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with the human interest without which no picture lives.
I suppose that if I had been given my choice whether to have one of these village houses unroofed, and its simple drama revealed to me, I should have poorly chosen that rather than had the wooden cover lifted from the church floor where it protects the mortuary tablet of Lawrence Washington and his wife from the passing tread. But the rector of the church at Great Brington could not have gratified me in my preference, whereas he could and did lift the lid from the tablet in the nave, and let us read the inscription, and see the armorial bearings, in which the stars and stripes of our flag slept, undreaming of future glory, in the chrysalis arrest of the centuries since they had been the arms of a race of Northamptonshire gentlemen. The rector was in fact waiting for us at the church door, hospitably mindful of the commendation of our Northampton clerical friend, and we saw the edifice to all the advantage that his thoughtful patience could lend us. He had at once some other guests, in the young man and young woman who followed us in with their dog. They recalled themselves to the rector, who received them somewhat austerely, with his eyes hard upon their companion. "Did you mean to bring that animal with you?" he asked, and they pretended that the dog was an interloper, and the young man put him out in as much disgrace as he could bring himself to inflict. Probably there was an understanding between him and the dog; but the whole party took the rector's reproof with a smiling humility and an unabated interest in the claims of the Washington tablet, and in fact the whole church, upon their attention. They somewhat distracted my own, which is at best an idle sort, easily wandering from Early English architect
ure to Later English character, and from perpendicular windows to people of any inclination. Yet, the church at Great Brington is most worthy to be studied in detail, for it is "notable even among the famous churches of Northamptonshire," and it is the fitting last home of Washington's ancestors.
I bring myself with some difficulty to own that the specific knowledge I have on this point, and several others in this vague narration, I owe to an agreeable sketch of "The Homes of the Washingtons" by Mr. John Leyland. But if I did not own it, some one would find me out, and it is best to confess my obligation together with my gratitude. I wish I had had the sketch with me at the time of my visit to Great Brington church, but I had not, and I lingered about in the church-yard, after we came out and the rector must leave us, under the spell of a quiet and in the keeping of associations unalloyed by information. For this reason I am unable to attribute its true significance to the old cross which stands apart from the church, and guides and guards the way to the place of graves beside it. I must own that at first glance it has somewhat the effect of an old-fashioned sign-post at an inn yard, and perhaps that were no bad symbol of the welcome the peaceful place holds for the life-weary wayfarers who lie down to their rest in it. Great Brington remains to me an impression of cottage streets,-doubtless provided with some shops. But when we had taken leave of the rector, and looked our last at the elegy-breathing church-yard, with its turf heaving in many a mouldering heap as if in decasyllabic quatrains, we drove away to see the Washington house in Little Brington.
When you come to it, or do not come to it, you find Little Brington nothing but a dwindling Great Brington,
or a wider and more shopless dispersion of its cottages on one long street, which is really the highroad back to Northampton. Some bad little boys hung on to the rear of our carriage, and other little boys, quite as bad, I dare say, ran beside us, and invited our driver to "Cut be'oind, cut be'oind!" probably in the very accents, mellow and rounded, of our ancestral Washingtons. They all dropped away before we stopped at the gate of the very simple house where these Washingtons dwelt. It is a thatched stone house, of a Tudor touch in architecture, with rooms on each side of the front door and a tablet over that, lettered with the text, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away: blessed be the name of the Lord." Perhaps in other times it was of the dignity of a manor-house, but now it was inhabited by decent farmfolk, and very neatly kept. The farmwife who let us go up-stairs and down and all through it was a friendly soul, but apparently puzzled by our interest in it, and I fancied not many pilgrims worshipped at that shrine. It was rather ruder and humbler within than without; the flooring was rough, and the whitewashed walls of the little chambers were roughly plastered; neither these nor the living-rooms below had the beauty or interest of many colonial houses in New England. There was a little vegetable-gardened space behind the house, and a low stable, or some sort of shed, and on the comb of the roof an English true robin redbreast perched, darkly outlined against the clear September sky, and swelled his little red throat, and sang and sang. It was very pretty, and he sang much better than the big awkward thrush which we call a robin at home.
Our lovely day which had begun so dim, was waning in a sweet translucency, and we drove back to Northamp
ton over gentle uplands through afternoon influences of a rich peacefulness. The road-side hedgerows now kept us from seeing much beyond them, but they were red, like those we passed in coming, with haws and wild rosepips, which we again took for a flush of American autumn in their leaves; but the trees were really of a sober yellow, with here and there, on a house wall, a flame of Japanese ivy or Virginia creeper. The way was dotted with shoe-hands, men and girls, going home early from the unprosperous shops which our driver said were running only half-time. But even on half-pay they earned so much more than they could on the land that the farmers, desperate for help, could pay only a nominal rent. Much of the land was sign-boarded for sale, and this and the unusual number of wooden cottages gave us a very home feeling. In our illusion, we easily took for crows the rooks sailing over the fields.
ABBEY CHURCH, 504, 505.
Boleyn, Anne, 129, 365.
Amelia, Princess, 290, 295, 296. Booth, Junius Brutus, 224.
Borough Market, 176.
Bunhill Fields, 185, 188, 191.
Annesley, Susannah, 184, 185.
Belgravia, 211, 212, 213.
Bess of Hardwicke, 331.
BACON, Lord, 205.
Balfour, Arthur James, 403.
CABOT, JOHN, 346, 348, 349.
Cambridge, Duke of, 286.
Beckford, William, 311.
Bedford Circus, Exeter, 265, 266. Castlemaine, Lady, 132.