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had there and then thrown him in a fair ring, winning the supremacy for his own county; and had come back to live and move among his own people, surrounded with a little halo of hero-worship.
Seldom were surnames heard in this assemblage. Men were known chiefly by patronymics, synonyms, and nicknames. Smuggler Tom,' "Pilot Joe," "Champion John," and Fancy Sam," were the terms and titles bandied about from mouth to mouth. At the time we enter, the interest is all centred on two players. The one was a tall, lithe, sinewy man, quick, rapid, and impulsive in his action and gestures. The face was handsome, but its beauty was of the kind which bordered on the fearful. The features and expression were fine and strongly marked, but stern and unsoftened as though they had been impressed in lava, or burnt in by the heat of sun and passion. The eye was fierce and restless, and flashed ever and anon with furtive and vengeful glances. Around his brown brawny neck a coloured kerchief was wound loosely, and fastened in front by a gold ring; his jacket was full, and trimmed with braid; little filigree buttons held his waistcoat together; a cap, with hanging tassel and gold band, sat lightly on his short dark curls, and round his waist was bound a red sash. The dress was foreign, and Richard Curgenven, the wearer -or Brazilian Dick, as he was familiarly calledhad been a wanderer in many lands, had shared (it was said) in some strange exploits on the Spanish Main; had worked in the mines of Brazil, and acted many another phase of wild and adventurous life. He was now come to his native land, wellto-do, it seemed; was liberal, even lavish, of his means, and had a dash and recklessness in all he said and did, which was taking with the many, but had a strong repulsion for the staid stay-at-home natures of patriarchs and elders. The rival player was Phil Rounsval, a young yeoman, the descendant of yeomen who had lived on the same farm since the time of the Domesday Book without altering their landmarks, and had gone on man after
man tilling the same acres, housing their cattle in the same steads, sitting by the same hearthstone, and being borne to the same churchyard on the cliff, where the burial-mounds of the race were heaped like molehills. He was young, and comely to look upon. The character of his countenance was one common to the Cornish-massive, yet finely turned-not heavy or inexpressive, but rarely lit or excited; his form was slouching or slovenly, until some gymnastic action threw it into an attitude of firm and graceful strength. The game was one of skill, and was at a turning-point. The men were "lobbing that is, throwing the bowl home to the pins, not bowling or trundling it. Brazilian Dick had made some brilliant and dashing throws, which had somewhat posed the steady play of his antagonist. There were now three pins standing, and Farmer Phil had to bring down these in one throw. Slowly the bowl was poised, swiftly and surely it flew, just touching the bellying point of the outer pin, and bounding to the other two, laying all on the ground. The game was won. A little uproar of shouts, opinions, and acclaim closed around the players, and it was soon evident that the principals themselves were at high words.
"Let 'em fight it out!" was the general cry, and seemed the mutual meaning.
Presently old John Truscott's form was seen, and his voice heard in the midst. "No fighting-no fighting here!" he said. If the lads want to know who is best man, let 'em try a turn of wrastling. A kindly grip and a faall don't leave the ill blood of a black eye or a bruise. I have knowed many fellows better friends after a good hearty tuzzle."
"A second Daniel come to judgment," was the thought, though not the speech, of the Cornishmen. The sentence was received with general assent. A ring was speedily formed
the men strip, and are all attired in the wrestling-jackets, always ready on such occasions; they shake hands, according to custom, though the wilful look of the eye, dark and flashing with one, calm and steady with the other, belie the friendly grasp. Now
they take their grip. To the uninitiated, the Brazilian has out and out the best of it. He works and turns and twists apparently according to his pleasure; but the connoisseur sees that his adversary is gradually drawing him closer and closer with the steady force of calm power. They are close now, breast to breast, and Phil's right arm is thrown over the shoulder, his right leg twined round that of the Brazilian, who perforce seizes him now round the waist. "A hitch, a hitch," is the shout. "He hath got 'un now," mutters old John Truscott.
For a minute they stand thus, still and statuesque, either afraid to lose his balance. Phil makes play; fails; rescues himself; grows wary. The Brazilian loses patience; makes a sudden effort; fails. A sudden touch of Phil's heel, a quick turn of the whole body, and down goes his adversary fairly on his back, not heavily, but with the elastic bound of an india-rubber ball.
