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Title: From Paddington to Penzance - The record of a summer tramp from London to the Land's End
Author: Harper, Charles G. (Charles George)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By the Author of the Present Volume.

_Demy 8vo, cloth extra, 16s._




“The revived interest in our long-neglected highways has already
produced a considerable crop of books descriptive of English road life
and scenery, but few have been more attractive than this substantial
volume. The author has gathered together a great deal of amusing
matter, chiefly relating to coaching and life on the road in the days
of George IV., wherewith to supplement his own personal observations
and adventures. He wields a clever pen on occasion--witness his graphic
sketch of the ‘ungodly tramp’ whom he met between Merstham and Crawley.
The book, in brief, is inspired by a genuine love of the road and all
its associations, past and present, animate and inanimate. Its ninety
illustrations, partly sketches made by the author on the way, and
partly reproductions of old-time pictures and engravings, will add
greatly to its attractions.”--_Daily News._

“This is a book worth buying, both for the narrative and the
illustrations. The former is crisp and lively, the latter are
tastefully chosen and set forth with much pleasing and artistic
effect.”--_Scottish Leader._

“The Brighton Road was merry with the rattle of wheels, the clatter of
galloping horses, the bumpers of hurrying passengers, the tipping of
ostlers, the feats of jockeys and ‘whips’ and princes, the laughter
of full-bosomed serving-wenches, and the jokes of rotund landlords,
and all this Mr. Harper’s handsome and picturesque volume spreads well
before its readers. To the author, Lord Lonsdale, with his great feat
on the road between Reigate and Crawley, is the last of the heroes, and
the Brighton Parcel Mail is the chief remaining glory of what was once
the most frequented and fashionable highway of the world. As Mr. Harper
sadly says, ‘the Brighton of to-day is no place for the travel-worn;’
but, with his book in hand, the pedestrian, the horseman, the coachman,
or the cyclist, may find the road that leads to it from town one of
the most interesting and entertaining stretches of highway to be found
anywhere.”--_Daily Chronicle._

“Space fails us to mention the many sporting events that have been
decided upon, or near, the Brighton Road. They are duly recorded in
this lively volume.... An old writer, speaking of Brighton shore,
talks of the ‘number of beautiful women who, every morning, court the
embraces of the Watery God;’ but these Mr. Harper found wanting, so he
fled to Rottingdean.”--_Spectator._

“This handsome book on the Brighton Road should be attractive to
three classes in particular--those who like coaching, those who enjoy
cycling, and the ‘general reader.’”--_Globe._

“A pleasant gossiping account of a highway much trodden, ridden,
driven, and cycled by the Londoner; a solid and handsome volume, with
attractive pictures.”--_St. James’s Gazette._

“The Brighton Road is the classic land, the Arcadia, of four-in-hand
driving. An ideally smooth, hard, high road, with no more of uphill
and down than a coach could travel over at a canter going up, and
at a rattling trot, with the skid on, going downhill, it was a road
that every sporting Londoner knew by heart, and many a London man and
woman who cared nothing for sport.... The ancient glories of the road
live for the author, and when he walks along the highway from London
to Brighton, he seems to tread on holy ground. He would never have
written so pleasant a book as ‘The Brighton Road’ had he been less
of an idealist. He has, however, other qualifications for bookmaking
besides a delight in coaching and its ancient palmy days. Something
of an archæologist, he can speak learnedly of churches, both as
ecclesiologist and artist, and has an eye for the human humours as well
as the picturesque natural beauties of the road. His book is enriched
with over ninety good illustrations, mainly from his own hand. Add to
this, that Mr. Harper writes English pleasantly and well, with thorough
love for and knowledge of his subject, and the reader of this review
will see that ‘The Brighton Road’ that I am inviting him to buy or
borrow is a thoroughly honest, good, and readable book.”--_Black and









  _Done chiefly with a Pen_



_To General Hawkes, C.B._


_Although we did not tour together, you and I, there is none other
than yourself to whom I could so ardently desire this book to be
inscribed--this by reason of a certain happening at Looe, and not at
all for the sake of anything you may find in these pages, saving indeed
that the moiety of them is concerned with your county of Cornwall._

_I have wrought upon this work for many months, in storm and shine;
and always, when this crowded hive was most dreary, the sapphire seas,
the bland airs, the wild moors of that western land have presented
themselves to memory, and at the same time have both cheered and filled
with regrets one who works indeed amid the shoutings and the tumults
of the streets, but whose wish is for the country-side. You reside in
mitigated rusticity; I, in expiation of some sin committed, possibly,
in by-past cycles and previous incarnations, in midst of these roaring
millions; and truly I love not so much company._

                _Yours very faithfully_,

                        CHARLES G. HARPER.



_Before I set about the overhauling of my notes made on this
tour--afoot, afloat, awheel--from London to Land’s End, I confided
to an old friend my intention of publishing an account of these
wanderings. Now, no one has such a mean idea of one’s capacities as
an old friend, and so I was by no means surprised when he flouted my
project. I have known the man for many years; and as the depth of an
old friend’s scorn deepens with time, you may guess how profound by now
is his distrust of my powers._

_“Better hadn’t,” said he._

_“And why not?” said I._

_“See how often it has been done,” he replied. “Why should you do it
again, after Elihu Burritt, after Walter White, and L’Estrange, and
those others who have wearied us so often with their dull records of
uneventful days?”_

_“I do it,” I said, “for the reason that poets write poetry, because I
must. Out upon your Burritts and the rest of them; I don’t know them,
and don’t want to--yet. When the book is finished, then they shall be
looked up for the sake of comparison; at present, I keep an open mind
on the subject.”_

_And I kept it until to-day. I have just returned from a day with these
authors at the British Museum, and I feel weary. Probably most of them
are dead by this time, as dead as their books, and nothing I say now
can do them any harm; so let me speak my mind._

_First I dipped into the pages of that solemn Yankee prig, Burritt,
and presently became bogged in stodgy descriptions of agriculture, and
long-drawn parallels between English and American husbandry. Stumbling
out of these sloughs, one comes headlong upon that true republican’s
awkward raptures over titled aristocracy. The rest is all a welter of
cheap facts and interjectional essays in the obvious._

_Then I essayed upon Walter White’s_ “Londoners Walk to the Land’s
End”--_horribly informative, and with an appalling poverty of epithet.
This dreadful tourist was used (he says) to sing and recite to the
rustics whom he met._

_“’Tis a dry day, master,” say the thirsty countrymen to him; while he,
heedless of their artful formula, calls not for the flowing bowl, but
strikes an attitude, and recites to them a ballad of Macaulay’s!_

_And yet those poor men, robbed of their beer, applauded (says our
author), and, like Oliver Twist, asked for more._

_Then an American coach-party had driven over part of our route,
following the example of_ “An American Four-in-Hand in Britain,” _by
Citizen Carnegie. Indeed, we easily recognise the Citizen again, under
the name of Mæcenas, among this party, which produced the_ “Chronicle
of the Coach.”

_The same Americanese pervades both books; the same patronage of John
Bull, and the same laudation of those States, is common to them;
but for choice, the Citizen’s own book is in the viler taste. Both
jig through their pages to an abominable “charivari” of their own
composing, an amalgam of_ “Yankee Doodle” _and the_ “Marseillaise,”
_one with (renegade Scot!) a bagpipe “obbligato.”_

_They anticipate the time when we shall be blessed with a Republic
after the model of their own adopted country; the Citizen (I think)
commonly wears a cap of liberty for headgear, and a Stars and Stripes
for shirt. This last may possibly be an error of mine. But at any rate
I should like to see him tucking in the tails of such a star-spangled

_These were the works which were to forbid a newer effort at a book
aiming at the same destination, but proceeding by an independent route,
and (as it chanced) written upon different lines--written with what I
take to be a care rather for personal impressions than for guide-book

_We won to the West by no known route, but followed the inclinations of
irresponsible tourists, with a strong disinclination for martyrdom on
dusty highways and in uninteresting places. This, too, is explanatory
of our taking the train at certain points and our long lingering at
others. If, unwittingly or by intent, I have here or there in these
pages dropped into history, I beg your pardon, I’m sure; for all I
intended was to show you personal impressions in two media, pictures
and prose._

                        CHARLES G. HARPER.

LONDON, _October 1893_.



  Leaving London--The Spirit of the Silly Season--An Unimportant
      Residuum--The Direct Road--And the Indirect--To Richmond
      by Boat                                                        1–5


  Radical Richmond and its Royal Memories--The Poets’ Chorus--The
      Social Degradation implied by Tea and Shrimps--No Water at
      Richmond                                                       6–9


  Rural Petersham--The Monuments of Petersham Church--Ham House--
      Beer, Beauty, and the Peerage--The Earls of Dysart and
      their Curious Preferment--Village Hampdens and Litigation--
      Ham and the Cabal--Horace Walpole and his Trumpery
      Ghosts--Kingston--The Dusty Pother anent Coway Stakes--
      The Author “drops the Subject”--The King’s Stone--The
      Reader is referred to the Surrey Archæological Society, and
      the Tourists pursue their Journey--The Philosophy of the
      Thames--To Shepperton                                         9–17


  Windsor and Eton--The Terrific Keate--Persuasions of Sorts--
      Bray and its Most Admirable Vicar--Taplow Bridge--Boulter’s
      Lock--Cookham                                                17–23


  An Indignant Man--Advantages of Indignation and a Furious
      Manner--_Al fresco_ Meals--Medmenham Abbey--Those unkind
      Topographers--The Hell Fire Club--From Hambledon to Henley


  Regatta Island--Its Shoddy Temple--The Preposterous Naiads and
      River Nymphs of the Eighteenth Century Poets--Those Improper
      Creatures _v._ County Councils--A Poignant Individual--Mary
      Blandy, the Slow Poisoner                                    28–33


  Picturesque Wargrave--The Loddon River and Patricksbourne--
      Sonning--A Typical Riverside Inn--Filthy Kennet Side--
      Reading to Basingstoke                                       33–35


  Hampshire Characteristics--White of Selborne as a Vandal--Holy
      Ghost Chapel                                                 35–38


  A Dreary Road--Micheldever--Hampshire Literary Lights--The
      Worthies--“Johēs Kent de Redying”                            38–41


  Winchester--The City Lamps--The Cathedral--Saint Swithun


  Wykeham--The Renaissance in the Cathedral--The Puritans--
      Winchester Castles, Royal and Episcopal--A Graceless
      Corporation--The Military--Saint Catherine’s Hill            48–55


  A Literary Transfiguration--Wyke--An Unique Brass--The
      Romance of Lainston--Sparsholt                               56–59


  A Rustic Symposium                                               60–64


  Camping-out of Necessity--The Tramp _en amateur_--Soapless
      Britons--The Livelong Day                                    64–65


  Restoration at Romsey--Prout justified--An Unsportsmanlike
      Palmerston                                                   66–68


  The New Forest--The Woodman’s Axe--The coming Social Storm--
      Lyndhurst--Brockenhurst--Avon Water                          68–74


  A Superior Pedestrian--Christchurch--An Enigmatical Epitaph


  Bournemouth--The Interesting Invalid--Languorous Romances--
      Bournemouth, the Paradise of the Unbeneficed                 76–79


  Our Encounter with an American                                   79–81


  By the Sea to North Haven--Studland--Our Coldest Welcome at an
      Inn--To Swanage                                              82–83


  The Isle of Purbeck--Purbeck Marble--Domesticated Swanage--The
      Rush for Ground-rents                                        83–86


  Corfe--Corfe Castle--Those Ubiquitous Roundheads                 86–88


  Lulworth Castle--The Dorset Coast--Osmington                     88–90


  Weymouth and George the Third--An Old-time Jubilee--A Gorgeous
      Individual--Railways and Derivatives--Hotel Snobbery         91–93


  Abbotsbury--The Abbey Ruins--Saint Catherine’s Chapel--
      Historic Wessex--The Chesil Beach--West Bay, Bridport--A
      Hilly Country                                                93–97


  Chideock--One who fared at Dead of Night--Early Rising           97–99


  Charmouth--Concerning Rainy Days by the Sounding Sea--The Devon
      Borders--A Humorous Wheelman                                99–101


  Axminster--The Battle of Brunenburgh--The “Book of
      Remembrance”--Axminster Carpets                            102–104


  Drakes of Ashe--Axmouth--The Fearful Joys of the Day-tripper--
      Seaton                                                     105–107


  Exeter, a Busy City--Richard the Third--A Chivalric Myth--
      Northernhay--The Cathedral: Black but Comely--St. Mary
      Steps                                                      108–111


  The Suburb of Saint Thomas--Alphington--Exminster              112–116


  A Grotesque Saint--The Pious Editor                            116–118


  Beside the Exe to Powderham--The Courtenays--The Atmospheric
      Railway                                                    118–120


  Starcross and its Aspirations--The Warren--Langstone Point--
      Mount Pleasant--The Limitations of Dawlish                 120–124


  The Legend of the Parson and Clerk                             124–127


  Teignmouth--The Sad Tale of the Market House--Doleful
      Ratepayers--Teignmouth Harbour--Devon Weather--Society--
      To Shaldon                                                 127–133


  The (more or less) True Story of an Artist--Labrador
      Tea-gardens--Peripatetic Organ-grinders--The Author’s
      Indignation moves him poetically--And he reflects upon
      Comic Songs                                                133–137


  Devon Combes--Maidencombe--Where the Devil died of the Cold--
      Who was Anstey, of Anstey’s Cove?--“Thomas” of Anstey’s    137–140


  Torquay--Still growing--The Witchery of Tor Bay Scenery--
      Charter Day--Napoleon on board the “Billy Ruffian”         140–144


  Teutonic Paignton--Thoughts on German Bands--The Present
      Author loves a Comely Falsehood, but destroys a Lying
      Tradition-- Berry Pomeroy and the Seymours                 144–149


  Totnes--Brutus the Trojan--“Oliver, by the Grace of God”--To
      Dartmouth                                                  149–153


  Down the Dart--Nautical Terms                                  153–154


  Dartmouth--Castles of Dartmouth and Kingswear--Fighting the
      Foreigner--An Unrestored Church--Paternal Government       154–159


  Dittisham and the Dart--Tea at Dittisham, and so “Home”        159–162


  Stoke Fleming--A Country Coach--Slapton Sands--To Kingsbridge  163–165


  Kingsbridge--Its one Literary Celebrity--“Peter Pindar” upon
      his Barn--Kingsbridge Grammar School                       165–171


  Salcombe River--Voyage to Salcombe--Hotel hunting--Salcombe
      Shops--The Castle                                          171–176


  Voyage to Plymouth--The Tourists are Extremely Ill--Land at
      last--The Hoe and its Memorials--Politics and Patriotism--
      The Hamoaze--Saltash                                       176–183


  An Old Author on the Characteristics of Cornwall--Saint
      Budeaux--The Three Towns--Stained Glass extraordinary      184–187


  Antony--Richard Carew: a Seventeenth Century Poet--The
      Tourists are entreated despitefully, and quarrel           187–190


  Carew’s Epitaph at Antony--Downderry                           191–192


  A Lovely Valley, a Moorland Stream, and what befell there      193–195


  Looe--Stage-like Picturesqueness--Hotel Visitors’ Books        195–201


  Talland--Humorous Memorials of the Dead--Epitaph on a
      Smuggler--“John Bevyll of Kyllygath”--A Notable
      Devil-queller                                              201–207


  The Road to Polperro--The “Three Pilchards” Inn--Saturday Night
      at Polperro--John Wesley’s Experiences of that Place       207–213


  Lanteglos-juxta-Fowey--A Cornish Cross--Polruan--Again the
      Comic Song!--Fowey--Tourists’ Lumber                       214–218


  Par: a Cornish Seaport                                         219–220


  An Old-time Adventure--Deserted Mining Fields--Saint Austell   220–225


  By Carrier’s Cart to Mevagissey--John Taylor, the “Water
      Poet,” on his Adventure there--Exceptional Britons         225–228


  Mevagissey--Gorran Haven--The Inhospitable Hamlet of Saint
      Michael Caerhayes--In the Dark to Veryan--Hospitality of
      the Village Inn                                            228–234


  Treworlas--Philleigh by the Fal--Truro City--Truro Cathedral


  A “Lift” to Redruth--Local Tales--Saint Day--Redruth--The
      Tourists are taken for “Hactors,” and are sorrowfully
      obliged to disclaim the Honour                             239–242


  A Rainy Day--Available Literature of the Hotel--The
      Cornishman and the Church--Cornish Livings                 242–245


  Cam Brea--The Disillusionments of Exploration--Pool _v._
      Poole--Dolcoath Mine--Squalid Camborne                     246–249


  The Hamlet of Barrepper--Cornish Names--Marazion               249–252


  Alverton--Mount’s Bay--Penzance--German Band-itti--Pellew’s
      Birthplace--Saint Michael’s Mount, and the Loyal Saint
      Aubyns--The Newlyn School--Bridges, Potsherds, and Old
      Boots                                                      252–262


  To Land’s End--Saint Buryan--The First and Last House in
      England                                                    262–268


  Home again                                                     268–269



  “GREAT SHIPS LAY ANCHORED”                              _Frontispiece_

  VIGNETTE                                                  _Title-page_

  DECORATION                                                           v

  PREFACE HEADING                                                    vii

  DECORATION                                                          xi

  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                              xxi

  THE WRECK                                                            1

  RICHMOND LOCK WORKS                                                  5

  RICHMOND BRIDGE                                                      6

  NEW INN, HAM                                                        11

  HAM HOUSE                                                           14

  BELOW KINGSTON                                                      15

  “HER HENRY”                                                         18

  “W. E. GLADSTONE”                                                   19

  STAIRCASE IN ETON COLLEGE                                           20

  WINDSOR: EARLY MORNING                                              20

  CLIEVEDEN                                                           22

  DOVE COTE, HURLEY                                                   25

  ABOVE HURLEY                                                        26

  MEDMENHAM ABBEY                                                     27

  POIGNANT INDIVIDUAL                                                 29

  EVENING AT HENLEY                                                   33

  SONNING BRIDGE                                                      34

  INSCRIPTION: SHERBORNE SAINT JOHN                                   36

  HOLY GHOST CHAPEL, BASINGSTOKE                                      37

  ENTRANCE TO THE CLOSE, WINCHESTER                                   43

  WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL                                                45

  ST. SWITHUN AND THE INDIGNANT TOURIST                               47

  THE DEANERY, WINCHESTER                                             50

  BISHOP MORLEY’S PALACE                                              52

  HIGH STREET, WINCHESTER                                             52

  A PEEP OVER ROOF-TOPS, WINCHESTER                                   54

  SAINT CATHERINE’S HILL FROM ITCHEN MEADS                            55

  “AD PORTAS,” WINCHESTER COLLEGE                                     56

  BRASS, WEEKE                                                        58

  INTERIOR, SPARSHOLT CHURCH                                          59

  ROMSEY ABBEY                                                        66

  LYNDHURST                                                           71

  A FORD IN THE NEW FOREST                                            73

  “FLASHED PAST”                                                      75

  CORFE CASTLE                                                        86

  “POLITICS AND AGRICULTURE”                                          89

  “GAZED AFTER US”                                                    90

  “EXTREMELY AMUSING, I DO ASSURE YOU”                                92

  “HUMOROUS WHEELMAN, GARBED FEARFULLY”                              101

  AXMOUTH, FROM SEATON                                               105

  SEATON BRIDGE                                                      106

  “LOATHLY WORM”                                                     107

  EXETER CATHEDRAL: WEST FRONT                                       110

  SAINT THOMAS                                                       112

  EXETER, FROM THE DUNSFORD ROAD                                     112

  ALPHINGTON                                                         113

  AN EXMINSTER MONUMENT                                              115

  EXMINSTER SAINT                                                    116

  TURF                                                               119

  STARCROSS                                                          120

  LANGSTONE POINT                                                    122

  MOUNT PLEASANT                                                     123

  LEE MOUNT, DAWLISH                                                 124

  SEA WALL, TEIGNMOUTH                                               126

  RAILWAY AND SEA-WALL, NIGHT                                        128


  THE TEIGN                                                          130

  TEIGNMOUTH HARBOUR                                                 131

  MAIDENCOMBE                                                        138

  BERRY POMEROY CASTLE                                               147

  FROM A MONUMENT, BERRY                                             149

  EASTGATE, TOTNES                                                   151

  DARTMOUTH CASTLE                                                   156


  ARMS OF DARTMOUTH ON THE OLD GAOL                                  159

  FORE STREET, KINGSBRIDGE                                           166

  HEADMASTER’S DESK, KINGSBRIDGE                                     170

  KINGSBRIDGE QUAY: EVENING                                          172

  BOLT HEAD                                                          178

  DRAKE’S STATUE                                                     181

  SALTASH STATION                                                    186

  GUILDHALL, EAST LOOE, AND BOROUGH SEAL                             197

  “COMPARATIVELY PROSAIC FISHERMAN”                                  198

  THE “JOLLY SAILOR”                                                 200

  SEAL OF WEST LOOE                                                  201

  TALLAND CHERUBS                                                    203

  AN OLD SHOP, POLPERRO                                              211

  LANTEGLOS-JUXTA-FOWEY                                              214

  A CORNISH MOOR                                                     220

  FONT, SAINT AUSTELL                                                224

  A NOTE AT GORRAN                                                   229

  ROSELAND INN, PHILLEIGH                                            236

  LANDER                                                             237

  CARN BREA                                                          246

  DRUIDICAL ALTAR, CARN BREA                                         248

  SAINT MICHAEL’S MOUNT                                              253

  PENZANCE, FROM ABOVE GULVAL                                        254


  PENZANCE HARBOUR: NIGHT                                            256

  CHEVY CHASE HALL                                                   259

  PENZANCE                                                           260

  LUDGVAN LEAZE                                                      261

  SAINT BURYAN                                                       262

  SAINT GERMOE                                                       263

  THE LONGSHIPS LIGHTHOUSE                                           264

  CARN KENIDJACK                                                     266

  SAINT LEVAN                                                        267

  SAINT GERMOE’S CHAIR                                               268

_From Paddington to Penzance_


There were two of us: myself, the narrator, the artist-journalist of
these truthful pages, and my sole companion, the Wreck. Why I call
him by this unlovely title is our own private business, our exclusive
bone of contention; not for untold gold would I disclose the identity
of that man, the irresponsible, the nerveless, mute, inglorious
fellow-wayfarer in this record of a summer’s tour. Let him, nameless
save by epithet, go down with this book to a more or less extended
posterity. But I give you some slight portraiture of him, so that you
shall see he was not so very ill-favoured a Wreck, at any rate.

[Illustration: THE WRECK.]

This man, willing to be convinced of the pleasure and the healthful
profit of touring afoot, yet loth to try so grand a specific for varied
ills, delayed long and faltered much between yea and nay ere he was
finally pledged to the trip; but a time for decision comes at last,
even to the most vacillating, and at length we set out together on this
leisured tour.

It was time. When we left London the spirit of the silly season roamed
abroad, and made men mad: the novelists were explaining diffusely
in the columns of the public press why they wrote no plays; the
playwrights were giving the retort discourteous (_coram publico_) to
the effect that the novelists had all the will but didn’t know how, and
the factions between them made any amount of copy for the enterprising
editor who looked on and, so to speak, winked the other eye while
the combatants contended. Unsuccessful Parliamentary candidates
were counting the cost of their electoral struggles, and muttering
melodramatic prophecies of “a time will come”; the eager journalist
wandered about Fleet Street, seeking news and finding none, for the
Building Societies had not yet begun to collapse; and the chiefest
streets of town were “up.”

Those happy men, the layers of wood-paving, had created a delightful
_Rus in Urbe_ of their own in Piccadilly, and enjoyed a prolonged
sojourn amid such piney odours as Bournemouth itself never knew:
here was health-giving balsam for them that had no cash to spend in
holiday-making! But indeed almost every one had left town; only an
unimportant residuum of some four millions remained, and wide-eyed
emaciated cats howled dismally in deserted areas of the West End, while
evening breezes blew stuffily across the Parks and set the Londoner
sighing for purer air where blacks were not, nor the shouting of the
streets annoyed the ear.

If you take the reduced ordnance map of England, and rule a straight
line upon it from Paddington to Penzance and the Land’s End, you will
find that the distance by this arbitrary measurement is some 265
miles, and that the line passes through or near Staines, Basingstoke,
Salisbury, Exeter, Truro, and Redruth, to Penzance and Sennen Cove, by
Penwithstart, touching the sea at three places _en route_--Fowey, Par,
and Charlestown, neighbouring towns in Cornwall.

The most direct coach-road is given by Cary, of the _New Itinerary_,
as 297 miles 5 furlongs. It was measured from Hyde Park Corner, and
went through Brentford, Hounslow, Staines, Egham, Bagshot, Hartford
Bridge, Basingstoke, Whitchurch, Andover, Salisbury, Blandford,
Dorchester, Bridport, Axminster, Honiton, Exeter, Crockernwell,
Okehampton, Launceston, Bodmin, Redruth, Pool, Camborne, Hayle River,
and Crowlas. The route, it will be seen from this breathless excerpt,
was commendably direct, thirty-two miles only being added by way of
deviation from the measured map. On this road, so far as Exeter at
least, much might be gleaned of moving interest in matters of coaching
times, but beyond the Ever Faithful City no first-class nor very
continuous service seems to have been maintained: the _Royal Mail_,
_Defiance_, _Regulator_, _Traveller_, _Celerity_, and _Post_ coaches
finding little custom farther west.

I keep all love for high-roads for those times (rare indeed) when I go
a-wheel on cycles; it is better to fare by lanes and by-ways when you
go afoot, and then to please yourself as to your route, caring little
for a consistent line of march: consistency is the bugbear of little
minds. So swayed by impulse and circumstances were we, that I should
indeed fear to set about the computation of mileage in this our journey
from East to West: for our somewhat involved course, your attention,
dear reader, is invited to the map.

We packed our knapsacks overnight, and the next morning

    By nine o’clock, as City-ward
    Belated clerks were pelting hard,

we had taken a hansom from Paddington, bound for Westminster Bridge,
thence to voyage by steamer to Richmond.

Set down at Westminster Pier, we waited for the Richmond boat, while
the growls and grumblings of the streets sounded loudly from the Bridge
overhead, and mingled with the hoarse thunder of trains crossing the
abominable squat cylinders and giant trellis-work that go to make the
railway-bridge of Charing Cross.

I am not going to weary you with a description of how we slowly paddled
up stream in the Richmond boat, past the Houses of Parliament on one
hand, and Lambeth Palace and Doulton’s on the other; under Vauxhall
and other London bridges, into suburban reaches, the shoals of Kew,
and past the dirty town of Brentford (noted for possessing the ugliest
parish church in all England), until at length we came off the boat at
Richmond town. No: if I were to commence with this I know not where I
should stop, and so, perhaps, the best way to treat the voyage would be
by a masterly display of “reserved force.” Assume, then, that we are at
length (for this steamboat journey is an affair of considerable time
though few miles)--at length arrived at Richmond.

[Illustration: RICHMOND LOCK WORKS.]


What semi-suburb so pleasant as Richmond, quite unspoilable, though
jerry-buildings and shoddy hotels conspire to oust its old-world air;
though the Terrace elms are doomed; though on Saturdays and Sundays of
summer, Halberts and Arrys, Halices and Hemmers, crowd George Street,
and shout and sing and exchange hats, and row upon the river, where,
from the bridge, you may see them waving their sculls windmill fashion,
and colliding, one boat with another, so that, their little hour upon
the water being finished, the boatowners levy extra charges for scraped
paint and broken scull-blades.

[Illustration: RICHMOND BRIDGE.]

How many towns or neighbourhoods can show such courtly concourse of
old: kings and queens, statesmen, nobles, poets, and wits? Palaces
so many and various have been builded here, that the historian’s
brain reels with the reading of them: eulogistic verse, blank and
rhymed, has been written by the yard, on place and people, chiefly by
eighteenth century poets, who then thronged the banks of Thames and
constituted themselves, virtually, a Mutual Admiration Society. Thomson
wrote and died here; near by, Gay, protected by a Duke and Duchess
of Queensberry, lapped milk, wrote metrical fables, grew sleek, and
presently died; Cowley, Pope, and a host of others contributed to the
flood of verse, commonly in such journalistic tricklings as these:--

   “... rove through the pendant woods.
    That nodding hang o’er Harrington’s retreat;
    And stooping thence to Ham’s embowering walks,
    Beneath whose space, in spotless peace retired,
    With her the pleasing partner of his heart,
    The worthy Queensberry yet laments his Gay,
    And polished Cornbury woos the willing muse.”

Literary ladies, and blue-stockings too, have thronged Richmond, and
to this day there stands on the Green a row of charming old houses,
fronted with gardens and decaying wrought-iron gates, called Maid of
Honour Row, where were lodged such maids of rank whom interest or
favour could admit to that honoured, though hard-worked and thankless
guild. Madame D’Arblay, who, as Fanny Burney, was a domestic martyr to
the royal household, has shown us how empty was the title and painful
the place of “Maid of Honour.”

But despite royal associations, perhaps, indeed, on account of them,
the Richmond of to-day is Radical: it has been distinguished, or
notorious, for its Radical tradesmen any time these last hundred and
forty years, from the time when the institution of “Tea and shrimps,
9d.” may be said to date. Tea, by itself, is not distinctly Radical,
but I confess I see the germs of Republicanism in shrimps, and I should
not be surprised at hearing of red-capped revolts originating at any of
those places--Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate, Greenwich, Gravesend, Kew,
and Richmond, where the shrimp is (so to speak) rampant.

Time was, indeed, when a “dish of tea” was distinctly exclusive and
aristocratic: it has been, with the constant reductions of duty,
rendered less and less respectable. The first step in its downward
career was taken when the “dish” was substituted for the “cup,” and its
final degradation is reached in the company of the unholy shrimp. The
“cup of coffee and two slices” of the early morning coffee-stall is
vulgar, but seems not to sound the depths of the other institution.

Let Chancellors of the Exchequer be warned ere it is yet too late;
with the disappearance of the last halfpenny of the duty upon tea will
come the final crash. Tea and shrimps will be obtainable for sixpence,
and monarchy will no longer rule the land; perchance Chancellors of
the Exchequer themselves will be obsolete and dishonoured officers
of State. Perhaps, too, in some far distant period, Richmond will
succeed in obtaining a water supply. Now she stands on one of the
charmingest reaches of Thames, and yet, within constant sight of his
silver flood, drinkable water is hardly come by in Richmond households.
This is the penalty (or one of them) of popularity; the wells that
were all-sufficient for Richmond of the past do not suffice for the
population of to-day, which has gained her a charter of incorporation,
and lost her an aristocratic prestige. The rateable value of Richmond
must be very large indeed, but what does it avail when hundreds of
thousands of pounds are continually being spent in fruitless borings
for water? Richmond folk, nowadays, have all of them a species of
hydrophobia, induced by a tax of too many pence in the pound for the
water rate. Uneasy sits the Mayor, and the way of the Council is hard.

   “Reader! when last I was at Richmond town,
    A man in courtesy showed me an empty pit,
    And said, ‘The Reservoir,’ at which name I sniggered,
    Because an engineering print informed me once
    They never would fill reservoirs at Richmond.”

Thames, too, has been shockingly inclined to run dry at Richmond, so
that there is building, even now, a lock that is to supersede that of
Teddington in its present fame of largest and lowest on the river.

We looked into Richmond church and noted its many tablets to bygone
actors and actresses, chief among them Edmund Kean, who died at the
theatre here, so recently rebuilt. Then we hied to a restaurant and
lunched, and partook (as in duty bound) of those cakes peculiar to the
town. Then we set forth upon our walk.


To continue on the highroad that leads out of populous Richmond toward
the “Star and Garter,” is to find one’s self presently surrounded with
rustic sights and sounds altogether unexpected of the stranger in these
gates. To take the lower road is to come directly into Petersham,
wearing, even in these days, an air of retirement and a smack of the
eighteenth century, despite its close neighbourhood to the Richmond of
District Railways and suburban aspects.

The little church of Petersham is interesting despite (perhaps on
account of) its bastard architecture and singular plan, but the
feature that gives distinction is its cupola-covered bell turret,
quaintly designed and louvre-boarded. The interior is small and
cramped, and crowded with monuments. Among these the most interesting,
so it seemed to us, was that to the memory of Captain George Vancouver,
whose name is perpetuated in the christening of Vancouver Island.

Others of some note, very great personages in their day, but now
half-forgotten, are buried in the churchyard and have weighty monuments
within the church. Among these are an Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, a
vice-admiral, a serjeant-at-law, Lauderdales, Tollemaches, and several
dames and knights of high degree. Perhaps more interesting still,
Mortimer Collins, author of, among other novels, that charming story,
“Sweet and Twenty,” lies buried here.

And from here it is well within three miles to the little village of
Ham, encircling, with its scattered cottages and mansions of stolid
red brick of legitimate “Queen Anne” design, that common whose name
has within the last two years been so familiar in the mouths of men.
You may journey into the county’s depths and not find so quiet a spot
as this out-of-the-world corner, nor one so altogether behind these
bustling times. It has all the makings of the familiar type of an
old English village, even to its princely manor-house. Ham House is
magnificent indeed, and thereby hangs a tale.

Its occupiers have been for many generations the Earls of Dysart,
whose family rose to noble rank by sufficiently curious means in
the time of Charles I., an era when the peerage was reinforced by
methods essentially romantic and irregular. Beauty (none too strictly
strait-laced) secured titles for its bar-sinistered descendants in
those times: in our own it is commonly Beer that performs the same
kindly office.

[Illustration: _New Inn, Ham_]

The first Earl of Dysart had in his time fulfilled the painful post of
“whipping-boy”--a species of human scapegoat--to his sacred Majesty,
and by his stripes was his preferment earned.

I am told that it is not to be supposed this house and manor are the
property of the Dysarts: they pay and have paid, time almost out of
mind, an annual rent into the Court of Chancery for the benefit of the
lost owners.

“But yet,” said my informant at Ham--the strenuous upholder of public
rights in that notorious Ham Common prosecution,--“but yet, although
this is their only local status, the Dysart Trustees have endeavoured,
from time to time, to assume greater rights over Ham Common and public
rights-of-way, than even might be claimed by the veritable lord of the

In the early part of 1891, the Trustees placed notice-boards at
different points of the Common, setting forth the pains and penalties
and nameless punishments that would be incurred by any who should cut
turf or cart gravel, exceeding in this act (it seems) their rights,
even had they possessed the title, for there is extant a deed executed
by Charles I., in favour of the people of Ham, giving the Common to
their use for ever.

Fortunately there was sufficient public spirit in Ham for the resisting
of illegal encroachments, and eventually the notice-boards were sawn
down by village Hampdens. Thereupon followed a prosecution at the
instance of the Dysart Trustees, with the result that the defendants
were all triumphantly acquitted.

It were indeed a pity had this, one of the largest and most beautiful
commons near London, been gradually drawn within the control of family
trustees. It is now a breezy open space of some seventy-eight acres,
stretching away from Richmond Park to near Teddington, and pleasingly
wild with gorse and sandpits and ancient elms.

Here, almost to where the Kingston road bisects the Common, the avenue
leading to Ham House stretches its aisle of greenery, its length nearly
half-a-mile. To pursue this walk to the wrought-iron gates of the
House is to be assured of interest. Erected in the early years of the
seventeenth century, it remains a splendid specimen of building ere yet
the day of contracts had set in. The red-brick front faces toward the
river, and includes a spacious courtyard in whose centre is placed a
semi-recumbent stone figure of Thames with flowing urn. Along the whole
extensive frontage of the House, placed in niches, runs a series of
busts, cast in lead and painted to resemble stone--a quaint conceit.

But it is not only the splendour of design and execution that renders
Ham House so interesting. It was, in the time of Charles II., a
meeting-place of the notorious Cabal--that quintette of unscrupulous
Ministers of State whose doings were a shame to their country. Here
they plotted together, and under this roof the liberties of the lieges
were schemed away. Those were stirring times at Ham. Now the place
wears almost a deserted look. The courtyard is grass-grown between
the joints of its paving, and it is many years since the massive iron
gates enclosing the grounds were used. It seems to have been lonely
and decayed, even in Horace Walpole’s time. He says, “Every minute
I expected to see ghosts sweeping by--ghosts that I would not give
sixpence to see--Lauderdales, Tollemaches, and Maitlands.” For my
part I think I would give a great many sixpences not to see them,
either by night or by day, whether or not they carried their heads in
the place where heads should be, or under their arms, an exceedingly
uncomfortable position, even for ghosts, one would think. I have not
that horrid itching (which I suppose characterises the membership of
the Psychical Research Society) for the society of wraiths and bogeys,
and hold ghosts, apparitions, spooks, and spunkies of every kind in a
holy horror.

[Illustration: HAM HOUSE.]

Therefore, we presently departed hence, and came, in course of time, to
Kingston. Whether or not Kingston can be identified as the place where
Cæsar crossed the ford across the Thames in pursuit of Cassivelaunus
and his cerulean-dyed hordes of Britons, our ancestors, is, I take it,
of not much concern nowadays, although antiquaries of our fathers’ time
made a great pother about the conflicting claims of Kingston and Coway
Stakes, at Shepperton, to the honour, if honour it be, of affording
passage to the victorious general and his legions. I like something
of more human interest than these dry bones, and, I doubt not, you
who endeavour to read these pages are of the same mind; so, to make
your pilgrimage through this book the lighter, I think “we had better”
do like Boffin, in the presence of Mrs. Boffin--that is, “drop the

But the subject to which we must come (for no one who writes upon
Kingston can avoid it) is only one remove nearer. I refer to that bone
of contention (excuse the confusion of ideas) the King’s Stone, now set
up and railed round in Kingston market-place, and carven with the names
of the seven Saxon kings crowned here. It is this stone which has
caused many pretty controversies as to whether or not it confers the
name upon the town, or whether or not the place was the King’s Town.

You may, doubtless, if you are greedy of information on these heads,
find all conceivable arguments set forth in the pages of the Surrey
Archæological Society’s Transactions. I confess my curiosity does not
carry me to such lengths. The stone is there, and, like good tourists,
we accepted as so much gospel the facts set forth on it, and cared
nothing as to the etymology of Kingston. Instead, we busied ourselves
in hiring a boat which should take us to Reading, a journey which we
estimated of a week’s duration.

[Illustration: BELOW KINGSTON.]

Geographers, physical and political, tell us that Thames drains and
waters all that great district which lies between the estuary of
the Severn and the seaward sides of Essex and Kent; that it is the
fertiliser of square miles innumerable, and the potent source of
London’s pre-eminent rank amongst the cities of the earth. This is all
very true, but the geographers take no note of Thames’ other functions;
the inspiration of the poets and the painters, the enrichment of
innkeepers and boat-proprietors, and the pleasuring of all them that
delight in bathing and the rowing of boats. Everywhere in summer-time
are boats and launches and canoes, punts and houseboats, and varieties
innumerable of floating things; for when the sun shines, and the
incomparable river scenery of the Thames is at its best, the heart
of man desireth nothing more ardently than to lie in a boat upon the
quiet mirrored depths of a shady backwater, or better still, to sit
within the roaring of the weir, where the swell of the tumbling water
acts like a tonic upon the spirits, and the sunlight fashions rainbows
in the smoke-like suspended moisture of its foam. These are modern
pleasures. For centuries the Thames has flowed through a well-peopled
country, yet the delights of the river are new-found, and only in
the eighteenth century did the poets’ chorus break forth in flood of
praise. But to-day every one who can string rhymes makes metrical
essays upon the Thames, and writers without number have written
countless books upon it. From Kingston to Oxford, houseboats make
populous all its banks, and the quantity of paint and acres of canvas
that have been expended upon artistic efforts along its course, from
Trewsbury Mead to the Nore, must ever remain without computation.

