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A West Country Pilgrimage   By:

A West Country Pilgrimage by Eden Phillpots

First Page:

[Illustration: TINTAGEL.]

A WEST COUNTRY PILGRIMAGE

BY EDEN PHILLPOTTS

AUTHOR OF "DANCE OF THE MONTHS," "A SHADOW PASSES," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY A. T. BENTHALL

LONDON LEONARD PARSONS PORTUGAL STREET

First Published, May 1920

Leonard Parsons, Ltd.

CONTENTS

HAYES BARTON THE SAD HEATH DAWLISH WARREN THE OLD GREY HOUSE BERRY POMEROY BERRY HEAD THE QUARRY AND THE BRIDGE BAGTOR OKEHAMPTON CASTLE THE GORGE THE GLEN A DEVON CROSS COOMBE OLD DELABOLE TINTAGEL A CORNISH CROSS

HAYES BARTON

[Illustration: HAYES BARTON.]

East of Exe River and south of those rolling heaths crowned by the encampment of Woodberry, there lies a green valley surrounded by forest and hill. Beyond it rise great bluffs that break in precipices upon the sea. They are dimmed to sky colour by a gentle wind from the east, for Eurus, however fierce his message, sweeps a fair garment about him. Out of the blue mists that hide distance the definition brightens and lesser hills range themselves, their knolls dark with pine, their bosoms rounded under forest of golden green oak and beech; while beneath them a mosaic of meadow and tilth spreads in pure sunshine. One field is brushed with crimson clover; another with dull red of sorrel through the green meadow grass; another shines daisy clad and drops to the green of wheat. Some crofts glow with the good red earth of Devon, and no growing things sprout as yet upon them; but they hold seed of roots and their hidden wealth will soon answer the rain.

In the heart of the vale a brook twinkles and buttercups lie in pools of gold, where lambs are playing together.

Elms set bossy signets on the land and throng the hedgerows, their round tops full of sunshine; under them the hawthorns sparkle very white against the riot of the green. From the lifted spinneys and coverts, where bluebells fling their amethyst at the woodland edge, pheasants are croaking, and silver bright against the blue aloft, wheel gulls, to link the lush valley with the invisible and not far distant sea. They cry and musically mew from their high place; and beneath them the cuckoo answers.

Nestling now upon the very heart of this wide vale a homestead lies, where the fields make a dimple and the burn comes flashing. Byres and granaries light gracious colour here, for their slate roofs are mellow with lichen of red gold, and they stand as a bright knot round which the valley opens and blossoms with many coloured petals. The very buttercups shine pale by contrast, and the apple blooth, its blushes hidden from this distance, masses in pure, cold grey beneath the glow of these great roofs. Cob walls stretch from the outbuildings, and their summits are protected against weather by a little penthouse of thatch. In their arms the walls hold a garden of many flowers, rich in promise of small fruits. Gooseberries and raspberries flourish amid old gnarled apple trees; there are strawberries, too, and the borders are bright with May tulips and peonies. Stocks and wallflowers blow flagrant by the pathway, murmured over by honey bees; while where the farmhouse itself stands, deep of eave under old thatch, twin yew trees make a dark splash on either side of the entrance, and a wistaria showers its mauve ringlets upon the grey and ancient front. The dormer windows are all open, and there is a glimpse of a cool darkness through the open door. Within the solid walls of this dwelling neither sunshine nor cold can penetrate, and Hayes Barton is warm in winter, in summer cool. The house is shaped in the form of a great E, and it has been patched and tinkered through the centuries; but still stands, complete and sturdy in harmony of design, with unspoiled dignity from a far past. Only the colours round about it change with the painting of the seasons, for the forms of hill and valley, the modelling of the roof tree, the walls and the great square pond outside the walls, change not... Continue reading book >>




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