1897 PREFACE I WENT to Shropshire with the purpose of working up into a romance the story of Wild Kynaston the Outlaw. I halted on my way at Kinver, with a very old friend. After breakfast on the morning following my arrival, he said to me, What shall we do to-day Whither shall we go Would you our Troglodites Troglodites echoed I. like to see I have seen the cave dwellings, and cave dwellers in Southern France surely we have none in England. Come and see, he answered. He took me that day to Holy Austin Rock, and we ...
1897 PREFACE I WENT to Shropshire with the purpose of working up into a romance the story of Wild Kynaston the Outlaw. I halted on my way at Kinver, with a very old friend. After breakfast on the morning following my arrival, he said to me, What shall we do to-day Whither shall we go Would you our Troglodites Troglodites echoed I. like to see I have seen the cave dwellings, and cave dwellers in Southern France surely we have none in England. Come and see, he answered. He took me that day to Holy Austin Rock, and we investigated the dwellings there then, in the afternoon, we went to The Stewponey, and on to the Rock Tavern, with its subterranean cellars and stables, and then went on to Meg a-Fox Holes, and the extraordinary assembly of cave dwellings, still occupied, at Drakes Lowe. All the way my friend, who knew the neighbourhood from childhood, who was, in fact, hereditarily connected with it, yarned to me of the old days when the Irish Road was haunted by highwaymen, when the Stewponey Inn was a great resting-place on the way, when the redoubted Poulter, alias Baxter, was head of a gang of highwaymen who employed the caves as places of refuge and for the con cealment of goods, when Lydia Norris of the Rock Inn and her husband were always ready to swear an alibi when required, should a high wayman be nabbed. From Kinver I went on to Shrewsbury, and there, in the Library, read in the local Notes and Queries how that the last case of burning for petty treason took place at Shrewsbury in 1790. Thence I went on to Ness Cliff, and saw Kynastons Cave, where lived he and his horse when he was outlawed. Now, I cannot describe how it was, but some how the several scenes and circumstances arranged themselves in my mind about another germ idea from that on which I intended to found my story. Twenty years ago, travelling by night from Freiburg to Brussels I read Maurus Jokais Beautiful Michal, and now the idea worked out in that story by the great Hungarian writer started to renewed life in these surroundings and displaced Wild Kynaston. I could not get back to my original idea, and taking the idea of an executioner seeking a wife where he and his profession were not known, the idea that lies at the root of Jokais story, I allowed it to re-shape itself, in fresh scenes, with fresh developments, and fresh characters. The idea originally came to Jokai, I believe, from the tradition of the origin of the noble family of Schelm, just as in his Nameless Castle he has used the curious story of The Mysterious Inmates of Schloss Eishausen in Btilaus Geheime Geschichten Leipzig, 1851. I suppose every romance grows out of some occurrence of which one has heard, or read, or with which one has oneself been associated, but it moulds itself afresh in ones brain. This is how the story now presented to the reader came into being. Doubtless every writer of romance knows how that, when once an idea has laid hold of him, and has associated itself with certain scenes, he is powerless to alter its life and development. It must take its course, and drags him .after it. It was so with me. S. BARING-GOULD.
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