Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 2, by William Bottrell, , at sacred-texts.com
"I have heard the old folks tell," said Captain Peter, "how long ago—it may be hundreds of years past, for what we know—the Squire, who then lived in Pendeen, had for his housekeeper an elderly dame called Pee Tregeer, who came to a sad mishap one Hallan Eve. Some spices and other small things were wanted from Penzance for the Feasten tide, and the careful old creature wouldn't trust anyone to go for them but herself. Now, An’ Pee dearly loved company on the road, and, not knowing of anybody more likely to take the jaunt with her than Jenny Trayer, who lived at Pendeen Cove, she took her basket and stick and went down to see if Jenny would go.
"This woman was the wife of one Tom Trayer. The hut in which they lived was the only dwelling then in the cove. The pair were but little seen out of the place. Tom passed great part of his time a fishing, when he wasn't smuggling; and his wife seldom left home except when she took round liquor and fish together, in her cowal, for sale. Jenny, however, was frequently visited, for she professed to be, and passed for, a White Witch, charmer, or wise-woman. On this account many resorted to her that they might be benefitted by her charms and spells. Yet, there were others that regarded her as a witch of deeper dye, and who believed that, by her strange dealings with the Old One, her husband had always a favourable wind, so as to make a quicker passage to France and back than anyone else in "the fair trade." Besides, fish, they said, always came to his hook and net when other fishermen had none. If anyone happened to offend either of the pair some strange run of bad luck was sure to follow; and nothing proved their compact
with Old Nick so much as the rich wrecks which were constantly floating into Pendeen Cove when the pair lived there. Yet, as they lived on the Squire's estate, few cared to openly accuse them of practising the black art; and An’ Pee didn't trouble herself about, their sorcery or witchcraft, so that they furnished her with a good supply of choice liquors.
"When she arrived at Tom's door, contrary to custom she found it shut, and, hearing voices within, her curiosity made her peep through the finger-hole (latch-hole). Then she saw Tom sitting on the chimney-stool, and his wife taking on the tip of her finger from a croggan (limpet-shell) what appeared to be salve, which she rubbed over her husband's eyes.
"The anointing finished, Jenny placed the croggan in the mouth of the oven and covered it up with rags. An’ Pee, seeing Tom put on his hat, and come towards the door, lifted the latch and entered. Tom didn't seem pleased at the old dame's abrupt entrance, as he went out with a very black look, but his wife made much of her, that she might speak a good word for them to the Squire whenever they wanted any favour, which she was ready enow to do for the sake of good liquor.
"'I am very glad to see ’e, An Pee,' said Jenny, 'I have this moment been thinking about ’e and wishing you would come down to taste the choice cordials Tom and the boys brought home by their last trip.'
Whilst Jenny was in the spenee after the liquor, An’ Pee took from the croggan the least bit of a greenish salve and touched one eye with it. Before she had time to anoint the other, out came Jenny with her hands full of jars and bottles. 'Now, what will ’e take, An’ Pee?' said she, in placing the liquor and drinking-horns on the board, 'Will ’e first of all help yourself to some brandy from this jar, or some rum out of that, before you try the Hollands in the case-bottle, and take some of the sweet cordials afterwards? We have wine, too, in the silence if you would like that better to begin with.'
"An’ Pee took a drink of all the various kinds of liquors, just to sample them. Jenny excused herself from going to town, because, being Feasten eve, she had many churs (odd jobs) to do that the place might be tidy against the morrow. Besides, she expected many customers that evening, for a supply of drink to pass the tide. She didn't choose to leave the selling of the liquor to Toni, she said; he was too easily taken in.
