Dragonfly

POH Transcripts - 1893

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Sun. Jan. 1. 1893 – Have I lived to write 1893? My influenza cold has now quite left me, and I should say I were now quite well if I were not so weak. I walk up and down my room, but rather tottering, and the offer is great.

Mon. Jan. 16. 1893 – After making the index to the yearly volume of the Trans, Dev. Assoc. For somewhere near a quarter of a century, [Dec. 16. 1891], this time my illness prevented me. I have always begun in November – just when I was taken ill. I now informed the secretary I thought I was well enough to do it. He had not been able to secure another hand – so I set to work.

Tu. Jan. 31. 1893 – The new Parliament opened today. Mr Gladstone and his party have got in by promising the Irish a Parliament in Dublin. Much trouble expected. It is said that the aggregate of the number of votes poled in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland amounted to 5,588, 480.

Feb 17. 1893 – Finished and sent off a fair copy of the Index – 12 foolscap pages.

March. 1. 1893 - After the very cold weather of Dec. And Jan., we have a mild and fine February. I am warned nor to venture out till the air in the shade is warmer, so I am mostly writing or reading books and have gone through several on Geology, History, Antiquities, Astronomy, the Glacial period, Palaeolithic man, and have read a good deal of Paradise Lost again. My opinion much the same as Mar. 3. 1884.

March. 15. 1893 - Bishop Harrington’s  remains have been found. I met him and a mutual friend at the Sidmouth Junction, where I was introduced to him and had some conversation while waiting for the train. When it came, we shook hands cordially, and he soon left for South Africa as a missionary, some 5 or 6 years ago. From Zanzibar he and his party went up the country for the great lakes, but he and some others were murdered on the way, and the place of his burial could not be ascertained. It has now been found near Busoga. Skull, ribs, boots, etc. were in an old ammunition box, I believe lined with tin. It has all been taken up to Uganda, and buried there.

March. 22. 1893 - A mad man snatched his wife’s watch – broke chain – and swallowed the watch. His keepers kept their eyes on him, and in due time he produced per viam naturalem, the lost watch. It was 2 ½ inches in diameter, and half an inch thick. Extraordinary circumstance!

Fri. April 21. 1893 – Finished carving in oak, grotesque head, to go under mantel shelf in small room at end of of passage, up stairs, in Old Chancel.

Tu. April 25. 1893 – Still a bright, clear, hot atmosphere, and with a burning sun overhead. Thermometer 70 degrees and upward in the shade.  For near six weeks scarcely any rain at all; but as the ground had been well soaked before, everything has advanced, so that crops and vegetation are near a month earlier than usual. Wind mostly north-east, but not cold latterly. Such a fine blue sky, so much almost uninterrupted dryness, and so much heat at this early part of the summer, is scarcely within the memory of man. Rain, however, would now be welcome.

Mon. May 1. 1893 – A threatening for rain, but it still keeps off.

Sun. May 14. 1893 – Still not a drop of rain, and another fortnight gone. New moon tomorrow – will that bring a change? The seeds sown, and the young plants in the garden sadly want moisture, and the farmers fear there will be no grass for hay. And I am told that the water in many of the wells is beginning to fail.

Tu. May 16. 1893 – William Widgery died on the 8th of last month. From being a common mason, he became by his native talent, a clever and noted painter in oils, his chief subjects representing the wilds of Dartmoor. Born at North Molton in 1827.

May 29. 1893 – After I got well of the influenza, I was much troubled with flying rheumatic pains all over me. As they did not seem disposed to leave me, I was advised to try a change of air, so I went into Exeter for 3 or 4 weeks.

June 26. 1893 – Returned from Exeter: stronger, but rheumatism not much better. Amused myself there with copying Sunday papers, and writing sundry letters which I could not find time to do at home – in taking two walks every day – sketching contorted cliff opposite Head Weir, and the 2 Russian guns now in the Bonhay little park – visiting the cathedral, St Petrock, St David, St Michael, St Pancras, etc. Mr Winslow Jones showed me the collection of books in the Chapter House, and up stairs. I was quite astonished. At the Museum two or three times. Exeter languishing for rain.

Sat. July 1. 1893 - My tenant Miss Beadon, after two years, is now leaving.

Th. 6 July. 1893 – Prince George, created Duke of York, now 28, married his relative the Princess Mary (or May) of Teck. Marrying ‘in-and-in’; and those who do it suffer the consequences. The Royal families of Europe are all connected together. This is an important marriage, as they may be king and queen of England.

Fri. 28 July. 1893 – I have waited for the Court Marshall, held at Malta, and now it’s over. The two divisions of the Mediterranean fleet, on Thursday, June 22, were cruising off Tripoli, the starboard division having Admiral Sir George Tryon on board the Victoria, the leading ship. She was armoured, 340 feet long, 70 broad, drew 26’ 9”, 10,470 tons, carried 2 guns of 110 tons each, and many smaller, and cost, complete £844.922. Second division, Vice- Admiral Markham, in the Camperdown. [Captain Markham, see back, Oct 30. 1876; Dec. 28. 1878; Jan 7. 1879.] This ship is 10,600 tons. There were six in one division, and five in the other, steaming 8 knots. These large ships require near 800 yards to turn in. The admiral made signal that the two lines be six cables apart (the cable being 200 yds) and turn inwards and sail back side by side. By his signal officers it was suggested that six was rather little, and Vice ad. Markham hesitated to obey it, but he said, “leave it at six”, and the movement began. Fig. 1 was intended but Fig. 2 was the result There was not room to turn clear. The Vice Ad., thought, perhaps the Ad. Meant to cruise round the other division, as Fig. 3. The Camperdown struck the Victoria a little before the gun turret, making a great hole in her, and damaging her own bow much. The Admiral said – “It was all my fault,” and “it was entirely my doing – entirely my fault”.  This admission exonerated everybody else. There were 711 on board and about 430, with the Admiral, drowned. She filled, turned right over to starboard, and in 15 minutes went down in 80 fathoms, her boilers bursting under water. There is some mystery in how so experienced a man could have given the order, and continued it – “ leave it at six”.

