POH Transcripts - 1881

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Sat. Jan. 1. 1881. – I am told that such a set of symmetrical figures as 1881, which may be read upsidedown and backwards with equal correctness, has not occurred since 1001, and will not occur again till 8008. But how about 2002, 3003, 4004 – and so on?

Sat. 8.—Went to the funeral of Mr. Samuel Chick.  Very cold in the cemetery.

Mon. 10.—A Coffee Tavern has been opened, at the former Institution Reading Room, opposite the London Hotel, promoted by some of the gentry of the place, for the good purpose of trying to get people to take tea and coffee, instead of intoxicating drinks.  There is a lamentable amount of drunkenness here no doubt, and I hope this attempt may do good, - but!

Sat. 15. – Fine and bright sunshine, but cold.  The pump and tanks frozen, and much inconvenience for want of water.

Mon. 17. – Slight thaw, and we hoped it was over.

Tu. 18.—Worse than ever.  A strong north-easter, and so thick a snow storm all day, the gusts of wind driving it in clouds, that I could not always discern even the outline of the church and the houses across the field.

W. 19.—Still the same, and still a driving snow.  The snow has drifted and accumulated so much and high round some parts of the Old Chancel, that we are nearly snowed up.  It is hard to know how to send messages into the town for food, or how errand boys can come, if this lasts long.  If such weather did not bring misery, sickness, and death to many persons and to the wild birds and wild animals who have to face it, and for whom I most feel because they are the most helpless, this change in the face of nature would be beautiful from its variety.  It is amusing to see the gyrations of a gust of wind and snow, flying and twisting like March dust, as it courses down the field between the Old Chancel and the church, and passing over a surface as white and as smooth as the sugar on the top of a bridecake.

Th. 20.—Yesterday evening we held a consultation, to consider what food we had in the house; for such is the quantity of snow in the thoroughfares, and drifted in high banks round the corners, that nobody has come near us for 24 hours, not even the milkman.  This morning after breakfast, feeling that it would be well to establish some communication with the outer world, I put on extra clothing, and taking a shovel, sallied out and cut allies through the banks of snow from the front door and the back door to the extent of my premises.  I am sorry I could not have the scene photographed as it was.  It was both curious and beautiful to remark the glittering white ridges and heaps, looking like chains of mountains a few feet high running about the premises, and in one place an eddy had wisked the snow round a shrub about six feet high, so as to cover it by a sort of conical mountain.  The newspapers are full of the most stirring accounts of the disasters now occurring all over the country owing to unusual storm and low temperature.  At Sidmouth I believe it has not gone down below 14o in the air at night, and 6o on the grass.

Sat. 22. – The appearance in the town from the quantity of snow is quite a sight.  This afternoon there were ten carts and horses, with two or three men to each, in the street on the south side of the church, loading and clearing away snow, for the purpose of facilitating access to the services tomorrow.

Sun. 23.—The cutting north-east wind remains, but the sky is clear.  The low temperature continues.  It even affects the tone of the church bells.  The hours on the clock and the quarters, strike with a sort of feeble and muffled sound.

Wed. 26.—Wind veering from north-east to south-east and south:  looking stormy, and feeling milder.

Sat. 29. – The snow is all melting, and the roads very muddy.

Tue. Feb. 1.—Henry May, my gardener and milkman, took my coach house and stable of No. 4, Coburg Terrace, (the house at present untenanted) to put a young calf in, to wean it from the mother.

Wed. 3.- Winter concert of the amateur Choral Society took place.  It was to have come off a fortnight ago, but at that time the town was buried in snow, the roads were blocked, and all traffic was stopped.

Sidmouth.  Mar. 1881.

Mon. Mar. 14.—So the Emperor of Russia has been assassinated at last.  Dreadful as such things are, there are very few who are surprised.  [Turn back to March 10, 1880.]  Yesterday afternoon about two, he was returning through a street in St. Petersburg, when an explosive shell was thrown under the carriage.  It blew up and shattered the carriage, and the Emperor got out.  Immediately another was thrown.  It exploded at his feet, and shattered his legs up to his thighs.  He was carried to the Winter Palace, where he died in about an hour and a half.  The time has passed for one man by his single will to try and rule a country like Russia.  All the neighbouring nations have representative governments, and the Russian people know it.  With such a system of secret police, of espionage, of military tyranny, and the deportation of crowds yearly to Siberia, who can be surprised if there exists deep-rooted discontent in the country?  His eldest son has been proclaimed as Alexander III.  Let us hope that he will consider these things for the good of his people.

Tu. Mar. 15.—I have now got two impressions of the annexed old view of Sidmouth– one in the Fifth volume of my History, and the other I place here.  It is dated July 1, 1796, and is interesting as being the earliest dated view of Sidmouth I have met with.  [attached on the next double page]  Peak House and the row at the head of the Fort Field had then been only recently built.  “The Ram’s Horn,” or labyrinth of posts and nets on the Chit Rocks, wherein fish were entangled and caught, and of which I have heard old people speak, is here shewn.  It was all destroyed in the storm of Nov.  1824.  All these old portraits of scenery (which they profess to be, but which are not) would be much more valuable if they were only more correct in outline and detail.

Wed. Mar. 16.—I have got a duplicate of the annexed engraving, bearing the date of 1831.  [attached to previous page]   It is wrong in the outlines, and features of the hills, like almost all other landscapes;  and the tower is faulty, for it had no pinnacles in that day, (I have known the tower since 1825,) and it never had a pyramidal roof with a staff in the middle.  Suppose this engraving were brought forward as a proof that it had: consider the falsehood it would establish.  Artists never seem to reflect on the responsibility that hangs on the truth of their pencil.  The engraving is interesting, as shewing traces of the wooden groyns running from the line of the Esplanade down to the sea.  They were put there under the hope of collecting shingle; but the experiment did not succeed.  The shingle shifted as the wind and the waves shifted, but the groynes never restrained any.  I saw them placed there about 1830; and I saw them some years afterwards when they were falling to disrepair.  As they were found to be useless, nothing was done by the town to save them; so that what the waves did not carry away, the fishermen stole for fire wood.

Tu. Mar. 22. 1881.—My late father once wrote down the following capital letters, telling me they must be read off according to French pronunciation, and asked me, what they were?  I need only observe that the two first letters indicate the female name Eilène.





Th.Mar.24.—There is a project in Sidmouth for putting a new organ in Sidmouth parish church, at the cost of £300, if they can raise it.  The present organ, they say, will fetch £150.

