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Title: Small Talk at Wreyland. First Series
Author: Torr, Cecil
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Small Talk at Wreyland. First Series" ***

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                              SMALL TALK
                              AT WREYLAND

                      CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
                          C. F. CLAY, MANAGER
                      LONDON: FETTER LANE, E.C. 4

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                     NEW YORK: G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                  TORONTO: J. M. DENT AND SONS, LTD.

                         _All rights reserved_


                              SMALL TALK
                              AT WREYLAND


                              CECIL TORR

                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

                      _First Edition, June, 1918_
                      _Reprinted, November, 1918_

                         CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY
                           J. B. PEACE, M.A.
                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS


I wrote this little book for private circulation; and it was actually in
type, and ready for printing, before its publication was suggested. I
feel some diffidence in inviting strangers to read what I intended only
for my personal friends. But it all seems to hang together, and I have
not omitted anything.

In addressing this to strangers, I should explain that Wreyland is land
by the Wrey, a little stream in Devonshire. The Wrey flows into the
Bovey, and the Bovey into the Teign, and the Teign flows out into the
sea at Teignmouth. The land is on the east side of the Wrey, just
opposite the village of Lustleigh. It forms a manor, and gives its name
to a hamlet of six houses, of which this is one.

                                                            CECIL TORR.





LAWN                               _Frontispiece_

IN THE INNER PARLOUR             _To face p._ 16

THE WREY AT WREYLAND                  ”       32

THE PIXEY GARDEN                      ”       48

MAY DAY                               ”       64

JOHN TORR, the Author’s Grandfather,
from the portrait by T. Bryant Brown  ”       80

IN THE LOWER PARLOUR                  ”       96

THE HALL HOUSE                        ”      112

_All the illustrations, except the portrait, are from photographs taken
by the Author._


Down here, when any of the older natives die, I hear people lamenting
that so much local knowledge has died with them, and saying that they
should have written things down. Fearing that this might soon be said of
me, I got a book last Christmas--1916--and began to write things down. I
meant to keep to local matters, but have gone much further than I meant.

My memory is perhaps a little above the average; but my brother had a
memory that was quite abnormal, and sometimes rather inconvenient. One
day, in talking to a lady of uncertain age, he reminded her of something
she had said at the Great Exhibition of 1851. She hastily
replied:--“Yes, yes, you mean 1862.” But he missed the point of the
reply, and went minutely into details showing that it must have been in

I can remember the interior of a house that I have not seen since I
attained the age of three. I am quite clear about the drawing-room, its
carpet, chandeliers and mirrors, and a good deal of the furniture; less
clear about the dining-room; but very clear indeed about the outlook
from the windows in the front--a drive, a lawn, and then a road with
houses on the other side. Of course, I can remember many other things
that I saw before I was three; but I cannot be quite certain that my
recollection of them dates from then, as I have seen them since. Here,
however, I am certain. The family left that house at Michaelmas, 1860,
and I was not three until October.

I remember being taken by my father to call upon a very old man, who
gave me an account of the beheading of King Charles the First, as he
heard it from somebody, who heard it from an eye-witness. Unluckily, I
am uncertain of the details, as I cannot separate what he told me then
from what I may have heard or read about it since.

Some years afterwards my father took me to call upon an old Mr Woodin;
and from him I had an account of the Fire of London, as he heard it from
a great-aunt of his; and she heard it from an old lady, who was about
ten years old at the time of the fire. But it was only a child’s
account, dwelling on such things as the quantities of raisins that she
ate, while they were being salved.

My father kept a diary from 1833 to 1878. When he was abroad or at any
place of interest, he kept a diary upon a larger scale, and sent it
round to aunts and other relatives, instead of writing to them
separately; and I have gone through these diaries, and made some
extracts from them. He kept all letters that he thought worth keeping,
and sorted them according to writer, date or subject; and I have made
extracts from the letters that his father wrote to him from here. The
rest of my people seem to have destroyed their letters: at any rate,
there are not many letters of theirs among my papers here.

My mother’s parents died before I was born; but I remember my father’s
parents very well indeed. I used to come down here to stay with them;
and I see that my first visit was in 1861. My grandmother lived from
1781 till 1866, and my grandfather from 1789 till 1870. As a boy, he
used to stay here with his mother’s parents; and he has told me of many
things he did here then, such as helping his grandfather to plant the
great walnut-tree, when he was seven years old--which is now 120 years

His grandmother, Honor Gribble, died here in 1799; and his grandfather,
Nelson Beveridge Gribble, left the place in 1800. The property passed
from Nelson Beveridge Gribble to his eldest son, John Gribble. After
John’s death in 1837, his widow let the house to my grandfather; and in
this quiet place he dreamed away the last thirty years of his life.

At times he looked as though he were a little weary of it all; and in a
book of his I found this note:--“16 April 1869. My birthday--now 80
years old--and have no wish to see another. My good wishes to all
behind.” In the following March he would persist in sitting out upon the
seat behind the sun-dial, to listen to the black-birds and the thrushes,
although the winds were bleak and cold; and there he caught the chill of
which he died. He did not see another birthday.

In his last illness he was nursed by Mrs *****; and thirty years and
more afterwards she was very fond of discussing with me what had
happened to him--whether he had gone to Heaven or elsewhere. She would
weigh the two sides of the question very carefully, and finish up with
“Well, I _hope_ he be in Heaven.”

She had no doubts about her own destination, and very often told me that
she needed no parsons to hoist her into Heaven. But she was not in any
hurry to get there. Looking out across her garden on a gorgeous summer
afternoon, she turned to me, and said, “I were just a-wonderin’ if
Heaven be so very much better ’an this: ’cause, aless it were, I don’t
know as I’d care for the change.”

One thing, however, troubled her--the old belief that people who die
before the prime of life, remain for all eternity at the age at which
they die, whereas people who die in later years, go back to their prime.
And she told me of the difficulties that she foresaw:--“If I went back
to what I were like some forty year agone, how could they as only knowed
me afterward come forth and say ‘Why, here be Mrs *****’, when I came
steppin’ up?”

As for my grandfather, his Works were undeniable; but she had her doubts
about his Faith. He was interested and amused by the controversies that
raged around religion, and thought the kettle might be better than the
pot, yet had no wish for being boiled in either. I doubt if he had any
beliefs beyond a shadowy sort of Theism that was not far removed from
Pantheism. And that made him a very kindly personage, doing all manner
of good.

He writes to my father, 16 September 1861:--“I have attended the sick
rooms of the poor in this neighbourhood on all occasions, typhus or
anything else, and I often say the alwise Governor of the Universe has
protected me, and allowed me to arrive at the age allotted for man; and
I find generally speaking, when people attend the sick from pure
philanthropic motives, they are preserved from infection.” But he did
not concur in similar reasoning by the Rector’s wife. He writes, 30
December 1860:--“Mrs ***** says Never anyone yet took cold in a church,
and I cannot agree with her, for I believe many more colds are taken at
church than elsewhere.”

My grandfather often enjoins my father not to let his letters be seen,
as he writes offhand without consideration. And this is very evident in
many of them. He will begin with some assertion, then qualify it with
‘not but what’ etc., ‘though no doubt’ etc., and so on, till at last he
talks himself quite round, and ends by saying just the opposite of what
he said at first. His sister-in-law, my great-aunt Anne Smale, had her
last illness here; and he writes to my father, 8 January 1865:--“It has
been a dreary week having a corpse in the house. It is seventy years ago
that my grandmother died [really sixty-six years] and there has not been
a death in the house since. Well, she was buried in a vault in the
chancel of Manaton church.” And this leads him on to speak of other
members of the family lying in that vault, and thus to reminiscences of
some of them, ending quite jocosely.

He used to keep a record of the weather here; and in this he sometimes
noted things quite unconnected with the weather, such as, “Mr *****
called: had no wish to see him.” But generally there was some connexion.
Thus, on 25 January 1847, he notes “St Paul’s day, sun shining, and
according to prediction we shall have a plentiful year: may God grant
it.” On 1 September 1847, “Woodpecker called aloud for wet: wish he may
be true, the turnips want it.” On 12 May 1857, “Soft mild rain: what the
old people call butter-and-barley weather.” On St Swithin’s day, 15 July
1867, “Heavy rain: so 40 days of it.”

There are also many notes about the singing of the birds--26 January
1847, “the home-screech singing merrily this morning”--1 May 1850, “the
nut-hatch a cheerful singer”--22 April 1864, “how delightful and
cheering is that old grey-bird”--and so on. I may note that the
home-screech is the mistle-thrush, and the grey-bird is the
song-thrush, sometimes known here as the grey thrush, just as the
black-bird is known as the black thrush. In these parts the field-fare
is the blue-bird.

Their singing was always a pleasure to him; and he writes to my sister,
10 March 1852:--“I have often fancied that the thrushes know that I am
pleased, when I am listening to them, from the cast of their little
sharp eye down on me.” But he liked birds better in the spring, when
they were singing, than in the autumn, when they were eating up his
fruit. Even in the spring he writes to my father, 29 April 1849:--“I
certainly do like to hear them sing, but it is vexing to lose all the
fruit.... I loaded my gun; but, when I came out, one of them struck up
such a merry note that I could not do it--so I suppose the fruit must be
sacrificed to my cowardice, humanity, or what you may call it.” The
crops were sacrificed as well. He writes, 21 June 1846:--“There are two
nests of wood-pigeons here, and they daily visit me. I have taken the
gun twice to shoot them, but my heart failed me.”

He welcomed the prospect of a rookery here, and wrote to my father, 23
March 1861:--“We have one rooks’-nest in a tall elm in the village, a
pleasant look-out from this window to see how busy they are in building.
If this saves itself, there will be more next year.” And on 23 February
1862:--“Rooks plentiful here about the trees, but not building yet.” And
then on 2 December 1863:--“Six large elms blown up in the village to-day
quite across the path, those that the rooks built on, six in a row; so
no rooks’-nests in future.” This row of elms was at the west end of the
Hall House garden. He says they were blown up; and that is the usual
phrase here. Trees are not blown down, nor are rocks blown up. They
say:--“Us put in charges, and bursted ’n abroad.”

Although he noted the barometer in that record every day, he knew by
experience that there were safer guides. And he writes to my father, 28
March 1847:--“Yet at Moreton, if the sign-board of the Punch Bowl
creaked upon its hinges, and the smoke blew down at Treleaven’s corner,
rain was sure to follow, let the quicksilver be high or low.”

I find little need of a barometer here. If the wind blows down the
valley, the weather is going to be fine. If it blows up the valley,
there is going to be wet. And there is going to be a spell of wet, if
there is damp upon the hearthstones in the Inner Parlour. When I hear
*****’s leg be achin’ dreadful, then I know it will be rainin’ streams.

Sometimes, to make quite sure, I inquire of people who are weather-wise.
After surveying every quarter of the sky, an old man told me:--“No, I
don’t think it _will_ rain, aless it _do_ rain.” I interpreted the
oracle as meaning that there would be heavy rain or none. Another wise
one told me that, “when the weather do change, it do generally change
upon a Friday.”

The moon was usually held responsible for these changes in the weather,
and sometimes for less likely things as well. My grandfather writes to
my father, 13 April 1856:--“A Saturday moon, they say, is too late or
too soon, and there is no other prospect but a wet moon throughout.” On
29 June 1848:--“The old women here say we may expect to see measles in
the growing of the moon: they tell me they never knew a case on the
waning of the moon.” Measles were prevalent just then, and the moon was
new next day; and on 23 July he remarks that the old women had proved
right, so far.

My grandfather had a notion that all ordinary ailments could be cured by
Quiet and Diet, and possibly such homely remedies as Coltsfoot Tea, or,
better still, “a glass of real Cognac--the sovereign remedy, but not to
be obtained down here,” as he writes to my father, 19 July 1869. But, if
he did not recognize an ailment, he got medical advice at once.

A visitor being taken ill here, the local doctor was called in; and my
grandfather writes to my father, 25 July 1847:--“He said it was
occasioned by her imprudently sleeping with her window open one hot
night.... I hope you do not admit the night air into your room, however
hot--a most injurious practice, I am told. I never did it.” My
grandmother writes to him, 15 May 1850:--“I fear you trifle with
yourself in some things, such as dressing mornings with your bed-room
window open. Nothing can be more injurious than that, particularly this
very cold weather--indeed, it is wrong at any season to open it before
you are dressed.”

These opinions are supported by Buchan’s _Domestic Medicine_,
ed. 1788, which was one of the books in use here. It says, page
148:--“Inflammatory fevers and consumptions have often been occasioned
by sitting or standing thinly cloathed near an open window. Nor is
sleeping with open windows less to be dreaded.”

But these old people faced the air outside quite early in the mornings.
My grandfather writes, 29 April 1849:--“I often wonder how anyone can
lie in bed in May, not witnessing the beauty of the crystalled
May-dew.... The barley throws up its blade or leaf about three inches
high, quite erect, and on its tip top is this little spangled dew-drop.
The leaf else is perfectly dry, if real dew--if from frost, the leaf is
wet.” Again, on 7 January 1856:--“This morning the wheat was looking
beautiful, like the barley in May. I stayed some time admiring it, with
its little spangled tops shining like crystals.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A child was born here on 20 November 1902, and had a rupture. Some while
afterwards I asked the father how the child was getting on, and the
answer was--“Oh, it be a sight better since us put’n through a tree.”
And I found that they had carried out the ancient rite. The father had
split an ash-tree on the hill behind this house, and had wedged the hole
open with two chunks of oak. Then he and his wife took the child up
there at day-break; and, as the sun rose, they passed it three times
through the tree, from east to west. The mother then took the child
home, and the father pulled out the chunks of oak, and bandaged up the
tree. As the tree-trunk healed, so would the rupture heal also.

I asked him why he did it, and he seemed surprised at the question, and
said--“Why, all folk do it.” I then asked him whether he thought it
really did much good, and the reply was--“Well, as much good as sloppin’
water over’n in church.”

Some years ago there was an ash-tree growing in the hedge of a field of
mine at Moreton. The field was let as allotments; and the tree was a
nuisance to the man who had the allotment next it, as its roots spread
out along his ground. He asked me several times to have the tree cut
down; but I liked the look of the tree, and was unwilling to lose it.
And then there came a thunder-storm, and the tree was struck by
lightning and destroyed. I thought it strange, but he explained it
simply:--“I’d prayed ag’in’ that tree.”

He was a very old man; and people of his generation never looked upon
your actions as your own, but as the actions of a Power that directed
you. I am pretty sure he said that the Lord had hardened my heart about
that tree, though I did not actually hear him say it. In a case where I
was able to do a kindness, I got no thanks till some months after; and
then I got them in this form:--“I’ve a-said it to othern, and I don’t
know as I mind a-sayin’ it to you--I do believe as you were sent for
some good purpose.” In another case I heard indirectly how the thanks
were given:--“I were a-sittin’ there, a-wonderin’ whatever I should do,
when I lifted up my eyes, and there were Mr Torr like an Angel o’ God
a-comin’ down the path.” I was all the more flattered by the comparison,
as one of my neighbours had lately been mistaken for the Devil.

My father notes in his diary, 7 April 1844:--“Witch-craft a common
belief to this day in Lustleigh, and prevalent even among the
better-informed classes.” My grandfather writes to him, 21 December
1851:--“I am very curious to know the origin of the Horse Shoe, having
had to walk over and under so many in my time. I believe they have
generally disappeared now, but thirty or forty years ago you could
scarcely go into a house without seeing one nailed over or under the
durns [frame] of the door. They said it was to prevent the Witches
coming in. You have heard me relate the story of the broom that I took
up, when a little boy, in a passage down in the village. It was laid for
a Witch, and I was put down for one, as having taken it up. I was told
no one but a Witch would think of taking it up: so it appears everyone
stepped over it, for fear of being counted a Witch. I believe this has
all passed away.”

He had great skill in bandaging the cuts and wounds that are inevitable
in agricultural work; and he always said some words, while he was doing
this. I do not know if these were magic Words of Power, or only little
objurations at the wincing of the sufferers. But he always saw that
wounds were washed out thoroughly with water and with brandy; and that
was perhaps the cause of his success.

He writes to my father, 12 April 1842:--“Since you left, one of our cows
got very lame, and I discovered she had a shoe-nail in her foot, and I
went with the men about taking it out, when Farmer ***** of ***** came
by, and did it for us. He missed the nail in the straw, and could not
find it, which he appeared very anxious to do. I said it was of no
consequence, the straw should be removed, and I would take care that it
should not get there again. He looked up with such astonishment at my
ignorance, and said he was surprised I did not know no better, for the
cow’s foot would surely rot, if the nail was not found and stuck into
some bacon. However, I said I would run all risks, and desired him to
make his mind easy: so I threw in some brandy, and the remainder I gave
him to drink for his trouble. He went away still saying it would be sure
to rot. She was lame for two days, but now is quite well, bacon or no

       *       *       *       *       *

Staying at Poitiers, 13 August 1861, my father writes:--“Then went to
the church of S. Radegonde, to whose coffin pilgrims are now (in this
month of August) repairing to get healed of their diseases by touching
the coffin; and numbers of children, lame and diseased, were brought to
touch it, while we were there. The streets leading to the church are
lined with stalls for sale of votive offerings to hang on the coffin. In
a side chapel is a large figure of Christ appearing to S. Radegonde over
a stone on which there is a print-mark like a foot, declared to be
Christ’s footprint in the apparition.”

All this has passed from Poitiers to Lourdes, the apparition being
modernized by putting the Madonna for the Christ and a peasant for a
queen, and altering the date from the Sixth Century to 11 February 1858.
My father and mother stayed a night at Lourdes, 27 August 1861; but
their diaries say nothing of Bernadette or any cures or miracles there.
My father just notes “walking out by the small rocky hill”; and that, I
presume, was the hill where one sees processions of pilgrims now.

I went to Lourdes, 11 September 1894, and it profited me £1. 14_s._
7_d._ or thereabouts. I was going to Gavarnie in the Pyrenees, and found
that the fare to Lourdes was lower than the fare to Pau, though Lourdes
was further off from Paris, and further on towards Gavarnie. Zola’s
_Lourdes_ had come out in the spring; and I took it with me, and read it
in the train, holding it well up at the window. It acted as a
scare-crow, and gave me a compartment to myself. On reaching Lourdes, I
bought the antidote that was on sale there--_Réponse complète au Lourdes
de M. Zola_. But the antidote seemed hardly powerful enough to
counteract the poison.

There were pilgrims there in thousands, not nearly so much in earnest as
pilgrims I have seen in Palestine, but much more so than some I
encountered at Ancona going to Loreto, 20 August 1898. They were certain
of absolution there, and meant to make it cover a multitude of sins.

In the Papal Registers--Avignon, 1 August 1346--there is an entry of an
absolution to Thomas de Courtenay and his wife, to take effect at death,
and therefore covering all sins committed meanwhile. They were the
owners of this place--Wreyland--and probably were scared by the Black
Death. The disease was spreading westward, and its victims died too
suddenly for the priests to shrive them.

In the Middle Ages it was the fashion to bring earth home from the Holy
Land for burial, and there is still a fashion for bringing Jordan water
home for baptism. I was down by the Jordan with my mother and a friend
of mine, 21 March 1882, and she insisted on bringing some water home. So
we filled up some empty soda-water bottles from this uninviting stream.
(The rivers of Damascus _are_ better: there is no doubt about it.) A
year or two afterwards there was a birth in some friend’s family, and
she sent a bottle for the baptism. But the child was not baptized in
Jordan water after all. When the water was uncorked, it sent forth such
an overpowering smell, that it had to be poured down the sink at once.

I was on the French mail-steamer _Tage_ at anchor in the Dardanelles, a
little way below the Narrows, on Friday 30 April 1880. There were many
Mohammedans on board; and, when prayer-time came, they unrolled their
prayer-rugs, and laid them out on deck, pointing them to Mecca. Just as
they began to pray, the current caught the ship, and she began to swing;
and, as soon as they looked up, they saw that they had got their
bearings wrong. So they slewed round, and put their rugs straight; and
then, of course, the same thing happened again. And it went on happening
till they had finished their prayers.

They had a procession at Thebes in Bœotia, when I was there, 11 April
1888. They were badly in want of rain, and reckoned on getting some, if
they marched solemnly round the place in honour of Elijah. They were of
the Greek Church, and had greater faith in him than in the saints of
later times.

There is a pleasant procession in Rome on Christmas morning, the True
Cradle being carried round S. Maria Maggiore. I saw that done in 1909,
and somehow in the clouds of incense I saw the cradle of Romulus and
Remus carried in procession through the Forum.

The high-altar at St Peter’s is scrubbed on Maundy Thursday; and, as I
was in Rome, 14 April 1892, I went to see it done. This rite comes after
Miserere, and therefore in the twilight. St Peter’s is not lighted up,
and looks the vast size that it really is, as one cannot see the details
that impair it. The dignitaries of the church come down in procession,
each one carrying a candle and a mop; and they throw oil and wine upon
the altar, and then begin to scrub. I was close by, and noticed how
differently they all did it. Some evidently thought it symbolical, and
merely waved their mops across the altar, hardly touching it. And others
would scrub hard, and then put their heads down and look carefully
through their spectacles to see what they had done, and then go on
scrubbing again till they were satisfied that they had done their bit.

I was in Rome with my father and my mother in 1876, and Monsignor Stonor
arranged that we should be presented to the Pope. There were about a
hundred other people to be presented, 22 September, and we were all
ranged in groups round one of the big rooms in the Vatican. And then the
Pope came in, and went leisurely round the room, saying a few words to
each of us. Stonor told him that I had just left Harrow, and was going
up to Cambridge: whereupon he beamed, and said he hoped that I should be
a good historian. It was an odd remark, for nothing had been said of
history, and that was not my line. But some years afterwards I took to
writing books on history.

Pius IX was then in his eighty-fifth year, and was altogether a most
pleasant person to behold--tall, big and genial, with nothing
ecclesiastical about him but his dress. He had a judge’s face, rather
than a bishop’s.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next time I was here, I was talking to Mrs *****--she was of an
earlier generation than the Mrs ***** of whom I spoke just now--and I
told her that I had been to Rome and seen the Pope. She asked me
eagerly, “Well now, maister, what be he like? I reckon he be a proper
tiger to fight.” As a thoroughgoing Protestant, she knew no difference
between the Devil and the Pope.

Her husband always felt that a great chance had been missed, when the
Devil came into Widdicombe church on Sunday 21 October 1638. My
grandfather pressed him as to what he would have done; and his reply
was, “Dock’n, maister, dock’n--cut the tail of’n off.” I imagine that
the Devil’s tail at Widdicombe would have drawn more pilgrims than all
the relics of the saints at other places.

I have been told that an ancestor of mine, then living at Torr in the
parish of Widdicombe, was one of the people present in the church, when
the Devil came in; but I have no documentary proof. In the old rhymed
narrative, inscribed upon a tablet in the church, there is no mention of
the Devil, but only a broad hint:--“a crack of thunder suddenly, with
lightning, hail and fire ... a sulphureous smell ... or _other force,
whate’er it was_, which at that time befell.”

Once, for about five minutes, I had the strongest possible belief in the
personality of the Devil, or rather of his ancestor Great Pan, for I
felt the Panic Terror. I was coming down along the side of Yarner Wood
in bracken nearly as high as my head. It was beginning to get dark, and
I was just thinking I should be very late for dinner; when suddenly I
remembered the story of the Devil taking refuge in that wood, and I felt
dead certain he was there. I stepped out very briskly till I reached the

Strange apparitions may be seen on Dartmoor on a misty day: especially
if you have lost your bearings, and come unexpectedly on one of the
great groups of rocks with this vapour drifting in and out between them.
It is like “seeing faces in the fire,” but on a scale that seems
stupendous in the mist.

There is said to be a goblin about a quarter of a mile from here. He
sits on Bishop’s Stone--so called because it bears the coat-of-arms of
bishop Grandisson of Exeter, 1327 to 1369 A.D. I have never seen the
goblin; but I have good evidence that men have been scared by something
there at night, and that horses have refused to pass there in the day. I
fancy they hear the murmur of water running underground.

They tell this story of a place near here:--The master of the house was
dead and buried, yet came home every night, and tramped about. As the
family felt this was a parson’s job, the parson came one night, and
threw a handful of churchyard mould in the face of his deceased
parishioner, who thereupon became a black pony. (In these stories the
churchyard mould always turns the ghost into a black creature of some
sort, but not always as nice a creature as a Dartmoor pony.) They got a
halter, and told a boy to run the pony down the side of the valley as
hard as ever he could, and jump it across the Wrey. He did as he was
told; but, when he jumped, he found he had the halter only, and no
pony.--Ghosts cannot cross water; and this ghost of a pony was run down
the hill at such a pace that it could not stop itself. It had to attempt
the crossing of the water, and vanished in the attempt.

The story used always to be told of Thorn Park, a house that is marked
on Donn’s map of Devon in 1765, but has long since been pulled down. Of
late years I have heard it told of East Wrey, which is a little further
up the Wrey valley, and on the other side of the Moreton road. On
venturing to question this, I have been answered rather tartly that it
must have been at East Wrey, as it was in that part of the valley, and
there is no other house up there. Thorn Park has been forgotten.

Stories often shift about from place to place in this way. Only a few
weeks ago a friend of mine told me a story of Hampton Court and Queen
Victoria, which was told him by a man who certainly had means of finding
out if it was true. According to Bismarck, _Reflections and
Reminiscences_, vol. i, pages 246, 247, substantially the same story was
told at Petersburg in 1859 about the Summer Garden and the Empress
Catherine. I fancy I have seen it also in one of the Byzantine
historians--I am not sure which--about Blachernæ and an Empress who
lived many centuries before Catherine.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the Nineteenth Dynasty in Egypt many of the royal tombs were
pillaged, and the priests removed the royal mummies to safer places in
the hills near Thebes. The places have now been discovered, and the
mummies have been removed to the museum at Cairo. Maspero was
supervising one of these removals, with a gang of natives to do the
work. The mummies were brought out one by one, and laid down in the
shade below a ledge of rock. In the heat of the day the natives rested,
and he went on working at his notes. Suddenly he heard a fearful shriek;
and, looking up, saw one of the natives pointing at a mummy--the mummy
was slowly raising itself with the gesture that Orientals use in
uttering a solemn curse. All the natives fled, and he was left alone to
face the mummies; but he soon saw what was happening. This mummy was no
longer in the shade, as the sun was coming round the ledge of rock; and
the heat was causing a contraction of some glutinous substance in the
mummy, and thus producing this movement.--He told me this himself at his
house in Paris on 25 March 1896.

I also heard in Paris a story of Colonel Picquart, the amateur detective
in the Dreyfus case. I heard it from a man who knew him well.--Picquart
took nothing on trust: always looked into everything himself. As there
was some talk in Paris of spirit-rapping, table-turning, and such
things, he went to a séance to see what he could make of it. He
suspected some trickery about a hat that they were using, and made them
use his own. “And they not only caused my hat to rotate upon the table,
but they imparted to it such an impetus of rotation, that it continued
to rotate upon my head all the while that I was walking home.”

