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Title: Small Talk at Wreyland. Second Series
Author: Torr, Cecil
Language: English
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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. Second Series" ***

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                         _BY THE SAME AUTHOR_

                             ANCIENT SHIPS

                  Demy 8vo. Illustrated. 14_s._ net.

“Independent research, erudition without pedantry, and a respectable
knowledge of modern seamanship and nautical terminology are conspicuous
merits of this treatise.”--_Times._

“Parla egli delle navi a remi ed a vela, delle loro dimensioni, dei
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antiques: rames, dimensions et tonnage, matériaux, coque, ancres,
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“His book contains the results of long, laborious, and careful research.
It is a scholarly work, and brings to the surface a vast amount of
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                                                      _New York Times._

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

                              SMALL TALK
                              AT WREYLAND

                             SECOND 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.

                      ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                              SMALL TALK
                              AT WREYLAND


                              CECIL TORR

                             SECOND SERIES


                        AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

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


In case this volume should be read by anyone who has not read its
predecessor, I am quoting these three paragraphs from that by way of

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 is 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

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._

Since that was published I have gone on writing things down in the same
way as before. And now I find that I have written enough to make another
volume of the same extent; and I hope it is no worse.

                                                            CECIL TORR.




                        SMALL TALK AT WREYLAND


This valley has seen another innovation since I last wrote things down.
An aeroplane passed over here, 9 September 1918. It was only a friendly
aeroplane, just out for exercise; but nothing of the kind had ever been
seen from here before, not even a balloon.

The first time that a motor-car was seen here (which was not so very
long ago) it stopped just opposite the cottage of an invalid old man. He
heard somethin’ there a-buzzin’ like a swarm o’ bees, and he went out to
look, although he had not been outside his door since Martinmas. It was
a big car, and he said that it was like a railway-carriage on wheels. I
can myself remember the first railway-train that came here--that was in
1866--and I knew old people who said that they remembered the first
cart. Before the days of carts, they carried things on horses with

These old people’s recollections are confirmed by Moore. His _History of
Devonshire_ came out in 1829, and he says there, vol. I, page
426--“Fifty years ago a pair of wheels was scarcely to be seen on a farm
in the county, and at present the use of pack-horses still prevails,
though on the decline.... Hay, corn, fuel, stones, dung, lime, etc., and
the produce of the fields, are all conveyed on horseback: sledges, or
sledge-carts, are also used in harvest time, drawn chiefly by oxen.” The
pack-saddles have vanished now, and the oxen also; but sledges may still
be seen at work on very steep fields.

Rights of way “with all manner of carriages” are mentioned in 1719 and
1729 in title-deeds of land here; but ‘carriages’ was then a word of
wider meaning, and would include all instruments of transport. I would
not even argue from those deeds that there were carriages of any kind
down here so long ago, any more than I would argue that hawking was
still practised here as late as 1752, merely because there is a deed of
that date reserving rights “to hunt, hawk, fish, or fowle.” A lawyer
will copy clauses into documents without considering whether they apply.
I know a lease that binds the tenant to maintain the thatching on a roof
which had its thatch replaced by slate quite thirty years ago, and
another one that binds the tenant to clear out the gutterings,
down-pipes, drains and gullies of buildings which have never had such
things at all.

The old pack-saddle roads were paved for a width of about two feet in
the middle, to give foothold for the horses, and then sloped up on
either side, just giving room enough for the packs but none to spare for
anyone to pass. One of these roads runs up the hill behind this house,
and is of some antiquity, as it leads past the remnants of a way-side
cross with the coat-of-arms of bishop Grandisson, who held the see of
Exeter from 1327 to 1369. In 1437, and perhaps a good deal earlier,
there was a King’s Highway passing through the end of Wreyland Manor at
Kelly, and thus coinciding with the present road from Newton up to
Moreton. On the Court Rolls of the Manor there are complaints that it
required repair, 11 October 1437 and many later dates. Possibly the
highway was not used for wheels until long after it was made. But the
old Roman Road would have been built to carry wheels.

There is a Roman milestone at Saint Hilary, about fifteen miles this
side of Land’s End, and there is another at Tintagel; and these, I
believe, are the only Roman milestones west of Exeter. The inscription
is clear enough on the Saint Hilary stone, and shows that it was erected
in the reign of Constantine. On the Tintagel stone there is not much
inscription left, but the name of Licinius is unmistakeable. He reigned
concurrently with Constantine from 307 to 323, and probably the road was
made then. In the Antonine Itinerary, which is a few years earlier,
there is no road west of Exeter.

These milestones are not in their original places: one is built into the
lich-gate of Tintagel churchyard, and the other was built into Saint
Hilary church, and did not come to light until that was burnt down in
1853. Assuming that they were not fetched from any great distances,
there is a question of whether Tintagel was on the Land’s End road or on
a branch from it. In one case the road would probably go round the north
of Dartmoor and of Bodmin Moor, and in the other it would keep south of
them. The southern line seems more likely for a road from Exeter to
Land’s End; but it implies a branch road to Tintagel, and there was not
much to tempt the Romans there. No doubt, Tintagel was a strong
position; but it commanded nothing and could only be a base for a
retreating force, not a base for an invading force, as there was no
sufficient harbour. Possibly some Britons stood out against the Romans
there, and thus gave it importance.

There is a road from Exeter to Teignbridge that would lead on round the
south of Dartmoor, and parts of this are marked upon the Ordnance map as
Roman Road. I do not myself know of any clear proof that it was Roman,
or that Teignbridge was Roman either. The present bridge was built in
1815; and underneath the old bridge there were the remains of an older
bridge, built of red sandstone, and underneath this the remains of a
still older bridge, built of fine white freestone, but there were not
any Roman bricks or other things to show conclusively that it was Roman.
However that may be, the bridge itself and those pieces of the road from
Exeter are on a line that would just suit the Roman road to Land’s End.

There was a bridge there in 1086 at any rate: it comes into Domesday as
Taignebrige or Tanebrige. It is six or seven miles from here, below the
confluence of the Teign and Bovey; and within a mile of here, above the
confluence of the Bovey and Wrey, there is a bridge across the Bovey
carrying wheeled traffic. This appears as Drakeford bridge in documents,
but is known to everyone as New bridge. And there is an inscription on
it, showing how very new it is--“This bridg was repared 1684.” Some
other bridges in this district were ‘repared’ soon after this, and these
all take traffic on wheels.

There really must have been wheeled traffic hereabouts long before the
memory of the oldest folk I ever knew. When they said that they
remembered the first cart, I think they must have meant the first cart
used for farm-work on the fields. And in the passage I have quoted,
Moore only says that a pair of wheels was scarcely to be seen on a farm
in the county, not, scarcely to be seen on the roads. But so long as
farmers used pack-saddles on their fields, they would use them on the
roads as well; and in an agricultural district there would not be much
other traffic.

The ancient Britons had wagons of some sort in this part of England long
before the Romans came here. They used them for bringing down the ingots
from the tin mines to the coast, though these ingots went on pack-horses
across France to Marseilles. In narrating this, Diodoros says (v. 22)
that the ingots were cast in the shape of an astragalos; and an ingot of
about that shape was found in Falmouth harbour, and is now in the Museum
at Truro. It would hook on to a pack-saddle, and it weighs about 160
lbs., so that a pair would make a load.

A century ago a tramway was laid down for bringing granite from the
Haytor quarries to the head of the Teigngrace canal, where the granite
was transferred to barges and went on to Teignmouth to be shipped. The
quarries are about 1200 feet above the head of the canal, and the
distance is about six miles in a straight line: so the tramway goes
winding round upon an easier gradient, and thus comes within two miles
of here. The lines are formed of granite slabs of no fixed size, but
usually four or five feet long and one to two feet wide; and they are
put down lengthways, with nothing in between them to impede the horses.
Each slab has a level surface, about six inches wide, as a track for the
wheels, and an upright surface, two or three inches high, to prevent
their running off the track; but the remainder of the slab is rough. The
gauge is fifty inches between the out-sides of the upright surfaces, and
therefore fifty inches between the in-sides of the wheels. This tramway
was completed in 1820, and carried down granite for London Bridge, the
British Museum, the General Post Office, and other buildings of that
time. But it was abandoned when the quarries failed, and now its slabs
are used for building or broken up for mending roads.

The great roads over Dartmoor were not completed until about 150 years
ago. One of them runs north-eastward from Plymouth to Moreton, and so to
Exeter and London, and the other runs south-eastward from Tavistock to
Ashburton. They cross each other at Two Bridges in the middle of the
moor, and at some points they are nearly 1500 feet above the level of
the sea. About three miles out from Moreton on the Plymouth road there
is a road from Ashburton to Chagford; and at the crossing of these roads
the highwaymen were hanged in chains, when caught. At least, my father
and my grandfather both told me so; and such things might have happened
even in my father’s time, as hanging in chains was not abolished until

In the old days of practical joking it was one of the stock jokes to go
out to some cross-road in the middle of the night, dig up the sign-post,
turn it round a right-angle, and fix it down again with its arms all
pointing the wrong way. There were two men whom I remember very
well--old friends of my father’s--and he told me that these two did this
on Dartmoor several times, usually in snowstorms, as the snow soon
covered up all traces of their work. But he thought the best part of the
joke was in their going out on the bleak moorland in the snow to do a
thing like that.

It certainly was no joke riding out at night with a pair of lanterns
fixed on underneath your stirrups to guide you in the dark. But
travelling by coach was not so very much better. In his diary down here,
Friday 5 February 1836, my father notes--“snow up the country, so that
the Tuesday coaches could not come in until Thursday.” Writing to him
from London after a journey up, 7 April 1839, an old friend of his
exclaims--“Oh that Salisbury Plain, thirty-five miles of a wet windy
night outside a coach, by god, sir, ’tis no joke.” The same friend
writes to him from Sidmouth, 11 January 1841, after coming from
Southampton to Honiton by coach--“We had six horses nearly all the way,
and soon after passing Ringwood (I believe it was) our road was covered
with and cut thro’ snow which was at least four feet deep on each
side.... We got capsized into a high bank on descending one hill, but it
was managed so very quietly that we were not thrown off and were able to
dismount quietly and get the coach properly on her legs again.”

On the London and Exeter coaches the tips came to about a quarter of the
fare: one to the guard, three to the drivers--drivers being changed at
the supper and breakfast stops--and two to the ostlers at each end. On
the 14 July 1839 my father writes to my grandfather that railway fares
are comparatively low and no ‘fees,’ that is, tips: also that the ‘first
rate’ carriages are good.

My father notes in his diary, 3 May 1840--“Yesterday in London I could
scarcely get credited when I said that twenty-four hours previously I
was in Brussels. Having steam the whole way, it is a very quick
journey.” He left Brussels by rail at 4.15, reached Ostend at 9.0, left
by steamer at midnight, and at 1.0 next afternoon “made fast at Tower

Crossing by Dover and Calais in 1843, he writes on 15 July--“Started at
4.0 by the new railway from London Bridge to Folkestone, arriving at the
latter at ½ p. 8: coaches waiting to take on to Dover. They were more
than an hour in loading and getting the passengers. Reached Dover at ½
p. 10.” Next morning, “the tide being low, the English mail steamer had
left the harbour and was riding at anchor in the roadstead, waiting for
the mail. I put out in a boat at 6, but it was more than ½ p. 7 before
we started, the letter bags being only that instant sent on board. We
arrived off Calais at ½ p. 10; but, the tide being low, the steamer
anchored in the roads, and the passengers were landed in the boats which
took the mail bags.” Returning on 13 October, he found the tide high but
the sea rough, and the crossing took close upon four hours: then, coach
to Folkestone, and on to London by the train.

A friend writes to him from Exeter, 8 April 1844--“Our railway will be
sufficiently complete for an engine to travel here tomorrow, and I
suppose will be completed about the first week in May.” It was opened on
1 May, and another friend writes on 17 September--“From Bristol to
Exeter we experienced the shaking of the carriages exceedingly, and were
really obliged, as I have before said, to hold by the side of the
carriage to endeavour to steady ourselves.” Yet this line was on the
broad gauge, and that was much less jerky than the narrow. I remember
people saying that they would never go up by the South Western, as the
Great Western shook them less.

My grandmother writes to my father, 13 September 1845--“When in Exeter
four weeks since, I went to see the trains go off for London: the first
time of my seeing anything of the kind.” My grandfather writes to him,
16 May 1852--“I hope we shall have a fine day, as your mother never was
at Torquay, and I not for near thirty years.” He was sixty-three then,
and she was seventy. Torquay is fifteen miles from here, and neither of
them had ever lived more than thirty miles away.

Such immobility seemed strange to me not many years ago, but now I have
come down to it myself. I have not been out of Devon since 1914, or
rather, I have not been out of Devon ’ceptin’ Axter town, as people used
to say. Henry the Eighth took Exeter out of Devon and made it a county
by itself. In old conveyances of land in Devon, e.g. of part of Lower
Wreyland in 1728, the covenant for Further Assurance often has the words
“so as for the doing thereof the persons comprehended within this
covenant be not compelled or compellable to travel out of the county of
Devon unless it be to the citie of Exon.”

When my grandfather went anywhere, it was to London or abroad. Like
everybody else, he went up for the Great Exhibition and thoroughly
enjoyed it, but he had grave doubts beforehand. He writes to my father,
3 April 1851--“I see both Houses of Parliament are rather uneasy about
so many foreigners being in London. They appear to be of the very worst
stamp.... Hope all will go off well, but to my mind an ill-judged thing
and not likely to answer any good purpose, this Great Exhibition.” There
was plenty of such talk just then, and some little reason for it.
England was sheltering a good many foreigners who had rebelled against
their governments in 1848, and some of these foreigners had a notion of
paying for their shelter by organising a rebellion here, beginning with
assassinations at the opening of the Exhibition on May Day. With the
wisdom that comes after the event, _Punch_ made fun of it, 10 May, but
was not so very sure of it three weeks before.

