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RELIC-HUNTING.

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cussed was that some one had been buried alive for torture, and that the pipe leading to the ground above was to prolong the agony by allowing the victim to linger on. But as the leaden coffin was found carefully enclosed in an oaken outer case, and moreover was decorated, it was manifest that all this expense would not have been incurred simply for the purpose of torture; therefore some more rational explanation awaits discovery. As the mystery remains unsolved, we hazarded a guess that perchance it was the coffin of the wife of a man of note (for the bones enclosed therein proved to be those of a female), who had a great horror of being buried alive, and had expressed a wish for some such arrangement to be made on her interment.

The curator told us that the land upon which the town was built simply abounded in relics of the past; hardly a foundation was dug but some 'find' of more or less interest was recorded. He himself, when he had nothing else to do, would dig in his garden, relic-hunting; The other morning whilst digging there I unearthed this,' and the curator showed us an old Roman brick with the impression of a dog's foot upon it, evidently made when the material was plastic, in centuries long gone by, but of which the baked brick has handed down faithful record even to this day.

It somehow frequently happens that after you have returned from a tour, be it at home or abroad, you have brought before your knowledge something or some spot of more or less interest, which lay close upon your route, and could have

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been easily seen by you had you only been aware of its existence before instead of after the completion of your journey. So it was with us. In the museum we noticed some carefully coloured copies of certain very rare and very curious tenth-century frescoes that adorn the walls of Copford church, and which were discovered as recently as 1884. This ancient church we could readily have inspected without going much out of our way had we only been aware of its very interesting contents. The door of this church till very recently, we also learnt, was covered with a tanned human skin, said to have been that of a robber who was caught in the very act of despoiling the sacred edifice, and who was killed on the spot, and in the rude and ready way of justice in those times was flayed, and his skin attached to the church door as a warning to others.

As we were leaving the museum the curator called our attention to the thickness of the castle walls, which are, according to his authority (we did not measure them), no less than six yards through, the winding staircase by which we ascended being the widest in Great Britain.

We next made our way to the roofless and ruined priory church of St. Botolph. This was formerly one of the finest Norman churches in the kingdom; the extent of ground the ruin covers and the massive walls thereof testify to its bygone. greatness. It was, unfortunately, ruined during the siege of Colchester in the civil wars by the cannon of Fairfax, and is now picturesque rather than grand; possibly more pleasing to the eye of an

ARCHITECTURAL TIT-BITS.

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artist thus than when in the full prime of its Norman glory. This old priory church-or rather what remains of it-is notable for the large amount of Roman brick and tile that has been employed in its construction, some of the interlacing round arches being entirely of this tile. In startling contrast to this noble specimen of old Norman work, close by is the truly modern church of St. Botolph, built in the Norman style forsooth, to harmonise with the ruins ; but it is neither massive nor grand-a Norman church with thin walls of white brick, with moulded arches and painted doors!

Colchester is a town that well repays a desultory ramble. You cannot proceed far in it in any direction (or at least we did not) without coming upon some quaintly interesting bit of old-time building; it may be merely a gable end with curiously carved brackets, or a projecting corner of sculptured timber, or a fanciful conceit in wrought iron. If you delight in such things, take a leisurely stroll about Colchester and you will not be disappointed. Such picturesque odds and ends of building-bits that charm us so in paintings and drawings—are not considered worthy of note by the general run of guide-book writers, so that you have all the charm of hunting out and discovering these architectural tit-bits for yourself.

Just outside the town walls we came upon the very interesting old church of St. Giles. The tower of this is all of wood, and, as may be seen inside, is constructed of mighty baulks of timber-black with age, and joined and bolted together in a manner

impossible to describe. Wooden ladders give access to the bells, and lead to the top of the tower, but we felt no desire to make the ascent or to grope our way in the dim, uncertain light amongst the gloomy recesses above, sacred to the dust and cobwebs of ages.

In this church rest the remains of the two Royalist generals, Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, who together defended the town against Fairfax, and who were shot close by after its surrender in 1648 by order of the same Parliamentarian commander. History has it that upon his first attack on the town Fairfax was repulsed with severe loss. Enraged at his failure and deeming the place too strong to be captured by direct assault, he surrounded the town and starved out the garrison, and in revenge for his first repulse he ordered the two defending generals to be shot. Let us hope that never again will Englishmen fight against Englishmen, and that the soil of old England will nevermore resound with the trumpet's call or the cannon's

roar.

CHAPTER VI.

A Wayside Inn-Higham-A Pretty Village-Picturesque HousesThe Land of Constable-In the Gloaming-An Old-time Hostel Guide Books-Hadleigh-A Quaint Old Town-An 'Ave Maria' Bell-An interesting Church-Ancient Weights and Measures— Curious Chests-A Conceit in Words-Epitaphs.

INTERESTING though we found Colchester to be, abounding in quaint surprises, in little peeps of architectural scenery (if I may be allowed the term), still for all its old-world charm-a charm that comes alone of age-we were not sorry to get once more into the open country; so on returning to our hotel, although it was the afternoon we ordered the horses to and resumed our pleasant pilgrimage along the rural byways and winding leafy lanes.

There was nothing special about the scenery after leaving Colchester till we came to the borders of Suffolk. Here, at the top of a hill that gave us a glorious prospect ahead, we came upon a picturesque wayside 'public.' This little hostel with its backing of woods made such a pretty picture that we were tempted to call a halt and to get our photographic apparatus down to take it, which action on our part brought the landlord out to view the proceedings. It is astonishing what interest country people always seem to take in photography. Of course the landlord posed himself to be taken in front of his inn; it H

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