An old Oxford don once went with me from Athens to Sunium, 2 April 1888,
and others laughed irreverently at some notes he made there:--“view from
temple: saw several islands: had lunch: saw more islands.” It was also
after lunch that a painter, whom I knew, mistook an only child for
twins. But at Sunium it was not the luncheon--only the lifting of a haze
upon the sea.

Though I have been in places, such as Chios and Messina, where there
were earthquakes a little while before or after, I have never felt an
earthquake in any place but London, 22 April 1884. It was in the
morning, and I was going to take a coat down from a rack on which four
coats were hanging, when I saw them swing like pendulums, and heard a
bell ring. I knew what it was; but, when I asked other people if they
had felt the earthquake, they were so impolitely incredulous that I felt
embarrassed. I did not recover my character until the afternoon, when
the papers issued their sensational posters.

       *       *       *       *       *

On first seeing this house, a friend of mine began to think there might
be ghosts about; but he changed his mind, on looking at some portraits
that are hanging here. People of that type would never turn into ghosts
that went wandering round a house at midnight: _their_ ghosts would all
be sitting round the fire drinking punch. These ghosts might tell me
many things that I should like to know; and I hope that, if I meet them
here, I shall have the presence of mind of Dante, when he met Adam and
forthwith asked him for an ‘interview’ upon primæval language and other
forgotten things, _Paradiso_, xxvi. 94-96.

Another friend was puzzled about the Inner Parlour the first time that
he came here: he had seen something like it once before, but could not
remember where. He told me afterwards that he had thought of it. It was
in a Pantomime, and it was called The Kitchen In The Ogre’s Home.

Strangers come here now and then, and ask if they may see the garden and
the house. One day some Americans came, and were much taken with it all.
One of them said to another:--“I should like to pho-to-graph that
house.” But the other answered:--“No. That house ought not to be
pho-to-graphed. It ought to be paint-ted in oi-il.”

Two of the sitting-rooms here are called the Tallet and the Shippen.
Both names are common in this district; but one of them is Latin, and
the other one is Saxon. Tallet is merely a corruption of _tabulatum_,
which means an upper floor. Shippen comes from _scipen_, like Ship from
_scip_, and means some sort of shed.

The names Beer and Brewer are also common here, both for persons and for
places. Beer means a grove of trees, _bearu_ in Saxon. And that is why
so many orchards have that name. Brewer means heather, _brueria_ in late
Latin, _bruyère_ in modern French. Teign Brewer, not far from here,
belonged to Geoffrey de la Bruere; and then a part of it came to his
son-in-law, Thomas le Gras, and was named Teign Grace. This fat (_gras_)
Thomas was contemporary with the gallant (_preux_) William--William le
Pruz, or Prowse--whose effigy rests in the transept of the church at

Teigncombe, further up the Teign, has given its name to a family that
came from there. Their name is written as Tinckcom on the court-roll of
Wreyland manor; and I believe that one branch of the family now bears
the name of Tinker. The family of Pipard gave its name to Piparden,
which now is Pepper Down; and Genesis Down owes its name to the Genista,
the broom plant of the Plantagenets.

From a point on Reddiford Down there is a grand view over hill and dale;
but in all that wide expanse of country there are

[Illustration: IN THE INNER PARLOUR (_p. 16_)]

only four dwellings to be seen, and those four dwellings are mentioned
in Domesday. In the clumsy Norman spelling Woolley is Vluelei,
Pullabrook is Polebroch, Hawkmoor is Hauocmore, and Elsford is
Eilauesford. In the Exeter version there are some details that are not
in the Exchequer version. These were the dwellings of four thanes, and
the thanes were there in the reign of Edward the Confessor.

In many of the parishes between Dartmoor and the sea the village and the
church are in a corner of the parish, and generally the corner nearest
to the sea. This happens so often, that there must have been a reason
for it, though there is no knowing what the reason was. The same thing
happened with many of the provinces of ancient Rome. Thus, Lugudunensis
extended to the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, but Lugudunum
itself, the modern Lyons, was in the corner nearest to the Mediterranean
and to Rome. So also Tarraco, the modern Tarragona, was on the
Mediterranean coast, but Tarraconensis stretched back to the Bay of

Lustleigh church is within seventy yards of the Wrey, which is the
parish boundary there. This house is in Bovey Tracey parish, and yet is
less than a quarter of a mile from Lustleigh church, and more than two
miles and a half from Bovey Tracey church, measuring in a straight line.

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides the old church at Bovey Tracey, there is a new church about as
far from here. This church now has a district of its own, but formerly
was served by the Vicar and his curates. At the old church the service
was very plain indeed, and he preached in a black gown; but at the new
church it was ornate, and he preached in other things. And people said
he preached rank Popery there, though he preached sound doctrine at the
old church. I have some reason to believe that the sermons he preached
at the new church were the same that he had preached at the old church
in the previous year. The black gown covered the Popery, if there was
any there.

Writing to my father on 7 November 1852, my grandfather tells him:--“The
Lustleigh folks had a bonfire on the 5th, and burnt the Pope in a white
surplice: therefore the old women say it was intended for the Rector.”
He writes on 15 May 1853:--“Your mother has been to church this morning,
and says there were not a score of folks there, and the Rector was
looking wretched: which I do not wonder at. His congregation have left
him, and now there is a chapel building.”

Lustleigh was upset by his preaching in his surplice. Most of his
parishioners thought it meant a change of doctrine; and they called him
a High Romish Priest. I do not know his motives; but I know the motives
of another country clergyman, who did the same. His old black gown was
getting so shabby that his wife was always telling him that he must have
a new one. And he shelved the question by preaching in his surplice.

As a rule, a surplice meant a shorter sermon; but my friend preached on,
as if he had a new black gown. A dreamy organist once played a great
Amen in a slight pause in the sermon; and the choir and congregation
sang it very fervently.

That church was restored a few years since; and the Squire took the
plate round at the opening service afterwards. But he forgot that the
chancel had been raised a step above the nave; and he just tripped
enough to shoot the whole collection off the plate. The coins went
rolling along the chancel floor, and mostly vanished down the gratings
over the hot-water pipes--an inauspicious sight: the ancients made their
peace with the Infernal Deities by casting offerings into chasms.

Even at Lustleigh there were mishaps in church; and my grandfather used
to note them in his letters to my father. Thus, on Sunday 18 August
1844, “a magpie walked into the church and sat himself on the communion
table, to the great annoyance of the congregation; and the sexton had
much difficulty in driving him.” Then, on Sunday 15 December 1844, “one
of the candles fell from the pulpit into the seat below.” And so on.
Once, within my recollection, there was a sermon by a stranger, who
enhanced his eloquence by gesture; and with one wide sweep of his arms
he brought down candles, glasses, cushion, and everything. The cushion
caught the clerk upon the head, just as he was getting to sleep; and I
have been told that what he said was just Amen, and nothing more.

I see that I first went to Lustleigh Church on the Good Friday and
Easter Sunday of 1862, while I was down here on a visit to my
grandfather. In those days the service was mainly a dialogue between the
parson and the clerk, the parson in very cultured tones and the clerk in
resonant dialect, one saying ‘As for lies, I hate and abhor them’ as if
it was superfluous for him to say so, and the other responding ‘Seven
times a day do I praise thee’ as if it was a fact and he wished it
generally known. The singing was confined to hymns. There was a choir of
men and boys in a gallery below the tower, and a harmonium near them.
But there used to be a choir of men and women, and an orchestra of
bass-viol, violin and flute; and the tuning made a pleasant prelude to
the service. There were three men who could play the viol; and it went
by rank, not merit. One man farmed his own land, and he had first claim:
next came a man who was a tenant farmer; and last a man who had no farm,
but played better than the other two.

There were high pews then, and a razed three-decker--parson over clerk,
with sounding-board on top, and reading-desk alongside half way up.
Nearly all the windows had plain glass, so that one could see the trees
and sky; and everything was whitewashed.

The whitewash was removed in 1871, and made way for much worse
things--green distemper on the walls, blue paint and gilt stars on the
roof, crude stencils on the side walls of the chancel, and on the
eastern wall a fresco made in Germany. The trees and sky are hidden by
glass that is exasperating in its colour and design. Lavatory tiles
replace the granite paving of the chancel, and there is marble of the
sort one sees on washstands.--It makes one crave for the French system
of scheduling old churches as National Monuments, and putting them under
the Ministry of Fine Arts.

All the old stained glass has gone, except some bits of four small
figures--the Virgin and Child, and saints Nicholas, Catherine and
Martha--and in 1880 these figures were made up, and put into a window.
Some say that the old glass was destroyed by the Reformers, others by
the Puritans; but such things were done by most unlikely people. There
was a window in St Edmond’s church at Salisbury; and the Recorder of
Salisbury “was placed in the church in such a seat as that the said
window was always in his eye.” Its absurdity annoyed him--it made God “a
little old man in a blue and red coat”--and one afternoon in October
1630 he got up and smashed it with his staff. He was fined: _State
Trials_, vol. i, pp. 377 ff., ed. 1730.

Tristram Risdon visited Lustleigh church about three hundred years ago,
and in his _Survey of Devon_ he says, “Another tomb there is arched
over, where some say the lord Dynham and his lady were interred, whose
pictures are to be seen very glorious in a glass window, having their
armories between them, and likewise on their surcoats escutcheons of
arms.” This probably was like the window at Beer Ferrers--Lysons,
_Devonshire_, plate 6--with pictures of William de Ferrers and his wife
with their armorial bearings. William was contemporary with Robert de
Dynham; and probably it was Robert and his wife, not lord Dynham and his
lady, who were portrayed in the stained glass that has perished and in
the stone effigies that survive.

There was an Inquiry here on 22 December 1276, and William de Torr was
on the jury. And the verdict was that Robert’s wife would be entitled to
Lustleigh manor when she came of age, and meanwhile he was renting it
for £10 a year, to be spent in praying for the soul of John de
Mandevill. The wife, Emma de Wydeworth, had just been married at the age
of ten: her father and mother were dead, and the mother had been a
lunatic. In her effigy she looks as if she might have been a lunatic

She inherited the manor from her father, and he inherited it from
William de Wydeworth, an energetic man who kept a gallows of his own at
Lustleigh. He had no warrant for a gallows, but gallows were wanted in
the reign of Henry III. As the King could not enforce the law, lords of
manors had to do the necessary thing.

There was some lawlessness in Lustleigh even after Edward I. John de
Moeles, the owner of Wreyland, had a brother Roger, born in 1296 and
married in 1316 to Alice le Pruz, who was ten years older than himself.
And on 26 July 1317 the King issued a commission:--On complaint by Roger
de Moeles it appears that John Daumarle and certain other malefactors
and perturbers of the peace have seized Alice, the wife of this same
Roger, by force of arms at Lustleigh, and have carried her off together
with goods and chattels and certain charters and muniments of his, etc.

Roger was a ward of the King, and the King thus had the right of
choosing a wife for him, while he was under age; but the King sold the
right to William Inge, who kept what we should call a Matrimonial
Agency. Roger chose Alice--or perhaps it was Alice chose Roger--without
Inge’s intervention, and Inge got his money back: at any rate, he got
orders on the Exchequer, 20 July and 13 December 1316, to refund the
money or take it off the price of the next match that he bought. He
could not have claimed anything, if he had merely failed to sell what he
had bought; so he declared that Roger died before a marriage could be
arranged. That was palpably a lie, but such lies might serve. There was
a case in Norfolk a few years after this, Folsham v. Houel. The jury
gave a verdict for the plaintiff, and then the defendant got a Writ of
Attaint against the jurors for giving such a verdict. The plaintiff and
his friends entered into a conspiracy to declare that he was dead, as
his death would put an end to the proceedings. They announced the death,
and had a grand funeral with an empty coffin, and even had masses for
his soul. Then the coroner came down, and they put a body in the coffin,
and made him believe it was the plaintiff’s; and the Writ was quashed on
his report. But on 12 June 1347 the King issued a commission for
arresting all the people concerned in the affair, and keeping them in
prison until further orders.

Roger’s wife was the daughter of William le Pruz. He died at Holbeton in
1316, and was buried in the church there, instead of Lustleigh church,
as directed in his will; and she got a licence from bishop Grandisson,
19 October 1329, to bring her father’s body here. That procession here
from Holbeton would make a striking scene, should there ever be a
Lustleigh pageant.

Risdon says, “In an aisle of this church is a tomb, with the statue of a
knight cut thereon cross-legged in stone, on whose shield are three
lions; as also in that window under which he is interred, are three
lions between six cross croslets, by which I conceive it was one of the
family of the Prouze.” There is nothing to be seen upon the shield now;
and the window has an Ascension in stained glass suggesting that, if
hell is paved with good intentions, the floor of heaven is covered with

There are only three old coats of arms remaining, and these were not
there in Risdon’s time. They are Carew, Kirkham and Southcote, and
probably date from 1589. Thomas Southcote married the daughter and
heiress of Thomas Kirkham, who married the daughter and heiress of
William Carew; and, as William’s grandmother was a sister and co-heiress
of lord Dynham, they are not inappropriate in a window near the Dynham
effigies. I put them there in 1903. Till then they were at Barnehouse,
otherwise Barne Court or Barne, a place that Thomas Southcote got by
marrying Grace Barnehouse, his first wife. In talking of the house, a
man remarked to me, “That be a proper ancient place--there be rampin’
lions in the kitchen window.” I went up to see, and found they were the
lions rampant of the Kirkhams, but had then been put into a cupboard for
security. The owner let me have them for the church.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I was young, the church bells said Crock, Kettle and Pan. My
grandfather told me that this was what they said; and he writes to my
father on 10 June 1849:--“When I was a little boy, they told me the
Lustleigh bells said Crock, Kettle and Pan.” There are more bells now,
and they say something else--all swear-words, I believe.

He writes him on 26 May 1850:--“The farmers set the church bells
ringing, when *****’s man left on Friday.” The man had made himself
obnoxious, and they were thankful to be rid of him. Church bells were
not very ecclesiastical in those days. My father told me that they rang
at every church in Exeter, when Latimer was acquitted, 27 March 1848.

Latimer was the proprietor of the _Western Times_, and it called the
Bishop a consecrated “perverter of facts.” He was indicted for libel,
and tried at the assizes. Cockburn--afterwards Chief Justice--was a
friend of his, and came down (without fee) to defend him; and the Bishop
had a very bad time in cross-examination. The judge told the jury
plainly that, if they acquitted Latimer, they would brand their bishop
as a liar. And they branded him.

There was another case of which I heard a good deal from my father--a
murder by highwaymen about six miles from here. The facts are noted in
his diary. On 16 July 1835:--“Mr Jonathan May murdered at Jacobs Well
near Moreton at half past ten in the evening: he dined at my father’s
that day.” On 28 July 1836, at Exeter during the assizes:--“Buckingham
Joe (Oliver) and Turpin (Galley) tried for the murder of Mr Jonathan
May, found guilty and sentenced to be hung.” On 12 August 1836:--“Saw
Buckingham Joe hung.”

He doubted if they hanged the right man after all, but felt it did not
really matter, as the man should have been hanged for other things, if
not for that. I fancy his attention may have wandered from the trial,
for after “sentenced to be hung” his diary goes on:--“Bought the models
of the Elgin Marbles of Field.” This was W. V. Field, afterwards a Judge
and finally a Law Lord; and it was a set of Henning’s models of the
frieze of the Parthenon. I have them here.

       *       *       *       *       *

Duelling did not quite cease in England until just before my time; and I
used to hear the older men lamenting its cessation. They complained of
being deprived of their redress for an affront. And that is practically
what happened, for these affronts were mostly of the sort for which a
jury gives a farthing damages.

My mother used to tell me what a shock it was to her, at the age of ten,
when she was told one afternoon that an old friend of the family had
been killed that morning in a duel--shot dead at twelve paces. It was a
quarrel of two retired officers over facts which they could easily have
verified. They had both got the facts wrong, and each was right in
disbelieving what the other said; but neither of them would allow his
veracity to be impugned, and they settled the matter in this fashion at
five o’clock next morning.

Among my papers here I have a memorandum of a better way of settling
such disputes:--“London, 4 January 1854. Mr Torr bets Mr Jackson (& Mr
J. Mr T. vice versa) that Buttern Down summit is at least 700 feet above
Forder, Moreton, a dinner at the White Hart, Moreton, to all the friends
the winner chooses to invite.”--It is only 500 feet above.

       *       *       *       *       *

My grandfather writes to my brother, 16 January 1862:--“I enclose a
piece of poetry, which was sent to me, on the old Cross Tree at Moreton.
The stone cross erected there with a bason on the top to contain holy
water, you are aware, is a relic of Popery. There was one at Chagford
like it until some three years ago the lord of the manor, old Mr
Southmead, destroyed it cross and all, for he had such dislike of
Popery. I have known others in town-places, but this at Moreton is the
last that I know of remaining; and the old tree is going to decay. I
should tell you that some fifty years or more ago Mr Harvey’s house was
an inn, and the innkeeper had the interstices of the tree floored over
like a room, and people used to go up and drink and smoke, and all
holyday times dancing was kept up for many nights together. I have
danced there and drank there with good jovial parties: times were
different then.” And he goes on to mention other people who used to
dance there--people whom I remember in their old age, sedate and solemn,
and looking as though they had never danced anything less stately than a

At the close of the Crimean War he had some peace-rejoicings of his own
for the people in this hamlet: thirty-eight all told, men, women and
children. He writes to my father, 1 June 1856:--“Well, I gave our
villagers roast beef, plum pudding, vegetables, bread, etc., a regular
good hot dinner, and plenty of good beer. The dinner was at 1 o’clock,
and the tea at 5. For tea plenty of Ashburton cakes and bread with
plenty of cream and butter. It was held in the barn [next Pit Lane] as
the air was cold and no sun. They had fiddlers, and walked in
procession: afterwards returned to the barn to dance, which they kept up
merrily until 12 o’clock. We had the Union Jack over the barn, and many
arches well decked with flowers.”

There were rejoicings at Lustleigh on the marriage of the Prince of
Wales. And on 12 March 1863 he writes:--“Where all the folks came from I
can hardly tell, but I am told there were but few that did not belong to
Lustleigh or the Tithing. Tho’ they all knew me, there were many I could
not recognize until they spoke to me. There are but very few here about
that belong to the parish: for instance we have but one in all the
village that was born in Lustleigh.”

Here ‘tithing’ means the bits of Hennock and Bovey Tracey parishes that
lie in Wreyland manor, and ‘village’ means Wreyland hamlet, Lustleigh
village being called the ‘town.’ Thus in old notes here I find:--“All
the children in the village and Lustleigh town”--“Sent over to town to
buy stamps”--and so on. And again:--“Poor old ***** from yonder town
dropt down in the town-place in a seizure.” The yonder town is the group
of houses near the Baptist chapel, and the town-place is the open space
outside the church-yard--at Moreton it is the King’s-acre outside and
God’s-acre within. King’s-acre and town-place are good old names,
connoting certain rights; but our Uitlanders want to call these places

       *       *       *       *       *

My grandfather did not always approve of everything his neighbours did,
but he kept his comments for his letters to my father. Thus, on 13
August 1843, he writes:--“There was a party of parsons and doctors at
*****’s at Gidly last week. They played at wrestling, and ***** of
Manaton was thrown with a broken arm in two places. High time to do
something with these fellows. How can people go to church and sit under

Writing on 31 March 1860 about a staghound that had been worrying sheep,
and had killed above a hundred in a month, he observes:--“The farmer is
generally a selfish man, not caring much about his neighbour; and they
did not take the thing up in good neighbourly spirit until Thursday
last, when all the farmers in the different parishes assembled, some
150, to drive up the country, which was the only way to succeed; and
they succeeded in finding him in a coppice not far from Meacombe. A man
discharged both barrels at him, and wounded him: then the horsemen went
in full chase for some three or four miles, and regularly rode him down
and dispatched him.... I often find farmers laughing at the misfortunes
of another, but now the loss was so general that there were but few to

On 19 January 1840 he has a few words on a neighbour who was too fond of
talking politics:--“Old ***** is very cross and tedious--I can hardly
bear with him. He is all but a Tory, indeed he likes to associate more
with Torys than Liberals: he detests Whigs; and nothing but Chartism, or
something like it, will do for him, for he has lived all these years in
expectation of a Revolution, and none come, and is afraid he shall die
without seeing it.”

He writes on 24 May 1852:--“A greater nuisance there cannot be than a
magistrate in a little rural district.... We never before had a
magistrate nearer than *****, and if any little paltry squabble happened
between parties, their courage invariably cooled down on crossing the
water, and almost invariably they returned home without a summons. But
now whilst passion is up they have only to go to *****, and a summons is
granted, I find, much to the regret of many after cool reflection.”

There is a footpath here that cuts off the corner at Wreyland Cross, and
leads down to Wreyford Bridge; and he writes, 20 July 1856:--“The farmer
has nailed up and wreathed up Wreyford Park gates, and says (I am told)
he will summons anyone who passes that way. I asked his landlord if he
had sanctioned it; he said No, but when the farmer applied to him, said
he might do as he liked.... I told him I should take down the wreath,
and if he chose to summon anyone, I was the best he could summon, for I
would prove about sixty years a quiet and unmolested pathway, and my
mother about eighty, and others in the village more than fifty.” (He was
sixty-seven then, and my great-grandmother was ninety-one.) He writes
next day that the farmer is taking the obstruction down.

In a letter of 19 March 1854 he says:--“In my growing up we heard
nothing of game preserving hereabout, and game was in abundance; and at
certain seasons you could see at times all classes of people out for a
day’s sport. They would kill but little; but then it was an amusement,
and a day’s holyday, and apparently an unrestricted right to go where
they liked unmolested: so they enjoyed a right old English liberty, and
came home tired and happy, not caring whether they had game or not. But
since the game is preserved, and they are restrained from killing it in
the old way, they appear determined to kill it some way or another.
Consequently game is not so plenty now as heretofore.”

In a letter of 7 October 1852 he notes another change here:--“The old
barn-door or dung-hill cock appears to be extinct, being crossed with
China, Minorca, etc. I well remember when a boy you could not go out,
particularly up the vale of Lustleigh, but you heard them all crowing in
all directions, each on his own dung-hill, challenging each other, and
their shrill clarion-like sound echoed through the valley.... The sort
they have now are so hoarse and dull in their crowing that there is
nothing to attract attention, nothing agreeable in their sound, and not
loud enough to be heard by one another, so there is no answering each
other. In my boyhood the whole valley would ring with them.”

Again, on 6 March 1854 he writes:--“I am going up again soon, and shall
take some feathers from two cocks I saw, a blue and a red, which I
consider will do. The real colours are very scarce: people mix up their
breeds so, that there are but few of the old sort left.” I presume that
he wanted the feathers for making flies for fishing. He always made his
own flies, and made them very neatly: so also did my father; but I never
made a fly that could even be offered to a fish.

On 21 May 1848 he gives my father a little lecture on his
fishing:--“Kneel down on one knee. I have done so many a time, when the
water has been clear, and thrown my fly with the greatest precision, and
almost sure of a fish, but seldom succeeding in the second throw if
failing in the first. That sort of careful fishing is practised by all
good fishermen, though no doubt one threshes away and often takes
fish--not so with your grandfather or with myself in my early days: we
were more particular, and took large catches of fish.”

He writes to him, 24 May 1842:--“I certainly have enjoyed the Teign
fishing as much as anyone, for besides the fishing I always so much
enjoyed the scenery--particularly on that part above and below Fingle
Bridge. In my early days I seldom went on any other part, but used to
begin at Whiddon, fish down, and return to Fingle; and home over the
woods.” After a day’s fishing there, 12 April 1849, my father notes in
his diary:--“My father walked up Fingle Hill without resting or feeling
fatigued, although sixty in a few days time.” That was the age at which
my father died, and the age that I have now attained; and I cannot walk
up that interminable hill without an effort.

My father fished there sometimes, and sometimes in the Dart near Post
Bridge, but much more often in the Bovey and the Wrey, as they were so
much nearer. He also liked scenery as well as fishing; and there is as
good scenery on the Bovey under Lustleigh Cleave as on the Teign at
Fingle Bridge.

He also fished in many of the trout-streams in the Alps and Pyrenees and
Ardennes; and in 1858 and other years he went to Muggendorf for fishing
in the Wiesent, and to Lambach and Ischl for the Traun. The people used
to ask for flies, but very soon found that he owed less to flies than to
his way of casting them. My mother fished with him, and got many good
fish; but she never thought the sport was worth the journey and the
discomfort in the smaller inns. I remember my brother at one of them: he
made no comment of his own, but just quoted Shakespeare:--“Now am I in
Ardennes: when I was at home, I was in a better place.”

They tried the Wiesent and the Traun again in 1873, but it was no longer
what it used to be--ten or a dozen trout about fifteen inches long.
There was too much fishing, and few fish were left. I went to Munich,
while they were at Muggendorf, but was at Ischl with them. And at Ischl
it was curious to see how casually the Emperor Francis Joseph went
strolling round the place in shooting-clothes, the Crown Prince Rudolph
with him. At first I took them for the squire and his son.

By all accounts there have always been better fish in the Wrey than ever
came out of it with rod and fly. At the present time--June 1917--there
are two big otters in it close by here, and I presume they have not come
for nothing. On 6 May 1844 my grandfather writes to my father:--“I
conjecture the poachers have not let this fine weather pass without
dipping their nets for some.” And on 10 December 1848 he writes:--“They
have been very busy lately in taking all they can, but Mr ***** got foul
of some last week, and took their spears from them, and told them, if
again caught, he will prosecute them.”

He writes to him on 21 December 1851:--“The fish will soon be up for
spawning: the water has been too low for them. I was amused for four
days following to see three trout about 8 in. long so busy at work in
the meadow. Direct above the bridge under the bushes there is a plain,
and just by the bridge it runs out a little stickle with a rubble-stone
bottom and very little water, so that when at work the water did not
cover their back-fins. Not having seen them for some days, I have no
doubt they deposited their spawn. I never saw such before, but the
poachers tell me that is the way they do--always deposit it in the
stickle and where the bottom is rubbly, and not in the sand beds as I
always suspected. And then the poachers go and take them in the act of
laying it; and those pieces of broken earthenware that you frequently
see are thrown in near the works, so that at night if they see anything
over the shord (as they call it) they strike and depend on its being a

He writes on 12 December 1847:--“They are killing truff [bull-trout] in
all directions. I looked in the little stream near Forder, where many
fires had been made, and saw three huge fish in work.” Fires were made
to attract the fish to points where they could easily be speared.

On 13 December 1841 he writes:--“The poachers are catching the
salmon--two have been taken in the meadow going to Lustleigh town, not
large, about 10 lbs. each. I hear many truff have been taken also. I
believe they go further up, and are mostly taken by the Moreton men.” On
18 March 1844 he writes that Mr Wills of East Wrey is making a leet from
the Wrey to irrigate his land. And on 9 April 1853 he writes:--“Mr
Wills’ man told me this week that they take up lots of fish on the grass
at East Wrey that get out in irrigating the meadows, and that they took
up one as big and long as his leg. I should say it was a salmon that
went up at Candlemas: what they call Candlemas fish.”