As a small boy I read _Punch_ diligently, and thereby stocked my memory
with facts that history-books ignore. My brother had read it more
diligently still; but my grandfather did not see the value of it,
though my father did. In a letter of 12 June 1853 my grandfather
explains--“My object in giving him the Bible was to get rid of _Punch_
out of his head. _Punch_ may be well enough for grown people, but surely
very improper as a foundation for a young child.” But he found that a
young child asked more embarrassing questions after studying the Bible
than after studying _Punch_.

In a letter of 17 July 1852 he mentions that my sister had just received
a present of a doll “nicely dressed in the Bloomer fashion,” that is,
short skirts with trousers underneath, and other male things to match.
Without those caricatures of it in _Punch_ few people now would know
what Bloomerism was.

Somebody made me a present of an air-ball when I was very young. This
was at a house near town; and, as the drawing-room was empty, I took it
in there, and was playing with it on the hearth-rug, when a draught
caught it away from me and carried it up the chimney. I went out to
watch the chimney-top, but was very soon fetched in again to be
introduced to some old ladies who had come to call. They found the room
a little draughty, so a door was shut, and thereupon the air-ball came
down from the chimney, with a layer of soot all over it. It alighted on
the hearth-rug, rose again, and made a series of jumps, each lower and
shorter than the last, but all in a straight line towards one of those
old ladies. I was just reckoning that two more jumps would land it in
her lap, when she gave a shriek, upset her chair, and retreated
backwards to the draughty door, forgetting that it had been shut. And
she came up against the door so hard that she sat down upon the floor,
with that little black devil still jumping on towards her.

Another old lady whom we knew, had heaps of very nice lace; and she wore
dresses that would make the most of it. Seated in a bergère chair before
her drawing-room fire, she was a sight to see. One day she was not in
her accustomed place, and she told us what had happened. Her next-door
neighbours had not had their kitchen-chimney swept, and it caught fire
most alarmingly. It was next to her drawing-room chimney; and in the
clouds of smoke the firemen mistook the two, and poured their buckets
down hers. A torrent of sooty water burst forth from the fire-place and
overwhelmed her in her chair.

I never saw the chimney-sweeping boys go up the chimneys here, though my
brother had seen them going up; but he was here a great deal more than I
was. There was never any difficulty or danger in going up the chimneys
here, as they are big enough for full-grown men: when the Hall House was
being renovated seven years ago, some passers-by were much surprised by
a mason putting his head out of a chimney-top and asking them to take a
message to the village for him. The chimneys are built of unsquared
stones held together by cement: the modern sweeping-brushes often bring
down bits of the cement, leaving crannies that fill up with soot: some
day the soot bursts into flame, and sets fire to the woodwork near the
chimney; and that is why so many old houses have been burnt in recent

Writing from here on 3 February 1845, my grandfather tells my father
that “Mr ***** came on Saturday, his two little dogs with him, which so
worried little Gracey that she ran under the clock, and on the dogs
approaching, she ran up the chain as far as the works and stopped the
clock.” (When the mouse ran up the clock, it probably went up the chain,
as Gracey did, not up outside the case, as shown in certain
picture-books.) “On taking away the dogs, I opened the door of the
clock, and she jumped out and away and would not come near the house for
some time.” It was a ‘grandfather’ clock, and Gracey was a cat. There
was always a cat called Gracey here. My brother made a pedigree of
Gracies, showing the descent in female line with the collateral
branches; and this ‘little’ Gracey comes in there as ‘Peter’s niece.’

My sister writes to my grandmother, 29 January 1851, “Brother Henry and
I went to a party on Tuesday evening. We danced and saw a magic lantern,
and there was a German tree, and many nice things to eat. We enjoyed it
all very much, and did not get ill after it.” At that date a Christmas
tree was still a novelty, and was called a German tree, as the fashion
came from Germany.

Christmas also brought snapdragons; and, after seeing the Blue Grotto at
Capri, my brother described it as “a large hollow in one of the cliffs,
with about a quarter of an acre of water of the colour of a snapdragon
fire.” And that, I think, is really quite a good description of it,
though I have never seen it described in similar terms elsewhere.

There were immense plum puddings here at Christmas and also on all
birthdays. My grandfather usually mentions them in his letters to my
father. Thus, 26 December 1858, “The men were here yesterday: goose and
plum pudding as usual. Bob had the key of the cider cellar and was
butler; so, depend on it, there was no lack of cider. However, they all
left in good order.” Again, 4 January 1846, “They were invited in
yesterday on a famous piece of roasted pork and plum pudding, and drank
the little creature’s good health. I believe they would be glad if
Baby’s birthday came every month.” And again, 3 January 1869, “Plum
puddings have followed pretty quick of late, but there will be a
cessation till April, if my life is spared till that time: if not, of
course, no pudding.”

My grandfather writes to my father, 18 March 1844, “I remember going to
see old ***** of Crediton about some business, and was sitting down by
the fire talking with him, when a great coarse country maid came in and
disturbed us. The old man was quite in a rage to see the maid tumbling
everything over, and asked what she wanted. She said, ‘Why, us have lost
the pudding-cloth six weeks, and as the gentleman is going to dine here,
I suppose us shall have a pudding now.’ Turning round to me, the old man
said corn was so dear, he could not afford to have puddings. He was a
rich old man, grandfather of ***** and *****. I once asked him What news
(as he was reading a paper) and he replied, ‘Oh, I don’t know: my paper
is a fortnight old: I get it for a ha’penny then’.”

Speaking of people nearer home, he says, 25 January 1846, “Very strange
that Mr ***** never takes in a paper, though glad to get one gratis, Mr
***** takes none, so they must trust all to hearsay. Like the rest of
the farmers, they are not much of politicians: they see or know but
little beyond their own and parish affairs, and seldom go beyond their
market towns, where they assemble and talk of the price of cattle and
corn and advise each other how to cut down their little tradesmen and
labourers. Government may do what it likes to oppress any other class,
so as they are not meddled with.... Their cry hitherto has been Church
and State, but at the Kingsbridge meeting they seemed to be grieved, and
said the tithe was an exclusive burden on them. The parsons hitherto
have congregated at those meetings, to support Protection for their own
interest. Depend on it, it will not be long before the farmers will be
the greatest enemies of the parsons. However, they will never get rid of
the tithe. I cannot believe there ever will be a government that will
take it off the land, and pay it out of the Consolidated Fund, as they

There were farmers of another sort, and he finds fault with them as
well, 3 June 1843, “They are now apeing the gentleman with their gigs
and fine hackneys, and all the household and labourers pinched and
begrudged.” But while he blamed both sorts of them for skimping
labourers, he only paid the current wage himself. I see from his
accounts for 1840 that he was paying 1_s._ 6_d._ a day to casual hands,
and 10_s._ 6_d._ a week to regular hands, for agricultural work. The
cost of living went down; and he writes to my father then, 7 February
1850, “No one has dropt the wages in this neighbourhood yet; but it is
all very natural that wages should be dropt, if the labourer can live
for about half what he has hitherto required.... I have no doubt that
wages will come back to the old standard of 1_s._ 2_d._ and 1_s._ 4_d._
instead of 1_s._ 6_d._”

My grandmother writes to my father, 6 January 1846, “I was at Moreton
yesterday morning, and visited the poor and sick in order to distribute
your alms; and many poor objects did I find who thankfully received the
trifle I gave them. A shilling to them appeared so large a sum that they
scarcely knew how to express their gratitude.”

Shillings and pence were of more value then. My grandfather writes on 12
June 1847, “Animal food is from 7 to 8_d._ the pound, which is thought
high here,” and on 10 December 1848, “The butcher is now selling me
saddles and haunches for 6½_d._ the pound.” And it was the same with
other things.

Within the last twenty years I have seen an account set out between a
blacksmith and a farmer without any reference at all to money. On one
side there were horseshoes, ploughshares, etc., and on the other side,
pork, butter, geese, etc. And both parties reckoned the items up, and
saw that the totals balanced. They seemed to have some weights and
measures in their mind that are not found in books, say, 4 horseshoes
make 1 duck.

Before the railway brought outsiders in, there was hardly anybody in the
place who did not own land or rent it or work on it, and nobody at all
who did not talk of it. And naturally my grandfather had a good deal to
say about it in the letters that he wrote from here.

He writes on 9 March 1845, “This weather for March is I should say
unprecedented. (I am not like the old woman who had known hundreds of
Lammas Fairs, but I have known many.) Until within the last twenty years
our winters were much colder than since, but I never knew such hard
freezing as this: it has been intense. I have sheep in turnips, and
these are so frozen that they can only just eat enough to keep them
alive.... I should say the farmers must now see the necessity of
cultivating the turnip. I have heard many say it was not worth the
expense, and now they are running and riding in all directions for keep
for cattle, and in all probability will lose more than they will get by
cattle for three years to come.”

In the next few years there was a change. He writes on 24 January 1850,
“On the old system wheat was generally tilled on fallow land and summer
worked and manured, so that they had two years rent and an immense deal
of labour for one crop. Now the plan is to till turnips in June or July,
fold them down with cattle, the soil of which leaves ample for a good
crop of wheat: then the wheat goes in for about 5_s._ per acre for
labour, and without further manuring.” Again on 24 December 1848, “Wheat
tilling now is so different from what it used to be, from so many
turnips being tilled. They now till wheat up to March, having the
different sorts of seed to suit--not like it was some thirty years ago
when all must go into the ground at a particular time, merely two or
three sorts. Now there is no end of the sorts, so that neither millers
nor farmers can tell one from other in grain, and not half of them in

On 29 October 1843 he writes, “They must leave off meddling by Acts of
Parliament with agricultural produce.... I fear great distress will show
itself hereabout amongst the farmers this winter: corn a low figure, and
in all probability will be lower, for I see the Canada Corn Bill came
into operation the 10th of this month, and many arrivals, and a vast
quantity expected: the Americans of course will take advantage of it
and smuggle over to Canada. Will the League carry their point next
Session? Hope they will, that things may be settled and let people know
what they have to trust to: now everything is uncertain.”

In the summer of 1845 the Potato Disease reached England from abroad. He
writes, 31 August, “All those beautiful green fields of potatoes around
me, that were so pleasing to the sight in my little walks, have lost all
their green and turned a regular brown. It makes things so dreary, and
brings to mind the misery it will create, particularly with the little
renting farmers.” He writes on 18 August 1852, “A renting farmer
generally requires three or four years to recover a bad harvest or a
blight, from want of capital; and the small owners are not much better

He writes on 23 May 1847, “Everything is very dear, and all owing to the
failure of the potato: no potatoes is the cause of the advance and
scarcity of corn: no potatoes no pork, consequently an advance in beef
and mutton.” His reasoning is obscured by brevity, but really comes to
this--if people cannot get potatoes, they will want more bread, and will
want more beef and mutton, if they cannot get any pork; and there cannot
be much pork unless there are potatoes, as potatoes are the staple food
of fatted pigs.

A friend at Moreton writes to him, 11 January 1846, “The poor will
suffer much from the high price of corn and no potatoes. The farmers
never had such times. Cattle and sheep are at enormous prices--a farmer
told me his stock was worth £1300 more than last year.” He writes again,
30 September 1849, “Farmers are down in the mouth: cattle selling very
low, and there is a complete panic. All the little farmers will be

The same friend writes him, 5 July 1846, “I had a man here yesterday who
has just £300 a year in land, and he thinks that corn will during the
next fourteen years be very little (if at all) lower than during the
last fourteen. [That was so.] The increase of population and the demand
for labour thro’ the extension of trade and making of railroads will, he
thinks, tend to keep up the price. He says we are only now beginning to

My grandfather touched on many subjects in his letters, and often wrote
things that read rather strangely now. Thus, on 23 February 1845,
“Taking off the duty on glass will be a great thing for all, for we
shall soon have the greater portion of our earthenware changed for
glass, tea-sets, etc. etc.” On 20 June 1842, “Government ought to recall
the sovereigns, and let the loss be born by the State generally not
individually,” and on 25 December 1843, “What a fuss about the light
sovereign: no silver to be got, everyone wanting, and none will say they
have any.”

He writes on 15 January 1858, “I have thought for a long time past that
building houses has been carried on to too great an extent in many
places. There is great depreciation of house property in Exeter. That
fine brick-built house on the site of the old Bridwell in St. Thomas was
sold a short time since for £450, gardens and all, and the house alone
cost £2000. The auctioneer said, if I was inclined to purchase, he would
obtain for me fourscore houses in Mount Radford for what the land cost,
to say nothing of the erection.” After a visit from a friend from
Guernsey, he writes on 26 March 1854, “There are now over seven hundred
houses vacant in Guernsey, some from emigration and some from half-pay
officers leaving, as since Free Trade they can live in England as cheap
as there, excepting spirits and wine.”

On 17 November 1850 he writes, “We hear very little of Protection now:
the No Popery cry has superseded it.” On 7 December 1850 a friend in
London writes, “Had not honest John Bull been frightened out of his wits
by the Cholera last year, as he has by the Pope this, he would never
have submitted to these domiciliary visits to his Castle. I consider the
powers of the Commissioners of Sewers most despotic and inquisitorial.”

