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CHAPTER I. I FIND MYSELF A FOUNDLING. My earliest recollections are of a square courtyard surrounded by high walls and paved with blue and white pebbles in geometrical patterns—circles, parallelograms, and lozenges. Two of these walls were blank, and had been coped with broken bottles; a third, similarly coped, had heavy folding doors of timber, leaden-grey in colour and studded with black bolt-heads. Beside them stood a leaden-grey... more...

CHAPTER I. HOW I FIRST MET WITH CAPTAIN COFFIN. It was in the dusk of a July evening of the year 1813 (July 27, to be precise) that on my way back from the mail-coach office, Falmouth, to Mr. Stimcoe's Academy for the Sons of Gentlemen, No. 7, Delamere Terrace, I first met Captain Coffin as he came, drunk and cursing, up the Market Strand, with a rabble of children at his heels. I have reason to remember the date and hour of this encounter, not... more...

THE ROLL-CALL OF THE REEF. "Yes, sir," said my host the quarryman, reaching down the relics from their hook in the wall over the chimney-piece; "they've hung there all my time, and most of my father's. The women won't touch 'em; they're afraid of the story. So here they'll dangle, and gather dust and smoke, till another tenant comes and tosses 'em out o' doors for rubbish. Whew! 'tis coarse weather." He went to the door, opened it, and stood... more...

A Tale of Wild Justice. I. Beside a high-road in the extreme West of England stands a house which you might pass many times without suspecting it of a dark history or, indeed, any history worth mention. The country itself, which here slopes westward from the Mining District to Mount's Bay, has little beauty and—unless you happen to have studied it—little interest. It is bare, and it comes near to be savage without attaining to the... more...

CHAPTER I AT THE SIGN OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN "That it may please Thee to preserve all that travel by land or by water . . . all sick persons, and young children."—THE LITANY. "I love my love with a H'aitch, because he's 'andsome—" Tilda turned over on her right side—she could do so now without pain— and lifting herself a little, eyed the occupant of the next bed. The other six beds in the ward were empty. "I 'ate 'im,... more...


CHAPTER I THE WESTCOTES OF BAYFIELD A mural tablet in Axcester Parish Church describes Endymion Westcote as "a conspicuous example of that noblest work of God, the English Country Gentleman." Certainly he was a typical one. In almost every district of England you will find a family which, without distinguishing itself in any particular way, has held fast to the comforts of life and the respect of its neighbours for generation after generation.... more...

"Q." A year or two ago it was observed that three writers were using the curiously popular signature "Q." This was hardly less confusing than that one writer should use three signatures (Grant Allen, Arbuthnot Wilson, and Anon), but as none of the three was willing to try another letter, they had to leave it to the public (whose decision in such matters is final) to say who is Q to it. The public said, Let him wear this proud letter who can win... more...

"Yes, sir," said my host, the quarryman, reaching down the relics from their hook in the wall over the chimneypiece; "they've hung here all my time, and most of my father's. The women won't touch 'em; they're afraid of the story. So here they'll dangle, and gather dust and smoke, till another tenant comes and tosses 'em out o' doors for rubbish. Whew! 'tis coarse weather, surely." He went to the door, opened it, and stood studying the gale that... more...

PROLOGUE. Good wine needs no bush; but this story has to begin with an apology. Years ago I promised myself to write a treatise on the lost Mayors of Cornwall—dignitaries whose pleasant fame is now night, recalled only by some neat byword or proverb current in the Delectable (or as a public speaker pronounced it the other day, the Dialectable) Duchy. Thus you may hear of "the Mayor of Falmouth, who thanked God when the town jail was... more...

PROLOGUE. A week ago, my friend the Journalist wrote to remind me that once upon a time I had offered him a bed in my cottage at Troy and promised to show him the beauties of the place. He was about (he said) to give himself a fortnight's holiday, and had some notion of using that time to learn what Cornwall was like. He could spare but one day for Troy, and hardly looked to exhaust its attractions; nevertheless, if my promise held good….... more...