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Certain delightful English towns, with glimpses of the pleasant country between

Certain delightful English towns, with glimpses of the pleasant country between
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Title: Certain delightful English towns, with glimpses of the pleasant country between
Release Date: 2018-12-26
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Contents.

A few minor typographical errors have been corrected.

List of Illustrations
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WESTGATE, SOUTHAMPTON

CERTAIN DELIGHTFUL
ENGLISH TOWNS

WITH GLIMPSES OF THE PLEASANT
COUNTRY BETWEEN

W. D. H O W E L L S

ILLUSTRATED



HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
NEW YORK AND LONDON
1906
{ii}

Copyright, 1906, by Harper & Brothers.
——
All rights reserved.
Published October, 1906.

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CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE
I.The Landing of a Pilgrim at Plymouth1
II.Twenty-four Hours at Exeter22
III.A Fortnight in Bath39
IV.A Country Town and a Country House83
V.Afternoons in Wells and Bristol103
VI.By way of Southampton to London122
VII.In Folkestone Out of Season143
VIII.Kentish Neighborhoods, Including Canterbury173
IX.Oxford193
X.The Charm of Chester219
XI.Malvern among Her Hills237
XII.Shrewsbury by way of Worcester and Hereford257
XIII.Northampton and the Washington Country275

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ILLUSTRATIONS

WESTGATE, SOUTHAMPTONFrontispiece
“THE PROMENADE ... A PROMONTORY PUSHED WELL OUT INTO THE SOUND”Facing p. 4
LOOKING DOWN FROM THE HOE    8
A GROUP OF PUBLIC EDIFICES, MODERN PLYMOUTH 10
OLD HOUSES ALOOF FROM THE WATER 16
A BIT OF COUNTRY BETWEEN PLYMOUTH AND EXETER 22
“IN EXETER OUR FIRST CATHEDRAL WAS WAITING US” 24
THE CASTLE OF ROUGEMONT 26
“THE CATHEDRAL ... A SOFT GRAY BLUR OF AGE-WORN CARVING” 28
GREAT PULTENEY STREET 42
THE RED-TILED HOUSE-ROOFS AND CHURCH SPIRES OF BATH 48
CIRCUS FROM BENNET STREET 50
THE GUINEA-PIG MAN 80
SAXON CHAPEL AT BRADFORD 84
KINGSTON HOUSE, BRADFORD 88
SUTTON COURT, ONE OF ENGLAND’S HISTORIC HOUSES 94
WELLS CATHEDRAL, FROM SOUTHEAST 106
MARKET-PLACE, WELLS 110
BRISTOL HARBOR AND DRAWBRIDGE 112
CLIFTON, FROM ASHTON MEADOWS 116
GORGE OF THE AVON, WITH ST. VINCENT’S ROCKS 120
THE SOUTH SHORE, SOUTHAMPTON 126{vi}
“THE PIER WAS A PRIVATE ENTERPRISE “ 128
THE OLD TOWER WALL 136
“THE TRAM’S COURSE WAS LARGELY THROUGH UMBRAGEOUS AVENUES” 140
THE BEACH, FOLKESTONE 144
THE PIER WITH ITS PAVILION 146
THE SHELTER UNDER THE LEAS 148
THE FISH-MARKET AT FOLKESTONE 150
THE ANCIENT CHURCH AT HYTHE 156
ST. MARTIN’S CHURCH, CANTERBURY 184
THE NORMAN STAIRCASE IN THE CLOSE—CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL 186
MAGDALEN TOWER 194
“A BUMP” 200
OXFORD—LOOKING UP THE ISIS 216
WATER-TOWER AND ROMAN REMAINS 220
KING CHARLES’S TOWER 224
CHESTER CASTLE 230
MALVERN—THE TOWN 240
THE PRIORY CHURCH—NORTH VIEW 242
BRITISH CAMP, SHOWING ROMAN INTRENCHMENTS 250
PRIORY CHURCH—SWAN POOL IN FOREGROUND 254
WORCESTER CATHEDRAL, FROM SOUTHWEST 258
WORCESTER FROM THE RIVER 260
THE ENGLISH BRIDGE 272
THE WASHINGTON HOUSE AT LITTLE BRINGTON 278
THE BUSINESS CENTRE OF NORTHAMPTON 280
THE CHURCH AT GREAT BRINGTON 286

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{1} 

CERTAIN DELIGHTFUL ENGLISH TOWNS CERTAIN DELIGHTFUL ENGLISH
TOWNS

I
THE LANDING OF A PILGRIM AT PLYMOUTH

NO American, complexly speaking, finds himself in England for the firsttime, unless he is one of those many Americans who are not of Englishextraction. It is probable, rather, that on his arrival, if he has notyet visited the country, he has that sense of having been there beforewhich a simpler psychology than ours used to make much of without makinganything of. His English ancestors who really were once there stirwithin him, and his American forefathers, who were nourished on thehistory and literature of England, and were therefore intellectuallyEnglish, join forces in creating an English consciousness in him.Together, they make it very difficult for him to continue a new-comer,and it may be that only on the fourth or fifth coming shall the illusionwear away and he find himself a stranger in a strange land. But by thattime custom may have done its misleading work, and he may be as much asever the prey of his first impressions. I am sure that some such resultin me will evince itself to the reader in what I shall have to say of mybrief stay with the{2} English foster-mother of our American Plymouth; andI hope he will not think it altogether to be regretted.