Wed.Mar.30.—Finished reading to the end of the Fifth Volume of Kinglake’s History the Russian War in the Crimea.  It is clear, but too prolix.  The deeds of daring and of heroism performed by our men against greatly superior numbers, were trulin astonishing.  Equally astonishing were the blunders made in not walking into Sebastopol immediately after the Battle of the Alma, and on other occasions.

Sidmouth. April,1881.

Fri. Ap. 1.1881. –I am keeping house owing to a cold and sore throat, for the cutting north-east winds still continue very strong.  The Vicar called, and I had a long conversation with him on Vestry meetings, church alterations, and the project for a new organ.  Mr. Lethaby, our local bookseller, and one of the most intelligent men in the town, called in, and I had a long talk with him on parish affairs, and the approaching Census to be taken on Monday next.   Mr. Ede, of Landsdowne called, and we discussed France and South Africa, where he has boys settled.  Dr. Radford, of Sidmount called, and I had a long chat with him on science and art, in both which he is well read.  Mr. Fisher, of Blackmore Hall called.  He has a fine collection of prints, water colour drawings, and etchings by our best modern artists.  He has some new etchings to shew me the first opportunity.

M.Ap.4.—Having read Kinglake’s History of the Crimean War, I was induced to read his Eothen.  He tells us that the word Eothen is ηωθεν in Greek, and means From the early dawn, or From the East - a fair title for a book of Eastern travel.  He travelled in Palestine and Egypt.  The book is pleasantly written, and that is its chief merit.  There is no description of art, architecture, or sculpture, in the ruins, mosques, temples, or palaces which he visits – or none of a critical nature.

Sat. Ap.9.—The two volumes of John Adolphus’s History of France, 1790-1802, crossed my path, so I read them.  The atrocities of the revolutionary period are most horrible.  Fiends in human form.  It is rather satisfactory, as a matter of retribution, to observe, that most of those who were so active in sending their neighbours to the guillotine, sooner or later, by the fickle changes in public opinion, lost their heads by the guillotine themselves.

M. Ap. 18.—My cousin at Dawlish, Mary Roberton, died this morning at 2.30.  She was above 80.  She has bequeathed me something, and my sister something.  [small newspaper cutting attached]

Tu. Ap. 19.—This morning at 4.30 died Benjamin D’Israeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, one of the greatest statesmen this country ever produced.  One of my female servants asked me if the Earl of Beaconsfield and Garibaldi were the same person?  I thought I should have been sick.

Fri.22.—Between £400 and £500 are already promised for the new organ, and the present one, (which is not bad) is advertised for sale.  Apply to the organist.  [newspaper cutting attached]

Fri. May 10.—Owing to the making and widening of the new road from Sea View and past Redlands, the old Archery Ground has been trespassed upon, so now the archers shoot in Great Blackmore Field, close behind the Old Chancel, and began to-day.

W.18.—Mr. Fisher of Blackmore Hall called, and brought the 10 etchings to look at, executed by David Laws, a Scotch artist of repute.  They were about 12 inches long and 9 high.  The subjects are mostly scenes on the upper Thames.  I admired them amazingly: but I do not approve of the modern practice of heightening the effect by browning the half shades, and intensifying the deep shades by rubbing ink over the work.

Fri. May 20. 1881.—Finished Vol. V. and last of my MS. History of Sidmouth, written in five quarto volumes bound in green vellum.  I end this History with the end of the year 1880, by way of closing at a definite point; and if any event occurs in Sidmouth worth recording, I shall jot it down in this book.  I should have preferred consigning the work to some place in Sidmouth, where the inhabitants could read it freely at all hours; but as there is no endowed literary Institution here, to which the public could have easy access, there is no alternative but to bequeath it to the Free Library in Queen Street, Exeter.  If I had been a rich man, it would have been my delight to have built and endowed a Free Library and Museum in Sidmouth.  The compilation of the book, which is very deficient in many places, has afforded a good deal of amusement for a long time; but the end is very welcome, as I want leisure for other things that have been neglected.

Sat. May 21. 1881.—The engraving opposite has caused some curiosity in Exeter. [attached]  In the winter they were pulling down an old house in South Street, when a bundle of these prints was found in a secluded place.  It is surmised that it was the label of some English firm of serge merchants trading with Spain, the Spanish sentence meaning “Finest serge of England of the new make.”  The Rio de Londres, meaning the Thames, may imply that the head house was in London, and perhaps there was a branch house in Exeter.  The coat of arms at the top may be the arms of the company or firm, not yet identified.   The letters S.S. & E.C. have not yet been explained, which appear in the circular disc at the bottom.

Sun. May 22.—The saw-mill at Sidford, lying in the lane north of the church, was accidentally burnt down this afternoon, during divine service.

Mon. 23.—This morning Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, landed here from the Lively to inspect the Coast Guard.  His wife, the sister of the present Emperor of Russia, accompanied him, with Lady Harriet Grimstone, and Lieut. Ricard, R.N.  As there were some waves on the beach, the Life Boat went off, Mr. Floyd, the Secretary going too.  The Royal party got into the Life Boat.  Mr. Floyd sat on the gunnel, to make more room, and somehow fell overboard.  One of the crew named Conant, jumped over after him, and then another called Bartlett; and they soon fished him up.  On landing, they went to the Preventive Station at the east end of the beach, where Dr. Pullin of Sidmouth, who holds the appointment of Medical attendant to the station, gave his Royal Highness a photograph of Woolbrook Glen, at the west end of the beach, where the Queen, as an infant was nursed, and where the Duke of Kent died on the 23rd of Jany. 1820.  The crowd was so great there was no moving.  The Duke however, inspected the men and visited their residences.  Mrs. Davidson, of Richmond Lodge, lent her carriage to go to Exmouth in, and Mr. Chamberlain, of the York Hotel, supplied four horses.  The weather was bright and beautiful, and they drove over Peak Hill.  Mr. Harris the Dairy-man, of Sidmouth, also gave them a cream cheese, of all things in the world.  On driving into Exmouth, the postillions, by some awkwardness, ran the pole of the carriage into an omnibus and broke it, and the Royal party were obliged to dismount.  There have been many curious stories in circulation about Mr. Floyd’s mishap, the cheese, and this event; but as it is hard to get at the true particulars, I let them go.  For the last two or three months Mr. Floyd has been far from well, and has been more or less keeping house; and he has told me since that he was not fit to go, and that he supposes he must have fainted, as he lost consciousness.  He was only sensible of a rather pleasant sound of water in his ears, and was unable to make any effort to save himself.  He would soon have ceased to live if he had not been picked up.