There was need enough of sanitation. He writes on 23 September 1849,
“Newton market is greatly affected by the cholera at Torquay: people
leaving as fast as they can: many deaths last week. Mr *****’s daughter
was taken and dead in twelve hours.” On 27 September 1849, “I was at
Moreton on Tuesday: small-pox, scarlatina and typhus now raging there.”
On 22 February 1852, “I hear children are dying by scores at Plymouth in
small-pox and measles.”

There are letters of 13 and 17 August 1843 about some forks and spoons
and other silver things that he was sending to my father: they have been
packed into a carpet bag, and this is being rolled up in the middle of
two feather beds, and the package will be sent by carrier’s wagon--“how
long it will be going up, I am not aware.” It was sent to Moreton, and
one carrier took it on to Exeter, another to Wellington, and so on.
Seventy years afterwards I brought this silver back: 200 miles within 5
hours, house to house.

He writes on 13 February 1852, “Tho’ no snow in Plymouth, the wagons
supplying provisions for Dartmoor could not go far upon their way, so it
must be deep on the moor. Well, the convicts must go on short allowance.
I do not know a better punishment for them.” Convicts were not sent to
Dartmoor until 1850, and the natives did not welcome them.

In a letter of 17 July 1839 he describes a thunderstorm that caught him
and a friend of his between this house and Kelly Cross. It shattered a
great oak tree by the roadside just after they had passed. “The clouds
appeared almost down upon us, and we were quite encircled in lightning:
our umbrella was always full of it.” He writes about another storm, 26
June 1844, “It hung over us for near two hours: I think, the loudest
thunder I ever heard. The rush of fire into water was so very distinct,
and then followed the rapping and rolling--precisely as when a
blacksmith inserts a large piece of iron into his trough full of water:
the rush at first and then the rumbling which exactly resembles thunder.
But I never before heard that rush: it was really very awfull.” He adds,
“I remember Lustleigh tower being greatly damaged by lightning many
years ago.”

He writes on 21 November 1852, “When you were here in the spring, you
saw a rainbow in a field. Well, over in the Barleyparkes I saw a
rainbow, both ends there. It literally lay on the ground: only the arch
was erect and made a bend from the straight lines [he draws a capital U
upside down] but both ends lay on the ground, and the ground sloped from
me. I came within a yard of the ends of it, the arch not ten yards from
me; but it receded as I approached. I walked it out of the field, and
drove it before me to the Meadow, where I left it with both ends in the

Most people here lived patriarchally beneath their fig trees and their
vines, and many of them found that ripe figs were like venison in
tasting best with port. The older fig trees are usually on the sheltered
sides of houses--the fig tree here is on the south side of the house,
with its trunk close by the chimney and its roots in underneath the
hearth--but of late years several have been planted on the sunny sides
of some of the big rocks. The rock gives shelter, and also radiates the
heat, so that the figs are ripened on both sides at once.

There has always been a vine on the west side of this house. My
grandfather writes to my father, 7 November 1859, “Our grapes have
turned out admirably this autumn, very large, equal to hothouse grapes
in size and flavour. I only wonder that your mother has not been ill
with them.” He writes on 1 July 1859, “Raspberries and strawberries in
abundance, and I fear your aunt Ann has made too free with them, as she
is ailing this morning.” My grandmother was 78 and her sister Ann was
80; but neither had learned wisdom yet. He writes on 4 January 1852, “I
have been amused watching a nut-hatch. I see him go to the stock of the
pear tree, take a nut from his little store and perch on another tree
and knock away until he breaks it and eats the kernel. One nut appears
to satisfy him at a time. Very provident it appears: a good lesson for
man.” In two months time the lesson had been forgotten. He writes on 8
March 1852, “I see plainly that the malady was caused by my appetite
being too good for my digestive powers.”

Writing about a dinner in London at which my father had made a speech,
he says on 26 May 1858, “Too much of the old Corporation gluttony, I am
sorry to see.... I should like to attend, to hear good speeches, but a
slice of good cold beef would content me, with a glass of real French
brandy.” In fact, plain living and high thinking: but not without

He believed in brandy as a cure for everything, recommended it to
everyone, and thought doctors ought to do the same. He writes, 24
January 1860, “I should say a little brandy would be beneficial, but
doctors (you know) do not generally recommend what is easy to be got at
by patients.” Of course, he could not recommend poor people to take
brandy unless he gave them some to take. His advice was sought by many;
and I have been told that when he died, there was quarts o’ tears
a-shedded by the poor for he.

When he had a cider-press built here in the autumn of 1842, he had
another one (exactly like it) built by the same man at an outlying farm.
After his death the press here was neglected, and it finally was taken
down; but I have now brought over the other press from the farm, and put
it in the place of the press that he put here. In 1919 I made some cider
with it, to compare it with the modern press that I put up in 1901. It
requires about ten per cent. more apples and considerably more labour to
produce the same amount of cider. And the cider is not quite the same,
as the apples have to be packed in with straw, and the straw affects the
colour and the taste.

Casks take up much more space upon a floor, when they are lying on their
sides than when standing up on end. If a cask is full, both ends will be
wet, when it is lying down; but, when a cask is standing up, the top end
will be dry, and then will shrink and let the air in. (The ends are not
as air-tight as the sides, as the cooper takes an end out when he
scrapes a cask inside.) A little air soon spoils a cask of cider; and
some of the big cider-growers have thought it worth their while to
reconstruct their cellars and provide the extra space for casks to lie
down on their sides instead of standing up. They might have saved all
this by doing a very simple thing that I do here. When a cask is
standing up, there is a shallow pan on top formed by the top end of the
cask and the surrounding chine. Keep this pan filled with water, and
that will keep the top end wet, so that it does not shrink and let the
air in.

My grandfather writes, 16 November 1841, “I have heard of many who have
sent their friends in London casks of prime cider, and not worth
anything when arrived: frequently from the tricks of the sailors, but I
am told that the Custom House officers open every cask that is sent.
Therefore the merchants attend at the opening and see it well secured,
otherwise it would be spoiled.”

My brother’s copybooks sometimes throw light on things that are ignored
in our grandparent’s letters. In a book that he was using when he had
just turned ten, the greater part is occupied by sentiments that they
dictated--e.g. “the elegant poems of this amiable divine have ever been
highly admired”--but in the vacant spaces there are compositions of his
own. Thus, “when Therza came, a cunning jade, | a laughing
mischief-making maid, | who laughed at Jane and scouted Grace, | and in
the kitchen took her place, | Wreyland, which was always quiet, | now
was turned into great riot.” This is followed by what appears to be a
verbatim report of an altercation between Grace and Therza, ending
“Well, I tell ’e what, Therza, you know nart tall about it.”

He had an extraordinary memory--I see that it was noticed, 25 November
1849, when he had only just turned three. He could repeat whole
conversations word for word, and would repeat them to the very people
who were not meant to hear them. My grandfather writes to my father
about it, 30 November 1857, “I tell them, tho’ he appears to take notice
of everything, he cannot at all times be depended on in relating facts,
for he often misconstrues things.” But people saw that he was telling
them exactly what was said, even if he did not fully grasp the meaning.

When he was six, he was writing letters of such precocity that his
elders were suspected of getting him to say things that they could not
very well say themselves. My grandfather writes to my father, 20 July
1853, “I fancied by Mr *****’s letter that the boy had written something
offensive. You may assure Mr ***** that no one here dictated anything to
him, nor can do, for (if attempted) he would sure write contrary.”--I
put one of his letters in my former _Small Talk_, page 105.

My grandfather’s letters have all sorts of words and phrases. After some
heavy rains, 9 January 1860, “The waters have been very stiff, but not
landed yet,” meaning that the Wrey was high, but had not overflowed its
banks. Whilst the railway was being made here, 30 April 1865, “There is
a stagnation among the navvies about wages.” He says that my brother
“has a little hoarse,” 12 June 1854, and habitually speaks of “having a
hoarse” like “having a cough.” He says that one of his neighbours “is
confined in the chest,” 18 February 1859, that is, confined to his house
by a cold in his chest, and another one “is confined in the same
complaint.” Another neighbour was unsystematic in her housekeeping, and
he says that “she keeps a disorderly house,” 14 January 1848. Somebody
left a letter of his unanswered, 2 February 1859, and he calls this “a
very unhandsome thing.”

I am Victorian enough myself to think it rather vulgar to call an
omnibus a ’bus, but never had qualms in saying ’van for caravan or ’wig
for periwig, that is, peruke. People habitually say You for Ye, yet
snigger at our saying Us for We. What they call “a chapter of accidents”
is “a proper old pedigree” here. That is etymologically right, as a
pedigree is a thing that goes on step by step. Etymologically there is
not much difference between a junket and a jonquil, or porcelain and
pigs, or venerable and venereal; but a Venerable Archdeacon got quite
cross when I applied the other adjective to him. Down here we soften
‘immodest’ into ‘vulgar’ and ‘immoral’ into ‘rough’; and a stranger may
give great offence, when only meaning ‘rough’ and ‘vulgar’ in the usual

There is an old word ‘vair,’ still used in heraldry for ‘fur.’ This
probably gave Cinderella her slipper of glass (verre) and certainly
makes Pharisees into weasels. The word includes all furry things as well
as fur--I imagine that the Fairies were once a furry tribe--but now it
is restricted to one furry thing, the weasel, just as ‘cider’ and
‘thatch’ and ‘deer’ include all manner of strong drinks and roofs and
beasts, but are now restricted to one sort of each. We have reduplicated
plurals here, ‘posteses’ for ‘posts,’ and so on, including ‘vaireses’
for ‘vairs’; and naturally the children say that weasels be the only
Pharisees they ever see’d.

Weasels were common in my early days, and rabbits comparatively scarce,
though now sent off in thousands to the Midland towns. Until the
trapping began, the weasels kept them down; but the weasels mostly
perished in the traps, and after that the rabbits multiplied.

Devonshire hedges are inordinately large, and take up a great deal of
ground. In my early days people used to say they could increase their
acreage quite ten per cent. by doing away with hedges. But when they
tried it, they generally found that they lost more in shelter than they
gained in space: their fields were swept by every wind that blew. They
might have learnt a lesson from the Scilly Islands, where people were
putting in hedges then, to cut their fields up into little squares for
growing things in shelter. Three of my fields here are eight fields on
the Tithe Map, dated 1841. Five hedges have gone: three of them merely
wasted space, but the other two gave shelter that is wanted now.

Here in Wreyland Manor there were many more hedges than in most places
of this size. They were not put here for the sake of shelter, but from
four people’s perversity four centuries ago. On the death of the last
Lord Dynham in 1501, his property went to his four sisters and their
heirs, as he left no children of his own. Apart from Wreyland, he had
many manors in different parts of England. Instead of arranging his
manors in four groups and taking one group each, they each took a fourth
part of each manor and of each tenement in each manor; and by sales and
marriages these fractions of the tenements passed into many different
owners’ hands. And whenever a tenement was divided, each fraction had to
be equipped with a fair share of every sort of land--garden, orchard,
meadow, arable, pasture, wood and heath--so that it generally was formed
of several patches of ground some way apart. Each of these patches had
to be enclosed, and was enclosed in the usual Devonshire way with very
big hedges.

These subdivisions gave great scope for neighbourly feeling. A man might
have a tree that was no real good to him and damaged his neighbour’s
patch by keeping sunshine off; but very few men would help a neighbour
by cutting down a tree. My grandfather writes to my father, 5 January
1853, “I saw ***** yesterday, and he told me he was glad to say that Mr
*****’s great elm tree was blown down, for it did so much injury to his
garden. I should say that, for profit, the tree ought to have been
thrown long ago, for it was equally large forty years ago as now:
therefore it will (I think) be found decayed in the bottom--if so, much
lessened in value.” He writes on 17 September 1857, “Mr ***** has cut
down an ash tree in my hedge. I have no wish to go to law about it, but
one cannot stand by and see one’s property taken with impunity.... The
rule is, if you can pass a shovel to take up sufficient earth for lading
the hedge, the tree belongs to the field of the opposite party; but if
you must go outside it, the tree of course belongs to the hedge.” The
neighbour said there was “width enough for the fattest man in the
parish” between the tree and hedge. There was an arbitration, and the
tree was awarded to my grandfather. I suppose the fattest man in the
parish was no wider than a shovel, or else the neighbour had made room
for him by digging into the hedge.

A man diverted a watercourse, and in heavy rains the water stirred his
cesspool up and spread the contents on another man’s land below. He said
it would enrich the land--“it is worth some pounds a year”--but the
other man would not have it--“if it is so very valuable as he makes out,
why trouble other people with it?” My grandfather writes to my father,
21 January 1864, “As fast as ***** turns the water and makes up the
embankment, at some time or other (no one sees him) his neighbour breaks
it down.”

At the same time another man was diverting another watercourse and
stopping his cesspool up, thereby impoverishing a neighbour’s land
below; and that neighbour was aggrieved--“it has always runned under his
stables for time out of mind.” My grandfather mentions people who could
say which way these cesspools overflowed in former times. “They are all
old men; and let them die, there would be but little evidence that would
be substantial. Would it not be worth while to get their depositions
taken now?”

In ancient Rome there was a case of a man fixing gargoyles on his house
in such a manner that they shot the rainwater off his roof into the
front door of his neighbour opposite. We have that spirit here. The end
of one man’s garden was opposite another man’s house, and the other
man’s pig got into the garden and did some damage there. So the injured
man cleaned out his own pigstye and made a nice manure heap in his
garden, within a few feet of the other man’s front door, in just the
right position for the prevalent winds to blow the perfume in.

