Shining Ferry was first published in 1905.
Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch was a Cornish writer, who published under the pen name of Q. He published his Dead Man's Rock (a romance in the vein of Stevenson's Treasure Island) in 1887, and he followed this up with Troy Town (1888) and The Splendid Spur (1889). After some journalistic experience in London, mainly as a contributor to the Speaker, in 1891 he settled at Fowey in Cornwall. He published in 1896 a series of critical articles, Adventures in Criticism, and in 1898 he completed Robert Louis Stevenson's unfinished novel, St Ives. With the exception of the parodies entitled Green Bays: Verses and Parodies (1893), his poetical work is contained in Poems and Ballads (1896). In 1895 he published an anthology from the sixteenth and seventeenth-century English lyrists, The Golden Pomp, followed in 1900 by an equally successful Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900 (1900). He was made a Bard of Gorseth Kernow in 1928, taking the Bardic name Marghak Cough ('Red Knight').
Quiller-Couch was a noted literary critic, publishing editions of some of Shakespeare's plays (in the New Shakespeare, published by Cambridge University Press, with Dover Wilson) and several critical works, including Studies in Literature (1918) and On the Art of Reading (1920). He edited a successor to his verse anthology: Oxford Book of English Prose, which was published in 1923. He left his autobiography, Memories and Opinions, unfinished; it was nevertheless published in 1945.
CHAPTER I. ROSEWARNE OF HALL
JOHN ROSEWARNE SAT IN HIS counting-house at Hall, dictating a letter to his confidential clerk. The letter ran-
"Dear Sir,-In answer to yours of the 6th inst., I beg to inform you that in consequence of an arrangement with the Swedish firms, by which barrel-staves will be trimmed and finished to three standard lengths before shipment, we are enabled to offer an additional discount of five per cent, for the coming season on orders of five thousand staves and upwards. Such orders, however, should reach us before the fishery begins, as we hold ourselves free to raise the price at any time after 1st July. A consignment is expected from the Baltic within the next fortnight."
The little clerk looked up. His glance inquired, "Is that all?"
"Wait a minute." His master seemed to be reflecting; then leaning back in his chair and gripping its arms while he stared out of the bow-window before him, he resumed his dictation-
"I hope to be in Plymouth on Wednesday next, and that you will hold yourself ready for a call between two and three in the afternoon at your office."
"I beg your pardon, sir," the clerk interposed, "but Mr. Samuel closes early on Wednesdays.
"I know it. Go on, please-
"I have some matters to discuss alone with you, and they may take a considerable time. Kindly let me know by return if the date suggested is inconvenient."
"That will do." He held out his hand for the paper, and signed it, "Yours truly, John Rosewarne," while the clerk addressed the envelope. This concluded their day's work.
Rosewarne pulled out his watch, consulted it, and fell again to staring out of the open window. A climbing Banksia rose overgrew the sill and ran up the mullions, its clusters of nankeen buds stirred by the breeze and nodding against the pale sunset sky. Beyond the garden lay a small orchard fringed with elms; and below this the slope fell so steeply down to the harbourthat the elm-tops concealed its shipping and all but the chimney-smoke of a busy little town on its farther shore. High over this smoke the rooks were trailing westward and homeward.
Rosewarne heard the clank of mallets in a shipbuilding yard below. Then five o'clock struck from the church tower across the water, and the mallets ceased; but far down by the harbour's mouth the crew of a foreign-bound ship sang at the windlass-
"Good-bye, fare-ye-well-Good-bye, fare-ye-well!"
[In the original text a short length of musical score is shown]
The vessel belonged to him. He controlled most of the shipping and a good half of the harbour's trade. As for the town at his feet, had you examined his ledgers you might fancy its smoke ascending to him as incense. He sat with his strong hand resting on the arms of his chair, with the last gold of daylight touching his white hair and the lines of his firm, clean-shaven face, and overlooked his local world and his possessions. If they brought him happiness, he did not smile.
He aroused himself with a kind of shake of the shoulders, and stretched out a hand to ring, as his custom was after the day's work, for a draught of cider.
"Eh? Anything more?" he asked; for the little clerk, having gathered up his papers, had advanced close to the corner of the writing-table, and waited there with an air of apology.
"I beg your pardon, sir-the 28th of May. I had no opportunity this morning, but if I may take the liberty."-
"My birthday, Benny? So it is; and, begad, I believe you're the only soul to remember it. Stay a moment."-
He rang the bell, and ordered the maidservant to bring in a full jug of cider and two glasses. At the signal, a small Italian greyhound, who had been awaiting it, came forward fawning from her lair in the corner, and, encouraged by a snap of the fingers, leapt up to her master's knee.
"May God send you many, sir, and His mercy follow