Tu. May 24. 1881.—Queen’s Birthday.  The parish bounds were to-day perambulated, after an interval of fourteen years.  I walked every step of the way last time, but I thought this time that I would take matters more easily, so I rode and walked in turn.  The undertaking was promoted by Mr. Hine-Haycock, who now owns all the northern end of the parish.  He gave us a splendid cold collation in a tent on the ridge of Core Hill.  Just as we were preparing to start at ten in the morning, a telegram came from the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh from Torquay to Mr. Floyd, to enquire how he was after his immersion?  He telegraphed back thanking them, and saying that he had quite recovered.  We started at the east end of the beach, going north to Core Hill:  then back to Stowford; then to the top of Bulverton Hill; then to the edge of the cliff on Peak Hill: then down.  We had some champaign at Belmont, and then dispersed.

1881. Sidmouth, Dawlish

W. June 1.—Went to Belmont Villa, Dawlish for a few days.  Took my fossil stems into Exeter, and left them at the Museum. [May 13, 1878.]

Th. June 2.—Packed up cabinet of fossils, &c. left for me.  Among the things are three vertibrae of an icthiosaurus stuck together : some old silver coins: tesserae, amber, nail or claw of the tiger that killed the coach horse near Salisbury Plain, about 1816:  fossil bones procured by Dr; Buckland and my late cousins from Chudleigh Cavern, &c.

Sale of residue of 99 years lease of house took place.  About 65 years to run.  It fetched £1310.

Sat. June 4.—Returned to Sidmouth. Weather excessively hot.

Sat. June 11.—There have been various thunderstorms in different parts of the country, though not at Sidmouth:  but the air has become so cold that we are now putting on winter clothing again, and many have got fires.  In the northern counties there has been ice and snow.

Fri. June 17.—Dined at the Vicarage.  Sixteen at dinner – Mr. & Mrs. Hine-Haycock, of Belmont:  Mr. & Mrs. Thornton, of Knowle:  Mr. & Mrs. Fisher, of Blackmore Hall:  Rev. Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins, of The Myrtles:  Miss Clements:  Mrs. Davidson, of Richmond Lodge:  Captain Christy and his niece Miss Steinman, of Core Hill: Mr. Circuit: Mr. & Mrs. Clements: and self.

Sat. June 18.—The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh have very kindly sent their photographs down to Mr. Floyd.  I have been looking at them to-day.  They are three-quarter figures, and the photos are some seven inches high.  The Duke has written his name “Alfred” at the foot of his portrait: and the Duchess has written “Marie” at the foot of hers.  [newspaper cutting attached]

M. June 27.—During the past week the appearance of a comet in the northern heavens has attracted the attention of the community.  [sketch]  Sundry old women (of both sexes) are shaking their heads and foreboding all sorts of terrible consequences.  One declared in my hearing that it was very lucky the tail was pointing upwards into the sky, for if it had been pointing downwards to the earth, we should all of us have been burnt up.  Another foretold the speedy end of the world.  Another thought we should only all die of the pestilence.  Some ascribed its coming to the spell of hot weather we had at the beginning of the month.  Others laid the blame on Mr. Gladstone’s Ministry, now in power.  One wondered what could be so deadly in the tail:  a second wanted to know what the tail was composed of:  and a third said – “You can find out with a pinch of salt.”

I had a good look at it to-night, for the sky was clear, but only with a common three-foot telescope.  It did not shew itself till ten, as the daylight lasted so late.   Between 11 and 12 it was nearly under the Pole star, nearly mid-way between that and the earth, but nearer the earth.  A small nucleus was visible.  Tail pointing nearly to Pole Star, and about 10o long.   Great Bear to the west, and Cassiopæa to the east.  As far as I hear, the comet is an unknown one, and was unexpected.  It has passed the perihelion, and is going.

Sidmouth. 1881.

Tu. June 28.—Dined with Mr. & Mrs. Ede and Lansdowne:  called on the Rev. J. Robinson at Rosebank:  and on Mrs. Mackenzie at Fair Lawn.

W. 29.—Walked out about two miles and a half to Core Hill, formerly the property of Mr. J.D. Arnold, now that of Mr. Hine Haycock, and called on Captain Christy and Miss Steinman, who reside there.  Mrs. and Miss Radford of Sidmount came out.  Walked about their garden and ground.  Walked back.

Th. 30.—Bought a crab from the singularity of one of its claws. [sketch]  Out of the top of the mandible of the true claw A, a second claw B had grown.  There are however, no joints or articulations in the excrescence or small additional claw B.

Fri. July 1.—The weather has now become very hot and dry, and favourable for hay making, which is in full progress.

Sat. 2.—A general progress, translation, or movement of organs is now going on in Sidmouth.  Some £600 or £800 having now been subscribed, a new one, by Hill of London, is coming down.  The parish church organ is now in course of removal to All Saints, Mrs. Hine-Haycock having presented it:  All Saints organ has been sold to the Independents, and they have sold theirs to some one in Exeter.  Thus the way is opened for the new one from London.

Tu. July 5.—Thunder and lightening from 4 to 9 P.M.

Th. 8.—The comet still visible.  [newspaper cutting about the comet attached]  As it is receding from the sun, when the sun is below the horizon, the comet appears to be moving away from it by going upwards towards in the direction of the Pole Star.

Sidmouth and Dawlish. July 1881.

M. July 25.—Went to Dawlish to attend the meeting of the Dev. Asso.  Lodged with the servants of my late cousin, in the new house she gave them.

Tu. 26.—Walked out to the new Reservoir, and looked at the Barrow in the field close on the W. side of it.  We applied for leave to open the Barrow, but the owner refused permission.  The President read his introductory Address.

W. 27.—Reading papers at the Town Hall.  Dinner at the Hotel, to which I did not go.  Open air entertainment on Lea Mount in the evening.

Th. 28. – Reading papers.  Free pass to the Flower Show in Luscombe Park.  The House, or “Castle,” is a paltry attempt at Gothic by Nash.  The flower gardens up beyond the house are extremely pretty.  The finest araucaria I ever saw is there.  Measured the stem.  It is fifteen feet round, two feet from the ground.  Went again into the Chapel.  They have made a new entrance on the west.  There is a beautiful specimen of Gothic by Scott.