"It was about three o'clock when, An’ Pee having filled with brandy a bottle, which she always carried in her pocket, left the cove and started for Penzance. Coming out of the dark dwelling she was surprised to find how well she could see, and the good liquor put such life into her heels that she tripped along the lanes
without feeling the ground under her feet. Yet, it was almost candle-lighting when she got to town. After purchasing what she wanted for the house she went down among the standings on a three-cornered plot, where the market-house is now, to buy a pair of shoes for herself. Whilst she was trying their size with a piece of stick the length of her foot, to her great surprise she saw Tom Trayer going from standing to standing as brisk as a bee, picking off everything that suited his fancy. Yet, nobody but herself appeared to see him taking rolls of leather, knives, forks, pewter-plates, wooden spoons, thread and yarn, and many other things, which he stuffed into his pockets and the knapsack he carried on his back. An’ Pee, vexed to see his tricks on the tradespeople, went up to him and said, 'Tom! arn’t thee ashamed to be here in the dark carrying on such a game?' 'Ah, es that you Aunt Pee,' Tom replied, 'now tell me which eye can ’e see me upon?' 'Why with both, I should think,' said she. But when she winked the eye that had been anointed, and found she only saw him on that, she said, 'I can see thee, and thy thievery, plain enow on my right eye, but the other es rather cloudy by night.' When she said this, Tom held up his finger and, pointing towards her anointed eye, said,—
"Then he blew on it and, laughing in her face, said, 'Take that for poking your nose where you arn’t wanted, and meddling with other people's business. You shall neither see me, nor anyone else, any more with that game eye.' The old woman felt as if a needle had pierced it. She fell to the ground, and rolled about under the standings. Such was her agony she couldn't keep on her legs.
"She called on the market people to seize Tom Trayer, telling them he had put out her eye by witchcraft, and that he was going about in the dark, stealing goods from their standings and stalls. But no one, except herself, had seen him. Some said that An’ Pee was drunk or dreaming, and they led her to Alvertonlane, tied her basket on her arm, wished her good night, and a pleasant journey home to Pendeen, and a merry feasten tide.
"Now An’ Pee didn't return by the way of Polteggan Bottom and Boswednan, though it's the nearest, because there are so many stiles on that road and bogs near it. She took her course through Castle Horneck fields. When she came out into the high road, she drank a little from her bottle (which she had refilled in town) and went on for three or four miles, as she thought, being so distracted she couldn't tell whether she was
going up hill or down dale half the time, and fancied herself much more advanced on her journey than she really was, when she beheld, a little before her, a man on horseback. By the proud way he was stuck up on his high horse, she took him for a gentleman who lived in the south of the parish.
"An’ Pee was very glad to see him, and he was going so slowly that she soon overtook him, and when the old woman came up he stood stock still. 'My dear, maister,' said she, 'how glad I am to see ’e; don't ’e know me? I'm Pee Tregeer, and you can't think how I've been served out to-day.' Then she told him how she went down to the cove and anointed her eye with witch's salve—how that made her to see Tom Trayer stealing from the standings—how he put out her eye, because she left him know, and other people too, that she was up to his tricks, and had found out which way he managed to live so easy without working like an honest main. The gentleman made no reply, and An’ Pee continued to say 'In spite of being blind, foot sore, and leg weary, I'm got as far as here you see, and we can't be far from Ballaswidden I should think, and oh! my eye is still burning like fire; so, for goodness, do take pity on a poor unfortunate oman and take her up behind ’e. I can ride well enow on the flat 'cheens' of your horse without pillion or pad; it won't be much out of your way to give one a lift down to Pendeen gate, or if you will only take me over Dry Carn I won't forget your kindness all my born days. I well remember the time when you went much farther out of your way to meet me. Then, to be sure, I was young and much better looking than I am now; though you are years older than I am, yet you are still a fine-looking man, strong and lusty; all your family are good-looking boys; and how upright you sit on your horse! You have still a colt's tooth in your head, if all they say be true, but why don't ’e speak to me, are ’e gone to sleep? One would think you were takean a nap, and your horse too, it's standing so quiet.'
