on the coast. The last term 'steven' is an old English word meaning voice,' and is thus employed by Chaucer ; with this explanation the inscription can readily be made out. It will be noticed in this that
the only important word spelt as it is to-day is vestments':
Herry Notingham and his wyffe lyne her
Returning along the quiet Broad, in due time we re-entered the sluggish river, whose green waters contrasted markedly with the silvery blue of the more open and deeper mere. Here we found it somewhat difficult to steer our proper course, for many other wide streams diverge into this, and the high reeds on either hand prevented us most effectually from noting any leading landmarks, so that it was not easy to gather whether we were on the right track or not. However, eventually, after taking one or two false turns, we managed to make our way safely back to Stalham once more. A short walk from Stalham is Ingham, a village that should be visited by all travellers in the neighbourhood, on account of its grand church (restored) which contains two fine altar-tombs, one of much interest to the memory of Sir Olive de Ingham, who built the sacred edifice. This once renowned warrior is represented in recumbent effigy, and his helmet still hangs over his magnificent monument.
Out of Stalham our road still led us through a level low-lying iand, a country of green pastures and still waters. Presently we came to a narrow winding river, crossed by a grey old bridge. The riverbridge, with the quaint buildings around, and the
A LITTLE-TRAVELLED LAND.
one or two ancient fishing boats pulled up on the bank and past service, formed as picturesque a bit as the heart of a landscapist could desire.
On the side of a building here, a little away from the road, we observed a notice board; from the phaeton all that we could read of this was the heading, which ran as follows: ‘Ant Protection Society.' Whatever can that mean, we thought; some new fad for the protection of insects ? Surely not, but so the words read, and travelling much we have learnt to be surprised at nothing. We stopped the carriage and descended so that we might read the rest of the notice, in hopes that the reading might enlighten us. We were duly enlightened. The ' Ant’ proved not to be an insect at all, but the name of the small stream (dignified by the title of river) that we had just passed, and the society had only the protection of this water in hand for the benefit of anglers.
Then as we drove on the country became desolate-looking, villages and houses were few and far between. The level of the land created within us an impression of limitless space; it was a lonely road, almost depressing in its loneliness. We met not a soul the whole of the way; not a solitary shepherd or a farm labourer. A little-travelled land this; even the lazy cows came and looked at us wonderingly over the gates, as though we were something strange, and as the daylight gradually faded away our road seemed more lonely still. How forsaken are some portions of the English country! The west was growing a pale yellow, the tall poplars and stunted trees, tortured into strange shapes by the unchecked
wintry winds, assumed weird forms, forms that showed almost black against the golden sky. There was a hushed stillness over all; the landscape became full of mystery and hovering shadows, the sleepy wind scarce stirred the trees, the clatter of our horses' feet and the crunching of the phaeton's wheels upon the sandy road seemed almost preternaturally loud. Here and there a quiet pool mirrored the pale yellow of the sky, otherwise there was nothing to break the world of grey gloom around. And so we drove on in silence and solitude, till the dreary darkness that had now fallen upon us was cheered by the glimmer of lights from the little town of North Walsham. Here we drove up to the King's Arms, and received the best of all receptions for a weary traveller, a hearty welcome.
What delightful resting-places are some of these country inns! Little wonder that Dr. Johnson, Shenstone, and others have written in their praise, and did not Archbishop Leighton say that he thought the fittest place to die in was a country hostelry? A good old-fashioned inn is the King's Arms at North Walsham, with little show and much comfort. The modern hotel has, alas! with more or less success, reversed these desirable qualifications. The King's Arms is still a real posting house, for the landlord told us that he kept as many as fifteen horses ready for posting, and only a few years ago the coaches to Cromer passed through here; there are few country inns that have so long retained the old-time ways and customs,
and customs, The landlord told us that he had been there for twenty-three years.
In the morning we set out to prospect the place,