For these reasons ’tis better to say little of our journey this
afternoon to Shepperton, past Hampton Court, the Cockney’s paradise,
to Hampton, Sunbury, Walton, and Halliford. The river was crowded with
boating parties, with those who raced and with others who paddled
lazily, and when night was come the houseboats hung out their paper
lanterns, all red and yellow, that streaked every little ripple with
waving colour.

That night saw the first unpacking of our knapsacks, and the
irrevocable disappearance of their orderly arrangement. Chaos reigned
ever afterward within their ostensibly waterproof sides, for to man
is not given the gift of packing up, and we were not superior to the
generality of our sex. I remember perfectly the shower of things that
always befell o’ nights when I came to the ordeal of unpacking my
knapsack: how razors, comb and brush, pencils, and neckties and other
articles dropped from it; and, I make no doubt, it was the same with
the other man.


Chertsey we passed this morning, heated with rowing, but between
this and Laleham we were so far fortunate as to fall in with some
acquaintances on a steam-launch who took us in tow so far as Old
Windsor Lock, where we cast off and proceeded alone, landing at one of
the many slips by Eton Bridge.

Windsor and Eton claimed us for the remainder of the day for the due
pursuance of some desultory sight-seeing, but Eton chiefly, for the
sake of its College, where “her Henry,” that unhappy pious founder,
Henry VI., stands in effigy in the great quadrangle, and casts a “holy
shade,” according to Grey.

[Illustration: “HER HENRY”]

The “College of the Blessed Mary of Eton beside Windsor” has numbered
among its scholars a goodly proportion of our famous men; and many of
their names, carved on the woodwork of the schools in their schoolboy
days, remain to this day. On the doorway leading from the Upper School
into that place of dread, the headmaster’s room, may be seen carved,
in company with other well-known names, that of “W. E. Gladstone;”
and once within that apartment, your attention is drawn to the block
whereon many have suffered, in less heroic wise, and by no means so
tragically, as the martyrs of Tower Hill, but perhaps more painfully,
for birch twigs, _with_ the buds on them, must sting dreadfully. But
these things are become historical relics rather than engines of
contemporary punishment: they belong to the days of the terrific Keate
and his robustious predecessors, who were wont to regard the _fortiter
in re_ as more convincing and a better preservative of discipline than
the _suaviter in modo_.

[Illustration: W. E. GLADSTONE]

It seems that everywhere the iron gauntlet gives way to the kid glove
in our times; persuasion is to-day more a mental than a physical
process. There are relics in plenty at Windsor and Eton of those times,
only at Windsor these things take higher ground: _there_ for persuasion
read diplomacy in this era, where it had used to be a performance
requiring the assistance of axe and chaplain. The Castle survives,
its mediæval defences restored, for appearance sake, but its State
apartments filled with polite furniture, dreadfully gilded and (we
thought) tawdry. It makes a picture, this historic warren of kings and
princes, and its Round Tower commands a glorious view, altogether an
imposing range of turrets, battlements, and loopholed walls; but, alas!
Henry the Eighth’s massive gateway was guarded by a constable of that
singularly unromantic body--the Police, and his presence there made
everything save the gas-lamps and the shop-fronts of Windsor streets
seem of paste-board fashion and unreal.


The river is the proper place from whence to view the Castle: the time,
early morning; for then, when the mists cling about the water, and the
meadows are damp with them, that palace and stronghold, that court
and tomb of royalty bulks larger than at any other time, both on sight
and mind.


Thus we thought, when the early hours of the morning found us afloat
again. Boveney, Monkey Island, were passed, and now arose above all the
trees, the tall poplars that identify Bray to the distant view more
surely than church or anything contrived at the hands of man. They
range in rows, and are at once formal and touched with a delightful
note of distinction. The village, too, is of the quaintest, with
almshouses that should make the poverty housed within them dignified
with a dignity that we who live in London’s hutches of brick and
mortar, and are numbered with a plebeian number, may never know.

And at this Bray (we are told) lived that weathercock vicar, who
twirled with every political wind, and by his dexterity kept his
benefice and earned immortality. O most sensible Vicar of Bray: wholly
admirable and right reverend exponent of expediency!

When once the bend of the river just above Bray is reached there is
an end, for the time, of beauty, for the reach runs straight, and on
either bank the encroachments of villadom are forming a continuous
frontage of houses on to Taplow and Maidenhead, and three parts of the
way to Cookham. Taplow Railway Bridge, brick-built, with bricks of a
jaundiced hue, straddles over the water in two strides, an unlovely
bridge, but remarkable for the great span of its arches, and for their
extreme depression. So flat are the two arches of Taplow Bridge,
that it seems scarcely credible they can bear the weight of the heavy
trains constantly crossing. Yet fifty years have passed, and still the
constant traffic of the Great Western Railway passes unharmed.

[Illustration: CLIEVEDEN.]

Beyond Taplow comes Maidenhead, most favoured of riverside towns,
and, at the far end of Maidenhead, Boulter’s Lock, the busiest on the
river, filled from morn to eve of summer days with boats full of the
smartest frocks and prettiest girls one would wish to see. No more
charming sight than Boulter’s on a busy day, when the boats are going
up stream to Clieveden and Cookham. Clieveden woods on the right hand,
and Ray Mead level on the left, with the river between, green with
the reflections of the trees, and splashed here and there with the
bright-coloured blazers of the rowers, make a sight to be remembered.

We came late round the bend to Cookham Lock, and into Cookham village
from the landing-place, as the moon rose in a cloudless sky.


This morning there was an indignant man to breakfast at Cookham.
Nothing pleased the creature, and the crowded coffee-room was well
advised of his discontent, for he took care to proclaim it to all and
sundry. He had begun the morning badly, so it seemed, and was like
to continue thus throughout the day. The birds began it by arousing
him from sleep at dawn, and surely never had birds of any sort been
so anathematised since the time of that famous jackdaw of Rheims. The
rooks and crows, the sparrows and pigeons, that cawed and chattered and
murmured with the coming of day in neighbouring elms and hedgerows, on
roof-tops and in pigeon-cots, had awakened him and kept him counting
the dawning hours, and that was why the toast, the tea, the eggs and
the butter were all at fault to this man. He badgered the coffee-room
waiter, who--poor fool!--respected him the more for it at the expense
of the less contentious of the guests, and he plied all that waiter’s
attention with a grumbling commentary, that went far to show him in
the character of the fault-finder on principle. You see, that man who
has a great capacity for indignation, with a voice of roaring and words
of fury, is the man who gets on in this world. He who takes the world
by the throat, and grips it hard and shakes it violently, and kicks it
where honour is the more readily wounded, is the man who, at the end of
the struggle, comes out “upper dog.” But the cultivation of the furious
manner is a wearing cult, and besides, does not sit well on a man of
little chest, small voice, and gentle eye. Other things, too, are
wanting to a complete success. Let me put them all together, like Mrs.
Glass, the historic, the well-beloved:--

Take a goodly presence, one pair of sound lungs, some original sin, and
a small pinch of merit. Throw them all into your avocation, and, adding
some impudence to taste, let the whole boil vigorously until public
attention is attracted. Then serve up hot.[1]

Possibly that reader of a frankness so unmistakable, who annotates the
margins of books from his Mudie (or even, goodness knows! from his
Public Library), may disagree with these views, and fill these fair
margins with criticisms of this view of life; but (a word in your ear,
my friend) consider awhile, the view is sound.

This by the way. Excuse, if you please, the digression.

At Cookham we were bitten with a fancy for taking our meals _al
fresco_, so when the time came for departure, imagine us stowing
away into what I suppose are called the “stern sheets” of our boat
sufficient provender for the day. There was a loaf and a pot of
raspberry jam, some butter and a tin of some sort of meat. A couple
of plates furnished us luxuriantly in the crockery department, and as
for a table-knife, why, we forgot all about it, and when, in a quiet
backwater, the time came for luncheon, we did our little best, which
indeed was little enough, with a pocket-knife.

[Illustration: DOVE COTE, HURLEY.]

That meal was a gruesome orgie. Try to cut a new loaf with a
pocket-knife, and you will find it much better to tear your bread
straight away without further ado, a discovery we presently made; but
don’t try to open a tin with such a knife, as you value your cutlery.
This from experience, which we gained at the expense of a broken blade.
Eventually we burst the tin open by stamping on it, and then the Wreck
scooped out some of the contents with a piece of stick, as clean as
might be, but still scarcely the ideal substitute for a knife. With
this we spread the lumps of bread, and ate precariously. It should be
said that the plates had already come to grief, and their fragments
were now reposing in the river bed. For dessert we dipped the bread
into the jam-pot, and thus circumvented the necessity for spoons.

[Illustration: ABOVE HURLEY.]

This was at Hurley, after we had passed beautiful Marlow and Bisham,
where the ghost of Lady Hoby walks in the abbey, and before we had come
to Medmenham.

Here the notorious Medmenham Abbey stands by the waterside, where
the river winds and rushes grow thick, and a lovely view it makes,
close-hemmed with tall trees, the hills rising in the background and
the level meads spreading out, emerald green, in front.

[Illustration: MEDMENHAM ABBEY.]

They tell us--those unkind topographers--that the picturesque ruins of
the Abbey are a sham; that possibly one single pillar may be a genuine
relic of the old religious house that once stood here, but that the
arcading, the Tudor windows and the ivy-covered tower, are “_ruins_”
deliberately built. Perhaps they are, but, even so, they are excellent,
and those purists are not to be thanked for setting us right, where we
might gladly have erred.

They would, too, assuage by exact inquiry the romantic legends of the
Hell Fire Club, those “Monks of St. Francis,” as Wilkes and his jolly
companions who rioted here were pleased to call themselves. Their
horrid rites, their orgies and debauchery, the license of the place,
typified by their motto, still extant, “_Fay ce que voudras_,” are,
perhaps, better “taken as read.”

We crept up stream against a swift current, and between heavy rain
showers that soaked us and diluted the remains of our picnic to a
revolting mess: bread and water, tinned meat and raspberry jam, both
sufficiently saturated, are not appetising items. It would perhaps be
an exaggeration to say there was more jam on the seats and our clothes
than in its native pot, but this was at least an open question.

At Hambledon, the lock-keeper let us through in a pelting shower, which
ceased directly we were freed from the unsheltered imprisonment of the
lock. Have you ever noticed how _wet_ the river looks after rain? how
much more _watery_ the water appears? Thus looked Henley Reach as we
rowed up it this evening, past that singular eyot called Regatta Island.


Regatta Island is scarcely a place of beauty. There is a brick and
plaster pseudo-temple affair on it that records the most strenuous days
of the classic fallacy, when eighteenth-century poets peopled the
country side and the river banks with preposterous naiads and other
galvanised reproductions of the beautiful and mystic mythology of the
ancients. Alas! this is not Arcadia: Great Pan is dead long since,
and his nymphs have danced away to an enduring _Götterdämmerung_. It
is well it should be so, for had Pan survived he would have hidden
his hairy legs with check trousers, and changed his “woodnotes wild”
for the democratic strains of the concertina. In these days of prim
and proper County Councils, whose internal rottenness is varnished
over with a shiny varnish of prudery, such improper creatures are
impossible. This is an age when everything must be properly breeched or
sufficiently skirted, and, though the constitution of our Councils be
revolutionary, a revolution _sans culottes_ could not hope to win their

A poignant individual, whose melancholy look touched time and place to
a deeper pathos, stood by the water’s side, and vulgarised that shoddy
temple with an air of one who had drunk too much beer, and was in the
lachrymose stage.

[Illustration: _Poignant Individual_]

We passed him by with flashing sculls that sent the watery shadows
dancing madly in our wake, and crept up the quiet reach, past the
poetically-named Phillis Court; the Wren-built bulk of Fawley;
modern-built, yet historical Greenlands, residence of the late Mr.
W. H. Smith, that unromantic but sufficiently strenuous upholder of
“duty to Queen and country,” and presently came off the slip where many
boats lay moored. Henley was quiet enough, not to say dull. Except
when the midsummer madness of the Regatta sets all the riverside agog,
and sends even garret lodgings up to fabulous prices, the broad stony
streets of the town loom blankly to the stranger. The great church
of Henley, whose tower, picturesquely turreted, shows to greater
advantage at a distance, is of equally generous proportions. It is
scarcely interesting, but there is in the graveyard a tomb of a sombre
and darkling interest. Here lies, beside her father and mother, Mary
Blandy, who, at the time of her trial and execution, was probably
the most notorious person within the compass of these islands. The
daughter of Mr. Francis Blandy, an attorney-at-law, who in 1750 lived
in Henley town, close by the Angel Inn, she became acquainted with a
Captain Cranston, who, being in charge of a recruiting party stationed
here, was received into the society of the place. Now, Mr. Blandy was
a widower, and dotingly fond of his daughter, his only child. Being a
rich man as times went, he was anxious to secure for her a footing in
county society, then more difficult of access than now. To this end he
caused it to be understood that his Molly would have £10,000 by way of
dowry, and the prospect of securing this large sum led the captain, who
was a married man, to pretend love for her. Although he sprang from an
old Scots family, Cranston was a man of extremely dissolute and evil
character, and the lawyer, although he knew little or nothing of this,
and nothing of the wife in Scotland, disliked and distrusted him, and
forbade the engagement into which he and his daughter had entered.

However, Mary Blandy was so infatuated with the man, and so influenced
by him, that, to get rid of her father, and to obtain at once both
husband and her dowry, she set in train a scheme of slow poisoning
that for heartlessness rivals Brinvilliers herself. In November 1750,
she began to poison her father, under the instructions of Cranston,
who, returning to Scotland, had sent her some pebbles, and powders
ostensibly to clean them withal. The powders were composed of arsenic,
and were administered in her father’s tea. By March of the following
year the poison had its effect in causing her father’s teeth to drop
out, whereupon this exceptional daughter “damned him for a toothless
old rogue and wished him at hell.”

Several times the servants were nearly killed by having accidentally
drunk of the tea prepared for the master of the house, and on each
occasion this extraordinary woman nursed them back to health with the
tenderest solicitude. At length their suspicions were sufficiently
aroused to inform Mr. Blandy secretly. He told his daughter that
he suspected he was being poisoned. She confessed to him, and he,
incredible as it may appear, forgave her, with admonitions to amend her
life, and, above all, to conceal everything, saying, “Poor girl, what
will not a love-sick woman do for the man she loves!”

He died the next day, and Mary Blandy escaped the same night from the
house, after having vainly attempted to bribe the servants to smuggle
her off to London in a post-chaise. Half-way across Henley Bridge she
was discovered, and would have been lynched by the inhabitants had
she not taken shelter within the Angel Inn, where she was promptly
arrested. Taken thence to Oxford, she was tried, found guilty, and
condemned to death on the 29th February 1752. She was executed on the
6th April, begging not to be hanged high, “for the sake of decency.”

She asserted her innocence to the last, saying Cranston had told her
the powders would do her father no harm. The same mob that had hunted
her to the doors of the “Angel,” attended her body from the scene of
execution at Oxford Castle, regarding her as a saint. She was buried
here in a coffin lined with white satin. Cranston, it is scarcely
necessary to add, fled the country.

This slow poisoner, if painter and mezzotinter lie not who have handed
down her portraiture to our times, was peculiarly beautiful, with an
eighteenth-century grace, a swan neck, and a sweetness of expression
that, if any truth there be in views that take the face as index to the
mind, would seem to shadow forth nothing but virtues minor and major.

At the “Red Lion” by the bridge we supped and slept, possibly attracted
to this particular hostelry by Shenstone’s famous lines--

   “Whoe’er has travelled life’s dull round,
    Where’er his stages may have been,
    May sigh to think he still has found
    His warmest welcome at an inn.”

[Illustration: EVENING AT HENLEY.]

Boating men comprised almost the whole of the company at the Red Lion,
and the talk was solely aquatic, dealing with races--past, present, and
to come--with sculls and sliding-seats, and all the minutiæ of water


This morning we rowed through Marsh Lock, struggled through the mazes,
snags, and shallows of Hennerton Backwater, and lazed in the sunshine
at Wargrave, that picturesque beach and village set over against the
flat green meadows of the Oxfordshire bank. Then (for the spirit of
exploration grew strong again) we laboriously shoved, rather than
rowed, our craft through the esoteric windings of the Loddon River
and Patricksbourne, arriving some hours later on the hither side of
Shiplake Lock, with the unexpected satisfaction of having thus saved
some pence from the clutch of the Thames Conservancy.

[Illustration: Sonning Bridge.]

At the Bull at Sonning we dined in a parlour gay with geraniums, with
windows shaded by vines and creepers, with old-fashioned fire-place
surmounted by a huge stuffed fish--a typical river-side inn--and
thereafter rowed up from Sonning to Reading, where, by the filthy
Kennet side, we left our boat for return to its owner, in the usual
Thames-side practice.

We came to Reading prepared for anything but charm in that town of
biscuits, and we were not inclined to alter our ready-made opinion upon
sight of it. We passed through “double-quick,” leaving the last of
the town as late as 8.30. He who runs may read, perhaps, if the type
be sufficiently large; but I don’t think he would find it possible to
write: we did not, and so this book must go forth lacking a description
of Reading.

The train that carried us from this town of almost metropolitan savour
jogged along in most leisurely fashion past Mortimer Stratfield, and
finally brought up at Basingstoke, where we went to bed with what haste
we might.


And so we came into Hampshire. A weary county this, for those who know
not where to seek its beauties--a county of flint-bestrewn roads, a
county, too, of unconscionable distances and sad, lonely, rolling
downs. Hampshire, indeed, seems ever attuned to memories in a minor
key. It is, possibly, but a matter of individual temperament, but so it
seems that this county of pine woods and bleak hills--bare, save for
some crowning clump of eerie trees, whose branches continually whisper
in sobbing breezes--shall always restrain your boisterous spirits,
however bright the day, with a sense of foreboding. How much more,
then, shall you be impressed of eventide, should you be still abroad,
to see how weirdly the sun goes down behind those hill-tops, which
then grow black beside his dying glory, while the water-meadows below
grow blurred and indistinct, as the night mists rise in ghostly swirls.
These thoughts can never find adequate expression, charged as they
are with a latent superstition which, despite the lapse of centuries,
lingers yet, perhaps unreasonably.

Such are the emotions conjured up by Nature in Hampshire. You may test
their force readily at sundown, outside Winchester, when the huge mass
of St. Catherine’s Hill looms awfully above the water-meadows of the
Itchen, etched in deepest black upon the radiant evening sky. Gazing
thus, and presently possessed of a fine thrill of superstitious dread,
or artistic admiration--what you will--you may turn and encounter, full
to the gaze, the twinkling lamps of the City--prosaic indeed.


But we anticipate, as the artless novelist of another generation
was used to remark, with a painful frequency. Before Winchester,
Basingstoke. This morning, we took an early walk to Sherborne St. John,
an outlying village, now suburban to Basingstoke, a village, as it
proved, uninteresting. The church, as was to be expected at 8 a.m., was
locked: our only reminiscence of the place, then, is this problematic
inscription from the doorway. Returning, we made a nearer acquaintance
with that ruined chapel--the chapel of the Holy Ghost--familiar to all
travellers by the South-Western Railway, standing as it does beside the
Station. Here was established the lay Fraternity of the Holy Ghost,
founded at that late period when Gothic architecture began to feel the
influence of the Renaissance. The mixed details are very interesting,
though, unfortunately, much mutilated. Gilbert White, the historian
of Selborne, says he was, when a schoolboy, “eye-witness, perhaps
a party concerned”--observe the grace of later years that made him
ashamed of the occasion, and willing to doubt his participance--“in the
undermining a vast portion of that fine old ruin at the north end of
Basingstoke town.” The motive for this destruction (he says) does not
appear, save that boys love to destroy what men venerate and admire;
the more danger the more honour, and the notion of doing some mischief
gave a zest to the enterprise.

    “It looked so like a sin it pleased the more.”

The Chapel stands within the cemetery known locally as the Liten.
Within its walls are two mutilated effigies on altar-tombs, the sole
remains of a building long preceding the present ruin, hacked and
carven with many penknives.

[Illustration: Holy Ghost Chapel, Basingstoke]

Modern Basingstoke--“name of hidden and subtle meaning,” as Mr. Gilbert
says in “Ruddigore”--is prosperous, cheerful with the ruddy mellowness
of red-brick, and loyal with a lofty Jubilee belfry-tower to its Town
Hall; and that is all the spirit moves me to set down here of the town.


No more dreary road than that sixteen miles between Basingstoke and
Winchester; a road that goes in a remorseless straight line through
insignificant scenery, passing never a village for twelve or more
weary miles, a road upon which every turning leads to Micheldever.
Sign-posts one and all conspire to lead you thither, with an unanimity
perfectly surprising. We made certain that something entirely out of
the common run was to be found at that place of the peculiar name, and
so we were ill enough advised to visit it by turning aside for the
matter of a mile.

And yet, when we were arrived at the place, there was nothing to be
seen; nay, worse than that indeed: there is a church at Micheldever
whose architectural enormities would make any sane ecclesiologist flee
the neighbourhood on the instant. Of the scenery, I will remark only
that the village is overhung with funereal pines and firs, a setting
that depresses beyond the power of words to express.

We retraced our steps toward the high road to Winchester, with
anathemas upon those sign-posts, varied by a consideration of Hampshire
as a county prolific in what Mr. Gilbert calls, “that curious
anomaly”--the lady novelist. For, look you, at Micheldever resides Mrs.
Mona Caird, the heroine of the “Marriage a Failure” correspondence, and
the authoress of the “Wing of Azrael”; and Sparkford, Haslemere, and
the New Forest shelter respectively, Miss Yonge, Mrs. Humphry Ward, and
Miss Braddon; others, doubtless, there be within these gates who help
to swell the output of the familiar three volumes, for almost every
woman of leisure and scribbling propensities writes romances nowadays.
Hampshire, indeed, seems decidedly a literary county, for Tennyson
and Tyndall and Kingsley (Keble, too) have lived and worked within its

For the next five miles we passed, I think, but one house, Lunways Inn,
and then came upon modified civilisation in the shape of the village
of King’s Worthy. There is quite a cluster of villages here with
the generic name of Worthy, with prefixes by which we can generally
identify the old-time lords of the respective manors. There are beside
King’s Worthy, Abbot’s Worthy, Martyr Worthy, and Headbourne Worthy,
“Headbourne,” conjecturally from the brook that rises by the village
churchyard. This village lies on the road to Winchester, directly after
King’s Worthy is passed, and is about a mile and a half from the city.

The church is interesting for itself, but it contains a charming little
monumental brass to a Winchester scholar that alone is worth journeying
to see, both from its unique character and by reason of its technical
excellence. It was formerly let into the flooring of the chancel, and
was in danger of being trampled out of recognition, until the vicar
caused it to be fixed on the north wall of the church, where it now

The brass consists of the kneeling figure of a boy in the act of
prayer, habited in the time-honoured Winchester College gown, of
the same pattern, with slight modifications, as that worn to-day.
He wears, suspended from his collar, a badge, probably that of a
patron saint; his hair is short, and exhibits the small first tonsure
customarily performed on scholars upon completing their first year. A
scroll issuing from his mouth is inscribed “_Misericordias dni inetnū
cantabo_”--The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever. The curiously
contracted Latin of the inscription beneath is, Englished, “Here lies
John Kent, sometime scholar of the New College of Winchester, son of
Simon Kent of Reading, whose soul God pardon.”

It is supposed that he was removed to Headbourne from the College by
his parents, to escape an epidemic prevalent there in the year of his
death, 1434, when several other scholars died. The “College Register”
records the death of John Kent: “_Johēs Kent de Redyng de eadem com.
adm. XXIII. die August obiit ulto die Augusti anno Regni Reg. H. VI.

Within the space of another half-hour we had reached the city and
discovered an hostelry after our own heart. We remained three whole
days at Winchester.


The ancient capital of all England lies in the quiet valley of the
River Itchen, a small stream which, some twelve miles lower down,
empties into Southampton Water. The naïve remark of the schoolboy upon
the “coincidence” of great cities always being situated upon the banks
of large rivers did not, when Winchester was the metropolis, have any
application here, but in the light of subsequent history it may show
the reason of the city’s decadence.

From the earliest times Winchester was a city of importance; Briton and
Roman, Saxon, Dane, and Norman alike made it a place of strength. Under
Cerdic, first king of the West Saxons, the city became the capital
of that kingdom, and at the dissolution of the Heptarchy, capital of
united England.

But it was under the rule of the early Plantagenet kings that
Winchester attained the zenith of its prosperity as the seat of
government and as a centre of the woollen trade. Now the court has
departed, and the manufacture utterly died out; but Winchester is a
prosperous city still--gay with the rubrical gaiety of a cathedral
city--the centre of an agricultural district, and the capital of a

Of feudal Winchester much has been destroyed; but from the remains of
its two great castles, and of the city gates and walls, one may conjure
up the city of the two first Norman kings, held under stern repressive
rule, when despotic power lay in the hands of alien king and noble.
Then the New Forest lying near was a newly created desolation; and
the country-side, now dotted with villages, a sparsely settled tract.
And even in the city itself there were long hours when all was silent
and lonely; for when the curfew rang out, who dared to disobey its
warning note? Then the city was given up to darkness, the watchmen at
the closed and guarded gates, and the sentinels pacing the walls; for
though, mayhap, there were no danger threatening from without, it must
perchance be watched for and combated from within.


The curfew bell has been sentimentally revived, and tolling nightly
from the old Guildhall, awakens dim vistas of social history. The
custom has, of course, lost all its harsh significance, but it is one
not lost upon him who cares for tradition in an age that makes for
novelty; when vaunting soaps affront the eye of the wayfarer in their
garish advertisements, and the voice of the touter (commercial, social,
political, and religious) is heard in the land crying new lamps (of
the sorriest) for old.

But the word “lamps” reminds me that Winchester public lamps have long
been lighted with oil, for the Corporation and the Gas Company have
agreed to differ; so, pending wiser counsel in the Company’s ranks, the
City Fathers, good souls, put back the clock of social history some
sixty years by re-adopting paraffin as an illuminant.

Thus local history wags at Winchester, with but few excitements, and
those magnified to things of greatest import, by reason of their rarity.

To attempt to give here the briefest outline of Winchester’s long
and stirring story were indeed vain; but a succinct account of its
Cathedral may be of interest, as therein lies in these days most of
the charm of the place. It is an epitome of architectural history
unsurpassed in England.

One might, as a stranger, wander through the city for some while
without finding the Cathedral, and then, perhaps, be compelled to
inquire the way, for it is not possessed of soaring spire nor lofty
towers, to guide the pilgrim from afar.

The first impression one gets of the building is of its great length:
it is, indeed, the longest cathedral in England. The exterior, seen
from the north-west corner of the close, is, perhaps, disappointing,
with its long, unbroken, roof-line and low central tower, showing an
almost entire absence of that picturesque grouping which is the charm
of many others. But Winchester Cathedral has an interior equalling, if
not surpassing, all others in beauty and interest.

The present cathedral is not the first nor second building of its kind
erected here. Even before the Christian era its site held buildings
devoted to worship; for the old chroniclers, the monks, to whom we owe
most of our early history, have stated that the temple to Dagon stood
on this spot.


Up to the time of the Norman Conquest the history of the Cathedral is
one long account of building, destruction, and rebuilding--for those
were troublous times, and religious institutions fared no better than

Walkelin, the first Bishop of Winchester after the Conquest, was
appointed in 1070. In the year 1079 he began to rebuild the existing
Saxon cathedral from its foundations; and in 1086, the king, for its
completion granted him as much wood from a certain forest as his
workmen could cut and carry in the space of four days and nights. But
the wily bishop brought together an innumerable troop of workmen who,
within the prescribed time, felled the entire wood and carried it off.
For this piece of sharp practice Walkelin had to humbly implore pardon
of the enraged William.

In 1093 the new building was completed, and was dedicated to Saints
Peter and Paul.


The Cathedral is now (or, at least, part of it is) dedicated to Saint
Swithun. Now, Swithun was a holy man who died in the odour of sanctity
and the Saxon era. He was Bishop of Winchester, but lowly minded
indeed, for he desired his body to be buried without the building,
under the eaves, where the rain might always drip upon his grave; but
disregarding the spirit of the saint’s injunctions, the monks “howked”
his corpse up again, after first complying with the letter of them by
burying him for awhile in the cathedral yard. They proposed to enshrine
the body within the Cathedral, but the saint, who had apparently
obtained in the meantime an appointment as a sort of celestial
turncock, brought about a continuous rainfall of forty days and nights.
After this manifestation, the monks concluded to leave Swithun alone,
and he lies in the close to this day. Unfortunately, the saint seems to
have ever after made an annual commemoration of the event, commencing
with July 15th. This would be a comparatively small matter did he
confine himself to that period alone; but unlike the gyrating turncocks
of our water companies, he is constantly on duty, more particularly
when holiday folk most do fare abroad. Perhaps Swithun is offended at
his name being so continually spelled wrongly--Swithin: perhaps--but,
no matter. Anyhow, he is more addicted to water than (if all tales
be true) holy friars were wont to be, either for external or inward
application. What does Ingoldsby say of one typical friar--I quote from
memory (a shocking habit):--

   “Still less had he time to change the hair shirt he
    Had worn the last twenty years, probably thirty,
    And which by this time had grown somewhat dirty.”

But no more frivolity: let us, pray, be serious.


Of Walkelin’s building we have preserved to us unaltered the transepts,
tower, crypt, and exterior of the south aisle. The plan, like that of
most Norman cathedrals, was cruciform, with an apsidal east end. This
plan remains almost the same; but the apse has disappeared, and in its
place we have the usual termination, with the addition of a thirteenth
century Lady Chapel.

The tower, low and yet so massive, has a curious history. In the year
1110, William, the Red King, was killed in the New Forest, slain by
the arrow of Walter Tyrrell. It is a familiar tale in history, how the
body of the feared and hated king was carried to Winchester in a cart
and buried in the choir, beneath the tower, mourned by none. Seven
years later the tower fell in utter ruin, because, according to popular
superstition, one had been buried there who had not received the last
rites of the Church. The tower was rebuilt in its present form, and the
result of the fall may be seen in the massive piers which now support
it. The tomb of Rufus is here, covered with a slab of Purbeck marble,
without inscription.

The first alteration to the plan of the Norman cathedral was made by
De Lucy, commencing in 1202. His work may be seen in part of the
Lady Chapel and in the retrochoir. The Norman choir was taken down by
Edingdon, and replaced by him in the transitional style from Decorated
to Perpendicular. But the greatest feat was the transformation of the
Norman nave into one of the Perpendicular style. This was carried out
by William of Wykeham, one of the greatest architects our country can
boast. Succeeding Bishop Edingdon in 1367, he carried on the alteration
of the nave which the late bishop had but begun.

What makes this work the more remarkable is that the Norman walls were
not removed; the ashlar facing was stripped off them and replaced by
masonry designed in the prevailing style.

Wykeham did not live to complete this his greatest work; but his will,
still extant, gives instructions to that end. The good bishop died
in 1404, and was buried in the chantry chapel he had had prepared in
that portion of the Cathedral corresponding to the pierced side of the
Saviour. Here a beautiful and elaborate altar tomb stands, bearing his
effigy, habited in the bishop’s robes, with mitre and crozier. Angels
support the head, and at the feet are figures of monks praying, while
the bishop’s arms and his motto, “Manners makyth Man,” are shown below,
with the arms of the See of Winchester.

The character of Wykeham shines out from the age in which he lived with
great brilliancy. The statesman, prelate, and architect were united
in him with a far-seeing benevolence surprising in those times. His
foundations of Winchester College and New College, Oxford, have served
as models for all the great public schools subsequently founded.

One of the most curious features of the Cathedral is the series of
mortuary chests placed above the choir screens, and containing the
bones of saints, bishops, and royal personages mixed indiscriminately.
These chests were placed here by Bishop Fox on the completion of the
screens, and are six in number, of wood, carved and painted in the
Renaissance style, just then appearing in this country. The names of
the persons whose bones are deposited in them appear on the sides, and
amongst them are Canute, Egbert, Alwyn, and Edmund Ironside.

With the placing of the present side screens of the choir the
architectural history of the Cathedral is practically ended.

The taste of the seventeenth century is, however, shown in the erection
by Inigo Jones of an anachronism in the shape of a classic screen to
the choir, which is now happily removed. Its fragments, piled up in
remote corners and forgotten, may be seen by the curious who wander in
the dim and dusty passages of the tower and transepts.

The Cathedral contains a long and splendid series of chantry chapels
of surpassing beauty, commencing with Edingdon’s and ending with
Gardiner’s. Of these and of the many beauties of detail to be seen,
this short sketch cannot treat; but before leaving the building, one
may notice a singularly beautiful memorial to Bishop Ethelmar, who died
in 1261, and whose heart only is buried here, his body lying in
Paris. He is represented in ecclesiastical vestments, and holds his
heart in his hands.


Ethelmar, or Aymer de Lusignan, or Ethelmar de Valence, a half-brother
of Henry the Third, was forced into the bishop’s throne against the
will of the monks. He became bishop in 1249, but was eventually,
through his rapacity, banished the kingdom, and forced to flee for

But the history of Winchester Cathedral shows many stirring episodes,
foremost among them being that story, dim with the lapse of ages, in
which Queen Emma, mother of Edward the Confessor, is said to have
undergone the terrible ordeal of walking barefooted over red-hot
ploughshares, and to have emerged from it unscathed. Then there is told
also the shameful tale of how the miserable John, terrified by the
fulminations of the Pope, did homage before the high altar to the papal
legate for his kingdom. In later ages, Queen Mary and Philip of Spain
were married here, and there is still shown the chair in which the
queen sat on that occasion.

In the days of the Puritans, the Cathedral, in common with most other
ecclesiastical edifices, suffered much, the stained and painted glass
adorning the windows being almost entirely wrecked. But reverent hands
collected the shattered fragments, and at the Restoration placed them
in the great west window, where they are still, presenting a most
perplexing combination of haphazard odds and ends of design.

Of the two great castles formerly standing in the city, but few
fragments now remain. The royal castle, built by Henry III.,
was situated near West Gate. It was destroyed by Cromwell in his
“slighting” process, by which so many fine specimens of military
architecture were reduced to ashes.


Here, in 1603, the noble but unfortunate Raleigh was arraigned for high
treason, and, notwithstanding his undoubted innocence, was found guilty
and cast into the Tower, where he dragged out an existence of nearly
thirteen weary years before the cupidity of James I. set him free, on a
cruise to the New World, in search of a fabulous gold mine. The hall is
the only remaining portion of the castle. It is now used as a court for
transacting county business, and contains the famed Round Table.


West Gate adjoins Castle Hill. It is of thirteenth century date, with
massive and frowning aspect, its machicolations overhanging the
central arch, from which molten lead and other unpleasant missiles were
launched upon besiegers.

The Bishop’s castle of Wolvesey is in ruins at the other end of the
city; and amid the shattered, ivy-clad walls of that Norman stronghold,
rises the seventeenth-century palace, built by Bishop Morley, and
deserted long ago by his successors, who have retired to Farnham
Castle, there to enjoy what state the rolling centuries have left the
dignified clergy.

Of all days, Saturday is here the busiest. On others, the High Street
is not distracted with commerce, but dozes continually in summer shine
and winter snows, with the mediæval West Gate at one end of the steep
roadway, and the Gothic City Cross midway between east and west, to
give something of historic perspective even to the most unheeding eye.
The Corporation of Winchester, at the beginning of the century, had
neither taste for, nor admiration of, Gothic art, for about that time
they sold the Cross, and it would have been duly carried off to adorn a
neighbouring park, had not the citizens (who had a right appreciation
of that relic of antiquity) interfered, and, with some violence,
dispersed the workmen, who had commenced operations for removing it.

Winchester City is (excuse the clashing nomenclature) a garrison
town and a military depôt. On the West Hill, in that prophetically
barrack-like shell of a palace, begun but never finished by Charles
II., the military have their habitation, and the red-coats (as the
generalising writer might say) make lively the pavements of the High
Street. But, seeing that the King’s Royal Rifles usually form the
garrison, and that their tunics are dark green, almost black, it would
be difficult to say where that lively feast of colour comes in. This
is not to say that the Winchester Tommy is a sombre person, apart from
his clothing. Not at all: the King’s Royal Rifles are youthful--mere
striplings most of them; little men, not to say undersized, and full
of spirit, as you shall see on Saturday evenings, when (if ever)
Winchester is lively.


It is strange how little mark Winchester College makes on Winchester
City. It lies away from the more frequented parts, to the southern
outskirts--giving upon the juicy water-meadows of the River Itchen.
At Eton, at Rugby, at Harrow you note immediately the scholars; at
Winchester they are not so frequently met with beyond the walls of
their old foundation that this year celebrates its five hundredth
anniversary. Additions have been made to the old buildings, but
practically the plan of the College remains the same as when it was
inaugurated in 1394, and the place is full of old customs and curious


From here we climbed to the summit of Saint Catherine’s Hill, and
viewed the city beneath. Up here is the curious maze cut in the turf
(tradition says) by a Winchester scholar, compelled for punishment to
forego his holidays and stay instead with _Alma Mater_. “Dulce Domum,”
the well-known Winchester College chant, is ascribed to him.


We left Winchester regretfully one fine morning, going through West
Gate and the suburb of Fulflood to the Stockbridge Road. “From the
western gate aforesaid,” to quote Thomas Hardy’s conclusion to “Tess
of the D’Urbervilles,” “as every Winton-cestrian knows, ascends a long
and regular incline of the exact length of a measured mile, leaving the
houses gradually behind.... The prospect from this summit was almost
unlimited. In the valley beneath lay the city, its more prominent
buildings showing as in an isometric drawing--among them the broad
Cathedral tower, with its Norman windows and immense length of aisle
and nave, the spires of Saint Thomas’s, the pinnacled tower of the
College, and, more to the right, the tower and gables of the ancient
hospice, where to this day the pilgrim may receive his dole of bread
and ale. Behind the city swept the rotund upland of St. Catherine’s
Hill; further off, landscape beyond landscape, till the horizon was
lost in the radiance of the sun hanging above it. Against these far
stretches of country rose, in front of the other city edifices, a large
red brick building, with level grey roofs, and rows of short, barred
windows bespeaking captivity, the whole contrasting greatly by its
formalism with the quaint irregularities of the Gothic erections....
From the middle of the building an ugly flat-topped octagonal tower
ascended against the east horizon, and viewed from this spot, on its
shady side and against the light, it seemed the one blot on the city’s


From here Angel Clare and ‘Liza-Lu beheld the black flag announce to
the city that justice had been done upon Tess: “The two speechless
gazers bent themselves to earth, as if in prayer, and remained thus a
long time, absolutely motionless: the flag continued to wave silently.
As soon as they had strength they arose, joined hands again, and went

And so, to my mind, the Stockbridge road shall be ever haunted with
these two mourners who thus disappear into the void; and Roebuck Hill
has acquired a literary interest that transfigures an eminence of no
particular elevation, and of a certain air of suburban propriety, into
a hill of sorrow. It commands Winchester Gaol, whose sordid dramas are,
by the reading of that moving tale, touched with a saving tincture of

[Illustration: BRASS, WEEKE.]

Presently we came to the little village of Wyke, now more frequently
called Weeke, a scattered collection of cottages, horse-pond, and tiny
church at the foot of another gentle hill. Not a soul was there to be
seen in Wyke. The churchyard gate was open, and also the door of the
church, a building consisting of nave and chancel only, with shingled,
extinguisher-like spirelet, and Norman south porch. But a mural brass,
directly opposite the door, drew our attention. On examination it
proved as interesting as that little effigy at Headbourne Worthy,
although of entirely different character. It is monumental, in a
sense, as its inscription commemorates a benefactor of the church and
his wife, but the figure above is not, as usual, a portrait effigy,
but, instead, a representation of Saint Christopher, shown in the
act of carrying the infant Saviour across a river. The figure is only
a few inches high, but carefully engraved, in 1498, a period shortly
before the decadence of this ancient art began; it is, moreover,
unique. Although the figure of Saint Christopher, that giant of the
pretty mediæval legend, was generally to be found in fresco upon the
walls of ancient churches, and was the subject of one of the earliest
wood-blocks, no other brass than this is known where his striking
figure is to be seen.

