Ia, a Love Story: a study

(This study was first printed in the Royal Institution of Cornwall Journal, 2008 and is re-published here with their permssion.)


Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q) is best known today as an anthologist and as a former Professor of English Literature at Cambridge (1912–1944). Yet he saw himself primarily as a creative writer. Dead Man's Rock (1887) was his first novel, being published when he was twenty-four. Ia (1896) was his fifth and the first to be located in the far west of Cornwall. Q had two uncles who practised medicine in Penzance. Dr Richard Quiller Couch (1816–1863), who died in the year Q was born, was a distinguished writer on scientific subjects. Dr John Quiller Couch (1831/2-1901) took on the practice at 10 Chapel Street for Richard's widow, with whom he soon quarrelled. Dr Thomas Quiller Couch (1826–1884), Q's father, was a scientist and an antiquarian. However, it was Dr Jonathan Couch F.L.S. (1789–1870)  of  Polperro who intellectually dominated the family. His published works and papers, from which Q frequently quoted, can be found in various scientific and educational establishments in Britain and North America. Ia combines Q's Romantic vision with the empiricism and antiquarianism of his forebears.

On 17 November, 1898, the Cornish Telegraph reported a Mayoral Banquet at Penzance. The elected mayor was Councillor R.P. Couch, son of the late Dr Richard Quiller Couch. The guest speaker was 'Mr. Quiller Couch (Q), the editor of the “Cornish Magazine”'. Also present was Dr John Quiller Couch. In his speech Q said that as the population of Cornwall was decreasing and the fictional population was increasing, soon 'every man in the room would be either the author of a novel or a character in somebody else's novel. (Laughter).' At least one person present had already been characterized by Q.

The novella Ia is set in the hundred of Penwith, the most south-westerly point in Britain. East Penwith consists of fertile farmland, stretching east and north to Helston and Camborne. West Penwith is a granite peninsula, approximately six miles wide and fifteen long, surrounded on three and a half sides by the Atlantic ocean. High moorland hills, which rise steeply from the isthmus connecting East and West, dominate the skyline, while around the periphery are precipitous granite cliffs and mild sheltered bays. The main road from Truro enters West Penwith at the town of Hayle. Hayle is a decayed industrial centre. It looks out across a wide expanse of tidal waters to high sand hills or towans. The waters escape to the sea along a narrow channel and over a bar. Q ignores the industrial aspects in Ia. His Romantic vision encompasses a community of fishermen and moorland farmers, steeped in a traditional world of ancient crafts, superstition and the Bible.


Ia commences with a prologue set about one hundred years before the main action. It is a fiction based on a framework of fact, the division of Methodism into Calvinists and Wesleyans as explained in the Journal of John Wesley. Q's forebears in Polperro were converts of John Wesley and his grandfather, Dr Jonathan Couch, led the Wesleyans out of Talland parish church in 1814 and into their own building. Q's grandparents on his mother's side were Calvinists. Q describes in Memories and Opinions (p. 39) how disturbed he became after attending services at the congregational church in Newton Abbot, where the Calvinist preacher portrayed 'Hell for us, its fire and torture everlasting'. The 'Second Advent Saints' of Revyer, a Calvinist sect, must be partly based on the Congregationalists of Newton Abbot.

The structure of the prologue is based on Wesley's Journal. Charles and John Wesley first preached at St Ives in 1745. The fictional Rev. Onesimus Heathcote, a Calvinist Methodist, arrived in 1761. Following the 'Calvinist controversy', which began in earnest about 1770, his flock deserted him for the Wesleyans, and he was forced to maintain himself as a seller of gingerbread—a typical piece of Q satire. The sensation of Mary Penno's 'vision' opened the way for him to re-establish himself as a religious leader. He married Mary Penno and together they founded the 'Second Advent Saints'. In 1774 and 1778 Wesley recorded the attempted infiltration of Calvinists into the Wesleyan body in Penzance and St Ives. In Q's imagination this was the work of the 'Saints'.

