Occasionally, however, I chance across something that looks potentially gameable.
These are all real extracts from Tennyson’s journal, written during a trip to Cornwall he made in the summer of 1848. Maybe it’s just his choice of words and imagery, but I can’t help the feeling that there’s some kind of Call of Cthulhu adventure going on in the background. Something to do with caves and slimes, sea-birds and shipwrecks, weird fossils and ruined castles, Arthurian relics and isolated seaside towns.
I wish I knew who the ‘Ethiopian serenaders’ were on July 19th.
|'It's all getting a bit squamous, old boy...'|
Anyway. Here it is.
- May 30th: I go out and in a moment go sheer downward upward of 6 feet over wall on fanged cobbles. Up again and walked to sea over dark hill.
- May 31st: Walked through Bude and came down on coast, angry waves rushing in.
- June 2nd: Took a gig to Reverend Hawker at Morwenstow. Walk on cliff with him, told of shipwreck.
- June 4th: Rainy and bad, went and sat in Tintagel ruins, cliff all black and red and yellow, weird looking thing.
- June 5th: Went through the sea-tunnel cavern over great blocks. Walls lined with shells, pink or puce jellies. Girls playing about the rocks as in a theatre.
- June 6th: Slate quarries, one great pillar left standing; ship under the cliff loading; went into a tavern all polished with the waves like dark marble with veins of pink and white. Follow’d up little stream falling through the worn slate, smoked a pipe at a little inn, dined, walked once more to the old castle darkening in the gloom.
- June 7th: Slaughter bridge, clear brook among alders. Sought for King Arthur’s stone, found it at last by a rock under two or three sycamores, walked seaward, came down by churchyard. Song from ship.
- June 8th: Walked seaward. Large rich crimson clover; sea purple and green like a peacock’s neck.
- June 13th: Wind began to blow cold.
- June 15th: Mr Peach showed me some of his fossils out of the clay slate.
- June 17th: Mr Peach showed me zoophytes, corallines, a spider, strange sights through microscope.
- June 20th: Set off for Polperro, ripple-mark, queer old narrow-streeted place, back at 9. Turf-fires on the hills; jewel-fires in the waves from the oar which the Cornish people call ‘bryming’.
- June 21st: Lostwithiel. Remains of palace, old castle circular, muffled in ivy.
- July 1st: Coast looked gray and grand in the fading light. Went into cave, Rembrandt-like light through the opening.
- July 3rd: Went with candles into great cave, round the rock through surf. Mr S. bore me on his back through surf.
- July 6th: Went to Land’s End by Logan rock, leadenbacked mews wailing on cliff, one with two young ones. Mist. Great yellow flare just before sunset. Funeral. Land’s End and Life’s End.
- July 7th: Back to Penzance, sat long with Mr Rodd, birds in drawing room.
- July 8th: The Lizard, rocks in sea, two southern eyes of England. Tamarisk hedge in flower.
- July 10th: Glorious grass-green monsters of waves. Into caves of Asparagus Island. Sat watching wave-rainbows. Glorious ranks of waves and billows. By coast to Lizard Point: saw sunset thence.
- July 11th: Down to Lizard cove. Saw the further ships under Penzance like dark beads threading the sunny shore.
- July 12th: Bathed, ran in and out of cave. Went and lay over Pentreath beach, thunder of waves to west.
- July 13th: Sailed, could not land at Kynance. Saw the long green swell heaving on the black cliff, rode into Pigeonthugo, dismal wailing of mews.
- July 15th: To Truro, Brazilian miner.
- July 19th: Ethiopian serenaders, sole hope of evening.
- July 20th: Cotehele old hall, brutal mannered housekeeper, tapestried rooms (grape gatherers, dogs, etc).
- July 21st: To point of Dartmoor, rain, rain.
- July 24th: Flea’d at night.
- July 25th: Mr Talfourd talked of Nature, very interesting evening.
- July 26th: Pretty railway by the sea.