[From Captain of the Parish, 1897]


John Quine was born too late to witness any of the events described in his novel - the events leading upto the last of the Mormon emigrations are told in my paper on the Mormon missioning of 1840-41 - there was however a mormon emigrant family John Kelly and Elizabeth Quine from West Baldwin that could have provided a family link, though John Quine was the son of a miller in Silverdale.

There is a Narradale on the Island - in Lezayre - however the Narradale of the story would appear to be based on Glen Helen with the Vaish Hills being that part of the central backbone west of Snaefell on the border of Kirk German and Kirk Michael. Inchport is obviously Peel - quite why he renamed it but kept those of the other main Manx towns is not at all obvious - derived from the Manx Purt-ny-Hinshey (Port of the Island).

T. E. Brown in a letter to Miss Graves has the following to say;

As a picture of the Mormon migration , you advance another and a later impression; the fair-spoken young Proselytiser of whom you have an imperfect recollection. These men had to be cautious, draw in their horns, be more vague and less enthusiastic in their promises. I have met men of this kind. They neither professed nor excited vehement religious feeling. The old Mormons did.

A.'s failure to represent this is, I think, part of his reluctance to deal with the common people. He sits entrenched in Arrosey, its broad acres, its well-to-do folk. I'm not sure that he's wrong about this. It is as it affects the fortunes of (this class), not as it involves the fate of Tom, Dick, and Harry, that the Mormon migration interests us.

I am sorry you do not feel with me the subtle method with which handles his scenery, not flinging it down in great masses, diffusing it, humanizing it, making it live and glow.

For my own part, I confess my own utter inability to paint the scenery in this masterly way.

But now we come to the real root of the matter. How can you admire 'Lizzy ' ? Admire is a cold word. I love Lizzy. And here our quarrel is hopeless. You don't like-divils ; I do. Lizzy is a magnificent divil. Indeed, I fancy you will find that, as regards Lizzy, you are in an overwhelming minority. Do consider what you are thinking of. Evidently, as in fact you admit, ' an ordinary good and decent girl.' Lizzy is meant to be nothing of the sort. It does not follow that she is to be an extraordinarily indecent girl. Oh dear no; just a divil. But about divils I can see that the difference in our conceptions is radical. Until you can look upon such a creature, breathless and alarmed for her, loving her, yearning over her, blaming her, slapping her, in an awful state as to what is going to become of her-the young wretch, the Divil (give her a capital!), I respectfully decline to discuss the question further. . . .




Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2006