"A faall-a faall!" is the cry. The men rise and glare at each other, and words are muttered such as these "Next time we will have
a sharper tuzzle.” Ay, ay, and perhaps thee may then have a heavier fall."
There is a general breaking up and dispersion to the different homes now for the Christmas Eve.
"There is ill blood atween those lads," says old Joe Treherne the pilot; "and 'tis all along of old miller Rosevear's lass."
"Ah!" says old Truscott, "there's a lass in the case, is there? I misdoubted somewhat, Farmer Phil played so wilful."
Yes, sure," rejoined the pilot, "he cremed 'un cruel hard, and looked so vengeful at one time, that I
thought he was going to give 'un the Flying Mare."
I am glad he didn't-glad he
Why, John you know none but the best men can play that hitch." "None but the best men can play it, and the best men never do it except when the blood is up. I never played it but once, and I am sorry for it now-always have been." "Tell us all about it, Champion Jan," was the cry of many voices.
"Well; you know, lads, how I went up to Plymouth to wrastle the Devonshire champion. He were a good man-as good a man as e'er I had a turn with. Well, he kicked and kicked me cruel, till my leg was all black and plummed up, from knee to ankle. But I didn't mind this much, for I gave 'un a creme (a grip) for every kick; and at last he put forth his foot vengefully, and took my toe-nail clean off. I was in cruel pain-very nigh mad, and I closed in on 'un, took the old hitch, gave 'un the hoist, and away he went flying over my shoulder, and fell flat on the ground like a sack of wheat." "Didst kill 'un, Jan ?-didst break his bones?"
No, no; he wasn't that hurt. The wind was out of 'un for a while; but he was game, regular game, and got up and stood another turn; but I have heard that he was never his own man again. No, no, lads, never play in passion-never give the Flying Mare."
Except when your toe nail's kicked off," insinuates pilot Joe.
Old Truscott answered not, but went his way, shaking his head, thinking and feeling evidently that that angry action was a blot on his manhood, and had placed a withered leaf in his champion's chaplet.
Deep in one of those glens which everywhere in Cornwall vein the land with lines of beauty and sublimity, coursing through and vivifying even bleakness and barrenness with touches of the picturesque and romantic, stood an old mill. Built in a hollow of the rock, it seemed
almost a projection of it, save where the fitful lights of a wintry sky struck out dimly and partially the outline of its thick thatched roof with its heavy overhanging eaves, its broad gable with latticed windows, doors, and hatches, and the huge wheel resting like a black jagged shadow
in the darkness. In front brawled a tiny brook, which had no right, from its size, to make the noise it did. It was almost the only thing which woke up or enlivened the solitudes and wastes through which it passed. It made the life of the little glen as it tumbled, and foamed, and gurgled in its rocky course, fretting in eddies over the loose stones, lying darkly in deep pools, from which it swept over ridges and ledges in tiny cascades-rushing through channels it had worn for itself-running in a wavy line through a dark tunnel of cliff-and then, at last, sparkling and dancing in the open space, where it met the breakers of the great sea. It was ever alight, too, even in the dark places, with sun or moon gleams; and, by day or night, its waters glanced and shone like bright spots in the gloom and shadows of the glen.
This spot was called the Rocky Valley, and was a short distance only from the town of Boscastle. Here lived old Hugh Rosevear the miller. He and his mill were both at rest now, keeping holiday. He was the very picture of holiday rest as he sat in a huge oaken settle before the fire-the very type of a jolly miller. Why millers should necessarily be jolly, or why their vocation should nurture this characteristic, is not very clear, save that the plenty which passes by them sheds on their nature a reflection of goodliness and satisfaction. We have seen millers certainly, meagre, sombre, and dismal enough to have done honour to a conventicle; but these are the failures as a class, they are generally fat and well-liking, mirthful and chirping, fond of jest, and feast, and
Old Hugh looked like a man who was about to feast, and who liked the idea. There was feasting in the twinkle of his eyes, in the folds of his double-chin, and the quiet smile playing about his mouth. He was alone as yet. From a heap of turf and wood on the wide open hearth the fire flashed fitfully, throwing a broad bright gleam on the stone floor, but only half lighting the beams and rafters, from which hung pieces of bacon, bags of herbs, and the first
handful of last year's harvest bound with a withered garland, and the dark recesses where the wood was stored, and where the clock and the dressers stood, all bedecked now with little bits of laurel and holly. On the shelves pewter plates and dishes shone like silver shields. Old Hugh had an aversion to delf, or clome as he called it, and made very merry at times with his wife's Cheeny vagaries
the good lady's tastes in that line being humbly developed in a couple. of spotted cows with tails turned over their backs, and a shepherd and shepherdess very mild and pastoral.
