Dragonfly

POH Transcripts - 1883

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Mon. Jan. 1. 1883. – New Year’s Day.  A general holiday with the working classes.  I wish that they would learn to think that it was possible to have enjoyment without strong drink.  As long as alcohol is permitted to corrupt the blood of the people, so long will hereditary and acquired diseases continue to flourish.

Began to rebind this vol. adding all the blank leaves that follow.

Wind SW, and weather mild.  The proximity of the sea tempers the air here.

 

Tu. Jan. 2. – Wind changed to NW, and colder, coming over the land.  Drove a couple of miles with Mr. W.M. Floyd to Core Hill, and called on Captain Christie and Miss Steinman.

 

Tu. 9. – NE wind: piercing cold, but no ice or snow.

 

W. 17. – This morning at 4.30 Mr. Hirtzel writes he felt the slight shock of an earthquake.  Others are said to have been felt in other parts of England.  Accounts arrive from Spain that some severe ones have occurred in the SE parts of that country.

 

Fri. 19. – Sent the broad pointed silver spoon to my cousin J.R.H., Vicar of Normacot, Staffs.

 

Th. 25. – Got a distressing letter from Mr. Stirling from Malta, announcing the death of his wife, on the 15th.  They were here Sep.23.1880 and July 11.1882.

 

M. Jan. 29. – Special meeting of the Burial Board, about brick wall at the south end of the Cemetery.

 

Tu. 30. – The tall flagstaff with topmast, on the point of the cliff over the mouth of the river Sid, was blown over to the sea last night.

 

Th. Feb.1. – Violent wind and rain from the SE.  Chimney top blown down at Belmont:  fell through skylight.  Thunder and lightening.

 

W.7. – Ash Wednesday.  Very early this year.

 

Th. 8. – The almost incessant rain and wind since last summer, has brought down 18 feet of a cob wall near the back of the Old Chancel.  I can remember the wall since 1825 – 58 years!

 

Fri.9. – The central tower of Peterborough Cathedral is cracking and sinking.  They are taking it down as quickly as possible.

[insertion of Post Office telegram]

 

Sat. Feb.10. – Rain all night and nearly all day.  Wind SW to NW.  Mild.  Waves over the Esplanade into the town, and the low parts under water.

Twenty copies of my letter on the preservation of ancient ruins have been sent to me for distribution from the Society of Antiquaries of London.  It is printed in their Proceedings, vol. VIII.p.483, second series.

 

Tu.13. – A small Whale discovered among the Hook Ebb reef of rocks, a mile and a half eastward:  apparently not quite dead.  Sea too rough to tow home by boats.  By means of horses and ropes, it was dragged all the way to Sidmouth.  It was the Globicephalus melas, Bottle-nose Whale, or Pilot Whale.  Very peculiar round forehead.  Nearly 18 feet long.  The men made a tent with the sails of boats, and admitted the public for what they chose to give them.

 

W.14. – A deal of nonsense sent to girls to-day.

 

Th.15. – Went down and sketched the so-called whale to-day.

 

F.16. ­– The bronze statue of the Duke of Wellington on his horse at Hyde Park Corner, that I saw put there Sep.29.1848, is now taken down to put somewhere else.

 

S.17. – Mr. Willock, of Cotmaton House, in the garden, died suddenly of heart complaint.

 

M.19. – Mr. D’Urban, Curator of the Exeter Museum, and the Rev. J. Hellings, came to me about the whale. [see telegram]  I took them to the east end of the beach, where they examined it well.  Mr. D’Urban asked me to negotiate for the skeleton, for the Museum, limiting me to £5.

 

Tu.20. – “Supposing I could get you £3 for the bones of that whale, from one of the gentlemen who came down yesterday – wouldn’t you be very glad to get it?”  “Well, sir, there’s 13 of us part or joint owners, and ‘tis a dirty and a difficult job to take them out without breaking, and boil ‘em all.  Perhaps you could get us a trifle more?”

 

W.21. – “Will you untertake to get them all out carefully, without losing or cutting any, if I can get you £4?”

 

Th. 22. – “We have consulted together, sir, and shall be very glad of £4, and will do our best.” So that was a bargain.  The Board of Trade had laid claim to it, but eventually a message came down, to say it was not the species they reserved to themselves, and that the men could have it.  I never heard of this before.  In short, it is only within recent times that any claim to the foreshore has been set up at all.

 

M.26. – The whale being now given up, the men cut off the blubber, and sold it for ten shillings a cwt.  They then proceeded with the skeleton.

 

Sidmouth. Feb. Mar. 1883.

 

Tu. 27. Feb. 1883. – They continued all last night boiling the bones.  Not to keep them waiting, I paid them the £4.

 

Wed.28. – Mr. D’Urban sent me a cheque for £4.  The bones were packed in three hampers and sent in.  Wrote an article on the Whale for Lethaby’s Journal next month.

 

Th. March 1. – All the winter has been noted for gales of wind, and storms of mild rain.  To-day, the first of the new month, a dry north-easter has set in.

 

Tu.6. – Miss Venn of Payhembury, and her sister-in-law Mrs. J. Venn, surprised me with a visit.  They had an early tea with me before they took the train to return.  The name of Ven or Venn, I take to be a Devonshire pronunciation of the word Fen, a marshy place.  Ven Ottery is Fen Otri or Ottery in ancient documents, as I have often remarked.  John-o-the-fen, or John-by-the-fen, may have given name to a family.  Nigh-the-way occurs in old Sidmouth deeds, and in the north of Devon they have By-the-ford, for Bideford.

 

Th.8. – The north-east wind continues very strong and cutting, and a few flakes of snow are flying by.  The soaked ground however is drying, and the farmers and gardeners are busy working it for spring crops.   It is colder than we have had it all the winter, but as the sun is bright, it is beautiful weather.

 

Fri.9. – The title page here stuck in, [inserted]  I saved from the fragmentary remains of a copy of The Practice of Piety, dated 1661.  The name Conant exists among the fishing classes, but among the better formerly, for in the middle aisle of the p[ar]ish church, there is a slab with arms to that name.  [Oct.12.1875.]

 

W.14. – Mr. T.V. Holmes, of Crooms Hill, wrote to me to enquire whether there are any holes in the soil and strata here, like some near Blackheath?  and Mr. Spurrell, of Lessness, wrote a couple of months ago on the same subject.  Sent an answer, and made some sketches.  [My ms. Hist.I.18. dorsum.]

 

Fri.16. – Wind got to NW.  Fine, but cold.  Shower of snow.

The papers say that a terrible explosion took place last night just after nine, in a lower room of the Local Government Board, Downing Street.  Building much shattered:  glass all round the neighbourhood broken: nobody killed.  Soon after, at the Times office, another similar attempt was made.

 

Fri. Mar.23. – Good Friday.  Full moon at 6.5 P.M.  Fine, but very cold.  Lord Haldon died.  As Sir Lawrence Palk, M.P. he was often at Sidmouth.

 

Sat. 24. – The Queen slipped and fell on the carpet, and strained and hurt herself, and is obliged to keep quiet.

