Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Small Talk at Wreyland. Third 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. Third Series" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                              SMALL TALK
                              AT WREYLAND

                             THIRD SERIES



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

                      [Illustration: colophon]

                      NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.
                      BOMBAY    }
                      CALCUTTA  } MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.
                      MADRAS    }
                      TORONTO: THE MACMILLAN CO. OF
                      CANADA, LTD.
                      TOKYO: MARUZEN-KABUSHIKI-KAISHA

                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                   [Illustration: LAYING NEW THATCH

                           YONDER WREYLAND]



                              SMALL TALK
                              AT WREYLAND

                                  BY
                              CECIL TORR

                             THIRD SERIES

                               CAMBRIDGE
                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
                                 1923



                         CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY
                               W. LEWIS
                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

                       PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN.



PREFACE


In case this volume should be read by anyone who has not read its
predecessors, I am quoting these three paragraphs of the original volume
by way of explanation.

And first, about the place itself,

_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 as one._

Secondly, about my writing all these things,

_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._

Thirdly, about my publishing what I had written,

_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._

After that was published I went on writing things down in the same way
as before. A second volume was published in 1921. This third (and final)
volume has been written in 1922 and 1923.

                                                            CECIL TORR.

YONDER WREYLAND,

      LUSTLEIGH,

            DEVON.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


LAYING NEW THATCH (YONDER WREYLAND)      _Frontispiece_

THE HALL HOUSE                         _To face p._ 32

THE AUTHOR’S DESK                           ”       64

VIEW ACROSS WREY VALLEY                     ”       96



SMALL TALK AT WREYLAND

III


This slumberous place has had another rude awakening. Five years ago an
aeroplane passed over us--the only one that has been seen from here. And
now, recently, a cow-boy on a buck-jumper came galloping down the lane
here, firing off his pistols in the air. It was for a film; and the
rider (as I learned afterwards) was The Thrill-a-Minute Stunt King
himself.

The theme was of a cow-boy, born in England, revisiting his early home.
Considering the Atlantic, I am not sure he would have come home on a
buck-jumper with all his toggery on; but a producer knows exactly what
audiences want. A film (I learned) requires ‘love interest’: so a pair
of Stars made love outside the Hall House door. And an old inhabitant
who came along, was so shamed at their brazenness that he could only
gasp out, “Well, Now, There.”

There is a Wreyland theme that would have made as good a film. It is a
story of John Dynham, who was lord of the manor here from 1381 to 1428;
and, though it cannot be entirely true, it embodies some undoubted
facts. Briefly, the Bishop of Exeter admonished him, for the avoidance
of scandal, to cease from visiting the lady Isotta, even in the daytime;
and as this had no effect, he excommunicated him. Dynham appealed to the
Archbishop, which took up a year, and then he appealed to the Pope,
which took up two years more: by which time he had voluntarily ceased
from visiting the lady Isotta and was visiting the lady Muriel.

Films are dreary things when seen upon a screen; but the making of a
film is as good as a play. You hear the heroine told to put more passion
into it and look really moved, and then you see her putting in passion
and looking really moved. And the villain who kidnaps her, is told to
spring out like a tiger and put a sack over her head; and he springs out
as like a tiger as he can, and there is no need for telling her to
struggle and scream: she does that automatically when the sack drags
down her hair. Theatrical rehearsals may be just as funny; but I do not
see rehearsals on the stage.

I may just mention here that I was not the author of a Gaiety burlesque
called _Cinder-Ellen up too late_. (Ellen was Nellie Farren, and the
whole thing was a skit on _Cinderella up to date_.) Fred Leslie wrote it
and also acted in it, and he took the pseudonym of ‘Actor’ but had it
printed ‘A. C. Torr.’ He also wrote _Ruy Blas and the Blasé Roué_, and
(I think) some other Gaiety burlesques, with this same pseudonym of A.
C. Torr; and people who knew me very slightly, assumed that I had
written it all, although the style was not a bit like mine.

This was some thirty years ago, when I was writing solemnly on the
chronology of the Egyptian kings--including Tut-anch-Amen, who was not
so well known then as he is now. (Most of them deserved the title of the
Duchess d’ Agio Uncertanti in _Ruy Blas_.) When my book on them came
out, a friend of mine described it to me as a book to be given away with
a pound of tea--he said readers would require at least a pound to keep
them awake all through; and he could not possibly have said that of
these plays. Style, however, is no sure guide to authorship. Think of
“The owl and the pussy-cat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat.”
Unless the authorship were known, few people would ascribe it to the man
whose travels inspired Tennyson, “Illyrian woodlands, echoing falls ...
I read and felt that I was there.” Lear’s travels are forgotten, but his
nonsense books are in the memory of everyone who read them when a
child.

Looking back to early years, I find the things I have remembered best,
have seldom been the things best worth remembering; and other people
tell me that they suffer from the same defect. I remember a pump at the
Great Exhibition of 1862: many other things besides, but nothing else as
clearly as that pump. It was rather like a four-post bedstead with four
impervious sheets of water coming down between the posts; and it just
took my fancy. I wrote two letters about it to my grandfather, telling
him that I would take him round to see it, if he came up to town. Being
four years old, and getting on for five, I felt quite capable of taking
him about. And he wrote back to my father, 22 July 1862, “I certainly
shall avail myself of his very kind promise to take me to the Exhibition
and show me that very wonderful pump, for I did study hydraulics one
day.”

In a letter of his, 23 February 1862, mentioning his aunt’s first
husband, he tells my father, “I remember him coming here to see my aunt
before marriage, and he brought down the finest pine-apple I ever saw.”
That was close on seventy years before, when my grandfather was a very
small boy; and I suspect he had a clearer recollection of the pine-apple
than of the man who brought it.

The pump and pine-apple were real things; but the youthful mind will
often grip a blunder as firmly as a fact. The first scene in the first
piece I ever saw, was described as A Tin Mine in Cornwall. (I fancy it
was in the pantomime at Drury Lane at Christmas 1860.) The scene was not
like any tin-mine I have ever seen; but when tin-mines are mentioned,
this is the one that I first picture in my mind. In another pantomime
there was a scene of The Great Pyramid, and King Cheops appeared. My
grown-ups laughed about it afterwards, saying Cheops did very well, but
it was not his pyramid--the scene painter had got the pyramid of Cestius
at Rome; and they looked out an old engraving of that attenuated thing.
And in after years when I have seen the thing at Rome, my thoughts have
always turned to Cheops rather than to Cestius or to Shelley or to
Keats.

There was a Judge of whom I should have said with confidence that I had
never seen him except upon the Bench. But in looking through a diary I
found that 9 July 1865 ended with a note that he called in the evening;
and then I saw it all. It was in London, in our drawing-room, and cups
of tea were being handed round at 9.0, as was the custom then; and he
came in, took hock-and-seltzer in preference to tea, and then talked
away. I cannot remember what he talked about, but I can see him and the
room and all its furniture and the other people on the chairs on which
they sat, just as I saw it from the chair where I was sitting. That
picture had been dormant in my mind for more than fifty years, and then
came out quite bright and clear; and I do not know how many thousands of
these pictures are lying dormant there.

Though such a picture may be bright and clear, it only shows things from
the point of view from which I happened to see them, and at the moment
when I happened to be there. I am not like the Reluctant Dragon: he
could manage to “think of things going on, and how they kept going on
just the same, you know”; and I cannot manage that. I went to
Constantinople in 1880--I had not seen an Oriental town before--and I
was very much impressed by the great streams of people going along the
bridge of boats across the Golden Horn; perhaps, in my small way, as
much impressed as Dante was in 1300, when he saw the people streaming
across the bridge at Rome, _Inferno_, XVIII. 28-33. But the crowds he
saw were only for the Jubilee, whereas the crowds I saw went streaming
on year after year; and I can never realize that what I saw was always
to be seen there, or that other sights “keep going on just the same” as
at the time I saw them.

Before the War I had a notion of repeating all my early travels year by
year, beginning in 1917, as that would be the jubilee of my first going
abroad. I wanted to go over the same ground again and see what changes
fifty years had made; but my last journey was in 1913, and I came home
through Châlons, Reims, Laon, Amiens, and other places too well known
next year.

I went up to Haytor rocks on 25 April 1922, having noticed in my
father’s diary that we were there on 25 April 1862, and that I “climbed
up both the rocks with great agility.” I climbed up both the rocks
again, but cannot say I did it with agility--the sixty years had told. A
fortnight later I was out near there again, beating the parish bounds: a
solemnity performed each year on the Monday after Roodmas. It was a long
procession at the start, but quite short at the finish five hours later
on; and as we went along, I heard men saying things in French and others
replying with a word or two of Japanese.

My thoughts again went back to sixty years ago. Saying things in French
would have been quite as heinous then as saying things in German now.
After being our ally in the Crimean war, the new Napoleon was
threatening us with invasion, just as his uncle had threatened our
progenitors sixty years before: volunteers were being raised again, as
in the old Napoleon’s time, to fight against the French invaders; and
the old hereditary hatred was blazing out afresh. It was the Saxon
hatred of the Norman, kept alive by endless wars with France. In 1690
the French burned Teignmouth and anchored in Torbay, and all the West
was roused by beacon fires from Haytor to the other heights; and the
French seemed bent upon another trial. _Buonaparte in Britain_ is the
sort of book that people used to read, “a catalogue of French cruelties,
and a short appeal to mothers, widows, wives, sisters and daughters upon
the brutality of the French armies.” It is full of the same charges that
were made against the Germans in the war of 1914. And in 1814 there was
the same wild joy when victory came at last.

They had a festival at Moreton, 26 July 1814, with a dinner and a
procession like a Lord Mayor’s Show. The programme has been preserved.
‘Smiths at work in a cart, beating weapons of war into implements of
husbandry.’ ‘The four corporals late of the Moreton volunteers.’ Blaze
led the woolcombers and Crispin led the cordwainers, but the true patron
saint was ‘Bacchus on a tun, dressed in character, with a bottle, glass,
&c., drawn on a car.’ And at the dinner there was a cask of cider at the
foot of every table.

My grandfather got Camden’s _History of Napoleon Bonaparte_ when it
first came out, and I have the volumes here. The first volume came out
in 1814 with a title-page and preface saying that the history would be
continued to the restoration of the Bourbon Dynasty in the present year.
But the second volume has a different title-page, recognizing the fresh
start the author had to make at what would otherwise have been the end.
“We had fondly imagined that a total end was put to the war.... But,
alas! Napoleon no sooner perceived a fit opportunity,” etc. etc.

My grandfather always seemed much satisfied at having seen Napoleon on
the Bellerophon, safely under guard. He had no scruples about Saint
Helena, but my father had--he was not born till 1818, and Napoleon was
no bogey-man to him, but a colossus in the history of the world. He
thought Napoleon had been harshly used at Saint Helena, and took
O’Meara’s view, in spite of all he heard from an old soldier who had
been in garrison there. “He wasn’t badly treated, I assure you, sir, he
fared a great deal better than I did.” This old soldier--I can just
remember him--said he often saw Napoleon walking up and down the garden,
thinking of something and looking at nothing, until he came to some turn
where he caught sight of the sentry’s bayonet, and then he would stop
angrily and go indoors.

In looking through some notes my father made in 1835, I happened upon
this--“France, altho’ vanquished, has materially lost less than England.
The finances of France are again the most prosperous in Europe. England
bends under the weight of its debt; and the European continent supplies
itself with most of the products that England once supplied.” Napoleon
had stopped the English exports to the Continent by his Berlin Decree,
1806, and trade is not easily regained when once it has been lost; and
this was felt acutely here, as there had hitherto been large exports of
woollens from this part of Devon.

In the latter years of that long war there were more than fifty thousand
French prisoners-of-war in England, and half of them were sailors. Some
three thousand of them were on parole and the remainder in confinement,
and six or seven thousand were confined in Dartmoor prison. All
prisoners-of-war were under the Commissioners for conducting His
Majesty’s Transport Service, and the Commissioners selected various
little towns for prisoners on parole, and appointed an Agent in each
town to censor the prisoners’ letters and see they did not misbehave.
One of the towns was Moreton, and Ashburton was another; and the Agent
at Ashburton was an uncle of my grandfather’s. And this, I presume, was
how my grandfather got acquainted with so many of these
prisoners-of-war.

Another great-great-uncle of mine (on my mother’s side) was a
prisoner-of-war in France, and he married a French lady. I remember his
son, a country parson down in Wales, and I must have heard the story
many times, but cannot now recall much more than the main facts. His
ship was captured in the war of 1795, and he was sent to Verdun as a
prisoner-of-war. Instead of coming back to England at the Peace of
Amiens in 1802, he stayed loitering about, and was still in France when
hostilities broke out again and all English were interned. He was
interned near Dijon, and thus met his future wife; and he found life so
pleasant there that he did not come back to England until 1817, not long
before his death.--These mixed marriages were fairly frequent then. One
of my great-uncles finished up the Waterloo campaign by marrying a
Belgian lady he had met in Brussels.

I can just remember the widow of a French naval officer who had been a
prisoner-of-war in England and had made her acquaintance then. It was
not quite a happy match, as she was very English; but the family doctor
wrote to my father, 15 December 1851, after paying them a visit at their
place in France, “Looking at all she endures from himself and his
family, one of the most tormenting things (to her) is want of
punctuality at meal times.” He died before I was born, but I heard
stories of him: for instance, when asked about his health, he always
said, “I am much better, but I am not good.” He had received the Légion
d’Honneur from the Emperor and the Saint Louis from the King; and when
he came to England, visiting, unmannerly young men would sing _The Vicar
of Bray_. And he would fret and fume and finally bounce up from his
chair, vociferating that he served no Emperor and no King: he only
served La France.

When on parole at Ashburton and Moreton and other little towns, the
prisoners-of-war were obliged to live in houses which the Agent had
approved: they were not allowed out before six in the morning or after
six or seven or eight at night according to the season of the year: they
might not go further than a mile from the end of the town; and they had
to keep to the main roads--if they went further or into cross-roads,
fields or woods, it was the Agent’s duty to send them into prison again.
However, Agents and others sometimes had blind eyes; and now and then
there were escapes. In fact, there were escapes from Dartmoor prison
itself--a good-looking sailor-boy once got a country-lass to let him
take her clothes, and thus escaped.

According to the Entry-book of French prisoners-of-war on parole at
Moreton (now in London at the Public Record Office) twenty-eight arrived
in 1807: four of them (a Navy captain and three midshipmen) broke their
parole on 27, 28 September--the Entry-book says ‘run’: another
midshipman ‘ran’ in 1809, another one remained till 1810, and a general
(Rochambeau) and his servant remained till March 1811; but all the rest,
and nine new-comers, left in May 1808, and no more came till March 1810.
In that month ninety-three arrived, and fifty others before October. One
of them died there, and thirty-three ‘ran,’ including eight captains,
eight commanders, and fourteen other Navy officers. They mostly ‘ran’ in
batches: six on 28 October and seven on 21 December 1810, five on 18
January and four on 26 January, and six on 11 October 1811. Fifteen of
the others left in 1810, forty-four in 1811, and the remaining fifty in
February 1812.

Up to October 1810 the prisoners-of-war at Moreton were chiefly Navy
men; but in that month a hundred and twenty-eight arrived, and these
were chiefly Army men. In the Entry-book seventy-one of them are marked
‘General Dupont’s Army, Spain.’ (This army had capitulated at Baylen, 20
July 1808.) Only one of these men ‘ran’--he was a surgeon--and the other
seventy left in March 1811 together with thirty-three other Army men who
arrived in October 1810 but are not entered as Dupont’s. Of the other
twenty-four who arrived then, two died, two ‘ran,’ two left in 1811 and
eighteen in February 1812. There were only twenty-eight arrivals from
November 1810 to March 1812: four of them ‘ran,’ ten left during 1811
and seven in February 1812, after which date a general (Reynaud) and six
others were the only prisoners remaining, and they all left in November
1812. There were no more prisoners there until May 1814: then
forty-three arrived, and these very soon left.

This gives a total of 379 French prisoners-of-war on parole at Moreton
at one time or another; and the greatest number at any one time was 250
at the beginning of 1811. Rochambeau was the best known of them--he came
out in full uniform on hearing of any French successes. He had been
commander-in-chief at San Domingo, capitulated there in 1803 and was not
exchanged till 1811, and in 1813 he was killed at Leipzig.

The three who died at Moreton were buried in the churchyard, and the
tombstone of lieutenant Arnaud Aubry is still there, but I cannot now
find the tombstones of the other two, lieutenant Louis Quaintain and
midshipman Jean François Rohan. The tombstones were there not long ago,
and must have been destroyed or carried off--nothing is safe now from a
curiosity hunter in a motor car. Out at Dartmoor prison the graves were
all obliterated in the following thirty years while the place was
uninhabited and derelict; and the present monument, for all the French
who died there, was not erected until 1865.

It has no names; and till these last few years there was no notion of
commemorating people individually because they fell in a great war. We
see monuments to Wellington and Nelson and other great commanders, and
neat marble tablets in old parish churches to officers who happened to
be squires, but never any record of the rank and file. We do not know
who went from here to serve with Wellington or Nelson or Marlborough or
Drake; and this is all the more annoying as we have lists of all the men
here who ‘protested’ in 1641: see page 68. There will be lists enough of
those who fell in this last war, thanks to all the busybodies who
disguised their own pet schemes as War Memorials.

They pulled down the old Market House at Moreton to make way for their
War Memorial there. The structure was an upstair room supported on
granite columns and sheltering the open space between them; and it was a
four-sided room with the corners rounded off, eight of the columns
standing at the eight points where the sides began to curve. It was not
a masterpiece of architecture; but it looked quite comfortable in its
surroundings there until a new public-library was built on one side of
it and a new public-house on the other, and then it looked like one of
the New Poor between two Profiteers. If they were bent on pulling down
the room, they might at least have left the granite columns and the
architrave, put on a roof, and placed their War Memorial in the space
below; or if the space seemed disproportionately large, they could have
moved the columns closer in.

This is a granite country; and if men are to be commemorated here, their
names should be inscribed on granite. But cutting names on granite slabs
costs more than casting them on metal plates: so an inscription was
cast, an ungainly piece of granite was put up, and the metal plate fixed
on. That is the War Memorial for which the Market House was swept away.
It is like a notice-board. The metal thing at Bovey is like a
kitchen-fender. There is an old town-cross there, and this unsightly
piece of metal has been fixed on round its base; and the medieval
mouldings were chiselled away in order to fit this on. No doubt, the
cross was not intact before: it had been restored, removed from its old
site, and set up on a new substructure. But that was all done by a
gifted architect who saw exactly how to gain a great effect; and this
addition just spoils it.

They cut down an old oak tree at Newton to make way for a War Memorial
there; and it was a well-known tree, one of the landmarks of the place.
The memorial is a classic column with a figure of Victory on the top. If
people want that sort of thing, they would get far better results by
copying some ancient masterpiece, instead of carrying out an ancient
notion in a modern way. In this case they might have tried a restoration
of the figure of Victory by Pæonios, together with its pedestal. It is
a triangular pedestal, about twenty feet high, and exactly suited to the
site, which is a triangle between three roads.

There is an excellent precedent in Vitruvius, II. 8. 15, for dealing
with a War Memorial. Artemisia captured the city of Rhodes about 350
B.C. and put up a War Memorial there, comprising two bronze figures:
one, a portrait of herself, in the act of scourging the other, a
personification of the city. After the Rhodians had driven her out, they
wanted to remove this War Memorial; but they had scruples, as it had
been consecrated. So they decided that the site was holy ground on which
no foot might tread, and therefore built a wall round it; and they made
the wall so high that nobody could see the War Memorial.

In such figures as Rhodes, personified, the ancients had a great
advantage over us, as they were all accustomed to these
personifications. We have only John Bull for England, and Britannia for
the British Isles. There is nothing Britannic about Britannia: she is
merely Athenê holding Poseidon’s trident instead of her own spear. John
Bull is out of date: one cannot imagine that worthy person using any
weapon but his fists; and there would be very little dignity in a
pugilistic group of John Bull knocking out the German Michael. Some
sculptor should create a type that really would personify England.

Though personification appears to be a lost art now, it may (I think)
come into vogue again. Sooner or later, landscapes will be photographed
in colours with such perfection that no artist could do more. Then the
artist will either turn photographer and go out with a camera and wait
for days or weeks till he can catch the right effect, just as
photographers wait now for untamed birds and beasts in pictures of wild
life; or else the artist will go back to the old Greek plan,
personifying clouds and hills and streams and all the other features of
the landscape--not (I hope) just copying the ancient type of river-gods
and nymphs and fauns, but creating new types of his own. I should much
like to see the river Wrey personified: a lithe figure dancing merrily
but with great reserve of strength.

Wreyland would be quite unlike the river Wrey, if they were both
personified in human shape: it would be more like Autumn, as portrayed
by Keats, “sitting careless on a granary floor, ... or on a half-reaped
furrow sound asleep, ... or by a cider-press.” The ‘half-reaped furrow’
would be a fitting symbol of the projects that are undertaken here with
so much zeal and then abandoned incomplete. And the figure would embody
all the lethargy and drowsiness that come of this relaxing air.

Time seemed to be of very little value when I first knew the place.
After the railway had been made (1866) my grandfather took his time from
the station clock--he could see the hands with his big telescope,
looking over from a stile near here. Till then he took it from the
sun-dial: he writes to my father, 16 January 1853, “My watch has taken
to lose lately: unfortunately the sun does not give me an opportunity to
see about the time.... I shall depend on my own time as soon as the sun
will give it me.” Though the sun gave him his time, he allowed for the
equation; but many of the people here ignored the difference between
mean time and solar time. The equation varies from fourteen minutes one
way to sixteen minutes the other; and a variation of only half an hour
was hardly worth considering in a sleepy place like this. He writes on
14 January 1851, “My watch kept stopping and brought me late to meals,
and I had the frowns of the folks: so returned to the old one, which is
sure to bring me home in time, as it gains a half-hour in a day.”

After the railway came, the trains proclaimed the hours, as most people
knew the time-tables approximately, calling the 8.19 the 8, the 11.37
the 12, etc.--odd minutes did not count. As the trains upon this branch
were ‘mixed,’ partly passenger and partly goods, there generally was
some shunting to be done; but this caused no delay, as the time-tables
allowed for it. If there was no shunting, the train just waited at the
station till the specified time was up. The driver of the evening train
would often give displays of hooting with the engine whistle while he
was stopping here, and would stay on over time if the owls were
answering back.

The engines on this branch were quite unequal to their work, and there
were no effective brakes then. Coming down the incline here, trains
often passed the station; and passengers had to walk from where their
train had stopped. My grandfather writes to my father, 12 March 1867,
“On Saturday we had a runaway on the rails. The train passed here at 4
o’clock with two carriages two trucks and a van, and could not get on
further than Sandick road, so unhooked the trucks, and was not careful
to secure them, and they went off and passed the station full 40 miles
an hour. I was at the stile when they passed. Luckily did no harm and
stopped at Teigngrace, and the engine came back and fetched them.” I
once saw a goods train stopping at the station here, most of it upon the
level, but the tail end not clear of the incline; and as soon as
couplings were undone for shunting, the tail end started off with all
the other trucks that were behind the couplings. It is a single line,
and up and down trains pass at Bovey; and the runaway ran past there.
Luckily, no train was coming up.

I fancied that this line was worked in rather an easy-going way, but I
found the Eskdale line quite beat it. I took that line from Ravenglass
to Beckfoot, 19 August 1906, and there was a carriage-full of bee-hives
on the train. Besides stopping at the stations, the driver stopped at
places where the bees would make good heather-honey; and the guard got
out and fixed the hives there, two or three at one place, one or two at
another, and so on.--It is a little line of 3-foot gauge, built in 1875
for bringing iron ore from Boot, and quite transformed since 1906: it is
now worked as a toy for trippers, with model engines representing
engines for expresses on main lines.

When it was a novelty here, our line had great attractions for young men
and boys, and many of them left their work upon the land. I lost sight
of one family for thirty years or more, and on inquiry I found their
history was this--“Well, one of’n went on the line, and he become a
station-master; and ‘nother, he went on the line, and he become a
ganger; and t’other, he were a-runned over by a train; and so, as us may
say, they was all connected with the railway.”

Bovey has a fire-engine, but no horses for it: so the engine is not sent
to fires. This does not matter much to people living near the
water-mains, as there is pressure enough for working with a stand-pipe
and a hose, and the fire-brigade can come by car. People living further
off have been instructed what to do, 6 August 1920, “The Parish Council
feel it is their duty to notify all or any persons requiring the Fire
Brigade with Engine that they must take the responsibility of sending a
Pair of Horses for the purpose of conveying the Engine to and from the
Scene of the Fire.” Motors are superseding horses, even here; and the
horses that remain cannot take the fire-engine at more than a funereal
pace. If a motor car or lorry towed it, there would probably be an upset
in coming down steep lanes; and a motor fire-engine is a costly thing to
buy.

After motoring over to Moreton from Okehampton, a distance of twelve
miles, a man told me that he had met no horses all the way--a camel and
an elephant were the only beasts he met. The explanation was, a
wild-beast show was going round the towns just then, and these beasts
had to walk. There was a salamander in one of these wild-beast shows,
and an old lady here described it to me as ‘a noxious critter as they
calls a Sammy Maunder.’ Sammy Maunder was a Lustleigh boy--died in the
War--and had played tricks on her; and she thought his fame had spread.
She used to call him ‘an anointed one.’ Shakespeare says, ‘Aroint thee,
Witch’; and I suspect she meant ‘arointed.’

