Page:A book of the west; being an introduction to Devon and Cornwall.djvu/45

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21
THE CORNISH

remained and married the Cornish women. I believe that this is purely a fable. The same attempt at solution of the existence of the same type in Ireland and in Scotland has been made, because people would not understand that there could be any other explanation of the phenomenon.

I have been much struck in South Wales, on a market day, when observing the people, to see how like they were in build, and colour, and manner, and features to those one might encounter at a fair in Tavistock, Launceston, or Bodmin.

I positively must again quote Mr. Havelock Ellis on the Cornish woman, partly because his description is so charmingly put, but also because it is so incontestably true.


"The special characters of the race are often vividly shown in its women. I am not aware that they have ever played a large part in the world, whether in life or art. But they are memorable enough for their own qualities. Many years ago, as a student in a large London hospital, I had under my care a young girl who came from labour of the lowest and least skilled order. Yet there was an instinctive grace and charm in all her ways and speech which distinguished her utterly from the rough women of her class. I was puzzled then over that delightful anomaly. In after years, recalling her name and her appearance, I knew that she was Cornish, and I am puzzled no longer. I have since seen the same ways, the same soft, winning speech equally unimpaired by hard work and rude living. The Cornish woman possesses an adroitness and self-possession, a modulated readiness of speech, far removed from the awkward heartiness of the Anglo-Saxon woman, the emotional inexpressiveness of the Lancashire lass whose eyes wander