 

Sun. 25. – Easter Sunday. Very early this year.  I think the rule for Easter is this – The first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the 21st of March.

 

Th.29. – Very cold.  March has been the coldest month of all the winter.  The wind suddenly veered round to the south, and blew hard off the sea, with black clouds.

 

Fri. 30. – Hard rain all last night.  Much milder.

 

S.31. – Cold again, but fine.

 

Tu. Ap.3. – A warm current of air, feeling like summer.  58o in the shade.  Amused myself in the lawn, and painted some new palings.

 

W. Ap.4. – Fine and warm.  57o.

 

Th.5. – A cold cutting north-easter again.

 

M.16. – My servant Anne Newton told me a curious story about a Bear.  She said that her mother’s father John Carslake, kept the Turnpike Gate at Trow, near Slade, about the time of the Battle of Waterloo:  that Carslake had two or three daughters,  her mother being one: that her mother’s younger sister Elizabeth, who may have been 16 or 17 years old about the supposed period mentioned, went one day from the Turnpike or Toll Gate, down a trackway, across some fields, and by a sort of copse or wild district to the east of Knowle towards Harcombe, to see a relation living there.  I think I know the spot.  [sketch and map]  Some years ago, when enjoying a summer picknic at Knowle, we rambled out that way, and I have also been down one of the trackways from the tollgate side.  Going along by the copse, her attention was arrested by a growl and a sort of roar, such as one may hear by a wild beast show, and on turning round and looking at the bushes, she saw a bear moving.  She was dreadfully frightened, as there was no shelter or protection in the open field thro’ which she was passing, so she started off and ran with all her might, expecting that the animal would pursue her.  She succeeded however, in getting to Harcombe, and bursting into the cottage, fell on the floor in a fainting fit.  They were much alarmed, and on her recovering, she explained what she had seen.  Harcombe was soon in an uproar.  It had been rumoured that a bear had been lost by its keepers, or from some show at Sidmouth, and no one could find out what had become of it.  Report said that a party of Harcombe men, or others, shot it.

 

M. Ap.23. – After a day or two of mild weather, the wind has again got back to the NE, and blowing strong, with occasional showers:  two of the showers were of snow.  The Rev. Mr. Jenkinson, our Curate called.  He was six years among the natives in south Africa, and knows the Zulu language.  Also Mr. Sloper, from Taunton.

 

Tu. Ap. 24. – Never were Great Britain and Ireland in such a state as they are now.  Murders and acts of violence are rife, and no one knows where the next explosion of dynamite will take place.  It originated in Ireland, assisted by their disaffected countrymen in America, and has now been imported into England.  The wild declamations and impossible promises made by Mr. Gladstone three years ago, when he was canvassing in Midlothian, so excited men’s minds with false hopes, that now they are enraged against the present Ministry, because they cannot get all they were led to expect.  There is no other way of accounting for it.  The country was in a state of quietude and content after six years of Conservative rule.  Last Thursday the 19th was the second anniversary of the death of the great Conservative statesman and Prime Minister, the Earl of Beaconsfield, K.G. much honoured by the Queen.  A bronze statue of him was unveiled last Thursday by Sir Stafford Northcote with great ceremony opposite the Houses of Parliament.  It is said that the Earl was fond of the pale yellow primrose flower.  Anyhow, that flower has been adopted as a Badge by the Conservative party, and a great display of them has been of them made.  Many gentlemen of Sidmouth wore them in their button holes.

 

Wed.Ap.25. – I am told that the cuckoo was heard near Sidmouth on Friday last, and near Exeter on Saturday.  Also swallows, but I have not seen them.

 

S.28. – The Queen’s accident to her knee is better, though it mends but slowly.  [newspaper cutting attached]  It is 63 years and 4 months since she was an infant in arms in Sidmouth.

 

Tu. May 1. – May Day.  Cold easterly wind.  Emblems of Flora were not forgotten.  The children, as usual, brought about branches of trees having flowers hanging about them; and some were set off with little dolls tied among the opening leaves:  also also cards with bright pictures on them, and pieces of ribbon, to set them off.

 

W. 2. – Mrs. Mortimer, aged 71, came to be paid.  She told me an extraordinary story about her late mother, who lies in the cradle, as here represented in the annexed sketch, [sketch] with her right arm hanging out over.  The father and mother of the infant were called Newton, and they lived at Norman’s town, (so pronounced,) a hamlet at the bottom of Newtonpoppleford Hill, going from Sidmouth to N-p-ford (impossible to write that long word twice over), and a quarter of a mile south of the road at the bottom of the said hill, or about two-thirds of a mile south of Harpford.  One day, when the father was out at work, the mother went out of the cottage to fetch a “range”, or hair sieve, to sift or bolt some ground corn to make some bread, leaving her infant lying in its cradle in the kitchen.  She believes the door was shut when she went out, and that some neighbour went to the house in her absence, and omitted to fasten it.  Anyhow, a large sow or pig, wandering about the village, at last came to the door, and pushed it open with its snout, and walked round the kitchen.  Coming to the cradle, and finding the child’s hand and arm hanging out over, it bit off the arm half way between the wrist and the elbow, and munching it up in its mouth, walked out.  The mother took no notice of the pig as she returned, but coming to her own door, heard the baby crying violently.  She was in a state hard to describe on going in and discovering what had happened, and there was no small stir amongst the inhabitants when the particulars of this occurrence became known.   When the father came home, he was like a madman, and seizing a pick or pitchfork, ran about the village, to try and find and kill the pig.  Some of the neighbours shut it up, and it was afterwards taken into the country by some farmer.  The mother started off to Sidmouth, some three miles away, to seek some medical man, carrying the baby, and running nearly all the way.  Whether any part of the arm was further amputated by a Surgeon, so as to improve the end of the stump, is not now known.  For some time after this occurrence she had occasionally to take the child to Sidmouth, until the arm was well.  A brother of this child, but whether born before or after it I cannot learn, and baptized John, became eventually the father of my servant Anne Newton, and she has also told me the story.  The child recovered and lived to grow up, and married a man called Carslake.  She was brought to the occupation of a mantua maker and needlewoman, and was very clever at stay making.  Mrs. Mortimer tells me her mother used to handle her needle very rapidly and dexterously with her left hand, and steady her work with the stump of her right arm.  And as to a calculation: - Mrs. Mortimer being 71, and if her mother was 35 when she was born, the affair of the pig happened 71 and 35 years ago, together 106.  Take 106 from 1883, and we are carried back to the year 1777.  But there is nothing new under the sun; and very possibly similar things may have happened before, but never recorded.

 

Fri. May 4. – Twice within the past 3 or 4 weeks I have dined off cod’s head and shoulders.  From some part of the head I have come upon two peculiar bones, looking like pieces of beautiful white ivory, or enamel, or glazed china plate.  [sketch]  They had attracted my notice years ago.  Were they like the fabulous precious stones in the head of the toad?  I examined the head more carefully to-day, and the bones appear to be placed one on each side of the brain, inside the skull; and I am inclined to suspect that they have something to do with the internal ear, but this is only surmise.  They differ in size according to the size of the fish.  Those sketched above are rather large, for it was a good size fish.