A man’s latch-string was cut, and he could not get into his house. Being
asked what he would do, he said decisively, “Coot thetty coot’n,”
literally, cut that which cut it (_thetty_ being the Anglo-Saxon
_thætte_) but meaning, cut the latch-string of the man who has cut mine.
Even when ordinary words are used, they are not always used in the
accepted way. A youth married one of his loves and went on flirting with
the others, but was found out at last. And he was greeted with, “Just
come you here now, I’ve got something for you with your tea: your little
secrecies is become the greatest of publicities.”

In another household the wife gave force to her remarks by throwing
plates and dishes at her husband’s head. (She also had something for him
with his tea.) He knew exactly how to dodge them; and, as his usual seat
was in a line between his wife’s seat and the door, the things came
whizzing out across the lane, to the astonishment of passers-by who did
not know her ways.

Time softens these asperities. A bereaved husband was speaking of his
wife in her last illness. “Her sat up sudden in the bed, and saith ‘I be
a-goin’ up the Clave.’ [Lustleigh Cleave.] And I saith to her, ‘Thee
canst not go up the Clave: thee be a-dyin’.’ And her saith to me, ‘Ye
wicked, dommed, old mon.’ Poor dear soul, they was the very last words
as ever her spoke.”

People in Devon are very dexterous in their choice of adjectives. At a
supper here I thought the company had overeaten itself and might feel
unwell next day. I inquired in due course, and was answered, “Us be
feelin’ lovely.”--A labourer was discontented with his board and
lodging: whereupon his host explained to me, “Us cannot give’n riotous
livin’ on 18 pence a day.”--My finger-bowls came in for criticism here.
“Gentlefolk don’t soil their fingers a-pickin’ up their meat; and if
they did, how could they cleanse’n in they paltry basons?”

There is a cave amongst the rocks on the hill behind this house. I heard
years ago, “Folk say it be a superstitious place, and they do tell of
spiritual men uprisin’ there.” Spiritual men are ghosts; but I have only
seen a spirituous man there, and he went down, not up.

A friend of my father’s writes to him from Moreton, 13 November 1843,
“We are going to have a ringing match here tomorrow. There has been
nothing else but this noise the last three or four days.” Blunt’s _Use
and Abuse of the Church Bells_, 1846, gives a pretty picture of it all.
“Toward the latter half of the last century the ringing of the church
bells became a fashionable amusement among the yeomanry and gentry, and
was degraded to the level on which the hurdle-race and steeple-chase now
stand. This amusement, however, at any rate in most parts of the
country, has long ago ‘become vulgar’ and ‘gone out of fashion’; till at
last our belfries are left in a state of filthy dilapidation,
receptacles for dirt and rubbish of all kinds, and very frequently the
drinking-place of the most profane and profligate persons of the parish,
who ring the bells for their amusement,” and so on.

My grandfather writes on 23 March 1861, “Mr ***** put some eggs under
the jackdaws in the tower in hopes they would build in the town place,
which they no doubt will some day.” It was the church tower, where the
bells are hung; and Mr ***** was a churchwarden. The eggs, of course,
were rooks’ eggs: he desired a rookery in the elms outside.

He writes on 26 December 1847, “The church singers by their inveteracy
have rather disturbed the neighbourhood both Friday night and last
night. [They used to bring the church bass-viol and violin and flute.] I
order them not to come near, but unfortunately I am surrounded by a
road, and they will pass near me: which my dogs notice.”

The dogs here were formidable. He writes, 10 May 1846, “I must get rid
of Bess. She sat on a man to-day in the road.... If you strike Ben, you
make him savage--I do not dare to repeat a blow to him--though such a
good tempered old fellow.” There was always a Ben here, and this Ben was
born in 1839 and died in 1852. My grandfather writes, 3 March, “Poor old
Ben died on Monday, and was buried in the garden, just below where Fanny
was buried. [Fanny, another old dog, died just before.] He lay down
there on Saturday--I never before saw him lie there: one would almost
think he found he was dying, and chose his place of burial.”

There are plenty of vipers hereabouts, but I never thought much of them
until one killed my dog, 8 April 1920. She was a small sheep-dog, Rose
by name, and she was out for a walk with me and was rummaging about in a
hedge; and there the viper got her in the pad, between the second and
third toes of the left fore-paw. These hedges harbour snakes. My
grandfather writes to my father, 2 May 1852, “A fine sunny morning, and
we went out for a walk to see if we could find any snakes in our hedges,
for now is the time to see them, before the hedges get covered.”

He writes on 25 April 1858, “When I was at the Cleave on Friday, a viper
made its appearance and then another and so on till there were four, all
in a few minutes. It being very warm, this was (I think) their first
appearance from their winter hiding place: they were very lean.” He
speaks of fishing in the Bovey down below the Cleave, 17 May 1846,
“There is a timidity about me, I am looking every step I plant my foot,
fearing the ‘varmints’ as Farmer ***** calls them: not so before
now--would brush by everything, and even step on them.”

He also writes, 22 March 1855, “Tuesday was the first day of summer, and
it was so warm and pleasant that a lizard got on a shawl that was put
out on the side of the hedge in the eye of the sun, where he appeared
very comfortable in his warm bed. But the poor thing lost his life in
consequence.” The people here call lizards crocodiles, and always
slaughter them as noxious things. I never heard of a lizard doing any
harm here, excepting one that was licked up by a cow and got down into
her lung and killed her.

Some years ago a venerable lady came down to stay with me, and she wore
a wide-brimmed hat with feathers enough to cover a swan. One afternoon I
left her sitting on the hill side, looking at the view, while I went
after something else; and presently I saw a buzzard hovering right over
her with its head bent forward and staring intently down. Up there the
buzzard could only see the feathers and very little else; and I feared
she would be terribly upset, if this huge bird dropped down on her and
carried off the hat. And the bird could easily have done it, as these
buzzards measure forty or fifty inches across their outspread wings.

An owl came down the chimney of the Higher Parlour here and bounced into
the room, its great eyes blinking through a cloud of soot; and it rather
scared a couple of young people who were having a quiet flirtation
there. And once the Higher Parlour was attacked by bees. Some honey had
been taken from the hives and put into a cupboard there, and they came
after it--there must have been ten thousand of them in the room at once.
That was in the happy days before disease was brought here from the Isle
of Wight. The bees are all dead now; but usually there were a dozen
hives, and sometimes many more--the old straw hives, each standing on a
sort of one-legged table and covered with a sheaf of straw like an
extinguisher. It was pleasant on a sunny day to see the bees out playing
round the hives, and the cats all stretched out in the grass below,
waiting there to eat the mice that came to eat the honey.

When bees were swarming, we went out with bells and gongs and metal pans
and made a hideous noise, relying on the old belief that clanging metal
tempted swarms to pitch close by instead of flying away. But, by
Lubbock’s showing, it was all in vain, as bees are deaf. In describing
his experiments, _Ants, Bees and Wasps_, page 290, ed. 1898, he says--“I
tried one of my bees with a violin. I made all the noise I could, but to
my surprise she took no notice. I could not even see a twitch of the
antennæ.” Bertini made a marble statue of Jenner vaccinating a child.
Some modern man might rival it with Lubbock playing to a bee.

Whether the bees heard us or not, they usually pitched close by; and
then the next thing was to gather some bame and cut down boughs of
halse. (Bame is balm, and halse is hazel.) Then some sugar was put into
a clean straw hive and was rubbed in with the bame, the sap making a
sort of syrup; and then the hive was held out (upside down) underneath
the swarm. If the swarm had pitched on the branch of a tree--as was
usually the case--it could be jerked off bodily into the hive by giving
the branch a knock: failing that, it might be swept in sideways with a
brush. But, if the queen was left behind, the other bees went back to
her; and then we had to try again. When the swarm was in, the hive was
put down on a sheet (the right way up) and was covered over with the
boughs of halse. And at nightfall, when the bees had gone to sleep, the
hive was taken up again and placed upon its little table and roofed in
with its sheaf of straw, and hoops were slipped on over the sheaf to
keep it in its place.--But the swarms did not always pitch close by:
sometimes they went soaring up, and then away across the valley, far
beyond pursuit.

A few summers ago a stray swarm took possession of the letterbox near
Lustleigh Cleave. Bees came out, when letters were put in; and, when the
letters were taken out, the postman was so badly stung that he refused
to go again. So the usual notice of Hours of Collection was superseded
by a notice of Ware Bees. After proper correspondence the superintendent
at Newton Abbot authorised the sub-postmaster at Lustleigh to pay a
bee-man to clear out the bees. These bee-men take up bees in handfuls,
and seem never to be stung; but the fact is they have been stung so
often that the sting has ceased to take effect. One of them told me that
he had been stung a hundred times in a day and hardly felt it. He
cleared the box; and as he saved the swarm and got the honey and was
paid as well, it was not unremunerative work.

At a farm of mine I noticed a stain and a bulge in a bedroom ceiling,
and thought the rain was coming through the thatch. It was a colony of
bees up there making such a quantity of honey that the ceiling could not
stand the weight. The room was occupied by summer lodgers, and I fancied
they would not forget their farmhouse-lodgings, if the honey and the
bees fell through while they were there.

Bees are mentioned in the old Court Rolls of Wreyland Manor, but only as
estrays. If stray creatures came to any of the tenements, the court
adjudged them to the lord of the manor, unless the rightful owner put in
a claim within twelve months and proved his ownership. There are
difficulties in proving that a swarm of bees is yours, after you have
once lost sight of it. Ponies, cattle, sheep and goats were claimed
successfully; but the lord of the manor always got the swarms. Amongst
others, he got a swarm that came to Wilmead on Midsummer-day in 1484 and
was valued at twelvepence--a considerable sum at that date, as the
penalty for assaults was only threepence, unless they had drawn blood,
in which case it was ninepence.

In dealing with the Domesday survey _The Victoria History of the
Counties of England_ makes these remarks on bees, _Devon_, vol. 1, page
400--“There is only a single notice of bee-keeping in Devon. At
Lustleigh were five honeyers who paid seven sestiers of honey. No
certain conclusion can be arrived at from this entry. Either bee-keeping
was so common and taken such small account of as not to deserve mention,
or bee-keeping was not practised at all, except at Lustleigh on the
borders of Dartmoor.” It does not remark that there is only a single
notice of donkey-keeping in Devon: there were two donkeys at Diptford.

Unluckily for Lustleigh, Domesday says these honeyers were at
Sutreworda; and Sutreworda was clearly a much larger place than
Lustleigh ever was, and in another district. By taking Sutreworda for
Lustleigh and Wereia for Wrey, the _Victoria History_ has made itself a
nuisance in this valley.

As for Sutreworda, the argument is merely this--the Honour of Marshwood
had estates that formerly belonged to Walter of Douai; and, as it had a
Lustleigh and no Sutreworda, and he had a Sutreworda and no Lustleigh,
Sutreworda must be Lustleigh under another name. But there were
Marshwood estates in Devon that never belonged to Walter, and he had
estates in Devon that never passed to Marshwood, whereas the argument
supposes that the two sets were the same. There is a similar argument
about the Honour of Gloucester and Godwin the Thane, to show that his
Wereia is Wrey. But this is weaker still. No doubt, John de Umfravill
held some of the Gloucester estates in Devon, and he held Wrey; but
there is a document of about 1285 showing that he held it from the Crown

There is yet another argument for putting Wereia here. Domesday says
that Godwin had a virgate of land at Wereia free of tax, and the Inquest
of the Geld says that he had a virgate in Teignbridge Hundred free of
tax. No doubt, his Teignbridge virgate may be his virgate at Wereia; but
it may just as well be his virgate in four other estates of his which
had a virgate each, or two half-virgates in any two of his three estates
with half a virgate each. And the equation does not work out, as he has
a quarter of a virgate more in Domesday than in the Inquest of the

There were two Wreys on the river Wrey, just as there are two Boveys on
the river Bovey not far off. They are distinguished as North Bovey and
South Bovey or Bovey Tracey, and the Wreys were distinguished as
Wreyford and Wreycombe. In the old title-deeds this place is Wrey or
Wreyford as far as 1529 and Wrey or Wreyland in 1544 and onwards; but I
do not know the reason for the change. There are several families called
Wreyford or Wreford or Wrayford, and I presume their ancestors all came
from here. But, so far as I know, there is not any family called
Wreyland; and this tempts me to say that families had ceased (by 1544)
to take their surnames from the places whence they came. There is,
however, a family called Rellend; and sometimes Wreyland is pronounced
like that.

Writers on Devon show a curious reticence about its good old
name--Damnonium. There are writers like Moore and Lysons who give it
correctly in Greek letters when they are quoting Ptolemy, and yet
transpose the _m_ and _n_ on putting it into English, as if they could
not face the Damn. Think of the lines in Carrington’s
_Dartmoor_--“Erstwhile here the fierce Danmonii dwelt.” The softening
takes off half its strength.

In his poem _Of the courtier’s life_, probably written in 1541, Sir
Thomas Wyatt contrasts his country life with life at court, and says “In
lusty leas at liberty I walk.” He was not at Lustleigh--he says “but I
am here in Kent and Christendom”--but his verse gives the true meaning
of the name. The ‘leas’ are fields and meadows, and ‘lusty’ is pleasant,
the old English ‘lusty’ answering to the modern German ‘lustig.’
Lustleigh Cleave is Lustleigh Cliff, as ‘cleave’ and ‘cliff’ are really
the same word. Other steep hillsides have the name--Caseleigh Cleave,
Wrey Cleave, Neadon Cleave, and so on. And sometimes it is spelt the
other way, as in a note of my grandfather’s, 31 May 1863, that he is
laying in a stock of firewood--“all the oak wood on Casely Cliff at
eight shillings per hundred faggots.”

