Dragonfly

POH Transcripts - 1890

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January 1890.

January 1. 1890. Impaired health, and the shock of the Revolution, have been too much for the Empress of Brazil. She died in Portugal. Dec. 4. 1891.

The new year has come in brightly; a white frost in the morning, which did not continue long - a clear sky - a brilliant sun - and not a breath of wind.

Th. Jan. 2. An unusual epidemic is passing through Europe. It is a species of influenza, accompanied with symptoms of typhoid fever, and has been very fatal amongst old or feeble people. It came from the East. We first heard of it in the remote parts of Russia, advancing westward. It has now spread all over Europe, and it has made its appearance in London. Why do epidemics travel westward?

The Russians say it came from China.

W. 8. Great is the number, and great the variety of coins found in Sidmouth, and especially on the beach. The Bactrian one, the oldest, now in the Exeter Museum. Roman ones 5 or 6, medieval ones, of the Edwards, Henrys, &c. English tokens,

Nuremburg tokens, many; Abbey pieces. Also many; and of modern foreign coins a great variety. A boy brought me the annexed, for which he was glad to get a penny.

Don’t ask me to decipher it just at the moment, for I am in a hurry to turn over a new leaf.

Tu. Jan. 14. This day 21 years ago my servant Ann Carslake Newton came into my service. Since my mother’s death, March 5. 1855 - now 35 years ago, (is it possible!) I have kept house by myself. The experience of this long interval has not taught me to appreciate their sense of honour, or truth; for I never could discover any of those qualities in any of them, except in the case of the one who has been with me so long. She is the only servant I have had, whom I could leave in my house for a week or two, if I wanted to go away, and feel that there would be no irregularities, but that everything would be safe and properly taken care of. She has now got up in years, and in feeble health, and is much troubled when she sees the acts of carelessness, waste, unclean habits, or injury, too frequent in other servants. She is too honest to be popular with the like of them. I hold it a duty to provide for her as long as she lives.

W. Jan. 15. There is a perceptible difference now in the increased length of the day. The temperature though January so far has been unusually mild.

Fri. 17. Woke this morning about a quarter or perhaps half past seven, when it was just getting daylight. Looking towards the church tower, there was a curious effect with the nearly ended moon, for it will be now be new moon in three days. The thin crescent of the moon was bright on a dark deep blue clear sky, & the light convex side toward the east, where the sun would rise a few minutes before eight. Dozed off again, and forgot all about moons.

Sat. 18. At last after seven months, I got rid of my masons this afternoon. They have now finished the last coat of plaster on the square hollow of the staircase, beginning at the top, and coming down to the bottom, the height being 27 feet 3 inches. The two under coats were very slow in drying, owing to the unfavourable season of the year, and this caused delay.

For nearly a month I have had a troublesome cold in the head, which I have been unable to get rid of. As I am not a boy, and latterly have had a tendency to Bronchitis, I thought it better to send for Dr. Pullin. He says it is not our Russian visitant, but “only,” (though it might be the death of one), a common vulgar English cold. We speak of the Russian Influenza, but the Russians say it came to them from China. It is reported now to be very prevalent in America.

W. Jan. 22. Exceedingly boisterous weather. Gales of wind, and storms of rain from the SW. Thunder and lightening an hour before daylight, and high seas and large waves dashing over the Esplanade. And doing great damage. The air continues mild for January, and I have plenty of primroses, both pink and yellow in the lawn, but there have been sprinklings of snow on the hills round Dartmoor and Exmoor.

Fri. Jan. 31. The herrings have nearly failed this season, and some that have been occasionally caught in comparatively limited numbers, and on which I have on two or three occasions dined, have not been so firm or so good as formerly. Perhaps they are going to desert the coast for a time, for fish are said to do that sort of thing. I can remember the time when there was no regular herring season here at all in the winter. It may be ten, twelve or more years ago - I cannot say. Dr. Mogridge’s Sidmouth Guide, p.11, speaks of the break up of the pilchard fishery at some former unascertained period, but tradition ascribed it to violent storms.

February 1890.

Sat. Feb. 1. Day perceptibly longer and lighter.

Th. 6. Mild January has passed. Dull - wind NE - Cold.

F. 7. Sir Theodore and Lady Martin are at the Knowle Hotel. She was Miss Fawsett, the Actress. I think I saw her on the stage at the Haymarket in or about the year 1846.

S. 8. Sarah Salter, aged about 70, walking on the side-walk in the High Street, was run against by an old man called Ebdon, whose sight is defective. She was knocked down, and her right leg broken.

Mon. Feb. 10. Anniversary of the Queen’s marriage. - 50 years!

