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Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier. When she gets there she is shocked to find that Patience is a changed woman and that there is something seriously wrong going on here. No smuggling either. The Long Weekend by Veronica Henry. The real deal: Claire Marlowe owns a gorgeous quay-side hotel in Cornwall and runs it with the help of partner Luca, the hotel's charismatic chef. Everything goes smoothly - until an unexpected arrival checks in The other guests also have a lot of baggage that they have to deal with. A Cornish Stranger by Liz Fenwick. So the land was rid of Bolster; but the people were not so thankful to Agnes as they might have been, so she "skipped.
The place where Bolster was slain became St. Agnes, and the basin into which his life's blood flowed may be seen to this day. A pebble thrown in finds its way to the sea if there is nothing to prevent it. Guy said he liked to hear stories told on the spot, things seemed so real. Here was the very basin which held Bolster's shaving-water before it became the receiver for his blood. Just as good being here as reading an illustrated article in a magazine.
The Bookworm said the story was only one of a class, and it was quite easy to separate fact from fiction when we once knew how. In this case, Bolster was not a real person, but a snow-god, to whom the people offered a virgin every New Year to make him melt and let the earth bring forth her increase. Agnes made the people see the error of their ways—that was the ointment which she made for giving people clearer vision—and so it was said that she had [Pg 75] slain Bolster.
She was, no doubt, artful, and was all the more popular in consequence, it becoming a saying that "an artful maid is stronger than Bolster. Guy said he liked the story best as it was, and had no patience with the Bookworm's treatment of it as a myth. He'd put money on Agnes, he said, to make her way in the world as well as any twentieth-century woman. A liking for stories of the saints grows with the supply. The Bookworm discovered in them the makings of history, and Guy mere love for the marvellous and dramatic situations. He thought St.
Agnes would work up splendidly. It is well that saints catch on, because one can't get away from them. No sooner is one out of the parish of St.
It must have been a sore trial to the aborigines to see so many foreign [Pg 77] saints upon the soil without visible means of subsistence, yet claiming exemption from income tax. Wherever there was a well a saint took possession of it. The votive offerings of the natives to the bright, sparkling divinity dwelling in springs of water passed into their hands, the water cures became "miracles," and chapels and baptistries were built over the wells.
Chapels and hermits' cells abound. There is one spring which insures a man from hanging if he is but christened with its water in childhood. There is another, in which a madman may be ducked until he is cured; there is another, in which a maiden may see her "future;" and there are others which can cure sad souls and sadder bodies. As things are reckoned now, the best of the saints did not have a good time.
The ruined chapel in the Saints' Valley was at one time the residence of a holy man, who never saw human form, or heard human voice, unless some one in distress needed his good offices to heal or console the sick or dying. It was a dark and dreary cell, with two slits in the walls for light and air, and a thin stream trickled through, and fell into a rocky basin outside, now green with fern and lichen.
This feeble stream cut a channel in the rock, so we thought the cell must be pretty old; but there was no niche, or anything to show that lamp or image swung from the roof, or nestled somewhere [Pg 78] to cheer the poor man.
Whoever he was, he left no trace, not even a scratch in the rock recording his name. We would not have been much the wiser, after all, even if we had known the name of the poor human who endured torture here, and had the courage to live, and not throw himself to the first wolves who came howling around. The ideas conjured up were unpleasant, and Guy gave a shout when he got outside, just to be sure that he was himself. He was sure, he said, no penal settlement in the world possessed a solitary system so depressingly solitary as this. He was quite prepared to take an affidavit neither now, nor at any time, to go in for honours in saintship.
The Bookworm said stories of the saints made what we saw much more interesting than if we merely looked at them through the eyes of guide-books. There was the "Cheese-wring. Just this—. It derives its extraordinary appearance from the circumstance of the stones at the base being less [Pg 79] than half the size of those they support, which are ten or twelve feet in diameter. Hence, the shape of the pile is that of a huge fungus, with a stalk so slenderly proportioned for the weight of the head, that the spectator will find it hard to divest himself of the idea of its instability.
