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which I have before attempted to describe-vain effort to paint with the pen so fair a scene. We descended to the town by a steep, shady lane, where the high banks concealed the view until we reached the narrow bridge of fourteen arches, when the splendid scene burst in all its glory on us, lit up by the radiant sunshine.
Being by this time sorely tired, I procured a fly, and snatching a hasty dinner, we started in the afternoon for Liskeard. The first three or four miles the country was bald and bare, until we approached the seat of the Trelawnys, when, leaving their park to the right, we descended gradually into the vale of Trelawny. Oh! what a glorious, what a magnificent valley! Hill after hill came sweeping down in bold lines on either side to meet in the narrow bottom, each and all clothed with oak, tinted with every radiant autumnal hue-save where on a rising mound stood isolated a group of fir-trees, scathed, and old, and time-worn, contrasting their dark green to the brilliant colours around.
The eye wandered in amazement among the succession of down-like hills one above another, and heaped in varied form ; one branch of the valley stretching far up to the right, along which the road wound, while another valley burst into view in an opposite direction, the two meeting at the base of a steep hill, down which we crawled with our two wretched cat-like horses (something like the course of a snail down the side of a house). Such a domain is, indeed, beyond all price ; and were I a Trelawny, and born among those exquisite woods, how I should love my home! Having now reached the bottom, we began to ascend the opposite side of the hill, and mounted for at least two miles ; as we ascended, the splendid scene behind rose up to meet our gaze in all its glory, and I shall never forget the grandeur of those two valleys, the boldness of the outlines, the richness of the woods, the gorgeousness of the colouring!
We proceeded through a fine country, though tame after what we had just left
, and soon reached another lofty hill, from whence we descried Liskeard in the distance, standing on very high ground, backed by an elevated range of hills containing the copper mines. The name of Liskeard seemed unaccountably fan.iliar to me, and I discovered why, when I learnt from the driver that the late Charles Buller had been its member; and I could not suppress a smile at the idea of any affinity between that talented exquisite, now, alas! no more, once the most coxcomical of Whig members, and this simple out-of-the-way place at the very ultima thule of England. Liskeard is approached on this side through a romantic vale, with richly-wooded hilly banks on either side, through which flows the dashing river Looe, continuing its course to the town of that name. Mounting the hill reached Liskeard, a most queer, original, in-and-out kind of place, where we had to force our way through a market to the church, an exceedingly elegant structure of some antiquity.
The interior was striking, the arches on either side of the nave being formed of a kind of white stone full of spars, which glistened as the last rays of the sun streamed in through the western windows. The organ was playing some simple church music, and as I sat down to rest awhile, the scene was melancholy, and yet sweet, alluring my mind to a chastened sadness,
when I thought of my sad fate and looked at the dear child who then sat on my knee, and shuddered to think how coming years might divide us. The organ always affects me with excessive melancholy; and as I found myself gradually sinking under the influence of sad thoughts, I arose and hastened out of the pretty church to continue our rambles about the town, which is clean and nice, with some handsome residences about it. We returned by a different road home, more to the right, and, descending the hill
, passed through another portion of the same valley, equally rich and wooded ; but ere the day had closed in, and though a brilliant moon had risen, I could only discern the outline of a very grand scenery as we alternately mounted and descended steep hills. The whole aspect of the country is bold and well wooded, not in isolated parts only, but throughout the entire district. By the time we reached Polperro we were intensely tired, and I retreated to bed, glad to lie down in the dark and have nothing more to gaze at, so exhausted did I feel.
Sunday, November 1st.-- In the morning we scrambled among the beautiful rocks at the entrance of the bay, and watched the foam beating up in clouds of milky spray; in the afternoon we went to church, and my heart was penetrated with sad pleasure at seeing the dear children on their knees offering up their simple prayers, so innocent, so guileless ; for if sin indeed dwells in those artless hearts, it is in form so mitigated, so minute, as compared to our gross, palpable, abominable misdeeds—’tis as the shadow to the substance, and I feel ashamed and humiliated before their pure presence. Oh! that I were a child like them. Oh! for ignorance, simplicity, unquestioning faith once more! Oh! for those innocent maiden days when passion lay dormant, and the mind, like a pellucid lake, is ruffled only by the wafting of pure and innocent thoughts, wishes, and affections ! Oh! to be once more like my own children! I gave free scope to these thoughts, for the sermon was a melancholy specimen of how ill a man can preach who fancies he has a talent for extempore delivery. Such a string of words void of sense I seldom have had the misfortune to hear. When the wearisome discourse laboured to a lingering conclusion, I escaped out of the church to walk by the evening twilight along the shore, where the waves, agitated by a rising wind, dashed against the rocks, and the wild scene looked stern and imposing in the darkening night. I love to walk when the sun is gone ; the gaudy, happy sun is no companion for me; I have no answering ray within my soul; but when the dark clouds skim across the sky, and the moon throws a fitful light-when the ocean roars, and the white waves foam and break-when the winds howl amid the crannies of the rocks, and echoes in hollow moans in the lonely creeks and dark caves when the mountains rise in black, dark lines aloft, unrelieved by any colour, stern and wild, and each plant and shrub presents some un. familiar shape, and looks like a fairy spirit watching in the dark nightwhen the voice of man is silent, and his step no more is heard, and all nature lies enshrouded in one vast inky mantle,—I like to wander forth and muse. For then the scene is congenial, giving back the darkened aspect of my inmost soul ; the chord of sympathy is touched, and I feel lulled in melancholy peace.
