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There is no county in England with a stronger | Friday.--A dull colourless day. All the sunshine individuality than Cornwall. Removed out of the gone—the air close and mild-the ground soaked with ordinary line of cosmopolitan traffic, and not pic. wet. We asked our way to the cliffs, receiving the turesque enough, inland, to attract tourists, it has common answer, “Not far," (I believe, if you ennever lost its salient points nor had its angles rubbed quired of a Cornish man, or woman, the way to off by salutary but obnoxious civilisation. From Paradise, they would tell you it was “not far,'') the Phænicians, who first colonised it in search of and wandered about forlornly through miry lanes tin, down to their remote descendant, Dolly and dripping turnip-fields, for an hour or more, when, Pentreath, who died in George III.'s time, and is quite suddenly, we came out upon the abrupt edge recorded as the last person who spoke the Cornish of the cliff. language, there must have been something remark. There, - many hundred feet below, tossing and able both in the land and its people. Legendary roaring, dashing madly against magnificent rocks, lore—from the date of those valiant Cornish men, with small sandy flats between, or rolling shoreTom Thumb and Jack the Giant-killer-and ballad. | wards in successive lines, that seemed almost a romance, down to that celebrated song, which ends quarter of a mile long,—were solid white-crested in the dashing chorus,
waves, and beyond these the silent mass of waters
stretching smoothly out into intinitude. Yes, “ And shall Trelawny die? and shall Trelawny die ?
it was the Atlantic itself. The great Atlantic ! • Then thirty thousand Cornish men will know the reason why”—
-an ocean, not a sea, as different from any sea we
ever stood beside, ay, even in its sound, as one of combine to prove one remarkable fact-that the Handel's choruses after Mendelssohn's part-songs. posterity of King Arthur's subjects are a race strongl “Everybody” was right. For grandeur, for and bold--resolute and acute-not to be trifled with solitariness, for the sense of immensity, which either physically or morally ;—people who, whether says, “Be still,” to all worldly cares, there is no you like them or not, infallibly make you respect coast like the Cornish coast, no sea like the Cornish them. Even as you appreciate, without loving it, sea, on the shore of which, romance says, was once for it is not lovely, this bare, breezy country, now found a little naked babe, who grew to be the at last thoroughly Cornwall.
| legendary Arthur of Britain. As we drive on-mile after mile—we miss the As we stood looking right and left along miles of extreme neatness, the admirably thatched roofs and cliffs, each jutting headland seeming wilder and carefully cultivated gardens of the little Devon grander than the last, we could believe in any villages. We find a change, too, in the type of amount of romantic fable. Arthur and Merlin. face among the people. They are no longer fat Launcelot, Galahad, and Gawaine, were but the and fair, round and rosy, but sharp, dark, natural products of the region ; such a sea, bounded acute, though often exceedingly handsome. There by such a shore! We must go to the heart of it. was a tiny lass of five, who stood dumb as Ander- | We must visit Tintagel to-morrow. son's little mermaid, in spite of all our allurements Saturday.-A day to be marked with a white of cake and conversation,—who was a treasure stone ; for the like come seldom in a life-time. that any childless empress would have been de. Though when we started, at 8 A.M., it looked any. lighted to kidnap, and foist on the world as a thing but promising: the sky hung over us like a real princess. And in one place we stopped at, leaden roof; the sea had not a smile-or a frown a troop of boys, who turned out of the national either-upon its smooth, dull face; the land was school, showed fine athletic figures and intelli- one wide, dim, outlined, cheerless grey. Still, gent faces, worthy of the illustrious young hero bent on enjoying all, we agreed that the day was who slew the giant Blunderbore.
not ill-suited to the place we were bound for, the We reached Bude in the dim dark; and, like scene of pre-historic myth, out of which modern certain critics, who pass wholesale condemnation poetry has created a vivid reality. Not that we on a book, and being asked if they have read it suppose Tennyson's King Arthur to resemble Sir reply indignantly, “Oh, no! I wouldn't read Thomas Malory's, any more than that hero of it for the world !” so we, in the grim unkindly mediæval romance was like the real Arthur, the twilight, decided that this so-vaunted place was the Cornish king, whom we conclude did live sometime, ugliest place in the world; and we wished we had but was probably a very barbaric sort of personage; never come near it. Hasty judgment! at which still, common sense must allow that the wildest the grand old sea, hidden behind those sloping fable has generally a grain of truth at the bottom of
interesting fields, laughed at us : and presently it; and to have existed only in tradition for so many the wide arch overhead, with the Milky Way centuries, Arthur must have been a notable man in especially bright, and Mars, --
his day. We muse over him a little, and then “ The star of the unconquered will,” –
surrender ourselves to the practical conversation of
our driver, an intelligent Cornishman. Who, of glowing redly just above the horizon, twinkled its course, knows nothing of King Arthur, but has myriad eyes maliciously at us, knowing we should plenty of information to give on the state of the be converted ere long.
