Thursday, 22 July 2010

What lies beneath


If anyone is going to Port Eliot, I can also be found on Saturday afternoon in the Round Room, in conversation with Nicholas St Aubyn. He has been researching the story of a lost treasure, a Tudor shipwreck, and the history of his family home, St Michael's Mount, which is surely one of the loveliest places in Cornwall. So tonight I am trying to gather my thoughts, and cast my mind back to 'Daphne' and Menabilly and other Cornish landscapes, both fictional and otherwise... I'm starting by re-reading my introduction to Du Maurier's novel of Cornish history, 'The King's General', set in Menabilly in the 17th century during the Civil War. As always with Du Maurier, her first lines are swift to conjure the mood of what will unfold, as well as her striking sense of place:
'September, 1653. The last of summer. The first chill winds of autumn. The sun no longer strikes my eastern window as I wake, but, turning laggard, does not top the hill before eight o'clock. A white mist hides the bay sometimes until noon, and hangs about the marshes too, leaving, when it lifts, a breath of cold air behind it...'

7 comments:

Stephen Pope said...

Justine wrote: 'I'm starting by re-reading my introduction to Du Maurier's novel of Cornish history, The King's General, set in Menabilly in the 17th century during the Civil War...'

Does the Battle of Lostwithiel feature? The one where the King allows the besieged and surrendering Parliamentary army to lay down their weapons and leave Fowey, only for them to starve to death on the march home?

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enid said...

Cape Town - Historic Vergelegen's collection of camellias has been recognised as an international "garden of excellence" by the International Camellia Society, the estate said on Thursday.

With the addition of Vergelegen, there were only 17 such gardens in the world, and only two in the southern hemisphere.

There were over a thousand camellias in Vergelegen's garden.

The 300-year-old Anglo American-owned estate, in Somerset West, has 18 gardens covering 10ha.
So come and visit

- SAPA

Justine Picardie said...

I'd love to come to Cape Town again! It's where my grandparents lived, and I remember the beautiful flowers there; camellias and all. Here's hoping (against hope) that the Chanel book will prompt an invitation from a literary festival or some such event in Cape Town. Enid, I'm leaving it up to you!

oxford-reader said...

I love The King's General ... it's such powerful stuff, and so evocative. I think D du M is one of the few authors whose entire body of work I love. The sainted Jane is another, of course, but Wilkie Collins is quickly becoming part of the elite.

I hope the events at Port Eliot go well - I've got such happy memories of three years ago ....

Knitting Out Loud said...

Wish we could all be there.

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