Dragonfly

POH Transcripts - 1894

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Mon. Jan. 1. 1894 – Like an old garment, the late year has ceased to occupy our thoughts, so we will see now with some interest to the new one, how it will suit us. New Year’s Day is rather chilly but not frosty. It is what some call ‘very seasonable’.

Th. Jan. 4. 1894 – Strong North-East wind very cold – ‘enough to cut a snip in two’, as the sportsmen say.

Fri. Jan. 5. 1894 – Still colder – enough to cut two snipes in tow.

Sat. Jan. 6. 1894 – Heavy drifting snow flying past the windows.

Sun. Jan. 7. 1894 – Six or eight inches of snow on the ground. Calmer towards evening, and a thaw came on. Telegrams from the eastern and northern counties describe it as sudden, severe and abundant. Trains stopped, roads blocked, one or two persons froze to death.

Mon. Jan. 8. 1894 – The snow vanishing fast at Sidmouth but not in the north.

Tues. Jan. 9. 1894 – As I have been in the habit of feeding the birds for more than 30 years, I have many visitors. A robin, (not the one of March 9 1891), was eating food on the window sill, when a thrush, (a rare bird except in very cold weather), came up to share it with him. They eat together for a short time, and then the robin, seeing that the big bird, which was 3 or 4 times as large as himself, was devouring “the lion’s share”, suddenly lost all patience, and ruffling up its feathers in a great passion, with claws, open mouth and much twittering, flew in the face of the thrush. This latter was taken so by surprise, that it started back, sitting on its tail feathers, and simply put itself into an attitude of defence. After more altercation, but no closing, they both vanished off the window cill. I was much surprised at the courage of the little robin.

Th. Feb. 1. 1894 – This month often very cold – this year mild and showery.

Sat. March. 13. 1894 – Session of Parliament ended, having sat more than thirteen months, frittering away the time in wrangling, and bringing forward un-needed and impracticable schemes to amuse people and flatter the mob. The queen has gone to Florence for a few weeks.

Fri. March. 23. 1894 – Good Friday.

Th. March. 29. 1894 – Parliament again assembled, and for the new session of 1894. Mr Gladstone has retired – from age and indisposition. Happy would it have been for England had he retired 40 years ago. We all know Lord Palmerston’s prognostication.

Sun. April 1. 1894 – Low Sunday. No April Fools – we are getting too well bred.

Mon. April 9. 1894 – Cuckoo heard and swallows seen near Axminster. This is from 10 days to a fortnight earlier than usual.

Sun. April 28. 1894 – A cloud of remarkable shape! This cloud was a straggling portion of a large mass of white summer clouds down below. The sky was clear, the sun shining bright, and a brisk NE wind was blowing down the valley; and it bore a striking resemblance to the head, arms and body of a man. The profile when I saw it was singularly good: but as it passed onwards changes took place, and after making 2 or 3 ugly faces, I lost it altogether.

Tu. May 1. 1894 – Very chilly. Only one call form the May Day children, who carry about a branch decorated with flowers and ribbons – as at May 1. 1874.   All old customs are fast vanishing, and flora will soon be forgotten.

Th. May 10. 1894 – Parliament prorogued for Whitsuntide, till Monday 21st.

Mon. May 21. 1894 – Parliament re-assembled today.

Th. May 31. 1894 – Last day of May. I never remember so cold and ungenial a May.

Fri. June 1. 1894 – Mr Gladstone’s sight has been failing lately; he has undergone an operation for cateract.

Sun. June 9. 1894 – During the past week men have been at work about the well in the field behind the Old Chancel. It was made 25 years ago, as recorded Feb 23, 1869, and has done well till lately, when the water began to grow scarce; so I have had all the brick work taken up, which was not set in mortar, and the well deepened 4 to 5 feet, when they had plenty of water. The same coarse alluvium of loam, gravel and flints as are mentioned before, and I am surprised they did not reach the res rock. The whole has been bricked up again; but except the three feet at the bottom, the bricks are all bedded in cement. The geological appearance of the succession of deposits suggests that the valley of Sidmouth was once in the condition of a vast lake. It was probably tapped and drained by the advance of the sea.

Fri. May 15. 1894 – Lord Coleridge, of Ottery St Mary, Lord Chief Justice of England, died in London, at 8.50PM last evening. The injudicious 2nd marriage with Miss Amelia Augusta, daughter of Mr H. B. Lins?ford, Bengal Civil Service, I have mentioned, Aug 22. 1855. People looked askance at it. The queen would not receive her at court, and many ladies shied her acquaintance.

Wed. June 20. 1894 – Accession of Queen Victoria. 57 years Queen.

Th. June 21. 1894 – Proclamation.

Sun. June 24. 1894 - Midsummer Day. At last the weather is getting warmer. A lease of No. 4 Coburg Terrace to the Rv. And Mrs Barrow, for 3 years, begins today.

