Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 26, 1920

What a difference in train service! Here there is no noise, no conductors, no one to show you to your train, no hurrying. Fortunately we have a conductor and need have no concern. To-day we left London for Warwick. The country as seen from the train looks like one big park. The fields are corrugated for drainage. The yellow blossoms of the Broom and Gorse brighten the evergreen bushes along the way and the wall flowers (called by Shakespeare Gilly flowers) are most brilliant. To-day we are discussing English customs - May Day, Christmas and birthdays, in our compartment.

Warwick is in the very heart of the Shakespeare country and here we have the finest castle in England, which is only ten minutes walk from our hotel. The city gate was built in 1006, by William the Conqueror. The castle is in excellent repair and the grounds in perfect order. We cannot describe the beds of flowers, festoons of vines, nor the stately trees, and how we did wish for more time to examine the wonderful works of art in the interior. We saw the white pea-cocks and some of the party took snap-shots of them. Who said that when we secured our passports giving us permission to visit the different countries that was all that was necessary? We have found out differently. At every place we stop we are made to tell the color of our skin, our eyes, our hair, our family history and why we left America and ever so much more.

To-day we visited Stratford on Avon. For once the day was fine and the sun bright. Everything about Stratford centers about Shakespeare. The garden about his old home contain all the flowers and old time plants that are named in his writings. Everything looks so old! There are many relics and curios in the old home - chests, pictures, chairs, manuscripts, early editions of his works, deeds and grants of land etc., etc. We passed into the kitchen or living room of his parents and climbed the old stairs to the upper room. Next in interest to the birthplace of Shakespeare is the Anne Hathaway tiny cottage with thatched roof, nestling among beds of old fashioned flowers, rosemary and thyme and we could almost imagine the famous bard sitting on the old seat in the ingle nook, holding the hand of his beloved Anne. For quiet genuine beauty and picturesqueness, we think the scene here is unsurpassed in all England. And we visited Trinity church within the chancel of which the remains of Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway are buried and we found them covered with flowers. We were shown the register containing the entry of his birth and christening in a glass case, carefully watched and guarded and the old bible chained to the rack. Warwickshire is also the home of Marie Correlli. We also went through Bambury Cross, made famous to us by the nursery rhyme. We longed to see one of Shakespeare’s plays at the Memorial Theater, where a company from London were playing, but there was no way to get back to Warwick. As we drive back, a detour of a few miles brings us to beautiful Kenilworth. We strolled through the ruins leisurely, and thought of the days in 1575 - when Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, welcomed Queen Elizabeth and the splendor of the entertainment cost him 1000 pounds a day. “Ruin greenly dwells” in this old castle for English ivy entwines the walls in picturesque confusion. We returned to the charming old English Inn, the Woolpack in Warwick which is certainly the quaintest place yet. Everything scrupulously clean, beautiful china and brass and blooming flowers, and splendid eats. Surely our cup over-flowed for this day.

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