 

M.7. – Received the annual Report of the Exeter Museum.  I see my exertions in getting the skeleton of the whale are alluded to, and also my gift of the Enhydrite.

[insertion of a page

 

Fri. 11. – The Rev. W. Downes, Curate of Kentisbeare, came over about some geological drawings which I am going to do for him.  They will be lithographed, and illustrate a paper for the next meeting of the Dev. Assoc. at Exmouth, in July.

 

Sat. 12. – The wind has got round to the south-west, and we hope the cutting north-easters are over, which have been blowing, with small intervals, ever since the first of March.  Such a dry cold spring is almost unprecedented.  There was snow in the northern counties even last week.

 

Sun. 13. – Whit-Sunday.  The north-easters have kept me in some time, as they now affect my throat and windpipe.  At the parish church this afternoon, when the Vicar, Mr. Clements, read prayers, assisted by Mr. Beebe, once our Curate, and Mr. Jenkins preached, now our duly engaged Curate.

 

M. 14. – Whit-Monday.  A general holiday.  I am sorry for it.  Those who can only enjoy cessation from labour by drunkenness, are better at work.  Dined at the Elms.

 

Tu. 13. – Finished and sent off the three diagrams for Mr. Downes.  Did some carpentering work at the back of the house during the morning.  If I had had to earn my bread by manual labour, I should like to have been a Carpenter.

Called on the Rev. Olmius Morgan, and looked at his engravings, of which he is a collector.  He shewed me an article in the Times, giving an account of an Art sale in London yesterday, when an etching, some 8 or 9 inches square was put up.  It had formerly changed hands for about £1100, but a Mr. Addington now bid on to £1500, but a M. Clemente, a Frenchman, bid £1510, and got it.  This was a much prised Rembrandt.

Called on Mr.  and Mrs. Ede at Lansdowne, and again examined their very pretty white marble statue of Venus. The annexed horrible outline [sketch] will give an idea of the attitude.  The figure is about 3 feet 6 high, and the pedestal nearly as much.  It was made in Rome near 40 years ago by Mr. Holme Cardwell, and exhibited at Manchester in 1857.  One of Mrs. Ede’s brothers, Mr. Openshaw, bought it:  and as he died recently, it has come by bequest to Mrs. Ede.  There is a small crack in the left instep, done probably by a jolt in travelling.  The price was £200.  The original model was destroyed by an inundation at Rome.

 

Sidmouth. May, June, 1883.

 

Fri. May 1. 1883. – The fishermen dredged up and brought ashore a star fish I have not often seen here.  Dr.Pullin shewed it to me, and said he was going to send it to the Exhibition of Fisheries, now open in London.  Sketching from recollection, it was something like what is in the margin. [sketch]

 

S. 19. – I have only recently been leaving off fires during the day, but the evenings are chilly, especially as I like to sit still and write till late.

 

Tu. 22. – Had masons on the roof of No. 4, repairing.  Got one of the masons to climb up the flagstaff at the Old Chancel, and put up the halliards again, for they broke and came down in the bad weather.

 

Th. 24. – The Queen’s Birthday.  The church bells rang, and I hoisted my Union Jack at my flagstaff.

 

S. 26. – Dr Gibbes, who went away to New Zealand 16 years ago, little more than a boy, came in, and I could not guess who he was.

 

M. 28. – We hear that the son of Major Walker of Radway, has shot himself at his lodgings in London.  Some ascribe it to domestic troubles.

 

Th. May 31. – At last, after fourteen months’ work, I have got to the end of my book of rather over 600 pages.  [See Dec. 14.]  I must now go over the whole of it again, and revise it, and improve, and re-write some parts which I can alter for the better, and this will probably take a month or more.  – This was Vol. 1. of the Diary and Letters of Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts.

 

Fri. June 1. – Mr. Clements, the Vicar, called, and had half an hour’s chat on parish affairs, and sundry other things.  Shewed him the MS. of my new book.  He told me his grandfather Colonel Clements, had a comand in America during the Revolutionary war.

 

S.2. – The evenings have grown chilly to one who sometimes sits still for four or five hours reading or writing, so that I have only now dispensed with fires entirely.

 

Sun. June 3. – An unfortunate man called Samuel Woodley, who lived at Woolbrook in this parish, committed suicide yesterday morning by cutting his throat in a field.  He has left eleven children.  He lost his wife four or five months ago; and some say he has suffered remorse at his ill treatment of her: and others add that some of his elder children have taunted him about it a good deal, until he lost all command over himself.

 

Mon. 11. – Frederick Smith, son of my late father’s groom, brought me a beautiful little fish to look at, of which the attempt in the margin gives but a wretched idea of the original, [sketch] & said it had been pulled up in a net along with others, but that none of the old fishermen knew what it was.  I could not tell him.  Its real length was double that of my sketch.  The fins and tail were so delicate and transparent that they were like glass.  The colour was a soft green, and the spots black.  It is in some degree like the fish at May 17, 1880, that being full size, and young.  I have only done the above from memory.  See another in Sketchbook, Vol. VI.  See May 17, 1882.

 

Tu. 12.­ – Had an afternoon tea at Miss Jenkins’s at Enfield Villas, her eldest niece being with her.  Met Mr. & Mrs. Geo. Buttemer, (her sister) and Miss Faucett.

 

Wed. 20. – The Queen’s Accession to the throne in 1837.  Had up my flag upon the Old Chancel.  The Rev. J.W. Wilkinson, Rector of Pen Selwood, Somerset, called.  We had a chat about the Pen Pits in his parish.  Gave him one of my papers on the Iron Pits of Blackdown.

Sent my servant Anne Newton to Budleigh.  Her sister’s husband called John Knowles is dangerously ill with bronchitis.  She went yesterday.

 

Fri. 22. – Dr. Brushfield, of Budleigh Salterton called, and we had a long talk about the Raleigh slab and its peculiarities in Budleigh Church.  We went to the Vicarage for the keys of the Parish Chest, to examine Deed 28 & 36, where the Raleghs take the tithe of fish – Vicar out – came back – Vicar followed us and brought keys – we went – examined Deeds – traced off three signatures of father and two sons, strange to say, all spelt differently.  Came back to Old Chancel.  Dr. B. left for Budleigh S.

 

Sidmouth. June 1883.

 

S.23. – Looking over Lyson’s Devonshire, Vol.VI.p.350., Note, I see he gives a few generations of the pedigree of Dr. Humphrey Hutchinson, Rector of Kenn, in this county, who was one of the translators of the authorised version of the Bible, I think *of the Greek part of the New Testament, of 1611.  I am not informed as to how Humphrey was descended from the great original stock of Yorkshire, given in the life of Col. Hutchinson of Owethorpe and of Nottingham, and from which all true Hutchinsons derive.  At the time he lived my branch was living at Alford in Lincolnshire, and in 1634 the eldest son William left that place for Boston in Massachusetts.  In the pedigree in Lysons, the last mentioned, was buried at Cullompton in 1728, but whether there are any descendants now living, I do not know.  I have been told that there was a monument with coat armour in Kenn church, but that, with the proverbial carelessness of our Rectors and Vicars and their Churchwardens, it was destroyed in or about 1850, when the church was “restored,” as the phrase is. The following is Lysons’ information, put in tabular form:

 

 

Dr. Humphrey Hutchinson,
Rector of Kenn,
Chaplain to Charles I.
Translator of the Bible.