Mon. June 25. 1894 – The papers this morning tell us that the Duchess of York gave birth to a son at 10 o’clock in the evening of last Saturday the 23rd Instant. This is an important event, as the infant is the direct heir to the throne. The Duke of York and the Princess May of Teck were married on the 6th of July last year, being one year minus 13 days. The mother and child are going on well.

Sun. July 1. 1894 – Sultry, Hot NE wind. Thunder storm off at sea. Approached at 8PM Rain.

Mon. July 2. 1894 – The papers of today are full of the brilliant ceremony of the opening of the wonderful Tower Bridge in London, the day before yesterday – Saturday, June 30. The Prince of Wales, etc., etc., were there.

Th. July 5. 1894 – Sir Henry Layard died in London today, aged 77. His remarkable discoveries at Nineveh, Mosul, Nimroud, Kouyunjik, etc., made his name famous. The results are in the British Museum. He had studied the law; but his fame got him appointed Attache in 1849 at Constantinople – Under Sec For. Affairs 1861 – Ambassador at Madrid – then at Constantinople but latterly quite dropped out of notice and employment. For more than 20 years his name was never heard. He seemed to sink quite into oblivion. It has been said that he had a temper and a rough manner not suited to those offices.

Sat. July 16. 1894 – The infant son of the Duke & Duchess of York, (23 days old), was baptised today at ‘White Lodge’, near Richmond. The queen was present, and a brilliant assemblage of Kings, Princes, Dukes, Lords, and ladies of high degree.

Tu. July 24. 1894 – R. A. Carnel a boy aged 7, fell into the river Sid, rather swollen by rain, and being near the sea, was carried out by the current and drowned.

Wed. July 25. 1894 – His dead body was found in the sea this morning.

Wed. Aug. 1. 1894 – Let us hope for more settled weather. The extinct month of July has been chilly, variable, boisterous, and showery. I fear that a great deal of hay has been spoilt this un-summery summer. We must not expect two such summers as we had last year should come together.

Sat. Aug. 25. 1894 – Great thunder storm. The heavens charged with heavy clouds all round, red, orange, yellow, lurid: wild and threatening: thunder, lightning almost incessant, and a deluge of rain. Most of the roads from the station to the town were converted into rivers, which ran down Church Street to the market place, by which some of the houses in that neighbourhood were inundated. I was awoke by thunder at six this morning, and this storm began soon after six this evening, and di not die out till near eleven.

Th. Aug. 30. 1894 – Sent off box containing books, jewellery, and various small things, to London, and then to go to Beaudesert, Hindmarsh Valley, Victor Harbour, in the colony of South Australia, to my late brother’s eldest son. The steamer ‘ Australia’ sails Sep. 7.

September 1. 1894 – Yesterday, the first, (when Mr Smith went out to knock over a partridge, only the gun kicked him backwards) four apprentice boys at Brixham stole a small yacht and put to sea in her. Though the weather was fine, they got stranded on Sidmouth beach, probably from mismanagement. They said they wanted to get to Portsmouth. The vessel is much damaged. The police took charge of the lads, and they have been sent back to Brixham to be dealt with there.

Mon. Seo. 10. 1894 – The comte de Paris, the rightful, but exiled King of France, has dies at Stowe, late the splendid mansion of the Duchess of Buckingham, which he has long reside in. I think he was a grandson of Louis Philippe. I remember when his father was killed by a carriage accident in Paris. He is now to be placed in the crypt in the chapel at Weybridge, where Louis Philippe was, but afterwards removed to France, and where the Duchess of Nemours at present is.

Th. Sep. 11. 1894 – Executed a new will, and my signature was witnessed by two clergymen who happened to be in my house, e.g., Rev, J. W. Barrow, and the Rev. H. St. T. E. Wrenforde.

Fri. Sep. 12. 1894 – A concrete wall near the gas house fell out upon a pigs’ shed in which there were 15 pigs belonging to Mr Holmes, my butcher. Two were crushed that they had to be killed, and 13 were smothered and suffocated under the debris of the wall and shed. – Mem. Don’t order any pig for a month.

Mon. Sep. 24. 1894 – To please my tenant at No. 4 Coburg Terrace, I have had all the side branches on the straight trunk of the Elm Tree.

Fri. Sep. 29. 1894 – Michaelmas Day. Fine but autumnal in feel.

I have decided not to continue my diary any further. Though remarkably well for my age, I think I may as well end this record. If I live until Nov. 17, I shall reach 84. I was born Nov. 17, 1810, and baptised at Heavitree Oct.22.1811.

A person may with advantage sometimes be his own executor, at all events to a certain degree. He who is solicitous in his later years to set his house in order is likely to be predisposed in that direction. What a man can do whilst he is alive, will relieve his executor from doing after he is dead. My small oak book-case, the carving of which gave me much amusement for a considerable time, and which contains a collection of books, almost all relating to Sidmouth, together with its stand, is given in my will to the use of the Free Library at Exeter Museum: but I have decided to send it there during my life, and this step will save others the trouble of doing it. - POH

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