And then on 8 April 1868 he writes:--“No wonder the fish are scarce in
our brook, for they have embankments for irrigation, which destroys such
numbers of fish in spawning time that truff and white fish [bull-trout
and salmon-trout] are rarely seen now. One of the old poachers tells me
that he does not know of one being taken for three years past--except
those that do succeed in going up are sure to be seen on the grass
returning. Since my remembrance they had a free course up to Bughead in
Moreton, and the Moreton fellows used to take them with their hands, and
plenty left after. But all that is stopped: none to take.”

       *       *       *       *       *

From 1866 until his death in 1878 my father had some fishing on the
Wandle a little way from Mitcham, which was then a quiet country village
with fields of lavender and roses for making scented waters. The level
country and the broad and sluggish stream seemed very dreary, when one
thought of the little rivers that come tumbling down the valleys here.
And the sport was of another kind. Here there was a chance of a dozen or
twenty trout, none of them more than a pound in weight. Fish of that
size were thrown back in the Wandle, to let them have a chance of
growing bigger. There were trout of two and three pounds there, and a
few such fish made a good catch. As a matter of fact, the catch depended
much more on the landing-net than on the rod and fly. I had to take the
landing-net, while my father played his fish; and that cured me of what
little love I had for fishing.

Friends of my father’s came down now and then to fish with him; and
amongst them Robert Romer, who was afterwards a Lord Justice. He had
been Senior Wrangler; so my father led him on to giving me a little good
advice, when I was going up to Cambridge. He began:--“Whatever you do,
never work more than five hours a day.” I noted the expression on my
father’s face--that was not the sort of advice that he wanted anyone to
give me. But the advice was really good. Romer held that nobody could
work at high pressure for more than five hours in the day; and it was
better to put on high pressure for the five than low pressure for eight
or ten or twelve. It gave more time for other things.

In those days George Bidder lived in a large house near Mitcham. He was
then a very eminent civil-engineer, but in his early days he was The
Calculating Boy. He was born at Moreton in 1806, and was well known to
my grandfather. There is a book here, dated 1820, giving calculations
that he made, always correctly, and generally in less than a minute.
They include such things as finding the cube root of 304, 821,
217--answered instantly--of 67, 667, 921, 875--answered in ¼ minute--and
of 897, 339, 273, 974, 002, 153--answered in 2½ minutes. I had the cheek
to ask him how he did it. And he told me that he used his mind’s eye,
and could see the figures manœuvring in front of him.

I found it was unwise to talk at random in his presence: there were
snubs at hand. When I was about ten years old, I was talking about the
well at Grenelle, which I had lately seen. The well is 1800 feet deep,
and the water rises 150 feet above ground level: temperature 80°
Fahrenheit. I said I could not make out what sent it up like that.
Between two puffs of his cheroot Bidder grunted:--“Steam.”

Parson Davy was always asking Bidder questions, when he was still The
Calculating Boy. But the Parson always got the worst of it, although he
had some gifts that way himself, and might have been more eminent as an
engineer than as a theologian.

Davy was born in 1743 near Tavistock, but passed his early years near
here at Chudleigh and at Knighton, went to the Grammar School at Exeter
and thence to Balliol College at Oxford, was then ordained, and held the
curacies of Moreton, Drewsteignton and Lustleigh, remaining in the last
from 1786 until about six months before his death in 1826. For that
space of nearly forty years he was practically the parson of the parish,
the rector being a pluralist and rarely visiting the place.

In his sermons at Drewsteignton “he denounced the vices of his
congregation in such terms that the people fled from the church and
complained to the bishop.” But he set the bishop’s mind at rest by
showing him twelve volumes of manuscript, containing the sermons he had
preached. I have those twelve volumes in my library here. They have an
expensive binding of that period, and the penmanship is good, but
antiquated, _e.g._ vol. xi, p. 333, “& carry yʳ youthful Vices wᵗʰ yᵐ to
yᵉ Grave.” The dates are 1777 in the first volume, 1779 in the next
five, and 1781 in the remaining six. The first four volumes (of six
sermons each) are “on yᵉ Attributes of God,” the fifth and sixth (of
seven sermons each) are “on some of yᵉ most-important Articles of yᵉ Xⁿ
Religion,” and the last six (of fourteen sermons each) are “on yᵉ
several Virtues & Vices of Mankind.” These were the sermons that upset
the people at Drewsteignton. But clearly he was making a general survey,
and no more charged them with all the vices than he credited them with
all the virtues.

In 1786 he got these sermons published by subscription in six volumes,
duodecimo. And then he went on writing till he had five hundred sermons
of such scope that he felt justified in calling them _A System of
Divinity_. He failed to get this published by subscription; and it would
have cost about £2000 to print. So he set to work, and did it all
himself with a printing-press of his own make.

He began his printing in 1795, and in five months he turned out forty
copies of the first 328 pages of vol. i, with title, preface, etc.; and
he sent round twenty-six of these as specimens, to see if he could get
support. There was practically no response: so he went on with the
fourteen copies that remained, and of the rest


of the work he printed fourteen copies only. The first volume was
finished in 1795, three more in 1796, two in 1797 and two in 1798, three
in 1799 and three in 1800, two in 1801, but only one in 1802, then two
in each of the next four years, 1803 to 1806, and the last volume in
1807, making six-and-twenty volumes altogether. On an average, there
must be about 500 pages to the volume, but they are troublesome to
count, as the numbering does not always run straight on. When there are
not any foot-notes, the page has twenty-six lines of about nine words
each; but on some pages the foot-notes rise to forty-one lines of about
twelve words each, with only one line of sermon at the top. Additions
and corrections are printed on separate slips of paper, and stuck in
very neatly at the proper places, like little folding-plates opening up
or down the page. Just at first the printing is erratic, but it soon
gets better and finally is pretty good. Of course, he had all the credit
of the printing; but much of it was done by Mary Hole, a servant in his
house. She died in 1808.

His own copy of his _System of Divinity_ is in my library here. The
volumes are still in their original boards, and fill a length of 3 ft. 8
in. upon the bookshelves. He pasted his press-notices into vol. i, and
added “Strictures on yᵉ preceding Review” and other notes of that sort.
And he interleaved the index (in vol. xxvi and part of xxv) and put in
references to the additions that he was always making to his work. In
1816 he made a fair copy of the index--which copy is also in my
library--“Intended as a Help to a future Edition, with the Additions
upon Revisal.” But that future edition never came.

In 1823, when he was eighty years of age, he went to work again, and
printed one more volume--_Divinity ... being improved extracts from a
System of Divinity_. Of this also there were fourteen copies only; and
one of them is in my library. It is uniform with his previous books, and
has about 540 pages altogether. It caused some stir, and led to an
enlarged edition in two volumes in 1825, and another in three volumes in
1827. But these editions were printed at Exeter in the ordinary way.

He sometimes used his printing-press for other subjects than Divinity;
and, when his son did something that he did not like, he printed a
pamphlet on the conduct of his son. But the son’s turn came, when he was
called upon to write a memoir of his father after his decease. He paid
him back in full.

       *       *       *       *       *

Davy took the title of his work from Bacon, and planned it while he was
at Balliol. And he read widely, making notes and extracts and abstracts
and indices, all with a view to writing a systematic treatise on
Divinity. But (unconsciously, I think) he departed from his plan, though
he retained the title; and in the end his work was not what Bacon meant,
nor what anybody wanted. Being in the form of sermons, it was useless as
a book of reference; and, being in substance an encyclopædia, it did not
make good sermons. One wonders how his country congregations felt, when
he preached to them in this wise, vol. i, pages 292-4, “The most ancient
Nations, the Egyptians and Phœnicians, did agree with the Grecians that
the World did begin etc.... Aristotle himself says etc.... Maximus
Tyrius also observes etc.... Josephus and all the Jewish Doctors do
abundantly confirm it.” But he also had many shrewd things to say, and
often said them very neatly, especially in his foot-notes. And these
sayings of his might well be put together in a little volume as _The Wit
and Wisdom of the Rev. William Davy_.

       *       *       *       *       *

For many years he lived at Lustleigh Rectory, a venerable house that was
transformed to something new and strange at the time of the Gothic
Revival. But that was after his time; and he speaks of it as “nearly in
ruins” in 1808. He quitted it in 1818, and went to live at Wilmead,
which his son had lately bought. And the old man used always to come
striding down across the fields, and take the path from Wreyland, when
he went from Wilmead to the village or the church.

While living at the Rectory, he built a terraced garden that was
celebrated in its day, but vanished when the grounds were laid out more
ambitiously. And, when he moved to Wilmead, he built himself a garden
there, on the knoll of ground behind the house. One can see that this
knoll was covered with rocks, and that he cleared some of them away by
blasting, and used the fragments for retaining-walls. In this way he
formed five terraces, which still remain.

There are stories of his planting the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten
Commandments in his garden up at Wilmead. According to the memoir of him
by his son, he actually did plant (in box) some texts of Scripture and
his own name and the date. “Into whichever walk any one turned, some
divine or moral precept met the eye, as the different letters were
nearly six inches long, and being kept regularly trimmed were easily to
be read.” In 1838 one could read ‘know thyself,’ ‘act wisely,’ ‘deal
fairly,’ ‘live peaceably,’ ‘love one another,’ ‘W Davy 1818.’ There must
have been much more, as he called it his “Living body of Divinity” in
contrast to his _System_. But, whatever it was that he planted, it has
all vanished now.

Box has been put to quite another use in the Pope’s private gardens at
the Vatican. They have a gigantic Cardinal’s Hat, with all its cords and
tassels, edged with box and filled with brilliant flowers. I have seen
it only in the autumn, when the flowers are going off; but in the early
summer it must be magnificent.

In this neighbourhood a great deal of box-edging has been destroyed in
recent years, the pretext being that it harbours slugs, and they eat up
all the flowers in the beds. But slugs seldom eat begonias; and begonias
look very gorgeous against the dark green of the box. I have used them
most successfully these last fifteen years.

Most of the old houses here have groups of box-edged beds with narrow
paths between them, making up some pattern as a whole. And these are
known as Pixey Gardens. As pixies are twelve inches high, these little
paths are pretty much the same to them as Devonshire lanes to human
beings. I was taught that one could always tell a pixey from a fairy, as
fairies wear clothes, and pixies go without; but I have never seen
either sort myself, in a pixey garden or elsewhere.

A very cautious old lady once remarked to me that she had never seen any
pixies herself, but she knew so many people who said they had seen
pixies, that she would not undertake to say that there were no such
things. This puts the pixies in pretty much the same position as the
Russian soldiers who passed through England at the beginning of the War.

There was formerly a draw-well in front of the house, and its site is
marked by the second of the round beds in the Pixey Garden. I imagine
that the garden was not made until the well had been filled in, and that
this was not till 1839, when the present well was sunk; but I do not
know for certain. The garden was rectangular till 1899; and then I added
the semi-circular end, and made a gateway through the orchard hedge,
carrying the main path round the semi-circle to the gateway.

In altering the path, a dog’s skeleton was found at the foot of the
espalier pear tree. There is a dog in the full-length portrait of my
grandfather’s grandfather, and there is the same dog in the picture of
the family in 1787; and somebody suggested that this might be the dog,
whose grave we had disturbed. The skeleton had crumbled, but the skull
was sound; and I showed it to various people, who were fond of dogs, and
thought they understood them. Some thought it might be that dog’s skull,
while others thought the dog was of another breed. At last, I got an
introduction to a high authority at the Natural History Museum at South
Kensington, and I showed him the skull and photographs of both the
pictures. I became aware that he was staring at me in amazement, and at
last he gasped:--“But it isn’t a dog at all. It’s a badger.”

However, we were not the only people that ever made such a blunder. They
had a wonder-working relic in the church at Skifvarp. It was reputed to
be the hand of a saint; and, as such, it healed many people of diseases.
I saw it in the Museum at Stockholm some years ago, resting from its
labours. It is only a seal’s paw.

Down here a man remarked to me one day, as he was gazing across some
fields:--“It be a wonder-workin’ thing, that Consecrated Bone.” I began
to think we had a relic here. But he spoke of concentrated bone manure.

A party of Italians was being shown round the gardens on the Isola Bella
one day when I was being shown round; and the thing that struck them
most, was what we call the common laurel. I cannot remember seeing it at
any other place in Italy except the monastery on Monte Cavo, and I
suspect that it was brought there by the Cardinal of York. (In Italy the
common laurel is what we call sweet-bay.) Few people in England know how
beautiful our common laurel is when fully grown, for here they are
always clipping it and cutting it down as soon as it begins to grow. On
the Isola Bella it is almost a forest tree. In this garden and in Parson
Davy’s it grows to 25 or 30 feet, and so also the sweet-bay.

There are two young olive trees growing in sheltered places in this
garden. The smaller one (below the Oval Lawn) is from an olive that I
picked up at Rapallo, 10 January 1910, when the olives were being shaken
down. It is nearly four feet high now--September 1917. The larger one
(near Dogtrot Hill) came here from Cornwall in a pot, and was planted
out in the summer of 1904. It then was six feet high and very slender,
and now is nearly fifteen feet high and nine inches in girth. It has not
borne olives yet.

Many of the people here had never seen an olive tree before, and were
curious about its fruit: so I gave them olives to try. One comment
was:--“Well, Mrs *****’d never have christened her daughter Olive, if
her’d a-tasted one of they.”

One afternoon all the strawberries on the strawberry tree were picked
and eaten by a boy, who was working in the garden; and they held an
Indignation Meeting under the Rotunda. I asked him what the matter was,
and he replied:--“Please, zir, my inwards be all of a uproar.”

Besides the strawberry tree (_arbutus unedo_) I have the toothache tree
(_xanthoxylum planispinum_) growing in the garden. My gardener told me
that he had no toothaches for a long while after it was planted, though
he often had before: but this immunity wore off. A decoction of the bark
is what is needed, and the tree has very little bark as yet. The cork
tree also grows here, and this soon developes a thick coat of bark. I
expect the bark on mine to yield me cork enough to bung my cider casks;
but at present it does not.

During the winter of 1911-12 I planted sixteen acres of new
cider-orchards, putting 5½ acres of early trees in Crediford and
Blackmore, 5¾ acres of mid-season trees in Middle Parke, and 4¾ acres of
late trees in Above Ways. Some such division is usual in new orchards
now, as the fruit is handled with less labour, and sheep can go on
grazing in the late orchards till the early orchards have been cleared.
The early trees were of three sorts in equal numbers--Knotted Kernel,
Cherry Pearmain and Cherry Norman: the mid-season trees were of four
sorts in the ratio of one Cap of Liberty and one Kingston Black to two
each of Eggleton Styre and Strawberry Norman; and the late trees were
also of four sorts in the ratio of one Skyrme’s Kernel and one Hagloe
Crab to two each of Michelin and Chisel Jersey. These combinations make
good blends. But apple trees do not bear uniformly every year: one sort
may bear heavily one year, and another sort the next; and that upsets
the blend.

In this district the older orchards have mostly been neglected, losses
being made good with any kind of apple tree that came to hand. No doubt,
the kinds were chosen carefully at first, but not (so far as one can
see) in such proportions as to give a definite blend. With all kinds of
apples mixed up indiscriminately, no two casks of cider are the same in
flavour or in strength.

Cider used always to be made of apples, but I fear that it is very often
made of other things now. However, the name does not imply that it is
made of apples, but only means that it is strong. And in that sense
Wyclif has “wyn and sydir” in Luke, i. 15, where later versions say
“strong drink.” Non-alcoholic cider is a contradiction in terms.

Men can easily get drunk on cider; but they do not suffer for it next
day, if they have had pure cider of fermented apple-juice and nothing
else. Unhappily, this wholesome drink has given way to other drinks that
are less wholesome. A shrewd observer said to me:--“When each man had
three pints of cider every day, there was not half this bickering and
quarrelling that goes on now.” And that, I think, is true. They were
always in the genial stage of drunkenness, and seldom had the means of
going beyond that. A few, however, very often went beyond; and they have
been described to me as “never proper drunk, nor proper sober neither,
but always a-muddled and a-mazed.”

This failing was not confined to Devonshire. My father notes in his
diary, 7 August 1847, at Dinan in Brittany:--“The apples thick beyond
conception, and the priests already praying to avert the evil
consequences they apprehend from the plenty and cheapness of cider.” He
writes to my grandmother from Dinan, 15 August 1847:--“The apples are so
abundant this year that the country will almost be drowned in cider. How
they will consume it all, is a wonder, for they export none. The lower
orders are drunk, it seems, a great deal of their time. The priests
always pray for a bad apple crop as the only hope of saving the people
from perpetual drunkenness.”

A former rector of Lustleigh was remonstrating with a man one afternoon
for reeling through the village very drunk. But the man had his
reply:--“Ay, ’tbe all very fine for you to talk, but you goes home to
dinner late, and us doesn’t see you after.”

On the whole, less harm is done by cider than by tea; but cider gets
more blame, as its ill effects are visible at once, whereas tea works
its mischief slowly. Nobody says anything against tea-drinking now; but
Parson Davy in his _System of Divinity_, vol. xix, page 235, which he
printed at Lustleigh in 1803, spoke with indignation of “the
immeasurable use of that too fashionable and pernicious plant, which
weakens the stomach, unbraces the nerves, and drains the very vitals of
our national wealth; to which nevertheless our children are as early and
as carefully enured, from the very breast, as if the daily use of it
were an indispensable duty which they owed to God and their country.”
And in his _Letter to a Friend concerning Tea_, published in 1748, John
Wesley spoke of tea-drinking as tea-drinkers speak of drinking alcohol
now:--“wasteful, unhealthy self-indulgence”--“no other than a slow
poison”--“abhor it as a deadly poison, and renounce it from this very

My grandfather had a new cider-press in 1842, and I had a new one in
1901. He set up his in what is now the potting-shed, and I set up mine
in what is now the donkey’s house, but shifted it in 1904 to its present
place in what had hitherto been the stables. The cider-press of 1901 is
quite unlike the cider-press of 1842, and is practically the same as the
wine-presses that are used in France. With three men at work, it will
turn 800 lbs. of apples into 60 gallons of cider in about two hours. The
old press was not so quick or clean, but was more picturesque.

Cider-making is not a very pleasant sight; and I have known people say
that they would never touch cider again, having once seen how it was
made. A crushed apple is not a pretty thing at any time, and is none the
prettier for being in company with several thousand others. However,
cider-making is not quite as bad as wine-making in Southern Italy and
Sicily. There they tread the grapes: if the vat is small, they get the
cramp; and I have seen men jump out of the vat, take a sharp run up and
down a very un-swept road, and jump straight in again.

The _Asti_ wine of Northern Italy is curiously like the wine that we
make out of rhubarb here; and one might suspect the Asti of being
rhubarb wine, only rhubarb costs much more than grapes down there. Our
wine is not pure rhubarb: sugar and other things are used as well. And
one year it was an utter failure. The sugar had been given to a certain
damsel to put in, “and ’stead of tendin’ her duty, her were a-talkin’ to
that Jarge, and atween’m they put pretty nigh all the sugar in one of
they barryels and scarce any in t’other.”

Another liquor might be made here, as this soil grows the fungus that is
used for Vodka. That liquor is in bad repute just now; but I must say
that I found it very comforting on a long and dreary journey from Moscow
down to Warsaw in the autumn of 1889.

       *       *       *       *       *

My grandfather writes to my father on 3 December 1857:--“A glass of good
mellow full-bodied cider is far superior to your Rhenish wine: there is
no body in that.” And if Devonshire cider is to be compared with any
class of wines, the Rhine wines certainly come closest to it. He thought
the very best cider was wasted on the country-folk, and he writes on 18
September 1868:--“They do not much care what it is, so as its cider.”
But they cared very much for that. He writes on 16 March 1845:--“The old
workmen here think we shall have cider plenty: they think more about
that than the crops in the fields.” And again on 17 July 1856:--“As you
know, the men here are passionately fond of cider.”

He writes to him on 18 June 1851:--“People say that Ashburton Fair is
past, and the apples are safe.” People still say that, meaning that all
frosts have ceased by the first Thursday in June. But many of these
sayings are of earlier date than 1752: the calendar was altered then by
cutting out eleven days; and the seasons did not alter with the
calendar. Father Christmas should arrive in snow, but seldom has it now:
the snow comes with Old Christmas Day in January.

Writing on 2 February 1851, my grandfather says:--“Not a flake of snow
fell on the Forest of Dartmoor in the month of January: not the oldest
man living on the Moor recollects the like before.” On 2 March
1862:--“Well, the old people say there never was a February without
snow. There has not been any this year, unless it came Friday night
before twelve o’clock. A man that was out about sheep says that it did
fall before twelve but after eleven: so they still adhere to the old
saying. But the others that did not stay up, say that the snow came with

Like many other people of his time, my grandfather was certain that the
climate had improved, and he thought he saw the cause. He writes to my
father on 22 December 1850:--“I attribute the mildness of the winters
and the warmth of the summers to the better state of cultivation of the
land draining off the cold stagnant waters that lay about in all
directions in my youthful days.” He writes on 23 November 1851:--“The
old plan was to have the wheat up in grass at Christmas, as the farmers
used to say ‘high enough to cover a crow,’ but they find now from the
altered winters that to till in this month and the next is sufficiently
early, and better crops.”

My grandfather tried farming here; and I gather from his accounts that
he sank about £20 per acre in the first three years. That meant draining
the ground, and getting it into good condition; and after that he made
it pay, except in the years of the potato famine. He writes to my father
on 8 March 1846:--“I should say a diligent clever man, farming his own
estate, can make more money now than he could in war time [that is,
before 1815] for the system of farming is quite changed, and the land is
made to produce nearly double what it did then.”

His knowledge of farming was derived from books; and he did things that
were not customary here, sometimes with failure, but often with success.
Thus, he writes to my father, 2 April 1854:--“I tilled some barley
yesterday.... It was another such March fifteen years ago, when I tilled
this same field to barley. I then hired horses and gave it a good
working; and the weather was so tempting that I tilled it in March to
the amusement of my neighbours. The storms in April made it look blue,
which amused them still further. But they all acknowledged they could
not produce its equal to harvest.”

He writes on 25 April 1843:--“Folks are waiting to see what spade
husbandry will produce. I tell them its not new to me, for I adopted it
elsewhere some twelve or fourteen years ago, and was fully compensated
for my trouble. But that will not do: they must see themselves. The
field is turned up with the spade, all the spine put under, a foot deep;
and I have taken out nearly stones enough to build a wall through the
field. The cost in turning is 4_d._ [per rod] with a quart of cider to a
shilling, so with cleaning and bringing it fit for the potato the cost
is £4 per acre, about double the old system, which would leave all the
stones, and the field not half worked.

“Our farmers are loth to believe that any other method but the old one
is beneficial. They fancy all manure is in dung and the like. I tell
them the quantity of carbon, etc., etc.... But all will not do: they
must see to believe. I have tried 1 cwt. of nitrate of soda on an acre
of grass, and it is astonishing the effect it has had.”

On 13 January 1851 he writes:--“I am trying an experiment, that is, I
am fetching every day some of the refuse from the kilns at the Pottery.
It is principally burnt clay. I have often looked at it on passing, and
fancied it might turn to use--old Cobbett speaks well of burnt clay. My
neighbours say they will try it also.”

In a letter of 11 February 1850 my grandfather suggests a sliding scale
for agricultural rents, based on the average price of corn. He did not
wish to fix a rent-charge once for all, as with the commutation of the
tithe, but merely to provide for variations during the period of a
lease. In practice the landlord makes remissions of rent in bad years;
but I have not yet heard of a farmer giving his landlord a War-bonus on
these good years.

The old copyhold system was better than the leasehold for agricultural
land. Here in Wreyland manor a man took a tenement for the term of his
life; and that included “his wife’s widowhood therein.” If he wished to
give it up, there was always someone ready to take it on. The new tenant
paid him for his life interest and his wife’s, and bought the reversion
from the lord; and at the next sitting of the court the old tenant
surrendered the tenement, and the new tenant was admitted in his stead.
If he wished to keep the tenement in his family, he bought the reversion
for his son. The tenants were answerable to the manor court, if they
allowed their buildings to fall into decay, or let down the gates and
hedges against their neighbour’s tenements. But in this manor the court
could not take cognizance of bad cultivation, which so often accompanies
security of tenure.

These copyhold tenements have developed into freeholds, and the manor
has decayed. This is a district of small estates. In districts where
estates are large, it is usually the other way. Manorial rights have
grown, until at last the manor has unrestricted freehold, and the former
copyholds are let as farms.

Estates here being small, the farms are small also; and they could not
well be large in such a hilly country--haulage would be too costly, if a
farm went over many ridges and coombes. Usually they are too small, and
two or three might be thrown into one, one set of buildings serving for
the whole, likewise one set of implements, and fewer horses--six horses
have sufficed, where three farmers had each been keeping three. Even in
districts where estates are large, and ground is flat, the farms are
seldom large enough to give the best results. The ideal is the largest
area that can possibly be worked from one homestead; and in some
districts that may be very large indeed. No doubt, the _latifundia_ were
not a success; but that was due to slavery, not to size. Here in England
our countryfolk would make a better stock as labourers on big estates
than in starvation on small-holdings.

The labourer has certainly fared badly in the past. He grew the dear
loaf, and never had a bite at it. But, when economists go writing of
“the hungry ’forties,” they should remember that there were such things
as trout and salmon, hares and rabbits, partridges and pheasants.

My grandfather writes to my father, 3 December 1844:--“I was told
yesterday at Moreton that many travellers now give their horses a
portion of wheat flour. Some are too scrupulous to do it: but the
labourer would say Why give barley, as that is my food, and the Scotch
and Irish may say Why give oats.” He writes a few days later, 15
December 1844:--“I had some conversation with the Lustleigh parson
yesterday. He said we had no poor here, and the labourers were better
off than where he came from.”--He had just left a living in
Norfolk.--“There the wages were less, and they never tasted animal food
from one year to another, but here they all managed to salt in a pig.”

He writes on 2 December 1849:--“Bad as times are, I have known them far
worse under Protection.... Such was the distress among farmers then that
labourers were put up to auction by the parish authorities, and hired
for 6_d._ to 9_d._ per day.” And on 7 February 1850:--“There is no
grumbling among the labourers, for now they have a cheap loaf, and are
able to get a bit of meat to eat with it.... Besides under Free Trade
they get salt, sugar, tea, coffee, etc., at a much lower rate than
formerly, when their wages were but a half or a third.”

On 13 July 1851 he writes:--“I see a vast improvement in agriculture in
this neighbourhood since Free Trade came in.... Protection did but
foster indolence.” Fifty years later, when Protection was allied with
Tariff Reform, an ardent Liberal said to me:--“No, ’t ain’t no tariffs
and ’tection that they farmers need: ’t be nothin’ but lime and doong.”
And certainly the land was starved.

My grandfather was converted to Free Trade somewhere about 1817 or 1818,
but I do not know exactly when or how. He writes on 3 June 1843:--“I
have been a Free Trader for more than five-and-twenty years.” And on 28
January 1844:--“I almost stood alone in Moreton as a Free Trader about
five-and-twenty years ago.” As for the other party, he writes on 25
November 1849:--“Protection is substituted for Church & State and King &
Constitution, and what they will have next I am at a loss to say.” He
was a Liberal then; but the party went beyond his principles, and my
brother writes from here, 4 July 1868:--“Grandpapa now calls himself a
Conservative, and makes dire prophecies of the political future of

Lord John Russell was the only politician whom he altogether trusted.
There was some slight acquaintance; and Lord John gave my father a very
nice desk upon his coming of age. My father used it always, and I have
it still, not much the worse for wear, but somewhat damaged by burglars
on one of their visits to our house in town.

