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State man, popular generally with his descended. Colonel Lougher will be reneighbors (except Sandy Macraw), membered as the good squire of Cankind to his Polly, and above all is one dleston Court, whom Davy Llewellyn who loves little children and whom esteemed "one of the finest and noblest little children love. It was by no men" it was ever his hap to meet. The means easy to make so complex a name of Candleston is taken from an character attractive, yet while old ruined castle not far away from shake our heads at Davy's weaknesses, Newton Church, and though there was we love him the more for them. We, no Colonel Lougher living at the time like Miss Carey, even rejoice at the of the battle of the Nile, there was a wild justice of his revenge on Chowne, somewhat notable descendant of the and chuckle with him over his forcible Lougher family then resident in the conquest of Brother Hezekiah Perkins; neighborhood, Colonel Knight of nay, so good-natured do we become to Tythegston Court. Tythegston Court his failings, that we not only believe is a fine mansion, still owned by relaat last that he out-manouvred Chowne, tions of Blackmore, two miles from but are not offended by his hint that Newton on the other side of Danygraig his was the genius that won the battle Hill, or, as Davy Llewellyn calls it, of the Nile.
"Newton Down, where the glow-worms But there was probably another cause are most soft and sweet." for Blackmore's partiality, besides his Nottage Court is a veritable museum fondness for the characters of his fa- of curiosities, the most remarkable of vorite novel. The district of Newton which is some old tapestry brought Nottage was one in which he spent from Tewkesbury Abbey. But lovers some of his happiest days, when he of Blackmore would look with even saw his youth before him
greater interest upon an antique oak sessed the fullest and keenest capacity bedstead, finely carved with figures of of enjoyment afforded by a nature that Joseph and his brethren, on which the was always eminently sensitive to en novelist himself often slept, and on joyment. At Nottage Court he often which his father died during sleep, spent his vacations when he was an un and upon some chessmen which Black dergraduate of Exeter College, Oxford, more himself turned, for chess was aland there he began to write "The Maid ways a great hobby of his. Nor would of Sker.” It was then owned by his they despise some relics of the old uncle, the Reverend Henry Hey Knight Dissenting divine, hymn-writer and who was a scholar and antiquary of epigrammatist, Dr. Doddridge, whose considerable repute, and it is at this granddaughter was the grandmother of day in the occupation of Mr. Black Richard Doddridge Blackmore. His more's cousins. It is an old Eliza chair and a copy of Hickes's “Devobethan house with a chequered history, tions," with notes in his own handwritand at one time was owned by a cer- ing, are among these. The book betain Cradock Nowell, whose memorial longed to his daughter Mercy, and sugtablet is still conspicuous on the wall gests curious reflections, for its conof Newton Church, and whose name, tents are of a much higher type of at least, must be familiar to lovers of churchmanship than would be usually the novelist and to readers of old vol. acceptable in a Dissenting household. umes of Macmillan's Magazine. An Nottage Court stands at the eastern other name connected with the house extremity of the quaint hamlet of Notis that of Lougher, from a branch of tage, whose houses are huddled towhich family Blackmore himself was gether like a brood of little chickens
LIVING AGL. VOL. VIII.
crowding for protection beside their of golf-players, for there are excellent mother-hen. Nottage itself stands at links in its neighborhood. The name the apex of a triangle, and at the angles should be pronounced Scare. Blackof its base are the other two villages more took his title from a Welsh love. of Newton and Porthcawl, which, with song written in the last century by a Nottage, make up the parish of Newton harper of Newton concerning one of Nottage. Porthcawl boasts a harbor, the daughters of the tenant of Sker a railway station, a large hotel and House. When Delushy calls herself other modern improvements, and has Y Ferch o'r Scer in answer to Sir Philip more than a local reputation for its Bampfylde's inquiry, she uses the exceedingly bracing air. But with all Welsh title of the song. these advantages it is deplorably mod It is, however, with Newton, next ern, and Newton and Nottage look to Nottage, that Blackmore himself down upon it from the dizzy height of was more particularly connected, for their antiquity. Davy Llewellyn could one of his uncles was rector of the parnot have lived at Porthcawl; it would ish and ministered in its old church, not have suited a man of his ancient and in Newton churchyard his father lineage, though it was good enough for lies buried. The inscription on the Sandy Macraw, whom local tradition gravestone, written by Blackmore himidentifies with one McBride, whose re self in that rhythmic, half metrical lations still live and flourish there. As prose, which is characteristic of much was in former times the difference be of his work, is worth quoting. tween the Welsh bard and the envious Scotchman, such is still the difference four, spent, from Infancy to age, in
I. H. S. After three-score years and between the autochthonous aristocracy labor, faith, and piety, the Reverend of Newton and the democratic aliens John Blackmore, of Ashford in the and immigrants of its upstart rival. County of Devon, was borne in his But perhaps we are more tolerant now sleep to that repose which awaiteth the than our predecessors. There was no children of God. September 24th or love lost between Davy Llewellyn and 25th, 1858. Sandy Macraw; Sandy would not have been disinclined to get rid of his rival. The grave stands in an exquisitely One day when he, that is McBride, was pretty spot; the old Norman church attending a cousin of Blackmore's, who with its massive tower looks over the was shooting on the sandhills, they churchyard with its graves planted chanced to catch Davy poaching, and often with fragrant flowers, and over McBride "half in fun and half in mal- the green outside, where the geese gabice,” shouted to his companion to shoot ble and the children play, even as him. We do not now meditate shooting "Bardie and Bunny played of old. The Newton people.
