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bordered stream it was, whose wanderings could be traced afar by its silvery gleaming and by the greenness and freshness of the vegetation along its banks. By the side of the river was a sleepy hamlet, an unsophisticated place, that might be miles from anywhere. What peaceful, uneventful lives the dwellers in such spots must lead, as far removed, to all appearance, from the hurry and rush of the outer world as though they were on another continent !
Another stretch of pretty country, dotted now and again with ancient homes, brought us to Swanton. Here a very fine church arrested our attention and caused us to make a halt. We found that not only were the doors of the building locked, but also the very gates leading into the churchyard ; we therefore contented ourselves with an external inspection of the old fane. Though interesting architecturally, there was nothing of special note in the structure, unless it were a rebus we discovered over the doorway, in the shape of a swan and a large cask for a tun, carved in stone, forming thus the name Swan-ton.
Remounting the phaeton, we observed that a sudden change had taken place in the weather. A great, heavy, dun-coloured cloud bulging with aqueous vapour obscured the sunshine; it seemed strangely low as sweeping along it touched the very tops of the tall elms; it gave us a curious feeling as though it might descend and crush us. Then without further warning a clap of thunder broke the stillness ; this was immediately followed by a regular deluge of rain and hail. We had not even time to escape the wet by driving under some wide-branching trees; anything more sudden in even our changeful climate I do not remember to have experienced ; we were taken wholly unawares. Of course we got a wetting, after which too late we donned our mackintoshes. No sooner had we done this than the cloud vanished as if by magic, and the sun shone once more upon a wet gleaming world. In the village was an old wooden windmill, the sails of which when we arrived were motionless; these now began to whirl round and round a great pace, for the thunder had brought up half a gale of wind. We saw the miller running up to his mill in haste from the public house, where, doubtless in despair of doing any work that day, he had been indulging in some good Norfolk ale. Possibly he feared now lest his mill should 'run on fire,' and was anxious to get the brake on, for these old wooden mills often
burnt down by the speed at which their sails are whirled round in a storm that comes suddenly upon them.
The wet road soon changed to a dusty one, proving that the storm was only local; but though the sky immediately overhead was clear, on the horizon dark indigo clouds were gathering suspiciously, and a distant rumble of thunder warned us to be prepared for rain. Fortunately we had an excellent road, and giving the horses their heads we made what haste we could. We raced the storm and won. Just as the rain commenced to fall we reached East Dereham and drove into the shelter of the King's Arms. “I am afraid we're going to have a tempest,' remarked the ostler, and it certainly looked like it, but after a sharp shower and a roll or
TRUTH IN ART.
two of thunder the weather cleared up again, and we strolled out to see what the town had to show us.
Wandering about without any special motive, we found ourselves in the outskirts of the place. Seeing a windmill a little way off, we made for this in the hope of obtaining a view of the surrounding country, for experience has taught us that, as a rule, from the spot whereon a windmill stands a good view may be had. These structures, when possible, are placed upon a height, and as buildings and trees obstruct their motive power, their immediate surroundings are mostly open, so that there is nothing to interrupt the prospect. This mill was one of the picturesque, if not profitable, old-fashioned sort, the whole structure turning on a pivot. We noticed that the front, which of necessity has to face the wind and storms, was weather-stained and its painting faded; the contrast of the windward side with the others was most marked, yet though I have seen many of these old mills in pictures (for they are favourite subjects with artists) never have I noticed any attention paid to this fact. It is the careful consideration of such unconsidered trifles that gives the impression of truth and adds materially to the value of a picture. I have seen a painting on the walls of the Royal Academy, and on the line moreover, in which the rigging of a ship was altogether wrong. Artists cannot be too careful of details ; photography by its exactness has taught us much, and we may still learn from it as to minor truths, if not beauty.
Returning to our inn we crossed the old London mail road that passes through the town; here, where it is useless, strangely enough for the first time upon our journey we came upon a perfect milestone, with the lettering thereon legible. This informed us that it was a hundred miles to London (by the most direct way of course). We did not propose to follow this road; direct roads are not always the most beautiful, and were we not, like the more famous Dr. Syntax, out on a tour in search of the picturesque ? Indeed we had no very clear idea as to what line of country we should take upon our return journey ; more than once already we had actually changed our course when on the road, as the country in another direction looked more attractive than that which we were traversing. Before starting on our day's pilgrimage we always made a point of chatting with the landlord and ostler about the stage we proposed to take ; this in case we might glean anything of interest en route from them ; thus we managed to pick up much local information, and sundry traditions and particulars about old places on our way that do not get generally into guide-books.
Next morning early we wandered out to get a glance at the church before starting. Near to it we discovered some curious and ancient houses; one, which bore traces of former elaborate ornamentation, had the early date ‘MDII'carved upon it. The old red-tiled, uneven roofs of these ancient dwellings, with the sun glinting upon them, contrasted powerfully with the solemn grey of the grand church tower close by. Church, tower, and cottages composed a charming picture, as quaintly effective, as full of
A POET'S GRAVE.
colour, and as delightful to look upon, as though the scene were designed by an artist. It was a bit of architectural scenery (if I may be allowed the expression) that for picturesqueness could hardly be excelled. Why will not painters give us glimpses of some of the quaint townscapes (to invent another word) of our romantic, unspoilt English towns, instead of everlastingly rushing off to the Continent for such subjects? Some day the artist may come who will reveal to Englishmen the romantic picturesqueness of their old-time and remote country towns, and the beauty of them will come as a surprise to many.
The church here is an exceedingly fine one, and its grandeur impressed us (used even to fine churches as we were). It is interesting from having two towers, one in the centre of the building, the other, a very massive one, standing apart by itself in the churchyard. Bishop Bonner, of notorious memory, was once a vicar here. Entering the church we found a plan of the building hanging against a pillar ; this explained very briefly, but sufficiently clearly, the past history of the old fane, giving the dates and particulars of the various styles of architecture that go to compose its grand harmonious whole. Each period is set forth by different tints; the plan also points out the many matters of interest within the church. We found this most useful in understanding the building, and infinitely preferable to the uncertain information usually bestowed on strangers by the average clerk. Cowper is buried here; the monument to the poet is a very simple and plain one; it consists merely of a palm leaf laid over a