land, the bleak agricultural country through which
we are driving, so thinly populated that the farmers sion of unutterable contempt, “They be afeard o' cannot find hands to work their ground, not even wetting their feet, they be! He'll be drowned !” though rent is five shillings an acre, and wages ten “He” was a horse--the hinder one of three is a shillings a week. “Everybody that can, gets off to laden cart that had suddenly toppled over into the Ameriky," said the man, pointing out more than deepest part of the stream. He was struggling be empty, decaying cottage, though habitations there now, so firmly held by the weight of the cart Fere so few that we often did not pass two in five behind him, that his nose was drawn level with, miles. No wonder that these poor folks likewise nay, was actually under the water. Looked at Fere bent on " sailing to the sunset,” the land of from above, with the impossibility of getting down promise, and too often of promise only. For he to it, it was really a dreadful sight. that cannot do well here, will generally do no better “Hold his head up !” yelled our driver ; but the in a foreign country than in his own.
half-dozen frightened excited men below took no Boscastle was our first halt. Now, this is a notice-probably, did not hear. “His head-his 1 casual study of Cornish life, and not a description head! 0, what fools they be !”
of Cornish scenery. Anybody who wants that, can It was a breathless minute, quite horrible in its find it in Murray's Handbook, or go and look at it suspense, and then, by a super-equine effort, the for himself. Yet, a word about Boscastle : a quaint horse freed himself and stood safe on his four feet,
with the stream harmlessly flowing round him. He was all right now.
A small thing, and yet the feeling of actual living sympathy, if only with a brute beast, put out of our heads, for the time being, all dreams about King Arthur and old romance.
It was not till we reached Trevena, the village which is the nearest point to the castle, and were actually on our way thither, that we realised how we walked along the very lands where the old knights used to pass. The country must have been the very woodlands through which rode Sir Launcelot and queen Guinevere-for whose real existence the curious circumstantial evidence yet remains that a common name here for girls is
Jennifer. No woodlands now, except one sweet Boscastle.
glen near Boscastle, where is a waterfall called St.
Kynance's Keeve, and no forests : the whole face of little town, planted on either side of a wild ravine, the land must have been changed. But there are through wbich runs-not one of your lazy, calm, the same rocks, and sea, and sky: and, foolish or impassive southern streams, but a regular north- not, a strange feeling of awe comes over us as we country beck or Scottish burn — tumbling and enter the narrow valley, sloping to the sea, at the brawling, dancing and singing, as it leaps down mouth of which rises that mass of rock, crowned seaward, and loses itself in the harbour. That most with masonry which looks almost as old as itself ; extraordinary little harbour! It is a narrow while beyond, connected with it by a neck of land, crooked inlet, or arm of the sea, embracing half- just broad enough for one person to cross, is the a-dozen little vessels, which, now placed high and promontory called Tintagel Head, upon which, right dry, seem as if caught in a land-trap, from which it out in the open sea, King Arthur built his castle. | Tas impossible to get out again. Yet they do—for Amidst all these misty fables, which, perhaps, behold one sloop, creeping slowly past the fragment sensible people are half justified in despising, one di rock which sits in the centre of the basin, or bay, obvious fact remains: the men must have been very She a couchant animal. There must be some remarkable men of their kind, those who in all ages passages out and in, and a certain amount of sleepy leave their mark behind them, and are elevated to bebess going on in this queer little harbour; though the cloudland of romance as heroes-- who could bed it, on either side, rises that interminable, have conceived and carried out the building of Mi-barricaded coast, 80 desolate and grand. a castle on such a site as this. No snug monkish Grasier than ever, I think, as we catch glimpses paradise, planted in the midst of fat meadows; of Bottreux Castle, and Forrabury--and away no moated fortress, commanding long stretches of southwards towards Tintagel-whither we must smiling land, but a bare rock nearly inaccessible, hesten fast.