well of St. John the Baptist, famed I have mentioned Porthcawl, because from ancient time for its curious ebb it was the home of Sandy Macraw, and and flow, is hard by on the edge of the also, because apart from “The Maid of sandhills; but old Davy could not now Sker,” its name is more generally sit there with his cronies and the chilknown than that of Newton Nottage. dren around him, nor can children go It lies on the Glamorganshire coast, down the steps to draw water, for the some thirty miles west of Cardiff and well is fastened up, and the water is twenty southeast of Swansea. Sker drawn from an ugly pump outside. House is two miles westward, and Eastward and southward stretch the its loneliness is now relieved by troops brown wastes of the sandhills, grim
and lonesome, and yet at times not ten by a professional man who knows without a strange beauty of their own. the district well, and records other litThough in winter little grows on them erary matters connected therewith; but but long pale reeds and a little herbage of Blackmore and his novel he utters with long patches of bright yellowish. never a syllable. An article on Porthgreen moss, and here and there a pur- cawl, written by one of ourselves, was plish spurge, later on wild pansies help recently published in a magazine much to clothe their nakedness, and there are esteemed in Wales; it mentioned all hollows that are the home of innumer- other points that tend to our glory and able white violets; and in summer they honor, but was silent about “The Maid are bright with the purplish blue of the of Sker.” I used once to marvel at this viper's bugloss, and the gray-green policy of silence, but I do so now no leaves of the yellow poppy, and the longer; it must be acknowledged that lovely burnet roses. Eastward they rise as a rule we mildly resent the book. higher, like South African kopjes, and "Yes, I have read Blackmore,” said there is a wilderness of sand, to cross one of us, the other day, “but I don't which on a hot summer's day is to gain think much of him. There is a lot of some idea of the heat of the tropics. bosh in "The Maid of Sker,' making out And ever near are the waters of the as if we were all a set of poachers here, Bristol Channel, beyond which stand 'Lorna Doone' is better; but for charforth the bright hills of Somerset and acters give me Dickens.” I am afraid Devon. It would have been strange that the general verdict of such portion indeed if so striking a scene had not of the parish as has read the book impressed a man so sensitive to Na- would endorse this statement that it ture's various aspects as was Black. contains a "lot of bosh;" but it is probmore; nor is it wonderful that he should ably considered more patriotic not to have given the first place in his esteem read it at all; I have certainly never to a work portraying so skilfully the seen it in any other house than my own rare scenes and characters of a neigh- and I should be inclined to estimate borhood that otherwise, from different the total number of copies in the whole causes, must have held a high place in parish, which contains some eighteen his affections.
hundred inhabitants, as less than a It cannot be said that “The Maid of dozen. For we do not consider Davy Sker" is popular in the parish of New- Llewellyn a credit to so ancient and ton Nottage. There are two small historic a parish as ours; his poaching circulating libraries at Porthcawl, but and his weakness for selling gamesome neither of them contains it, though fish stick in our throats, and there are “Lorna Doone” and “Alice Lorraine” also remarks in the novel, such as that are there, and we boast our acquaint respecting a Welsh hurrah (“as good ance with the novels of popular au
as the screech of a wild-cat trapped"), thors, which it is fashionable to read. which are held to be dishonoring to Occasionally, indeed, a copy of “The Wales. Some over-curious persons, too, Maid of Sker” may be seen in a shop have asked whether one or two charwindow, but this is rather a concession acters, even less respectable than Davy to the needs of visitors than the re- Llewellyn, had their originals in our sponse to a demand from Porthcawl parish, a question which we deem itself, and it is a rare event. Visitors grossly impertinent. We acknowledge learn nothing of the book from the Davy Llewellyn and Sandy Macraw, guide to Porthcawl, although this is a but we confess to no more. When rash creditable production of its class, writ- intruding folk question us closely on
various points, we say that the inci only in the Mabinogion, and some lyrdents of the book are so familiar to us ics of the Welsh poets, that one can that we have never troubled to read it find literary expression of the beauty through, and we change the conversa of the ideal Welshman of perfect stattion.