He had, he said, made notes of a short story which accounted for the fantastic mass of weathered granite in quite a different way, and made of the stone a lasting memorial of the triumph of the saints over the early giants in the land—faith against strength. The story opened at a period when the saints had been some time in the land, and the people took kindly to them, and brought them fish on Fridays. The giants grew jealous, and resolved on holding a conference, and when they were all assembled, Uther was voted to the chair, because he had the broadest shoulders and the best headpiece of all the race from the Tamar to Pol-Pedyn.
The question was, What shall we do with the saints?
Various methods had been already tried—boiling, baking, and grilling were no use. The giants were not a united family, and were fond of hurling rocks at one another, and fighting and wrestling for fun or glory, just [Pg 80] as the humour prompted. Uther, the president, put the matter before them in a statesmanlike way. First of all, he counted six up, and then he counted half a dozen; then he said, if you take six from six, there's nothing, but if you wipe out six, six remains. The speech was so precise and clear, that it was pencilled down on a half-sheet of notepaper, and, in time, became the model for future prime ministers.
It was certainly very well received. Then there was a discussion, and some said one thing, and some another, and when all spoke at once, it was very difficult to know what was said or meant. The president tried to keep order, but was just as helpless as Mr. Speaker in modern days. Fortunately it was an open-air meeting, and the sky was not cracked.
Saint Tue had a little well all to himself, but was a small and weakly man, who took cod-liver oil fasting; but he was young and full of zeal. The conference was held in what he called his "sphere of influence," and when he heard the mighty shouts, he looked upwards and saw a sign.
Then he hastened to the conference, and, by dodging in and out between the giants' legs, he managed to reach the president, who was threatening to leave the chair unless better order was kept. So Uther picked him up and showed him to [Pg 81] the assembly; and, being a strong man himself, he admired pluck. Uther stood St. Tue on the palm of his hand and held out his arm, so that he might speak, which he did in a loud voice, telling them solemnly that they were warring against heaven and one mightier than they, and finished by challenging the mightiest to a contest of rock-hurling.
If he were beaten, all the saints would leave the land; but if he won, then the giants were to cease their persecution and be baptized with the sign of the cross. Now, Uther was a champion rock-hurler, and it was a pastime with him to throw rocks like quoits, and so truly as to balance them one over the other, the top being the largest.
The game was no child's play; and the assembly said if Uther would accept the challenge, they would abide by the result. When they looked at St.
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Tue and the rocks to be hurled, they laughed mockingly. There were twelve rocks in all. They had been used before, and were fairly round. The smallest was hurled first, and Uther pitched it one hundred feet. St Tues knees shook. What [Pg 82] if his faith should fail now? He cast his eyes upwards, and then, oh, blessed miracle! So the game went on, and the pile grew more and more like a mushroom. The giants shouted mightily when Uther's rock capped the saint's; but when the saint's capped Uther's, they groaned aloud, and showed temper.
It was the saint's turn to hurl the last rock, which, being the heaviest and largest, and having to be thrown the highest, required the greatest skill and judgment and strength.
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The slightest error, and the pile would topple over. The silence was so great that a grasshopper was heard to chirp. True as a die the rock settled on the rest, and the whole mass swayed upon its stem, but fell not. The victory was not yet, and a thirteenth rock was brought, and so huge was it that the giant knew it was beyond his powers to hurl; but he raised it with both hands and threw it with all his might and strength, and fell prone to earth, exhausted. The rock fell short, and was rolled back to where St.
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Tue stood, trembling once again. Would Heaven fail him now? But no. His eyes were opened, and he saw an angelic host raise the stone to his hand, carry it through the air, and place it as a crown upon the "wring," [Pg 83] that man might wonder at for evermore. But the giants were blind with rage, and saw not. Then Uther bowed his head in humility and confessed his sins, and was baptized; and some followed his example, but more returned to their castles and did what scathe they could. But the saints rejoiced when they heard what St. Tue had done, and were made free of the land; and made so free with it that all the best they took to themselves, and so pursued the giants with soap and water and Sunday clothes, and so trimmed their beards and nails, that the race dwindled and dwindled and died out.
So the saints triumphed, and the Cheese-wring is their memorial. Tue founded the "Union of Saints," and then his troubles began in such earnest that he had to increase his doses of cod-liver oil in order to bear them. He was nursed in his last days by the good St. Keyne, who came over from Wales for the purpose.
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An elm, an oak, and an ash tree grew over his grave, whose roots formed an arch, and under the arch a spring of pure water gushed forth.
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