The Prologue and Wesley's Journal




Ia - page

Wesley's Journal

15 07 1743

Charles Wesley to

St Ives / Ardevora



30 08 1743

John Wesley to St Ives/





Onesimus Heathcote to




21 08 1770

'Here God has made all our enemies to be at peace with us'. J. Wesley




Heathcote loses flock to Wesleyans



25 03 1773

Vision of Mary Penno at Revyer



30 03 1773

Account recorded by Magistrate

5 to 9


06 1773

Penno and Heathcote marry, found sect and build Round House at Revyer



09 09 1787

Wesley at Round House chapel in Copperhouse, Hayle



01 09 1774

Calvinists try to infiltrate Wesleyans at Penzance & St Ives



28 08 1778

Wesleyans at Penzance & St Ives




Mary Penno dies in childbirth



25 08 1789

Wesley's last visit to

 St Ives




Vision of Mary Stevens at St Ives (Matthew)




The Vision of Mary Penno

Mary Penno's account of her vision is given in the prologue in the form of a 'deposition sworn and attested' before the County Magistrate, Charles Pendarves, on March 30, 1773. On 25 March, Mary Penno had walked from Ardevora to Revyer where at 3.00 pm she saw a light proceeding from the window of a disused fish store. Beyond the window lay a recumbent figure writing on the floor 'Surely, I come quickly' (Rev. 22.20). The figure was later seen by Susannah Hocken but not by James Hocken who arrived in the evening. Mary Penno reported her vision to the Rev. Onesimus Heathcote at a prayer meeting.

The vision of Mary Penno on page 6 of Ia bears a striking similarity to the vision of Mary Stevens née Bryant in Hobson Matthew's History of St Ives on page 388, in which the daughter of a pilchard-fisher received a warning against working on the Sabbath.

The marriage of Mary Penno and Onesimus Heathcote provides the conditions for the founding of the 'Second Advent Saints', a Calvinist sect. The sensation caused by the vision and the urgency of an imminent 'Second Coming' results in a rapid growth in members. After Mary's death, Heathcote goes to London to found a second chapel. Expansion overseas soon follows.

The prologue closes in 1783 with the removal to London of the Rev. Onesimus Heathcote and his son. Chapter I opens 77 years later in 1860 with the arrival at Revyer of the great-grandson of Onesimus, the Rev. Paul Heathcote. In the interim the sect had expanded overseas. Each meeting house followed the design of the Round House at Revyer. Paul is young and unmarried. He is not warned, 'In that Celtic land the maids did the wooing' (p. 147). Coming from London to Ardevora he experiences something of a culture shock.

The original faith at Revyer possessed two 'faces', one looking to the 'savage inland heaths', and the other to the 'Apocalypse' (p.12). The centring of the faith in London changed its essential character. Paul Heathcote is more the sophisticated cleric than the primitive prophet. His first sermon at Revyer is 'bookish', with an 'over-elaborated style' (p. 70). Yet even he is portrayed as 'capable , but queer' in his 'mixture of blood' (p. 122), at least in the opinion of Dr Hammer.

The Plot

An Ardevora fisherman, Joel Spargo, falls in love with Ia Rosemundy, a witch from the moors. She is a probationer of the 'Second Advent Saints' and falls in love with the Rev. Paul Heathcote, great-grandson of Mary Penno and Onesimus Heathcote. Paul is the incoming minister and future leader of the sect. He is compromised aboard Ia's boat but refuses to marry her openly for fear of sect opinion. She refuses a secret marriage, even though she is pregnant. Not knowing she is expecting his child, Paul leaves for a new chapel in London, partly through the influence of Dr Hammer, a friend of both Ia and Joel. Joel proposes to Ia , but she rejects him. Paul returns six years later to find Ia a wealthy woman, having inherited Hammer's estate. She loves but despises him, and rejects his advances. To protect her son Johnny from social stigma, Ia emigrates. Joel accompanies her to Liverpool.

