POH Transcripts - 1884

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Tu. Jan. 1. 1884. – The first day began by ringing a peal of unmuffled bells soon after midnight, and then all decent people went to bed.

Fri. 4. – A move has been made to form another Volunteer corps here, the former one, which was Artillery, having at last been disbanded because there were no gentlemen in the place who would be commissioned officers. That is the difficulty in a small place like Sidmouth, where the residents are always coming and going. This time it will be a Rifle Corps in connection with Ottery. From my knowledge of the former, I am not without some misgivings in respect to the present. A commencement was made to-day by swearing in nearly 60 young men, as an adjunct to the 3rd Devon R.V.

W. 9. – Finished carving, in intaglio reversed, a stamp about three inches square, of the Duke of Edinburgh’s coat of arms, to stamp his cream cheeses, made and sent up by Mr. Harris, near All Saints Church, who was some time ago appointed Dairyman to his Royal Highness. Mr. Harris is in extacies. He sent me a few dozen apples, in recognitionem.

Fri. 11. – Burial Board meeting. Little to do now everything is in working order. All the members present, e.g.:- Rev. Clements, Hicks, Kennet-Were, Rev. Thornton, Dr. Pullin, Avery, Lethaby, and self. Mr. Radford, the Clerk. Dr. Pullin told us a story about a cremation operaton where he had recently been. People in the present day, being mad for novelties, are taking up burning the dead, and furnaces are constructed for the purpose. Some think it Pagan; others recoil from the idea; some recommend it on sanitary grounds; while others point to several recent cases, where buried bodies have been exhumed, and murders by poisoning discovered and proved.

Sidmouth. Jan. 1884.

Th. Jan. 17. – The herring season is nearly over. It has been very good, and selling in Sidmouth by retail at sixpence a dozen. Had two for breakfast. My black tom-cat Robert was made to share them with me. Curious, how fond cats are of fish, though they dislike water, or wetting their feet, yet they all do love fish.

Fri. 18. – Barnum, the American showman has procured a white Elephant in Siam. It has arrived in England, and yesterday was put in the Zoological Gardens, where it will be shewn, and next summer it is to be taken to America. Some say it cost £1000, and others all sorts of sums up to £40.000. Some say all nonsense.

S. 19. – The Conservatives of Exeter opened the Constitutional Club in Bedford Street on Thursday, and they have had a series of political demonstrations last most of the week.

Th. 24. – Called at the Vicarage. Found Mr. Clements reading the naval career of Admiral Markham on the coast of America, by Mr. Clements Markham. Went up into the former Schoolroom, where found Miss Quin, and Miss Markham, on a visit. Told the latter I would make an exchange with her father, and give him a copy of my book if he will give me a copy of his.

S. 26. – Violent gale of wind from the west. Much damage done. Trees blown down and houses injured. My chimneys stand firm. Many vessels wrecked.

Sun. 27. – First winter day in this very mild winter. Wind strong, but not like yesterday. Colder, with showers of snow and sleet, but not enough of either to lie on the ground.

W. 30. – Mild and damp again. Curious circumstance! I was talking to Mr. Richard Kennet-Dawson about the beautiful glowing sunsets we have lately had. He told me the most striking thing he ever saw, was a column of light that rose up above the sun after it had set. I said I once saw the same thing over Bulverton Hill, here at Sidmouth. He was in Scotland for salmon fishing, right away on the north coast on the Pentland Firth, near 600 miles away. He had forgotten the date: it might be 12 or 15 years ago, and in the spring time, and he was on the hills above the Kyle of Tongue.

I observed, that I entered the circumstance in my Diary at the time, with sketches of the unusual appearance, and I would refer back.

In the afternoon I took the third vol. of my Diary to Powys, the residence of the Kennet-Dawsons, and on my opening it where the representation is, he exclaimed, “That’s it” That’s what I saw!” This is under date April 4, 1871, nearly thirteen years ago. Considering the distance, it is curious he should have seen it at the same moment I did. It was at about 40 minutes after six in the evening.

The Miss Kennet-Dawsons shewed me a beautiful ebony Cabinet and its contents, that had belonged, more than a century ago to Mr. Kennet, and to his daughter Miss Kennet, who first married Mr. Astell, and secondly Mr. Thomas Pownall, who was Governor of Massachusetts before my great-grandfather, and who is often mentioned in my new book. A fine old gold watch, with a splendid case embossed all over: large antique shoe buckles: rings, brooches, &c., of garnets, pearls, diamonds, &c.: foreign lace: and a secret drawer full of English and foreign gold and silver coins. Amongst the coins were several bent in two opposite directions, according to a custom between engaged persons in a past age, or plighted to each other, as I have heard say, though I do not know whether this is so. [sketch] I have heard somewhere, though I forget where, that when two young folks got engaged, the man would bend the edge of the coin in one way, and the woman the opposite edge in the other, thus making a zig-zag, as in the coin in the margin, and then this was kept as a token of their engagement. Such old coins are not uncommon. I have dug them up in the garden. Usually they are copper, though sometimes silver, very rarely gold. Some people keep them as being lucky.

Sidmouth. Feb. 1884.

Feb. 1. – Received four copies of the Diary and Letters of Thomas Hutchinson, from the publishers Messrs. Sampson Low, Marston, and co. of 188 Fleet Street, all finished and complete. It has been kept back some little time in order to allow the 250 copies bespoken by the Americans to arrive out there. Gave Mr. Richard Lethaby, Bookseller here a copy. He has known my operations all through, and printed the first draft of my Prospectus.

S. Feb. 2. – Finished reading a little book of 88 pages recently published by Elliot Stock of 62 Paternoster Row, and bound in blue cloth, being a kind of Drama in blank verse by J. Antisell Allen, and purporting to be the love story of the Regicide and his fiancée, before they were married. It is entitled – The True and Romantic Love Story of Colonel and Mrs. Hutchinson. As far as I have been able to find out, that couple have now no representatives living. I have met with one or two Hutchinsons who claimed to be so, and perhaps they took up the idea for want of an ancestor, and then cherished the notion until they thought it was true. On asking them however to explain the line of descent, I soon saw that they knew nothing at all about it.

This afternoon a fire broke out at No. 1 Eaglehurst, up the lane towards the hamlet of Cotmaton, the residence of the Rev. and Mrs. Beebe. It was in the upper part, and is supposed to have originated in some lighted soot lodging on some woodwork. The engine went up, but I believe there was no need of its services, as it was soon put out without much trouble: and as usual, there was no water for the engine.

Tu. Feb. 5. – Parliament meets to-day. Great party struggles are expected.

Wed. 6. – Gave one of my new books to the Free Library of the Exeter Museum.

Th. 7. – For the last two or three weeks there has been a comet visible – so report says. I have not had a glimpse of it.

Fri. 8. – The Rev. Olmius Morgan has bought No. 3. Coburg Terrace of Mr. Alexander, being next to my house No. 4.

Sat. Feb. 9 – I have been rather startled that i have four great-grandfathers and four great-grandmothers, but no mother-in-law. I have now recovered my first alarm by finding that everyone else is in the same predicament. I have told three or four of my friends how they are situated, but they deny it almost indignantly, or, at all events very positively – and yet, what is the harm in having any amount of them? If people are averse to believe words, I beg to submit the annexed scheme to them [diagram] for their consideration. They seem to forget that there is a mother’s side to the tree as well as a father’s side; and it is this that doubles the number of ancestors.

Tu. 12. – That troublesome Atheist Bradlaugh has again tried to take his seat in the H. of Commons last night. He went through the form of taking the oath, amid a great deal of noise and confusion, and then went and voted: but the sense of the House was soon taken upon these irregular proceedings. It was voted by a majority of 113 that he be not allowed to take the oath: that his vote be expunged, by 258 to 161 – majority 97: and that he be excluded from the House, by 228 to 120 – majority 108.

Fri. 22. – My book, in reality, was not published, or issued to the public till to-day, although some private copies have been sent to me and my cousins a week or two ago. They have been kept back until the American consignment had arrived out in Boston, Massachusetts.

M. 25. – Sir Henry Brand, after having been for twelve years Speaker of the House of Commons, took leave of the House to-night, when votes of thanks were passed. He is to be made Viscount Hampden.

Tu. 26. – Mr. Arthur Wellesley Peel was to-day elected the new Speaker, with what I suppose are the usual ceremonies.

Sidmouth, March 1884.

Friday, Feb. 29. – Major Hicks, of the Marino, was thrown out of his light carriage, a little below his own gate on the 14th. He was coming up the hill when a wagon was going down, when, to avoid it he was turned over, thrown out, and his leg broken. He was taken home and attended to, but after a week or so it appeared that he had received some internal injury, and this morning he died. – Buried in the Cemetery March 6.

March 3. – After an interval of more years than I could now enumerate, I took out of my book-case an old vol. of Paradise Lost, which was my father’s, and which I remember from my childhood. The date is 1754. There is a strangely designed and badly engraved picture at the beginning of each of the XII Books. They used to amuse me in my childhood days. They do now. They were engraved by J. McLean, T.P., and T. Finn; and a badly executed portrait of Milton at the beginning of the vol. is signed G.B.sc.1756. On the fly-leaf my father has written A. Hutchinson, M.D., F.R.S., &c., Aul.Div.Cath.Cantabrig.1799. I read the argument at the beginning of each book all through, to rub up my memory, and read a good deal in various places. In many parts the dialogues are perhaps too long and verbose, and hence a little heavy; but there are some passages to be commended for force and conciseness, as where Eve eats the fruit, in Book IX. line 780, &c. Where Adam eats it, IX. 966, and the subsequent effect on both, is masterly. There is a common notion, pretty generally spread over the Christian world, that the fruit was the apple, but in reality, there is no foundation for such a belief whatever. It probably originated during the middle ages. The Fig tree, with the leaves of which they made aprons, Milton describes as having been the Banian tree, whose branches thrown down shoots which take root. IX.1101. I remark that the spelling of the names of most of the Angels, who take so prominent a part, commonly ends in el, as Zophiel, Raphael, Michael, Abdiel, Uriel, Muriel, &c. Gabriel. I should like to see them in Hebrew, and analyse their derivations. The subject of the poem is of course a difficult one, and gives rise to many incongruities. For a man of earth to attempt to describe Heavenly scenes, is adventurous, if not presumptuous. In describing Heaven, and what takes place in Heaven, he deals largely in comparisons; and the comparisons of course refer to objects on this earth with which we are familiar. It may however be said that the same plan appears in the Revelation of St. John, where it is likely Milton got some of his ideas. And in the Bottomless Pit, he ascribes the invention of gun-powder and artillery to the Devil and his associates, who dig sulphur and saltpetre out of the ground or soil – whatever the soil may have been. We must take it all as figurative, for the purpose of conveying the idea. I am not always satisfied with the language. It is naturally lofty, to suit the subject; but it is sometimes grandiloquent, and thereby wanting in clearness, and I would rather not see abbreviations, used for the purposes of making the verses scan, as – th’umble shrub, and th’infinitely Good, and This woman whom thou mad’st, and gav’st me, and t’whom in Heav’n, and in another place, By pray’r th’offended Deity t’appease, &c. Shakspere does this, but generally in more familiar parlance. Some say that these elisions are of no consequence where the sentiment is poetic and the ideas elevated: but in reply to this I would ask – Why are these apostrophes and contractions made use of? Surely they are blemishes, and the appearance of them unpleasing to the eye: and if they are put there to make the verse scan, surely the verse would read smoother and better if a different set of words had been employed that needed no abbreviations. The very use of them proves that something was defective, or at all events wanting. But even where there are no abbreviations, the rhythm or scanning is a great deal departed from. Is this done for the sake of variety? And is not the allowable spondee of two long syllables at the beginning of a line, occasionally and judiciously thrown in, together with now and then a full stop in the middle of a line, by way of break, quite variety enough? And it appears to me somewhat incongruous, and a little unpleasant, sometimes to find the Gods and Goddesses of the Greek and Roman Mythology mixed up with the orthodox Christian hierarchy of Heaven. But in a work of such a singular nature, perhaps incongruities were hard to avoid. Take it all in all it is a great performance, and it will endure as long as the English language lasts, whatever objections may be raised against some parts of it. Milton was 59 when he finished it.

