Puslapio vaizdai

pretentious, is by far the more picturesque, but when we were there the noisy army of trippers, out for a day in the country, took a good deal of glamour away from the picturesqueness of the place. At any rate, Tom, Dick, and Harry, whatever their shortcomings, can hardly be said to take their pleasures sadly.' But what right have we to complain of them? Should we not rejoice that they elect to spend their rare holiday amidst the fresh green woods rather than in the stuffy public house? Truly we prefer to take our pleasures quietly, but chacun à son goût. We are not selfish enough to begrudge others their enjoyment, even though their ways are not our ways.

Close to the hotel at Chingford stands a quaint, half-timbered building known as Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, which that famous sovereign frequently visited when she went out in chase of the red deer, with her attendant maids dressed in white satin, in right regal style, for good Queen Bess was ever mindful of outward show, and dress was as dear to her heart as ever was the sport. A charming structure this, breathing of the past; once within its time-hallowed walls, the present almost appears a dream, so does the haunting genius of the spot take hold upon the imagination.

The near, afar off seems, the distant nigh:
The now, a dream, the past reality.

An old writer, fully entering into the charms and sentiment of this old-world building, thus describes the impression that it made upon him: The hand of the past is impressed upon thee, and has given thee


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a character. It has invested thee with poetry. Storms. roaring through the huge elms that stand near-old companions of thine-fierce winters beating on thy steep, gabled roof, and tinting thy framed walls; autumns and springs, and hot basking summers, come across the imagination as we think of thee. The broad and easy oaken staircase, up which the heroine of the Armada and the Queen of Scots' tragedy is said to have ridden to her dining-room, the tapestried chamber, and the banqueting-hall, please me, but far more the ancient desolateness without and around.' When we were there, however, the desolateness was all within, not without and around.' Only one chamber in the house is now shown, the ancient banqueting-hall, situated right on top of the building; this is reached by a wide and ample oak staircase, which, according to tradition just mentioned, upon one occasion, Queen Elizabeth ascended on horseback. It is to my knowledge that a hunting man once did a similar mad freak for a bet, but having got his horse up-☛ stairs, nothing could induce that animal to make the descent, so that eventually it had to be stabled for the night in a bedroom, and was, with great difficulty, removed thence the next day!

The old banqueting-hall being placed right on the top of the building, a grand view of the forest is to be had from its many windows. The roof of this chamber is of open timber work, massive and substantial, and vastly more picturesque than the usual ceiling of flat plaster of the present day. We noticed, with interested curiosity, the quaint and

effective old-fashioned fastenings to the casement windows, a form of window so preferable to the heavy sash ones of to-day. Though possibly centuries old, a better fastener has yet to be invented; it is a thousand times more to the purpose than many a modern patent one-patented to sell. I speak from experience, having an exact copy of one of these in my house-result: the windows are no longer draughty nor do they rattle when the wind blows strongly as of yore; they never (the windows) hold fast, and can be easily opened or shut with one hand, when before sometimes these operations had to be performed by two, with more or less exertion. The design of the fastening also has the merit of being simple and artistically ornamental, besides effectual, a very happy and rare combination of good qualities. Any architect who may read this book will, I trust, for the benefit of his clients, take the intended hint, and not value it the less because I give it gratis.

If we had let our romantic imaginations have full play for a time whilst we were in that olden chamber, on our returning to the excursionist-haunted hotel our poetic dreams were effectually dispelled : we were all too quickly brought down to the stern reality of the nineteenth century. The hunting lodge was ancient, its antiquity was beyond reproach, the woods around were old and gnarled, even the half-timbered inn, with a fair allowance of fancy, might pass muster as aged too, thanks to its pleasant style of architecture; but the people around were unmistakably of to-day; we could by no possibility

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idealise them, that was beyond our powers; there were no gay or picturesque customs about, for when Harry takes his holiday he delights to 'sport' his best black coat, and tries to be what he considers 'the gentleman.' I do not blame him for that, but black is not a lively colour, and seems to me wholly out of place in the wild woods, however suitable in towns. The bit of bright colour that Harry indulges in is confined to his scarf, but this is too little to be effective, and the quality of the colour is not eyepleasing, being generally of a crude green or a startling red. In wishing to be genteel (how I hate that much-abused word!) the modern tripper makes himself intensely unpicturesque. The genus tripper had not come into existence in the days when gentlemen dressed gaily-he is mainly the product of the railway. I wonder, if he had, what the tripper of the period would have been like. Colour is sadly wanting in the dress of the country folk of to-day. I heard of one worthy charitable person who made a Christmas present to all the poor old women in her parish of a red shawl; the happy result was quite a brightening up of the little village where the women congregated, the shawls soon losing their first brightness and becoming agreeably toned down. An artist, painting in a remote hamlet in Wales, did something in a similar way with an equally happy result.

The sudden contrast we experienced upon leaving the time-mellowed and peaceful interior of the olden hunting lodge and meeting with the nineteenthcentury tripper, was, in truth, almost startling. There was to us a peculiar charm, a sentiment not

to be put into mere prosaic words, when in that ancient building, to tread the very stairs that good Queen Bess trod-how many long years ago?-to gaze through the windows she gazed through, to look upon the very tapestried walls that she looked upon. Possibly that mirror that now reflects our face also reflected the features of that august sovereign-if only those features could be given back in it to-day! If only those walls could speak, what might they not relate? Well, our descendants will be able to hear our voices by phonograph! There is something strangely eerie in the fact that the very words we have uttered may be repeated, in our very intonation, centuries after we have joined the great majority! I wonder whether in the long years to come, when science has discovered fresh marvels, the world will, for it all, be a happier place to live in. Possibly it may even be that our descendants will come to look back upon these as 'the good old times' (for the present will in turn become the past) -the romantic days of old when men made haste slowly by the picturesque railway! Who can tell what the glamour of age may not do? Perhaps even the twentieth-century poet will sing of the romantic railway, tuning his muse in a time when the iron horse will be as rare as a stage-coach is now? But enough of these profitless, wandering thoughts. Let us return to the Forest Hotel; the horses must long have finished their corn, so we will order them to be put to without delay and take our last stage home and I feel that I cannot show you much of beauty on the way. Except that we do

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