The Theme of Unrequited Love

The two central characters, Ia Rosemundy and the Rev. Paul Heathcote, are introduced by Q in Chapter I. The action takes place in Ardevora at noon on a day in February 1860. Paul Heathcote, great-grandson of the Rev. Onesimus Heathcote and Mary Penno, arrives to pastor the Second Advent Saints at the Round House Chapel, where Ia is a probationer. Heathcote, who appears to have been reared in London, is disconcerted at the superstition and unsophistication he discovers at Revyer. During a meal at the house of Carbines, the Chief Elder, Ia, who is smitten with Paul, pours 'dufflin cider' over Paul's sleeve and rushes away to the towans. The most unlikely relationship appears to be between Paul and Bitha Carbines, the educated daughter of the elder.

Chapter II reveals Ia as a witch, an exponent of natural religion. This acts as a foil to Heathcote , who is a Calvinist and espouses revealed religion. Q then introduces Joel Spargo, an admirer of Ia, and  Dr Hammer, a bachelor. Ia refuses Joel's advances. Possibly she is planning the abduction of Paul Heathcote.

In the introduction to Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts (1900), Q explains that the short story 'Once Aboard the Lugger' is a 'revenant'. Following its first publication, it was adapted for Chapter III of Ia. This short story is set in Troy or Fowey and involves the arrival of the Rev. Samuel Bax at the Independent chapel in 1839. Anticipating the attentions of more sophisticated rivals among the spinsters of Troy, Nance Trewartha of Ruan or Polruan tricks Bax onto her boat and sails with him into the moonlit bay. She refuses to return without the promise of marriage. Bax becomes genuinely smitten and a happy marriage results.

In Chapter III of Ia  Q changes the names and locations but retains the actions. However, the promise of marriage given by Paul leads neither to marriage nor to happiness. The story of Nance and Bax is simple. The story of Ia and Paul is more complex, with the actors being symbols as much as characters. Ia is a witch who uses spells to win Paul's love, courts Paul at the Witch's Crown and engineers a betrothal over running water at Noon Water.

The relationship between the witch and the Calvinist preacher appears incongruous. A collision is surely inevitable. She hears Paul preach with a 'sense of desolation' (p.71). Paul and Ia work in parallel during an epidemic but never really together (Chapter VIII). Q describes a religious conversion for Ia during Paul's sermon on the Island, when God and Paul 'suddenly become real' (p.121), but it is less than convincing. Q possibly recognised this. At the very moment of Ia's conversion, he has Dr Hammer planning the removal of Paul from Ardevora to London. Hammer sees Joel as a more appropriate partner for Ia. Q uses the location of the conversion, the Island at Ardevora, as the place for Paul to announce his departure. Paul proposes a secret marriage, something Ia rejects. The impossibility of a loving relationship is revealed to her. In Chapter XVI Paul departs for a new chapel in Brixton.

A further twist in the story occurs in Chapter XVI. Ia's pregnancy, but not the identity of the father, becomes common knowledge. Only Joel Spargo refuses to condemn. He proposes marriage but Ia refuses. The reader is informed that Ia had prayed 'four months ago' (p.188) for a 'miracle' regarding Paul, only to have it answered by Joel too late to be effective. Fate appears to triumph over providence. The force of fate is revealed in Chapter VII. After the betrothal over running water, Aunt Alse questions Ia on her choice of month: 'Marry in May, rue for aye'. Yet Q is not satisfied with blaming fate alone for the destruction of the relationship. Paul's ambition, social pressure, Hammer's intervention, and Ia's forwardness are also indicated in various places in the novella. At the close of Chapter XV, Ia and Hammer combine to offer a further explanation.

                        'When a body thinks o' religion afore anything -'

                        '-'tis the others that suffer. You needn't tell me that, Ia.'

