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March 21 , 2011

Cornish Saints and Sinners

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According to Guy's account, we were to have just whatever we liked, when we liked, and where we liked. Seascape and moorscape, hill and vale, sailing and fishing, riding and driving, and golfing, and all that sort of thing. And then there were certain mysterious regions where we were to find tracks of the fairies, and come across odds and ends of things, and people too. We were not to have any guide-books; he insisted on that. What was the good of guide-books to fellows on their rambles? Who cared how many yards he was from anywhere, or how many miles it was from one place to another? All that was worth remembering could be picked up on the spot, and then there wouldn't be any danger of everything running into one blurred outline of travel, just as happened to a fellow after tramping for weeks through picture-galleries and curio-shops, and all that sort of thing. Guy said he knew a fellow who did the whole county most thoroughly guide-book in hand. He started from Bude, and did the north coast; and then he turned around and did the south coast. He scored his guide-book like a chart of navigation, and his marginal notes played leap-frog all over the show. When he got to Plymouth he lost the precious book, and if it wasn't for railway labels and hotel bills, he wouldn't have known where he'd been. A commercial man, having totted up his accounts, seemed greatly interested in Guy's remarks, and glided into the conversation. He told us he hadn't had a holiday for thirty years, and never expected another in this life. He became quite confidential, and gave us his views about happiness in the world to come. He never intended going "on the road" again for a living in the next world, he said, if there were any telephones about. He didn't like telephones when the boss was always at the other end.
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