Descending from lofty blank verse down the back stairs into the back yard, I pulled the old decayed tap out of the water-butt, and taking a broom and stirring up the water, which came out black, stood clear of the mighty rush. When all this had well ran out, I put in a new wooden tap, and as the day was rainy, the reservoir began to fill again very soon. Life is made up of contrasts.

Tu. Mar. 4. – Made a simple Hydrogrometer with the beard of the wild oat, or Avena stirilis, which grows about this neighbourhood. The singular beard consists of two spikes, about or nearly an inch and a half long, twisted like a bit of twine, and these twist and untwist according as the atmosphere is wet or dry: and then the spike bends to a right angle, and runs on for an inch and a half more, and thins away to nothing. I took a round box about three inches high in diameter and two high – fixed some bits of wood inside to carry a cork – made a round hole in the top – took a spike and part of the seed, and pushed the lower end in the cork with a little glue, and allowed the top end to come out through the hole in the top of the box, which I marked off like a dial plate, writing WET on one side, and DRY on the other. The thin half, bent at a right angle, revolved round this dial plate, like the hand of a watch: and this kind of Hygrometer is sufficiently sensitive to indicate the changes in the weather; and if it is on the dry side in a room where there is a fire, the hand will go over to the wet side if the box is removed into a room where there is no fire.

The stalk of the little moss called Funaria hygrometrica, common here about, possesses the same peculiarity on the change of weather. [sketch] Some twenty years ago I made a small hygrometer with a stalk of it, using an empty pill box: but I found its action more uncertain and irregular than the wild oat, and it was too small and fragile to be manageable.

W. 5. – There was a Confirmation yesterday at Budleigh, and afterwards at Otterton. The ground west of Otterton lies low by the river Otter, and the recent rains put it three feet under water from Otterton Bridge half way to Bicton Cross. They got a wagon and horses, and taking up the Bishop and his clergy, waded through to Otterton, and then back again.

Th. 6. – The recent storms and gales of wind have caused the sea beach to yield up its rich treasures. [sketch] A boy found the top object in the margin. It is solid gold, and weighs nearly a sovereign and a half. It has markings on it like the knots on a branch. Each end is smooth. Perhaps it was part of some ornament. Bought by Mr. Uglow, Watchmaker, where I saw it. Also three silver oval discs about as thick as a sixpence, with a loose rivet at A. They had been offered to me, but I did not buy them, but I bought a silver sixpence of King George II, bearing date 1757, found Feb. 15. Also, an old half crown was found on the same day, and sold for 3/6.

Sat. 8. – A girl called Dean brought me a box which she said her brother had picked up on the beach, and a sketch of which is given in the margin of its exact size. [sketch] The sides are brass or copper gilt, and much worn, and the hinge injured. The top is a thick slice of semi transparent calcedony, bevelled edges and polished: and the bottom is of opaque agate apparently. She was glad to get a shilling for it. I have now been shewn a similar one, half as large again, and fitted up as a match box. Such boxes are made in Germany, and sell for three to four shillings.

M. 10. – The Bishop came and held a Confirmation at Sidmouth. No mishaps, but I hear that the floods in the river Sid have washed away the weir in the Salcombe Fields.

Tu. 11. – Had an early dinner with the Rev. and Mrs. Beebe and family and one of the Miss Gardiners, formerly of Harpford and Dawlish, at Eaglehurst.

Fri. 14. – Attended a Meeting of the Burial Board, chiefly to make up the accounts. A vote of condolence passed to send to Mrs. Hicks, having lost Major Hicks, one of our Members, by being turned over in his carriage, and broke one leg, but died after a fortnight from some internal injury, though rather uncertain what it was.

Sat. 15. – Wind gone to north-east, gentle, sky clear, sun hot, beautiful. Went to the Salcombe Fields to see the damage. From a sketch I have I see that the weir was entirely washed away by a flood in December 1852. Men were now engaged in placing long and large balks of deal one upon top of another, all across the river. Some said it would cost £100. This must take profits out of the Mill to a serious extent, for the weir is quite washed away.

Sun. 16. – Same beautiful weather. Wind coldish, sun extremely hot. A stranger assisted at church – Mr. Fairfax from Lincolnshire – as the Vicar is away.

Mon. March 17. – The House of Commons met on Saturday afternoon, and sat all night, until nearly six o’clock on Sunday morning, and went home in broad daylight. There was also a Cabinet Council on Sunday. These things were most unusual. They were brought about by a great complication in which our present Ministry find themselves in Egypt, owing to our patronage of the Suez Canal, and sundry political struggles at home.

Th. 20. – Had a new glass put to the old coat of arms on vellum, and had the gilt frame cleaned of the miniature in oils of Sir William Parker of Harburn, Bart.

Fri. 21. – Miss Osborne, now residing at Parkstone, near Poole, and the lady she lives with, both surprised me with a visit this morning. Whilst making a little tour, they arrived here yesterday, and are off again this afternoon.

Sun. 23. – At the parish church. Mr. Jenkinson the Curate, assisted by the stranger, in a long black petticoat down to his heels, looking like a Roman Catholic priest. Such clergy are doing their best to pull the church to pieces and get it disestablished. What with the like inside, and the Dissenters outside, the fabric cannot stand long. There is no enemy so dangerous, as an enemy inside the camp.

Th. 27. – The same happened to-day, as happened on the 30th March 1876. A cock chaffinch came thump against the same window. On going out and looking about, there it was, looking very bad though standing on its legs. Perhaps it was only stunned, and no bones broken. Rather than be picked up it made an effort and flew into a tree, so it will probably recover. – Mar. 30. 1876.

Sat. Mar. 29. – Telegrams have arrived from Cannes announcing that the Duke of Albany, the Queen’s fourth and youngest son, died early yesterday morning. He was born in 1853, and though always in delicate health, he married in 1882, his consort being now at Clermont with an infant daughter. He had been at a Bachelors’ Ball at Nice on Monday: and on Thursday afternoon about 5 o’clock he was sitting on a chair at the Cercle Nautique at Cannes, witnessing an entertainment, when he fell from his chair, and was carried to the Villa Nevada, the residence of Captain Perceval, where he died. He will be brought to England for interment.

Sidmouth. Ap. 1884.

Tu. Ap.1. – People are becoming so well bred, that the old custom on this day of making their neighbours “April Fool”, is falling much into disuetude.

W. 2. – Later accounts say that the young prince slipped and fell as he was going up stairs at the Cercle Nautique, and not as said before. He hurt himself, and was taken to Captain Perceval’s. He seems to have died of a weak heart, and apoplexy. His young wife, who is a sister of the present Queen of Holland, is at Clermont. She has one young child, and is expecting another. The Prince of Wales has gone to bring him home.

Sat. 5. – He was brought through France to Cherbourg, where two royal yachts were in readiness to bring him to Portsmouth. He was interred with great pomp to-day at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Tu. 8. – Took a walk up the Salcombe Fields to look at the new weir. There are five great square balks of deal all across the river, and another not in place, and a pretty cascade of water falling all over them. The owner of the Mill, Mr. Hooke, and the tenant, Mr. Harris, I am told, share the expense between them. I have been told by Mr. Richard Stone, now 83, that his late father, many years ago had the Mill, and built a stone weir across the river which cost him £200, and the next year it was all washed away.

The Mill was built about 1801. The original Mill had been up in the High Street, nearly opposite the Unitarian Chapel, but latterly there was not enough water for it. It was fed from a stream coming down the Exeter road from the hamlet of Woolbrook, and, as some think, by another stream from Cotmaton, now diverted, coming down by the side of Mill Lane, now called All Saints Road. These streams are now turned into the sewers.

In company with Mr. Edward Chick, went on to Sid or Seed, to his orchard and garden. Among the trees in the garden he shewed me a tree that had a peg or plug about as thick as my thumb driven through the trunk about three feet from the ground, as in the sketch. [sketches] It was an apple or a cherry tree, I think a cherry. He said the tree was given to come out into blossom rather too early in the spring, by which the blossoms got cut off by the frost and the fruit lost. The gardener adopted this plan, and it is said that the plug or peg through the trunk has the effect of retarding or delaying, or keeping back the rising of the sap and the formation of the blossoms until the frosts are over. I think I have heard of this plan, but never saw it before. They generally cut the peg off level; but, as he said playfully, he allowed it to remain, so that he could hang up his hat or his coat if he were at work. Yellow primroses were growing very abundantly, and at one part of the southern side they were a beautiful pink. He took up a root in a ball of earth, and we brought it back, and I planted it at the Old Chancel. He had tea and conversation with me. – They came out pink the following year.

Sat. Ap. 12. – Our young Volunteer Company is going on very well. They were drilling this evening in Great Blackmore Field, close to the Old Chancel, and I went out to have a look at them. They have the town Brass Band, which is no great things, to regulate their marching. They went through their movements very creditably, all things considered.

Sun. 13. – Easter Sunday. Fine weather, but cold north-east wind.

Mon. 14. – Sidmouth spring Fair.

Wed. 16. – The Queen gone to the continent for a change. First to Flushing, then to Darmstadt.

Sat. 19. – Anniversary of the death of the Earl of Beaconsfield. It is said he was fond of or admired, the Primrose, and so the Conservatives, his followers, have adopted that flower as a Badge, and wear it in their button-holes. He was a truly great statesman, without any fuss, mob oratory, chicanery, sophistry, or something worse, and as a gentleman, and a man of honour and principle, as far above Mr. Gladstone, our Present Prime Minister, as Heaven is above the earth – or the place below it.

