This story has
to be one of the best English story I have ever
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
But please, come along to
SAXON_ENGLAND which is the name of the page this is
on at http://dodiesdreamworld.zoomshare.com
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
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 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.
home my good wife, with that wonderful
consideration that all good wives
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.
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
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
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
carbuncles, the sloe-bushes blue with fruit as
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
looked at them, I hummed to myself the words and
strain of an old folk-song, relative to a
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."