The story does not end with Paul's removal to London and Joel's rejection. In 1866, the Rev. Paul Heathcote returns to Revyer as part of a preaching tour. A great change has occurred in Ia's circumstances. For the first four years after the broken relationship Ia continued living at Ardevora, but with the death of Dr Hammer she inherited his house, Laregan, and became something of a lady. Paul declares his love for Ia and Ia responds in kind. However, Ia is motivated by higher love, that for their son. She refuses him so that Johnny can carry the name of Rosemundy and live in America without the stigma of illegitimacy. They both declare that they will never love another. Soon after, Ia and Joel emigrate, with Joel Spargo accompanying them to Liverpool.

The Themes of Health and Sanitation

As a doctor's son Q had direct knowledge of these subjects. In Memories and Opinions (pp. 25–7) Q describes the causes and progress of an epidemic in Bodmin in the early 1870s. The cause lay in the lack of sanitation and the stagnant pools in the lower part of the town. Q's father, Dr Thomas Couch, regularly petitioned  the council regarding such evils. No doubt Dr Richard and John Couch did like-wise in Penzance. Neither Q nor his mother was isolated from infection, since Thomas believed that propinquity inoculated.

Q introduces the related themes of health and sanitation in Chapter II. Dr Hammer, almost certainly based on Dr John Couch, has travelled from Laregan, near Penzance, to investigate three cases of diphtheria in Ardevora. He is accompanied by Joel Spargo and encounters Ia on the towans. He challenges her regarding the new preacher and shows his contempt for religion by asking whether Heathcote has 'prophesied pestilence' and commanded the 'cleansing' of 'drains' (p. 36). When the answer is in the negative he declares the preacher to be a 'fool'.

The reader soon learns that this is not a piece of satire. Worsening drought, a scarcity of food and poor sanitation quickly produces a diphtheria outbreak in Ardevora, especially in the lower parts of the town. The last week of June proves the worst week for fatalities (p. 108). In July the epidemic tails off, although only to be replaced by typhus (p.89). Hammer persuades Ia and Joel to help him in his work. Typhus reaches its peak in August with fourteen fatalities in one week (p. 177). Then with a change of wind to the south-west, increasing rain and a pilchard harvest, the epidemic ceases, with the last cases in mid-September.

Q describes the symptoms and progress of the diseases with scientific accuracy. On page 104 he describes diphtheria in relation to Susie Treleaven from 'Down-along'. The six -year-old was out playing when her face became flushed and her eyes heavy. Then her breathing became heavy and painful. Ia rushes Susie through the rubbish filled streets and encounters Dr Hammer. The Dr produces a 'small flat silver instrument' and uses it to flatten Susie's tongue. He observes swollen tonsils, one exhibiting a 'grey patch'.

Q describes the progress of typhus in an elderly man on page 131. The boat builder Baragwanath wakes one morning with a headache and is sent back to bed by his wife. Three days later a rash develops and he becomes delirious.

Hammer has Ia dilute salts of potash as a febrifuge. On the seventh day Baragwanath starts to lose all consciousness, and with his eyes half closed he slips down the bed. The eleventh day sees his death.

Progression of the Diseases 

Jan       Feb      March     April     May     June     July     August       September      October


            D         D             D            D         D         D

                                                       T          T         T          T                 T

                                                                                            WET S.W. WINDS …

D = diphtheria

T = typhus

At the time Q was writing Ia he was also contributing to the Liberal paper The Speaker. The novella combines Q's knowledge of medicine with his radical beliefs. Q develops the political argument in Chapters X and XVII of Ia. In Chapter X, specifically pages 116–118, Dr Hammer attacks the causes of poor sanitation and disease. He identifies landlords, local councillors, overcrowded accommodation, untended streets and polluted wells. Nor does he fear making the attack personal. Hammer dies in Chapter XVII (p. 198) and his will contains certain stipulations. Money is left to finance schemes for drainage, ventilation and improvement (p.199). Q is making the point that such schemes should be carried out by landlords and the local authorities.