About this date we are generally beginning to look out for the cuckoo, and the first swallow; but though fine, the weather is extremely cold. For the last ten days we have had a dry steady north-east wind, “enough to cut a snipe in two,” but a fine hot sun, and enjoyable for the young and hardy. It is very cold at night, and I am told there was ice this morning. It feels as cold as any time during the past winter. The young potatoe plants, which were above ground, are all cut back, and the new shoots of the ivy about my premises are black and dead. Still, the weather is beautiful in the daytime.

W. April 23. 1884. – The cuckoo, I am told, has been heard at Branscombe. The papers announce that a very severe earthquake took place yesterday morning about twenty minutes after nine. The occurrence of 225 earthquakes, more or less severe, are on record in this country. Any so severe as this are very rare in England. It occurred all over the counties of Suffolk and Essex, and was felt on the south side of the Thames. It was also felt over most parts of London east of St. Martin’s Lane. The severest disturbance was at Colchester, and the villages lying within six or eight miles of it. At Colchester about 20 feet of the steeple of the Congregational Church in Lion Walk were shaken down, and doing much injury in the fall: two stacks of chimneys fell through the roof of St. Leonard’s Vicarage, the family barely escaping: many chimney stacks in several towns and villages shaken down, and houses cracked, and a child killed in one place, and in another a woman nearly so by a falling brick: at Langenhoe the spire fell through the roof, and made the church a complete wreck: at Peldon a child was killed by the falling bricks and stone: at Rowhedge another child killed: china and glass jingling and falling, and bells shaken till they rang, &c. &c.

Th. Ap. 24. – Two or three reviews of my book have appeared both in the American and the English journals. On the whole they are very favourable. The reviewers, here and there, give vent to a few snappish remarks, as is common with these censors, for no-body likes to be wholly satisfied or pleased, but they approve in the main point, and that is all I care about. They say that the book is a valuable contribution to the period of the Revoluationary war, and some say they hope I shall publish another volume. Not likely – I never had any idea of that. It seems to be selling better than I expected, and 50 more have been telegraphed for to go out to America; and I have heard through a private channel that Mr. Lowell, the American Ambassador in London has one. However, though I shall not live to write another volume, there is no harm in beginning to do it now the subject is well in my head, and writing memorandums to assist those who may, and so I began to do this to-day.

Th. May 1. – Not like May Day. The wind is now south-west; but the cutting north-easter than we have had for a month, is coming all back again off the water, damp and chilly.

The Cremation mania is now in Parliament. A Dr. Cameron introduced a Bill, not to legalise the burning the dead, for a law court has recently decided that it is not illegal, but to regulate, and therefore encourage and facilitate it. It was argued in the H. of Commons last night. He urged that it was desirable on sanitary grounds – that burial places were unhealthy, that they were in the way and inconvenient, that springs of water were liable to be contaminated, that the process of decomposition was very slow, &c. On the other side it was said – that earth had a strong antiseptic power, the “earth to earth” was the language of scripture, that inhumation is associated with Christian ideas, but cremation is Pagan, and above all, that cases of poisoning could scarcely be discovered where a body had been reduced to ashes. The Bill was thrown out by 79 for, and 149 against. Majority 70.

Sidmouth. May 1884.

Tu. May 6. – Mrs. Davidson, the rich and pretty widow, took to herself at Sidholme, a little north of the Vicarage, a new and second husband – a gentleman of the name of Lindermann. She was originally of German extraction, her father having borne the name of Hoffmann, and lived, and is said to have made money, in the United States of America. Her former husband was of Jewish extraction, but buried at Salcombe, east of Sidmouth. He was associated with the Rothschilds. This recalls to my memory a few particulars of Mr. Davidson’s Will, dated Dec. 1877.

The property in England is sworn under £100.000.

Richmond Lodge (now Sidholme) he leaves to his wife, and £15.000 absolutely.

At her decease Richmond Lodge and £40.000 to the son Gilbert, now about seven or eight years old.

£20.000 to eldest daughter, Blanche, born Nov. 14. 1871.

£20.000 to the other daughter Dora.

I have been informed that there is a special provision for the maintenance and education of each of the three children, in case the mother should marry again, (as has now happened) by which £10.000 is put aside for each, which will be manipulated by the Court of Chancery and the Trustees.

There are legacies to brothers, Major General James Davidson, Henry Davidson, £8.000 (by Codicil) and Louis Davidson.

£1.000 to F.A. Lucas, if he acts as Executor.

£1.000 to Sir Charles Rivers Wilson.

£5.000 to “his friend” Alfred de Rothschild, a Trustee.

There is power to Trustees, with her consent, to sell Richmond Lodge, Codicil dated Aug.2. 1878.

He died Sep.21. 1878 at Sidmouth, I think of abcess of the liver.

Will proved Oct. 22. 1878.

Sun. May 11. – At the Parish church. Sky clear. Sun very hot. Air cool in the shade. Cold at night.

Mon. 12. – Mr. Bolt my butcher, who rents my field and also Mr. Ede’s field, between the Old Chancel and the church, has recently bought a very pretty cow, but on feeling her head I found that the left horn was growing round over the left eye, and was so close to her head that I could not put a penny piece between the point of her horn and her head. [sketch] I called Mr. Bolt’s attention to this, and warned him that something serious would be the consequence if something were not done speedily. He said that it had been sawed off once or twice already, and that he would attend to it at once.

Sent Ann Newton and Mrs. Bartlett out for a drive.

W.14. – Called on Mr. Kennet Were at Cotlands. Gave him a copy of my little book printed in Sidmouth twenty-four years ago, being an account of the Restoration or Rebuilding of the church. He is now Church Warden.

Th. 15. – There is a rumour that a large stone breakwater is going to be built at Sidmouth. Those who have lived in Sidmouth as long as I have, do not believe all the rumours we hear.

Tu. 20. – Mr. Kerslake, born in Exeter, but now of Bristol, being here, called. He has written some clever papers on various antiquarian subjects.

Th. 22. – Ascension Day, or Holy Thursday. Mr. Edward Chick had tea with me. We amused ourselves with tracing out and writing down from a large chart, or genealogical tree, all the links from William the Conqueror to Queen Victoria.

S. 24. – Her Majesty’s Birthday. Peal of bells this morning. Her father died here at Woolbrook Glen, early Sunday morning, January 23. 1820, the infant Princess being eight months old. The Queen is 65. We want no changes. May she live on.

Mon. 26. – They have sawed off a short piece from the cow’s horn. They did not venture much for fear of touching the bone core. – Changed bedroom for summer.

Th. 29. – Restoration of Charles II. The day is not kept here. At Tiverton it is in a very demonstrative way. – Sent copy of Gov. H.’s Diary &c. to nephew in Australia.

Sun. June 1. – Lord Howe’s great victory of 1794, in which my mother’s father commanded the Audacious, 74, and dismasted the Révolutionnaire.

M. 2. – After two months of unusually dry bright weather, with a very hot sun, it is now becoming showery, dull, and very chilly. The rain was wanted.

Tu. 3. – There is a favourable Review of my book by Dr. Ellis in the Atlantic Monthly, an American Magazine, published in Boston.

Th. 5. – Our Company of young Volunteers made a great noise this evening, when advancing and retreating as skirmishers, with other exercises, firing blank cartridges. They were in Great Blackmore Field, behind the Old Chancel. When I was in the Volunteers, we always exercised in the Fort Field.

M. June 9. – Miss Irene Jones and a lady friend surprised me with a visit. She is sister of the Rev. F. Jones, who married a cousin of mine. I think it is 27 years since I last saw her.

Th. 12. – Tho’ without fires all day, it has been agreeable to have a fire of an evening, for the feet and hands are liable to feel cold when reading or writing for several hours; but now it is warm enough to be without fires up to bed time.

Sat. 14. – Arranged a number of fossils and polished Sidmouth pebbles: some being what I have myself collected, and some that had been Mr. Heineken’s. I have had a number of pebbles cut and polished recently, such as agates, calcedonies, onix, conglomerate, from Sidmouth beach, also red, green, and yellow jasper, though found there, come mostly from Budleigh Salterton, - they come, in fact, from the pebble bed of Aylesbear Hill. Among Mr. Heineken’s things were some Scotch Fortification agates, and these I have had cut and polished. The charges for cutting and polishing here is just about double what it is in London, where it is done on a larger scale. Specimens of petrified wood, from the Green sand formation, are not uncommon on Sidmouth beach, and I have several, one or more cut and polished.

M. 16. – It is a pity that some of our great men do not shew a better example to smaller men. The Duke of Marlborough was not long ago divorced by his wife: he now wants to sell the heirlooms of the family at Blenheim, and it is said he must apply to the Lord Chancellor, or Court of Chancery, for powers; and now his younger brother Lord Randoph Churchill, M.P. is protesting against it.

Recently the Duke of Hamilton has sold his splendid Library, and the books that were collected by Beckford, and likewise his collection of rare MSS. His books at public auction brought £12.893, and Beckford’s £73.552. As to the MSS, it is said that the German government have purchased them privately, and it is believed they have given something like £100.000.

Lord Gosford has also dispersed his library, which has brought in £11.318.

“After a gatherer comes a scatterer.” Often have I seen this saying verified among my private friends, but on a more moderate scale.

I see it mentioned that the Duke of Marlborough has offered to the nation twelve of his best pictures for the sum of £400.000. A likely joke!

Tu. June 17. – Men came and prepared lower room of Old Chancel lying NW of Hall for fresh papering. Whitewashed ceiling.

W. 18. – They papered the room, and used a “Queen Anne paper,” something the style of an old chintz bed curtain, being waving stems running upwards, with plenty of leaves and flowers of soft and subdued colours, the prevailing tint being green. It is rather pleasant to the eye. Queen Anne papers – in short, Queen Anne style in building and furnishing is all the fancy at present.

Young Mr. Balfour, the future Lord of the Manor, having recently attained 21, a complimentary demonstration in the parish is being held, in the shape of dinners, tea to the School children, fireworks, presentations of pieces of silver plate, & speeches full of gratitude for favours to come. By his father’s Will however, (Dec. 6. 1873) he does not come into full possession until he is 25.

Th. 19. – Celebrations continued.

June 1884.