Monday, November 2nd. This morning is more gloomy then any
we have yet had, but the air is still mild and pleasant, the threatening clouds not deterring me in my intention of driving to Fowey, six miles distant, in the P. car, a most rustic vehicle, something like a baker's cart, with seats, on which we sat instead of the loaves, drawn by a horse blind of both eyes, that plunged about up hill and down dale in the kind of reckless way one can conceive a creature going devoid of vision. How it did jolt! We were thumped and shaken in the most fearful manner as we drove along ruts, miscalled roads, full of holes, and shot round the most acute angles, narrowly avoiding losing a wheel en passant. Then we charged up a hill so precipitate one dared not look behind, but sat trembling in terror, only increased by the rapid descent down some precipice on the opposite side. The country was bald and barren, devoid of all objects of interest, so our attention was wholly concentrated on our terrific progress through these execrable roads that passed between high hedges for many miles, until at length, on a height, we were surprised by a pretty view, as the hills opened before us and descended into a basin below, that in shape reminded me of the cup of a lily, the green hills around rising like verdant and gigantic leaves from the centre of the flower. But we were soon enveloped again in a labyrinth of lanes and hedges, jolting and jumbling onwards, until descending a precipitous hill we reached Bordinnick, on the river Fowey, exactly opposite that town, which rose on the opposite bank ; here the scene was strikingly beautiful, the river broad and clear, and the banks on either side rising along the water-side. This place was visited by the Queen during her excursion in Cornwall, and from hence she proceeded to the iron mines and Ristormel Castle, six miles distant.
We engaged a boat to take us down the river, which winds round successive headlands, until a fresh turn displays its onward progress. As we rowed on, reach after reach opened before us, and the lofty hills, covered with trees, descended with much grandeur to the brink. A considerable gale springing up, we returned, for the wind blew strong, and the man and the boy could hardly manage the boat. I begged to be landed on the opposite shore, where we walked in the grounds of Fowey Castle, and proceeded to the house built above the town-one of those large and clumsy modern castles one invariably meets with in a mountainous country, a mania for erecting such edifices having ruined most of the Scotch lairds. This particular specimen had nothing to recommend it from its fellows, being compounded of no describable style of architecture.
Regaining our boat, we rowed onwards to the opening of the harbour, the entrance markeil by huge masses of rocks, with two old towers extending opposite each other at the south of the harbour, against which the sea came foaming in tremendous breakers. The river is very
broad opposite the town, and the harbour contained many ships; the whole scene strikingly solitary and out-of-the-world-looking.
After spending some hours in exploring the banks of the Fowey, we re-entered our car, to be shaken to our very toes.
Wednesday, November 4th.This day was clouded by rain and mist, which forced me to remain in the house, however eager I might be for exploring this charming country. As, however, the rain ceased
about noon, and the sun peeped out, I was enabled to satisfy my longing desire once more to visit Trelawny, and explore more minutely its romantic valley. With the assistance of the car we traversed the muddy lanes, after enduring a proper allowance of thumps and jerks en route ; the horse being alike upamenable to whip or exhortation we proceeded very slowly. Arriving at the head of the pass, leading down the descent to the desired point of view, we walked along through the lane, high rocky banks rising on each side, displaying the varied beauties of a natural garden. Here were the richest and most lovely variety of mosses of every hue, green, brown, white, and yellow, the most delicate specimens of numerous ferns, the creeping ivy, the pretty blackberry, the primrose and violet leaves—all mixed among the jutting projecting rocks, and surmounted by a fringe of hazel-trees along the top--the air perfumed with the delicious scent of oak-woods in autumn, like fragrant myrrh, and so soft, that the fading leaves were the only indication of the late season—the weather otherwise more resembling May. At length we reached the point where the romantic valley opened before us right and left in all its majesty, and my impression of its beauties was now confirmed; it was so rich, so luxuriant, the line of hills so grand, the distance so extensive, and the headland at the foot of the valley rising so abruptly, that the seclusion and isolation of the scene was complete. What lovely glens, what shady nooks, what long-drawn lines of graceful hills prolonged into distance ! What a luxuriant mantle of oaks spread over their surface, leaving no bare space! Oh, it was indeed beautiful ! and such as I shall remember with increasing admiration.