"Not having a word in reply to the fine speech she made to please the old gentleman, who didn't so much as turn his head, An’ Pee called out as loud as she could, 'Ef you are the lord of Bosavern you needn't be stuck up there so proud that you won't speak to a poor body a-foot, as of I didn't know ’e and all belonging to ’e!' Still he never spoke. Yet she thought he winked on her, just as he used to do in his younger days. This vexed her the more, and she screamed out, 'The time was when the Tregeers were among the first in the parish, and were buried in the church as well as the old Bosvarguses, Usticks, Borlases, Milletts, and others of the quality! Ef you won't believe me, ask maister; he can tell everything from his books.' Still no speech with the horseman. 'Art ah dead drunk then? Wake up and
speak to me, west ah?' screamed the old woman with increasing anger, as she took up a stone and threw it at the sleeping steed. The stone rolled back to her feet, and the horse didn't as much as whisk his tail.
"Pee now got nearer, and saw that the rider had neither hat nor wig on; nor was there a hair to be seen on his bare head, and, putting out her hand to touch the horse, she felt nothing but a bush of furze. She rubbed her eyes, and saw at once, to her great surprise, that what a moment before appeared (and she would have sworn it was) a gentleman on horseback, was nothing else but a tall cross that stands on a high bank, by the roadside, about half a mile from Santust lane's end. The old woman thought she was miles farther on, and must be so bewitched that she couldn't believe her senses.
"Fearing that Tom Trayer was still dogging her steps, she went on for dear life, and, not staying to look for the stepping stones in the stream below Cardew Mill, she splashed through with the water above her knees.
"On she went and, seeing a light on her right hand side, she thought it shone through the window of a dwelling, where she might rest awhile and dry herself, so she made for it, straight across the moors, but went on for miles, it seemed to her, without coming to it. Then the light went out and left her floundering in the bogs; yet, getting out and steering for the place from which it vanished, she at last found herself amidst the furze-ricks and pigs’-crows in Boslow. Not seeing any light in the only dwelling of this lonely place, An’ Pee opened the door of an out-house and entered it, hoping she might take a few hours' rest.
"In the crow that the old dame entered she was glad to find a good quantity of straw, on which she lay down and fell asleep, hut her slumbers were soon disturbed by a bosom of years (litter of sucking pigs) which had just been severed from their dam and placed there to be weaned. The young sucklings, taking An’ Pee for their dam, continued rooting round her with their snouts. All her endeavours to get a comfortable rest being in vain, she came out and, hearing the sound of a threshal (flail) going, and seeing a glimmer of light in the barn on the other side of the town-place, she thought that the old man of Boslow was up late threshing that he might have straw to serve his cattle over Sunday. 'Now,' said the old woman to herself, as she crossed the town-place, 'I shall get a spell of rest in the barn, for I feel so sleepy that no noise of threshing will hinder me from having a nap. She made for a window, which stood open and through which the light glimmered, that she might have a peep at what was going on before she went in.
"Looking in she could only see, at first, an old iron chill (lamp) with two porvans (rush wicks) burning in it. The chill hung from a stake, driven into the wall opposite, at the head of the barn-boards. Then, in the faint light, she noticed a slash-staff (beating part of the flail) going up and down, but couldn't see anybody working it. That she might' be able to reach her head farther in, to see better, she rolled close under the window a big stone, and, standing on that, on her tip-toes, she saw that the threshal was worked by a little old man, no more than three-feet high, covered only with a few rags, and his long hair that hung over his shoulders like a bunch of rushes, (a bunch beaten for making sheep's spans). His face was broader than it was long; she couldn't make out the colour of his great round owl's-eyes, . they were so shaded by his shaggy eyebrows, from between which his long nose, like a snout, poked out. His mouth reached from ear to ear, and they were set far back to mike room for it. Pee noticed, too, that his teeth were very long and jagged, for he was so eager about his work that, with each stroke of the threshal, he kept moving his thin lips round and up and down, and his tongue in and out. He had nothing of a chin or neck to speak of, but shoulders broad enow for a man twice his height. His naked arms and legs were out of all proportion, and too long for his squat body; and his splayed feet were more like a quilkan's (frog's) than a man's.
