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part 2....
The telegraph posts and wires were a curi
osity. Some of the posts were snapped in two
others were completely uprooted, the wires in
many instances blown completely from their
fastenings as the insulators across the road into
the fields. In some places I had to thread
my way in and out among the wires like a
puzzle. I experienced the full force of the
storm and drift between Gunwalloe turning
and Nansloe, and I easily understand how
people lose themselves and become dazed in a
snowstorm. Much of the way I walked knee
deep in snow through the drifts, and even
tually I crawled into Helston in good lime for
the train — in more senses than the original —
for I was informed that the train had not
been heard of since its last journey out the
night before. I had been three hours and a
half covering the five miles, and arrived coated
with ice from head to loot. All the shops
were shut, and business was completely stag
nated. Perforce I had to make myself comfort
able for the night, and on Wednesday I tried
to leave for home. Mr. Reynolds, the owner
of the Penzance and Helston 'bus and his
driver, made two unsuccessful attempts to get
out in the morning by the Redruth and Cam
borne roads, and undertook in the afternoon
to try the Penzance road if I was willing.
We lelt in a wagonette with a pair of strong
horses, and provided with a shovel to dig our
way if necessary. All went well until we
reached the town in the hill leading to Breage,
Churchtown, when our progress in that
direction was effectually stopped by a drift
which completely filled the road as far as we
could see. There was nothing for it but to
return. We tried the road through Porthleven.
along the coast to Rinsey, and after digging
our way through some small drifts we were
satisfiied that drifts eight and ten teet deep
were too much even for three men with a
shovel. I was sorry for Mr. Reynolds and the
driver, who had set their hearts on getting out,
and were disappointed. Their pluck and
judgement were commendable. On reaching
Porthleven I found if I had been earlier I
could have sailed across lo Penzance, but the
tide was running out and the harbour closed.
I arranged with an old friend, if the weaiher
should be favourable, to sail me across on the
following morning. By the way, the road
from Helston up Sithney-hill and along the
bottoms to Porthleven was easy travelling.
I wonder Mr. James, the indefatigable post
master, did not try that way out for the mails.
On Thursday I was up betime , but it was blowing half a gale,
and several considerations
prompted me before and after breakfast to de
cide against the sea trip. My after experience
of the gale made me very thankful that I had
not exposed any of my old fishermen friends at
Porthleven. At eight o'clock I went to the
railway station, and there met the engine
driver of the belated train. He told me they
had walked in the night before, and that at
least as far as the snowed-up train there was a
way out of Helston. I made up mind to foot
the nine miles to Gwinear-road along the rail
way. In a few places for a short distance the
line was perfectly clear, and progress was fairly
made, but very soon my difficulties began.
The embankments were clear, but the cuttings
were another thing altogether, so I took the
top of the cuttings and fields where possible.
This, however, involved frequent gigantic
efforts at fences and bridges. Climbing up
steep embankments and over fences I found to
be an occupation which would pall even on the
tastes of the nimblest athlete and produce
weariness of flesh, but time after time the fences
had to be faced, and over I had to go like a
bird or something else. At Nancegollan Station
the lad in the office gave me a withering look
of sarcasm when I cheerfully asked for a first
class return ticket lo New York !
Up to this point I had passed two gangs of
the permanent staff, four in each gang, working
al the drifts. At Nancegollan the station
master was vigorously putting in his time at
the drift. They knew nothing of what was
transpiring about them. I passed the belated
train and could see a little more of the engine
than the apochryphal funnel of which I had
been told in Helston. The engine and train
were completely blocked before and behind,
but not by any means buried. At Praze
I found two men at work, and learnt that an
'army' and a special train were coming to
their relief. By this time I was nearly wet
through with the sleet and rain, which had per
sistently fallen all the morning. Between
Praze and Gwinear-road, I met the van of ihe
'army,' with shovels shouldered. They looked
an army of capable men either with a shovel or
a pasty. A little further on, stopping to pick
up the rear, I met the special relief train in
charge of my old friend, Mr. Inspector Harris,
and had the pleasure of giving him the latest
information from the other end. Plodding on
Gwinear-road came in sight. In both of my
walks through the snow there were objects of
special interest and causes of thankfulness to
me. Coming into Helston on Tuesday, I was
glad to see the house by the roadside at the
junction of the Lizard and Gweek-roads; and
coming into Gwinear. I realised the same feel
ing when I saw the station signal box. At
Gwinear-road station, I was thankful for a
packet of sandwiches which I had carried with
me, but upon asking if there was any drinking
water, was told there was none at the station.
Let me here suggest to Mr. Peach that a filter
and drinking utensils would be a boon at
Gwinear-road station, even in a snowstorm.
A friendly guard shared with me his tin of cold
tea, and there and then I pledged a life-long
affection for cold tea.
The special train returned to pick up the
commissariat for Mr. Harris's army, and a
grave question arose as to whether twelve
loaves were enough for sixty men. Inspector
Harris gave me a Wednesday's paper, with
the remark — as all who know him will easily
understand — ' I shall nut have any time to read
it to-day.' It was here that he donned the
mysterious, but very sensible, headgear which
earned for him the title of "Pasha." A little
longer waiting and I travelled down with a
train bringing the first mails into Cornwall
since Monday, and arrived at St. Ives to find
scarcely any trace of the terrible visitation, and
to realise that, after all, there is no place like
home, even in a snowstorm. This is my first,
and I hope last experience of being snowed up
away from home.



Snow in Porthleven




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