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Wandering Heath   By: (1863-1944)

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E text prepared by Lionel Sear

WANDERING HEATH.

by

ARTHUR THOMAS QUILLER COUCH.

1895 This e text was prepared from a reprint of a version published in 1895.

The stories in this volume made their first appearance in England as follows: "The Roll Call of the Reef" in The Idler ; "The Looe Die hards" in The Illustrated London News , where it was entitled "The Power o' Music"; "Jetsom" and "The Bishop of Eucalyptus" in The Pall Mall Magazine ; "Visitors at the Gunnel Rock" in The Strand Magazine ; "Flowing Source" in The Woman at Home ; and the rest, with one exception, in the friendly pages of The Speaker .

CONTENTS.

PROLOGUE.

THE ROLL CALL OF THE REEF.

THE LOOE DIE HARDS.

MY GRANDFATHER, HENDRY WATTY.

JETSOM.

WRESTLERS.

THE BISHOP OF EUCALYPTUS.

WIDDERSHINS.

VISITORS AT THE GUNNEL ROCK.

LETTERS FROM TROY

I. THE FIRST PARISH MEETING. II. THE SIMPLE SHEPHERD.

LEGENDS

I. THE LEGEND OF SIR DINAR. II. "FLOWING SOURCE".

EXPERIMENTS

I. A YOUNG MAN'S DIARY. II. THE CAPTAIN FROM BATH.

PROLOGUE.

"What is the use of it?" the Poet demanded peevishly it was New Year's Day in the morning. "People don't read my poetry when I have gone to the trouble of writing it!"

"The more shame to them," said his wife.

"But, my dear, you know you never read it yourself."

"Oh, that is altogether different. Besides you are improving, are you not?" She asked it a trifle anxiously, but the question set him off at once.

"In twenty years' time " he began eagerly.

" The boy will be at college." She laid down her needle and embroidery and, gazing into the fire, let her hands lie idle in her lap.

"You might think of me."

"I thought," she answered, "you were doing that."

"Of yourself, then."

"In twenty years' time " She broke off with the faintest possible sigh.

The Poet jumped up and went to his writing desk. "That reminds me," he said, and produced a folded scrap of paper. "I wrote it last night. It's a sort of a little New Year's present you need not read it, you know."

"But I will": and she took the paper and read

UPON NEW YEAR'S EVE

Now winds of winter glue Their tears upon the thorn, And earth has voices few, And those forlorn.

And 'tis our solemn night When maidens sand the porch, And play at Jack's Alight With burning torch,

Or cards, or Kiss i' the Ring While ashen faggots blaze, And late wassailers sing In miry ways.

Then, dear my wife, be blithe To bid the New Year hail And welcome plough, drill, scythe, And jolly flail.

For though the snows he'll shake Of winter from his head, To settle, flake by flake, On ours instead;

Yet we be wreathed green Beyond his blight or chill, Who kissed at seventeen And worship still.

We know not what he'll bring: But this we know to night He doth prepare the Spring For our delight.

With birds he'll comfort us, With blossoms, balms, and bees, With brooks, and odorous Wild breath o' the breeze.

Come then, O festal prime! With sweets thy bosom fill, And dance it, dripping thyme, On Lantick hill.

West wind, awake! and comb Our garden, blade from blade We, in our little home, Sit unafraid.

"Why, I quite like it!" said she.

THE ROLL CALL OF THE REEF.

"Yes, sir," said my host the quarryman, reaching down the relics from their hook in the wall over the chimney piece; "they've hung there all my time, and most of my father's. The women won't touch 'em; they're afraid of the story. So here they'll dangle, and gather dust and smoke, till another tenant comes and tosses 'em out o' doors for rubbish... Continue reading book >>




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