"'Well,' thought An’ Pee, 'this es luck, to see Piskey threshan; for, ever since I can remember, I have heard it said that Piskey threshed the corn in Boslow of winter's nights, and did other odd jobs all the year round for the old couple who lived here, but I wouldn't believe it. Yet here he es!' As she reached farther in and looked round she beheld scores of small people, no more than two feet high, attending on the thresher; some of them lugged down sheaves and placed them handy for him; others shook the straw and bore it off to the end of the barn. An’ Pee couldn't help admiring how, when one side of a sheaf was threshed clean, Piskey, by a few quick, smart blows, would rise the sheaf on its butt-end, then knock it over quite cute like with the-unthreshed side uppermost. When the corn was all out of that side, with a few sharp blows on the tongue of the bind, it was laid open and the straw sent to the lower end of the boards with the tip of his slash-staff. An’ Pee declared that she never saw a smarter thresher in all her born days.
"When a heap of corn had gathered on the boards, he raked it off with the barn-rake and kicked the bruss-straw (short straw) out of it, leaving the corn just as clean as if it had been winded. In doing this job he raised such a dust that it set him and the
small folks sneezing, and the old woman, according to custom, said 'God bless ’e little men!' She had no sooner spoken the words than the light went out and all vanished; but she felt a handful of dust thrown into her eyes that nearly blinded the only peeper that she could see anything on, and she heard Piskey squeak out,
"An’ Pee felt rather uneasy when she remembered that the small people have great spite against anyone who watches them or tries to pry into their doings.
"The night being clear she found her way out of the scrambly lane, leading up from Boslow to the highroad, scampered on as fast as she could, and never stopped till she reached the top of Dry Carn. There she sat down a minute, that she might recover her breath, to pass quickly over the road near Carn Kenidzek and down the Gump, as everybody then (as now) dreaded that haunted track; indeed, few go near that wisht place, about the turn of night, without hearing, if not seeing, the Old One and his hounds, hunting among the rocks for any restless spirits that might have strayed so far away from the churchyard—their only place of safety—or some other frightful apparitions, fighting and howling round the cam, or fleeing over the downs.
"She 'jailed' away—down the hill, as fast as she could lay foot to ground, thinking to be home by the kitchen fire in a quarter of an hour, and went far enough, as she thought, to have reached Pendeen gate twice over. Then she feared that she might have got into a wrong bridle-path over the downs, or that Piskey was playing her a trick, because, turn whichever way she would, the road appeared to be before her. After going on for a long while, she saw light and heard music, at no great distance. Thinking then that she must have kept too much on her left and be near some house on the road to Churchtown, where they were getting in tune for the dancing on Feasten Monday night, she went over the downs, straight towards the light, feeling ready for a jig, and stopped more than once to 'try her steps,' as the lively old dancing tunes kept sounding in her ears. But, instead of arriving at a house, as she expected to, in passing round some high rocks, which hid the light a moment, she came, all at once, on a level green, surrounded by furze and rocks, and there, a few yards before her, saw troops of 'small people' holding a fair, or belike it might be their feasten market.
Scores of little standings all in a row, were covered with trinkets, such as knee and shoe buckles of silver and gold, glistening with Cornish diamonds; pins, with jewelled heads; brooches, rings, bracelets, and strings of crystal beads, figured
with green and red, or blue and gold; and scores of other pretty things quite new to An’ Pee; who, not to disturb the small folks till she had seen all that was doing, crept along softly in the rear of the standings, till she stood opposite a company of dancers; hundreds of them linked hand in hand, after the old bonfire-dance fashion, were whirling round so fast that it made her head light to look at them.