Sat. 21. – After breakfast, the weather being hot and beautiful, I was sauntering about my grounds with my cat in my arms, when two gentlemen came in at the upper iron gate. One was Mr. G. Buttemer, who went over to Rome a few years ago, and a Roman Catholic priest, who is also a “pervert” as they call it, and whom I had not seen before. They came about a new monument which has just been put up at the north end of the Cemetery, against which complaint has been made. They came to me as I was a member of the Burial Board. They begged I would go up with them and look at it – got a pony carriage, and we went. I told them that my opinion was of no weight alone, one way or the other, and that only a decision of the Board could pronounce upon it. The said monument is a Crucifix on a pedestal: the pedestal being 3 or 4 feet high, and then there is a tall stone cross with the figure of our Saviour on it. The whole affair is about or nearly ten feet high, and looks conspicuous, as it is in line with the apprach road, at the top of which the portion of ground set aside for the Roman Catholics is situate. There are rules which guide the height and size of monuments, and may affect this. Permission to put it up as it is was not obtained from the board as a body, and on reading the Rules and regulations, I see that two or three of them have not been followed. What will be done I know not,

Tu. 24. – Went over in a 4-wheel to “The Cottage,” Budleigh Salterton, to confer with Mr. Henry Carter, F.R.S. about the Labyrinthodon Lavisi, discovered in the cliff of High Peak Hill 1½m. west of Sidmouth, by Mr. Lavis, and some fragments of which, and probably of the same individual, were afterwards procured by Mr. Carter. Also about the Hyperodapedon, and also about my fossil stems in the Exeter Museum, which Professor Williamson of Owen’s College, Manchester, thinks may be an Equisetum and not a Calamite as supposed. To avoid Peak Hill I turned inland, via Bulverton, Bowd, Newtonpoppleford Hill, Newtonpoppleford, Colyton Rawley, Bicton, and I took my servant Ann Newton, and left her with her sister at Budleigh, and went on two miles further. By this route it was 9m. instead of six. Examined some portions of the Labyrinthodon through his microscope. The bone structure was plain. The Hyperodapedon was discovered by Mr. Whitaker in the cliff by the river Otter near its mouth, but I could not learn the exact spot without going there. I have long wished to know the exact horizon of this below the Labyrinthodon in High Peak, and I have been intending for some years to take a boat some calm summer day, and explore the strata of the cliff minutely – the sum of the accumulated dip, distortions, faults, &c, if any, with sketchbook and colour box, from Ladram Bay to the Otter, but now I fear I shall never be able to carry it out. Whatever is worth while doing in this life, ought to be done immediately. He asked me for one or two more copies of my paper, on the fossil stems, as he had given his former away. I had an early tea with him and Mrs. Carter, and left at 6 P.M. – stopped half an hour at Budleigh – picked up my servant – returned through Otterton and over Peak Hill – and reached the Old Chancel by eight.

Fri. 27. – Went into Exeter by rail. Gave my old copy of Pomponij Melæ, de situ Orbis to the Exeter Free Library. Had a long chat with Mr. Parfitt at the Institution in Cathedral Yard. Called on my Banker. Consulted Dr. Shapter on my recent tendency to bronchitis, and what precautions against cold weather. Called on one or two friends, and at one or two shops. Started at 5.20, and got back in an hour or a little more.

S. 28. – Thunder and rain at 8 P.M.

Sun. 29. – At the parish church. Fine, and unusually warm till 3 P.M. when more thunder and rain.

Tu. July 1. – I have generally been in the habit of sleeping in a small narrow bed, and then a person perforce must lie straight up and down; but how is it that when a person finds himself in a large bed, (as I do now) he often finds himself lying from corner to corner? The peculiarity is not new, for I think that Sterne, in his Tristrem Shandy, describes either my Uncle Toby or himself as “lying diagonally in his bed.”

Sidmouth July 1884

Th. 10_ Mr & Mrs Geo. Buttemer and Miss Faucett had tea with me.

Fri. 11_ Had the Oak Room in the Old Chancel turned out- the chimney swept, the Turkey carpet taken out and beaten, everything cleaned and dusted, and all the furniture and other matters put back in their places.

Sun. 13_ At the Parish church. Mr Wm. Floyd called, and we walked down together. We had scarcely got in when the rain came down, and it made such a noise on the roof that not a word could be heard; and then there was a clap of thunder, and then the organ began and drowned it, and then for half an hour it became so dark that the organist lit a candle.

Floyd tells me that his landlord Fitzgerald, at No. 3 Fortfield Terrace, died suddenly on Friday morning a little before 8. He had gone down stairs and had attended to some of the house work, and being occasionally troubled with a bad cough he went to the back door, near the pump and the garden, and coughed there. When all at once a quantity of blood came up his throat. He ran into the house and passing his daughter, a girl of about 13 or 14, said “Fetch a Doctor!” and then upstairs, his wife not yet having come down. He sat or lay back, and in a few minutes he was dead, I suppose he broke a blood vessel in the lungs.

I have had many interesting conversations with him on the incidents of the Russian war of 1854. He was a private in his Regiment at the battle of the Alma River, climbed up the steep bank, and attacked and took the large Redoubt, when all or nearly all the officers and half the men were shot down, but he was fortunate in not getting hit. Kinglake in his History, describes this event in lively colours.

The next day, Sat. 12, a fat widow woman, Mrs Miller, living near me, died suddenly of heart complaint, though ailing before.

Tu.15_Rain all the morning, and St. Swithen too! In the afternoon walked to Sid or Seed through the Salcombe Fields. Looked at the new weir, mentioned Ap.8. The section of the new work is like the annexed.

The Backing above the balks of deal is composed of a few stakes and stays as well as gravel and clay and this raises the top surface of the river Sid more than five feet, so that it flows into the Mill stream on the further side of the river, whilst the surplus runs away over the top balk and down the long steps, which are 5 or 6 feet each, and are composed of fir poles laid close together, coincident with the course of the stream, and forming a sort of corduroy [corde-du-roi] floor. In spite of the backing however, a certain amount of the water percolates through. At Seed (as it is pronounced) Mr Scriven was not in. Scriven, Scrivenor,- words apparently derived from Ecrivain. He was across the river on the west, and at the bottom of Little Lime Park Lane, where Mr Dunning was making an oil painting of the Cottages, looking east, with the ford in the foreground; and Mr W. H. Warner was photographing, I happened to say in conversation that Mr Ede of Lansdowne had two small fields at the top of Sid, Seed, on Milltown Lane, that he was willing to sell, and then we talked of other things.

Wed.16-This forenoon Mr Scriven came down with a basket of strawberries, and then alluded to the fields, saying he had been up and looked at them, and should like to confer with Mr Ede. They both spent the evening with me, and went over the title deeds. The affair is a small one. Both fields only contain 2..3..37, or not quite three acres. Mr Ede gave £130 and will sell for £140. It ended by a transfer being agreed to.

Th.17.- Went to Mr Scriven’s with the basket. Both parties thanked me for having mentioned the subject. If they are happy, I am.

Fri.18._ The cholera has broken out in the south of France, and is said to be spreading. Among timid persons there is already a growing alarm in England. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. In Marseilles 59 deaths in 24 hours on Monday: 28 at Toulon, and 2 in Paris.

Sat.19._Last night Mrs Crawsey, of the “White Hart” at Mill Cross, at the top of the town, fell down stairs and was killed on the spot. Mr Sweet, a former occupant, I am told fell down the same staircase 20 years ago, and was nearly killed. Her niece, who lived with her, was away on a visit, and she was alone. Not opening her house this morning, a sister’s son got in at the back, and found her at the bottom of the stairs with her neck broken. Her maiden name was Fossey, an old name in Sidmouth, which I have always been disposed to look upon as originally French, as Fosse’, a ditch or moat. Thus Jean du Fosse’ 85 (?) Her husband, whom I had known from boyhood, was son of a house painter, who, in his youth, managed to run away with the daughter and marry her of a clergyman somewhere up the country where he used to work.

Sun. 20._ Mr Southgate asked me to witness his, and Mrs Southgate’s signature to a transfer of stock, as he explained it.

Tu. 22._ Dined at Lansdowne with the Edes. Mr Ede and myself then walked to the Cemetery, when I made a sketch of Salcombe Hill, shewing Mr Scrivens’ cottages, and his new purchase.

Th. 24._ Attended the funeral of Miss Rofton, aged 85. Since May 14, 1867 there has been a beneficial revolution in the ordering of funerals. Undertakers had carried the use of hatbands with long tails, flowing silk scarves, and other trappings to such an extent that the public resisted it. Now nothing is required to one’s ordinary black suit but a pair of black gloves, and a tight hat band three inches wide. The black velvet pall over the coffin is now dispensed with. The coffin now. a. days is commonly of polished oak with brass mountings and as compliments, or emblems of affection, wreathes of flowers are laid upon it, and so carried. The fashion of these wreathes comes from France.

Fri.25._ Godfrey put up new zinc pipes to Old Chancel.

Sat.26._ Thunder ‘ showers. Weather become chilly. Had nearly an hour’s talk with Vicar at Vicarage.

Newton Abbot.

Mon. July 28._ To Newton Abbot to attend the meeting of The Devonshire Association at that place, via Exeter, (?). Got a drawing room and bedroom at 5 St. Pauls Road. Called on Mr. R. W. Cotton at Woodleigh villa, whom I have long known, and then on Mr. And Mrs. Fisher, who used to live at Blackmore Hall, near me at Sidmouth.

Tu.29._ The Newton people gave us of the Council a cold collection at two, then some meetings and official business. At 8pm the President read his Address.

W. 30._ Attended meetings, and heard papers read. At six the Members dined together at the Hotel. I have learnt not to care about large dinners: they are generally, a cram, a scramble, and too often with very bad attendance. So I took the train as far as Dawlish, where I wanted to see some friends. I was two hours there , and got back to Newton before dark. The long tunnel under the town of Teignmouth has never been thrown open to the sky, and the works nearly completed.

Th. 31._ The same again. There was nothing particularly original, except that the Rev. W. Downes, of Kentisbear, produced a newly discovered dyke of volcanic rock or igneous rock of a brown colour, highly charged with specks of golden coloured mica. He broke off two pieces for me. The dyke is at Roseash near South Molton. In the evening we went to Forde House, the old masion of the Raynells, where Charles 1, and William 111, abode at different dates. The interior is handsomely furnished and in good order. The white moulded ceilings are very good. We had tea and coffee on the lawn. Mr Watts is the present tenant under the Earl of Devon.

Fri.1._ A charming expedition was organised for the Members, and about 100 started at 10 o’clock in 7 or 8 carriages. We first drove to Stover Park, the Duke of Somerset having expressed his willingness that we should see the house. As the Park is on Bovey Heathfield, I expected a dead flat; but the undulations are many, and the house is on the crown of a considerable elevation. The mansion is built of whitish stone, with a large portico against the ( I think) south front, of six fluted Doric columns, high enough to let a carriage drive in under. There is no pretence of grandeur inside. The interest in the place consists of a number of paintings of his Grace’s ancestors, and other historical personages. The view is beautiful from the drawing room windows looking north over the Park, the trees, lake and distant hills. The Duke and Duchess, ( I think she is alive) are only there three or four months in the autumn. He is 79 and has lost his son, and his heir is his brother who is 74. James Templer, a poor boy born in Exeter in 1722, bound apprentice to a carpenter, ran away, got to India, made great wealth, returned, bought Stoford or Stover soon after 1765, pulled down the old house and built the present, and died in 1782. His eldest son James made the Canal from Bovey to Newton, but it did not pay as expected. His son and heir George hampered himself by making the railroad from Heighton, and sold Stover to the then Duke.