exposed to all the Atlantic storms-a spot where Ascending the winding road which looks down apparently only the sea-eagle could safely build her on the ravine, our driver suddenly stopped, shouting nest. Yet that there was a castle there, built in in Encontrollable excitement :
times so far back that the masonry still left gives “Keep his head up!--Cut his traces !-Hoo!” — no clue to its date of erection, though it is proved | sa apronounceable howl, and then, with an expres.' to have stood, and been inhabited, through most
part of the Middle Ages, is an undisputed truth. burial. And Camelford, the place where, in battle Archæologists can find no traces of its original with his nephew Mordred, he received his death. founder: so tradition, often truer than history, wound, still keeps the same name—a little market. steps in and names him as King Arthur.
town, the post-town of the district-as we found Being neither sceptics nor believers, and, perhaps, out when, seeing “Post-office" written up in the not caring much to prove either side, all we could village of Trevena, we posted a letter that would say was,-after having climbed the winding steps have on it, veatly marked in the Government stamp, into the sheer face of the rock, with the dizzy the magic word, “Camelford.” Strange combiwaves boiling and foaming many feet below, and nation-King Arthur and the General Post-office. passed through the little modern door out on the Mercifully, there was no guide to interfere with green platform at the summit of the Head, -that if the solitary delight of these three hours we spent Arthur did not buill this castle, whosoever did build on the top of Tintagel Head. An old woman, for
a “consideration,” gave us the key of the little modern gate, and took it back again on our return, with the civil inquiry, “How did 'ee like the place, neighbour ?”
Like it? We shall never forget it while we live. Afterwards, when, instead of this grey monochrome, sea and land were painted in all the sunshiny colours of autumn, we often said to ourselves, “I wonder how Tintagel looks this day.” But we never wished to see it again. We would rather remember it in its greyness, its intense stillness, its solemn unity of desolation, where nothing seemed to belong to this life, everything to the life beyond--the life unto which King Arthur and all his knights, with all their medieval successors, had silently passed, as we too are passing. Abierunt ad plures. Only " the
many in itself a sad and poor consolation !-has King Arthur's Castle, Tintagel.
become to us Christians the One. “I am the Re
surrection and the Life," saith He to Whom we are it, and live in it, was undoubtedly a hero. Nothing going. Thinking thus, it seemed as if the long small, or cowardly, or luxurious; nothing after the melancholy sea moan, the only dirge over the pattern of Regent Street loungers, or Pall Mall myriads of living men and women buried nameless club-ites could possibly exist here, on this wild under those dead centuries, suddenly ceased, and, inaccessible rock, facing, day and night, summer even as when He walked the waters, there was a and winter, that awful lonely sea. No man could
lonely sea. No man could great calm." voluntarily make his dwelling here without being Sunday. -A day which in ordinary sea-side places daring, self-contained, prudent, and strong-quali- is curiously anomalous — when the visitors, who ties exacted by the very necessities of his life. And have been streaming about all week in any sort no woman-call her Guinevere, Ysolte, anything- of tourist costume, turn out in decorous Sabbatic could sit here on this rock, with this sublime deso- splendour, in which, having performed their delation around her, without feeling strange thoughts votions, they flit about for the rest of the day, idle come unto her, strange passions tear her, strange and aimless, like painted lady butterflies. Even in experiences teach her. Ay, whether she were old remote Bude, there was a little of the butterfly or young, wife or maid, mistress or mother of element mixed up with tbe provincial old-fashionedheroes. Surely the men who lived here, and the ness and grave sobriety of the congregation. With women who belonged to them, could not have been the undoubted natives mingled stylish visitors in ordinary men and women. Many a strange story, lemon-coloured gloves, which, taken off, displayed stranger in its naked truth than all ingenious a dazzle of diamonds. And here, as in other fictions, may, nay, must, have been transacted here, churches, when service was ended, the “ dearly even if the whole history of Arthur and his Round beloved brethren" and humble “fellow-sinners" Table is a picturesque falsehood.
proved that after all there was a distinction beThat it is not wholly such, many things prove. tween them, for the poorer “ brethren" hurried out The tradition of the neighbourhood clings firmly to first, and the genteeler “sinners,” avoiding all perthe fact that Arthur was a real man ; that he built sonal contact with these others, remained behind Tintagel Castle; that he lived and ruled there; and, a little, then slowly defiled out into the common - alas ! for the tale about Sir Bedivere, the sword sunshine and common air, alike the birthright of all. Excalibur, and the four queens,—died there. A small Certainly, Bude itself is not a pretty place; not postern, by which a body might be lowered from the even on a supshiny Sunday. Two one-sided streets, rock into a boat below, is still shown as the place a few small shops, and, scattered irregularly over a through which Arthur's body was carried to his mile or so of bare country, several rows of houses
some old, some glittering with the dreadful white The sunset-it was one of the many proofs that pewness of sea-side lodging-houses. Alas, poor Nature is more startling than Art, for if it had been Bude! this is all it consists of, except the Break painted, the host of critics would have been down water, whieh is magnificent; the more so, as art upon it as "impossible.” Bright as the day had
been, there was still a heavy mist seaward, and we had given up all hope of a sunset; when suddenly, out of this dull grey vapour which enveloped the whole borizon, there burst forth a little above the sea-line, a round red ball, like molten iron, and in a minute or two more there stretched across the ocean, down to the very cliff-foot, a rippling pathway, which made one involuntarily think of “the sea turned into blood.” This lasted a few minutes more, then slowly faded out, as the sun himself went back into his mists again, and was no more seen.