"Small as they were—none more than two feet high, and rather slender in make—they were all decked out like old-fashioned gentry—the little men in three-cocked hats and feathers; full, square-skirted, blue coats, stiff with buckram and gay with lace and buttons; vest, breeches, and stockings of a lighter hue; and their dainty little shoes fastened with diamond clasps. Some few, who were rigged more like soldiers or huntsmen, wore either jet-black or russet-coloured riding boots.
"An’ Pee said that she couldn't name the colours of the little ladies’ dresses, which were of all the hues of summer's blossoms. The vain little things, to make themselves look the taller, had their powdered hair turned up on pads and dressed with flowers, lace, and ribbons to an extraordinary height for such dolls of things. Their gay gowns were very long-waisted, and their skirts so distended by hoops that they looked just as broad as they were long. Their shoes of velvet or satin, were high-heeled and pointed at the toes. The men were much darker complexioned than the women, yet they were all very good looking, with sparkling dark eyes, well-shaped noses, sweet little mouths, and dimpled cheeks and chins. Not one among them, that she saw, had a spotty face or purple-top nose, because they drink nothing stronger than honey-dew. Some, to be sure, appeared to be rather aged, yet, all were sprightly, merry, and gay.
"In the dancers’ ring stood a May-pole about three yards high, all wreathed with flowers. Where they got them, that time of the year, to make their garlands, was a wonder. The pipers, standing in their midst, played lively old dance tunes that are now but seldom heard, and An’ Pee never felt more inclined for a dance in her life than when she heard their cheery music; but how could she reel round among such little beings and have a jig without kicking them down .
"'The women,' she always said, 'were the sauciest little creatures that one ever seed; she was most ashamed to look at them.—tossing up their heels, forwards and backwards, higher than their heads, and kicking off the men's hats, as they capered round and round.' Every now and then one would unlock her hands and, breaking out of the ring, take a leap right over the men's heads, perch on the May-pole, and there spin round, on her toe, like a whirligig.
"There were lights about in all directions—lanthorns no bigger than gun-pop (fox-glove) flowers, hanging in rows along the standings, and rushlights, in paper cups like tulips, shone among the gingerbread-nuts, comfits, candied angelica, peppermint-drops, and more enticing things that are seen in any other fair. She thought, too, that all the glow-worms in creation had gathered together near the fair-ground, to help to light it up. Yet, with all these lights, there was such a shimmer over everything that the old dame got bewildered at times and could never see anything so plainly as she wished.
"At no great distance from the dancers there was a wrestling ring, where many little ladies were looking on, betting on their favourites and helping them with their good wishes and applause. Farther on, some were shooting with bows and arrows at a target. Others were playing at keals (bowls). Every here and there the lilly-bangers (raffle-keepers) with their tables and dice kept a great noise calling out, 'Come hither, sweet ladies and gentlemen, and try your luck! One in, two in, three in; who will make four in for this nice cake?' Farther off, nearly out of sight, a great number were 'hurling to the gold' (goal). She knew what was going on from hearing the old cry of 'Well done, Santusters, one and all, comrades; fair play is good play' and, every now and then she saw the little hurling-ball, as it was cast from side to side, shine like a shooting star. By that means they contrived to hurl by night.
"All games, which used to be played at fairs and merry-makings, were there carried on. Still, great part of the small folks diverted themselves in parading up and down, on the green, between the standings and dancing-ground, examining the pretty things displayed. They didn't seem to have any money amongst them to buy anything, yet they often bartered their trinkets and changed them from stall to stall.
