By the Falmothians and others thereabouts hail drops are called Camborne boys. Camborne is a small place, a few miles from Redruth – but why it should give its name to hail I know not. I have heard it asserted that in winter, whilst it rains in the neighbourhood, it hails there. Oredat Judaeus.
A lout of a fellow, living within a few miles of Falmouth, had occasion to bury his wife. He went thro’ the ceremony very decorously and had recovered a little cheerfulness by the time he reached his house, whither he was accompanied by a few friends whom he had invited in compliance with the usual custom, to dine with him. In the midst of dinner, when it might have been expected that the good things of this world would have solely engaged his attention, to the surprise, and it may be added to the amusement of every one, he burst into a flood of tears, and was apparently so much affected, that he could only reply to the questions of his guests “I caint forget her yet.” How tender, and pathetic is this exclamation – tis the very soul of brevity and comprehensiveness.
A well known person (who has obtained the soubriquet of Dick Damme, from his frequent use of that expletive) of Falmouth, being in a booksellers shop, where a tolerable painting by a native artist was exhibited for sale, was asked his opinion of its merit. “Why, damme I cant say much of that there pictur, ‘lase why, I am no sinecure – oh I mean Epicure!!” This person has a most wonderful power of perverting the English language. He has read a good deal – is moreover a shrewd and sensible man on all affairs of common life – but in consequence of the narrowness of his education when young, he is unable to speak correctly, and his fondness for fine flowery words often raises a laugh at his expence. A friend, who was building a house expressed his doubts as to what would be best for the front of the house. I’ll tell you what would be best, and that is “a porker with a brander.” What this improvement was would defy the ingenuity of the most ingenious to determine – and I would give you a month to find it out, were I not persuaded that it would be more inexplicable than the enigmas of the ancient Sphynx. From the conversation which succeeded this bright suggestion it was ascertained that he intended, if he had spoken in English, to have aid “A patio with a verandah!!”
Speaking on another occasion of a brilliant affair between the French and English in the Peninsula, he stated, that during the whole time the English were ascending a hill to attack their enemies, they were dreadfully harnessed [query harassed] by the French. I have heard several other stories respecting this literary Assassin, but I shall forbear to mention them at present – contained in the Tagus five days – ordered a presumptuous dinner – his daughter harpooned. [the last few phrases inserted by a different pen.]
Beer shops in Falmouth are called Kittlewinks – Query what is the origin of this peculiar name? I have heard it said that it is derived from the name of the person who first opened a Beer shop.
On Penny-comequick name of a house in Falmouth.
In Falmouth Town, there lived a man whose name was Billy Geach, a man of a peculiar turn of expression, but who had a bee in his head. This man had once a rib, who proved a thorn in his side, and a stumbling block in his path of life, so that he had little pleasure therein. Time passed on – but time instead of mellowing her temper and wearing out her clapper, only seemed to render the former harsher and to improve the latter to a most provoking pitch. At last, however, to Billy’s great relief, she was forced to hold her tongue ?why – because, death had taken away her breath. So with great pleasure, her sorrowing helpmate prepared to pay the last duties to her mortal remains. It was proposed to bury her, at Constantine, a place about four or five miles from Falmouth. The appointed day chanced to be very rainy, which rendered the roads very miry, and the journey on foot any thing but pleasant. When the funeral procession had got about half way, all wet and bedraggled, the chief-mourner was heard to remark. “Oh! oh! But this is a toil of pleasure.” – a remark so apropos, and piquant, that ever since at Falmouth, in similar, or parallel circumstances, people often say “This is a toil of pleasure, as Billy Geach said as he buried his wife.”
Really Falmouth, I think, might compete with any town of the same size for the number of odd characters among the inhabitants. I have or shall here and there mention several at some length – but at present I mean to introduce one for the sake of a story connected with him. The name of this worthy is W.m Lightfoot, a young man, be it known, bred to the respectable trade of shoemaking. If he had been a good tradesman, he might have made money and passed thro’ the world in an honest humdrum way, pursuing the even tenor of his life without difficulties and without excitement. But he was not a good tradesman which by the bye includes in the definition sobriety and attention as well as skill – and thereby hangs a tale. Nature had by no means cut him out for a cobbler – but had intended him for something high, which was unfortunately marred by the low condition to which he was born. To drop metaphors and to speak plainly, he was born with the bump of study. From his earliest years he was fond of reading – at rest and at work, he had ever a book before him. [Four] Dramatists were his delight, and he has almost all Shakespeare & some of our best Tragedians by heart. He has also taught himself French, Spanish and several other branches of a polite education – of which the common duller-headed sons of rich parents find it impossible to advance beyond the threshold, much less to enter the interior, even with the assistance of the best Masters.