Fri. 29. – Excursions.  One to Powderham, Mamhead, &c. another to Lidwell Chapel, Haldon, &c.  I was deputed to conduct this one, as years ago I had collected materials, and printed a few scraps on the district.  The Rev. R.H.D. Barham, who, with others, had been clearing the ruins, also conducted the party.  The base of a wall at B was met with, and at A something like a well within the Chapel.  [sketch]  It was excavated three feet down, but was full of water; and on a pole seven feet down, only soft mud could be felt.  I read my mems. to the company.  We then scrambled up the hill to the carriages, and proceeded north.  We dismounted over Smallacombe Goyle, and had luncheon on the grass.  Then walked to the circular camp close by.  I think I once made it 124 yards in diameter.  It is a pity that the division of the land owners, and I believe of the parishes, passes right across the middle, or diameter of the camp.  Then we drove 3/4ths of a mile N by E to the Tower.  No one lives there now.  But the door was not fastened, and we ascended the staircase to the lead roof.  The view was obstructed by the high trees.  Thence we returned to near the camp, took the road down towards Dawlish, but turned into the Luscombe grounds, drove down through the woods, very beautiful, and made our way into the park in front of the house.  The carriages of the other expedition soon began to arrive; and soon after 5 P.M. we all sat down to a handsome cold collation provided by the Dawlish people as a finish to the meeting.  Everything went off very well.

Sat. Aug. 30.—Took train three miles to Teignmouth.  Called on a friend or two.  Walked round by the Harbour and round the Den, and then walked back to Dawlish along the railway wall.

Su. 31. – St. Mark’s.  In the afternoon walked with the Rev. R. Barham to “The Smugglers’ Lane”, then down to the sea, and being low water, out towards the “Parson and Clark” rocks.  He is son of the author of the Ingoldsby Legends, that had such a wonderful run some 10, 20 and 30 years ago.  Walked back.

M. Aug. 1.—Rainy morning.

Tu. 2.—Walked to the Warren on the Railway wall, and back.

W.3.—Returned to Sidmouth.  Took home a harp-lute, in its case.  It was invented and very popular, like the guitar, to sing to, about the commencemt. of the present century.  I have always understood from my late cousin that it had belonged to a Miss Collingwood, I believe a great aunt.  She afterwards married Dr. Lempriere, the Classical Dictionary man.  This one is marked – “C. Wheatstone, Inventor, 436 Strand, London.”  On going into the upper room of the Museum, I saw a similar instrument in a glass case.

[small newspaper cutting about organ attached]

Sun. Aug.7.—The new organ in the parish church played the first time.  It has cost about £900.

It is rumoured that two young men were drowned last night; yet the sea was as calm as a pond, and there was a bright moonlight.  One of them was Robert Skinner and the other John Churchill.  A brother of the former worked for me as a carpenter ten years ago when I was building the Old Chancel; and the latter, with his father, did all my best stonework – as the front door, ceiling of Hall, windows, &c.  The father put his mark [six-pointed star] at my request, outside the right jamb, going in; and the son, now drowned, put his, an arrow ↑, on the left side of the doorway, going in.

Tu. Aug.9.1881.—Soon after one this afternoon, the body of Skinner was washed ashore opposite Rock Cottage, at the west end of the beach.

W.10.—An inquest held on Skinner at the York Hotel.  I went.  The Bar-maid said they came to the Tap a few minutes before eleven on Saturday night: had a glass of beer each, and took away a bottle filled with beer along with them.  Did not say they were going to sea.  A Coastguard-man said he saw them come to the beach about a quarter after eleven.  Recognised Skinner, but not the other.  Skinner took a match to light his pipe.  Saw his face clearly.  They launched Skinner’s father’s little boat, and pulled off in a SE direction.  Saw a flash at sea, like striking another match.  A Coastguardman of Weston, nearly two miles and a half east, about half past four on Sunday morning, espied a boat at about a mile and a half out.  Turned his glass on it.  Could not see anybody in it.  Went out to reconnoiter.  Found the boat empty.  One oar missing.  The other oar half pulled in, with the handle end shoved under the gunnel.  [Gunwale.]  A pipe half, smoked out, on one of the seats.  And what was curious, the bottle of beer on the floor of the boat standing upright, a proof that the boat had not rocked much, whatever had happened.  At some distance the missing oar was picked up.  The man took the boat to the Weston station.  The Barmaid identified the bottle of beer.  The father identified the pipe as his son’s.  “Found drowned” was the only verdict that appeared applicable, for no further evidence had been obtained to explain the case.

Th. Aug. 11.1881.—A hat has been found on the shore over towards Branscombe, supposed to have belonged to John Churchill.

S.13.—Contributed to a fund being collected for Skinner’s widow.  Three children, and another expected.

Sun.14.—Curious discovery made yesterday in cutting the new road over the high field behind Fort Field Terrace.  I was asked to go and look at the spot.  It was some way up from the Station road towards the top; - 46 yards.  They were excavating town to the depth of seven to eight five to six feet below the surface, when they came upon a quantity of bones of some animal nearly as large as a donkey.  The soil had certainly never been disturbed, for the lay of the beds of sandy earth was visible in lines by the side of the pit, the more strange, as this was not in a hollow or a valley, but some way up a hill.   The soil shewed no traces of dark decaying vegetable matter, for the bones were in the clean red sand.  I saw vertebrae and leg bones taken out; also part of a lower jaw with the teeth in it; an os sacrum, portions of ribs, and what determined the animal, was several pieces of the antlers of a large stag.  I have the bones, and shall save the best of them.

M.Aug. 15.—The body of John Churchill has been washed on shore on the Sidmouth side of the Chit Rocks, and not very far from where the other came ashore.

W.17.—The Coroner did not think it necessary to hold a second inquest, and the funeral of Churchill took place to-day.

Fri.19.—Another comet has revealed itself, and I believe it was not expected.

Sat.20.—Went into the church to copy an inscription put up since I copied the others for my History.  Then went up into the tower to take a plan of the eight bells and the timber cage.  It struck twelve o’clock and the quarters whilst I was up there, but the sound was no so great as one would expect.  I have certainly been up there the bells have been ringing; but it is not everybody’s nerves that can stand it.  They have recently collected some £900 for the new organ, and it would be well if they could collect enough for a new set of bells, for the present ones are odds and ends of all ages, and miserably out of tune.

Mon.Aug.22.1881.—Had a spy at the new comet from my house the Old Chancel.  The nucleus was well defined.  A small star was just below it.  The tail shorter than the former.  It is now at its nearest.  [sketch and newspaper cutting]

Tu.Sept.6.1881.—Pile and Gosling, driving down Salcombe Hill, the horse ran away.  They were thrown out, and Pile dangerously hurt.

My cousin, John Rogers Hutchinson, Vicar of Normacot in Staffordshire, son of the late Canon of Lichfield Cathedral, and grandson of my grandfather’s younger brother, came to see me.  He died January 1892 at Normacot Vicarage, co. Staff.

Wed.Sept.7—We did little to-day but look over sundry family papers and memorials, on which I was anxious to consult him, and walk about to explore the neighbourhood.

Th.Sept.8.—News in Sidmouth that Mr. Morshead, Vicar of the adjoining parish of Salcombe, dropped down and died last night: appoplexy or heart.

