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Thu, 18 Feb 2010
Have you ever heard of Tavistock, or even The Goosie Vair. Here is Sabine Baring-Gould to tell you all about it.

The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould.
 Anna Hale 2007 copyrightDODIES DREAM-WORLD

This story has to be one of the best English story I have ever read.
The accent is a little hard to get your tongue around, but do try; even if you have to read it a few times it is brilliant. In my book The Minister of 1895, it has that it is by The Rev. S. Baring-Gould, as to whether he actually wrote it or just added it to the book , I'm afraid I have no idea.
 But please, come along to SAXON_ENGLAND which is the name of the page this is on at http://dodiesdreamworld.zoomshare.com
You really will love it. Brilliant. I have some pictures to add to it but I will do this tomorrow as it is 01.25 here in Pontybodkin and I must get into bed, almost time to get up.



ONE day that of Old Michaelmas Day a friend and myself agreed to meet at Ward Bridge over the Walla, that foams down from its Dartmoor cradle, and to push up it together. He was to come  from Plymouth to Horrabridge station, and to walk thence to the point agreed on, and be on the bridge at noon punctually. It was stipulated that I was to bring lunch for both.
Before leaving home my good wife, with that wonderful consideration that all good wives possess,  said to me : " To-day is Goosie-Fair in Tavistock. It will not do for you to be within a few miles of the place, to pass through it, while reeking with preparations for a feast on roast goose, and not to have some. Besides, I know your tricks and your ways. When you smell the roast goose fumes, you will forget all about your friend and the appointment, and the scenery, and the poetry of the moor, and turn into some hospitable house for roast goose. There is cold goose in the larder. I will tell the cook to put in enough for you and Mr. Blank. You are sure to have a huge appetite,  and I shall provide accordingly." "All right" said I. "Angel of the Spheres! don't forget sage-and-onion stuff ing. Goose without stuffing is like lamb without mint sauce, a title without an estate, a Frenchman without brag, and an Irishman without wit." I started, and drove through Tavistock. The town was crowded. Acrobats, show men,  organ-grinders, cheap-jacks, had congregated there. If there be one entertain ment I love above  all others it is listening to a cheap-jack. But I remembered my friend, I drove past.
The streets were lined with stalls, the most inviting peppermint stick, in barbers' poles of pink and white, was exhibited. If there is one seductive sweet above another, it is peppermint stick. But I bought none. It is to be eaten after, not before, a meal. I considered my appoint ment,  and drove on. The atmosphere that enveloped the town was redolent with sage and onions, and the savour of roasting goose. Had not the best of wives put some of the article into the box of my dog-cart, I had never got beyond Tavistock that day.
Presently I was out of the fumes of roast goose, on Whitchurch Down, whirling past an old granite cross of the rudest description, and descending a hill, like the side of Salisbury steeple, to Ward  Bridge.
I had expected to see my friend there already. I was somewhat behind my time, delayed by the density of the throng in the wn. But no one was on the bridge. I waited, and wondered.
The scene is one of extraordinary beauty. The Walla comes down from the moor in the turbulence of youth. The moor stretches it arms on each side. The river has sawn itself a cleft,  and in this cleft, sheltered from the gales, growing out of every cranny be tween the granite block in chaos, start beech and birch and oak, thick and luxuriant as ambitions in a boy's mind.
At this season October the woods were a veritable Aladdin's garden. The rowan, or mountain- ash, was a mass of coral. The wild guelder rose dense with berries, carmine and translucent,  true carbuncles, the sloe-bushes blue with fruit as turquoise.
I looked over the parapet of the bridge into the limpid river. It tumbled among, it swirled about  boulders of every size and shape. The stones, where submerged, were black and green with weed, that streamed down the current, and wavered, a very Berenice's hair, under the water, and in and out among it darted the black moorland trout, very small, but, as I well knew, excellent for eating.
 As I looked at them, I hummed to myself the words and strain of an old folk-song, relative to a Cornish volunteer who had been accidentally shot at Penrhyn during some May games more than a century ago
" O Altarnun !
O Altarnun ! I never shall see more, 
Nor hear the bells in its old tower, nor stand in the church door,
Nor list the birds a-whistling, nor in the Inney stream
See silver trout a-gleaming, as thoughts glance by in dream."
Posted 18:09

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