=

.........

   

 

   
 

 

     

Dr. Wm. Hutchinson, D.D.
Rector of Kenn, Canon of
Exeter, and Chaplain to
King Charles II.

=

Frances Stuckley,
sister of
Sir Lewis Stuckley

   

 

   
 

 

     


John Hutchinson

=

Daughter of Wm. Longford

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eldest son, whose name is
not given in Lysons

   

John Hutchinson
of Cullompton.
His monument is
in the church. 1728.

 

 

Sun. 24. – Midsummer Day.  Rainy and chilly.  At the parish church.

 

Mon. 25. – At 1.40. P.M. the tremour of an earthquake was felt by the Edes at Lansdowne, the Mitchels at Audley, and others in Sidmouth, but not by me, so that both to-day and on previous occasions, I have been a little sceptical – see July 5.

 

W.27. – Wind got round to the SW.  Thick weather:  rain, mist.

 

Th. 28. – Thunder in the neighbourhood.  Rain all day.

 

Fri. 29. – Fine and warm.  Walked to Mr. Scrivens at Sid or Seed.

 

S.30. – A distant thunder storm passed up Channel between 8 & 9 P.M.

 

Sun. July 1. – At the parish church.  Remained to the Sacrament.

 

Mon. 2. – Hot.  Grass on the field between the Old Chancel and the church, and my field, cut to-day.  Both rented by Mr. Bolt my butcher.

 

Tu. 3. – Had the Old Chancel turned out and dusted, scrubbed, and put right for the summer.  Changed my bedroom, and went over the Hall.

 

W. 4. – Had the Oak Room turned out, dusted, cleaned, Turkey carpet taken out and beaten, (never get all the dust out of a Turkey carpet,) chimney swept, &c. &c.

 

Th. 5. – Poor John Knowles died yesterday morning at Budleigh.  The hay cut on Monday has all been housed by the evening in fine condition.  Beautiful weather.  The papers are full of accounts of the earthquake.  It seems to have been most strongly felt over the northern and western portions of the country.   I sent a notice of it to the Exeter Gazette, but described it at Sidmouth as having been “no great shakes.”

 

Fri.6. – Mr. W. Floyd and myself took a carriage and drove to Core Hill, invited to see the roses, Capt. Christy being a great rose cultivator.  Mrs. and Miss Clements from the Vicarage came:  Miss May Cornish, Mr. & Mrs. King, Mr. & Mrs. Scott, & Mrs. Burke.  Miss Steinman, his niece, gave us tea, cake, and strawberries, in the drawing room.

 

S.7. – A woman from Ottery called with wortle berries, 5d a quart.  They are now getting scarce, as the tops of the hills get brought under cultivation, so I had some, for they make a capital pie.  They also make a black mouth, but this can easily be removed  by washing it with any acid, as vinegar, lemon juice, or eating red currents.

I asked her about metheglin, the ancient British drink, afterwards called mead by the Saxons?  I told her I never tasted it but once, and that was at Cold Harbour, on the flank of Ottery East Hill.  She said the country people still made it when they strained off their honey, and still called it metheglin.  I asked her to bring me a bottle.

 

M. 9. – My servant returned from Budleigh. Walked again to Seed – as they call it.

 

W. 11. – Called on Mr. Mitchell of Audley, who, a few years ago, was made Rothsay Herald, and had half an hours chat on heraldic subjects:  on Mrs. Bremridge, Spring Gardens, where I met the Hon. Mrs. Addington and one of her daughters:  on General Cafe at Claremont, who shewed me several additions to his collection of pictures, china, bronzes, &c.:  on the Radfords at Sidmount, to return a book:  on Mrs. and Miss Joliffe at Woodlands, back again at the four-cross-way, where we chatted on the present dulness of Sidmouth:  and on the Miss Kennet Dawsons and the Hon. Mrs. Hobart at Powys.

 

July. 1883.

 

Fri. July 13. – One or two claps of thunder at a short distance.  The lightening has been very severe in the midland counties, killing several persons and destroying buildings.  Heavy thunder showers about, which have chilled the air.

 

M.16. – It is now discovered that the one Suez Canal is not enough for the enormous and constantly increasing trafic through that water way.  The amount of shipping passing through there belonging to England, is much greater than that of all other nations put together.  There is now a project afloat for making a second canal along side of it.

 

Tu. 17. – On May 31 I got to the end of my American book, and since then, being six weeks, amid many interruptions, I have gone over the whole, and made several corrections and alterations, and re-written some of the earlier parts.  But I am not yet satisfied.  I wrote my Hist. of Sidmouth three times over; and I am quite sure that every book ought to be passed three times through the sieve; and even then, another revision or two, would be sure to further improve style, phraseology, or arrangement, for the end of perfection is never attained.  I shall skim it over again, for I see several places where Notes and annotations can be advantageously added.

Went to the London Inn to the sale of a piece of land opposite Mill Street, (so recently called) on which some old cottages had stood.  [sketch map] The Local Board bought the cottages last year to pull down, in order to promote a street improvement, the road being narrow just at the turn.  They gave £575.  They have pulled down all the cottages, marked off a greater width for the street, and now offer the plot of land for anybody to build on.  There is about an 85 foot frontage.  People thought it might be worth from 2 to £300.  The biddings went up to £370.  We were told the plot had been bought to build a Chapel on, – a new Wesleian chapel.

A quantity of old brick and stone lying on the ground, was afterwards sold for £5.

 

Th. 19. – Mr. King, of Beach House, near the York Hotel, whom I met on the 6th only a fortnight ago, died suddenly this morning – suddenly to his friends, at all events.  He has been visibly failing for the last year or two.

 

Fri.20. – Cold rain all day, nearly.

 

Sat. 21. – At 10 AM. a hail storm, then a flash of lightening, then a clap of thunder, nearly all together.  The wind NW, and the storm going up Channel.

 

Sun. 22. – After church took a turn up the lanes, then out to the cliff above Peak House, and down by the edge of the cliff.  Every time I look at the cliffs after an interval, it is manifest to me that they are continually crumbling and falling away.

 

Tu. 24. – Had an early dinner with the Rev. Mrs. & Miss Beebe at Eaglehurst, near Cotmaton.  Mr. Bickerstaff of Cotmaton Old Hall was there.

 

W.25. – News arrived from America that the famous swimmer Cap. Webb, has been drowned (yesterday) in trying to swim through the whirlpool, four miles below Niagara Falls.   I visited this place.  – Aug. 4.

And news arrived from South Africa that the warlike Zulu chief called Cetewayo, or Ketch-wy-o, has been killed in battle, and on the 23rd. He was some weeks or months in England.  - Wounded, but not killed.  Since dead of heart disease.  About Jan. 1884.