       *       *       *       *       *

Writing to my father on 25 January 1846, my grandfather
says:--“Agricultural labourers are very scarce: most of the young and
able bodied are gone on the railways.” Men got better pay as navvies
than they had ever got in agriculture. Better pay meant better food; and
the navvies developed into finer men than anyone had seen before--at
least, old people always told me so. I fancy this displacement of labour
had more effect on wages and employment than the change from Protection
to Free Trade.

Writing on 8 March 1846, he says:--“I do not think many of the
agriculturalists are prepared for the very great changes that the
railways will make.” But those great changes never came, as the
agriculturalists never grasped the situation. So long as transport was
difficult, each district had to grow nearly everything that it required.
When transport was made easy, each district should have grown what it
grew best. Here in the South Hams there was quite the best cream in
England, and about the best cider, and also excellent mutton. Had people
kept to things like these, and laid down all their arable land to grass,
they would have saved far more on agricultural buildings, implements and
horses, than they would have spent in getting arable products from a
distance. And they would hardly have felt the depression that began in
1878, as that scarcely touched these things.

Being short-sighted, they neglected their orchards, and grew careless of
their cider-making, till Devonshire cider was outclassed by Hereford.
And now they are ruining the cream by using separators. Of course, it is
cream made in Devonshire, but it is not what was known as Devonshire
cream. The stuff is not worth eating; but I suppose people will go on
eating it as Devonshire cream, just as they go on drinking the wines of
well-known growers, whose vineyards were exhausted years ago.

There is also a machine now to prepare wheat straw for thatching; and
this bruises the reed, and renders it less durable than when it was
prepared by hand. And now they never sow wheat early enough for the
straw to gather strength. The result is that the thatch decays, and
landlords and farmers both get tired of patching it, and put up slate or
iron instead, thereby helping to destroy the market for one of their own
products. I have known a field of wheat pay rent and rates and every
outlay with the straw for thatching, and the grain was all clear profit.

Nobody who has lived under a thatched roof would willingly live under
any other--the comfort is so great. The thatch keeps out the cold in
winter, and keeps out the heat in summer. This house has about 4000
square feet of roof, and my other buildings in Wreyland have about
12,000 altogether; and the whole of this is thatched. Thatching costs
about three pence a square foot, and lasts about five-and-twenty years;
the period varying a little with the shape of the roof and its aspect,
exposure, and so on. And really it is not inflammable. Just as paper
will burn and books will not, so also straw will burn and thatch will
not: at least, thatch will only burn quite slowly like a book. I have
twice seen a fire stopped by cutting away a strip of thatch, and so
making a gap that the fire could not cross; and the fire burnt so very
slowly that there was ample time for this.

In insurance against fire a higher rate is charged on thatch than on the
other kinds of roofing; and I presume the higher rate is needed, though
possibly for other reasons than the nature of the roof. Writing to my
father about a small estate that was for sale, my grandfather remarks
quite placidly, 13 June 1864:--“The premises are all but new, for *****
took care to burn down the whole at different times--so all new and well
built and slated. No office would continue the insurance for him, but
being all slated it did not much require it.” I have heard the same
thing said of other small estates.

There were many fires in Moreton about seventy or eighty years ago. In
those times the insurance companies had fire-engines of their own, and
people trusted to these engines. After a fire there, 11 September 1838,
my father writes in his diary:--“The Moreton engine poured on the thatch
in front of Mrs Heyward’s house, and kept the fire in the back premises.
But, as the fire was extending towards the White Hart, which was insured
in the ‘West of England,’ the engine (which belonged to that office) was
removed there to endeavour to preserve the inn. As soon as the engine
was removed, the fire came into the front of Mrs Heyward’s house, and
extended on in Pound Street.... There ought to be two engines in the
place; and, as the ‘Sun’ lost so much, perhaps they will send one
there.” After another fire there, 12 September 1845, my grandfather
writes to him:--“Many houses not insured: their owners dropt it at
Ladyday last, when the advance took place on thatched houses.” This fire
was a notable event. My father writes in his diary, Coblence, 21
September 1845:--“Read in the Galignani newspaper an account of the
recent fire at Moreton, which has destroyed so much of the town.”

Cob walls are as good as a thatched roof for resisting heat and cold;
and the houses that have both, are far the best to live in, when the
temperature out-doors is either high or low. The cob is made of clay and
gravel kneaded together with straw, and is put up in a mass, like
concrete. It is very durable, if kept dry, but soon goes to pieces, if
the wet gets into it, especially from above. The roof must therefore be
kept quite watertight, and the outside of the walls may be protected by
a coat of plaster or cement with rough-cast.

Good bricks are made on Bovey Heathfield at the other end of this
parish. And nine inches of brickwork, laid in cement, is as strong as
eighteen inches of cob, and looks the same, if covered with cement and
rough-cast. But the eighteen inches of cob keeps a house much warmer
than eighteen of brick.

In rough-casting the wall receives two coats of plaster or cement; and,
before the second coat is dry, a mixture of fine gravel and hot lime is
thrown hard at it with a trowel, and sticks on to the second coat. It
was the custom here to rough-cast the south and west sides of a
building, but not the north and east, as these are less exposed to wet.

Down here the building-stone is either granite or elvan; and rough-cast
is desirable, as both sorts take damp, especially the granite. Moreover,
if the walls are built of unsquared stone, the rain will sometimes find
its way between the joints and down into the wall, wherever the bedding
of the stones slopes downwards from the outside.

Some of the older buildings have squared stones from three to five feet
long and two or three feet high. But generally these do not go beyond
the first few courses, and then comes unsquared stone, and very often
cob on top. In most of the old buildings here the walls are constructed
with an inner and an outer face of unsquared stone and a core of mortar
or cement. If the core decays, the stones get loose; and, if a stone
falls out, others may

[Illustration: THE PIXEY GARDEN (_pp. 35, 36_)]

go after it, the edges being unsquared, and then the whole structure may
come tumbling down.

At the inn at Manaton I once heard a group of old inhabitants talking
over various buildings that had fallen down, and quarrelling as to which
of them had made the greatest noise in falling. Here at Wreyland the end
wall of the Tallet--some 40 tons--fell out into the orchard in the
twilight of a Sunday evening as people were on their way to church. “And
Miss Mary *****, her were a-passin’ at the time; and, when her come in
afterward, her said in all her born days her never beheld such a noise.”

       *       *       *       *       *

People talk as though there was no jerry-building in the olden times. I
believe the jerry-builder was as busy then as now, but his buildings
have all tumbled down and been forgotten long ago. Only the best of the
old buildings have lasted until now; and these are constantly in need of
structural repair. I have overhauled a good many of these buildings; and
by the time I have underpinned the walls, and grouted them, and done all
the other necessary things, I always find I could have got a better
result by taking them right down, and setting them up again on fresh
foundations. And no one would have known the difference. At the lower
end of Souther Wreyland there is a chimney-stack that looks as venerable
as anything here. I built it new in 1906 from its foundation to its
summit: there was nothing there before.

If one had merely to repair a building as an ancient monument, there
would be comparatively little trouble. But there is serious trouble,
when one wishes to retain the characteristics of a building, and yet
meet modern needs with bath-rooms and the like. Bed-rooms used to open
into one another, and you had to pass through other rooms to reach your
own; but people now object to that. If the roof slopes down towards the
outer walls, one cannot always get height enough for a passage without
encroaching too much upon the rooms; and one does better then by putting
in more staircases, each giving access to a group of rooms. This house
has three main staircases, and no passages upstairs, except a short one
that I built in 1899. Others have as many staircases, and passages as
well; and people say that they are like the countryside--all lanes and

In dealing with the Hall House, I decided not to sacrifice the
Seventeenth Century work in order to restore the Fourteenth, though the
restoration would have been of interest. There was originally a hall,
with a screen across it, and a gallery projecting out beyond the screen
on corbels. Subsequently the floor of the gallery was carried on across
the hall, and the front of the gallery was carried up to the roof, thus
making two rooms upstairs, and two down below, divided by the screen.
These four rooms are useful, and the hall would have been very useless,
as no courts are held for Wreyland manor now.

My great-great-grandfather Nelson Beveridge Gribble was lord of Wreyland
manor, but always lived in this house--Yonder Wreyland--and never at the
Hall House. I believe he held Court Baron and Court Leet and View of
Frankpledge in the Lower Parlour here; and it must have been
unpleasantly crowded, if the Homage and the Tithing came here in full

       *       *       *       *       *

The last sitting of the court was held on 14 February 1871. I have
printed the record of the sittings from 1437 to 1441, from 1479 to 1501,
and from 1696 to 1727, _Wreyland Documents_, pp. 1-88, and have said
there (pp. i-c) all I have to say about the history of this manor.

In 1898 I became a tenant of a manor in which admission is “by the
verge.” The verge is a wooden staff or rod; and the steward of the manor
holds one end, and the tenant holds the other, while they say the
operative words. I thought the ceremony would be interesting, and might
be picturesque; so I went myself, instead of doing it by deputy. The
scene was a solicitor’s office of the most prosaic kind with
type-writers and telephones. The steward was seated at an American desk;
and, when I looked round for the verge, he said, “I haven’t got a stick,
but this ’ll do.” And he took up a pencil (made in Austria) and held it
out to me.

There was a pleasant old house at Becky Fall, burnt down on 18 April
1875, and rebuilt as one sees it now; and I have a full-length portrait
of my great-great-great-grandfather, John Langworthy, sitting in the
porch there. He has been described as “reading his bible, and looking as
if he didn’t believe a word of it,” but it really is a law-book. The
painter was Thomas Rennell. There are many pictures of his in
Devonshire, mostly labelled Reynolds by mistake for Rennell. Sir Joshua
and he were fellow-pupils in Hudson’s studio in London, but had not much
in common afterwards.

Becky was a lonesome place till the new Manaton road was made, but now
lies open to excursionists, and has lost something of its charm. While
the old house remained, I coveted it more than this. It passed from John
Langworthy to his daughter Honor, the wife of Nelson Beveridge Gribble,
and then to their eldest son John Gribble, and to his eldest surviving
son John Beveridge Gribble, who very soon got rid of it. He claimed
Wreyland also as the heir, but found there was a settlement. He died
here in this house on 18 August 1891, just ninety years after the death
of his elder brother.

His father did not live here after he grew up, and this house was let to
Captain Thomas Moore for several years. Moore was on the Genoa at the
battle of Navarino, 20 October 1827, and ten days afterwards he died of

John Beveridge Gribble had an amateur knowledge of architecture, and
also a little practical knowledge, picked up from a cousin who was an
architect. A barn was being built upon some sloping ground near here;
and, on seeing the foundations and the beginning of the walls, he told
the builders that the whole thing would slip down, when they had reached
a certain height. When they reached that height, it slipped down as he
said; and they all marvelled at the prophecy. There were many false
prophets here, when the railway was being made. They had never seen a
skew-arch before, or even heard of such a thing; and they said these
arches would come down as soon as the frames were taken out.

One of the old masons here would never condescend to use a plumb-line on
his work. He said that he could tell if a wall was straight by just
puttin’ his leg ag’in’n. Another said that he could do it with his eye.
They, and others like them, are commemorated in the contour of the

On many of the older houses round about here, one sees a board with the
word “dairy” fixed up above a door or window. These boards are relics of
the window-tax, as exemption could be claimed for the window of a dairy
or a cheese-room, if “dairy” or “cheese-room” was painted up outside.
There is a board with “dairy” at the back of this house. It seems to
cover two windows now; but these are really the ends of one wide window.
I had to block the centre up with walling, to support the bath-room that
I built in 1904 above the former dairy.

Many of these houses also have windows that were stopped up, when the
window-tax was heavy, and were not brought into use again, when it was
abolished. I have opened up quite a dozen of them in my buildings. A
window was not freed from the tax, unless it was stopped up with stone
or brick or plaster; but usually the frame was left, and only needed
glazing, when the stopping was removed.

The window-tax goes back to 1695, but many of these windows are of later
date than that. The tax did not become oppressive until after 1784. In
that year the tax on a house of ten windows was raised from 11_s._ 4_d._
to £1. 4_s._ 4_d._, to £1. 12_s._ 0_d._ in 1802, and to £2. 16_s._ 0_d._
in 1808. On a house of twenty windows it was raised from £1. 14_s._
8_d._ to £4. 9_s._ 8_d._ in 1784, to £7. 10_s._ 0_d._ in 1802, and to
£11. 4_s._ 6_d._ in 1808. And on a house of thirty windows from £3.
3_s._ 0_d._ to £7. 13_s._ 0_d._ in 1784, to £13. 0_s._ 0_d._ in 1802,
and to £19. 12_s._ 6_d._ in 1808. It thus became worth while to block up
windows; and this, I believe, was the period when most of these windows
were blocked up. Window-tax had been imposed in place of hearth-money,
the notion being that the number of the windows would indicate the value
of the house. But it played havoc with the health of the community, as
people were willing to live and sleep in rooms with neither light nor
air, in order to escape the tax.

The same thing happened with ships. Dues were levied on tonnage; and
formerly the tonnage of a ship was calculated from her length and
breadth, the depth being reckoned as half the breadth, which was about
the usual ratio when the rule was made. If the depth was more than half
the breadth, the ship carried more cargo without any increase in the
tonnage or the dues. And the result was that ships were built deeper and
deeper, until the depth came to be about three-quarters of the breadth,
and they became unsafe and foundered.

Then came the Act of 1854, which put tonnage on the basis of a ton for
every hundred cubic feet of space inside the ship, excepting space
required for engines, crew, coal, etc. But space was reckoned in a way
that led to unforeseen results. If a screw-steamer of 3000 tons had an
engine-space of 380 tons, or 38,000 cubic feet, she was allowed a
further 285 tons as coal-space; but, if her engine-space was brought up
to 400 tons, the allowance was 560 tons. And in powerful tugs the
deductions often came to more than the total from which they were to be
deducted. Their nett tonnage being registered as 0, these vessels had no
dues to pay.

In going through old books that had been packed away here, I found the
first edition of Lloyd’s _Register of British and Foreign Shipping_. It
is dated in October 1834; and, including the supplement, it gives
particulars of about 13,850 ships. On looking through them, I cannot
find more than forty ships of above a thousand tons. The largest is of
1515 tons, the next of 1488 and the next of 1469; then come eleven of
1440 to 1403, eighteen of 1380 to 1311, three of 1286 to 1256, one of
1175, and four of 1068 to 1013. All forty are of the Port of London.
Below the thousand tons, there is one of 993 and one of 987, then nine
of 894 to 802, fifteen of 773 to 701, forty-three of 695 to 602, and a
hundred and ten of 600 to 501. Thus (unless I have overlooked some) the
ships of above 500 tons number 219 altogether, which is only about a
sixty-third part of the total number on the Register.

In the Register for 1841, which I found here also, there are only
eighteen ships of above a thousand tons. It gives only fifteen of the
forty that were given in 1834: eight built of teak in the East Indies in
1798 to 1816, and seven built on the Thames in 1817 to 1827. And there
are only three new ships of that tonnage, one of 1070, built at
Amsterdam, and one of 1064 and one of 1267, both built in Canada.

In the 1834 edition the abbreviations Sr. and St. stand for schooner and
schoot, not for steamer, as one might surmise; and the rules are framed
for sailing-ships, with a few additional rules “for ships navigated by
steam.” There are inquiries for the diameter of the paddle-wheels, and
the length and breadth of the paddles, but no inquiries as to screws.

I can remember the Channel Fleet lying in Torbay with one of the old
“seventy-fours” carrying the admiral’s flag. She was the Edgar, a wooden
two-decker of 3094 tons, fitted with a funnel and a screw, but otherwise
not unlike the ships of Nelson’s time. That was on 2 September 1864. One
day in November 1916 I noticed an unusual number of steamers lying in
Torbay, and found that they were sheltering from an enemy submarine
outside. I felt that times had changed.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the old letters and diaries here I find many words and phrases that
have now gone out of use. The garden was ‘very rude,’ when it was
untidy. A man was ‘thoughtful,’ when he was cunning, and ‘high-minded,’
when he was pretentious; and was a ‘patriot,’ when he was a profiteer.
People were ‘confined,’ when they were kept indoors by any kind of
illness; and some invalid old ladies had three or four ‘confinements’
every year. They all ‘used’ exercise, and did not take it; nor did they
ever take tea. “We drank tea with Mrs ***** at Moreton, and Jane was on
the carpet all the while: she has been to Exeter without a bonnet.” I do
not know why people drag in scraps of French like ‘chaperon’ and ‘sur le
tapis,’ nor why they follow Anglo-Indians in saying ‘pucka’ for

Hearing a good deal of laughter in the lane, I inquired what was going
on. And the answer was brought back:--“Please, zir, it be little Freddie
***** a-tryin’ to say swear-words, and he cannot form’n proper.”

I once said a swear-word here--at least, they thought I did. A bee was
pestering me persistently one afternoon, while I was sitting in the
garden; and at last in a moment of irritation I called it a coleopterous
creature. Someone heard me, and afterwards I heard him telling someone
else:--“He were a-swearin’ fine: called ’n bally-wopserous.”

A few years ago there was a child in the village, who was so absurdly
like the Flora in the _Primavera_ that we always called her the little
Botticelli. But this disquieted her mother; and she sent up to say that
she would like to know the meaning of that word.

Being of opinion that some fields near here would never yield enough to
cover their rent, the farmer’s wife approached the landlord in this
way:--“‘But, maister,’ saith I, ‘us cannot pluck feathers from a toad.’
And he saith, ‘so I’ve heard tell afore now, and I believe ’t be true’.”
It is just the metaphor they use in France:--“Il est chargé d’argent
comme un crapaud de plumes.” And when someone did a work of
supererogation here, the comment was strangely like “le Bon Dieu rit

       *       *       *       *       *

Devonshire speech is not capricious, but has a syntax of its own. The
classic phrase is ‘her told she.’ A pious person told me that ‘us didn’t
love He, ’twas Him loved we.’ They never say ‘we are,’ but ‘us be’ or
else ‘we am,’ contracted into ‘we’m.’ They say ‘I be’ as well as ‘I’m,’
but never ‘me’m’ or ‘me be,’ though invariably ‘me and Jarge be,’ or ‘me
and Urn,’ or whatever the name is, and never ‘Ernest and I’ or ‘George
and I.’ They say ‘to’ for ‘at’--‘her liveth to Moreton’--and formerly
said ‘at’ for ‘to’--‘I be goin’ at Bovey’--but now it is the fashion to
say ‘as far as’ Bovey.--A complete Grammar might be compiled.

Happily, the school has not taught them English that is truly up to
date. They have not learned to say:--“The weather conditions being
favourable, the psychological moment was indulged in.” They still
say:--“As ’twere fine, us did’n.” And their pronunciation is unchanged:
beetles are bittles, beans are banes, and Torquay is Tarkay.

Down here the Education Act of 1870 was not altogether a success. There
had been a school in Lustleigh since 1825, maintained by a small
endowment and the fees. Only the brightest children went there, and the
others did not go to school at all. Had it gone on after 1870 as a
higher-grade school, it might have done much service here; but the
trustees shut it--by a breach of trust, so far as I can see. The bright
children had to go to the board-school with the others who were not so
bright; and their progress was retarded by these others, as the staff
was never large enough to take them separately. As it is, I think more
progress might be made, if the classes were only half the size, and the
children were only half the time in school, some going in the morning
and others in the afternoon.

In most of the parishes round here there are cottages too far away for
young children to attend school in all weathers. As a rule, the
able-bodied men have always got young children--families are long, and
spread over many years. There is thus a difficulty in getting suitable
tenants for these cottages; and many of them have been allowed to go to
ruin, after being unoccupied for some long time. Families move down into
villages, which now have many of the defects of a town, without its
merits; and real country life is dying out--an unforeseen result of
Education Acts.

Agriculture has suffered from a cause that seems equally
remote--“farm-house lodgings.” People say that farms are let at so much
per acre, but all farms have a house, and the house will often pay the
rent; and, when the house does that, the farmer is less careful of his
land. The profit is not only from the letting of the rooms, but from
selling butter, eggs, fowls, etc., without the trouble and expense of
going to market, and often (I am told) at more than market prices.

People crowd down here in summer, and will put up with any kind of
lodging, as they mean to be out-doors all day. I have heard of rooms
with “Wash in the Blood of the Lamb” in illuminated letters, where there
should be a wash-stand. But this craze for rustic lodgings is
comparatively new. My grandfather writes to my father, 16 January
1862:--“Tremlett they say will leave Lustleigh at Ladyday, and Hurston
of Way has taken Harton and will leave Way, even Crideford (who used to
let one room) will leave on Ladyday for Torquay: so no lodgers will come
to Lustleigh. Perhaps when the railway comes, there may be

Like many other country places, Lustleigh started a flower-show, which
soon became a show of vegetables and poultry, with fewer prizes for
flowers than for such things as cream and honey, needlework and cookery.
There were athletic sports as well, and kiss-in-the-ring and dancing on
the grass to the strains of a brass band, the church bells ringing
changes while the brass band played--a proper old Pandy Romy Un, as some
one called it, meaning Pandemonium, I think. People came to it from a
distance, as it was held on the bank-holiday in August, and they could
spend their morning on the Cleave and finish off with this.

I missed the Lustleigh flower-show in 1900, having just gone up to town;
but a friend wrote me this account of it next day:--“We went in about 2,
when it opened, and found some disorder in the main tent, as it had
partially blown down early.... Then there was a horrible noise, and a
great gust of wind ripped the poultry tent almost in half. The whole
thing began to collapse, men were rushing in and being pulled out by
screaming females, some were tightening the ropes, which others
immediately loosed, and presently a great loose flap of canvas
overturned the stand of cages--a horrid mass of ducks and fowls
screaming and quacking and flapping all over the crowd, pursued by their
owners and upsetting everything. And just at this moment the big flower
marquee--which was of course deserted--was caught by a tremendous puff
of wind and torn right up and dropped on the tables inside. It wasn’t
heavy enough to be dangerous, but I wish I could give you any idea of
how funny it was to see ****, who was rather bossing the show, creep
from under the canvas with an old lady, an infuriated fowl pecking at
his knickerbockered calves. One of the nicest incidents was a little old
lady in a velvet mantle and black curls, careering backwards over the
ground, knocking people over as she clutched at the tail of a huge
escaping and crowing cock with one hand, and with the other arm embraced
a captured but still struggling and squawking goose. In about an hour
after it was opened everything on the ground was swept quite flat. But
excursion trains kept arriving, whose innocent passengers paid their
sixpences--you couldn’t see the ruin from outside--and wondered why the
crowd assembled at the gate laughed at them. However it was worth while
to see the village boys fighting and scrambling under the fallen tent
for the apples and potatoes.”

There is a May-day festival here, for which I am responsible. There used
to be dancing round the May-pole at the flower-show and other festivals,
but none upon May-day itself; and I put an end to that anomaly. The
children at Lustleigh school--boys and girls--elect one of the girls as
Queen, and her name is carved upon a rock on the hill behind this house.
Then on May-day the Queen walks in procession under a canopy of flowers
carried by four of the boys, her crown and sceptre being carried by two
others; then come her maids of honour; and then all the other children
of the school, most of them carrying flowers in garlands or on staves.
The procession winds along through Lustleigh and through Wreyland,
halting at certain places to sing the customary songs, and at last
ascends the hill behind here. The Queen is enthroned upon a rock looking
down upon the May-pole: the crown of flowers is placed upon her head,
and the arum-lily sceptre in her hand: the maids of honour do their
homage, laying their bouquets at her feet; and the four-and-twenty
dancers perform their dance before her. Then comes the serious business
of the day--the children’s tea. This year, 1917, there was a shortage of
cereals; but I saved the situation with two hundred hard-boiled eggs.

There are two Friendly Societies here, Rationals and Rechabites; and for
many years the Rationals had a church-parade upon Whit-sunday and a fête
upon Whit-monday. In 1908 they decided not to have their fête that year:
so the Rechabites announced a fête upon Whit-monday, and then the
Rationals announced their fête as usual, fearing that their rivals would
annex Whit-monday permanently. So there were two fêtes going on
together in fields not far apart, and each had a big brass band.

This little dispute gave rise to an incredible display of hatred and
malice between the two societies; and the Rector told the Rationals that
he could not have a church-parade for them till they were reconciled. As
that was out of the question, they had a church-parade without the
Rector or the Church. They went round as usual in procession with their
banner and regalia, collecting for the hospital, and halted in the
town-place just outside the Church at time of evensong. And they sang
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with such support from their brass
band, that the congregation could not hear a word the Rector said.

Before their fête the Rationals had a dinner, and I went. A man opposite
me was saying that he had given more benefit to the Society than the
Society had given to him, for he was now past fifty and had never drawn
sick-pay yet. I was able to say that I was past fifty also, and had
never yet been ill enough to stay in bed all day. But a man lower down
the table must have thought that we were getting proud, for he remarked
very audibly just then:--“There be a sort that do go sudden, when they
do go.” A few years afterwards I was ill enough to stay in bed for many
weeks, but I managed to get out of doors for May-day. I noticed a group
of people talking together and glancing at me now and then, and
presently one of them came over and explained:--“What us be sayin’, zir,
be this: whatever shall us do for our May-day, when you be dead.”

They were ringing a knell at North Bovey one afternoon when I was out
beyond there; and it sounded very weird, when the gusts of wind carried
the wail of the bells across the hills. I met one of the Lustleigh
ringers as I was coming back, and I asked him why they never did it
there. He answered:--“But us do. Sometime. Not for all folk like,
though. But us’ll ring’n for thee.”

When I was overhauling one of the old houses here, I made good some
panelling that had been covered up with lath and plaster. After it was
done, a man came over to tell me of some seasoned oak of extraordinary
width, which I might buy. I saw that it would make fine panels, but my
panelling was done. And then he said:--“Well, and if you didn’t use it
for panellin’, it might serve some other purpose. Why, th’old Mr *****
and his wife both had their coffins made from that same tree.”

One of the old Wreyland houses looked out upon an orchard at the back;
but the orchard was not let with the house, and at that time there was
no back-door. Riding down the lane one day, the owner saw a piece of
wood, as long as a fishing-rod, coming slowly out from one of the
windows at the back, and going on until it reached an apple on a tree:
it caught the apple in a sort of pocket at the end, and then went slowly
back into the house again, taking the apple with it. To make quite sure,
he waited till he saw this done a second time; and then he went round to
the front, and told the father of the family what he thought about the
sons, for obviously it was the boys who did it. The father said he would
no longer be the tenant of a man who spoke to him like that: so he
bought a piece of ground in Lustleigh, and built himself a house.