 

My first impressions of England, after a fourth or fifth visit, beganeven before I landed in Plymouth, for I decided that there was somethingvery national in the behavior of a young Englishman who, as we nearedhis native shores, varied from day to day, almost from hour to hour, inhis doubt whether a cap or a derby hat was the right wear for apassenger about landing. He seemed also perplexed whether he should orshould not speak to some of his fellow-passengers in the safety ofparting, but having ventured, seemed to like it. On the tender whichtook us from the steamer to the dock I fancied another type in theEnglishman whom I asked which was the best hotel in Plymouth. At firsthe would not commit himself; then his humanity began to work in him, andhe expressed a preference, and abruptly left me. He returned directly togive the reasons for his preference, and to excuse them, and again heleft me. A second time he came back, with his conscience fully roused,and conjured me not to think of going elsewhere.

I thought that charming, and I afterwards found the hotel excellent, asI found nearly all the hotels in England. I found everything delightfulon the way to it, inclusive of the cabman’s overcharge, which broughtthe extortion to a full third of the just fare of a New York cabman. Ido not include the weather, which was hesitating a bitter little rain,but I do include the behavior of the customs officer, who would do notmore than touch, with averted eyes, the contents of the single piece ofbaggage which he had me open. When it came to paying the two hand-cartmen three shillings for{3} bringing up the trunks, which it would havecost me three dollars to transport from the steamer to a hotel at home,I did not see why I should not save money for the rest of my life bybecoming naturalized in England, and making it my home, unless it wasbecause it takes so long to become naturalized there that I might notlive to economize much.

It was with a pleasure much more distinct than any subliminal intimationthat I saw again the office-ladies in our hotel. Personally, they wereyoung strangers, but officially they were old friends, and quite as Ihad seen them first forty years ago, or last a brief seven; only oncethey wore bangs or fringes over their bright, unintelligent eyes, andnow they wore Mamie loops. But they were, as always, very neatly andprettily dressed, and they had the well-remembered difficulty offunctionally differencing themselves to the traveller’s needs, so thatwhich he should ask for a room and which for letters and which for acandle and which for his bill, remains a doubt to the end. From time totime with an exchange of puzzled glances, they unite in begging him toask the head porter, please, for whatever it is he wants to know. Theyall seem of equal authority, but suddenly and quite casually the realsuperior appears among them. She is the manageress, and I never saw amanager at an English hotel except once, and that was in Wales. But theEnglish theory of hotel-keeping seems to be house-keeping enlarged; amanageress is therefore more logical than a manager, and practically theexcellence of English hotels attests that a manager could not be moreefficient.

One of the young office-ladies, you never can know which it will be,gives you a little disk of pasteboard with the number and sometimes theprice of your room{4} on it, but the key is an after-thought of your own.You apply for it on going down to dinner, but in nearly all provincialhotels it is safe to leave your door unlocked. At any rate I did so withimpunity. This was all new to me, but a greater novelty which greeted uswas the table d’hôte, which has nearly everywhere in England replacedthe old-time dinner off the joint. You may still have that if you will,but not quite on the old imperative terms. The joint is now the roastfrom the table d’hôte, and you can take it with soup and vegetables anda sweet. But if you have become wonted to the superabundance of a Germansteamer you will not find all the courses too many for you, and you willfind them very good. At least you will at first: what is it that doesnot pall at last? Let it be magnanimously owned at the outset then,while one has the heart, that the cooking of any English hotel is betterthan that of any American hotel of the same grade. At Plymouth, thatfirst night, everything in meats and sweets, though simple, wasexcellent; in vegetables there were green things with no hint of the canin them, but fresh from the southerner parts of neighboring France. Asyet the protean forms of the cabbage family were not so insistent asafterwards.

Though we dined in an air so cold that we vainly tried to warm ourfingers on the bottoms of our plates, we saw, between intervening headsand shoulders, a fire burning blithely in a grate at the farther side ofthe room. It was cold there in the dining-room, but after we got intothe reading-room, we thought of it as having been warm, and we hurriedout for a walk under the English moon which we found diffusing amildness over the promenade on the Hoe, in which the statue of SirFrancis Drake fairly basked on its pedestal. The old

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“THE PROMENADE ... A PROMONTORY PUSHED WELL OUT INTOTHE SOUND”

sea-dog had the air of having

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