 

Sat. 28. – Beautifully fine summer weather.

 

Sun. 29. – At the parish church.  Rev. R.T. Thornton preached.  He is a capital cricket player.  Wind shifted from NW to S, and blew hard, with rain.  Schooner lying off with coals dragged her anchors: parted her best cable, and held on by the worst:  hundreds of people on the beach in the rain & wind:  life Boat went out:  fortunately the wind shifted to the west, and she was saved.

 

Tu. 31. – Went to Exmouth to attend the meeting of the Devonshire Association, which meets this year at that place.  Took the circular silver sugar basin, that was my mother’s father’s, with the Parker and Hutchinson crests upon it, to Ellis and Co. the silversmiths, to have the P. &  H. arms engraved under the crests.  Ellis & Co. have just removed to their new house at the corner of High Street and Bedford Street, Exeter.  Got to Exmouth before two.  The Imperial was full, and I went to the Beacon Hotel.

 

W.Aug.1. – Attended the meetings all day, at the Imperial Hotel.  Dined at the Bank with Mr. Darke, formerly of Sidmouth.  Walked on the beach.  Went into the Battery:  three 32s converted into rifled for elongated shot, with inserted steel tubes.

 

Exmouth. Aug. 1883.

 

Th. Aug.2. – The reading of papers began at 10 this morning in the large room of the Imperial Hotel.  At one there was a splendid cold collation for the Members in the dining room.  The readings were over before four, when we went by invitation by Sir John Phear, to Marpool Park, formerly belonging to the Hull family, a very pretty place.  There was a flower show there too.  A shower of rain marred the beauties.  Returned.  In the evening fell in with some of the members, and we walked up and down chatting till nearly nine, on the Esplanade.

 

Fri. 3. – If I had been in a private lodging, I believe I should have stayed over Sunday, and amused myself with exploring the neighbourhood, but I much dislike living in a hotel.  They seem to want one to be always eating and drinking, and ordering meals, and especially consuming strong drink.  A hotel is very well for one evening, one night, and breakfast next morning, but beyond that it is a disagreeable place.  There is a perpetual smell of dinners all day long, and one can never feel quiet and private as one can in a lodging.  I decided therefore on returning home.  I took the rail at eleven, and went along by the banks of the river.  The tide was dead low, and extensive sand and mud banks everywhere, which are yearly increasing.   The estuaries of all our rivers are gradually filling up.  Before very long, these mud banks, by little and little, will be taken in, and converted into meadows.  Went to two or three shops in Exeter, and then took the rail for Sidmouth, where I arrived before three.

 

Sat. 4. – News arrived that the body of Captain Webb has been found in the river near Lewistown, with a bruise and a cut in the forehead.

 

Fri. 10. – Having for the third time made resolutions to visit some friends at Salcombe Regis, I went to-day.  As Mr. W. Floyd wished to see friends there, we hired a carriage and went together.  Called on the Rev. Baugh at the Vicarage:  the Morsheads at Sunny Bank, and on Mrs. and Miss Soulsby.   Returned down Salcombe Hill, and called on the Slingsbys at Salcombe Mount, en passant.

 

London.

 

Sat. Aug. 11. – Paged the MS of my book [July 17] all through, and a very tedious job it was.  I used red ink.  I have two sorts, Blackwood & Co.’s, which is now the best colour, and H. Morrell’s Red Ink, but which will endure longest, only time will shew.

 

Sun.12. – Parish church.  Had tea with Mr. Heineken.  After a severe illness for a man of 83, he seems to be gaining strength, and I hope his health may be soon re-established.    I did not know it was the last time I should see him.

 

M.13. – Went to London about my book, and put up at the Charing Cross Hotel, where I have been twice before.

 

Tu.14. – Called on one or two publishers, who however, had no agents in America.

 

W.15. – Called on Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 188 Fleet Street, who do business across the water, and are inclined to print.  Mr. Stirling, in England for the summer, asked me to come and lodge with him.   In one corner of the Reading Room at the Hotel, there is a very ingenious piece of mechanism in the form of an Electric Telegraph, that prints its own messages as they come in from different parts of the world.  Sometimes they are in cypher.  At first I thought it was some sort of clock with brass works.  It is comprised within a cube of about eight inches, and is fixed on a column, and is covered with a glass shade.  It is fed with a roll of paper in a strip or ribbon about an inch broad, which it delivers out by little by little as the words are printed.  I have stuck in a short piece [inserted] to shew the style of printing.

 

Th. 16. – Mr. Stirling and myself went to the Fisheries’ Exhibition at South Kensington, and then across the street to the museum.  I pointed out to him the Japanese steel Eagle that cost £1000, at which he opened his eyes.

 

Fri. 17. – I took the rail at London Bridge, and went down to Croydon – dirty and smokey, and a fine view of chimneys most of the way.  Went to see if there were any Hutchinson memorials in the church.  The greater part of the fabric was burnt down, and a few fragments of the tomb have the annexed coats of arms [sketches] sculptured on them, belonging to the names of Poole and Heron, with their quarterings.  The Governor, and 3 of his children, and I think one or two others of the name, were buried in the vault belonging to the Rev. Dr. Apthorpe, the Rector, an old American friend, somewhere in the body of the church; and when I was there before the fire, I read inscriptions to most of them cut on a slab on the floor, but I cannot now find the  spot, as the whole floor was laid with tiles, and the Sexton was absent.  The Governor never had a memorial, but I hope I may live to put up a Brass plate.  Mr. Stirling was with me.  The Sexton’s wife shewed us a handsome 4th volume, descriptive of the church.

 

Sat. Aug. 18. – Called on Mr. Dorrington, engraver on wood.  Went out after dark to look at some of the electric lights.  They are so dazzling that it does not do to look at them, and they throw a very dark shadow.  To counteract this, they ought to be as numerous as the gas lights.

 

Sun. 19. – At the nearest church in the morning.  At St. Paul’s in the afternoon.

 

M.20. – Went to Deptford by rail from London Bridge.  Thermometer 81.  Sought the Sexton of the old parish church, to examine the Register.   The Tower is very dilapidated – of Perpendicular date, if I remember rightly, to soft chalk rock, and condemned.  The church is an ugly modern brick affair.

 

Tu. 21. – Went by rail to Bengeo, to see my cousin Mrs. Oliver, d. of my father’s brother Thomas H.  I think she is 78.  Travelled via Hatfield, where I changed trains, and got a glimpse of Hatfield House, the Marquis of Salisbury’s, and then on to Hertford.  Walked half a mile to Bengeo.  I had not seen her for twelve years.  Took a stroll in the churchyard to read the names on the tombstones.  The country all the way, though divided into fields, looks somewhat park like, from having single trees dotted about – mostly oak and ash – but not of large size.  Got back before dark.

 

W.22. – Called on Miss Moore, formerly of Sidmouth, at corner of Hanover Sq. and Brook St.  All day fagging about in the heat.

 

Th. 23. – To Deptford again.  Went this time to St. Paul’s, one of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches apparently, where there is a Register, but the entry I sought not there.