Tu. 11. Parliament opened to-day. The Queen’s Speech nothing particular in it.

W. 12. A man of Otterton called Carter, aged 76, had walked over to Sidmouth in the morning. He walked up Peck Hill in the afternoon to return, and was seen to pass the cottages on the upper slope. At this part the road is very steep I think I once ascertained that it rose one yard in five, and most of the hills round Sidmouth do the same at the upper third or quarter. About an hour after, nearer the top, a man driving a vehicle down the hill, found his dead body lying by the road side. Peak Hill is over 500 feet high, and he probably overtaxed his lungs and his heart, and died like the Earl of Iddesleigh

W. Feb. 19. Miss Venn of Payhembury, and a young lady with her, surprised me with a visit. Whilst they were with me Miss Jenkins and Miss Sophia Dillon, formerly of Sidmouth, but they did not come in.

Th. 20. I read that recent discoveries have ascertained, that in the Caucasus mountains, there are eight higher than Mout Blanc, and 15 over 15000 feet.

Fri. 28. Three casks of tiles, and one of cement having arrived a few days ago from the manufacturer, Mr. Godwin, of Lugwardin, near Hereford, his man has come, and began his preparations to lay the tile floor of my inner Hall.

March 1890.

M. 3. The man finished the floor of the square inner Hall, and it looks very well. He next proceeds to the passage leading to the back.

A beautiful bright day, with strong and exceedingly cold north-east wind. I could scarcely get the thermometer up to 50’ in my sitting-room all day.

Tu. 4. Yesterday is reported to have been the coldest day we have had, although so beautifully fine. It was the strong north-easter, sweeping down the valley, that penetrated every where, in spite of doors and windows. In some parts of the country however, there were heavy falls of snow. Much in the county of Kent. More frost in Exeter than for ten years past, and Okement frozen over, which has not occurred since 1881. Heavy snow at Dartmouth.

Th. 6. To-day the man from Godwin’s completed the tiling of the Hall & passage. The wind changed to the westward, and has brought a pleasant change in the weather.

Fri. Mar. 7. Confirmation at Sidmouth church by bishop Bickersteth. There were 20 males, and 28 females.

Sat. Mar. 8. This morning about 10.30 there was a large fire at Bulverton Farm, just beyond the Station. Two men were thrashing in the Barn. It was supposed a boy heedlessly lighted a match and ignited the straw. In the Barn were 400 bushels of barley, 200 of wheat, and 50 empty hogsheads. Men came from the Station and rendered help, and the Fire Engine arrived. The Barn and all its contents were burnt, also a rick of beans and some poultry, but the dwelling house was saved. Damage about £600.

In the afternoon the Foundation Stone of a new Free-Mason’s Lodge was laid in the High Street, about 50 yards below the Unitarian Chapel, but on the opposite or eastern side, and on the spot where the old house called the “Myrtles” had stood. All the men and all the women in Sidmouth had turned out to see the procession, but there more aprons than women.

Tu. 25. Lady Day. A very cold March wind. Dr. Radford called, and brought me a book of plates on Gothic architecture, by F. Mackenzie and A. Pugin.

Mr. Edmunds of Wiscombe Park, who purchased the estate some years ago, after the death of Mr. Gorden, called at the Old Chancel, and I was at home. I had not seen him before. He came to ask me if I could give him any information about the old camp on his estate called Blackbury Castle? I told him I know it well, but never heard that anything had been discovered there. I mentioned the quantities of calcined flints found there. [Ap. 27. 1869.] The interior area had been a dense plantation, though thinned of late years, and he said that the trees were now nearly all cleared away. He should be glad to meet me at the camp if I would come over when the weather gets warmer. Aside - 79 is not like 29 or 39.

Wed. Mar. 26. Beautiful day - quite like spring, 61 out of doors. Mr. & Mrs. G. Buttermer, Miss Jenkins, and Miss Sofia Dillon, now staying here, had afternoon tea with me. I took them up on the leads on the roof, and they were delighted with the views all round, and the novelty of the situation.

Fri. Mar. 28. Called on Miss Dillon. Three or four young ladies came in, and we had afternoon tea - that modern and convenient institution, that gives but little expense or trouble to the entertainer, and enables friends to meet without going out at night, and without hiring carriages or dressing for the occasion.

S.29. All the week the clock in the church tower has been under repair, and they are also regilding the figures outside. And for this purpose a stage or case about six feet long and three wide, with a floor, has been made. A man gets into it, and then he is hauled up to the clock face. The face is not solid. The figures are composed of open ironwork, fixed a few inches off the wall. The figures are ten inches long. Having gilt the north side, the stage has been moved, and the gilding of the face on the south side is in hand.