It is an open road, exposed and unshaded by trees, that leads from
Wyke, up Harestock Hill, along the Stockbridge road, and the half-mile
of avenue that shades the bye-road to Sparsholt was welcome indeed.

Sparsholt is a scattered village, on the road to nowhere in
particular, and deep set in agricultural stodginess. It has a pleasing
transitional-Norman church, with, attached to the living, the sinecure
holding of Lainston, half-a-mile distant, whose church has been
in ruins for generations. It was in those roofless walls that the
notorious Duchess of Kingston was secretly wedded. There is nothing in
the nature of a street to be found in Sparsholt village. Houses are few
and far between in its winding lanes, and but two shops, the chiefest
of them the post office, administer to the wants of this sleepy place.
At the post office may be purchased anything from a postage-stamp to
a Hampshire ham. The village water-supply is obtained from a well with
a remarkable contrivance for raising the buckets. A large broad drum
or wheel, some nine feet in diameter, is set above the well with the
bucket-ropes wound round it. To raise the buckets, you step inside
the drum and commence walking up its sides, resembling during the
performance nothing so much as a caged squirrel.



Shining with midsummer brilliancy, the sun heated the still air until
all movement was irksome, and energy became entirely out of the
question; so there was nothing for it but to recline in limp fashion
on a hay-rick beside the white and dusty road, lazily noting the
passers-by. Few indeed were they who passed down the village street--a
shepherd, with barking dog and unruly flock, making in their passage a
smother of dust that loaded the hedges with yet another white layer;
and, as afternoon wore on, a girl went with pitcher to the well. The
sound of buckets being lowered, and the splashing of water as they
were wound up, made one feel positively cool. Then came a dull booming
that now and again startled the stillness: gun practice off Spithead,
without doubt.

Then the sound of Winchester chimes echoed across the four miles
of intervening country, and we climbed down from our resting-place
and walked up through the village. We were dreadfully thirsty, and,
discovering a little inn, passed through the doorway into its stone
passage, cool and grateful after the glare outside. The beer was, not
to mince words, beastly; but we had a conversation with the rustics,
who were sitting or standing in the sanded parlour with striped and
coloured beer-mugs in their hands.

“Quiet place, this, sirs,” said one, by way of opening a talk.

“Yes,” said my companion, “it seems so; is it always like this?”

“Well, yes, ’tis, in a manner o’ speakin’, an’ yet ’tisn’t, if so be ye
can onderstand me. Leastways, ’tis always quiet like to toun-folk like
yourselves; but we has our randys now an’ than, hain’t we, neighbours?”

“Ay, that we has.”

“D’ye mind Jubilee time?” A general laugh followed this inquiry, but to
us strangers the allusion was cryptic, and provoked no smile.

But there was one dissentient; he was not a native of these parts.
“Randys,” quoth he, “ne’er a one of ’ee has seen such rollickings as we
uns used to have up to Amport.” Here one of the company stage-whispered
to us, hand to mouth, that “Will’m Benjafield was a old, understanding
man, as comed from Andover way.”

“Ay,” said our ancient, “I mind well enow the time when the gr’t house
to Amport were open house, as ye may say. ’Twas in the old Markis o’
Winchester’s young days. They’m a old ancient fam’ly, the Paulets:
ye can see their three golden daggerds on the carving o’ Winchester
Guildhall clock to this day. But ’tis many a long day sence the
feastin’s and drinkin’s to Amport House. ’Tis small beer now, ’stead
o’ good yale, an’ that _do_ make a man’s stummick to wamble tarrible,
sure-ly. I’d ’low the zilliest gawk-hammer in them there days drunk
better liquor nor the best o’ you uns in these here, an’ the raggedest
jack-o’-lent had a crust an’ cheese for the asking o’ it, an’ suthin
better nor a tankard o’ swipes to swill his gullet wi’. ’Twas a bit
an’ drap anywhen ye were plazed to ax fort. What dosta say, stunpoll?”

“Why, granfer,” said the young man thus unceremoniously addressed, “I
was jest a-hoping you made as good usings o’ yer opportunities as we
uns would an we had the chance.”

This was a good enough hint for us. We called for ale for the whole

“I’ll tell ’ee,” said “granfer,” laying one hand on my sleeve, while
the other carefully described circles with his brimming beer-mug, “I’ll
tell ’ee suthin o’ those times when the gran’ company was to the old
Markis’s, an’ the huntin’ o’ the fox went arn, with the harses jumpin’
an the harns a-blown’; by gollikins, ’twas times, I tell ’ee. But they
was over full rathe; they went the pace too quickly for their pockuts,
d’ye see; the folks all went away, the harses sold, till there were
scarcely a pair left to whinnick in the big stables. But the Markis, a
proud one he wur, wi’ the devil’s own temper, an’ he went a-huntin’ as
if he warn’t head an’ heels in debt; an’ they _did_ say the harse he
rode warn’t rightly his’n, if all folk’s had their money paid ’em.

“Howsomdever, ’twas one marning he went to the meet at Quarley, an’
’twas vine sport they had that day, as I see’d myself from the knap.
An’ ’twas all the talk o’ the county how the Markis quarrelled wi’
the new Squire, as didn’t rightly know how to ride to hounds. Ye see,
’a was a man who’d been in business all ’a’s life, an’ had bought the
Markis’s land, as ’a was obliged to sell it, piece by piece, an so the
Markis hated him.

“‘What the hell are you up to, sir?’ hollared the Markis, as the new
Squire put his harse to a gate right in front of him, just as ’a was
a-goin’ to take it. ‘D’ye know who I am, damme?’

“‘Yes,’ ses the Squire, ‘I do; an’ I’d rather be a rich squire than a
poor markis any day.’

“’Twas a hard thing to say to sech a gr’t nobleman, an’ a’ turned away
an rode home.

“The nex’ day was Sunday, an’ the Markis comes to church late, lookin’
like thunder. We could hear ’im pokin’ the fire in ’a’s pew right
through the zinging an’ the gruntin’ o’ the bass-viol an’ the squeakin’
o’ the viddles, an I ses to John Butcher as played the flute, ‘’Tis a
tarrible rage ’a’s in this marnin’, sure enow.’ An’ what text should
the pa’son gi’ out then, but ‘Let not the sun go down upon thy wrath.’
‘Sure-ly,’ I whispers, ‘pa’son don’t knaw nothin’ o’ yesterday’s
doin’s; a’ wouldn’t be sech a ninny as to offend the Markis in that
way.’ ‘Hush,’ ses John, ‘there’s the Markis a-lookin’.’ ’Twas a way ’a
had; ’a liked to zee ivery one at church. ’A was leanin’ on the door o’
the pew an’ lookin’ round, when, sudden-like, the hinges o’ it guv way,
an’ that noble Marquis fell down wi’ it, just the same as any common
feller, like you an’ me.

“‘Blast the door,’ ’a says, wi’ a face as red as a turkey-cock, an’
the pa’son, he says, breakin’ off in his sermond, ‘we will sing to the
praise an’ glory of God, the one ’undred an’ twenty-first ’ym.’ We o’
the choir niver knew how we got through that music, some for laffing
an’ some for fright at what had happened to such a gr’t lord. The
serpent couldn’ blaw, nor the flutes neither, an’ the virst viddle put
so much elbow-grease into ’as playin’ that ’a bruk all the strings at
onct.” “Ah!” said granfr’, shaking his head and drinking his mug dry,
“they _wuz_ times.”

“Well, good day to you, friends,” we said, leaving the inn, and our
beer (for, as I have said, the local brew was not of the best); “we
must be going.”


The rustics watched our departure with interest, until a turning of
the lane hid us from their view, and brought us again into the open
country, a country-side scattered with small and inhospitable hamlets
and villages, where Roman roads ran straight up and down hill, deserted
and grass-grown, where apparently the tourist was an unknown quantity,
where certainly his wants remain unsatisfied.

This night we “camped-out” as a matter of necessity. It was a fine
night, and warm, and so there was not so much hardship in it, after
all. Our resting-place was a haystack that loomed up black in front
of us as we turned a bend of these lonely roads. We climbed over a
field gate and selected a corner of the partly used stack, and fell to

Presently, however, there came the near baying of a big dog, whereupon
we rubbed our shins meditatively and climbed to a safer altitude. This
was philosophic: we had hardly settled in this coign of vantage when we
heard the dog snuffling below, and so to cool his questing we reached
down some stones from the thatch and sent them into the darkness. We
could hear him growling over them in a particularly horrid manner, and
congratulated ourselves on our happy perch. But a lucky shot hit him,
so he went yelping away, and afterwards all was peace.

It was at a very early hour the next morning we awoke, damp with early
dews, uncomfortable, and dishevelled; covered in wildest confusion with
fragments of hay, and altogether two most miserable-looking objects.
The tramp who sleeps in summertime in haystacks and under hedges with
never a change of clothes may possibly not feel any inconvenience for
lack of the commonest toilet observances, but the first experience
is to the tramp _en amateur_ decidedly unpleasant, so far have we
distanced our woad-stained ancestors of a remote Britain when Pears’
soap was undreamed of.

When by good fortune we came to one of the many streams that water
this lonesome land we made our toilet, and presently, girded anew with
self-respect, set forward in the direction of Romsey and breakfast.

It was still early when we regained the highway, and indeed throughout
that day we never once arrived at familiar terms with time. Eight
o’clock came, and wore the look of high noon; noonday seemed to herald
the hour for tea; by five o’clock we awaited sundown; and at length,
when night arrived, the backward vista to this early rising was
achieved only by a mental effort, so lengthy was our day.


We breakfasted at a roadside inn, full early, not without inquiring
glances from the landlady, for surely never before had she entertained
such guests, so near the echo of cock-crow, and yet already dusty with

And so into Romsey, in company with a profane tinker, who ambled,
clattering, beside us, scattering anathemas broadcast. Trade was bad,
said he, and he hadn’t the price of a pint in his pockets. Perhaps we
had? Assuredly; but there it remained. Whereupon ensued references to
“torffs,” coloured with the British adjective.

I have never happened upon Romsey in winter time, nor indeed on any
other occasion save this, in a season of heat and drought, so say
nothing as to its local name of Romsey-in-the-Mud. Its summer aspect
is dry and somnolent; its streets apparently all too roomy for its
present estate: but then we have not seen Romsey on market-day, which
probably gives a different complexion to these streets, so ample and
so unconventionally named. One enters Romsey from Winchester along
The Hundred, and traverses the town through the Market Square and
Horsefair, and leaves it for the New Forest by Mainstone.

[Illustration: ROMSEY ABBEY.]

But to the tourist the most interesting thing in Romsey is the Abbey
church, wonderfully dilapidated and picturesque, picturesque with what
we generally (and rightly) think the exaggerated picturesqueness of
Prout’s architectural pictures. Prout himself could scarce have
rendered Romsey Abbey more flamboyantly time-worn than it is. Wild
flowers, and even large bushes, grow on its walls, and have forced
apart their Norman masonry. Surely nowhere else is so lovely an example
of ecclesiastical decay as here, where the shrubs and flowers, the ivy
and gorgeous lichens, have draped and mantled these grey walls with a
living glory. But perhaps ere these lines shall appear in print, those
beauties will have been torn away. The restorer was at Romsey when we
visited the Abbey; his scaffoldings were rising against the walls, and
workmen were moving about the chevroned windows and portentous corbels
that have grinned unchanging upon a changing world for nigh upon eight
hundred years. Cats’-heads and double-headed chimeras peculiar to the
Norman mind gape and leer from under cornices, and make the restorer’s
masons, by comparison with their dim antiquity, seem as evanescent
as the gadflies of a summer’s day. The hoariest tombstones in the
churchyard below them are things of yesterday beside these contorted
monsters. And now they will be scraped and trimmed and renewed, and
the masonry reset, and all the weatherings of time improved away.
Architects and contractors must live, even though to earn a livelihood
they disastrously renew delightful work that has been mellowing for
centuries. Everywhere the old work has been scraped, and glass-papered,
and tinkered, and endued with a modern smugness, until, as you stand
before it, you sigh for the richness of colour that was a delight and a
warranty of antiquity.

Romsey Abbey is almost entirely Norman--thick-limbed and sturdy, with
a virile simplicity in its ornaments of pier and arch. Cruciform, its
lantern at the crossing shows even the uninstructed traveller from a
distance that here is something more than a parish church of usual
type. From the bridge that crosses the Test by the flour mills, one
sees the great bulk of the Abbey rising above the greenery of Romsey
outskirts, and above all, the lantern, like a fairy crown, completes
the picture.

There is a bronze statue of Palmerston standing in the Market Square
of Romsey, unrecognisable to all who have been brought up on the
conventional likenesses of “old Pam” that used to figure in _Punch_.
We don’t expect the sculptor to give us the Palmerston of the rakishly
cocked hat, with a straw in his mouth, but I fear it was with something
very like disappointment that we regarded this very unsportsman-like
effigy that stands, hatless, strawless, in a mild unjaunty attitude,
with outstretched hand, in pose of eternal declamation.


We left Romsey by the grateful shade of Broadlands, and entered the
New Forest at the hamlet of Ower. Here close battalions of firs lined
the way on either side, and continued with us past Coppithorne church,
until we reached Cadnam--Cadnam, a ravelled-out settlement emerging
insensibly from the Forest and merging again into its groves by
equally easy and insensible stages. We plunged into thick glades where
a deep hush prevailed in a secondary lighting, varied occasionally
by a first-hand patch of sunlight, yellow upon the delicate grass as
gold of Australian mintage. This was one of the oldest glades in the
Forest, where giant boles proclaimed an age of centuries. Comparatively
few of these oldsters remain, so constant and extensively has the
woodman’s axe been swung. Perhaps these, too, are doomed. Let us hope
they will last our time, but assuredly they will be accorded no more
extended grace. When the land-agitators have had their way, when the
Socialist shall have come in power, there will be a short way with
forests, I promise you, as of everything else that cannot make out a
_prima facie_ case of immediate usefulness. The economic times that are
coming when these little islands shall be so crowded that the lordly
parks and gardens, the mazy forests, and heathy lands, will be cut
up into allotments, or used for sites of Socialist barracks, will be
more destructive than the days that witnessed Rome’s long agony, the
irruption of the Goths, or the fanatic fury of our Puritan days. Art
and letters, and all the graces of life will be swallowed up between
the struggle for existence and the gloomy social tenets of the new
Roundheads in our children’s children’s days. Who that early Victorian
poet was I cannot now recall, that rejoiced in being born in our era,
nor can I swear to the accuracy of the quotation, but his pæan ran
thus, did it not?

   “The joys of ancient times let others state:
    I think it lucky I was born so late.”

Lucky enough, he is dead now. But were he alive, ’tis conceivable that,
having an eye to signs and portents, he would say with me, “_I_ think
it lucky I was born so soon.”

Meanwhile, the objects most commonly met with in the New Forest are
timber-wagons and New Forest ponies. The Forest, has a character of its
own, with subsidiary traits and divagations that defy monotony. Ancient
woods give place to modern plantations; beech succeeds to oak, and
gloomy firs to either. Clearings and plantations, heaths and hamlets,
and murmuring alleys of foliage, alternate for mile after mile, and
moss-carpeted drives everywhere radiate from the orthodox highways.

This journey was not an exploration of the New Forest; these woodlands
were but incidents in our itinerary; thus it was that we did not
penetrate to Stony Cross and Rufus Stone, but kept straight ahead for

And Lyndhurst is as pretty a village as one could wish to see. It
is the metropolis of the New Forest, if that portentous word is not
too big to apply to this little gem of a place. Here come all them
that would make a thorough exploration of the leafy alleys and dim
recesses of these woodlands, and as it chances that the democratic
taste inclines rather to the fearful joys of Ramsgate or Margate than
to forest scenery, Lyndhurst wears an air aristocratic and exclusive,
and its visitors are eminently “nice.” True, we saw a brakeful of
bean-feasters pledging one another (the ladies as deep-drinking as the
men) in pewter tankards outside the Crown Hotel, but if one swallow
doesn’t make a summer, surely it must be allowed that one bean-feast
does not convert Lyndhurst into a semblance of Rye House and Broxbourne.

[Illustration: LYNDHURST.]

Lyndhurst, then, exists for the moneyed visitor, and is a model
of neatness and propriety. Round about it, seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century mansions nestle amid thick bowers. In the centre
of the village rises the tall, obtuse-pointed spire of the modern
red-brick church, set conspicuously on its high mound, and below, to
emphasise the eternal propinquity of Beer and Bible, stands the Crown
Hotel and Tap. But the most picturesque grouping of these different
estates is where the church spire rises high above the roof of the “Fox
and Hounds,” as I have here endeavoured to show.

Three and a half miles down the road is Brockenhurst, a pretty
place--I know it well--but this afternoon broken out into a rash of
flags and flaunting bannerets in primary colours, and swarming with
excursionists, who celebrated some occasion connected with a Widow and
Orphan Society. These we soon left behind, crossing the railway, and so
into the country again.

The London and South-Western Railway spells the place Brokenhurst,
reckless of the philology of the name. “Brock” is Anglo-Saxon for
badger, and in the same way “hurst” stands for “wood”; thus with the
plural “brocken,” Badgers’ Wood stands revealed. But philology and the
bygone natural history of places are nothing to railway companies.

[Illustration: A FORD IN THE NEW FOREST.]

In the hot glare of noonday we came through a heathy land to a sandy
ford where a stream, the Avon Water, rippled across the road, and a
crazy footbridge spanned the current. Brilliant lepidoptera floated
lazily in the air, blundering humble bees boomed in many cadences, and
the Avon sang a happy song among the grasses and the slight timbers of
the bridge; I wish I knew the secret of its joy.


Here we rested awhile, where all was still. Only the booming of the
bees disturbed the ear, and one solitary wayfarer passed in the space
of two hours. This was one who toured, even as ourselves, afoot, but
one who dressed up to the part, with gaiters and Norfolk jacket and
great Balbriggan stockings. He was walking as if for a wager; and while
we sniffed at this toil of pleasure, he eyed us as he flashed past with
some amusement, as who should smile at exhausted rivals.

[Illustration: “FLASHED PAST.”]

Presently we set out again and came through Wootton to Christchurch,
that fine old town lying between the rivers Stour and Avon, with
a great priory church, that gives the place its accepted name,
superseding the old-time designation of Twyneham. Here is a Norman
house, and close by is the site of the castle, now converted into a
public pleasure-ground, where a notice-board warns visitors that the
penalty for using bad language is not less than forty shillings.

There is an old altar-tomb in the churchyard that has long been a
mystery, and in all probability will ever remain one. No one knows
what its strange inscription means, although its strangeness invites
research, nor who the “ten” were who are buried here, nor who were the
“men of strife” that twice buried them: a most enthralling mystery; who
will rede the riddle of this cryptic inscription:--



                I · R ·

Here is another tombstone: one, this time, that arouses, not curiosity,
but an unseemly mirth, by reason of its curious illiteracy. It dates
from 1720.

   “Here Lieth in hope
    of A Joyful Resurrecti
    on the Body of LUCY y^e
    Daughter of Richard and
    Lucy baset Who departed
    this Life February y^e 16^{th} day
    Heark, heark I hears A voi^{ce}
    The Lord made sweet bab
    es for his one choyce and
    when his will and pleasur^E
    is there Bodys he turns to
    Dust there Souls to Rain
    with Christ one High.”

By way of Southborough-on-Sea, that struggling maze of stuccoed,
melancholy houses, we left Christchurch, and came upon the parched
and desolate undulations of that sandy waste, Pokesdown, like nothing
so much as a bankrupt outpost of civilisation in the back blocks of

We had asked a fat and florid countryman, who surely was out of place
here, how far it was to Bournemouth.

“We calls it a matter of fower mile,” he said. Those reputed four miles
proved to be nearer six than four; better measure than the “reputed”
pints or quarts of commerce.


It was late in the hot afternoon, when we came into Bournemouth,
through what seemed to us miles of suburban roads and endless rows
of stucco villas. This is what Mr. Stevenson calls “the uncharted
wilderness of Bournemouth,” and, indeed, we found the phrase happy
and the place not at all to our liking. From what we saw of the famed
pine-woods we were not impressed with them; gaunt battalions of tall
trees, bare as scaffold-poles and as straight, with never a branch nor
sign of foliage within a matter of forty feet from the ground, and that
ground covered with a frowzy matting of husky, colourless fir-spines--a
Bournemouth pine-wood is a depressing place.

If Bournemouth had been invented when the era of the Interesting
Invalid was yet with us, I can conceive how grand a site it would have
been for the novelist’s plots (plots, that is to say, in a technical
sense, for under no circumstances could one imagine robustious
plottings and deeds of derring-do at Bournemouth). Building-plots are
Bournemouth’s nearest approach to the romantic. Languorous romances of
the fading-away-in-the-twilight order would have been written with an
anæmic heroine effectively displayed against a striking background of
whispering fir-trees, and--but you all know that sort of thing!

But this was not to be. Long before Bournemouth had sprung into
importance, the Interesting Invalid had grown unfashionable, and there
reigned in her stead the robust young woman of fine Du Maurieresque
physique, and energetic, not to say athletic and slangy habits.
Bournemouth, truly, is thronged with invalids, but not chiefly with the
interesting variety: that sort went out with the crinoline. Here the
Bath Chair is the most familiar object of the sea-shore, and the mild
and offensively inoffensive chair-man has attained in his numbers the
dignity of a class.

But not only invalids hie them to the neighbourhood of these frowzy
firs, these yellow sands. Bournemouth, one is tempted to say, is the
watering-place _par excellence_ of the curate. There is a certain
respectable air of five-o’clock tea and a savour of muffins about
the place, that traditionally accompany the unbeneficed. Bournemouth
abominates the tripper whose pockets ring with plebeian silver, whose
trips are calculated in hours, and so with the recurrence of statutory
holidays, Bournemouth shivers at the sounds of vulgar revelry heard by
the sounding sea. Truth to tell, however, the jolly Bank-holiday crew
are never too prominent here: lordly expresses are the salient feature
of the railway service and hotels of an appalling magnificence affright
the shallow pursed. Otherwhere, sandy foreshores are filled, thronged,
with trippers, cheap and checked with checks of Tweed gone mad; with
photographic ninepenny-touchers, gay again in that the automatic
cloud has passed away from their horizon; with longshoremen, gruff of
voice and broad in the beam, redolent of spirits, who confide to your
unwilling ear the secret of the day being “fine for a sail, sir;” with
hateful brats intent on constructing masked pitfalls for the stout
and elderly of either gender; with children’s missionising preachers
with their excruciating harmoniums; raucous-voiced burnt-corkists,
tract-distributors and hurdy-gurds. Here, to the contrary, are few of
these pests. Certainly there be occasionally, as at prim and proper
Hastings, the children’s services, that give an air of cheap and
superficial piety to the scene; and liliputian pails and spades are
continually at work on the sands; but moneyed holiday-makers, either
leisured or (in two senses) pursy business men of the Saturday to
Monday variety are among the chief of Bournemouth’s clientèle. I met
Wellesley Welles the other day in, let me see where was it? Oh, yes,
Capel Court. He was going to flee for a space the gilded baseness of
the Stock Exchange for a three weeks’ trip to Homburg, and to that
end had accumulated a prodigious heap of red-covered encyclopædias of
travel, and spouted guide-bookese until the brain whirled again with
the sound and volume of it. Yet Bournemouth claimed him as its own for
many week-ends. Indeed, Saturday to Monday Bournemouth is peculiarly
knowing in contangos and options, and has a keen eye on the money
article in its morning paper.


We stayed a day at Bournemouth, to catch anew the flavour of the place.
On the morning after our arrival we came down early to breakfast.

There was an American in the coffee-room. He was staying at the hotel,
it seemed, with his wife and daughter. He did not, strange to say,
wear striped trousers strapped over his boots, nor a star-spangled
waistcoat, as in the comic papers, nor the supposedly-characteristic
Yankee goatee. No, he had none of these things; he resembled that
American of the caricatures no more than the Englishman resembles
the John Bull of the leathern breeches and the top-boots, and the
low-crowned beaver hat. He didn’t even chew nor spit on the walls (we
must revise those caricatures). The only American traits about him were
his sallow complexion, his restlessness, and his high cheek-bones. That
is to say, when he was silent. When he spoke there was no excuse for
mistaking his nationality.

He eyed us for some time with an ill-suppressed curiosity, which at
length grew too acute for silence.

“Gentlemen,” said he, “I see your names in the visitors’ book of this
hotel. You come from London?”

I said we did.

“Say, you’re not travelling on business, I guess?”

The Wreck replied that we were touring for pleasure, and that we
walked. This was an indiscreet admission, I could see at once, for this
free-born citizen of those States evidently, by his manner, did not
quite appreciate walking for walking’s sake. It was evidently, to his
view, the mark of the “mean white.” But his only comment was, “Wall,
I’ll swear.”

For all this fall in his esteem, though, his curiosity was still
rampant, and he was as eager to obtain personal details as though he
had been an interviewer (which indeed he was not, for he informed us
that he had made “his dollars” in some grain-elevating business or
another in “Chicawgo,” and had come over to see this country).

“Well,” I said, in answer to his inquiries, “my friend here is nothing
in particular, and I’m a journalist.”

“You don’t say!” he exclaimed. “What paper?”

“The ---- and ----,” I replied; “but, indeed, any print that will use
my stuff and pay at decent rates.”

“Wall, now! You’re like the flies, bumming around the sweetest lump of
molasses, eh?”

I admitted that the case was somewhat similar, although I didn’t like
the analogy.

“Ah!” exclaimed our American (whose name, by the way, was Hiram D.
Cheasey, or something else equally humorous), “you ain’t got no
paper over here to compare with the best New York papers: one of ’em

“Which one may that be?” I inquired of the stranger, who by now was
beginning to exhibit symptoms of spread-eagleism.

“Sir,” he replied, “it is the organ through which America speaks to the
hull civilized world.”

I suspect I must have been tempted of the devil, for I inquired, with
apparent innocency--

“You mean the nasal organ, I presume?”

It was an unfortunate inquiry, for on account of it I never learned the
name of the New York print which had so world-wide a voice: I wonder
what is the title of that sheet, and what is its scale of remuneration?


It was evening ere we had taken our fill of Bournemouth’s joys and
departed from those crowded sands to walk by the sea-shore to North
Haven, where the entrance to Poole Harbour bars further progress.
Bournemouth’s lights began to glitter in the gloaming, and made this
lonely edge of land more cheerless by comparison.

An extortionate boatman (as we subsequently learned) rowed us in
the darkness across the ferry to South Haven, and left us, pilgrims
in a strange land, upon the sands of the Dorset shore. We groped an
unconscionable time amid sand-wreaths and hummocks, coming at length,
by favour of Providence, to a low cliff covered with brambles, which
we climbed, and then found ourselves by sense of touch in a narrow
drong, dark as Erebus, by reason (it should seem) of tall elms whose
branches met overhead. This we traversed with outstretched arms and
came to Studland church, whose tower was dimly visible where the lane
broadened, and the trees drew back their sullen plumes. To church
succeeded village, thus to dignify the few houses we discovered, Only
one illuminated pane bore testimony to the neighbourhood of human
beings: the one inn of the place was close-shuttered, lifeless. We
thumped upon the door of that unchristian sot-house, and nothing
answered our summons, only the sough of the wind in the trees. We
knocked and kicked upon that door with such right good will that the
churl between the sheets in an upstairs chamber (who must have heard
our earliest tapping) was beset by fears for his door panels, and
rising, unlatched the lattice overhead, and querulously inquired what
we would of him.

“Why, a bed,” we shouted, in chorus.

“Ye’ll get no bed here to-night,” said that licensed victualler; “the
missus ain’t at hand, an’ I don’t know nothen about it. Good night

He slammed the casement, and we were left alone. We were consulting our
map by the light of matches when a kindly villager took compassion upon
us, and suggested that we should set out for Swanage. He guided us to
the top of a soaring hill called Ballard Down, and showed us Swanage
lights glistening far below.

Here, at the Ship Hotel, we found our rest at 12.30, upon an impromptu
bed, contrived upon the coffee-room floor, and slept the sleep that
only strenuous tourists can know.


Here we were fairly come into the Isle of Purbeck, which indeed is no
isle at all, save by a stretch of fact and imagination. Bounded on
the north by Poole Harbour and the river Frome, on the east and south
by the sea, the little brook of Luckford Lake runs to meet the Frome
only along a portion of Purbeck’s western side, the remainder of that
frontier being along a succession of especially tall hills which run
down to Worbarrow Bay.

Swanage, it may be supposed, is the capital of Purbeck to-day, although
of old Corfe was used to be so considered.

It has ever been the outlet for the stone quarried in the island, and
of the famous Purbeck marble--that grey, fossil-spangled mineral,
familiar to archæologists throughout England as a favourite material
centuries ago for the construction of altar-tombs and fonts. It was
shipped here continuously until the new railway was brought down from
Wareham; now it goes hence mostly by rail.

Swanage strikes the casual visitor as being some sort of an appanage
to that firm of contractors, Mowlem & Burt, for everywhere is the
name of Mowlem in Swanage. Indeed, John Mowlem, the senior member of
the firm, was born here. He traced his ancestry back to a De Moulham
to whom the Conqueror gave a manor of that name in Purbeck, and to
strengthen his associations with the town, he repurchased lands here
that had once been in that family. He died in 1869. It was he and Mr.
Burt who brought about the importation to Swanage of the pinnacled
Clock-tower that stands in the gardens of The Grove, overlooking
the sea. It had once occupied a position on Old London Bridge, and
commemorated the victories of Wellington. When the bridge was rebuilt,
the Clock-tower was found to be in the way, and no one knew what to
do with it. Eventually it was presented to Mr. Docwra, of The Grove,
who sent it down from London in pieces, and rebuilt it here. Thus are
the Wellington monuments moved on from place to place by some strange
fate. The hideous statue that, at Hyde Park Corner, avenged France
for Waterloo, has been relegated to the Fox Hills, at Aldershot; and
the monument in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, never yet finished, has been
removed from its chapel to a newer site in the nave: the equestrian
statue, too, that stands in front of the Royal Exchange, although still
_in situ_, has had a nameless abomination contrived around and below it.

Swanage, like all seaside places, has grown, and is growing yet, but
not with the frenzied growth of more accessible places. It has sands,
is seated in a charming bay, and is frequented chiefly by recurrent
visitors, who, happening here on some day-excursion from Bournemouth,
have been stricken with a love of its still unconventional air, after a
surfeit of that starchy town that sprawls unwieldy upon the Hampshire
coast. These be decent folk, uxorious perhaps, and with large families,
but unostentatious and loving quiet, and they come to Swanage time and
again. You can see them any forenoon on the sands, Ma and Pa and the
children, the nursemaid, and the Maiden Aunt. There always is a Maiden
Aunt, by some kindly disposition of Providence; and I hope, for the
sake of families in general, there always will be, for, truly, no more
beneficent institution exists.

For these people, Swanage is admirable. If it were extensively built
upon, they would go elsewhere, and quite right too. But, although
the local landowners are eager to spoil the place for the sake of
ground-rents, their huge notice-boards facing the sea, offering sites
for houses, seem useless enough, and I hope they will remain so, and
there’s an end of it.


It is, I suppose, some five miles from Swanage to Corfe: in summer, a
hot, dusty, glaring walk, and featureless, too, until Corfe itself is
neared. And Corfe, on a hot summer’s day, is a particularly parched,
desiccated, thirsty place; shadeless, receiving and radiating heat
from its stony expanse until distant objects, commonly still and
stolid enough, dance erratically in the quivering air. It shocks the
normally-constituted eye to see ranges of hills, distant churches, and
big houses wagging frantically, while yet no symptoms of earthquake
have been manifested; yet these signs and portents are common enough at
Corfe, when the dog days rage unmitigated. A quiet village though, and
pleasing enough when once the traveller has quenched his thirst. The
streets converge toward a small market-place, and directly in front,
high above the church and the houses, tower the sturdy ruins of Corfe

[Illustration: CORFE CASTLE.]

To all them that see, or would have, significance in the look of
a place or building, Corfe Castle should wear an aspect dour and
forbidding indeed, for this is a fortress of a history so particularly
bloodstained that few places can vie with it in its bad eminence. But
though the shattered ruins of its immense keep still lift up eyeless
windows to the sky, they do not seem to frown, as by all associations
they should surely do, if we are to believe the picturesque
convention of the guide-book writers. No, they compose excellently
and impressively, but I can’t say they lower or frown or do anything
significant of their career.

The history of Corfe goes back so far as A.D. 978, when the curtain
rises upon the tragedy of Edward the King and Martyr, stabbed to death
while receiving, on horseback, a stirrup-cup at the hands of his
step-mother, Elfrida, who thus sought to clear the way of her own son
to the throne of the West Saxons.

The present castle dates from some period between the Norman conquest
and the reign of Stephen, when it was the scene of an ineffectual siege
laid by him. Then it became a favourite residence with John, who within
these strong walls kept his regalia and many unhappy prisoners, many
of them starved to death in the dungeons. Here, too, was imprisoned
until the succeeding reign Elinor, the sister of Prince Arthur. Removed
afterwards to Bristol, she died there after forty years’ captivity.
Edward II. was confined here until his removal to Berkeley Castle.

The last events in the history of Corfe Castle were two sieges in 1643
and 1646. The latter was successful, and, by order of the Parliament,
the buildings were afterwards “slighted,” _i.e._, blown up by
gunpowder. But so sturdy and so immensely thick were these walls, that
although ruined indeed, they still stand, with gateways thrown out of
the perpendicular, yet intact. The views from the keep embrace the
low-lying heaths that stretch out toward Wareham, and the sullen salt
waters of that inland lake, Poole Harbour.


The Purbeck Hills make breathless walking on a hot day, and so it
chanced that when we reached the hamlet of East Lulworth we were hot
and footsore and scant of breath. Shall I confess that we were soulless
enough (or too tired) to step aside in search of Lulworth Cove, that
famous inlet of the sea? Yes, ’tis better so. Instead, we lay awhile
under the shade of trees in Lulworth Park, and viewed with some
disfavour the unpicturesque towers of Lulworth Castle.

At the only inn here we were turned empty away when we would have
had lunch; the good folk were too busy with what appeared to be a
rent-audit dinner. From the roadway and through the open windows we
could see long tables spread with all manner of eatables, and seated
there many farmers and yeoman-looking men, who, many of them, in the
pauses of their eating, rested their hands beside their plates with
knife and fork held upright between their fists.


We were very hungry, and when, on leaving Lulworth, we asked the way of
a stolid, big-built, farmer-like man, were none too interested in his
long talk of politics and agriculture. He told us of a route over the
downs by which we should pass Osmington, and we set out with all haste
to cover the eight miles between us and that village. The cliff scenery
here is grand and comprehensive, with great barrow-covered hills near
and far, and a long sweep of coast-line bounded by Portland Bill; but
this is a tiring and almost trackless walk in places, and lonely. All
the way to Osmington we passed but one meagre collection of cottages
with a roadside smithy, where the smith, leaving his work, came out and
gazed after us, possibly to refresh his eyes with the infrequent sight
of human beings.

[Illustration: “GAZED AFTER US.”]

We came into Osmington village at the twilight hour, famished and
deadly tired. At the “Plough” we would have tea. “Yes,” said the
hostess, “but we have neither milk nor butter.” We had a glass of ale
instead, and postponed the meal.

At Preston, one mile and a half farther, we partook of the
long-deferred refreshment at a quarter to nine, and afterwards walked
into Weymouth.

The Naval Manœuvres were in progress, and some night operations off
Portland were taking place, the roadways, sky, and sea lit up with the
brilliant flashings of the search lights.

At 10.45 we reached Weymouth, only to find the hotels filled. With some
trouble a bedroom was found for us, but our joy was qualified at being
introduced to a low-ceiled garret with a howling infant making night
hideous on the other side of a thin boarded partition.



Weymouth is a town of red-bricked respectability, and about fourteen
thousand inhabitants. It lives on convicts, Portland stone, and the
Channel Islands, and lies upon the curving shores of a beautiful
bay. Even as George IV. is the patron king of Brighton, so was his
father the respected cause of Weymouth’s prosperity. There is a stumpy
statue of him upon the esplanade where Weymouth and Melcombe Regis
imperceptibly merge one into the other, and that statue, I take it, is
not so much an exemplar of a kingly presence, as a bronze apotheosis
of all that was dullest and most obstinate in constitutional monarchy
of this century and the last. This is a jubilee memorial, erected in
1809 by the “grateful inhabitants” to George III. It is not a beautiful
memorial; it is so unlovely that no photographs of it are on sale at
Weymouth, which proves without further ado the poverty of the design.
The king looks down the street with a fishy glance, and his gaze to-day
rests upon that other jubilee memorial, the Clock-tower, erected in
1887--useful, but scarcely a thing of beauty--a merely meretricious
iron and gilt affair, without even the quaint ugliness of the Georgian
effigy to recommend it.

Beside these claims to notice, Weymouth has nothing to advance. Its
harbour is merely commonplace, and its streets featureless.

We took train to Abbotsbury, and waited a longer time for it to
start than it would have taken us to walk the distance. However, we
passed the time pleasantly enough, reading the auctioneers’ posters
of sales--farm-stock and the like--and consulting our maps. Then we
had the advantage of sharing the platform with a gorgeous individual
who, like ourselves, awaited the train, but, unlike us, was “got up”
immensely, and was evidently incapable of forgetting the fact. He wore
an eyeglass, and the most wonderful breeches I have ever beheld.

I don’t mean, by particularising these things, to say that he wore
nothing else, but that these articles were the most salient of all
his apparel, although, without them, the remainder would have been
sufficiently striking. But there! words are not sufficient. I have
sketched him for your satisfaction, and for my own eternal delight.
The creature smiled at our rough and ready touring fit, and we
chuckled at the opportunity of perpetuating him in print: we found one
another extremely amusing, I do assure you.

It is a nine-mile journey by rail to Abbotsbury, on a branch line that
has its terminus here. The little river Wey lends its name to two of
the villages passed, Upwey and Broadwey, but the railway company is
superior to derivatives, and spells the latter Broadway on all its
time-tables and station furniture.

There were few passengers for Abbotsbury, and none but ourselves were
visitors. At our hotel our hearts sank when we saw, framed and glazed,
in the passage, a year-old telegram from the Duke of Edinburgh to the
proprietor, asking him to get lunch and beds for a party. It was not
only the snobbery of it, but the thought that all subsequent visitors
would have to pay for that Royal visit (ourselves included) that made
us quail. And, true enough, a massive bill awaited our departure the
next morning.


Abbotsbury is a place of very great interest. It lies within half a
mile of the sea, near by the Fleet Water and the Chesil Beach, and
was at one time the site (as its name implies) of a very extensive
and powerful abbey. The Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the
appropriation of their funds, put an end to this religious house, among
others, and very few remains of it are to be seen to-day. The Abbey
Farm, a delightful old house, is built of its stones, and portions
of the Gatehouse remain, with vestiges of the fish-ponds, here as
elsewhere a great feature of the monastic settlement. All else is
gone, even the great mansion built by Sir Giles Strangways upon the
abbey lands that had been granted to him, and with the stones of its
ruinated buildings, has disappeared. But the great tithe-barn of the
monks still remains--a building of noble proportions, some 300 feet in
length, built with sturdy buttresses and neatly-joined ashlar, with
a great porch and a roof held up by massive timbers, every detail
fashioned with exquisite taste, and over all a decided ecclesiastical
feeling. Few modern churches are built so substantially, and fewer so
tastefully, as Abbotsbury tithe-barn. Half of its length is roofless;
the moiety of it suffices for the secular farmer who uses it to-day for
the same purposes for which it was built many centuries ago: if it was
not too large when built, how immense the products of these tithes must
have been!