I once had a letter from Jamrach’s informing me that they were now in a
position to execute my esteemed order for antelopes. I had not ordered
any antelopes or any other creatures, and found the letter was intended
for a man whose name came next to mine in an alphabetical court-guide. I
often have letters from foreign booksellers addressed to me as Monsieur
Torresq--I suppose ‘Torr Esq’ has been misprinted in some list they
use--and I have had one from a dealer in antîkas addressed to me as Torr
Bey: also a local letter addressed to Thistletor Squire, as if I were a
Dartmoor hill as well as being Torbay.

There is a Seven Lords’ Land four miles from here; and if you go up
there from Bovey, you pass Five Witches on the way. There is a Four
Lords’ Land near Combe Martin, and the four were joint lords of a manor
there; and Wreyland might likewise have become Four Ladies’ Land, had
the last lord Dynham’s sisters all outlived him. I suppose the seven
were joint lords of a manor, but I have no record of the fact. Prosaic
people say the witches were wych elms.

There were Seven Men of Chudleigh; and the wonder is they never called
themselves the Septemvirs, seeing that the schoolmaster called himself
Gymnasiarch. There were Four Men of Chagford, Eight Men of Moreton, and
other Men of other parish towns. In 1670, when small change was scarce,
tokens were issued by the Moreton Men, inscribed, “Ye 8 Men and Feeffees
of Morton.” As feoffees they held the parish lands in trust; and in 1756
the sole surviving Man enfeoffed thirteen new Men, and they agreed that
if ‘by their mortality’ they should ever be reduced to one, this one
should enfeoff not less than seven more; but the agreement was not kept,
and the parish lands passed to the last survivor’s heir-at-law as sole
trustee. These parish lands were the church-house, the school-house, the
almshouse, two public-houses called the White Swan and the Sun, and a
rent-charge of 6_s._ 8_d._ Like many other public-houses, the White Swan
became the Union in 1801 in honour of the United Kingdom and the new
Union Jack. A public-house at Bovey has suffered a more drastic change.
It was called the King of Prussia in 1760 in honour of Frederick the
Great, but in 1914 the obnoxious word was painted out at once: for some
while it was ‘The King Of,’ and now it has a brand-new name.

Two fields in Bovey are called the Portreve’s parkes: a Tracey gave them
to this Bovey (Bovey Tracey) as endowment for a banquet at the beating
of the bounds. But the Charity Commissioners have flouted the pious
donor’s wishes, and the rents are now applied to praiseworthy prosaic
purposes. Till these Commissioners came, the bounders all rode horses
decked with ribbons and flowers; and it was called the Mayor’s Riding.
And now we all trudge round on foot, and are reduced to ginger-beer and
buns.

There was a story of a landowner near here going to an Exeter lawyer in
great alarm, “That scoundrel ***** has forged a Mortgage on my land,”
and the lawyer soothing him, “Well, we can forge a Reconveyance.” Such
documents could not be forged successfully except by lawyers or their
clerks, but anyone can forge a Will. Forgery, however, is not what
disappointed relatives suggest, at any rate in Devon: they always say
the Will has been destroyed by someone who would profit by a former Will
or an Intestacy. The thing is done, though rarely; but such suggestions
are quite lightly made, as if it were a thing that anyone would do if he
just had the chance. About twenty years ago a farmer told me that a
certain person had destroyed the Reconveyance of a Mortgage on his farm.
As he said he had the Mortgage, I asked to see it, and found the
Reconveyance was endorsed on it. He thought the Reconveyance was a
separate document, and seemed annoyed at finding that the other man was
not as great a villain as he thought.

Two masons who did not like each other, were working at a granite wall
that I was building here in 1906. Hearing angry voices, I went down and
found one of them accusing the other of having stolen his spirit-level.
I asked him where he used it last, and told him to take a few stones off
the wall just there--I knew the way he worked--and there was the
spirit-level in the mortar underneath a stone. He had put it there and
overlooked it, and now was vexed to find he had no charge to make
against the other man.

Thefts are very rare here. If there are goods or parcels for anyone who
does not live near a main road, they are put down on the wayside where
his road turns off, and he comes over to fetch them. There was a sad
case some while ago--near Ipplepen, if I remember right. A man came over
on a Monday to fetch some things that had been left for him on the
Saturday; and they had gone. And people shook their heads and wondered
what the world was coming to, if you couldn’t leave things by the
wayside from a Saturday to a Monday without their being carried off.

In going to the Scilly islands in 1907 part of my luggage went astray at
Penzance between the railway-station and the pier. I reported this at
the police-station, thinking that the things might have been stolen; but
the inspector seemed quite hurt at the suggestion, and answered, “No,
sir, we have no thieves here.” (The things were found at an hotel, but
not until the boat had left.) There was no policeman in the Scillies: no
thieves there, and when sea-faring men got drunk, the coastguard quelled
them down. So also at Sark I found no policeman on the island, and no
need for one, as the Seigneur sent unsatisfactory people into exile.
Afghanistan was likewise kept in order in this autocratic way, but by
more drastic means: an old Anglo-Indian explained to me that if a man
was even suspected of committing a crime there, the Ameer would have him
beheaded at once.

Of course, apples are not quite safe here. One of my neighbours had an
orchard from which he got no fruit at all; and nobody would buy the
crop, as it was always picked by someone else. At last the local
policeman bought it; and this caused such a scare among the boys that
they left the fruit alone. One does not so much grudge the fruit they
take as the damage that they do in taking it--small boys will break a
branch off a young tree to get a little fruit. At one time cider apples
were secure; but in these democratic days boys think one apple as good
as another, and eat sorts that their forefathers would never touch.
Cider apples are not good to eat, and if you eat them, you will have
less cider; and this was possibly a reason why the wise old folk avoided
them.

Cider is perhaps less safe here than the apples, especially if there are
converted drunkards or teetotalers about. In a fit of temporary insanity
a man will take the pledge and let everybody know that he has taken it.
After that he cannot decently buy cider or accept it, if it is offered
to him; but he cannot do without it, and therefore has to steal. A man
of that sort took to preaching in the open air here; and when people
interrupted with, “Who stealed that zider?” his language was
un-pulpity.

In the War years, when things had to drift, some of my cider turned so
sour that I sold it to a firm of vinegar-makers. It really was vinegar
already, and needed no more making; but there was a duty of 4_d._ a
gallon on the sale of cider, and no duty on the sale of vinegar: so I
had to prove to the Excise that I was selling vinegar, not cider. One of
the Excise officials came here, to prove that it was cider; and I wish I
had a snap-shot of the face he made at tasting it. The duty has been
taken off now (1923) and cider is free again, as it was from 1916 back
to 1830, when the old duties were taken off. The old duties did much
harm in Devon, many of the orchards being rooted up soon after 1763, as
the profit had become a loss. But there will never be a duty or a tax
that does no harm at all.

My grandfather writes to my father, 12 April 1842, “The farmers are
grumbling about Sir Robert Peel’s measures. The shoemakers and the
tanners are all by the ears as well, fearing the French will undersell
them. I told them it was high time, for they had amongst them pocketed
all the duty that was once on leather, and the public had received no
benefit: which their friend Sir Robert saw.” The obnoxious measures were
the Act reducing import duties and the Act imposing income tax, and the
small traders were doubly aggrieved: they were called upon to pay a new
tax to make up for loss of revenue from Customs, and the reduction in
the Customs subjected them to foreign competition.

The tax was 7_d._ in the £, which does not seem much now, though it
seemed heavy when the tax was new; but it was the assessment, rather
than the payment, that caused the irritation. A friend of my father’s
writes to him from Moreton, 5 January 1843, “They have been most unjust
and tyrannical here: those that appealed were scarcely permitted to say
a word.... The poor people having a small house each have been assessed,
and have been obliged either to dance attendance at appeals at
Crockernwell or pay Harvey half-a-crown for letting them off.” I presume
it was well known that these poor people’s incomes were under £150 and
thus exempt from tax.

Income tax, then known as property tax, was brought in as a temporary
measure for the next three years, but was renewed time after time and
finally made permanent. My grandfather writes in the third year, 23
February 1845, “The property tax is an inquisitorial and annoying thing:
a real-property tax would not be so much amiss, even if it were to be
made a permanency: in my opinion they could not levy a better tax.” His
opinion was disinterested, as he had real-property enough for such a tax
to hit him rather hard.

The tax would not yield much, if levied on net receipts: at any rate,
not nearly as much as might have been expected then. He writes on 27
November 1853, “I never heard of land being valued at more than thirty
years in Moreton,” that is, yielding less than 3⅓ per cent.; but on 13
March 1868 he writes, “I can say safely that no property that has been
sold in this neighbourhood for above twenty years past is paying over 2½
p. ct. and some not over 2 p. ct. nor will it.” Ten years later (after
he was dead) there was a greater fall.

Our present income tax supposes that the net receipts from land will be
just double the rent. The owner pays the tax upon the rent, and the
occupier pays the tax upon the other half, that is, his supposed profits
after paying the rent. He pays no more if his real profits are more than
the supposed amount, and pays less if they are less. As the occupier
usually rents the land to make a living out of it, he tries to make as
large a profit as he can; and large profits may mean reckless farming
that impoverishes the land. But when the owner occupies the land
himself, he may try to make as small a profit as he can, if he will
thereby benefit the land. Suppose his net receipts are 20_s._ above the
rental value, he pays 4_s._ 6_d._ in income tax and possibly as much or
more in super tax; but he escapes these payments if he farms more
prudently and thus reduces these net receipts to 0. He benefits the land
to the extent of 20_s._ at a net cost of only 15_s._ 6_d._, or possibly
no more than 10_s._ Taxes seem to be imposed without foreknowledge of
their full effect.

In principle a tax on incomes is quite wrong: it ought to be a tax upon
expenditure--not a penalty on amassing wealth, but a penalty on
frittering wealth away--and import duties are a tax upon expenditure, as
they are finally paid out of prices. Yet smuggling seems to be regarded
as a game of skill, a sort of hide-and-seek in passengers’ luggage: the
hider need not betray the lair, if the seeker cannot find it. I have
seen this smuggling done by people of great probity, not because the
payment would have hurt them, but just (I think) because the searching
was a challenge to their skill. And once I met some foreigners on the
Mont Cenis line smuggling things out of Italy into France, and not only
priding themselves upon their skill but also on their merit in the sight
of Heaven, as the things were destined for a convent or a church. They
seemed to think that Heaven had helped them in dodging the douaniers;
and I rather wondered if their confessors would take that view or would
enjoin them to send conscience-money to the State.

While travelling in Switzerland in 1840, my father found a firm of
watch-makers who would deliver gold Geneva watches in London at prices
that did not allow for duty. When he wanted to make a handsome present,
he would send over for a watch, and friends sometimes asked him to send
for watches for them. He never enquired how the watches came, nor did
his friends enquire; but one man (a diplomatist) took some pains to find
out, and the explanation was, “We usually smuggle them in some
diplomatist’s baggage, as that is not examined; and in this instance we
smuggled them in your Excellency’s own.”

My father got my grandfather an English watch in London in 1850, and my
grandfather did not consider it as good as one that he had chosen for
himself in 1807. That always was the trouble about getting things for
people here. A century ago Newton was a smaller place than Ashburton,
and Torquay was smaller still; and though there were good shops at
Exeter, they were not like the London shops. If people did not want to
go up there themselves, they had to get some friend up there to choose
things for them; and this was an invidious task, as they did not always
like his choice, and then said unkind things about his judgement or his
taste.

When my father was in London, his country friends were never shy of
telling him of things they wanted done; and sometimes these were rather
troublesome things to do. One friend (a lady) writes to him from
Leicestershire, 15 February 1848, “We have a Ball here on next Thursday
evening. Shall I be asking too great a liberty from you to procure some
flowers for that occasion from Covent Garden?” Another writes from
Exeter in the autumn of 1842, “I am obliged to give the Mayor a dinner
next week.... Will you enquire the price of a haunch of venison at
Burch’s and also turtle soup, a quart, and whilst you are about it, will
you ask at Myer’s, I think--the great fish man in Vulture Court--the
price of a turbot for about twelve, as I believe good fish is cheaper in
London than here, and a certainty of getting it, which is not so here.”

The most naïve of all requests is from an Admiral who had just gone on
the Retired List and found time heavy on his hands. He writes to my
father, 15 April 1872, “You will perhaps be able to tell me if I am
eligible to sit on the special jury they will most likely have in the
coming Tichborne trial: several Naval men were on the last.... What
steps, if any, should I take to get on the list?” I expect the reply was
an extinguisher.

There is a very complete extinguisher here, addressed to a relative of
mine, the husband of my mother’s eldest sister. “Stratfield saye Nov. 27
1838 The Duke of Wellington presents his Compliments to Mr. Drummond and
has received his Letter. The Duke begs leave to inform Mr. Drummond that
he is not the Commander in Chief of the Army or in political office; he
has no Patronage Power or Influence, & he has no means whatever at his
disposal of forwarding Mr. Drummond’s views in any manner.” It is the
old Duke’s writing, not dictated.

I have always envied the Drummonds their pedigree, a thoroughgoing
Scottish pedigree, showing their descent from Attila, King of the Huns.
But I am still more envious of my Urquhart cousins. They have a pedigree
showing their descent from Alcibiades, whose son (being incensed at the
Athenians’ unjust treatment of his father) migrated out of Athens into
Ireland.

Among my family papers I found a document of 19 June 13 Elizabeth (1571)
quoting one of 24 March in the preceding year--“Symon Knyghte of the
Cittie of Exceter, marchaunte, hathe graunted unto Richard Wannell of
Moreton Hampsteede, gent, one annuytye or yearly rente of twenty poundes
during the naturall lyef of the said Richard and after his deathe unto
Katheryne, his wief, duringe the terme of fouerscore yeares yf she so
longe lyve.” Knight now lends Wannell £110 on bargain and sale of this
annuity as security for repayment, such bargain and sale to be utterly
frustrated and void, “yf yt shall happen the said Richard Wannell to
contente and paye unto the said Symon Knyghte in the now mansion house
of the said Symon in the citty aforesaid in the xxiiijth daye of Auguste
nexte ensuing the date of these presents betweene the houers of one and
fower of the clock in the afternoone of the said daye thirtie eight
poundes eleven shillings and fouer pence of lawfull Englishe money at
one enteere paymente withoute fraude or delaye and in the firste daye of
Nouember nexte ensuinge in the said house and betweene the said howers
the full some of other thirty eighte poundes eleven shillings and fower
pence and also yf the said Richard Wannell in the seconde daye of
Auguste next ensuinge the date hereof doo delyver or cause to bee
delivred unto the said Symon Knyghte fyfteene hundreds of coyned white
tynne good and marchantable without the letter H every hundred wayinge
sixscore poundes at and accordinge to the Queenes Maiesties beame at
Chagford.”

This letter H is mentioned in a document of 3 April 10 Henry VII (1495)
by which the Duke of Cornwall--Prince Arthur, elder brother of Henry
VIII--confirmed a set of by-laws: printed in Rowe’s _Perambulation of
Dartmoor_, appendix XV. “Also that no man from hensforth make no synder
tynne after that it is wartered, be it allayed with oder tynne or not
allaide, or eny oder manner of harde tynne without it be marked with
this letter H as well as with the markes of the owners and blowing
howses.” (Blowing houses were blast furnaces for smelting tin.) “Also
that th’owners of everye blowing howse shal bryng a certen marke of his
blowing howse to the court of the Stayniery within the precinct wher the
said blowing howse is sett, to the entent that al suche markes may be
drawen in a boke.... Also that every owner of tynne that shal bring
tynne into ony blowing howse to be blowen and fyned shal bryng a certen
marke in to the said court, ther to be put in a boke.” (Tin was ‘coined’
by stamping these marks on it, so that the owners and blowers could be
identified.) “And if it shal happen from hensforth ony marchaunt to bye
eny false tynne and so to be disseyved,” the warden shall compel the
owners and the blowers of it “to satisfye the marchaunt of al suche
hurte and damage as he hath take by such false tynne.”

These by-laws had been “enacted and establysshed by the hole body of the
Stayniery in the high court of Crockerntorr” on 11 September. This court
was composed of the Duchy officials for Devon with twenty-four jurors
from each of the four Stannary towns in Devon; and it held its sittings
in the open air on Crockerntor, a Dartmoor hill about midway between the
towns, say, nine miles from Tavistock, ten from Chagford, ten from
Ashburton, and thirteen from Plympton. And besides this high court
(magna curia) there was a court in each of these four towns for its own
quarter of the Stannaries. In his _Survey of Devon_ Risdon says of
Chagford, “This place is priviledged with many immunities which tinners
enjoy, and here is holden one of the courts for Stannery causes”; and he
mentions a catastrophe that happened in his time. The court-house stood
on pillars; and on 6 March 1618 these pillars gave way at a crowded
sitting of the court, the building ‘rent in sunder’ and the walls fell
in, killing ten people and injuring many more.

The old courts and their jurisdiction sank slowly into insignificance as
the amount of tin grew less. Mine after mine was given up, and very
little tin is raised in Devon now--it can be got more easily by mining
in Nevada. But all round Dartmoor there are remains of the old works,
showing what a scene of industry it must have been. There was a blowing
house near here: it was in Lustleigh parish and was known as Caseleigh
blowing house. Caseleigh mine was for micaceous iron, which has only
little bunches of tin ore in it; but tin may have been brought from the
Peck Pits a couple of miles away.

A small Venetian coin was dug up at Lustleigh in the spring of 1922 in a
garden about fifty yards west of the church tower; and this may be
connected with the trade in tin. It is a silver ‘soldino’ of Leonardo
Loredano, whose features are well known in England from Bellini’s
portrait of him in the National Gallery. He was Doge from 1501 to 1521,
and the moneyer’s initials (P.C. for Piero Cocco) show that the coin was
struck between the summer of 1501 and the summer of 1502. At that period
a squadron of armed gallies made a voyage from Venice to England almost
every year; and they brought merchandise for sale here, and took back
other merchandise, including tin. Their usual port was Southampton; but
in Sanuto’s Diary, 9 March 1504, there is a note of their going to
Falmouth, and they probably went to other ports as well. The coin may
have come over in the gallies, and then found its way to Lustleigh in
the course of trade.

On the Close Rolls there is an entry of a writ, 26 June 1414, stating
that the merchants of Venice who came over in their galleys, used to
bring their own money of Venice, called galley halfpence; and directing
the Mayor of London to enjoin them not to circulate this money
here--they must take it to the Mint to be converted into English coin.
There were many prohibitions of these ‘galey halpenys’, from
Proclamations in 1399 and 1400 to an Act of Parliament in 1519; and
these repeated prohibitions show that there were many such coins about.

Gold moidores from Portugal were afterwards in circulation here at
27_s._ apiece or thereabouts. For a century or so the Courtenay family
received a moidore, in addition to the market price, on granting a new
lease of any copyhold in Moreton Manor; thus, on 27 October 1739 a new
tenant paid £70 “and one moyder of gold.” This manor did not include the
whole of Moreton: there were parts of other manors in the parish; and in
one of these, “the mannour or lordship of Moretonhampstead and North
Bovie,” the custom was pretty much the same. Richard Knight, the lord of
the manor, granted a new lease there on 30 September 1689 for £28 “and a
broad peece of gould,” and another on 1 June 1693 for £12 “and a gennye
of gould.”

My father told me that one day in Exeter he was walking along a street
in which a trench was being dug for laying pipes, and a coin of
Constantine rolled out from a shovelful of earth that was thrown up as
he passed: he gave the workmen sixpence and took the Roman coin. One of
his notebooks gives the date, 6 December 1836; and for several years
before then Roman coins were dug up almost every day, as gas and water
mains were being laid and there was much rebuilding.

In digging for foundations on Bell Hill--the part of South Street
between the turnings into Guinea Street and Bear Street--the workmen
came upon some tesselated pavement, broken bits of Samian ware, and part
of a sistrum of Egyptian green-glazed porcelain. That was in 1833, and
the sistrum is now in Exeter Museum. It has the usual head of Hathor (or
Isis) on each side, and below that a column of hieroglyphic, reading
“neter nefer, neb taui, ...” on one side, and “nesu-bat (Ra ...)” on the
other. The lower part was not found. Many Egyptian kings had cartouches
beginning with ‘Ra’; but the glazing of the sistrum shows that it was
made for one of the kings of Dynasty XXVI somewhere about 600 B.C.

This head of Isis being found upon Bell Hill, some rash antiquaries said
that Bell was really Bel or Baal. But it is a fact that there are traces
of outlandish gods in other parts of England. An inscription has been
found at York (_Corp. Inscr. Lat._ VII. 240) recording the dedication of
a temple to Serapis by the officer commanding the sixth Legion, which
then was stationed there; and two altars have been found at Corbridge
with Greek inscriptions (_Inscr. Græc._ XIV. 2553, 4) dedicating one of
them to Astartê and the other one to Hercules of Tyre. There is a
dedication to this Hercules in the Greek part of a bi-lingual
inscription at Malta (_Inscr. Græc._ XIV. 600) and in the Phœenician
part he is called Baal Melkarth of Tyre. This is the god at whom Elijah
jibed, “he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be
awaked.” He was the guardian of navigation: in the depth of winter all
navigation ceased; and then he went to sleep and made no more journeys
till the festival of his Awakening in the early spring.

Coins of Roman Emperors are sometimes dug up in this neighbourhood. In
1837 a little hoard of them was brought to light on Furzeleigh farm,
three miles from here, while gravel and stone were being dug out to mend
a road; and these were coins of Valerianus, Gallienus, Postumus,
Victorinus, and Claudius Gothicus, whose short and stormy reigns began
and ended between 253 and 270 A.D. Hoards are buried even now.
Countryfolk lose money by bad investments or through the failure of a
bank; and then there is a scare, and many of them convert their savings
into coin, and hide or bury it. Burying is more secure: if money is
merely hidden in the house, the missus may get hold of it and squander
it away--at least, an old man told me so. He buried his (somewhere on
Dartmoor, I believe) and in 1917 he had a stroke and died without ever
telling anybody where it was. And some day somebody will come upon this
hoard of three or four hundred gold coins of Queen Victoria and King
Edward. The coins at Furzeleigh may have been buried there by such a man
some sixteen centuries before; and possibly they represent his savings,
or possibly his robberies and thefts.

Apart from coins, there are few relics of the Romans in any part of
Devon excepting Exeter; and the coins may only prove that there was
plundering or trade. A century before the Romans came, Diodoros was
writing (V. 22) of the natives of these parts as kindly, mannerly folk,
accustomed to dealing with foreigners over their trade in tin. Such
people would make good neighbours, and could be left alone. At the date
of the Antonine Itinerary the Roman roads did not come further west than
Exeter, and probably were not carried on to Land’s End until the reign
of Constantine--his name is on a Roman mile-stone at Saint Hilary, and
his colleague’s name, Licinius, is on another at Tintagel. That was more
than 250 years after Britain was annexed by Claudius; and the wonder is
that the Romans did not make the road before, or that having left it for
so long, they should have made it then. Something must have happened
just before to give occasion for it; and I would hazard a guess that
‘something’ was the subjugation of Britain by Constantius in 296 A.D.
after Carausius and Allectus had held the country for nine years.

The natives here were probably Iberians or Celtiberians, that is, wholly
or partly of the old stock that the Celtic immigrants pushed back into
the west. Tacitus observes in his _Agricola_, II, that the people in the
west of Britain were so like Iberians that anyone would think their
ancestors had come from Spain. He wrote this in 98 A.D., and would have
heard it from Agricola himself, who was many years in Britain. No doubt,
there was a likeness; but there is another explanation of it--the
Iberians had once migrated westward like the Celts, and some of them
migrated into Britain and others into Spain. That seems more likely than
migration here from Spain.

In the Colonies and India there are races quite impervious to our
civilization and living in their own ancestral way; and I imagine that
these natives lived their own lives here regardless of the way the
Romans lived. They were Prehistoric in the sense that they were living
like primeval ancestors of theirs whose history is unknown; but they
were not Prehistoric in the sense of having lived in that far past
themselves, nor are their implements and buildings Prehistoric in that
sense. Yet enormous dates B.C. are given to Prehistoric remains here
which may not be much earlier than 300 A.D., or even as old as that.

Prehistoric remains may often be an obstacle to agriculture when they
are in a field; and thousands of them must have been destroyed to make
way for the plough. They are common enough on Dartmoor and other open
land round here, and probably were just as common on the land that is
enclosed. There are the remains of a little hamlet of hut-circles, with
a rampart round it, on the open land in Lustleigh Cleave a mile from
here; and in a field at Plumleigh, also a mile from here, there were six
hut-circles in a group. When the granite boulders in the field were
being cleared away, four bronze palstaves were found under one boulder
and four under another, all standing up on end. (Two are now in Exeter
Museum; and I remember others on a mantelpiece at Plumleigh, but cannot
find out what became of them.) They were found in 1836; and the six
hut-circles were destroyed soon after, to complete the clearance of the
field. This is not an isolated case, but typical of what is always going
on.

There is only one cromlech left in Devon--the Spinsters’ Stone. It is on
a farm called Shilston, two miles from Drewsteignton, three from
Chagford and nine from here. It consists of a flattish piece of granite
about two feet thick and ten or twelve across, resting on three upright
pieces about six feet high; and altogether it looks rather like a
toadstool with three stems instead of one. In 1862 one of the uprights
slipped away and let the top slide off, but the owner of Shilston had it
set up again; and several people have set up menhirs that had fallen
down. In such cases there can be no mistake; but I should not like to
see a group of fallen stones set up by anyone who had a theory about
Prehistoric things.