Monday's sunset, all that need be recorded of the day, was of the same character, only still more remarkable. For, when the red-hot glowing ball came out of the mist, it had a curved line drawn
across a third of its surface. No cloud, evidently, Bude Haven.—The Breakwater.
for it never moved, but was marked distinct and has added very little to nature-simply made use sharp, like the umbra of an eclipse. It was an of her. A raised pathway of rough stones, built eclipse, though we never guessed this at the time; from rock to rock, shelters the southward side of and we saw it as we are never likely to see another the shallow barbour at low water, a mere mass of in our life-time. Utterly perplexed and awed, for sand; but outside these rocks, and at high water there was something “uncanny” in the sight, we covering the stony pathway entirely, beats the per- watched this spectral, half-darkened sun glare out petual ground-swell of this Cornish coast, tumbling above the waters, and then slowly retire, like a on in waves that on the calmest day show boiling ghost to its grave, back into the impenetrable heads of foam. No wonder that there is a com | gloom. These were the only two evenings that ful. plete absence of boats in the harbour, and only filled our dream of sunset in the Atlantic: we are a few small vessels lying loading in the Bude never likely to forget either. Canal. Its iron-bound coast will at least save Tuesday.-We did not wander far, but contented the quiet town from the misfortune of ever be ourselves with investigating life in the little Cornish Canning a sea-port. Generally, all vessels give it a town. First, the post-office: only one post a day, wide berth, and only on rare occasions happen such of course. About 11 A.M., up drives the mail-cart, wrecks as that of the Bencoolen, beat to pieces at a wonderful machine, which travels diurnally bethe end of the breakwater-or the Georgina, which tween here and North Tawton, Bude's nearest link struck on the rocks outside-ghastly stories, which with the busy, bustling London. It is curious for the townspeople still relate to all who will listen. any one who has seen the six-o'clock Babel at the The wreck of the Bencoolen especially will, while General Post Office, to track in imagination this this generation remains, form the staple “horror” solitary cart and its driver, dashing along, through of the good people of Bude.
winter and summer, fair weather and foul, that But no such dreadful tales to-day-on this sunny dusty seventy miles of solitary road. But, here it antumn morning, which settled into the sweetest is, and one by one come in various messengers, October evening, when out upon the downs and -gardeners' lads, servants, and others of higher cliffs we met everywhere, and were glad to meet, grade,-eager for the letters. For Bude boasts no the Bude-ites taking their innocent Sunday walk; postmen; only, (as a little old body, in a big black parents and children, sweethearts and companions, bonnet, with a market-basket crammed with letters dotted over the downs, or sitting in “Sir Thomas's and newspapers, turns round to suggest to us Seat”-an erection put up, at the finest point of rather severely)—“the post-woman.” Behind her, Hew, by the Lord of the Manor. And, a little a young servant-girl apparently, who has been further on, it was not ill to meet “Sir Thomas” | waiting a long time, stretches out her eager hand for himself, about whom there seems to be but one one-it bas a deep black border-and hastily opens ieeling, regret for the fourscore years that are run- and reads it. Reads it where she stands, with ning on so fast. The good man, creeping up the quivering mouth and rosy face gradually paling, Breen slope, and seating himself quietly out of then puts it in her pocket and walks away. •Poor everybody's way, to watch the sunset and enjoy girl, poor girl! we can guess all. Most of us in e breeze-he, too, had in his kindly acute old face our time have received such letters. We linger a
Sunday peace and childish enjoyment. minute or two longer in the little grocer's shop, and May both last him till the end !