The parish church still exhibits some good architectural details,
particularly on the exterior of the north aisle, which shows some
excellent Perpendicular windows, surmounted by a string-course and
battlements. Pinnacles are corbelled out at intervals from the
string-course, and have a very pleasing effect.

Crowning the seaward hill of Saint Catherine, that rises in terraced
slopes populous with rabbits, is an ancient chapel, small but immensely
strong, built to withstand the winds that blow with tremendous
violence from the sea. It commands wide-spreading views, to Portland
on the one hand, to Lyme Regis and the Cliffs of Beer on the other,
and inland stretch the rolling hills and wide downs of this impressive

How to seize the characteristics of Dorsetshire when you have fared
from end to end of the county only along the bold and cliff-girt
scenery of its seaward side, from Purbeck Hills, by the Abbotsbury
uplands, to the impressive heights of Golden-cap and Stonebarrow? How
to pluck out the heart of its mystery and weird beauty when its heaths
and inland vales are matters of reading only? Yet it should seem that
Dorset is a Hampshire purged of mere pensiveness, more varied, more
dramatic than its eastern neighbour, with a drama that rises to moving
tragedies--fit scenes for that blood-drowned rebellion that began
upon the beach at Lyme, and so surged through pastoral Somerset to be
finally quelled by Monmouth’s capture in the vicinity of Wimborne.
But a mile or so apart from those trim modern excrescences of the
sea-board, the “watering-places,” risen and rising, the stolid county
folk (Teutons chiefly) lead lives little touched with modernism in
the fat valleys folded between the swelling shoulders of camp-crowned
hills, whereon the Romans and the Britons, the Celt, the Saxon, and the
Dane, have waged wars of extermination. Here, in that dim Wessex, were
fought many battles in hand-to-hand fashion, and the sublimated memory
of them, blurred and fantastic, lingers yet in traditions, even in
turns of speech and place-names. The Dorset folk have a name for the
rich red bloom of the wallflower that seems significant. They call them
“bloody warriors.”

Before we left Abbotsbury we visited the Swannery, where many hundreds
of swans, the property of the Earl of Ilchester, are kept. There has
been a swannery here for over eight hundred years, and, in addition, a
decoy for wild duck.

It is a fine breezy walk, but rough and tiring, from here to Burton
Bradstock, along the coast--eight miles of a ribbon-like path, that
winds along the landward side of the Chesil Beach. By the time we
reached that village we had had more than enough of it, and crossed
the little river Bredy into the highroad. At the end of another mile
and a half that road runs steeply down into West Bay, the port and
harbour of Bridport, a desolate place of infinite sand, where the sea
comes banging in furiously upon the wooden jetties at the harbour
mouth. Up the marshy valley can just be seen the roof-tops of Bridport,
and at the back of them hills, with hills again to right and left.
Indeed, this is a stretch of country calculated to make sad within
him the heart of the cyclist, for hills abound, and however fair the
country-side may be to an unprejudiced observer, ’tis little short
of a wonder when a land of hills and dales is other than a howling
wilderness to the perspiring wheelman, bent over his handles in an
agony of pedalling. Such an one we met fighting against the inevitable
when last we journeyed this way. The inevitable, it should be said in
this connection, resolved itself into a dismount, and a moist and
gasping halt by the dusty hedgerow. Well, we left the poor soul, and
encumbered only with our knapsacks, breasted the steep down that forms
a short cut to Chideock. Here cycles may not go by any manner of means.

The village of Chideock lay in a valley at some distance, a village of
the kind that lines the highroad, with one long street, rising from the
hollow, half-way to the brow of the succeeding hill. All around lay the
huge hills of this hilly land, with Golden Cap, truncated, like another
Table Mountain, seaward.


Chideock was named from a once powerful family that bore this singular
name, but now long since extinct. They had their castle here, of which
no sign now remains, saving only in the name of the Chideock Castle
Inn, where we stayed the night. It was a night close and intolerably
warm, and I could not sleep. All through the night and the earliest
morning hours the place within and the countryside without were
quiet to a degree. Only once was the stillness of the country road
broken--toward the stroke of one--by the old clock on the stairway.
Then some one who rode horseback went past at a trot, and the clatter
of hoofs rang out clearly in the stillness of the air for some minutes.
I lay and wondered whom he could be who was called abroad at this
hour, and so, weaving little romances around that unconscious rider,
presently fell asleep.

In these remote country places every footfall in the night seems to
carry an especial significance, and each infrequent sound creates a
little eddy of thought in the receptive mind. I accompanied that rider
in my dreams, which wove an extraordinary tangle of fact and fancy
together. The horse became winged Pegasus, the rider an editor, to
whose skirts I was clinging in an agony of desperation, and we were
going like the wind. We rose above such sordid things as earthly roads,
and soared into the empyrean. Presently we were talking to a lady of
classic features and manner of dress. The editor, in an aside to me,
said her name was Clio, and he had called to see her with reference
to a weekly fashion column which she had promised to contribute to
the ----. I had never respected women journalists so much as now. The
editor concluded his interview and mounted his horse. “Jump up,” said
he, and, so saying, caught me by the arm.

“No hurry,” said I. “Your horse is a good one to go.”

“What the deuce are you talking about?” said he.

I rubbed my eyes and stared at him, and, lo! it was the Wreck,
half-dressed and smoking a cigarette, who had waked me.

“I’ve been awake all night,” he said; “it has been too warm for
sleeping. It’s five o’clock now, and a lovely morning. Better put on
your things, and we’ll go out for an early morning walk.”

We dressed and let ourselves quietly out of the house.

Next the inn was the church, which was locked of course at this early
hour. In the churchyard was a thing that spoke of Chideock Castle, the
tomb of Thomas Daniell, who, as a brass plate informed us, was “Steward
of the Manor and Lordship of Chideock, who, loyal to his king, and
true to his master, gallantly defended the Castle of Chideock.” The
inscription ends with the quotation from Holy Writ--

   “Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
    Enter thou into the joy of thy lord,”

which reads somewhat humorously, for surely never before has any one so
finely confused secular loyalty with religious constancy, and never was
blasphemy so unconscious as this.


We returned later to breakfast, and astonished the good folk of the
Chideock Castle, who had not heard our early morning exit, and thought
us still asleep.

It was, by reason of this early rising, yet cool and pleasant when we
had left Chideock, and come by way of Morecombelake into Charmouth.

Charmouth, on this summer’s day, was wonderfully pleasant--everything,
sea and shore and sky, pervaded by a golden haze. But what this
settlement-like place must be like on a wet day of incessant drizzle,
is an image dreadful to contemplate.

A rainy day at the seaside, unless, indeed, it be at some huge wen
like Brighton or Scarborough, is enough to give even a Mark Tapley
thoughts of committing _hari kari_. The only local optimists then are
the boatmen, and they beat every possible Tapley into fits; with them
it is always a fine day--for a sail. Nothing is to do on a seaside wet
day. Nothing to read at the circulating library: the old maids have
borrowed all the spicy novels, and left nothing on the shelves but
such enthralling devotional works as “Skates and Shin-plasters for
Backsliders” for the appeasement of your literary hunger. The local
news-room on such depressing occasions contains a parish magazine,
the last number of Blowhard’s “Sermons,” Sharpshin’s “Local Gazetteer
and Directory,” last week’s London papers, and half-a-hundredweight
of “Bits” prints. With even all this wealth of literature you are not
happy, but long, like Wellington at Waterloo, for night and--oblivion.

Charmouth was the scene of a thrilling incident in the hunted
wanderings of Charles II., for it was here that he sought to have his
horse’s cast shoe replaced, and was imperilled by the blacksmith’s
discovery that the shoes were of a make unknown in that part of the

We had of late experienced a sufficiency of rough walking, and so
struck inland to avoid Lyme Regis and the seaward cliffs. In another
three miles we had reached the Devon border, where the highway,
running on a lofty ridgway, is carried through a spur of the hills in
tunnel. For rather more than a mile the road forms the boundary line
between the counties of Devon and Dorset, right and left. Then came,
at the end of a long rising vista, bordered by murmuring pines, the
welcome sign of Hunter’s Lodge Inn, where we celebrated our entrance
upon Devon soil by draughts of cider. Here was a humorous wheelman,
garbed fearfully in white flannel breeches and black jacket, who
retailed his experiences of rural inns on Dartmoor, experiences in a
minor key, for he told us in happy epigram that, in Devon at least,
innkeepers divided creation into an unholy Trinity of man, beast, and
cyclist, and that, of the three, the cyclist was the lowest order.


Two miles and a half further on, and we came to the dull little
market-town of Axminster, beside the clear-running Axe.


Axminster, for all its quietude and respectable insipidity, has had its
stirring times. In the immediate neighbourhood was fought the battle of
Brunenburgh, between a huge army of invading Danes and the Saxon forces
of Athelstan. To quote the curious phrasing of an old chart of Henry
VIII.’s time, “There entrid at Seton dywse strange nacions, who were
slayne at Axmyster to the number of v Kings, viij erles, a busshoppe,
and ix score thousand in the hole, as a boke old written doth
testyfye.” To this day the level lands of the Axe valley and the lush
meadows that border the river bear names that perpetuate those bloody
onsets of upon a thousand years ago: Warlake, Kingsfield, Battleford
recall the day of that great Saxon victory.

In the time of the great Civil War the country round about was harassed
with the varying fortunes of Cavaliers and Roundheads, who, making
sorties from their respective strongholds of Exeter and Lyme Regis,
laid waste this unfortunate debatable ground. But it was during the
Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion, and after the failure of that desperate
emprise, that a peculiarly lurid light is shed upon this town in
common with all these counties of Dorset, Devon, and Somersetshire.
There is a manuscript book of the time, still preserved in Axminster
Independent Chapel, written by the minister, called “Ecclesiastica, or
a Book of Remembrance,” which sets forth the doings of the period, and
the persecutions to which the Dissenters were subjected. “Now” (the
writer says) “the Lord stirred vp James, Duke of Monmouth (reputed son
of the former king C. II.), who had bin in an exile state for some
time, and on the 11th day of the 4th moneth of this year, 1685,[2] he
safely and peaceably landed at the hauen belonging to Lyme Regis with a
small number of men, about eighty, hauing their ship laden with armour
and ammunition, who, immediately vpon his landing, gaue forth his
declarations to restore liberty to the people of God for the worship
of God, to preserue the rights and priueledges of the nation, &c.
Tydings of his landing were spread abroad far and near very speedily,
and divers persons from severall quarters hasted to resort to him.
Now were the hearts of the people of God gladded, and their hopes and
expectations raised, that this man might be a deliuerer for the nation
and the interest of Christ in it, who had bin euen harrous’d out with
trouble and persecution, and euen broken with the weight of oppression
vnder which they had long groaned.” So presently Monmouth’s army
“jncreased to seuerall thousands,” and on the 15th of June they began
their march from Lyme, “with much dread and terrour, to the amazement
and wonder of many what the Lord had wrought. The first day of their
march they came into the town of Axminster,” and there they lay some
five days. Marching out towards Taunton, several skirmishes occurred,
with loss on both sides, and “one Henry Noon, a pious and liuely
Christian, a vsefull member related to this body, was also slain.
And this church began to be diminished.” Then came the catastrophe of
Sedgemoor, and a dreadful orgie of hangings and quarterings in this
West of England. Axminster, however, witnessed only one execution, that
of Mr. Rose, one of Monmouth’s gunners. As the rebellion was not merely
a political movement, but also in some sort religious--a Protestant
rising against Roman Catholicism--it followed that its failure was the
beginning of bitter persecutions against Protestants--Churchmen and
Dissenters alike. It must not be supposed, however, that Protestantism
has a monopoly of martyrs. When that original form of dissent obtained
the upper hand, there generally followed an equally bad time for
members of the older Church, which then had the peculiar honour of
furnishing victims for stake or gibbet. Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs” only
shows us one side of religious persecution; the other side, were it
equally well compiled, would be as lurid, as merciless: religious
bigots seem to have been sadly deficient in humour.

Axminster has given an undying name to a particular make of carpet
that is no longer manufactured here, but at Wilton, in Wiltshire. The
Axminster factory was finally closed in 1835, having been in work for
eighty years.


Two miles south of Axminster, on our way to Seaton, we came upon the
farmhouse of Ashe, at one time the mansion of the Drakes. Here was
born, on May 24, 1650, John Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough.
Here, too, in the private chapel of the house, now used as a cider
cellar, was married Lord North, one of that tactless ministry who lost
us the New England States. In 1782, the last of the Ashe Drakes died,
and five years later the greater portion of the house was destroyed by

[Illustration: AXMOUTH from Seaton]

In Musbury church, a mile farther down the road, are monuments to
Drakes of Ashe. Amongst those commemorated is that Sir Bernard Drake
who disputed so hotly with his kinsman the great Sir Francis, most
renowned of all Drakes, the question of armorial bearings. When
Elizabeth granted the latter a new coat-of-arms, Sir Bernard replied
that “though her Majesty could give him a nobler, yet she could not
give him an antienter coat than his,” and with that flattering unction,
self-administered, he was fain to be content.

To Ashe presently succeeds the straggling village of Axmouth, whence
the sea is visible at the farther end of the marshy lands where the
Axe struggles out into the Channel over a bed of shingle. Just above
Haven Cliff the highroad is carried over the river by a bridge of three
arches that gives access to Seaton.

[Illustration: Seaton Bridge.]

Seaton is in process of rising, and to all who have witnessed the
evolution of a seaside town from fishing village to “resort”--that is
sufficient to say _Verb. sap. sat._ It possesses a terminal railway
station on a branch line, and is the scene of Sunday “there and back”
excursions from London in the summer season. On those occasions the
place is crowded for a brief three hours or so, when trippers snatch a
fearful joy. At other times Seaton is sluggish and dull, and really the
bourgeois plastered buildings of the little town are an insult to the
magnificent scenery on either hand.

Visitors there were a few on the beach--quiet folk mostly, and
provincial of aspect, save indeed a loathly Cockney worm who had
by some mischance missed his Margate, who leaned against a seaworn
capstan, the sole representative of his particular stratum of
civilisation--lonely, ineffable.

[Illustration: “LOATHLY WORM.”]

When the rain came down that had been impending all the forenoon,
Seaton became doleful. There was nothing to do but take the next train
to Exeter in search of a waterproof civilisation.


Preconceived ideas are, when not realised, apt to disturb one’s peace
of mind, and so it happened that we, who had conjured up a mental
picture of Exeter, had indeed imagined a vain thing: the reality came
upon us with something of a rude shock. Used to the more familiar
type of cathedral city, dreamy old places where the atmosphere of the
Minster is all-pervading, and where the Bishop, the Dean and Chapter,
and their doings hold the foremost rank in men’s minds and talk, we
were not prepared to come upon so busy a place as Exeter, where the
ecclesiastical element is only one among many and is not pre-eminent.

There is, indeed, no holy calm in the “Queen City of the West:” the
tramway bell is familiar in its streets, and from end to end of the
main thoroughfares tall telegraph poles lend an American air to the

But Exeter, although entirely different from one’s dreams, is extremely
interesting and picturesque: its slums are the dirtiest, and their
smells the vilest of any out of London, and the ancient rotten
tenements the most tottering of any I have seen.

Yet there be those who like not mention of the place. These are
evil-doers, for whose benefit the Assizes are holden at the picturesque
fifteenth century Guildhall, so conspicuous an object in the busy
High Street. There is a fine old highly coloured character in English
history, Richard III. to wit (who, if history speaks truly, fully
deserved a place amongst the malefactors of his age), who had,
according to Shakespeare, no occasion to love Exeter. The incident may
be read in Richard III., Act iv., Scene 2:--

   “Richmond!--when last I was at Exeter,
    The mayor in courtesy show’d me the castle,
    And call’d it--Rouge-mont: at which name I started,
    Because a bard of Ireland told me once,
    I should not live long after I saw Richmond.”

No man who writes upon Exeter, even if he only writes as superficially
as I do here, can be expected to forego this quotation--the expectation
would be too much for endurance: indeed, there are virtues of omission
in this book which might gain me the tolerance of that chivalric myth,
the “gentle reader,” for this one small sin of hackneying the hackneyed
once more. I take it, for instance, as a generous forbearance on my
part, that I did not quote at Winchester that oft-quoted epitaph on
Izaak Walton, although I hold it charming.

Among the first things we did at Exeter was to inquire (for we know our
Shakespeare well) for Rougemont Castle. But, as the first passer-by
whom we button-holed declared, with a glorious west-country confusion
of pronouns, that he “had never heard of he,” so also did every other
person at whom we directed our inquiries protest his or her ignorance
of such a place, saving, indeed, one who directed us to what proved to
be the Rougemont Hotel, “a large red building” indeed, but not the one
we wished.

Others had all the same tale to tell, ancient inhabitants equally with
the “strangers in these parts,” so we wavered between a consciousness
of absurdity and a feeling of indignation against the unlettered strata
into which we had penetrated, until, by good fortune, we encountered a
bookish “commercial,” to whom the place was known under its old-time
name equally well with its modern appellation of Northernhay.

Northernhay is a public garden, set about with statues of local
celebrities, and with one whose original was of imperial fame--Sir
Stafford Northcote, Earl of Iddesleigh. It was the site of that
stronghold, Rougemont Castle, whose poor remains are now enclosed
in private grounds. The gardens stand on a considerable height,
and overlook, through the trees, the Queen Street Station of the
South-Western Railway. All day long, and all the night, the snorting
of engines and their shrill whistles, the metallic crash of carriage
buffers, and the thunderous impacts of railway trucks are heard.
Behind the station the eye rests upon the county gaol and the military
barracks. Exeter has all the appliances of civilisation, I promise you.

It is a relief to turn from here and from the thronging streets to the
quietude of the Cathedral precincts, shadowed by tall trees and green
with lawns.


Externally, the Cathedral is of the grimiest and sootiest aspect--black
but comely. Not even the blackest corners of St. Paul’s Cathedral
in London show a deeper hue than the west front of St. Peter’s
at Exeter. The battered, time-worn army of effigies--kings, saints,
crusaders, bishops--that range along the screen in mutilated array
under the great west window of Bishop Grandison’s, are black too, and
so are the obscene gargoyles that gibber and glare with stony eyes
down upon you from the ridges and string-courses of the transepts,
where they abide ever in an enduring crepuscule. The sonorous note of
the Great Peter bell, sounding from the south transept tower, is in
admirable keeping with the black-browed gravity of the close.

But within the Cathedral it is quite another matter. Few of our great
minsters are so graceful, so airy and well lighted, as the interior of
Exeter Cathedral. The great windows of the aisles shed a flood of light
upon the clustered columns of warm-coloured stone that bear aloft the
elaborately carved vaulting of the nave, and the clerestory windows,
high up in the walls, illuminate the springing of the arches and the
carven corbels of the vaulting shafts. Exeter Cathedral windows are the
triumph of Geometrical Decorated work. North and south, those windows
run the length of the building in pairs, each pair of different design.

One of the quaintest of Exeter’s many churches is that of Saint Mary
Steps, by the site of the old West Gate, with its clock face and three
ancient figures nodding the hours and striking the quarters upon bells.
The central figure represents Henry VIII., but is traditionally known
as Matty the Miller.

   “Every hour on Westgate tower
    Matty still nods his head.”


We passed down the steep High Street of Exeter, crowded with
ruddy-towered churches, and bordered, as to its farther end, with the
low-lying slums of Exe Island. Across Exe Bridge is the suburb of St.
Thomas, and we explored its one long street to its end, where it joins
the Dunsford Road, from whose rise this prospect of Exeter is taken.
Then we retraced our steps some distance, and set out for Teignmouth,
coming in rather over a mile to Alphington, a pretty village, with tall
and slim church tower looking straight down the road, making, with its
red sandstone, a striking contrast with the vivid green of the
rich foliage around, and the dazzling whiteness of the “cob” cottages,
whose whitewash seems ever fresh. We glanced inside the church, but a
christening was in progress, and we fled, pursued by the ear-piercing
yells of the unhappy infant.

[Illustration: SAINT THOMAS.]

With Alphington were passed Exeter’s latest encroachments upon the
country in this direction, and the road presently became perfectly
rural. To the left was the rich level through which the Exe flows, now
restrained by cunningly constructed canals, weirs, banks, and sluices
from flooding the pastures, in some instances below its level, and
intersected by little dykes for their better irrigation.


The road shortly descended into a pretty valley, where were some
cottages beneath a peculiar isolated hill, crowned with a windy
coppice; below were pools of water that reflected hurrying clouds. At
the extremity of the valley the road was bordered by evergreen shrubs,
firs, and larches, and a dense undergrowth of brambles and wild-flowers
harmonised with the rich colour of a disused quarry, from whose red
ledges dripped drops of water with hollow sound.

[Illustration: ALPHINGTON.]

Then, past the huge building of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum, we
came into Exminster, standing on somewhat high ground. For sketching
purposes it does not group well: there are, though, some points of
interest within the church, among them a recessed portrait effigy of
Grace Tothill.

   “GRACE, wife of William Tothill
    of the Middle Temple, Died 1623, æt. 18.”

   “If grace could lengthe of dayes thee give,
    or vertue coulde haue made thee live
    If goodnesse could thee heere have kept
    or teares of frindes which for thee wept
    Then hadst thou liv’d Amongst us heere
    to whom thy vertues made thee deer
    But thou a Sainte didst Heaven aspire
    whiles heere on Earth wee thee admire
    Then rest deere corps in mantle claye
    Till Christ thee raise the latter daye.

    Thy yeres were fewe thy glasse beinge runn
    Where death did ende thy lyfe begunn.”


But the most interesting feature of Exminster church is the series of
saints on the ceiling at the east end of the south aisle. The aisle has
the “wagon” roof, so frequently met with in Devon, and it is divided
into square panels by old carved woodwork. The panels are filled with
plaster, on which are executed a series of saints and prophets, in low
relief, conceived and wrought in the most grotesque vein. The ceiling,
woodwork, and all, has been treated to a liberal coat of whitewash.

This figure, representing St. James the Less, takes the palm for
eccentricity of appearance, though the others are not far short of his
somewhat ungainly prominence. He is apparently in a great hurry, intent
on some hot-gospelling expedition, but he has a wicked eye that ill
beseems his errand, and a cudgel that seems out of keeping with the

[Illustration: EXMINSTER SAINT.]


I think him a very charming saint indeed, with a happy lack of anything
like a priggish austerity: one might be happy in the society of such a
saint as this--if only he wore boots. Pity is that the average run of
saints one hears or reads of are very gorgons for grimness: they look
not upon the wine when it is red (nor white, either, for that matter).
They are not like this old fellow, who is my _beau idéal_ of the jovial
anchorite. The first editor of my acquaintance (he was the editor of a
pseudo-religious magazine--it is solemn food for reflection that nearly
all young fellows of literary-artistical tastes start with magazines of
this stamp), my first editor, I was saying, would not, some years syne,
print this, my pet saint, “for,” said he, “he is irreverent, and”--with
a fine disregard of grammar--“the proprietors would not like it.”

I argued that he might tickle the readers’ fancy; but the proprietors
came between the readers and myself, and the article went to press
without St. James the Less.

“I assure you,” said the editor, defending himself from the charge
of “unco’ guidness,” “I would not object to him in the least, but”
(sighing) “you don’t know our proprietors.”

I murmured gently that I had no wish to make their acquaintance.

“Do you know,” resumed the editor, “that I am not allowed to mention
the name of Shakespeare in our pages?”

“Great Bacon!” quoth I, astonished; “why not?”

“Well,” said he, “you may laugh at the idea; but our people consider
him immoral. If we find any particularly devout sentiment that makes an
apt quotation, we may use it, but must, under no circumstances, ascribe
it to Shakespeare.”

(I may remark, _en parenthèse_, that the magazine in question is
defunct: it was too pure for this wicked world.)

For such good folk, prone to see evil in everything, pruriently pure,
even to the wrappaging of piano-legs, even the name of the Andaman
Islands must have a suspicious sound; and the Teutonic “Twilight of the
Gods,” unenglished, would savour of the rankest blasphemy.


Exminster lies close to the river, and from its church-tower there is
a magnificent view down as far as Exmouth, and then out to sea. The
scenery is very beautiful: the Exe broadens into an estuary, and at
low tide the smell of the seaweed and the mud-flats comes across the
low-lying fields between the river and the highway with a refreshing
breeze, doubly welcome after a hot and dusty walk. There is a walk
beside the estuary atop of the banks that restrict the waters to their
proper channel--a walk that affords delightful views. It leads past
the lock of the Exe Navigable Canal at Turf, whose buildings form a
charming composition, with foreground of tall grasses, and a glimpse
of the twin towers of Exeter Cathedral, distinct, though nearly seven
miles away. We came to Powderham this way, and crossed the railway to
Powderham church, that stands beside the road within the bounds of
Powderham Park. Park and castle have been for centuries the home of the
Courtenays, earls of Devon, whose family history goes back to a very
remote and misty antiquity. Many Courtenays have been laid to rest
in the church, and in a chapel of it is a beautiful altar-tomb, with
recumbent portrait-effigy of the eleventh earl’s countess. From here
was a glorious view of park and castle, with herds of deer trooping
down to the waterside to drink. The light was waning, and the salt
breeze blew chill after the hot and scorching day. The light from the
western sky shone redly upon the windows of the castle, which, save for
this, lay dark and half-defined amid the groves and alleys of forest

[Illustration: TURF.]

We turned and gazed upon the broad and placid Exe. Lights were
beginning to twinkle from the opposite shore, where lay Exmouth, the
commonplace, two miles away, across channels, shoals, and sandbanks,
whose treacherous surface the rising tide was swiftly covering. Gulls
were screaming over their evening feast of sprats and pilchards, their
harsh cries breaking the stillness of departing day.

Signal-lamps on the railway shone green and red and white, where
Starcross Station lay ahead, making, with the curve of river mouth,
ships at anchor behind the Bar, and the soaring tower of the old
Atmospheric Railway, a natural composition which no artist could
possibly resist noting. So I sat on a wall and sketched in the
gathering gloom, while the Wreck (who, I fear, has no soul for these
things) went on in advance to negotiate for high tea and quarters for
the night.


I left off somewhat abruptly last night, you may say, but indeed I
think there is nothing which it would be profitable to set down in
this place of what befell at Starcross. Referring to my diary, I find
a mention of cockles (upon which Starcross prides itself), which some
kindly stranger invited us to partake of as we were having tea, all
three of us, in the hotel coffee-room. But cockles (if you will excuse
the Irishry) are very small beer, so I do not propose to trouble you
with an account of them. I will merely say that we had tea and went to
bed, and rose and breakfasted in the morning, and presently set out for

[Illustration: STARCROSS.]

Starcross has aspirations. It is a little village, whose fishers,
in a whimsical manner of shorthand, paint their boats *+ by way of
informing the world at large whence they hail. It fancies itself
a watering-place, but it is just a quiet settlement, with a ferry
to Exmouth, and a fishing jetty by the station, and, riding out at
anchor in the Exe, a curious pleasure-boat, fashioned in the shape of
a huge swan. This little town was, and possibly remains, dependent
upon the Courtenays. The chief of the two hotels, the Courtenay Arms,
exhibits the heraldic devices of that ancient family and its mournful
motto--_Quid feci? ubi lapsus_.

The railway here runs beside the road, and presently crosses Cockwood
Creek on a wooden viaduct. Then came a notice, warning all and sundry
of what dreadful things should be done to all them that trespassed upon
the line. We therefore crossed over here, and on the other side found
ourselves on the Warren, a broad expanse of sand, partly covered at
high water. Above high-water mark the sand is held together by rank
grasses and tufts of furze; and beneath are the thickly populated
burrows of innumerable rabbits. In shallow pools herons were patiently
waiting; while, as we walked along, we disturbed plovers, which rose up
and flew away with whirring wings. Wild ducks and sea-gulls were plenty.

At the western end of the Warren we came upon Langstone Point, the
eastward boundary of the port of Teignmouth. At top of it is a trim
coastguard station, and across the line rise the red cliffs of Mount
Pleasant, fronted with a chalêt-like inn. Then we came upon the
sea-wall that leads into Dawlish.

[Illustration: LANGSTONE POINT.]

When the excursionist from London sees the yellow sands and rippling
sea, the red rocks, the green lawns, and the sliding rivulets and
miniature cascades of Dawlish from the railway platform, he is unhappy,
because the place looks so charming, and he is going to leave it for
places he knows not, but which (he thinks) cannot begin to compare
with this fairyland. But Dawlish is seen at its best from the railway
station and under such hurried circumstances. The place affords little
satisfaction when one comes to the exploration of it. The town is
bright and lively, and the sands crowded in summer, and the sea-wall
well frequented, but Dawlish lives only for and on the visitor; when
its short season is done and the visitors have departed, there is
(consequently) no business of any kind. It is just a little town,
bandbox neat, called into existence by these touring times, and in the
spring, autumn, and winter it is as deserted and woebegone as any dead
city of the plains. For here is no port, nor river, nor any anchorage,
and, for all that is doing in winter months, the inhabitants might
hibernate like the dormouse and not miss anything.

[Illustration: MOUNT PLEASANT.]

Dawlish Station is built on the sands, and the Great Western Railway
runs along under the cliffs, on a sea-wall of solid masonry, from
Langstone Point, through the five tunnels of Lee Mount and Hole Head,
to Teignmouth.

Dawlish did not detain us long. We dusty pilgrims shunned the
spick-and-span society of summer frocks and immaculate blazers,
and fared forth up the steep paths of Lee Mount on to the highroad
for the distance of a mile, when we walked down Smugglers’ Lane to
the sea again, where the Parson and Clerk stand at the extremity of
a precipitous headland--the Parson on the face of the cliff, the
Clerk cooling his heels in the water. For the recognition of the
faces supposed to be seen on the sandstone rock, the Eye of Faith is
imperative: but many folk possess that.

[Illustration: LEE MOUNT, DAWLISH.]


There is a legend accounting for this petrified couple. It seems that
the vicar of a neighbouring parish had business with his bishop at the
Palace of Exeter. He set out late in the afternoon, on horseback, for
the city, accompanied by the parish clerk, and, a storm coming on, they
promptly lost their way in the mist and rain; the incessant flashes of
lightning, brilliant as they were, would not have sufficed for them to
regain their road, even had their horses been less terrified. The vicar
was speedily drenched to the skin. “Damme,” says he, “there’s not a
soul at hand of whom to inquire our way in this misbegotten wilderness.
I’d take the devil himself for a guide if he were here.”

No sooner had the vicar uttered this profane sentiment, than they
heard, above the howling of the storm, the clattering sound of a
horse’s hoofs, and a prolonged flash of lightning showed them an old
gentleman, clad in sombre garments, cantering past on his mare. The
clerk hailed him, and he drew rein.

“I suspect, sir,” said he, addressing himself to the vicar, “you have
lost your way. Can I be of any service to you? If so, pray command me,
for it is ill wandering abroad on such a wild night.”

“Sir,” said the vicar, who was, indeed, no mealy-mouthed man, for all
his holy office, “we have lost our road, and are wet through,” adding,
“this is the most damnable night that ever I have had the ill fortune
to travel in.”

“You may well say that,” rejoined the old gentleman briskly, with a
complacent smile; “but allow me to put you in the right way.”

In scarcely five minutes from their encounter, the party drew rein
before a cosy inn. The vicar, the clerk, and their guide dismounted,
and sending their riding cloaks to the kitchen fire to dry, sat down to
a bowl of punch. They caroused until a late hour, while the storm raged
unceasingly without.

At length the vicar rose, saying, “Storm or no storm, he must be going,
for he had important business that demanded his presence at Exeter
early the following morning.”

“Well,” said the old gentleman, “if you are so resolved, I will
accompany you, for I make no doubt that without my company you would
soon go astray again. Fortunately my way runs with your own.”

The three set out again, and rode some distance, until they heard the
roar of the sea even above the shrieking of the gale, and felt the
flecks of sea-foam upon their cheeks.

“Man,” said the vicar, in a rage, as a more than usually vivid flash
of lightning showed them to be upon the verge of a tall cliff, “do you
know what you are doing--bringing us to these fearful rocks?”

“Yes,” replied the stranger, “this is my road,” and he laid his hand
upon the vicar’s shoulder.

“Take your hand off,” yelled the vicar, “it’s devilish hot,” as indeed
it must have been, for where the old man’s hand had been placed there
rose up a thin curl of smoke from scorched cloth.

“Hot is it?” inquired the old gentleman mildly, “perhaps I am slightly

[Illustration: SEA WALL, TEIGNMOUTH.]

But the vicar had perceived into what terrible company he had fallen,
and shouting to the clerk, he lashed his horse furiously. But, no
matter how hard he or the clerk plied their whips, not an inch would
the horses budge. The winds changed into demoniacal shouts; troops of
fiends, warlocks, and witches gathered round, shrieking, as the pair
sank down into the face of the cliff, and a horrid peal of mocking
laughter was the last thing they heard on earth.

The next morning, when the farmer’s men came down to the sands with
their carts for the seaweed thrown up by the storm over night, they
were astonished at beholding a face in the cliff’s overhead, and,
standing out in the sea, crowned with screaming cormorants, and
buffeted by the heavy waves, a tall pillar of rock which had not been
there before.

I take this moving story as a warning to parish clubs to be careful in
the selection of their vicars.


From here it is a two miles’ walk along the sea-wall into Teignmouth.
Time and again, in winter storms, hundreds of feet of massive masonry
have been torn down, and often carried away bodily, by the sea, and on
two or three occasions great landslips have occurred from the soaring
red-sandstone cliffs overlooking the railway. Railway engineering here
is no play.

“Teignmouth” (says my Bædeker) “is a large watering-place, prettily
situated at the mouth of the Teign.” Thus far the guide-book. It
is a peculiar feature of this class of literature that information
is hurled at one’s head in stodgy lumps, in which are embedded
measurements and statistics, enclosed in brackets sprinkled over the
pages, like--like currants in a penny bun. Yet there are misguided folk
who read guide-books continuously: these are people with an insatiable
rage for general information, who spout dates at every turn.


[Illustration: From East Cliff, Teignmouth]

But Teignmouth may well be termed a watering-place, if one may take
the fact of its being partly surrounded by water as a valid claim to
that obscure appellation, although I wot of places bearing it which are
like unto the great Sahara for dryness.

The town, which ranks next after Torquay in size, is continually
growing, and climbing up the hillsides. They have built in every
direction; the tunnels that were used to render its railway station
even as the stations of the Metropolitan Railway for gloom have been
opened out; the pier has burst into a dreadful variegated rash of
advertisements, and the bathing-machines are blatant with the name of a
certain Pill.

But with the growth of the town, the local rates, say the ratepayers,
with doleful intonation, keep pace, and the ambition of the local
governing body accompanies the onward march, and tends to o’erleap
itself in matters of public improvements.

There is the market-house for the pointing of an example. I well
remember the cavernous ramshackle old place that stood here years ago,
a dim and dismal hole, where the blinking, owl-like stall-holders sold
beans by the hundred and (so say the malicious) peas by the dozen.
The Local Board pulled it down, which was, by itself, a well-advised
action; but when there presently arose on its site another building
devoted to the same purpose, wiseacres shook their heads and prophesied
evil things.

When Teignmouth sages foretold these things, they displayed a foresight
that would not have disgraced the Delphic Oracle; for, although the new
market was in every way adapted to modern needs, yet in a short while
its complete failure, commercially, was sufficiently demonstrated, and,
to this day, he who would be alone and shun his fellow-men, betakes
himself to the market, and broods there undisturbed. You may wander
in the by-lanes of the countryside, or sit upon the hardly accessible
rocks beyond the Ness, but, even then, you shall not be so secure
from human gaze or so unutterably lonely as in the “market.” Yet the
business of the town has not decayed; neither, I suspect, are the
tradesfolk less prosperous than of yore: the market simply was not

[Illustration: THE TEIGN.]

When we were at Teignmouth we became of a mildly inquiring turn of
mind, and wandered along the sands to where the Teign flows out, across
the sandy shifting bar, into the sea. Across the wide estuary is the
fishing-village of Shaldon, now growing out of all knowledge, and the
bold red front of the Ness, crowned with firs, confronting the waves.


Round here by the sand spit, past the battery _pour rire_, is the
little lighthouse, and behind it the lifeboat-house, with its window
illuminated at night, where the barometer and weather-chart are
anxiously scanned in the summer months by eager visitors. For the
proverbial inconstancy of the weather is very marked here. One may
stand looking up the Teign in fine weather, to where the Dartmoor hills
loom grey in the distance, and presently see the rain-clouds gather and
sweep swiftly down the valley, blotting out the landscape with driving
mist; and yet, in a little while, it shall be all bright again with
sunshine. It is, indeed, not often that a day in Devon is entirely
hopeless, for clouds disperse frequently as quickly as they come. It
is to this moist climate that softly beautiful Devonshire owes its fair

Behind the lifeboat-house is the harbour, where is to be found the
real life of the place, as distinguished from that entirely different
existence lived in summer months on the sands, the pier, or the Den,
that wide lawn fronting the sea.

Teignmouth, in fact, is not merely a summer resort. It has a select
and proper society, which is nothing if not dignified and stately,
Teignmouth society being composed of retired half-pay officers and
their families, with slim purses and inflated pride--a curious and
exceptional combination. The attitude of this circle is one prolonged

A small shipping trade, and a fairly commodious harbour to accommodate
it, together with quays and queer waterside inns and storehouses and
a custom-house, are livelier attributes of the town. Also, there are
sail-lofts and seafaring smells, and a shipbuilding yard, where I
remember, years ago, to have seen a vessel built. Boats there are, and
a yacht or two anchored out in the channel, a cluster of ships buoyed
out in deep water, and at ebb tide, two or three big vessels heeled
over in the ooze. There is a very nautical flavour, figurative and
realistic, about the harbour, and an ancient and fish-like smell about
the jetty where the fisher-boats land their catches. Hereabouts, in the
sunshine, sit rows of amphibious loungers, who smoke, chew tobacco, and
curse the livelong day--such of them as have not been converted at the
Gospel Hall yonder.

Up the river, beyond the harbour and the clustering masts, is the
bridge. A remarkable bridge this, built of wood in the first years of
the present century, with thirty-four arches, and (to descend to the
particularity of the guide-book) a total length of 1670 feet.

Shaldon is reached by it, and the Torquay road. The ferry-boats from
the harbour take passengers across for the same toll of a penny either
way. We went across by boat, and instead of taking the highroad for
Torquay, climbed round under the Ness, among the fallen rocks and
seaweed-slippery boulders by the sea.


I knew an artist once who climbed round by these jagged rocks, and
slipped down between two of them and sprained his ankle, just as
they do in the penny novelettes. But there the resemblance ceased.
The artists in the novelettes are always handsome and of a god-like
grace, and they wear moustaches of a delightfully silken texture, and
velveteen coats, and talk pretty, like nothing or no one ever _did_
talk. This fellow, to the contrary, was as ugly a beggar as one might
meet in a long day’s march, and he was as awkward as a duck out of
water, and instead of a velveteen coat he wore a blazer of the most
inartistic and thrilling combinations of coloured stripes. He said
velveteen coats were all “bally rot,” which shows how vulgar he could
be on occasion. No artist in the novelettes ever said “bally rot,” I’m

Also, he smoked tobacco of the rankest and most objectionable kind,
and he never wore a moustache at all, and shaved only once a week,
so that no self-respecting girl was ever known to allow herself to
be kissed by him more than once. I can’t understand how all this
could be: it doesn’t resemble the novelettes one little bit. But this
artist was like the artists in the tales in one particular; he painted
superlatively, as thoroughly, indeed, as he swore and drank, and that
is saying a great deal.