Sun. Mar. 30. Fine bright day. Cold NE wind.

M. 31. Hot sun - cold air. In my inner Hall, where the staircase is, stove not lighted, thermometer only 50.

April 1890.

Tu. April 1. Man on the tower painting iron staff of weathercock.

W. 2. All the morning carving wood bracket for Old Chancel. My article on Cooke or Coke of Thorne, near Ottery, and Adam de Radway, with Pedigree of his descendants, at Sidmouth and elsewhere, is in the current No. vol, IX. P. 168 of the “Western Antiquary.” Also in the April No. vol. II. P.45 of the “Lincolnshire Notes & Queries,” my article on Bussi and Le Poer - one Henry Le Poer was murdered, apparently fo the East Budleigh family, and Richard de la Bussi was arrested on suspicion, &c., and cast into prison. Date 1220.

Th. Ap. 3. Men on the tower took off the weathercock - put it on - painted staff. Large fire on top of Salcombe Hill, burning the furze, now dry with the north-easter. Towards dusk could see flames scattered about 2 or 300 feet apart. Often done at this season to clear the ground, and let the young grass spring up.

Sun. Ap. 6. Easter Sunday, according to the rule, is - “The first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the 21st. March.” Applying that to the present year, it may be observed, that the young moon was a day old on the 21st. - the moon was full yesterday, that is, Saturday, at 9.24 in the morning, - and “the first Sunday after” is

to-day.

Th. Ap. 10. Cold NE wind; 45’ out of doors, and 49’ in Inner Hall, without stove.

Fri. 11. The Vicar called, and brought Mr. H.W. Reeves, of Fernbank, Et.Sheen & son.

M. 14. Mr. & Mrs. Bush, Manor House, Great Chiverell, (strangers) called, and came in. - Also Mr. Jemmett.

Tu. 15. Mr. Rerves paid me a long visit, and brought me the Hist. of Hastings to read.

The account of the Battle of Hastings is fuller than I had read before. There is a particular description of the Bayeaux Tapestry, but I examined the original at Bayeaux.

The Ex-Empress Eugenie, widow of Napoleon, has surprised us by arriving near the evening at Sidmouth, with a few attendants. She is at the Knowle Hotel.

Never was Sidmouth so full of strangers and visitors at this early period of the year. They generally do not come until after Midsummer. Some suppose they have all been suffering from the influenza epidemic, and on the approach of spring they have flocked to the sea side for change of air. -May be so. - The cuckoo and swallows are announced.

W. 16. Lent Mr. Reeves the 2 vols. of Gov. H.‘s Diary & Letters.

Mr. J.Y.A. Morshead of the adjoining parish of Salcombe Regis called, and shewed me some old glass, once in the E window of the N aisle of his church.

Mrs. Reeves and her step son had afternoon tea with me.

Th. 17. Finished carving the model, in deal, of a bunch of grapes, for the lower end of the banister rail in the Old Chancel.

Parliament has resumed after the Easter recess. The Budget brought on.

Last year the estimate for the following 12 months amounted to £85.967.000.

It has however, exceeded that estimate, and it amounts to £86.083.000.

What signifies? The revenue for the past year amounts to £89.304.000.

Shewing the handsome surplus, over the expenditure, of £ 3.221.000.

W. Ap. 23. After a week’s stay at the Knowle Hotel, the Empress Eugenie, with her ladies in attendance, left this morning by the 12.10 train. Last Sunday they were at the Chapel of the new Nunnery at Jenny Pyne’s Corner, whilst here they drove and walked out - looked at “The Glen” at the west end of the beach, &c. When at the Station, before the train started, Dr. Pullin, who likes to have his name in the papers - and perhaps for a medical man it is good for trade - and some suspect he writes the articles - introduced his daughter Miss Pullin to the Empress, who presented her with a bouquet of “Cloth-of-Gold roses,” whatever they may be, with lilies of the valley, and maiden-hair fern, “fastened with. Tricoloured silk ribbon. Miss P. is one of the handsomest and finest grown of the young ladies of Sidmouth, but most unfortunately, about 6 or 8 years ago, her power of hearing suddenly failed and left her, so she became entirely deaf, without any known or apparent reason, and so she has remained. Her father therefore did all the talking. And before the train started, Mrs. Linderman, of Sidholme, the richest lady in Sidmouth, if not the highest born, presented the Empress with a handsome bunch of “Napoleon Violets.” Many years ago there was a lady and her two grown-up daughters lodging at Denby Place, near the Beach, whose name I cannot recollect just now. The daughters told me that they had been at school with the Empress at Clifton. On one occasion, being in Paris, they debated among themselves as to whether they would let their late school fellow, now married to the Emperor, know they were there. At last, after much consideration, they decided that they would, and they sent a note to the palace. She replied, invited them, received them in the Presence Chamber with ceremony, took them into her boudoir, shut the door, exclaimed, “Now let us cast off Royalty, and have a chat about old times!” kept them some time, and dismissed them delighted.

