If the railway is not taken one may return by the eight miles of high road that follows the Frome through Vanchurch and Frampton to Charminster and Dorchester. The first named village though pleasant enough, calls for little comment, but Frampton (or Frome town) is not only picturesquely placed between the soft hills that drop to the wooded banks of the river, but has also other claims to notice. The church, though it has been cruelly pulled about, has an interesting old stone pulpit with carvings of monks bearing vessels. A number of memorials may be seen of the Brownes, once a renowned local family, and of their successors and connexions, among whom were certain of the Sheridan family, of which the famous Richard Brinsley Sheridan was a member. Near Frampton in the closing years of the eighteenth century a Roman pavement was discovered, bearing in its mosaic indications of Christian designs and forms.
The straight and tree-lined Roman road that runs west from Dorchester is, except for fast motor traffic and a few farm waggons bringing produce to the great emporium of Dorset, usually deserted, for it has no villages of importance on the fourteen miles to Bridport. Winterbourne Abbas is more than four miles away and Kingston Russell, exactly half-way to Bridport, is the only other village on the road. This was once the home of the Russells who became Dukes of Bedford. Here was born Sir T.M. Hardy and here died J.L. Motley, author of the History of the Dutch Republic. The poor remnants of the old manor house are to be seen in the farm near the hamlet.
[Illustration: WEYMOUTH HARBOUR.]
WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND
The fashionable Weymouth of to-day is the Melcombe Regis of the past, and quite a proportion of visitors to Melcombe never go into the real Weymouth at all. The tarry, fishy and beery (in a manufacturing sense only) old town is on the south side of the harbour bridge and has little in common with the busy and popular watering place on the north and east. Once separate boroughs, the towns are now under one government, and Melcombe Regis has dropped its name almost entirely in favour of that of the older partner.
How many towns on the coast claim their particular semicircle of bay to be “the English Naples”? Douglas, Sandown and even Swanage have at some time or other, through their local guides, plumed themselves on the supposed resemblance. It is as inapplicable to these as it is to Weymouth, though the latter seems to insist upon it more than the rest. Apart from the bay, which is one of the most beautiful on the coast, boarding-house Weymouth is more like Bloomsbury than anywhere else on earth, and a very pleasant, mellow, comfortable old Bloomsbury, reminiscent of good solid comfortable times, even if they were rather dowdy and dull. Not that Weymouth is dull. In the far-off days of half-day excursions from London