"The old woman determined to have some of the pretty things glistening before her, but, among so much that was beautiful, she couldn't make up her mind what to take. Whilst An’ Pee was considering, she saw approach the standing a little lady, tired with dancing, leaning her head on her partner, who with his arm round her waist supported her steps. The gentleman taking from the hands of a little dame who kept the stall a golden goblet of the size and shape of a poppy head (capsule) held it to the faint lady's lips. Sipping the contents she recovered in an instant, and, choosing a fan, made of a few goldfinch feathers stuck into a pearl handle, her partner took a pair of diamond buckles from his knees and placed them on the standing by way of pledge. The little couple having tripped off again to the dance, An’ Pee thought how well the bright little buckles would look, fixed as
brooches, on her Sunday's cap-ribbon or in her neckatee, and determined to secure them at once, fearing they might be gone with the next small body that saw them.
"As there was nothing that she could so readily turn inside-out, and drop on them, as one of her gloves, which reached to her elbows, she drew off one, inside-out, and dropped it, as it seemed to her, right on the buckles. Her hand nearly touched them; but, in trying to grasp them under her glove, a palm of pins or needles, so small that she didn't notice them, stuck into her fingers, and she cried out, 'Oh! Cuss ’e! You little buccas.' That instant all the lights went out, and all the fair, and most of the small people, vanished like shadows among the rock, or sunk into the earth, like muryans (ants) into their holes.
"Yet many of the frolicsome sprights were still about her, as she soon found to her cost.
"Whilst she was still stooping, and groping for her glove and the buckles, she felt a great number of the small tribe—a score or more—leap on her back, neck, and head. At the same time others, tripping up her heels, laid her flat on the ground and rolled her over and over. More than once, when her face was uppermost, she caught a glimpse of Piskey, all in rags as usual, mounted on a year-old colt, his toes stuck in the mane, holding a rush in his hand to guide it. There he sat, putting on the smaller sprights to torment her, making a tee-hee-hee and haw-haw-haw, with his mouth open from ear to ear.
"When she spread out her arms and squeezed herself down, that they shouldn't turn her over, they would squeak and grunt in trying to lift her; but all her endeavours to hinder their game were of no use. Somehow or other over she went, and every time they turned her face downwards some of the small fry would jump on her back and there jig away with 'heel-and-toe' from her head to her feet. In the pitch and pass of their three-handed reels, it was who and who should get on her stays; the steel and whalebone in that, she supposed, served them as a springing-board. In the finishing off of their double shuffles they would leap more than three times their height, turn a summersault over each others' heads, and so make the pass. An’ Pee twisted her head on one side, saw what they were at, and tried to beat them off with her stick, but they got it from her hand, laid it across her waist, and mounting on it astride, as many as could, bobbed up and down, singing,
"The old woman, not to be beaten with such imps, tossed back her feet to kick them off; then they held her legs doubled back and pulled off her shoes; some jumped up and balanced themselves on her upturned toes, whilst others pricked at, and tickled, the soles of her feet till she fell into fits of crying and laughing by turns.
"Pee was almost mad with their torment, when, by good luck, she remembered to have heard that the adder-charm was powerful to drive away all mischievous sprights. She had no sooner pronounced the words than they all fled screeching down the hill, Piskey galloping after; they left her lying on a bed of furze, near a large rock.
"She got on her feet, and, looking round, saw, by the starlight of a clear frosty morning, that the place to which she had been piskey-led was near the bottom of the Gump; that the level spot of green on which the small people held their fair, and carried on their games, was almost surrounded by high rocks, and was no larger over than the Green-court or walled garden in front of Pendeen house; yet, when the fair was on it, through the sprights’ illusions, this green spot seemed like a three-acre field.
"An’ Pee only found her stick. The basket, tied to her arm, was empty and broken to pieces. She paced the ground over and round, in hope of finding her hat and shoes, and above all her glove, and the precious buckles under it. Giving over at length her fruitless search, with the help of her stick she hobbled, barefooted and bare-headed, down the hill and reached Pendeen gate.
"'Now thank the powers,' said she, as she passed through it and slammed it behind her, 'I shall be a-bed and sleepan in a few minutes.'
