The new backwater


⇒  Welcome

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Weymouth Sands

[ ... in French   ]
⇒  Cover

⇒  Preface

⇒  Introduction

⇒  The visit

⇒  Weymouth map c.1930

⇒  Portland map c.1930

⇒  Works quoted

⇒  Postface

A visit to the Weymouth Sands of John Cowper Powys     [ ⇒ continue... ]

Between worm-life and god-life every human soul is suspended.



   The girl was old enough to remember the time, before the building of the new Westham Bridge, when Swan Villa had overlooked the tidal Backwater. Some of her happiest childish memories were connected with these muddy, brackish reaches, on the edge of which she used to play for hours, imbibing the sour tidal smells and watching the swans and the wild ducks. But the Backwater had been transformed into an ornamental basin, rendered independent of the sea-tides; and although its smooth expanse of harmless water, like a pond in a Public Park, still stretched away as far as Radipole Village, a couple of miles from the old Harbour Bridge, the charm of the salt mud-pools and the tidal débris remained in her mind as something she missed. Children's aesthetic sense is a deep half-animal feeling and when it is outraged it leaves a wound behind it that never quite heals up.(...)
   When she was unhappy in her early teens it was always to the Backwater she went for comfort. The old Backwater Bridge itself, unsatisfactory for modern traffic as it probably became, had grown to be associated in her mind with alluring images of romantic continental bridges; and for all the new cleanliness and convenience that had recently appeared she did not find herself seeking refuge any more at her window, when the nostalgia for far horizons and remote places took possession of her.

[ ⇒ footnote to the photograph... ]

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