My cousin and myself went into Exeter by the rail. Walking up to the Station, just above Broadway, we met a run-away pony, drawing a four-wheel, carrying two women and two girls screaming.  Bonnets and shawls were flying overboard.  We afterwards heard that the pony ran himself out and stopped, and that the women were more frightened than hurt.

Took my silver butter knife to Ellis & Co., jewellers, to have the H. arms cut upon it.  Went to see the Exhibition of works of art by amateurs now open in the Museum building.  Highly creditable taken altogether.

We got back to Sidmouth about sunset.

Fri.Sep.9.—The annexed letter, about the bones, appeared in the paper.  [attached]

My cousin left for Staffordshire.

Sat.Sep.10.—Received, signed, and returned a Legacy Receipt paper.

Tu.12.—A very unfortunate event took place at the funeral of the Revd. Mr. Morshead, and a very painful one to the relations.  [Sep. 8.]  By some awkwardness the coffin was not properly lowered into the grave.  One gentleman, who was present, told me he thought that one of the webs or straps broke; but two others assure me it was the awkwardness of the men.  Some were inexperienced, and lowered one side too quickly, so that the coffin nearly turned over, and got jammed before it was at the bottom, and would not move either up or down.  The service was brought to an end, and it was put right afterwards.

Th.15.—Made a sketch of The Glen and Belmont, or Woolbrook Glen, late the residence of the Duke of Kent, from Clifton Place.

Fri.16.—Beautiful weather again, after some chilly showers.  As there is a report that they are going pull down Manstone farm house – one of the oldest houses here about, I walked out to enquire.  It is a mile and a quarter north of Sidmouth, some 50 yars in Sidbury parish, and belongs to Mr. Cave.  This is an interesting old stone house in the Gothic style.  In the south front there is a tablet bearing the half obliterated figures ..... or .......  I went in and saw Mrs. White.  Her late husband was one of sixteen.  Some forty years ago or nearly, I walked out one day with my late mother to make enquiry about some hay for two horses we had in the stable.  We went into a room where there were eight children at play.  After a little while, by way of saying something, my mother addressed the eldest, a girl of 14 or 15, and said – “What a number of children!  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  I suppose these are not all your brothers and sisters?”

“Ess they be Mum.”

“Indeed!  Your father and mother must have enough to do with so many.”

“This is nothing Mum.”

“Nothing!  Eight children to feed and clothe, and put out in life, nothing.  There are no more of you I hope?”

“Ess there be Mum.”

“More!  How many more?”

“Eight more Mum.”

Oh! you should have seen my mother.  Description won’t do.

Mrs. White told me she was sorry the old house was condemned, but there was no help for it, as it was rotten and tottering past saving, and some of the rooms were unsafe and no longer used.  Indeed, on carefully looking round, I perceived that the ceilings were swagging downwards, and some of the walls were buckling and bending.  I copied the linen or napkin pattern on the oak panels of the old seat in the kitchen, and going outside, I made sketches of the north door, east gable, two-light Gothic window, &c.  They are beginning to build a new brick house near the old one.


Tu. Sep.20.—So Mr Garfield, the President of the United States is dead at last.  I may say at last, for it is wonderful he lived so long, with a bullet lodged in his intestines.  He was shot at two or three months ago by a disappointed place hunter called Guiteau.  A very base act indeed.

Having come over to Chard with Mr. Chessall last night, we lodged at the house of Mr. Mitchell.  We were invited over to examine a collection of curiosities, antiques, coins, &c, collected by the late Mr. Hull of that place, and which, it is hoped, will be formed into a Museum.  The Curator of the Museum at Taunton came over, also Mr. Rogers of Colyton, and two or three others.   Having inspected these, at the Town Hall, we went across the street and examined a curious old house, where there was a splendid upper room at the back, with a fine ceiling covered with embossed patterns.  After that we visited the parish church, which is large and long, and mostly of 3rd Pointed date, of Bath stone or rather, I believe, Ham Hill.  They are now raising money to build a second north aisle.  Tower low.

We then dined at Mr. Mitchell’s, off Crown Derby, and I hope no accident happened to it.    That over, we started in two carriages for Leigh, a handsome house in the Gothic style, belonging to the family of Henley.  It is well and consistently fitted up in old fashioned furniture, and occupied by the family.  We went all over it, and there is much to admire.  We then proceeded a mile further to Ford Abbey.  Ask me not to describe this, for the pen is not equal, nor the book large enough.  This is not a ruin nor a neglected place, but a princely residence, full of handsome furniture and works of art, and occupied by the family.  Go and see it, and then talk about describing.

It was now waning towards sunset, and we proceeded to the Chard road junction, and dispersed in different directions, - Mr. Chessall and self making for Sidmouth.


Mon.Sep.26.1891.—A friend has given me an Enhydrite, just brought from Buenos Ayres in South America.  [sketch]  It is a hollow petrifaction of calcedony of a semi-transparent appearance, like ground glass, all over corrugations and involutions, after the manner of Bekeite petrifaction, and is half full of some fluid, as may be seen when held against the light.  This specimen was found among the pebbles and sand near the waterfall, at Sarto, near 100 miles up the Plata River, above Buenos Ayres.  From the same place I have been looking at a number of onix, agates, and calcedonies, very beautiful.   I give the object full size in the sketch above.  I never saw but one other specimen, and that belongs to Mr. A. Keily, Manager of the Devon & Cornwal Bank in the Cathedral Yard, Exeter, who has lent it to Dr. Radford of Sidmount, Sidmouth, where I have seen it.  This last is rather smaller than mine; not so high, and more irregular in form.  They look as if they had been formed in some cavity.  European specimens have been met with at Vicenza in Italy.  Dr J. Woodward, in Fossils of all kinds, &c, p. 16, mentions them.  He says – “Liquid:  the Fairy’s Water Bottle.”  Pliny, xxxvii, 12, writes – “Enhydros.  Ad motum, fluctuat intus in eo, veluti in ovis liquor.”

Tu. Oct.11.—Dined with the members of the Agricultural Association held at the London Hotel.  The tables were laid in the ball room, which was well filled.  The two members for the Eastern division of the county – Sir John Kennaway and Col. Walrond – were both there.  Captain Bartelott, the President this year, by whose invitation I went, was in the Chair.  There was plenty of speech making: and after I had listened to the best speeches, I quietly stole away.

Th. Oct. 13.—Sarah Madge and Elizabeth Hands, two servants of my late cousin at Dawlish, being near Exeter, came over for the day.

Fri.14.—Gale of wind from the NW. that blew down pecks of pears from the great pear tree.  A splendid bearing this year, considerably damaged.

