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Post Info TOPIC: Ross' early years


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Date: Sep 27 9:28 PM, 2017
Ross' early years
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Mrs Gimlett I agree that we should accept Ross' articulateness, no matter how it grew. Without that quality he wouldn't be the same character that we know and love.  I think it was WG's meticulous attention to detail, like including the title of Ross' favorite book on mines, Mineralogia Cornubiensis (TAT), that adds so much realism to the narratives. A reader might be a fly on the wall.

Although Ross rarely mentions (remembers?) her, I like to imagine that Grace instilled in him his passion for reading and literature. She had such a settling influence on Joshua that I think she would have been the type of mother to read Ross bedtime stories and encourage his imagination.  As you say Mrs Gimlett, we know from Book 1 that Ross drank and read himself to sleep every night after Elizabeth was lost to him. (WL B1 says that Jud even had to help Ross to bed sometimes!) But he probably did absorb quite a bit of information along with the alcohol.  Years later, after Demelza had grown up, he still read nearly every night.  People more in society, like Francis, were playing cards and partying. Fortunately, after his return to Cornwall, Ross found a wise, kindred spirit in Banker Pascoe. His mature reflections, I believe, would have influenced Ross' views and made him feel less alone.

WG also wrote most of Ross' contemporaries as articulate--Francis, Dwight, and the overly conscientious George. As I recall, only John Treneglos was more rough spoken. Of course most of the local gentry, and others who could afford it, would have sent their sons to Truro Grammar. 

I too think that Joshua was educated, intelligent, and probably went to Truro Grammar. But I imagine that he would have run away, like Ross, or been kicked out for inappropriate behavior. Even so, he would have taught Ross a great deal, even if only by example, a few of the examples being negative. But both father and son were fond of each other.

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Wednesday 11th of October 2017 09:27:56 PM

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Date: Sep 27 9:46 AM, 2017
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No wonder George had such a huge chip on his shoulder at the dreadful thought of his grandfather and great grandfather at the beck and call of the elite ! biggrin



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Date: Sep 27 9:35 AM, 2017
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For all his chasing after women, Joshua was quite probably a well educated man.  He was the son of the local bigwig raised at Trenwith, when Grambler mine was prosperous.  He may have taught Ross much of what he knew, not perhaps by conventional methods, but almost by osmosis and daily living.  He most probably would have gone to Truro Grammar School;  it was founded in 16th Century so would have been well established by the time he was born.  I guess he must have learned Latin; at least sufficient to put that poignant epitaph on Grace's grave. It would seem Joshua was the more intelligent of the two brothers.

On the other hand, WG decided Ross was going to be articulate, amusing and incisive and we, the readers, should accept it without question!  When he wrote RP in the 1940s, I  think he would have been astonished that so many years later, readers would be discussing all these ideas...



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Date: Sep 26 6:13 PM, 2017
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I agree with you, Hollyhock.  Ross' thoughts are usually eloquent and full of surprising references. A joy to read.

However, I don't think his childhood can have been quite as wild as we might think.  As you say, he was probably taught at home by Grace - perhaps she instilled in him a love of books.  He spent much time at Trenwith in his youth too, so had access to the library there.  Yes, we learn he did some stupid things as a teenager,13, but I think they have been 'enhanced' by the Warleggans over the years. It was a speciality of theirs, rumour-mongering and spitefulness.

Ross would have seen much of Verity too, when Francis was still at school, and she would have had a stabilising influence.

Although Joshua was always 'entertaining' certain women, with Tholly as his partner in crime, Ross didn't seem to get involved with those shenanigans; rather it produced in him a distaste for 'wenching'.  If you are fortunate to have the first edition of RP, which gives so much more detail, it seems Ross didn't sow any wild oats. He did sail to France and Guernsey to stock up on illicit goods, but so did most Cornishmen who owned a boat.   I imagine that having to live with Joshua, Jud and Prudie, he developed mature attitudes at a young age and we know he was very independent. Perhaps he found solace in books and burned many midnight candles reading in bed.

His time in America would have had quite an impact on him too; the opportunity to talk to many different people and discuss ideas; and having responsibility thrust on him at a young age. That he was a Captain at the age of 23 indicates he was mature and capable.  

Then on his return to Cornwall, he spent many evenings reading. How much he absorbed along with his alcohol intake is never recorded.  His learning must have been acquired over many years and as he had little small talk, which is mentioned more than once, he was able to think about what he was going to say rather than being more spontaneous.  Although he is quick witted enough when occasion demands.  I like his sense of humour - dry and often subtle.

WG is exceptional in describing his characters' thoughts.  He subject hops just like people really do, with sudden wonderings and rememberings.



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Date: Sep 25 3:39 PM, 2017
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One of my greatest pleasures in reading the Poldark novels is hearing Ross' voice. His elocution is flawless, his grammar excellent, and his witticism brilliant. He is well read, quotes poetry, references classics, can debate with the best, and his verbal stabs are fatal. All of which is interesting because he ran away from school when he was 13.  And both he and Halse agreed he was a poor student even when he was in school. After Grace died, Ross would have had little home schooling; Joshua was too busy debauching to take a hand in his education. Much of Ross' youth was spent gambling, free trading, fighting excise men, hanging out with the miners, and getting caught in vellows. All of which was wonderfully character building but did not contribute to his academic education.  

Of course after he went to parliament he would have refined some verbal skills, but he was already accomplished. When Demelza took Clowance to Bowood at Lord Edward's invitation (TSFTS), she was insecure about her Cornish accent.

"It was scarcely noticeable in Cornwall. Only on her occasional visits to London was she aware of the 'burrs' in her voice still. Even Ross, she suspected, had some. But his was the best of all accents, a resonant, educated voice with a faint regional intonation."

 For me, no other character has the iconic presence that Ross has and his speech and thoughts are a huge part of this. I find it a bit of a mystery as to when and how he so finely honed these skills that so much make him who he is.



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Date: Jul 31 12:20 PM, 2017
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Original post by Mrs. Gimlett....

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My view of Ross' childhood is this.

He had a loving relationship with his mother and father until sadly, Grace died when Ross was 10.  After Joshua went back to his scurrilous ways, Ross was not unloved.  He certainly had an unconventional home life, but his father had strong feelings for him, even if he didn't show it much.  In fact, Ross recalls at some stage, being unwell, and Joshua berating Prudie for giving him unaired sheets.  Ross realised his father loved him after all, although he may not always have shown it.  Ross had hardened himself against life's blows when his mother died and probably didn't give much conscious thought as to what his father felt.

In the Prologue, Joshua certainly has fond thoughts and praise for his son, along with a guilty conscience that he should have done more to foster the relationship between Ross and Elizabeth.  Ross, in turn, demonstrates a bond with Joshua because he writes him from America, apparently several times.

A trait running through the male Poldark line seems to be their inability to voice their inmost thoughts.  As WG writes several times throughout the books, easy for anger to rise; how much harder to voice the gentle, tender feelings.  It does not mean the feelings are missing.  Ross' thoughts are often very much more loving than his spoken words because he is always afraid of being misunderstood.  Perhaps it comes from his mother dying young and a sense of needing to be under a tight emotional rein. On the other hand, it was very common to lose a parent at a young age in that period. Charles and Francis also have a similar relationship, but perhaps for different reasons, because Francis has not the confidence of Ross and Charles knows it.  Francis too, lost his mother at a young age.



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"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 

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