Today we set apart as a day of pilgrimage to certain old St Ives people, who in spite of the passage of eleven years, still cherish some faithful memory of us. So at least we were told, though I think we delayed the expedition a little from fear we might find that this statement had been exaggerated. The farmers daughter who used to bring us our chickens & help in the house, the woman who took in our washing, the old man who kept the bathing tents & his wife; these were the people we proposed to visit in their cottages in St Ives.

There was no doubt, at any rate that Jinny Berryman, as she was, did cordially remember & welcome us. It was a pleasure to see the blank respectful face of the woman behind the counter in the eating shop glow with sudden recognition when we spoke our name. We were made to sit down, & hear how we had changed, or had remained the same; whom we were like & whom we in no way resembled, how we climbed the tree in the garden, & how in short, we were much as other children are, but to this woman at least, remarkable in all we did & said.

At Mrs Daniels the same story was repeated, & if possible our greeting was more hearty. She too, must grip our hands fast, & look close in our faces by the light — If one had changed she would have known the other "any where". We were like, we were unlike, we were, at any rate, the old family come back again, & that seemed a joy that could hardly be put into words.All kinds of trivial half forgotten memories revived & we did our share of question, & anecdote; we asserted that there was no place like St Ives, & that we had never forgotten its washer woman. Indeed, we were not guilty of insincerity; her portrait had been lying unexposed in some dim recess of our brains, & at the first sight of her face the old picture became clear again, & with it a multitude of slighter impressions which seem to cluster round it. I could see her once more tramping up the drive with her basket of clean clothes, leaning away from her burden, & ready to put it down & talk good humouredly if we stopped her.

She married the squint eyed carpenter, who might be seen on the glass roof of the grape house, filling the crannies with putty.[ ] His temper had grown no sweeter though he came in & shook us by the hand at his wife's bidding. "John," she remarked, "is as old fashioned as ever." We left, luckily, before I had divulged the fact that I took him for her brother; the doubt whether he might not, after all, be her son, kept me silent.

Eleven years have had the effect in St Ives as in other places, of deepening wrinkles, & bleaching the brown hair white, but they have also had the stranger property of uniting the people whom we thought old even then, in marriage.

It seems to be a deliberate action among the poor here, as though it were a step that recommended itself as a precaution against old age. Jinny Berryman, however, was too hasty it seems, even in her long deferred marriage, for after a wedded life of nine days she left her husband, & though they meet in the road they have never spoken to each other since. The man was married before to a woman who on her death bed required of her husband that he should take Jinny as his second wife. There is a curious little plot, or rather psychological study for a novelist.

We went on next to the Pascoes, who still live in one of those delightful cottages beneath the apple trees on the steep hill leading from the beach.

We walked along the narrow cobble stoned passage which leads to their door, & in the shade of their creepers the old people within did not immediately recognise us. We had the usual moment of uncomfortable hesitation, & then the hearty explosion, which by this time was not unexpected.

The old couple had sensibly diminished in size during these eleven years; they were sitting over their tea, a fire in the grate, & a good loaf of bread before them. All the chairs were put at our disposal, & while one received the torrent of Mrs. Pascoes greeting, two others went through the old story with Mr. Pascoe. The men, for the most part, have a less lively recollection of us than the women; they, probably, came more seldom into direct speech with us.

Mr. Pasco however had taken a lively interest in our bathing; he was anxious to tell us the melancholy decline of St Ives bathing since our day; how the tents are run on wheels, & owned by one man "a very selfish fellow"; how the working classes bathe, where only people of good family were wont to use that privilege; this, complicated with some mysterious story of ladies who wished him to help them on with their bathing dresses; (it sounds unlikely I know) had made it necessary for him to retire; which as we made haste to add, must have further hastened the melancholy state of things which we had observed on the beach.

Mr. Pasco, further, had had influenza two years ago; & wore his thumb bound up in a red rag. It is not necessary here to give the details; I will only say in his words that "caustic is poison for tumours".

He had moreover, like others whom we visited, read his papers for eleven years with an eye for the name of Stephens [sic]; & was thus well versed in the facts of our history, though the papers must have lied in some particulars, or his eyes cannot be as good as they were once. Thus he knew that G[eorge] was married, but insisted that he was still living in Chadwick; he was also of opinion that since his appointment as private Secretary he had gone to China. China, I remember, was one of the places which Mr. Pascoe had seen himself, when he was in the Navy.

Mrs. Pascoe was, I may confess it here, chiefly memorable for some trouble in her 'pipes'; about which we used to enquire. She is now a little shrivelled woman, with a white fretful face, & very bright eyes. She had talked of us a hundred times in the last week, she assured us; & her intense interest at seeing us was really a little embarrassing. She was mistress of so many forgotten details that her reckoning of the number of thoughts she had spent on us in a weeks time, was probably no over statement. One can imagine that mewed up in the corner of the dark little room, without book or work, her thoughts must feed on slight food. "I cant believe that I see you there before me in the flesh" was a phrase that recurred, as though some persistent phantom had at last taken shape. At the news that G[eorge]. was coming here next week, she gave up her attempt to wrestle with the English language, & covered her face with her hands. A calmer mood followed this excitement, & she enquired into every circumstance of our lives minutely.

She had followed our fortunes without dropping the least link in the chain of evidence available to her; but our attention to the vicissitudes of the Pasco family was by no means of so fine a quality. We cheerfully remembered a daughter, when she was named, but our imagination refused to supply us with any record of Mrs. Pascoes nieces husband; who was responsible for the black dress to which our attention was directed. Nor did we acquit ourselves very creditably when the family history of the Whiteheads was recounted for our benefit. Miss Whitehead, I can at least remember, is now on the continent, recovering from a severe chill in her legs.

As Mrs. Pasco drew a melancholy sigh of self importance, & began to enumerate the many troubles which had visited her of late, we hastily remembered that we had already stayed too long. The catalogue threatened to be exhaustive. The good Pasco presented us each with little bouquets which he had picked from his garden, & offered to "pilot" us, "if I may have my joke" to his daughters house.

The outline of these Bays suggests that nature has a certain meditated felicity on occasion, & she appeals to one with a peculiar force when she thus appears to fashion her materials consciously.

The impetuous sweep of the large bay, curving round so that it half completes the circle, gives one an impression of beautifully curbed vitality; again in hollowing the three smaller bays in the flank of the large one she must, one would think, have had an eye to the fair proportion of the whole. They do not interfere with the single large impression; but they add something original; & unexpected. She seems to have perfect facility in describing these spirited & graceful lines. The third of the bays, Lelant Bay, is in some respects the loveliest of the three. It makes the rounded corner of the large Bay; but the sweep of white sands is intersected by the Hayle river, which draws a blue line down to the sea. At low tide the course of the stream is marked by certain stakes, driven in at irregular intervals. They look curiously bare & desolate for some reason, a perch for white sea birds, & strike the distinct note, it seems, of Lelant bay. At ebb tide in the evening the stretch of the sands here is vast & melancholy; the waves spread themselves one over lapping the other in thin fan shaped layers of water; so shallow that the break of the wave is hardly more than a ripple. The slope of the beach gleams as though laid with a film of mother o' pearl where the sea has been, & a row of sea gulls sits on the skirts of the repeating wave. The pallor of the sandhills makes the scene yet more ghostly, but the beautiful sights are often melancholy & very lonely.