Sat. 15. – This afternoon, about three o’clock, as I was sitting in the Oak Room of the Old Chancel writing, the sun shining bright, and the remnant of yesterday’s gale of wind not quite blown out, I was amused at the appearance of one of the large cypress trees in the Churchyard across the field, lying between me and the Chancel.  The knobs and masses and lumps of foliage on one side of the tree were very like a large face in their outline; and as the tree rocked and swung about in the wind, the gigantic head seemed to nod; and the tufts forming the eyebrow, nose, lips, and chin worked about like a monster busy in the act of mastication.  The figure [sketch] is pointing to the face.

Mon.17. – Finished reading the Hon. J.L. Watson’s volume on Book Plates.  An amusing line of study, mostly heraldic.

Th.20.—After a lull of two or three days another gale of wind, and this time it comes from the NE.  The ground is again strewed with pears.

Fri.21.—Quiet and mild.  After a storm comes a calm.  On meeting friends in the street to-day, the common greeting was – “Well - how did you get through the gale of wind?  Hope your house didn’t suffer?”  Called on Mr. Hine-Haycock at Belmont.  He took me over the house to see the completion of his additions and furnishing.  It really is beautiful, and most complete.

Sat. 22.—Another gale of wind last night, and plenty of rain.  Wind NE.  Scarcely a pear on the tree now, and one branch blown off.  The newspapers are full of accounts of sad disasters both by sea and land.  There is a story in the town that Mr. Dunning’s coal vessell, coming with coals for his Gasworks, has been driven down Channel, and lost, with all hands.

Sidmouth. 1881.

Tu. Oct. 25.—Finished reading the third and last Vol. of the Hist. of Eng. by Adolphus.  It begins with the accession of Geo.III. in 1760, and ends with the termination of the American War in 1783.  Though he favoured coercive measures against America, this history is the finest I have met with, and gives all the speeches and debates on both sides.  Truly, the reign of George the Third was a most troubled period, and well calculated to try the king’s mind.

Wed.Oct.26.—I have been enriched by the gift of an interesting old sampler.  It bears a figure of the Crucifiction at top, with an angel having blue wings and drapery on each side.  Under, there are two tablets with verses pointing to this event.  Then Glory be, &c.  Then – Mary Iordan, Her Work, October the 22, 1748.  The whole is surrounded by a running pattern of a stalk with leaves and flowers.  It comes across my mind that probably the word sampler may be derived from the French word Exemplaire, which in Boyer’s Dictionary is rendered – Copy of a book. Exemplar. Pattern.

Th.Oct.27.—A scrap of news  has just come to hand, which shews that some people may be feasting or snugly reading the last new novel by their fireside, whilst other folks, not far off, are burning down their houses.  Who would have thought that the Railway Station was on fire when they were lolling in easy chairs in Sidmouth?  Who knows what goes on only through the next partition?  [newspaper cutting attached]

Fri.Oct.28.—Some 30 years ago the annexed autograph of George IV. was given me by Mrs. Oldham, wife of the Deputy Judge Advocate General.  [attached]  He died at an advanced age at Exmouth, by accidentally falling down stairs.

Sat.Nov.5.—Mrs. Davidson, of Richmond Lodge, and Mrs. Col. Hawker called, and remained to an afternoon tea, and were much amused at examining the style and furniture of my Gothic residence called the Old Chancel.

Wed.9.—Prince of Wales’s birthday.  He is 40.  Hoisted the Union Jack on the flagstaff of the Old Chancel.

Hired a carriage and went over to Budleigh Salterton to see Mr. H. Carter.  Took my sketchbook, Vol.V., Vol.1 of my Hist. of Sidm, and spent a couple of hours in discussing some Geological and other questions.  Met Mr. Baker, a solicitor there, who is looking over the old documents in the Budleigh parish chest.  We went over two or three of the old deeds together.  Mrs. Carter completed the party at an early tea.  Left at five, and got back about half past six.

Th.Nov.10.—I have often wished that some clever fellow would invent a writing machine, so that one would have nothing to do but sit in an easy chair and dictate to it.  The amount of hand work on a sheet of writing, and the great number of letters required in the English language for many words of only one syllable, make communication of one’s sentiments on paper a serious matter.  If a system of shorthand could be adopted, or if the practice of the abbreviations in general use from the Conquest to the Commonwealth, could be introduced, great would be the gain.  It is true, the Latin language is better suited to them than to any of the dialects of the German.  One thing in our favour is this – that the process of introducing words of Latin form and derivation has been going on for ages, so that they abound at the present time.  Latin is full of such syllables as pro, pre, pri; ter, mer, cer; con; us final; the gen. plurals orum, arum; and which were abbreviated thus – [Gothic text cannot be replicated – letters in red] p for pro; p for pre; pi for pri;  p for per; t for ter; m for mer; c for ter; c for cer;  [symbol] for con; [symbol] for us, as bon[symbol]; [symbol] or [symbol] for rum:  so that it is easy to make out such words as ; c[symbol];  pt[symbol]; p[symbol]ago; t[symbol]min[symbol]; c[symbol]t; [symbol]tra;  bono[symbol] or bona[symbol], &c.  Others still more brief, as [symbol] or [symbol] for est: also d[symbol] for debet; t[symbol] for tenet; [symbol] for us in ablatives plural, as hominib[symbol].  A dash over a letter would simply mean that one or more succeeding letters have been left out, nō e cō[symbol]so.  It is curious that while modern shorthand writers spell with the consonants, leaving out the vowels, as Ptr for Peter, the old scribes employed the vowels, leaving out the consonants, as hōibz for hominibus, cōis for communis, &c.  It would be possible to use such abbreviations in modern English; as for instance – “I ppse a bett. ctrivance than the oth.”  But the th ought to be shortened.  The old Saxon th was þ; which, in the last century was written formed like a y; so that it was written ye.  The best abbreviations for the article the would be the letter t, as the old scribes did for et. Thus – I þink þis is a þing þat will þreaten you.”  There ought however to be some abbreviation for the constantly recurring terminations ing and tion.  Perhaps [symbol] would do for the first, and tn for the second.  Thing would be then þg, and nation would be natn.  That, this, them, then, could be þt, þs, þm, þn.Modern cursive writing however, is often such an illegible scrawl, even when written in full, that those who would adopt the abbreviations must learn to form their letters better.  The old scribes of the middle ages, that is, the early middle ages, wrote almost like print.

Nov.1881.—Dined at the Vicarage.  There were present, the Vicar and Mrs. Clements, two Misses Quin, or O’Quin, Miss Markham, a young lady whose name escaped me, Mr. William and Mr. Walter Floyd, Captain Brine, R.N., & self.