There were two rocks in the sea near Dawlish called the Parson and the
Clerk; but the Parson perished in a gale. The sea had undermined him,
and a big wave threw him down. There was no setting him up again, and
the Dawlish people felt the want of him: so they ordained another rock
as Parson with another for his Clerk. And if you go to Dawlish and
inquire for the Parson and the Clerk, you will be directed to a couple
of big rocks that lean up against a cliff; and there are pictures of
these two imposters, not only on the post-cards but even in such books
as the _Devonshire_ volume of the _Cambridge County Geographies_.

The real Parson and Clerk were in the sea off Holecombe headland, half
way from Dawlish to Teignmouth. They were big rocks, more or less of
human shape; and the rock nearer to the headland was a good deal taller
than the other rock further out. There was some point in calling them
the Parson and the Clerk, as the Clerk’s place in churches was in front
of the Parson and somewhat lower down; but there is no point in giving
the name to these imposters, as they are of equal size and side by side
like Siamese Twins. I remember the old Parson very well indeed, and
sometimes feel the loss of him as if he were a personal friend. I fear
that the old Clerk is doomed. He has lost his head, and now looks more
like a mummied cat, as one sees him from the train.

These rocks are ‘new’ red sandstone, and there are others on the coast
with grotesque forms of human figures and heads; and such forms may be
seen in granite rocks at no great distance from the coast. The best is
Bowerman’s Nose, four miles from here and fourteen from the Parson and
the Clerk. (I take ‘nose’ to be the same as ‘naze’ or ‘ness,’ as in
Hope’s Nose at the entrance to Torbay.) In _Dartmoor_, a poem,
Carrington calls Bowerman’s Nose “a granite God, | to whom, in days long
flown, the suppliant knee | in trembling homage bow’d.” He there assumes
that it was in its present shape when there were tribes here who would
worship it; but the shape is due to weathering. In the Dartmoor granite
there are fissures which are widened out by frost and wet until large
blocks become detached and fall away. And this god was created by the
fall of the surrounding granite from four upright fissures. These
enclosed a mass a dozen feet thick and forty high; and there are other
fissures running across this and giving it somewhat the appearance of a
man.

I once took the trouble to go up to Mount Sipylos in Asia Minor to see
the figure of Niobê, 20 April 1882. Homer speaks of it (_Iliad_, XXIV.
617) as Niobê herself, turned into stone, and still brooding on the
wrongs the gods had done her. But the figure has been worn down by
weather to an almost shapeless mass, and it is not big enough to be
impressive. Pausanias went there 1700 years before me, and I can say no
more for it than he says, I. 21. 3: at a distance you might take it for
a human figure, but you must not come too close.

After going to see Niobê, I felt there might be something in what Philo
of Byzantium says at the beginning of his book about the Seven Wonders
of the World--instead of taking troublesome journeys, people had much
better stay at home and read his book. However, I have been to see the
remains of two of the Seven, the Pyramids at Memphis and the Temple of
Diana at Ephesos, and the sites on which two others stood, the Zeus at
Olympia and the Colossos at Rhodes, and the site also of another, the
Pharos at Alexandria, if that is to be reckoned in the Seven.

One wet day when I had visitors here, we happened to be speaking of how
things ran in sevens--the seven planets, the seven liberal arts, the
seven deadly sins, and so on. There were seven of us in the house and we
drew lots, to fill up time until the rain would let us out. When I drew
Gluttony, they said it was appropriate; and we had all said it was
appropriate when a lady with blue stockings drew Astronomy, and again
when she drew Chastity; but it was a little embarrassing when she drew
Lust as well.

The seven planets were Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury
and the Moon; and Pythagoras said these seven and the Firmament of Stars
and our Earth and the other Earth (Antichthon) were all revolving round
a Central Fire. I thought that I had met a follower of his a little
while ago. I said something about the sunlight, and was told that I was
wrong--light did not come from the Sun. I hoped to hear him say that
light came from the Central Fire and was reflected from the Sun, for he
seemed to think that something came from there, as he was sitting in the
shade. But he referred me to the Bible, where it is distinctly said that
Light was created on the first day but the Sun was not created till the
fourth.

Pythagoras fancied that there must be simple ratios for the distances
between the heavenly bodies and the Central Fire, and that the motion of
these bodies would therefore cause harmonious sounds, just as octaves
and fifths and fourths arise from lengths of string with ratios of 1 to
2 and 2 to 3 and 3 to 4. There were two answers to the question why no
one ever heard this Music of the Spheres. Aristotle (_De Cælo_, II. 9)
makes the Pythagoreans say that we all hear it from the moment we are
born, only we never notice it, as it is always going on. (If so, they
must have thought it was a chord and not a tune.) The other answer,
Aristotle’s own, was that there was not anything to hear.

There are many versions of the Music of the Spheres; but judging by what
Ptolemy says (_Harmonica_, III. 16, and _Excerpta Neapolitana_, 2, 24) I
think Pythagoras put the Firmament at 36, Saturn at 32, Jupiter at 24,
Mars at 21⅓, the Sun at 18, Venus at 16, Mercury at 12, the Moon at 9,
the Earth at 8, and (probably) the Antichthon at 6, with the Central
Fire at 0. Thus, if the Firmament gave forth the sound of _f_, the Sun
gave _f_ an octave higher up and the Moon gave _f_ an octave higher
still. Saturn, Venus and the Earth gave _g_ in these three octaves, and
Jupiter, Mercury and the Antichthon gave _c_ in these three octaves
also, while Mars gave _d_ in the lowest octave by itself. And if that is
what these orbs are ‘quiring to the young-eyed cherubins,’ I do not much
regret ‘this muddy vesture of decay’ that hinders me from hearing it.

If the heavenly bodies went round in circles, their notes would never
vary, as the distances would always be the same; but if they go round in
ellipses, their notes will rise and fall with every variation in the
distances. And as soon as Kepler had discovered that the Earth and other
planets make ellipses round the Sun, he set to work to ascertain how far
their notes run up and down the scale; and he published his results in
1619 in his _Harmonice Mundi_, V. 4-9. According to this, Saturn’s note
went up and down a major third, and Jupiter’s went up and down a minor
third; and Jupiter’s note at its lowest was an octave above Saturn’s at
its highest. Similarly, the rise and fall was a fifth for Mars, a
semitone for the Earth, and practically nothing for Venus, as its
ellipse is nearly circular, whereas the long ellipse of Mercury produced
a rise and fall of an octave plus a minor third; and between these
rising and falling notes there were clear intervals of a major sixth
from Mercury to Venus, a minor sixth from Venus to the Earth, a fifth
from the Earth to Mars, and two octaves plus a minor third from Mars to
Jupiter. And of course the trebles played their scales much faster than
the basses, as they go round the Sun in much less time.

Kepler took all this quite seriously, and was convinced that some such
ratios must exist, as the Creator was a neat hand at geometry, “Deus
nihil sine geometrica pulchritudine constituerit,” V. 4. It was the
irony of Fate that in pursuing this absurdity he discovered a great
truth--the Third Law of Motion.

These great Laws are not always put before young minds with due
simplicity: we obscure them by our jargon. All children know that if
they spread a pat of butter on a slice of bread, the bigger the slice
is, the thinner the butter will be. We express this by saying that the
thickness of the butter varies inversely as the surface of the slice.
They can see that the same thing would happen if they had to butter the
outside of a roll or dumpling that was as round as a Dutch cheese. We
say, as before, that the thickness of the butter varies inversely as the
surface of this globe of bread; and as the surface of a globe varies
directly as the square of the distance between the surface and the
centre, we end by saying that the thickness of the butter varies
inversely as the square of the distance. Young minds understand the
butter. Put ‘the force of attraction’ for ‘the thickness of the butter,’
and they will understand the Law of Universal Gravitation, as discovered
by Sir Isaac Newton with the assistance of an apple.

Unluckily this easy way of learning things is like all aids to memory:
more easily picked up than dropped again, when it has served its
purpose. A friend of mine tells me that, out of all his Latin and Greek,
the things that he remembers best are silly little rhymes that he was
taught at school, “Common are to either sex, _Artifex_ and _Opifex_,”
and other stuff like that. When I first went up to Cambridge, I
confounded the Circle at Infinity with the Circular Points at Infinity
till some one drew a circle for me and put two circular points in it
like two eyes in a very fat face, and then added the Line at Infinity
just where the mouth would come. And now I cannot go to Infinity without
seeing this round face grinning at me as the Cheshire Cat grinned at
Alice when she was in Wonderland.

In those days there were old Dons at Cambridge who rampaged like mad
bulls, if you just waved red rags at them. If the Don was Mathematical,
you waved the Method of Projections: if he was Classical, you waved
Archæology. With the Method of Projections a short proof was substituted
for a long proof, and the short proof was exact; but the old men had
always used the long proof, and were indignant that the same results
should

[Illustration: THE HALL HOUSE]

be obtained so easily; and they had influence enough to get the easy
proof prohibited in the Mathematical Tripos. The old Classical men were
just as cross with Archæology. They had learned to understand the
Ancient World by years of patient study of its literature; and here were
upstarts who could understand the Ancient World (perhaps better than
they did) by merely looking at its statues, vases, coins and gems.

I remember two old Mathematicians dining with us; and after dinner they
talked shop, and my father went to sleep in the middle of their talk.
Recovering himself, he said, “I beg pardon, Mr X, I fear I dropped
asleep while you were speaking.” Mr X replied, “Not at all, Mr Torr, not
at all: it was Mr Y who was speaking when you went to sleep.”

At a railway-station Mr X was discoursing to some people on the
mechanism of the locomotive-engine, continuing his discourse till the
train was out of sight; and then he found it was the train he meant to
take. He turned upon a porter for not telling him so; and when the
porter said, “How was I to know where you were going to?”, he
overwhelmed the porter by calling him “You Oaf.”

A girl was singing in a hay-field about the new-mown hay, and Mr Y
rebuked her. If it was only new-mown, it was grass: it would not become
hay till it had undergone a process of fermentation. She looked so sad
that I struck in, saying ‘hay’ meant hedge. (I am not so sure about it
now as I was then; but ‘hay’ sounds very like ‘haie,’ which is the
French for ‘hedge,’ and Anglo-Saxon ‘hæg’ comes down to ‘hay’ as well as
‘dæg’ to ‘day.’) I declared that the grass had been hay from the time
when it was hedged, that is, layed up for mowing; and, getting bolder, I
declared it had been hay ever since the seeds were sown. The distinction
is, you put in grasses that ripen in succession if you are sowing for
pasture, and grasses that ripen simultaneously if you are sowing for
hay. Mr Y said that he did not care for these distinctions, and walked
away repeating ‘fermentation.’ And the girl was singing again.

On roads near Cambridge one often saw Dons walking steadily on till they
came to a mile-stone, touching the stone with their hands, and then
walking just as steadily back. They had found out by experience how many
miles they needed for their afternoon walk, and they always walked that
number of miles, neither more nor less. An undergraduate told me that he
went out for a walk one Saturday afternoon with a foreign Jew, who was
at Cambridge lecturing; and he wondered how the Sabbath Day’s Journey
would work in. Instead of turning back at a mile-stone, the pious man
took out a biscuit, put it down, and then walked on; and he did the same
at every mile-stone that they passed. On getting back, my friend
inquired about the biscuits; and the answer was quite clear--a Sabbath
Day’s Journey is a certain distance from your home; and the Mishnah says
that where your food is, there also is your home. The biscuits were his
food, and every mile-stone was his home.

In 1882 the Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge brought out a book
on _The Hebrew Text of the Old Covenant_, two volumes and upwards of
1200 pages; and I used to see it at the house of a friend of mine, who
died some years ago. Wishing to look at it again, I asked a bookseller
to get it for me, but he could not hear of a copy of it anywhere, either
new or second-hand: so I had the University Library copy sent down to me
from Cambridge. Though it had been in the Library for close on forty
years, there were only two pages in the whole of it that had their edges
cut. Of course, a prophet is without honour in his own country, and
Jarrett was only a minor prophet; but it seems strange that nobody had
curiosity enough to see more of the book.

There was a Professor at Oxford at whose blunders people laughed,
forgetting that his blunders were only a by-product of a large output of
learning. But once, when I was joining others in the laugh, we were all
reduced to silence by a question from a friend of his, “Do any of you
know of any other man in England who would sit for two hours up to his
neck in a Syrian sewer in order to copy an inscription?”

There was also a Don I went to see whenever I was in Oxford--he was
always ready for a talk on Dante or Strabo--and I usually found him
seated in an easy-chair exactly in front of the fire with Minos and
Rhadamanthus seated on foot-stools on each side of it. They were cats;
and he had given them these names (when kittens) on returning from a
tour in Crete. He had travelled a good deal, and was able to tell me
that Albanians really had got tails--a fact that I had never been able
to ascertain. The tails are very short, only the last few bones of the
spine; and they are only on people whose Pelasgian ancestry has not been
swamped by intermarrying with other races.

In my brother’s time at Cambridge there was a story of a Senior Wrangler
lecturing an undergraduate for forty minutes on the theory of the common
pump, and the undergraduate then asking him, “But why does the water go
up?” There were men like that who could not get their knowledge out, and
there were other men who could--it came down like a thunderstorm that
goes streaming off the surface and does not sink into the ground. They
did not teach you much of what they meant to teach, but every now and
then they would come out with something that implied a mode of reasoning
or a point of view which was entirely new to you. And these illuminating
things made up for all the rest.

There is talk enough now of the training of teachers and the art of
teaching. These men had no such training, and would have scoffed at it
as a mere trick by which a silly man could make the most of what he
knew. And possibly there are schoolteachers now whose knowledge would
look small unless they made the most of it. Education now means
class-rooms, attendances, inspections, salaries, and such like things,
and very little of what it used to mean; and I fear that it may someday
meet the fate of monasteries under Henry VIII. The monasteries saved
learning from extinction in the depths of the Dark Ages, and afterwards
they were the guardians of the poor: yet they were all swept away, for
no shortcomings of their own, but just because there were so many of
them that they ate the country up.

I remember an old lady saying it would be horrible if her maids could
read--she would not be able to leave her letters lying about. That was
before the Education Act of 1870, but was only a faint echo of things
said in 1807. “From the first dawning of that gracious benevolence,
which issued spontaneously from the bosoms of their present Majesties,
in promoting the instruction of the poor by the establishment of Sunday
Schools, the Surveyor has looked forward with a sort of dread to the
probable consequences of such a measure.” That is on page 465 of _A
General View of the Agriculture of the County of Devon_ by Charles
Vancouver, Surveyor to the Board of Agriculture. It also says, page 469,
“How will it be possible to suppress communications and a concert among
the multitude, when they are all gifted with the means of corresponding
and contriving schemes of sedition and insurrection with each other?...
The Surveyor thus respectfully submits to the consideration of the
Honourable Board the propriety of opposing any measures that may
rationally be supposed to lead to such a fatal issue.” But in some ways
he was right. If there is agriculture, there must be labourers. He
preferred “exciting a general emulation to excel in all their
avocations,” page 468, rather than making them despise these avocations
without fitting them for any others.

When the Education Act was passed in 1870, nobody expected more than the
three R’s and nobody expected less--I remember what a talk there was
about it at the time--but more has been attempted and much less has been
done, at any rate, in village schools. There is the child that can’t
learn, and the child that won’t. Not many years ago a small girl in the
village made up her mind that she wouldn’t learn no Readin’ nor ‘Ritin’
and couldn’t learn no ‘Rithmetic; and she didn’t learn ’n, though she
made attendances and thereby earned the school some money in the shape
of Government grants. But she did not look far enough ahead. She was
quite happy without her R’s till she came to the age of Flirtation; but
then she found she could not read the little notes that she received,
nor write notes in reply; and she did not much like asking other folk to
read her the contents of notes that were intended for herself alone. And
so she found that education has its uses after all. But even if it has
its uses, it also has its risks: at least, some people think so. An old
man here was asked to witness the execution of a Deed, and signed the
Attestation with very great misgivings. “There now, if ’t ’ad bin for
anyone but you, I’d ’ve bin mazin’ coy o’ that. I’ve heerd of men
a-losin’ thousan’s by just settin’ hand to paper.” A man here, not much
older than myself, escaped all schooling and has prospered greatly; and
he tells me he has never set hand to paper, and this is why he is so
prosperous. When people sign agreements, they do not always see the full
effect of them; and he avoids that risk. He signs nothing but his
cheques, and they are often for substantial sums.

Children now know many things of which their grandfathers had never
heard, but I doubt their being so observant or so shrewd: they get too
much from print. There was a very cultivated man who was often in this
neighbourhood some years ago, and he delighted in reading novels about
Devon and the West, but was quite unconscious that he was in the midst
of the real thing. He was so accustomed to getting his impressions out
of books that he had lost the power of getting them in any other way.
The children have not come to that, and never may; but they are being
overdosed with books. There is a history in use at Lustleigh school that
gives three chapters to the times before the Romans came: the Stone and
Bronze and Iron Ages. But here at Lustleigh we have the real thing close
at hand--there are hut-circles within a mile of the school, and at
Torquay, only fifteen miles away, there is Kent’s Cavern itself and a
Museum containing what was found there, the best evidence in England for
the Stone Age periods. Children would learn a great deal more by seeing
the real thing than they will ever learn by reading of it in a book. And
books are sometimes wrong. This history says that the Britons came over
here about 400 B.C., and it calls them Britons all through the chapter;
but another history (in the same series) always calls these people
Celts, and says that the Britons were a cross-breed between the Celtic
invaders and the old inhabitants. Which of these statements are the
children to believe?

I have lately been looking through the books that are in use in
Lustleigh school. One of them, a geography of the World, makes the
Bosporos wider than the Dardanelles. It might be better not to teach
geography at all than teach it wrong. Another one, a geography of
Europe, goes out of its way to say that Marseilles is one of the oldest
cities in the Mediterranean. This is quite untrue--Marseilles was not
founded until 600 B.C.--and even if it were true, it would not be a
thing worth teaching to children in an elementary school here. In
another one, a geography of England and Wales, the first chapter starts
with this--“Our country really forms a part of the Continent of Eurasia,
though not now joined to it. Eurasia is the name given to the Continents
of Europe and Asia. Eurasia is only separated from the Continent of
Africa by a canal.” Well, at the geological period when our country was
joined to the Continent, Africa also was joined to it near Gibraltar and
near Sicily: so, if our country really forms a part of the Continent,
Africa must really form a part of it as well. And the word Eurasia could
not possibly mean Europe and Asia: it is only the jargon of
half-educated men.

Logically one may begin geography with Space, the Solar System, our
rotating globe, the oceans and the continents, and so on; but children
may do better by beginning at the other end with maps of places where
they live. I have sent Lustleigh school a map of Lustleigh, 6 ft. wide
and 4 ft. high, Ordnance Survey, 25 inches to the mile, or one square
inch for each square acre, with the acreage of all the fields and
gardens printed on them. On that map the children see their homes and
other things they know; and having seen how these are mapped, they get a
better notion of what maps really mean. A map is easily misunderstood.
At one point the Bosporos is less than half a mile in width--no wider
than the estuary of the Teign--and thus would be invisible on ordinary
maps unless its width was much exaggerated. With this exaggeration and
different colouring on each side, the maps make people think there is a
great gulf fixed between the Europeans and the Asiatics there; whereas,
as all Levantines say, Europe really ends at the Balkans.

Another of those school-books says that the beginning of a letter (my
dear So-and-so) is to be called the Salutation, and the address is to be
called the Superscription. That is a pretty bit of pedantry for a
village school. It also says that words of opposite meaning, such as
‘far’ and ‘near,’ are known as Antonyms. That is jargon, and quite
wrong. (Antonyms could only be produced by antonomasia, and therefore
would be substituted words, like ‘Carthaginis Eversor’ for Scipio and
‘Iron Duke’ for Wellington.) The authors of those books all claim
experience in the art of teaching; but that does not make up for their
imperfect knowledge of the subjects they have taught. What is the good
of teaching children that the reign of George the Third “was marked by
disaster and disgrace”? They have heard of Trafalgar and of Waterloo.
Yet one of their school-books says this. Another one says that Edward
the First gave England “a Parliament in which all classes were
represented.” The serfs were far the largest class: they were not
represented at all; and very few of the free men had any voice in
choosing representatives.

When children are learning about England and its place in Europe and the
World, they might as well be taught that English is an Aryan language,
and that all Aryan languages have grown from the same roots, whereas
Semitic languages are of another growth. ‘What do they know of England
who only England know?’ Change ‘England’ into ‘English,’ and the answer
is the same. Children could be taught Grimm’s Law which shows how words
assume a different shape in different languages. They need not learn the
languages: merely a few words on a list to give them mastery of their
mother tongue. Time would be better spent on this than on their physical
drill, a thing for children in a slummy town but quite superfluous here.

Amongst other useful things, the children have been taught to run along
in single file and leap an obstacle; and I scoffed at this, not seeing
how very useful it might be. One sunny day a worthy man was lying on the
grass, flat on his back, dead drunk; and they ran along and leaped over
him in single file in the way they had been taught at school, just
clearing his capacious waistcoat which stood up like a dome.

The old school at Lustleigh was founded by Parson Davy in 1825; and he
gave land to endow it, and set forth its objects in his deed of gift, 4
August 1825. It was “for the educating and instructing of the poor
children, being parishioners of the said parish, on the principles of
the established Church of England, in reading and needlework, in
learning their catechism, and in such other proper and useful learning
for poor children as is hereinafter directed and appointed,” namely,
“teaching the boys reading and spelling, and the girls reading and
spelling and knitting and needlework, and also instructing such poor
children in such other proper and useful learning as the majority of the
feoffees shall think proper and direct,” the feoffees being the eight
persons whom he thereby enfeoffed of the land as trustees.

Within my recollection there used to be a dozen children at the school,
or sometimes a few more. The endowment was not large enough to make it a
free school, and there were fees to pay. If parents could not manage it,
there were always people who would pay the fees for any promising child;
and thus admission to the school was rather like admission to the Navy
now that competitive examination has been replaced by interview. It was,
of course, a mixed school, boys and girls together. They were taught
Scripture by the Rector and other subjects by a Dame; and the Dame
enforced her teaching with a stick. And she (or her predecessor) lived
in the old school-house itself, a building with four rooms.

Then came the Education Act of 1870, and the old school-room was not
thought nearly good enough for elementary teaching then, though it was
just about as good as some of those old rooms at Harrow in which much
better work was done. A new building was erected a little higher up the
hill, and the old Dame and her pupils moved up there at the end of 1876.
The old school was shut up, and its endowment is now frittered away in
prizes at the new school and a Sunday school. I always wish the old
school had been kept alive as a nucleus for a secondary school here. The
endowment seemed too small: yet Harrow began with very little more--“our
House was built in lowly ways, God brought us to great honour.”

The old school-house has a tablet in the wall, with the date of 1825 and
then these words, “Built by subscription | and endowed with Lowton
Meadow in Moreton | for supporting a school for ever | by the Rev.
William Davy | curate of this parish.” His motives were set forth in his
_Apology for giving Lowton Meadow to the Parish of Lustleigh_, a leaflet
that he printed with his own printing-press. “Whereas from my long
service in that church I have a strong regard and hearty desire for its
present and future welfare, and being from repeated proofs too unhappily
convinced of the unœconomical and profligate disposition of my immediate
successors, and being willing in my lifetime to do the greatest and most
lasting good with the little property I have in fee, I do hereby with
the consent of my son (who by good conduct and kind providence is
sufficiently provided for) offer to give to the officiating minister and
churchwardens of the parish of Lustleigh all that one close or meadow
called Morice or Lowton Meadow in Moreton Hampstead to have and to hold
the same with the rents and profits thereof from and after the 25th of
March 1824 in trust for ever for the support and maintenance of a school
for poor children in the parish of Lustleigh aforesaid in the house to
be erected in the parish town for that purpose.”

The inscription and the leaflet both have the words ‘for ever,’ and
these words are also on two patens that he had given to the church. They
are “for the use of the Sacrament for ever”; and there is the same
inscription on a chalice given by Edward Basill, who was Rector from
1660 to 1698. No doubt Davy copied Basill here, and hence applied ‘for
ever’ to his later gift; and there is no question what ‘for ever’
meant--his gifts were to be kept.

The patens have not yet been sold, but the meadow has. The adjoining
owner wanted it, and wanted it very badly, as he had erected a pair of
semi-detached residences close up to the hedge. And it was sold him for
£300, or £25 less than Davy gave for it a century ago. As a matter of
business, the thing seemed indefensible; and as a matter of sentiment,
it certainly was vile.

Sir Joshua Reynolds was born at Plympton, and in the zenith of his fame
the Corporation made him Mayor. He acknowledged this by sending down his
portrait, painted by himself, to be hung in the Town Hall. Finding it
was worth a good round sum, the Corporation sold it.--Of course, Parson
Davy was not as eminent a man as Sir Joshua, but he was the only man of
any eminence who ever lived in Lustleigh, at any rate, the only one in
the Dictionary of National Biography. It was at Lustleigh that he did
the work on which his reputation rests--I have described it in my first
_Small Talk_, pages 32 to 34--and for forty years, as curate for an
absent pluralist, he was devoted to the interests of the place. It was
as scandalous for Lustleigh to sell a gift of his as for Plympton to
have sold Sir Joshua’s.

The strange thing is that Davy should have made a gift to Lustleigh,
knowing what had happened to the gift of Robert Phipps. By his Will (2
October 1676) Phipps gave £40 to be bestowed in lands of inheritance,
the rents and profits whereof were to be employed to buy linen cloth at
Easter for such old men and women of the parish of Lustleigh as had none
or little relief from the parish, the linen cloth to be dowlas of 10d.
per yard or thereabouts, and each poor man or woman to have three yards.
The linen was distributed until 1802, and then the trust-fund
disappeared, and has not been heard of since. It had not been invested
in land; and this may have been the reason why Davy chose to give a
piece of land in his own lifetime rather than bequeath a sum of money by
Will.

