Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 1920

We have had our first real English breakfast and we pronounced it satisfactory, with such good bread and butter. A half loaf is put on the table and each guest cuts his own. The butter is in shape of ears of corn and our toast is brought in on a silver rack with handle. Instead of the fresh fruit always a part of the American breakfast we are given, as Irving Cobb says, some “Sticky Marmalade” and ten tablets of saccharin are supposed to be sufficient for a table of three.

A copy of the London Daily Mirror brought smiles to the faces of our party this morning, when our eyes fell upon this startling head line “Surpass Invasion of Pussy-foots from America” - with pictures of our party taken on board the Lapland and at the Southampton dock.

(I don't think this is the same article she mentioned, but this one was in the journal.)

We are to be in Bristol four nights and three days. Two of the days will be spent motoring through rural England. Bristol is rich in historic and architectural interest and ranks next to London in these respects. At one time it was the home of Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge Chatterton and McCauley.

We wonder why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle, and if the grass there could be a brighter green than what we see here. Bristol is a city of 360,000 and is on the Avon - Shakespeare’s Avon - which is crossed here by a magnificent bridge 700 ft. long and 250 ft. above the river. It is also a sea-port and the home of the Cabots, from which port they sailed on their voyages of discovery.

Our Charabanc (big blue sight-seeing cars) ride of ten hours gave us fine views of rural England. The buildings are of stone, excepting some of brick, stone trimmed in cities, with their clustering chimney pots, one for each room, tiny gardens, the trees and shrubbery, the birds, the box hedge-rows, the bright wall flowers growing from every wall and cranny, the long rows of horse-chesnuts etc. The English evidently love privacy, judging from the walled enclosures about their houses. At Burrington Combe we reach the wonderful rock formation which suggested Toplady the writing of Rock of Ages. We stopped our machines and the whole party sang the hymn. Some rocks in Cheddar gorge are 500 ft. high. There are some “cracked pitchers drinking at the well.” One of our party was heard to refer to the Rev. Augustus, as “that woman.”

Cox’s cave at Cheddar, is the great objective here, said to be the finest in the world. The stalagmites and stalagtites are large and the colors brilliant. At one place, what is called the Marble Curtain is marvelously like a piece of embroidered and fringed tapestry, and it seems incredible that it could be formed by the mere accidental dropping of water charged with time.

Postcards from Cheddar

The center of the day’s trip was Glastonbury, a town of great interest to the historian and antiquarian. We had lunch at the George hotel, built in 1473. We were shown one room in which Henry VIII had slept, and were charmed by the quaint, beautifully carved furniture and the old English china etc. This point, was at one time, the seat of learning for all England. We visited the ruins of the Abbey, once a great monastery founded by St. Augustine 1300 years ago. There is a legend that the first church was built here by Joseph of Arimathea and he is supposed to lie within the sacred precincts. So many saints and bishops are buried in the church that some writers speak of it as the “Heavenly Sanctuary on Earth.” We were in the crypt and also listened to the great organ.

Our next stop is Wells, a quaint Cathedral city. The west front of the Cathedral contains nine tiers of sculpture with about 300 figures. It also contains what is said to be the oldest clock in the world. We were here when the famous clock struck four, and saw the horses race and the little men strike the bells. In its prime this Abbey was the peer of all England and the richest and stateliest.

We became closely acquainted with the proverbial English weather on this trip, when it rained so much, nature seemed to be doing and repenting by turns. All of our party except the “foolish Virgins” are wearing heavier clothing than when they were at home any time last winter.

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