Th. Nov.17.1881.—I was born at Winchester Nov.17, 1810, my father at that time being Physician to Winchester Hospital, as before he had been to Exeter Hospital, and I was Baptised at Heavitree, Oct.22, 1811.  My earliest recollection of life is when I believe I was about three, sitting on my mother’s lap, in a carriage, driving down Peter’s Street, Tiverton.  I first saw the sea at Dawlish, and I now see it as if it were but yesterday.   There was a little ripple on the water from an on-shore wind, and the sea was of a dark blue colour.  I could scarcely believe that all that could be water.  When I was about seven I got an inflamation of the left hip joint, from a chill, or something of that nature, and went through the pains of a hip-case, and kept my bed for sixteen months.  My parents removed to Teignmouth, with their then four children, and I in time got about again.  When I was about ten, I was taken one day to the studio of Luny, the painter, and saw him at work.  To the best of my recollection he had no hands or fingers, but only round stumps, and he held his brush between the two stumps.  I think also he was deformed in his feet, and went about in a chair.  I was too young to be a judge of his paintings, but I remember a great naturalness about his coast scenes near Teignmouth, with the pack-horses bringing home red rock for building. (See Trans.Dev.Assoc. 18, 442.)  My brother was put into the Royal Navy, where my mother’s interest lay, her father having been one of Sir John Jervis’s Admirals, and brought up five sale of the line, and added them to Sir John’s fleet just before the battle of St. Vincent on the 14th of February 1797, and contributed much to the success of the battle, after which he was made a Baronet, and Sir John Jervis Earl St. Vincent.  He made between eighty and ninety thousand pounds in prize money before he died, of which my mother had £9.000, and her three children who grew up three each.  Thus does money soon get cut up and divided.  I have a copy of Sir John Jervis’s letter under Jan.4. 1876.  About 1822 my father left Teignmouth and returned to his house in Tiverton.  It was the last house on the left at the top of Peter’s Street, and the grounds ran over to the tower and down to the river below the churchyard.  Three years after he sold it to Mr. Heathcoat of the Lace Factory, who converted the house into two, as it was very large, and in January 1825 he took his family to Sidmouth, where he bought a house and ground, which I now have, besides the Old Chancel, which I built.  My brother left the navy, went to South Australia, bought land near Port Elliot, came back, married, went out again, died in 1870 and left a widow with four children well provided for.  I had a section out there myself near Port Victor, which cost £100, and I recently sold it for £1000.  My sister married the eldest son of General Rumley of Arcot House near Sidmouth, and eventually they also went to Australia, and bought land near Salisbury, where she still survives.  My unfortunate lameness prevented my going out in the world and running the race of life with other boys.  I went to day schools, and foreign teachers of language, and had tutors at home, Italian, French, and dead languages, but never went to College.  My father was of Catherine Hall, Cambridge.  He was a capital French scholar with a good pronunciation, for he had sojourned in France in his youth, and I used to read a good deal with him.  Arrived at man’s estate, I found myself without a profession: and if a young man allows the right age for a commencement to slip by, he loses the chance, and will never get  into the right groove afterwards.  But I was now strong and well, except occasional violent rheumatic or neuralgic pains in my leg, that quite disabled me at times.  But I determined to “walk it off”, and try change of air.  I consumed a whole summer walking through North and South Wales, the pain rather bad at intervals.  Upon this, I published a book, which was a very childish affair.  Another year I tried to walk it off again by going all round Scotland; and coming back I passed through Gretna Green.  And here I heard such a multitude of sensational storied about run-away matches and all that kind of nonsense, that I committed them to paper in two volumes, of which Bentley bought the copyright.  A silly work, only to be ashamed of in maturer years.  But I was “young and foolish,” and the work suited foolish readers.  And a five-act tragedy, founded on early American history; and a five-act comedy on the occasion of some literary competition 30 or 40 years ago, when Mrs. Gore, then a popular writer, ran off with the prize of £500; and sundry poems in verse and rhyme of several Fyttes each, all of which were never sent to the printer, any more than my Hist. of Sidmouth; and one or two 3-volume novels, the MSS. of which I threw aside, and know not what has become of them; and an amount of trash printed in newspapers and magazines, that is only remembered to be laughed at and condemned.  And then I made a very pleasant tour to Boston and the northern States of America, Canada, the Great Lakes, and Niagara, and took a good look at places where my ancestors had lived from 1634 till 1776, and was shewn the spot near North Square in Boston where Governor H.’s house had stood which the mob destroyed in August 1765, and one of his country estates six miles out at Milton, which the new American government confiscated and sold to their own advantage for £38.000 lawful paper money, as I see in my great-grandfather’s Diary; and then when Washington was bombarding Boston in March 1776, they had to clear out in a hurry, and my father was born in the ship coming to England, and he was baptised at Kensington.  And then I made a walking tour through the midland counties of England, and another year I started out and took the eastern counties, and paid two or three visits to the Continent.  My first lesson in music was given to me on the top of my father’s house at Tiverton by the mason’s boy, who pulled a fife out of his pocket, and from that time I was mad to learn music, so I was put under a master.  In after years I used to take French horn or flute parts at the concerts of the Oratorio Society in Exeter, Michael Rice being leader, and at the public and private concerts in Sidmouth.  Many is the invitation, and many the pleasant evening that I owe to music.  I was always fond of carpentering, and resolved that when all trades failed I would turn carpenter.  My admiration for Gothic architecture originated at Blurton and Normacot in Staffordshire, the vicarages of my cousins, but especially at Lichfield, when my cousin the late Canon H. was in Residence, and the Cathedral was so long under the care of Sir Gilbert Scott.  This line of study probaly suggested the building of the Old Chancel at Sidmouth, the first part of which having been made out of the rejected portions of the old Chancel of the parish church, pulled down and rebuilt in 1860.  Of the new or added part, I do not think there is a moulding or mullion, or window label but what I can give authority for, as late Third Pointed.  My oak carving (very pleasant work) in the Oak Room, and other places,  from necessity merged sometimes into the Jacobean.  What drawing I know I first picked up with Charles Frederick Williams, a boy of my own age, only child of a Welsh Harper, who had been on the permanent staff of musicians to Lord Courtenay at Powderham, and lived at the Castle.  After retiring from Powderham, Mr. Williams, the father, took a house at Sidmouth near my father’s, and as young Williams was brought up to be a professional artist in watercolour, owing to our intimacy I was much associated with him in sketching.  Was there ever such a jumble of studies!  Truly – a Jack-of-All-Trades is master of none.  One half the labour that I have turned my energies to, would have accomplished greater results if directed to a single object.  In December 1846 I lost my father, and as my brother and sister were in Australia, I stayed at home with my mother.  When I was a boy my young mind had been opened to the wonders of Geology by a niece of my mother’s, a very clever person indeed, who died a few years after.  I had supposed that the round world was merely a mass of earth and rocks pressed together like a snowball, but when she explained to me the regular succession of strata, and the great facts involved in their deposition, a new field of research was opened up to me, which has never lost its interest.  I studied the great section of the Red Marl of the Trias in the Sidmouth cliffs when bathing.  I bathed often in the summer for enjoyment, and for health, and to cure me of the rheumatism in my leg as I hoped, and in this I succeeded, only not exactly in the way I intended.  In the autumn of 1850 I bathed on into October, when the water was cold and there was a piercing north-easter blowing, “enough to cut a snipe in two,” as the sportsmen say, and I thought it would harden me, but I overdid the dose.  I was chilled through, and the effect flew to the weak point, and I was laid up for a month with a most terrible succession of rheumatic pains, and then an abscess near the hip began to develope itself, and a month after another, on the fleshy part of the leg, and a month after another, until I was nearly drained to death’s door, and then I went upon crutches for six months while I was recovering.  But the effect of all this upon me was wonderful.  It cleared my system of all impurities, and cured my rheumatism; and for thirty years afterwards I enjoyed a spell of continued health, with scarecely an ache or a pain or an hour’s illness of any kind.  Of course I lived a regular and a temperate life.  There is no health to anybody without that.  I rarely touched wine and never smoked from choice.  Neither did my father or brother.  I take no merit for this.  It was choice.  It is he who has a weakness for these things, and resists them on principle, deserves the praise.  In 1855 I lost my mother; and as my brother and sister were in Australia, it would take the best part of a twelvemonth to settle the affairs and account to them; so I let the house for a year and having put things in train, went a second time to Normandy and Paris to make researches for my History of Sidmouth.  In 1856 I returned and settled down, and then the ladies began to say that of course I should get married directly.  Well, I always intended to get married some day, only I preferred doing it in my own way.  I wanted, not a house-keeper, but a well educated person with a few tastes like my own, as a congenial companion.   A single man is generally a prey to dishonest servants.  I had not kept house long before I found out that no man’s house is complete or well looked after, unless there is a lady at the head of the establishment.  And then when they rallied me again on my dilatoriness, I said in my excuse, that ladies had got so many fingers on both hands, I wouldn’t find out which was the right finger to put the ring on, and that I was too shy to ask questions.  One must say something.  In 1857 the first Edition of my little Sidmouth Guide came out.  I gave it to the bookseller.  I joined the Volunteer Artillery, and was several years a Lieutenant in it.  In 1868 I joined the Devonshire Association, and occasionally read a paper.  The meetings were always very agreeable.  In 1870 I was having a third spell at building at the Old Chancel, just as I could spare pocket money.  At the age of sixty-three I was still like a boy, with all the activity and boyancy of feeling usually ascribed to twenty-five, and too fond of fun and joking for a person who ought to have come to the years of discretion.  At sixty-eight I began to suspect that I was not quite so supple in my limbs as I had been, so I named this period “the beginning of down hill.”  By 1880 we had had three severe winters in succession, but I was out every day, regardless of ice and snow.  However, in February 1881, from want of care, I got a cold and an attack in the throat of the nature of bronchitis, or something of that sort, from the effects of which I have never quite recovered, and now I look upon my throat as the weak point.  But still, dating from 1850 to 1880, I have completed the thirty years of good health; and for this long continued blessing, I feel truly thankful to the Giver of All Good.

