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somewhat novel, practically converting the gate into a toll-gate, for the moral obligation to tip was thereby made manifest—and why should gates be allowed on the main highways ?
After this we crossed a long open common, at the farther end of which we passed through still another gate, that also needed another tip for the opening thereof; then we came to our old friend the Ouse again, which we crossed on a bridge. by the side of a mill; just before reaching this we noticed that there was a raised causeway approach to the bridge for pedestrians above and alongside of the road, suggestive of winter flooding. The causeway also suggested an excellent motive for a picture with suitable figures on it, to be entitled “When the river is in flood.” It would form quite a Leaderesque subject, taken at a time when the day is waning, and wan yellow lights are in the sky, and a yellow sheen lies on the stream.
The Ouse here is very pretty, clear-watered, and gentle-gliding, fringed with reedy banks and overhung by leafy trees, the whole being rich in colour and broad in effect. Indeed, the Ouse is a very pleasant, lazy stream, and a most sketchable one too. The discovery of the picturesqueness of this riverof which more anon—was one of the unexpected good things of our journey.
Now our road led us, with many windings, through a pleasant land of parks and park-like meadows, wherein grew great branching elms, beneath whose grateful shelter the meek-eyed cattle gathered complacently. It was an essentially peace
ful, homelike country, green and slumberous, but wanting wide views; a closed-in landscape, however beautiful of itself, becomes a trifle monotonous in time—you can even have a monotony of beautythe eye loves to rake the countryside, to get a peep, now and then, of the blue far-away, or of the gray outline of a distant hill.
The first village on our way was Buckden, and here, being unprovided with a guide-book, we had a delightful surprise, for as we entered the place we caught a glimpse of the broken and time-worn towers of a large, rambling, and picturesque pile of buildings, some portions ruined, others apparently maintained and occupied. The structure was principally of brick, but time-toned into a warmish gray with age. What could it be? Manifestly, from its extent, it was a place of considerable importance. Such surprises are happily to be expected in such a storied land as England, wherein you cannot travel far without setting your eyes upon some ancient history. In spite of the size and beauty of the many-towered building, when we asked ourselves what it could be, we had sadly to acknowledge that even the name of Buckden was unfamiliar to us! So we consulted our ancient and faithful Paterson to see what he might say, and running our finger down the line of road, as given in the “ London to Carlisle " route, we read after the name of the village, “ Bishop of Lincoln's Palace." A note by the side, giving some details thereof, says : “This venerable pile is chiefly constructed of brick, and partly surrounded by a moat; it comprises two quadrangular courts, with a square tower and entrance gateway, and contains several spacious apartments. Large sums of money have been expended by different prelates on this fabric, particularly by Bishops Williams and Sanderson, the former in the reign of James I. and the latter in that of Charles II. The situation of the edifice is extremely pleasant. The manor was granted to the see of Lincoln in the time of Henry I. ... Several of the prelates belonging to this see have been interred in the parish church.”
We gathered from this that probably the church would be fine and interesting, so we alighted and made our way thither. Facing the quiet God's acre
- I would like to write God's garden, but it was hardly that—stood one of the square, semi-fortified gateways of the palace, embattled on the top, and having four octagonal flanking towers at its sides ; in the enclosed walls below were mullioned windows, the stonework of which was perfect, but the glass was gone; at the foot of the gateway commanding the approach were cross arrow-slits, presumably placed there for ornament—a survival of past forms that, even when the tower was raised, had long outlived their uses, so strong is the strength of tradition. Thus to-day I know instances where the modern architect of renown has introduced buttresses when the wall is strong enough without; peaceful church towers are likewise embattled like a feudal castle keep, and gargoyles introduced thereon, where, did the latter only carry out their offices, they would pour the rain-water down in streams upon the heads of the
congregation when entering or leaving the building ! So, their true functions gone, are obsolete forms retained for the sake of their picturesqueness, which seems wrong art to me; rather should we attempt to build for the needs of the present, and make those needs ornamental—to construct soundly, and be content to adorn such construction. The architects of old, I trow, did not introduce gargoyles for the sake of ornament; they made them to throw the rain from off their roofs and walls, purely for utility; then they proceeded to carve and make them presentable, and converted an ugly excrescence into a thing of beauty or quaintness, as the spirit moved them, but either way they were interesting. Now that we have invented rain-water pipes—which, let it be frankly owned, answer the purpose far better than the old-fashioned gargoyles—we should seek, in the spirit of the past, to make beautiful or quaint the headings of the same. Here is a sadly neglected and legitimate opportunity to introduce the much-needed decoration that does decorate, and thus add an interest to our houses they so much need. Instead of this, we are too often content with "stuck on " ornaments, which do not ornament, serve no need, and merely profit the builder's pocket.
But to return to the old Buckden Palace gateway. Though externally the brick and stone work is in fair condition, the structure is but a skeleton ; however, this fact adds to its picturesqueness, and with the better-preserved towers beyond, it helps to form a very pleasing group. When we were there the ruined tower was in the possession of a flock of
noisy starlings—birds that strangely appear to prefer buildings to trees, and who made themselves much at home in the ruins.
Then we took a glance within the church, where several Bishops of Lincoln lie buried close to their palatial home. Fortunate beings those ancient bishops
—to make the best of both worlds, and to ensure so many earthly good things on their way to heaven ; to be the servant of Him who had not where to lay His head, and yet to sit on a throne, live in a palace, and enjoy a princely income; nevertheless, to talk of losing all for Christ, who said, “My kingdom is not of this world”! Strangely inconsistent is the creed of Christianity with the history of the Church. “ Love your enemies” was the command of the Master. “Torture and burn them ” was the order of the medieval Church—and is the servant greater than the Master ?
Buckden church, though interesting, was hardly so much so as might have been expected; its open timber roof, however, was very fine, and was adorned with a series of sculptured angels that manifestly had once been coloured, but now had a faded look, and faded angels seem hardly appropriate ; moreover, not one of the number had his (or her?) wings perfect ; some had only one wing, and that broken, others were in a still worse plight, having no wings at all! But why should angels have wings? Is it that neither scholar nor artist can get beyond anthropomorphism? Wings are hardly spiritual appendages. The medieval craftsman, in representing angels so provided, must surely