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POH Transcripts - 1889
Tuesday, January 1. 1889. This is a new ink, called Hyde’s. I have before observed however, that good black ink will lose its colour if it is put on impure paper - that is, if there are any chemical salts remaining in it that ought to have been washed out.
My tenant Mr. Ellis, together with Miss Sandford, had afternoon tea with me.
Tu. 8. I have cut two lines out of an old book, which have been running in my head, as things sometimes do, and here they are.
Tolle malos, extolle pios, cognosce teipsum,
Sacra tene, paci consile, disce pati.
Tu. 15. The weather for January has been very for fine fortunately for invalids, who have thereby enjoyed more out of door than usual.
Tu. 22. Fire at Sidbury - that is, in the parish. Road, or Rhode farm burnt.
W. 23. Fire in High Street, Sidmouth, at the house of Mr. Henry Bolt, my Butcher. About five or earlier, when the family were all in their beds, one of his children went in his room and said their room was full of smoke, and there seemed to be fire near. On putting on a few things, and hurrying down stairs, he found fire raging in the kitchen and parlour. Report says that some clothes had been foolishly put in front of the five to-day. Dr. Pullin got the children out, and took to his own house on the other side of the street. The Fire engine came, but Bolt and neighbours, with buckets of water, had pretty well got it under, and saved all but two rooms. The house is insured. It belongs to Mr. Sellek, my former Butcher, now in London.
Th. 24. The new County Council for Devonshire, the elections for which have much occupied the electors of late, met in Exeter for the first time to-day. All except two, of the 78 elected, were present. Lord Clinton, Lord Lieutenant of the County, was appointed provisional Chairman.
Mon. Jan. 28. The Bankruptcy of Mr. Borlase is again in the paper. [Feb, 20, 1888.] Gross liabilities £42,653,,8,,8, of which £19,637,,16,,5 are unsecured. Assets, £6371,,0,,4. It says - “He had brought on his Bankruptcy by extravagance in living, &c. Madame de Quiras claimed to be a creditor for £5100 odd.” Adjourned to
Th. 31. Unusually mild for this time of year, with the wind SW.
Fri. Feb. 1. Still fine. A few primroses and wall-flowers in bloom.
S. 2. Wind changing. Cooler.
Sun. 3. Wind NW, gusty, showers of rain and hail.
M. 4. Wind N, and NE, blowing very strong. A new brick wall near Belgrave House blown down in the night. Ground covered with a thin coating of snow, which thawed during the day. Very cutting wind.
Tu. 5. Wind gone down. A dead calm. Then a slight air from the SW. Mr. Ellis, my tenant called. He has been a Stipendiary Magistrate in the West Indies.
W. 6. The old project of making a ship canal to cut off Devon and Cornwall from England has been recently revived. It was to start from Seaton, at the mouth of the river Axe, to pass near Chard, where the elevations are great, as Chard Common 295 to 268 feet; Chard 322 to 374 f.; Forton 407f.; Chardstock 350 to 380; and involving many Locks; then on northward via Ilminster, Langport, to Bridgewater. And Stolford - wherever that may be. A new route is now advocated, but though longer is more level. Starting from the river Axe, it utilises the Exeter canal when altered, the Great Western Canal on near Tiverton, Collumpton, Wellington, to Taunton, and then Bridgewater, Highbridge, Burntam, to Uphill Bay near Weston-super-Mare. In these days of our fast seagoing steamers one would think the scheme not worth the expense, and especially as Bristol, and all places near the Bristol Channel, have such safe and rapid communication by rail to the eastern parts and ports of England. It would not be intended for our great war ships, but for merchant vessels. The proposed dimensions of this new scheme are - 125 feet wide at the surface of the water of the Canal; 36 at the bottom; and 21 deep.
Th. Feb. 7. Mr. & Mrs. Linderman called, and we had conversation for half an hour,
Fri. 8. The Vicar called, and we talked more than half an hour on parish affairs.
S. 9. Wind NW. strong, very cold. Fine, with black heavy passing clouds, each one of which let fall a snow storm. They did not whiten the ground till a heavy fall between 3 & 4 PM. When it came in good earnest pretty thick.
Sun. 10. When I got up all was clothed in white. After breakfast the wind changed to south, with thick chilly rain. By the afternoon the snow was gone.
M. 11. A week ago the startling news came from the Continent, to the effect that the Crown Prince Rudolph, of Austria, had died suddenly. He was married, and had one child, a daughter. Being the Emperor’s only son, he was next hair to the throne. Prince Franz, a collateral relative, now becomes next heir. His death took place on a Tuesday, I think the 20th. of January. Further information informs us that he committed suicide by shooting himself in bed,- from abberation of the mind, as supposed. Yet more says that there was a lady in the case, and that he and some male relative, agree that they should draw lots, which of them should destroy himself, and the lot fell upon him. Curious circumstance - the same night that he shot himself, a lady, the Baroness Maria Vetsera, or Vescera - destroyed herself with poison.
This evening finished reading Gil Blas, for the second time. By a mem, inside, I see I began to read it with my father, (who was a capital Frenchman, he having been a great deal in France from six to twelve years of age), on the 26th. of November 1826. Possible! I remember it well. From 1826 to 1889, - just 62 years last November. The narrative is extremely amusing. The social man’s and customs of the people are not so very different from the English - but all the parts of the civilised world much resemble each other.
Tu. 12. Beautiful day! Clean blue sky without a cloud, and sun quite hot. Wind NW. and very cold in the shade.
W. 12. What a change! Wind SW. misty, rainy.
Th. 14. Received two proof prints, taken from my Pedigree of the Courtenays, destined for an article in Notes & Gleanings.
Fri. Three or four days ago John Lilley, cutting hay on a rick, fell on the hay knife. Cut left arm badly. He is in the Cottage Hospital.