Newton is the new town. There are many places of that name in England;
and the new town nine miles from here was known as Newton on
Teign--“Nyweton juxta Teng” in Quo Warranto in 1281. The town is not in
Domesday in 1086, and is clearly of later origin than the civil and
ecclesiastical districts here, as it stands in two hundreds and two
parishes, the boundary being the Loman, which runs through the middle of
the town into the Teign. The abbot of Torre abbey acquired the part in
Wolborough parish and Haytor hundred; and this is Newton Abbot. Robert
Bussell acquired the part in Highweek parish and Teignbridge hundred;
and that is Newton Bushel. The two parts were nearly equal in extent
until the railway came to Newton Abbot, and since then this part has
grown. Most people call the whole place Newton Abbot now, and will tell
you they are going to Newton Abbot when they really are going to Newton
Bushel. The older people never called it anything but Newton.

The railway company called the station Newton Abbot to avoid confusion
with the other Newtons on other companies’ lines. When they made this
branch to Moreton, they called it Moretonhampstead to avoid confusion
with the other Moretons. But there are other Hampsteads also. I saw a
package on the platform there, sent down from London by mistake, and
just endorsed--“Try Hemel Hempsted”--another 250 miles by train.

Moreton is the moor town, and the moor is Dartmoor; but the old spelling
is retained in Moreton, though in Dartmoor it is obsolete--nobody writes
Dartmore now. Such a name as Moretonhampstead is absurd, for _tun_ and
_ham_ and _stede_ are Anglo-Saxon words, all meaning the same thing. It
came into use somewhere about 1600, I do not know exactly when, nor why.

Dartmoor is a word that has two meanings. Usually it means the whole
great tract of granite moorland in the middle of Devon. Technically it
only means so much of this as lies in Lydford parish, the remainder
being the commons of the surrounding parishes. On the Ordnance map
Lydford parish contains 50,801 acres, or nearly eighty square miles.
That gives the area of Dartmoor in the strict sense of the term. In the
wider sense, with the surrounding commons thrown in, Dartmoor is said to
have an area of 200 miles.

The difference between the moor and commons is greater than it looks.
The moor belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall; and the Duchy can enclose the
land there, but cannot enclose the land upon the commons.

This caused a sharp dispute in 1870 and 1871. A man at Bristol got the
Duchy to grant him 280 acres for enclosure, and he began enclosing.
People said that this enclosure was on Chagford common. But the Duchy
officials said that the Ordnance map was wrong, and the Tithe map was
wrong, and all the old inhabitants were wrong, although they had beaten
the bounds, since they were young, just where their elders used to beat
them. It seemed that nobody outside the Duchy office knew where the
boundaries were. Inquiry was made if these officials had received a
revelation from above; and then they came to earth with a Perambulation
made on 24 July 1240. But that was a well-known document, printed in
several books on Devon, and certainly did not prove their case.

Henry the Third granted Dartmoor to his brother the Earl of Cornwall on
10 October 1239, and the Earl had this Perambulation made next year. It
is clear that Furnum Regis is King’s Oven at the end of Hurston Ridge,
and there is no difficulty about the words next after that, “et inde
linealiter usque ad Wallebrokeshede et sic in longum Wallebroke usque
cadit in Dertam,” but there certainly is something wrong about the words
that go before, “et sic in longum Wallebroke et inde linealiter usque ad
Furnum Regis.” How could the boundary run along the Wallabrook before
reaching King’s Oven, and afterwards run along the Wallabrook for the
whole length of its course from its head to its confluence with the
Dart? The officials said there were two Wallabrooks here, and the
unknown Wallabrook was the same as Hurston Water. This was really the
only basis for their claim. But the Perambulation says ‘Wester
Wallebroke’ in speaking of another Wallabrook on the other side of the
moor, and would presumably say ‘Norther Wallebroke’ here, or else say
‘Wallebroke’ and then ‘aliam Wallebroke’ just as it says ‘Dertam’ and
then ‘aliam Dertam’ on coming to the other Dart. Moreover, the sentence
is imperfect as it stands. In all other cases the Perambulation takes
the boundary to some fixed point and thence, etc. Either ‘usque ad ...’
has dropped out between ‘Wallebroke’ and ‘et inde,’ or else ‘et sic in
longum Wallebroke’ has been put in by mistake. Possibly the scrivener
saw the words in the next sentence, and repeated them in the wrong

My father joined in the dispute, as the enclosure was threatening our
rights of common at Hurston. He looked up the evidence, and wrote a
memorandum on it, ending (in red ink) with this--“The farmers will of
course pull down the fences, and put the Duchy to the proof of its
claims in a court of law.” And of course they pulled them down, and the
Duchy dropped its claims. I did not see the demolition done, but have
always heard it was an animated scene. Some twenty men went out to do
it, and they took a cask of cider with them, to strengthen their
conviction in the justice of their cause.

Enclosure is a mania that recurs at intervals; and deluded people think
that, if they cut the moor up into fields, they will reap as much as in
the valleys 1000 or 1500 feet below. It is noted in Moore’s _History of
Devonshire_, vol. 1, page 486--“The speculators in these undertakings
were in general but little versed in agriculture; and having inspected
the country in a very cursory manner, were altogether mistaken with
respect to the soil of Dartmoor, the produce for which it is adapted,
and the methods to be pursued for its improvement: scarcely anyone in
the neighbourhood had anything to do with these plans.” That was in
1829, and history repeats itself.

The latest of these Dartmoor schemes has been for taking water from the
streams to generate electricity. Such schemes answer very well abroad,
in mountainous regions where there are large volumes of water at great
heights coming down precipitously. But on Dartmoor the heights are
relatively small, and the streams are far apart and never very large,
shrinking in summer into brooks, so that big reservoirs would be
required for maintaining the supply. I fancy the promoters of this
scheme were merely copying a thing that enterprising men had done
elsewhere, without considering whether such men would do the same thing
here. It seems absurd to spend big sums of money on these moorland
streams, when there are great tidal estuaries not many miles away. At
the mouths of the Exe and the Teign the estuaries run several miles
inland and have very narrow entrances: the tide comes in and out; and
twice a day the whole of this gigantic power goes to waste.

Dartmoor is often called a Forest and is marked as such on maps; but
there are hardly any trees there now, and can never have been many. It
was a Forest only in the legal sense; and that was long ago. Coke says
in his _Institutes_, iv. 73, page 313, ed. 1798--“If the King, being
seized of a Forest, grant the Forest to another in fee, the grantee
shall have no Forest.” When the King granted the Forest of Dartmoor to
the Earl of Cornwall, 10 October 1239, it ceased to be a Forest and
became a Chase. It was granted to the Black Prince as the Chase of
Dartmoor, 17 March 1336/7, when he was created Duke of Cornwall; and
this is the grant by which the Duchy holds it now.

I ought to pay the Duke of Cornwall five-and-twenty pennies every year;
but in these prosaic times my agent sends a postal-order to the Duchy
office instead, and usually sends 12_s._ 6_d._ to settle it for six
years at once. I have to pay these pennies as owner of Hurston for
certain privileges it has upon the moor; and the payment is called
Venvill. One finds “fines villarum” in an Inquiry held at Lydford on 19
June 1382, and “certos annuales redditus vocatos _fyn de vile_” in an
Inquiry held at Chagford on 23 September 1388: so Venvill must mean
Fines from Vills. Fine only means a payment that has been definitely
fixed, and does not mean a penalty here. Vill is the same word as
village, but with a wider meaning, and will take in anything from a
township down to what we call a farm.

At the Inquiry on 19 June 1382 the jurors said that these “fines
villarum” were payable from time immemorial to the King and his
progenitors by the tenants of divers vills near the forest of Dartmoor
for profits that they had within the forest. And that looks as if
Venvill were a survival from the times when Dartmoor was a royal forest,
and had not yet been granted to Dukes or Earls of Cornwall.

The Venvill tenements form a ring outside the commons that surround the
moor. According to the ministers’ accounts for Dartmoor in 1505-6 there
were forty-five such tenements, and the payments were 20_d._ for
Hurston, 5_d._ for Willandhead which adjoins it on one side, 4½_d._ for
Venn which adjoins it on the other, 8_d._ and 3_d._ for Jurston and
Higher Jurston which are next beyond Venn, 4_d._ for Littaford which is
next beyond Jurston, and so on. The total is 4_l._ 10_s._ 8_d._; and it
was 4_l._ 1_s._ 8_d._ in 1296-7, when these ministers’ accounts begin.

The payments were primarily for pasturing cattle on the moor, and in
1296-7 the 4_l._ 1_s._ 8_d._ is entered as “de finibus villarum pro
pastura averiorum habenda.” The right of pasture was restricted to as
many cattle as could be wintered on the Venvill tenements, but there
were some other rights as well. At the Inquiry on 19 June 1382 the jury
said that the Venvill men could help themselves to “carbones, turbarias,
fugeras, jampnos et lapides,” and at an Inquiry at Okehampton on 16
August 1608 the jury made it “turves, vagges, heath, stone, cole,” and
“all thinges that maye doe them good, savinge vert and venson,” vert
being the greenwood that gave covert to the deer. I take ‘jampnos’ and
‘fugeras’ to be gorse and bracken, not heath and vagges--at any rate
‘vagges’ now means turf--and I presume that ‘carbones’ or ‘cole’ means
peat, as the moor does not produce what we call coal.

The peat is mostly in the middle of the moor, too far out for many of
the Venvill men to fetch it, and they use turf instead. This is cut
about three inches thick, left upside down to dry, and then brought in;
and it makes a very good fuel. Peat has naphtha in it; and for some
years the Dartmoor peat was tried for this. My father notes in his
diary, 5 September 1846--“Saw over the prisons at Princes Town, and the
preparations for the Naphtha Manufactory there.” The prisons were built
for prisoners-of-war, and were vacant from 1816 until 1850, when they
were fitted up for convicts.

In very dry summers the peat turns into dust some feet in depth. Writing
to my father on 4 September 1857, my grandfather says--“This is the
hottest summer, I think, since 1826, when Mr Smethurst and I went
exploring Dartmoor. We went two years following, and I think it was 1825
and 1826, the latter the hottest by far, for we could not get our horses
over the same ground, the peat being so pulverized by the extreme heat;
and we had hard work in digging out our horses.”

I used to tramp about the moor in former years, generally going out from
here, but sometimes using Hurston as a base. And two or three times
every summer I found people straying about, miles away from where they
meant to go. They were lodging in the villages or farms, had gone out
for a ramble on the moor, and were completely lost.

In the spring of 1915 I lost myself out there. I had driven as far as
Natsworthy gate, and then sent the trap down the valley to wait for me
at Widdicombe, saying that I would walk along the ridge of Hameldon,
which flanks the valley on the west. I walked over to Grimspound and up
to Hameldon cross--about 1750 feet above the sea--and then a mist came
down and shut out everything over fifty yards away. There is no track
there, and I could not see the landmarks by which I knew the way, nor
could I make out whereabouts the sun was, as the mist diffused the
light. I had not brought a compass with me, but I went steadily on,
imagining that I was going straight ahead, until I was confronted by a
mass of rocks that I recognized as Hookney Tor. I had been trending to
the left all the while and had made a semicircle of two miles--I could
not have reached that point in any other way except by going down into a
hollow and coming up again, and I had kept upon the top. Having reached
a point I knew, I went no further in the mist, but dropped down into the
valley below, where I knew there was a road. But this was the valley on
the other side of Hameldon, and I was now six miles from Widdicombe and
from my lunch.

Nobody need be lost out there for any length of time. As soon as you see
running water, you follow that down; and sooner or later it will bring
you to a cottage or a mill, and so into a road that leads to somewhere,
though it may not lead to where you want to go. But if you stay on the
high ground and go on trying to find the place you want, you may be out
all night.

In the summer of 1917 I found an old lady who had been missing for more
than twenty-four hours. There were parties out in search of her, but
they had all kept nearer home, not thinking that she would have wandered
off so far. I ought really to have gone off on the search myself, but I
had other things to do, and that was how I happened to see her.

Some summers ago two ladies took lodgings at a farm about a mile from
here, and they went out after tea on the afternoon of their arrival.
They did not come in, and people went out in search of them; and at dawn
they were found sitting on the hillside, with their umbrellas up, and
five-and-twenty bullocks standing round them in a circle, contemplating

Something of the same sort happened to two ladies whom I know, while
they were staying in a Riviera town. On the morning of Ash Wednesday
they were going to an early service at the English church, and on their
way they met a party of revellers returning from some Carnival
festivity, attired in costumes and masks. There must have been something
about these ladies that filled the revellers with delight: it may have
been a certain primness, or possibly it was their prayer-books. Whatever
it was, the revellers just glanced at one another, made a circle and
joined hands, danced round them in dead silence for a minute or two, and
then went upon their way.

Out on Dartmoor the dancers should be pixies, and their footsteps ought
to make a circle of fresh verdure on the turf. But a botanist assures me
that pixies dance round _Agaricus Oreadis_, if they dance round anything
at all. This is the plant that makes these circles, the fresh growth
being further and further from the parent plant in each succeeding year.

There are other circles on the moor--great granite circles like
Stonehenge, but not so big as that--and people say that these dance
round, and they can tell you why. Thus, years ago nine maidens went to
Belstone on the Beltane day and danced round naked in the noontide sun.
(Beltane is May Day now, and we are more demure.) And the Nine Maidens
were changed into nine granite pillars standing in a circle there. Every
day at noon they try to dance, and some days they go dancing round.