After getting back to London Bridge, took the rail again and went to Sydenham, then Penge, Wandsworth, and by a circuit, round to Clapham Junction.  Walked over Clapham Common, called on a friend, who was out of town.  The Common is flat; but any expanse of grass, with trees in it, is always pretty.

 

Fri.24. – Signed an Agreement with Messrs. Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, of 188 Fleet St. to publish my book.  They have written to their agents, Messrs.Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, and I have also written to Dr. F.E. Oliver, of the same place, to get as many authentic English copies as possible introduced into that country.  Mr. Stirling was with me.

I went afterwards and made a sketch of Cleopatra’s Needle.

 

Sat. 25. – Took the “underground rail” at King’s Cross, and went out to Shepherds’ Bush, to seek a friend, but failed.  Telegram announcing Mr. Heineken’s death this morning.

 

Sun. 26. – Had a day of rest.  Fine dry weather, extremely hot.

 

M.27. – Went again to Bengeo, to see my cousin, whom I can scarcely ever hope to see again, our talk being mostly on family affairs.

 

Tu. 28. – Took rail at K. Cross for Gloucester Place, to call on some friends.

 

W.29. – Returned to Sidmouth.  Took the rail at 11.45, Mr. Stirling going with me to the Waterloo Station:  went on thro’ Basingstoke, Andover, Salisbury, Sherborne, Crewkerne, (which I once heard a woman in Sidmouth call Capricorn,) Axminster and Honiton, to Sidmouth Junction.  Got to the Old Chancel about 6.30.

 

Fri. Aug. 31. – Went into Exeter.  Saw my Banker.  Sent £100 to my publishers.  Was an hour in the Museum.  Paid Ellis & Co. £2..10..0, for engraving arms, being Hutchinson quartered with Foster and Sandford, (Sep.6. 1880),  and Parker of Harburn impaled with Collingwood, and brought the basin back.  After a spell of fine hot weather, the wind has changed to the south, with rain.

 

S.Sep.1. – Wind increased to a gale, with incessant rain all day.  Rattling of doors and windows, and roaring of wind in the chimneys, and thro’ the trees.  Difficult to sleep for the noise.

 

Sun.Sep.2. – Wind and rain moderating.  Got to the parish church.  The sea was so high yesterday that the waves were over the Esplanade, carrying sand and shingle into the Market Place.  About a peck of young pears shaken off the pear tree near the Old Chancel, [Oct. 20. 1881.] and the ground strewed with leaves and branches:  also a limb of a sycamore blown off up in the field:  also a tree at the Vicarage:  also one in the Station road, &c.

 

M.Sep.3. – The wind moderated and veered to NW.  Regatta at Sidmouth.  Fine sailing breeze.

 

W.5. – Marwood the Hangman or Public Executioner, died yesterday.  Report says he was proud of his office, considering himself as a respectable and highly important government officer.  When not hanging, he worked at his trade of a shoe-maker.  Ideas of respectability differ.

Went to the Knowle Hotel to see Mr. Tucker of Exeter, (Ellis, Depree, & Tucker) who is staying there, who broke his left leg so badly by slipping on the stairs when I was in London.  There he lies on his back with his leg in a sling, and cannot be moved.  Bad compound fracture above the ankle.

A few days ago Miss Catherine Kennet-Dawson, of Powys, was in the garden, and tripping over something, fell and dislocated her shoulder.  One doctor alone was not able to set it, and a delay of several hours occured in getting a second from Exeter.

 

S.8. – Corrected the two first sheets of The Diary and Letters of Thomas H.

 

Sun.9. – Rumours about the town that a man called Perriman was shot dead in a lane near Branscombe after dark yesterday evening.

 

M.10. – Dined at the Vicarage.  Vicar and wife, Mrs. Lindsay, a Lady and gentleman, and self.

 

Th. 13. – At the Acramans, at the Grove.  Afternoon party, Lawn tennis, music, tea and coffee.

 

Fri. 14. – Mr. Ed. Chick gave me two nice fish he had caught in the Sid.  One turned out to be a salmon from its firmness and colour, when boiled.

 

S. 15. – Walked out a mile, and called at Livonia, on Col. Currey, & Major Jenkins, and on Col. Darnell at Stanhope, and round Cemetery.

Curious to see how the gaie of Sep.1. has killed the leaves on one side of the trees.

 

Sun. 16. – A man called Cotterel, living up on Land, having too much parafin in a lamp, emptied the surplus into his fire.  In an instant a gremendous blaze rushed up the chimney and out at the top, putting the neighbourhood in an uproar, expecting the houses would be burnt.  It is hard to imagine how any man could have been so silly.

 

M.17. – Bookbinding all day.  Finished this vol. and some others.

 

Tu.18. – School Feast at the Vicarage.  Large number of children had tea on the Lawn, and then games in the field on the north side.  There were a good many gentry there.

 

W.19. – Strange indeed!  What facination can belong to the office of Hangman? [newspaper cutting attached]  & what can we think of the mind or the sensibilities of the person who can desire it? That 1200 people in England could apply for it is astonishing.  The applications have been made to the Home Secretary, but he has made it known that he has now power – it belongs to the Sherriff.  – See Oct. 8.

 

Th.20. – We learn that last Monday a girl who had not been in strong health, walked up the High Street to Mr. Wright, Surgeon, at Hillsdon, and rang the bell. She staggered and appeared to faint as the servant opened the door, and on being helped into the house she died.  They kept her there until after she had been put into her coffin.  Her name was Ellen Turner.  Her father was in the Volunteer Artillery with me.  Her grandfather was a barber, and told me he shaved the Duke of Kent two days before he died.  Her brother, a young painter, has been several days at work on my house No.4 Coburg T.

 

Tu.25. – Spent the evening at the Buttemer’s at The Elms.

 

W.26. – Having let No.4 Coburg Terrace to Mrs. Girdlestone, she came with two friends and two servants, and a quantity of furniture.

 

Fri. 28. – Wind and rain, being a sudden change in the fine weather.

 

S.29. – Gale of wind from the W veering N.  Chilly rain all day.  Fire.

 

Sun.30. – Finer, but cold.  Had a fire in the afternoon.

 

Mon.Oct.1. – Finer and warmer.  A fire in the afternoon.

 

Sidmouth. Oct. 1883.

 

Tu. Oct.2. – Somewhat finer, but autumn weather has come all at once.  Walked up to the Knowle Hotel to see Mr. Tucker. [Sep.5.]  There he lies still.

The murder of Perriman at Branscombe [Sep.9.] is still a mystery.  Three people, French, Dowell, and his sister Mrs. Williams, have been several times before the magistrates but at last discharged for want of sufficient evidence.

 

W.3. – I learn from America that a leading firm in Boston [Aug.24.] have now bespoken 250 copies of my book.

