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Portland Year Book 1905
Portland in Literature


Camden and Hutchins

Camden says Portland was formerly an island. Hollinshed and Leland were of the same opinion. Later opinion, however, does not confirm the old authorities.

Busching describes Portland a, "a small but, very fruitful peninsula, particularly remarkable for its good quarries. The peninsula has the title of "dukedom".

Hutchins says "The people are a stout, hardy, industrious race and in general better informed than most labouring people; very healthy, but not long-lived, for, though at 60 many of the men appear strong and robust, they soon drop off and there are no instances of longevity, which may be accounted for from too great a use of spirits."

Portlanders were anciently famous for flinging stones, and were the British " Baleares."

"The corn grown in Portland," says Hutchins " is very fine and in request for seed."

The Dorset historian adds, "The natives are jealous of strangers coming to settle in the Island and distinguish them by the title of Kemberlins; in consequence they marry and intermarry so much amongst themselves that most of the Islanders are related. I think there is less poverty amongst them than in any place I ever saw . . It may be said that cases of infidelity amongst the common people are very rare, and jealousy little known. For many years a woman being left to bewail her misfortune was unknown; but one of the Westminster Bridge masons having proved false-hearted, as the phrase was, and run off, it was looked upon as a heinous crime, and more especially so as the child was born deaf and dumb; the story is spoken of at this time as the marking finger of Providence, a story that the females wilt not neglect to hand down.

Portland in Fiction.

Portland is described at come length by Victor Hugo, the great French writer, in " "L'Homme qui Rit".

Thomas Hardy's well-known novel, "The Well-Beloved" is a Portland story and contains some characteristic pen pictures of the Island's scenery.

" Broken Bonds"(Hawley Smart) contains many references to Portland and its prison,

" Breaking the Shackles" (Frank Barrett) also deals with Portland convict life.

"The Sentinel of Wessex," 1904 (Mrs King Warry) is also an excellent, novel of Portland and Portland people.

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