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trees, cattle were lazily resting and cooling thenselves. Here too we discovered a rambling old mill, the subdued droning of whose great wheel mingled with the plashing of falling water and the murmuring sur-sur-suring of the wind - stirred foliage—sounds that were just enough to make us realise the stillness and tranquilness of the spot. One does not always comprehend the quietude of Nature; we travel too much in company to do this. But besides the old mill, that so pleased us that we forth with made a sketch of it, there was close at hand an ancient lock, gray and green, and just sufficiently tumble-down to be perfectly picturesque. Look which way we would, we looked upon a picture. Perhaps the one that pleased us best was the view of the great gabled mill as seen from the top of the lock, with the big leafy trees outstretching behind it, and the weedy and worn towing-path winding in front.
As we stood by the lock sketching the old mill -called Knight's mill, we learnt from the lockkeeper—a barge came along drawn by a gray horse, for there is traffic on the Ouse, but only just enough to give it a little needful life and interest. As the barge proceeded on its journey, we observed that, at a point where the tow-path apparently ended, the horse went boldly down into the water and walked on in the river close by the bank where it was shallow ; it struck us from this that it would hardly do to rely solely upon the tow-path for exploring purposes.
Not far from the mill and lock is Hemingford
e saw a man O
Grey, a pretty village whose fine old church stands picturesquely by the side of the river. The church appeared formerly to have possessed a fine spire, but now only a stump of it remains, and each angle of this is adorned with a small stone ball that gives a curious look to the building. Just against the churchyard, that is merely divided from the river by a low wall, is a little landing-place for boats; so we imagined that some of the country folk are rowed or punted to church on Sundays-quite a romantic and an agreeable proceeding in the summer time.
Here we saw a man on the bank fishing with a bamboo rod, contentedly catching nothing—a lesson in patience and perseverance. The rod he declared to be an ideal one to angle with, being so light and strong; nevertheless, we observed that, in spite of this advantage, he had caught no fish. Perchance they were shy or “off their feed” that day; they always seem to be so, I know, when I go a-fishing. Then we asked him about the church spire—had it never been completed, or had it been struck by lightning, or had it been pulled down as unsafe ?
“You've not guessed right,” he replied ; "it was blown down”! Now this struck us as extraordinary. Church spires do not generally get blown down, yet that very day we had come upon two, not very far apart, that had so suffered. Either this part of England must be very windy, or the spires must have been very badly built! It was a strange and puzzling fact.
Cowper stayed some time at Hemingford Grey,
and wrote a few of his poems there ; and as it seems to me a most charming spot, I am perplexed to understand how he could write of the scenery around Huntingdon, of which it forms part, thus :
—“My lot is cast in a country where we have neither woods nor commons, nor pleasant prospects
-all flat and insipid; in the summer adorned with willows, and in the winter covered with a flood.” Surely Cowper must have been in an extra melancholy mood at the time, else why does he condemn a country thus, that he praises for its beauties in verse? Are there two standards of beauty, one for poetry and one for prose ?
So we rambled on by the cheerful riverside, over the greenest of meadows, past ancient villages and picturesque cottages, past water-mills, and with occasional peeps, by way of change, of busy windmills inland, past primitive locks and shallow fords, till we reached Godmanchester. Our verdict, given after our enjoyable tramp, is that the Ouse from St. Ives to Huntingdon is a most picturesque and paintable stream, simply abounding in picturemaking material. Quite as good "stuff” (to use artists' slang) may be found on the Ouse as on the Thames, with the added charm of freshness, for the beauties of the Thames have been so painted and photographed, to say nothing of being engraved, that they are familiar to all, and over-familiarity is apt to beget indifference!
So we rambled leisurely along by the river side, over meadows spangled with daisies and buttercups, those lowly but bright and lovely flowers
of the sward, by ancient villages and unpretending cottage homes, that pleased because they were so unpretending, by droning water-mills and whirling windmills, by picturesquely neglected locks, by shallow fords, and by countless beauty - bits such as artists love, till we reached Godmanchester-a quiet little town, remarkable neither for beauty nor for ugliness, that stands just over the Ouse from Huntingdon. Here we crossed first some low-lying ground, and then the river by a raised causeway and a long stone bridge, darkly gray from age; on the wall in the centre of this bridge is a stone slab inscribed :
D.D. 1637. It appears that, in the year above stated, this Dr. Robert Cooke, whilst crossing the causeway, then in bad repair, was washed off his feet and nearly drowned, the river running strongly past in heavy flood at the time; and in gratitude for his narrow escape he left in his will a certain sum of money, the interest on which was to be expended in keeping the causeway and bridge in perfect repair for ever.
This reminds me of the historic fact that no less a personage than Oliver Cromwell, when a schoolboy, at this spot and under similar circumstances, also nearly lost his life, but was saved from drowning by the timely aid of a Huntingdon clergyman who was likewise crossing at the time. When, in after years, Cromwell, no longer unknown to fame, chanced to be passing through the streets of Huntingdon at the head of his Ironsides, he happened to notice the very clergyman watching the procession, and, smiling, reminded him of the incident, asking him if he remembered it. “I do well,” replied the clergyman, who bore no love towards the Puritans, "and I wish to God I had let you drown rather than have saved your life to use it to fight against your king.” To which Cromwell sternly retorted, “ It was God's will, you merely acted as His servant to perform His wishes. Be pleased, sir, to remember