Fri. Sep1. 1893 – He fired right into the middle of the covey, but the astute birds flew off in radii, and eschewed the charge of small shot.

Sat. Sep 9. 1893 – So the Lords, having received Mr Gladstone’s foolish and destructive bill, for the government of Ireland, which has just passed the commons by a majority of 34, have rejected and thrown it out by a majority of 378. The numbers for it were 41, and against it 419 – the majority being 378. The marvel is, that 41 men of their education could be found in Great Britain who could countenance such a measure. It must be however, allowed that 9 to 1 was a significant majority.

Tu. Sep 19. 1893 – Miss Arnold married today to the Revd. Breasby. Gave her a piece of silver plate. Wedding presents have become quite a tax. I have heard of a single gentleman who declared that he was determined to get married some day, if it were only to ge this money’s worth for what he had given away. Dined with Mrs Hunt at Redcliffe, Only Lady Charlotte Hobart Hampden. A neighbouring thunderstorm brought rain, and ended our hot weather.

Sat. Sep 23. 1893 – More thunder, more rain; and it has suddenly become so cold in feel, after six months of almost uninterrupted fine, dry, and hot weather, that people are putting on thicker clothing. Though the dryness has been a check to some things, it has favoured others. It is the most extraordinary year for fruit of all sorts on record. It is everywhere abundant, and remarkably cheap. My great pear tree is quite a sight. The long thin outer branches are weighed down by the weight. They are hanging down and loaded with pears, almost like bunches of grapes, from a yard to two yards long. Ten days ago a branch nearly as thick as my wrist broke off  by the weight. As the tree is about 40ft high, and from 15 to 20 in diameter it makes a striking show. Owing to the long summer, everything is a month earlier than usual, and some have got two crops of potatoes from the same land, and some have made hay three times in the same field. The sudden change to cold has prevailed all over the country. A heavy snow storm at Durham.

Fri. Sep 29. 1893 – Michaelmas Day. Showery and chilly. Fires first time.

Sat. Sep 30. 1893 – Six large coloured sketches of the Falls of Niagara, the Whirlpool, etc, which I have recently made from my small sketches taken on the spot, done to address a lecture or address with which I intended to amuse my friends, are become no use this year, at any rate. The effects of my influenza prevented my doing them earlier in the summer, and the days are now getting short, dark, and showery, so I have given them up. Lady Charlotte H.H fell in love with them, so I have given them to her.

Mon. Oct 16. 1893 – Today the men on the top of long ladders, with canvas bags depending from their necks, finished picking in the pears without bruising them. Such a crop I never recollect before. The bent-down branches, from a yard to two yards long, covered almost like branches of grapes, hung as I have tried to depict them in the margin. Conservative Club at the Town Hall opened today, Captain Balfour, Lord of the Manor presided. Sir John Kennaway, M. P. Came over. Most of our resident gentry there. Room full. Changed my bedrooms for the winter last Saturday the 14th.

Th. Nov. 2.  1893 – This evening, between 5.40 and 5.50, a shock of Earthquake was felt by persons in Sidmouth. I was in the Oak Room in the Old Chancel, but did not feel it. Subsequent accounts say it was felt all through the West of England, from Devon to Chester; almost all over Wales, and the nearest side of Ireland: strongest in Pembroke and neighbourhood. I believe it did no harm.

Fri. Nov. 17 1893 – I am 83 today. I am wonderfully well except this tendency to bronchitis. From preference, no drinker nor smoker: heart goes on and does its work so quietly and regularly that I never feel I have got a heart: lungs sound: good appetite: use moderation, and don’t know what indigestion is. With all this, I do not expect to get through this winter.

Sat. 18 Nov. 1893 – Great storm of wind from the NW, accompanied by rain, sleet and snow, but not enough to lie on the ground at Sidmouth. Prevailed all over Great Britain and Ireland. Much damage done.

Fri. Dec. 1 1893 – Princess of Wales born, 1844.

Th. Dec. 7 1893 – The annexed piece of work, done by me some 40 or more years ago, (for I used to be rather fond of worsted work and embroidering things in my youth), was sown on a cloth flute case, that I carried my flute in when I went to have music at a friend’s house. The old case is all to pieces. The white lion is brown, the yellow crosslets and coronet are brown, the red before the lion is brown, and only the blue has retained its colour.

Mon. Dec. 25. 1893 – Christmas Day. Beautiful weather for the season of the year.

Sat. Dec. 30. 1893 – Died at Newton Abbot, aged 72, Sir Samuel Baker, the Egyptian brave and enterprising traveller. His body afterwards ‘cremated’ at Woking.

Sun. Dec. 31 1893 – We have now arrived at the end of the year 1893. It has been one of the finest, driest, and hottest that has been known for many years past. Very enjoyable to me and many others, but succulent plants, grass, and garden vegetables desired rain. So long did the fine weather last that most farmers made hay twice off the same field, and some three times. It has also been a wonderful year to fruit. I believe we are now in the cycle for spots on the sun.

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