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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/460

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452


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. JUNE 7, 1902,


" Cyril Ay 1 win," that he was never known to laugh. The pen-picture of him in ' Aylwin ' is so vivid that I ain tempted to reproduce it here :

"Juvenile curls clustered thick and short beneath his wideawake. He had at first struck me as being not much more than a lad, till, as he gave me that rapid, searching glance in passing, I perceived the little crow's feet round his eyes, and he then struck me immediately as being probably on the verge of thirty-five. His figure was slim and thin, his waist almost girlish in its fall. I should have considered him small, had not the unusually deep, loud, manly and sonorous voice with which he had accosted Sinfi conveyed an impression of size and weight such as even big men do not often produce. This deep voice, coupled with that gaunt kind of cheek which we associate with the most demure people,

produced an effect of sedateness but in the one

glance I had got from those watchful, sagacious, twinkling eyes there was an expression quite peculiar to them, quite inscrutable, quite indescribable."

With regard to the most original character in the story, those who knew Clement's Inn, where I myself once resided, and Lincoln's Inn Fields, will be able at once to identify Mrs. Gudgeon, who lived in one of the streets running into Clare Market. Her business was that of night coffee-stall keeper. At one time, I believe but I am not certain about this she kept a stall on the Surrey side of Waterloo Bridge, and it might have been there that, as I have been told, her portrait was drawn for a specified number of early breakfasts by an unfortunate artist who sank very low, but had real ability. Her constant phrase was "I shall die o'laughin' I know I shall ! " On account of her extraordinary gift of repartee, and her inexhaustible fund of wit and humour, she was generally supposed to be an Irishwoman. But she was not : she was cockney to the marrow. Recluse as Rossetti was in his later years, he had at one time been very different, and could bring himself in touch with the lower orders of London in a way such as was only known to his most intimate friends. With all her impudence, and I may say insolence, Mrs. Gudgeon was a great favourite with the police, who were the constant butts of her chaff.

With regard to the gipsies, although I knew George Borrow intimately, and saw a great deal of Mr. Watts - Dunton's other Romany Rye friend, the late Frank Groome, [ did not know Sinfi Lovell or Rhona Boswell. But I may say that those who have said that Sinfi Lovell was painted from the same model as Mr. Meredith's Kiomi are mistaken. Sinfi Lovell was extremely beautiful, whereas Kiomi, I believe, was never very beautiful. But that they are


represented as being contemporaries and friends is shown by D'Arcy's mention of Kiomi in Scott's oyster-rooms. The characters who figure in the early Raxtori scenes I cannot speak of for reason which may be pretty obvious ; nor can I speak of the Welsh chapters in 'Aylwin,' which have been a good deal discussed in recent numbers of ' N". & Q.' (ante, pp. 229, 353). But being myself an East Anglian by birth one of my Christian names is St. Edmund, because I was born at Bury St. Edmunds I can say something about what the East Anglian papers call " Aylwinland," and of the truth of the pictures of the east coast to be found in the story. Since 'Aylwin' was published an interesting attempt has been made by a correspondent in the Lowestoft Standard (25 August, 1900) to identify Pakefield Church as the " Raxton " Church of the story, and the writer of the letter mentions the most remarkable, and to me quite new fact, that although the guide-books of Lowestoft and the district are quite silent as to a curious crypt at the east end of Pakefield Church, there is exactly such a crypt as that described in ' Aylwin,' and that in the early days of the correspondent in question it was used as a storehouse for bones. The readers of 'Aylwin' will remember the author's words: "The crypt is much older than the church, and of an entirely different architecture. It was once the depository of the bones of Danish warriors killed before the Norman conquest."

With regard to the heroine, Winifred Wynne, I could not say anything with- out the author's permission. But it is well known that the description in the story of the unequalled beauty and charm of this Snowdonian maiden is not in the least exaggerated. But here I must stop for want of space. Should any correspondent of ' N. & Q.' want enlightening upon any matters within my knowledge in connexion with ' Aylwin,' I shall be pleased to come to his assistance. THOMAS ST. E. HAKE.

Craigmore, Bulstrode Road, Hounslow, W.

KNURR AND SPELL (9 th S. ix. 385). Fifty years ago this game was played by hun- dreds, often before thousands of spectators, in the outskirts of Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, and other towns and villages in that part of the "clothing dis- trict." There were crack players, just as at cricket and football now, and often there was playing for considerable stakes, and much betting as to results. I remember some thirty years ago a remark in the Globe newspaper