May 1890.

Th. May 1. A few children called with branches decorated with flowers and ribbons, but not many. Dying out.

Fri. May 2. Received from Mr. Reeves, (returned to East Sheen), two plates, toad and snake in one, and 2 fish and sea-egg in the other. Portuguese ware.

First mackarel this season, at Sidmouth. Few fish have been caught here lately. Very few mackarel last summer, and scarcely any herrings last winter, on which the fishermen have too much confidently depended on, for fish will sometimes frequent a coast for a certain number of years, and then desert it, to change their ground. I think it is only 10 or 12 years that the herrings began to resort to this coast with steady abundance, and perhaps now they mean to leave.

Sat. May 3. Mr. Stanley, who has made such remarkable travels in Africa, arrived in London to-day. The Prince of Wales has invited him to Sandringham.

Th. 8. Not quite liking my former design for the bunch of grapes, I have carved another, and finished it to-day.

Fri. 9. Thunder, lightning, rain, from 7 to 8 P.M.

M. 12. Fish dealers called at the house this morning with mackarel, and asked sixpence apiece - which I indignantly refused. When I was a young man a penny was the full price. From a return made, we learn that in 1888, the quantity of fish taken round the coasts of Great Britain was 12.678.000cwt., and worth £6.000.000. In 1887 the Oysters taken were 53.577.000 in number. In 1888 they were 29.230.000. And in 1889 they were 36.727.000.

The Influenza epidemic, which has now run all over the world, and from which I have not wholly escaped, but in a mild form, is said to have come from China, and to have travelled westward. Curious, that all epidemics seen to proceed westwards. Its causes not known. It appears at all seasons. In past times, for this not the first visit, it generally preceded the plague, Black Death, Cholera, Typhus, &c. Supposed to be infectious. Attacks old and young, the dispeptic, and those with tender respiratory organs. Best prevention is pure air, cleanliness, good food, good water, warmth in bed, perspiration, fumigate with carbolic acid, or chlorine, &c.

M. May 19. The Queen has honoured Mr. Stanley with an invitation to dinner.

S. 24. Her Majesty’s birthday - she is 71. It is 70 years and 5 months since she was nursed as an infant at the “Glen” at Sidmouth.

Sun. 25. Whit Sunday, or Pentecost. Thunder, lightning, rain.

June 1890.

Sun. June 1.

M. 2. This evening some boys were playing in the first field westward on the cliff - near the remains of the old Limekilns, and the stepladder descending to the beach. They were chasing one another, and one boy, called John Williams, aged 15 looked back to see if he was followed, and inadvertently ran out over the cliff. It is nearly perpendicular, and 150 feet high. Strange he was not killed on the spot. He was taken up and carried to the Cottage Hospital, and I hear he is likely to live.

Fri. 16. Mrs. James, an American lady of Cambridge, near Boston, Mass., now living at Rockbeare House, with her daughter and son-in-law Mr. Troup drove over and spent the afternoon with me, and then drove back. Mr. Troup was one of Stanley’s party in Africa.

W. June 21. The longest day. Rather dull, and darker than usual.

July 1890.

Tu. July 1. Painting doorway between inner hall, and back passage.

S. 5. All week decorating the sides of the doorway with Gothic patterns.

Fri. 11. The Rev. John Wm and Mrs. Barrow called at the Old Chancel, and asked to see No. 4 Coburg Terrace, which they had observe red was advertised by me to let unfurnished. I took them over the house. They thought it would do, but left in order to consider it. Before dark they came again, and went over it a second time.

There was a coach-house and stable, and they had a pony carriage and pony,& there were rooms enough for their family; and after a little conversation, & an understanding about rent, they agreed to take it for three years.

Sat. July 12. They came during the forenoon - signed the Agreement - and the whole thing was done in less than 18 hours.

Bisley Rifle meeting to-day. Stanley and Miss Tennant married to-day at Westminster Abbey.

Sun. July 13. At Parish church, P.M.

M. 14. The following laconic scraps of wisdom I took from an old book.

Tolle malos, extolle pios, cognosce teipsum,

Sacra tene, paci consule, disce pati.

I forgot they are at January 8. 1889.

Sat. 26. The Vicar and Mrs. Clements, Miss Clements, (of Sidlands), two Miss Quins, or O’Quins, and Miss Harrison, spent the afternoon with me. They were much amused at my work at the Old Chancel. Shewed them my carvings in oak, &c., and how to do the stencil wall decorations. Took them upon the lead roof, and the weather being fine, they enjoyed it amazingly, and the views all round. We came down and had tea and conversation.