I never saw a circle dance, but I once saw the avenue on Hurston Ridge
do something very like it. It was a broiling day after a spell of wet,
and a vapour went up from the peaty soil. In the shimmer of this I saw
the rows of granite pillars all swaying and bobbing about like people in
a country dance, and was quite prepared to see a couple make their bow
and go off down the middle and up again.

These avenues and circles have lately been the victims of a theory that
used to be applied to churches. Old churches in England usually face
eastward, but seldom face due east; and the theory is that they face the
point at which the sun rose on the day when the foundation-stone was
laid, and this would be the feast-day of the patron-saint.

The avenue on Downtor is said to point to sunrise on April 29, and so
also a line drawn through the centre of the circle at Merivale to a
menhir about 300 yards away; and other lines are said to point to
sunrise on other days about that time of year--Lockyer, _Stonehenge_,
page 481, ed. 1909--the theory being that they pointed to the sunrise on
the Beltane day--page 309. I presume the Beltane fires were what we call
‘swayling’ now, that is, burning off old gorse and heather to make way
for fresh shoots that will be soft enough for beasts to eat. This
swayling is done at any odd times now, and with insufficient care, fires
often getting beyond control and burning down plantations of young
trees; but in my early days it was done on Maundy Thursday with as much
regularity as potato planting on Good Friday. It perhaps was done in
former times on some fixed day about May 1, and that was Beltane day;
but I fail to see why Beltane day should be picked out for setting up an
avenue or circle, or why a circle should be used for marking a straight

Many of the Dartmoor avenues can never have faced the sunrise, as they
point too much to northward or to southward of the east. And then the
theory says--One side of the larger avenue at Merivale faced the rising
of the Pleiades in 1400 B.C. and the other side faced their rising in
1580 B.C., the smaller avenue faced the rising of Arcturus in 1860 B.C.,
the avenue on Shovel Down faced the rising of Alpha Centauri in 2900
B.C. and the avenue at Challacombe faced its rising in 3600 B.C., and so
on with many more--pages 483, 484. The church theory has an intelligible
base--the saint’s-day sunrise--though the base is insecure; and the
Beltane sunrise is intelligible also, though still more insecure: but
this stellar theory has no base at all. You pick out any star you please
and get a date accordingly.

Looking out on Dartmoor with its rain and mist and fog, it seems
improbable that anyone would trouble much about the stars out there, or
take them as a guide in setting up an avenue. The ancient Egyptians may
have done such things in their pellucid air, and theorists say they did;
but that, I think, is a mistake. The rising of Sirius is recorded in
inscriptions of Rameses II and VI and X--engraved in Lepsius,
_Denkmaeler aus Aegypten_, part 3, plates 170 and 227 to 228 bis--and
these inscriptions cover a length of time in which the rising would have
varied a good deal, yet the variation is ignored. The entries cannot
have been based on observations--otherwise the variation would
appear--and this Rising of Sirius must have been as great a fiction as
our ecclesiastical Full Moon that gives the date for Easter.

There is a curious circle at Dûris in the Lebanon valley, and I went to
see it, 31 March 1882. It has eight upright stones, about twelve feet
high and six apart, with others laid on top of them like lintels, as in
the outer circle at Stonehenge. So far as a circle can be said to point
to anything, this circle points to Mecca, a Roman sarcophagus being set
up on end in one of the intervals between the uprights, and thus forming
a niche for the mihrâb. The uprights are drums of columns and the
lintels are squared stones, evidently taken from a temple or some other
building of Greek or Roman times. So the circle is comparatively modern,
yet its builders were aiming at the same effect as the builders of

Those rough stones on Dartmoor show no signs of high antiquity. The
avenues might be tracks for driving sheep or cattle, and the circles
might be pounds for penning them in; and some may really be no more than
that. But the circles often have a grave in the centre, and the avenues
sometimes have one at the end; and the graves have urns and implements
and weapons as ancient as the Bronze Age or the last half of the Stone

People are much too fond of giving those Ages definite dates, say 1500
or 1000 B.C. for the change from Stone to Bronze and 500 B.C. for the
change from Bronze to Iron. In reality these Ages must have overlapped,
surviving in some regions long after they died out in others; and there
may have been people out on Dartmoor using bronze and flint long after
Exeter was occupied by Romans.--A friend has given me a fancy portrait
of some progenitor of mine out there denouncing their new-fangled notion
of living in houses, instead of living in hut-circles as everybody
should. I think it was inspired by something that I said about the
comfort of having good thick walls and thatch, instead of merely brick
and slate, when the weather is either hot or cold.

These hut-circles differ from those other circles in being formed of
granite slabs set up on edge and touching one another, whereas those
others are formed of pillars standing some way apart and enclosing much
more ground. They probably had roofs of poles and thatch, looking like
bell tents, but the roofing has all gone. They are common enough in all
the Dartmoor district--there must be some thousands of them there--and
usually they are in little groups of three or four. Some of the larger
groups have ramparts round them; and these are known as Pounds. The
grandest is Grimspound, with an area of about four acres containing
five-and-twenty huts; but it has rather lost its dignity in these last
fifty years, as a good road was carried down the valley in 1874 and
comes within three hundred yards of it.

These ancient dwellings are usually on the sheltered slopes of hills;
and on the summits of the hills there are great mounds that mark the
graves of kings or chiefs. Sometimes, looking at the view and seeing
those mounds against the sky, I get the same uncanny feeling that comes
over me at places in Egypt and Etruria--the whole living country is
dominated by the dead. There are six of these graves within about two
miles on the range of hills behind Grimspound; and when one of them was
opened in 1872, the chieftain’s dagger was found--a blade of bronze and
a pommel of amber with a pattern worked in gold.

On a grave in Moreton churchyard there is a little granite figure of a
child with wings. A man from Cornwall was working in a quarry near
there; and when his child died, he got a block of granite from the
quarry and carved an angel out of that. It is a crude piece of work
without any of the mechanical excellence of other monuments close by,
yet it impresses me much more. I fancy that the genius of the place is
present there and gazing up towards those solemn hills where the Giant’s
Grave stands out against the sky.

In this district there are many granite crosses still remaining, though
many have been broken up. Here in Lustleigh parish there is one at South
Harton that has been cleft down the middle to make a pair of gate-posts,
another one at Sanduck that was built into the porch of the house and
came to light again when that was taken down, the top of another in a
field near Higher Coombe, and the base for another by the road-side near
the railway-station. The base has the coat-of-arms of bishop Grandisson
of Exeter, 1327 to 1369. This cross, therefore, was ecclesiastical; but
some were not. There was an inquiry at Brent on 25 August 1557 as to the
boundary between Dartmoor and Brentmoor, and the commissioners certified
that they had marked the boundary by setting up stone crosses. They
probably thought that people were less likely to tamper with a cross
than with a common boundary-stone.

Under cover of the War a great big painted crucifix has been set up in a
churchyard about three miles from here. The early Christians never
portrayed the crucifixion, and their successors idealized it--a majestic
figure in regal robes with outstretched arms, to which the cross just
formed a background. Then came the miserable type that we all know--a
realistic study of a condemned man suffering the last penalty of what
was then the law. There is no semblance of divinity about it; and in the
countries where one sees it most, the Trinity that they invoke is
Gesu-Maria-Giuseppe or Jésus-Marie-Joseph. The whole thing has become

The old granite crosses always have short arms, and may belong to a
primæval type that had nothing to do with crucifixion. According to
Cæsar (_De bello Gallico_, vi. 18) the Druids said that Dis was the
ancestral deity of all the Celtic race; and figures of this deity have
come to light. As his attribute he holds up a big sledgehammer; and I
suspect his hammer was the prototype of all these crosses--the ancient
symbol was retained, but with an altered meaning.

When these northern nations were converted, the new religion was grafted
on the old; and the grafting was not always neatly done. The Anglo-Saxon
kings all claimed descent from Woden, and he was once a god; but when
they took up Christianity, they had to fit him in. The Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle (855) knows better than the Pentateuch what happened in Noah’s
Ark. That speaks only of Shem and Ham and Japheth; but Noah’s wife had
another baby while she was on board--“se wæs geboren in thære earche
Noe”--and this was Woden’s ancestor.

That seems incongruous enough, but it is nothing to the incongruity of
an Anglo-Saxon coin with its inscription all in Arabic except two lines
of Roman letters, “Offa the King,” which come in upside down between
three lines of Arabic, “Mohammed the Prophet of God.” It is a gold coin,
a mancus, of the same weight as an Arabic dinar; and it is dated in year
157 of the Hegira, or 773 A.D. It was found in Rome, and must be one of
those gold mancuses that King Offa undertook to pay Pope Hadrian for
Peter’s Pence.

The southernmost part of Italy was known as Bruttium in Latin, but
Brettia in Greek, and was said to take its name from Brettos (a son of
Hercules) who came over with the first Greek colonists. And this, I
suspect, is the only basis for the story that Britain took its name from
an imaginary Brutus who brought a colony here. I suspect that Geoffrey
of Monmouth got the Brettos story at second hand through Stephanos, who
quotes it from Antiochos of Syracuse, say 423 B.C. And our Geoffrey
either got it wrong, or altered it to suit his theme, and thus created
Brute the Trojan.

The story of Brute the Trojan is not wilder than the story of Æneas, and
the motive is the same--to connect the Britons (like the Romans) with
the Homeric heroes and thus with the Olympian gods. (Brute was a
great-grandson of Æneas, so Venus was his great-great-grandmother.) I
cannot see why the story makes the Trojans land at Totnes, fifteen miles
from here, rather than in any other part of Britain. But at Totnes they
show you the very stone on which Brute stepped ashore, just as they show
you the stone at Brixham on which Dutch William stepped ashore, and the
stone at Newton from which he was proclaimed as King.

Nobody takes Brute the Trojan very seriously now; but I cannot
understand the people who scoff at Trojans coming to Britain, and then
talk solemnly of Phœnicians coming here. In books and pamphlets and
essays and articles and by word of mouth, in Devon and in Cornwall and
the Scilly isles, one hears everlastingly of these Phœnicians.

All this talk of the Phœnicians is founded on a blunder. Strabo devotes
book iii of his _Geographica_ to what we now call Spain and Portugal. In
iii. 5. 11 he says that the Cassiterides islands were off the coast of
Spain and Portugal, and that the tin trade with these islands was
formerly in the hands of the Phœnicians. In iii. 2. 9 he says that tin
was found in Spain and Portugal and in the Cassiterides, and adds
parenthetically “and it is brought also from Britain to Marseilles.”
Diodoros is more explicit, v. 22, 38, saying that the British tin came
from the western part of England, and went to Marseilles overland
through France, a journey of thirty days with horses. I suppose people
have forgotten Diodoros, and failed to see that Strabo is using a
parenthesis; and have then mixed up the whole of what he says in iii. 2.
9 with what he says about the Phœnicians in iii. 5. 11. There is no
suggestion in any ancient author that the Phœnicians ever had anything
to do with this trade in British tin.

As for the Cassiterides, they must be the Burlings. These are the only
noticeable islands on the outer coast of Spain and Portugal; and ancient
authors say the Cassiterides were on that coast. Strabo and Diodoros,
Mela and Pliny, Ptolemy, Dionysios and Avienus, all agree in putting
them there, though they give them various positions from Cape Finisterre
and Ferrol down to Cape St Vincent, and call them Hesperides or
Œstrymnides as well as Cassiterides.

In the Scillies it is an article of faith that those islands are the
Cassiterides, and this heresy of mine aroused the wrath of good
Scillonians. (They never say Scilly Islanders themselves: it is too
ambiguous.) Those islands seemed very remote, when I visited them first,
in the autumn of 1886. The cable was broken, and the mail-boat did not
waste her coal on making the passage in an equinoctial gale. But people
told me I could get a pilot-cutter to take me off in any weather for £5.
If it failed to make Penzance, it was sure of making Cork or Brest.

My going to the Scillies was indirectly the cause of Walter Besant’s
going there and writing his novel of _Armorel of Lyonesse_. I was often
talking of the islands after I came back, and he went in the spring of
1889. The novel pleased the islanders, and when I went there next (1896)
there seemed to be an _Armorel_ in every house. It was a contrast to
Tarascon and Alphonse Daudet’s book. I never saw a _Tartarin_ anywhere

Being at Tarascon, I inquired for the Tarasque--the dragon that was led
captive by Saint Martha--and I found it locked up in a stable, 18 March
1891. It is not allowed out in processions now, as it has broken too
many people’s bones by the waggings of its tail. Getting inside it, I
found a tiller that worked the tail as if it were a rudder, and I made
it wag.

The dragon at Tarascon is not unlike the dragon in one of Retzsch’s
illustrations to Schiller’s _Kampf mit dem Drachen_, where the knight
uses a dummy to accustom his horse and hounds to the look of a dragon in
real life. He does this in France, and then goes back to Rhodes and
kills the dragon there. The story is told of Dieudonné de Gozon; and he
must have seen the dummy at Tarascon, as he was at Avignon from 1324 to
1332. But in one version the knight dressed up a bull to personate the
dragon. In a version current at Rhodes it is a dervish, not a knight. He
loaded forty donkeys with eighty sacks of lime, and drove them past the
dragon’s den. The dragon swallowed them, lime and all, and then went
down to drink.

The dragon at Rhodes was killed near Phileremos, the citadel of the
ancient town of Ialysos; and Phorbas of Ialysos had killed a dragon
there about two thousand years before. The old Greek legend was put into
a mediæval dress; and another of those legends has been put into a dress
that is completely modern. There are elevated beds of sea-shells in
various parts of Rhodes, showing that the island has risen from the sea;
and the story of its rising from the sea is told by Pindar in his ode in
honour of Diagoras of Ialysos, _Olympia_, vii. 54-71. Either Thomson or
Mallet copied this from Pindar into _Rule Britannia_, and now it is
Britain that at Heaven’s command arose from out the azure main.