Having viewed this place we drove northward to the Bovey Potteries, and going out to the great excavation, which is now disused and half full of water, we stood in a half circle, and Mr Pengelly gave us a clear and most interesting geological account of the Heathfield – the filled up bed of an old Miocene lake as large as Windermeer, and the only the only Miocene in England, as Mr Pengelly’s examination has shewn.

Thence we proceeded to Lustleigh, where we stopped two hours. We had a cold dinner at the Inn. Some ran off to the Cleeve (cliff?) but as I had been there before [ ] I sauntered about the neighbourhood and examined the church. Peculiar shape old font.

Three recumbent figures in white stone – a female and two warriors. Oak screen partly old, and well restored. Waggon roof that has been gone over carefully, with squares over the choir coloured in fairly good keeping: but the curious and interesting Romano-British block of granite, with brief inscription – OXX TUIDOC CONHINOC – supposed to be of Romano British time, as the letters are Roman, with the three letters at the beginning, dXX or DXX, indicating the year 520, still remains as the sill of the south door, to be run over and obliterated by all the hob nails in the parish, Strange infatuation in the Rector to persist in keeping it there. It was placed there in ignorance, but better education ought to remove it to a safer place. It ought to be bedded on a stone shelf within the church, some four or five feet from the ground. I called attention to this state of things in the Exeter Gazette in January 1871, and I think I must recur to it. The door opens in two halves, dividing perpendicularly, the half opposite the left hand being shut, and the other open for the admission of the public into the church; and one glance serves to shew how much more the inscription has been worn out at the open end than the shut.

A mat has been thrown over the stone to hid its shame, but this is only a slight perishable protection. “The Bishop’s Stone” is in the hedge opposite the Hotel.

From Lustleigh we proceeded across the country, via Chudleigh Knighton, Chudleigh Bridge, where I first saw the new Railway Station, and then up the hill where, on the right, I observed they are building a new house on the spot occupied by Heightley Cottage, long the residence of an aunt of mine, Mrs Cocks, a sister of my mother’s, where she died , but was buried at Dawlish. Then a little further up to Chudleigh Rock, every part of which I well knew formerly. Then a little higher, where we got a glimpse of a house called Place, an abbreviation of Palace, as having once been a Palace of the Bishop of Exeter, and where Betsey Balcombe and her parents for a time lived, and where my aunt and her daughters knew them. And then we drove through the town of Chudleigh, much to the amusement of the natives. After that we began the long ascent to one of the corners of Ugbrook Park – passed the Lodge – skirted the lake – crossed between the two lakes, and all dismounted. Leaving the carriages here, we all walked to the house, where Lord Clifford, a young bachelor of 33 met the party and shewed us the rooms. The furniture and fittings are plain, but there are several interesting portraits. In the dining room the table was laid for one person. I used to know the Park well, and measured and surveyed the circular camp on the high ground that overlooks Chudleigh. It struck me today that the fern on this side had much increased, and overrun the grass. The house used to be covered outside with rough-cast coloured yellow. A few years ago all this was judiciously taken off, but the red cement mouldings round the windows, and the entrance porch, are something extraordinary, that is, in the light of architecture.

We rejoined the carriages and started back for Newton. Our President for the year, Mr Stebbing, had a tricycle on which he mounted, and travelled with us all the way back. We returned before 8. A very pleasant journey.

Sat. Aug. 2 _ Took the rail to Morton Hampstead, never having been higher than Lustleigh before. I expected to have found this place on the edge of the open Moor but to my surprise all the land is divided by hedges into well cultivated fields as they are in the valley. I lingered about the church and churchyard. The masonry is of granite, as all the churches are here about. In the street, near one of the entrances to the churchyard, on a platform that apparently once served as a broad base for a wayside cross, is the head of a large granite cross, with a T cross cut on the base of it.

The block of stone fixed upright, seems to be upside down, judging by the mouldings and the dowel hole on the top, but if it were turned over then the T cross would be upside down. I have put a coloured sketch of it in my sketchbook.

Finding Morton Hampstead not on the open moor, I took the rail back to Newton earlier than I had intended.

Sun. Aug. 3 _ Went to St Paul’s church, where the clergyman tried to intone the service; but not being a singer, or having a correct ear for music, his voice was full of false intervals. Better let it alone.

M. Aug. 4. _ After a tiring but very agreeable week, I returned home. Had an early tea with my banker, Mr Keily and his daughter, at the Devon & Cornwall Bank, whilst I was in Exeter.

Sun. 10. _ At the Parish church. Many strangers there, Sidmouth being full of visitors. The Vicar preached. Also there at the evening service, at 7, now held for the visitors at the evening service. Gas lighted, looking very pretty. I was sensible of the heat to my head. Vicar preached.

Tu. 12. _ Made a coloured drawing of a fish called the Weever, caught here.

W. 13. _ Very hot, 73 here and same day 93 at Greenwich. Papers say it has been 97 ½ in the shade at the Sydenliam Crystal Palace.

Th. 14._ In January 1871 I had a correspondence in the paper, (see back), and I have attacked the same subject again, as follows:-

Fri. Aug. 15. _ Considering I was in London, and saw the long procession of bringing the Duke of Wellington’s statue down Park Lane from the Artist’s studio to Hyde Park corner, on 29th of September 1846, and afterwards saw it hauled up to the top of the arch, I am in some degree interested in the removal to another place. In one of my Sketch books I made a rough sketch of the procession. At that time the statue was extolled; but of late years it has been the fashion to abuse it. If this is only fashion, woe betide every artist’s fame. If it was good then it is good now. If it was bad then, why extol it? Or even put it up?

The world was startled a few days ago by a report, which proves to be true, that the second Duke of Wellington, being the eldest son of “The Great Duke”, had dropped down dead at the Brighton Railway Station. He was on the platform waiting for the train to return to Stratfields aye, when it occurred. He was carried into the waiting room and died. He was 77, and having no heir, the title goes to his nephew.

Th. Aug. 21 _ My dear old black Tom cat Robert died.

Fri. 22. _ Went to Exeter for the day. Went to the Museum. Called on Mr Parfitt at the Institution – on Henry Gray, and others – with whom were Mr M. Fulford, and Haywood, Architects. Looked into the Cathedral.

Sun. 24. _ Very hot for England. About nine this evening thunder, lightning etc.

M. 25. _ Went to London chiefly to see my publisher left by the 12. 10 train and ought have been at the Waterloo station at 5.15 but owing to the crowded state of the trains, we were an hour late. Never did we live in an age when all classes of people seem so madly bent on pleasure and enjoyments of all sorts. The poorest people can always find money for pleasure. I see that too frequently on all sides in my own neighbourhood. Though they may be living in hovels and it clothed in rags and are always begging for help to buy food, yet if the horsemanship comes, or the strolling players, or the wild beasts show, these places are full of them. They never deny themselves anything on principle, or for the prudential considerations. A month ago I was told a story of a woman in sidmouth receiving parish pay, who wanted to see the show along with the dear teacher run, but she had no money. The show what was a waxwork exhibition, and a whirli- go- round, located pro tem. at the top of the Blackmore field near May cottage. I was told that she had got a loaf of bread at each of the two or three bakers in the town, for which she did not pay, and then she sold these to some of her neighbours, being careful to secure a ready money payment, but she only traded with honourable people who settle their accounts promptly. With this money, so raised, she had her fling of the show. Perhaps it is the same in London.

Established myself at the Charing Cross Hotel, as last year, no. 156. The staircase Is 3 or 4 yards wide, and the steps so low that it is easy to go up or down any number of them. I amused myself counting the numbers of stairs to each story, and they were as follows, beginning at the bottom: -43 to the first landing, 32 to the second, 25 to the third, 32 to the fourth, and 25 to the fifth. . The sum of these is 43 + 32 + 25 + 32 + 25 = 157. There are attics above in the mansard.

Tu. Aug. 26 _ Had breakfast in the beautiful Coffee Room – the style a modern treatment of Roman –modern Italian. It is judiciously coloured in its decorations the prevalence of yellow and sober browns harmonising well with a large amount of gilding. The room was full of company at breakfast.

Called on Messrs Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Near the bottom of Chancery Lane. The progress of my book is better than I expected. If the whole edition is sold within a 12 month of publication, I shall be fortunate.

Took the train and got out to to Clapham Common to call on Mr. Scrivens. Had dinner with him. Called with him next door and saw Mrs. Scrivens his sister, and the lady staying with her. As it was dark when I came away, Mr. S. insisted on seeing me safe back, as the intricacies of the large railway stations there are the perplexing and he spent about a s

shilling in paying for my railway tickets.

W. 27. _ So I sent him a dozen penny postage heads, with the annexed lines.

You gave a dozen stamps for me,

And so I send you 4 times 3,

If wrong I’ll send you 12, or more,

Or else I’ll send you 3 times 4

In the afternoon I took the train at Kings Cross for Bengeo, as last year, to see my cousin Mrs. Oliver. Went north to Hatfield, and caught a glimpse of the turrets and vanes of the Marquis of Salisbury’s house, and changing trains, went eastwards to Hertford, and walked half a mile to Bengeo. Found her down stairs, and pretty well for a person born in 1805. Two young ladies came in, and we all had a nearly tea together. Got back before eight.


Th. 28. _ After writing the letter or two, and glancing over the papers in the fine large Reading room of the hotel, I took the “underground rail”, as it is commonly called, as far as South Kensington, and then walked to the “Health Exhibition”, south of the Albert hall, which is this year amusing the public. It contains all articles used in food, clothing, houses, etc., with suggestions for their use in a way to promote ”health”. Not one person in 50 will look beneath the surface. The crowds of people that filled the avenues and grounds were not a little striking. People go to be amused, and not to be instructed. I was astonished at the number of places of “refreshment” or eating and drinking, and the throngs that filled them; and I as it was there for eight hours, I resorted to them myself. The project is good, and instructive to those who choose to make it so, and tho interesting, like picture galleries, etc., is very tiring. I was glad to sit down occasionally. I also went into the Albert hall, which was empty, but open. I went up to the top galleries, and then looked down. It looks circular, but I believe it is oval, and like an immense amphitheatre, suggested the appearance of the inside of the Coliseum. I got back tired, but amused.

Fri. 29.- Started for the Society of Antiquities at Burlington House Piccadilly. Near Trafalgar Square- I fell in with one of the sons of Mr. Potbury, the cabinet maker of Sidmouth and he was as astonished to see me as I was to see him. Walking on through . Piccadilly, I came to Mr. And Mrs. Mitchell of Audley Sidmouth, looking into a jeweller’s shop window, and getting out close to their elbows, I made some remark that made them turn round, when there was a grand explosion of surprise on all sides. Went on to Burlington House and upstairs to the library, where I had a long conversation with Mr Watson , the secretary, and Mr Ireland , the librarian, whom I had not seen for some years,

In the afternoon started for Richmond, where my father and mother lived when they were first married. Crossed the river by rail from my hotel, and then took ticket for Richmond at the Waterloo Station. On arriving I called at the Vicarage on the Green, but the Rev. Canon Proctor was out. Looked at the Parish Church, which has an old stone tower, but a George the Third ugly brick nave. Saw Mr Holmes the Clerk. Walked through the town to the stone bridge of five arches, and then down the bank of the river. Extremely pretty it is. Was back again in London before dark.