W. 30. Afternoon tea with Miss Jenkins. Met Miss H. Miller, cousin & Miss Sth.

Th. 31. Dr. Radford called. Also Miss Smith, and Mrs. Gilbert Carter.

The Bisley meeting on the new shooting ground is now over. This was the first meeting on their new ground. The shooting very good.

The Devonshire Association meeting at Barnstaple, to which I did not go, ends its reading to-day. Excursions to-morrow.

August 1890.

Sat. Aug. 9. Miss Clements, who was so well at my house only a fortnight ago, [July 26] and enjoyed the views from the lead roof, was carried to her grave to-day.

Sun. Aug. 10 Very sultry. Thunder, lightning, and rain last night. At the parish church this afternoon. Took Ada Robins with me, who came last Tuesday, and returns to her mother at Honiton to-morrow.

Finished reading “Stones Crying Out,” by L.N.R. 1865. It deals mainly with the ancient inscriptions found on the rocks of Mount Sinai, on the sculptures from Nineveh, Babylon, and other parts of Syria, Assyria, and the Holy Land, &c., and read together with the Bible, throws much light on many obscure passages.

M. 11. The papers are full of the accounts from America, in which a men named Kemmler was executed for murder by electricity. It took place at Auburn Jail, in New York State. He sat in a chair, strapped hand and foot - two electrodes used - one applied to the top of head - contact by a wet sponge - the other in the small of the back. When current of electricity turned on, great contortions of body and limbs. After an interval of a minute or two, he was pronounced dead - current turned off, and electrode on head loosened, when he began to struggle violently. Doctors and many persons present nervous and horrified at the scene. Two fainted and were carried out. Electrode re-applied and intensity augmented. Eventually a post mortem examination made. Every body paralysed with horror - and the public with indignation. Doctors and others present declare they will never assist at such a thing again.

The theory of executing criminals by electricity has been for some time discussed in America. One attempt at the practice is perhaps enough. They seem to have done it by a current of galvanism. I had thought it would have been done by a sudden shock, so as to have killed instantly, like a flash of lightning. Perhaps there is no way more merciful than the English mode of hanging, and by a drop.

Tu. Aug. 12. Last Saturday the 9th. The little island of Heligoland was offered and willingly accepted by the Germans, for which they have relinquished the protectorate of extensive territories to us in south-east Africa. The official transfer was on Saturday. The German and English flags were hoisted - each, saluted with 21 guns - and then the English Governor embarked - when they gave him 17.

Mon. 18. Parliament progued till Oct. 25, for a short winter Session.

Tu. 19. My cousin the Rev. Sanford Hutchinson came at my request to stay with me, this week, from his father’s Vicarage at Blurton, co. Staff.

Fri. 22. Sanford left to return. His father is 80 on Monday. Birthday to be kept.

To-day I finish carving the bunch of grapes in oak for the lower end of the banister rail, [May 8.] the iron banisters not being yet quite finished.

Sat. 23. Mr. & Mrs. Heaven, (cousin of the owner of Lundy Island,) and three daughters, who are just now in my house No.4 Coburg Terrace, had afternoon tea with me.

Whilst they were with me two men called and said they had something curious to show me. One opened a paper and displayed several bunches of ovoid bodies like grapes, but they were opaque white, which were snake’s eggs.

They were digging down the side of a bank in the neighbourhood, when a snake above two feet long darted out and escaped. They perceived a hole, which was full of eggs the size if grapes, and which they took out. They opened one or two, to show me and my company, and took out a young snake about 4 or 5 inches long, alive but not lively. They asked me if I would like to have the eggs as curiosities? “No thank you all the same. Perhaps they will hatch of themselves. Don’t want a house full of snakes.”

I gave them a shilling to take them away.

These eggs were not covered with a hard shell, but with a tough skin like paper, or more like the leather of a white kid glove.

A servant girl at Salcombe Hill House, now occupied by a Mr. Forster, left the house early in the morning unexpectedly. The father and brother have been over from Stockland. As she did something of the same sort from another place before, they hope she will be found safe, but search is being made.

Tu. Aug. 26. Spent the evening at my house No. 4.

Fri. 29. The body of the missing servant has been found in the river Sid. It was found by two men with a pole having some hooks at the end of it, in a deep place just below the weir at the end of the garden of the house called “The Myrtles,” and at about 100 yards or more from the sea. Her name was Bessie Harris. She was evidently not in her right mind.

September 1890.

Mon. September 1. The partridges I hear, are rather plenty this year.

