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doorways, gargoyles, and the like. For those who cannot sketch, the camera (now that photography is made such a simple and easy operation) is a most delightful addition to the kit of the driving tourist, who, as his conveyance always waits upon him, has all the pleasure of the instrument without its ever becoming a burden. A small photographic outfit (which need not be expensive) adds vastly to the interest of such an outing as ours, as by the aid of the camera many a pretty picture may be taken, or the representation of anything of interest on the way that may strike the traveller may be speedily and with little trouble secured. Thus any one unhappily unskilled in drawing may yet be able to bring back home with him many a pleasing photographic picture to recall to his mind various beauty-spots and places of interest he may have come upon during the course of his journey.

As we were packing up our photographic paraphernalia, one of the party that gathered around us (upon what authority I know not) volunteered the information that the sign was the finest in the country (we presumed he meant county), and that it cost over fifty pounds, and he further remarked that it had been made in the neighbourhood.

A short and pleasant stage brought us to Ingatestone, a quiet picturesque little town, long spread out, one of those places which, owing to their position on the main highway, prospered greatly in the days of road travel, but like the rest it seems to have fallen asleep when the last coach took its last change there, and never to have had the energy to waken

again. Contrary to the general rule in country places, where everyone appears to take a particular interest in any strangers that may pass their way, as far as we observed nobody disturbed themselves about us, or troubled to discuss who we were or where we came from, unless it were the landlord of the clean-looking little Bell Inn, who stared at us in a languid sort of a manner; but then he was possibly interested in the way of business.

It was a pleasing and somewhat unusual experience for us to be able to sketch in and explore a country town without our movements rousing the curiosity of even one of its youthful inhabitants; to be enabled to stare about us without being stared at in return. How such places manage to exist at all, without any apparent business, having no attractions for the tourist or angler to make up for the loss of other custom, has frequently puzzled me. Even the hostels in such places seem to make a brave show of outward well-being, though one would imagine, now the need that caused their former prosperity has long since disappeared, that the limited local custom would hardly suffice to pay the rent alone, even were such custom all profit. But the wanderer by road, if observantly inclined and if he troubles himself to think at all, will find many things to wonder at and ponder over as he journeys on. Why in one place where land is plentiful a man should build his house of several stories, so that it would be considered high even in town; why in another spot we came upon there should be actually two churches in one small churchyard; why again the road he is



travelling on should laboriously mount a stiff hill between two villages, when a more level way, and a shorter one as well, could as easily have been made in the valley below; why in one part of the country sign-posts should be found at almost every cross road in good order, with the inscriptions thereon plainly to be read, even sometimes the distances thoughtfully added as well, when in another part he may travel for days and many miles before coming upon one of these useful guides to the wandering stranger, or, if he does come upon one, to discover it either without arms at all or with the lettering weathered away so as to be wholly indecipherable?

Near to Ingatestone is the hall, a rambling old house of red brick and stone, built in the Tudor style in the reign of Henry VIII. Originally it must have been a very noble mansion, and though certain portions of it have been pulled down and the rest modernised even to the extent of introducing some sash windows, still what remains forms an extensive pile, picturesque as well with its many chimneys and ivy-clad gables. It possesses the inevitable secret hiding chamber without which no important house of those days seems to have been considered complete. But this ancient hall is now chiefly interesting for the air of romance cast over it by fiction, for it is the original from which Miss Braddon drew her picture of Audley Court, and here are laid the principal scenes of her novel, Lady Audley's Secret.' The lime-tree walk in which 'my lady' met her first husband, the old well down which she threw him, the fish-ponds and even the one-handed clock, have

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