Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/395
Compelled to abandon his work in the factory in 1847, he ultimately obtained the post of letter-carrier from Bideford to Buckland Brewer and its neighbourhood, distributing the mail through a discursive walk of thirteen miles daily, and receiving a salary of half a guinea per week.
Capern's first book of Poems was published in 1856. A Mr. W. F. Rock, having seen his verses, thought there was merit in them, and undertook to collect subscribers; and by worrying certain noblemen into taking four, five, or six copies, and canvassing through the county, he succeeded in getting enough subscribers to enable him to publish.
But Capern wanted to have all he had written included. Mr. Rock had to be firm.
"What!" exclaimed Capern. "Exclude my ’Morning’ and the 'Apostrophe to the Sun'! Why, sir, I wrote those pieces when I had but four shillings a week to live upon, which gave but frugal meals."
Precisely, but that did not constitute them poems. Mr. Rock says: "It is not my intention even to touch upon the trying incidents of Mr. Capern's early life. He is a rural letter-carrier … for which his salary is ten shillings and sixpence per week. He has a real poet's wife; his Jane, a charming brunette, is intelligent, prudent, and good. He has two children, Charles, a boy of seven, and Milly, a girl just three years of age.
"Mr. Capern's features have a striking resemblance to those of Oliver Goldsmith; he has also the Doctor's sturdy build, though not his personal height. Nor is this the only point of resemblance to our dear Goldy. Mr. Capern has an ear for music, he plays touchingly on the flute, and sings his own songs to his own tunes with striking energy or tenderness."