Sat. Sep. 6. Two boys set 3 ricks of hay on fire this afternoon, in the field just above Sea View, on the cliff, west of the town. Smoking cigarettes.

Sun. 7. At church. In the afternoon I went to look at the ricks. They were black masses slowly smouldering and blazing.

M. 8. Mr. Morshead gave me a brace of partridges. Mr. & Mrs. Kennet Ware’s Lawn tennis party at Cotlands. Beautiful weather; large party there. Then called on

Mr. Stanford next door, at Helens.

Tu. Sep. 9. Dined off partridge - young and tender.

Fri. 12. Sarah Madge and Elizabeth Hands, [Hans?] formerly servants of my late cousin Mary Roberton, of Dawlish, surprised us with a visit. They left again in the evening. A short time ago there was a wild beast show at Sidmouth. I always go to them, as it is the only chance stay-at-homes have of seeing rare animals alive, and I saw one or two, and one or two birds that were new to me. Part of the entertainment was the silly and cruel practice of a man going in with the lions and knocking them about with a stick. Some said there was a sword inside it, and a loaded revolver in his pocket. Let me see a lion tamed by kindness, and as glad to see his keeper come near him, as a dog is to see his master come home. That would be a pleasing sight. Them we saw a kind of leopard conducted to the flat saddle on a horse, and trotted about. Children rode about on the backs of Elephants. Then one of them performed that most difficult feat of stepping off from a sort of inverted tub, onto a kind of cylindrical drum or barrel, and carefully rolling it forward with his feet to another tub and step off. And we had a tune on the organ, and a dance, so called; one turned the handle of an organ with his proboscis, whilst another, on his tubs, kept on alternately lifting his two fore feet, pretending to dance - and this he did as long as the music lasted.

Sat. Sep. 20. Nearly all the summer it has been chilly and showery, and the farmers have been in despair about the harvest, but at the beginning of this month there was a sudden change for the better, and we have had beautiful summer weather.

Now a sudden change has gone back to storms and rain.

Fri. 26. Mrs. & Mss Protheroe (now in my house No. 4.) and 2 Misses Acramar, had afternoon tea with me.

Sun. Sep. 29. During the service in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, a man called Easton committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol. Much alarm and excitement among the congregation, which the preacher had some difficulty in allaying.

October 1890.

W. Oct. 1. Another old Devonshire family come to grief! Hallet of Stedcombe

“sowed up” see Oct 30. Report says extravagance and mismanagement. Stedcombe House and 1500 acres of land advertised to be sold; together with the Advowson and Vicarage of Axemouth, and also the Manor & lordship.

Fri. 3. By an accident, the Lamp room at the Junction was burnt.

S. 4. Mr. & Mrs. Taylor, from Leicester Frith, Leicester, came down to Sidmouth, and put up at the Bedford Hotel. She was Miss Mackie, and a daughter of the gentleman who built and owned Sidmount, half way to the Station, on the right. She tells me she wanted to see Sidmouth after an absence of 60 years.

Tu. Oct. 7. Mr. & Mrs. Kennet-Were, with Mrs. Sawyer, (her mother), of Cotlands, and Mr & Mrs. J.Y.A. Morshead, of Salcombe Regis, came & spent an hour or two with me. They examined all I have done, and what I am doing at the Old Chancel, went up on the lead roof, where we lingered some time enjoying the views, and then had tea together in the Oak Room.

W. 8. Sitting on the telegraph wire, 17 swallows. How can they do it with impunity, when several people have been killed by touching the electric wire of lamps?

Th. 9. Second Lecture on Geology. It was mostly chemical.

Fri. 10. Burial Board meeting. Only Mr. Kennet-Were, Mr. Woodrooffe, & Self, with Mr. Radford, the Clerk. I voted Mr. Kennet-Were to the chair.

M. 13. Dined with my tenants at 4 Coburg Terrace.

Tu. 14. Dined with Mr. & Mrs. Taylor at Bedford House, who leave on Thursday. Changed my bedroom for the winter. Had fires for the first time - in the evening.

Wed. Oct. 15. There is an interesting article in the Pall Mall Gazette of Oct. 13, in which is given an account of the discoveries in south Africa - well in a country called Mashonaland, of which little or nothing has hitherto been known. We are reminded of the first explorations by Europeans in Peru and central America. Massive buildings of granite, in some cases with walls 18 feet thick, have been met with in the forests, of the history or origin of which the present inhabitants know nothing, not even by tradition. Towers, fortified places, burnt out furnaces, and other buildings, they met with, and mostly constructed of well squared out stone. From the gold abounding in central Africa, some imagine they have come upon the Ophir of Soloman. The annexed sketches I copied from the Gazette. The first is cut on a stone at Zimbabye, but its meaning, if it has any, is not known. The second is an ingenious piece of walling. And the third is equally so. The herring-bone pattern in the courses, made of flat stones placed sloping, occurs in Roman and Norman buildings in Europe. The building is on the Iundi river. Africa is being wonderfully opened up at the present time.