On our return we visited the residence of the Trelawnys, on the summit of the hill, an old mansion more venerable from age than beauty, and so situated as wholly to exclude all prospect of their charming domain. The front is remarkable from a tower rising out of the dwelling-house, and the large adjoining windows of the hall on the right. On the left is the chapel, which, as the family are Catholics, adjoins the house. Within the ancient hall is the picture of a daughter of the house, a pensive, lovely creature, who being crossed in love, and suddenly hearing of the death of her beloved, lost her senses, and wandered a maniac among the woods of her native valley, refusing all assistance or sympathy, but roving, as if in search of some lost treasure. Death at length overtook her, and she was one day found dead and cold at the foot of an overspreading oak, once the scene of her meetings with her lover. Her troubled spirit now rests within the chapel, and her image hangs on the walls of the old hall, an object of interest to those acquainted with the melancholy tale. The old rooks cawed dismally round the house, and the place was deserted, sad, and falling to decay.
We returned home after the usual quantum of jolting, and I the evening in edifying myself with the life of Lord Stowell, who dwindled down from his high place, as the dispenser of equity and the friend of Johnson and Malone, to the boon companion of my old friend Dr. Bwhen he usually stamped and swore, and talked in the most licentious manner for his edification, abusing him furiously for stinting his allowance of port wine. How sad it is, great men cannot bequeath
their wits to their heirs as they can their lands, but that intellect, prevenient to decay, dwindles away as rapidly in proportion as the mental flame blazes forth most brightly, containing the seeds of destruction amid its greatest brilliancy, and sinking, after a short time, to a mass of ruins undistinguished from the common dust of ordinary minds !
Friday, November 6th.-- This morning we started early to Ristormel Castle and the mines of Lostwitheil, sixteen miles distant ; and when, after the close of the day, I sit down to recount the scenes I have passed through, and describe, however faintly, their marvellous beauty and changing loveliness, I feel so oppressed with my own utter inability to do them justice, that I can scarcely muster energy to proceed. The road lay through the town of Plynt, after which we traversed a country swelling out into rounded hills, open and campaign, cultivated to the very summit, but bare of wood, and offering little attraction, being stiff in general outline, and divided into fields and hedgerows, so distinctly marked, they bore the appearance of some great map spread out before
We descended into one of those solitary and romantic lapes I have so often mentioned, where, wedged in between hedges, we saw but little, until we approached the lodge of Mr. Fortescue's place, Boconnick, through whose grounds we were to pass. Here, to the left, a lovely valley, thick with large and luxuriant oaks, wound along the course of a clear stream, giving a kind of foretaste of the beauties to be found within. Some pretty ornamented cottages were clustered round the gate, while, to the left, rose a lofty eminence crowned with dark pictures and surmounted by an obelisk-a landmark for all the surrounding country. On entering the grounds, what a domain of rich magnificent scenery opened before us! What splendid trees, what verdant valleys, what lovely hills, clothed with magnificent wood ! Never, excepting in Windsor Forest, have I seen so splendid a chase! Before us stood the house, large, though unpleasing and melancholy in appearance; below it lay a valley covered with downy grass, on either side of which rose the picturesque woods, far as the eye could reach. To give an idea of the extent, I venture to say that the lawn alone contains 200 acres, and the deer park, through which we proceeded after descending into the valley, appears boundless indeed—from one entrance to the other a distance of at least six miles is traversed. Rising by a steep hill, we reached the open ground in the deer-park, where droves of these graceful animals riveted K's astonished gaze, who instantly exclaimed they were like donkeys with horns. We now passed a gate into woods, where a long avenue, bordered with laurels of gigantic growth, continues for nearly two miles, this umbrageous road terminating the princely domain.
Fair Boconnick! Long may the sunbeams play among thy forests and illumine thy streams! Remembrance of thy luxuriant beauties shall ever dwell in my memory! Such a scene once beheld never can be forgotten, where nature and art go hand in hand with riches to set off every natural beauty.
The road now rapidly descended into the town and valley of Lostwitheil, the former situated on the banks of the Fowey river, at the bottom of romantic hills, which quite surround it. After disposing of our carriage, we proceeded on foot to Ristormel Castle, which lays above