Is it then to be wondered at, if his mind, being thus cultivated, and elevated far above the level of those with whom he was forced to associate, that he should feel some warm aspirations after the intelligence & cultivation of a higher sphere of society? Such indeed was the result – I would say the natural result of the enlargement of his intellect, and of his keeping alert company with those bright and polished characters which formed the study of his waking hours. He longed, notwithstanding all his philosophy to mingle in genteel society and to taste those pleasures, which refined and expensive habits have introduced. His longing at one time increased so strongly that he determined to gratify it, conte que conte. For this purpose he laboured diligently at his work & denied himself every indulgence that would lessen his gains, until he had amassed a sum sufficient to equip and maintain him as a Gentleman for a short time. When the blessed period had arrived he threw aside his awl – and all that savoured of the trade, viz. a dirty shirt, considerably out at the elbows – an old rust vest, with neer a button to fasten it – a pair of trowsers with sundry holes for the entrance and escape of the air – and a pair of slippers, which had a good plea, from length of service, for being put on the superannuation list – and then rigged himself out in a suit of the most fashionable cut. As he was too well known in Falmouth to gain that respect, which the ignorant world is too apt to accord to a man’s dress, he repaired to Redruth and there passed himself as a Dr. Type. Being wholly unknown there, & besides possessing a good figure, with manners elevated by his intellectual improvement, no suspicion ever arose to create a doubt of his claims to the honourable appellation. As he was of a gay turn & could sing an excellent song, he met with a good reception wherever he went, and he soon had an extensive & respectable acquaintance. Among other families he was introduced to a farmer, who had two daughters, each of whom was to receive £18,000. Under cover of his assumed rank, he began to pay his addresses to the youngest – and the worthy farmer showed no dislike to the alliance. Had fortuned [sic] but favoured him a little longer, it is not impossible but that he would have carried off the rich prize, and been what he considered himself entitled to be, a gentleman. But who knows not the proverbial fickleness of the blind Goddess. At the very moment, when matters were leading to a favourable crisis, the Jade deserted him. In other words his cash had run out, his credit was becoming equivocal, and above all he had not the means of raising the wind – a combination of circumstances, which has forced many a wiser and a better man that Dr. Type, to yield. He however to the last carried things with a high hand – pretended indispensable business required his presence at Falm.o and decamped with a promise of returning, of which we see no reason to doubt the sincerity.
Time rolled on – the name of Dr. Type was almost forgotten except by the forsaken & lovelorn maid – and Willy Lightfoot was working and plodding on in order to take the field with advantage, when, as chance would have it, the Farmer’s daughters came to Falm.o intending to call, the one upon her future spouse, & the other upon her brother-in-law in prospect. They made many enquiries after Dr. Type, whom they had supposed to be established in extensive practice – but not one knew of such a person. At last, they were told that one Lightfoot was sometimes known by that appellation name and that he lived with his mother. With this information they were directed to his Mothers, who appeared before them in her but decent dwelling in a condition, which shewed that she had not expected such fine company to visit her. To her great surprise, the ladies asked for her son, and thinking they wanted some shoes made, she shouted out “Bill, Bill come faist, theest wainted here.” Upon hearing his Mother’s voice, poor Bill, little aware of the characters then on the stage, made his entrée, and to his horror, was revealed in the full dirt and untidiness of his working hours. The ladies were no less horror-struck, and departed, indignantly refusing to credit the assurances of the unfortunate Type, that his present dishabille was a mere frolic, & that he was trying his hand at Cobbling by way of amusement and recreation only. Thus the bubble had burst – thus his air-built castles had tumbled down in ruins, leaving not a wreck behind – and poor Willy remains a cobbler still.
To conclude, Dr. Type has long ere this forgotten his disappointment, and has found in the flowing bowl, joys, which compensate him for what he has lost. For a time he will work hard, and save like any close hunks – then he will dress himself out for a parade, and finish his spree by going to a public house, and remaining there until he has spent all the money in his pockets, & whatever he can raise by the disposal of his new geer. He being out, he very quietly returns to his work, and his book. Alas poor Yorick!!!