Sat. 16. Last Thursday, at a sale of farming stock at Mincombe, Sidbury, two young men were nearly killed by drinking raw spirits. It seems that at these sales spirits are given away freely to any body. George Berry, aged 17, drank more than half a pint, though probably more than that. About a quarter of an hour afterwards, he suddenly dropped down. He was pick up insensible, and carried to a cottage on Honiton Hill, But was dead before he arrived there. Another, called Lockyer, drank pretty much the same. He helped carry Benny, and all the men were very drunk. Dr. Pullin was sent for. He tells me he found Berry propped upright in a sitting posture on a seat, quite dead, and Lockyer in convulsions, lying in the middle of the floor of a small room, kicking so violently that everybody, very drunk too, were afraid to touch him. He would have died too, if the spirit could not be got off his stomach. One of the men and the Dr, held him, and with difficulty forced some mustard and water into his mouth, and got him to swallow it, and after a time he was sick. The effects of the whole scene was heightened by the hysterical screaming of the two mothers. Lockyer was put in bed, and before night was over, he recovered consciousness, and was able to answer Pullin’s questions. At the subsequent inquest, some strong things were said to the Publican, and the attention of the Magistrates is called to these abuses.
In the long pending lawsuit Brutton v. Morgan, I am told that a compromise has been arrived at. [Sep. 15. 1887.] Brutton made the Rev. O. Morgan’s Will, in which half the property was left to himself, and half to the Cottage Hospital, ignoring Mrs. Morgan altogether. The relations disputed it - Brutton commenced an Action, but an arrangement in court was arrived at, by which an old Will of Nov. 3, 1862 was pronounced for, in which she is sole Executrix, and Legatee. She called to tell me. I am truly glad, for she had been reduced to poverty, and shamefully treated.
Prince Rudolph’s death [M. Fed. 11.] has been noticed again. One story says that he wrote to the Pope secretly, to ask him to divorce him from his wife, in order that he might marry the Baroness Marie Vescera - that the Pope was horrified, and refused, and sent the son’s letter to the Emperor - that he took his son to task, and refused also - that upon this the Prince wrote letters to his father and others, saying what he would do - that she took poison before he shot himself, though other accounts say they were both found dead together in the same room - and that, in order to avoid a scandal her body was conveyed away and privately buried. Such are the tales that have appeared in the papers recently.
Th. Feb. 21. Parliament assembled to-day. The Queen did not open it. The session generally begins about Feb. 4, but then it generally closes in the August before; but last autumn, owing to faction and Irish obstruction, they sat till far in October, with a short interval in September.
A curious ecclesiastical law case of the Archbishop of Canterbury v. the B, of Lincoln. The Archb. With mitre, and crozier, Assessors, &c., in state at Lambeth, & the B. of Lincoln appeared before him. Only preliminaries gone through. Some question of Ritualism I suppose. The like has not occurred for 200 years, and only once since the Reformation, - so the papers say.
Th. 28. The NE wind continues very cold. This morning the fields and the tops of the houses white with snow, but it had all melted by 11,A.M.
Finished reading L’ Avare, a Comedy by Moliere. The first Act or two I thought dull, and in some places even childish, but the latter half has more interest.
Fri. March 1. Black NE wind. The atmosphere full of snow flakes.
The newly formed Ratepayer’s Association had a meeting. I begged off.
S. Mar. 2. The Vicar and Mrs. Clements called. Also Mr. Linderman & Mr. Alured, and gave me an account of the meeting last night.
Sun. 3. Winter now-a-days generally strengthens in March. Snowing more or less all day long, but not hard enough to lie on the ground.
M. 4. The most wintry day of the winter. Strong wind from the SE, with snow and sleet more or less all day, which puts a white sheet over everything.
Tu. 5. The ground and roofs of the houses white with a mantle of snow. But the storm had passed - the wind gone down - and the sun bright. By noon day all the snow had vanished, except on Peak and Salcombe Hills - near 500 feet high.
To-day is Shrove Tuesday.
W. 6. Ash Wednesday. Comparatively pleasant weather. The Vicar called.
Fri. 8. Wind south - rain all day mild.
S. 9. Wind north-west - mild, up to 48’ - fine, bright sunshine - almost like spring - Country flooded by rain - trains late. Mr. Heathcote, B. Salterton, called. Had afternoon tea with Mrs. Ellis and miss Sandford.
Wed. Mar. 13. Like a spring day. Thermometer 54’ out of doors in the shade. The papers say that the firm of Krupp, in Germany have just made two 114 ton guns for the Italian navy. I imagine these are the longest guns in the world at present, [See Feb.3. 1888.] The charge of “German prismatic powder,” of 850 lbs., the shot weighing 19,000lbs and the velocity 2400 feet in a second. The regulation charge will be 900lbs of powder, with which it was also fired. What armour can stand this? The thicker they made armour they put on ships, the more powerful they make guns. The more rifles improved, the thicker they made armour for men, until it was so heavy they could not carry it, and it was discard altogether, and men now go into battle without any; and ships I think must come to the same thing.
Th. 14. Another spring day - bright, clear, hot. Thermometer 54’. This will probably not last long. We must not be two sanguine.
Sent an article on some portion of the early generations of the Courtenay family, and their coat armour, to the Editors of Notes & Gleanings, at Exeter - also part of the Pedigree and coats of arms on a Meisenbach block, to illustrate it - and a proof impression from it. [Feb. 14. 1889.]
Fri. 15. Confirmation by the Bishop at Sidmouth parish church. The number of candidates was 53, the males were 21, and females 32. As an usual feature, there were several elderly people confirmed; one of them an old mason called Prince, that did work for me at the Old Chancel, nearly twenty years ago.
S. 16. Lord Lonsdale, who I believe is rather a discursive character, has been trying to walk to the North Pole; and having been lost for some time, was given up as finished; but the American papers now say that he has been heard of.
M. 18. Dr. Baker, now of Ottery, being in Sidmouth, surprised me with a visit.
Fri. 22. The papers speak of great floods up the country - the lower parts of Taunton, Bristol, and a number of other places several feet under water. Great loss of property. No damage at Sidmouth, though it has been rainy.
Sun. Mar. 24. At the Parish Church.
