In The Course Of A Ramble On Foot In A Remote District I Came
To A Small Ancient Town, Set In A Cuplike Depression Amidst
High Wood-Grown Hills.
The woods were of oak in spring
foliage, and against that vivid green I saw the many-gabled
Roofs and tall chimneys of the old timbered houses,
glowing red and warm brown in the brilliant sunshine - a scene
of rare beauty, and yet it produced no shock of pleasure;
never, in fact, had I looked on a lovely scene for the first
time so unemotionally. It seemed to be no new scene, but
an old familiar one; and that it had certain degrading
associations which took away all delight.
The reason of this was that a great railway company had
long been "booming" this romantic spot, and large photographs,
plain and coloured, of the town and its quaint buildings had
for years been staring at me in every station and every
railway carriage which I had entered on that line. Photography
degrades most things, especially open-air things; and in this
case, not only had its poor presentments made the scene too
familiar, but something of the degradation in the advertising
pictures seemed to attach itself to the very scene. Yet even
here, after some pleasureless days spent in vain endeavours to
shake off these vulgar associations, I was to experience one
of the sweetest surprises and delights of my life.
The church of this village-like town is one of its chief
attractions; it is a very old and stately building, and its
perpendicular tower, nearly a hundred feet high, is one of the
noblest in England.
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