| then pass on to the next grand object of interest
the photographer's. But his productions, which attractions of the neighbourhood. It had need to illustrate this paper, speak for themselves. | be; for the road leading thither was awful. And
Every sea-side place ought to have a circulating the horse! the determination with which that inimi. library, so of course has Bude. Not unlimited in table Cornish beast, who had gone sixty miles the its variety, though we were regarded with profound day previous, went up hill and down dale-hills contempt for declining certain valuable fictions, of steep as the side of a house, and dales which made which we could say, yes, quite conscientiously, you dread being pitched summarily over his earsthat we had read them; but the sort of book we was wonderful! Now and then he even put on a wanted, something archæological and antiquarian, “spurt,” as rowers say—which resulted in a shaking a book of facts, was quite unattainable here. Of that was, as a sharp-witted friend behind observed, course, Bude has a history, but there are no relics “just as good as 'lectrifying.” And truly, driving of it, not even an old parish church. The only old along Cornish roads is a series of mental and phy. house we could hear of, had been pulled down some sical galvanic shocks. years before. A faint tradition lingered abont it, Yet the more we saw of it, the better we liked and its last inhabitant, old Nancy somebody, a this fine open country, lying large and bare to the wise woman, who “could tell'ee all about it, and sky like a noble savage. There were no green lots o' things." But she was dead, so we were forests to clothe it-no umbrageous dells—no genobliged to leave to sharper antiquity-hunters the tlemen's mansions, with deer-parks and lakes. The curiosities of Bude.
county is equally deficient in wood and water ; but Yet we found interest enough in its modern it is so bold and fresh, free and pure, that you humanities. There is something decidedly original do not wonder at the race it sends forth, and feel in these Cornish folk, independent as frank, who that, if you were a Cornishman, you would be very have neither the servility of many rural districts, proud of Cornwall. the roughness of manufacturing towns, nor the We descended the last hill and came to Combe horrible sharpness of cities : who will look you in Valley-anything but a smiling one--a ravine, with the face with patronising gravity-“I think I shall a stream in the middle, cutting its way down to a like 'ee, missis,'"--and on the slightest encourage- break in this rock-bound coast, and joining a little ment will pour out upon you a tide of personal or bay-Duckapool, they call it-full of the most ab. family history, innocently confident of your sym- horrent odour of decaying sea-weed, strewn in beds pathy in the smallest detail. Nor can you help till it should be fitted for farm purposes. giving it, and wishing it may be long before the cruel | Clearly, Combe Valley was a mistake. Our friend metropolitan reserve, doubting every man and sus- / behind-who at seventy-three still shows what a pecting every man of doubting you, finds its way to fine fellow he must have been half a century ago, simple-minded Bude.
stalwart and tall, with one of those dark, acute, Yet it cannot remain long as now, for not ten regular-featured faces so continually seen in Cornmiles distant, you may already see the fatal survey. wall-he evidently thinks it so. He regards the ing poles sticking into corners of turnip-fields. dreary, lonely, and not too sweet-scented valley The railway will assuredly come, and open up a with a grim smile :very different future to the ignorant town, where "Eh! I've lived in Bude this many a year, and butter is a shilling a pound, and fowls-such fat I never come to this place afore, and I beant ones !—four shillings a couple. When we suggested a-coming to it again.” the changes that would come, that Bude might At which his wife, with true feminine tact, rather actually learn to “cheat” soon, it was funny, and hushes him up, apologetically. pleasant, to meet the look of astonishment on the “Never mind he, missis ; he's content enough, face of an indignant inhabitant.
only he hasn't a taste for scenery.” “Us cheat! You're joking, sure. Them London However, when the bonest fellow was settled folks as the railway brings, they may cheat;- but comfortably with his apple-tart, his bottle of beer, us Bude folk-never !"
and his pipe, he relaxed a little, and was left sitting And truly we believe it. In no place did we ever beside his old woman on the bank of the stream, find more of that sturdy independence which is the puffing away; but obstinately refusing to penetrate back-bone of honour to both rich and poor; that farther into the beauties of Duckapool. scrupulons honesty which “makes all straight" to Yet the place had a charm of its own. The prea half-penny on either side, added to the cordial cipitous green slopes into which the cliffs broke, kindliness which no money can purchase, and wbich were threaded on the right hand by a narrow line, keeps one's heart warm wherever one goes.
hardly broader than a sheep-track-deliciously Wednesday.-Dies non.
tempting to a steady head and fearless foot. DanThursday.-Our last day here, and why should it gerous, of course. One slip and-well, there would be wasted? Somebody at least shall enjoy it. So not be anything particular to say of a person afterwe put two worthy Bude-ites behind us in a wards. But there is the headland, solitary and waggonet, and carried them exultant in their very grand; and there is the sea, and we may never look best clothes, and fortified by a basket of provisions, at it more—at least, never from such a coast as this. to a place called Combe Valley, held to be one of the We have a childish pleasure in climbing-even in