M. 25. Yesterday, the papers say, died the Rev. W.C. Hall, Vicar of Pilton, near Barnstable, aged 86. I dined with him and his son, (only child, I think) on July 26, 1879, (quod vide), at his Vicarage. His father had 18 brothers, 17 of them went into the army, and 16 were killed in battle. The Vicar’s son met with a great annoyance a year or more ago, and yet a thing only to be laugh at. He was one day walking in one of the streets of Barnstaple, I think with his wife on his arm, when he was stopped and questioned by a policeman. Mr. Townshend Hall asked what he meant? The man explained that he answered to the description of a man he was looking for, and that he must accompany him to the police station. Young Mr. Hall became indignant, but he was obliged to go. He felt it the more, as he had lived all his life in the immediate neighbourhood, and was well known in Barnstaple, but the man was new there. Of course he was at once known and recognised by friends he sent for, and immediately released. Profuse apologies were offered him, and many regrets expressed at the unfortunate mistake, but they failed to calm his ruffled feelings. He had better have laughed at it as a joke.
To-day in the House of Lords, Lord Knutsford said this Empire (including dependencies of course), consisted of 9.000,000 square miles, and 321m. People.
Sun. 31. Dr. Harding, Mus, Doc., played the Organ in the church for the last time, as he goes to Bedford in a few days. He has been here 15 or 16 years. Mr. G.W. Macpherson succeeds him.
Mon. April 1. Parliament has voted £21.500.000 to build and arm ships, as our navy requires strengthening. To be spread over several years. If I were in Parliament I should never begrudge money for the navy. It is our great protection.
W. Ap. 3. The Queen returned from Biarritz, to which place she went for a change a few weeks ago. On Wednesday last she went by rail to St. Sebastian, and met Queen Christina, the Queen Regent of Spain, and the two Queens passed several hours together, and then returned each way.
Th. 4. Gold is said to have been discovered in the rocks of Daddy Hole Plain, Torquay, and a Company is being formed to work it.
Sat. Ap. 6. The Duchess of Cambridge, aged 92, died at St James’s Palace this morning. Her son, the Duke of Cambridge, is 70.
Sun. 7. Thundery, showery weather. One or two rumblings at a distance.
Tu. 9. The Misses Brandling, of Durham, now here, had afternoon tea with me.
The Local Board election in Sidmouth this year has caused some excitement. The Board recently offended some of the Ratepayers by proposing to borrow a sum of £2000 to build a groyne out into the sea at the west end of the Esplanade, which they thought was not needed. Three members of the Board went out by rotation - Trump, Whitton, and Harris. Three new Candidates were selected to oppose their re-election - Mr. Allured, who has recently built that handsome stone house on the side of Peck Hill, called Willoughby, on the site of the old one; Mr. Woodrooffe, of High Bank; and Mr. Dyer, in the town. The old members however, have been elected again. The election took place last Friday, and the number of votes given to each were, Trump 649; Whitton, 522; Harris, 496; Woodrooffe, 275; Allured, 233; and Dyer, 176.
Fri. 12. Attended Burial Board meeting. Long talk about the filling up of vacancies. Deaths and removals have reduced nine to five.
Distant thunder rumblings in the north the greater part of the day. Rain during the evening and night. Called on Mr. & Mrs. Hullah, 5 Clifton Place.
W. 17. Resigned my Honorary post of Local Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries of London. I find I am not the boy I was. I was appointed in June 1865. But they still send me books.
Walked through High Street to look at the spot tinted red in the annexed plan. The old house called the “Myrtles,” has been bought by the Local Board, to widen the street at that place. The outer wall, the house, and every thing are down, and they are removing the old materials. They will put the wall back, and then sell the land in lots for building houses on.
In my MS. Hist. of Sidmouth, Vol. V. p.63, there is a coloured aquatint of the house from the Lawn, drawn by H. Haseler, and aquatinted by D. Havell, which is dated 1817. The house had its end against the street.
This afternoon had 5- o’clock tea with Mr. & Mrs. Stanford, arrived yesterday.
Th. 18. Fine and hot. The first really spring like day, almost like summer, at all events like summer by comparison.
Finished carving a small design, about four inches long, as a pattern for a friend who wants to take up wood carving.
Fri. April 19. Good Friday. At the parish church. Remained to the Sacrament. Received the bread from the Vicar, and the wine from the Rev. H E. Roberts, the new Curate.
S.20. Went to Sidmount, and a long visit with Dr. Radford.
Sun. 21. Easter Sunday. Showery.
M. 22. Easter Monday. Many holiday people flocked in. Called on the Rev. Pigot James.
Tu. 23. Called on Mr. Stanford - on Mr. Jemmett, at Sea View - and on Mr. Hullah, at Clifton Place.
W. 24. My article on the Courtenay Pedigree, with the Meisenbach Block, has just come out in Notes & Gleanings.
Sir John Walrond, of Bradfield, Bart., died yesterday at Cannes, aged 70. He is to be brought to England for internment. - Personally = £55.767,,19,,2.
Fri. 26. Vestry meeting, to which I went. The Vicar in the Chair.
S. 27. Called on Mr. & Mrs. W. Floyd. Something led to talking about the new sweetener, known as “Saccharine,” He has just brought some from London, in the form of small white cakes, each one containing ½ a grain. The size and in thickness. One is enough for a small cup of tea, and 2 for a large breakfast cup. Some say it is 300 times stronger then ordinary sugar.
Su. Ap. 28. Low Sunday, so called. At church.
M. April 29. The plot of land at “The Myrtles,” as altered, has been sold in lots. Two plots have been bought for £132 to build a Free Mason’s Lodge on, and the rest by Mr. Pidsley, a local builder, to erect houses and shops on, for £640.
W. May 1. May Day. The May Day games are dying out.
S. 5. Rainy and cold. Church in the afternoon.
M. 6. People have been Testimonial mad here lately. Since last June there have been - for Mr. Lethaby £63; for the Rev. Mr. Jenkinson, who was leaving, £55; for Mr. Radford, because he has been married 50 years, (which seems to be a great advantage to a man), £141, and £96 from the town’s people; Miss Thompson, organ gratuitously at All Saints Church, at the Choral Society meetings &c., £67; Dr. Harding, Mus. Doct., Organist at the Parish Church, leaving, £212. Some of the money was given in silver plate, &c. Besides this, as free gifts, £55 to a popular Missionary preacher, £50 to the Cottage Hospital, which was low in funds, and £3 for a lamp. Most of those who gave could ill afford it. All these sums added together amount to £742, - a large sum for a small place, not very thriving. To my certain knowledge the majority gave willingly. I am no great advocate for these subscriptions. A few Zealous people take up a thing very frequently as a whim of the moment, and force it upon their neighbours, and they find it difficult to refuse. What was the consequence? The Vicar has just preached a begging sermon because the accustomed contributions to keep up the church are so short. People can’t give to everything.
