Monday, September 09, 2013


. . . Darkness had almost fallen, but the lamp had not been lit in the interior. The coach smelt of camphor and dust. The air was stale. One of the windows was down by a couple of inches and admitted a thin current of air as refreshing as a tonic. Bella had been dozing again, dreaming again. She drew in a full breath of it, clearing her mind of disturbing fancies.

Then she saw ahead of them a bulk of land with lights twinkling on it. At the top of the rising ground a steep edge of cliff was etched against the sky. Lights showed it to be a building.

"Where are we?" she asked.

"Just coming into Launceston," said Ross.

"No? Is this . . . Have we passed Polson Bridge?"

"No, just coming to it."

"Oh . . . " She hesitated. "Papa, could you, could you ask the coachman to stop the coach after we have gone over the bridge?"

He looked puzzled. "Stop the coach? Whatever for?"

"I – want to get out."

He said: "You will be at the White Hart in ten minutes."

"No, it is not for that reason!"

Ross looked at his wife, whose expression he could hardly read in the half-dark. She made a deprecating gesture.

"I'd like to, Papa. This is the bridge now!"

"Oh, very well." He tapped on the little roof door, and when it opened he conveyed his message.

As he had tipped well, his request was at once obeyed. Four muffled figures travelling on the outside watched with interest as the young lady was helped down by the second coachman and went slipping off into the dusk. They saw her bend down and seem to stiff at her hands. Then she came back. The outside light of the coach showed her satisfied expression. She was carrying what looked like some crumbled pieces of damp black earth.

As she climbed in, the door was shut behind her and she offered her cupped hands to her parents with one of her brilliant all-embracing smiles that seemed to encompass the whole world.

"Cornish earth!" she said. "Smell it! It's quite different! We're home!"

– The conclusion of Bella Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1818-1820,
the twelfth and final Poldark novel (2002) by Winston Graham

For previous Poldark-related posts, see:
Passion, Time and Tide
A "Useful Marriage" for Morwenna
"Hers Would Be the Perpetual Ache of Loss and Loneliness"
Demelza Takes a Chance (Part 1)
Demelza Takes a Chance (Part 2)
Captain Blamey Comes A-Calling
A Sea Dragon of an Emotion . . . "Causing Half the Trouble of the World, and Half the Joy"
Into the Greenwood
"I Want You to Become a Part of Me – Each to Become a Part of the Other"

Related Off-site Links:
Last Poldark Story Nearly Lost in BlazeThe Guardian (June 15, 2000).
Winston Graham's Bella Poldark, the Last Poldark Novel: Bonding with Characters – Ellen Moody (Ellen and Jim Have a Blog, Two, August 3, 2011).
Poldark Remake for BBC OneBBC News – Entertainment and Arts (May 9, 2013).
The Official Winston Graham and Poldark Website

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