"Though An’ Pee knew that Piskey had played her many tricks that night, and she thought he might be still dogging her footsteps, yet she was so bewildered that, until too late, it never came into her head to turn some of her clothing inside out, and now, so-near home, she defied him to lead her astray.
"Inside Pendeen gate there is one road leading to the mansion and another which goes down to the mill. Between them there were two or three acres of ground, which had probably never been cleared or cultivated, as there were several large rocks remaining on it and brakes of furze, seldom cut, because the old Squire, or his family, had stocked this piece of rough ground with fancy breeds of tame rabbits, and the wild ones which came among them from not being chased or shot at, became so tame that they continued their frisky gambols, without showing any signs of fear when persons passed near them; and, for the pleasure of
seeing the bunnies sport, furze was allowed to grow here and there over great part of this ground.
"In passing to the house An’ Pee avoided the stony road and walked on the green, because her poor bare feet were cut and sore.
"Now hundreds of times drunk and sober—on the darkest nights she had gone along the grass beside the bridle-paths, without once missing her way to the Green-court gate. Yet, that Hallan Eve she, somehow, went too far from the road, got in on the grassy patches between the furze, and, before she knew that she had missed her way, found herself down by the mill-road. She followed up that track, and in making a new attempt to reach the house, she again got among the furze and wandered about on the patches of green between them for hours without coming to either road. Yet, as usual, with piskey-led persons the path appeared either before or close beside her, until, tired out, she lay down to wait for day and fell asleep.
"The Squire and all his household were very much concerned because of the old woman's absence, well knowing that no ordinary matter would keep her from home on the feasten tide. During the night the servants had been sent to the villages round, to inquire if anyone had seen her in Penzance or on the road, but no tidings were obtained of her. The Squire rose by break of day and called up his servants to hunt for her. In passing along the road towards the gate, only a few yards from the house, he heard somebody snoring in a brake of furze bordering on the path, and there he found his housekeeper very ragged and torn. Some say he discovered her by finding on the road her knitting-work, with the yarn hanging to it, and, by taking up the yarn, he went by it till he found the dame with some of the ball in her pocket. However that may be, he roused her with great difficulty, and, without opening her eyes, she said,
"'I wan't turn out to please anybody till I've had my morning nap; so go away, go, and shut my chamber door!'
"At length her master, having brought her to her senses, helped her up and asked what made her take up her lodgings on the cold ground?
"In passing slowly along, and stopping awhile at the Green-court gate, she told him of her mishaps.
"The Squire didn't think one half of what she said could be true; indeed he questioned whether she had been to Penzance at all, and thought it quite as likely that she had stayed tippling at the cove till near dark, starting for town, had missed her way, and, wandering over the Gump, had there, or where he found her, fallen asleep and dreamt great part of what she told him.
"'Belike Pee,' said the Squire, as she was about to go down the Green-court steps, 'what you took at the cove had something
to do with rising the spirits you saw.'
"'Oh! you misbelieving man,' cried she, turning round, and holding towards him her uplifted hands, 'if I like a drop of good liquor to cheer my heart, now and then, I never took so much as to do. me harm in all my born days; and, leave me tell ’e, that with all your learning, and doubting, you know but little about the 'small people.' There es more taking place in the region of spirits, as I've heard the parson say, than you can learn from your books, and for want of faith, I fear me you will never be enlightened. Yet as sure as my name is Penelope Tregeer, I seed, heard, and what is more I felt, all that I now tell ’e.'
"'Go in and sleep the spirits out of thy noddle, that thou mayest be in time to see about the feasten dinner,' said the Squire, as he turned away, and took his favourite morning's walk to the cove.
"When he came in, after a turn round the cliff and up by the mill, he found the old woman, never the worse for her journey, busy preparing the feasten fare, and the ladies and gentlemen of his family, and numerous visitors, at an early breakfast that they might have time to proceed to church in and state on the feasten day."