Th. 9. Lord Sidney Osborne died at Lewes in Sussex. There is a notice of him by me in the Exeter Gazette, and the Sidmouth Observer.
W. 15. Mr. & Mrs. Hullah had afternoon tea with me.
Mr. & Mrs. G. Buttemer surprised me with a visit, having just arrived.
A Prospectus containing particulars of a curious project has been sent to me. A Company has been formed for the purpose of trying to recover a quantity of treasure supposed to be in the hulls of several ships still lying at the bottom of the sea in Abouker Bay, sunk by Nelson’s fleet at the Battle of the Nile. The Frenchmen’s flag ship is said to have £600,000 in specie to pay Bonapart’s troops in Egypt, and two silver gates, and other things, which had been taken from a monastery at Malta. These are three or four ships there, lying in only 7 or 8 fathoms of water, and they can be seen in quiet weather. Divers have recently been down, and have examined them. I have no money for specs. of this nature, but I should like to go out and watch the operations.
On the 17th. of April the Borlase bankruptcy case appears again. His seat in Parliament, extravagant living, and a lady, - ruin. Debts that are now admitted, £25.000; assets £2793; claim by Madame De Quiros, £3.700. Discharge suspended until January 1891. [See Nov. 28.]
Th. May 28. “Holy Thursday” so called. Miss Hardwich, Mrs. Hoppus, & Mrs. Marks had afternoon tea with me. Mrs. Marks made a very well done coloured drawing of my “Harp Lute,” This instrument something like a guitar, was I believe fashionable in the time of George III. I think there is one in the South Kensington Museum, and there is one in the Exeter Museum.
Fri. 29. “Oak Apple Day,” as they used to call it. The old celebrations bearing on the troubled times of Charles the Second, so warmly entered upon at this time, seen to be dying out. Tiverton used to be noted for them.
Went into Exeter by rail. Left the station at 9.25 - at Queen Street by 10.30. Called at the Museum and gave the Editors of the Notes & Gleanings the Block of the Courtenay Pedigree, used at p.51, for my recent article. Mr. Dallas went with me to the Cathedral to examine the Courtenay tomb in the S, Transept. Called at the Dev. & Cornwall Bank. Then saw Mr. Parfitt, at the Institution. Then my old friend Mr. Gray, the Solicitor. Called at the Constitutional Club, and paid subscription. Left Exeter at 1.5, and got home soon after two.
W. June 5. Dined with the Stanfords and friends. Two ladies came with me from thence to look at the Old Chancel.
Tu. 6. Distant thunder and lightning for several hours.
Fri. 7. Mr. & Mrs. G. Buttemer had afternoon tea with me at the Old Chancel. I then took them up on the roof to enjoy the view.
They had scarcely left me, when thunder, lightning, and rain came on.
Sat. 8. We hear that at Bowde, 2m. NW fron Sidmouth, the lightning struck an ash tree, and killed a cow that was standing under it. A long thin piece of the wood, about an inch wide and a quarter of an inch thick, I am told, was stripped off and thrown to some distance.
The Rev. Mr. Rooper, and two Misses Rooper called.
Th. 13. Noisy meeting at the Town Hall. Mr. S.J. Smith, a Commissioner from the Government Board in London, came down to take evidence, our Local Board having applied to borrow £2700 - £2200 to make a groyne, and the £500 for town improvements. Great opposition to the groyne scheme.
Called on Mr. Stanford, where I met Mr. Smith. The present local rates are stated to be 3/-s. in the pound p an. A penny in the pound said to produce £50. There are now about 700 Ratepayers. Assessable value of property=£11.000.
Sun. 16. Trinity Sunday. At ch. Remained.
Fri. 21. Longest day. Wind NE, moderate, steady, hot - for some time unusually hot for this early period of the year. Never has been a finer spring to favour vegetation.
The stone for the new staircase in the Old Chancel, having a few days ago arrived from Portland, the steps are now being made in a shed I had put up by the hedge in the field. For some years I have been wishing to have this staircase made, but the expense scared me. Whilst the 2 vols. Of the Governor’s Diary were in hand, I could not think of it. They cost me £800, but that large sum has now come back.
M. June 24. Midsummer Day. Same hot, dry weather. The flag staff against the Old Chancel had become very rotten, and I decided on having it down. I think it was put up about 1879. It was a single pole about 48 feet high, having been a fir tree that grew in a plantation at Sidbury, the lower part nearly as thick as my body. I had no power or appliances to have it lowered gradually; so ropes were tied to the upper part, and when the iron band that held it was removed, it was pulled forward off its balance, and fell in the field, and broke into several pieces. It was fun to see the men run.
Mr. & Mrs. Macpherson had afternoon tea with me.
M. July 1. Same hot dry weather. Thermometer between 70 & 80.
Tu. 2. Eldon the mason sent scaffolding, &c., to begin.
S. 6. The masons have unroofed part of the building in order to construct a room or two, as part of my plan. Although the weather is so fine, with the grass in the fields dried up and brown, I thought it better, to-morrow being Sunday, to take precautions. With this view, after some work, they spread these sails over the open roof, - though quite unnecessary.
Some 800 or more men, women, and girls, the operatives of a tobacco manufactory at Bristol, came with a Band of music, to celebrate their yearly “wayzegoose.” I am glad I have no taste for tobacco.
Sunday, July 7. Who would have thought it? During the night the wind changed from the NE to the SW, and blow hard. I got under one of the sails, and I was afraid it would carry it away, and I went up with an extra rope and secured it before I went to church. Rain all the afternoon. A most unexpected change, but as everything is parched up, it will do much good to vegetation.
M. 8. Rain, rain, rain, and the sails could not be taken off.
Tu. 9. Wind gone back to the SE. Rain and mist. Masons could not work on the roof
Fri. 12. Burial Board meeting - which I attended.