It seems incongruous for an empiricist to compromise with superstition. The Couches, however, were empiricists without being rationalists and Jonathan Couch regarded all phenomena as of equal validity for observation and verification.

1. (p. 40) So as to win the love of Paul Heathcote, Ia places a lighted candle, with two skewers inserted cross-wise, on the windowsill of her bedroom and mutters various spells. The knocking off of the candle onto the floor is possibly an ill-omen.

2. (p.40) Samuel Baragwanath charms 'witchcraft off the vessels', a process Jonathan Couch saw as fraudulent.

3. (pp. 57 and 79) Ia and her mother were witches or 'cunning women' because they had climbed onto the logan stone at Zennor nine times without rocking it. Ia was seven when she achieved this midnight feat. This, she believed, gave her spells the power to attract the puritan preacher. Zennor mythology can be found in Bottrell's Traditions and Hearthside stories of West Cornwall (1870) and in Hunt's Popular Romances of the West of England (1865), to which Thomas Couch made a contribution.

4. The women of Ardevora refused to wear green, the 'piskies' colour'.

5. Ia and Paul are betrothed over running water using a ring of Saracen's gold, dug out of the hills by Sheba's men. The ring is older than the 'floods o' Deva' and is possessed by Aunt Alse, until she gives it to Ia. Q has almost certainly taken his details from Bottrell's 'The White Witch or Charmer of Zennor' (pp 69–114). Sheba's men are the tin stream workers of Uncle Matthew Thomas who worked the bottoms between Zennor and Nancledra. This is the area Q calls Noon Water. They had reputedly been worked from before the flood (Bottrell, p. 72). Aunt Alse is Margaret Daniels of Zennor, who married the privateer William Vingoe of Sennen. Vingoe had frequent encounters with the Saracens (Bottrell, p. 110). He eventually lost his life in the West Indies. Margaret was unable to accept the loss until a seaman showed her Billy's 'massive plain gold ring' and recounted the story of his death. Interestingly Margaret Daniels was a relation of the Daniels of Rosemurgy, friends of John and Charles Wesley. Margaret was a friend of 'Ustick of Botallack' (Bottrell, p. 114), a family John Wesley also encountered.

6. (pp. 117 and 194) Ia relates the superstition that in coastal communities every third male child is born with a sea-shell in its cradle, prophesying the manner of his death. Johnny is not born with a shell, thus making it possible for Ia and Johnny to emigrate across the Atlantic.

7. (p. 124) Widow Toms wears around her neck a piece of string, attached to which is a piece of paper on which the Tetragrammaton is imprinted, to ward off infection. This idea appears to have been obtained by Q from Bottrell's section on the Pellar of Helston (p. 117).

8. (p. 167) Ia casts her betrothal ring into the sea, taking the 'sea to be her husband'. With this she throws off superstition.

Seine Fishing

The most dramatically intense part of the novella comes in Chapters XIII to XVI. This describes the seine fishing industry as it was in the middle part of the nineteenth century. Paul Heathcote has just left for London and Ia stifles her grief in the 'directing' of a seine. Joel Spargo works beside her. No one handles a set-piece Cornish scene better than Q, combining romantic vision with scientific precision.

Q introduces us to the technicalities of the fishing industry in Cornwall in Chapter VI. We learn that the mackerel season opens in the spring, with herring fishing in distant waters and trawling in home waters to follow. On page 90 Q describes the consequences of the failure of the fisheries, which is starvation. The inhabitants of Ardevora pin their hopes on the appearance of the pilchard shoals in July, following the failure of the mackerel and herring. In the meantime they are sustained by hooking flounders. By the second week in August the pilchards have still not arrived, as we learn from Chapter XI, and the community faces famine. Only a thin shoal has been located by drift-boats (p.129). As the shoals of pilchards have not passed north in July and August, it is feared they will not return in October, thus depriving the inhabitants of Ardevora of two harvests (p. 178).