He could have given the school a larger income by putting his £325 into
the Three per Cents. at the price they stood at then. As he did not do
that, he would hardly have approved of selling the land and putting the
proceeds into Funding Loan, though this will give a larger income than
the rent in recent years. The present rent is not the only thing to be
considered in trusts that are in perpetuity. Harrow accepted a fixed
annual sum in lieu of the rent of land that then was farms and now is
part of London.

At the Parish Meeting there was an overwhelming majority against the
sale--only five people voting for it--and nearly the same majority for a
resolution calling on the trustees to resign. But the sale was carried
through by a majority of the trustees in spite of every protest. Three
of the trustees in the majority were people who had only lately come to
live in Lustleigh, and the most active of them was a new arrival who
soon went away. Things have changed since Parson Davy’s time. He was
here for forty years himself: the living of Lustleigh was held by two
Rectors for ninety-six years, 1791 to 1887; and the living of Bovey was
held by two Vicars for a hundred years, 1735 to 1835. In the present
century there have already been four Rectors of Lustleigh, and the
vacancies have not been caused by death.

These people who come and go, will never take the same amount of
interest in a place as those who spend the best part of their lives
there; and they may even take delight in doing some lasting damage to a
place that has not quite appreciated them. That is a kindly view to
take. Unkind people called the sale a job; and nobody believed the talk
of getting more money for school prizes--Lustleigh is some miles from
Buncombe. If more money was wanted for the prizes, there were plenty of
people who would have subscribed the few pounds’ difference between the
rent of the meadow and the interest on the Funding Loan.

The new-comers at Lustleigh always call the old school-house ‘the old
vestry’ for some reason that I cannot comprehend--vestry-meetings were
held in one of the rooms there, but the building was always called the
school. What they call ‘the new vestry’ is an excrescence from the
church: it is in the angle between the chancel and south transept,
spoiling the exterior of the church, and making the interior dark by
blocking windows up. It contains the organ; and organs are not always
worth the space they take and the disfigurement they cause. The south
transept of Exeter Cathedral is disfigured by a row of 32-foot pipes,
standing by themselves; and this bit of hideousness only gives a dozen
extra notes. I do not think the extra notes are worth the sacrifice.

Churches suffer badly from additions and improvements and injudicious
gifts, and Lustleigh church has suffered very badly in that way--there
is always something being done. A pavement of coloured marbles has just
been laid down in the chancel there, to replace a pavement of encaustic
tiles that was laid down sixty years ago in place of the old pavement of
rough granite slabs. The tiles were an Albert Memorial, and had the
monogram of V. and A.; but they were very slippery, and it looked
undignified for any cleric to sit down unexpectedly upon the chancel
floor. The marble pavement is a gift, and people consider it unmannerly
to look a gift-horse in the mouth, even if the beast is not worth
stabling. Nevertheless, there is a way of saying courteously that your
stable is unworthy of such a noble steed, and the steed might find some
better stabling in another place.

When a building has a character of its own, you ought not merely to
abstain from putting in things that are out of character with it: you
ought to put in things that will bring its character out. Siena
cathedral is a gorgeous building, and it has the finest pavement in the
world; and the pavement makes the building look more gorgeous still. You
can tell exactly how much the building is indebted to the pavement, as
the pavement is covered over with boarding (to protect it) during a
great part of the year, and then the building looks comparatively poor.
If the Siena pavement could be laid in Lustleigh church, it would not
give splendour to the church: it would only make you discontented with
the roughness of the pillars and arches and the effigies of the old
knights who held the place six centuries ago. The old pavement of rough
granite slabs was far more suited to the rugged grandeur of the church.

There may, of course, be additions to a church which are so splendid in
themselves that the church itself sinks into insignificance beside them:
such, for example, as Maximilian’s tomb with its attendant statues in
the church at Innsbruck. Had there been anything of that kind here, few
people would have cared what happened to the church itself. But the
additions here have only been the ordinary things in marble, brass,
mosaic, painting, coloured glass; and they have made this rugged
moorland church look quite suburban.

There are two great monuments in Bovey church, one to Nicholas Eveleigh,
who died in 1620, and the other to Elizæus Hele, who died in 1635.
Elizæus was better known as Pious-Uses Hele, having given his estates
away for pious uses--amongst other things, Blue Maids’ Hospital at
Exeter had £50 a-year from Bovey mill. He married Eveleigh’s widow; and
she erected these monuments to her two husbands, though both of them
were buried elsewhere. There is a recumbent figure of each husband, and
in Hele’s case there are also kneeling figures of the wife and a former
wife and a young son who had died. Over the recumbent figure there is a
rounded arch with columns, architrave, etc., as if it were a gateway;
and in the earlier monument the style is pure Italian of a hundred years
before, whereas the later monument is what is called Jacobean, with the
Italian style debased by Flemish and German methods. The change is
curious: after the Italian of 1620, one would expect the Palladian of
Inigo Jones in 1635 rather than this belated Jacobean.

They stand on the north and south sides of the chancel, almost touching
the east end; and on the east wall between them there was mahogany
panelling with columns and festoons carved in the style of Grinling
Gibbons. The panelling just suited the monuments and enhanced their
merits; but there came a time when it was the ambition of the clergy to
make their chancels look like show-rooms in church-furnishers’ shops;
and then the panelling was taken down and thrown into a barn. The
present Vicar has brought it back, and put it at the west end of the
church; and I hope that it will some day go back to the east end, and
oust the rubbish that is there.

He has also brought back the royal-arms that were thrown out at the same
time, and has put them in the arch below the tower. These royal-arms are
a grand piece of wood-carving, set up at the Restoration together with
the arms of archbishop Laud and bishop Hall of Exeter, with suitable
inscriptions about “that wicked and bloody Parliment.” They stood on the
screen, with the royal shield just where the rood had been, and the Lion
and the Unicorn in the places of the Blessed Virgin and Saint John.

The rood-loft has been reconstructed (but without a rood) and I do not
think it has improved the church. However small a church may be, the
rood-loft must be large enough for people to pass along it to the rood,
and may thus be very much too large to suit the church. And this new
rood-loft looks too large, though Bovey church is not so very small.
Most churches, I suspect, looked all the better for the compromise of 10
October 1561, which took away their rood-lofts and left them their
screens.

By this compromise the rood-loft is to be “so altered that the upper
part of the same, with the soller, be quite taken down unto the upper
parts of the vaults and beam running in length over the said vaults ...
putting some convenient crest upon the said beam.” If the rood-loft has
already been removed and “there remain a comely partition betwixt the
chancel and the church,” no alteration is to be attempted; but “where no
partition is standing,” a partition must be built.

In this district the screens usually are woodwork, elaborately carved:
very few are stone. The beam is eight or ten feet from the ground, and
is supported by uprights three or four feet apart; and between the
uprights there is solid panelling to a height of about three feet, and
then open tracery for the rest of the height, making a sort of Gothic
window with its arched head touching the beam and springing from the
uprights two or three feet below. At the springing of these arched
window-heads there were segments of arches, springing out on each side
of the screen, and combining with the window-heads to form a kind of
vaulting underneath the soller, or rood-loft floor. The rood-loft was
approached by a staircase in the thickness of the wall or in a little
turret outside, with entrance and exit both inside the church; and where
the rood-loft has been taken down, the exit leads out on to the little
pinnacles of the ‘crest’ of the beam; and then the effect is comic, as
no one but a rope-dancer could ever walk along them. It is so in
Lustleigh church and in many others. On the Lustleigh screen there are
carvings of pomegranates--the badge of Aragon--and possibly the screen
dates from the time of Catherine of Aragon or her daughter. But the
pomegranates have their sides cut open to show the grains inside, and
thus look very like bunches of grapes with leaves enclosing them. In
early Christian art palm-trees grew into candlesticks with candles in
them, the leaves becoming the flame; and I rather suspect a similar
transformation here.

Many rood-lofts were taken down by Henry VIII and Edward VI, but several
were put up again by Mary, and some were never taken down at all.
Opinion was divided; and this compromise of Elizabeth’s (which covered
many other points) was “for the avoiding of much strife and contention
that have heretofore arisen among the Queen’s subjects in divers parts
of the realm.” In this part of England the strife and contention had
taken the form of open rebellion in 1549; and the rebels came to Bovey.
In answer to some interrogatories, 4 January 1602, Richard Clannaborough
of Lustleigh, yeoman, “of the age of fowerscore and ten yeares or there
aboutes,” said he had known Bovey mill “ever synce the Commotion in the
tyme of the raigne of the late Kinge Edward the Sixth.”

This rebellion, usually called the Commotion, began on Whitmonday, 10
June, the new prayer-book having come into use on Whit-sunday; and it
went on until 6 August, when the King’s men defeated the rebels on Clyst
Heath and raised the siege of Exeter. The siege had lasted for five
weeks, and seemed likely to end in a capitulation, as supplies were
running short and many of the citizens were in favour of the rebels.
These rebels carried the Host with them on a wagon--as at the Battle of
the Standard in 1138--and these were some of their demands. ‘Wee wil
have al the general councels and holy decrees of our forefathers
observed kept and performed; and whosoever shal again-say them, we hold
them as hereticks.’ ‘We wil have the Bible and al books of Scripture in
English to be called in again.’ ‘We wil not receive the new service,
because it is but like a Christmas game; but we wil have our old service
of Mattins, Mass, Evensong and Procession in Latine, as it was before.
And so we the Cornish men, whereof certain of us understand no English,
utterly refuse this new English.’

Those rebels (or their leaders) showed great sense in their demands for
Latin prayers and books. They wanted something sonorous to which they
could give a general assent, and saw that if it were in English they
would soon be squabbling over details. And people have been squabbling
over details ever since.

Mesopotamia is notoriously a blessed word, but in some cases a
mistranslation. Parapotamia is less sonorous, but sometimes more
exact--the country on the west side of the Euphrates, not the east side.
But people do not care much where such places were, provided that the
names sound well. One day some foreigners were here; and somebody heard
me talking to them, and then went telling everybody else, “Strangers
come here from all parts to visit’n, and to each one of’n he speaketh in
their own tongues, Parthians and Medes and Elamites and all the rest
of’n.”

In some places in the south of Italy they still read the Gospels in
Greek on certain festivals; and I once heard this reading, but cannot
now remember where. I do not think the congregation understood a word of
it, but they mostly put on the expression of connoisseurs when sampling
a rare wine. In ancient times there was a ritual of that sort at
Pæstum--Athenæos quotes an account of it (XIV. 31) from one of the lost
works of Aristoxenos of Tarentum about 300 B.C. The descendants of the
old Greek settlers had become ‘barbarians,’ that is to say, they had
adopted the manners and customs and the language of their neighbours
there; but once a year they had a day of lamentation on which they spoke
Greek words in memory of the past. I have seen something like that in
Jerusalem, at the Place of Wailing at the foot of the great wall. Jews
go there to wail and pray; and I was told that many of them did not know
the meaning of the Hebrew words they used.

Whether it is understandable or not, the English of the Bible is very
fine indeed; but not, I think, so perfect as people generally say. It is
difficult to judge, as it has now become a standard, like the English of
Shakespeare’s plays. Ben Jonson thought that some of Shakespeare’s lines
might be improved; and he was a good judge. People now think the weakest
lines superb; and they admire the Bible also without discrimination.

There is no virtue in using a language that is ‘understanded of the
people,’ if it is used for saying things that will be misinterpreted. In
modern English ‘virgin’ means ‘virgo intacta,’ but that is not the
meaning of ‘almah’ in the Hebrew of Isaiah, VII. 14. Every schoolboy
knows (to his cost) that ‘deum’ is accusative, not vocative; and _Te
Deum_ is mistranslated--the older part may be heretical or even pagan.
There are hundreds and thousands of these mistranslations and
misinterpretations and statements that are unintelligible without long
explanation. Readers very often fail to see the meaning of it all, and
sometimes will not face the meaning when it is quite clear.

No doubt, Scripture is taught in every school; but there are many ways
of teaching it. Lustleigh has a County Council school, and the Scripture
teaching is regulated by a County Council syllabus. The syllabus says
what things the children are to read, and what they are to learn by
heart; and when people grumble at the Education Rate, I remind them that
every well-taught child in Devon can say the names of the Ten Plagues of
Egypt as glibly as a parrot. And then, of course, they feel that they
are getting value for their money.

Old folk used to search the Scriptures very diligently here, and picked
up words and phrases that they used in most embarrassing ways. One old
lady told me in sorrow and in wrath, “The Parson, he come here, and I
spoke Scripture to’n. And ‘good mornin’,’ he saith, ‘good mornin’,’ and
up he were and away over they steps ’fore I could say another word.” I
found that she had used some words the Parson had to read in church but
did not wish to hear elsewhere.

I have two volumes here of Miracles and Lives of Saints, with coloured
plates; and two small children who came to stay with me, used to call
them the Funny Books, as the pictures in them were so funny. By the time
these children came again, they had just learned to read; but I forgot
this when I let them have the Funny Books again, and presently a little
voice read out, “Now a certain nun became with child, and....” I stopped
the reading, but could not stop the questions that they asked.

A small boy of my acquaintance had duly learned to say his prayers and
was having a course of Scripture stories, but went on strike when he was
told of the creation of Eve. He said that it was mean of God to put Adam
to sleep and then take a rib away; and to show God what he thought of
it, he would stop off saying his prayers. The strike lasted for six
weeks.

The creation of Eve is sculptured in relief on the Campanile at Florence
and on the Façade of Orvieto Cathedral; and in these reliefs (and also
in some others) the sculptors have kept closely to their text, ‘God
created Man in his own image.’ Adam and the Creator are exactly alike,
even in the growth of the beard and the arrangement of the hair--the
same model served for both. Anthropomorphism is an artifice that must be
used, and I think those sculptors used it more effectively than
Michaelangelo. In his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel he makes Adam a
young man of twenty and the Creator an old man of seventy, not the least
like Adam, and neither human nor divine. There is a picture by Pesellino
in the National Gallery (No. 727) portraying the three Persons of the
Trinity. An old lady told me, forty years ago, that she took one of her
maids there soon after this picture had arrived: the maid stared at the
First Person for some considerable time, and then said, “Lor’, mum,
d’you think it’s like?”

In King’s College Chapel at Cambridge the central figure in the great
east window, usually mistaken for God Almighty, is really Pontius
Pilate; and I am always pleased to see him on his judgement-seat up
there--it is some compensation for the ignorant abuse that is poured out
on him from pulpits. In the case before the Court the Prisoner had
pleaded guilty--‘thou sayest’--to the charge of claiming to be a King:
the Prosecution would not allow the charge to be withdrawn; and the
Judge was bound to pass the sentence which the Law prescribed.

I fancy Pilate may have misinterpreted a phrase. Julius Cæsar had been
canonized as ‘divus,’ and Augustus therefore styled himself ‘divi
filius,’ and afterwards was also canonized as ‘divus.’ But while ‘divi
filius’ and ‘dei filius’ were quite distinct in Latin, they were both
translated into Greek as ‘theou uios.’ (There is no question of
misreadings here: the phrase is in inscriptions and on coins.) Saint
Paul says that the Gentiles thought his doctrines ‘foolishness,’ and
Pilate might think it ‘foolishness’ for anyone to claim to be a son of
God; but it would be a serious matter for anyone to claim to be a son of
the late Emperor, especially if he also claimed to be a King.

The ancient portraits of Christ are of two different types, the oldest
portraits making him a beardless youth, and more recent portraits making
him a bearded man. The very old portraits agree with the tradition
(Luke, II. 2) that the Nativity was at the time of the census by
Quirinius. That was at the end of 6 or beginning of 7 A.D., and the
Crucifixion may have been as early as the spring of 27 A.D., as Pilate
was in office then: in which case there obviously could not be any
genuine portraits of Christ above the age of twenty. The more recent
portraits agree with the traditions that make Christ over thirty at the
Crucifixion. But in these portraits it is another kind of face, not the
same face in maturer years; and the youthful face is usually much
pleasanter, betokening a Deity who would delight in turning water into
wine.

I should account for the two heads by saying that the bearded head was
originally meant for John the Baptist, and mistaken afterwards for
Christ. At any rate, John has a bearded head like this in those early
representations of the Baptism where Christ is portrayed as a beardless
youth. But the bearded head is universally accepted now, and it has been
idealized. The greatest of these imaginary portraits is Leonardo da
Vinci’s in his fresco of the Last Supper--at any rate it was so when I
first saw it (1869) and for some years after that, but when I saw it
last (1913) the whole fresco had been washed over with some
preservative, and it did not seem the same. Perhaps Leonardo had read
more into the Gospels than is really there: one might think that Christ
was saying sorrowfully, those were the best disciples he could get, and
what a gang they were--if one of them did not betray him, another one
would. There is the gesture of the hands, and the face is full of
disappointment and disdain.

There is a stained-glass window in the Guildhall at Plymouth depicting
the inauguration of the building by the Prince of Wales in 1874; and
this is the only window I have seen in which a chimney-pot hat is
represented in stained glass. The hat has come out well--the stained
glass gives it all the lustre of hot-ironing. Designers of commemorative
windows might brighten up their works by putting in a few such hats; and
artistically this chimney-pot is every bit as good as the rectangular
haloes of a thousand years before. Charlemagne had a rectangular halo in
a mosaic in the Lateran: Theodora and Pope Paschal still have
rectangular haloes in the mosaics in saint Praxed’s church at Rome; and
the Prince of Wales would have had a rectangular halo, had he been
living then.

Saints and angels had round haloes, but other people had to be content
with square or oblong haloes while they were alive. I do not know why
this was so, or what a halo really was--whether it was a thing like a
rainbow which always faces you, or whether it was a flat and rigid thing
which you saw obliquely when the wearer turned aside: the Old Masters
have depicted it both ways. For want of higher authority I draw my own
conclusions from such things as Toto Maidalchini says: namely, that
saint Cassian, being puzzled, scratched his head, and thereby put his
halo all awry; or that saints Pancras and Sebastian went bathing in one
of the rivers of Paradise, and then sat upon the river bank while their
haloes were drying in the sun.

The rectangular halo is very useful for determining dates: it shows that
the fresco or mosaic was executed in the lifetime of the personage who
has the halo. But mosaics often need repairing--the little glass cubes
get loose and come away--and after centuries of small repairs there may
not be much of the original left, even if it has not all been taken down
at various times in order to repair the wall behind it. When I was in
Rome in 1876 the mosaics in the apse of the Lateran were lying on the
floor. One of the Canons explained to me that they were just taking down
the apse and rebuilding it a little further back, as the choir did not
give them space enough for ceremonial. (I thought the Canons might have
been content with what had satisfied the greatest Popes; and I tried to
tell him so.) When the apse had been rebuilt, the mosaics were put back
in it: a creditable bit of Nineteenth Century work, but still described
as Thirteenth in the guides.

One day in 1874 I was on the tower of the Pleissenburg at Leipzig
looking at the battlefield--it is a wide view, extending to Luetzen and
the battlefield of 1632. There was an old man up there who had been in
the great battle (1813) and I asked him whereabouts the windmill was,
from which Napoleon watched it. He pointed out the windmill, and added
with a grin, “Windmill burned down: man build another: man say it
same.”--When the Campanile at Venice was being built up again, the
brickwork ‘sweated’ and gave the red a curious tinge of white; and in
the evenings in the glare of the Piazza I could have sworn it was the
ghost of the old Campanile that I had seen there forty years before.
That was in 1909; but when I saw it in 1913, I felt that the old
Campanile had come to life again.

If buildings are burnt out or tumble down, there is no remedy but
reconstruction. But people are too fond of reconstructing buildings that
are still intact, and making them ‘as good as new.’ If they want to know
what a building looked like when it was new, they can surely build a
copy of it somewhere else, and go and look at that: instead of putting a
new front on the north transept of Westminster Abbey, they might have
stuck it on a building like Truro Cathedral which is completely new. And
the new front is not even a true copy of the original front--amongst
other things, it has eleven little arches where there could never have
been more than eight. When I go to see a historic building, I want to
see it as it really was, not as a modern architect may think it should
have been; and when I find a Thirteenth Century design just finished in
fresh stone, I feel the work is out of date or I am out of date
myself--instead of a black coat and chimney-pot, I ought to be in gold
brocade with crimson tights and a feather in my cap.

Judged by its architecture Truro Cathedral would be about two centuries
earlier than the old church which is built into it, and it really is
about four centuries later. The church may pass for an addition to an
older building, when the new stonework has lost its glare. No doubt, in
Burgos Cathedral the triforium is of an earlier style than the arches
underneath it, though they were built at the same time; but Gothic was
not indigenous in Spain, and Burgos was designed by German architects in
an eclectic way. I do not think that this absurdity exists elsewhere,
except as a result of alterations: at Furness Abbey, I feel sure, the
arches in the transepts originally were round (like those in the
triforium up above them) and were converted into pointed arches
afterwards. The walls were weakened by these alterations, and that was
why the central tower fell; at least, I think so.

The round archways in the cloisters show how splendid Furness Abbey
would have been with its original design. But the old church-builders
never knew when to stop: they ran after all the latest fashions in
design, and in fact were out (as we should say) to beat the record.
Their flying-buttresses were towers of force: at least, a verger told me
that a bishop said so. But their biggest efforts often failed--Amiens
Cathedral looks all right when you see it from the triforium, but you
generally see it from the floor, and then it looks too high. And there
were many problems that they never solved at all: for instance, they
built naves like tunnels and just walled them up at the west end,
whereas a nave requires a narthex or an apse or some such thing to
terminate it.

Gothic is never at its best except in ruins--Chartres does not equal
Tintern--and I have felt this even here. Lower Wreyland is an ordinary
bit of cottage architecture; but there was no roof on the north end of
it for several weeks in 1901, and then it looked quite grand with a
granite gable standing out against the sky, and moonlight streaming
through the empty windows. One’s appreciation of a building will always
be affected by the atmosphere in which one may have seen it. In going up
the Nile in 1882 my boat stuck in the mud close by Kom Ombo on a
brilliant moonlight night; and I thought the temple there as beautiful a
thing as I had ever seen, but changed my mind on seeing it by daylight
as I came down stream. So also at Granada, I was once in the Alhambra on
a rainy day, 22 September 1877, and could hardly believe it was the
building that looked so like a fairy palace when I had seen it in the
scorching sun. And with some pictures also, such as Tintoretto’s
_Bacchus and Ariadne_ in the Doge’s Palace or Michaelangelo’s _Last
Judgement_ in the Sistine Chapel, there is no life or beauty in them
unless the sun is strong enough to bring the colouring out.

We have not sun enough in England to justify the use of Classic
architecture or Palladian. These styles demand the glare of Greece and
Italy; and sometimes that is not enough--in bleak places, such as
Phigaleia or Segesta, I have found the old Greek temples too austere
without their ancient colouring. However, these styles are now
established here; and the only consolation is that they are all reduced
to rule, so that ambitious architects do not come to grief with them as
badly as with Gothic.

One of the worst faults of English architects is that when they have a
building of great width, they put a portico or some such ‘feature’ in
the centre and another at each end, and thus destroy the broad effect of
width without creating an effect of height. The old Museum at Berlin was
more imposing with its eighteen columns in a single line than the
British Museum with its forty-four in different lines projecting at the
centre and the ends; and with a colonnade the whole width of Trafalgar
Square, the National Gallery might not have been unworthy of its site.
At the Imperial Institute there is a tower in the middle and a tower
near each end. The towers would be commendable, if they stood out alone;
but the main building detracts from their effect of height, and they
detract from its effect of breadth: and this is waste. Yet a tower does
not impair the effect, if it divides a long front into two unequal
parts, like the Rath-haus tower at Leipzig, built in 1556. I cannot
understand why this is so, but observation has convinced me that it is a
fact.

Architecture is not to be picked up from books: you have to go to see
the buildings for yourself. There are books condemning the corners of
the Valmarana Palace at Vicenza, and these certainly look feeble in
Palladio’s design. The design just shows the building by itself; but
really it is in a street, with lower buildings on each side of it. The
corners carry your eyes down to these, and are exactly right.

In contrast with the Valmarana, the Casa del Diavolo has a most
uncompromising corner, as if Palladio meant the building to look higher
than it really is, and dwarf all its surroundings. Apparently, it was to
have six columns along the front with five narrow windows squeezed in
between them, but it has only three columns and two windows: the rest
was never built. They are gigantic columns on high pedestals; and these
vertical lines do as much for the effect of height here as the
horizontal lines of the Basilica for its effect of breadth. There is
also a house at Exeter (84, Queen Street) which I always call the Casa
del Diavolo, with no aspersions on the occupier or the owner, but just
because it is a little like that building at Vicenza. It has only four
columns, though wide enough for five or six: its windows are too wide,
and the columns have no pedestals; and thus it misses most of the effect
of the real thing.

In ‘this sweete towne,’ as Evelyn describes Vicenza, ‘full of gentlemen
and splendid palaces,’ the Teatro Olimpico was completed from Palladio’s
designs in 1584 and was inaugurated with a play of Sophocles. (I have
often wondered what Shakespeare would have made of it, had he been
present there.) The scenery is solid architecture, built according to
perspective so that you may think that you are looking down long
streets. But when a man goes down the street, you see him growing bigger
and bigger in proportion to the houses on each side of him; and all
illusion is dispelled. I feel the actors should be life-size marionettes
that could be dwarfed down by deflation when they make their exits at
the back. This scenery that does not shift, has never been a real
success; nor has the auditorium. Palladio was copying Vitruvius, and
made it pseudo-Roman; and a modern audience looks as foolish there as in
the Bradfield theatre, which is pseudo-Greek.