Th. 11. Sanger’s great show of beasts and performances visited Sidmouth, and bivouac’s in the Blackmore Field close to the Old Chancel. Soon after Breakfast a man came to the door in a hurry, and said I had better come out because the Elephants were pulling my hedge to pieces, and eating the bushes. Upon this I went out, and there I found nine Elephants, one of them with long curly tusks, walking about the field - also a number of horses, and there were many men busy erecting tents for the performance. The weather was fine, and it was a very pretty sight to see so many huge creatures by the railings, reaching across and over the path, and I was rather amused at seeing then put all this rubbish, thorns and all, into their mouths and masticate it. One of them, in taking the grass, pulled up the turf with the roots and earth, and this went into his mouth altogether, but he spit out what he didn’t like. When the procession went round the town, all these nine Elephants were yoked to one of their large carriages, tandem, or single file. I did not go to the performance, which was very good.
A Battery of six guns, with men, horses, &c., &c, arrived, on its way to Dartmoor for practice. This occurs frequently in the summer.
Sun. July 21. Weather windy, with occasional heavy showers.
At church in the afternoon. A stranger preached.
Sir John Floyd Bt. Surprised me with a visit. He is with his brother, (William), and wife, for a day or two. I think it is ten years since I last saw him. He is much aged, and very deaf. I suppose he is reconciled now to his brother’s marriage.
M. 22. The Shah of Persia, who was in England sixteen years ago, is again here, and is nearly worn out with visiting and sight seeing. After receiving much attention in London, he is now studying the manufacturing districts.
Sat. July 27. The work on the Old Chancel goes on. I am paying five to six guineas a week to the workmen. To-day I amused me self carving part of one of the Corbels for the springing of the large arch over the stone staircase, the same being of Bath stone. The design oak leaves and acorns. The design of the other will be vine leaves and fruit. - Aug. 20. Princess Louise married.
The subject of grants of money for the maintenance of different members of the Royal Family is now being hotly debated in Parliament. The maintenance of the Prince of Wales’s children has brought the matter before the nation. Some insist that in no case should the grandchildren of Her Majesty derive their resources otherwise than from their parents; others make an exception in the case of the Prince of Wales, as being the Heir apparent. It is proposed by some, to increase the allowance of the Prince of Wales, and then leave him to provide for his children as he pleases during the Queens life, after which new arrangements must be made. The marriage of the P. of Wales’s eldest d., the Princess Louise, to the Earl of Fife, shortly to take place, has been another incentive to the debate. The Earl however can well support her.
Married Aug. 20.
M. July 29. Mr. W.J. Stirling, the last survivor of Foster Hutchinson’s branch arrived, and ensconced himself at Coburg Cottage.
Tu. 30. The Shah of Persia left, after a prolonged visit. He is an intelligent man, and has taken great interest in our arts, sciences, miniatures, ships, guns, &c, He seems to have enjoyed his visit.
Tu. Aug. 1. Square column, bottom of stone stairs, cast me £15,,12,,0, The young German Emperor William, came on a visit.
Not to me - it was to the Queen.
S. Aug. 3. Naval Review at Spit Head. Weather so bad, put off.
M. 5. Review took place - 112 war ships in three lines, with 23000 men. The stormy weather moderated.
W. 7. Two squadrons of ships from Spit Head, passed down Channel within sight, They are going to sea to exercise.
An amusing compliment! The Emperor of Germany has made the Queen an Honorary Colonel of the 1st. Regiment of the German Dragoons.
Finished carving the 1st. Corbel of Bath stone, 25 inches long, on which the arch over the stone stair case will be turned when second is done.
Tu. 20. And I finished the second to-day, having been much interrupted by visitors.
Th. 22. And to-day they were put up in their places, and fixed.
Took a geological walk to-day with Mr. Parfitt of Exeter, now staying here. He is curious about those large blocks of silicified flint and yellow clay, so common here on the hills and about the valleys. Their origin and nature have puzzled geologists. There is however, no mystery about their origin, only it is too much trouble to describe it here. Mr. Parfitt will perhaps do so in some Magazine. In short, not glacial or boulder clay, but the dregs, remains, sediment, or insoluble parts of the chalk, chalk flints, chalk marl and perhaps Plastic clay, once extending westward over these hills.
Mun. Aug. 26. Soon after midnight, or early this morning, the night being very dark, the community was aroused by the report of a piece of ordnance. It was supposed to be one of our great ships, now exercising round our coasts, playing at war to teach the men. Soon the trumpet call of the Volunteers was heard in the streets, and in from 10 to 15 minutes our company of amateur soldiers had all assembled on the Esplanade. It was an experiment, to see how soon they could be at the post of duty.
Fri. 30. For the last three or four days, after two months of stormy, chilly, and showery weather, we have had it fine, clear, and hot. Thermometer 70’.
We are very thankful, as the corn is ripe and ready.
Called at the Vicarage. Mr. Clements at Seaton with his Church Choir.
As I was talking to the servant, Mrs. Clements, hearing my voice, came out of the dining room. Coming close to her was Lady Louisa Hobart-Hampden. To my surprise she at once came over and shook hands with me, and began to talk as freely as if we had been on the most intimate terms. We went to the drawing room - talked of the splendid weather - Miss Evelyn Parker’s wedding last Tuesday, &c., &c., and on my leaving, she shook hands again. What funny things people do! Though I saw a great deal of her late father the Earl of Buckinghamshire years ago, [Ap. 29. 1875. Ap. 17. 1876, &c.,] and occasionally different members of his family, I did not consider it any acquaintance when she and her sister Lady Charlotte came back here some two or three years ago; and they let me know they did not, for they have several times avoided meeting me when I have seen them in the street. Her manner to-day therefore, considerably surprised me, and perhaps not without reason.
Then went and called on Mrs. Toller, Miss Cave came in.
Mr. Scrivens called, and went up the ladders with me on the scaffolding.
Sat. Aug. 31. Finished reading Milton’s Areopagitica, the same being an essay addressed to the Lord & Commons assembled on Parliament, arguing the hardships of being obliged to obtain licences before being able to print anything, and the desirability of removing such a restriction. It is so called from the Areopagus, the place at Athens where the Judges sat, and to whom Isocrates made addresses, in respect of their judgments. This essay has not much struck me by any great talent, and it is sufficiently long-winded to be tedious. To be sure - Milton was a young man at the time, yet he had attained to 35.
