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sharply defined as if it were a beam of light
instead of shade, and of an umber-brown
colour unlike the colouring of any cloud then
in the sky. It ranto speak without compass
and roughlyin a line with the moon
and the north-east corner of the heavens.
Within one of the other lines of cloud,
extending, as I imagined, west-north-west,
there was a large patch of the same brown
darkness. To such a patch the opposite
beam contracted by the meeting of its two
ends near its centre, and then for a little
time the two fragments of brown night,
patches of sky with the blue colour lost from
it, both become intenser in their shade,
remained opposite to each other. Finally,
there remained in the sky only two lines of
cloud, the one from the north-east, which was
floating towards the moon and disappearing
under it, the other stretching to the west-
north-west. This latter began, when the
opposite cloud had been wholly consumed,
steadily to float in a straight line from the moon,
melting along its whole substance as it went.
One of the great mysteries of nature was at
work before me, and perhaps demonstrating
itself in vain to a too ignorant beholder. I
only thought that if any wise gazer upon
distant Sirius would not consider moonshine
too much below the exalted circle of his
acquaintance to be worth a look of recognition,
moonshine might tell him secrets that
would well repay his condescension.

Perhaps I had better not plunge out of
sober fact into remote speculation; but the
speculation points, remote as it is, in a practical
direction. Some day we shall, perhaps,
find out what is the influence of moonshine
on the human body. Sunshine acts powerfully,
as we know. I am privately convinced
that the calming influence of moonlight on
the spirit of man, is not due merely to its
softnesswe can moderate an artificial light
to the same feebleness, without becoming
sentimental under itbut to a physical
action on the body. Professor Faraday
suspends a man in the air, and the man swings
into a given line, obedient to the unseen
forces of the earth. We have to learn what
are the unseen influences of the moon.
No reasonably sensitive man or woman
can have failed to recognise a quality in
moonlight as inexplicable as the flavour
of a peach,—a power to which the spirits
are obedient. If no violent cause operate
in a contrary direction, friends abroad under
moonlight become friendlier; a restraint on
mutual confidence commonly felt at other
times, is strangely lifted from the heart;
therefore is moonlight sought instinctively
by lovers. Moonshine has melted away
many a cloud of wrath, many a turmoil of
wild jesting, has set many a man's aspirations
free to float heavenward; and I say that
it is not merely because it is soft light that it
does this, any more than wine excites because
it is a liquid. There is a direct action on
man's body; and at any rate in the year nine
thousand, somebody shall be able to tell his
neighbours what it is.


IT is generally admitted, I believe, that
the lower orders of Cornwall are a shade
more refined, more artistic, or, as some
anti-patriots would express it, more
continental, than is the rule with the labouring
populations of this country. A slight, but
significant illustration of this flattering theory
(to Cornwall), may be found in the circumstance,
that the official rank known among the
matter-of-fact mechanics of the northern and
midland counties by the bare, common-place
definition of Foreman; in the Staffordshire
regions by the name of Butty; amongst the
nomad and lawless navvies by the alarming
title of Ganger; and in the slow-going, humdrum
coal-pits and forges of Monmouthshire,
by the homely appellation of Gaffer: the
enjoyment of this dignity in the Cornish
mines confers upon its holder the graceful
and enviable distinction of Captain.

Several members of my family had resided
in Cornwall, and numerous were the Cornish
legends with which my youthful soirées were
enlivened. The heroes of most of these were
captains. I began life strongly prepossessed
in favour of this distinguished order. I think
I must have been a little dazzled by the
splendour of the title itself; and, unquestionably,
remote association with the achievements
of the very Carlylian hero of Great
Cornish Captains in the mining way; Captain
Jack, in fact,—

the valiant Cornishman,
Who slew the Giant Cormoran,

by means of sinking a shaft on the property
of that very extensive landowner (a
masterpiece of engineering, and for which its
projector was justly rewarded by hitting upon
a rich vein of tin); this, I repeat, beyond all
doubt, had a great deal to do with my
admiration. At any rate, I was a thorough
believer in the mining captains of Cornwall,
and delighted in the abundant records of
their deeds and sayings; the former usually
belligerent, frequently naïve, the latter
invariably humorous. There was the story
of Captain Jemmy Penrose; the conscientious,
the ambitious, but the singularly uncurious.
This was a great favourite of mine,
and I must briefly refer to it. The prevailing
and chronic ambition of all the Great
Cornish Captains of the age, from which my
information dates, was once in a lifetime to
enjoy the pleasure of seeing London Church
Town. Captain Jemmy was no exception to
this rule; or, rather, he may have been; for
Jemmy's ambition was not so much to see
London Church Town, as to enjoy the more
enduring pleasure of saying that he had seen
it. Being the antipodes of the late Brinsley

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