Well, as I was saying, he slipped down between two rocks and sprained
his ankle. He didn’t, like those (I fear) apocryphal artists in the
stories, lie there gracefully and quote Shakespeare and Dr. Watts
about it, until two lovely heiresses to untold millions came along in
a boat and rescued him from the rising tide, and fell in love with
him and married the fellow (one of them, I mean; the other--in the
stories--dies of a broken heart).

No! He lay there and swore dreadfully, until some fishermen came along
and refused to take him off in their boat until he had paid them a
sov., money down, when he swore (if possible) more dreadfully than
before. No beautiful girls came and rescued him at all; only one old
maid passed, who, thinking he was drunk, gave him a tract, warned
him against the evils of intemperance, and went away, shocked at the
“language” he used.

This is a very sad and unromantic episode, I know, but things do fall
out thus in real life. If this simple story should prove of any use to
realistic novelists, I’m sure I should be only too proud for them to
use it.

Meanwhile, let us away to Torquay. Here a steep and rugged path,
leading up the face of the cliff, brings us to Labrador. Every visitor
to Teignmouth goes also to Labrador, a name not usually coupled with
sunshine and sparkling sea, _al fresco_ teas, and roses at a penny
a piece. He was a romantic mercantile Jack, who, retiring from the
Newfoundland and North American seas, laid out his precarious little
estate and built this little house on it, and named his domain after
an inhospitable coast. He has voyaged long since into the Unknown, and
his romance has gone with him, for the place is now but a superior
sort of tea-garden, where you drink your tea and eat your cream and
strawberries in the open-air arbours and the society of innumerable
centipedes and spiders.

You cannot fare farther along the coast-line, just here, without
becoming bedevilled amid fallen rocks and rising tides; and to climb
the cliffs at a venture might haply result in being hung up on
some impracticable ledge, whence advance or retreat would be alike
impossible. So we climbed the usual, though precipitous, path past
Labrador on to the cliff-top, and from thence across ruddy fields to
the dusty highway, along which, to our surprise, came two Italians with
a piano-organ. O Herrick!

    The minstrels from the town are gone--
      On Devon roads you’ll find ’em;
    They play “Ta-ra,” “He’s Got ’em On”
      (Those cursed tunes), and grind ’em,
    Both day and night, in curly chords,
      On organs called “piano;”
    They hail, these handle-turning hordes,
      From Tiber, or the Arno.

    To “Get Your Hair Cut” they incite,
      In thrilling shakes and catches,
    With notes that thunder day and night;
      They grind ’em forth in batches.
    “’Ow _you’d_ like ’Awkins for your other name,”
      They play “_expressione_”--
    Away! you errant sons of song,
      To home, and--macaroni.

    “_Piano_” do they call the things?
      I wish they were so, really.
    “_Fortissimo_,” their torture rings--
      I’d like to smash ’em, dearly.
    _Tommaso_ from Bologna hails;
      _Paolo_ from Napoli;
    Their organ, with its trills and wails,
      Proceeds from place unholy.

“Would the signori lika ze musique?” and, suiting the action to the
word, the chief brigand gave the organ-handle a turn. Out leaped the
initial bars of--yes, let it be named--“Ta-ra-ra Boom de Ay.” The
signori would _not_ like any; please to go away. “What,” asked the
Wreck, “is the Italian for ‘take your hook?’” But I didn’t know, and
so, in default, to cut matters short, we took ours.

There was no escaping the ubiquitous tune that was our “only wear” in
matters musical last year. The very trains that rattled one down to
the sounding sea pounded it out to the alert ear as they ran along the
metals; the fly-man, who drove you at a crawling pace to your “digs.,”
whistled it; and your landlady’s daughter (“a dear good girl, sir, an’
clever at ’er music, which she takes after me in, though I ses it as
shouldn’t. Play the gentleman something, there’s a love”) thumped it
out unmercifully. Seaside landladies, by the way, have always, by some
strange dispensation of Providence, three things apparently inseparable
from their race--a daughter, a piano, and a sea-view. The daughter
plays on the piano, and the landlady harps upon the view--both musical,
you see. Most, also, have “seen better days,” and as it usually rains
when I visit those yellow sands, the statement admits of no dispute.


The coast here is serrated with tiny bays, from which run valleys,
called in Devonshire “coombes,” or “combes,” variously. Of these,
Watcombe is perhaps best known. Sometimes the combe has become a town,
as at Babbacombe.

Maidencombe is one of the smallest and prettiest of those deep and
narrow valleys, clothed with a rich vegetation, and thickly wooded with
giant elms, retired, and, what Devonshire folk call “loo,” or “lew,”
that is, sheltered. There is, indeed, a secluded parish in Devon to
whose name this commendatory adjective is prefixed--Lew Trenchard,
to wit--noteworthy also as being the home of that strenuous author,
the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould. On the other hand, there is yet another
Lew in Devon--North Lew--in the northern part of the county, a wild,
stormy, bleak, misbegotten place, whose name was probably conferred in
derision by some deluded inhabitant; it is the place where, according
to the local saying, the devil died of the cold!

[Illustration: MAIDENCOMBE.]

Watcombe we passed, with its towering red rocks rising sheer out of
the coombe; and, after toiling up hill and down dale, arrived at
Babbacombe, a fairy settlement of villas adjoining Torquay’s suburb of
Marychurch. Red sandstone rocks give place to lofty limestone cliffs,
clothed in luxuriant foliage, and skirted about their base with beaches
of rounded limestone pebbles of every size, smoothed and polished by
constant friction of the water.

We took tea at the Carey Arms, upon the lawn that gives on the water;
and admired, with the fleeting tourist’s regretful admiration, those
blood-red and milk-white cliffs, and that foreshore of the whitest,
hugest, and hardest marbles, and that sea of the most bewitching and
impossible light-blue--impossible, that is to say, from the point of
view of he or she who would transfer it to canvas--and bewildered
brush-wielders are here the commonest objects of the seashore. Not the
least of the things for which Torquay and Babbacombe are responsible
are the wasting of good paint and the spoiling of many acres of fair
primed canvas.

Beauty, you see, of any sort, is never harmless.

Leaving Babbacombe, we turned aside to visit Anstey’s Cove, that deep
pool, guarded by ghostly pinnacles of rocks, and overhung with silver
birch and brambles. Who was Anstey, and why was this cave named after
him? Who, again (forgive the digression), was Tooks, and why was a
court in Holborn made ridiculous with his name? We can only fold our
hands, and say in either case, “We don’t know.”

Anstey’s Cove is a favourite bathing-place, and has at its entrance
from the road a famous sign. The sign has been here for years, and is
become quite a time-honoured institution. The original “Thomas,” I
fear, is long since gathered to his fathers.

   “Picnics supplied with hot water and tea
    At a nice little house down by the sea;
    Fresh Crabs and Lobsters every day,
    Salmon Peel sometimes, Red Mullet and Grey;
    The neatest of Pleasure Boats let out on hire;
    Fishing Tackle as good as you can desire;
    Bathing Machines for Ladies are kept,
    With Towels and Gowns all quite correct.
    Thomas is the man who provides everything:
    And also teaches Young People to Swim.”

Excellent and most moral Thomas! Mindful both of provisions and the
proprieties, your truly British characteristics shall excuse your
errors of rhyme and rhythm; and though your lines don’t scan, I trust
your actions _là bas_ have attained a ready scansion _là haut_.

And now Torquay is near, happily situated on a down grade, for which
praise be. But let us be duly reverent, for Torbay, shining yonder in
the afternoon sun, is the gate by which entered, “for our goods,” as
Fraulein Kilmansegg innocently observed, the Hanoverian dynasty, to
save a nation which could not save itself.


When first I saw Torquay and Torbay (I am afraid to think how many
years ago), and the long line of curving coast stretching away past
_parvenu_ Paignton to Berry Head, I thought that here was a veritable
fairyland amongst seaside resorts. Many things have happened since
then: the South Devon coast, once so solitary, so quiet, has everywhere
its fringe of trim-built villas; the lonely coombes, once the home
of rabbits and some few fishermen, echoing only with the querulous
cries of sea-gulls, are now filled, or are filling, with bungalows, as
quick-multiplying as were those ousted rabbits, and the brazen clang
of German bands makes miserable the soul of man. These are the defects
that make this fairyland of other years something less gracious and
more prosaic than before; but bungalows and bands, and other kindred
afflictions of a popular populous watering-place, have power only to
discount, not altogether to bankrupt, its charm.

And charming is still the epithet for Torquay, seated majestically
on its many hills. So charming is it, that the witchery of the place
gets into the head of the average young man o’ nights, like so much
champagne, and sitting by one of the many hillside winding walks
overlooking the bay, you may hear him declare to his _inamorata_ that
he loves her with a love transcending all other affections, past,
present, or to come. And so these silly folk become engaged, and, one
of these fateful days, they marry and go a-honeymooning in the Isle of
Wight (an isle ordained by the Creator for such functions), presently
to discover that life is not made up altogether of summer nights at
Torquay, nor at Shanklin neither; also that, however warmly one may
love, still number one remains, after all, when the flush of romance
has worn off, the object of the most jealous and enduring affection.
You see, Torquay is responsible for a great deal of match-making. Young
folks have in after years much reason to cur--well, er, that is, to
bless, the place.

How many declarations have I heard while lounging at twilight on the
Cliff Walk! How many gay and giddy flirtations at Anstey’s Cove or
Berry Pomeroy! Ah! delusive coast of Devon, inciting to the rashest
of all conceivable rashnesses, you have proved the undoing of many a
butterfly bachelor.

I have said enough to convince you, I think, that Torquay is a
dangerous place. It is all the more so, in that, being essentially
modern, there is nothing in the way of antiquities to explore in
the town itself. This fact, together with that other of a warm and
languorous climate, that invites to rest rather than to recreative
efforts, to whispered confidences, to tentative kissing and
waist-clasping on the sheltered Rock Walk above the Torbay road, shapes
softly the social features of Torquay and the plastic destinies of

To leave these features and come to consideration of scenic charms,
there can be no higher praise than to say that at night Torquay
picturesqueness reaches the acme of theatric scene-painting. To return,
when the moon is shining, to Torquay from Paignton, is to experience
a thrill of decorative pleasure that few other places can confer. A
great bar of silver moonlight, all alive with ripples, mingles with
terrestrial illuminations of villas and climbing hillside roads,
garish yellow by comparison. Below, in the harbour, red and green and
yellow lights of smacks and vessels of many builds dance in streaky
minuets upon lazy tides, while on the horizon the mast-head lanterns
of Brixham boats rise and fall giddily from crest to trough of Channel

Torquay has many climates, from the warm and dense atmosphere of
Fleet Street and Union Street to the mellow lapping of Torbay air by
the rise of Park Hill, or the robustious breezes of Warberry Hill,
farther inland. And thus Torquay pleases every variety of the querulous
invalid: these feeble folk lie here in strata, elevated or depressed,
as best befits their individual complaints.

Since Dutch William landed at Brixham, and so marched through Torquay
to Newton Abbot with his heavy crew of Hollanders, the place has had no
history save only the smooth and simple annals of what auctioneers and
land-agents call a “rising watering-place.” And Torquay has been rising
any time these hundred years, until it has at length been blessed
with the left-handed blessings of a Mayor and Corporation. These be
weighty matters, and Torquay celebrated its Charter Day last year with
all the becoming pomp of so great and glorious an occasion. Minor
happenings there have been that remain tinged with the bitter irony of
circumstance, as when Napoleon, a captive on board the _Bellerophon_
(the “Billy Ruffian” of an untutored crew reckless of the classics)
was brought into Torbay, within sight of the diminutive Torquay of
that time. The conquered conqueror was reduced to the status of a
Richardson’s show, to be peeped at by that “nation of shopkeepers”
which he had so gratuitously despised.[3] That nation, or rather,
this southern coast portion of it, had been not a little uneasy at
Napoleon’s preparations for invasion, and had been strenuously devising
defences, with quaking hearts; while the populace sang, to keep its
pecker up, such reassuring songs about the improbable, as that of which
the following stanza is a specimen:--

   “When husbands with their wives agree,
    And maids won’t wed from modesty,
    _Then_ little Bony he’ll pounce down,
    And march his men on London town.”

After which followed the rousing chorus--

   “Rollickum rorum, tol-lol lorum,
    Rollickum rorum, tol-lol lay.”

And these matters are Torquay’s sole concern with political history.
Happy town, say I.


Three miles of a delightfully undulating road that leads close by
the shores of the bay, and at length we reached Paignton about nine
o’clock. Paignton lives on the leavings of Torquay, and a decent
subsistence they seem to afford. It is unromantically celebrated for
its cabbages, and peculiar for the German nomenclature of its hotels.
The whole place is singularly and indecently Teutonic, a sort of
Pumpernickel, and its chief street might appropriately be termed the
Donnerwetterplatz, from the epithets called from us by its promiscuous
stones. One anachronism there is in this Germanic town--German bands
are plenty. We know, do we not, that these pests are found everywhere
but in the land of their birth. But, come to think of it, where does
the German band practise? The flippant will say that to assume any
practice on their part would be an assumption of wildest extravagance;
but, seriously, they must practise sometimes and somewhere; but
where and when? Did you ever hear them at it? Did you ever see a
dead donkey? Never! I have heard volunteer bands practise and have
survived--chastened ’tis true. They have their drill-halls in which
to harmonise in some sort; but (fearful thought) German bands must
practise in their lodgings. I can think of few things more dreadful
than to be their ill-fated neighbour.

Paignton is (equally with Washington) a place of magnificent distances,
abounding in spacious roads all innocent of houses, or, at best, but
sparsely built upon. But this is its modern part. The old town, which
lies farther back from the sea, clustering round the red-sandstone
tower of its ancient parish church, is close enough settled and
occupied, and, judging from the size and beauty of that church, was
at one time greater than now. There was of old a bishop’s palace
at Paignton, and there yet remain sundry traces of it, among them a
stalwart tower, wherein (says tradition) Miles Coverdale, some time
Bishop of Exeter, made his famous translation of the Bible. Tradition,
I regret to say, has in this instance grievously misled the devout;
and, although the present historian yields to none in his love and
admiration of a comely and well-rounded falsehood, it becomes his duty
to destroy this interesting but misleading myth.

If I thought the audience to which these poor notes (one must be at
least ostensibly modest!) are addressed would bear with me, I would
describe the antiquarian treasures of Paignton Church, for they merit
a moment’s stay. However, I forbear, although one cannot help quoting
this inscription to the memory of “Mistress Joan Butland and son:”--

 “In Night of death, here Rests y^e gooD, &
  fair, who all life Day, Gave God Both heart
  and ear, no Dirt (nor Distance) hinDerD
  her Resort, for love still Pav’D y^e way, &
  cut it short, to Parents, husBanD, frienDs
  none Better knew, y^e triBute of Duty &
  she PaiD it tow, BeloveD By, & loving
  all Dearly, her son to whom she
  first Gave life, then lost her owne
  he kinD Poor lamB for his Dam a full
  Year crieD, alas in vain, ther for for
  love he DieD _Anno Domi 1679_.”


From Paignton to Totnes the road leads inland by easy gradients past
Blagdon, where nobody ever did anything worthy of record, until, in
four miles, the little village of Berry Pomeroy is reached. This
is the old road; the new highway, about one and a half miles out of
Paignton, turns to the left, and in a lonely course reaches Totnes.
The road past Blagdon to Berry is good, but the matter of a mile
longer. That, however, is _no_ matter to the tourist, when, by that
additional mile, so charming a ruin as that of Berry Pomeroy Castle
is gained. These shattered walls and courts are hidden in deep lusty
woods, resonant with the throaty gurglings of doves and wood-pigeons,
teeming with a populace of squirrels, and moist with the invigorating
rills that percolate everywhere, unseen but potent, amid the tangled
undergrowth. Nothing now remains of the original stronghold: the great
gateway and curtain-wall belong to the thirteenth century, and all else
is of more modern date. The Pomeroys were of ancient descent, even when
Ralph de la Pomeroy accompanied William the Norman from fair Normandy.
The name has a sweet savour as of cider, for “pomeraie” means apple
orchard, and from some such fruity demesne these Norman lords first
took their name. It is a lengthy stride, though, from the Arcadian
simplicity of the orchard, the fragrance of pomace, to the tilt-yard
and the baronial hall.

From Ralph these estates passed down through the centuries to that
Sir Thomas Pomeroy who, engaging in the futile rebellion of 1549, was
stripped of all his manors, which fell into the hands of the Lord
Seymour of Sudeley, brother to the Lord Protector, Duke of Somerset,
and to this day they remain in that family. The Seymours builded all
these courts and upstanding walls, now grass-grown and broken, or
ivy-hung, that are enclosed by the ancient circumvallation. Defence
was not a matter of such tremendous exiguity in the reign of Edward
VI., when (or thereabouts) these Tudor walls and window-heads were
freshly fashioned; comfort was of greater consideration, and that, by
all accounts, was well studied. But with the reign of James II. came
the ruination of Berry. Some have it that lightning destroyed the great
range of buildings, but that is matter of tradition merely. Certain it
is that never since that day have they been inhabited, “and all this
glory” (as Prince hath it) “lieth in the dust.”

Prince himself, author of “Worthies of Devon,” and vicar of Berry
Pomeroy, lies within the church, where Seymours and superseded Pomeroys
lie close together--quietly enough. The Protector’s son, Lord Edward
Seymour, lies here in effigy. He died (you learn) in 1593. His son,
too, rests beside, and amid them sleeps this child, done in stone,
humorously, as it seems to us, looking upon those radiant Dutch-like

[Illustration: FROM A MONUMENT, BERRY.]


From woody dells and time-greyed walls to the highroad and modern
Bridgetown, the suburb of Totnes, seemed a sorry change, though
without the loveliness of Berry it had been fair enough. Bridgetown
lies on one side of a narrow valley, Totnes on the other, and between
them runs the Dart, crossed by a very serviceable, very modern, very
uninteresting bridge, that stands sponsor to the suburb.

Totnes, say the historians, is the oldest, or one of the oldest,
borough towns in England, founded, we are asked to believe, by
Brutus the Trojan. We will not dispute the point: as well he as any
one else. I will not (being transparently candid) deny that this
particular Brutus seems to me, after this length of time, to be a very
uninteresting person--a prosy fellow--one to be avoided.

But we will not, an’t please you, so readily drop the subject of Totnes
town: that would not do, for not many such picturesque places remain in
the south of England. Fore Street, which seems in these Devon towns to
stand for High Street--although in some places in the county they are
happy in the possession of both--Fore Street, Totnes, is a fine example
of the unstudied, fortuitous, picturesque, from the projecting houses
that overhang the pavements at one end, to the Eastgate that spans the
street at the other, amid all the bustle and business of a town that,
it would seem, is little affected by depression of the agricultural
industries, upon which it lives.

There is a fine church at Totnes, with a stone pulpit, carved and gilt
and painted to wonderment, and the tower of that church is among the
best in Devon, an architectural dream, in ruddy sandstone, pinnacled,
and adorned with tabernacles containing figures of kings and saints,
benefactors, bishops, and pious founders. For aught I know (so lofty
is their eyrie) Judhael de Totnais is of the company. This Judhael
was one of the Conqueror’s host of filibusters, who, receiving his due
share of plunder in the form of fat manors, settled at the chiefest
of them, built himself a castle on a likely site, and, like some old
regiments under modern War-Office administration, took a territorial
title, “De Totnais.”

[Illustration: EASTGATE, TOTNES.]

His castle (what remains of it) stands on a steep and lofty mound of
earth at the northern end of the town, overlooking the streets and
clustering roofs, and commanding a glorious panorama of the river
Dart, winding deep amid the trees toward Dartmouth and the sea. These
castle remains are very meagre: a low circular keep-tower, open to
the sky, perched on an eminence studded thickly with tall trees--that
is all. Below is a garden, with closely shaven lawn, where young men
and maidens play tennis in summer months. Outside, in the street, an
ancient archway, which was once the North Gate of the town, still

There is, in the retiring little Guildhall of Totnes, standing behind
the church, sufficient interest for an especial visit. Low-browed
rooms, oak-panelled, with leaden casemented windows set in deep
embrasures, with dusky, glowering portraits of old-time worthies
hanging against the walls--these are characteristic items toward a
due presentment of the place. Here, too, are framed proclamations of
Commonwealth period, commencing “OLIVER, by the grace of God.” Oliver,
you shall see, is nothing less than “His Highness.”

And now, having “done” the town, do not, I pray you who may essay to
follow our wanderings, set out upon walking hence to Dartmouth. Rather
should you voyage by steamer those eight miles, at your ease physically
and mentally, this last happy condition attained by reflecting that
such scenery is not otherwhere to be enjoyed, and that to voyage thus
is the thing expected of all good tourists in South Devon.


We took steamer from Totnes to Dartmouth. There are two classes aboard,
“saloon” and “second,” and there is but threepence difference between
the two. But the Wreck, who was paymaster this day, and is ever
economically inclined, prudently bought two of the cheaper tickets,
“for,” said he, “we are not travelling _en grande tenue_” (terms for
translation may be had on application). So we took our places astern,
and in due course arrived off the pontoon at Dartmouth. The Wreck, who
was in charge of the pasteboards, handed them up.

“Sixpence more, please,” said the collector.

“What for?” demanded the Wreck.

“You can see the notice,” replied the man; and he pointed to an
inscription, “Passengers going abaft the funnel must pay saloon fare.”

“But we didn’t go abaft the funnel,” said the Wreck; “we sat behind all
the time.”

“Behind _is_ abaft,” remarked the collector....

The Wreck paid the sixpence. “But,” said he, “I wish, next time you
paint your boat, you would write up decent English instead of your
confounded nautical slang, which no fellow can understand.” And so, as
Pepys might have said, into Dartmouth, where we lay at the King’s Head.


The situation of Dartmouth is eminently characteristic of the seaport
towns of South Devon and Cornwall. It lies, like so many of them, at
the mouth of a little river, which, running almost due south for an
inconsiderable number of miles, widens at last into an estuary that
gives on the sea through a narrow opening between tall cliffs. On the
inner side of this strait and dangerous gut, the storm-tossed mariner,
wearied of Channel waves, rides in a deep, land-locked harbour, at
peace, and on the shores of this harbour there springs up a town
to supply the wants of them that go down to the sea in ships. From
Exmouth in the east to Falmouth in the west, the same conditions are
seen. Sometimes the town stands on the western side of the estuary,
sometimes on the eastern shore; but almost every one of them has in
time developed its suburb over the water. Exmouth has its Starcross,
Teignmouth its Shaldon. Opposite Dartmouth, on the eastern side of
Dartmouth harbour, stands Kingswear, and over against Salcombe is
Portlemouth. Torpoint, that stands on the western shore of the Hamoaze,
is an essentially modern excrescence from Devonport. East and West
Looe seem to be coeval one with the other--those jealous towns of Looe
River; but Polruan is the dependency of Fowey, even as Flushing is of

Dartmouth can hold its own among the best of these havens, even
as Dartmouth town is easily first in picturesque beauty and hoary
survivals of early seafaring days. I think a waft of more spacious
times has come down to us, and lingers yet about the steep streets
and strange stairways, the broad eaves and bowed and bent frontages
of Dartmouth--an air in essence salty, and ringing with the strange
oaths and stranger tales of the doughty hearts who adventured hence
to unknown or unfrequented seas, or went forth to do battle with the
Spaniard. Hence sailed crusaders, and Dartmouth came a splendid third
to Fowey and Yarmouth in 1342, when the port sent as many as thirty-one
sail for the investment of Calais. Followed then descents of the French
upon these coasts, succeeded in turn by ravagements on the seaboard
of France at the hands of Dartmouth and Plymouth men, when two score
French ships were destroyed. Then came in 1404 the French admiral, Du
Chastel, who landed at Blackpool Valley, three miles to the westward,
with the object of taking Dartmouth from an unsuspected quarter. But
this project failed of accomplishment; the storm-beaten tower of Stoke
Fleming church looked down that day upon the secluded valley where,
upon the sands of that curving shore, by the tree-grown banks of a
rivulet that loses itself in diminutive swamps, the clang of battle
echoed all day from the hillsides, and Dartmouth men gave so good an
account of themselves that four hundred Frenchmen dead, and two hundred
prisoners, with Du Chastel himself, completed the tale of that day’s

But Blackpool was a landing-place to be attempted only in fine weather.
Dartmouth harbour was the natural entrance. To guard it there were
built, in ancient times, the twin-towers of Dartmouth and Kingswear
Castles, facing one another, across the water, and between them was
stretched an iron chain, drawn taut by windlasses in time of peril,
which effectually prevented the entrance of hostile ships. Kingswear
Castle is comparatively insignificant, but Dartmouth Castle, viewed
from the Kingswear side, forms, with the adjoining church of Saint
Petrox, a striking group, backed by the lofty tree-clad hills of
Gallants’ Bower. A modern fort, built into the rock beside the sea,
adds a modern touch. Saint Petrox contains brasses to Roopes in plenty,
one of the inscriptions, curiously beautiful, for all its spelling:--


   “’Twas not a winded nor a withered face
    Nor long gray hares nor dimnes in the eyes
    Nor feble limbs nor uncouth trembling pace
    Presagd his death that here intombed lies
    His time was come, his maker was not bounde
    To let him live till all their markes were founde,
    His time was come, that time he did imbrace
    With sence & feelinge with a joyfull harte
    As his best passage to a better place,
    Where all his cares are ended & his smarte
    This Roope was blest, that trusted in God alone
    He lives twoe lives where others live but one.”

[Illustration: DARTMOUTH CASTLE.]

By this time my sketch-book was filled, and we went to a bookseller’s
to buy another, finally purchasing a ship’s log-book for the purpose.
It was ruled with faint blue lines, unfortunately (what stationers
term “feint only”), but the paper of it took pencil beautifully. I
think we left the bookseller’s assistant with but a poor estimate of
our artistic powers, for he seemed consumed with astonishment at the
choice, and grieved when I flouted the gorgeous sketch-books, oblong
in shape, and lettered in big gold lettering on their covers, that
he would have us buy. “All artists,” said he, “use these;” but we
took leave to doubt the statement, and left them for the use of the
bread-and-butter miss.

Then, armed with this formidable book, we explored the old parish
church (Saint Saviour’s) of Dartmouth, and started off “at score” with
the sketch of ironwork on the doorway of the south porch. “Exploration”
seems quite the word for an examination of Dartmouth church: it is old
and decrepit, and rendered dusky by wooden galleries--a wonderfully
and almost inconceivably picturesque building, without and within,
and (what is not often seen nowadays) a very much unrestored church.
It was in 1887 (I think) that a scheme for restoration was set afoot,
when the great controversy between the vicar and the Society for the
Preservation of Ancient Buildings took place. The society wished the
church to be let alone; the vicar wanted “restoration.” He plaintively
remarked that the roof leaked on to him while he preached; and I seem
to recollect that he was obliged to use an umbrella in the pulpit on
wet Sundays, but of this I am not quite sure.


The outcome of this wordy war was a compromise: the roof was made
watertight, and the restoration generally was dropped like a hot potato.

Dartmouth church is closely girdled with old houses and steep streets,
paved with painful but romantic-looking cobbles, and the churchyard
rears itself high above the heads of wayfarers in the narrow lanes.
Here is the town gaol, rarely or never used, save for the paternal
detention of derelict drunkards, who, lest they should break their
good-for-nothing necks down these staircase-streets, are locked within
until the morrow comes, with sobriety and headache as co-parceners.


Dartmouth, you gather, who read municipal notices and
proclamations fastened on the church door, is a composite
borough--Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness is its official style and title;
but it would, I suspect, puzzle even antiquarians to delimit their
respective territories at this time. We idly culled the information as
we passed one morning for a day’s excursion to Dittisham.


They call it three and a half miles from Dartmouth to Dittisham; we
made it, I should say, about eight; but there is no occasion for any
one who essays to follow our route to emulate this shocking example.

Those eight miles were all either up or down hill. A spirit-level
wouldn’t get the ghost of a chance anywhere along these lanes, for, the
moment you get atop of a hill, it begins to descend again.

We had just reached the bottom of a long hill when we met a countryman
of whom we inquired the way.

“Did ye coom from oop yon?” said he.

“Yes,” we replied, with forebodings of disaster.

“Then you’ve coom aout of y’r way,” he said; “ye’ll have to go oop and
take th’ next turn to th’ right.”

We took his directions, and were rewarded by presently coming into
Dittisham, in receipt, by the way, of a sudden and startling view of
Torquay and Marychurch, eight miles away as the crow flies, and yet
perfectly clear and distinct.

Down through Dittisham lanes we went, past the great grey tower of
the church, with its sun-dial, on to the beach of the river at ebb.
Here were several plum trees, loaded with plums; a small variety, dark
blue, more like damsons, and hard, and not too sweet. We, I grieve to
say, plucked many of these plums and ate them; but there was a Nemesis
attendant on the act.

The beach was practicable for some distance, until the water on one
side, and a high padlocked gate decorated with spikes and nails on
the other, seemed to bar all further progress. We carefully scaled
the gate, and dropped into the meadows on the other side, leaving
a record of our progress in the shape of a fragment of the Wreck’s
clothing fluttering aloft in the breeze. A toilsome climb through
many fields and thick hedges brought us to a vantage point, whence we
could see our goal--Dittisham Quay--below, situated on a narrow isthmus
beside the Dart, where the river doubled on its course. Close beside
it miraculously appeared the village we had left. We had painfully
traversed three miles of this promontory, instead of crossing the
narrow neck of land that alone separated village and quay.

Tea was a grateful meal indeed after this. We took it at the open
windows of an inn that looked upon the water, and when the meal was
done the sun went down. The air grew intensely chill, and the mists
crept along the face of the water. I had just touched in the last
notes of Dittisham Quay, when the whistle of the steamer sounded up
river, and the vessel came swiftly round the Point. We were the only
passengers from Dittisham, and were soon put aboard. This steamer
was one of the smaller boats that ply on the Dart, with furnace and
boiler-covering on deck. We sat on the hot iron, the Wreck and I, and
felt happy as the heat worked through. Now and again the crew (two
all told) would open the furnace door, and the light from the glowing
coals would shine on their faces with a ruddy glow, intensified by the
steely-blue water and the dark background of hills, until they looked
like so many devils from hell.

We nearly ran down in the darkness a small launch, whose occupant had
(one of the crew observed) suddenly “shifted his hellum”--whatever
that may mean, and then we ran alongside the _Britannia_ and the
_Hindostan_ training-vessels, with their lights streaming brilliantly
through many ports on to the tide.

Those two sturdy old line-of-battle ships, with their lofty sides and
long ranges of ports, tier over tier, are of types more seemly, more
impressive, than the wallowing masses of ironmongery that to-day are in
the forefront of our navy. They recall the days when England was well
defended against tremendous odds by her wooden walls, superseded in
these days by intricate machinery, inconstant and uncertain in time of
need, and misdirected from Westminster by wooden heads that unluckily
show no signs of supersession.

The moon had risen over Kingswear when our throbbing cockle-shell
stopped her heart-beats and was warped gently against the pontoon,
and the shine tipped every little ripple in the harbour with silver,
making silhouettes of Kingswear houses and hills. Two red lights shone
from the landing-stage, and a number of other lights glimmered yellow
by comparison with the moon’s rays; other hills were of a velvety
blackness, and against them stood out the slim white masts and spars
of the many yachts anchored out in mid-stream. The little pencillings
of light that played upon the water added to the charm of the scene
and the witchery of it. You cannot convey a sense of its beauty by
words; it cannot, indeed, be conveyed at all. Take the charmingest
effect of stage scenery that you have ever seen, and add a Shylock-like
percentage, then you are by way of a conception of the surpassing
beauty of Dartmouth harbour on a summer’s night.


Little yellow coaches run three times daily from Dartmouth to
Kingsbridge and _vice versâ_, running winter and summer. We walked out
of Dartmouth as far as Stoke Fleming--three miles. What shall I say of
the country, save that it was hilly? I think we walked to the village
through some dim recollections of the name and fame of Thomas Newcomen,
who invented the steam-engine, lived and died at Dartmouth, and was
buried here. They say his first notion of steam power was gained
through watching the steam from his kettle lifting the lid, but do they
not also say the same of James Watt?

After all we did not find much of interest in Stoke Fleming church, and
saw nothing of Thomas Newcomen’s tomb. But, on the other hand, we saw
and copied the curious epitaph to his ancestor, Elias Newcomen, who was
vicar here. It is a small mural brass, on the south chancel pier:--

   “Elias old lies here intombd in grave
    but Newecomin to heavens habitation
    In knowledge old, in zeale, in life most grave
    too good for all who live in lamentation,
    Whose ffire & Ceed with hauie plaint & mone
    will say too late Elias old is gone.

            The xiij of Ivli 1614.”

A fourteenth-century brass, to the memory of John and Elyenore Corp,
with curious French and Latin epitaph, was interesting. Then we heard
the horn of the coach, and rushed out just in time to secure our
seats. With our advent the coach became filled. We of the outside were
tourists all. All the way the gentleman-driver and the passenger beside
him talked “horse,” and some of the talk was very tall indeed.

We passed down extremely steep roads, through Blackpool valley, from
thence up again, through the miserable village of Street down at last
to Slapton Sands, the driver throwing out, now and again, packages of
newspapers as we passed various estates.

Slapton Sands is a three miles’ stretch of shore, with a perfectly
straight and level coach road the whole distance. On one side is the
sea, and on the other the waters and marshes of Slapton Lea--fresh
water on one hand, salt on the other: the Sands Hotel between.

Our coach stopped a moment to unload some luggage for the sportsmen
staying here, for the fishing and the wild-fowl shooting are famous;
then on again to Torcross, where we changed horses. At this modern
settlement the road turns inland, and goes, through comparatively
uninteresting country, past Stokenham, Chillington, and Charleton. Then
over a sturdy bridge spanning a creek, and at last upon the road that
borders Salcombe River, and leads past the Quay into Kingsbridge.

The coach rattled up to the “Anchor,” at the foot of the steep
Fore Street of Kingsbridge. We discharged our obligations to the
gentleman-driver, secured our beds, and ordered dinner, eventually
despatched amid the litter of our mail from London, which was duly
lying at Kingsbridge Post-Office on our arrival. The Wreck, knowing
(good soul) that it would be impossible otherwise for me to keep my
attention off my proofs, filched those entrancing sheets away, and sat
on them until the advent of the coffee.

But let us have done with these domestic details: what of Kingsbridge?


Kingsbridge at the time of writing is chiefly noted for its being ten
miles from the nearest railway station; but when these lines see the
crowning glory of print, it will probably have lost that claim to
distinction, for there is now building a branch to it from the main
line at Brent, and when that branch is opened, Lord alone knows what
the place will do for name or notoriety, unless indeed it can keep
the mild fame of its “white ale” in the forefront, together with what
_kudos_ may accrue from the sister parish (of Dodbrooke) having been
the birthplace of Dr. John Wolcot.

[Illustration: Fore Street Kingsbridge]

For “Peter Pindar” was born at Dodbrooke in 1738, and has he not
immortalised the twin-towns of Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke in one of
his “Odes to my Barn”? The first ode was called forth by the Doctor’s
sheltering a persecuted band of strolling players, who ran no small
risk of stocks and pillory.

     “Sweet haunt of solitude and rats,
      Mice, tuneful owls, and purring cats;
    Who, whilst we mortals sleep, the gloom pervade,
      And wish not for the sun’s all-seeing eye,
      Your mousing mysteries to spy;
    Blessed, like philosophers, amidst the shade;

      When Persecution, with an iron hand,
      Dared drive the moral-menders from the land,
    Called players,--friendly to the wandering crew,
      Thine eyes with tears surveyed the mighty wrong,
      Thine open arms received the mournful throng--
    Kings without shirts, and queens with half a shoe.

           *       *       *       *       *

      Daughter of thatch, and stone, and mud,
      When I, no longer flesh and blood,
    Shall join of lyric bards some half-a-dozen;
      Meed of high worth, and, midst th’ Elysian plains,
      To Horace and Alcæus read my strains,
    Anacreon, Sappho, and my great cousin.[4]

      On thee shall rising generations stare,
      That come to Kingsbridge or to Dodbrooke fair:
    Like Alexander, shall they every one,
      Heave the deep sigh, and say, ‘Since Peter’s gone,
      With reverence let us look upon his barn.’”

You will see by these last few lines that “Peter” had a good conceit
of himself, and I must confess that I like him all the more for it.
The same spirit flows through all his works in artless (or is it
artful) manner; certainly it spurred his enemies (and they were many)
to unseemly exhibitions of wrath in their retaliatory versicles, in
which they could by no means match the flowing metre and sarcasm of Dr.
Wolcot’s spiteful muse. Here is a specimen of the attacks upon him,
which derives its point from his profession--the cheapness of the gibe
is obvious:--

     “I wish thou hadst more serious work,[5]
      As ’Pothecary to the Turk,
    How wouldst thou sweep the Mussulmans away:
      Not Janizaries breathing blood and ruin,

      And daily mischief and rebellion brewing,
      Not plagues, nor bowstring, nor a bloody battle
      Would kill so fast this unbelieving Cattle,
    As doses--mixt in Doctor Pindar’s way.”

This versifier was a champion of George III., whom Wolcot was never
weary of satirising for his meanness and parsimony and general
dunderheadedness. That monarch was an excellent butt into which to
fire arrows of stinging satire; in especial, his eccentric habit of
incessantly repeating his words is delightfully taken advantage of, as,
for example, in that extremely witty description of “A Royal Visit to
Whitbread’s Brewery”--

   “Grains, grains, said majesty, to fill their crops;
    Grains, grains!--that comes from hops--
                    Yes, hops, hops, hops.”

John Wolcot was in early life apprenticed to his uncle, an apothecary
of Fowey. After accompanying Sir William Trelawney to Jamaica, as
physician, he took holy orders, and was presented to a living in the

Returning to England and his old profession, he settled at Truro and
Helston, finally removing to London in 1780, and bringing with him
young Opie, whom he had discovered in the wilds of Mithian. In old age
he became blind, and died in London 1819, and was buried in St. Paul’s
Church, Covent Garden.

When I say that Kingsbridge market-house has a turnip-like clock, I
would not have you suspect me of flouting this prosperous little town,
the market centre for the rich agricultural district of the South Hams.
I would not do such a thing: my intentions are strictly honourable.
Believe me, I simply and dispassionately state a grotesque fact, which
you may verify from the drawing of Kingsbridge, and parallel from the
almost exactly similar clock of St. Anne’s, Soho.

This morning we looked into Kingsbridge church, and copied the
philosophic epitaph to “Bone Phillip,”[6] and then to the Grammar
School, a sturdy stone building, with the following inscription over
its doorway:--

                        This Grammar School was
                         Built and Endowed 1670
                     Thomas Crispin of y^e City of
                      Exon Fuller, who was Born in
                  this Town y^e 6^{th} of Jan 160–7/8
               Lord w^t I have twas Thou y^t Gavst it me
                And of Thine owne this I Return to Thee.

There is a large portrait of Crispin still hanging on the principal
staircase, rich in tone, representing the benefactor with the broadest
of broad-brimmed hats and walking-cane--a mild-featured gentleman.
And yet he is the terror of small boys, who hold the belief that this
gentle soul comes forth at midnight from his frame, carrying his head
under his arm. I have slept in the bedroom he is supposed particularly
to affect in his nightly wanderings, but (needless to say) Crispin did
not disturb me.


There is, too, in the low-pitched, panelled schoolroom a headmaster’s
desk, with canopy, worthy of note, surmounted with a painting of the
Royal Arms, and the initials “C. R.,” with the date 1671; and, on
every available inch of woodwork, schoolboys, more destructive than
Time himself, have carved their names or daubed them in ink, evidences
these of that noble rage for recognition, fame, or notoriety, of that
yearning for immortality, that possesses all alike from cockney ’Enry

I think something of this feeling impelled one of us to the writing of
these lines in the visitors’ book of the “Anchor,” where we stayed.
Here they are--

    ... And yet would stay
    To lounge the livelong day
    Adown the street, upon the Quay:[7]
    But duty calls. “Away, away!”