Three young fellows at the Post Office - Watley, son of a mason, Russell, son of a naval pensioner, and Uniack the same - have been fined and turned out of their situations for removing uncancelled stamps from letters and parcels, and replacing cancelled ones. Watley, 5 years in the service, was chief operator, who made money by selling them, but the others received bribes to keep quiet, and also assisted. Had up before the Magistrates at Ottery, Watley was fined £10, and 14/6 expenses, and the others £5 each, and the same costs. The mother of Russell is assisting at my house, and she makes every excuse for her dear boy.
Sun. September 1. The partridges, we hope, have got a day’s respite. At church, and remained
M. Sep. 2. Garden party at the Radford’s, at Sidmount, so called.
Th. 5. Sultry, hazy weather. Sea like a pond. Many boats - people on the water, and people bathing. Two young ladies swimming extremely well. In these days of long voyages, and many mishaps, girls ought to know how to swim as well as boys. While I was on the Esplanade, the Excursion Steamer arrived, and the water being smooth, she ran her nose in upon the beach. I counted 60 people get out of her, and 91 go in. She comes from Weymouth, and goes to Torquay, calling at several places on the coast, and returns again in the evening, setting down and taking up excursionists. Strange, that the majority of those who crowd the steamers, the conjurer’s performance, the Horsemanship, the whirli-go-round, the Play-house of the strolling players, &c., &c., are amongst the so-called “poor,” Though they go in rags, they can always find money for pleasures. Eating, drinking, and pleasuring run away with the greater part of their earnings. To satisfy this there is a constant craving after money. I suppose we never lived in an age, in which there was such a thirst for money. Most things are charged higher than they used to be, for the sellers covet all they can get; wages are higher than formerly, yet no amount of wages can satisfy the craving. It is a most unhealthy state of things.
“The Sultan,” one of our large iron-clad ships, having got stranded on a rock, and sunk, between Malta and Gozo, about a couple of months ago, has been got up and floated by divers building brickwork over the holes in her bottom. She is now in dock at Malta. A Company offered to try and raise her for £50.000, which the Government agreed to. The papers say the Company have done it at a cost of £10,000 to themselves.
Sat. Sep. 7. Garden party at Mr. & Mrs. Kennet Were’s, at Cotlands. Much company there. Lawn tennis, “Badmington,” and other out-door games. In the house tea, coffee, ices, confectionary, &c., &c., almost like a wedding breakfast. To save the trouble of evening visiting, these day light parties have been general.
M. 9. Charles D. Graham, a cooper, who went through the Rapids and the whirlpool, below Niagara, soon after Captain Webb lost his life these [ ] has now gone over the Falls. He made himself a cask, in which he was fastened down, and then towed out into the stream a mile or two above the Horse-shoe, somewhere near the village of Chippewah, to which place I walked when I tarried a week there. He went down over, and when his barrel came to the surface below, some friends in a boat drew it ashore and opened it. He was insensible, but life was in him, and he was recovered. He says he will not do it again. And also - immediately after hearing of Graham’s adventure, news have reached us that one Steve Brodie has done the same thing. He varied his dress. He got into an India rubber case or bag, kept out round with steel wire or springs. He also went down over, and was picked up below. Like Graham he was likewise insensible, and not being in a stiff case, he got dreadfully bruised, but has recovered. He says he was terrified and repented before he reached the Fall. Graham did it on Sunday, August 25, and Brodie a few days after. Some folks have a queer was of taking their pleasures. When I was there I was told the Horse-shoe Fall was 164f high, and that the water was supposed to be 20feet thick where the sheet goes over the rock.
A rich Uranium lode, 12 to 30 per cent, metal, had been discovered at Union Mine, Grampound Road, Cornwall. It is mostly the sesqui oxide. The one is very valuable, amounting to £2.400 per ton. In the arts it is used to colour glass golden and greenish yellow; in photography, instead of chloride of gold; in electrotyping, as a substitute for gold, &c., &c.
Swallows have been tried on the Continent to act like Carrier pigeons. They let some off the top of the Eiffel tower in Paris a few days ago, and they flew to Roubaix, near Lille, some 150 miles, in less then two hours.
I have heard my mother say that she travelled in a post chaise when she was a young women, with some of her father’s family, from London to Portsmouth, taking their dog in the carriage with her. He wanted to get out, but they would not let him, as the journey was so long. He was “a carriage dog,” a Dalmatian dog, being white and coloured with black spots. Not long after they arrived the dog was missed, And the next morning he was found again in London. He had never been the road before. Distance 70 miles.
W. Sep. 18. Mr. J.Y.A. Morshead, of Salcombe Regis, having sent me a brace of partridges, they were dressed for dinner.
And whilst carving one of them, I was reminded of a story the Vicar told me a year or two ago. The circumstance I think at the Vicarage was a subject of remark, if it did not occur there. A Mrs.________ was a professed cook, and she was occasionally engaged to dress dinners at houses, on the occurrence of parties, suppers, or other entertainments, &c. I have had her for weeks at a time when I have needed additional help, and a very good cook she was, barring the drawback that the spirit bottles in my chiffoniere, (which I never locked,) leaked very fast from some unexplained cause, and that the contents of my larder went too fast, to feed her relations - well, one day at a dinner party where, among other things, she sent up a brace of partridges, it was discovered that she had trussed and skewered them with her hair pins, much to the horror of the carver, which she had not taken out. But there is nothing new under the sun, and history repeats itself, and I discovered that my present cook had done just the same thing. Women’s hair pins are made of a piece of bent wire lackered in black, of the shape here annexed. She had broken them in two, and used the two halves as skewers, and had omitted to take them out. Some time after I took her to task about this new fashion, and her excuse was, that the skewers she had in the kitchen were too large for such small birds. I said I would get others
S. Sep. 21. The highest and last step of my stone staircase was got up to-day.
The upper landing, 3/4ths. of the way up, and where the stairs branch off on one hand to the bedrooms, and on the other to the better rooms, is a square block of Portland Stone 4 feet square, and 8 inches thick, and weighs near three quarters of a ton. It required some care to hoist it into its place. I like solid building.
