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all deeds to be done. "In comparison with that nothing whatever signifies much in this world." I said it was a good thing for England that her prime minister should utter such words.'
But these scraps of the world grow less and less as the book draws to an end. The letters to Sir M. Grant Duff are almost the only exceptions to the strictly religious correspondence, and her friendship with him is a piquant touch in the fading life. That so grave a personage should have used a sort of calendar compiled by a pious enthusiast, with all the dates and memorial days of the Récit,' should have kept up some half-century after the end of that youthful romance and tragedy the gentle recollection of Alex and Eugénie and their tender sayings, sending little sprigs of jasmine to the sole survivor on certain anniversaries, is one of the most curious things in literature, touching in its reality and very pleasantly demonstrative of the 'soft place which is always to be found in a good heart-if it were not for the faintest lurking sense of humour in these kind sentimentalities from so unlikely a quarter. They bring us back pleasantly to the book which is Mrs. Craven's chief title to be remembered in literature, though it is not literature properly so called, nor, as she and her admirers often repeat, a book at all in the ordinary sense of the word. Here are some little indications from her own hand of the way in which that book moved other souls to whom it was a revelation. Towards the end of her life Mrs. Craven made a last visit to Boury, then in a second set of hands, the present proprietors having learnt to take pride in the associations of the place:
'Still more astonishing and gratifying is the fact of the many visitors who come, some from very great distances, to pray in the little churchyard. A man had been there the day before who had come all the way from Lille to spend an hour there-and he has written to me since a letter, which has touched me deeply, to explain to me in what kind of a way he had been helped by those whose story he had read, and why he thanked me so much for having written it. He speaks with a kind of passionate affection of them all. He is an employé on the railroad. A girl, too, a very nice young Alsatian, with whom the Récit had made me acquainted, went off the other day to Boury to place a wreath on my mother's grave, because, she said, she was the one she turned to with the greatest love whilst reading the book, and she felt she must go and thank me.'
Here, however, is another amusing side of the question:'I had a letter the other day which would have amused you from a young man-very young, I suppose who called himself un obscur
étudiant, and dated from the very centre of the pays latin. He had been reading for the first time the "Récit d'une Sœur," and had to say about it a great deal that was touching and flattering for me to hear. But what he was annoyed at was that such a beautiful book should be so very little known, and should never have been spoken of. At first this remark made me laugh a little then I reflected that if this young reader is only twenty-two or twenty-four, it is very natural that he should never have heard of it, and I feel thankful that one of quite another generation should read it with so much pleasure.'
Mrs. Craven lived to be eighty-three, and then-may we not say without irreverence that there are people who have no luck in this world?-after all her brilliant talk, her love of social intercourse, the many things she had to say which choked' her sometimes in her occasional solitudes, was stricken down by that most terrible of maladies paralysis, and lay for ten months, a long lifetime in such circumstances, bound in chains more hard than iron, speechless, as unable to communicate with those about her as if she had been dead. The conclusion is so tragic, that the heart aches painfully in sympathy with the sufferer bound to that nightmare, life in death. In the later months of her long agony she seems to have given forth a murmur, inarticulate, which one of her tender nurses calls her cantilena, and from the varying tones of which some guesses at her meaning, so far, at least, as feeling went, could be divined: there could not be a more piteous picture of human weakness. Upon this last act it is too heartrending to dwell. On April 3, 1891, the ill-luck and the frequent trials came to an end, and a few days after she rejoined the many whom she had loved and lost at Boury, where a few years before her always loving and faithful husband had also been laid. This world could scarcely have given more to a woman than was given to her-youth, love, happiness, reputation, sorrow, trouble, and anguish, and in the end an oblivion at which she was able to smile.
ART. IV.-1. Somerset: Highways, Byways, and Waterways. Written and Illustrated by C. R. B. BARRETT. London: 1894.
2. Historical and Topographical Collections relating to the Early History of Parts of South Somerset. By JOHN BATTEN, F.S.A. 8vo. Yeovil: 1894.
OMERSET, we are told by Camden, is a large and plentiful country, rich in soil and pastures and mineral produce, taking its name, as some have thought, from its bright and balmy air. Like Titania's realm, it is pleasant at every season the summer still doth tend upon my state.' It may have been that the Welsh bards confused its blue hills with Arthur's Paradise among the orchards of Fairyland and the bowery hollows crowned with summer sea.' Those who dwelt in the wet moors and bleak uplands probably thought that their country should be called the Winterland. But, as a matter of fact, all the stories of the 'Summer region' were based upon a false etymology. The shire took its name from the West-Saxon settlement at Somerton, just as the title of Wiltshire is derived from the town on the banks of the Wily.