 

Th.4. – The map opposite, taking in a few miles round Sidmouth, I etched on copper some twenty years ago for one of the editions of my Sidmouth Guide.  I had forgotten its existence till I found it in a portfolio. [inserted]  I have recently been asked to write another little book about Sidmouth, to be circulated in the midland and northern counties, to make the place better known at a distance, to bring visitors down here.  I have just finished one, and have given it the startling and portentious title – “A History of Sidmouth from the Triassic period to the completion of those new buildings”

 

Sat.6. – The fishermen pulled up a large fish which had become entangled in their nets, and as the custom is with them, they had mounted it on a shutter upon wheels shewing it to the public.  [sketch]   They said it was the Thrasher.  I had heard of this fish but had never seen one.  It was 9 or 10 feel long altogether, the remarkable peculiarity being the length of the upper lobe of the tail.  Its eyes were unusually close to the snout:  the mouth underneath like a shark:  no gills, but 3 or 4 slits on each side of the head:  colour, a brownish gray:  no scales, but skin that felt smooth stroked downwards, but rough upwards.  The tail was near about as long as the body.  It is said to be one of the enemies of the whale, and that it thrashes violently with this tail, and that in conjunction with the swordfish, that pierces it, a whale is soon destroyed.  It looks like a cartilaginous fish, like a dog-fish.

 

Sun. Oct.7. 1883. – Parish church.  Frost last night:  Beautifully quiet sunshiny day.  Took a sauntering walk on the beach this afternoon at low water over to the Chit Rocks.  They would make a base for a stone pier to be run out on.  The new pier at Torquay, which I once measured [July 12, 1875] I think is 800 feet long, and 50 feet thick.  Measured the great oblong block of stone, 9½ x 4½ feet and nearly 3 out of the sand, being the foundation stone of the eastern pier of the Harbour projected in 1836, that came to grief:  looked with wonder at what Miss Rastrick has been building against the cliff opposite to the Chit Rocks, in stone walls to shore up the crumbling red rock, in towers and buttresses, and staircases, a boat-house, a flag-staff, &c., without any foremeditated design , (as she told me) and to allow her nephew Mr. Jemmet to go on and amuse himself in such strange and such expensive fancies.  And it is all destined to come down some day.

 

Mon.8. – Not a bad thing after all for those who like it.  [newspaper cutting attached about appointment of new hangman]  The Hangman is better paid than I was aware of. – See Oct.7. 1884.

 

Fri. Oct.12. – Went into Exeter to attend a meeting of the Domesday Book Committee.  Since the translators finished their portions, [         ]  they have not been able to see their way to compare, collate, and harmonise all these portions together, as they live so far apart in different parts of the country.  After much discussion, we at last decided on having a dozen copies of a part of the commencement of the Devonshire portion printed, and then circulated among the members for their consideration, as a preliminary step.  I think there are now 9 members of the Committee, and 7 attended.

Took this opportunity of carrying in and giving my Puttah or Gauntlet sword to the Exeter Museum, and four books to the Library.

At the Institution, Cathedral Yard, I was shewn a Bible of Milton’s, and on the fly leaf at the beginning were entries of the births of his children, &c., in his own hand.

 

Th. Oct. 18. – Changed my bedroom for the winter.

 

Sun. 21. – There are three services at the Parish church now; but the evening service, to please the summer visitors, will be discontinued soon.

 

M.22. – Men nearly finishing the new covering roof over the Oak Room.

 

W.24. – A short letter of mine in the Exeter Gazette this day last week, on the expression “Curse God and die,” which in some translations is more pleasantly rentered “Bless God and die,” (Job.2.9.) has elicited seven replies, three on the 18th and four on the 20th.  The translation wants revision.  And now four more on the 23rd!

 

Th. Nov.1. – The pears on my pear tree, near the front door of the Old Chancel, are now picked in, being a very late sort, so that my friends, the boys, cannot now steal them, (they are very friendly at this time of year) and my other friends the starlings cannot peck them.  On a late fig tree there were two or three figs remaining, which I went to seek, but some of these “friends” have walked off with them.  The experience of this life teaches one, that if one did not live always in an attitude of strict defence, one’s neighbours wd soon pick and steal everything, till they had left nothing but one’s bones.

 

S. Nov.3. – A boy has blown off his fingers, preparing for the Fifth, and I hear another has blown off his toes; and both taken to Exeter Hospital.

 

Sun.4. – Chilly and unpleasant day.

 

M.5. – The firework celebration was damped by rain, and little done.

 

Tu. 6. – The account of our Sidmouth  boys, I cut from the paper.  [attached]  Several accidents occurred in Exeter.

 

W.7. – Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd, and their cousins, some of the Horsfall family, having proved Mr. Heineken’s Will, are now in Sidmouth arranging the affairs – packing up what they mean to take away, distributing some of the things among friends, and probably there will be a sale of the rest.  Fossils, pebbles, MS. notes of our journeys sent to me.

 

Fri. 9. – Prince of Wales’s Birthday.  Had up the red ensign on the staff against the OMr. Sld Chancel.

 

M. Nov.12. – Executed a Codicil to my Will, made two years ago.

 

Tu. 13. – Come cold rather suddenly.  Wind NE.

 

W. 14. – Colder.  Very thin ice.  Accounts of severe cold in the north.

 

F. 16. – Wind changed to SW.  Rain.  Milder.

 

S. 17. – My Birthday.  I was born at Winchester Nov. 17. 1810, and baptised at Heavitree, near Exeter, Oct. 22. 1811.

 

M. 19. – I have had the first page of Governor Hutchinson’s Diary taken by photography for my book, and to-day I sent the glass negative up to London to be multiplied by the Woodburytype process.

 

Tu. 20. – Rev. T. & Mrs. Jenkinson had tea with me early, bringing their two youngest girls and their niece, as I had a large plum cake and some fine ripe pears in the house.

 

W. Nov.21. – As I had decyphered and translated some parts of Domesday Book, I have been asked to decypher the adjoining inscription.  [sketch]

 

Sat. 24. – Mr. Scrivens called in late this evening to say goodbye, London on Monday.

 

Sun. 24. – Mild but showery.  At the parish church, Mr. Jenkinson preached.  A heavy storm of rain came on, and for ten minutes nobody could hear a word that he said, owing to the pattering of the rain or hail on the zinc roof of the aisles.  This evening very wild, with the wind from the SW.  Thunder twice.

 

Th. 29. – At No. 3, Coburg Terrace, a sale of the effects of the late Mrs. Grainger, widow of the Vicar heretofore of Luppit, where I spent five guineas in furniture.

 

Fri. 30. – Mild and showery.

 

Sat. Dec. 1. – The herrings are now plenty all along the coast, and it is very pretty to see twenty boats launched, and sail away to the offing, where they let down their drift nets, and try to return home before midnight.  If the men have success this winter, I hope they will make a better use of their gains than they generally have done.  I am sick of their drunkenness, and other incorrigible vices.

 

Sidmouth. Dec. 1883.

 

Mon. Dec.3. – Corrected the press of the last sheet of my book.  There now remains only the Title-page, Preface, and Index.  An Index I have preferred to make, though rather a troublesome thing if one is not a little indoctrinated, but as I have made the Index to the Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the last dozen years, the thing comes easily enough.  A book in the present day is scarcely looked upon as complete without an Index.

