Puslapio vaizdai

those of the great tower gateway as well. In the country too, as we drove along, we noticed every here and there sundry cracks in buildings and fissures in certain walls, which, we were informed, had been caused by the shock. By the damage done to different buildings it is, or was, possible to trace the course of the earth-wave; fortunately it did not pass through any large town, or it would have wrought havoc with some of the 'jerry' builders' flimsy erections, which they dignify by the title of desirable residences. The said cracks and fissures made in massive and mightily built walls, that look as though they would last for all time, prove how severe this shock was. Earthquakes are not pleasant things, though, when travelling in California, that land of earthquakes, more than one inhabitant of that State told me that they would infinitely rather experience an ordinary earthquake than one of the terrible thunderstorms or blizzards' that are so frequent in some of the western territories of America, and I, who have experienced both, hold the same opinion. By the way, I was much amused in one of the Californian towns on observing certain handsome structures for sale with the remark that they were 'earthquake proof,' which, however, it seemed to me, was a matter open to the test of experience, but doubtless the assurance served the purpose of the ingenious and enterprising builder.

The rector of Layer Marney, who had shown us, strange wanderers by road, so much kindness, told us before we left of an old house in the neighbourhood known locally as the Tuke's house, said to

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be a corruption of Duke's House, though why it should have been called the Duke's-if it ever was -we were unable to find out. However, at this old place, he said, according to tradition, Queen Elizabeth once rested overnight during one of her numerous progresses, and the room in which she slept was shown; I am afraid that country traditions have a great deal to answer for. However, as it did not take us much out of our way to visit the house, we determined to go there. I once knew a gentleman who possessed an ancient hall which he purchased with a very doubtful tradition of some great personage having slept in one of its ghostlylooking chambers (the very gloomiest and most haunted-looking one, of course). He found, however, that the tradition was a serious drawback to the peaceful enjoyment of his property, as tourists were induced by mention of it in guide-books to call and beg permission to see the room in which this famous personage had slept. The gentleman in question was good-nature itself; nevertheless his family strongly objected to the continual coming of strangers, and eventually, I understand, a compromise was arrived at. The tourists who came mostly stayed at the little inn in the village, and for a consideration the landlord entered into a conspiracy to show a room in an ancient farmstead near by as the one; and as the arrangement-if not quite honest'brought grist to the mill' in the way of frequent tips, the farmer was in no wise averse to discover that a great personage had once slept in one of his rooms; and this chamber is still, I believe, doing


show duty. Of course I cannot defend the morality of this arrangement, though, as there is little question but that the original tradition was without the slightest foundation in fact, the change of place does not seem to matter so very mnch. I merely mention the circumstance as showing how country traditions are not to be implicitly relied upon. To quote

another case in point, of which I have already made mention in a previous work, and in this instance the 'St. James's Gazette' is my authority: The room shown in Ecclefechan as the one where Carlyle first saw the light, and in which Americans shut their eyes to dream of his baby-cot, is merely so exhibited by the present inhabitants of the house to suit their own convenience! The other room, the real birthplace, is full of odds and ends, and too small besides to make a good show-room. So the larger room has been promoted!'

We had not much difficulty in finding the Tuke's House, but we were hardly prepared to find such an insignificant building as it proved to be; quite an ordinary farmhouse, it did not even look as though it might have seen better times.' We were fortunate in finding the owner there, who kindly did duty as showman. The chamber in which Queen Elizabeth is said to have slept, though the best in the house, is in no way remarkable, except for a rather pretty window; the ceiling is low, and the room not large. Let into the leaded panes of this window is a curious bit of stained glass, with the Tudor rose in the centre surmounted by a crown; on one side of this device is the capital letter E, and on

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the other a capital R. These two letters, our guide informed us, stood for Elizabeth Regina'-and we could not say otherwise. It is quite possible that this precious bit of stained glass, which is manifestly old, be of the date of Elizabeth; it is also just posmay sible that the two capital letters stand for what we were told they did, and it may be some former occupier of this old house got possession of the glass and had it placed in the window, but more than this we were not prepared to grant. Without other confirmative evidence, of which there appears to be none, the existence of such a bit of stained glass seems to be hardly sufficient proof upon which to found such a tradition. The owner also told us that there was a further tradition of a secret passage between the house and Layer Marney Hall, but such stories of secret passages abound in the neighbourhood of old mansions, and we accepted it for what it was worth. Our guide, also stated that he had been told that Queen Elizabeth travelled about with a supply of these stained glass devices, and that it was a matter of etiquette with her to leave one behind wherever she visited, to be placed in the window of the room in which she slept as a memento of her stay. All of which was news to us, and I dare say is news to my readers. Travellers by road in out-of-the-way places gather many strange facts-or fictions.

As we left Layer Marney, at one place by the way we noticed a primitive letter-box constructed of wood and simply nailed to a tree. In this we presumed the postman left letters for

some distant

house out of his beat.

It speaks well for the honesty of the rural folks hereabouts that this can be done in safety.

Our road now, on to Colchester, where we intended to spend the night, proved to be very beautiful; first by shady woods it led us, then it took us through a pleasant pastoral land, and as we drove along the sweet scent of clover and the characteristic odour of the gorse were wafted to us on the freshening breeze. About half way on our stage we came to a short though (for Essex) steep descent; at the bottom of this we had to ford a stream, a little wooden bridge by the side being provided for the wayfarer on foot. The tiny ford and rustic bridge, with its background of many-tinted waving woods, made as pretty a picture as the eye of an artist. could desire.

Mounting to the top of the hill on the other side we came to the little hamlet of Stanway, so called from the old paved Roman road or Stone-way which passed through this part, leading to Colchester. Here we were surprised by finding a ruined church, all ivy-grown, with brambles, docks, and weeds flourishing around its deserted and broken walls. As far as I can remember, this was the first ruined church that we had come upon during our many drives over the larger portion of Great Britain, and we were so struck by the strange sight that, though heavy threatening clouds were gathering around, and the distant rumble of thunder came to us now and again, we could not resist, even at the risk of getting a drenching, the temptation to stop and

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