Agricultural meeting - ploughing matches, dinner - Sir J, Kennaway, M.P. here.

Th. Oct. 16. In Philodilion, by Richard de Bury, we have the following eulogy on books - “Hi sunt Magistri qui no,s instruunt sine virgis et ferula; sine verbis et cholera; sine pane etpecunia. Si accedis, non dormiunt; si inquiris, non se abscondunt, si oberres; et cachinos nesciunt, si iqnores.”

Th. 23. Attended Geological Lecture. Dined at No. 4 to meet friends.

Fri. 24. The branches of the Elm before No. 4 topped, the head of the tree being too large.

S. 25. Mr. & Mrs. Barrow left.

Sun. 26. From 1. Kings, ch.V, it appears that there were 183.300 men employed in collecting materials and building the Temple of Solomon, (as in the margin,)

30.000 - sent to Lebanon.

70.000 - to bear burdens.

80.000 - hewers in the mountains.

3.300 - over-lookers.

183.300

 

That is to say, if there is no clubing together, or reduplification of the several classes. The wood used was cedar, fir, olive, and palm. Almost everything was overlaid with gold. It was seven years in building.

The wind was NW., strong and cold, and kept me at home. At last our autumnal summer seems to have departed. With but few interruptions, we have enjoyed it since the beginning of September.

Th. 30. Went to the fifth lecture on Geology. They are rather too chemical, petrological, and analytical for beginners, as most of his audience are. I think I should have begun on less dry and puzzling and technical principles, and opened the subject broadly & generally, by explaining the nature and meaning of the parts and peculiarities of a large Geological map, together with sections of the strata, &c. The rest might come afterwards.

To-day the Stedcombe estate was put up to auction at the Half-moon in Exeter, comprising some 15.000 acres, Manor, Lordship, Advowson, and Vicarage of Axemouth. The estimated value £2100 p annum. The first bid was £31.000. It was finally knocked down at £35.600 to Mr. S. Stephens, of Brook St. Grorvenor Sq., London.

Lysons, II, 26 says, Stuttecombe or Stedcombe, had belonged to the Uffevilles, & afterwards to the Veres, - in the 14th. Century to the Courtenays; then to Sir Peter Carew, then to Walter Yonge, and his descendt Sir Walter Yonge, Bart., sold to Richard Hallett. The house was built about 1697. Seen from the neighbouring hills, it is a fine old fashioned square mansion of brick, with all the chimneys grouped in the middle of the roof.

November 1890.

Sun. Nov. 2. Sacrament Sunday.

Tu. 4. The Rev., Mrs. & Miss Macdonough, (now in my house), and two Miss Martins at No. 1. Coburg Terrace, had afternoon tea with me.

W. 5. Mr. & Mrs. G. Buttemer, and Miss Jenkins did the same.

There was a torchlight procession down through the town this evening, with a bonfire on the beach, and a fair share of fireworks.

Th. 6. After many delays, they completed putting up the inner banister to the stone stairs. The oak banister rail, with my bunch of grapes, is now to come.

M. 10. Violent autumnal weather - gales of wind, storms, and rain. Shipwrecks, &c.

Th. 13. Attended the 6th. Lecture on Geology, given by Mr. Carus-Wilson. About 40 attended.

S. 15. As the weather is getting cooler I have got a very sociable fly that lives constantly in my room. It walks over my books as I read, and my papers as I write - my hands and face.It breakfasts, dines, teas, and sups with me. It is amusing to see it wash its hands, and rub its head with its fore legs, & its neck looks no thicker than a piece of sewing cotton.

Mon. Nov. 17. I am 80 to-day. If it were not for a tendency to bronchitis during the last few years, and a slight attack of the Influenza Epidemic, the effects of which being unwilling to leave entirely, I should wear my age very lightly and easily. With no aches and pains I sleep splendidly - bed between 12 and 1 - wake at 8 - breakfast 9, dinner 1 P.M., when I can eat and drink anything in fair moderation, and can digest a tender or a tough beefsteak as well as I could at 20. I delight in carpentering, carving oak, and painting and decorating for the Old Chancel, and reserving the evening for reading and writing. The cold of the winter is all I fear.