 

Th. 6. – Wind north.  Very cold and cutting.  The fishermen say the bay is full of sprats as well as herrings, and great quantities have been brought on shore.  Herrings to the dealers to go to London, 18 pence a 100.  If this is true it is cheaper than I ever remember.  My cat and I had a sprat dinner.  Curious that cats are so fond of fish.

This afternoon or evening a man called Selley was out in a boat with two others off Ladram, when Selley died suddenly.  It is said that he was rowing hard, and being a fat man, over did it and was exhausted, and suddenly stopping and throwing up his arms, he gasped a few times and died.  I suppose his companions hurried to Ladram Bay, for there is no other place to land along that coast, and his body was carried to Otterton, where I conclude there will be an inquest.  Heart complaint and too much exertion, were probably the causes.

 

Fri. 7. – I have been talking to Mr. Pile, Ironmonger, Forestreet, who was one of those in the boat with the man Selley, (the other being Holwell, the Tailor), and he corroborates all the above.  Selley’s body has been brought to Sidmouth, and as the critical state of his health was known to medical men, and some of his friends, there will be no inquest.

 

Tu. 11. – For the past week or two occasionally, at sun-rise and sun-set, the sky has been suffused with a deep red or orange colour, without clouds, but beautifully clear.  Accounts from abroad report that the same appearances have presented themselves nearly all over the world.  The strangest and the most unlikely theories have been put forward by different people.

 

S. 13. Dec. – Corrected the Title-page, Preface, and Index of my book, and there ends my portion of the work.  It now remains with the Publishers to bind it and issue it forth.

 

Tu. Dec. 18. – And now, having finished from my rough notes a fair copy of the Index for this year’s volume of the Transactions of the Devonshire Association, I sent it off to the Secretary.  I don’t know when I have had my hands so full of writing, as the last couple of years.  I shall be glad of some relaxation.

 

Fri. – Shortest day.  I see however, by the Almanac, that the sun, instead of at once beginning to rise earlier tomorrow, in reality, begins to rise later and later on to nearly the end of the year, to the amount of three minutes; but what it loses in the morning it gains in the afternoon, as the sun is slower in going down.

 

Sat. 22. ­– Sat up late.  Dipping into that curious old book – The Nauigations, Peregrinations, and Voyages, made into Turkie, by Nicholas Nicholay Daulphinois, Lord of Arfeuile,&c, the English translation being dated in 1585, I read on until nearly one o’clock.  No severity that it could be used now-a-days in driving the Turks out of Europe could exceed the barbarities they were guilty of when they took Constantinople.

 

Mon. 24. – Copied, or finished copying, my sketches of the details in Sidbury church, taken July 16, 1880, and in my Sketchbook, and sent them up to London to Mr. Scrivens, who is much interested in them.

 

Tu. 25. – Christmas Day.  Mild, with such a dense fog as I never saw here before.

 

Wed. 26. – Some short time since a photograph of a decayed board was shewn to me, which had been found behind some old paneling in a house in Ottery.  [sketch]  It was secured by Mr. Brand, the Dentist of the Cathedral Yard, Exeter, who buys up all kinds of curiosities, and has a house full, and I have seen it in the papers, or I was informed at the time, that he had presented it to the Dental Hospital in Leicester Square, London.   It is well known that Barbers formerly combined the practice of bleeding and drawing teeth with shaving; but for a glazier to combine these arts with glazing windows, is something new.  Perhaps BuckeLs is Buckets.

 

Th. Dec. 27. – The “conchoidal fracture” in a flint – for the flint, amongst stones, seems to be the most given to it – does not occur often.  Perhaps when a man hits a flint with a hammer, it does not occur once in a 1000 times, and when it does, it occurs by accident.  Possibly, study and practice might enable a man to do it on purpose.  I have had several specimens of conchoidal fracture at different times in my possession, but the one I here sketch was among the fossils and things of Mr. Heineken, wch have been given to me.  [sketch]  When a man takes a hammer, as at A, and strikes it perpendicularly down upon a flint pebble, he generally breaks it in half; but it happens once in 1000 or 10,000 times, that instead of so breaking the flint, all the splinters fly off all round, and leaving a well formed cone, with the point of it under the hammer head.  I think I remember seeing a man do it, who was cracking stones by the road side, and he was quite as much surprised as I was at what he had done, and was unable to do it again.

 

Fri. Dec. 28. – If the whims and fancies of our imaginations are sometimes absurd during our waking hours, of a truth they are still more so during sleep.  I am a steady quiet sleeper, do not dream often, and when I do, my dreams are pleasant enough.  I awoke with a vivid picture in my mind, and I have tried to sketch it faithfully. [sketch]  I saw a steamer on a calm sea, with only a slight undulation passing along, which made her rock a little, and she was gracefully and slowly sidleing towards a perpendicular cliff or precipice of still water, - sidleing as we sometimes see a ship do when she is being “warped” gently up to a wharf: and when her quarter, or hinder portion, came near the edge of the precipice, a man and a woman got up on the bulworks, and bending down, they went over head first, as a man makes a “header” when he dives off a boat into the sea.  I saw them shoot down like two arrows, clear of the perpendicular cliff of still water, and as plainly as I have tried here to put them in my sketch, with their hands before their heads:  and when they got to the bottom, they plunged head first into a great tank of water with an immense splash.  On my asking some by-stander why they did so? I was told it was “to break their fall;”  and I was quite satisfied, as the answer seemed so reasonable.  They then got out of the tank looking like drowned rats: and as the woman held her head forward, as I have drawn her, I saw her long hair dripping with wet.

In trying to account for such an extraordinary flight of fancy, I am inclined to think it was a mixture of the Falls of Niagara, and of Beacon Hill, Exmouth, for there were trees and houses and the foot of the hill or precipice near the tank, and I was staying in the Beacon Hotel last July.  As to the steamer, and the people jumping over – that is beyond my explanation.

 

Sat. Dec. 29. 1883. – The beautiful crimson and orange skies alluded to on the eleventh, still shew themselves occasionally.

 

Sun. Dec. 30. – The Vicar alluded to the unusual effect of the glowing skies in his sermon, but though it astonishes some people, and frightens others, as there is nothing new under the sun, the same, I dare say, has heretofore appeared to our ancestors.

 

Mon. Dec. 31. 1883. – The last day of the year.  So far as we have gone, we have had an unusually mild winter.  It is the custom here for the church ringers to ring out the old year, and ring in the new – a custom that prevails in most parishes.  It is only within the last few years that they have adopted the plan of muffling the clappers of the bells on one side, as is usual to do after the death of one of the ringers.  This has a very solemn effect if it is well done, and the bells thoroughly and sufficiently muffled; but they were to night not muffled enough, so that a faint stroke was audible, whereas there ought to be only a vibration.

[sketch]

[sketch]

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'In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson' outputs

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In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson (2010-2013) has been delivered by the East Devon AONB Partnership on behalf of and with the financial support of Defra, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (Your Heritage) and the Sid Vale Association's Keith Owen Trust Fund.

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