In these theatres and in those that really are antique, a great effect
might be attained with audience as well as actors in antique costume. If
the modern audience does not care to dress in Greek or Roman style,
there might at least be labels. I have seen people going to rehearsals
of a Pageant in plain clothes with cards pinned on them--courtier,
soldier, buccaneer, etc.; and the audience might have cards as
well--archon, quæstor, trierarch, etc. Imagination might then do the
rest, though costumes would be better. But such costumes are usually a
compromise of what the ancients really wore and what can now be worn. I
remember a lady going to a ball in fancy dress as Cæsar’s Wife; and a
newspaper described her dress as safety-pins and gauze, but chiefly
safety-pins. However, safety-pins are quite a good defence against
snap-shots. There is ‘halation’ from the metal of the pins, so that the
photograph is blurred and looks as if they were continuous, like pieces
of chain-mail.

Not long ago a Lustleigh boy was going to be a Roman Senator in some
theatricals in town, and he wrote home to his mother to send him the
materials for making up a Toga. Not knowing what a Toga was, she sent
him the materials for making up a Toque--an inadequate costume for Roman
Senators, even at the Lupercalia.

There are childrens’ recitations at Christmas time in Rome in the church
of Ara Coeli. A platform is erected in the nave; and every afternoon
there is a crowd of children, and they go up, one by one, and recite
their pieces with as much assurance as if they were accustomed to
addressing public meetings every day. When listening to them, I have
thought of May Day here and the overpowering shyness of the boys who
have to make the little speech at the crowning of the Queen. I cannot
remember more than one boy here who spoke as well as any of the children
there; and he was so full of his speech that he put the crown on upside
down, enveloping her eyes and nose in flowers that were intended to
stand up above the rest. However, older people may do worse. Archbishop
Temple was an octogenarian, and yet he all but put King Edward’s crown
on with the hinder part in front.

The southern races have a greater gift of oratory than is customary
here, and they seem to pass from childhood into manhood at a very much
earlier age. John XII was only eighteen when he was elected Pope in 956,
and four-and-twenty when he crowned Otho as Emperor; and at
two-and-twenty he confirmed Saint Dunstan in the see of Canterbury and
made him Papal Legate here, with what results we know. No doubt, a young
man might become a Pope by influence or simony, but never an Heresiarch
except on his own merits; and some of the great heretics were very
young. Clement of Alexandria says in his _Stromateis_, III. 428, that
Epiphanes the son of Carpocrates was only seventeen when he died: yet he
had imperilled Christianity by his doctrine of Free Love. This young
scamp of an Heresiarch was a contemporary of Antinoos; and it is one of
the puzzles of ancient history why Christians or Pagans ever took such
people seriously. But we must look at the paintings in the Catacombs
rather than the writings of the Fathers, if we would understand the
blithe life of the early Christians when Erôs was Patriarch of Antioch
and Anterôs was Pope.

Leo X went into residence at Rome in 1492, being then a Cardinal and
aged sixteen; and he had a letter from his father, Lorenzo de’ Medici,
telling him how to behave there and above all things (una regola sopra
l’altre) to get up early in the morning and set to work upon the
business of the day. According to Domenichi, _Facetie_, p. 129, ed.
1581, Ugolino Martelli asked Lorenzo why he did not get up early
himself, whereupon Lorenzo asked him what he did when he got up, and
then told him that it was not worth while getting up to do such trivial
things. That was an answer to Ugolino, but not an answer to the question
that he asked, as Lorenzo certainly had weighty things to do; but it
acknowledges that early rising is merely a means to an end, not an end
in itself, as some fanatics say. In his _Duty and Advantages of Early
Rising_ John Wesley says that (by the grace of God) he rose at four and
had done so for sixty years, but he also says that he could not subsist
with less than six hours and a half of sleep: so he must have gone to
bed by half past nine. He does not show that it is any better to be
awake at four or five in the morning than at ten or eleven at night;
and in winter it certainly is worse, as vitality is at its lowest in the
hours before dawn.

Wesley took the sleep he needed, six hours and a half; but many saintly
men have given themselves so little time for sleep that they can never
have been healthily awake, unless they got some sleep at unappointed
times. Bonaventura says of Francis of Assisi that his prayers were
sometimes mingled with indescribable groans, ‘gemitibus
inenarrabilibus.’ That is in the _Legenda Sancta_, ‘the life of a saint,
written by a saint, to be read in the spirit of a saint’; but the Devil
has sometimes tempted me to think that those indescribable groans were
snores.

My uncle, Cecil King, strayed into a Wesleyan chapel between Charlestown
and Holmbush on 17 April 1843, and this is his account of it. “I found
them singing, and took the opportunity of entering an empty seat. Soon
after, the congregation turned round to pray, and I followed their
example. There were no lights in the chapel, so that one could scarcely
discern anything. They had not commenced the prayer when a woman gave a
deep groan. I turned round, thinking she might be ill, and just then a
man cried out ‘Lord have mercy upon us.’ I could not tell what was the
matter, and began to look about me in astonishment, but I now heard the
prayer beginning, and was preparing to pay attention, when cries of
‘Praised be the Lord,’ ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord,’ arose in wild
confusion. ‘Amens’ and other exclamations assailed my ears each moment,
and presently I could hear one raising his voice above all others to let
them know that he was praying. ’Twas a scene too ridiculous for one
accustomed to the meekness of the Church.” He was sixteen then--he died
when he was twenty--and he was on a walking tour in Cornwall with a
friend of his, Tom Oliver. They both kept careful journals of the tour,
and Oliver’s was printed afterwards. It gives the opening of the hymn
they heard, “We most of us can pray aloud, | we all of us can groan, |
but God can tell,” etc.

They had a letter of introduction from one of my great-uncles to Mr
Joseph Treffry, and found him at home in the old palace at Fowey. He was
then a man of sixty. He showed them round, but rather chilled them. “A
man inhabiting perhaps not more than one room or two in that magnificent
building, the locks of whose doors grated with rust.... A man who seems
to care for nobody, whose only happiness consists in spending money.”
But his money was well spent. He built the breakwater at Par harbour
entirely at his own expense, and likewise the great Treffry viaduct,
which was near completion then. He made mines pay, got railroads built,
and brought prosperity to everything he touched--he was doing as much
for that part of Cornwall as King Smith was doing for the Scillies; and,
like him, he was autocratic. I remember an old man in the islands
quoting the Song of Solomon in speaking to me of their former King, “He
was terrible as an army with banners.”

People say that there was too much luxury in England in the years before
the War, but I doubt if there was much. I could only see people doing
small things in an ostentatious way, whereas real luxury consists in
doing big things as a matter of course. It was real luxury, I think, to
keep the sea out with a breakwater, and bridge a great big valley with a
granite viaduct, and then go on with other schemes, as Treffry did:
also, perhaps, to build an arch of polished jasper thirty feet high,
eleven feet wide and eight feet thick. But he was not a Nero with a
Golden House, and he built his jasper archway into medieval walls at
Fowey.

Nero made much the same mistake, not with the Golden House itself, but
with his landscape-gardening there: it took up too much space right in
the heart of Rome, and the site was quite unsuitable. He might have done
his gardening so much better in the Alban hills, or better still at
Capri, where Tiberius had already done so much. Look round that island
from its highest point, and then look down from the Palatine on to the
slopes below: it makes you feel that Nero was a fool to take to
gardening there.

I have seen a ribald pamphlet accusing Mrs Grundy of the gravest
improprieties. Tiberius was the Mrs Grundy of his generation--she might
have written his message to the Senate in 22 A.D. with its condemnation
of men and women dressing so much alike, ‘promiscas viris et feminis
vestes.’ It is in Tacitus, _Annales_, III. 53; and in Suetonius,
_Tiberius_, 35, there are instances enough of his severity to ladies who
were not respectable. The fast set paid him out by inventing tales about
him. No such tales were current till he tried to pull these people up;
and the tales were only about his life at Capri. He was respectable at
Rome and Rhodes and every other place; and nobody could really know what
happened at Capri, as the public was shut out.

Tiberius must have gone to heaven, as Dante met him there, _Paradiso_,
VI. 86; and if people won’t take Dante’s word for it, I may refer them
to a former Vicar of Widdicombe, the Rev. John Rendle. He was a Wrangler
in 1781 and got a Fellowship, and was Vicar of Widdicombe from 1790 till
his death in 1815; and in 1814 he produced a _History of Tiberius, the
first Defender of the true Faith_. The book shows perfect mastery of the
evidence, and an adroitness in destructive criticism that might have
made his fortune at the Bar. And his contention is that all those tales
about Tiberius were invented out of spite: not, however, because he was
a Mrs Grundy, but because he was at heart a Christian.

If he was a Christian, he must have been a very early Christian; and by
all accounts the early Christians were very much pleasanter people than
some of their successors. But, whether he was a Christian or not, he
certainly was one of the three men who made Christianity possible.
Augustus and he kept the world at peace during the whole period of
Gospel history; and Christ looked to Cæsar--that is, Tiberius--to manage
all the rough work of the world, and let people in Judæa have peace and
quietness and no responsibilities. Herod was the other of those three
great men. People make a fuss about his massacring some Innocents: they
forget that there might not have been any Bethlehem or any Innocents
there to massacre, if he had not governed the country so successfully
during his long reign.

Whitewashing goes on apace. Dean Milman whitewashed Savonarola in 1855,
and in 1905 Baron Corvo whitewashed the entire Borgia family; and in due
season all the villains of history will be arrayed in shining white.
Meanwhile it is hard on those whose turn is yet to come, as they are
suffering by comparison now. Dreyfus has been whitewashed, and Bazaine
has not: yet he was the worse treated of the two--a packed tribunal,
with charges framed in such a way that the accused could not put in his
real defence.

Whitewash is an admirable thing, but people always lay it on too thick;
and Rendle not only makes Tiberius ‘a believer in the divinity of Jesus
Christ’ but makes him ‘the nursing father of the infant Catholic
Church.’ Tacitus calls Christianity an ‘exitiabilis superstitio,’ and
says that it arose in the reign of Tiberius, was kept down for a time,
and then broke out again, _Annales_, XV. 44; and he also says that a
‘gravissimum exitium’ was brought in very artfully by Tiberius himself,
was kept down for a time, and then broke out again, _Annales_, I. 73.
Rendle argues that this ‘exitium’ must have been the ‘exitiabilis
superstitio’ of Christianity, and not Espionage, as the context would
lead one to suppose. Having satisfied himself of this by a careful
examination of Tacitus and other good authorities, he goes on to admit
inferior authorities without any examination at all, if only they concur
in this. And thus he admits Tertullian, _Apologeticus_, 5, which says
that Tiberius sent a Message to the Senate, recommending Christianity;
and although the Senate rejected it, Tiberius did not change his mind,
but used his powers to protect the Christians.

According to Rendle, Tiberius sent this message to the Senate in the
fourteenth year of his reign, whereas the Gospel of Luke says that
Christ was not baptized until the fifteenth. Of course, the fifteenth is
impossible if Christ was born before the death of Herod and was then in
his thirtieth year, for this (as Athanasius saw) is the real meaning of
the phrase ‘about thirty years old, beginning,’ which is translated so
ridiculously in the Authorised version and so evasively in the Revised.
But instead of saying that ‘fifteenth’ is a slip of the pen or something
of the sort, Rendle takes the view that Luke is using ‘fifteenth’ in a
Lucasian or Pickwickian sense for ‘tenth.’ It is a pity we have no more
of this chronology. The book announces “a similar Volume by the same
Author--a Chronological Arrangement of all the Events recorded in the
New Testament.” But he died the year after, and the new book never came
out.

He was contemporary at Widdicombe with Parson Davy here; but Davy was
the older man, and had finished printing his great work before Rendle
brought out his. It is curious that these lonely parishes had parsons
then with so much industry and learning; but a book like Davy’s _System
of Divinity_ was a thing that might have been expected from a country
parsonage, whereas the _History of Tiberius_ was not, especially in such
a place as Widdicombe.

Although it is within a walk of here, I seldom go there for the Fair.
Last time I went, a dozen years ago, I found a poor show of sheep,
nothing else for sale except some gingerbread, and very few people
there. When the _Cloches de Corneville_ came out, my brother thought
that there must be some very fine bells at Corneville, to give rise to
the tale; and he made inquiries, as he was in Normandy soon afterwards.
People were telling him that he would only find some church bells of the
usual kind there, ‘comme dans toutes les paroisses,’ and then a man
struck in, ‘Aha, monsieur, c’est une pièce de théâtre.’ I think of that
when people ask me questions about Widdicombe Fair, and I tell them that
it is a comic song.

The song about Widdicombe Fair is probably an adaptation of a Somerset
song, ‘Midsummer Fair,’ and there are several versions. The theme is
briefly this:--Mr Pearse was not going to the Fair himself, and lent his
old grey mare to some neighbours who were going, namely, Messrs Brewer,
Stewer, Gurney, Davy, Whiddon, Hawk, Cobley and others. (Excepting
Whiddon these are not Devonshire names.) As the mare did not return, he
went up to the top of a hill to look round, and caught sight of her from
there. She was then making her will, and died soon afterwards. Her ghost
may be seen on the moor on stormy nights, looking ghastly white and
rattling her bones. One may assume that she died from being ridden too
hard, but the song does not distinctly say so.

Widdicombe is a very big parish of over ten thousand acres, but small in
comparison with Lydford, which has over fifty thousand and is about the
biggest parish in England. Two places in Lydford parish were transferred
to Widdicombe by Bishop Bronescombe, 20 August 1260, on the ground that
they were much too far away from Lydford church, namely, eight miles
when the weather was good, and fifteen miles when it was bad,
‘tempestatibus exortis.’ In bad weather the people could not get across
the moor, and had to go a long way round. These two places, Babbeneye
and Pushylle, are now Babeny and Pizwell; and they are about eleven
miles and twelve miles from Lydford church in a straight line on the
Ordnance Map. Hurston is two miles and a half from Chagford church in a
straight line, but people always call it two mile there and three mile
back. The difference is in the hill.

The old waywardens used to fetch stone from a stream a long way off, to
mend a piece of road near Hurston. Then an enlightened man appeared, and
asked them why they fetched it from a distance when there was plenty
close at hand; and they could not tell him why--they could only say
that, time out of mind, it always had been fetched from there. So the
enlightened man prevailed: some granite was blasted out close by, and
the road was properly macadamized; and in twelve months’ time the road
had disappeared. There was a peat bog underneath; and the sharp granite
chips cut through the peat, whereas the river stones had rested on it,
being smooth and round. I do not know the date, and cannot fix the place
precisely, but have always understood that it was on a road from
Chagford to Tavistock that is marked on Donn’s and Bowen’s maps and even
on Cary’s as late as 1826, but now stops short near Metheral.

The older maps are much more chatty than the new. In the valley of the
Bovey at the foot of Lustleigh Cleave, Donn’s map remarks, “This River
has a subterraneous Passage.” That is where the stream goes underneath
the rocks at Horsham Steps. In the next valley there is “Becky Fall, a
Cataract” both on Donn’s map and on Cary’s. But the Fall has ceased to
be a Cataract since the best part of the stream was turned away to

[Illustration: THE AUTHOR’S DESK]

make a leat. The water used to pitch on a great rock and spread out over
the front of that, whereas it now goes down behind this rock, except in
heavy storms or floods, and there is little to be seen.

The new maps mark the hills as Tors, not Torrs. In examining old
documents I have hardly ever seen the word written with a single _r_
unless there was a mark above the [~r] to show that it was double: and I
have never seen it with a single _r_ when there was final _e_--invariably
Torre, not Tore. Everybody now writes ‘Haytor Rocks,’ but it is a
pleonasm, as ‘tor’ means ‘rock.’ The older people said ‘Arter Rocks,’
and I fancy they meant ‘Arthur Rocks.’ There is the legend of King
Arthur’s encounter with the Devil there, and he gave his name to other
high places, such as Arthur’s Seat at Edinburgh.

There is, of course, an etymology for Arthur’s Seat, showing that it has
nothing to do with Arthur. There is also an etymology for Man-o’-War
Rocks, showing that they have nothing to do with men-of-war. That group
of rocks is on the north side of the Scillies--three rocks about 600
feet long and about 150 high--and from some points of view it looks
uncommonly like a big three-masted ship with all sails set. The chances
are against its having a Celtic name that could be corrupted into
anything so suitable as Man-o’-War.

In dealing with the names of places, people are too fond of thinking
that the etymology must be Celtic, if it is not Latin or Anglo-Saxon.
Many of these names may go back to the times before the Celts arrived,
and there was a population here whose language was probably akin to
Basque. Of course, wild etymologists are not to be restrained by such
considerations. One of them has gone to ancient Egyptian to get an
etymology for Haytor, _Reflections on names and places in Devonshire_,
p. 12, ed. 1845, “H’tor in the Phonetic Egyptian meant a house.” But
this sort of thing is not confined to Devon. There is an exclamation ‘O
popoi’ in Greek, answering to ‘Oh my’ in English. According to Lauth,
_Homer und Aegypten_, p. 43, it is an invocation of Pepi, a king who
reigned in Dynasty VI and built a Pyramid at Sakkarah.

Many places owe their present names to blunders. The Hebrides owe theirs
to a misreading in Solinus, ‘hebrides’ for ‘hebudes’: they have no _r_
in Pliny or in Mela or in Ptolemy. There is a bay called Morikambê in
Ptolemy, _geographia_, II. 3. 2, on the western side of Britain; and on
the strength of this the name of Morecambe was given to a place in
Lancashire, although the place is only in the latitude of York, whereas
Ptolemy puts Morikambê a whole degree further north. Until 1842, or
thereabouts, the present Morecambe was called Poulton, or strictly
Poulton-le-Sands to distinguish it from Poulton-le-Fylde, which is the
present Poulton.

Teign Grace takes its second name from the Grace family, its owners six
centuries ago; but people tell me that it really is Teignrace and takes
its name from a race in the river Teign a little way below. There was no
race there till 1863, when this branch line was begun. The railway
blocked a wide curve in the river, and gave it the sharp twist that
makes the race.

Kingswear is King’s Wear, yet I have heard it called King Swear; and I
have also heard Kingskerswell called Kings Curse Well. (It is the part
of Kerswell that was kept by the Crown, and Abbotskerswell is the part
that was given to Torre Abbey.) But, apart from the pronunciation, the
spelling may be misleading in such names as Kerswell, Ogwell,
Loddiswell, etc. A well may often be the nucleus of a settlement in arid
regions, but not in regions that are full of springs and streams; and in
many of these Devonshire names the ‘well’ must stand for ‘vill,’ the
ancient term for ‘village.’ As a matter of fact, the termination is
spelled with an _i_ in twenty-two cases out of twenty-seven in the
Exeter manuscript of Domesday.

Domesday has nearly a hundred entries of places in Devon with names that
end in ‘ford,’ but only two with names that end in ‘bridge.’ These are
Tanebrige and Talebrige in the Exchequer manuscript, but the Exeter
manuscript has Taignebrige and Talebrua; so the second name seems
dubious. (The first, of course, in Teignbridge.) These terminations give
a notion of the roads then, and sometimes also of the streams. A mile
from here there is a place called Elsford, where there is not any ford
nor anything to be forded. It is an old place, mentioned in Domesday as
Eilauesford and at that time (twenty years after the Conquest) still in
the possession of a Saxon thane. It stands on the edge of the table-land
between the valleys of the Wrey and the Teign; and if there ever was a
ford there, there must have been a little river running off the
table-land and down into the Wrey along a gully in the hill-side, where
there is hardly a trickle now.

There is a place called Yeo close by the Wrey, a Twinyeo at the
confluence of the Wrey and Bovey, and another at the confluence of the
Bovey and Teign; and both Twinyeos are Mesopotamias, being in between
the streams. Yeo here means ‘stream’ or ‘water,’ as in Yeoford. But a
yeoman is not a waterman--he is a land man; and there, I think, the
‘yeo’ is to be linked with ‘gau’ in German, not with ‘eau’ in French.
There are traces of an Anglo-Saxon word like ‘gau’ for ‘place’ or
‘land’; and the _g_ would easily become a _y_, as in ‘year’ and ‘day’
for ‘gear’ and ‘dæg.’

The old printers used a _y_ to represent an obsolete _th_ which was
nearly of that shape, and people followed them in writing it, especially
with ‘ye’ for ‘the.’ Parson Davy always did so; and his spirit, being
summoned to a séance, discredited the medium by pronouncing ‘the’ as
‘ye’--a thing that no one did. We still use a _z_ as an abbreviation in
‘viz’ for ‘videlicet.’ They use it in Dutch catalogues of bulbs, and one
hears gardeners talking of Narcissus Poetz or Poetaz instead of
Poetarum. But it may be better to pronounce the _z_ than misinterpret
it, like the people who made Barum and Sarum out of Bz and Sz, the
abbreviated forms of Barnstaple and Salisbury. The _z_ was also used in
‘lez’ for ‘legitur,’ a very useful term for anyone who had to put things
down in Latin, and did not know the Latin names for them. Thus, on the
Court Roll of Lydford Manor, 21 September 1586, “Humfridus Pitford
queritur de Johanne Thorne et Maria uxore eius de placito
transgressionis super casum. Attachiantur per quinque lez callacowe et
hulland bandes tres lez handkerchefs et unum lez wollen wastecott. Et
quia predicti,” etc.

Among the manuscripts at the House of Lords there are some returns that
have not been used sufficiently in books on local history. In May 1641 a
Protestation against all Popery, etc., was taken by the Lords and
Commons, and in August it was circulated in the country. At the
beginning of the following year returns were required from every parish,
giving the names of those who had taken the Protestation; and many of
these returns are at the House of Lords. I obtained copies of the
returns for this parish and seven adjoining parishes, made an index to
the names, and had my index printed in 1913 for private circulation. The
return for Moreton parish does not say if anyone refused to take the
Protestation, but the returns for the other seven parishes say that
nobody refused: so these returns give a complete list of all the male
inhabitants over eighteen years of age, that being the limit of age for
taking the Protestation.

There were 411 in Moreton, 53 in Lustleigh, 150 in Hennock, 345 in
Bovey, 139 in North Bovey, 77 in Manaton, 179 in Ilsington and 255 in
Widdicombe. None of these people had more than one Christian name, and
many had the same surname. In Widdicombe there were five-and-twenty men
called Hamlin or Hamlyn, and six of them were Richard, four were Thomas
and three were John. In Moreton there were twenty men called Bowdon, and
four of them were John, three were William and three were George. They
could easily have been distinguished by saying where they lived; but in
only three cases was this done. In Hennock one of the two John Potters
is ‘of Kelly,’ and one of the five John Wreafords is ‘of Nepton’; and in
North Bovey one of the three John Nosworthies is ‘de Kindon.’

On the Court Rolls of Wreyland Manor one John Wills is distinguished
from another as ‘of Eastawray’ in 1710 and ‘de Eastawray’ in 1714. In
1718 Jane Clampitt of Yeo is called Jane Yeo; and, going a long way
back, a man is twice called John atte Yeo and three times called John
Yeo at the same sitting of the Court, 30 April 1438. In course of time
the ‘atte’ or ‘de’ dropped out, and a man was known by the name of the
place where he was living, or the place whence he had come. That
explains why these returns have so many surnames that are names of
places not far off, or corruptions of such names. The surname Bunckum
(in Bovey) is a corruption of Boncombe or Buncombe, the parent hamlet of
that home of eloquence, Bunkum, in North Carolina.

Among the Christian names there is Hanniball in Ilsington and Bovey, and
Methusalem in Moreton; but most of them are commonplace. Out of these
1609 men 342 are John--that is, roughly, two men out of every
nine--while 173 are William, 152 are Richard and 147 are Thomas; so that
half the total number had one of these four names. It must have been
confusing; and, having only one name each, they could not be
distinguished by combinations of initials, as is usual now when people
have two Christian names or more. Second names were not quite unknown
then--there was Henry Frederick Thynne, a Royalist in the Civil War--but
the new fashion had not yet extended to these rustic parishes.

These returns do not support the view that parents had a habit of naming
children after the patron saint of the parish. The patron saint is
Andrew at Moreton, and Pancras at Widdicombe; but Moreton has only
twelve Andrews, whereas Widdicombe has eighteen Andrews and only one
Pancras. Pancras is a pleasant name that parents might use oftener: it
drops so nicely into Panny, like Pontius into Ponty. But parents are
strange folk. Pontius is equivalent to Quintus, and I urged a friend of
mine to call his fifth son Pontius; but he went and chose a less
historic name. A great-great-uncle of mine gave one of his sons the name
of Ghibelline, which is historic but not often given at the font. I
imagine he was feeling very anti-Guelph just then.

A child named Flood was christened Noah; and in after years his house
was known to everyone in Bovey as the Ark. Quite recently a Wreyland
child was christened Cesca. I asked the mother where she got the name,
and she said she got it off the washing. She took in washing, and one of
her families had a daughter named Francesca, who was usually called
‘Cesca and had her linen marked that way. And really you cannot object
to Cesca unless you also object to Betty and other shortened names.

The Protestation of 1642 was soon followed by the Civil War, and at
Christmas 1645 there was a Royalist force at Bovey and a Parliamentary
force at Tiverton. Fairfax marched from Tiverton to Moreton, while
Cromwell marched from Tiverton to Bovey by another road, and surprised
and beat the Royalists there, 9 January. They lost 12 men killed and 60
taken prisoners besides about 350 horses. “It was almost supper time
with them when our men entered the town, most of them at that instant
were playing at cards, but our souldiers took up the stakes for many of
their principal officers, who (being together in one room) threw their
stakes of mony out at the window, which whilst our souldiers were
scrambling for, they escaped out at a back-door over the river, and
saved their best stakes.” That is what Sprigge says in his _Anglia
Rediviva or England’s Recovery_, published in 1647. The story has been
doubted, as it is told of other places; but it probably is true of
Bovey. Sprigge was chaplain to Fairfax during this campaign, and thus
could get at facts; and the story is also in a letter to Edmund
Prideaux, M.P., written on 11 January, and printed and published on 15
January by order of the House of Commons, that is, within a week of the
event. The letter says that the money thrown out of window was about £10
of silver.