At Somerton was the royal town set on a lofty hill, from which the invading army might survey the whole range of conquest. As one stands above the town on the Langport Road, the view extends across the whole width of the county from the ridge of Mendip to the neighbourhood of Exmoor. It is with Somerton that we shall begin our consideration of the sketching-tour described in Mr. Barrett's work. should premise that the handsome volume now before us does not deal with the whole county, but is confined almost entirely to its central and western portions. The author's object seems to have been to describe the chief places of interest between Wells and Dunster, with the help of etchings and woodcuts. I purpose,' he says, 'to wander with my reader through village and town, and to linger by some historic spot, making use of my pencil by the way.' Several of these illustrations are of very good quality. They appear to us to follow the lines of advice laid down fifty years ago by Mr. Eagles, still remembered as the Sketcher' in his West-country home. He was all for general aspects, without a refined minuteness. He loved an unlaboured freshness as bringing one nearest to nature; for a true sketch is not a finished picture, but the vivid impression of a scene.'
Under the heading of Somerton we find a good etching of the market cross, which is of seventeenth-century work, though built on a more ancient basement. Its arcade runs round a central pillar and rises with a pyramidal roof. In the foreground is the Town Hall, backed by old bowwindowed houses, and we see a fine octagonal church-tower peeping up above the roofs.' The church lies high, and is naturally dedicated to St. Michael. It was the Western custom to choose the same Guardian of the Mount whether the church were built on some wind-swept hill, on a sharppointed tor, or an island of sand and shingle, left stranded when the waters retired. The tower forms a southern quasi-transept, the lower portion is early English, the upper a good specimen of the Perpendicular work for which the county is celebrated. There is a similar example at South Petherton, where the tower is set at the centre of the cross; a smaller octagon tower exists at Bishop's Hull, near Taunton, and half-a-dozen other specimens may be found in different parts of the county. The roof of Somerton Church is magnificent, its panels being thickly covered with figures and twining foliage; but our author seems to prefer the Martock roof of black oak, with its panels so enriched as to form one continuous mass of ornament. With this last example we ought to compare its rival, the grey unstained roof at Shepton Mallet, divided into three hundred and fifty carved compartments, of which no two are alike. A Somerton anecdote is told by 'Murray' about some of Monmouth's followers. After the battle of Sedgemoor a good many of the prisoners were confined in the church; they 'amused themselves with playing at ball, and when the roof was repaired a large number of balls were found, of which specimens are preserved at the Taunton Museum.' We can test the story by referring to certain extracts from the parish accounts, lately published by the Rev. D. L. Hayward, and by these it appears that there was a practice of playing fives against the church wall long before Monmouth's time. It cost a large sum every year to keep the windows in repair; but it is certainly remarkable that in the year of the rebellion the expenses rose to more than double the ordinary amount. An old man at Pitney told Mr. Hayward that he remembered how the lads played at ball against the church tower even during the performance of Divine service. We may say a word about the tile-paved well behind the Almshouse. The meaning of its name seems to be forgotten, although it was recorded by Collinson; but his history
is somewhat scarce and more than a hundred years old. There is a spring, he says, of very fine water, with five distinct streams, from which circumstance it has ' obtained the name of the Ringers' Well.' There used to be an old castle in this town, long since pulled down; out of its materials a prison was built, with a wall embattled ' about, castle-wise,' and when the prison was destroyed in its turn some of the fragments were used in building the Bears Inn, where the historian saw a crenellated wall and 'the vestiges of a semicircular tower;' but it seems that these relics are now mistaken for a part of the more ancient fortress. The 'Bears' is no longer an inn, but its old neighbours, the White Hart and the Red Lion, still exhibit their fantastic signs.
Mr. Barrett's plan is to group together the more archaic parts of his subject, and the story of Somerton matches easily with the romance of a pilgrimage from Camelot to 'Avalon;' but it must be confessed that the high earthworks at Cadbury have little to remind us of the green meads and crystal dykes' of Camelot, and that the world no longer believes in the sham discovery of Guinevere's crumbling tresses and the bones of the king that was and is to come.' There are several interesting antiquities to be seen en route, such as a paved stretch of the Roman Fosseway, and a slab-road through a peat-moss, which is known as the Abbot's Path. The date of this frame-way is unknown. It seems to have been constructed of roughly squared logs of birch and alder, with sides and cross-pieces, or 'stringers,' as in some of the American corduroy roads. Most interesting of all is the marsh-village discovered by Mr. Bulleid in the vicinity of Glastonbury, and described by Professor Boyd Dawkins before the British Association in 1894. It is not quite like the Swiss lake villages, which were generally built some way from the shore; it rather resembles the 'Marniere' of Lombardy, which have been defined as marshvillages built on piles in shallow pools of no great extent. The houses of the Glastonbury settlement were protected by a palisade standing in the mere. The peat has risen in some places about five feet above the ancient level; but in making the calculation it should be remembered that not one sixth part of the area has been excavated. It should also be remembered that both in the Irish crannoges,' or artificial islands, and on the sites of the palustrine villages near Modena, there was a further accumulation of mould, formed of organic remains mixed with the peat; this,