Read A Pixy in Petticoats (Valancourt Classics) by Ernest George Henham Gerald Cornelius Monsman Online


"'A Pixy in Petticoats' is as good a story of Dartmoor as has been written these many moons."-Evening Standard. "A glance at any chapter is almost as good as a breath of that breeze which charges at you on the top of Hay or Yes Tor."-Bystander. "The story is built up with quite exceptional skill. The writing is consistently brilliant."-Liverpool Courier. "A romance of many"'A Pixy in Petticoats' is as good a story of Dartmoor as has been written these many moons."-Evening Standard. "A glance at any chapter is almost as good as a breath of that breeze which charges at you on the top of Hay or Yes Tor."-Bystander. "The story is built up with quite exceptional skill. The writing is consistently brilliant."-Liverpool Courier. "A romance of many merits."-Express. Ernest George Henham (b.1870) first began publishing occult fiction in the 1890s, but when his health began to fail, doctors recommended the salutary air of Dartmoor. Taking their advice, he relocated from London to Devonshire, where he abjured his former literary productions and reinvented himself under the name of "John Trevena."A Pixy in Petticoats, published anonymously by Alston Rivers of London in 1906, remained one of Trevena's most popular novels, although he is perhaps better known today for his trilogy of life upon Dartmoor comprising Furze the Cruel (1907), Heather (1908), and Granite (1909). In Pixy, a fictionalized rendition of Trevena named Burrough takes up residence in Dartmoor, where, consumptive, and approaching thirty-five, he believes his days of romance are long behind him. That is, at least, until he meets the bewitching Beatrice Pentreath, herself a beguiling pixy like the ones that co-existed with Cornish men and women dating back to before the time of her ancestor, Dolly Pentreath, the last native speaker of Cornish. Burrough falls madly in love with the coy Beatrice, but when a military accident leaves him disfigured, he questions whether he can ever win her love. The story of the relationship between these two lovers, by turns comic and light-hearted and devestatingly tragic, forms the plot of A Pixy in Petticoats, which, like many of Trevena's novels, remains as enchanting and haunting as when first published, and which, as Prof. Gerald Monsman argues in his introduction, deserves reconsideration alongside the novels of Thomas Hardy as a crucial English regional novel of the Edwardian period....

Title : A Pixy in Petticoats (Valancourt Classics)
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ISBN : 9781934555811
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 248 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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A Pixy in Petticoats (Valancourt Classics) Reviews

  • Jane
    2018-12-24 09:35

    A writer went to Dartmoor ... he'd travelled widely, he'd published a number of books under his real name - Arthur George Henham - but a few years into the twentieth century his health began to break down, and he retired to a country cottage on Dartmoor.He found a wonderful new world to write about it and he adopted a new name - John Trevena - and began to write books that were quite different to the stories of the occult he had published in the past.I couldn't resist the title of his first Dartmoor story - 'A Pixy in Petticoats' - and when I started reading I could tell he loved his new surroundings. Really loved them.Some people look at a hedgerow and see just that. A hedgerow. But others see more: a network of different plants, signs of the wildlife that live there, evidence of what the weather had been doing. John Trevena saw those things and he was able to bring that to life on the page, to pull his readers into his village and over the moors.His story draws on his own life. It tells the story of John Burrough who lives a quiet, life on Dartmoor. He is in his thirties, he is consumptive, and he believes his days of romance and excitement are over.He writes and he walks for hours across the moors. And one day, far off the beaten trail he is surprised to see signs that someone else in nearby. And even more surprised when he realises that someone must be a woman. A woman who wore heels so small and fine that a half-crown would have covered the marks left by their points!She is, of course, the pixy in petticoats. Beatrice Pentreath, a young descendant of Dolly Pentreath - who was said to be the last native speaker of Cornish - who has come to visit her aunt.Beatrice was a free spirit, completely in love with life and the world, and as they spent time together, exploring the country, showing off their knowledge to each other, telling tales both old and new, Burrough fell in love with her.It was lovely to watch and listen, to be drawn completely and utterly into their world, to want to be out on Dartmoor too.Beatrice led her lover a merry dance, not because she didn't care for him, but because she was so very alive, because she couldn't possibly stay still."She knew she would marry some day, to find out what it was like. She knew also that the moor and the sea would call her always. She could not leave her open-air. She must have her gorse, heather and bracken, and the salt breezes of her wild Cornish coast. Love and marriage she regarded as interludes between the acts. Her husband would be the hero of only a few scenes of her life. During those acts she would take a passionate interest in him and his work; and she would be as sentimental as any man could desire. But the chief things in life would be her splendid health and strength, and her love for moor and sea."An accident on the moor changed everything. Then, as now, the army used Dartmoor for training accidents, and Burrough was caught in the crossfire. He was terribly injured and he wasn't expected to live. He did live, but he was badly disfigured.Beatrice went home to Cornwall, but he couldn't let her go. He followed and the dance went on."The scene grew wilder as the train swept on; trees and hedges were left behind; there were no more cornfields, nor cottages with bright flower gardens; the end was approaching, the Land’s End; and soon there would be nothing, except the granite and stunted gorse, and the foaming waste of sea. It was like a beautiful woman growing old; South Devon was youth; Eastern Cornwall her early married life; then at Truro middle age; and so on into the desolation and decay of old age. Burrough wondered whether he too had left behind the trees and flowers; whether he too had passed through the flowering woods and the luxuriant lanes; whether he might be coming, in more senses than one, to the untrodden wastes; to end at length among the cruel rocks and the stormy sea."She became more elusive, because though she cared she didn't know if she could cope, but he couldn't give up.The story worked well because there was joy and sadness, and because John Trevenna so clearly understood both Beatrice and Burrough. He made them, and their situation, real and complex.And so I found myself bewitched and beguiled, by two wonderful characters I had come to care for, by their story and most of all by their world that was so wonderfully, wonderfully painted.The obvious comparison is with Thomas Hardy whose stories were set not so many miles from Dartmoor. John Trevenna's writing is simpler and his words have fewer subtleties, but the two have much in common. The way they bring the countryside to life, the way they draw relationships between their characters ...And, like so many of Hardy's stories, this story ends with a tragedy.It was inevitable, it was dramatic, it was emotional, and it grew quite naturally out of the tale that had been ending.But if ever a sad ending was right this one was.******I borrowed a copy of 'A Pixy in Petticoats' from the Cornish Library Services fiction reserve, and I suspect that I will be going back there for a few more of John Trevana's books.It's in print, courtesy of Valancourt Books. Their books are always beautifully produced, with informative introductions and background material, and I'm sure that this one is no exception.Or alternatively, if you'd like a free trip to Dartmoor, the text is available online.