Another father of a family came to live in the old house; and a son of
his took something of more value than an apple, and went off to America.
After many years the son came back, and he was wanted by the police.
They thought that he was hiding in his father’s house, and they got a
warrant to search it. There is only one policeman here, and another one
was sent for to assist, lest the man should slip out at the back, while
our policeman came in at the front. Like all other things in little
country places, the whole scheme was known to everybody here--even the
train by which the other policeman would arrive; and a little crowd came
round to see the sport, as if it were a bit of rabbitting. Strange to
say, the man was not at home.

It was said that he was hiding in the cave in Loxter copse, and that
food was carried up to him at night; but I do not know the truth of
that. The copse is on the hill behind this house, and the cave is a
hollow in a cleave of elvan rocks, low and narrow at the entrance, but
more commodious inside, and branching into passages with practicable
exits. It suits foxes very well, but would hardly suit a man who was not
being hunted; though possibly I might get a tenant for it, if I gave the
letting to a firm that let an urban house near here as ‘a romantic
semi-detached villa,’ and another as ‘The Retreat,’ though it looked out
on a garage and a stable, front and back.

Some eighty years ago a man put an explosive in a log in his woodhouse,
and the log exploded on a neighbour’s hearth. The woodhouse was
inviolate after that, but the neighbour’s injuries were serious; and my
grandfather doubted if it was fair game. Taking things for personal use
is not the same as taking things for pawn or sale; and I have known it
done by men who otherwise were straight--except in horse-dealing and
flower-shows and other such matters as have ethics of their own.

A man told me with righteous indignation that his neighbour had removed
his landmarks in the night, and annexed a strip of his allotment, nearly
three feet wide. I saw the neighbour afterwards, rubbing his hands with
glee. He told me, “I’ve a-watched’n a-eggin’ they postes on, inch by
inch and night by night, and now I’ve set’n back right where they was
afore.” And a measurement proved that they were now in their right

Another man came to me about potato-ground or something of the sort; and
on going away he said he would have come in earlier, only he had been
sitting longer than he meant with a neighbour who was ill. It was a case
of scarlet fever; and I said something about infection. But he said he
did not hold with that. “What I want to know, be this:--The very first
person as ever had the scarlet fever, who did he catch it from?”

In talking to a man who had been taken seriously ill, I asked him how
the attack came on; and he told me how. “The pain took me that sudden
round the middle, that I thought I’d parted right asunder. But it didn’t
so happen to be.” There was nothing of the wasp about him to suggest the
likelihood of such a severance.

An old man, who lived some way from here, was refusing his consent to a
thing that could have been done equally well without his consent, though
at much greater cost; and I went over to talk to him about it. He did
not know me, and resented my intrusion; but presently he asked:--“Be you
a son of Mr Torr as were a friend of Mr *****?” I said I was; and in a
moment he was genial, slapped me on the back, and said:--“Why, one day
they two pretty near drownded I.” He was going along a clam--a bridge
formed of a single tree-trunk thrown across a stream--and they gave the
trunk a twist, when he was half way over. The recollection of it put him
into such good humour that he promised his consent.

I once told this to a friend, while I was going along a clam myself; and
the notion struck him that he might perhaps give his children a claim
upon my gratitude, if he just rolled me off.

There is little danger of drowning in these streams, as they generally
are shallow. But accidents have happened. On the night of 27 December
1863 a man was going to Rudge from Wreyland by the clam across the Wrey;
and he fell in, struck his head against a rock, and lay there stunned
till he was drowned. His body was found next morning.

Just between Wreyland and Lustleigh the Wrey is very narrow; and I was
able to rebuild the bridge there in the primæval way. The timber was
decaying, and there were doubts about the liability for repair: so I
assumed the office of Pontifex. I got blocks of granite nearly twelve
feet long, and weighing nearly two tons each, and just placed them
across the stream.

As the whole rainfall of the valley has to pass through the little gap
between Wreyland and Lustleigh, there naturally are floods here after
very heavy rains or thaws; and then it is not easy to go from one place
to the other. Writing to my father on 26 December 1847 about a flood at
that time, my grandfather recalls an incident in a much worse flood
eight years before:--“Sally ***** could not come over the meadows, and
went round Bishop’s Stone, and there found it equally bad: so her
son-in-law Dick ***** took her to his back. But she being so
heavy--double Dick’s weight--Dick was obliged to put her down in the
middle of it.”

One afternoon a Church Lads’ Brigade came over from a seaside place to
see the Cleave and other sights, and they had their tea in these meadows
by the Wrey. The weather being warm, they all went for the stream, and
bathed with a publicity that was hitherto unknown here, though not
uncommon at the seaside. One of our oldest inhabitants was aghast at it,
and said to me:--“Well, Mr Torr, if this be Wreyland, us might live in
savage parts.”

Another day a Classic Dancer came over here to dance for me. She danced
the Spring Song on the turf, with the tall cypress hedges as a
background; and it really was a very pretty sight. But some of the
spectators thought less about her dancing than her dress. And their
verdict was:--“Her garments had not got no substance in them.”

Not long ago one of the old inhabitants was talking to me about the War;
and this was how it struck him:--“It be a terrible thing, this war:
proper terrible it be. I never knowed bacon such a price.” Another one
looked at it from another point of view:--“What be the sense of their
contendin’? Why, us in Lustleigh don’t wage war on they in Bovey, and
wherefore should the nations fight?”

In talking to a very old inhabitant, I spoke of something out on
Dartmoor, and he replied:--“Well, Dartymoor be a place I never were at.”
I remarked that it was within a walk, and he replied:--“I never had no
occasion to go there.”

Life is never very strenuous here. People always fancy there is time to
spare--“the days be long.” That answers to the Spanish
_mañana_--to-morrow--or the Arabic _ba‘d bukra_--the day after
to-morrow--and is almost worthy of Theodore and Luke. In the _Sayings of
the Fathers_ Palladius relates that they were discontented with their
dwelling, and in the winter they said they would move in the summer, and
in the summer they said they would move in the winter; and they went on
saying that for the space of fifty years; and they both died in that

There was a project for a railway here as soon as the main-line had
reached Newton. My grandfather writes to my father on 25 April
1847:--“The surveyors have been from Newton to Okehampton, marking out a
new line. They seem to be guided by the stream, and (if it takes place)
they will go right up the meadows under here.... I cannot fancy it will
take place, for people are a little cooled down, and not so mad for
speculation. Had it been projected some little time ago, no doubt it
would have taken.” The project came to nothing then, but some years
afterwards it was revived; and he writes on 30 January 1861:--“I find
there was a meeting at Moreton yesterday about this line of railway from
Newton to Okehampton, and a meeting to-day at Newton, and at Okehampton
on Saturday.”

The existing railway from Newton to Moreton was projected in 1858, and
was carried out under the Moretonhampstead and South Devon Railway Act,
1862. My grandfather writes to my father, 8 February 1863:--“Mr Brassey
has been down, and gone over the line marked out, but I cannot find what
he thinks of it. He is staying at Torquay for the benefit of his health,
and rides over some part of it every fine day. So I suppose something
will be done, that is, if they can get the money, but people are not so
forward with their money as heretofore for railroads.” Work was begun on
10 August 1863, but not near here till 9 November. In the autumn of 1864
surveys were made for an extension of the line from Moreton to Chagford;
but nothing ever came of that. The line was opened to Moreton on 4 July

Financially the railway was a failure. There was a capital of £105,000
in shares and £35,000 in debentures, but the expenditure was £155,000.
And the company was amalgamated with the South Devon company on 1 July
1872, the £105,000 in shares being exchanged for £52,500 in ordinary
stock, and the £35,000 in debentures for £35,000 in debenture stock. And
then the South Devon company was amalgamated with the Great Western
company on 1 February 1876, each £100 of South Devon ordinary stock
being exchanged for £65 of Great Western ordinary stock, and each £100
of South Devon debenture stock for £100 of Great Western 5% debenture
stock. Thus £100 in

[Illustration: MAY DAY (_p. 58_)]

shares came down to £32. 10_s._ 0_d._ in stock; but part of the loss was
wiped out afterwards, when Great Western stocks went up, £32. 10_s._
0_d._ of the ordinary stock selling for nearly £60, while £100 of the 5%
debenture stock sold for nearly £200.

The navvies made things unpleasant here, while the line was building. My
grandfather writes to my father on 17 November 1864:--“More than a
hundred discharged on Monday, and a pretty row there was: drunk
altogether, and fighting altogether, except one couple fought in the
meadows for an hour and got badly served, I hear. The same night the
villains stole all poor old *****’s fowls. He had them under lock and
key, but they broke in and took the whole, young and old.... There is
not a fowl or egg to be got hereabout.” Writing on 29 March 1865, he
describes a visit from a drunken navvy the day before--“about as fine a
built tall likely a fellow as you ever saw, and nicknamed the Bulldog.”
He asked for meat and drink, and was sent empty away. “I learnt that he
worked Saturday and Monday, and received 5_s._ 6_d._ for the two days,
slept in a barn and spent all his earnings at the public-house.... Not
long after I saw the policeman who belongs to the line--not the
Lustleigh man--and he said, ‘If anything of the kind occurs again, send
for me, and I will soon put all right.’ But he spends all his time on
the line keeping the navvies in order; and before he can be got mischief
may be done.” One of the dogs here had been poisoned by meat thrown her
by a navvy, 22 September 1864. After that, he kept a revolver.

Now that the cuttings and embankments are all overgrown and covered with
verdure, one can hardly realize how hideous it all looked, when they
were raw and glaring. In that respect this was the worst piece of the
line, as there are four cuttings here in less than a mile, and
embankments almost all the way between them. But some of the viaducts
and bridges are worthy of all praise. Just below here the line crosses
and re-crosses the Wrey at a height of rather more than forty feet above
the stream, first on a viaduct of two arches and then on a viaduct of
three. And these are built of granite, and so well proportioned, that
there would be many pictures of them, could they be transferred to
Italy and attributed to Roman or Etruscan builders. A little further up
there is a splendid archway, where the road goes underneath the line
before ascending Caseleigh hill.

The line was intended to curve round the outer slope of Caseleigh hill
instead of cutting through it; but the curve was condemned as dangerous
on so steep a gradient. And the plans were altered, to the disadvantage
of the scenery, and also of the shareholders, as the cuttings were very

The old people here would often speak of London as though it stood upon
a hill. And they could give a reason:--“Folk always tell of going _up_
to London.” When the railway came, it was perplexing. This portion of
the line ascends about 400 feet in about six miles, with gradients of as
much as 1 in 40. Yet up trains went down, and down trains up.

Lustleigh station once had a signal-post, though it now has none. Seeing
both arms lowered for trains to come both ways, I felt a little uneasy,
there being only a single line. But the station-master said:--“Well,
there isn’t an engine up at Moreton; and, if a truck did run away, it
wouldn’t stop because the signal was against it.” Trucks do sometimes
run away, but have never yet done serious damage.

This line was laid with the old broad-gauge rails on longitudinal
sleepers, and was converted into narrow-gauge in 1892 by bringing the
off-side rails and sleepers in towards the near-side. It has all been
re-laid now with the usual narrow-gauge rails and transverse sleepers,
excepting a few sidings.

On the broad-gauge there were eight seats in a compartment, first class,
the narrow-gauge having only six. And in the Great Western carriages
there was often a partition with a sliding door, making a
sub-compartment on each side, each with two seats facing forward and two
facing back. Passengers’ luggage used to be carried on the roofs of the
carriages, being strapped down securely and covered with tarpaulins. But
this was not peculiar to the broad-gauge. I remember it on narrow-gauge
lines as well, especially the Great Northern.

Some of the old broad-gauge engines were worth seeing. On the Bristol &
Exeter line there were engines that had a pair of driving-wheels nine
feet in diameter, and four pairs of carrying-wheels set on two bogies
fore and aft. These engines were taken over by the Great Western on the
amalgamation of the companies; but the Great Western, I believe, had no
engines of its own with driving-wheels of more than eight feet, except
the Hurricane, whose driving-wheels were ten feet in diameter. I used to
hear it said that Brunel had driven the Hurricane himself, and made her
run a hundred miles an hour; and these Bristol & Exeter engines
certainly ran more than eighty. It was one of these that came to grief
at Long Ashton on 27 July 1876. She turned right over, and threw up her
driving-wheels to such a height that they cleared the train, and came
down upon the line behind it.

Engines were given names, just because stage-coaches had them. The most
suggestive names--Crawley and Saint Blazey--are really names of places;
and generally the choice of names is feeble. The managers of foreign
lines have more imagination. I once met Lars Porsenna at
Clusium--Chiusi--on the train for Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

A cousin of my father’s writes to him from Brighton, 28 April 1842:--“I
was very glad to find from your note that you reached home safely,
having escaped all the dangers of the railroad with its fearful tunnels.
I think of returning [to London] by the good old stage coach, slow
though it be: it is better to lose time than to run the risk of being
crushed to pieces in those dark tunnels, where you have not even a
chance of saving yourself by jumping out.”

There was an old gentleman near here, who was a reckless rider, and met
with many accidents out hunting, yet could not bring himself to face the
dangers of the railway. At last--in 1851, I think--he had to go to
London on some urgent business, and then (to use his own words) he
committed his soul to its Creator, and took a ticket by the train.

My grandfather did not travel in a train until 5 December 1846, and then
he writes:--“I had not much inclination to go in it after reading of so
many collisions and accidents, but now I think I could form a resolution
to go anywhere in it; but I shall not do so, unless it is for special
purposes.... I admit there is danger in all conveyances; but this, I
think, with proper caution is by far the safest, and I shall in future
(if ever I travel again) take about the middle carriage, for I see the
hinder carriages are liable to be run into--therefore the danger is
almost equal to that of the front, except the bursting of the engine.”

In a letter of 13 February 1852 he warns my father of another
danger:--“I do hope you will leave the train at Exeter, when you come
down, and not risk going on to Newton. The post is now arrived, near 3
o’clock: another landslip just as the mail train came up. This has been
the fifth slip.” And really the dangers were considerable then. They
were reduced, as years went on; but he never got quite reconciled to
trains. When eighty years old and tired of life, he writes to my father,
8 June 1869:--“However glad I should be to receive my call, I would
prefer home to a railway carriage.”

He writes on 27 April 1845 that Captain ***** has just returned from
London. By some misunderstanding he was driven to the wrong station
there, South Western not Great Western; and at that date the South
Western ran only to Gosport and Southampton. It being dark, he did not
notice this, and got into the train, and started off; and then “they
told him he must take another train and cross over to the Great Western;
but he said ‘the Devil take the train, I’ll have no more to do with it,
but coach it.’ So he coached it all the way home, and did not arrive
until Monday instead of Saturday.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Until the rail reached Newton, letters came by coach to Chudleigh.
Writing to my father on 25 June 1843, my grandfather says:--“Our post is
altered. There is a horse-post direct from Chudley to Moreton: the bag
is merely dropt at the office locked: he takes no letters on the road.
Now in future we shall be obliged to send to Bovey with and for
letters.” They had hitherto sent out to Kelly Cross upon the Moreton
road; but Bovey was two miles further off. Several people here gave
sixpence a week each to an old woman for bringing their letters out from
Bovey and taking letters back; and he writes on 12 July 1845:--“The
postwoman calls as regularly on Sunday mornings as on other mornings.”
But on 15 February 1852 he writes:--“We have now a government appointed
letter-carrier here: so the old woman, greatly to her discomfort, is out
of a berth.... This man delivers free, and carries free.... He delivers
from Bovey town on to Wooly, Knowle, here, and on to Lustleigh town, and
so far as Rudge: all others, Parsonage, Kelly, etc., to fetch their
letters from Lustleigh town.”

       *       *       *       *       *

In the last years of coaching there were half-a-dozen daily services
from London to Exeter and Plymouth, all serving different places on the
way. Thus, one coach came down to Exeter by Shaftesbury and went on by
Ashburton, while another came down by Dorchester and went on by Totnes.
For coming here the best plan was to take a coach that passed through

On 19 March 1841 my father started from Piccadilly in the Defiance coach
at half past four, stopped at Andover for supper and at Ilminster for
breakfast, and reached Exeter at half past ten. Allowing for stops, this
meant travelling about ten miles an hour all the way, the distance being
about 170 miles. He went on by coach to Chudleigh and drove from there,
arriving here at half past one, twenty-one hours after leaving London.
This was the last time that he came down all the way by road.

On 10 October 1842 he started from Paddington by the mail train at 8.55
p.m., reached Taunton at 2.55 a.m., and came on by the mail coach,
stopping at Exeter from 6.15 to 7.0, and reaching Chudleigh at 8.0; and
he was here soon after 9.0, “being only 12¼ hours from London to
Wreyland.” Coming by the same train on 20 March 1845, he reached Exeter
at 4.5 by rail instead of 6.15 by coach, and he was here soon after 7.0.
On 8 August 1846 he came from Paddington to Exeter by the express train
in only 4½ hours, 9.45 a.m. to 2.15 p.m. He came by rail as far as
Teignmouth on 26 November 1846, and as far as Newton on 2 April 1847.
But the line from Exeter to Newton did not much improve the journey, as
it added twenty miles by rail, and saved only seven miles by road.

He notes on 7 October 1847:--“Went from Dawlish to Teignmouth by railway
on the atmospheric plan, and to Newton by locomotive.” Brunel was the
engineer of the line, and he had come round to the opinion that
locomotives were wrong in principle--there was needless wear and tear
and loss of power with engines dragging themselves along: the engine
should be stationary, and the power transmitted. And he induced the
company to build the line with stationary engines, which pumped the air
out from a pipe between the metals, and thus drew the train along by
suction. But the leakage was so great that the system was abandoned.

Coming down by the Defiance coach the fare from London to Exeter was £3
for a seat inside, and by some of the other coaches it was £3. 10_s._
0_d._ When the railway had reached Taunton, the fare was £2. 18_s._
0_d._ for first class on the train and inside on the coach. After it
reached Exeter, the fare was £2. 4_s._ 6_d._, first class, and £2.
10_s._ 0_d._ by the express. It now is £1. 8_s._ 6_d._, first class by
any train.

Writing to my father on 1 March 1840, my grandfather concludes:--“I have
to request you do take an inside place in the coach. By no means go
outside.” He had a notion that most people’s maladies could be traced to
their travelling on the outside of a coach. He was himself a little deaf
in one ear; and he always put this down to going across Salisbury Plain
outside the coach on a freezing winter night.

In 1841 there was an innovation; and he writes to my father on 22
June:--“Moreton, they say, is all alive: there are three vehicles which
they call Omnibusses. Wills goes from Exeter [through Moreton] to
Plymouth, Waldron and Croot to Exeter and Newton.... All grades appear
to go by this means, even the farmers go instead of horseback.”

My grandfather liked travelling in a leisurely way, “the time my own,”
and had no patience with my father’s way of travelling about the world,
“packing and unpacking, from steam carriage to steam vessel, all bustle
and hurry,” as he puts it when writing him upon the subject on 19 August
1844. On going up the Rhine with him, he writes, 23 July 1855:--“Two
days more on the journey would have avoided the unpleasant part of it.”
But my father went his own way, and my mother kept to it after his
decease. She went up the pyramids at Gizeh and Sakkarah, when she was
sixty-three, and down a sulphur mine in Sicily, when she was sixty-six.

The foreign diligences were heavier and bigger than the English coaches,
and did not travel so fast. On 9 October 1842 my father arrived at
Boulogne by diligence from Paris, “having been only 21¾ hours on the
journey--140 miles--whereas in 1839 I was 27 hours.” Going to
Switzerland and Italy in September 1840, he went by steamer from London
to Havre in 22 hours, and by diligence in 16 hours from Havre to Paris
and 75 hours from Paris to Geneva. Then in 9 hours from Martigny to
Brieg--“tolerably good travelling, altho’ for a coach that takes the
mail the delays are shameful”--and in 11 hours across the Simplon from
Brieg to Domodossola. This took me 10 hours in September 1899, which was
the last time that I crossed the Alps by diligence. Since then I have
been through the Simplon tunnel half-a-dozen times, going from Brieg to
Domodossola in 50 minutes.

I crossed the Alps for the first time in August 1869, going by the
Splügen. I was with my father, mother, brother and sister; and we
engaged a Vetturino--a man who owned the carriage and horses that he
drove. We came back by the St Gothard in a carriage with post-horses. In
travelling with a Vetturino, one had to wait at various places, while
his horses rested; but in posting one sometimes had to wait still longer
for fresh horses. In September 1873 we came over the Arlberg in a
carriage with post-horses--there is a railway-tunnel underneath it
now--and one day we did only nineteen miles. When the postmaster was
innkeeper as well, it was not his interest to speed the parting guest.

In driving across the Splügen, we started from Coire, and halted for the
nights at Thusis, Chiavenna and Varenna. There was rail to Thusis, and
on from Chiavenna, when I came that way again; and diligences went from
Thusis to Chiavenna in about ten hours.

Posting across the St Gothard, we started from Como, stayed a night at
Lugano and another at Airolo, and took the steamer at Fluelen for
Lucerne. The tunnel had not been begun then. It was finished in 1882;
and I came through it for the first time in October 1883, reaching
Lucerne in about seven hours from Como.

Coming through by railway, one misses some of the excitements of the
older style of travelling. When we went over in 1869, the diligence had
been attacked by brigands the night before in the narrow gorge below
Airolo. It was twilight when we reached the gorge; and suddenly we heard
men galloping towards us. My sister made up her mind at once that they
were brigands; but they turned out to be an escort coming down to see us
through, and they rode on with us, their carbines in their hands.

We came from Basle to London in 1869 in six-and-twenty hours, and in
1913 I came in fourteen hours. There were neither dining-cars nor
sleeping-cars in 1869, nor were there any corridor-carriages, but only
the old style of carriage that jolted one abominably. Yet my father kept
talking of the speed and comfort of the train, for he was thinking of
the journey in the diligence. I got little sympathy from him, when I
felt tired in a train; and I have little sympathy with people who
complain of travelling now. In fact, I sometimes feel a little jealous
of their seeing things so easily that I saw only with trouble and
discomfort. They have railways and hotels all over Greece; and, when I
went there first in 1880, there were no hotels except at Athens, and no
railways except from Athens to Peiræus, a distance of about five miles.

But there was a pleasant way of travelling that is unknown to them. When
I first went to Holland in 1872, we travelled along the canals in a
Trekschuit, a light barge drawn by two or three horses, tandem, that
went along the tow-path at a trot. The seats were put up high enough to
clear the banks of the canal; and you saw the country comfortably, as
you went gliding through. They have only motors now.

These barges were formerly in use in Belgium also; and I found these
entries in one of the old diaries here:--“25 July 1833. Dunkirk. By
barge to Bruges.... Changed barges at Furnes, the Belgian frontier....
Changed barges again at Nieuport.... 27 July 1833. Bruges. Embarked in a
superb barge, called the Lion, and drawn by five horses. It had carried
Napoleon.... Arrived at Ghent in the evening.”

A steamboat was nicer than a diligence; and that really was the reason
why people were always going up the Rhine. It was much the easiest way
of getting to Switzerland and Italy. Going by the Rhine in 1855, my
father notes that it was the seventeenth time that he had gone that way,
either up or down the stream. That time he had his father with him, and
chafed a little at the leisurely movements of the previous generation.
But he never wished for anything more rapid than the steamboat on the
Rhine, whereas I have found it tedious, and gone up by the train.

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking at old diaries, I see that the cost of travelling on the
Continent has varied very little in the last seventy or eighty years.
There has been a decrease in the cost of transit; but this is
counterbalanced by an increase in the charge for bedrooms. It used to be
absurdly low; but the rooms were often very poor and sparsely furnished
even at the best hotels. The charge for meals at table d’hôte remains
about the same.

My own experience of foreign tables d’hôte now goes back fifty years,
having begun at Paris, 15 September 1867, with a table d’hôte of four
hundred people at the Louvre Hotel--then in the old building on the
other side of the street. So far as I can judge, the meals used
generally to be better than they are, and they certainly were more
abundant. The decline had begun before my time. After dining at the
table d’hôte at Meurice’s, my father notes in his diary, 3 September
1863:--“Not so good a dinner as they used to give there five-and-twenty
years ago.” At the table d’hôte at Blinzler’s at Godesberg, 25 August
1852, the courses were:--“1, soup; 2, roast beef and potatoes; 3,
mutton cutlets and vegetables; 4, fish and sauces; 5, ducks and salads;
6, hare and stewed fruits; 7, roast veal and salads; 8, shell-fish and
puddings; 9, fruits, sweetmeats and cheese.”

Innkeepers have changed their policy. They used to make their profit on
the table d’hôte, and they find they can do better now with people
dining à la carte. In those days it literally was table d’hôte, mine
host sitting at the head of the table, and being helped first to make
quite sure that everything was good. I saw this done at the Cloche at
Dijon so recently as 9 August 1912; but it was a long while since I had
seen this anywhere else.

The queerest table d’hôte I ever saw, was at the Singe d’Or at Tournai,
26 March 1875. That was Good Friday; and it was a first-rate
fish-dinner, lasting close upon three hours. There were eighty people
there, mostly from the town, as there were few travellers about, and we
were the only English. The citizens went steadily through the fifteen
courses, and drank dozens of champagne, and then went home with a good
conscience, feeling they had carried out the precepts of the Church in
having a meatless day.

In ordering wine at small hotels my father had a rule, which I have
followed with success:--Always order the wine of the country. You will
get the wine of the country in any event, whatever you may have ordered;
and, if you order it under its own name, you may get it unadulterated.

       *       *       *       *       *

In travelling in Italy in 1851, my father took a chimney-pot hat to wear
in the large towns, and he writes home on 9 September that another must
be brought down to meet him on his reaching London, as he had given this
away on going to the mountains. “It had become such an incumbrance that
I gave it away to-day to a poor old man at Ala: he had a crowd soon
around to see him in his new covering, for which he was very grateful.”
He no longer took a chimney-pot, when I began to go abroad with
him--1867--but I have seen chimney-pots since then in most unlikely
places. On 20 March 1882 I met an American near Jericho with
chimney-pot and black frock-coat and everything to match: he said it was
the best costume God ever made. On 28 December 1909 I met a Hindu on the
cone of Mount Vesuvius; and he wore a chimney-pot and a very loud check

Writing from Interlaken on 17 August 1849, my father says, “You would be
amused at seeing what monkies the fashionable gentlemen do make of
themselves in dress: perhaps one dressed like a mountaineer, or William
Tell, will wear white kid gloves, or thin patent boots, or some other
incongruity equally ridiculous.” People do things better now: even
invalids are fully dressed for climbing.

Accidents in travelling were commoner then than now, and people took
them more as matters of course. In an old diary here one page reads as
follows, July 1850:--“17, Schaffhausen. 18, Zurich. 19, Lucerne. 20, do.
21, Escholzmatt. 22, Interlaken. 23, Lauterbrunnen, here I had the
misfortune to fall over the Wengern Alp and break my leg, and was
confined to my bed at this place 11 days, and then at Interlaken till
Septr. 21. Expenses at hotels 730 francs, surgeon 330 do.--1060. 21,
left Interlaken for Berne. 22, Berne. 23, Soleure. 24, Basle.” Writing
to my father on 26 July “on my bed at Lauterbrunnen,” he takes it all
quite calmly, just adding, “I shall have seen enough of snow and
waterfalls.... How much more beautiful is the sweet vale of Lustleigh.”