ure. Giraldus Cambrensis knew Our attitude in Newton Nottage is Wales well, and he never uttered any. reflected in Wales generally. It is an thing truer than his judgment that axiom with some Welshmen that no when a Welshman was good he was Englishman really understand better than the good men of other Welsh life and character, and Davy races, and when he was bad he was Llewellyn, lovable as he is despite all worst of all. Even in the drab existhis trickiness, is not a type which suchence of the present day there are spots readily admit to be accurate. Daniel of brilliant color in Welsh life, though Owen's realistic sketches of Calvinistic perhaps the background of the historic life in North Wales, clear, true and un- novel would suit best the pictures of poetical as photographs, and Allen the ideal hero of Wales. Raine's tender and graceful idylls of of Blackmore himself I can say but Cardiganshire villages are read and little. Newton Nottage never knew appreciated; but "The Maid of Sker” him; it thinks nothing of him now, and is ignored by Welsh opinion. Yet, as knows not and recks not what the a Welsh lady has told me that she has world outside thinks. In Nottage failed to read the book through because Court, however, his memory is beloved. it contains too much of Davy Llewellyn It is quite true that he ranked high his and she knows too many Davy Llew later work, "Springhaven." He told ellyns already and heartily dislikes one of his cousins that he considered them, the reason for the low esteem it the best of his books, a judgment of "The Maid of Sker" in Wales may which is not necessarily opposed to the be not necessarily lack of appreciation, general report that “The Maid of Sker" but an appreciation that is too vivid. was his favorite. But he rarely talked It is a kindly picture, after all, that of his writings, even to his relations. Blackmore has drawn; Daniel Owen He had a keen sense of the ludicrous has drawn a much harsher one of a and incongruous, and he detested fussy tricky Welshman. But Wales yet pretentious people, and if forced to see awaits her novelist; for she has nobler them, was glum, taciturn, and misertypes than any novelist has yet at able in their company, though aftertempted. Shakespeare alone has been wards he would laugh over his experiable to give us not merely Sir Hugh ence. Evans, who is common “Welsh flannel," .At Nottage Court there is a photobut Fluellen, the valorous gentleman, graph taken of him in his later years, and Glendower, the mystic seer, who that appears to me very characteristic. could call spirits from the vasty deep. He is seated under a canopy of vines Blackmore knew the Welsh gentleman, laden with magnificent grapes, and as and the hand that sketched good Col he is but a small figure in the corner of onel Lougher might have done more the photograph, while the greater space than it did; amid heroic circumstances is occupied by the vinery and the Colonel Lougher would have been he- vines, it is a little difficult at first to roic; but Blackmore would have stopped decide to which it is designed to direct short of investing a Welsh hero with the attention, to the cultivator or to his Celtic glamor and mystery, for his gen- crops. But it is the figure on which ius had its limitations. It is, perhaps, one settles at last, with its expression
of quietude and satisfaction, sitting in our age could be substituted for that solitude in the great vinery. It is the tranquil figure without grotesqueness. husbandman rejoicing in the labor of Even its pose is not that which we are his hands, sitting much as the old He accustomed to see in illustrated interbrew sat under his own vine and under views. His was the hidden life, still his own fig-tree. The picture is sym- and dignified in the midst of a vulgar, bolic of the shy and reserved Black- self-advertising generation. But the more, who lived apart from men and goodness that pervaded and animated cities, who would direct attention to it cannot be hid; it lives forever in his his works rather than to himself, but writings, and makes them as bracing who must yet be recognized in his and wholesome as the breezes that aloofness to be even greater than his blow, even now as I write, straight works. As it is, the picture is har- from the Atlantic Ocean around the monious; but few other literary men of lonely grange of Sker.
E. J. Nerell. Macmillan's Magazine.
IN PRAISE OF BOOKS.
Speaking to me once of the catalogue for private shelves. I am for once adof books of a departed friend which dressing those to whom books are were about to be sold by auction, the friends, who would have a library if late Dr. Percy, the famous author of they could afford space and money, “Metallurgy," himself an indefatigable and who would no sooner think of recollector of books and prints, expressed turning to the circulating library surprise, not unmingled with disap- Lamb's Letters or Keats's Poems than probation, at the number of editions they would of boarding out their chilof the same work with which the de- dren or of sending their best friend, ceased had burdened his shelves. The when he visited their village or town, utterance of one whom I regarded as to stay at the public-house, while they a sage gave me pause. His remarks had a room vacant. had a personal application of which he If some of the observations I make was unaware. I was myself, and am seem extravagant or futile to a portion still, an offender, if offence there be, in of my readers, I am sorry. To me the the same direction. I like several edi- gossip of certain men concerning books tions of the same book, if it is a good is the quintessence of delight; and one, and I venture to ask the book-lov. though I cannot claim to edify or to ers among my readers-and for their charm like a Russell Lowell or an Ausown sakes I hope they are all book- tin Dobson, I hope that there are readlovers—whether I am wrong. To those ers who, when they have not the pick who, having read or skimmed a book, of companionship, will not despise a throw it away, as I have somewhere chat concerning matters of interest read was the custom of the first Na- with a man of average intelligence. To poleon, I have nothing to say. I cannot me books in every shape and of almost even get near the mind of the man who, every kind appeal. With Charles in except through poverty, obtains from a “The Elder Brother" of Fletcher I circulating library any books except would say: novels or works too costly or extensive