Many years ago I wrote a couple of volumes on the history of the island
of Rhodes: they were published in 1885 and 1887, and now are obsolete.
At first I only thought of writing about the Rhodian colonies in Sicily,
but the subject led me on to Rhodes itself, and then to the adventures
of the Knights after they had quitted Rhodes; but these were not
included in the book.

The Knights were the Hospitallers, or Order of Saint John of Jerusalem;
and their first home was at Jerusalem. But the Saracens drove them out
of Palestine in 1291, the Turks drove them out of Rhodes in 1522, and
the French drove them out of Malta in 1798. Malta was taken by the
English in 1800; and by the tenth article of the Treaty of Amiens, 1802,
England undertook to give up Malta to the Knights within three months.
It is ancient history now that England held on to Malta, and thereby
made a precedent for dealing with an inconvenient treaty as a scrap of

In 1814 some of the French members of the Order formed a committee at
Paris to see what could be done. But there were scamps among them, and
these men admitted new members to the Order and made appointments in
it--neither of which things had they any right to do--and pocketed the
money that they took for entrance-fees, etc. The climax came in 1823
with an attempt of theirs to borrow money in the name of the Order. The
office of Grand Master was vacant then, but the Lieutenant of the
Mastery sent them a peremptory letter, 27 March 1824, saying that the
committee was merely a self-appointed body without authority, and must
forthwith be dissolved. The French Minister for Foreign Affairs also
wrote a letter, 29 April 1825, saying that the admissions and
appointments made by the committee were altogether illegal and could not
in any way be recognized. And when the committee proposed to meet again
in May 1826, the meeting was stopped by the Prefect of the Police.

France was now too hot for them, but the rogues found dupes in England.
They began admitting new members to the Order and making appointments in
it over here; and they appointed the Rev. Dr Peat as Prior. That was the
foundation of the present Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in England.

All the English and Irish estates of the Order were confiscated by Act
of Parliament in 1540, and the incorporation of the Order was dissolved
in England and in Ireland, 32 Henry VIII, cap. 24. There was an attempt,
2 April 1557, to circumvent this Act by Letters Patent under a later
Act, 4 & 5 Philip & Mary, cap. 1, but this was defeated by another Act
next year, 1 Elizabeth, cap. 24. Of course, these proceedings had no
effect outside the realm, and therefore did not touch the Order itself,
as that was an international body with headquarters then at Malta. But
they cut off revenue and practically closed a good recruiting ground;
and there were few Englishmen or Irishmen among the Knights in after
years. For administrative purposes the Order had been divided into
Languages or Nations, one of which was English and included Ireland. But
the members of the Order were simply Knights Hospitallers or Knights of
Malta or of Rhodes, not Knights of any separate Nation or Language.

In 1834 Peat took an oath of office as “Prior of the Sixth Language of
the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in London,” swearing “to
keep and obey the ancient statutes of the said Sovereign Order,” and “to
govern the said Sixth Language as Prior thereof under the provision of
the statute of the 4th and 5th of Philip and Mary in the case made and
provided.” By the statutes of the Order (which he promised to keep and
obey) he was neither qualified for appointment nor appointed by the
proper authority, and there could not be a Prior of a Language--the
Languages were governed by Bailiffs, with Priors as their subordinates
in the various priories. There is no statute of 4 & 5 Philip & Mary
relating to the Order, only Letters Patent; and these make no provision
for the government of the Language or the Priory. So he only bound
himself to discharge the duties of an impossible office under an
imaginary statute.

These people could not even make out mediæval Latin. If a candidate for
admission proved his ancestry, he was admitted a knight by right, _de
justitia_. If he could not prove his ancestry, he might be admitted a
knight by favour, _de gratia_. Out of this they have made Knights of
Justice and Knights of Grace. The _hospitale_ at Jerusalem was a place
of hospitality where pilgrims were entertained. They mistook it for a
hospital, and then went in for ambulance-work, first-aid, etc., on the
strength of their mistake. No doubt, they have done much useful work,
especially in this War. But you can very well do useful work without
pretending to be something that you aren’t. And these non-combatants are
posing as successors of the greatest clan of warriors in the age of

They were silly enough to apply for a Charter of Incorporation, and this
brought them up against some lawyers with no love for false pretences.
Instead of getting a charter as a branch of the real Order, or in some
way connected with it, they only got a charter (14 May 1888) as a
charitable society of fifty years’ standing.

Charity may cover a multitude of sins, but I doubt its covering lies as
well; and their lies were multitudinous. They had a statement
printed--“The English, or Sixth, Language of the Order of the Hospital
of Saint John of Jerusalem: a brief sketch of its history and present
position, compiled by a committee appointed for that purpose by the
Chapter of the Language.” It can hardly be surpassed in puerility. It
talks of proceedings at the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and at Paris in
1816, as if there were no such things as the _Acten des Wiener
Congresses_ and the _Archives Parlementaires_ to show that its
statements are untrue in all essential points. It cites the Letters
Patent of 2 May 1557 as saying one thing, when they say another, as
anyone can see by looking at Dugdale’s _Monasticon_, where the document
is printed. (I had Dugdale collated with the Patent Roll, and there is
no mistake.) It says Peat’s oath of office was sworn in the King’s
Bench, 24 February 1834, and is on the record. It would certainly be on
the record, if it was sworn in the King’s Bench, as 9 George IV, cap.
17, was then in force. I had the record searched: it was not there.

Not long after I was called to the Bar, an old Queen’s Counsel said to
me as we were coming out of court--“I can’t understand that fellow
telling those transparent lies. The whole object of telling a lie is to
deceive. If you don’t do that, you don’t attain your object, and you
have the bad taste in your mouth the same.”

When the Knights left Malta in 1798, they took their greatest relic with
them--the right hand of their patron saint, John Baptist. Having chosen
the Czar Paul as Grand Master, they delivered this relic to him at
Gatchina on 12 October 1799; and it has remained in Russia ever since.
The anniversary is kept, and there is a service for the Translation of
the Right Hand in imitation of the old service at Constantinople on the
anniversary of its translation there from Antioch. It goes from
Petersburg to Gatchina on 11 October and is carried to Saint Paul’s
church there on 12 October, returning to Petersburg on 22 October. I saw
it in the Winter Palace at Petersburg in 1889, and made some notes about
it then--“The Right Hand is sadly dilapidated. The fourth and fifth
fingers are gone, so that it can no longer gesticulate in response to
inquiries about the harvest. There is a very large hole in the thumb,
far too large for the little morsel of the thumb that choked the
man-eating dragon at Antioch. And it is all very black indeed. The
remaining fingers are long and slender, and the nails are delicately
formed. It is the hand of an Egyptian, and a mummy.” It was at
Constantinople when Sultan Mohammed took the city in 1453, and Sultan
Bajazet gave it to the Knights in 1484.

Rhodes was besieged by Sultan Solyman in 1522, and at the great assault
upon the city, 24 September, the garrison believed they saw John Baptist
himself standing on the roof of his own church, waving a banner and
encouraging them. It really was the prior’s French cook; and when they
found this out, they accused him of making signals to the enemy, and
nearly murdered him.

At the siege of Rhodes by Mithridates in 88 B.C. the garrison saw the
goddess Isis standing on her temple and hurling down a mass of flame on
the attacking force. And such apparitions have been common, from Castor
and Pollux at Lake Regillus down to Saint George at Mons. Saint George,
however, had no business there. He suffered martyrdom at Diospolis,
twelve miles from Jaffa, where Perseus delivered Andromeda; and the old
legend was transferred to him. It must have been a whale that Perseus
killed, according to Pliny’s description of the bones; and, if Saint
George had known his business, he would have abandoned Mons and gone out
spearing submarines.

There is a treatise by Artemidoros on the interpretation of dreams,
_Oneirocritica_, which (I believe) is not much read now, yet really is
worth reading, as it shows what people used to dream about in the second
century A.D. We do not dream now of being beheaded or crucified or
becoming gladiators or fighting with wild beasts or being sold as
slaves. But apparently these people dreamt oftener of such calamities
than of the minor ills of life. Judging by what they dreamt, I should
say their minds were not so complex as our own.

In interpreting their dreams Artemidoros tried induction, noting down
the things they dreamt and what happened to them afterwards. Thus (iv.
31) Stratonicos dreamt he kicked the Roman Emperor: on going out he trod
on something, and found it was a gold coin with the Emperor’s image on
it. There were two kinds of dreams. If people dreamt of doing anything
that they did habitually, it was nothing but a dream and needed no
interpreting; but it became a vision, if they dreamt of doing things
they seldom did, or could not do. Thus, it was only a dream, when they
dreamt of lighting a lamp from the fire on the hearth; but it was a
vision, when they dreamt they lit it from the Moon--after dreaming this
a man went blind, v. 11, 34. Most people would be content with saying
that the thing could not be done, because the Moon was too far off; but
Artemidoros goes on to explain that nothing can be lighted from the
Moon, as the Moon itself is not alight and shines only by reflexion.

They often dreamt odd things. Thus (i. 4) somebody dreamt he saw a man
playing draughts with Charon, and he helped him to win the game: Charon
did not like losing it, and went for him: he bolted off, with Charon
after him, and got as far as an inn called the Camel; and he slipped
into a shed there and closed the door, and thus dodged Charon, who ran
past.--It is an uncomfortable sort of dream that might occur to anybody
now, only the setting would not be the same. Instead of Charon, it would
be the Devil; and instead of draughts, it would very likely be King
Arthur and the Devil playing quoits. They played a game of quoits with
Haytor Rocks about three miles from here--the Devil missed King Arthur
with one rock, and then King Arthur got the Devil with the other, and
sent him down below.

In dreams I have imagined myself in Rhodes, walking up the hill at
Ialysos and finding Laon cathedral on the top. Laon stands on the same
sort of hill: so this came from mixed memories. I have also imagined
myself in Paris, driving to the Opéra and finding Milan cathedral there
instead. They are both great staring buildings of about three acres each
on similar sites: so this came from mixed memories also. But then I
found the Louvre and Tuileries turned right round, with the east front
of the Louvre looking westward down the Tuileries gardens; and I cannot
think what mental twist did that. When I dream of being in those
gardens, I usually see the west front of the Tuileries as it was before
the war of 1870, not the ruin afterwards nor the vacant space there now.

I dream almost every night that I am travelling, sometimes on a ship but
usually by train. In former years I travelled a good deal, and could
ascribe the dreams to that; but since 1914 I have not travelled at all,
and yet I dream of travelling just the same. As a rule, some little
thing goes wrong--a few mornings ago I woke up very cross at finding
that the Penzance dining-car did not go through to Brindisi, whereas the
time-bill said it did. And these things usually happen at a station that
could not possibly exist, being partly a big terminus and partly a
junction and partly a wayside station with one signal-post. I can see a
great deal of this station with my mind’s eye when I am awake, only
there are misty bits just where the wayside station merges in the
junction and where the junction merges in the terminus. But I do not see
these misty bits in dreams, as my mind is occupied with one thing at a
time and jumps from thing to thing like pictures on a film. This station
has remained unaltered in my mind for twenty years at least, as I
remember talking of it to a man who died in 1899.

As a rule, I see things with my mind’s eye almost as distinctly as if I
were looking at the things themselves; and I thought that everyone could
do the same till I read Galton’s _Inquiries into Human Faculty_ and
found how greatly people varied as to this. I also see some things with
my mind’s eye as symbols for other things that cannot be seen at all,
e.g. boot-trees for arguments. They are trees for shoes, without
handles, and made of polished wood; and they are on a grey felt floor
with an open doorway at the further end. When two arguments lead up to
a third, the corresponding boot-trees turn their toes in towards the
other’s heel; and I have seen as many as eight or ten boot-trees
pointing like this to half the number in a line beyond them, these also
pointing to others further on, and finally a boot-tree going through the
doorway. I find it very convenient--I see more at a single glance than I
could put into a page of print.

Galton speaks of numbers being personified, and gives several instances
of children doing this. The son of an old friend of mine--an
undergraduate now--tells me he did it when a child and sometimes does it
still. His views are--“1 and 0 do not count, being inactive. 2,
good-natured, always doing its best to please. 3, sometimes kind and
condescending, hated by 8 when added, but not when multiplied to make
24: great friend of 9. 4, not very noticeable, but means well: great
friend of 8 and 6. 5, much the same as 4, but no special friend except
2: rather meek. 6, inclined to be selfish: no great friend of 3, pals
with 4 and 8. 7, unlucky and despised, bad luck in making such numbers
as 49 and 63 when multiplied. 8, fat and good-natured, but inclined to
be selfish: likes being made up to good round numbers such as 12, 24,
48, &c. 9, friend of 3, disagreeable and a bully, despised for making
brutish numbers such as 27, 63, 81, &c.”

I now suspect Pythagoras of having done this as a child and then,
instead of putting away childish things, making it a basis for much of
his philosophy. Thus, amongst other things, he says that 8 is Justice
itself, being _isacis isos_ or _bis bina bis_--in other words, it is
composed of 4 and 4, and each 4 is composed of 2 and 2, so that there is
even balance throughout. This reasoning must surely be an afterthought
to justify some childish fancy.

Usually, when people think of numbers, they see the Arabic figures with
their mind’s eye; and some people can see these figures manœuvring at
each stage of a calculation. (I heard this from George Bidder, who was
famous as The Calculating Boy a hundred years ago.) Within narrow limits
I see this manœuvring myself; but, although they are mere figures, I
feel that they are moving like soldiers on parade. And that comes very
near personifying them.

