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ORIGIN OF ROUND TOWERS.
in spite of the wet enjoyed our drive. Passing through Barsham we stopped to see its curious and interesting old church; this has a quaint east window of an uncommon lozenge-shaped pattern, the roof is of homely thatch, except the nave, the tower here is round, as is the prevailing fashion in Norfolk. Why, I wonder, are Norfolk church towers so generally of this singular form? I have not been able to learn a plausible reason yet for this strange departure from what prevails elsewhere in England; the most generally accepted theory appears to be that they were thus built for the sake of economy, as in a round tower there is a saving in masonry and in the cutting of corner stones. But surely there must be a more satisfactory reason than this, for the saving in labour is not so very great after all, and we find round towers attached to churches that are glorious examples of architecture; and again, some of these round towers show no signs of the saving of labour or expense, being decorated with elaborate patterns. in flint and stone panelling, sometimes even, as in the case of the Holy Trinity at Bungay, having the further addition of carved stone shields. We learnt from a clergyman we met during our wanderings that there is a tradition amongst the country people that these round towers were the casing of wells in the time of the flood, and that the land around had been washed away, leaving the circular stonework standing! One picks up many curious traditions and quaint fancies driving leisurely about country, conversing with those one comes across in out-of-the-way spots. It has astonished us to find what a sturdy
old-fashioned belief is still retained by rural folk in ghosts; more than one desirable house have we had pointed out to us that has stood for long years, tenantless, and all because such bear the evil reputation of being haunted. Truly a house with a family ghost attached is not a profitable possession in the country. But are country uneducated rural folk alone in their superstitions? I know certain people who firmly believe in spirit-rapping, and in a large and prosperous provincial town I am acquainted with an excellent residence, desirable in every respect, but which always stands empty simply because it is said to be haunted. There is a deal of superstition still existing in the world, and amongst a class in which one would hardly expect to find it. Indeed I am not sure if I am wholly free from it myself, for I know a certain room in an old country house with its dark oak-panelled walls and ancient four-poster, seeming so ghostlike and eerie that nothing would induce me to sleep therein.
Wet Weather-Inn full-Beccles-A Fortunate Town---The Waveney Valley - Thatched Churches Haddiscoe --A Dutchlike Landscape St. Olave's A Riverside Hotel Painters and Scenery Fritton Church and Broad-A Quiet Spot-BelatedOld Yarmouth Houses and Rows-A Good-natured Landlord
It was raining hard as we drove into Beccles, but in spite of the downpour the streets were crowded, for it was market-day. We made the best of our way to the King's Head, the old coaching hostelry, and arriving there it was that we had our first and only disagreeable experience of the journey. The inn chanced to be crowded with farmers, a market dinner was on, but unfortunately, not only the inn but the stables likewise were filled to their utmost capacity, and somewhat more, horses being packed together like sardines in a box. Both entrances to the courtyard were blocked up entirely with a curious collection of conveyances, so that it was impossible for us to drive in, and even had we been able to do this, there was positively no place for our tired horses. Here was a pretty state of affairs, neither accommodation for man nor beast! There was absolutely nothing for it but to wait about in the rain till there should be room for us, and when that would be how could we tell? for doubtless
many of the farmers themselves were wisely waiting in comfortable shelter, in the hope that the weather might improve. Wet, tired, and hungry as we were, anxious above all to rest our hard-worked horses, could anything be more provoking or temper-trying than this depressing and wholly unforeseen contretemps? I am proud to say that we kept our tempers; there was no good losing them. The unfortunate combination of circumstances was nobody's fault. The landlord could not help his inn being full, nor was he answerable for the rain. But we made a note that it was not advisable to arrive at a strange town (without previously securing accommodation) upon a market-day; even in fine weather the inns are always crowded at such times, and the streets likewise often blocked with cattle. We made diligent inquiry afterwards as to the market-days of the towns we visited, so that when it was a marketday we took the precaution of arriving late, when the majority of the farmers had left for their homes.
I must confess that as we drove slowly up and down the crowded main street of the town, wearily waiting in the wet till we could be taken in, we voted driving tours a failure; but once comfortably housed in the evening over our pipe and glass of 'toddy' we readily withdrew our vote of censure and thought no more of our temporary discomfort.
At last we managed to drive the phaeton under the shelter of the archway of the King's Head, and here we had to unharness the horses without the ostler's help, and stable our cattle as best we could for the time, the mud-stained phaeton being left
A GOOD-NATURed host.
standing in the roadway till the number of conveyances in the courtyard thinned. I must say that the good-natured landlord did all he could for us, and he was so manifestly chagrined at our troubles that we actually felt more sorry for him than for ourselves.
The courtyard of the King's Head at Beccles is roofed over with glass, making it into a comfortable lounge; a pleasant fashion that prevails in the hostelries of Suffolk. This enclosed space was musical with the songs of caged birds, green with growing plants, and gay with flowers; mine host' evidently had a soul for beauty as well as a talent for hotel-keeping. As a rule, nowadays the one idea of a business man is to make money quickly, unmindful of his commonplace commercial surroundings. What a much pleasanter spot the world would be to live in were men only a little less eager to become rich, if they would put some enjoyment into the present instead of trusting to a far future that may never come! Fancy a lawyer's office artistic, a baker's shop delightful to look upon, or a stately factory! Yet such things might be, and life would be all the better and brighter if the 'might be' could be practically realised. And if, even in the making of the land beautiful, money became more dispersed among the many, would the world be any the worse if big fortunes were fewer and workhouses less well filled? Truly the wealthy man can escape from much of the ugliness of our crowded cities, he can retire to his own home surrounded by pictures and all that is beautiful and pleasant to look upon; but the rich are so few and the poor so many.