Tu. Sep. 24. What fools some people are! Truly, honesty is the best policy even in this world. A young man of 31, W.M.C. a Major in the Army In India, and Paymaster to the 7th. Hussars, tried by Court Martial, and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, loss of Decorations, Stoppage of pay, (I think it said, until the money is returned,) for misapplying the sum of 16.000 Rupees, (about £1600). I was at the wedding of his father and mother.
Tu. Oct. 1. There is a project now on feet to build a Cottage Hospital. Some 3 or 4 years ago May Cottage, at the head of the Blackmore Field, and close to the Unitarian Chapel, was taken and converted into a Cottage Hospital. Some (as yet) unknown person has offered to give £500 if others will come forward and support the project. Upon this I have been shown the annexed list,
Mr. C. Cave, Sidbury 100
Miss Cave, Sidmouth 50
Mr. Wyndham, Lime Park 100
Dr. Radford, Sidmount 50
Mrs. Tollen, Oakland 35
Miss Tollen, Ditto 25
Mr. Woodrooffe, Highbank 50
Where seven persons promise to contribute suns of money amounting in the aggregate to £410, which added to the £500, makes £910. What next? Mr. Balfour has been asked to give a piece of ground, and the spot suggested is near the north end of the Blackmore Field. Some talk of having all the rooms on the ground floor, for the convenience of sick persons. This is bad on a flat field of no great elevation. There ought to be an upper floor, and all the difficulties would be removed by having a lift. I have no money for them just now. All my fifties and hundreds are swallowed up in my own building. From 12 to 1400 pounds are wanted, and apparently will soon be obtained.
Sun. Oct. 13. Fine day - cold NW wind - Thermometer 54’ in the warmest hours of the day. Alarmed at the state of health of my servant Ann Newton. Feeble and irregular action of the heart. For some years her life has hung upon a merger thread, that might give way at any time. Her sister Mrs. J. Knowles came over from East Budleigh this morning.
At church this afternoon, Mr. Roberts, the Curate, read and preached. A collection for Exeter Hospital. To-day was a Thanksgiving Service for a very abundant harvest. A very good and proper service of course, but there is too much of the religion that addresses itself to the eye. The church was like a flower and fruit garden. There is no harm in flowers, fruit, corn, &., for they delight the eye, and are among the necessaries of life, but I doubt consistency of the display in which I see a good deal of vanity in those who busy them selves to decorate the church. After the service was over, I sat some time listening to the organ, and watching many people lingering about to look at the decorations, and I was amused at seeing a young lady who I believe had assisted at the decorating, stealthily watering some of the flowers from a small china teapot, which she must have had, full of water, in church with her, for she had come immediately from her seat & her mother’s side to do it, with the teapot concealed, and only half uncovered when she used it. Religion is visible now-a-days, but I prefer the invisible, which is the spirit. All this external parade comes from the Continent, and belongs to a church of different doctrines. Does it make the world better? The world seems to get worse every day. Not a newspaper comes out, but its pages are full of the worst of crimes. Extortion, dishonesty, cheating, false-swearing, acts of violence, robberies, murders, - murders, in short, have become so common, as to pass almost without notice. I often wish that a bright light would appear in the sky, above the brightness of the sun, and bring this present Dispensation to an end.
Fri. Oct. 18. Three boys arrested for stealing £3,,10 of Mrs. Holmes in Church Street; - Ebdon, (son of a mason working for me,) Heard, or Page, and Hamson. Ebdon, aged 13, has a £3 fine and 12 strokes with the birch rod; Heard, (who has been convicted before), 3 months imprisonment with hard labour; and Hamson £3, the alternative being a month in durance vile.
Sat. 19. The annexed elaborate design for the ribs of a vaulted stone ceiling, occurs at Windsor Castle. I have found it among my papers, freely sketched with a pencil. Whether I copied it from the ceiling itself, when I was at Windsor many years ago, or whether I took it from a book, I cannot now remember.
Mon. Oct. 21. The papers say that within a week, five young seals have been captured in Pentargon Bay, near Boscastle, in Cornwall.
Sun. 27. Miserable winter-like day; dull leaden sky, strong NE wind, frequent rain. Did not go out all day. Mostly sat by the fire reading. Read intalia, the Rev. W.H.B. Proby’s translation of Ecclesiastes, a copy of which he gave me some years ago. He is connected with this neighbourhood. He owns a small estate called Baucombe, on the Lyme road, near the Three Horseshoes, about 5 or 6 miles NE from Sidmouth. He thinks that Hesekiah has the strongest claim to be considered the author of this Book, in preference to Solomon. Compared some parts with the Authorised Version. Some of our proverbs and sayings, which we occasionally hear in conversation seem to have come from here. “A living dog is better than a dead lion,” occurs at Ch. IX. V. 4. The idea of a bird carrying news, and to say, “A little bird told me,” seems to have originated from the following, at X.20, - for a bird in the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.”
Th. Oct. 31. Ada Robins returned to her mother at Honiton, having been with us a fortnight.
Fri. November 1. W.H. Gigg, from an accident at the Junction of the railways near Ottery, died in Exeter Hospital on the 26 Oct. He had broken the 5th. cervical vertebra.
Some of my friends look at my new Portland stone stairs in the Old Chancel with misgivings, as if they thought they could not stand, because they are not supported at their outer end. I laugh at them. They are quite safe. A rough specimen on the same principle, exists at the Sidmouth Town Hall. By an old mem. I see that the great room at the Town Hall measures 66 feet long by 26 wide.
Sun. Nov. 3. At ch. P. M. Weather mild.
Tu. Nov. 5. After dark this evening a torch-light possession from Land part, down through the town to the beach - fire-works - a bonfire. Happily no riots or damage, as too often on some occasions in former years. It was a quiet night. A clear sky, and the moon nearly full - too light for the fireworks.
It is 201 years since the Prince of Orange landed at Brixham, & a marble statue of William III, is this day unveiled there. Where was Peter Varwell?
Fri. Nov, 8. Scaffolding on the church tower. On enquiring what was going on, I was told that the oak beams that support he upper floor of the lead roof were rotten, and that two new beams were being put up.
The papers say the new gigantic iron bridge over the forth is finished, and was opened for traffic on Wednesday last the 6th. Instant.
