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pleasanter term), the portions of armour, helmets, breast-plates, swords, shields, and spurs of the brave knights of old, that erst were frequently placed over their tombs, are of the greatest interest and add vastly to the picturesque and romantic effect of such monuments. Unfortunately, such comparatively portable articles, when they escaped the Puritan despoiler, which, to be just, they mostly did, being neither crosses nor yet superstitious images, but too often became the prey of sacrilegious thieves, who, even to this day to my certain knowledge, have entered country churches and removed from them their ancient brasses, all for the paltry gain they may obtain from collectors; and I even think that collectors who purchase such things are equally guilty with the thieves. Not long ago I was offered, in a certain curiosity shop, a beautifully engraved mediæval brass, the inscription being carefully removed all but the date.
Glancing back as we left the sacred fane, we beheld a picture that will long be remembered by us. The low evening sunlight, streaming in through the stained windows, touched with a mosaic of many hues the ancient tombs, glorifying their solemn gloom by transferring to them the chequered tints of the ' twilight saints and dim emblazonings’ from the mellow-tinted glass.
The churchyard here has long been disused for burials, Halstead having years ago wisely provided itself with a cemetery outside the town. Instead, therefore, of the usual sad colony of decaying and neglected tombstones and grass-grown mounds, we
A PARTING PRESENT.
found the God's acre laid out and planted as a garden. The effect was pleasing, though there is no need for allowing the hallowed soil to be converted into a pleasure-ground for local gossips, still less into a noisy playground for children. We noticed here, instead of the usual mournful and depressing yew whose roots 'wrap about the bones' and whose ' fibres net the dreamless head,' that a variety of trees had been planted ; amongst others we observed the copper beech, the holly, the hawthorn, the ash, and sundry kinds of evergreens. This providing of cemeteries, and making pleasant to look upon the usually dismal and dreary churchyards, is greatly to be commended ; the only danger is, as I have said, lest the church gardens should become the rendezvous for village gossips, or a ready playground for children.
Upon leaving our inn next morning the landlord's little daughter presented me with a beautiful rose that she said she had just gathered out of her very own garden ; though rather large for the purpose, I at once gallantly placed it in the button-hole of
my Such kindly meant attentions to strangersof which during our journey we received many—are very pleasing, even though coming from a child. Greatly did I prize that rose, though, I regret to say, somehow I lost it on the way.
Our road was hilly at the start ; from the top of the first rise we had a very pretty view, looking back, of Halstead, with the green valley in which it lies, brightened by the winding silvery Colne; the pleasantly wooded country beyond forming a charming
setting to the scene. Near to the spot where we pulled up to admire the view, we noticed an old oak tree, old but not particularly fine; this was carefully bound round with iron to preserve it. Whether the tree had any history I cannot say, for at the time there was nobody in sight of whom to make inquiry.
Our road now led us through shady woods, and for a space the hedges on either side of us were of yellow broom, the glowing colour of which made our way quite cheerful, telling as it did brightly against the green foliage of the trees. Then the woods gave place to a more open country of pastures and tilled fields, and, descending a hill, we crossed a stream by a picturesque wooden bridge. Shortly after crossing this we came to High Garret—so, at least, we gathered from our map. The reading of the name of a place correctly on maps, as at present printed, is not such a simple matter as it should be. The names of towns and villages (especially if they be long) occupy considerable space, and it is by no means always easy to know whether the place is intended to be shown at the end or the beginning of the word. Map makers engrave the titles where most convenient, so as to avoid confusion and overcrowding of their
spots ; this avoiding of confusion in one point, however, begets considerable uncertainty in another, for a name on a map often occupies three miles or more; and where there are many villages shown on it at about that distance from one another, it wants some care to avoid a mistake.
High Garret, as I have said, in spite of its un
picturesque name, is a most charming village, with thatched cottages that are so delightful in pictures and reality. One of these cottage homes had its lowly walls completely covered with a combination of roses, honeysuckle, vines, and ivy. Here also we observed a very picturesque modern residence, built in the good old-fashioned, half-timbered style that suits so well the homelike English landscape. A convenient and a comfortable style this for the country, as well as a picturesque one; the projecting upper stories (that so especially belong to it) are not merely quaint and ornamental features, but serve a very practical purpose—the throwing forward of the first floor over the lower one, affording more space for bed-chambers, which in small houses of the straight wall type are generally in short supply in proportion to the sitting-rooms, unless, indeed, the building be carried up another story, entailing the perpetual mounting of extra stairs and loss of external proportion in the house.
I am the lucky possessor of a charming little cottage in this pleasant style, and, owing to the projecting story on either side, two additional cosy bedrooms are secured, and plenty of cupboard space besides ; thus convenience and picturesqueness are most happily combined. Those who have seen over this little homelike cottage, with its high-pitched gables, large stacks of chimneys, and mullioned small-paned windows, are always much surprised at the amount of accommodation in the upper part of it.
It is a pity that this thoroughly English and
comfortable style of architecture is not more adopted in the country dwellings of to-day; and it may be combined, if wished, with the old-fashioned weather tiling, which has the advantage of keeping the walls of a house dry even in the wettest climate, besides securing cool rooms in summer and warm ones in winter.