Sat. 30.- Returned to Sidmouth. The journey was without incident or adventure.

Sidmouth. Sep. 1884.

Tu. Sep. 2. _ Called on Mr & Mrs Geo Butterma, and Miss Jenkins at The Elms, so called.

Th. 4. _ Called on Dr Radford at Sidmount, and ahd a long talk with him on what I had done and seen in London, - the sculpture, paintings, and other works of art I had been examining, and also the different systems of electric lighting, which is becoming more and more in use. Looked over some of his more recent acquisitions in books and works of art. He laments as I do, and as Lord Sidney Osborne does, that the objects which he has drawn together with so much care, will not be appreciated by those who come after him, but will probably be all scattered. His last acquisition is a cast or model of the trumpet or horn, made of a composition looking like ivory, that was sold at an art salerecently in London. The horn is nearly two feet long, in a half moon curve, about as large as the finger at the mouth piece, and as large as one’s wrist at the mouth, and carved in cinque centro style, with two gold bands with rings, for suspension, half way between the middle and the ends. It is part of the Andrew Fountaine Collection. The cost is 12 guineas; the original at the sale was knocked down to M. Egger for 2,240 guineas.

Called afterwards on Mr W. M. Floyd, and then on Mrs King Beach House, Two Miss Garderners, lodging near Ottery, surprised me with a visit.

Fri. 5. _ Prize day at the Archery Ground in the Great Blackmore Field, close to my houses. A beautifully fine day. Witnessed Mrs Girdlestone’s signature.

Sat. 6. _ Called at Sidholme & Landsdowne, Elysian Fields, Weather showery.

Amused at the rooks drinking drops of rain hanging under the top bar of the iron hurdles, in front of the window of the Oak Room of the Old Chancel.

Mon. Sep. 8._ Having been asked by a Committee of The British Association to report on the amount of erosion of the cliffs, and some other things pertaining to the coast at Sidmouth, I have now completed my Report and sent it in. The coast is receding by the advance of the sea, but at various rates, according to the hardness or softness of the cliffs, and from long observation,and the stumps of the trees of the Submerged Forest under the beach opposite the Fort Field, and the foundations of some old buildings 30 feet outside the Esplanade, under the shingles, opposite Portlane house and Marlborough Place, I have long had a growing feeling that the land is going down in the south of England. At what rate it would be hard to say exactly, but I may venture to say at the rate perhaps of 10 inches in a centuary.

W. 10. _ Walked over Salcombe Hill to Salcombe. The top of the hill yellow with furze blossom and purple with heath. Called on the Mossheads, sons of the late vicar, and on the Soulsbys, and walked back.

Fri. 12,_ To Exeter and abck by rail. Called at the museum: on Mr Medley Fulford: Mr J Martin: Mr Mark Rowe, Gadolphin and Gully. A chat with MR E. Parfitt. Looked at the Earl of Devon’s bronze statue, Bedford Circus. Don’t like bronze- ugly black mass. Many veru handsome houses in brick and stone, mostly in Queen Anne style are being built in Fore Street.

S. 13._ Mr J, A, Mosshead sent me a brace of fine young partridges.

M.15._ Last night there was lightening and rain.

Tu. 16._ Fine again. Mr Dallas, the new curator of the Exeter Museum, his predecessor, Mr D’Urbon, having resigned, came down and spent the latter half of the day with me, to look over my chalk and greensand fossils, and some other things as I wish to give the best to the museum.

W.17._The recent dath of Sir John Duntze, at Exleigh, near Starcross, recalls to my memory a few things not generally known. I can remember Miss Coles, the lady whom he married, before he married her. My father then lived at Tiverton in his house near the gate of the church yard at the top of Peter Street, the grounds running down to the river, and over to the tower. My father sold the freehold of house and land to Mr Heathcoat of the Factory, grandfather of Sir Amory and converted the house into two, being very large. This was in January 1825, when he bought a house and some land at Sidmouth, which I now have. I can remember Sir John’s father, a red face old man. When he deid, and his son, who married Miss Coles, assumed the title, it was said in Tiverton that some of the relations stepped forward and disputed his right to it, threatening an action at law against him. It was alleged that the father (the second Baronet) had married two sisters, Carew, and that he was son of the second sister, and according to existing circumstances was not born in lawful wedlock. In the books of Heraldry and Genealog, it is rather significant that the first wife is not mentioned. They merely say –“he married secondly,” so and so. I think it is so in Burke’s Baronetage. The story ran further to the effect that the different members of the family put their heads together and held a conference over the affair, and that, in order to avoid an expose, and very unpleasant lawsuit, and the still more unpleasant scandal that would have enriched the public prints, they agreed to a compromise, by which it was agreed that under certain conditions, and to avoid undesirable comment, he should be allowed to hold the title for his life, and that under any circumstances the title should pass to his uncle’s son, the rightful heir. There are not very many perhaps who have heard this story, but there are probably old people in Tiverton who know it well. Sir John has no family by Miss Coles.

Th. 18,- The weather was hot, and quiet, and hazy from the heat. A little while ago it was quite chilly, and now it is as hot as ever this summer. In my Oak room, with blind down and door open, it is 72. In spite of the hot sun I started after breakfast for HIGH Peak, the second hill westward, where I have not been for 3 or 4 years. The haze was so great on the hill, 513.9 feet high, I could neither see Sidmouth on the east, or Bicton or Budleigh Salterton on the west. Brought home some crimson heath. Returned very warm. Changed everything, and then felt comfortable.

Sale of property in Sidmouth, being the land opposite Castle House in the High Street, down the opening, and running towards the river. . A good street for mechnnis’ (sic) housesmight be made down there. A hosier of London and Westbury called, Sleep, was wide awake enough to buy it for £1580 – that is if it was a good bargain: if it was not, he was too sleepy to know what he was about. The property I believe belonged to some of the Tucker family of Branscombe, who are connections of the Chick family of Sidmouth.

There was another lot further down, situated in what of late years has been called Russel Street. It went for £380.

Sun,21,_ Wind changed to south again with rain.

M,22,_ Went to Budleigh by way of Bulverton, Newtonpoppleford, Colyton, Rawleigh, and Bicton Cross, taking that longer route in order to avoid the climb over Peak Hill, 500 feet high in a mile. The steepest part rises one yard in five. Left servant Ann Newton with her sister Mrs John Knowles. Called upon Mr Christophers, some of whose relations I knew many years ago. He walked with me up one road then across a field called “The Mizzlings” then by some lanes to the church, which is under repair. They are adding a new vestry and an organ chamber. The organ in the west gallery is going into it. Went inside. The west gallery is coming down, so as to throw open the tower arch. Admired again the old carved bench ends. If I lived here in Budleigh, I would make a careful copy of every one of them. The Ralegh slab in the aisle is covered with matting. I took a rubbing of it some years ago.

Left Budleigh at 6 P.M. and returned over Peak Hill, proceeding by way of Otterton and PYN, Pin, the ascent being more gradual on this side, except the last pinch. By the time we were on the crown of Peak Hill it was getting dark, and the gas lamps were lit in the valley of Sidmouth. We could see the light of Portland Lighthouse, tho’ about 36 miles distant.

John Knowles had £50 left him by Mrs Carslake, an aunt. John Carslake, and his wife and lived in the village of Newtonpoppleford. He drop dead one morning standing at his cottage door, smoking his pipe. She was a thrifty and careful woman, rather close and stingy, and by going out nursing and in other ways, it was suspected that she had laid by a good sum of money from her and earnings, but she was very silent on this subject. The Knowles family, the nearest relatives, also lived in Newtonpoppleford. There was the father, and two sons and four or five daughters. One, called Ermina, married a man call Moor, lives in Sidmouth, and occasionally assists in my house. When Mrs. Carslake, the widow, was Getting on in years she fell into ill health, and her elder niece Susan Knowles, used to look after her and take care of her. At last Mrs Carslake had a paralytic attack, commonly called a “seizure”, and she died without making any definite communication to her relatives on the state of her affairs. As soon as her aunt was dead, Susan had a rummage, and she pulled out from under the bed a moderate size oak box, which no-one had ever been suffered two look into. Having the keys she soon solved the mystery. She pulled several bags of gold out of the box, and hurriedly putting these in her apron, she gathered up the corners and ran down the street with them to her father’s cottage. Throwing these upon the table, she exclaimed – “look here father see what I’ve got!” He, however, somewhat more cautious, locked it all up pending the settlement of affairs. There was a will, which gave them £50 apiece, with a £10 more for Susan to prove the will and pay expenses. The buried her decently, divided her clothes and furniture, and had a their portions. There were from £350 to £400 tied up in the bags, and it nearly all in sovereigns. I have seen the box at John Knowles’s at East Budleigh, and have heard the story more than once among the relations. Some have tried to nurse their £50, but the greater number soon made “ducks and drakes” of the sovereign’s.

Tu.Sep.30._Dined tete.a.tete with Mr and Mrs Linderman at Sidholme, [Mentioned May 6.] Hour 7.30 P.M. which was nearly 8. This is absurdly late. I offered her my arm to go to the dining room. Some alterations in hanging the paintings since I was last there. Two good forest scenes by Widgery of Exeter. There is a good deal of taste displayed in the dining room. The prevailing taste in furniture and fittings now.a.days is Queen Anne style and very pretty it is when judiciously done. It is so here, except that some of the former fittings of the Earl of Buckinghamshire’s time, In the Renaissance, Louis Quatorze, and modern Italian fashions, have been suffered to remain. There are very few people who study styles so as to have a clear idea of their distinctive features, and still fewer who are mindful not to mix styles together in the same apartment. What is however the most pleasing to the eye here is, a generally harmony in colour. The walls are of a soft tint, the cornices, mouldings, etc. are mostly white and gold, the drapery of the lighter colours, and the light satin wood piano matches up with the rest. The harmony is completed by the lighting. Most of the lamps have shades or bells or globes of coloured glass, mostly crimson, and these throw a subdued and soft rose colour tinge of light over everything.

Sat. Oct.4._ Fine eclipse this evening

A football club has been formed, and played today for the first time in the field between Coburg Terrace and at the church. Dined with Mr. and Miss Scrivens at Sidbank. Walking home after sunset the sky towards the west was suffused with a crimson tint as it was last year. See Dec.11.