S. 9. Prince of Wales’s Birthday. He is 48. Rumour says he is not well in health. There may be some difficulty for a young man in the position he is - visiting so much, being entertained and feasted so often, both in public and private - to maintain a healthy, plain, and moderate diet, even where no actual excess is indulged in - a diet sufficiently abstemious to suit a constitution of body disposed to show signs of corpulence, or a predisposition that way, and hints of a few ailments generally supposed to belong to a rather too full habit of body.
Such rumours may be exaggerated.
Fri. 15. Suddenly very mild. A beautiful day like spring. I went upon the lead roof of the Old Chancel, and enjoyed the quiet soft air, and the view all round. Thermoter 58.
Sat. 16. Dull weather - no wind - nearly as mild as yesterday.
Sun. 17. My birthday. Weather still mild and quiet. At church. The Vicar preached. In the afternoon took a turn along the Esplanade. Observed what a great number of boats there are on the beach. I think I once counted 90, but these must be 100 now. When storms arise these boats are drawn up upon the Esplanade, and then, if not wanted for immediate use, they are swung round in line with it, and placed between it and the road. Some people complain that they are an obstruction, and that they hide a view of the beach from the houses, and the Local Board summoned some of the sailors before the Magistrates, but the case has fallen through. I scarcely see how the fishermen can avoid it, or where else they can put their boats. The whole sea front from one end to the other, is occupied by the Esplanade. Some want them to put their boats altogether at the east end, but there is no piece of waste land there free from the sea, and I doubt whether a square acre of land could hold them. And how are they to get transported backwards and forewords as required, and as they are wanted? For they are heavy unwieldy things, and do not run upon wheels. I see great difficulties, and do not know what can be done to suit both parties. “What can’t be cured, must be endured.” - See below, Fri. 22.
I then went to the west end, and up the comparatively new road up by the Glen, where the Queen’s father died, and then over the back Fort Field, and whilst there a large blue fly hovered about me, and then a wasp. I never saw a wasp so late in the year. I think he was after that fly. I once saw a wasp catch a butterfly, and cut the wings off near the body with its jaws, as if they had been scissors, and then fly away with the body.
W. Nov. 20. Dr. Radford called. He asked me when my birthday was? I replied, that it was last Saturday the 17th. “Then he said,” “Then you are four days older than I am, for mine occurs to-day.” He is 79, but I forget what I am. Besides I don’t tell my secrets indiscriminately.
Th. Nov. 21. Unexpected revolution in Brazil. The Emperor Dom Pedro II., is politely informed that he is dethroned, and that a Republic is declared. He is conducted on board a man-of-war, Which puts to sea for - no one yet knows where, but Lisbon is suspected. No war or fighting - only the Finance Minister is fired at and wounded, but not dangerously. They proclaim themselves “The United States of Brazil,” and have hoisted a flag described like the one in the margin. [See below Friday.]
Fri. 22. Walked from one end of the Esplanade to the other, and counted 77 boats on the beach. I think I have seen more. - See back Nov. 17.
W. 27. Wind veered to the NW. Blew hard last night. Hills white this morning with the appearance of snow. Very cold to-day. Mr. Kennet-Were called
Th. 28. On the 12th. The Lon. Gas, announced a dividend of 1s,,7 11/16.ths. in the pound in the estate of W.C. Borlase. [See back May 15.]
Fri. 29. The Parnell Commission, or legal enquiry into the rebellious conduct that has so long disturbed Ireland, ended on the 22nd. It had sat 128 days.
In Brazil, the new Government have given the dismissed Emperor 2 ½. Million dollars, and $450.000 per annum for life. The design of the flag above has evidently been suggested by the Yankee flag. He has declined the money.
Sat. Nov. 30. In the Plymouth Western Weekly News of to-day there is a woodcut of the old and the new flags of Brazil. This account makes out that the stars are 21 in number, that they are white, and that they are in a circle. I here sketch and colour the flag in the margin, but I cannot be sure of all the colours of the old flag. The broken staff is rather significant. The whole thing has been so unexpected, that there has scarcely been time for all the full particulars. The late Emperor is on his way to Lisbon, and for a time will confer with his nephew the King of Portugal. Eventually he will probably divide his time between England and France.
Sat. Dec. 7. Full moon this morning about 10. I am not very sanguine a change of the moon will change the weather. This time it did. During the night the wind shifted from the cutting northwester to southwest. In the early morning snow, succeeded by rain.
Sun. 8. Read several of the first chapters of Genesis. The following are the great facts of the creation in the seven consecutive days or periods, in brief:-
- Earth without form and void, and darkness, water mentioned, light, and day and night.
- The firmament, or Heaven.
- Waters gathered together - dry land appeared. Earth and seas. Grass, herb, and fruit trees.
- Sun, Moon, and stars created, or revealed.
- All fish and whales. Also birds.
- Cattle, and beasts, and every creeping thing. Creation of Man as a Living Soul.
Fri. 13. Finished the Index to Vol. XXI. Of the Trans. Dev. Assoc.
S. 21. Shortest day. Formerly groups of older women used to go about and call at peoples houses, and beg something “gin St. Thomas,” i.e. against St. Thomas’s Day, which this is. But there are so many charities in Sidmouth now, that the custom is dying out - and high time too, for begging leads to fibs.
Wed. Dec. 25. Christmas Day, and as beautiful a day for winter as ever I remember. A white frost covered the ground this morning, for last night was cold, but by ten o’clock it had gone. What wind there was came from the west and nor’west, but the smoke showed that there was scarcely a breath stirring. The sky was cloudless all day, and there was a bright, though not very powerful sun shining. Just the day I should have enjoyed 20 years ago, but I could neither venture to church, nor to a friends house to dine with him, for I have such an attack of rheumatism in my right knee, that it is very painful to walk ten minutes upon. Perhaps I have been standing on cold pavement or damp ground. I think most of our rheumatism comes up from the ground. We are rarely warm enough in our feet and legs in winter.
Fri. Dec. 27. Dr. Baker of Ottery drove over and surprised me with a visit. His house there is the one said to have belonged to Sir Water Raleigh. He brought a young medical man with him, to whom he has made over his practice. Gave them some hot tea, &c. &c. by the fire, and they drove back in the dusk of the evening.
Tu. Dec. 31. Last day of the year. I passed a quiet evening alone.