We left Kingsbridge as evening drew on, for the five miles’ voyage to
Salcombe. The steamer was full of country folk, and a few tourists were
observable amid the market baskets. Next to us sat a young fellow and
his newly married wife, evidently on their honeymoon, and desperately
ill at ease. Every one on board, although none of them were acquainted
with those young people, knew their case, and they were the centre to
which all eyes were directed. Few noticed the scenery while this human
interest was on view, although that scenery was most impressive.

The _quasi_ river of Salcombe, seen under a gorgeous sunset with
lowering clouds, is not so much lovely as weird, its lonely creeks
and inlets running between hills almost treeless, and black against
the sky. We passed the excursion steamer coming home to Kingsbridge
from Plymouth, with its white mast-head light, and green and red
side-lights, the hull of her looming hugely as she rushed by.


Presently our engines stopped, and in sight of Salcombe lights across
the water, we landed a party in the darkness of a lonely shore for
Portlemouth. Passengers and luggage were tumbled into the boat, and
soon were lost to view in the gloom; only the splashing of the oars,
the rattle of rowlocks, and the murmur of voices indicating their
neighbourhood. When the boat returned we steamed across to Salcombe
Quay, and landed under the glittering lights of the precipitous town;
glittering, that is to say, from a distance: near at hand they have
more the shine of glow-worms.

It is a thrilling experience to land thus, on a Saturday night, in an
entirely strange place, and to have, perforce, to hunt immediately for
a night’s lodging. We traversed the long narrow street of Salcombe
without success, and finally arrived opposite the glare of an imposing

“Do you want the hotel, sir?” inquired a Voice.

“Yes; which hotel is this?” demanded the Wreck, directing his voice at
the place generally, failing to see any one.

“The Marine Hotel, sir!”

Now, we had heard something of the palatial character of this hotel,
and recollecting the traditional shortness of the artist’s purse, we

“Oh!” said the Wreck, replying to the Voice, “rather expensive hotel,
is it not?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the Voice, suddenly becoming endowed with a
body--Boots apparently--“first-class hotel, sir.”

This meant waiters in evening dress and haughty chambermaids. What
should we dusty wayfarers do in this galley, who carried our luggage on
our backs? No landlord of a “first-class hotel” respects a visitor who
has not piles of portmanteaux. We faded away from the glance of that
candid Boots into the (comparatively) utter darkness, and so down the
street again, presently to find that haven where we would be.

We supped, and the Wreck discovered a crumb-brush. “A brush at last!”
he exclaimed, vigorously brushing his hat with it.

“But that’s not a hat-brush,” said I, astonished.

“No matter,” said he, “brushes are so jolly scarce down here that I’d
take this chance if it were a hearth-brush.”

Salcombe streets are of the most break-neck character: full of tragic
possibilities and large stones. Only Fore Street is approximately
level, and in Fore Street are the shops. Such shops! We looked into
one window, about three feet square, and made a mental inventory of
its contents:--Six Spanish onions; a plateful of wooden dolls, leering
with vacuous glances at a tin of sardines; four tin money-boxes; three
plates of apples (incarnate stomach-aches); a cake of blacking; two
cakes of soap (whose name wild horses shall not drag from me); five
peg-tops; one plum cake; and, casting a greasy light over all, a tallow
dip in a brass candlestick. Other shops there were which rejoiced in
large frontages and wide expanses of window, and, displayed in those
windows, were goods disposed at rare and rhythmic intervals, so that
one had not the heart to destroy their symmetry by making purchases.

Salcombe is a port of great possibilities. Were it not so near a
neighbour of Plymouth Sound, that haven _par excellence_, it had been,
one may surmise, a well-frequented harbour, with a town rivalling
Dartmouth. For here is safe anchorage for ships of deepest draught,
and sea-room in plenty within the gullet formed between precipitous
cliffs. Even yet, Salcombe may become a harbour where masts will
cluster thickly. True, the channel is beset with rocks, but what do
rocks avail against dynamite? Now it is seldom visited save by pleasure
yachts and stray coasting-vessels, with the Kingsbridge Packet calling
periodically at its quay _en route_ to or from Plymouth. Salcombe
village has grown into a small town of quiet residents, and equally
quiet holiday-makers, and possibly in the near future the Kingsbridge
Railway, now building, may push on these few miles further, bringing to
the solitary coast scenery of the Bolt Head--the grandest in Devon--a
crowd of tourists, with the inevitable consequences.

On this Sunday we stayed at Salcombe, and with due Sabbatical languor
explored the fantastic pinnacles of Bolt Head, beautiful with the
lowering beauty of a dark and sullen savagery. It is a wild and
storm-tossed promontory on the seaward side of a beautiful estate
belonging to the Earl of Devon--a place bearing the singular name
of The Moult. Down in the bottom, where the Moult homestead stands
sheltered, the tall elms grow straight and comely; but on the hillside,
trees of all kinds cling tenaciously in gnarled, twisted, and stunted
forms, all bent in the direction in which stormy winds most do blow.
Down beside the water, facing the entrance to the harbour, stand the
remains of Salcombe Castle, washed with the waves of every high tide.
Salcombe Castle was the scene of a four months’ defence against the
beleaguering Roundheads, and when it at last surrendered, the garrison
marched out with all the honours of war, “with thire usuall armes,
drumes beating, and collars flyinge, with boundelars full of powder,
and muskets apertinable.”


We were up early this morning, in order to catch the Kingsbridge
Packet, which called here on its way to Plymouth, and was timed for
eight o’clock. But we need not have hurried over our breakfast to
reach the quay, for when we walked aboard on the stroke of eight, the
amphibious-looking crew were still busily loading up with the fragments
of machinery and steam-pipes salved from a neighbouring wreck, and
it was not until nearly an hour later that we were steaming out of
the harbour toward the open sea. Meanwhile we secured as decent seats
as might be on this grimy cargo-steamer of the old-fashioned paddle
description, and watched with considerable amusement the frantic
efforts of crew and loafers to push her off from the quay walls. The
captain, not, I think, a skipper of coruscating brilliancy, took the
wheel, and shouted himself hoarse down the speaking-tube with contrary
directions, among which we distinguished such choice expressions as,
“Stop her, damn you!” “Easy turn ahead!” “Full turn astern!” while the
paddle-box ground horribly against the projecting corners of the quay,
and the crew and the crowd of loafers jabbed away violently with long

At last we swung clear, and steamed into the fairway, where we stopped
and took two sailing vessels in tow. When we had made all fast we
started in earnest, and came out of Salcombe round by Bolt Head with
much straining and slackening of hawsers, as the two vessels astern
pitched and wallowed in the heavy seas.

The morning was chill and misty, and inclined for rain. The rocks of
Bolt Head, although we were so near to them, could only now and again
be even partially seen through shredded vapours, and all around was a
ghostly wall of opalescent fog. The pilot took charge of the wheel--a
statuesque figure, silent, impassive, shrouded in gamboge-coloured
oilskins, and steadfastly gazing ahead with set eyes under shaggy

We made, as well as we could, a tour of the vessel, laying firm hold of
bulwarks and ropes and seats as we went. There were few people aboard,
but there was a great deal of miscellaneous cargo on deck, beside the
remains of the wrecked steamer’s engine-room. We coasted round a pile
of petroleum barrels, coloured that hideous blue which identifies them
anywhere; and then one of us fell over a basket full of squawking live
ducks, voyaging to Plymouth market. Then, doubling a promontory of
empty beer barrels, we came upon the engine-room, smelling to heaven
with boiling oil and rancid fat. We could see it, bubbling and greasy,
on the hot metal, and that “finished” us. We leant over the side of the
vessel, and were very and continuously ill.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think it must have been after the lapse of a few years that we came
in sight of Plymouth Sound. Plymouth Sound is perhaps one of the
most soul-stirring places in the world to an Englishman who knows its
story; but we had had, were having, too much physical stirring to be
even languidly interested in it, which shows, by the way, the gross
enthraldom of mind by matter: soul-stirring has a poor chance when
you’re fearfully sea-sick.

[Illustration: BOLT HEAD.]

We passed the Mewstone Buoy, and fondly imagined that, as the
Breakwater came in sight, the threshing and the buffeting of the sea
was done; but, though Plymouth seemed so near, it was a weary three
miles yet, and Britannia only rules the waves in a metaphorical sense.
Some one who passed us, unmoved by all the uproar of the sea, let off
that antique joke. I could have killed him, but refrained: his time
will come, without doubt.

We landed at Millbay Docks, and never before was I so pleased to set
foot on shore.

The day had brightened considerably. We left our knapsacks at a
cloak-room, and set out for a preliminary survey of Plymouth. We made
at once for the Hoe: I suppose everybody does the same thing. The Hoe
still affords a glorious outlook upon the Sound and the sea beyond,
although a great deal of its western end has been quarried away for
building operations.

There, third or fifth-rate streets and tramways conspire to render
sordid a neighbourhood which any other nation than our own would have
kept sacred, both for the satisfying of the æsthetic and the patriotic
instinct. But we have, I suppose, despite the wind-bags of that House
of Zephyrs at Westminster, so much glorious tradition that we can
afford the destruction, or partial desecration, of sites historic in
the best sense. We can even afford, so imperishable are our laurels,
to set up memorials of our achievements in arms, memorials whose
uninspired tawdriness would wither with unconscious ridicule the scanty
bays of other nations.

What satisfaction, what decorative pleasure is gained in that
achievement in ungainly ostentation, the Armada Memorial? Is that
rushing termagant with flying petticoats indeed Britannia? and that
hairy poodle beside her, is that really the British Lion? The British
Lion, _pour rire_, rather: “The British Lion is a noble scion,” the
embodiment of the music halls. This memorial, I suppose, is set up in
praiseworthy commemoration of the might of the Mailed Hand; but for all
her trident and her sword, this valorous virago, this Britannia, on
her pillar, is a creature of finger-nails, scratches, and subsequent

Hard by is Drake, modelled in bronze by an alien, for the satisfaction
of British patriotism. This work of the ingenious Boehm is not without
dignity, viewed from carefully chosen standpoints; but from most points
of the compass he is something too cock-a-hoop, he wears too much the
air of the sparrow on a ting for our satisfaction. It is well, though,
that he should be here in bronze for the healthful admiration and
emulation of Englishmen.

If any place there be within these sea-girt isles that can make your
pulses thrill, ’tis Plymouth. The majesty of England is no mere phrase
to them that have seen the clanging dockyards, the arsenals, the
floating strongholds, the encircling chain of forts that render the
three towns of Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse a microcosm of the
empire’s strength. Military--the red coats, the tunics black and green
of rifle regiments, the sound of the bugle, instant and commanding,
are everywhere. Naval--no more slacks-hitching, timber-shivering towns
exist than these.

[Illustration: DRAKE’S STATUE.]

We conceived the idea of making Saltash our headquarters for a few
days, and of making daily excursions from it to explore Plymouth. So,
when we had made this preliminary survey, we reclaimed our knapsacks
and made our way through Plymouth and Stonehouse, on top of a jingling
tramcar, to North Corner, Devonport, whence small steam-launches ply
every hour for Saltash.

The estuary of the Tamar runs here, deep and broad, dividing the
counties of Devon and Cornwall. From here to Saltash (three miles) it
is known as the Hamoaze.

It was getting dusky before our launch appeared, and the Cornish shore,
where lay the modern town of Torpoint, was become a great grey bank,
featureless in the twilight. Great ships lay anchored in the fairway:
the transports _Hindostan_ and _Himalaya_, white painted and beautiful,
and several hideous battle-ships, of the latest type, black, and lying
low in the water. We could hear the ships’ bells strike the hour in
that curious nautical fashion which I, for one, do not understand. To a
landsman it was seven o’clock; on board it was “six bells.” Presently
lights were hung out aloft, and the ports began to throw gleams upon
the hurrying tide. Sheer hulks, lying up river at their last moorings,
cast no responsive ray, but, wrapped in darkness, fretted at their
buoys and chains, as they have done for long, with every tide. Some one
afloat sang the “Larboard Watch,” ashore a bugle sounded; night fell,
the stars came out; the name of England, her might and majesty, the
glory and the terror of her, filled our hearts too full for words.

Presently the launch came alongside the landing-stage and we went
aboard. The voyage was chill with evening winds blowing down the
valley of the Tamar. We passed a silent fleet of Tartarean looking
torpedo-boats, moored, silent and deserted, in a long line, with great
white numbers painted on their bows, and towering war-ships, with
tall masts and heavy spars, and armoured sides--a type just becoming
obsolete, or already become so, we move so fast nowadays.

We ran past hulks, scarlet painted, with stores of gunpowder and
gun-cotton aboard; past the Government powder wharf; then to the
landing at Bull Point, and soon to Saltash pontoon. We came off the
steamer into Saltash streets. Giant piers of Saltash Bridge loomed
impressively overhead, and cottages beneath crouched humbly in crowded
ways. A piano-organ was discussing interminable strings of curly chords
and flourishes, to whose din children were dancing by the light of a
waterside public. The sights and sounds effectually vulgarised time and
place. We thought, as we toiled up the steep street, that Saltash was
an abominable hole, and wished ourselves anywhere else.

Calling at the post-office for letters lying there for us, we chanced
to hear of good rooms; so, with only the trouble of walking to the
last house but one in the town, we were speedily suited with a


Now were we in Cornwall, the land of fairies and piskies, and
of prodigious saints and devils; the land of “once upon a
time”--delightful period of twilight vagueness. According to John
Taylor, who wrote in 1649--

  “_Cornewall_ is the _Cornucopia_, the compleate and repleate
  Horne of Abundance for high churlish Hills, and affable courteous
  people; they are loving to requite a kindnesse, placable to remit
  a wrong, and hardy to retort injuries; the Countrey hath its share
  of huge stones, mighty Rocks, noble, free, Gentlemen, bountifull
  housekeepers, strong, and stout men, handsome, beautifull women,
  and (for any that I know) there is not one _Cornish_ Cuckold to be
  found in the whole County. In briefe they are in most plentifull
  manner happy in the abundance of right and left hand blessings.”

We supped, and read our correspondence, and despatched replies, and so
to rest in the sweetest smelling of sheets and the downiest of beds, in
bedrooms overlooking at a distance the Three Towns, the walls covered
with texts and coloured prints representative of the domestic virtues.

In the morning Saltash wore another aspect, and we rather congratulated
ourselves upon our choice. From our windows we saw the Hamoaze, the
twin-towers of Keyham Yard, and the ships of the navy at anchor,
among them the _Gorgon_, which the irreverent in these parts call the
_Gorgonzola_, one of those turreted battle-ships whose shape and form
can be closely imitated by taking a canoe and placing a portmanteau
amidships of it, with a drain-pipe at top of that, and a walking-stick
by way of mast--an unlovely type of vessel.

We were attracted, in the first instance, this morning, to Saint
Budeaux, across the river from Saltash; but its singularity of
nomenclature proved to be its only striking feature. The place is
now becoming a Plymouth suburb, of healthy condition and prosaic
appearance, encircled by military roads and forts, with scarps and
counterscarps, ravelins and guns, and ↑ War Office marks everywhere.
Sir Francis Drake was married in its church, and that, I think, is
Saint Budeaux’s only noteworthy incident.

We walked into Plymouth from here, and were thoroughly tired before
we reached its streets: distances round Plymouth are deceptive to

At every turn on the way there were evidences of the sea, either
in creeks, where the salt mud lay drying until the next tide, or
in distant masts and rigging seen over the house-tops of the town.
Town, did I say? Nay, not one, but three towns, for are not Plymouth,
Devonport, and Stonehouse coterminous, and famed in song and story as
the “Three Towns” in all the distinction that comes of capital letters?

Yet why not four towns? Why should not Stoke Damerel--that name
with the look and sound of some new and dreadful composite form of
swearing--why should not Stoke Damerel, of ancient name, be accounted
a fourth town? It is big enough, and certainly respectable enough,
despite its name, which, locally, is Stoke, _tout court_.

But in the growth of new districts here, how comes it that Ford is
not a fifth town, nor Morice Town a sixth? These things are not for
solution. Let us hie upon the Hoe again, and, by that disestablished
tower of Smeaton’s, strain our eyes toward the newer lighthouse
anchored on its reef far out to sea.

It is needful to get all the breeze you can before setting out upon
any pilgrimage through the Three Towns; for, truly, slums are not
peculiar to London. Coming westward, over Laira Bridge, and so through
to Torpoint Ferry, they are plenty and noisome; explore the Citadel and
the scaly, fishy purlieus of the Barbican; but leave, oh! leave those
slums to stew undisturbed.

[Illustration: SALTASH STATION.]

Better is it to voyage across the Sound to the loveliness and fresh
air and altogether sub-tropical domain of Mount Edgcumbe, whence
this trinity of towns may be seen stretched out like a plan, with
the Hamoaze, the many creeks and pools and inlets running in every

The beauty of Plymouth’s site is, indeed, undeniable, whosoever may
disparage it; nor may the splendour of its admirably centralised
public buildings be gainsaid. Plymouth Guildhall is one of the most
magnificent of modern buildings in the west--Gothic, good in design
and execution; its windows, filled with stained glass, representing
celebrated scenes in local history, from ancient days until that year
in the ’70’s, when the Prince of Wales opened this building. This
last event is duly shown in gorgeously tinted glass, but the Prince’s
frock-coat is scarcely beautiful nor his silk hat an ideally fit
subject for treatment in a stained-glass window. Let us laugh!


This morning we rambled down to Antony Passage, on the Lynher River,
and hailed the ferryman to put us across to Antony Park, on the
opposite shore. The Norman keep of Trematon Castle looks down from the
Saltash side on to a mud-creek spanned at its junction with the broad
Lynher by one of Brunel’s old wooden railway viaducts, its sturdy
timbers stalking across the ooze with curious effect.

Landed on the opposite shore, we walked through the beautifully wooded
park, passing Antony House, the seat of the Carews since the fifteenth
century. The house was rebuilt in 1721, but contains a fine collection
of old masters, among them a portrait of Richard Carew, who died in

Richard Carew, of Antony, was the author of the well-known “Survey of
Cornwall,” published in 1602. In the original edition the work is one
of great charm of manner, and the interspersed songs by the author are
instinct with grace and nicety of epithet. In a very much later edition
the editor has taken upon himself to modernise Carew’s orthography with
sorry results to his engaging style.

Not readily could one gather verses of such delightful conceits as
these, upon the Lynher River:--


   “When Sunne the earth least shadow spares,
      And highest stalles in heauen his seat,
    Then _Lyners_ peeble bones he bares,
      Who like a lambe, doth lowly bleat,
          And faintly sliding euery rock,
          Plucks from his foamy fleece a lock.

   “Before, a riuer, now a rill,
      Before, a fence, now scarce a bound:
    Children him ouer-leape at will,
      Small beasts, his deepest bottome sound.
          The heauens with brasse enarch his head,
          And earth, of yron makes his bed.

   “But when the milder-mooded skie,
      His face in mourning weedes doth wrap,
    For absence of his clearest die,
      And drops teares in his Centers lap,
          _Lyner_ gynnes Lyonlike to roare,
          And scornes old bankes should bound him more.

   “Then, Second Sea, he rolles, and bear’s,
      Rockes in his wombe, rickes on his backe,
    Downe-borne bridges, vptorne wear’s,
      Witnesse, and wayle, his force, their wracke,
          Into mens houses fierce he breakes,
          And on each stop, his rage he wreakes.

   “Shepheard adiew’s his swymming flocke,
      The Hinde his whelmed haruest hope,
    The strongest rampire fear’s his shocke,
      Plaines scarce can serue to giue him scope,
          Nor hils a barre; whereso he stray’th,
          Ensue, losse, terrour, ruine, death.”

And these verses show us the manner of the man:--

   “I Wayt not at the Lawyers gates,
    Ne shoulder clymers downe the stayres;
    I vaunt not manhood by debates,
    I enuy not the miser’s feares;
          But meane in state, and calme in sprite,
          My fishfull pond is my delight.

   “Where equall distant Hand viewes
    His forced banks, and Otters cage:
    Where salt and fresh the poole renues,
    As spring and drowth encrease or swage:
          Where boat presents his seruice prest,
          And well becomes the fishes nest;

   “There sucking Millet, swallowing Basse,
    Side-walking Crab, wry-mouthed Flooke,
    And slip-fist Eele, as euenings passe,
    For safe bayt at due place doe looke:
          Bold to approche, quick to espy,
          Greedy to catch, ready to fly.

   “In heat the top, in cold the deepe,
    In springe the mouth, the mids in neap;
    With changelesse change by shoales they keepe,
    Fat, fruitfull, ready, but not cheap;
          Thus meane in state, and calme in sprite,
          My fishfull pond is my delight.”

Antony village is considerably more than a mile distant from the park.
It stands picturesquely on the road to Liskeard, on rising ground,
entered past a communal tree, encircled with seats, after a good old
fashion that seems nowadays but rarely perpetuated.

In the little street of Antony is a library of the most rudimentary
type, a little reading-room supported by small subscriptions, and
supplied with a few weekly and daily newspapers. We turned the
door-handle and walked into this room of 10 × 7 feet; but, alas! there
instantly came across the road a woman in whom (evidently) was invested
the care of the place, who informed us that this was not a public
reading-room, and who held the door open in the most suggestive way. We

“I’m sorry,” observed the Wreck upon going, “that we have intruded: I
hope we have not injured your shanty.”

“No harm done,” replied the janitress, who was plainly acting upon a
painful sense of duty. We adjourned to the church, and after ascending
the many steps leading to it, sat down to argue the matter in the porch.

“See,” said the Wreck bitterly, “how despitefully one is used when
tramping about on a walking-tour and carrying these abominable things,”
and he unstrapped his knapsack with a vicious tug. “That woman ... took
us for tramps, and that sort of thing hurts one’s _amour propre_.”

“Very correct estimate, too,” said I, flicking the dust off my
boots with my handkerchief, “and one unlikely to tax her powers of
discernment to an inconvenient extent.”

“’Been swallowing a dictionary lately?” inquired the Wreck with biting

“No, Ollendorff, that is not my method.” And then relations became


So it fell out that I explored Antony church alone. A fair specimen
this of Perpendicular architecture, crowded with monuments to the
Carews of Antony, among them, one to the memory of the author of the
“Survey of Cornwall.” Part of the inscription in Latin is by his friend
Camden; the English verses are his own.

  “The verses following were written by Richard Carew of Antony Esq.
  immediately before his death (which happened the Sixth of November
  1620) as he was at his private prayers in his Study (his daily
  practice) at fower in the afternoon and being found in his Pocket
  were presented by his Grandsonne S^r Alexander Carew, according to
  whose desire they are here set up.

                           In Memory of him.

   “Full thirteen fiues of years I toyling haue o’repast
    And in the fowerteenth weary, entred am at last
    While Rocks, Sands, Stormes & leaks, to take my bark away
    By greif, troubles, sorrows, sickness, did essay
    And yet arriv’d I am not at the port of death,
    The port to euerlasting Life that openeth,
    My time uncertain Lord, long certain cannot be
    What’s best, to mee’s unknown; & only known to thee.
    O by repentance & amendment grant that I
    May still liue in thy fear & in thy favour dye.”

There remains in the chancel a handsome perpendicular brass for the
foundress of this church:

 “Margeria Arundell quonda dna de Est
  Anton filia Warini Erchedeken militis.”

A tablet on the wall of the south aisle, to Admiral Thomas Graves, of
Thanckes, and his wife, recites the lady’s relationship of first cousin
to “Mr. Addison.” It is quite refreshing to find the connection with
literature so proudly displayed: I don’t know, though, how much of this
recognition is due to the fame of Addison’s matrimonial alliance with
the Countess of Warwick. This thought, my literary friends, should give
us pause.

On the high ground near Antony are two huge modern forts, one
commanding the Lynher River, the other, looking over to seaward,
defending the western approaches to Plymouth Sound. Screasdon and
Tregantle Forts mount between them over 200 guns.

We reached the sea again at Downderry, passing to it through a
dishevelled village called Crafthole, where we saw our first Cornish
cross. Downderry is a small and very modern settlement of seaside
lodging-houses, set down amidst wild and lonely scenery beside the
treacherous sands of Whitesand Bay, in which many bathers have been

To come suddenly upon the lath-and-plaster crudities of Downderry in
midst of such scenery as this is to experience a cruel shock.

Downderry need detain no one.

From here it is a long, rough, and lonely walk to Looe, beside the sea;
now upon lofty cliffs, and again in deep valleys opening direct from
the water, with sandy shores and rocky rivulets running down from the
moorlands with laughing ripples and gushing cascades, all solitary and
peaceful. We halted in one of these remotenesses.


It was a beautiful valley. A little stream came tinkling down it from
the impressive moors beyond, and its course was made romantic by many
and huge and lichen-stained rocks; and a grey mill stood by it, with a
great wheel slowly turning, and covered with aqueous growths, hanging
and green, and bulged out dropsically, from whose pendant ends dropped
continually crystal-clear beads of water.

We unstrapped our knapsacks, and sat down upon the grass, and basked in
the sun a while. Then we essayed to cross the stepping-stones with the
knapsacks in our hands; but, finding this something of an undertaking,
we pitched them gently on the opposite bank.

But that bank was sloping, covered with short smooth grass, and
treacherous, so that both those knapsacks rolled back, and plunged into
the water and sank, sending up a succession of air-bubbles.

I am a truthful historian (between _these_ two covers, at any rate),
and write nothing but the truth; but I do not conceive myself to be
under the painful necessity of setting down the whole of it here,
therefore I refrain from printing the remarks with which we greeted
this disaster. In the language of the lady-novelist--“suffice it to
say” that those remarks were equal to such an occasion.

The salvage of those knapsacks was a matter of little difficulty; not
so the drying of their contents. We unpacked them, and spread them out
in the sunshine, and anchored the linen to the grass with big stones,
and chased the vagrant handkerchiefs, blown down the valley by the
wind. Then, when all things were securely laid out to dry, and the
neighbourhood began to look like a suburban garden on washing-day, we
began to find time hang heavily.

So--let me confess the childishness of it--we began the building of
a dam across the stream, with rocks for foundation, then a layer of
turves, then smaller pieces of granite, and, on top of these, bracken,
more turf, and rocks again. Once or twice, when the water on the upper
side of the dam had swelled, great breaches were made in it; but
at last we completed a wall so thick, substantial, and impervious,
contrived with such cunning alternations of material, that it afforded
quite a substantial foothold to us builders, and on its lower side the
bed of the stream became quite dry.

And ever, as the water from above rose and began to tip this creation
of ours, we added more courses to it, so that the reservoir above
became deep indeed, and the water began to invade the upper banks of
the stream.

I cannot hope to communicate to you the peculiar pleasure we took
in this, nor to give you an idea of the frantic haste with which
we grubbed up more turf and piled on more boulders. We achieved an
extraordinary enthusiasm in doing these things.

But time wore on: the Wreck was bending over our joint architecture,
putting (I think) an ornamental cornice on it by way of finishing
touch, when he fell off with a great splash and a shower of stones into
about three and a half feet of water, and lay grovelling there, full
length, while the dam burst apart like the opening of folding-doors,
and left him, in quicker time than I can write it, stranded,
but--no!--not dry.

Rarely have I laughed so long and so helplessly.

We reached Looe toward tea-time, as the melodious crash and tinkle of
tea “things” from the open doors of outlying cottages informed us.

Looe lay below us, precipitous, lovely, in a golden haze. Looe was
welcome, for the rocky walking of the afternoon had developed blisters.
Below, directly in our path, lay an inn with a sign bespeaking “warmest
welcome,” to quote from Shenstone. It was the “Salutation.” But the
reception, though polite enough, belied the sign. The “missis” was out,
said the landlord; he could not get us tea.

Then we had to seek elsewhere, finally to find tea and a haven for the
night at the “Ship.”


Looe is a little place, yet it hums with life quite as loudly, in
proportion, as any hive. Carts, all innocent of springs, rattle
thunderously up and down its steep and narrow streets and lanes; the
voices of them that cry pilchards are heard continually; the noise
of the quays and the roar of the waves, the chiming of the Guildhall
clock, and the blundering of sea-boots upon cobble-stones, help to
swell the noise of as noisy a town for its size as you shall find.
There is always, too, the shouting and yeo-ho-ing of the seamen in
the harbour, and the tinkle of windlasses echoes all day across Looe
River, mingled with the screaming of the sea-gulls in the bay.

As Looe River runs toward the sea, the valley narrows until, in its
last hundred yards, it becomes a narrow gorge, with rugged rocks and
precipitous hills on either side, and as you stand facing the sea,
but a few yards from the diminutive beach, you are in receipt of an
effect theatrical in its romantic exaggeration, and instantly your
mind is filled with vague visions of the highly coloured nautical
scenes long peculiar to the Transpontine Drama, now sacred to the
memory of G. P. R. James and T. P. Cooke. The proper complement of this
stage-like piece of foreshore would be, you feel certain, a row of
footlights, and the eye wanders right and left for the wings, whence
should come the virtuous sailor, the Dick Dauntless of the piece, with
his Union Jack, pigtail, quid, and hornpipe, all complete; with straw
hat, blue jacket, brass-buttoned, and trousers of spotless white; his
whiskers curled in ringlets, and his mouth full of plug tobacco and
sentiments of the most courageous virtue. He should come on, furiously
hitching his slacks as he rolls, rather than walks, upon the boards,
waving his Union Jack and brandishing a cutlass--though, how he is to
do all this at once with only two hands is more than I can tell you.

[Illustration: _Detail of balusters._


You scan the offing for the piratical-looking craft, which, to be in
keeping, _should_ be tacking outside the harbour--but isn’t--murmuring
to yourself softly the while, “once aboard the lugger;” and your
reflections are brought back smartly to everyday matters by the
suggestion of a (comparatively) prosaic fisherman that it is a “fine
day for a sail.” You look upon the rolling deep, and with misgivings
turn sadly away in the direction of the Ship Hotel.


At the “Ship” were many visitors, so for one night we had to lodge
out, at the house of a dour, dreary-looking bootmaker. We breakfasted,
though, at the hotel, and arrived there in time to find one of the
guests conning the sketch-book I had left by misadventure in the
coffee-room overnight. The man was all apology and nervousness,
and upset a cup of tea over sketch-book and table-cloth. Then he
retired confusedly to a couch at the other end of the room, where he
immediately sat down on my hat. After this he went out, and probably
did some more damage on the cumulative principle.

There are several morals to this pathetic episode, of which undoubtedly
the most striking is, “Don’t leave your hat on the sofa.”

They have a visitors’ book at the “Ship,” from which I have culled some
examples. The visitors’ book at an hotel is ever my first quest. Its
contents, though, are mostly sorry stuff: praises of food supplied, and
the moderation of the charges--forms of eulogy particularly distasteful
to myself. But let us to our Looe versicles:--

   “Dear Friend, be warned ere first you visit Looe;
    Its charms are many and its drawbacks few,
    Lest home and duties all alike forsook,
    You fall beneath the charms of Host and Hostess Cook;
    The fare is sweet, the charges just and low
    (I’ve travelled much, so surely ought to know,
    ’Neath Syren’s rocks I’ve heard the eddying Rhine,
    In Bingen’s bowers drunk the native wine,
    On Baltic’s wave have watched the setting sun,
    In France’s fields have met the peaceful nun,
    In Wales have wandered by the trout-streamed hill,
    On Scotland’s highlands paid the longest bill)
    Our host is not a lawyer, yet his conveyance cheap
    Will bear you to Polperro, from thence to Fowey steep,
    From threatening Cheesewing gaze on oceans twain,
    At night at billiards try a _coup de main_,[8]
    But yet, I’m sure, as day still follows day
    ’Twill find you anxious more and more to stay,
    Delighted, charmed, with lotus-eating mind,
    List! Menheniot’s horn and you are left behind!”


   “At East Looe, R.S.O., you’ll find
    A ‘Ship’ in which you’ll make your home;
    ’Tis safely anchor’d near the shore
    Above the angry billows’ foam.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Three voyages in this ‘Ship’ I’ve made,
    The wind was fair, the ocean calm:--
    And ‘Captain Cook,’ he knows his book,
    His wife’s and sister’s hearts are warm.”

[Illustration: THE “JOLLY SAILOR.”]

But “Captain” Cook did not know his book sufficiently well to know that
he had entertained a minor poet unawares. In the Visitors’ Book is the
signature of Mr. Edmund Gosse, and the landlord had no recollection of
him, although his visit had been, as another poet (_minimis!_) sings,
“only a year ago.”

   “The ‘Captain’s’ wife and sister too
    Will do their best to make your lip
    So much enjoy your food[9] that you
    Again will take another trip
    In that most comfortable ‘Ship.’”


   “At Looe again: This makes my Trinity
    Of visits here; that is, they number Three.
    Despite storms, wrecks, and stress of life
    I anchor here, away from strife
    For briefest stay.”...


We left Looe in the late afternoon, and toiled up the steep and
stony hill that begins to ascend directly after the “Jolly Sailor”
is passed. Atop of this hill we immediately and perversely lost our
way, and the remainder of the afternoon was spent in plunging through
“town-places”[10] and fields, and climbing over Cornish hedges, until
we reached the church of Talland, nestling under the lee of the hills
that run down precipitously to Talland Bay. Talland Church is peculiar
in having its tower set apart from the main building, and connected
with it only by an archway. But its peculiarities do not end here, for
the place is very much of a museum of antiquities, and epitaphs of an
absurdly quaint character abound. I am afraid Talland Church echoed
with our laughter, more than was seemly, on this diverting afternoon.
Here is an example:--

                             “In Memory of
                     HUGH FOWLER Who Departed this
                    Life the 10^{th} day of August.
                  In y^e year 1771. Aged 50 years Old.

    Afflictions Sore Long time I’ve Bore
    Physitions ware in Vain
    Till God was Pleased Death should me seise
    And Ease me of my Pain
    Welcome Sweet Day of Rest
    I am Content to ‘Die
    My Soul forsakes her vain Delight
    And bids the World farewel;
    Mourn not for me my Wife an Child so Dear
    I am not Dead but sleeping hear,
    Farewel Vain world Ive seen Enough of thee
    And now I am carles what thou says of me
    Thy smiles I Court not nor thy frowns I fear
    My Glass is Run my Head Lays kuiet here
    What Faults you seen in me take care to shun
    And Luck at home Enough there’s to be don.

                    _Also_ with thin lie the remains
                     of Elizabeth his Wife who Died
                    the 6 day of April 1789 Aged 69

[Illustration: SEAL OF WEST LOOE.]

Pursy cherubs of oleaginous appearance, and middle-aged double-chinned
angels wearing pyjamas, decorate, with weirdly humorous aspect, the
ledger-stone on which this crazy-patchwork epitaph is engraved, and
grin upon you from the pavement with the half-obliterated grins of a
century and more. One of them is pointing with his claw to an object
somewhat resembling a crumpled dress-tie, set up on end, probably
intended for an hour-glass. Here are some of these devices, reproduced
exactly, neither extenuated nor with aught of exaggeration.

[Illustration: Talland Cherubs]

The low and roomy building, in places green with damp, is paved with
mutilated ledger-stones, whose fragments have long ago suffered what
seems to be an abiding divorce, so that disjointed invocations, and
sacred names, and gruesome injunctions to “Prepare for Death,” start
into being as you pace the floor. Here, too, more than in any other
place, do people seem moved to verse in commemorating their departed
friends, not infrequently casting their elegies in the first person,
so that the dead of Talland appear to a casual observer to be the most
conceited and egotistical of corpses. Of this type, the following
epitaph is perhaps the most striking:--

                            to the memory of
                              ROBERT MARK;
                  late of Polperro, who Unfortunately
               was _shot at Sea_ the 24^{th} day of Jan^y
                      in the Year of our LORD GOD
                 1802, in the 40^{th} Year of His AGE.

    In prime of Life most suddenly,
      Sad tidings to relate;
    Here view My utter destiny,
      And pity My sad state:
    I by a shot, which Rapid flew,
      Was instantly struck dead;
    LORD pardon the Offender who,
      My precious blood did shed.
    Grant Him to rest and forgive Me,
      All I have done amiss;
    And that I may Rewarded be,
      With Euerlasting Bliss.”

Now, this Robert Mark was a smuggler. He was at the helm of a boat
which had been obliged to run before a revenue cutter, and the boat was
at the point of escaping when the cutters crew opened fire, killing him
on the spot.

But the most curious of all the epitaphs within the church of Talland
is that engraved on the monument to “John Bevyll of Kyllygath.” The
monument is an imposing edifice of slate, in the south aisle, with a
figure of John Bevyll, habited in a curious Elizabethan costume, carved
in somewhat high relief on top. The verses are the more curious, in
that they employ archaic heraldic terms, now little known. They set out
by describing the Bevyll arms, “A Rubye Bull in Perle Filde”--that is
to say, in modern heraldry, a _Bull gules in a field argent_:--

   “A Rubye Bull in Perle Filde;
    doth shewe by strength & hew
    A youth full wight yet chast & cleane
    to wedded feere moste trew.
    From diamonde Beare in Perle plot
    aleevinge he achived
    By stronge and stedfast constancy
    in chastnes still conciued.
    To make all vp a mach he made
    with natiue Millets plaste
    In natiue seate, so nature hath
    the former vertues graste
    His Prince he serud in good regard
    twyce Shereeve and so iust
    That iustlye still on Justice seate
    Three princes him did trust.
    Suche was his lyfe and suche his death,
    whos corps full low doth lye.
    Whilste Soule by Christe to happy state
    with hym doth rest on hye.
    Learne by his life suche life to leade,
    his death let platform bee.
    In life to shun the caufe of death,
    that Christe maye leeve in thee.”

   “John Bevyll lyued yeares threscore three & then did yealde to dye
    He dyd bequeath his soule to God, his corps herein to lye.”

Below are very circumstantial accounts of the marriages and
intermarryings of the Bevyll family, and on the old bench ends of the
church their arms are displayed with countless quarterings.

The growing dimness in the church warned us of departing day, and so
we went out into the churchyard, glancing as we passed at the many
mournful inscriptions to sailors and fishermen drowned at sea.

Among the old stones the following epitaph attracted our attention; it
is a gem of grotesqueness.

   “Lament not for we our Mother So Dear no more in Vain
    If you have Lost ’tis we have Gain, we are gone to See----
    Our Deariest Friends that Dweell Above them will we go an see
    And all our Friends that Dweell in Christ below
    Will soon Come after we.”

Talland is a wild and lonely spot even in these crowded days: a hundred
years ago, it was a place to be shunned by reason of devils, wraiths,
and fearful apparitions, that (according to the country folk) haunted
the neighbourhood. But these tricksy sprites found their match in
the vicar of Talland for the time being, a noted devil-queller, and
layer of gnomes, known far and wide as Parson Dodge, a cleric who
never failed to exorcise the most malignant of demons; a clergyman
before whom Satanus himself, to say nothing of his troops of fearful
wild-fowl, was popularly believed to tremble and flee discomfited. Not
only did Parson Dodge attend to the evil spirits of his own parish,
he was constantly in requisition throughout the county, and, so
workmanlike were his methods, I don’t believe there is an active devil
of any importance in Cornwall at this day.

The vicarage was a spot to be approached with fear o’ nights, for it
was reputed to be the resort of the parson’s familiars, who assembled
there to do his bidding, and the place to which came baffled and
unwilling imps to be finally exorcised. Whatever truth there may have
been in these things, there can be little doubt, I fear, that Talland
was the scene of many successful “runs” by smugglers, in which Parson
Dodge took no inactive part. Supernatural spirits, it may shrewdly be
surmised, were not the only ones in which that redoubtable minister was


Our map made the road from here to Polperro look like two miles;
imagine our joy therefore when, after climbing the steepest hill we
have seen in these parts, and after walking about a mile, we became
aware of the imminence of that fishing village (or, as Jonathan Couch
would have said--town) by seeing the blue smoke from its unseen houses
rising in a clearly defined bank from an abyssmal ravine into the
calmness of the evening air. “This,” said the Wreck, “must be--the
devil.” This emphatic and earnest ending to his sentence had no
reference to Polperro, I hasten to add, except in so far as it was
occasioned by Polperro stones, one of which had turned my luckless
companion’s ankle almost to spraining point. After this we proceeded
cautiously, for not only were stones large and loose withal, but they
were plentiful as well, and the descending lane was of a preposterous

Country folks gave us good night as we passed them, and several
women-artists we overtook, going home after the day’s daubing; then we
ended our descent.

