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make a hurried sketch of it. But alas! before our journey was over we found that a church in ruins thus was no uncommon spectacle in Eastern England, for we saw several in this condition. This desolated church at Stanway we afterwards learnt (built in the reign of Edward I.) was laid waste during the civil wars, and as at Layer Marney so here, the lead was stripped off the roof to be melted into bullets for the Parliamentarian troops, the timber being used as fuel to melt the lead.
Arriving at the ancient and historic town of Colchester we put up at the Cups, which inn, by an inscription on the arched entrance, we learnt was * Built 1572 ' and · Rebuilt 1886,' so that though the name of this noted hostelry is old, its history is now the only thing ancient about it. We had been recommended here by the rector of Layer Marney, so we drove up at once to the Cups, and therefore it was that on this occasion we failed to observe our usual mode of procedure of driving round about a fresh town and selecting our inn for ourselves. We were made most comfortable at the Cups, and though, were I ever so exacting (which I am not), I could find no possible fault with our lodging or entertainment, not forgetting our horses' interest, at this most excellent hotel, still for all, had we according to our wont first taken a tour of inspection, I have little doubt but that we should have elected to spend the night beneath the sign of the Red Lion. A most comfortable-looking and charmingly picturesque old half-timbered hostelry this, a picture in itself more pleasing than many a painting, with its carved wood front, its projecting upper story, and its grand redtiled roof. Upon the spandrel on one side of the spacious doorway of this delightful old-world hostel is a sculptured representation of St. George with the time-honoured lance, on the other the famous dragon is given. We were told that this ancient house was built in the year 1412, and a grand old inn it is—you might travel far before coming upon such another; let us hope that it will long be spared to us.
'Tis a finely-toned, picturesque, sunshiny place,
Recalling a dozen old stories,
Suggesting old wines and old Tories.
Of vintage no one could cry fie on,
At the sign of the old Red Lion.
The old-fashioned English inn, not for a moment to be confounded with its degenerate successor the modern hotel, which latter, be it grand or meanoftentimes, alas ! an unhappy combination of both these qualities—is in my experience, with all its plate glass, glare, glitter, and unrest, generally as comfortless as it is pretentious, and always more or less expensive—the old-fashioned inn for which England was once so deservedly famous, as it existed in the palmy days of the coaching age, was as near an approach to an ideal hostelry as perhaps the world will ever see. Picturesque without, as a rule, were these oldtime hostels, and abounding with comfort within ; utility and a care for convenience rather than uniformity guided the bygone builders in devising these
CHARACTER IN BUILDINGS.
structures. If in a few cases during the later days of road travel some of these old inns were plain externally, they were always substantially constructed, and however large they might be, they ever possessed an inviting and hospitable look, a look that the designer of a modern hotel, even though he may strive for it, lamentably fails to convey.
It is strange how an inanimate building can be made thus plainly to suggest a welcome, for there is an individuality, a character in buildings as well as in men, an outward expression that invites us or the
Architecture has its own language; an ample porch or wide doorway speaks a welcome, a narrow entrance repels the visitor. In the same way plain walls with narrow windows suggest austerity and gloom ; a cottage may be built grandly and a nobleman's mansion meanly.
These old coaching inns were entered, and, where they yet exist, still are entered, by a wide archway leading to an ample courtyard. Sheltered beneath this archway the weary traveller could descend at his leisure undisturbed by the bustle and traffic of the street, protected as well from the winter rain as the heat of the summer sun. This is just one of those small things little thought of now, one of those unconsidered trifles, that add greatly to the comfort of the arriving or departing guest.
Then the characteristic signs of these ancient hostels, what a pleasing and interesting feature they were, oftentimes of quaint design, and as an almost invariable rule supported by scrolled ironwork skilfully wrought! The landlords of those days were