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Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines   By: (1825-1894)

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Necessity is the mother of invention. This is undoubtedly true, but it is equally true that invention is not the only member of necessity's large family. Change of scene and circumstance are also among her children. It was necessity that gave birth to the resolve to travel to the end of the earth of English earth at all events in search of fortune, which swelled the bosom of yonder tall, well favoured youth, who, seated uncomfortably on the top of that clumsy public conveyance, drives up Market Jew Street in the ancient town of Penzance. Yes, necessity stern necessity, as she is sometimes called drove that youth into Cornwall, and thus was the originating cause of that wonderful series of events which ultimately led to his attaining but hold! Let us begin at the beginning.

It was a beautiful morning in June, in that period of the world's history which is ambiguously styled "Once upon a time," when the "Kittereen" the clumsy vehicle above referred to rumbled up to the Star Inn and stopped there. The tall, well favoured youth leapt at once to the ground, and entered the inn with the air of a man who owned at least the half of the county, although his much worn grey shooting costume and single unpretentious portmanteau did not indicate either unusual wealth or exalted station.

In an off hand hearty way, he announced to landlord, waiters, chambermaids, and hangers on, to all, indeed, who might choose to listen, that the weather was glorious, that coaches of all kinds, especially Kittereens, were detestable machines of torture, and that he meant to perform the remainder of his journey on foot.

He inquired the way to the town of St. Just, ordered his luggage to be forwarded by coach or cart, and, with nothing but a stout oaken cudgel to encumber him, set out on his walk of about seven miles, with the determination of compensating himself for previous hours of forced inaction and constraint by ignoring roads and crossing the country like an Irish fox hunter.

Acting on the presumptuous belief that he could find his way to any part of the world with the smallest amount of direction, he naturally missed the right road at the outset, and instead of taking the road to St. Just, pursued that which leads to the Land's End.

The youth, as we have observed, was well favoured. Tall, broad shouldered, deep chested, and athletic, with an active step, erect gait, and clear laughing eye, he was one whom a recruiting sergeant in the Guards would have looked upon with a covetous sigh. Smooth fair cheeks and chin told that boyhood was scarce out of sight behind, and an undeniable some thing on the upper lip declared that manhood was not far in advance.

Like most people in what may be termed an uncertain stage of existence, our hero exhibited a variety of apparent contradictions. His great size and muscular strength and deep bass voice were those of a man, while the smooth skin, the soft curling hair, and the rollicking gladsome look were all indicative of the boy. His countenance, too, might have perplexed a fortune teller. Sometimes it was grave almost to sternness, at other times it sparkled with delight, exhibiting now an expression that would have befitted a sage on whose decisions hung the fate of kingdoms, and anon displaying a dash of mischief worthy of the wildest boy in a village school.

Some of the youth's varied, not to say extravagant, actions and expressions, were perhaps due to the exhilarating brilliancy of the morning, or to the appearance of those splendid castles which his mind was actively engaged in building in the air.

The country through which he travelled was at first varied with trees and bushes clothed in rich foliage; but soon its aspect changed, and ere long he pursued a path which led over a wide extent of wild moorland covered with purple heath and gorse in golden yellow bloom... Continue reading book >>

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