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florid mahogany, by an artist apparently of one idea, for they were all of the same pattern.
The estuary here is of considerable width, and while waiting for the ferry-boat you will have time to observe surrounding objects, from the variegated cliffs of Polruan to Black Head, at the extremity of St. Austell Bay, and the Dodman, still farther to the west. The haven itself, said to be one of the best in the kingdom, is a noble expanse of water, navigable at all times of the tide; yet, judging from appearances, the trade is nothing like commensurate with the natural advantages. It looks inviting upwards where the water disappears between the hills; and a pleasant boat excursion may be made to Lostwithiel, eight miles distant. There is the tall obelisk on Greben Point; there St. Catherine's Fort; there the ruined chapel; there the remains of the two castles that once guarded the entrance, for Fowey has been a place of note in its day. The town itself is pleasantly situated, looking across to Hall Walk, an elevated promenade among the trees, and the green hills beyond.
The bluff old boatman obeys the Dutch maxim-keep on, however slowly, and conveys you across in time. The town loses somewhat on a closer view: the streets are narrow and crooked; the quay, with the vessels moored alongside, seems lifeless; but there are a quaint old market-house, a fine church-tower, and a churchyard, bordered by rows of trees. And higher up is Place House, which has a history of its own dating from the times when Warwick the King-maker was making a noise in the world. Some of the apartments are paved and decorated with the choicest of Cornish stone. Famous, too, has it become through its restorer, the
late Joseph Treffry—a giant of modern days, mightier far than those huge Cornish giants we read about in old story books. With wealth at command, and endowed with energy and enterprise, he undertook and accomplished great works, which remain to show how natural difficulties may be overcome, resources developed, and society benefited. Harbours, canals, viaducts, and breakwaters, all at a man's own cost, are no unworthy monument.
One reads with surprise that Fowey gave forty-seven ships and seven hundred and seventy mariners to Ed. ward's Calais fleet: more than any other port, except Yarmouth. From that time down to Henry V., so writes the old chronicler, the town was in its glory; “partely by feates of warre, partely by pyracie ; and so waxing riche felle all to marchaundize; so that the towne was hauntid with shippes of diverse nations, and their shippes went to al nations.” Liverpool was then a mere fishing village:---and now! Success made the Fowey mariners proud, and when sailing past Rye and Winchelsea they “would vale no bonet being requirid," whereupon the men of the Cinque Ports came out to do battle for their privileges; but Fowey beat them back, and thereafter bore the arms of the two towns with its own. From this incident arose the term "gallaunts of Fowey.” The townsmen had, however, occasion to fight against others than their own countrymen, for the French not unfrequently paid them a predatory visit. Place House was first built by the husband of a spirited dame, who animating her servants in his absence, successfully repelled an attack of the piratical invaders.
A stiff ascent awaits you on leaving Fowey, between walls of solid rock, that serve as a basement to some of the houses, grim in their style of architecture. “Come up !" is the never-failing admonition to horses in Cornwall on road or in field; but on this steep hill I heard it more than ever. Arrived at the top there is a view of Par, one of Mr. Treffry's harbours, at the head of St. Blazey Bay; a busy trading place, kept alive by mines, china-clay works, quarries of white granite, and pilchard fishery. Another half hour and you are walking on the level of green turf and sand, that stretches in front of the houses; and behind are the mines-Par Consols, well known to those who study the mining lists in newspapers. Then come paths across flats of dirty water; the noise of the ore-crushing machinery-thump, thump, thump-heard for miles; and you see iron rods stretching away furlongs in length, some horizontal, others at an angle. What can they be for? Suddenly some unseen power gives one of them a pull a yard or two to the right or left, with a jerking clank, followed by a watery gush. It is a pump-rod, making perhaps six strokes a minute, impelled by the engine which is too far off to be visible, and keeping the workings beneath your feet free from water. The hill beyond presents a curious medley of machinery and trees : a spectacle for one unaccustomed to the mining districts. Then you come out on a broad and well-kept turnpikeroad, not far from the viaduct of the Cornwall Railway, and so on, another two miles to St. Austell.
St. Austell—The China-clay Works-Clay Digging and Washing--The
Drying - The First English Porcelain—Carclaze Mine, The Sparkling Cliffs-Glimpse of Hensbarrow—The Giant's Walking Staff—The Highway - A Foreign Aspect - Grampound — Probus - -" Wrostlin' Day”—The Wrestling Match—The Fall—Tresilian Bridge—TruroMarket Day-Studies of Character—Cornish Loyalty—“And shall Trelawny die?” — Mary Kelynack - The Lander Column -- Carnon Creek—The Stream Works—The Great Adit-Arsenic-Perran Wharf - Penryn.
ST. AUSTELL was the first Cornish town in which I saw noticeable indications of life and business; accounted for by its being the capital of a busy district, and not far from the three important ports where mineral produce is shipped in large quantities. Repeatedly, while at breakfast, you will see carts pass the window laden with what appear to be cubes of chalk, each as big as a peck loaf; and should your curiosity. be excited to know what they are and where they come from, a brief and interesting excursion will enable you to gratify it, as we shall presently see.
Inquire for anything remarkable in the town, you will hardly fail to be told of the Mengu Stone, a slab in the market-place, regarded with some veneration by its possessors, probably because no one knows anything about it, except that it is the spot from whence proclamations and public announcements are delivered. The church has a fine tower, and a few peculiarities worth examination. Leaving the edifice on your left, take the
street leading north-east to the village of Tregonissey; and, after a pleasant up-hill walk of about two miles between trees and hedges and across a wild down, you see upon the shaggy slope large white patches, rising one above another, pumps working, wheels revolving, white torrents flowing, and gangs of men, women, and boys variously employed. Striding through the dense beds of heath, still ascending, you arrive at last on a novel scene of industry. The white patches are china-clay in its several conditions, and here is one of the china-clay works which, extending far into the dreary district north of St. Austell, animate it with an activity nourished from its own bosom.
To comprehend what is going on, one needs to know something of the object of this industry. The inhospitable landscape, looking across to St. Columb, lies about the centre of the second granite district of Cornwall; and this rock, after long exposure to the weather, undergoes a change which converts it into a material indispensable to the important manufactures carried on in the Potteries. Granite contains felspar; and felspar, as a German chemist remarks, is " a mineral at all times disposed to play the part of a false friend, and to forsake its companions in distress." The consequence is a process of decomposition, most observable on the southern slope of the county, from its exposure to the most prevalent rains and winds; and in time, in place of granite, there is found a deposit of gray or bluish white powder, intermingled with grains and scales of mica and quartz. In this state it forms large beds, generally concave, on the hill-sides, marked by a vigorous and luxuriant vegetation, and the springs that not unfrequently bubble from near their margin. In some places these “stopes," as