From behind the settle, ever and anon, as the oven was opened, came a goodly savour of newly-baked bread, cakes, and pies. Female forms flitted to and fro, sending a pleasant look or a pleasant word to the old man as he sat waiting his guests. Their coming was anticipated in the presence of horn-cups on the table before him, and a large brown Toby Fill-pot jug, the only earthern thing he used, that he had been inveigled into buying by a Cheap-John, who held it before him, and said, "There, miller, take this, and whenever you pour out your beer, you may see yourself without a looking-glass." The conceit tickled the old fellow, and he always chuckled when, at his evening draughts, he was confronted by the figure of the jolly toper.
Pleasant were the old man's musings as he sat basking in the firelight; many a low chuckle did he utter, and many a time might be
"The slow wise smile that round about His dusty forehead drily curl'd, Seem'd half within and half without, And full of dealings with the world." Pleasantly were they interrupted after a while by the presence of a young girl, who came softly around the settle, and stood before him on the hearth.
"Ah! Grace, lass, art dressed a'ready? Thee doesn't want much bedizening, and that thee know'st right well.' And the old man's eyes laughed softly with pride and satisfaction as they lighted on the pleasant beauty and comely proportions of his daughter. Grace Rosevear was indeed pleasant to look upon.
Hers was the half Celtic half Saxon beauty-not rare in Cornwall-of the dark-grey eye, bright and gladsome, the oval face, the clear complexion touched with a healthful ruddiness, the light-brown hair, soft and rich, rippling in wavy folds around the forehead, and falling loosely in two long curls adown the neck. The charm of face and feature, however, were as nought to the brightness and kindliness which played over them like a sunny gleam. Her figure was tall and light, yet well rounded, and swelled fairly beneath the. tightfitting boddice and the full petticoat. Not refined, perhaps, was Grace, nor did she rejoice in the white hand or arched foot, but she was winsome and winning. Her only ornament to-night was a breast-knot of cherrycoloured ribbons. As his eye glanced on this, old Hugh laughed heartily.
Ah! lass," he said, "I am glad to see thee hast not forgotten thee fairing. On a night like this, a lad hath a right to see thee favour his token. I am right glad, too, that thee doesn't wear the gimcrack that fellow Rich Curgenven gave thee."
“Come, father, it is no gimcrack that broach, but the purest gold from the mines; so Dick told me, and the lad himself is well enough, and hath a good favour and a glib tongue."
"Gold or no gold, I care not. mislike the chap, glib as he is. I never could take kindly to a man who couldn't look me in the face, and is always glowering askew. Besides, I doan't put any faith in a gad-about, who never knaws his own parish, and goes tramping about from place to place, furgathering with furreigners, and such like. I hope that I shall never see thee take on with a fellow who goeth trapsing and tinkering about the country."
At the moment, in the height of his prejudices against wanderers, he saw his daughter in highlows and a black velvet bonnet, with a bundle of sticks and umbrellas under her arm, following her spouse from house to house, or with a tambourine in her hand going from window to window, whilst he juggled with balls on an extemporised arena, or exhibited Punch.
"Well, father, if a rolling stone gathers no moss, a stay-at-home is always homely, and I likes to hear all his romancings about the strange people and the strange sights he hath seen; and he tells it all, brave and spirity, like the player-folk at the
Romancing! Yes, half of 'em lies, and what good has ever come of all this gadding and sight-seeing. The father before 'im, old Dick Curgenven, was always a-roving and arambling, a-trying this and that, Jack-of-all-trades and master of none; and what was the end of it? Why, he almost_come to the parish afore he died. Noa, noa, give me a staid, kindly lad, like Phil Rounsval, who can be gay enough at feastingtime and revels, but was never away from tilling, or hoeing, or haymaking, or harvest-home. He's a good man, too, in the ring and at hurling. Old Champion Jan says, he never saw a likelier one; and he's a good man, too, on his own hearthstone."
Could old Rosevear have seen the light flush which the name of Phil called up, he would have dismissed any misgivings he might have of Grace's hankering for the rover, and have seen that her defence of him was a little wilfulness and caprice.