It was quite dark when we at length sounded the depths of this narrow
valley, and so into the miserable streets of Polperro. We turned to the
left, and came upon the harbour. “No inn to be seen,” said I, as we
climbed some rock stairs, and presently came out of the farther end of
Polperro, upon the cliffs. So we turned back, and after groping on to
an approximate level, came in a little while within sight and hearing
of the sign of the “Three Pilchards,” swinging noisily overhead, and
saw the little window of the inn, not yet shuttered, giving glances
into the cavernous interior.

We adventured into the murk of the place, and our boots scratched
gratingly upon the sanded-stone floor. A bulky form came noisily, with
the clumping of sea-boots, along the passage, from regions of which the
darkness gave no hint.

“Can we put up here for the night?” quoth I somewhat dubiously of this
dimly seen figure, capped, blue jerseyed, and trousered in soiled
ducks, that confronted us.

“Sure-ly,” said he, and disappeared to trim and light a lamp. This was
evidently the landlord.

“And tea?” chorussed the Wreck.

“Yes, sir,” replied the landlord’s voice, apparently from the remote
recesses of some distant cupboard.

So we sat down in the combination of bar-kitchen-parlour and
living-room, and studied the beer-rings on the table in the gloaming of
the window, until, under favour of Providence, our host should return.
This he did eventually, bearing a lighted lamp, which he proceeded
to hang from the ceiling. Then came another journey, and a return
with sticks, paper, and matches, when he lighted the fire and put the
water on to boil, blowing up the sticks and coals with bellows of a
prodigious bigness. There was something diverting in the spectacle of
this rough, grizzled, seafaring innkeeper making up the fire for tea
like any housewife.

Meanwhile we sat and waited and chatted with our host until the water
boiled, when, after much preparation, we were ushered into a room on
the other side of the entrance passage, and left to tea and ourselves.
“If you want anything more, please to ask for it,” said the landlord as
he shut the door.

Ye gods! the chilling dampness of that room, and the fustiness of
it, with ancient reeks of the sea! It was whitewashed, and hung
with brightly coloured almanacs from the grocer’s, and here and
there, startlingly black and white, appeared framed memorial-cards
commemorating domestic losses. We required no skeleton at the feast
after this, but sat down to tea, sufficiently damped by the dismal
light of--yes--a long-wicked dip in a brass candlestick!

“Hang it,” remarked the Wreck, observing no teapot, “where’s the tea?”
and just then his eye lighted on what should have been the hot-water
jug. _There_ was the tea, sure enough, in the jug! But not the most
diligent search could discover any milk, so I put my head out o’ door
and asked for some. The landlord was doubtful of procuring any in
Polperro that night, but would send his boy out on the chance, unless,
indeed, we would like condensed milk.

But our souls sickened at the thought of it, and fortunately some
decent milk was had at last. Said the landlord again, as he closed the
door, “If you want anything more, please to ask for it.” It occurred to
us, however, that we had better make content with what we had, for by
the time our very ordinary wants had been satisfied, the night would
have been far spent indeed.

There was a nasty indescribable tang about that tea, and even the bread
and butter was horrid. We were very hungry, and so made shift to eat a
little bread and butter, but the tea we poured out of window.

Then we went out in the darkness of the lanes to see how Polperro
showed at night. To walk along those lanes was an experience analogous
to getting one’s sea-legs on an ocean-going sailing craft. The night
was so dark, and the cobble-stone pavements so uneven, that the taking
of each step was a problem of moment.

[Illustration: AN OLD SHOP, POLPERRO.]

This was a Saturday night, and much business (for Polperro) was being
transacted. Little shops shed glow-worm lights across the roadways,
and on to rugged walls, which acted in some sort the part of the sheet
in magic-lantern entertainments; that is to say, the little patches
of comparative brilliancy exhibited exaggerated replicas of the
window’s contents. Loaves of bread on the baker’s shelves assumed, in
this sordid magic, the gigantic size of the free loaf in old-time Anti
Corn-Law demonstrations; the sweetstuff bottles in the windows of the
general shops argued, not ounces, but pounds of stickinesses; and the
wavering shadows of customers’ and shopkeepers’ figures seemed like
the forms of giants, alternately squat and long-drawn, contending for
these gargantuan delicacies. I burned to picture these things, not in
words, but by other methods. My companion hungered still, and truth to
tell, so did I; and so we bought some biscuits and munched them as we
went. We eventually returned to the “Three Pilchards” and went to bed,
escorted by the landlord with a dip stuck in a ginger-beer bottle. I
_must_ say, though, that _we_ were given candlesticks.

The next morning, being Sunday, the landlord had “cleaned” himself with
more than usual care, and appeared resplendently arrayed in a suit of
glossy black cloth, of the kind which I believe is called “doe-skin.”
He shut us in the sitting-room to breakfast, which was waiting, and,
before disappearing, repeated his usual formula.

After breakfast, we covenanted to return at one o’clock for dinner, and
went out upon the headlands that guard with jagged rocks the narrow gut
of Polperro. It was the quietest of days; even the screaming sea-gulls’
cries were less persistent than on week-days; and the male population
of the place lay idly on the rocks, or lounged, gossiping, at sunny
corners of the lanes, while the mid-day meal cooked within doors. But
above all the grateful kitchen odours rose the scent of the fish offal
that, with the ebbing of the tide, lay stranded in the ooze of the
harbour, and bubbled and fermented in the heat of the sun, vindicating
the country folk, who call the place Polstink.

Down in the lanes, as we returned, the wafts of the fish-cellars filled
the air. One hundred and twenty-four years ago--on Friday, September
the sixteenth, 1760, to be particular--the Rev. John Wesley “rode
through heavy rain to Paulperow,” as he tells us in his “Journal.”
“Here,” says he, “the room over which we were to lodge, being filled
with pilchards and conger-eels, the perfume was too potent for me, so
that I was not sorry when one of our friends invited me to lodge at
her house.” But, indeed, Polperro did not show its best face to Wesley
at any time, for, of his first visit here, which happened six years
before this, he says, “Came about two to Poleperrow, a little village,
four hours’ ride from Plymouth Passage, surrounded with huge mountains.
However, abundance of people had found their way thither. And so had
Satan too: for an old, grey-headed sinner was bitterly cursing all the
Methodists just as we came into the town.”

To pass a Sunday at Polperro is to experience how empty and miserable
a day of rest may become. We dined off the homely fare offered us at
the “Three Pilchards,” and sighed for tea-time, and at tea-time sighed
for bed. Arrived between the sheets, we fell asleep, longing for the
morrow, when the hum of this work-a-day world would recommence.


This morn we breakfasted betimes, settled our modest score, and trudged
away, up steep hillsides and across meadows, to Lansallos, and from
Lansallos to Lanteglos-juxta-Fowey.

We came to Lanteglos before (according to the map) we had any right so
to do, going to it through steep hillside fields. I don’t think there
is any village to speak of, but there is a fine church, picturesquely
out of plumb, with a four-staged tower, strong and plain, without
buttresses, standing, with its churchyard, beside a “farm-place,” as
the Cornish folk sometimes call their farm-yards, filled with great
stacks of corn, stilted on long rows of stone staddles.

There stands beside the church porch one of the finest crosses to be
found in Cornwall, of fifteenth-century date, with head elaborately
sculptured into tabernacles, containing representations of the Virgin
and Child, the Crucifixion, and two figures of saints. This cross was
discovered some years ago, buried in the churchyard, and was set up
by the then vicar in its present position, with a millstone by way of

The guide-books tell of great store of brasses within the church;
but the building was locked, the keys were at a cottage far down the
valley, the sun was hot, and, lastly but not least, we were lazy; so we
only stayed and sketched the exterior, and peered through the windows
at the whitewashed walls and old-fashioned pews, and presently went


From Lanteglos good but steep roads lead down to Polruan, a manner of
over-the-water suburb of Fowey, set picturesquely on the west shore of
Fowey River. As we went down the steep street, children were singing
the ribald song which pervaded London, and the country generally,
all last year. I am not going to name it here; let it die, and be
deservedly forgotten. But, _par parenthèse_, I will put a question here
to philosophers. We know at what rate light travels, and sound too, but
at what rate of speed does the comic song fare on its baleful course?
Who, again, shall estimate how rapidly the contagion spreads of those
now happily defunct songs of an appalling sentimentality--“See-Saw,”
“The Maid of the Mill,” or, to sound deeper depths, “Annie Rooney,” and
“White Wings”?

A ferry runs between Polruan and Fowey, the latter a town that has
grown from its former estate of slumberous seaport into a “resort” of
quite a fashionable and exclusive flavour. It is “still growing”--worse
luck. The visitor may easily recognise Fowey as the original of “Troy
Town,” by “Q.,” whose initial, being interpreted, stands for Mr. A. T.
Quiller-Couch, himself a Cornishman. The salient features of Fowey to
the eye, the nose, the ear, and the mind are sea- and land-scapes of
wondrous beauty, fish odours, the clangour of a disreputable brass
band, and historical legends of a peculiarly romantic character.

A wonderful old church of a peculiar dedication--Saint
Finbarrus--stands in midst of Fowey town. We explored its interior on
the evening of our stay at Fowey, attracted by its lighted windows and
the weekly practising of the choir then going forward. The chancel
was lit up, and the church itself lay either in deep shadow or in
mysterious half-lighting. The choir and the choirmaster, standing in
the gas-lit circle, with the broad pointed arches of the nave arcade
yawning around them, and the queer memorials of centuries ago, with
their figures of dames and knights, touched to uncanny resemblances by
the incidence of the shadows, made an extremely delightful picture, and
one eminently paintable.

There are many Treffrys and Rashleighs buried within Saint
Finbar’s--two families with which the history of Fowey is interwoven.
One John Treffry, buried here, seems to have been something of an
eccentric, for he had his grave dug during his lifetime, and lay down
and swore in it, “to shew the sexton a novelty.” His epitaph is a
curious jingle--the work of the man himself, one would say. Here it is--

   “Here in this Chancell do I ly
    Known by the name of John Treffry
    Being made & born for to dye
    So must thou friend as well as I
    Therefore Good works be Sure to try
    But chiefly love and charity
    And still on them with faith rely
    So be happy eternally.”

This epitaph to Mary Courtney is not without a certain sweetness of

                 “In Memory of Mary y^e daughter
                  of Sir Peter Courtney of Trethurffe:
                  who dyed the 14^{th} day of June, in
                  the year of our Lord

    Neer this a rare Jewell’s Sa’t,
    Clos’d uppe in a cabinet:
    Let no sacrilegious hand
    Breake through: ’tis y^e Strickt Comaund
    of the Jeweller: who hath Sayd
    (And ’tis fit he be obayd)
    He require it Safe, and Sound,
    Both aboue and under Ground:
    This Mary was Grandafter to Jonathan
    Raishleighe of Menebilly Esq^r.”

Choir practice ended, the church was closed, and we were cast forth
upon the streets with the tail end of the evening before us. Fowey is
a seaside town, singular in having no sands and no recognised public
promenade; there was nothing to do then but to spend the evening at
our hotel over our maps and notes. We had by this time collected an
intolerable quantity of the tourists’ usual lumber. Fossils, lumps
of tin and copper ore, and fragments of granite would drop from our
knapsacks upon the least provocation, or upon no provocation whatever.
We amalgamated our hoards, threw away a goodly percentage, and sent the
remainder of the relics up to London.

I don’t like to think about the cost of their carriage. It was, like
the relics, collectively, and in detail, heavy. Of what use are the
things after all? You shall hear.

At this moment of writing up the journal of our tour it is Christmas
time, and waits are lingering in the street below me, howling dismally.
I have noiselessly opened the window, and thrown an ammonite at them
from the vantage-point of the second floor. It is to be hoped that one
or other of them was as much struck by it as I was (but in a different
sense) when I found it in Cornwall. But that ammonite was as large as
a saucer, and, considering that costly freight from the west, somewhat
expensive ammunition. Coals would have been cheaper, less compromising,
and quite as effective. I say less compromising, because, if any one
is severely hurt, ammonites are not so common in London but what their
possession might readily be traced.

But, sooth to say, they, with the tin ore and the lumps of granite,
have become almost expended by now, and generally for the prompt
dispersal of the nomadic cats, in full voice, who haunt the areas of
our street.

These spoils of our touring were handier after all than coals, which
blacken the hands, or soap, for which the morning finds a use; but I
sometimes wonder who finds them, the very aristocracy of missiles,
hurtled through midnight air from lofty eyrie upon pavements deserted
by all save the slow-pacing policeman and those aforementioned
disturbers of the peace.


We discharged a heavy bill this morning on leaving our hotel, but
consoled ourselves with thinking upon the law of averages, by which our
next account should be proportionably light. The morning was dull, and
mists occasionally dispersed, apparently only to let some drenching
showers through to fall upon us; and when we reached Par, we heard the
birds chirping in the trees between the showers, in that way which
(experience told us) betokened more rain.

Par is a little seaport, with a station on the Great Western Railway,
which is also the junction for the North Cornwall lines and for the
short branch to Fowey. Imagine a small, accurately semicircular bay,
with a sparse fringe of mean whitewashed cottages abutting upon sands,
partly overgrown with bents, the sea-poppy, and coarse grass. Add to
these a long jetty, a thick cluster of small brigs, a smelting works,
with monumentally tall chimney-stack, and in the background, the
railway and green hillsides, and you have Par. For the life of the
place, add some rumbling carts and waggons, filled with china-clay,
rattling their way down to the jetty with their drivers; some three or
four whitewashed-looking men, lounging and drinking at the “Welcome
Home” Inn; the whistle and noise of an occasional train; a housewife
hanging clothes out to dry in a garden, and there you have the full
tide of existence at this Cornish seaport toward mid-day. To these
incidents were added, when we passed by, a diverting contest in the
roadway between a cat and a valorous rooster, their bone of contention,
a bone, literally as well as metaphorically. But the cat, having seized
the prize at last, vanished with it round a corner, like a streak of
lightning, the cockerel after him, and all was quiet again. It will
show the quietness of Par when I say that no one but ourselves was
attracted by this singular tourney.

The tide was out when we reached Par, and we saw how, when the ebb is
at its lowest here, the flat sands stretch an unconscionable distance.
The derelict seaweed, wetted by the rain and drying in the moist heat
of the day, gave out a very full-flavoured, maritime odour, and “smelt
so Par,” if one may be allowed to thus irreverently parody the Prince
of Denmark’s disgust with Yorick’s skull. It is confidently believed
that the present writer is the first to discover this Shakespearian
interest connected with Par.


Close by, at Castledour, corrupted to Castle Door in these days,
stands a tall granite post, inscribed with some half-obliterated Roman
inscription. An old Cornish historian tells, in quaint language, of an
adventure which befell here.

  “In a high way neere this toune (says Carew) there lieth a big and
  long moore stone, containing the remainder of certaine ingraued
  letters, purporting some memorable antiquity, as it should seeme,
  but past ability of reading.

  “Not many yeres sithence, a Gentleman, dwelling not farre off,
  was perswaded, by some information, or imagination, that treasure
  lay hidden vnder this stone: wherefore, in a faire Moone-shine
  night, thither with certaine good fellowes hee hyeth to dig it vp:
  a working they fall, their labour shortneth, their hope increaseth,
  a pot of Gold is the least of their expectation. But see the
  chance. In midst of their toyling, the skie gathereth clouds, the
  Moone-light is ouer-cast with darkenesse, doune fals a mightie
  showre, vp riseth a blustering tempest, the thunder cracketh,
  the lightning flasheth: in conclusion, our money-seekers washed,
  instead of loden; or loden with water, in steade of yellow earth,
  and more afraid then hurt, are forced to abandon their enterprise,
  and seeke shelter of the next house they could get into. Whether
  this proceedeth from a naturall accident, or a working of the
  diuell, I will not,” says our historian, “vndertake to define. It
  may bee, God giueth him such power ouer those, who begin a matter,
  vpon covetousnesse to game by extra-ordinarie meanes, and prosecute
  it with a wrong, in entring and breaking another mans land, without
  his leaue, and direct the end thereof, to the princes defrauding,
  whose prerogatiue challengeth these casualties.”

In a wild moorland district like this, the devil, you will see, was
likely to have the credit of anything that might happen. Even to-day,
the countryside round about Par and Saint Austell is hardly less rugged
and lonely than it was in the seventeenth century. Still, we are much
more materialistic nowadays, and such happenings as that just quoted
could scarcely fail of classification under the head of “natural

[Illustration: A CORNISH MOOR.]

But the great mining-field of Saint Austell (“Storsel,” in the local
pronunciation), which begins here, almost deserted to-day, its
engine-houses wrecked, its great heaps of mine refuse bare and gaunt,
has taken on an air of desolation more favourable to uncanny beings
than ever. It is not because the tin and copper have “petered out”
that this once busy stretch of country now wears the air of some
long-deserted mushroom-field of mining industry, sprung up suddenly,
and untimely withered, like the Californian goldfields of pioneer
times. No, the metals are still there, but at such depths and held
in such iron grip of hard-hearted granite, that it would not pay to
win the ore with the machinery available at this time. Meanwhile, the
Cornish miners have mostly emigrated. To-day, if you would see the
Cornishman in full work on his congenial and hereditary employments of
tin and copper mining, you should go either to the Straits Settlements
or to Australia, whence comes the greater part of those metals in these

There, in some Wooloomooloo, or other place of name infinitely
repetitive, you shall, who seek, find him; but in Cornwall his kind
tends to decrease continually.

But round about Par and Saint Austell enough metal remains to keep
some few important mines at work; china-clay, too, is an increasingly
important article of commerce. The streams and rivulets that hereabouts
run down into Saint Austell or Tywardreath Bay are the very tricolours
of water-courses--rust-red with pumpings from the mines, milk-white
from the washings of china-clay, and, unpolluted, reflecting the
heavenly blue of sunny skies.

A long and grimy road leads past Holmbush and Mount Charles to Saint
Austell, all the way rutted with the wheels of heavy waggons, and muddy
from the rains.

I remember that, when we were dining at Fowey, we were told by a
Cornishman with whom we talked that Saint Austell was the richest town
in Cornwall. I do not wish to dispute that statement, for, with that
town’s busy neighbourhood of mines, and, more particularly, china-clay
works, it would seem to be in receipt of a very great deal of commerce.
Waggons, piled up with great lumps of china-clay, are continually
lumbering through its narrow and crooked streets; its shops are many
and well appointed; and, earnest of enterprise and prosperity, Saint
Austell is lighted by electricity, in the streets, and for domestic
use; it was, in fact, a pioneer in the movement for the lighting of
towns by electricity. But, with all these signs of wealth, the town
is not attractive. Saint Austell remains a market-town of gloomy
architecture and cramped thoroughfares, whose foot-pavements, of meagre
proportions, would not suffice for the accommodation of a village.
Yet the people who are seen in these streets are smartly dressed, and
altogether un-provincial in appearance. We saw costumes, not few nor
far between, that rivalled Bond Street or Piccadilly.

I remarked upon this to the Wreck, who, having had his full share of
Saint Austell’s muddy streets, was sarcastically inclined, and observed
that, if it was a swell town in one particular, it was a pity that
particularity did not extend to its pavements, which had, apparently,

[Illustration: Font. Saint Austell.]

We lunched at as well-appointed a restaurant as might have been found
at the West End of London, and then looked through the very fine church
that stands in midst of the town. It contains a very early font,
sculptured in granite, the bowl of it covered with the Early Norman
ideas of owls and griffins, and fearful things that surely never flew
in air, or walked the earth, or swam the sea. The church of Saint
Austell has one of the finest of Cornish church-towers, lofty and
pinnacled, and covered, over the upper stages of it, with much panelled
work, and about the body of it with sculptured emblems of the Passion
and Crucifixion. The hammer and nails, the crown of thorns, the ladder,
are sculptured in groups, together with pierced hands and feet; and so
greatly has the significance of these emblems been lost, that many of
them are popularly supposed to represent miners’ tools.


And now it came on to rain with a deadly persistence that would have
daunted us from setting out for Mevagissey had not letters been
awaiting us at the post-office there. We set out at five o’clock in the
afternoon, conveyed by the damp and undignified medium of a carrier’s
cart without a tilt, crowded with country women returning from market,
whose umbrellas sent trickling streams down our necks. Great pools
of rain-water collected in the depressions of the tarpaulin that
covered our knees, and washed furiously about as we were driven along
the steep roads to the coast, so that we mentally prayed either for
shine or Mevagissey. Just as we reached that odorous port, the rain
ceased. We alighted (disembarked, I was about to say) “dem’d moist
unpleasant bodies,” and asked the carrier as to the hotel. He said the
“Ship” was the first hotel in the place, and to that sign we went. The
“hotel” proved to be an inn, and the landlord of it wore an absurd
air of astonishment when we proposed to stay there: he recommended us
to private lodgings. This was scarcely a promising introduction to
Mevagissey. It remotely resembled the reception accorded John Taylor,
the “Water Poet,” on his travels in 1649.

  He “trauelled twelue miles to a fisher Towne called _Mevageasie_;
  that Towne hath in it two Tauernes, and six Ale-houses, to euery
  one of which I went for lodging, and not anyone would harbour me,
  then I fought for a Constable to helpe me, but no Constable was
  to be found;[11] the people all wondring at me, as if I had been
  some strange Beast, or Monster brought out of _Affrica_; at which
  most incivill and barbarous useage, I began to be angry, and I
  perceiving that no body cared for my anger, I discreetely went
  into the house where I first demanded lodging; where the Hoste
  being very willing to give me the courteous entertainement of _Iack
  Drum_ commanded me very kindely to get me out of dores, for there
  was no roome for me to lodge in. I told her that I would honestly
  pay for what I tooke, and that if I could not haue a bed, yet I
  was sure of a house over my head, and that I would not out till
  the morning: with that a young saucy knave told me that if I would
  not go out, he would throw me out, at which words my choller grew
  high, my indignation hot, and my fury fiery, so that I arose from
  a bench, went to my youth, and dared to the combate: whereat the
  Hostesse (with feare and trembling) desired me to be quiet, and I
  should haue a bed, at which words my wrath was appeased, and my ire

  “But straite wayes another storme seemed to appeare for an ancient
  Gentleman came suddenly out of another Roome (who had heard all
  the former friendly passages,) and hee told mee that I should not
  lodge there, for though I had sought and not found a Constable, yet
  I should know that I had found a Justice of Peace before I sought
  him; and that he would see me safely lodged: I was somewhat amazed
  at his words, and answered him, Let him doe his pleasure, for I
  submitted my selfe to his disposall.

  “To which he replyde, That I should go but halfe a mile with him
  to his house, which I did, and there his good Wife and he did
  entertayne me courteously, with such fare and lodging as might have
  accommodated any Gentleman of more worth and better quality then
  one that had been ten times in degree before me: There I stayd
  the Saturday, and all the Sunday, where I found more Protestant
  Religion in 2 dayes, then I had in 5 yeers before. The Gentlemans
  name is Mr. _Iohn Carew_, a Gentleman of noble and ancient descent,
  and a worthy Iustice of the Peace in those parts.”

We eventually found very comfortable rooms at a delightful villa-like
house, looking directly on to the sea, beating in upon a rocky shore.
This was the second place in which we touched the fringe of the titled
aristocracy. Our landlady, upon our arrival, proudly showed us the
fragments of an envelope addressed with the name of a Viscount who had
been staying in the house. Eventually we paid a heavier bill than we
should otherwise have done had none but miserable plebeians lodged here
aforetime. We will, in future, be careful to select only the haunts of
the Third Estate.

We don’t (strange to say) seem to hanker after titled folk of any
sort--a curious trait in Britons, who, proverbially, are said to
love lords. Perhaps we are among the proverbial exceptions, and help
thereby to prove the rule. For myself, I hope (and think, indeed) I am
a loyal subject of Her Majesty’s (Hats off, please!); I know, also,
that I have Conservative ideas of an old, not to say a mediæval, type;
but I would not go round the next street corner to catch a glimpse of
the Sovereign, nor any of the Royal Family, for that matter, if they
chanced to be there.

As for other titled personages, from Dukes to Knights Bachelors, down
to that no-account thing, a German prince, with more quarterings to
his “old coat” than square miles of territory to his name, I would
not, for the sake of their titles, take any pleasure in their society.
Can I explain these contradictory things? No, I can’t. I will say,
merely, that no man’s views are indisputably logical, while, as for
women’s--well, there! Once I kept watch, as some social Lubbock, upon
the thoughts and sayings and actions of a Radical by conviction, yet
not by practice, for he owned ground-rents and lent money on mortgages,
and ground the faces of the poor horribly when he had the chance. He
took the _Gutter Percher_ every evening, which proved his Radical bias;
but he would go unconscionable distances under discouraging conditions
to catch a fleeting glimpse of Royal personages. No man so proud as he
when he returned one day, with stuck-out chin and air of importance,
after having his hat-lifting salutation acknowledged in the Park by
a very Great Personage indeed; none so constant in christening his
numerous progeny after members of the Royal Family.


Mevagissey bears a great resemblance to Polperro. It stands at the
bottom of a deep valley leading out into the sea, and has a little
harbour, built in much the same fashion. When the tide is out and the
harbour dry, the reek of fish-offal is just like that of Polperro, but
(if possible) a trifle stronger and more essential. When the cholera
visited Mevagissey in 1849, the inhabitants fled the place, and
encamped on the hill-tops, the fishermen lying on board their smacks in
Fowey Haven. One wonders how the Fowey folk liked it. Some few years
ago a new granite pier was completed to form a southern arm to the
harbour at Mevagissey. It cost £25,000, and the next storm punched a
great hole in the middle of it, carrying away about half of the entire
structure, and rendering the remainder not only useless but dangerous.
It will cost £30,000 to set all right again.

[Illustration: A NOTE AT GORRAN.]

At mid-day we set off by the coast, making for Veryan. We passed
Porthmellin, a lonely cove, and then the road lay inland to a village
with the Irish-like name of Gorran, a diminutive outlandish place,
with an immense church, and a churchyard where whole generations of
villagers are buried by families, each family to its own particular
plot of ground, as it seemed. Half a mile to the south, in a rocky
bay of the smallest dimensions, is the picturesque and delightful
village of Gorran Haven, a feast of colour, even for Cornwall, so rich
in sapphire seas, golden sands, and brilliantly lichened rocks. The
sands were littered with lobster-pots, and a long row of bronzed and
blue-jerseyed fishermen sat on an interminable bench, and blinked in
the late afternoon sun. We stayed awhile and talked with them. Before
we set off again for Veryan, we asked a fisherman how far it was, for
we had given up all our faith in distances, as measured on our Reduced
Ordnance Map. “Seven mile,” said he, “but you’re not going to walk
there to-night?”

We assured him that such was our intention, and stepped out briskly
along a road that wound in and out, and narrowed and broadened again in
a curious manner, passing lonely little chapels set in the wildest of

As we came in view of St. Michael Caerhayes, seen afar off from high
ground, we had before us the loveliest of evening effects. The colour
of the sky ranged from deepest blue, through scarlets and flaming
yellows, to a delicate puce. Great and heavy masses of woodland lay
below at the rear of a castellated mansion, whose park-like lands
stretched down to the very verge of a miniature bay, guarded by
headlands of a diminutive cragginess. Between them lay a view of the
open Channel, with the coast-line terminating in the abrupt wall of
Deadman’s Head, and the sunlight struck full upon the water with a
dazzle as of molten gold. We decided that Saint Michael Caerhayes was
decidedly _the_ place for a night’s rest. But when we had descended
into the valley, and thence up the road on the other side, and found
no village, we began to have misgivings. A belated countryman whom we
passed as the sun went down informed us that Saint Michael Caerhayes
was half a mile farther on, and so we were reassured. We walked half a
mile, and passed, perhaps, six cottages, but never an inn. Something
tall and black loomed up in the now darkened sky. It was the church
tower, and again we felt that our day’s journey was nearly done,
for it is generally found that church and village inn are very near
neighbours. But here the church stood solitary; not a house of any kind
near it, and beyond it mere vagueness. We retraced our steps, and asked
a contemplative youth, who sat astride a gate, where the village inn
was. There was none! We had passed all there was of the village! Now
our courage oozed away, and all pride with it. Could he (we asked) tell
us where we might chance to get a night’s lodging? He would inquire,
he said, and we followed him meekly. Inquiries were fruitless here; we
were sent away with scant ceremony. At the lodge gates of the lordly
mansion we had seen earlier we halted on our weary way, and asked if
possibly we could be recommended to some resting-place. We had some
faint hopes that they would take compassion upon us here, but the
lodge-keeper, who pondered her head vainly to answer our question
satisfactorily, made no offer. There was nothing for it, then, but to
walk on to Veryan.

Night shut down impenetrable on the moorlands, and darkness brushed
our faces as we plunged into the unknown from the inhospitable hamlet
of Saint Michael Caerhayes. Civilisation became an unmeaning term,
or if aught of significance the word yet retained, it left in the
chambers of the mind a satiric tang; for the steep paths, rocky,
winding, and altogether insignificant, upon which we presently fared to
the seaboard, seemed rather fortuitous than planned, and an emphatic
comment upon primary conditions, rather than a subdual of them.

It was the booming of the surf hundreds of feet below us that advised
our coming upon the sea, and cottage windows, two or three, shining in
glow-worm fashion, showed us where lay Port Holland, deep-set at the
seaward end of a valley, where the unseen waves spent their force amid
sands and stones, with a long-drawn sighing a-h-h-h, a-h-h-h.

To Port Holland instantly succeeded Saint Lo, in another bight--both
wild, lonely, and (for us tourists, at least) shelterless. We spoke
with two formless concentrations of blackness, who knew naught of
accommodation for strangers, and readily (nay, with alacrity) gave
us good night. Then we, with what cheer we might, to climb the road
that now ascended inland the western side of a valley, moist and
teeming with nocturnal life, that rustled and ran among the brake and
underwood, and chirped and squeaked as our straying feet sent fragments
of stone and rock rolling into its ferny lairs.

And now, on this solitary road, we lost our way at an occult forking
of the path, uncharted by any finger-post. We felt assured of it as
we walked on for miles, and the road wound round and about with never
another sign of the sea, which should have been within hearing. At
length the road forked again, with a sign-post set in a hedge at the
angle. We had no matches; the hedge forbade any near approach to the

For all the use it was, the sign-post need not have existed. After we
had taken what looked the most likely road, and after another mile had
been tramped, we came to another and more promising affair, which, we
found, directed us, in the way we were going, to Grampound, a place we
had not the remotest idea of visiting. There was nothing for it but to
turn about and retrace our steps. This we did, and presently met some
country folk. We could have embraced them, so long was it since we had
seen any fellow-creatures, but we refrained, and merely asked the road
and the distance to Veryan. Four and a half miles farther, it seemed.

With what haste and with how many more wrong turnings we pursued our
way I will not speak.

We reached that village eventually, and only just before closing time.
The windows of the one inn that Veryan possesses streamed brightly
into the road as we fearfully crossed the threshold, and doubtfully
begged (that is the word) a lodging for the night, and a meal to go to
bed upon. I cannot call to mind the sign of that inn, but I have not
forgotten the name of Mrs. Mason, our hostess. That were inexcusable,
for surely no one could have been kinder to wearied wayfarers than
she. We had tea (a high tea, to be sure) at that hour of night, and
tea that night seemed ambrosia fit for gods. What a delightful tea
that was! Cornish cream, new bread, apricot jam, and a mysteriously
delicious preserve, whose name we never knew, but whose savour remains
a fond and fast memory. And while tea progressed, we had music from the
bar-parlour on the other side of the passage. Some one played upon a
violin, and the airs he played were old sea-songs, that were new when
Dibdin wrote, and popular when British sailors wore pig-tails, and
fought the Frenchman and the Spaniard from youth to age; times when
every man had his fill of fighting, and the stomach for it, too. So it
befell that, even with that crazy fiddle and that unfinished performer,
the songs he played were melodies that went straight to the heart,
even as they originally came from that seat of a throbbing patriotism;
tunes that made the pulses dance, the eyes to sparkle, and the cheek
to flush. We have no need for such songs now, for we meet no foreign
foe to-day. No storms rend the branches of the oak: the tree, alas! is
rotting at the heart. Ah! the pity, the misery of it.


Judge of our surprise when we found this morning that Veryan was not
upon the sea, but over a mile removed from it. We had carelessly noted
Veryan Bay marked on the map, and thus concluded that of course the
village of the same name was seated beside the sea. We left our inn
and Veryan with our pockets filled with the apples our kindly hostess
pressed upon us at parting. My hostess, I salute you!

All through this day we wandered blunderingly, as if we had been
chartless. Certainly, when the maps deal with such little-travelled
districts as this, they become utterly untrustworthy for by-roads,
and are only to be followed with suspicion for the highways. We set
out for Truro, and at the outset were seduced from the narrow path by
the tempting clusters of blackberries that hung upon the hedges of a
hillside field. This led us at length upon the hamlet of Treworlas, a
few scattered houses set down upon the edges of a golden moor, free to
every breeze that blows, where the winds beat upon the walls of the
cottages and shook them, and fluttered the feathers of the scurrying
geese that patched the gold of the gorse and the green of the grass
with moving patches of white. There was a house to let here, an empty
house, with garden all overgrown with weeds, and a bill swinging in
the window by one corner; not at all an undesirable little place--for
a hermit. We inquired the rent of it--£5 per annum. Just the place for
retirement from one’s kind: the ideal retreat for one crossed in love
or soured by failure, or for the naturally misanthropical; we bear it
in mind, for, though we are none of these, yet a time may come! From
here we went on to Philleigh, a village that stands on a tongue of land
pushing out into the salt-water Fal, where Ruan Creek sends spreading
watery fingers between the hills. Steep, rain-washed roads, unkempt and
deep rutted, lead down to the water, and a homely inn, with flaunting
linen hanging out to dry, and gobbling ducks scavenging among the
cart-tracks, wears a name remarkably poetic--The Roseland Inn. A forest
of thick-growing, stunted oaks leads to the steam ferry at Trelissick,
where the Fal winds between lovely woods that grow down to the water’s
edge, and dip their branches in the stream. We crossed here mistakenly,
thinking it to be King Harry Passage, and thus missing a sight of
Tregothnan, Lord Falmouth’s country seat, famed in all the country
round about for the charm of its situation.


As the afternoon wore on to tea-time, we came into Truro, along a broad
and surprisingly well-kept highway. But never a sight was there of the
city until we had reached the hillside, where its outskirts of villas
straggle into the country, detached and semi-detached, with lawns and
flower-beds and gravel-paths, ah! so neat and clean-swept, all of them
bearing the most high-falutin’ names. Truro is folded away from distant
sight, in between the hills, where the Fal ceases its navigable course.

Truro is admirably situated, but the city does not do justice to its
site. Its buildings, substantial and enduring enough, since they
are built of granite, are commonplace in design, and their tameness
of outline is a weariness to the spirit, save, indeed, some modern
commercial structures that savour of architecture; but to mention these
by name in this place would be to incur suspicion of advertisement.
We came into the city down Lemon Street, past the melancholy statue
of Lander the explorer, standing atop of his Doric pillar, and were
disappointed on the instant of entering it by these things, and by the
colour-scheme of the place--a heavy grey, unrelieved by brick or other
stone than native granite. The prevailing stoniness continued even in
the roadways, paved with granite setts.

[Illustration: LANDER.]

Truro is now a cathedral city, with a cathedral in course of
construction in its midst. Already the choir and the transepts are
completed and consecrated, so we may form some idea of what the
building will eventually look like. Its style is Early English,
singularly refined and symmetrically ordered as regards the interior,
but “exteriorly”--as architectural slang hath it--it has an appearance
at once cramped and overladen with ornament of too minute a character,
and is “picturesque” with a studied ready-made quaintness that does a
hurt to the dignity of such a building. This irregularity of external
details, and the whimsical incidence of turret and spirelet, belong,
properly, not to an original building, but should be the outcome of
generations of alteration and addition, grafted by the varying tastes
of posterity upon a well-balanced design. Perhaps it was necessary for
the winning of the competition for the architect to send in a showy
elevation that should take the eyes of a committee, and in this Mr.
Pearson succeeded, but he has failed to satisfy a reasonable demand for
dignity and repose to the outward view.

The cathedral will be 300 feet in length, with two western towers and
a central spire. Its site, though central, is somewhat unfortunate,
because hemmed closely with the surrounding houses of High Cross.
It was the site of the old Church of Saint Mary, which became of
cathedral rank on the establishment of the Truro diocese in 1877, but
was demolished in favour of the new scheme, saving its south aisle,
retained and incorporated with the new building.

It was while I was sketching the cathedral from a point of vantage in
the High Street, surrounded, meanwhile, by an intensely interested
crowd of boys, that a stranger, apologising for the interruption, came
up and asked me if I would mind going with him to his house, and
giving an opinion as to the genuineness of a reputed Reynolds painting
he had bought for some few shillings. The picture proved to be a sorry
daub; but none the less for the adverse opinion, Mr. ---- proved very
friendly, and, as he was driving to Redruth that evening, invited self
and friend to accompany him at an appointed time.


Punctually to appointment we set forth, and once past the incline by
which the city is left, whizzed along the smooth highway in the rear of
a sturdy cob. We cleared the suburbs, and presently came upon the great
mining-field that stretches its seamed and blasted waste over mile
upon mile of dingy hummocks and ruined engine-houses. Here and there
green oases of private parks and pleasaunces alleviate the harshness
of the towering piles of mining refuse that harbour no green thing.
But for these the scene is an abomination of desolation. Chacewater, a
commonplace, mile-long village, with a poetical name, set beside the
highroad amidst the heaps of rubbish, is a place of no conceivable

Our acquaintance beguiled the way with local legends and scraps of
entertaining information, and the sight of Chacewater moved him to tell
us this story:--

“Now Truro,” said he, “Truro used to have a bootmaking industry, and
in those times no love was lost between Truro folk and the miners of
Chacewater, I can tell you. Now, it so happened that my father was
driving home with a companion from Redruth one dark night, when, a
short distance out of Chacewater, a crowd of miners rushed out from an
old engine-house by the wayside and made for the trap, shouting, ‘Truro
cobblers!’ My father had been mistaken, in all likelihood, for another
party, but it seemed likely the error would not be found out until the
occupants of the trap had been severely handled. My father, though,
was a man of resource. He had bought, among other things, some brass
candlesticks at Redruth that day, and he suddenly remembered them.
Snatching up one in either hand, he dropped the reins, and presenting
the candlesticks point-blank, shouted, ‘Hands off, or, by the Lord,
I’ll shoot ’ee!’

“The miners left in a hurry.”

In the meanwhile we had come to Saint Day, which the Cornish folk call
Saint _Dye_, a little market-town situated in midst of mines, living
on mines, and sorry or glad only as mining prospers or is depressed.
Saucy Cornish girls blew kisses to us from the windows of Saint Day.
Sauciness is a quality in which the girls of Cornwall are rich. Alas!
our friend drove through the narrow streets all unheeding, like another
Jehu. If we had known him longer we would have cursed him for it, but
he was a “new chum,” and it could not be done. Discourtesy is always
reserved for friends of old standing. And thus we drove into Redruth on
a Saturday afternoon.

Redruth still remains a busy and populous town, despite the exhausted
condition of its neighbouring mining-fields. It is an unlovely town,
built at the bottom and sides of a valley, amid the scarred and tumbled
mine refuse of a thousand years.