Mon. Dec.5. 1881.—Full moon.  The moon rose eclipsed this evening about six or before.  Night calm and clear.  Good view from the Old Chancel.  The shadow of our earth was defined with great clearness upon the face of the moon.  It was all over soon after seven.  The moon, at its greatest obscuration, was more covered than in the sketch.  [sketch]

Tu. Dec. 6.—There is a curious story going the round of the papers.  The body of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarro has been stolen out of three coffins in a vault at Dun Echt near Aberdeen. See July 24, 1882.

Wed. Dec. 7.—Finished reading the Life of Robert Dick of Thurso.  He was a wonderful man for love of science, especially in the direction of Geology and Botany: and his industry and untiring perseverance were truly astonishing.  I feel indignant with my country, and especially with Scotland, that he should have been allowed to toil in the bakehouse, and finally die in abject poverty.

M. Dec. 12.—Finished reading the life of A.R. Bowes, and of his second wife the young widow Countess of Strathmore, by Jesse Fool.  He was one of the greatest scoundrels that ever lived.

Sidmouth, 1881.

Tu.Dec. 13.—Sad Balloon accident last Saturday evening.  Mr. Powell, M.P. Captain Templar, and Mr. Gardner went up at Bath.  Wind to the east of north, carried them to Bridport.  Descended.  Car struck the ground:  knocked the two last out over; and Mr. Powell was carried off to sea, darkness coming on.

M.19.--  Every search is being made in the Channel, in Brittany, and even Spain.  The weather is very boisterous.  A large thermometer has come ashore near Portland. Cap. Templar has been over, and has identified it as having been in the balloon.  Mr. and Mrs. Gore of Redlands, Sidmouth have gone over.  Mrs. Gore is Mr. Powell’s sister.  Small hopes remain that he will ever be saved.  Dec.31, Jan.21.

Wed. 21.—Shortest day.  Beautiful day.  Fine, calm, clear, and sun shining.  More daylight than we have had for some time.

Th. 22.—Cold, black, north-east wind.  Very dark.

Sat. 24.—Executed a new Will.  Being so entirely alone as I am, I have found it very difficult to settle my affairs to my satisfaction, as my nearest relatives in blood, (my brother’s children,) are in Australia, and I am in England.  My two Hutchinson cousins in Staffordshire, are my executors.

Sun. Dec.25.—Christmas Day – occurring this year on a Sunday.

Wed. 28.—The trial of the man Guiteau, who shot the President of the United States, (Sep. 20) has now been going on for several weeks.  The whole affair is being conducted in such an irregular way, so loose and un-business-like, so un-lawyer-like, and with so little that can gain our confidence and respect, that most people on this side of the Atlantic are amazed, and even shocked.  I should not be astonished if the mob were to catch their opportunity and “lynch” him; and perhaps with the connivance of his keepers.

Sat. Dec.31. 1881.—Last day of the year.  No tidings of the Balloon or Mr. Powell. [Dec.13.]   Diligent search to no purpose has been made by boats, steamers, and sailing vessels all over the bay between Lyme and Portland.

[sketch - Time knocking down 1881]

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