"I wonder, father, you favour Phil's gallivantings to the wrestlings and the feasts, when you are so hard upon another lad for roving and straying."
"Tis a different thing-a different thing entirely. A man must show hisself a man, and should see what the lads of other parishes be like, and what be their ways and games, and he will settle down better afterwards to his own town-place. 'Tis furreigners I object to. There's no good in 'em.
Old Pilot Joe will tell ye the same. Ah! here he comes."
He had entered at the moment, bringing with him a smell of seaweed and tarred rope. With him was old John Truscott, burly ever, and bravely attired now in top-boots and breeches, a buff waistcoat, and a blue coat, very scant and short in the waist. Another of the guests was old Jack Philp, the auctioneer, whose outer man was ever the same. No mortal, save perhaps the wife of
his bosom, ever saw it represented otherwise than by Hessian boots, cords, a cut-away coat, and a hat which was a kind of compromise between a carter's and a dean's, such as became one who surveyed land and gathered tithes, and whose vocation was a sort of neutral ground betwixt the plough and the vestry. Whether he was ever divested of these externals, or how they were changed or renewed, the partner of his privacy alone could tell. He was a cheery old fellow, with a wrinkled weatherbeaten face, ruddy withal, like an old apple, and was as famous for his prowess and hard-headedness at drinking-bouts, as old Truscott was for his wrestling. With these came other worthies; and the two young men followed shortly after, Phil greeting the miller with a hearty grip, and making a sort of half-bashful, half-familiar salutation to Grace; Curgenven sliding in almost unseen and unnoticed, until he had reached her side, and begun to make his advances in his usual dashing style, softening, however, his recklessness by an insinuating air of courtesy and gallantry-when his eye caught sight of the simple ribbon lying where his gift should have been, and then shot towards his rival a glance fierce, vengeful, and threatening as a snake's. Dame Rosevear, fat, hearty, and comely, as she ought in right to be, had meanwhile joined the circle, and passed compliments with her husband's cronies. She saw that glance, and interpreted it with a woman's readiness.
The company were all seated now around the fire, pipes were lighted, horns were filled, and pieces of saffron and currant cake handed about on platters.
"I was saying when you come in," began old Hugh, "that I never knowed any good come of mixing with furreigners, and that I never heard any good of most of 'em. You cant give 'em any great character, I think, Joe Treherne."
"God forbid that I should wrong 'em," answered the old pilot, "for I've met as true men among 'em, especially the fishermen in the French waters, as ever cast a net or worked a ship; but I never do feel quite com
fortable or social with 'em somehow, for they'ern mostly cruel, oncertain, and wilful; not hearty and straightfor'ard as we be, but will carry their grudges in their hearts for years, and gie a man a stab or a shot, without word or warning."
"What of that?" cried Brazilian Dick. "Give me the wild brave life in the countries where men's hearts are warmed by the sunshine, and women's eyes flash brightly. What if there be sometimes a flashing knife or a death-grip-and if a man be found lying stabbed under a window, or falls dead and bloody under a gambling-table? There is some spirit in the dashing, rollicking life they lead there; and 'tis better living, after all, than slouching about the same fields all one's days, with the clay clogging one's feet, and with scarce heart enough to look over the next fence."
"God keep us from such a life," murmured dame Rosevear; and Grace's cheek grew pale as she heard the rover speak so lightly of blood and murder.
A man may be bold enough," rejoined Phil," who never went abroad from his own town-place, and ha'e speret enough to hold his own, if his blood ben't heated with a blazing sun. The ould stone down in the four-acre field by the "Keeve" has never been moved for hundreds of years, and the Rounsvals for as long have stood on the same harthstone, and crossed the same threshold; though the roof and walls may have been changed. But there never was one of the breed yet that turned from a fair challenge. We ben't good at the knife or the back-stroke, but face to face with the fist or the hug, we never feared a man yet."
"Never mind about stay-at-homes, or stray-abroads," struck in champion Truscott. "If a man hath got the heart in 'im, he'll show it, whether he be working slate in Delabole quarry, or digging gold in a Portuguese mine." Then changing the drift of the conversation, he turned to old pilot Treherne. "So Joe, thee thinkest that the seafaring men are the best in all countries; nothing like sticking up for one's own trade."
"Good right too with me; for as long as the Rounsvals have been