Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Daphne Du Maurier
Daphne Du Maurier, pictured left as a teen, wrote suspense novels. Several of her novels have been made into films, including The Birds and Rebecca. The story that interested me most was Jamaica Inn.
Jamaica Inn, was almost set in the Regency, 1820 in fact, and it is a romance. The story is classified as a gothic romance and tells the tale of a young woman who gets tangled up with a gang of wreckers. (Men who used lanterns to misdirect ships on to the rocks of the Cornish coast, kill the crew and steal the cargo.) The heroine encounters many harrowing adventures.
Last summer we visited Cornwall, and naturally Jamaica Inn was a must see.
As you can imagine, while I was interested in the author and her life, I was more taken with the artifacts and information relating to smuggling which I am going to share with you. here.
The picture on the left known as landing the goods and there is little more to be said. On the right are tools and weapons used on both sides of the law. For example the pig sticking knife and the wooden farm flail were used by smugglers, since they were not army or navy weapons a man could carry them with impunity. The swords and cutlasses were carried by excisemen or naval officers.
Here is an assortment of lanterns, handy for smugglers to carry or signal with.
Down in the right hand corner is something really interesting. It is called a scuffling iron. Now this is the technical term for what the last man of the train of smugglers used to hide their tracks. It was a reverse horse shoe, and with one hand he would sweep away the track of the horsed with a tree branch and with the other would stamp the scuffling iron (which was attached to something like a broom handle) into the ground, thereby confusing anyone trying to follow.
Not exactly high tech, and not likely to fool too many people either I think, but who knows?
The Jamaica Inn is on Bodmin Moor, not that close to the sea, so it would have been used as a place to hide contraband, I would think. And a very lonely place it is too, even today, as you can see from the pictures I took from the parking lot.
There will be more on smuggling another time, but for now, Happy Rambles.