The clips began at 8.15 on the left side lower portion, as in the first figure, as above: the second figure gives the obscuration about 8.40: the third after nine, and the fourth when it became a totally obscured at 9.16. It remained entirely obscured till 10.48, though I could just discern where the moon was all the time, when the bright age began to appear as in the first figure of the second series. The other three figures show at the phases as the shadow was passing off, and the eclipse ended at 11.49. The edge of the shadow was not distinguished by a clear line: in short, I was rather surprised at the amount of penumbra or fuzziness along the edge – like a piece of paper torn. There was not a cloud in the sky, nor a breath of air steering.

Sun. Oct.5._ At parish church, Fine afternoon, Called on Mr. Southgate at Fort Cottage, and a short walk in the afternoon.

Tu,7,_ Day of the Agricultural Association the ploughing being at Woolbrook and had dinner at the London Hotel, Col. Wabrond, M.P. being there. The wind north, and the day cold though fine.

I was obliged to begin fires in the morning for the first time, finding it cold to the feet and hands during a long evening, when sitting still reading or writing. I like to begin great deeds upon a great days, and I am sorry that this is neither the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the Spanish Armada, the Battle of Waterloo or queen Victoria’s Birthday.

W,8,_ Storms of rain, and I suppose the final break up of summer, as fine a summer as ever I remember.

The papers say that Binns, who was appointed this time last year to the office of Hangman or Executioner, has been dismissed. He is a low drunken fellow. He bungled once or twice at executions, being the worse for drink.

Th,9, _ Finished reading Westward ho! By Rev. Charles Kingsley, who had married a sister of Lady Sidney Osborne, I never thought of asking the Osbornes if they had ever read they had ever read (sic) this book? Perhaps they were satisfied with the fame of Kingsley alone, and they were not deep readers of fiction. It is a historical novel, and reminds me of some of Scott’s, but the scenes are mostly laid or near ground-Central America- and the interest well kept up. Its connection with Devonshire will make always po popular (sic) in the S Wof Eng. It has given to a new place near Bideford.

Fri, Oct, 10,_ The circular figures opposite (now moved to above by trans scriber) are pictures of the retinas of my two eyes. Whilst writing of an evening by lamplight with my spectacles on, I had often seen bright spots like shining spangles, when I raised my head and looked towards the dark parts of the room, and for a considerable time was much perplexed to know what they could be. After many observations I became convinced that they were the presentations of circular portions of the back parts of the interior of my eyes, reflected back through the pupil on the surface of the glasses, where I could see them. It was like seeing part of myself in a looking glass. The size of the spangles or discs, covered objects of about 18 to 24 inches on the wall, and if I could throw these images on a blackboard, I could exhibit them to a whole room. Any person in a room, who looks at the bars of a window for a short time, can plainly see the window by turning aside and looking at a dark corner of the room. In this case however, the colours are reversed, for the bars will be light instead of dark. As regards the two pictures which I give opposite (Above) I may say that I copied what I saw without much difficulty, for the markings or corrugations remained always the same, and I could at all times examine them. The dark spots in the middle I take to be the places where the optic nerves go to the brain. The rips or tears on the top of each are nearly alike a chain of mountains in a map. There are spots and markings in each that somewhat resemble each other but not quite. In this way everybody can see into his own eyes. I find however, that all spectacles are not equally good at reflecting the image, though the reason why is not clear. I ought to add that the images as I have given them are in reality upside down. I did not find this out at first. I thought I had made a great discovery, that might be useful to medical men, occulists, and the owners of the eyes themselves, but I am told not. I am informed that there is an instrument in use now, by which an occulist can examine the interior of any person’s eye.

This afternoon a Burial Board meeting, to which I went

Sat, 11, _ For the last week the thermometer has been falling in my bedroom over the servants parlour, as I may call it. A short time ago it was 65 in the morning, then 60, then 58, then 56, then 55, and today 48. After the hot weather we have had, this felt cold, so I changed into a somewhat warmer room.

Mon, Oct. 13, _ Young Charles Lyde, who has been recently lodging here in Sidmouth, happened to be on the beach the other day, when a young lady bathing was taken with cramp. I think it was on Michaelmas day morning. He rushed in the water and succeeded in saving her as described in the newspaper cutting annexed. He is the son of the Mr Lyde who was killed on the railway, as mentioned back, June 30, 1869.

Fri, 17, _ After 10 days cold weather changed to mild.

S, 18,_ Quiet and fine. Some of the young men have formed a Football Club, and play mostly on Saturdays in the field between me and the church. I was asked ( and so were others living near), if I should object to have it so near? I said No, I should have no objection, if, they would keep within bounds. It was not pleasant to have the ball kicked over into one’s lawn, and then have some excited young men over the railings and trampling across the flower beds to catch it – as I have suffered before. They play according to the rule, the Rugby game, but to me, there is rather too much of catching up the ball and running away with it.

Sun, 19, _ At Parish church. Beautiful weather. Walked up the Salcombe Fields along the banks of the river. I do not know that I ever saw the autumnal tints on the trees more varied and more brilliant than they are now. There is every variety emerging out of the greens into all shades of yellow, orange, red, brown, crimson, purple, and their mixtures, that can be imagined. And as we have had very quiet weather for the last ten days, the trees are mostly in full leaf, though decaying. The first gale of wind will scatter them.

Tu, 21, _ Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald, with son and daughter, and had an afternoon tea with me. She was a Miss Talbot, and sister to Lady Pole , or de la Pole, of Shute.

W.22.­_ Called on the Craigie-Halket, and Rev. Canon Godard.

Th.23._ Walked to Broadway, then went behind Knowle. Called on Mr and Mrs Tyerman, and had a long chat. Besoke a copy of his poems, now in press. Walked on and had a look at the new Nunnery. Who would have thought such a building would have ever been built at Sidmouth! Walked on to the carfoix or four-crofts way, long known as "Jenny Pine's corner." Jane Pine cut her throat with a knife in a cottage at the back of The Anchor Inn in 1811. The wife of my late father's carpenter named John Ebdon , told me some 30 years ago, that she was a young woman, and hearing the alarm, ran in and found the dying woman in a chair bleeding, and with two fingers of her left hand thrust into the gash she had made. In the excitement of the moment she cried out - "How could you be such a fool as to go and do that?" but she was too far gone to speak. She was a woman of weak intellect. And John Ebdon told me that it was decided to bury her at this distant spot, a mile out of town without funeral rites, he went up at night by torch light with a posse of low, noisy, and blaspheming boys and men, and buried her in the middle of the four- cross way

At my early recollection of the spot, the lanes used to be very narrow, but they have been much widened; and there was a pollard oak at the north east corner, at A, removed when the road was widened, on the trunk of which were cut the letters E.P. I suppose her bones rest there still. I have know the spot for near 60 years, and since my late father and mother came to Sidmouth in January 1825, I feel certain her remains have never been disturbed. I think I should (of -deleted in diary) have heard of it if they had.

M. Oct.27._ A Mr Topham has been here from diamond diggings in South Africa, where he found a diamond one morning, which he sold for £930. He told me that the diamond had been at last traced to its original source, place, position, nest, or matrix, and that this is volcanic rock, though it is commonly searched for in alluvial gravels. He said he had seen them sticking in the rock. In spite of this , there is some mystery over the question, some circumstances suggesting that diamonds are being formed or crystalised even in the gravels where they are found.

S. Nov.1._ Took a light four wheel and strong horse at eleven this morning went up the Exeter road, so called, passed The Vicarage Hse. And turned down Little Lime Park Lane to the river, and through the river, and picked up Mr Scrivens at Sid Cottages, and then drove up Milltown Lane, at the top of which, on the left, are the two fields he bought of Mr Ede, (July 15 and 16) and which I wished to examine more carefully. Having dismissed the carriage, we spent two hours in walking over them to the top of the hill. There is a spring of waterin one, which is of great value. He has some thought of building a small labourer’s cottage, but the ground is so steep that the plan requires a little consideration. The day was mild and hazy, but the SW wind chilly up there. It was enjoyable altogether. We walked down and I dined with him.

Sun. 2. _ The papers say that Sir Moses Montifiore was 100years old on Tuesday the 21st of October. This is a well authenticated case of centinarianism. The wind got to north and very cold, and I kept in doors.

M, 3. _ Began making preparations for Index for vol. XVI of the Trans. Dev. Assoc., a very thick volume this year.

W. 5. _ Mild and damp. During the celebration of Guy Fawlkes orgies this evening a plate glass window in a shop on the west side of Fore Street, nearly opposite East Street, got broken.

Th. 6 . _ Walked out north, Overtook Mr Ede near the Elysian Fields, and we went on together. Called on Mr Wyndham at Sidbrook, olim Lime Park. Whilst talking with him and Mrs W, her sister, Mrs Coney, of Sidecliffe, across the river, came in. Went chiefly to have another look at the Gainsborough portrait in the dining room. The sketch annexed, only done from memory, is not a likeness, but it will serve as a memorandum of the pose, style, and general arrangement.

Mr Wyndham has often told me that the portrait represents Miss Henrietta Wyndham, his great aunt; that she was turned 40 when it was done; that she died soon after the commencement of the present century, aged about 80; and that the picture has never been out of the family, so that its history and pedigree are well authenticated. The paint has darkened by time, especially the background, which is apparently a dark brown. The oval is darkest, but scarcely discernible, except in a strong light. The complexion was pale or fair, the nose somewhat thin and arched, or aquiline, and brown hair is combed upwards off the forehead. There is a black ribbon round the neck, tied with bows behind, and with the ends hanging down the back. The face is full three-quarter, turned to the Heraldic dexter or right, the whole figure, down to the waist, being life size. The low dress was once white apparently; it is edged with a white frill coming over the shoulders, and coming down the front to the waist, with a cross frill along the front. A bow of green ribbon is placed against the breast, and two others seemingly on the sleeves at the bend or turn of the elbows at the bottom of the picture, the hands not being seen. On the spandrill or corner at the dexter base, are written in black paint the words – “Henrietta Wyndham, 1769.” Mr Wyndham has no children, but his nephew Mr Grey has married Miss Coney.

Went across the river by the wooden bridge to Sid or Seed, and sat an hour with Mr Scrivens talking – deominbus rebus, et de quibusdam aliis.

Sat. 8. _ The Exmouth Football Club came over and played the Sidmouth Club in the field opposite my window, and they prevailed, and carried the victory.

Sun.9._ At the Parish church; the vicar preached. Took a walk in the Western Fields. A beautiful calm day; the autumnal tints on trees splendid.

Tu.11._ East wind; the afternoon so dull and dark, as to remind me of London. The cholera in Italy has abated, but it has recently broken out badly in Paris. The papers say there were 98 deaths there yesterday.

Sun.16._ Cold east wind since this day last week, and I have kept house as a matter of prudence, as I feel it affect my throat.