Next day, 10 January, “the weather still extream bitter cold,” the
forces at Moreton and Bovey “had a rendezvouz near Bovey,” and went on
to Ashburton, whither the Royalists had retired. That is what Sprigge
says; but one wonders why the rendezvous should be ‘near’ Bovey and not
at Bovey itself, Bovey being on the road to Ashburton. It would not be
between Moreton and Bovey, as there is no cross-road between, and one
force or the other would have to go back the way it came. If it was the
other side of Bovey, the Moreton force would merely follow the Bovey
force along the road, and join it later on instead of joining it at
Bovey. In that weather, “much snow upon the ground,” the open country
would be barred: so I imagine that Fairfax and his troops came down the
valley by the usual road to Bovey, passing through the end of Wreyland
Manor at Kelly.

Wreyland never was disturbed. One sitting of the Manor Court is in the
first year of Edward V and the next in the first year of Richard III:
another is in the second year of Richard III and the next in the first
year of Henry VII. The business of the Court goes quietly on, regardless
of the murders in the Tower or the carnage upon Bosworth Field. John
Merdon is amerced a penny under Richard III because he has not yet
repaired his buildings that are tumbling down, and he is again amerced a
penny under Henry VII because he has not yet repaired, etc.

However, Bosworth Field had its effect at Wreycombe, three miles further
up the valley, the Manor of Wreycombe being restored to Robert Cary, son
and heir of Sir William Cary, who had forfeited it on attainder for high
treason twenty years before, 1 July 1465. He had quitted England to join
Queen Margaret in waging war on Edward IV, and he was killed at the
battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. The same thing had happened to Wreycombe
once before. Sir John Cary was one of the judges who were attainted of
high treason for declaring the Commission of Regency to be unlawful, and
he forfeited his property, 1 August 1387. He died in 1395, and next year
Wreycombe and other lands were granted to his widow. She was one of the
Holways of Holway, and this was Holway property that she had brought to
him on marriage.

Wreyland was once the property of John de Moelis; and he died in 1337,
leaving two daughters and no son. Muriel was fifteen and Isabella was
thirteen or more; and they became wards of the King, as their father
held his lands ‘in chief,’ that is to say, at first hand from the King.
The two girls married at once--not bad matches, but without the King’s
consent; and then there was the usual fuss. On partition of their
father’s lands, Wreyland was part of Muriel’s share; but there was a
Fine of 200 marks to pay for marrying without the King’s consent. It was
paid on 27 August 1337, and the King passed on the money to his son,
Edward the Black Prince, who was then a boy of seven.

Things happened here in Wreyland Manor which seem trivial now that we
have only the bare facts, as set down on the record of the Manor Court;
but in real life the facts may have aroused such animosities that they
would seem momentous then.--John More and Thomas Sachet have been
cutting down trees on the Lustleigh side of the Wrey, thereby choking
the stream so that it is overflowing on the Wreyland side and doing
damage here. Henry atte Slade has been catching pheasants and partridges
inside the Manor bounds. (Slade is just outside.) Ralf Golde’s pigs have
been eating Ralf Wilcokes’ apples from the Feast of saint Christina unto
the Feast of the Nativity of the blessed Mary. (From 24 July to 8
September.) Thomas Wollecote’s pig has been eating Thomas Ollesbrome’s
apples, and Ollesbrome has killed the pig, though Wollecote has offered
him twenty bushels of apples as compensation. In this case two issues
were set down for trial: the offer of the apples, and the killing of the
pig. Wollecote failed on the first issue, and did not proceed on the
second--it may be that Ollesbrome had brought the pig into Court, as his
defence was that he had not killed it.

That was the Fifteenth Century, and the Twentieth is not unlike it. In
this present Century there were two men living in Lustleigh parish who
have now gone away--men of assured position and independent means. One
man lived in a valley, and the other on a hill-side just above; and one
man had a garden, and the other had a dog. When the dog got busy with
bones, it went off to the garden and carried out its burials and
exhumations there. At least, that is what the owner of the garden said,
and what the owner of the dog denied; and the contention was so sharp
between them that one of them summoned the other before the magistrates
at Newton to be bound over to keep the peace.

In a humbler state of life there were two old ladies who kept chicken;
and whenever one of them fed her chicken, her neighbour’s chicken came
over in a mass and scrambled for the food. It was a thing that chicken
would naturally do; but she felt certain that her neighbour egged them
on. One day she seemed to be in heavenly happiness, and she explained
to me, “I be a-thinkin’ of that woman there, when I shall see her in the
torments.” I asked where she was going to see that, and she answered
with asperity, “Where be I a-goin’? Why, Abram’s bosom, o’ course.” Her
thoughts were on the parable of Lazarus and Dives. People of her
generation did not consider eternal life worth having without eternal
punishment for everybody they disliked.

In country places little things seem big, as there is nothing big to
dwarf them. I have seen a man throw down his work and come rushing
across the valley, uttering imprecations all the way--as someone said of
him, “could hear’n comin’ up a-buzzin’ like an aireyplain”--and it was
only because he saw a trespasser, not a murder or a fire or anything
else commensurate. In big towns they have newspapers coming out in fresh
editions all day long, and placards of the news, and boys to shout it
out; and they cannot quite ignore the ‘mysteries’ and ‘allegations’ and
the ‘startling revelations.’ These may be trumpery enough and quite
untrue, but at all events they do not set good neighbours quarrelling.

About the time of the Armistice I was going out to Hurston one morning,
and overtook a rural postman on the way. He told me that the Crown
Prince had been killed; and when I said I doubted it, he said he had
seen it in two newspapers, and that was good enough for him. And he
announced the news at every farm-house on his round. Ten days afterwards
I went out there again, and overtook him as before. I mentioned the
Crown Prince, but that bit of news had passed out of his mind, and he
had other news (of course, quite true) which he was taking round with
him that day. News of this sort does no harm. In such places there are
people who have time to think, and they can see that news is not
invariably true. An old man said to me, “They tell and tell, and I don’t
hearken to no word of it, only what my son says as he’s see’d hisself,
and he says the Bulgarians has landed at Ostend.” I suggested Kustendje,
but he stuck firmly to Ostend.

On the morning of the Armistice I went down to Bovey; and the first
things I saw were two flags flying at half-mast. I felt uneasy till I
got there and learned the reason why. It was a very long while since the
flags had been up higher than half-mast, and now they wouldn’t go any
higher until the gear was eased; and somebody would be going up to see
to that a little later on. In the streets I found the children waving
every flag that they could get, German or Austrian as much as French or
English; and later on I saw a great display of Russian flags at
Lustleigh. On asking why, I found that someone had laid in a stock of
Allied flags quite early in the War; but there had been a slump in
Russians, and this was the unsold remnant of the stock.

Flags generally are ugly things, crude in colour and clumsy in design,
and quite unsuitable for decorations. It is a glorious thing, especially
in foreign ports, to see the White Ensign on a British man-of-war. The
flag means something there; but it does not mean much anywhere else, and
means nothing in mere decorations with national flags and signal flags
all mixed together. Ships are dressed with flags because they have the
flags on board, and nothing else so handy for display; but there is no
sense in copying ships in towns, and hanging flags from what are called
Venetian masts. In fact the celebrated masts at Venice look rather
foolish now. They meant something when they carried the banners of the
three Venetian states, Cyprus, Crete, and the Morea. Now they all three
carry the Italian flag, and one would be enough for that. If it is flown
on more than one, it might as well be flown on ten or twelve or twenty
as on three.

Instead of putting up masts and flags in towns, people might take down
the advertisements, just for a day, to celebrate some great event. That
might make the streets look nice. But if they really must put something
up, they might as least choose something that would be less dismal than
a show of flags on a wet day. They might try wreaths and flowers in
enamelled iron. I have seen daffodils like that, highly recommended for
back gardens in large towns, where real plants will not grow. The
leaves look green and fresh all through the year, and you bring the
flowers out whenever you please, as the iron stalks are hollow and fit
on to long pins between the leaves.

That kind of gardening tempts me. Such plants would never run wild or
wither away or die, or do any of the other annoying things that real
plants often do. I also find the automatic peacock very tempting. The
real bird screeches, and gets up upon thatched roofs and digs itself in.
But this is a stuffed bird with clock-work in it that puts its tail up
for seven minutes every quarter-hour. No doubt, the topiary peacock is
more restful to the eye; but it is slow of growth and needs much careful
clipping.

If box and yew are clipped into the shape of kerb-stones and stone
walls, such trees may just as well be clipped into the shape of domes
and pyramids and other architectural things; but not, I think, into the
shape of birds and beasts that might fly off or walk away. It is only a
bad joke to make a plant look like an animal, and even good jokes pall
when they take twenty years to make and go on for a century. I like
these things in other people’s gardens where I see them only now and
then, but do not want them in my own where I should see them every day.

In the Hall House garden I established two grass walks, crossing one
another at right-angles, with hedges ten feet high and four feet thick
made of clipped cypress and looking as solid as walls. I not only like
the look of them, but find them very convenient--in one or other of
those walks I can always be out of the sun or out of the wind, if either
is too strong. The cypress is Cupressus Macrocarpa, which grows very
quickly here; and if anybody wants to make a hedge of it, I should
advise him to keep his hedge a little narrower at the top than at the
base. With a very slight slope of the sides the rain runs down to the
lowest twigs; but if the sides are bolt upright, the lowest twigs dry up
and wither away, leaving an ugly hollow underneath.

A formal garden may be made to look as ugly as anything in Holland when
the tulips are in bloom--five hundred tulips in a bed, all at the same
distance from each other, and all of the same colour and size. Enamelled
iron would be better than real flowers there, as it would give the full
effect at which those gardeners aim. If formality demands entire beds of
flowers of one kind, these might at least be flowers of varied colour
and irregular growth. I use begonias for my box-edged beds here--double,
single, frilled, all mixed together, scarlet, crimson, coral, salmon,
orange, yellow, white--and (in my eyes) the beds have unity enough
without too much formality. But all begonias are ungainly things; and ‘a
blaze of colour’ generally means a mass of flowers that have few merits
of their own. There are plenty of flowers worth growing for their
grandeur or their grace; but people fill their gardens up with other
sorts, just as they fill their houses with the books ‘without which no
gentleman’s library would be complete.’ They merely grow these plants
because most people grow them.

If there is to be a ‘formal’ garden, it should be next the house, as the
house itself is all right-angles and straight lines that harmonize with
walls of yew or cypress and kerb-stones of box. Conversely, the ‘wild’
garden should be far away; and the usual notion is that ‘landscape’
gardening covers the transition from the ‘formal’ to the ‘wild.’ I have
a notion of my own that landscape gardening is like sitting between two
stools. No doubt, a landscape painter may improve a landscape by
omitting things that spoil the view or putting them in where they look
right; and a landscape gardener can really cut things down or root them
up and plant them somewhere else. He may thereby improve a garden that
was naturally wild; but when he plans a ‘landscape’ garden, he usually
gives it too much formality for nature and not enough for art.

In looking at landscapes by great painters, such as Claude Lorraine, you
sometimes get an uncomfortable feeling of something being wrong, and
then it dawns upon you that the hills and dales and rocks and streams
defy the laws of Nature. In his _Observations on Modern Gardening_,
which first came out in 1770, Whately treats real landscape in the same
capricious way; and the question is, how far such licence is allowable.
There is an engraving of Turner’s picture of the Temeraire, with some of
the mistakes corrected. The sun is still setting in the east, but the
tug’s mast is forward of the funnel, not abaft of it, and the
Temeraire’s foremast looks taller than her mainmast, as it really would,
seen from that point of view. But these corrections spoil the
composition, with its series of ascending heights from the tug’s funnel
to her mast and the foremast and the mainmast of the Temeraire. Turner
understood ships very well, and knew what he was doing. But the Claudes
and Whatelys did not understand geology, and blundered in an aimless
way.

Whately declares that every ‘landskip’ is composed of ground, wood,
water, rocks and buildings. In a garden “every species of architecture
may be admitted, from the Grecian down to the Chinese”; but in a wider
prospect there should be “no Grecian temples, no Turkish mosques, no
Egyptian obelisks or pyramids,” though there may be “the semblance of an
ancient British monument,” pp. 119, 120, ed. 1770. As for its
construction, “the materials might be brick, or even timber plaistered
over, if stone could not easily be procured: whatever they were, the
fallacy would not be discernible.” It tempts me to construct a
lath-and-plaster Stonehenge here.

On one point I agree with him, p. 159, “a chearful look-out from the
windows is all that the proprietor desires: he is more sensible to the
charms of the greater prospects, if he sees them only occasionally, and
they do not become insipid by being familiar.” Nor is it prudent to rely
too much upon a distant view. In a flat country you plant a belt of
trees around your house and don’t care what your neighbours do: you are
monarch of all you survey. But in a hilly country, such as this, you are
at your neighbours’ mercy, unless you have a very large estate. Some
neighbour may quite spoil your view by starting building or cutting
timber or opening a mine a mile or two away. And you cannot plant him
out. If you plant a tree to hide an eyesore, it hides it only from one
point of view, and from other points it hides things you may wish to
see.

Clipped hedges of yew and cypress look well almost anywhere, but best
near dark green trees, cedar, pine, or fir. Evergreens are always better
by themselves away from trees that shed their leaves, unless such trees
are masked. I think the younger Pliny was right in growing ivy on his
plane trees, and letting it run out along the branches and reach across
from tree to tree, _Epistolæ_, V. 6. 32. He liked the dark green of the
ivy with his bay trees and his clipped box bushes below, although he
knew the ivy would ultimately kill the planes.

Planes were then the fashionable trees, as they gave the pleasantest
shade. They were not introduced into Italy until about 400 B.C., and
were not easily grown. The elder Pliny says that there were people who
watered theirs with wine, _Historia naturalis_, XII. 4 (8). I never went
as far as that with any tree, nor did my grandfather, although my
grandmother always made a point of watering the myrtle with cold tea. No
doubt, all plants have their appropriate food. I sometimes get the
parings off the hoofs when a horse is being shod, and then I give my
olive trees a feed.

I respect the elder Pliny as a man--his nephew has told us how his
steady snoring could be heard amidst the thunders of Vesuvius, when
everybody else was scared, _Epistolæ_, VI. 16. 13--but as an author he
was not at his best. His nephew has described his ways: how he gave
every moment of spare time to reading books or having books read to him,
always making notes and extracts as he went along, _Epistolæ_, III. 5.
But he did not always take things down correctly. Theophrastos says that
the plane tree was rare (spanian) in Italy, _Historia plantarum_, IV. 5.
6, and Pliny has turned this into plane trees in Italy and Spain,
_Historia naturalis_, XII. 3 (7). More than half of what he says of
trees is copied out of Theophrastos, but he has interspersed it with his
snippets out of other authors who were not always speaking of the same
varieties. And thus he has created things that never have existed and
could not possibly exist. At the end of an impossible tale, _Gargantua_,
I. 6, Rabelais very justly says that after all he wasn’t as big a liar
as Pliny, “et toutesfoys ie ne suis poinct menteur tant asseuré comme il
a esté.”

The trees which shed their leaves are gorgeous with their autumn tints,
and many kinds of them are graceful in the winter with bare boughs,
especially just after snow. Writing at the window where I am writing
now, my grandfather notes down, 3 January 1847, “Each flake takes up its
position and there remains. I hope no wind will disturb it before I can
go out and take a view of the country around: which I hope to do, even
if it’s up to knees.” I feel that too; but bare boughs always remind me
it is winter-time, and I might easily forget that dismal fact down here,
if all the trees were green. If I were making a fresh start, I would
surround myself with cedar and cypress, pine and fir, holly trees and
bay trees, palm trees, yucca and New Zealand flax, Portugal laurel,
arbutus, camellia, rhododendron, and other such trees and shrubs. The
earliest kind of rhododendron (the Nobleanum) starts flowering here at
Christmas. One of mine has nearly a hundred great red trusses of bloom
now--January--and the red camellias are coming out. Sometimes on winter
days the thermometer goes up to 90° in the sun; and there is seldom any
great extremity of cold. My grandfather notes, 11 February 1855,
“Thermometer at front door now 20°, such as I never remember seeing
before.”

He noted thermometer, barometer, wind and weather, every day in books he
kept for that, and every week he sent a copy to my father to compare
with his own notes. But my father’s notes were very irregular, as he was
often away, whereas my grandfather seldom stirred, at any rate in his
later years (1840 to 1870) for which I have his notes. Also, my father
met with difficulties that were unknown down here. Instead of the
temperature on 11 September 1850 there is a note of “My thermometer
stolen from the garden wall last night,” and no more temperatures for
several days.

These notes, of course, were of no use except for forecasting in future
years; and my grandfather at last perceived they were of very little use
at all. He writes on 10 February 1860, “These phenomena used to indicate
immediate storms, but really the weather has been such of late that all
my old calculations and observations are gone to the winds, so now do
not pretend to rely on any of them.”

Some of his prognostications had been lamentably wrong. He writes on 23
November 1851, “My mind tells me we shall have a deal of snow this
winter,” and his record of the weather shows that there was practically
none. As he says that his mind told him so, I suppose he was not
consciously relying on his observations or his calculations here, though
he could hardly have dismissed them from his mind. I think it came of
the hereditary wisdom of old countryfolk. Their observations may be less
exact, but there have been many generations of observers; and thus they
form opinions that come true in nine years out of ten.

Mild winters often end with falls of snow in March or April--at any
rate, it is so here--and this must be the basis of the saw, “A green
Christmas, a white Easter.” My Grandfather quotes it on 28 December 1857
as “an old adage--I fear it may be too true.” On 12 January 1862 he
writes, “How mild it is. Well, this verifies the saying of old that if
the hawthorn and holly berries are plenty, be sure of a hard winter, but
if none, a mild one; and there is scarcely a berry to be seen, even on
our hollies which are generally so thick. When I was young these sayings
were more general than now; and it is considered that the alwise
Providence is mindful of the birds as well as man.”

The birds come down here from the bleaker country round the moor as soon
as wintry weather sets in, and the ground below the hollies is red with
berries that the birds have dropped. But this last winter (1922, 23) was
so mild that no birds came, though berries were more abundant than ever
was known before. In another such winter my grandfather writes, 25
January 1846, “I cannot find any of the old men I meet can ever
recollect such a mild winter, so far. I have not yet seen a winter’s
bird, not a fieldfare or starling or even a whindle [redwing] nor a
covey of birds of any description: neither the linnet nor finch nor
yellowhammer have congregated together as heretofore: they are all about
singly as in summer. They do not appear to want the food of the barn’s
door, the cornricks, or stable court, so far. Hope it is all for a wise
purpose.”

Of course, there sometimes are hard winters here, as in 1907, 8 when
almost all the birds were killed; and he writes, 14 May 1855, “Birds of
all sorts are very scarce, the winter made great havoc of them: not a
thrush to be heard nor a blackbird to be seen. I have not a robin in the
garden.” But winters of that kind are rare.

With this climate and rich soil there is abundant produce from the land,
but very little profit--on agricultural land of mine (apart from
buildings) I have been paying close upon £3 an acre in rates and tithe
and taxes. During the War the Food Controller found that milk could be
produced for two pence a gallon less in the four Western counties than
in the rest of England; so he imposed a duty of two pence a gallon on
all milk sent out of these four counties, and thereby collected about
£250,000. But the Law decided that the duty was illegal; and the money
is being returned.

If milk can be produced so cheaply in the West, there ought to be more
dairy-farming, and more land should be laid down to permanent pasture.
But that is not a popular opinion now. Some acres will produce more food
if they are ploughed than if they stay in grass, and perhaps the average
acre will, but some acres certainly will not; and though the produce may
be more per acre, it may be less per man employed. This is forgotten,
and the cry is all for ploughing up. Experienced people will not go
ploughing up their pasture; but power may be given someday to a Ministry
or Board or Council, which has to lay down general rules and therefore
takes the average case regardless of abnormal cases, such as the rich
pastures here.

According to the Food Controller’s rules, milk could be produced much
cheaper on one farm than on the next adjoining farm, if the county
boundary happened to come between the two; and really there were places
fifty or a hundred miles inside the boundary where it could not be
produced as cheaply as at places just as far outside. No doubt, the line
must be drawn somewhere, if there is to be a line at all; but such lines
are merely nuisances when they do not represent the facts.

There was a letter of mine on agriculture in the _Times_ of 14 June
1920, and the editor of _Justice_ thereupon sent me a leading-article in
his paper of 17 June. I wrote a letter in reply, and he printed it in
_Justice_ of 1 July, and afterwards printed other letters from me in
reply to things that other people wrote there. These people, of course,
were socialists, and one of them was organizer of the Agricultural
Workers’ Union. He lamented “the want of knowledge of agriculture in the
Socialistic and Labour forces”; but his own facts and figures were very
often wrong, and his reasoning was not exact. I shared his aspirations
for Utopia; but he was going there across the clouds, and I was going
along the land.

On an average the wheat crop in England is about a ton for every acre
sown, or more than double the average for the United States or Canada.
But wheat is not sown here except on land that suits it; and the average
would soon go down, if wheat were sown on land that is less suitable.
These people seemed to think that there would always be a ton an acre,
however barren the land--or several tons an acre, if ‘Science’ were
invoked. And they also seemed to think that wheat alone is ‘food,’
although our forefathers ate barley, oats and rye. These can be grown on
land that is not good enough for wheat; and our island might perhaps
grow food enough for the whole population--as these people said it
should--but the population would have to be content with something less
luxurious than wheaten bread.

They also put the claims of labour very high: unreasonably high, I
thought. When a labourer comes to a farm, he finds fields fenced and
drained and ready for cultivation, barns and stables, carts and ploughs
and every needful implement, horses and food for the horses, and manures
and seeds for the land. It is surely an abuse of language to talk of the
crop as the produce of his labour. Suppose the crop fails utterly, as it
sometimes will, from bad weather or other causes quite beyond control.
As there is no crop, there is no produce of his labour; and (logically)
he ought not to get anything at all. By accepting a fixed wage, he
insures against that risk.

A maximum wage for agricultural labourers was fixed by the magistrates
for Devon at Quarter Sessions, 13 April 1795. They were empowered to do
this by the Acts of 5 Elizabeth and 1 James I, and “having made due
enquiry of the wages of the labourers in husbandry in this county, and
having had respect to the price of provisions and other articles
necessary for the maintenance and support of such labourers at this
time,” they made an order that “all manner of men labourers in husbandry
shall take, with the meat and drink accustomed to be given in each
district of the county respectively, the sum of fourteen pence per day
and not above.” But piece-work was excepted--“all labourers in husbandry
shall take by the great or task work as they shall agree.”

In his report to the Board of Agriculture in 1807 Vancouver says that
agricultural wages had not changed in Devon since 1795. He puts the
daily wage at 1_s._ 2_d._ and a quart of cider for the regular hands,
and 1_s._ 4_d._ and the quart for casual hands, or 8_s._ a week instead
of 7_s._, as they had none of the allowances the others had--ground for
pig-keeping, and corn for bread-baking, and other things, at less than
market price; and he mentions that the 7_s._ could be commuted into
3_s._ 6_d._ and maintenance: pages 361 to 363 and 446. And while a man
was earning his 7_s._ on the land, his wife could be earning 3_s._ 6_d._
at her spinning wheel, and there might be other spinners in the family:
pages 446 and 464. But he adds that this home industry was being
destroyed by factories; so that whole families had now become dependent
on their earnings on the land.

Agriculture was thus called upon to pay a wage that would support men’s
wives and families, just when it could not pay enough to support
unmarried men. The industrial North was a necessity, but it meant
destruction for the agricultural South; and many people here expressed
themselves as forcibly as Cobbett, _Cottage Economy_, section 232, “The
lords of the loom, the crabbed-voiced, hard-favoured, hard-hearted,
puffed-up, insolent, savage and bloody wretches of the North, assisted
by a blind and greedy Government, have taken all the employment away
from the agricultural women and children.”

Instead of fixing a maximum wage, as in Devon, the magistrates for Berks
drew up a plan, 6 May 1795, ‘the Speenhamland plan,’ which was copied by
other counties but never had the force of law. (The old Roman town of
Spinæ was a mile or two from Newbury, and Quarter Sessions held at
Newbury were nominally held at Spinæ, then known as Speenhamland.) The
plan was drawn up clumsily. It allowed too little for the wage-earner
and too much for his family: he had from 3_s._ to 5_s._ a week according
to the cost of living as measured by the price of corn, but he also had
1_s._ 6_d._ to 2_s._ 6_d._ for his wife and each one of his children.
Thus a man with a wife and seven children had twice as much as a man
with a wife and two children, and five times as much as an unmarried
man, though the cost of living would not be five times as much or even
twice as much. That wrecked the plan: it meant paying one man a great
deal more than another for getting through the same amount of work.
Still, the old plan took account of facts, whereas the present notion is
to fix a wage that is sufficient for an average family. This leaves big
families short, and also takes money out of industry to pay unmarried
men the cost of families they have not got.