In Chapter XIII Q introduces the reader to something unexpected and unscientific. Ia becomes convinced that religious faith will bring the pilchards to the bay of Ardevora (p. 151). Q is almost certainly drawing this idea from F.W. Bourne's Billy Bray, The King's Son. Bray will appear again in Q's novel The Ship of Stars (1899). On page 59 of Bourne's biography, Billy Bray goes to St Ives in 1839 and finds that the pilchard fishing has failed and the people want bread. He goes to the Wesleyan chapel for a prayer meeting, which lasts until midnight. At its close there is a report of the arrival of the fish. Eight thousand casks of pilchards were eventually taken, although fishing ceased on Sunday, in keeping with the vision of Mary Stevens née Bryant (see above, p. 85).

Q's description of the seine fishing industry in Ia falls into clear sections, although these do not equate to the chapter divisions.

Section 1

(pp. 152–156). A description of the sighting of the pilchards and the excitement in the streets of Ardevora. It opens with Huer Lot, a character to whom we were introduced in Chapter I, sitting on the edge of the cliff on the far side of the Island. Beside him are 'cowhorn and bushes' which a footnote explains. These are the instruments for directing the seine boats. Photographs of a St Ives huer, the huer's trumpet, the 'bulking' of pilchards in a fish cellar, a seine of pilchards, a fish 'jouster' and Billy Bray can be seen in Cornwall and Its People (1970) by A.K. Hamilton Jenkin, facing pages 96, 97, 112, 113, and 161; the 1932 edition was introduced by Q. The St Ives and Newlyn schools of artists also painted such scenes and Q was friendly with a number of them.

Ia is convinced by a profound intuition that the pilchards are approaching Ardevora and she asks Huer Lot to climb upwards to Noon Glaze. Cyril Noall in The Book of St Ives identifies the baulking house on Porthminster Point as the huer's usual position. Q appears to follow Matthews (pp. 373-8) on the use of bushes and horn, the drawing up of the boats in stems or waiting-stations, the naming of the shoals as 'schools', the reddish smudge of the pilchards in the bay and certain descriptive sayings.

Most writers would have left the non-appearance of the pilchards as a fact requiring no explanation. Not so Q, who has prepared us as far back as Chapter I, page 24. We are informed that in the previous November the deeper waters had been unusually cold, even to the point of killing the conger eels around Lundy Island. The pilchards were delayed because the warming of the sea was delayed. Again Q is drawing on the knowledge of his grandfather, Jonathan Couch.

Section 2

(p. 157). This section describes the three boats which constitute a seine. These are the 'sean-boat' with its net of 220 fathoms in length and its crew of seven, the 'follyer' carrying the 'thwart net,' and the 'lurker', a swift craft identifying the size and direction of the shoal. Q diverges in method and terminology from Matthews and Hamilton Jenkin. Both state that at St Ives the seine boat held the long net, the tow boat held the stop or tuck net, while a lighter follower secured the net ends. (Matthews, p. 377; Jenkin, p. 98). Q appears to be taking his information, at least in part, from Thomas Bond's History of Looe and Couch's History of Polperro. In south-east Cornwall the seine net was carried in the seine boat, the tuck net in the vollier/follower and the master seiner conducted operations from the lurker. Terms such as 'stoiting' or the jumping of the fish, and 'minnies' or the stones used in anchoring the nets, are south-east dialect terms.

Section 3

(pp. 158–162). A description of the surrounding of the shoal with the seine net and the process of drawing it to the shore. There can be little question that Q actually observed a seining occasion. The writing is vivid and atmospheric.

 Section 4

(pp. 163–167). The fourth section is of considerable historical interest in that it describes something scarcely mentioned elsewhere, fishing for pilchard remnants with drift nets from a drifter, after the main shoals have been taken.

Section 5

(pp. 170–171). A brief description of the landing of the pilchards.