Plenty of people went to Switzerland at the time when I first
went--1869--far more than when my father went there thirty years before,
but nothing like the crowds that go there now. They kept more to peaks
and passes then; and they were always talking of Hannibal’s passage of
the Alps. Junius was talked out: Tichborne and Dreyfus were yet to come;
and Hannibal filled the gap. I used to hear them at home as well as
there; and they all had their pet routes for Hannibal--Col d’Argentière,
Mont Genèvre, Mont Cenis, Little Mont Cenis, Little St Bernard and Great
St Bernard, and even Simplon and St Gothard. In 1871 I went looking for
traces of the vinegar on the Great St Bernard. My father upheld the
Cenis routes as the only passes from which you can look down upon the
plains of Italy. I doubt if Hannibal did look down. I think he may have
shown his men their line of march upon a map, just as Aristagoras used a
map to show the Spartans their line of march 282 years earlier.

At that date (1869) people used still to go round Venice with Byrons,
just as they go round with Ruskins now. It was Byron’s Venice that
attracted them--the Venice of Marino Faliero and the Foscari, not the
Venice of Carpaccio. As they could not conveniently Stand Upon The
Bridge Of Sighs, they used to stand upon the Ponte della Paglia, and
spout the famous lines at it from there. And they all went to see the
Armenian Monastery, because it was a place where Byron stayed. Hardly
anybody goes there now.

My father used always to take a Byron with him, when he went abroad, and
he used to write things in the margin. Thus, his comment on The Castled
Crag is “Drachenfels. 31 July 1839. Good description--very correct.” I
believe it was the usual thing to annotate your Byron as if it were a

From my father’s diary, Exeter, 23 October 1838:--“When did I dream that
the Ada of Childe Harold would ever appear to me as an ordinary,
unnoticed and unadorned woman. I am half vexed I should have seen her,
and yet would not have it otherwise.... I recollect, when I first saw
Brougham, and was standing opposite to him, I could not believe he was
the extraordinary man I had been accustomed to hear so much about. But,
now some years have passed away, my idea of him is very little lessened
by his actual presence at that time. So may it turn out here. I hope it
will: but, until it does, I shall read Byron with diminished

After a tour in Italy, my father writes home from Ragatz in Switzerland,
16 September 1851:--“From Italy one dared not write about the
Government, for the Austrians open the letters; but the Government is
the most despotic tyranny I ever heard of: an Italian cannot get a
passport, or leave the country; nor can any foreign paper reach him; nor
is he allowed to talk politics.

“Venice was placarded whilst I was there with a Government proclamation,
by way of warning to the people, that six persons had just been
sentenced to the galleys (some for ten years, and one of the persons a
lady) for daring to speak disrespectfully of the Government and the
Emperor. The prisons are full of prisoners for talking politics: that by
the Bridge of Sighs is crammed.

“An Englishman was sent out of Florence for saying he thought the
Government was right in having sentinels in the theatres. The Chief of
the Police told him that the Government tolerated no remarks upon its
acts, approving them or otherwise.

“One of my American acquaintance, a physician, says that Hell, as an
Institution, will wholly fail, if these tyrants don’t get their deserts
in the Pit hereafter. When an Englishman said at Milan he had seen,
among other relics at a church, what the priests asserted was the
veritable brazen serpent of Moses in the wilderness, the Doctor asked if
they showed at the same time the darkness that came over Israel. When he
said No, the Doctor said they might safely have offered to, as it
overshadowed the whole land in the shape of the Austrian despotism.

“Venice and Milan are both under martial law, and soldiers swarm in
them; and at Verona they were preparing for a review of the whole army
before the Emperor.... To induce the inhabitants to attend, there was to
be a lottery, and tickets _given_ to all who chose to come. But the
Italians will not be coaxed. At a previous review, not a single Italian
came upon the ground.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Writing from Frankfort two days later, he says:--“Here I encountered
those evil spirits again, the Austrian soldiers. They are chiefly
Hungarians and Croats, and sent to keep the people of this ‘Free’ City
of the Empire from rising again.” He had gone from Darmstadt to Freiburg
by way of Radstadt on 7 August 1849, and noted in his diary
then:--“Baden abounds with Prussian troops: they were just shooting some
of the insurgent prisoners at Radstadt.” He wrote from Interlaken, 17
August 1849:--“I saw two Prussian officers at the Wengern Alp on leave
of absence from Baden. They told me their troops had now 15,000
prisoners in Baden, and every Prussian among them they were shooting. I
asked why, and they enquired if I could point out anything else they
could do with them: as if it were a case of no alternative.”

Having to wait a little while at Brescia station on 23 August 1869, I
went into a show that was going on just outside. There was such riotous
applause that I felt sure it must be something good, and I found it was
the visit of General von Haynau to the brewery of Messrs Barclay and
Perkins. Their brewery was one of the sights of London that all
foreigners went to see, and he went to see it. The men discovered who he
was, and nearly murdered him. And the Brescians were wild with joy at
seeing this in the show, remembering the old Hyæna’s brutality to them
in 1849.

That afternoon, in going across the field of Solferino, I heard a
curious story of the battle, 24 June 1859:--Nugent was a Field Marshal
in the Austrian army. He was past eighty, and was merely a spectator,
having no command; but he wore his uniform. He was watching the battle
from an outlying point, and the French either saw him or heard that he
was there. They argued that an officer of that rank would not be there,
unless there was a force behind him; and for a time this held them back
from attacking the Austrian left.

Ten years had removed all traces of the battle except the monuments and
graves; but on going over the field of Gravelotte on 7 August 1875, just
five years after the battle, 18 August 1870, I saw several patches of
barren ground, and I was told that these marked the position of the
ambulances, the surgeons having used things that afterwards sterilized
the soil. And thereupon my father said that he saw patches of wheat of
an unusual colour on the field of Waterloo five-and-twenty years after
the battle, and he was told that these were places where horses had been
killed in masses, when the cavalry charged the squares.

In a letter of 18 September 1851 my father says:--“I visited the scenes
of Bonaparte’s early victories in Italy: Rivoli, Roveredo, etc.... All
the towns on the Adige bear mementoes of him in the cannon balls yet
sticking into the houses, the inhabitants never having taken the trouble
to extract them.”

He notes in his diary, Liège, 30 July 1839:--“There was an old gentleman
in the diligence with me, whom I discovered to have known Napoleon. He
was returning from his house at Brussels to his country house, but lived
in Paris for many years in Napoleon’s reign, and left on his abdication.
He met him daily, and was Auditeur du Conseil d’État, at the meetings of
which Napoleon generally presided. He said the likenesses of Napoleon
were generally good, but it was impossible to give any idea by painting
of the expression of his eyes--they were piercing, and he said ‘you
could not look at him: his glance would read your very heart.’ He was
pleasant when in good humour, but that was not always the case. He would
always have an answer instantly on asking a question, and if a person
did not know what he was asked, he must answer and say so without a
moment’s delay.”

Napoleon was brought into Torbay on the Bellerophon in July 1815. There
were strict orders from the Admiralty that nobody should come on board;
but my grandfather managed it somehow, and there saw Napoleon walking up
and down the deck. My grandfather was not impressed by Napoleon’s
appearance, and used to tell me that “Boney was a poor-looking creature
after all.” I imagine that “Boney” was not looking quite his best just

In a box here I found a portion of a human skull, and written on it “The
skull of a Turk, one of those put to death at Joppa by that fellow
Buonaparte.” That was when he shot the soldiers who had surrendered
there, 10 March 1799. This relic was brought home by George Renner
Hillier (born 1776, died 1865) who was then a lieutenant on the
Alliance, and took part in the defence of Acre, 18 March to 21 May 1799.
The box came to me as his executor’s executor; but I did not know what
it contained. In another box I found a note of his that Buonaparte had
sent a message to Jerusalem that he was coming there as soon as he had
taken Acre, and the first French soldier that fell in the attack should
be buried in the Holy Sepulchre.

After finding that skull, I had hopes of finding the keys of Flushing
church, as my father told me that he had seen them at this Captain
Hillier’s house; but I was disappointed. He acquired them in this
way:--In the Walcheren expedition he was “appointed by Sir Richard
Strachan to make the last signal on the island, with strict orders to
secure the said signal at the top of the church in a manner it could not
be hauled down by the enemy before the rear guard was embarked.” The
written instructions were in this box:--“Blake, Flushing Roads, December
23rd 1809. As soon as the day breaks you are to show the two balls on
the steeple of Flushing, being the signal for the rear guard to embark
and the flotilla to withdraw, and you are to come off with the army.” He
did not see how he could stop the enemy hauling the signal down as soon
as they reached the church, but he thought he might delay them for some
minutes, if he locked up all the doors, and brought the keys away with

During that war a good many French naval officers were sent to Dartmoor
as prisoners; and the gravestones of some of them may be seen in Moreton
churchyard, looking strangely out of place there with their French
inscriptions. These officers were very popular down here; and I have
been told that nobody, however poor, ever claimed the guinea reward that
was offered for information of their going out of bounds.

In a letter to my father, 9 December 1839, my grandfather says:--“Your
account of the French soldiers would not please a Frenchman.... I
remember, when staying at Exeter, I saw a whole regiment of young
fellows that had been taken prisoners: the eldest did not appear to
exceed twenty-one: they were the most ugly and dirty set of fellows I
ever saw, and very short: you could scarcely pick such a set from all
our regiments.”

My father mentions in his diary, Nantes, 19 August 1847, that he had
been talking to an old gentleman of over eighty, who had known Nantes
since 1789. “In speaking of the horrible revolutionary scenes enacted at
Nantes, he said that the most violent fanatics, who carried out the
Butcheries and Noyades there,


were chiefly small tradesmen, and continued to live there unmolested
after the Restoration as if nothing had happened, and some few were
living yet.” Nantes impressed my father very much at that time:--“I have
not seen a finer town. It is really finer than Brussels or Frankfort,
and, as a whole, even finer than Paris.”

In his diary, Paris, 18 October 1839, my father writes:--“The streets
here are worse, much worse, than in London, except just the Rivoli and
one or two others, where there are arcades in front of the houses with
flag stones. Not half or quarter of the other streets are flagged, and
the common pavement is dreadfully uneven, besides not being level. Each
side falling towards the centre makes the walking very disagreeable--and
that centre generally running with mud or water affords the chance of
every carriage that passes giving the foot travellers a splashing from
head to foot. Besides, most of the streets are narrow, and many are
filthy and muddy.

“It really is a disgrace to the Parisians, who boast so much of the
Invalides, to have such a vile public road to it, and infamously
lighted. Amongst the trees and all in the dark I had to grope my way
towards the Seine, nearly up to my ancles in mud. At last I reached the
bridge, and then for a contrast came into the Place de la Concorde,
covered all over with flag pavement, and with brilliant gas lights at
every two or three yards, and often two together. But it is either the
height of splendour or the height of meanness and misery here.”

I saw Paris first in September 1867. It was then in all its glory, with
the wide streets and stately buildings constructed in the previous
fifteen years. The place was thronged with people of all nations, who
had come to see the Exhibition; and there was huge prosperity all round.
The soldiers looked magnificent, especially the Zouaves and the Imperial
Guard--long-service men with medals; and few people imagined that the
Prussians could stand up to them. Yet there were some signs of
insecurity. The official tune was _Partant pour la Syrie_; and, if
anyone even whistled the _Marseillaise_, the police were after him at

I saw Paris next in August and September 1871. And these are some of the
things that I noted in my diary then:--In the Rue de Rivoli some blocks
of houses had been blown up, others burnt, and all more or less damaged.
Of the garden front of the Tuileries only the outer walls were left: the
New Louvre had been a little damaged, and was being re-roofed: the fire
had not reached the Louvre itself. At the Palais Royal, the palace
itself had been burnt, but not the shops underneath. Neither the Bourse
nor the Opera House was hurt. There was nothing left of the Hôtel de
Ville except the outer walls and the chimneys with the statues on them;
and these stood out well against the sky. Most of the neighbouring
houses had been burnt. There were several shot holes through the
Bastille Column. The remains of the Vendôme Column had already been
removed, but the base was still there, a good deal broken on the side on
which the pillar fell--and the man with the telescope was there as
before. The arcade in the Rue de Castiglione was covered with bullet
holes. In the Place de la Concorde the statue of Lille had been knocked
to pieces by a shell, also one of the fountains--the further from the
river--but the Luxor obelisk was safe. Out by the Auteuil Gate every
house had been more or less damaged by shells, and a good many had been
pulled down for fear of their collapsing. The stone fortifications were
not much damaged, but the earthworks above them were covered with
shell-holes. For 300 yards outside the fortifications the trees in the
Bois de Boulogne had been cut down, but very few of the others had been

Paris has never recovered from that blow, and its slovenliness under the
Republic contrasts badly with its smartness in the Second Empire. The
damage was made good, but there has been little progress since; and
meanwhile Vienna has become the finest town in Europe. Berlin has grown
enormously; and the pleasant old town is lost amidst the dreariness of
its extensions. It was after the events of 1870 that building started
there, and started at Rome also in much the same style. But a style that
does not matter in Berlin, is quite exasperating in such a place as

During the siege of Paris there was Aurora Borealis on the nights of 24
and 25 October 1870. I have never seen anything else so brilliant in the
sky--the Krakatoa sunsets were nothing to it. A friend of mine was in
Paris at the time, and his diary says:--“The colour was blood mixed with
water.” People in London--myself among them--fancied that Paris was in
flames, and that this was the reflexion in the sky. But, when the
Communists did what the Germans did not do, there was no glare visible
so far away.

Going from Calais to Paris on 15 August 1871, I noted in my diary that
“the Prussians were still in possession of the station at Amiens”; and,
returning on 11 September, “in passing St Denis, saw the Prussians
packing their guns and ammunition on railway trucks, and preparing to
evacuate the place.” The expresses were still made up with English
carriages, as much of the French stock had been burnt.

Passing through Boulogne on 8 September 1873, I noted that “there were
great rejoicings going on there on account of the payment of the
Indemnity.” The final instalment had been paid on the 5th, and the army
of occupation had begun its final move that morning, the 8th. It
evacuated Verdun on the 13th, and crossed the frontier on the 16th. It
had evacuated Nancy after the payment of the previous instalment on the
5th of August. And at Augsburg I noted in my diary, 12 August
1873:--“Drove to the Rath-haus, a fine old gabled building, internally
in a state of great confusion, resulting from a banquet the night before
to the Bavarians, who had just returned from the occupation of the
French territory.”

From my diary, Nuremberg, 2 September 1874:--“The fourth anniversary of
Sedan. The town in a state of utter excitement: every house with one or
two banners (Bavarian or German), each several stories long, hung out
from the upper windows, and wreaths of evergreens from all the rest; all
the inhabitants either drinking beer or walking up and down the town
without any particular object; bands of music marching about in a
similar way. At ten I went to service at S. Sebald’s, which, large as
it is, was crammed: quite three thousand people, I should think. Some
chorales sounded very well when sung by so many: they were afterwards
repeated by a band on the top of the tower, apparently for the crowd
outside to sing to, but the crowd did not seem much taken with the idea,
and merely listened to the band. Walked about looking at the decorations
for a long time. The place could not have looked prettier, as the flags
hid the houses, which are plain, and one could only see the roofs, the
most picturesque part. Left Nuremberg at two, and got to Frankfort at
eight: a very hot journey. All the stations were much decorated, and
fireworks were going on at Frankfort. Drove through the Zeil to the
Taunus station, and went by rail to Biebrich on the Rhine, arriving at
half past eleven.”

I well remember that journey. I was going in the morning with my father,
mother, brother and sister; but at the station we found that a bundle of
umbrellas had been left at the hotel, and I was deputed to secure it and
follow by a later train. And the guards and passengers were all very
inquisitive as to how it came about that an English boy of sixteen
should be travelling across Germany, all by himself, with no other
luggage than a bundle of umbrellas.

From my diary, Freiburg, 2 September 1875:--“Great firing of cannon
early in the morning to celebrate Sedan: the town pretty generally
decorated with flags, but the inhabitants not so enthusiastic as the
Nurembergers on the last anniversary.... Left Freiburg at half past
twelve, and reached Strassburg at half past three.... The inhabitants
either do not rejoice very greatly at Sedan, or do so very quietly.”

I was in Rome on 20 September 1876, which was the sixth anniversary of
the taking of the city, and again on the same day in 1897. There was a
parade of Garibaldians each time, and in 1876 it ended in some rioting.
The citizens had done better with the Pope than they were doing with the
King just then, and they had no kindly feelings for the people who had
brought about the change.

Garibaldi had picked his men, and they looked firm and grim, giving one
the notion that they would stick at nothing to attain their ends. As a
rule, they did not look much like Italians; and in 1897 they made rather
a display of their contempt for the little conscripts of the Italian

I saw Garibaldi several times in London; but the surroundings did not
suit him, and he looked more slovenly than heroic with his dingy cloak
and unkempt hair. He had a great ovation, when he made almost a
triumphal entry into London on 11 April 1864. But he was in an open
carriage, and the crowd was so very friendly and so anxious to shake
hands with him, that at last they pulled the rumble off the carriage,
together with the solemn footmen who were seated there. That happened in
Pall Mall, and I did not actually see it.

I chanced to see another sort of entry into London on 24 March 1889. I
was walking along the top of Trafalgar Square, and noticed an open
carriage coming up from Charing Cross, followed by a shouting rabble.
When it came abreast of me, I saw Rochefort and Boulanger sitting in it
side by side, Rochefort with the air of a showman, and poor Boulanger
holding a ridiculous bouquet and bowing to this mob. I think he wished
himself back in his command, taking the salute.

Abdul-Aziz, the Sultan of Turkey, came to England in 1867, and was
present at a review at Wimbledon on 20 July. He was riding along the
ground with the Prince of Wales and the Staff, when suddenly a mass of
well-dressed men broke through the barriers, and made a rush towards
him. And then two squadrons of the Life Guards came down at a gallop,
knocked over the leaders of the rush, and closed up round the Sultan. I
was on the Grand Stand, and saw the whole thing admirably. The
explanation was that the Sultan’s saddle-cloth was studded with
diamonds, and the “swell-mob” thought that it could grab them. But it
looked more like an attempt at assassination; and he must have taken it
for that, judging by the way he managed his horse. However, he had
nearly nine years more of absolute power before he was deposed and bled
to death.

At one time or another I have seen a good many people of renown; but I
have never seen anything more magnificent than the Emperor Frederick,
when Crown Prince, seated on his horse and wearing the white dress of
the Cuirassiers. He was grander even than the statue of Bartolomeo

I saw the Mahmal at Cairo on 11 February 1882. There was a vast crowd,
and the Mahmal was received with a salute of sixteen guns, and the
Khedive with a salute of twenty-one; but neither made so great a show as
Arabi. On 2 February he had made himself Minister of War, and there was
a notion that he would choose this occasion for making himself Khedive;
but nothing happened then. I had passed through Tell el-Kebir on 4
February, and should have looked at it more closely, had I foreseen what
would be happening there on 13 September. I sailed from Alexandria on 11
March, and never imagined then that there would be a massacre there on
11 June, and a bombardment on 11 July.

On the morning of the procession I saw the Mahmal saddled on its camel:
after which the camel went out to meet the Mecca Caravan, and then
marched into the city with the pilgrims, as though it had come all the
way from Mecca. As a matter of fact, the Mahmal is nothing but a pair of
panniers with a canopy above, such as women ride in when they make the
pilgrimage, only more ornate. There is nothing whatever inside it. The
story is that queen Sheger ad-Durr made the pilgrimage in very splendid
panniers about the year 1250; and such panniers have been sent each year
since then, though nobody has ever ridden in them. The procession was
too straggling to be impressive as a whole, but some things in it were
striking--particularly the Sheikh of the Camel. That holy man kept
wagging his head from side to side, as if he wished to shake it off; and
he was said to go on wagging it all the way from Cairo to Mecca and

I went to Siena to see the Palio in August 1898. It has not been
vulgarized like the Carnivale, as it comes at a season when few people
go to Italy.--In my opinion, people generally choose the wrong time of
year for going there. To see Italy in all its glory, one must be there
at the Vintage.

Strictly speaking, the Palio is the banner which forms the prize in a
race of ten horses, representing ten of the seventeen wards into which
the city is divided; seven of the wards being selected by rotation and
three by lot. There are trial races on the 14th and 15th, and the race
itself is on the 16th. It is run in honour of God and of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, by statute of 17 June 1310; and the horses go to church
before the race, and are blessed and sprinkled with holy water after
certain prayers on their behalf.

The whole history of such festivals is given in _Palio and Ponte_ by
William Heywood, 1904. On looking into this, I found references to the
Palio of 1898, and on plate 22 I found the top of my straw hat in the
foreground of the picture. The hat is unmistakeable--built specially for
me at Christys’ with wider brim and lower crown than was usual at that

Siena is still a mediæval city; and the race is run inside the city in a
semicircular space enclosed by fine old buildings. But the race itself
is not as interesting as the procession that precedes it. The city and
its seventeen wards are represented by about 180 men, all in costumes of
the Fifteenth Century, and the chief in splendid armour: the horses go
with the members of the wards for which they run: the Palio is carried
on a wagon in the middle; and the procession ends with the standard of
the city on the mast of the Carroccio, the great wagon round which the
struggle centred at that Battle of the Standard fought at Montaperto on
4 September 1260. I have seen as brilliant a sight with the
bull-fighters entering the Plaza de Toros in procession--Madrid, 9
September 1877--but this was more impressive with its stately movement
round that venerable place, the deep notes of the ancient drums and
trumpets, and the great bell--the Campanone--roaring in its tower.

From my diary, Antwerp, 20 August 1872:--“Saw the Procession of the
Giant from a house in the Rue de Chaperon. This procession takes place
every third year on the last day of the Kermis: it commemorates the
killing of a giant who held a castle on the banks of the Scheldt. First
came an immense figure of a dolphin.... Then a basket-work figure of
the Giantess, about twenty-five feet high: seated and holding in one
hand a spear and in the other a shield with the city arms. Then the
Giant, another figure of the same sort: in armour and carrying a club
and sword.”

The procession was performed out of due season on 19 September 1843 for
the benefit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; and they went
afterwards to the studio of Gustaf Wappers, and commissioned him to
paint a picture of it. The picture is in the King’s collection, and is
engraved in Hall’s _Royal Gallery of Art_. It depicts three ladies at an
open window, looking down on the procession as it passes through the
Place de Meir, the Giant in the middle distance, and the Cathedral spire
in the background. I have the preliminary sketch in oils; and this gives
a second window, showing the palace in the Place de Meir, and the royal
party on the balcony.

The three ladies in the picture were the painter’s wife and her sisters.
They were the daughters of John Knight, a brother of my mother’s mother,
and thus were cousins of mine. John Knight was paymaster of a battalion
of the King’s German Legion from 1814 to 1816. He was with his battalion
at the battle of Waterloo, and after the campaign he married the
beautiful (and wealthy) daughter of the banker through whom he drew the
pay at Brussels. The marriage brought him into contact with large
financial interests on the Continent, and he settled at Antwerp as a
banker; and there he made the acquaintance of Wappers. I remember
Wappers very well. In his later years he lived in Paris, and I used to
go to his house there. He had been a success as a painter, had been made
a Baron, and so on; and was altogether very well contented with the
world. He died in 1874.

Amongst other things by Wappers, I have a portrait in pencil of my
great-aunt Mary Knight, signed and dated 1843, and a portrait in oils of
Charley (a King Charles spaniel) signed and dated 1849 with inscription
to “oncle Chᵗ Knight,” that is, his wife’s uncle, my great-uncle
Christopher Knight, the owner of the dog.

The dog’s portrait hangs here next its master’s, a big three-quarter
length in naval uniform with medal and clasps and the K.H. This portrait
of him came to my mother after his decease, and was hung in the
dining-room of our house in London. There happened to be a dinner-party
soon after it arrived, and some of the guests were rather finding fault
with it both as a work of art and as a likeness of the man, when
unexpectedly a little voice proclaimed:--“I painted it.” It was the
voice of Frederick Havill, a painter who had met with some success, but
was a long way from achieving greatness. They had all forgotten who the
painter was; and on finding they were face to face with him they
discovered many merits in his work.

This old Captain Knight was on the Impregnable at the bombardment of
Algiers, 27 August 1816, and next day he did a conscientious drawing of
the ship, showing all the shot-holes in the hull and the damage to the
rigging. I have it here, with two other water-colours that he did then.
One of them shows the ships taking up their positions for the
bombardment, the Queen Charlotte carrying Lord Exmouth’s flag as Admiral
of the Blue: which flag, now nearly black, may still be seen in Christow
church, about five miles from here. The other shows the bombardment in
progress--clouds of smoke with the Impregnable and the Rear Admiral’s
flag just showing through.

As works of art these water-colours are of little merit, but probably
would please such critics as James on Turner’s Battle of Trafalgar,
_Naval History_, vol. 3, p. 473, ed. 1902:--“The telegraphic message is
going up, which was hoisted at about 11.40, the mizentopmast is falling,
which went about 1.0, a strong light is reflected upon the Victory’s bow
and sides from the burning Achille, which ship did not catch fire until
4.30 ... and the Redoutable is sinking under the bows of the Victory,
although she did not sink until the night of the 22nd, and then under
the stern of the Swiftsure.” He was on the Minotaur at the bombardment
of Copenhagen, 5 September 1807, but made no drawings then.

Instead of drawing what they saw--which might be interesting now--people
used to occupy themselves with copies; and I have inherited many
portfolios of these uninteresting things. But there are copies after
Prout by my mother’s sister, Emma King; and, on comparing one of these
with its original, I found wonderfully little difference. Many of
Prout’s best water-colours went into the collection of the late Martin
Swindells of Bollington; and he lent them to my aunt to copy, while she
was staying at a house near there. It must have been between 1850 and
1858, but I do not know exactly when. There are a dozen of them framed
and hung here.

I once did a water-colour that I thought worth framing; but friends said
such unkind things about it, that I took it down and put it in a drawer.
It was meant for the apse of a cathedral--no cathedral in particular,
though I suspect I had Toledo in my mind. Looking at it thirty years
afterwards, I fancied that it was not such a failure after
all--unquestionably, some parts of it were excellent: so I took it out
again, and hung it up. And then the friends explained to me:--“The
picture’s just as bad as ever, only your eyesight has got worse.” I took
it down once more.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a letter of Edward Knight, my great-grandfather--I have seen the
letter, but have not got it here--he speaks of meeting the Prince Regent
at a dinner at Brighton, “and H.R.H. was pleased to say that Eliza was
an uncommon pretty girl.” Eliza was my grandmother; and she must have
been uncommonly pretty, if she was really like a miniature of her by
William Wood that I have here. I have drawings by Stroehling of her
brother Joseph Knight and of her husband H. T. King--my maternal
grandfather--and Joseph had fine features then, though in old age (when
I remember him) his nose suggested port. I have been told that he was
one of the three best-looking men in London in his time, and that Byron
was one of the other two, but I cannot remember who the third was. I
have also been told that there were letters to him from Byron, and they
fell into the hands of one of my great-aunts; and she destroyed them as
“things that no right-minded person would desire to read.”