In a letter to my father, 2 December 1849, my grandfather sends a
message to a friend who had been talking of the good old times, and then
describes the bad old times that he remembered here. “I have sold
potatoes for 9_d._ per bag and hog sheep for 2_s._ 9_d._ a head. [A bag
of potatoes is 160 lbs., and hogs are sheep between one and two years
old.] 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.” Under the Speenhamland plan 6_d._ a day (3_s._ a week) was the
minimum for a single man, and 9_d._ a day (4_s._ 6_d._ a week) was the
minimum for a married man without a family. No doubt the 6_d._ or 9_d._
was quite as much as farmers could afford to pay when prices were so
low; but men with families could not subsist on that. In their case (to
use the modern terms) the economic wage was less than a subsistence
wage; and the parish authorities paid them a subsistence wage and took
the economic wage, the balance coming from the rates.

In agricultural districts the ratepayers were chiefly landowners,
parsons with glebe and tithe, farmers, millers, and blacksmiths and
others who made things for the farms; and thus the contribution from the
rates came indirectly out of agriculture. It was, in fact, a general
charge upon the industry, based on the employing classes’ means, but
applied according to the labouring classes’ needs, so that no labourer
was worse off for having a big family. No doubt it also was a subsidy to
agriculture from ratepayers who were wholly unconnected with the land;
but few such people could be found in country places. At the census in
1801 the parish of Lustleigh had a population of 246, and 236 of them
were classed as agricultural.

Subsidies to any industry are open to abuse; but in a choice of evils
this may be the lesser of the two. At present, if an economic wage is
less than a subsistence wage, the industry slows down or stops,
production is decreased or ceases, and hands are unemployed; and then
these hands receive subsistence wages out of rates and taxes. But in a
subsidy the public would only pay the difference between the economic
and subsistence wages, all hands would be employed and production would
go steadily on.

Since the passing of the Truck Act in 1831 payments in money have been
replacing the old payments in kind. The old system was open to abuses;
but I doubt if agricultural labourers have benefitted by the change, as
there now are middlemen’s profits to be paid. Under the old system (as
mentioned by Vancouver on pages 361, 363 of his report) farm-hands could
buy their bread-corn from the farmer at fixed rates--two bushels a month
of barley at 3_s._ a bushel, or a bushel of wheat at 6_s_.; and now they
say the baker charges too much for their bread, whilst farmers say the
miller pays too little for the wheat. So also with drink, the labourer
did better with the cider he had helped to make, than with a small
increase of wages for buying something else. He now buys tea or beer at
prices that allow for profits and taxation, whereas his cider was taken
at cost-price. No doubt, political economists would like to see all
wages paid in cash, to save them trouble with statistics; but ‘real’
wages might be higher, if partly paid in produce of the farm.

A little while before the War I listened to a long dispute between two
brothers, one a railway man at 30_s._ a week and the other a farm hand
at 15_s._ The railway man maintained that he was worse off than his
brother; he was paying 7_s._ a week for cramped accommodation in a town,
whereas his brother had a cottage, free, and ground enough for growing
vegetables and keeping poultry and a pig. And he went on comparing town
and country prices, and town and country needs; and, on the whole, I
think he proved his case. But there is an outcry against free cottages
now, as a farm hand must vacate his cottage if he ceases working on the
farm, the cottage being wanted for the man who takes his place. There is
a great deal in a name. If these ‘tied cottages’ were called ‘official
residences,’ less nonsense might be talked.

A slovenly housewife soon gives her cottage the aspect of a slum, and
often gets it into such a mess that it can never be made quite nice
again without almost rebuilding it; and at one time or another most of
the old cottages have suffered in that way. Good housewives did their
best, and scrubbed; but there was no such scrubbing here as I have seen
in Holland. I stayed a night at Delft, 22 August 1872, at a hotel that
looked out on a wide street with a canal running down the middle of it;
and in the morning I watched the house opposite being cleaned up for the
day. After all the windows had been cleaned inside and out, the front
door was taken off its hinges and well scrubbed and then was carried
over the canal and dipped in it.

After doing repairs, my grandfather notes, 29 October 1843, “Such is
ever the case with house property: it is but a nominal income.” Matters
have not improved since then; and I therefore try to build things that
will never need repair. After viewing an addition that I was making at
the Hall House, a village elder justly said, “There: ‘tbe everlastin’:
and everlastin’: and everlastin’ after that.” It was a big granite
staircase with granite walls laid in cement. I wish that former
generations had used cement here: they used bad mortar with a core of
rubble between the inside and outside stones--their walls were seldom
less than three feet thick--and when the mortar has decayed, there is
nothing to keep the outside stones from falling off and the rubble from
going after them. When they were building ‘dry walls’ (that is, with
neither mortar nor cement) they took more pains to get the stones to
fit.

These ‘dry walls’ abound here. The countryside was strewn with granite
boulders: when a piece was cleared to make a field, the boulders were
broken up and used for walls enclosing it; and the walls were sometimes
made immensely large, to use up the material. It is marvellous to see a
skilled man building such a wall. The stones are of all shapes and
sizes, from half a hundredweight to three or four, just as the rock or
boulder happens to split up; and there may be many dozens of them lying
about. He glances round and selects a stone, perhaps fifty feet away,
and has it brought to him; and it fits in exactly with the stones he has
just used, or only needs a single blow to knock off some protuberance.
This all looks so easy that I have tried selecting stones myself; but
they have never come right.

While I was having one of these walls built, I had a letter from a
friend in London asking me if I could give a man a job: the man was
strong enough for anything, but had been ill; and the doctor said he
needed six weeks in the country, out of doors all day. I had him down
for the six weeks, and set him to work at picking up the stones the
skilled man wanted, and carrying them over to the wall. He happened to
be a prizefighter, and he was still here at the time of Newton fair, and
there happened to be a booth for boxing. He went in and boxed, and local
men came in and boxed with him, not knowing who he was. They gained
experience, and he brought home the stakes.--In his solicitude for my
education, my father sent me to a prizefighter when I was twelve years
old. I went twice a-week, but did not know enough to profit by his
teaching--his gloves were always up against my eyes, and I saw nothing
else. I did, however, learn a little of the language of the Ring.

A dozen years ago some people were talking to me here about the good old
times, and their children meanwhile were giving the donkey and the dog
some bits of bread. I said, “These are the good old times, and people
will look back on them and say, in those days dogs and donkeys might eat
wheaten bread.” I was looking ahead, a century or more, and never
thought that in a few years time bread would be rationed out in England
and made of other things than wheat. In what we call the good old times
the labourer had no wheaten bread. In a letter of 3 December 1844 my
grandfather remarks that wheat was then so cheap and oats so dear that
wheat was being given to horses; and he calls wheat “food for
Christians,” but then corrects himself, “when I say wheat is food for
Christians, I do not mean to say the labourer is not a Christian,”
although the labourer had only barley bread, not wheat.

Though wheat is so esteemed, a vast amount is wasted here in reaping and
in threshing and with rats in ricks and barns. I have seen the ears
gathered by hand in Turkey and in Spain, and with astonishing speed; and
nothing is wasted then. And there is, I believe, an American machine
which cuts the stalks so high that it reaps hardly anything below the
ears; but I imagine that it does not get the ears off any of the shorter
stalks.

After living in Long Island (New York) in 1817 and 1818, Cobbett says in
his _Cottage Economy_, section 82, “Few people upon the face of the
earth live better than the Long Islanders, yet nine families out of ten
seldom eat wheaten bread. Rye is the flour that they principally make
use of. Now, rye is seldom more than two-thirds the price of wheat, and
barley is seldom more than half the price of wheat. Half rye and half
wheat, taking out a little more of the offal, make very good bread. Half
wheat, a quarter rye and a quarter barley, nay, one-third of each, make
bread that I could be very well content to live upon all my lifetime.”
Of course the Americans also had what they call ‘corn’ and we call
‘maize.’ We grow this for fodder, as it seldom ripens here; and we
import the product as cornflour. Cobbett tried the American sort here,
but found another sort near Calais--a dwarf plant--and tried this in
1827 and the following years; and in 1828 he reckoned that he had eleven
thousand quartern loaves upon eleven acres, though three of the eleven
had failed. These experiments of his were made at Kensington and Barnes;
and in 1828 he says in _Cobbett’s Corn_, section 155, that he was paying
his men three shillings a-week with board and lodging. They had porridge
for breakfast: as much hot mutton as they could eat for dinner, and also
apple-dumplings: bread and cheese, as much as they could eat, for
supper: a pint of beer at dinner and another pint at supper. He lived on
the same diet himself.

My grandfather had most of Cobbett’s agricultural books, and read them
with respect, as Cobbett never recommended anything without trying it
himself or having seen it tried. These books of his are shrewd and
sensible, and may be right in what they say of that “degrading curse,”
the “pernicious practice of drinking tea,” _Cottage Economy_, sections
23 to 33. “But is it in the power of any man, any good labourer who has
attained the age of fifty, to look back upon the last thirty years of
his life without cursing the day in which tea was introduced into
England?” Parson Davy was preaching against tea-drinking here in 1803,
and as early as 1748 Wesley was exhorting his followers to abhor tea as
a deadly poison. (A prophet is without honour in his own chapels.)
Cobbett likewise talks of “the corrosive, gnawing, and poisonous powers”
of tea. “Tea has no useful strength in it: it contains nothing
nutritious.... It is, in fact, a weaker kind of laudanum, which enlivens
for the moment and deadens afterwards.”

The fault may not be in the tea itself, but in the way of making it and
leaving it to ‘stand’ or ‘draw.’ A cynic said that tea was the salvation
of the people here; it so damaged their digestions that they could not
assimilate the food they ate; and this really was a mercy, as they
over-ate themselves so much. Even in this house, I fear, tea was allowed
to stand too long. I remember my grandmother being chaffed about a
letter she had written, “Jane has drunk tea here. Poor soul, she has
drained the cup of bitterness to the very dregs.”

In my early days here the cottagers all kept pigs; and the sties abutted
on the cottages and drained into the lanes. There were sties on each
side of the lane between Bowhouse and the Tallet; and as the lane is
steep, the drainage made a stream downhill and joined the drainage from
a sty at Souther Wreyland just outside the kitchen door. Then came a
time when pig-sties were prohibited within a certain distance of a
house; and the old granite pig-sties were utilized in other ways--that
Souther Wreyland sty became a coal-cellar, and a double sty at Lower
Wreyland has now become a sitting-room. But in War-time all restrictions
were removed; and pig-sties could be set up close to dwellings, as
before. Restrictions on building also were removed. Some years before
the War I wanted to turn a barn into a house; but this was not allowed,
although the barn had well-built granite walls--few houses have as good.
And now a barn near here, not built so well as that, has just been
turned into a house. If restrictions were necessary, they should not
have been removed: if they were capricious, they should never have been
made.

In those good old pig-sty days there were some powerful smells here, but
they did not carry far, and the air was always fresh; and there were
much worse smells in towns, with no fresh air to counteract them. A
builder writes to my father about a house in London, 12 October 1862, “I
beg to acquaint you that the works are going on, and on opening the
ground I find a large cess-pool in the front area under the steps, a
most improper situation for such a place.” That house was not built till
1820, and older houses usually were worse.

There were no sewers here, at Wreyland or at Lustleigh, until 1892, when
a joint sewer was laid down for the sewage of both places. A joint
water-supply was included in the scheme; but that part of the scheme
fell through, and sewer-gas was thus laid on to every house that had no
water of its own. This state of things continued for ten years, although
there was no practical difficulty about the joint supply. The great
Torquay reservoir is less than two miles off; and the engineers were
ready to lay the water on, just as they had laid it on to other places
between here and Torquay. But water-supply is in the jurisdiction of the
Rural District Council; and the Council appointed Parochial Committees
without experience of anything much bigger than a parish pump. The joint
supply was rejected, as Wreyland is not in Lustleigh parish. A separate
supply was found for Lustleigh; and when that failed, a further supply
was found, as far off as the Torquay reservoir. Being in Bovey parish,
Wreyland was supplied from a Bovey reservoir as far off on the other
side; and this reservoir was a futile thing--intended as storage to
supplement a small supply in drought, needless when a big supply was
brought in from another source, and ineffective now, because the mains
are nearly choked with rust. With their ineffective schemes and
alterations and additions, these two rural parishes incurred a debt of
about £24,000 for water-supply, besides about £8000 for sewage; and
there are special-expenses rates for interest and sinking-fund, and
water rates as well.

Moretonhampstead was provided with a sewer in 1905. The main part of the
town is on a hill between two little valleys that converge into the
valley of the Wrey; and a nine-inch sewer-pipe was carried down each
valley to the junction of the two, and a nine-inch sewer-pipe from that
point to the sewage-tanks some way further on, as if one nine-inch pipe
would take the full contents of two of that same size. Moreton is a
great place for thunderstorms--the conformation of the country brings
the clouds that way--and the storm-water comes rushing down the
sewer-pipes and drives the sewage along; and of course the sewer-pipes
were always bursting where these torrents met. Instead of laying a
larger pipe from the junction to the tanks (which would have been a
costly thing) the District Council placed a sort of safety-valve above
the junction; and now, whenever the pressure is sufficient, the sewage
throws up a fountain there. I have gone to see the fountains at
Versailles and Peterhof and other places celebrated for them, but I have
never seen another fountain quite like this. And nobody need go out of
his way to see it, as it splashes out on the high road from Moreton
here.

In going from Moreton to Hurston, I pass a guide-post with an arm that
says, ‘Chagford. 1½ miles.’ Taking that direction, I pass another
guide-post (at Stiniel cross) less than a hundred yards away; and this
has an arm that says, ‘Chagford. 2 miles.’ A foreigner noticed it and
said, “Aha, you advance one hundred metres and you retreat one
half-mile? How shall you arrive?” I said, of course, “We muddle
through,” and he said “You are a wonderful people”; and he said it as if
he meant it as a compliment, but I think he had some reservations in his
mind.

There is a new guide-post at Lustleigh. Instead of getting a larch pole
that might have cost about five shillings, the District Council got an
iron post that cost five pounds; and on that post the sockets for the
arms are at right-angles to each other. One arm is marked ‘Cleave,’ and
points along the road there. The other is marked ‘Station,’ but (being
at right-angles to the first) it points along the path to Wreyland,
which path does not go anywhere near the Station. Hence, many
objurgations from excursionists when they have missed the train. With a
larch pole, the arm could be nailed on to point the proper way; but our
Council would not be satisfied with anything that did not combine
extravagance with inefficiency.

Inefficiency is said to be a sign of honesty in public bodies. When a
public body is corrupt, the members take good care that everything is
managed so efficiently that nobody would like to turn them out--they
take no risks of losing a position that they find so profitable. On this
hypothesis the Local Authorities in Devon cannot possibly be corrupt;
and yet I sometimes feel a passing doubt when I see what schemes they
sanction and what tenders they accept.

Corruption may be beneficial if it implies efficiency. The amount of
money that is misappropriated will seldom be as much as would be muddled
away by honest, inefficient men. We usually have some very able men in
Devon, astute financiers whose abilities are thrown away in the routine
of penal servitude on Dartmoor. We might entrust our Local Government
affairs to them, not quite with a free hand, but with a reasonably
laxity allowed in matters of finance.

Our present system of Local Government has the defects of bureaucracy
without its merits. There are County Councils and District Councils and
Parish Councils. These are elected by the ratepayers; and the people who
are elected have not always got the necessary ability, and those who
have the ability cannot always give the necessary time. The result is
that the clerks and other officials have to do the Councils’ work, if it
is going to be done at all; and they are not invariably the sort of men
to whom such work would be entrusted. Under the bureaucratic system the
Councils would be abolished and their work entrusted to officials of
high standing, who would be qualified men; and they would do their best,
as they would have full credit for successful work and be responsible if
things went wrong. The officials have no such incentive now, as their
acts are nominally the Councils’ acts, and they have neither credit nor
blame.

With such administration it is not surprising that the rates in Bovey
parish have risen to 8_s._ 10_d._ and 9_s._ 5_d._ in the £, or 18_s._
3_d._ for the year--an inordinate sum for any rural parish. And no
drastic reductions can be made now, as £1600 a year is required for
interest and sinking-fund on loans, which will not be completely cleared
till 1952. All the money that is squandered by the Councils is charged
upon the rates; and nobody is ever punished for his blundering.

Take one case as a specimen of what is going on. A retaining-wall was
being built, half a mile from here, under the direction of a District
Council official. There was plenty of granite close at hand, but he was
having stone of an inferior kind brought down there by steam lorries
from a quarry nearly three miles off; and it came in lumps of
insufficient size for a retaining wall. On seeing how the wall was being
built, I wrote to say that it would certainly fall down, and the work
had better be stopped, especially as there was scandalous waste of money
in sending to a distance for inferior stone. But the work was carried
on; and a few days after it was finished, the wall fell down exactly as
I said it would. It was rebuilt in such a way that part of it will
probably fall down again. The ratepayers are paying for the building of
that wall and for its rebuilding, and the official goes scot free.

To take another case. Four years ago the District Council laid a
water-main across some private property without complying with the forms
prescribed by law; and as soon as it was laid, the owner told the
Council to take it up, though it had cost about £240 to lay. He was
within his rights; and he frightened the Council into an agreement to
pay him a way-leave if he would allow it to remain, and to take it up if
he gave six months’ notice. He has given notice and then withdrawn it on
condition of the Council’s doing something for him which the Council was
not really bound to do; and, so far as I can see, he may repeat the
process as often as he likes. The ratepayers find the money for it all.

If a District Council needs a loan for carrying out large works, the
plans and specifications and estimates have to be submitted to the
Ministry of Health before the loan is sanctioned. In these matters the
Ministry follows the practice of the old Local Government Board; and
when a loan was needed for the Moreton sewage scheme, the Board sent
down one of its inspectors. He held an inquiry at Moreton, and went over
the ground; and he passed the plans and specifications containing the
outrageous blunder I have mentioned. Hence the sewage fountain on the
road.

In spite of all formalities, works are not always carried out according
to the plans passed by the Ministry or Board. On the plans of the joint
sewer here (Lustleigh and part of Bovey) there is a settling-tank for
the sewage and an effluent to irrigate the fields below; but the tank
has never been built, and raw sewage is run out upon the land. The tank
appears upon the plans that were endorsed on the agreements with the
landowners; and they can compel the Council to build it--at the
ratepayers’ expense. The ratepayers imagined that the tank was there,
and had been paid for from the loan the Board had sanctioned for
carrying out the plans.

Amongst the works for giving Bovey more water (at a cost of upwards of
£11,000) there are three horizontal shafts, or ‘adits,’ driven into
Haytor down; and one of them is more than a quarter of a mile in
length. The work was carried out in lavish style--these shafts remind me
of the entrances to royal tombs that I have seen in Egypt. The water
from the shafts must be quite pure; but water was also taken from an
open stream that runs through Yarner wood, and may have dead rabbits and
other unpleasant things in it; and this water goes into the same main
without filtration. That being so, the shafts were hardly worth their
cost. And although the water from them is so very pure, it is a little
‘sour’ (as moorland water often is) and therefore picks up lead in
passing through lead pipes. As lead pipes have been laid, there is now a
danger of lead-poisoning in Bovey, and so also in Lustleigh with its
moorland water and lead pipes. And in both these places the lead pipes
are in accordance with the plans and specifications passed by the
Ministry of Health.

In the old days here, when drinking-water mostly came from wells, the
population must have swallowed masses of unwholesome stuff. There is a
well (now closed) in Lustleigh town-place just where the ground slopes
downward from the churchyard to the Wrey. Here at Wreyland there is a
well in front of the Hall House, now used for horses drinking at a
trough, but formerly for all mankind. There were two pig-sties five
yards from it and a third within ten yards; and it was on the lowest
ground here, so that things would easily drain in. This house is higher
up, but the well was on the lower side of it; and my grandfather had the
present well sunk in 1839.

His well received great praise, as I am told. “Th’apothecary man come
here and saith as he must anderize the well. And I saith, ‘Well, if you
must, you must.’ And then he come again and saith, ‘I’ve anderized that
well, and if you drink of that, you’ll live for ever.’” That was the
substance of what he said, but not (I believe) the form in which he said
it. People here are apt to put things in the form they would have used
themselves. A lady of great dignity once noticed a donkey here, and
remarked what a fine animal it was; and she was perturbed at hearing
that the villagers were saying she had praised the animal in detail,
ending up “and if there be one part of’n as I admire more than another,
it be his rump.”

From time to time the County Council appoints a ‘rat-week’ for a general
attack on rats. Rats have a good deal of sense: they abandon places
where they are hunted down, and congregate in places where they are left
alone. A rat-week frightens them away from these infested places; and in
the following week there are more rats than can be managed in the places
that were nearly free of them before. So a rat-week is rather a nuisance
to anybody who has always kept rats down.

When there is an attack on any kind of creature, there is always an
outcry that every kind of creature has its use, and we shall suffer for
upsetting Nature’s plans; and one naturally gets impatient with the
silly folk who have all cobwebs swept away, and then go grumbling that
their rooms are full of flies. But rats are not indigenous here--England
did very well without them until about 1350, like Australia without
rabbits until about 1850. I am quite sure rats must be killed, and I get
traps and poisons; but when it comes to killing one, my sympathies are
with the rat, and I always have a secret hope that it will get away.

One winter afternoon I went up to my bedroom and found a rat there,
sitting on the rug before the fire. It did not move when I came in, but
looked at me appealingly. I understood, and it saw I understood; and we
had as clear a conversation as if we had expressed ourselves in words.
The rat said, “I must apologize for this unwarranted intrusion; but I am
suffering from some distressing malady, and entertain a hope that it may
be within your power to alleviate my sufferings.” I said, “I regret
exceedingly that this should be entirely beyond my powers. I know too
little of human maladies, and even less of the maladies of rodents; and
were I to adopt the treatment usually prescribed for them, I fear your
sufferings might be aggravated.” And the rat said, “You disappoint me
grievously. But at least, I trust, you will not abuse the confidence I
have reposed in you?” I said, “Nothing could be further from my
thoughts,” and held the door politely open. The rat walked slowly out,
stopped at the top of the stairs, and looked back at me with much more
confidence, “But really isn’t there anything

[Illustration: VIEW ACROSS WREY VALLEY]

at all that you can do for me?” I said, “I’m awfully sorry, but I’m
afraid there isn’t.” And the rat went slowly downstairs, out of doors,
and away along the Pixey Garden.

The rat had come in through an open door; and this is the only way that
a rat should be allowed to come into a house--the walls should be made
rat-proof with cement. No doubt, rats climb up ivy and other creepers on
the walls, and sometimes reach the thatch that way; but I have never
known one come in at a window.

These rats, of course, are brown rats, the black rats being quite
extinct now, although old men have told me they have seen some, years
ago, both in London and down here. In his _History of Devonshire_, I.
129, ed. 1797, Polwhele quotes a man who was born in 1723 and said that,
when he was a lad, there were only black rats until a ship called the
Elizabeth was brought into Plymouth and broken up on the Devonshire side
of the Plym; and this ship’s rats were brown.

We ought really to be grateful to the browns for killing off the blacks,
as the blacks were much worse than the browns for carrying the Plague
about. We have not heard much of the Plague in Western Europe since the
brown rats arrived--the last great outbreak was in 1720 at Marseilles.
The first outbreak in England began with the arrival of some ships at
Weymouth in July or August 1348, and it very soon reached Devon and then
spread over the whole country, killing more than half the population. So
far as we know now, the Plague began in the Crimea. The black rats must
have come down there in hordes, like the hordes of brown rats that were
seen swimming across the Volga in 1727. It was brought by ships from the
Crimea to Constantinople, and thence to Messina and Genoa; and a Genoese
ship brought it to Marseilles about Christmas 1347. It spread all over
France up to the Channel coast; but if it had come here that way, it
would probably have reached Dover first, as Calais was then an English
town with much traffic across the Straits: so I imagine that the ships
at Weymouth had come up from the Mediterranean, and brought black rats
with the pestiferous fleas.

That outbreak of the Plague reduced the population of these islands to
half or perhaps a third of what it was before; and one may speculate
about what might have happened, if the outbreak had been more severe and
swept the population off without a remnant. In the absence of statistics
one may estimate the death-rate from the number of new appointments to
livings in the diocese of Exeter, as set down in bishop Grandisson’s
register of Institutions. During February 1349 there were institutions
to five parishes in the next valley to this: Chudleigh, Trusham, Ashton,
Doddiscombsleigh, Dunsford. Those parishes are all on the left bank of
the Teign; and there are no institutions to parishes on the right bank
until June. If rats could swim the Volga, they could swim the Teign, but
probably would not take the trouble if they were happy where they were;
so I presume the river checked them, and they came up here another way.
During March and April there were institutions to Lustleigh, Bovey,
North Bovey, Manaton, Ilsington, Widdicombe: six parishes forming a
solid block of sixty-four square miles. In the first six months of 1349
there were altogether 269 institutions, and 394 in the whole year. Even
in 1348 there had been only 52, and the average number was 37 in the
seven previous years, 1341 to 1347. There were not priests enough to
fill up all the vacancies in 1349; and on 20 September bishop Grandisson
obtained two Faculties from the Pope, one for ordaining a hundred young
men who had not yet attained the age of twenty-three, and the other for
ordaining fifty men who were born out of wedlock and therefore were
ineligible without a Dispensation.

This kind of evidence needs more careful handling than Cardinal Gasquet
has given it in his book on _The Black Death of 1348 and 1349_. Amongst
other things he says there, page 102, “An examination of the
institutions of the diocese, in relation to the time when the plague
visited the various parts of it, appears to show that it commenced
almost simultaneously in north and south. In North Devon it is found at
both Northam and Alverdiscott on the 7th of November, at Fremington in
the same district on the 8th, and at Barnstaple on December 23rd.... The
early outbreak in the coast villages at the mouth of the estuary leading
to Barnstaple points to the conclusion that the infection was brought by
a ship passing up the Bristol Channel.” He assumes here that the Plague
will be ‘found’ at a place on the very day on which a new incumbent has
been instituted; and this assumption is quite unfounded unless he also
assumes that the previous incumbent must have died of Plague there. But
in two of these four places the previous incumbents could not possibly
have died of Plague, as they had not died of anything at all: the
register says distinctly that these vacancies were caused by
resignation, not by death.