Mon.17._ My birthday. No one can be more surprised than I am, at finding I have reached the age of 74, and yet feel so well. My lungs are sound, but not so strong as they were; my heart I believe is sound, but of course not so strong as once it was; but my stomach and digestion are as good as ever, so that I can eat and drink anything and never feel it afterwards, any more than I did at twenty. These are great helps to health. I am truly thankful for such blessings. My windpipe has become my weak point. I have been much favoured in having been allowed to reach this age, rather than to have been called away in the thoughtless years of my youth, by which I am enabled to train my mind to a more wholesome, regular, reflective, and profitable frame, the full sense of which is vividly before me. In common reason I cannot expect to have many more birthdays, and perhaps not another; from which conviction I feel that the great change cannot be far off; but I contemplate it withthe calm resignation that belongs to every Christian believer. If I am permitted to go through another year, I should like to finish and print the rest of Governor Hutchinson’s diary, as an act of justice to him, and I have now written a quarter of a second volume. And I have a great desire to place either a brass or some such memorial to his memory in Croydon church, which is a duty that has been too long neglected. As for my houses here in Sidmouth, I am now utterly indifferent about them, and all they contain; and the Old Chancel, on which I have devoted so much labour and amusement, I do not care to finish or spend any more money on, as I have no wife or children to leave it to. All these are perishable articles.

Th.Nov.20._ A man brought me a specimen of a zigzag bent coin,like those mentioned at Jan. 30 last.

It is a copper halfpenny of George 11, apparently, with a date that may be guessed to be 1757, but the coin was first so thin, and it is now so thickly and finely covered with arugo, (?) patina, and verdegris, that very little is discernible with certainty.

Fri.21._ The papers have been full of the circumstances of a terrible murder of a middle aged lady – a Miss Keyse- at the Glen, Babbacombe, about one or two o’clock in the morning of last Saturday the 15th and then the house set on fire. A young manservant of 20 called John See, who slept in the house is arrested on suspicion. Her head had been beaten in with three blows of the back of a hatchet, and her throat cut. She sat up late writing, and had not gone to bed. One of the maid servants awoke, smelling smoke, and opening her bedroom door, raised the alarm. The fire was subdued by themselves, and some people whom they called in. There are no traces of anybody having broken into the house. He has been several times before the Magistrates, and I suppose will soon be committed for trial.

Mon. 24._ The case of Adams v. Coleridge has astounded everybody – or rather, the unexpected termination of it has. Mr Adams was engaged to be married to the Hon. Mildred Coleridge, only daughter of Lord Coleridge, and the Hon. Bernard Coleridge, the lady’s brother, wrote his sister a letter defaming Mr Adams in the grossest terms. He brought and (sic) action against young Coleridge laying the damages at £10,000. It was tried on Saturday, Mr Justice Manisty being the judge. Evidence was brought that the charges in the letter were false, and they had all the appearance of having been actuated by malice. The Times newspaper speaks of the “brutal tone” of the letter which was the cause of the action, and most of the newspapers of the day condemn it in strong terms. The judge summed up with an evident leaning to the defendant. The jury however, brought in a verdict for the plaintiff, with £3,000 damages. Upon this the Judge immediately declared he did not see any malice in the letter; he over ruled the finding of the jury; declared for the defendant; and ordered the plaintiff to pay the costs. It was plain that this was done to swamp and ruin Mr Adams. And Mr Justice Manisty works in the same court with the Lord Chief Justice, the defendant’s father; and the Attorney General, who was on the same side, is of the same politics; and Mr Pitt Lewis, an Attorney, also in court, is a protégé of the Coleridge family, is frequently in Devonshire, and has been canvassing Exeter for the votes of the electors at the next vacancy. Mr Adams was a bold man to plead his own case in person against this powerful clique of lawyers. Yet he got his verdict. Notice of appeal was given, so the affair is not yet over; and they will try to ruin him if they can. Mr Coleridge, the defendant kept out of sight; afraid probably of being cross questioned by Mr Adams. If law is to be administered as it was in this case, goodbye to the security given us in our boasted trial by jury; goodbye to the respect for upright judges, and goodbye to our liberities.

Sat.Nov. 29._ Finished the Index to Vol. XVI, of the Trans. Dev. Assoc. This afternoon. There was a furious game of football this afternoon opposite my window in the field between the Old Chancel and the church. Some other club came to play them, but I did not hear what. They adopt all sorts of merry Andrew costumes. Fine afternoon; north wind, and cold.

Sun.30. _ White frost this morning, and a little ice in the gutters. During the morning the wind got to the SW with rain, and it got milder.

Mon. Dec.1.- Last Saturday, though somewhat cold, it was beautifully fine. In Exeter a slight fall of snow, and rather deep in the midland counties.

Sun. 7. _ It was so dark this afternoon in church that it was impossible to see to read. The organist lit his candles to see his music, and the gas was lit at the pulpit for the Vicar, who preached.

M.8. _ The autumn session of Parliament prorogued to-day till Feb.19. Most of the Ministers, and many of the Opposition nearly worn out by political struggles and contention. During the last four years, since the present Ministry have been in power, the country has been on a continued state of strife and excitement, and our relations with other countries – as Ireland, Egypt, South Africa, India etc. – have been full of discontent and violence. It will be a happy thing for England when the great agitator Mr Gladstone goes out of office. I look upon him as utterly devoid of all principle , either in word or deed, and intent only on the strife that can secure any personal advantage to himself or his party.

W.10. _ Most of the day binding and pulling covers – blue leather backs- to a number of old pamphlets, mostly relating to American affairs.

S.13. _ A great explosion of dynamite near the southern end of London Bridge, which shook the city. Supposed to have been Fenians from Ireland, the former having been traced to them.

W.17. _ Cold northerly wind. Snow up the country, and a fall in Exeter, while in Sidmouth a few heavy passing clouds dropped rain, and some white flakes.

Th.18. _ Called on Mr and Mrs Pole or de la Pole, recently here from Yorkshire. He tells me that his grandfather was a younger brother of the then Baronet of Shute. This good old family was originally De la Pole, but for two centuries or more the De la has been dropped. They are now beginning to revive it again.

S.20. _ A good game of football opposite my window. The St. Thomas’s Club from Exetercame down. Who won I know not. There was a cheer at the end, but it was so dark, I could see nothing clearly.

Sun.21. _ Shortest day, but it was one of the clearest and lightest days that we have had for some time. The mornings and evenings have been extremely dark of late. Fine day but cold north wind.

M.22. _ Immense quantity of herrings caught. For the past few weeks they have been taking them more or less, but this more than they ever remember at one time. I will not talk of numbers, for possibly they are spoken at hazard. One boat was so full, that they were obliged to transfer her freight into one or two others to keep her afloat.

A few years ago they followed the plan of going off with their boats about 3 in the afternoon, and steer some miles east or west according to the set of the tide, and in fine weather it was a pretty sight to see 20 or more boats launched by twos and threes, as fast as the men could get them into the water. Arrived at the desired spot, they threw out their nets, and keeping a boat or two tied to each net, they drifted back with the tide, shivering or benumbed with the cold, as there was then, for an hour or two no work to be done, but they filled up the time telling stories, “beating the booby”, lighting their pipes, or tapping a stray keg of brandy. Sometimes, if they thought fish were about, they would occasionally haul up the nets and take out what fish were in them; and if fish were not plenty, they would drift on till the small hours, and on certain cases stay out nearly all night. I am told that they now follow a different and a more preferable plan. Be cast out if their nets as before, but nearer to Sidmouth, or more opposite, and instead of staying with them, and drifting with them, they anchor the nets, and then come ashore. In this way they get a comfortable night’s rest at home. After breakfast they go off and then take them in. The quantities are now was secured are a great boon to the fishermen, and to many others, but the fishermen are such a degraded and drinking set, that the majority would be better off without money: and when they get it, it is soon wasted in eating and drinking, so that their improvidence sooner makes them a poor men again. A month or six weeks ago they were preparing their fishing tackle, and the more anxious, as the mackerel season in the summer had it not been very profitable. As the herrings were rather slow in coming, they began to complain bitterly that they should be starved in the winter if The Fish did not soon come. The common price for herrings is about a shilling a dozen, though less sometimes to those who fetch them, or to the poorer classes, or three shillings hundred to send away, though these things are very much; but just now they are so abundant that every needy family can buy any amount at three pence a dozen, and the wholesale dealers are buying them at 7/- a thousand to retail in the inland towns, or send to London. A month ago and fishermen were complaining loudly the there was no prospect of any fish, and that they should not have a farthing in their pockets to provide for the necessities of the winter; and now I am told they are complaining as loudly that there are too many, and that they are selling too cheap! This is a new grievance, ungrateful people! It is rather difficult to please some folks.

Formerly the used to float the higher edge of their nets at the surface of the water by a series of corks, the lower edge being kept down by lumps of lead; and it was found, especially in deep water, frequently past under them and were lost, as in the upper sketch opposite: so they now have a plan of sinking the net so many feet or yards, by suspending it on ropes, as shown in the second sketch. The third sketch is more erudite. Some say half the hearings were sold in the market are pilchards. Lord knows the difference between a pilchard and a herring? The fishermen told me last week that he could tell the difference in the dark:-that a pilchard was a harder and firmer fish in the hand – that the scales of the herring were thin and soft, but that in the pilchard they were of a thicker and stiffer nature, so that they would almost cut the skin when grasped firmly. I alluded to the old belief –that if you suspend these fish by the back fin, the head of the one of them will preponderate. And outweigh the tail; whereas, in the other, so held, the tail end is heaviest, and it outweighs the head. I asked him which was which?He said he had heard the assertion, but never tried and did not know. I have asked many people in my time, but no person could ever tell me.

Th,25- Christmas Day. No ice or snow, but a cold and dry north east wind. I wish Christmas Day were more consistently kept. I have always thought so, ever since I was old enough to think anything. After the solemnity of the morning, there is something grating on the mind in winding up the evening with eating, drinking, frivolous talk, or noisy games. I used to dine out, not because I approved of it, but because I had not the courage to tell the real trueth. I had a quite evening at home this time.

S,27, - There was an active game of football opposite my window. I am however quite sorry that these games are scaring my rooks, and making them lose their tameness. I was much amused the other day, as indeed I have been many times before, at seeing one of my tamest hide some food he could not eat. It may have been a piece of potatoe (sic) boiled, or a crust, or a piece of meat or fat, but being already up top full, he took it & walked into the field till he found a suitable tuft of grass, Into the middle of this he thrust it. Sometimes he would open the grass with his beak first. Having pushed it as far as he could, he pulled the grass over it, as far as the winter growth would allow, and then looked for a dead leaf, or a dead weed, and having found one – as I have seen both used on different occasions – he put it on the place and pressed it down, so as to make it all secure. There was a great deal of intelligence in all this.

Sun, 28, - Dull and dark with a north east wind.

Wed, 31, - Last day of the year. They rang out the old one in the church tower, but the bells were not muffled enough. I noticed this last year.

End of 1884.

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