In my library there are many volumes that belonged to these great-aunts;
and they are just the books that all “right-minded” persons would desire
to read. There are three editions of Pascal’s _Pensées_ and none of his
_Provinciales_; and there are five Tassos to one Dante, and that one has
nothing but the _Paradiso_.

The last of these great-uncles and great-aunts lived on till 1886. I
remember several of them in my earliest years, especially at Cheltenham;
and, when I first read _Cranford_ some years after that, I felt that I
had met the characters before. Cheltenham was perhaps more opulent, but
the people were the same. They were full of genuine kindness, but
incredibly slow and ceremonious, always giving precedence to the wife of
my great-uncle Joseph, because she was the daughter of a Peer. I can
hardly imagine people of that type except in shaded drawing-rooms with
china bowls of rose-leaves; yet some of them had figured in less
tranquil scenes.

As a lieutenant in the 15th Light Dragoons--now 15th Hussars--my
great-uncle Edward Knight was in command of Sir John Moore’s escort at
Corunna. He was close by, when Moore was hit, and he helped to bury him,
17 January 1809; and in after years he inveighed against the celebrated
poem on the Burial. It was not like that, and “had no damned poetry in

He went through the rest of the Peninsular War; and, as a major, he took
over the command of the 11th Portuguese Dragoons at the battle of
Vittoria, 21 June 1813. He received the gold medal and several foreign
decorations, and retired with brevet of lieutenant-colonel. His brother
Henry Knight went through the whole of the Peninsular War, 1808 to 1814,
as paymaster of the 5th battalion of the King’s German Legion; and he
was at the battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815, as was his brother John
Knight, then paymaster of the 2nd battalion. They were both in La Haye
Sainte; and the position was shown me carefully, when I visited the
battlefield, 13 August 1868. The buildings had been loopholed; and I was
told that it was very unpleasant inside, when the enemy put their
muskets through the loopholes and began to fire in.

John and Henry had the Waterloo medal, and Henry also had the Gwalior
star, as he was at the battle of Punniar, 29 December 1843. He was then
in the 9th Lancers, to which he was transferred in 1819. He was with
his old battalion at the taking of Copenhagen, 7 September 1807; and
curiously his brother Christopher Knight was there also, as a midshipman
on the Minotaur.

These four great-uncles of mine saw a great deal of hard fighting
without ever being wounded; but I find it recorded of Christopher at the
bombardment of Algiers, 27 August 1816, that “the gallant officer had
the misfortune to be severely contused.” When the old wooden ships were
hit by heavy shot, great chunks of wood came flying off inside; and, if
you were hit by one of these, you were not wounded but contused.

Edward had a son Godfrey Knight, a captain in the 64th--now
Staffordshires--who was in the Indian Mutiny and Persian War. When he
came to stay with us, his anecdotes outshone Aladdin and Sindbad in my
youthful mind: the Jinn seemed tame beside the Gwalior Rebels as
described by him. And he loomed up pretty large himself, when I saw him
in his uniform with medals and clasps. He wore the long whiskers of that
period with eye-glass and moustaches; and the eye-glass seemed to be a
fixture, but in an action in the Mutiny, “unfawt’nately I dwopped my
glass, and the demm’d Pandies nearly got me, haw!” He died at sea on his
way out again, 24 August 1862. Troop-ships still took three months on
the voyage, going by the Cape.

       *       *       *       *       *

Amongst old letters here, I found one from a distant relative, Lucknow,
1 May 1857:--“The Bengal Army has been in a sad state lately owing to an
idea that Government were issuing cartridges in the making up of which
cows and pigs fat was used, the mere handling of which (to them)
impurities would destroy their caste. From what I have heard from
excellent authority there is no doubt of some objectionable material
having been used, and it was shameful of the Government attempting to
issue them. I was told by our Brigadier (but as a secret) that the
propriety of doing so had been canvassed in Council, so whatever happens
lies on their shoulders. I could hardly have believed any old Indians
would have been so foolish. The matter is now dying away, and the men
practising at the Enfield Rifle schools have ghee served out to them to
grease the wads.” On 30 May the Mutiny reached Lucknow. His horse was
shot under him that evening, and the Brigadier was killed not two yards
off; but he came safely through the Siege.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many letters from my old nurse. After leaving us, she went
into the service of a family in France. She writes to me from Sully, 25
January 1871:--“I must begin by telling you of our flight. I am writing
in a very old castle on the borders of the Loire. The marquis, thinking
we were in danger, sent us off here; there were three carriages, all the
horses, and the pack of hounds. We had to pass thro’ a black forest at
night, we were stopped from time to time by French guards; they looked
terrifying on horseback with their long white cloaks. You may guess that
we did not arrive at the end of our journey without sundry frights. We
are with a friend of the family, and have been here more than two
months, and no means of leaving.

“The castle is surrounded by water, two of the towers are in complete
ruins, what is left of them is covered in ivy. The part we inhabit is in
good condition, the rooms are very ancient, the walls and the ceilings
are fresco, the dining-room is hung with tapestry, also the best
bedrooms, the staircases are of stone, ropes passed thro’ iron rings in
the walls supply the place of banisters, the walls are five feet thick;
it will stand the cannon of the enemy, I have no fear in this good old
place. The picture gallery is very interesting to visit, of course all
family portraits, at the end of that is the old theatre; it is now
converted into an ambulance for the wounded.

“We had been quiet a few days when the terrible battle of Bellegarde
began not far from here, the poor wounded soldiers both French and
Prussians were brought here in carts; the first two days they were about
fifty and increased in number every day. It is well for your tender
heart that you were not here, you could not have endured to witness
their sufferings.

“Now for another scene we had General Bourbaki with his army encamped
before the castle. How I wished you were here then. I looked out of my
window, the moon was in its full, showing its bright light over the
scene, the whole of the park was covered in tents, among the trees we
could see the fires and the soldiers sitting around them in their
different costumes; they had with them 150 cannons all arranged in order
ready for an attack.

“The next morning was the worst of all; the Prussians were making for
here on the other side of the Loire. The first thing the General thought
of doing was cutting their march, so he ordered the bridge to be burnt.
We watched the arrival of the enemy, and quite enjoyed their
disappointment at finding themselves the wrong side of the river. They
fired over here, I did not feel very brave that day. This last week they
have been firing on the castle; there is no danger for us, the walls are
thick enough to resist.”

She writes again, 6 February 1872:--“We have been staying a few days at
the Château of Sully. I enjoyed the visit more this time, we could walk
about without fear of the Prussians.... Maréchal de MacMahon with his
son, a very nice boy, has been here for a few days shooting.” There is
much praise of MacMahon in her letters: he is kind and good and brave
and noble, and he comes round to the nursery and tells the children

She left our house when I was old enough to do without a nurse; but
other servants never left, unless they were going to be married. Ann
came to us when she was sixteen, and stayed till she was sixty-three,
when she retired on a pension. In another household her sister Betsy did
the same. They were both past ninety, when they died; and so also were
Mary and Martha, who were fellow-servants with Ann. I went to tea with
Mary on her ninety-fifth birthday; and she sang “I’m ninety-five,” a
song well known in earlier times.

In their later years they lived a good deal in the past. At some
dinner-party at our house in London the soup was handed round as
mock-turtle, whereas it was real-turtle, and Mary was proud of having
made it. She never let the others hear the last of that. There was to be
another party there, for which great preparations had been made. But, as
Ann told me quite angrily, “on the very morning of the party, King
William went and died, and the party had to be put off, and all the
things were spoilt.” And she was very cross about it still.

There were illuminations for Queen Victoria’s wedding; and the house was
decked with night-lights in little globes of coloured glass. Ann put
them carefully away, and brought them out in 1887 for the Jubilee. There
were illuminations for the wedding of the Prince of Wales; and I had a
night out, 10 March 1863. At the top of Trafalgar Square a wheel of our
brougham got locked into the wheels of another carriage; and it was
impossible to lift them clear, owing to the pressure of the crowd. We
stayed there for hours.

The illuminations in 1863 were things that people would not look at now.
There were gas-pipes twisted into stars and monograms and crowns, with
little holes punctured for the gas: there were some transparencies,
mostly with oil lamps behind; and there were a few devices in cut glass.
The crowd was feebler also. People say we are degenerate now, but I
think it is the other way: some of the worst types seem to be extinct.

We moved into a new house in London on 23 June 1864, and I meant to
celebrate the jubilee by moving out on 23 June 1914, but was not ready
then, and did not finish my move till 23 November. Being newly built,
the house had a hot-water cistern in the bath-room, fed automatically by
the kitchen boiler more than forty feet below. That was a novelty in
1864; and, when people came to call, they went upstairs to look at it,
and could not make it out. A gifted Fellow of King’s was quite disturbed
about it till he thought of Heracleitos and the maxim _Panta Rhei_, and
that enabled him to place our cistern in its true position in the
Universe. Of course, these people knew that hot water was lighter than
cold, and would go up while cold went down, yet were unable to follow
the theory into practice. I have noticed the same thing several times,
when going to Gibraltar by the P. & O. People on board have said the
clock was being altered because we were going south. They knew
theoretically what the reason was, but could not apply their knowledge.

A good many of the people here are of opinion that the Earth is flat;
and I do not know of any simple and decisive way of proving it to be a
globe. I failed miserably with Aristotle’s argument (_De Cælo_, ii. 14.
13) from the shape of the Earth’s shadow on the Moon in an eclipse.
They very soon showed me that they could cast as round a shadow with a
platter or a pail as with a ball of wool. And this, I imagine, was the
reasoning of Anaximander and those others, who suggested that we might
be living on the flat surface of a cylinder or disk.

There is the Horizon argument; but that is not for people living in a
region of high hills, where no horizon can be seen. And the
Circumnavigation argument is answered in this way:--In thick mists on
the moor you think that you are going straight on, but you always go
round in a circle till you come back to where you were before. The other
arguments are too subtle to be grasped at all.

When people have come up for their first visit to London, I have seldom
found them much impressed with the big public buildings. They have seen
photographs, generally taken from some favourable point of view: so they
know what to expect, and the reality is not always equal to their
expectation. The buildings that impress them are the private houses at
the West End. The houses may not be finer than they had expected; but it
is the cumulative effect of street on street and square on square of
large and wealthy houses, stretching out for miles in all directions.

A country cousin coming up to stay with me in London, I made out a list
of sights that should be seen. Besides these sights, she saw a fire at a
house close by. There were lots of engines and escapes, and I felt
rather grateful to Providence for making this addition to my list; but I
felt less grateful three nights afterwards, when Providence added a
burglary, not at a neighbour’s house, but at my own.

In chatting with a small boy who was staying here, I was telling him
about the fig tree, and showing him that on the outer parts the leaves
had five lobes each, but further in (where they received less light) the
leaves had only three lobes, and in the densest part they had only one.
He listened very attentively, and then he went indoors, and said to
everyone he met, “I know all about fig-leaves.”

(_p. 50_)]

Writing to my father while my brother was on a visit here, 6 June 1852,
my grandfather says:--“I was talking to him yesterday about his lessons.
He asked if Papa used to learn his book well. I said he was a very good
boy to learn, and did not think of play until he had learnt his lessons,
which had a good effect on him now he was a man; and I hoped he would
try to make even a better man than his Papa and to know more and to do
more. It then dropped, and I did not expect to hear any more about it,
but this morning he asked me if his Papa ever swallowed a fourpenny
piece. I never dreamt of his motive for putting the question to me. I
said No, then he said That is one thing I have done more than Papa.”

In their childhood my brother and sister and their friends were fond of
acting plays of their own writing; and they had to study each other’s
feelings, lest the parts should be refused. She writes to him, 13
October 1858:--“I have quite finished two scenes, but I must alter the
third, as you were to be killed in your sleep, which I know you would
not like: so you shall fight with the guards, and they shall kill you
after a _long_ struggle.” I have several of these plays in manuscript;
and there is no end of killing. With a death-rate of 2 to 3 per scene,
each actor could take several parts.

I took a little boy one afternoon to his first Pantomime at Drury Lane.
We were sitting in the stalls, and the seats were rather low for him, so
I folded up the overcoats for him to sit upon. This brought his head up
level with the other people’s heads, and it also brought his right foot
level with the calf of my left leg. When anything pleased him, he gave
me a little kick to show that he was pleased; and he was pleased with
almost everything. I went home very lame.

A generation later on, that little boy’s little children were staying
with me here; and I felt rather flattered at hearing that I was
mentioned in their prayers each night. But I felt less flattered
afterwards, when I discovered that my name came in between the donkey’s
and the cook’s. Those children used to get a lot of jam upon their
fingers, when they were at tea. One afternoon I heard one of them
telling the other, “Nurse says we mustn’t touch the banisters, because
we’re sticky.” And then I heard them go upstairs on all fours, wiping it
all off upon the carpet. At times they were exacting. I do not object to
being a horse, or even a great grizzeley bear--I know what is expected
of me then. But I do object to being a crocodile, if a crocodile is
expected to lurk underneath a sofa, and snap at people’s legs.

There were some other children, who were friends of mine and also of a
bishop, who was an old friend of their father. One day they told me,
“Bishop’s coming to-morrow.” And thoughtlessly I said, “Give him my
blessing, then.” Next time I saw them, they said in rather a puzzled
way, “We gave the bishop your blessing, but he didn’t seem quite to like

My acquaintance is not limited to children. There are not many
lexicographers about; yet I number two of them among the friends who
come down here to stay with me. One of them has dealt with Chinese, and
the other with Egyptian hieroglyphics.

       *       *       *       *       *

In my earlier years I heard a good deal of the Pre-Raphaelite movement,
as embodied in William Holman Hunt. When he was painting his _Eve of St
Agnes_ in 1847, he wanted a couple of blood-hounds to complete the
picture. Meeting a couple in the road, he tracked them to their lair,
which was the house of John Blount Price, an old friend of my father’s
and god-father to me. He lent his dogs, and thus began a friendship
which lasted till his death in 1889.

My portrait was painted by Emily Holman Hunt in 1868. She was William’s
sister, and had acquired all his mannerisms. My hair sticks out like
wrought-iron railings round my head; and I have my old nurse’s authority
for saying that I never wore such an ill-starched collar in my life.

There is also a water-colour of his here, which looks like the estuary
of the Teign near Newton. I asked him if it was, 7 February 1909, and he
told me that he remembered doing it while on a walking-tour in 1860, and
it was somewhere between Falmouth and Exeter, but he was not certain
where. He sketched the scene by moonlight, and put notes in pencil of
the colouring of the various parts; but he did not rub the pencil out
when he put the colours on, and now these notes show through the
colouring. He said he knew they must come through in course of time.
Unless they had, I should never have guessed what tint would be
described as dusky pink.

On hearing people talk of the Pre-Raphaelite movement now, one wonders
if they realize how thoroughly Post-Raphaelite the world was, when that
movement started (1848) and for long years afterwards. Here is an
extract from my diary, 22 August 1874, on my first visit to Dresden. I
was only sixteen then, and have never been a judge of pictures, though
they have always interested me; but I think it gives the point of view
from which most people saw things at that time. “To the picture-gallery
in the Zwinger, and at once went to the _Sistine Madonna_, which has a
room to itself at one end of the building. After seeing many bad or
indifferent copies of a picture, it is difficult to appreciate the
original at once: it is certainly a most wonderful production, and, as a
painting, far surpasses anything I have yet seen, but, as a composition,
I do not like it so much as Titian’s _Assumption_ or Murillo’s
_Immaculate Conception_.” [I never understood the composition till I did
what very few people take the trouble to do--went to Piacenza, 7 August
1898, and looked at the church of San Sisto, for which the Madonna was
painted. On seeing the rectangular windows and their curtains, I
understood the composition at once.] “Then went to Holbein’s _Madonna_,
a Dutch lady in black velvet and frills: not very impressive after
Raphael’s. The other principal pictures are Correggio’s _La Notte_, a
wonderful composition of light and shade, Titian’s _Tribute Money_,
Carlo _Dolce’s Christ blessing the bread_, and Battoni’s _Magdalene_.”

People care no more for Pompeo Battoni now than they cared for
Botticelli then. The fashion is all the other way; and concessions must
be made to fashion, even in a picture-gallery. And in most collections
now the later works have been displaced by early works, almost always
inferior in execution, and very often inferior in conception also. At
the Uffizi the works of Botticelli now have a room apart; but for many
years after I first went to Florence the _Birth of Venus_ was hanging
in the outside corridor, and did not even get a star in Baedeker.

In his essay on Botticelli, written in 1870, Walter Pater termed him “a
secondary painter,” yet found so much in him to praise, that people
hardly noticed this. And that was the beginning of the craze, at any
rate in England. I knew Walter Pater, and always found him much more
level-headed than people might imagine from his style of writing. And he
had no illusions here. It is just the old story:--Wilkes never was a

All my earlier views of art were dislocated by the opening of the
Grosvenor Gallery, 1 May 1877. By that time I had seen all the great
galleries of Europe, except the Hermitage, and thus had material for
forming an opinion, though the opinion may have been quite wrong.
Anyway, I recognized there a style of art that certainly was great, and
yet could not be classed with the Old Masters or the Modern Painters, or
even as Eclectic. The style is hackneyed now; but in 1877 the _Days of
Creation_ was as great a surprise as _Sartor Resartus_ in 1833 or
_Pickwick_ in 1836. Carlyle and Dickens were established long before my
time, and were suffering then from imitation; and I could not see the
reason why those books were praised so lavishly by the people who read
them when they first came out. And now the younger generation cannot
understand such praising of that picture and the others that were with
it. This generation has grown up in a sort of “greenery-yallery”
Grosvenor Gallery, and has never had to face the pea-greens and
vermilions of the past.

Art has made strange moves since then. Personally, I am always glad of
the impressions of a mind that is brighter than my own, but I do not
want the impressions of a mind that is still duller; and I get
impatient, when the dull mind goes with a clumsy hand, so that the
artist cannot even give me such impressions as he has. When honest
critics praise such work, I fear their minds are very dull indeed.

As an executor I was concerned in putting a memorial window into a
country church. A relative wished for copies of the figures by Sir
Joshua Reynolds in the west window of New College chapel at Oxford.
There are only seven there, and this window needed nine. I thought the
objection fatal; but the purveyor of stained glass replied “Oh no, not
at all: we can design you two to match.” He did design them, and they
matched his copies of the other seven, the copies being quite unlike the

At the eastern end of Rochester cathedral there is a memorial to Dean
Scott, with a gigantic Alpha and Omega on each side of the altar. As he
was Dean Liddell’s partner in the great Greek lexicon, the double
entendre is rather neat.

One sees trophies everywhere of captured flags and guns and other
instruments of war; but the neatest trophies that I ever saw, were both
at Petersburg. In the Preobrajensky cathedral there was a row of keys of
captured cities, hanging up on pegs with little brass labels for the
names. These came from conquests in the East; and in the Kazan cathedral
there was a similar row of keys of captured cities in the West--Utrecht
and Rheims amongst them.

The first time that I went over Rheims cathedral I noted in my
diary:--“The exterior roof is a considerable height above the interior
vaulting, and is supported by wood-work enough to burn down half-a-dozen
cathedrals.” That was written on 30 March 1875, and it disturbed me in
September 1914, when I heard that the Germans were bombarding Rheims,
and the cathedral was on fire. The exterior roof was burnt and all this
wood-work with it, but the vaulting stood the strain.

Writers on architecture do not always go to see the buildings they
describe. Fergusson gives a plan, section and elevation of the church at
Lodi on pages 50 to 52 of his _History of Modern Architecture_; and he
describes the church as the earliest and best type of its class, and the
only remarkable church now extant which was wholly by Bramante. On the
strength of this I took the trouble to go to Lodi, 28 September 1899, in
order to see the church. But it did not correspond to the designs in
Fergusson. I found out afterwards that Bramante’s designs were never
carried out, and the church was by Battagio.

I just missed seeing the celebrated crane upon Cologne cathedral. I went
there first on 28 August 1868; and it was taken down about three months
before that, after standing there on the stump of the spires for about
400 years, waiting for work to be resumed. I looked with admiration on
the design for the spires, a fine old Fifteenth Century drawing--the
architect sold his soul, and the Devil drew this in his blood. But the
Devil had the best of it, as the spires have ruined the cathedral, being
out of scale with all the rest.

Before the present Law Courts were begun, the rival designs were
exhibited in sheds in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. I went to see them several
times; and, speaking from memory, I should say that every one of the
designs was better than what was built. But that was not the architect’s
fault: he had to accept suggestions from all manner of people, each
thinking only of one thing, and not considering the building as a whole.
When the old Law Courts were pulled down, and the exposed side of
Westminster Hall received its present screen and buttresses, a committee
ruined the whole thing by forbidding the architect to carry up the
little towers at the Palace Yard end--an integral part of his design.
Once only, so far as I know, has such interference ended in success.
Scott designed the Foreign Office block of buildings in the Gothic
style; and his design may be seen in the Diploma Gallery of the Royal
Academy. Palmerston could not stand Gothic, and Scott converted his
Gothic to Palladian. Looking down Downing Street from the further side
of Whitehall, one sees that he achieved what Linton and Turner only
dreamt, when they painted their ideals of ancient Rome and Carthage.

The present Law Courts were not opened until 4 December 1882. That was
six months after I was called to the Bar; and I have spoken in the old
Chancery courts that have now been pulled down and forgotten--the two
courts for the Vice Chancellors, that stood where there is now a lawn
just inside the gateway leading into Lincoln’s Inn from Chancery Lane,
and the court of the Master of the Rolls, on the other side of Chancery
Lane on the site of the north-west corner of the present Record Office.
I never spoke in the old Common Law courts at Westminster, but remember
trials there long before I was a barrister.

I once spent a whole day there listening to the Tichborne case, and
found it rather dull. But the Claimant was a sight: he was so corpulent
that they cut a large semicircle out of the table to enable him to sit
at it, and even then his waistcoat bulged out above the edge.

The trial in _Pickwick_ seemed more possible then than now. I once heard
Dickens read that chapter out. I am not certain of the date, but fully
thirty years after he had written it; and he was no longer the same man.
It fell rather flat. As a rule, authors should be read, not seen. I used
to read Browning with interest and respect, if not with pleasure, until
one afternoon I saw him running after an omnibus at the end of
Piccadilly; and I could not stand his loftier poetry after seeing that.

Many years ago, during a Salisbury administration, I was in a train on
the Great Northern, sitting with my back to the engine in one corner of
a carriage, and at Hatfield a bishop got in, and sat with his back to
the engine in the other corner. There was nobody else in the carriage,
and he must have forgotten that I was there, as he started talking to
himself. Apparently, he had been recommending some one for preferment,
and now had qualms of conscience as to what he had been saying. “I said
his preaching was admired by competent judges.” Pause. “Well, so it is.
**** admires it, so does ****, and they’re competent judges. I didn’t
say that I admired it.” Long pause. “I said he was a convinced
Christian.” Pause. “Well, he _is_ convinced. I didn’t say he wasn’t
quarrelsome.” I thought it time to make my presence known.

Amongst the letters here I found one to my father from myself, Trinity
College, Cambridge, 17 November 1877:--“I saw Darwin made a Doctor in
the Senate House to-day. Huxley and Tyndall and the rest of them were
there; and there were two stuffed monkeys--one with a musical-box inside
it--suspended from the galleries by cords and dangled over Darwin’s

The present Master of Trinity was headmaster at Harrow, while I was
there. In his study one afternoon he was adjusting the accents on some
of my Greek verses; and at last, pointing to a misplaced circumflex, he
asked me how that could possibly go there. I answered him quite honestly
that I didn’t know and didn’t care. It was rather a risky thing to say
to a headmaster; but in the evening I received a parcel, and found it
was Dean Stanley’s _Life of Arnold_--“C.T. from H.M.B. Harrow. Novʳ. 4.
1875.” I suppose my candour pleased him. I know he was quite snappish at
my telling him that I put enclitics in for emphasis, when obviously I
put them in to make my verses scan.

It was in my time at Harrow that _Forty Years On_ was written and
composed; and I helped to sing it at the concert on Founder’s Day, 10
October 1872, which was the first time it was sung in public. Forty
years seemed a very long while then, and does not seem much now; and I
see more meaning in “Shorter in wind, though in memory long, What shall
it profit you that once you were strong.”

       *       *       *       *       *

For many years I wasted time in trying to play the piano, until at last
I saw that I should never play effectively, and then I gave it up.
Curiously, my grandfather went through this process with the flute,
though I never knew it till I found a letter of his just now:--2 April
1843, “I once had a great wish to learn the flute, and attended to it,
and learnt all that was necessary, but could not make any advancement
for want of an ear for it. I could play a tune by notes, but not give it
that pleasing air that others could, for want of an ear. Therefore I
considered it was time badly spent, and dropt it.” I think the fault was
with the fingers more than with the ear. Had the ear been altogether
bad, our bad playing might have pleased us.

My father had no ear at all for music, yet went to Oratorios, and slept
comfortably through them all, except Haydn’s _Creation_ with its
disturbing bursts of sound. At the Opera he kept awake, as that was
something more than music; and for some years he went pretty
regularly--five-and-twenty times in the season of 1853, and so on. But
he cared less for such things as the première of Berlioz’s _Benvenuto
Cellini_ on 25 June 1853, than for the spectacle on 19 April 1855, when
Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie came there with Queen Victoria.
The best spectacle I ever saw, for opera and audience combined, was
Glinka’s _Life for the Czar_ at Moscow on the Czar’s name-day, 11
September 1889.

I went to the Opera for the first time on 25 May 1863. It was
Meyerbeer’s _Prophête_; and I can still recall the scenery and dresses
and acting, and make comparisons with later performances, though I
cannot recall the singing at any performance vividly enough to compare
it with the singing at another. I suppose my taste in operas has varied
with the fashion, and also with my time of life. I was told some years
ago, by one of our few living poets, that there was only one opera in
the world, and that was Gluck’s _Orfeo_. I should say that others have
also run, but otherwise I now agree with him.

A letter from my brother to my father--Wreyland, 30 June 1853--comes
strangely from a boy of six. “My Dear Papa, I am very much displeased at
your not answering my letter. there is a great fault in you about those
things. and I hope you will answer this. two letters would be the sum
but I would not trouble you to write two for one long one would be
enough.... I know that you are quite an oprea [Opera] man. but you must
not expect me to go to that Theatre for I do not like always to see
things showy but I want something full of frolic such as the Merry Wives
Of Windsor. that is what I want to see.” He knew Shakespeare too well.
My grandfather writes to my father, 12 September 1854:--“He is always
reading Shakespeare, and gets hold of all improper words: he made use of
some to-day.”

The antics of some of the conductors used to amuse me as a boy. They
waved their heads and arms, and swayed their bodies, as if they were
intoxicated with the music. And then Maud Allan arose upon the stage,
and did everything they would have done, were they not compelled to keep
their seats. I was at one of her first performances in London; and there
was no crowding or applause, such as was usual afterwards--in fact the
audience did not quite know what to make of it.