A Good Text
Joey Dixon the market boatman between St. Anthony  and Falmouth is a queer old codger and quite an oddity in his way. I know him well and have heard much of him also – but I think the story that is told of him when a boy is rather of a more comic cast that the others. In his tender years he was footboy to Admiral Spry who lived at St. Anthony. This Admiral was of the old school, and thought it necessary, if not to act in a moral manner in private, at least to keep up the appearance of decency and morality among his dependents. Like most other sailors he was no ardent churchman but like mother great men, he was of opinion that religion was necessary for the common people, and that they should be encouraged by the countenance of the higher powers. Accordingly when he did not go to religious service himself he punctually sent his coach and servants, and on their return he also considered it right to ask them a few questions respecting the sermon and Text. Now Joey, idle dog, did not like any more than his Master to go to Church, but would much rather be daundering about and skylarking than sleeping during a drowsy discourse. He could not however for a long time manage matters, or rather he had not courage to absent himself, well knowing what a scrutiny he would have to undergo, when he returned home. At last inclination got the better of prudence and one very fine day, he forgot all his good resolutions and spent the time of service in profane amusements with some kindred spirits in the Churchyard. When the Church had skailled [?] he joined the Coachman, took his post, and was driven home, deliberating all the way what he had best to do. The only feasible plan he could think of was to ask his friend Coachee whet was the text in order to be prepared for his categorical examination. Now Coachee was a bit of a wag, and to his enquiry gave him such answers as he knew would bring him under the admirals fire, which at the same time they were completely satisfactory to the simple-minded boy. After their return home, when Joey was in the Drawing room, the Admiral a usual addressed him – “Well Joey, were you at Church to day.” “Yes, your honour,” was the confident reply. – “And did you hear a good sermon.” “Yes, your honour.” – “And do you remember the text.” “Yes, your honours worship.” “And what was it.” Joey who had expected this query and was ready primed, without hesitation said, “Your honour it was in ‘Clesiastics – Chapter the 6th but I doesn’t remember the verse.” “Do you know the words,” asked the Admiral. “Yes your honour,” and he up and repeated the precise words of Coachee “Pork and Taties make good paasties.” “So they do,” responded the Master, and suddenly withdrew, leaving Joey perfectly satisfied with this verse, and resolved, since it was so easy to escape detection, to play the truant a little oftner. Full of this idea, he was merrily engaged in reddine up the room, when the Admiral entered with a horse whip, and he linged into the poor lad, that he nearly made a pasty of his back; abusing him all the while for attempting to impose upon the simplicity of his Master, and asking him if he saw fool written upon his forehead. When Joey afterwards was asked how he could be so simple as to give such a ridiculous answer, he said that at that time he could not read, and that as he was well aware knew that “Pork and taties make good pasties,” to be a gospel truth in Cornwall, he never once doubted but that it was equally so among the Jews – forgetting or rather not knowing the Jewish antipathy to the unclean animal.
Admiral James’ puff
Admiral James, who lived near Falmouth was a great smoker – so much so that when engaged he was remarkable slow in speaking, generally giving a puff between every word. One evening the fire of a cegar had fallen upon a gentleman’s trowsers unknown to him. Admiral James observed the circumstance & proceeded to inform the gentleman of it but his slow & interrupted conversation prevented him from being so expeditious as he ought. “Sir,” (puff) “there” (puff) “is” (puff) “some” (puff) “fire” (puff) “on” (puff) “your” (puff) “Trowsers.” “Eh, eh,” said the gentleman addressed, “why did you not tell me sooner, for the mischief is already done & my clothes are burnt thro’.”
Going to Havre – have her.
Quidam Judaeus, Falmothiae habitans alim faminam gravidam fecit – ab quam causam censores alimentum future impartis ab illo providenrum pataierunt. Eis intero-grantibus pater ejus respondit “he is going to Havre.” – which they took to mean “He is going to have her.” Hoc respondum placuit pauco dies expetalant, donec impatietes jur enem inquisirerunt Bed frastra. Hand inremindus erat – patrem ejus desride quaesiverunt. “Ubi filius tues est? A Ult antia dixi.” Profectus est his ____ as Havre, oppidiem Galliac. Vehementer irati disusserunt.
Never stand still in the way of righteousness.
At a Methodist meeting at a neighbouring town to Falmouth, on one occasion when the regular clergyman was unable to attend, one of the brethren was called upon to conduct the devotions of the assembly, & to improve the occasion by delivering a discourse. The worthy man who had been selected was a plain sensible man, without that skill and tact in preaching which Ministers from constant practice acquire. However to the best of his abilities he held forth and not without approbation and much unction to his hearers. He took for the subject of his discourse, the necessity under which the truly religious is laid, to be always advancing in Christian knowledge & never standing still. He acknowledged that with different persons there would be different measures of improvement – & different capabilities of progression in the way of righteousness. But still he argued that we must advance however little, & in any manner. The way in which he expressed himself to this effect deserves to be noticed for its extreme plainness & at the same time pithiness. “Always, my beloved brethren, make advances in the way of righteousness – first of oil (all) try to run – if you caint run, wacky (walk) – if you caint wacky, creepy (creep) – but whether running, wacking or creeping never stand still.”
[Dix James ? and his son again]
A friend of mine was once in the shop of Dick Damne’s son who is a druggist, and of whom it may be predicated “like father, like son.” – & among other things, L’Apothecaire said “Oh I saw yesterday a curious specimen of orthodoxy in a shop. I saw where spelled whare.” ! ! !
Dick himself would furnish a whole volume of instances in which he has corrupted mutilated – perverted & murdered the King’s English. Talking one day that he had to give an entertainment, he said he had ordered a presumptuous dinner at Pearce’s.
At the first outbreak of the civil broils in Portugal, the old gentleman happened to be on board of a vessel in the Tagus, where as he phrased it, “he was contained five days.” ! ! !