In a letter of 30 October 1348 bishop Grandisson cites a letter from the
prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, written after the Archbishop’s death,
and giving his instructions for processions and other rites to stay the
Plague. According to the Prior’s letter (28 September) England was
exhausted and impoverished by the War, “guerrarum discriminibus, que
ipsius regni diviciarum substanciam exhaurunt et consumunt ... regnum
Anglie desolatum extitit et afflictum.” That was the opinion of a man
living at the time: yet there are books on history assuring us that
England had never been so prosperous before, the country being then
enriched with all the spoils of France.

In that letter of 30 October bishop Grandisson ordered solemn public
processions in his diocese every Wednesday and Friday up to Christmas.
He was living at Chudleigh Manor all the time, about six miles from
here; so I imagine that there were processions all around. He also
ordered masses, psalms and prayers. These were then the proper weapons
for combatting the Plague: nobody smelled Rats. So also at Rhodes in
October 1498 the Grand Master of the Knights ordered fasting and prayer,
and the people all sang Alleluia. Columbus had brought a new disease
from the New World, and it had just reached Rhodes; but these good
people had not yet found out how it was propagated. The local poet,
Emmanuel Georgillas, wrote a poem on it in medieval Greek, _Thanaticon
tês Rhodou_. He says that the disease claimed victims from amongst them
all, old men and matrons, boys and unwedded girls, the Knights
themselves, and even the Archbishop. At last John Baptist triumphed over
Charon--that is what the poet says--but the Grand Master of the Knights
had not relied exclusively upon their patron saint: he had locked the
ladies up.

Providence helps those who help themselves, and leaves whole generations
to their fate unless they take the trouble to find out how diseases come
and how they can be kept away. Plague is carried by rats’ fleas, just as
typhus is carried by lice and malaria by mosquitos; the rats themselves
are victims. Trichinosis is caused by pigs, and leprosy by fish; but the
rats invade us of their own free will, and it is no fault of the pigs or
fish that people sometimes eat them ‘cured,’ not cooked.

When the chieftains of the Delta of the Nile went to King Pianchi to
tender their submission to him, about 750 B.C., he would not let them
come inside the palace, as they were people who ate fish--see lines 149
to 151 of his inscription--and Jews were just as hard on people who ate
pigs. Had the Jews abstained from eating fish, they might have been
immune from leprosy, which is a worse disease than any they could have
caught by eating pigs; and with proper cooking they might have eaten
both. All those ancient prohibitions were too wide, like this modern
prohibition of strong drink on the mere chance that it may make men
drunk.

I doubt the Totem theory of abstinence from certain foods, and fancy
somebody had noticed that certain diseases went with certain kinds of
food, and had prohibited those foods accordingly. There have been men
whose precepts we all follow without quite understanding why, and we say
these men were “in advance of their generation” or “born before their
time”; and yet the truth may be the other way--they were of their
generation and their time, but mankind has deteriorated since.

Whenever I look at bees, I feel misgivings about the future of mankind.
Think of the bees that invented the hexagonal cells, and the bees that
go on building these cells and yet go buzzing against glass panes in one
half of a window when the other half is open. The bees that could invent
such cells, would surely have ability enough to find their way round
glass. But bees are socialists; and socialism means that individuals of
great ability will be kept down, and all ability will gradually be
atrophied for want of use. I rather think that this is what has happened
to the bees, and may be happening to mankind.

Collingwood ate rats. He said ships’ rats were very clean feeders, and
he always had a dish of them at dinner when he was at sea; and I have
heard that many officers fought shy of invitations to the Admiral’s
table. No doubt his dish of rats was properly cooked; but rat may be as
dangerous as pig, considered as diet, since rats are also liable to
trichinosis. Amongst human beings the disease is very rare in England as
compared with Germany: they eat a great deal of smoked ham there, and
mere smoking does not kill trichinæ.

In former ages leprosy was common here. There was a hospital for lepers
this side of Newton, founded by John Gilberd, 4 October 1538, “for the
releff of powre lazar people wherof grete nomber with that diseas be now
infectid in that partis to the grete daunger of infection of moche
people to whom they use to resort and be conversant withal for lacke of
convenyent hospitals in the county of Devon for them.” There were much
older hospitals for lepers outside Exeter and Barnstaple and Tavistock
and other towns; but these were more or less monastic, and had suffered
from the dissolution of the monasteries. This hospital was then a
quarter of a mile outside Newton Bushell; but the town has spread beyond
it, and the old buildings have long since been replaced by alms-houses.
Leprosy is quite extinct; but I fear that people hereabouts are careless
in the cooking of cured food.

Leprosy would naturally be commoner before the Reformation, as so much
fish was eaten during fasts; and the fasts themselves made people weaker
and less able to resist disease. I agree with old folks here who say
that fasts should be a time of feasting for the poor. “Rich folk have
money to buy butcher’s meat in Lent as well as other times; and if they
will not eat’n, they should give’n to they as cannot buy.” However,
fasting was enjoined on rich and poor alike, and was deemed of more
importance than almost anything else. Machiavelli was not easily
shocked, but he drew the line at Sforza’s coming to Florence and eating
meat in Lent, _Istorie Fiorentine_, VII, anno 1471, “cosa in quel tempo
nella nostra città ancora non veduta.” I can myself remember how
frightfully Prince Napoleon shocked the pious French by eating
beef-steak on Good Friday.

Nobody thought of fasting here on any day except Good Friday; and
fasting meant no more than eating hot-cross-buns in addition to the
usual food. But whether it came as early as March 20 or as late as April
23, Good Friday was the great day for potato-planting. Whatever the
season was, potatoes planted on Good Friday came up better than potatoes
planted any other day--at least, that was the common belief here. There
must have been a religious or superstitious base for this, and perhaps
also for the custom of kicking a football round when the planting had
been done. (In my early years a football was hardly ever seen here
except on a Good Friday.) I have seen the sailors flogging Judas
Iscariot on Good Fridays in Mediterranean ports, and I hear it may be
seen on foreign ships in English ports. Judas Iscariot is there a dummy
like Guy Fawkes and here, I think, he had become a football. But it is
always hard to judge the meaning of such things. Some fifty years ago an
acquaintance of mine, a midshipman, went up to Jerusalem with a lot of
other midshipmen when the Mediterranean squadron was cruising off that
coast; and they marched into Jerusalem singing a song (which then was
popular) of Kafoosalum, ... the barber of Jerusalem, ... the daughter of
the barber. And good Mahommedans were much impressed, thinking it was a
holy song that these young angels sang so fervently.

There is now a service of Three Hours at Lustleigh on Good Friday. I
inquired what authority there was for this, and was informed
(officially) that it was a service licensed by the Bishop under the
Shortened Services Act. That was quite good as a bit of cynicism or a
joke, but rather past a joke if one remembers how that Act was passed
through Parliament. Its promoters said that it was only to be used for
shortening the old services, not for introducing anything new.

On the coronation of Queen Victoria there was a service in Exeter
Cathedral and ‘rejoicings’ in the town; and my father’s diary finds
fault--“the stupid dun of cannon, which even fired during the anthem,
shaking the edifice and distracting everyone’s attention”--and so on for
a couple of pages, finishing, “it seemed somewhat like a Good Friday: by
no means a favourite day of mine.”

There is no desire here for more Good Fridays or Ash Wednesdays, but
only for Shrove Tuesdays at all seasons of the year; and these Carnivals
are not followed by Lenten fasts. Carnivals are superseding Fêtes and
Galas, here called Feets and Gaylers; but knowing that a Swarry (or a
Soirée) consisted of a leg of mutton, I should say that every Carnival
or Feet or Gayler consists of a brass band ‘with the usual trimmings’
like the leg. It seems perverse of people to speak of fêtes as feets
when they invariably speak of beans as banes, and even more perverse to
want these foreign words at all. This coast is getting known as a
Riviera, which they pronounce Riveerer as if it were a German word.

I have got a bill here for ‘mendin gardin oz’--hose--and I have seen a
bill in Bedfordshire for ‘hoke’ and ‘hellum’ and ‘hash.’ With phonetic
spelling there would be as many written languages as there are dialects
now--water would be ‘warter’ in the Eastern counties, and ‘watter’ or
‘wetter’ here--but fonetic fanatics would take the cockney dialect and
foist it on us all. On looking at an Elementary English Grammar, of
which 350,000 have been sold, I found it said--“Take c out of the
alphabet, and we could write, kat, sity, speshal, instead of cat, city,
special, and in thus writing those words, we should be writing them
according to their pronunciation.” No doubt, the cockney news-boys
screech out ‘Extra Speshal’; but if we are to get pronunciation down
from town, we might get it from the West End rather than the East.

Sometimes people make mistakes here about the origin of
words--Reformatory is not Reform-a-Tory, as ardent Liberals said--and
sometimes they make mistakes about the words themselves. During the War
there was an entertainment for wounded soldiers at a house not far from
here; and they came up in chars-à-banc with bagpipes playing all the
way. I heard a small boy calling out, “Hearken to that music there,” and
another one snubbing him, “Bain’t music, ‘tbe the magpies.” On first
hearing of a Turkish bath, a girl assumed that it must be a turkeys’
bath. I picture an old turkey-cock jerking his head about and gobbling
while he was screwing up his courage for a header into the cold plunge.

A cockney was greeted by a man down here with courteous inquiries about
her health, “And how be you now? Be you all right?” The reply was, “No,
half right, half left, like you”; and he told me that he had to do a bit
of thinking afore he saw the sense of it. An old lady here surprised me
just as much in town. She had not been there before, though well
advanced in years; and I took her up in the Great Wheel at Earl’s Court
to get a good look round. She told me afterwards, “I were a-thinkin’ all
the time how Satan took our Lord up into an exceedin’ high place
a-seein’ all the kingdoms of the world.”

I once heard a cockney expressing her contempt for everybody born
elsewhere. She said with pride, “I was born and bred where I stand,” and
she was standing in a gutter in a slum. Londoners do not often give
themselves away like that: they usually are people of resource. I
complained to an umbrella-maker that a new umbrella kept turning
inside-out, and with a jerk I turned it inside out at once. He took the
umbrella, jerked it the other way and said, “You see, sir, it comes back
again quite easily.” I complained to a stationer that his envelopes did
not stick. He replied with dignity, “No, sir, they do not: we use only
the purest gum.”

On a spring morning I was coming out of Charing Cross station on my way
back from Algeria with a very sun-burnt face, about the colour of a red
geranium; and while my hansom was going slowly through the gates, I
heard a loafer say, “Look, Bill, ee’s come into bloom early this year.”
People are more courteous here. At a harvest supper there was a general
desire to sing, “For he’s a jolly good fellow,” but also a general
feeling that it would not be quite respectful: so they softened the
familiar term and sang without restraint, “For he’s a jolly good
gentleman.” And this version suits the tune so well that anyone would
think the tune was written for it.--I am told that when I go to sleep, I
snore. One afternoon I asked why the letters had not been brought in to
me as soon as they arrived; and the answer was, “I was afraid I might
disturb you, sir, I thought I heard you sleeping.”

There is a House of Mercy at Bovey, a Gothic Revival building designed
by Woodyer about 1865. Its inmates come from every part of England, not
especially from Devon; and they have been described to me as “Maidens as
hath gotten babies without ever goin’ nigh a church,” in other words,
unmarried mothers. But less courteous terms were used when laundry-work
was started there. One old lady gave me her whole mind--not merely a bit
of it--about “they paltry gentry as took their washin’ away from honest
folk to give it to they hussies.” The practical mind thought it a waste
of money to have such institutions: the inmates could be married off, at
much less cost, by giving them dowers. And really there is just as much
marrying for money among the poorer classes as among the rich, though
the amount of money may be smaller and sometimes very small indeed.

Under a farmer’s will his farm went to his only son, but nearly all the
stock was sold for paying the daughters’ legacies, as he had not
reckoned on a fall in prices. The young man only got an unstocked farm
and had no money for stocking it; but an aged relative of his made light
of that. She said to me, “I tell’n he must marry one that hath some
hornéd cattle,” and he chafed at such restriction of his choice. Another
old lady, a relative of hers, was asking after a friend of mine who had
been badly wounded in the War. I told her that he had quite recovered,
and added that he had married his nurse: whereat she threw up her hands,
exclaiming, “Oh, that War, it hath been a terrible thing for some of’n.”

There was an old saying here, “I would rather go to the funeral of a
daughter than to her wedding of a doctor.” My grandfather quotes it in a
letter of 30 November 1865 as if he quite agreed with it, and adds,
“Strange, those doctors are always poor, and a miserable affair of it
generally.” He did not much approve of marrying for love, or anything
else, unless there were sufficient means. I remember that he thought the
answer insufficient when somebody had cried out, “There she is, marrying
him all in the depths of poverty,” and another person answered, “He hath
blood.”

In his letters to my father on the death of relatives or friends, he
enumerates all possible grounds of consolation. Thus, 30 June 1854,
“Therefore on reflection I say we ought to be very thankful he was taken
off as he was without pain or suffering.” He says this of a friend who
had been staying with him a week before in full vigour of body and mind,
and died just after leaving here from unsuspected weakness of the heart.
In most cases he finds so many grounds for consolation that he comes
very near saying it is really a good riddance. Thus, 18 September 1853,
“On the whole, taking everything into consideration, I say there is
nothing to grieve about, but all his friends ought to be thankful he is
taken.” Again on 6 October 1853, “I should say a happy release for his
mother,” and on 10 January 1855, “A happy release, I say, for himself
and all about him,” and on 16 January 1855, “I say we ought all to be
thankful he is taken before his sister, for what he would have done, had
she been taken first, I cannot tell.”

This practical or utilitarian view was not uncommon here. He writes
about a death at Lustleigh, 7 September 1845, “She died last evening.
What will the old man do now. When his wife was very ill, I inquired for
her. He said she was not likely to live, but then (he said) we can do
without her. This is his son’s wife, a clever woman; and what they will
do now, I am at a loss to say, for they have neither wife nor daughter,
and of course must trust to a housekeeper.”

My grandmother generally saw things in another light. She writes to my
father on 19 February 1845, “Report says we are to have Jane for a
neighbour. It appears she has captivated Mr ***** and in due time, I
suppose, will become his wife. It will be an excellent match for Jane.
He is considered very wealthy and I believe a very nice man. He has
called here several times and repeatedly requested your father to visit
him: your father calls on no person, I am sorry to say.” Writing on 23
February, my grandfather just mentions the report and adds, “Depend on
it, Jane will soon turn things upside down there.”

On another marriage he writes, 16 November 1851, “Your mother had a full
and particular account of the wedding the day after.... I have often
heard of throwing an old shoe after a new married couple to wish them
good luck. I never knew it practised in Moreton but once, and then [the
bride’s father] ran out in the street and threw an old shoe after the
carriage. It did not carry luck with it, for that was an unfortunate
marriage, so the story was he ought to have thrown more. To obviate all
that, they threw shoes by the dozen: all the old shoes were looked up
and thrown after and about the carriage like grape shot. Well, I hope
they will be happy.”

As he thought all this worth mentioning, he might as well have gone to
see it for himself, and also gone to see much else; but that was not his
way. He writes on 9 June 1862, “This is Whitmonday, and the bells are
ringing for two weddings that are solemnized today, so Lustleigh will be
gay in addition to the usual holyday for the labourers and the children.
I see nothing of it, but generally hear a squall of children and the
hoarse voice of the men at the skittle playing. I give something to set
the children a-running and something for the fiddler.” A younger man, of
great ability, told my sister what he thought about it all, 11 October
1870, “He thought living in this remote part enough to rust the brains
of any clever man, as you might pass a month without meeting anyone who
could talk on any subject above pigs and cows.”

Flocks and herds, or pigs and cows, are not bad themes for talk, if
anyone can handle themes judiciously and keep them in their
place--flocks and herds are not like golf. But in reality they may be
burdensome. My grandfather notes with pleasure, 13 December 1841, “My
cows are regularly fed, three times a day, unlike farmer’s cows which
catch what they can,” and then rather wearily, 10 August 1869, “My farm
is a trouble and expense.” And the lesson is, never have a hobby that
you cannot cast aside. You want no needless worries at a time when you
have one foot in the grave and then get the gout in the other one.

In my father’s diary of his first visit to London he speaks of pictures
at the Royal Academy and National Gallery and elsewhere, but the only
artist whom he mentions by name is Benjamin West. This was in 1832, and
West had died in 1820; he had been President of the Academy for nearly
thirty years and was still in high repute. There are two wash drawings
here signed, ‘B. West, 1785’ and ‘B. West, Windsor, 1788.’ The latter is
one of his designs for the friezes at the Queen’s Lodge, built by George
the Third and since destroyed. It is four feet long and seven inches
high, with thirty-three figures personifying arts and sciences; the fine
arts in the middle, the peaceful arts and sciences on one side and the
warlike on the other. The earlier drawing is of Segestes giving his
daughter to Germanicus as a hostage for Arminius. This was a favourite
subject then, and West painted several pictures of it, the earliest in
1772.

West’s drawings are generally a great deal better than his paintings,
and Galt gives the reason in his _Life of West_, II. 204.--In drawing
and colouring he was one of the greatest artists of his age, but his
powers of conception were far higher; “and it is this wonderful force of
conception which renders his sketches so much more extraordinary than
his finished pictures.” West is in oblivion now with most of the
Academicians of his time, except the portrait painters. (There is a
picture by one of those Academicians in Teign Grace church, a Madonna by
James Barry, quite unnoticed now.) But repute depends on fashion, not on
merit; and many artists of less merit are extolled.

Rustic critics judge things in a different way. Two large oil paintings
here were praised--“There bain’t no other’n like’n in this parish, no,
nor yet the next: look at their size and finish.” A portrait was praised
also as a speaking likeness--“Why, any blind man could tell ‘twere he.”
(Portraits, I may note, are known as photos here, even portraits of old
ancestors; and ‘photos’ is coming to include all kinds of pictures, as
‘pictures’ now means movies.) I brought a very good Persian carpet down
from London, and the criticism was--“Well, and if you’d got that old bit
by you, I d’esay it were all so well as buyin’ a new’n.”

A friend of my mother’s writes to her from Brighton, 28 October 1841, “I
have been twice to be charmed though not mesmerized by that delightful
pet of yours Jullien and his helps (at the Town Hall) and a very grand
affair they made of it. After beautiful Overtures, Waltzes and a capital
set of Irish Quadrilles by Jullien, they gave us the Storming of St Jean
d’Acre in perfection. The piece commenced with a slow movement of ‘God
save the Queen,’ and after sundry descriptive morceaux the attack began
and Jullien was in all his glory. Bombs, cannon, musquetry, bells
tolling, shouts of victory, etc., and lots of blue lights, Roman Candles
and last (though not least in effect) that beautiful rich crimson light
that you saw last year.” And one of my great-aunts who liked all that,
complained in later years that Wagner was so noisy.

Jullien brought Berlioz to England. My father was at the Opera, 25 June
1853, for the first night of _Benvenuto Cellini_, and was impressed by
it, or rather by the final scene, the casting of the statue. And it
might be more impressive now with better stage machinery for it--the
furnace, the molten metal running down into the mould, and then the
breaking of the mould revealing the great figure of Perseus still aglow
with heat.--The real statue is said to be Cellini’s masterpiece; but I
do not agree. I think myself that he surpassed it in the relief of
Perseus and Andromeda on the pedestal below.

On first hearing Boito’s _Mefistofele_ I recognized the chirruping of
the angels as a familiar sound, but could not recollect where I had
heard it. I had really heard it in expresses between Paris and
Marseilles. Some of the P.L.M. carriages had wheels, or springs, or
something, which gave forth just that sound when they were running fast;
and it may be heard on some of the G.W.R. carriages, but with a
different rhythm and pitch. A railwayman assures me that the English
engines talk and (being foul-mouthed creatures) use unseemly words.
Since learning this from him, I have distinctly heard an engine saying,
“blów and blást it, fétch anóther,” when sent off up these gradients
here with load enough for two; and then, quite cheerfully, “nów I’ve
dóne it, nów I’ve dóne it,” when it has reached the top.

Writing from Teignmouth on 3 August 1854, my grandfather says, “There is
nothing new here, but a ship of this place has just arrived literally
gutted by the Greek pirates. She was laden with raisins. The crew were
obliged to beg for their lives, they had but three biscuits left on
coming to Falmouth. That must be put stop to somehow.” Greece was a
nuisance then: the coast had been blockaded by the English fleet, and
French and English troops were landed at the Piræus in May to stop the
Greeks from siding with the Russians in the Crimean war. He writes on 2
April, “As war is declared, the papers will be interesting. I fancy
people have been too sanguine.”

After the Coup d’état he writes from here, 7 December 1851, “Well, the
President is taking very high ground, and no doubt he will make himself
Emperor, if he can keep the Army on his side,” and further on 26
January, “What a scoundrel that President is.” But he went astray in
saying that the President would not become Emperor “without a desperate
struggle,” and still further astray on 12 October 1851 in generalizing
from some undesirables whom he had seen, “America must now be made up of
outcasts and rogues of all nations.”

In one of his letters--it looks just like the rest--he says on 17
December 1843, “I can scarcely tell if I am not writing plainer and more
legibly than usual, as it is by candle, but I fancy so. I am writing
with a metal pen. When at Moreton last, I bought some and am much
pleased with them, for my sight is so bad that even with the assistance
of glasses I cannot make a pen by candle light and very badly by
daylight.” Twenty years after that, I was taught to make a pen (that is,
to cut a quill into a point) as one of the things that every child must
learn. Metal pens did not come into common use until after 1840, though
introduced some years before, and many people still despised them. A
friend of my father’s writes to him, 13 September 1856, “I hope you will
be able to read my letter, but as I write with a steel pen, I am not
quite certain of it.” Few people now could write so neatly with a quill;
and his writing here is just as neat as ever.

Old letters and diaries can be trusted when they are recording facts;
but they have never been revised, and may contain opinions which the
writers would have modified on second thoughts. My father writes to my
sister from Perugia, 17 September 1876, “This is the most curious and
romantic place I ever saw: Laon is nothing to it.” Curious and romantic
places generally had bad hotels, and Perugia had a good one; and I
suspect this made him view the place benignantly and give it this
excessive praise. He notes in his diary, 24 August 1874, “Elbe scenery
rather fine, tho’ not equal to the Danube, Rhine or Moselle, but better
than the Meuse or Loire.” He wrote this at Dresden, just after coming
down the Elbe from Schandau; and I imagine he was thinking of the
scenery there, forgetting other parts.

I have a letter of 14 February 1911 from Henry Montagu Butler, then
Master of Trinity, but headmaster at Harrow at the time when I was
there; and in this letter he says, “You and Arthur Evans are, I think,
the chief antiquarians of our Harrow generation, Hastings Rashdall and
Charles Gore our most learned and original theologians, Walter Sichel
and George Russell our most fertile writers in general literature.” I do
not know whether that was a considered opinion or only a passing
thought: in either case I offer Sir Arthur my condolences on being
mentioned in the same breath with me. As for the two theologians, here
is something that Dean Rashdall lately wrote--“I am sure that on no
subject but theology could Bishop Gore have been so blind to the
requirement of ordinary fairness and straight dealing between man and
man.” I suggested that he could have put it better in schoolboy diction
with words like liar and sneak, but he informs me that he thinks those
terms too strong.

It was rather a shock to me when a former fag of mine was made a
Bishop--not Gore, of course--but you can never tell how fellows will
turn out. Another fellow, in the same house, was sacked for getting
drunk and disorderly in Harrow town. He succeeded to a Peerage and was a
huge success as a Colonial Governor; and I believe his secret of success
was giving the Colonials a finer Cognac, and more of it, than any
Governor had given them before.

In his Harrow holidays down here my brother was telling one of my
great-aunts such yarns that my sister wrote off to my father, 12 August
1862, “He teazes her dreadfully, and tells her the most extraordinary
things about the Exhibition. When she asked him if all the boys dined
together at school, he told her that half dined at the King’s Head and
the other half at the Turk’s, and those that were not hungry could have
a chop and bottle of stout in their rooms.” It was not so: at any rate,
in my time.

He usually was very accurate, feeling that exaggeration spoiled a
narrative of facts. Keep strictly to the facts, or launch out boldly
into fiction. On the same principle he would not give a sixpence to
relieve a case of destitution; but if the case was put before him and he
was asked for twenty pounds, he might perhaps give the twenty, feeling
that it might do good where sixpences were wasted. He did not often
waste his money; but one evening on coming out of a theatre he meant to
throw a sixpence to a man who found a hansom for us, and threw him a
half-sovereign by mistake, and I heard the man say fervently, “Thank
God, all the Gentlemen aren’t dead.”

With his prodigious memory my brother could have written books of this
sort far better than I have written these; and I am sorry I did not
oftener make sure of things by asking him. (He died five-and-twenty
years ago.) As it is, I have left out things of which I am not sure; and
some of these things were quite worth saying, if true; but I wished to
keep as closely as I could to facts.

I once was telling a man a thing I thought would interest him; and he
stopped me short--“I heard that from your brother, and shan’t forget it.
I was out in Kensington Gardens with my wife, before we married, and he
came up and told us that; and I didn’t want it then. I had just that
moment proposed to her, and she had not had time to reply.” I hope I
have not said anything here that has been heard before, like that.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Small Talk at Wreyland. Third Series" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home