She was not the earliest of these dancers--Isidora Duncan was before
her--but she had the advantage of being highly trained as a musician
before she took to dancing; and certainly her dancing made me understand
much music that I never understood before. I had some correspondence
with Dr Raymond Duncan--the brother of Isidora--about the music of the
ancient Greeks. He claimed to speak with knowledge; but his logic was
too easy for me--the Greeks did everything that was beautiful: this is
beautiful: therefore the Greeks did it. I could not see how this would
solve such problems as the structure of the tetrachords.

Some years before that time I wrote a little treatise _On the
Interpretation of Greek Music_, and prepared to build an instrument of
seventy strings. The ancients had seventy notes, having twenty-one notes
to the octave, and a compass of three octaves and a third; but they
never had so many strings. They tuned their strings to suit the mode or
scale that they were going to use; but my object was to have the notes
all there without this tuning.

I am a Pythagorean myself, and regard the Aristoxenians as silly folk
who misinterpret Aristoxenus--and he merely walked slipshod in the
footsteps of Pythagoras. Accordingly, I increased the mean tones (_ab_,
_cd_, _de_, _fg_, _ga_) to major tones, and decreased the mean semitones
(_bc_, _ef_) proportionately; and then I put _a_¹ and _a_² at about a
quarter and a half of a mean tone above _a_, and _b_¹ and _b_² at rather
less than an eighth and a quarter of a minor tone above _b_, and so on
with the other notes. I worked out the vibrations for one complete
tetrachord; and (omitting decimals) they were 243, 246, 249 for _b_,
_b_¹, _b_², 256, 263, 271 for _c_, _c_¹, _c_², 288, 296, 304 for _d_,
_d_¹, _d_², and 324 for _e_. And then I got Messrs Broadwood to make me
a set of tuning-forks to test it--a troublesome piece of work, to which
their Mr Hipkins gave a great deal of his valuable time and skill and
knowledge. The error in the forks was negligible. The intervals were
very curious, and unpleasant at first hearing; but, on getting used to
them, I got impatient with the piano for having nothing but mean

As the piano and all keyed instruments have equal temperament now, they
ought to have black keys and white alternately all through, and the
music could be rewritten in a simpler form. It is ridiculous to keep to
five black keys and seven white, instead of six of each, now we have
dropped the system on which the seven and five were based.

I did not build my instrument of seventy strings, as I did not see how
it could be kept in tune--a tuner would never get these subtle notes
quite true, when his daily work was with the tempered scale. And there
were practical difficulties about an instrument of seventy tuning-forks.

Somebody asked me what I meant to call the instrument, and I said
Cacophone. That was before I grew accustomed to the intervals, and came
to like them. But my answer reached some people’s ears in Paris; and I
read in the _Revue Critique_, 27 July 1896, that I had invented a series
of sounds “inexécutables par aucune voix humaine ou même féline,” in
fact a “miaulement,” which “mérite complètement le nom de Cacophone,
sous laquelle, dit-on, il l’a désignée.” Anyway, my cat-squall was
antique, and their tempered scale was not; and I retorted with some
vigour in that journal, 12 October 1896.

Various people had published transcripts of bits of ancient music, and
had been applauded at the concerts where their transcripts were
performed; and they did not like my saying that twenty notes in
twenty-one were wrong, and the twenty-first was doubtful. Anyone can
calculate the intervals between the notes by means of logarithms and the
ratios given by Ptolemy and other ancient authors. These people told me
volubly that this was only mathematics--“lascia le muse, e studia le
matematiche.” They said that Aristoxenus must have used the tempered
scale, as he assumes that six tones make an octave. Euclid, _Sectio
Canonis_, prop. 9, proves with his usual precision that six tones are
greater than an octave. Ptolemy, _Harmonica_, i. 9, says that the
Aristoxenians should either have accepted what was proved, or set up
something else to take its place; and he would hardly have said that,
had they set up the tempered scale.

I have always felt that, if an opinion was worth publishing, it was
worth defending; and that was why I defended my views about Greek music
in the _Revue Critique_ and elsewhere, and have also defended my views
on many other things. Critics often change their tone, when put on their
defence. There was a professor of theology at Jena, who was displeased
with something that I wrote, and he pitched into me, _Berliner
Philologische Wochenschrift_, 18 June 1898. I wrote an Entgegnung, which
appeared there, 27 August 1898, with an Erwiderung from him. I remarked
that “was er ein Wasserstrahl nennt, ist nicht anderes als der Heilige
Geist,” corrected him on other points, and finished off with “in der
That scheint er von der Litteratur der Sache ebensowenig zu wissen als
von altchristlicher Kunst.” In his reply he was an injured innocent,
although he had come down on me as if he were a Pope and Œcumenical
Council all rolled up into one.

I had been writing about some portraits of Christ that can probably be
dated at 258 A.D., or shortly after that; and I had used them in support
of my opinion that Christ was only a little over twenty years of age at
the date of the Crucifixion. I did not expect people to acquiesce in
this without demur; but the theologians treated dates as dogmas. I
cannot see the merit of believing that something happened in one way, if
it happened in another way, or did not happen at all.

One evening, when some friends were staying with me, one of them was
speaking of something he had seen in Egypt; and he said that he thought
Brugsch’s system was the best, as a rough and ready way of getting at
dates. You reckon three generations to a century; and, though this may
not be true for a century or two, it comes pretty near the truth on an
average of several centuries. Another man looked dubious; so I asked him
what was wrong, and he explained. He was descended from William the
Conqueror both on his father’s side and on his mother’s, but on one side
it was twenty-seven generations, and on the other it was twenty-four;
and he was just wondering whether he was a century older or younger than

I wrote a book on Egyptian chronology and its application to the early
history of Greece. The evidence required more careful sifting than it
had received; and my point of view was that of Ovid, _Amores_, ii. 2.
57, 58--“viderit ipse licet, credet tamen ipse neganti, | damnabitque
oculos, et sibi verba dabit.” I thought of quoting this upon the
title-page, but found it rather long, and only gave a part. And then the
_Guardian_ reviewed the book, 9 September 1896, and said:--“The motto on
the title-page, _damnabitque oculos_, is, perhaps, the oddest motto that
ever graced a scientific treatise issued by a University Press.” Which
made it plain that the _Guardian_ had a reviewer who was less familiar
with the Latin language than with modern swear-words.

       *       *       *       *       *

In reviewing books myself, I have often been amazed at their inaccuracy.
Youthful writers have to make mistakes for want of knowledge and
experience, but I have found older writers making just as bad mistakes
from indolence or carelessness.

There is a brilliant volume by Mahaffy on _The Greek World under Roman
Sway_. It came out in 1890, and I reviewed it then. At page 391 I came
on something quite incredible about the Proconsul of Asia reserving an
exceptional privilege for the Christians. The author cited an
inscription in support; so I looked this up, and found it was about the
citizens of Chios. Of course, the Greek _X_ is _Ch_; and I presume he
made his note of this inscription in that form, and then took his Xians
for Christians on the analogy of Xmas for Christmas.

One day Maspero was speaking to me rather strongly of a blunder that a
friend of mine had made. I turned to a great work of his own, that was
lying on the table, _Les momies royales de Deir el-Bahari_, and pointed
to the hieroglyphic _ka_ in one of the hieratic texts he had transcribed
there. He looked at it for a minute, and then wrote down the
hieroglyphic _cha_. He said that he pronounced _cha_ as _ka_, and this
must have led him into writing the wrong sign.

I found mistakes of quite another kind in the article on “Navis” in the
third edition of Smith’s _Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities_.
The article was written by the present Provost of Eton; and, as he was
headmaster at the time, he ought to have asked the boys to instruct him
in the art of cribbing. He gives himself away by copying the misprints
in the books from which he cribbed. On page 219 he cites Plato, _Leges_,
iv. p. 507 instead of 707; and there is the same misprint in Cartault,
_Trière Athénienne_, page 234. On page 223 he cites Polybius, xx. 85
instead of Diodorus, xx. 85; and there is the same mistake in Graser,
_De veterum re navali_, page 53. On the same page he cites Diodorus, 1.
61; and Graser, page 52, has 50, 61 by mistake for 506, 61, which is the
reference to the page and line in Hoeschel’s excerpts. On page 217 he
prints a passage in Lucian, _Navigium_, 4, and says he took it from
Josephus, _Antiquitates_, iv. 8. 37. He took the passage in Lucian from
Breusing, _Nautik der Alten_, page 57, and took the reference to
Josephus from another passage that Breusing prints on the same page.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now and then I make mistakes myself. In my _Ancient Ships_, note 214, I
quoted a passage from Procopius, and added, “Apparently the _gonia_ is
here the mast-head, as in Herodotus, viii. 122.” I should not have said
that, if I had thought of Herodotus, i. 51; but I did not think of it
until the book was out. However, it was only a single sentence in the
middle of a very long note; and I hoped no harm was done. Some while
afterwards I was at the Royal Academy, when the students were being
lectured on Greek Sculpture. The lecturer was speaking of the trophy of
the Æginetans, as described by Herodotus, viii. 122; and he told them
that the grouping of the things was clear, if the _gonia_ was a
mast-head, as had lately been suggested.

There is no stopping a mistake after it has started. In the preface to
my _Ancient Ships_ I gave the history of a blunder that was made by
Scheffer in 1654, and is now in four authoritative books of reference.
In fact, when I am told that all authorities agree, I feel certain that
one of them has blundered, and the rest have followed him without

Guglielmotti has made a pleasant mistake, which these authorities are
sure to copy some day: namely, that Alexander the Great was a
distinguished German archæologist of the Nineteenth Century. Graser
printed an account of his model of a war-ship of the time of Alexander
the Great--“aus der Zeit Alexanders des Grossen.” Guglielmotti mentions
it in his treatise _Delle due Navi Romane, etc._, and says, page
67:--“Non dai condottieri della nuova età, Bernardo Graser ed Alessandro
de Grossen, egregi giovani, i quali hanno trattati, etc.”

Until I discovered it in Jal, _Archéologie Navale_, vol. ii, page 654, I
never knew that “Sea Cheers” was an order given on English ships. Nor
could I explain the ritual at All Saints’ Church in Margaret Street,
until I got a hint from Baedeker, _Londres_, page 146:--“Cette église
appartient à la secte des Puséystes.” This was in the edition of 1873. I
got it while I was at Harrow, and found I was at “une des principales
universités d’Angleterre,” page 245.

A foreigner once described to me a very interesting survival of our
feudal institutions, which he had observed while travelling in a train.
At one station they waited, and waited, until a man came running along,
carrying a Caduceus, which he handed to the driver; and then at last the
train went on. He took the Caduceus to be the symbol of some great
lord’s permission to them to travel across his lands. And certainly the
Staff did look rather like a Caduceus on some of the older lines that
were worked upon that system.

My father used to tell me of a foreigner, who went into the
refreshment-room at Swindon, had some soup, and was handed someone
else’s change. On returning to the carriage, he extolled this English
system, by which a passenger was entitled to a certain amount of
refreshments, with a refund for the balance, if he did not take the
whole amount.

In a Brighton train a foreigner asked me if he had to change at Clafam
Junction. I said Clapham, and he corrected me:--“But in English _ph_ is
always _f_. I will show you in my book.” At the time of the railway race
to Edinburgh, another foreigner told me that he found the trains very

Many years ago an old Belgian gentleman came down upon my father:--“I
ask the butler for mutton-leg, and he say leg-of-mutton. Now you say
mutton-chop. Why do you talk like that?” Some friends of mine from Paris
asked me quite angrily:--“Why do you call Portland Place a Place? It is
not a Place.” They had gone to the Langham under the impression that it
looked out on something like the Vendôme or the Concorde. At an hotel in
Switzerland my father was objecting to rooms without a view. The
landlord said no others were vacant then, “but to-morrow I shall give
you rooms where I shall make you see the Mont Blanc.” Faire voir, of

A learned German told me that Thomas Aquinas was one of the most genial
men that ever lived. (By a genial man he meant a man of genius). Being
in Berlin, I went to see an antiquarian friend, who was a surgeon by
profession. I was then at work upon the sort of book that Germans call a
Corpus; and he said he hoped to get much information from my corpse.

I have made much worse mistakes myself. On a hot summer day at Ferrara I
went into a café to see if I could get an ice. Instead of asking the man
if he had got _Gelati_, which are ices, I asked if he had got _Geloni_,
which are chilblains. Arriving quite exhausted at an inn in the Tyrol, I
said I wanted the _Abendmahl_ at once. The word means Supper, just like
_Abendessen_, but is now used only of the Sacrament.

In all probability I shall never again say Thank-you to a German; but I
find that, if I do, I must say Donkey’s-hair. I fancied it was
Danke-sehr, but am corrected by a girl from a superior sort of school
near here.

A man built a bungalow not far from here, and chose to call it
Chez-nous; but it is known as Chestnuts. Chars-à-banc are known as
Cherubim. On venturing to hint that this was a mistake, I got a crushing
reply:--“Why, us read of the Lord a-ridin’ on the wings of the Cherubim,
and they folk be a-ridin’ on their seats.”

A quantity of plants arrived here while I was away, and among them were
some Kalmias and Andromedas. On my

[Illustration: THE HALL HOUSE (_p. 50_)]

return I asked where they had all been put; and I was told that some of
them were in the greenhouse, others were in various parts of the garden,
and the Camels and Dromedaries were out in the orchards.

An old gardener once gave me his opinion that a laundry was better than
a garden, “as garments had not got such mazin’ names as plants.” And the
maze grows more intricate, when Berberis Darwinii is Barbarous Darwin,
and Nicotiana is Nicodemus, and Irises are Irish, and they English Irish
be braver than they Spanish Irish.

There was an old lady here who always said:--“If there be a flower that
I do like, it be a Pertunium.” It was neither a petunia nor a geranium;
but I never found out exactly what it was. Botanists might adopt the
name, when they want one for a novelty, for it is better than most of
theirs. It may be convenient to give things Greek or Latin names, and it
certainly sounds better to say Archæopteryx and Deinotherium than Old
Bird and Awful Beast. But it is absurd to take the ancient name for one
thing, and give it to another; yet that is what Linnæus and his
followers have very often done.

Besides their botanical names, many things have trade names now. There
is a plant here of the sort that is described at Kew as Rhododendrum
Ponticum Cheiranthifolium. But, when I wanted to get another like it, I
found the nurseryman did not know it by that name. He called it Jeremiah
J. Colman.

Even in plain English there are pitfalls. At a hotel in Penzance I found
the coffee-room quite full, when I came in to breakfast, and I asked the
head-waiter if he couldn’t find me a place. He answered:--“Very sorry,
sir, only whiting and soles to-day.”

       *       *       *       *       *

One morning in London I was eating potted tunny-fish at breakfast, and I
soon felt that it was having an effect on me. My brain was clearer than
it has ever been before or since. I understood things that had always
puzzled me; and nothing was obscure. In fact, for about two hours I was
a Man of Genius; and then I dropped down to my usual level.

I made many inquiries about it afterwards, but without result until I
came upon a man who had spent a couple of years at the Laboratory of
Marine Zoology at Naples. He had himself felt odd after eating
tunny-fish one day, and he knew of other cases. In his own case there
was increased blood-pressure, especially in the brain, such as might
arise from eating putrid meat. But he thought his fish was sound, and
ascribed the effect to some unknown substance in a tunny.

This tempts me to suggest a problem. The ancient Greeks were the
cleverest people ever known, and they were always eating pickled tunny.
Were they quite so clever before they reached the Mediterranean, and got
this particular food?--Common trout were put into some of the New
Zealand streams, and they became great fish, quite unlike their
ancestors. Did something of the same sort happen to the ancient Greeks,
in intellect though not in body?

There is no denying the cleverness of the ancient Greeks; but I am
sceptical about their beauty. They would never have talked so much of
beauty, unless it had been rare. When people now-a-days go talking of
the beauty of Greek Gods, they are thinking of the works of Pheidias and
his successors. There is much charm in works of earlier date; but nobody
can say quite honestly that the people in them are good-looking, much
less that they are beautiful. Yet the nation cannot suddenly have
changed its looks. I think it was that artists were getting more
fastidious in their choice of models.

This notion struck me forcibly in the spring of 1888. I rode over a
great part of Greece; and I did it comfortably, taking a dragoman and
cook, with mules to carry the baggage, and muleteers to tend the mules.
When my little cavalcade went through a village, the people all came out
to have a look at it; and I had a look at them. Most of them were very
plain indeed; but at every second or third village there would be one or
two people who looked like ancient statues come to life. If I had
brought home pictures of these people, and said nothing of the rest, I
should have given quite a wrong impression of the modern Greeks.

We may have an equally wrong impression of the ancient Greeks. Zeuxis
painted his Helen from five damsels whom he had chosen out of all the
damsels in the city of Croton; and Anacreon suggests a similar plan for
painting a Bathyllus. Pheidias modelled a statue from Pantarkes, and
Praxiteles from Phryne. In the Hermes of Praxiteles the foot is copied
from a model who used to go about on stony ground in sandals; yet Hermes
was a god who travelled through the air. The statue represents an
individual, not a type.

I went out from Orchomenos to see the Acidalian fountain, in which the
Graces used to bathe. Instead of Graces bathing there, I found three old
washerwomen scrubbing very dirty clothes, 13 April 1888. Washerwomen
seem to have a fancy for such places. I have found them at Siloam, 17
March 1882, Fontebranda, 19 April 1892, and Vaucluse, 15 March 1891.
They probably were there in Petrarch’s time, and Ezzelino’s also, and at
an earlier time as well. I did not find them at Callichoros, where the
women of Eleusis performed their mystic dance; but I found their washing
spread out upon the beach to dry, 23 April 1880, and some of it puzzled
me very much indeed--pieces of white material, less than a yard in
width, but quite a dozen yards long.

These proved to be the petticoats of the Palikaris, old stalwarts of the
War of Independence, who still wore the national costume--which really
was Albanian, and not Greek at all. I found out afterwards how a
Palikari put his petticoat on. He took one end, while another man held
the other, and then he pirouetted towards the other man, winding the top
edge round his waist.

Meanwhile my mother was observing other things, and in her diary I
find:--“Some peasants at dinner at the little inn--one well dressed in
Greek costume. They had a bowl of French beans, over which they poured a
bottle of vinegar and sprinkled salt. Each man put in his fork, and
helped himself to a mouthful, and then bit off a piece of raw onion and
some black bread. They finished with honey on which they poured a
bottle of oil, and ate the same way.” My father sometimes noted things
like that. In his diary I find, Leukerbad, 27 August 1871:--“Sat by the
cold spring in the broad walk towards the Ladders. Many came to drink
it--with absinthe.”

My father and my mother were at the Certosa near Pavia on 21 August
1857. There were monks there then, and ladies were not admitted to the
monastery or the aisles and choir of the church, but only to the nave.
So my mother sat outside, while my father was seeing the interior. And
then a bull came rushing along, with peasants in pursuit. She made a
dash for the cloister gate; but the janitor was not going to have the
place polluted by her presence: so he crossed himself, and slammed the
door, leaving her to face the bull outside. Luckily the bull saw
something else and turned aside, and she reached the church.

In 1891 I went to Kairouan, 27-29 March. There was no great difficulty
in going then, and it is quite easy now; but until 1881 no Christians
were allowed there. At the Mosques the people showed quite plainly that
they did not want you there, and yet seemed pleased that you should see
things, if you could appreciate their merits. But some French people
came, who treated the whole thing as a show; and this displeased a very
stalwart Dervish. So he went off, and rooted up a prickly-pear plant
well covered with spikes, and then pranced in, whirling this huge thing
round his head. And he personally conducted that party out of his Mosque
and some way down the road.

Few people go to see the ruins of Utica, as the ruins are not worth
seeing. But it struck me that some eminent writers had made a mess of
the topography; and I went there, 24 March 1891, to see what I could
make of it. And then I wrote a couple of articles in the _Revue
Archéologique_, saying things about those writers. I apologised to the
editor for my French of Stratford atte Bowe, but he said he thought it
was the French of Billingsgatte.

I was sitting in the ruins of what clearly was the theatre: the lower
parts were covered by a marsh; and presently a Chorus of Frogs came out,
and gave me a lesson on Aristophanes. He makes his Chorus of Frogs say
_brekekekex koax koax_; and I found that this should be taken as three
syllables, answering to his _oo-op-op_ and _rhyp-pa-pai_. The
_brekekekex_ stands for one long croak, not four; and the modern music
of the play has got it wrong.

Just after this I was going down from Constantine to Biskra, and met the
locusts coming up, 3 April 1891. There is a narrow gorge, not more than
fifty yards in width, by which one passes from the Tell to the Sahara;
and it was quite choked up with them from ground to sky. They seemed to
be flying only eight or ten inches apart, and coming on interminably.
They are pleasant-looking creatures, and would be as popular as
grasshoppers, if only they would come in reasonable numbers. Coming in
myriads, they have their uses too. Potted locust is not bad.

In 1882 I went by Austrian mail-steamer from Corfu to Trieste, 28 April
to 1 May. She came from Alexandria, and was late in reaching Corfu; and
it was midnight when I went on board. She was lying in the roadstead,
and everything was silent then; but, as soon as she got out to sea and
rolled, there were unexpected and alarming sounds. I discovered in the
morning that she had a large consignment of wild beasts on board. They
were confined in crates that looked very much too small and not nearly
strong enough; but I was told that, if beasts were cooped up tight, they
could not use their strength. An old lady remarked to me that she
thought it very dangerous to have so many lions on board, and she took
the precaution of locking her cabin door at night. I admit I had a
pretty bad nightmare of an unknown animal, with a neck like a giraffe’s,
standing on deck with his neck down the companion-ladder, the neck
growing longer and longer till it nearly reached my cabin door.

I once spent a night on the summit of Mount Etna, 22-23 September 1883,
and I have never seen anything more uncanny than the cone of that
volcano, gleaming like metal in the moonlight, and sending up vast
clouds of steam. It stands about 10,700 feet above Catania; and I made
the ascent in about eleven hours from there, going by carriage to
Nicolosi, and then by mule to the hut at the foot of the cone.--This hut
was on the site of the new observatory.--The cone was troublesome, as my
feet sank in at every step, and brought out puffs of sulphur: looking
back, I could see all my footsteps smoking, and likewise those of my two
guides. The crater was full of this sulphureous steam, and there was no
view down into it, nor into the Valle del Bove, as the wind drove the
steam down there. Apart from this, the view was clear. I saw the sun set
from the summit of the cone, came down to the hut for shelter in the
night, and saw the sun rise from the Torre del Filosofo, not far from
the hut and nearly level with it.--The philosopher was Empedocles, but
the tower is Roman, and may have been built for Hadrian, when he went up
to see the sun rise.

There is not so wide a view from any of the summits in a chain of
mountains like the Alps, nor do you seem to be at such a height as on
this isolated mountain, although the height may really be much greater.
The world seemed like a map spread out below me; and I saw the Shadow.
As the sun rose, I began to see another great mountain standing in the
middle of Sicily; and then the mountain faded, being only Etna’s shadow
on the haze. It is the same thing as the Spectre of the Brocken. I have
been up the Brocken also, 14 August 1874, but have not seen the Spectre.

After seeing the view from the Faulhorn at sunrise, 22 August 1849, my
father noted in his diary:--“Looking at my three Swiss companions as
they stood with myself on the apex of this mountain in the clear smooth
snow, I could not help thinking of our being the only created beings who
could be enjoying this magnificent spectacle.” He always had this sort
of feeling that people ought to make more effort to see the wonders of
the world.

This same feeling was expressed by a distinguished foreigner in rather
an unexpected way. In 1900 a lady was saying in his presence that she
did not mean to go to Paris for the Exhibition. He struck in:--“You
_can_ go, and you _will_ not go? At the Last Day the Good God
will say to you, ‘You did not go to the Paris Exhibition
when-you-might-have-gone. You have not used the Talent that-I-gave-you.
Go DOWN. Go DOWN.” It had not struck her in that light before.

       *       *       *       *       *

In my younger days I took some trouble to see things. And it was worth
the trouble, to see Moscow from the Sparrow hills, whence Napoleon saw
it first, or Damascus from the heights of Salahîyeh, where Mohammed
turned away, lest he should think no more of Paradise. Or, apart from
history and association, to see things so beautiful as the Alhambra and
the Generalife at Granada, and the deserted city of Mistra on the
mountains overlooking Sparta.

When I first went to Athens, in the spring of 1880, the Acropolis still
had its mediæval ramparts; and, as one stood on the Acropolis, they shut
the modern city out of view, and one was there alone with the temples
and the sky. These ramparts were demolished before I went there next, in
the spring of 1882; and before I went again, in the spring of 1888, the
whole of the Acropolis had been excavated and laid bare down to the
solid rock. The results were of the highest interest; but the charm was
gone. I felt that I had seen a dragon-fly hovering in the Attic air; and
my dragon-fly was now a lifeless specimen, set out with pins upon a

I happened once to arrive at Athens in a sea-fog. The steamer had slowly
hooted its way into the Piræus in the early morning; and I was driving
up to Athens soon after sunrise. With the sun behind it, the Acropolis
loomed up through the fog, as I came near; and this is the only time
that I have seen it looking as I feel it ought to look. It seemed a vast
and overwhelming mass; whereas in broad daylight it looks rather small,
and quite puny, when one sees it from a distance. I have noticed that
the Pyramids at Gizeh also look puny at a distance: yet the dome of St
Peter’s looks its largest at fifteen or twenty miles from Rome. I cannot
give a reason; but it is a fact.

Apart from that curious look upon its face, I have never found the
Sphinx at Gizeh as impressive as the Sphingeion in Bœotia, the sphinx
of Œdipus outside the gates of Thebes. This is merely a hill shaped like
a sphinx; and there must have been another such hill at Gizeh, from
which the Sphinx was formed. There is another within a walk of here; but
it takes the shape only from a certain point of view--the western rock
at Haytor, as one sees it on the road from Widdicombe. In a Dartmoor
mist it looks stupendous, and surpasses the Sphingeion and the Sphinx.

There is another sight within a walk of here, also recalling Greece; and
this is Grimspound. When I have visitors who have been in Greece, I take
them over Hameldon, so as to come down on Grimspound from above. I give
no hint beforehand, and just wait to hear what they will say. And they
always say:--“Mycenæ.” The impression goes off, when one begins to think
of details; but at first sight it is vivid.

Sometimes I take people up to Hittesleigh (or Hisley) Gate for the view
of Lustleigh Cleave, and there await their comments. One man was an
artist; and for a long while he was silent, and seemed to be drinking in
the beauty of the scene. Then he pointed to some object in the middle
distance, and remarked:--“I think I’d pick that out in Chinese White.”
Another man who also painted, was silent also, and also seemed to drink
it in; and he remarked:--“If I were going in for grouse, I’d put the
butts round there.”

Looking on things less practically, one fancies that the scene is all
unchanging and unchanged, and that its aspect was the same when our
ancestors were living in hut-circles and building cromlechs and
kistvaens. It needs an effort to carry back the mind to earlier ages,
when there was a little volcano in this parish, and a bigger one about a
mile this side of Newton; or to ages more remote, when this tract of
igneous rock was first upheaved, and these lichen-covered boulders came
rolling down the slopes red-hot. And there will come a time when only
the granite will survive, the rest all vanishing like the land between
our Land’s End and the Scilly Isles; and then Dartmoor will be a group
of islands, and Wreyland one of the outlying reefs.

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