Section 6

(pp. 178–181). This is set in November after the second harvest in early October. It relates to the process of fish curing in the fish palaces, although it is centred on Ia's pregnancy and speculation relating to the father. We also learn of Joel taking cod and ling with 'hook and line'.

Q and Romanticism

When Q penned the preface to the 1928 edition of his novel The White Wolf,  he was aware of the literary tide running against him. He protested at the 'professors' who spoke of the 'Romantic Movement' as a 'dead thing'. As the perennial philosophy it must 'ever recur and revive'. Although he saw the post-war period as a 'time of unpopularity', he unrepentantly claimed to be of that 'faith'. The alternative, as he increasingly saw it, was a literature of 'sex and suicides, domestic bickering and disillusions'.

It is impossible to appreciate Q's creative work without reference to his Cambridge lectures on Byron and Shelley, printed in his Studies in Literature (1922). According to Q the Romantics, through the exercise of genius, had liberated the creative imagination, at least temporarily, from the shackles of dogma, commerce and convention.

In From Dawn to Decadence (2000) the American cultural historian Jacques Barzun attempts to identify the central features of Romanticism. It is instructive to see how far Ia fits Barzun's critique. He does not see Romanticism as a repudiation of reason or intellect but as a union of 'mind-and-heart' (p. 466) through the imagination (p. 470), man's highest faculty. The Arts investigate truth, freeing consciousness from the corrupting influences of the commercial, the mechanistic and the materialistic   (p. 474).  Romanticism attempts to harmonize the divine in nature, pantheism to some (p. 471), with the hypotheses of science (p. 473) and superstition, the 'poetic imagery' of the artisan (p. 473). Its driving force is passion (p. 474), which through suffering is refined into spiritual love (p. 475). Love when generalised becomes social concern (p. 477), and a belief in education as exploration and observation   (pp. 488-9). The Romantics saw writers like Walter Scott (rather than academics) as the true historians  (p. 482). Barzun identifies two central concepts, 'self-consciousness' (p. 473) and 'emancipation' (p. 480).

It is not difficult to interpret Ia as a Romantic text on the basis of Barzun's critique. Ia herself symbolises heart, superstition and natural religion. Paul Heathcote symbolises mind, but in a corrupted form, religious dogmatism. Through suffering their love is elevated from the sensual to the spiritual, although religious dogma and social convention prevent a true union. Ia finds a better foil in Dr Hammer. The doctor symbolises scientific hypothesis, observation, social concern and education. He develops Ia's self-consciousness on the basis of growing equality, and recognises her moral and physical courage and integrity, both during the epidemic and in refusing to accept the easy options offered, despite the pressure of convention. This leads to Ia's eventual emancipation.

Ia reveals Q's antipathy towards the industrial, the mechanical and the materialistic. There are no mines, no railways and no banks. The fishing community of Ardevora respects ecological balance and sustainability. Science is used for understanding, not for exploitation. Hammer's approach to medicine is practical and undogmatic. As regards history, Q appears to be doing for Cornwall what Scott did for Scotland. There can be little question that Q was a Romantic writer and Ia is a Romantic novella.



Notes on References

Bond (1823) Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Boroughs of East and West Looe
Thomas Bond was a friend to Dr Jonathan Couch, and is the Aeneas Pond of Q's The Mayor of Troy and 'The Looe Die-hards'.

Couch, B. (1891) Life of Jonathan Couch FLS of Polperro
Bertha Couch was Jonathan's daughter by his third wife.

Hunt, R. (1896) Popular Romances of the West of England
Robert Hunt was a friend of Thomas Couch. Popular Romances contains some material from the work of Thomas Couch.

Jenkin, A.K.H. Cornwall and Its People
Q's introduction to Cornish Seafarers (1932; the first section of this composite volume) was reprinted on pp v-vii.

Quiller-Couch, A.T. (1900) Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts
Includes the short story 'Once aboard the Lugger'.