Tu.18. The little exhibition of local curiosities and works of Art which opened here on the 11th. has closed, and my contributions, lent for the occasion, are sent back. I lent the following:- 3 carved Bunches of Grapes; Zulu pillow of wood; sharks mouth; Haws of a Bottle nose Porpoise; Feejee Island club; 2 noses or horns of the Saw fish, young and old; Tanned skin of Boa Constrictor, 4 yards long; Skull of Tiger; and an elongated shell weighing 32lbs.

Th. 20. At the Geological Lecture.

W. 26. After a deal of mild, boisterous, and stormy weather, wind NW., fine, but very cold. White frost at night, freezing by day in the shade. I keep house.

Parliament met yesterday for a short winter session. - The King of Holland, who has for some time been out of his mind, died at the Hague, I think on Sunday the 23rd. Inst. He has left no male heir, it is said.

December 1890.

M. December 1. Extremely cold for the last week. Frost, snow flacks in the air occasionally, skating, and sliding. Only 43 to 45 in my breakfast room, fire recently lighted.

W. Dec. 3. Mr. Stanford sent me a fine cock pheasant, Finished reading M. Paul Sedille’s L’Architecture Modern en Angleterre. It is written in pleasant, easy French, and contains many illustrations of public and private buildings. As a book, written by a foreign Architect, I think it extremely fair, discriminating, and just. No one, for the last three centuries, has been able to invent a new, original style, to follow the Gothic. Since then foreign styles have been introduced - ancient and modern Roman, Greek, Byzantine and even Moorish. These are strangely mixt together, to suit convenience, or produce novel effects. And architects are often driven to great difficulties when building in streets and cramped corners.

W. Dec. 10. Saral Madge, formerly a servant of my late cousin Miss Roberton, came over from Dawlish to see my servant Ann Newton, who is ill.

Parliament prorogued yesterday until January 22. Never were political affairs in a more extraordinary confusion. The strange conduct of Mr. Gladstone in 1886 in forming an alliance with Mr. Parnell, the Irish leader in rebellion, whom Mr. G. when he was last in power, denounced as “steeped to the lips in treason,” and as “marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire,” and whom he imprisoned for speaches inciting to treason, was a step which the greater number of his friends and supporters were astounded at, and would not countenance by joining in it with him. “Home Rule,” the cry of the Irish, and a Local Parliament, which tended towards an attempt at separation, was so well understood, that all the best men of the Liberal party, and deserted Mr. Gladstone, & were designated “Unionists,” as the more loyal party, and adopted the oval shield of Britannia, surmounted by a Royal crown,

[see July 2. 1886.] whilst the others have been styled “Separatists,” but have displayed no badge. As Mr. Parnell could command 86 votes among his Irish supporters in Parliament, an alliance with such a body, and a few promises to promote certain popular measures with the Irish, might succeed in turning out the present Conservative Ministry, and make him G. Prime Minister again. But the recent disgraceful divorce case of O’Shea v. Parnell, in which Mr. Parnell was convicted, has imported confusion into everything. It has broken up the Irish party. They are all quarrelling as to whether he shall be their leader or not. More then half his followers have deserted him, and Mr. Gladstone’s hopes are all confounded, and his castles in the air have all tumbled down, whilst the present Ministry is strengthened.

Fri. Dec. 12. Finished reading, making notes, and writing out a fair copy of the Index to Vol. XXII. Of the Transactions of the Devonshire Association, for the press.

Yesterday was buried Mrs. Treadwin of Exeter, and I think once of Honiton. She has for some years been the chief dealer of Honiton lace. Though decidedly out of my line, I admire Honiton lace, as I would admire anything that is pretty and ingenious. It is certain however that Honiton lace is doomed. It does not pay. That fact is enough to annihilate any trade or occupation. Times are changed, wages have advanced, and machinery has been so much improved, that it can now do almost anything the hands can do. Formerly, when I was driving through Branscombe, in passing the open doors of the cottages, I could see regular schools of girls being taught to make lace. Now they are taught other trades that pay better. I saw the lace handkerchief given by the Marquis of Lorne to the Princess at their wedding. Another time I had in my hands some deep flounces of many yards, here in Sidmouth, and made for the Queen. The price £315, = 300 guineas.

Sat. Dec. 20. Wind NE, cold. Slight fall of snow, On the east and northern parts of England a great deal, with frost. Skating, &c.

Sun. 21. Shortest day. Partial thaw, and cold rain.

W. 24. Clear sky and sun. Pleasant novelty. Freezing in the shade. Christmas Eve.

Th. 25. Christmas Day. Dull, dark, cloudy, cold NE-ter, and some rain. Kept home.

M. 29. That old intriguer Gladstone 81 to-day. Very cold. Two pheasants from Mrs. Linderman.

W.31. Last day of 1890. The coldest December since 1855, as some assert.

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