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satisfied simply to admire the extended and varied picture gallery that nature presented to us free.
Except the striking prospect of Lincoln that we had towards the end of our dreamy stage, I can only now recall of it a confused memory of green and golden fields; of shady woods, beautiful with the many tints of autumn ; of hedgerowed lanes, that in a less lazy mood we should certainly have explored; of picturesque old cottages and rambling time-toned farmsteads, the very picture of contentment; of silvery gliding streams, and a vague blue distance bounding all.
Passing through the long - streeted village of Langworth, a name derived, I take it, from the Anglo-Saxon “lang” long, and "worth " a street or place, so that it is suitably called,—the fine view of Lincoln Minster and city aforementioned was suddenly presented to us, a view not readily to be forgotten! There before us stood the ancient minster with its three stately towers crowning the steep hill that rises so finely and abruptly out of the clustering city below; the triple-towered fane dominating the whole in a truly medieval fashion. No feudal castle ever looked more masterful,or more lordly asserted its supremacy over the dwellings of the people. What a change from the early days when the Church, poor and persecuted like its Master, conquered the world by humility! That day we beheld the Church triumphant. There is no suggestion of poverty or humility about this majestic minster, but there is a plentiful suggestion of dignity and Christian (?) pride. The position of Lincoln Cathedral in stateliness is unrivalled in England, with the possible exception of that of Durham which in a like manner stands imperial upon its rocky height above the smoky city; but Durham is dark and sombre, whilst Lincoln is bright and clean and beautiful. It may perhaps, though doubtfully, be conceded that Durham has the more romantic situation, and Lincoln the more picturesque-if one can distinguish so.
Lincoln may roughly be divided into two distinct portions, the more ancient and picturesque part being situated on the hill, and clustering immediately around the cathedral ; the other and more modern, very modern mostly, with its railways and tram-lined streets, being situated on the level-lying land below; the descent from the former to the latter is by one of the steepest streets--it is called “the Steep” locally, if I remember aright — I verily believe in all England; indeed, it seemed to us, it could not well be much steeper without being perpendicular! In the quaint and ancient part, with its many reminders of the long ago in the shape of time-worn medieval buildings—from ruined castle, fortified gateway, gray and gabled home-we found a comfortable and quiet inn, such as befits a cathedral city ; an inn standing almost under the shadow of the stately pile, that rose upwards close by, a solemn shapely mass of pearly-gray against the sunlit sky.
Having secured quarters for the night, the first thing we did was, naturally, to start forth and see the cathedral. Pray do not be alarmed, kind reader, I have neither the intention nor the desire to weary
you with a long detailed description of the sacred edifice. For this I will refer you to the guide-books, of which there are many; of their quality or utility I cannot speak, for we did not consult one ourselves, preferring to see the cathedral in our own way, and to form our own opinions, and to admire what most impressed us, not what the handbook compilers assert is the most to be admired. Of course by doing this it is quite possible that we may have missed some things of minor note, but nothing, I think, of real importance. Personally I have always found the constant consulting of a guide-book not only to be disturbing but preventive of my gaining an individual impression of a place, for one is but too apt to be influenced to a greater or lesser extent by the opinion of others, often expressed in a most irritatingly dogmatic manner. Some people are so annoyingly certain about the most uncertain things in this world! Moreover, once upon a time, as the fabled stories of childhood begin, I placed implicit faith in guidebooks, but as I grew older and knew more, my faith in them, sad to relate, grew feebler, and this because I found that in certain things I knew well about, they were not by any means correct, indeed, often very inexact. After which experience I now feel less inclined than perhaps I should be to trust them in matters of which I am ignorant or not well informed. I may also add that, according to my experience, the personal guide is even less reliable than the printed one; only you are enabled to cross-question the former, and so indirectly estimate the value of the information imparted—for a tip; the latter you cannot.
Once I got into rare trouble over a local guidebook. Armed with the precious production I had gone over a very ancient and interesting old church, only to find the little work sadly at fault in many particulars. Whereupon I shut it up and placed it carefully out of harm's way in my pocket, at which point the clerk appeared upon the scene. He was an aged man and talkative, to a certain extent intelligent, and he managed to interest me, so I pulled out the guide-book and began confidentially to expatiate to him upon its numerous failings ; luckless me, I raised a very hornets' nest! It turned out that the clerk was the author of the work in question, and very proud he was of his production too. He had lived in the place all his life, “man and boy,” he indignantly informed me, and thought he ought to know more about the church than an utter stranger. Why, the book had been the work of his life, and was it likely that I, who confessed to having only come there the day before, should know better about “his " church than he did ? Which was no answer to my comments, nor was the request, almost a demand, to let him have the guide-book at the price I had given for it. He would not condescend to discuss the points in dispute, though he kindly confessed I might know a little about “harchitecture and hantiquities, but you know," he loftily exclaimed, with the self-satisfied air of a man having special knowledge, “ you know the old saying “a little learning is a dangerous thing,'” and with this parting shaft he walked away. Poor old man, and if he only knew how sorry we felt that we had so innocently hurt his
feelings! This was a lesson to us never again to run down a work of any kind before strangers, for one of them may be its author! An amusing incident of a somewhat similar nature came under my notice at a dinner - party. The host was a picture-lover and purchaser, not perhaps a very discriminating one, but this is a matter aside; however, he bought pictures and entertained artists, and his dining-room was hung round with numerous paintings, some good, some indifferent. I believe the personality of the artist often unconsciously influenced the host in his purchases; if he liked the man he was biassed in favour of his work. At one of his pleasant little parties, a lady innocently remarked, sotto voce, to the gentleman who had taken her down to dinner, possibly more to make conversation than anything else, “ Do you see that picture over there? I cannot imagine how Mr. Dash could have bought it ; don't you think it a regular daub? I ask you as I understand you are an artist.” It was an unfortunate speech, as the reply showed, for the gentleman exclaimed, with an amused smile, be it confessed, “ Madam, it's bound to be a daub, for I painted it !”