The name of Redruth is one that invites attention: it is a name that
is more attractive than the town itself. Philological antiquarians
profess to find its derivation in the Cornish _Tretrot_, which, being
interpreted, means “the house on the bed of the river.” But from
such airy surmisings it is better to turn aside to the bed-rocks of
modern facts. For it was at Redruth that Murdoch, in 1792, discovered
gas as an illuminant; here, too, the same engineer invented the
traction-engine some four years later. The country-folk, who met it on
the roads at night, thought it was the devil.

When our acquaintance drove us to the top of the High Street, we said
good-bye, resisting his offers to drive us back to Truro.

Amid this Saturday bustle and press of business, we found it somewhat
difficult to find accommodation at a decent inn, where anything like
quietude reigned. At some places we could have had bedrooms, but no
tea; at others, tea, but no rooms. At one inn the servant asked us if
we were professionals, eyeing my huge sketch-book. “Professionals”--we
glanced at one another. Surely the girl doesn’t take us for

“What professionals did you think we were?” asked the Wreck.

“Please, sir, I thought as how you was hactors,” she said. “There’s a
lot of ’em come down here to-day to play-act to-night.”

Alas! when we told her we were not hactors, we could see her face
change, and guessed that a fond illusion had been destroyed. We saw at
once that we were inferior beings, and regretted for the first time in
our lives that we were not upon the stage. It was perhaps as well they
had not sufficient room for us here: we should have felt, so long as we
stayed, how shamefully we had deluded that trusting servant girl, and
how guilefully personated those bright beings of a higher sphere than
ours, whose privilege it is to strike attitudes, and say, “Ah, ha!” at
frequent intervals, together with other such colloquial and ordinary

At length we found tea and a rest for the remainder of the day--not
before they were necessary.


The rain rained all the remainder of the afternoon, and winds blew, and
evening mists eventually hid the dismal prospect. All the available
literature of the hotel lay in railway-guides and directories, an old
copy of the “Pickwick Papers,” and a copy of a new humorist, whose work
I am not going to mention by title. We glanced at Dickens with little
satisfaction. His humour has long gone threadbare; Pickwickian feasts
do not divert nowadays; the spreads are not appetising; the cakes are
stale; the ale flat. As for the new humorist, he gave us, as the Noo
’umor would have it, “the hump.” No man can read the Noo ’umor and yet
retain his literary digestion unimpaired. It seems the distinguishing
mark of this appalling novelty that its sentences be cut up into short
sharp lengths, with an effort at smartness; more often, though, the
result, instead of being smart, is merely silly.

But in authorship, even as in M.P.ship, there is, in these days, much
queer company, for, mark you, we may have in these latter times our
Stevenson, but also our Sullivan, of the dishonoured prize-ring; a
Barrie, but, _per contra_, him whom we may call by analogy _Monsieur
de Londres_, throttling Mr. Berry: these have each his place in the
catalogue of the British Museum Library, and, title for title, they
bulk the same, although the difference between them is the very
considerable one existing between letters and pothooks. As for the
Society of the Talking Shop at Westminister, are not ----[12] and
----[12] its admired and honoured members?

We found, too, some crumpled copies of local newspapers. Lord! how can
any one on this God’s earth read such chronicles of small beer. But to
whom had that stale copy of the _Guardian_ belonged that we discovered
behind the horsehair sofa? The Wreck found it with joy, for its bulk
promised plenty reading; but he presently slung the thing into the
coal-scuttle, with remarks uncomplimentary, to say the least of them,
to that flatulent print.

“Divinity,” said he, “I can understand, and ordinary worldly matters I
appreciate better still; but hang me if I can make much sense out of
that abominable mixture of this and other worldliness that seems to be
a printed corroboree by Fleet Street journalists masquerading in alb
and crucible.”

“Chasuble, you mean, dear boy,” I remarked.

“No matter,” he replied, with the slanginess which I grieve to report;
“they’re all the same price to me. Let’s go out.”

And we went.

The High Street was still noisily busy, and with the coming of night
was brilliant with many lights. The rain, too, sputtered only fitfully,
and so the open air stall-keepers hung out their wares again. This
was not like Cornwall, to our thinking; it more nearly resembled
the Edgware Road on a Saturday night, save that dissipation was not
evident. The folk were orderly, as might be expected of the Cornish
people, even on Saturday evening.

The Cornishman is imaginative, and deeply, emotionally, but
unaffectedly religious. He is a Celt, and consequently he generally
wears an air of gentle melancholy. Hospitality and warm-heartedness
are also among his characteristics, as all who have journeyed much in
Cornwall have occasion to know.

But although the Cornishman is so religiously disposed, Cornwall is
by no means a stronghold of the Established Church; the Cornishman’s
piety runs in the channel of Dissent, and in many lonely valleys, and
frequently on wild moorlands, far from sight of other houses, you come
upon his conventicles, built after the fashion of the houses that
are represented in children’s first efforts at drawing, in what I may
perhaps be allowed to term the “box-of-bricks” style of architecture.

These Bible Christian or Bryanite chapels, with their Wesleyan rivals,
are numerous above those of all other sects, and are nearly all
inexpressibly dreary in appearance. In the larger towns they are often
of immense bulk, as witness the chapels of the various Wesleyan sects
at Redruth, of a size larger beyond comparison with the parish church.

Not only is the Establishment weak in its hold on the people; it
labours under the additional disadvantage of scanty revenues; rich
livings are the exception rather than the rule in Cornwall. If you take
up the “Clergy List,” and scan the values of Cornish livings, you will
find them, in a very large proportion of cases, extremely meagre; the
clerk in holy orders frequently not receiving so large a sum as the
small stipend accorded his secular namesake of London city--poor clerk!

We did not remain at Redruth the following day (Sunday), but left the
town shortly after breakfast, on our way westward. Carn Brea Hill
loomed ahead beyond the works of the tin-streamers, and we made direct
for it.


Carn Brea is a hill of commanding personality, steep and rugged, and
encumbered with huge granite boulders, that give its highest point
a peculiarly fantastic corona. Here, where rocks are largest and
more wildly strewn, long-forgotten builders have contrived a gaunt
tower, perched airily on devil-poised crags, overlooking the scarred
and streaked mining-field that here stretches from sea to sea. It is
with disgust that, as you make a painful and involved ascent of the
hillside, and draw nearer this old fortress, you observe its walls
repaired with stucco, and its windows filled with ginger-beer bottles
and bottles of sweets.

[Illustration: CARN BREA.]

Exploration always brings its peculiar disillusionments; it had been
better for a proper and enduring reverence of Carn Brea and its gory
Druidic traditions to have gazed and speculated from below than to have
resolved our speculations into facts so uncongenial. For, really, to
view Carn Brea from the valley on a day of mingled storm and shine is
to receive an impression of grandeur and Brocken-like weirdness. The
Druidical cromlechs and stone altars of Borlase’s vivid imagination,
the craggy tower, the modern Dunstanville pillar, break the sky-line
into mysterious points and notches; even the white cottages, the brutal
ugliness of the Dissenting chapel, and the merely commercial aspect of
the tin and copper mines of Pool village, that straggle down into
middle distance and foreground, take a decorative value and strange


The roadways that lead from Pool into Camborne are bordered on either
side with immense heaps of crushed rock and dirt, the roads themselves
grimy with coal-dust, where they are not stodgy with the overflowed red
mud from the mine-adits. Pool itself is notable for nothing, except
that its railway station, now named Carn Brea, was once a fruitful
source of error in sending passengers and goods to Cornwall, instead of
to the Poole in Dorsetshire. Hence the change of name.

Rather more than a mile down the road is Camborne, and midway are the
huge works of that very ancient tin and copper mine, Dolcoath, which
on week-days make the country side resound with the blows of their
steel stamps crushing up the ore-laden rock by the ton. Some of the
galleries of Dolcoath mine are 2300 feet deep, and over five million
pounds’ value of tin and copper ore have been brought to bank. I have
been here on a week-day, when the stamps were at work, and the noise
was simply terrific. I have never heard anything to equal it. Not only
is it impossible to hear or be heard in speaking, but the mind seems
almost to be stunned by the clamour. And to the stranger, the result
of all this uproar is merely so many streams of leaden coloured water,
flowing into what look like great mud reservoirs. But the grey and
slate-coloured particles that go to the colouring of those streams are
so many grains of tin ore, and the neat-looking girls who are stirring
up the reservoirs with brooms are not engaged upon making mud-pies,
but are busily washing the impurities from the metal grains.

Camborne streets straggle almost as far as Dolcoath, and doubtless
many of them are built over some of the galleries and levels of that
immense mine. Camborne is an offence to the eye. It is much larger than
either Truro, Redruth, or Penzance, numbering 15,000 inhabitants, most
of whom live upon mines, either directly or indirectly. Indeed, many
of them live in the mines, and merely come home to sleep. Thus it is
that all day long Camborne seems almost a city of the dead. It is a
town whose houses, if not squalid, are the most abjectly characterless
of any I have ever seen, stony granite affairs, which wear the look of
having once upon a time been inhabited--but a very long while ago, and
meanwhile having been preserved from decay by some mystic preservative


The finest thing in Camborne is the road that leads out of it. That
is a clumsy paraphrase of Johnson, I know, touched, too, with a
suspicion of Irishry; but for all that, true enough. I don’t know
that the little hamlet of Barrepper would, with an advent from more
pleasing scenes, have seemed so welcome a place, but after Camborne
it was welcome indeed. A little hamlet, Barrepper, on the highroad
to Hayle. It consists, apparently, of half a dozen cottages, every
one uninhabited and in ruins, and one general shop, which is also the
post-office. One wonders whence come the people to buy and post. No
one was there when we passed by, save the shopkeeper postmaster, and
he sat outside his shop, reading a newspaper in the road. Close by
a brooklet trickled across the highway, under a rude stone bridge,
and this was all of Barrepper. Now the country side became flat and
singularly uninteresting; utterly undistinguished. The mining-field
was left behind, and the streams ran clear again, but the level lands
and the smug hamlet of Carnhell Green, through which we passed,
were featureless. The straggling stony village of Gwinear, too, is
remarkable for nothing but its name--a name, like those of many Cornish
villages, full of possibilities.

The Cornish have a wonderful Procrustean trick of altering proper names
to suit the conveniences of their speech, only the trick works commonly
but one way with them, and that is with the lopping off, rather than
the addition or elongation of, syllables.

For example, the villages and churches of Phillack and Filleigh are
named after the martyr saint Felicitas; and what was once a baptismal
name for girls, Felicity, very often met with in the county, is at this
day not only colloquially but baptismally given as Filly or Philly.[13]

To see these names (as one frequently does) on tombstones of quiet
sober graveyards, strikes the stranger with an effect of misapplied
humour, but a Cornishman sees no levity in them.

But, in Cornwall generally, girls’ names are strangely contorted, as
witness the very favourite appellations of Jenifer for Guinevere, and
Tamsin for Thomasine. These we saw often, and once that rare and pretty
name, Avice.

To revert again to place-names, Saint Blazey is a rendition of Saint
Blaise; Saint Rumon, who lends his name to two parishes, becomes Ruan;
Saint Austell presumably derives from Augustulus; Saint Buryan is a
shortening of the name of Saint Buriana; the village of Gerran has its
name from Gerennius, who was nothing of a saint, indeed, but very much
of a chieftain; and Saint Mellion is from Saint Melanius. Sennen, too,
smells suspiciously like a corruption of Symphorien. Even where names
are not thus reduced, or where, being of but one syllable, they admit
of no further contraction, your true Cornishman will contrive to twist
them inconceivably. Of these, Saint Clare has become Saint Cleer, and
the name of Saint Erth, the village by which we now came into Penwith,
was once Saint Erith. Here we entered upon the final stage of our
journey, catching glimpses of Mount’s Bay and Saint Michael’s Mount,
and Marazion, as the sun went down.

When we came to the level-crossing that mars the roadway just
outside Marazion Road Station, the gates were closed for all but
foot-passengers, and we heard the rushing of the “down” train between
the hills. It was quite dark now, and I knew the road from here
into Penzance for a dusty and stony two miles, so we needed little
consideration upon the question whether or not we should take train
for that short distance. We took it, or, to avoid quibbles, I will say
it took us.


Now we were housed at Alverton, which, you should know, is the
Kensington of Penzance, a suburb of the old town, which has gradually
become absorbed, a place of many villas, where the visitor generally
finds his rest, where gardens meet the eye at every turn, where
fuchsias, geraniums, and myrtles grow to astonishing sizes.

Our windows looked down upon the sunlit waves of Mount’s Bay, while
through the open casements came the rich odours of these flowers, but
above all the piercing scent of the clove-carnation. Among the brave
show of blossoms were the peculiar waxy flowers of the _Escallonia_
shrub, brilliantly red.

From adown the street, sloping toward the shore, came every morning the
high-pitched cry of “Pilchers, fine fresh pilchers,” for there were
fine catches of pilchards overnight; and at a soothing distance, a more
or less German band generally murdered current comic operas.

[Illustration: SAINT MICHAEL’S MOUNT.]

Pirates there are not at Penzance, and nothing approaching them, unless
we except these German band-itti; but they are, indeed, or were, when
last I heard them, desperate characters, who would think nothing of
murdering “The Mikado” or “The Gondoliers.” Indeed, they have done
so many times, and will again, unless some action is taken in the
matter. I shudder to think how many fine and robust comic operas
have been done to death on moonlit nights upon the esplanade in front
of the Queen’s Hotel, or in the gloomy by-ways of the Morrab Road.
I have seen these bravos standing in a circle round their helpless
victim, and noted the brazen flash of their deadly weapons, and heard
the agonising demi-semi-quavers of his dying notes as the remorseless
band blew out his bars. Ah! sometimes, when they little thought their
criminal deeds were overheard, I have listened a while to them making
shameful overtures to their captives, and have presently hurried away,
fingers to ears, to shut out the fearful shrieks which such deeds
have produced. What class of people is it that supports these hired
assassins? Alas! I know not, but that they are supported is a solemn
fact. So callous are some of these folk that--I assure you it is
so--I have actually seen them place bribes in the hand of the chief
miscreant, and have observed them loitering by, with heartless smiles
of approval, until the deed was done. What harmony, what tender chords
can exist in a town where such doings fall flat upon accustomed ears?

[Illustration: PENZANCE from above Gulval]

And yet the place looks so fresh, so fair, so happy. It is ten miles
from the Land’s End; the wail of the Cockney concertina is never heard
within these gates; and Plymouth, the nearest large town, is eighty-one
miles away. Penzance knows nothing of London. Visitors come from the
Metropolis to the shores of Mount’s Bay; but although they are--in
instances--known to his from London town, that place is the merest
geographical expression in Penwith. We don’t read London papers
at Penzance (unless we are--for our sins--authors, when our friends
kindly post us those copies containing slashing reviews, obligingly
blue-pencilled); we read few papers of any sort, and those are printed
at Plymouth. Visitors do not get through much reading at Penzance. They
have breakfast, and disappear for the day, to return only at night,
tired and hungry, from strenuous excursions to all sorts of wild and
impossible places, with names that only a Celt can properly get his
tongue round. A stranger coming into Penzance upon a mid-day of its
season would opine from the evidence of his eyes that the town had
lost its favour, but nothing would be farther from the truth. Half the
visitors are at Land’s End or the Logan Rock; some at Saint Ives; many
at the Mount, or Newlyn, or Mousehole; a few have gone to Truro or the

Penzance is a harmony in grey and blue, looking seaward; in grey and
green to the inward glance. Its chief street, Market-jew Street,
climbing up to the centre of the town, has at its summit the somewhat
gloomy granite building of the Market House--severely classic--fronted
with a statue in white marble of Sir Humphry Davy, a native of Ludgvan
village near by. Over a doorway of the building you may see, carved in
the granite, the arms of Penzance, i.e., the Head of Saint John Baptist
(I disclaim at once all responsibility for the apparent Irishry of
the arms of the town being a head), with the legend “Pen Sans, 1614.”
At the Alverton end of the town you may still see an old, heavily
thatched cottage, where was born that doughty hero, Edward Pellew, who
afterwards rose through his prowess to the title of Viscount Exmouth, a
title more hardly earned than some parallel patents of nobility in this
little day.


’Tis a languorous air, of Mount’s Bay; thus it fell that the morning
was usually well advanced before we happened in the street or by the
harbour. Here, on certain week-days, is great bustle, when the mail
steamer is preparing to cast off for the voyage across to Scilly. The
passengers, like the poet’s “little victims,” laugh and are merry,
“all unconscious of their doom.” For, of a truth, ’tis a rolling sea,
and, as the humorist might say, the sick (!) transit takes away the
_gloria mundi_.


But we leave these, and embark upon that little voyage of three miles
to “the Mount,” as you come to abbreviate Saint Michael’s crags, across
the shallow waters of the tumbling bay.

In less than half an hour our little launch runs alongside the massive
stone walls of the tiny haven, at the foot of the historic Mount,
and we presently disport ourselves upon its delightful slopes, whose
history, with that of the grey castle above, goes back to very dim
antiquity: a history of sieges, surprises, and fierce fights among the
rocks, and on the sands below. The Mount is now the property and the
residence of Lord Saint Levan, the present head of the Saint Aubyns,
whose name one constantly meets throughout Cornwall. The loyal Saint
Aubyns have zealously recorded the Royal visit to the Mount in 1846,
when her Majesty landed at the stairs of the haven; for there has been
let into the rugged granite a brass-plate, inscribed with a “V.R.,” and
fashioned to represent the Royal boot-sole, by which you gather that
the Queen wore most uncommonly square-toed shoes in those days.

I warn strangers that, before visiting the Mount, it were well to
dismiss from the mind all recollections of it as done into paint and
water-colour, for artists have all tacitly agreed to exaggerate its
height and steepness. Thus, Turner’s grand painting, and Clarkson
Stanfield’s huge achievement in water-colour, would be introductions
by which a subsequent acquaintance with the place would only
disappoint. But then, to expect topographical accuracy in these things
(and especially in Turner’s later work) were indeed vain. The best
point of view for an idea of the Mount is that half-way up to the
left hand, whence this drawing was taken; for here you have bulk and
composition without the need for exaggeration.

The castle, crowning the heights, has still much of interest to show,
though modern additions are everywhere about. Thus, the Chevy Chase
Hall, anciently the refectory of the religious house that once held
sway here, is worthy attention. Its name is derived from the decorative
frieze that runs round its walls, a representation of old-time hunting
scenes. The Royal Arms above, are, of course, a very modern addition,
and the spears and other weapons seen on the walls are, for the most
part, spoils of the Soudan campaigns, brought from Egypt by Lord Saint
Levan’s son, who went through those expeditions.

The chapel, too, though now bare enough, is of Perpendicular date.
A horrid _oubliette_ is shown beneath the stalls, a small chamber,
without light or air or any outlet when the paving-stone above is
lowered to its place in the floor. Some years since, when this dismal
living tomb was accidentally discovered, the skeleton of a man of
extraordinary stature was found within. Who he had been must ever
remain matter for conjecture--poor wretch, left here to be forgotten.

[Illustration: CHEVY CHASE HALL]

It is a darksome climb to the battlements of the old tower of the
castle, so high above the world. Penzance and Newlyn lie below in the
distance, and their white walls flash upon the grey of granite and the
dull green of the moors beyond. Presently, as you gaze, comes a trail
of smoke from eastward, and the “down” train glides into the wayside
station of Marazion Road, bringing its complement of holiday-makers,
who will swarm up the Logan Rock, sail to Lamorna, adventure (if they
be hardy pedestrians) to Porthgwarra or Saint Levan (whence Sir John
Saint Aubyn’s jubilee peerage), or Cape Cornwall; but those spots
are innumerable where the tourist loves to dwell. Above all places
he goes to Land’s End, but never or rarely does he hie him eastward,
to Perranuthno, to Cuddan Point, or to Pengersick. Civilisation goes
ever westward, and, as the tourist is its peculiar product, ’tis only
fitting he should follow its march.

I recollect another day, when we went to Land’s End, along ten miles
of ofttimes rough and heavy walking, through Alverton’s lanes, along
the short stretch of dusty road that passes by the wrecked sea-wall,
designed to join those near neighbours of Penzance and Newlyn, but
demolished by the first storm that rolled in from the south-west.

We sat upon the tumbled blocks of granite, and captured this view of
the town, and then came upon Newlyn and its decaying school of artists.
What has become of the Newlyn School, so-called, that ephemeral
blossom? Are we to assume that, its leading exponent having won to
academic honours, its mission is fulfilled?

[Illustration: PENZANCE.]

They were only a _dilettante_ set we saw at Newlyn, painting the
ramshackle old bridges and their loungers. Artists have painted these
old bridges over and over again, have composed groups of bronzed,
blue-jerseyed fishermen leaning over their parapets and gossiping,
and have given, with the convincing surety of the Newlyn touch, the
laughing, tinkling stream that flows beneath the arches, presently
to lose itself in the shallow waters of the bay. The amateur
photographer, too, is never weary of well “doing” the place. I prefer
the paintings to the photos, because, although I have a happy liking
for realism and truth, I draw the line at the camera’s uncompromising
rendition of battered tin cans, broken crockery, fish offal, old boots,
and other unpicturesque and sordid objects that lazy housewives cast
out of window into the water.

[Illustration: LUDGVAN LEAZE.]

Sad, indeed, is the state of the picturesque stream or romantic glen
that borders upon a camp of civilisation, for abundance of old boots
and sardine tins are the reward of the diligent botanist or natural
historian in these gates; bracken grows not more profusely than are
strewn the shards and potsherds of the neighbouring town. But no
matter how frequent and plentiful the wreck and refuse in the matter
of bottomless kettles, superannuated umbrellas, and broken dishes,
the Old Boot is the commonest object of the seashore, highway, by-way,
lane, or ditch--no mountain too high, no valley too deep for it to be
found. The angler lands it with language and dashed expectations from
the trout stream; the trawler finds it unaccountably in his trawl-net
when he returns from the bay; the ploughman disinters it from the
field; and children dig it up from the sands: everywhere is the Old
Boot. I have communed with Nature, and rambled amid the wildest and
loneliest of scenes, when my meditations have been arrested by old
boots, and at once the poetry and romance of the scene have flown away.
Truly, there is nothing like leather.


But this is a turning out of the path; let us on to Land’s End, up
Newlyn’s lanes, whose inhabitants fall into poses as the artist passes
along, so sophisticated are these one-time simple folk become.

Here winding lanes lead up to the highroad, through a country where
“stone walls do not a prison make,” but are fashioned into hedges;
where, as you near the end of all things, trees become scarce as corn
proverbially was in Egypt aforetime, finally ceasing altogether,
incapable of withstanding the strenuous salt winds from the Atlantic.

[Illustration: SAINT BURYAN.]

The villages you pass--as Saint Buryan and Saint Sennen,
storm-beaten and ashen-grey, wear a rugged, uncanny look, that
brightens into cheerfulness only in the strongest sunshine of summer,
when they become even as Saharas for dryness.

The road takes its way past Crowz-an-Wra--name of horrid seeming--on to
a level bounded by the trim hills of Bartinney--Chapel Carn Brê in one
direction, and rounded off by the watery horizon on the other, past the
Quakers’ Burial Ground, a little parallelogram of moorland walled in
with walls of grey lichen-stained granite, without door or gateway of
any kind--a dismal spot, overgrown with rank grasses. Abandon hope all
ye who inter here!

[Illustration: _Saint Germoe._]

Passing through the desolation of Sennen village, with its grey granite
church, in whose little graveyard lie many dead sailors and fishermen,
in less than a mile you come to the westernmost point of England.
Here, with the growth of touring, modern enterprise has supplanted the
Sennen Inn, the original First and Last Inn in England, according which
way you fare. A large building, close by the cliff’s edge, has usurped
the old sign, and here the Penzance coaches set down their loads of
sightseers to consume sandwiches and a variety of liquids upon the
short grass.

Now, Land’s End is a spot that has little beyond its alleged farthest
projection to the west to recommend it. Other points of this wild coast
are grander than this place of stunted cliffs overlooking the Longships
Lighthouse, with a dim glance at Scilly lying athwart the sunset.
Carn Kenidjack and Cape Cornwall, for instance, to the northward, are
grander, loftier, and more precipitous. The sea thunders upon the shore
in their sandy coves, while here the cliffs drop sheer into the water,
and you are cheated of a foreground.

But, as the chartographers have it, this _is_ the end of all things,
and therefore it is honoured of brake-parties, who sit upon the grassy
cliff-top, and hold unpremeditated picnics. What of beauty the place
possesses is (more or less) pleasingly diversified with broken bottles
and other relics of these _al fresco_ feasts, and miscalled “guides”
hover about seeking whom they may devour.

[Illustration: The Longships Lighthouse]

Ugh! the greasy paper and the broken glass of Land’s End. Let us go and
have tea at the First and Last House in England--the third of them.
Breezy, isn’t it? Rain! by all that’s holy. Don’t put your umbrella
up, you, mister, unless you want to be blown away into the sea. Come
now, hold on tightly to this wall, and take advantage of the next lull
to rush into the doorway.... That’s it.... Now, ma’am, let’s have tea,
an’--er--bring me a pair o’ bellows, will you? I haven’t a breath left
in my body.

Now, to examine the visitors’ books. I take it kindly of these good
folk, d’you know, that they have compassion upon the aspirations of the
crowd: it were hard indeed upon the Briton to deny him all means of
recording his visits here. There is no suitable substance upon which
he can carve his name, and the date upon which he honoured _Ultima
Thule_ with his presence: the common (or Birmingham) penknife makes no
impression upon granite rocks: there is never a tree for miles around:
turf is readily cut, but, by reason of its growing, affords but a
fleeting means of commemoration.

But stay, you have only to take your tea at the little tea-house to be
free of those visitors’ books. Also the interior walls of its rooms
are whitewashed. I need scarce point out the significance of _this_
fact. While you partake of tea, you can read the volumes already filled
up: other people have evidently done the same thing, for those pages
are become very horrid; rich in crumbs, flattened currants, fragments
of egg-shells, tea-stains, and transparent finger-marks. Some of
those pages stick together like Scots in London (or anywhere out of
Scotland); you can have no scruple in separating them; they--the pages,
not the Scots, are only stuck together by fortuitous fragments of

_Mem._--Napkins are not supplied by your hosts, and it would be a
pity to soil your handkerchief. Therefore, wipe your fingers in the
visitors’ book, being careful in the selection of a page, in case you
leave your fingers in worse case than before. Having done this, you
can go through the written pages and scribble insulting remarks upon
the folks whose names and observations you find there. They’ll be hurt
when next they come here, and see your comments, and any friends of
theirs will be pleased at your ribaldries--people always like candid
criticisms of their friends. Of course, you really don’t want to please
anybody; but, unfortunately, it cannot sometimes be helped.

And now let’s get back to Penzance. We walked here, but it’s raining so
hard that we must ride back. The brakes are just starting. “Hi, there!
wait a minute: we’re coming along.” “Can’t take you, sir, we’re full
up.” “But we _must_ get back. Come now, we’ll give you five shillings
a-piece for the single journey.” “Couldn’t do it, sir: ’much as my
license’s worth.” “Well, look here, we’ll spring a sov. between us.”
“Jump up, then, gentlemen; but pay first, y’know.” “Oh! go on, we
can’t do that--we haven’t so much between us; pay you when we get to
Penzance.” “No; if you can’t pay now, you’ll have to stop here or walk.
I know what paying afterwards means: _I_ couldn’t get it by law, and
_you_ wouldn’t pay without being obliged. No, thanky: drive up, Bill.”

[Illustration: CARN KENIDJACK.]

“Bless you! To the Hesperides with all brake proprietors. Never mind,
we’ll sleep at the hotel here.” ... “Can you put us up for the
night?” “No, sir, we’re full up. There’s two gentlemen sleeping on
the billiard-table, an’ I’m going to sleep on the kitchener, as I’m
rather short and a bit chilly. The chambermaid’s going to sleep in the
wash’us, and Boots is camping out in Deadman’s Cave, in the cliffs
down there. One gentleman, a nantiquarian feller, he’s borrowed a
railway-rug and gone for the night to the British Bee-’ive ’uts on
Windy Downs: better keep him company, it’s rather lonely for him, poor

[Illustration: SAINT LEVAN.]

“Thanks, we’re not hankering for company. We’re going to walk back to
Penzance. Good night to you.”

A ten miles’ walk through pelting rain and along lonely roads is
scarcely a cheering experience. The whisky with which we strove to keep
out the chills was “exhibited” neat; water was not needed, for we were
speedily wet through.

Supper that night was partaken of in a manner strictly private, for we
were wrappaged round about in our lodgings at Penzance in a fashion,
dry and comfortable perhaps, but too classically picturesque for aught
but a prim and proper seclusion.


Something of this description, though perhaps not so pronounced, is
always going forward at Land’s End in the tourist season. Land’s End is
effectually vulgarised, and despite Kingsley’s verses, it is impossible
to come to it in any other than a scoffing spirit. Read of Land’s End,
and retain the majestic ideal conjured up by the name of it. Visit the
place, and you find nothing but sordid surroundings.

[Illustration: Saint Germoe’s Chair.]

_We_ visited, on another day of happier auspices, Carn Kenidjack and
Cape Cornwall,--those grand and lonely bulwarks of the land,--and
returned by way of the little township of Saint Just-in-Penwith to
Penzance, regaining by this unfrequented route something of the
lost romance which had lured us to take this alliterative trip from
Paddington to Penzance.

It was now late in the season: cold winds and short days came on apace,
with rains that drove the tourists home. We, too, packed our knapsacks
for the last time, and presently were whirled up to Paddington and
London streets in the Cornishman express.


  Abbotsbury, 91, 93.

  ---- Swannery, 96.

  Abbot’s Worthy, 40.

  Alphington, 112.

  Alverton, 252–5.

  Anstey’s Cove, 139, 142.

  Antony, 187.

  Ashe, 105.

  Avon Water, 74.

  Axe, River, 101, 107.

  Axminster, 101.

  Axmouth, 107.

  Babbacombe, 137, 139.

  Barrepper, 249.

  Bartinney Hill, 263.

  Basingstoke, 35.

  Berry Pomeroy, 142, 147.

  Blackpool Valley, 155, 164.

  Blagdon, 146.

  Bolt Head, 175, 177.

  Boulter’s Lock, 22.

  Bournemouth. 76.

  Bray, 21.

  Bridport, 96.

  Broadlands, 68.

  Brockenhurst, 72.

  Cadnam, 69.

  Camborne, 247.

  Carews, the, 187–226.

  Carew, Richard, 188, 191, 220.

  Carn Brea, 245.

  Carnhell Green, 250.

  Cam Kenidjack, 264, 269.

  Castledour, 220.

  Chacewater, 239–40.

  Chapel Carn Brê, 263.

  Charleton, 165.

  Charmouth, 99.

  Chertsey, 17.

  Chideock, 97.

  Chillington, 165.

  Christchurch, 74.

  Clieveden, 22.

  Cockwood Creek, 121.

  Cookham, 23.

  Coppithorne, 68.

  Corfe, 84–6.

  Cornwall, 184.

  ---- Cape, 260–4, 269.

  Courtenays, the, 119–21

  Crafthole, 192.

  Crowz-an-Wra, 263.

  Cuddan Point, 260.

  Dart, River, 153–61.

  Dartmouth, 153–74.

  Dawlish, 123.

  Deadman’s Head, 230.

  Devon, 101, 131.

  Devonport, 155, 181.

  Dittisham, 159.

  Dodbrooke, 165.

  Dolcoath, 247.

  Dorsetshire, 95.

  Downderry, 192.

  Drakes, the, 106, 180, 185.

  East Looe, 155, 193–5.

  East Lulworth, 88.

  Eton College, 17.

  Exe, River, 113, 118.

  Exeter City, 108.

  ---- Cathedral, 111, 119.

  ---- Guildhall, 109.

  Exminster, 115, 118.

  Exmouth, 121, 154.

  ---- Viscount, 256.

  Fal, River, 235.

  Filleigh, 250.

  First and Last Inn, 264.

  Ford, 186.

  Fowey, 155, 215.

  George III., 91.

  Gorran, 229.

  Gorran Haven, 229.

  Gwinear, 250.

  Ham, 10.

  ---- House, 13.

  Hambledon, 27.

  Hamoaze, the, 154, 182, 187.

  Hampshire, 35, 39.

  Headbourne Worthy, 57.

  Henley, 30.

  Hennerton Backwater, 33.

  Holmbush, 222.

  Holy Ghost Chapel, 37.

  Hunter’s Lodge Inn, 101.

  Hurley, 26.

  Itchen, River, 36.

  Kennet, River, 34.

  Kingsbridge, 163, 164.

  Kingston, 14.

  Kingswear, 154, 156, 162.

  King’s Worthy, 40.

  “Labrador,” 135.

  Lainston, 58.

  Laira Bridge, 186.

  Lamorna, 260.

  Lander, 237.

  Land’s End, 254, 260, 264.

  Langstone Point, 122, 123.

  Lanteglos-juxta-Fowey, 214.

  Lee Mount, 124.

  Lew Trenchard, 137.

  Logan Rock, 255, 259.

  Longships Lighthouse, 264.

  Looe, East, 155, 193–5.

  ---- River, 196.

  ---- West, 155.

  Ludgvan, 255.

  Lulworth Castle, 88.

  ---- East, 88.

  Lyndhurst, 70.

  Lynher River, 187.

  Maidenhead, 22.

  Marazion, 251, 259.

  Marsh Lock, 33.

  Martyr Worthy, 40.

  Marychurch, 139, 160.

  Medmenham Abbey, 26.

  Melcombe Regis, 91.

  Mevagissey, 225, 228.

  Micheldever, 38.

  Monmouth, Duke of, 95, 102.

  Morecombelake, 99.

  Morice Town, 186.

  Mount Charles, 222.

  ---- Edgcumbe, 186.

  ---- Pleasant, 122.

  Mount’s Bay, 251.

  Mousehole, 255.

  Musbury, 106.

  New Forest, 68.

  Newlyn, 255–60.

  North Haven, 82.

  ---- Lew, 138.

  Osmington, 89.

  Paignton, 141, 144.

  Palmerston, Viscount, 68.

  Par, 219, 222.

  Pellew, Edward, 256.

  Pengersick, 260.

  Penzance, 249, 251, 252, 266.

  Perranuthno, 260.

  Peter Pindar, 165.

  Petersham, 9.

  Phillack, 250.

  Philleigh, 235.

  Plymouth, 179, 253.

  ---- Guildhall, 187.

  ---- Hoe, 179, 186.

  ---- Sound, 174, 179.

  Pokesdown, 76.

  Polperro, 207.

  Polruan, 155, 215.

  Pool, 246.

  Poole, 247.

  ---- Harbour, 82, 83.

  Porthmellin, 229.

  Port Holland, 232.

  Portland Bill, 89, 95.

  Portlemouth, 154, 172.

  Powderham, 119.

  Preston, 90.

  Purbeck Hills, 88, 95.

  ---- Isle of, 83.

  Quakers’ Burial-Ground, 263.

  Reading, 34.

  Redruth, 240, 249.

  Regatta Island, 28.

  Richmond, 5.

  Roebuck Hill, 57.

  Romsey, 66.

  Rougemont Castle, 109, 110.

  Ruan Creek, 235.

  St. Aubyns, the, 257.

  St. Austell, 221, 223, 251.

  St. Blazey, 251.

  St. Budeaux, 185.

  St. Buryan, 251, 262.

  St. Catherine’s Hill, Abbotsbury, 94.

  St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, 36, 55, 56.

  St. Cleer, 251.

  St. Day, 240.

  St. Erth, 251.

  St. Ives, 255.

  St. Just-in-Penwith, 269.

  St. Levan, 260.

  St. Lo, 232.

  St. Mellion, 251.

  St. Michael Caerhayes, 230.

  St. Michael’s Mount, 251, 257.

  St. Ruan, 251.

  St. Sennen, 251, 263.

  St. Thomas, 112.

  Salcombe, 154, 171.

  ---- River, 164, 171.

  Saltash, 181, 184.

  Scilly, 256.

  Screasdon Fort, 192.

  Seaton, 107.

  Shaldon, 131, 154.

  Shepperton, 16.

  Sherborne St. John, 36.

  Slapton Sands, 164.

  Sonning, 34.

  Southborough-on-Sea, 76.

  South Haven, 82.

  Sparsholt, 58.

  Starcross, 120, 154.

  Stoke Damerel, 186.

  ---- Fleming, 155, 163.

  Stokenham, 165.

  Stonehouse, 181.

  Studland, 82.

  Swanage, 83.

  Tamar, River, 182.

  Taplow, 21.

  Teign, River, 130.

  Teignmouth, 112, 122, 123, 127, 154.

  Thames, River, 15.

  Tor Bay, 140.

  Torcross, 164.

  Torpoint, 154, 183, 186.

  Torquay, 133, 135, 139, 140, 160.

  Totnes, 149.

  Treffrys, the, 216.

  Tregantle Fort, 192.

  Trelissick, 236.

  Trematon Castle, 187.

  Treworlas, 235.

  Truro Cathedral, 237.

  ---- City, 235, 236, 239, 249, 255.

  Turf, 119.

  Tywardreath Bay, 222.

  Veryan, 229–31, 233.

  Wargrave, 33.

  Warren, the, 122.

  Watcombe, 137, 139.

  Weeke, 57.

  West Bay, 96.

  ---- Looe, 155.

  Weymouth, 90.

  White, Gilbert, 37.

  Whitesand Bay, 192.

  William III., 143.

  Winchester Cathedral, 44.

  ---- City, 36, 41.

  ---- College, 49, 54.

  Windsor Castle, 19.

  Wolcot, Dr. John, 165.

  Wootton, 74.

  Worthies, the, 40.

  Wyke, 57.

  Wykeham, William of, 49.




[1] A recipe strongly in favour with the artistic and literary world.

[2] June 11th. The apparent error arises through March 25th being at
that time still occasionally considered as New Year’s Day.

[3] We have been told lately that it was not Napoleon but an American
orator named Adams who first applied this epithet to us. If this is
true, it comes with an additional bad grace, for whatever right a
Frenchman has to such a sneer, certainly no American can claim it.

[4] Pindar.

[5] Than satirical pamphlets.

                        Lieth the Body of Robert
                      Comonly Called Bone Phillip
                       who died July 27^{th} 1793
                             Aged 65 Years,

At whose request The following lines are here inserted.

    Here lie I at the Chancel door,
    Here lie I because I’m poor
    The forther in the more you’ll pay
    Here lie I as warm as they

[7] _N.B._--Not responsible for pronunciation of the English language.

[8] I’m afraid your rhymes, Mr. Poet, are somewhat indiscreet.

[9] See how sadly the exigencies of rhyme fetter the poet: the palate
and not the lip give the sense of taste.

[10] _Anglice_, farm-yards.

[11] This seems a peculiarly modern touch.

[12] Fill, dear reader, these blanks _à discrétion_.

[13] Corruption also of Phillis.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation marks
were remedied.

Illustrations in this eBook have been positioned between paragraphs and
outside quotations.

The original List of Illustrations (LoI) distinguished between
full-page illustrations that “faced” pages, and mid-page illustrations
that were “on” pages. This eBook does not make that distinction.
In versions that support hyperlinks, the links lead to the actual
illustrations, regardless of where they appear.

Transcriber used the List of Illustrations to add captions to
illustrations lacking them, and removed the printer’s notes regarding
the pages to which some illustrations should be facing. The captionless
illustrations near the beginning of the book are decorative.

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page

Page 163: The text on the mural was printed in Black Letter.

Page 185: The symbol before “War Office” is an up-arrow.

Page 191: The text taken from the chancel was printed in Black Letter.

The quotation beginning on page 205 was printed in Black Letter.

Page 217: There is a macron above the ‘m’ in the word “Comaund”.

Page 218: “and waits are lingering” may be a misprint for “waifs”.

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