I imagine that the people who see things very clearly with their mind’s
eye, are the most likely people to see visions when their intellect has
lost its balance through hunger or fatigue. In dreams the outward eye is
closed, and the mind’s eye must rely on memories that are often mixed.
But in visions both sights are at work, though the outward eye is
working listlessly for want of physical strength; and I suspect that
every vision is based on what the outward eye is seeing at the time.

There is a clump of trees upon the summit of a hill about three miles
from here, and it stands out against the sky-line, when one looks up
along the valley of the Wrey. It looked like any ordinary clump of trees
until the undergrowth was cut a little while ago; but now one sees the
sky between the tree-tops and the hill, and the line of tree-tops looks
just like a prehistoric monster of the lizard type. I notice that it
looks more life-like, when I am tired out; and with want of sleep and
food as well, I might have visions of a dragon there.

Some years ago a woman said that she had seen the Devil, when she had
only seen the Rural Dean. She lived in a lonely cottage; and, when the
Devil went to Widdicombe on 21 October 1638, he called there to inquire
the way, and he asked for water--which betrayed him by going off in
steam. Now the Rural Dean was dressed in black and mounted on a big
black horse; and it was a foggy day, so that he loomed up large. Not
knowing the story, he called there to inquire the way to Widdicombe, and
asked for water also, but did not get it, as the woman fled. I think she
had a vision, merely based on what she saw, and going far beyond that.
She said she saw his horns.

People who have seen the Devil, all say he is just like the pictures of
him: so I suppose they carry these pictures in their mind, and see them
with the mind’s eye, when they are in a fright. Pictures may also be the
basis of many of our outlandish dreams. After a long look at a picture
of some centaurs, a man here said to me--“Pity there bain’t such
critters now: they’d be proper vitty on a farm.” I quite agreed with
him, they would. A week afterwards he said to me--“I dreamed as I were
one o’ they, and, my word, I did slap in.”

I have not heard of the Devil being seen about here very lately, nor of
many witches. Seven or eight years ago two elderly people were
complaining that someone had ill-wished them; but their misfortunes
could be explained by their own want of foresight, without the
intervention of an evil eye. They came from Cornwall. An old friend of
mine tells me that his grandmother practised witch-craft there. She
could bring down rain or bring in shoals of fish, but would seldom
perform the rites until she had been asked repeatedly. In fact, she
waited till the weather showed her what was coming.

My grandfather was called an atheist by several people here, because he
scoffed at witch-craft, “a thing attested by the Word of God.” If you
denied the Witch of Endor, you might as well deny John Baptist or Saint
Paul. Witch-craft was as well attested as the miracles. But then they
said that miracles had ceased, yet said the Bible showed that there was
witch-craft still.

In very early life I felt certain that a woman here must be a witch,
because she looked it. She lived in a cottage that had a great big open
fireplace, and she sat there cowering over the fire on the hearth, with
her walking-stick leant up across her knees. I had no doubts about her
flying up the chimney on that stick, and always hoped she would while I
was there.

We have substitutes for most things now, even substitutes for witches.
My father noted in his diary on 7 April 1844, “Witch-craft a common
belief to this day in Lustleigh, and prevalent even among the
better-informed classes.” And now I note that alien-espionage has been
just as common a belief from 1914 onwards, and especially among those
classes. They scent spies and aliens as keenly as the old folk scented
witches; but the mania is more expensive now.--Two young men had bought
a lonely cottage in a wood, and were living their own life up there.
Until the War nobody ever suggested that they were anything but English.
Then people said that they were German, and would as readily have said
that they were Japanese or Russian, if we had been at war with Russia or
Japan. And then a more inventive person said they had a gun-platform of
concrete underneath their lawn. In a careless moment the editor of a
local paper put that in. It was a costly blunder, and the lawyers

There are people everywhere just now with such a comprehensive hate of
Germany that they tell us to abjure all German things for evermore; but
I notice that the men who talk like this, are almost always wearing
German hats. Instead of saying that the hat is Tyrolese or Homburg or
whatever German type it really is, they say it is of English make and
call it Trilby or some other name like that. Yet these same men are
always preaching that a German is a German always, although he has been
naturalized or born here and has assumed an English name.

In speaking of the politicians who governed France in 1871, Bismarck
said that some of them had Jewish names but several more had Jewish
noses. People here think only of the alien name, forgetting that the
alien blood is just as active in descendants in the female line, though
the name has lapsed on marriage. There is the progeny of a Dutchman who
settled at Exeter in the reign of William the Third. Nobody bothered
about the female line; but descendants in male line were hunted out as
Germans by a pack of people who knew too little of language or of
history to recognize the name as Dutch.

There is probably more alien blood in England than these people think.
They say that so-and-so is tainted by having an alien ancestor some
generations back. But in nine cases out of ten they cannot give a
complete list of their own great-great-grandparents, or even their
great-grandparents; and the completest lists may not be quite
conclusive. There was a wonderful old lady on a Dartmoor farm,
ostensibly of English ancestry, but born about the time when French
prisoners-of-war were out on parole there. I have seen her towering
form, with eagle eye and outstretched hand, directing geese into their
pond; and I have fancied that I saw a Marshal in Napoleon’s army
launching a charge of cuirassiers.

I have heard her say Bo to a goose. Few people say it now, and they
never say it properly. If it is said in the right way, the goose turns
round and waddles off at once, however much it may have hissed before.
It is like Ahi with a horse in Italy. When the driver has flogged and
progged in vain, as a last resort he says Ahi, and then the brute moves

In my early days my grandfather would often talk of the French
prisoners-of-war whom he remembered here a century ago; and I never
imagined then that I was going to have prisoners-of-war working for me
here, and that these prisoners would be German. They were quartered at
Newton Abbot in the workhouse, and came out each day to work, returning
for the night. I had nineteen here in the summer of 1918, though never
more than six at once. There were six from Bavaria, three from Baden,
two from Wurtemberg and one from Saxony; and seven were reckoned as
Prussians, but two of these were from the Rhineland, two from Hannover,
two from Hamburg and the other one from Silesia. They were the same kind
of people that I have always met in rural parts of
Germany--good-tempered and good-natured countryfolk, exceedingly unlike
the Huns depicted by our Propaganda.

However little we may like it, the Germans are our own kith and kin.
Sixteen of those nineteen prisoners would certainly have passed as
English, if they had been in English clothes and had not cut their hair
so short. A person here confounded Hannover with Andover, and thought
the Hannoverians were of English birth. Of course, language makes a
gulf; and here it was not merely a matter of English and German. The
prisoners spoke such different dialects that they could hardly
understand each other, and the Yorkshire of the corporal in charge of
them was not exactly like our Devonshire here.

Quite early in the War the people here discovered that all Belgians were
not angels, and I think they are discovering that all Germans are not
devils. But at first the prisoners were not welcome. Looking at them
from the road, a man declared he would not stand in the same field with
them. A girl who heard him, looked at him, and was unkind enough to say,
“No, not in the same battle-field.”

Standing in the wheat field, I was watching two good-looking cheery
youths at work there. They were the same sort and evidently liked each
other; but one belonged to Lustleigh and the other one to Dueren near
Cologne. I felt some doubts about the state of things that had put them
into hostile armies, to maim or kill each other if they could.

On an outlying farm the clock went wrong, and struck one at three and
two at four and so on. This was a nuisance, as people were unable to
remember which was wrong, the striking or the hands. But the farmer
settled it by keeping the clock an hour fast; and then, when it pointed
to one and struck eleven, everybody knew that it was twelve.

There is much the same confusion now on every farm that has adopted
Summer Time. Farm work must be regulated by the sun--some things cannot
be done until the dew is off the ground, others cannot be done until the
noon-tide heat has passed, and so on with other things all through the
day; and the times for doing them have been fixed accordingly. It would
be disastrous to do the things an hour earlier: so the times for doing
them are all moved on. The clock says five instead of four, but what was
timed for five is timed for six.

For many years past the Board of Agriculture has called for a return on
4 June in every year with the acreage of the crops and the quantity of
live-stock on each farm, including horses but not including asses. In
1920 the War Office called for a return of horses and asses on 4 June.
So (I suppose) asses must be useless in agriculture, but of some use in
war. Just at that time the War Office was suspected of planning an
expedition into southern Russia; and I wondered if a man of genius had
been reading in Herodotos how a Persian army made an expedition there,
and frightened the enemy clean away by the braying of the asses in its

Although the War Office and the Board of Agriculture were calling for
returns on the same day, 4 June, the War Office did not apply for them
direct, or through the Board of Agriculture, but through the Board of
Trade. And these authorities differed over mules. The War Office had
asked for a return of horses and asses, and said that ‘horse’ included
‘mule’; but the Board of Trade changed this into a return of horses,
mules and asses. Seeing that the Board of Trade was acting under an Army
Council Regulation made under section 114 of the Army Act, I doubted its
having any right whatever to distinguish horse and mule.

In this part of Devon we all received a notice in the autumn of 1917,
headed “Increased Food Production for 1918,” and informing us--“The area
of corn and potatoes allotted to the Southern Division of Devon for 1918
is 86,000 acres. In order to get this quantity it is necessary for all
farms to have 30 per cent. of their total acreage into corn and
potatoes. This percentage has been adopted by the Executive Committee
for the Division, who have power to enforce it. You are expected to have
[number inserted] acres into corn and potatoes in 1918.” I suppose the
fools imagined that an average of 30 per cent. on all the farms together
was the same thing as 30 per cent. on every single farm. But they had
the power, and they used it with disastrous results. They ploughed their
30 per cent. on dairy farms, destroying pasture that will not mature
again for years; and on other farms with 60 per cent. quite fit for
ploughing, they ploughed no more than 30. On some moorland farms they
only got their 30 by ploughing such sterile ground that the crop was of
less value than the seed that was put in.

There was a story of a successful advocate who was troubled on his
death-bed by the thought of having got innocent men convicted, but at
last found comfort in the thought of having also got guilty men
acquitted, so that, upon the whole, he had got justice done. And this
Committee will perhaps find comfort in the thought of having got the
specified amount of ploughing done.

In some flat parts of England people might believe that all land was
alike and one acre as good as another; but I cannot understand how
anyone could think so here, in a district that runs up from sea-level to
about 2000 feet above, with all sorts of soils and climates. The fools
may say they had no time to make a survey of each farm; but that is no
excuse. They had the figures at hand, and did not use them.

Under the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 a map was made of every parish
in England, and every field was numbered on the map; and the
corresponding number on the Tithe Apportionment gave the acreage of the
field and its state of cultivation. It is waste of seed and labour to
put corn or potatoes into fields that were not arable then, for they
were grown wherever it was possible to grow them, as they were paying
crops--Potato Disease did not appear till 1845, and the Corn Laws were
not repealed till 1846. The fools could easily have seen what fields
were arable then, and based their regulations upon that. They had the
figures in every parish, at Exeter for the whole of Devon, and in London
for the whole of England, for the apportionments and maps were made in
triplicate--one for the parson of the parish, one for the bishop of the
diocese, and one for the Tithe Commissioners themselves, which last is
at the office of the Board of Agriculture.

In the autumn of 1918 we had a notice that 35 per cent. of every holding
must be ploughed, and “substitution of quota (from one holding to
another) will not be allowed under any circumstances.” Suppose
arrangements had been made for ploughing an acre of productive land on
one holding instead of an acre of unproductive land upon another. It was
forbidden by these fools, in the name of Food Production.

Farmers often blundered, and have been ridiculed for that; but after all
they only blundered here and there and now and then. As things are, they
have to blunder on a bigger scale, and may be prosecuted if they fail to
blunder as prescribed.

As for the people who prescribe these blunders, it is charitable to
think that they are merely fools: they may be something worse. The law
assumes that everyone intends the natural consequences of his acts, and
might very well assume that they intended doing all they could to damage
agriculture, without increasing the supply of food. Such things have
been done before. Thus, the London County Council wanted an excuse for
running steamers on the Thames, and therefore made it impossible for the
steamboat companies to carry on. It then ran steamers at a loss, using
money from the rates, and finally came to grief with them.

These public bodies come to grief in the most foolish ways. I am one of
the trustees of a property in London, and the County Council scheduled
part of it for “betterment.” We could not comprehend how houses in one
street would be bettered by the Council’s widening another street that
ran parallel with it some hundred yards away. But the Council then
decided on making a new street at right angles to the street that it had
widened, and demolished these houses to make way for the new street. It
wanted now to buy them at their market value, but we made it buy them at
their “bettered” value--we could not, as trustees, sell property to the
Council for less than the Council’s own valuation of it. So the Council
paid us (with the ratepayers’ money) for a “betterment” that never
existed except in some cranks’ brains.

Lawyers abbreviate trustees into trēēs, and a careless copyist will
sometimes write trustees for trees, if the crossing of the _t_ is rather
long. On looking into a deed, I found a power to cut down and sell
trustees by public auction or by private treaty, etc., etc., and I was
one of the trustees there. In another trust there were two sums of
Consols in the joint names of myself and co-trustee. They were entered
in the usual way as A and B accounts, and it happened that our B account
went on long after our A account was closed. My co-trustee was a knight,
belonging to various orders, and ‘B act.’ came next the groups of
letters following his name. After a time this was altered into
‘Bart.’--an excusable mistake, as there was no ‘A act.’ and he was
‘Sir.’ Having thus become a baronet here, he was entered as ‘Bart.’ in
other stocks standing in his name.

A friend of mine was being shown into a stockbroker’s room just as a
shabby old man was coming out; and the old man turned back and said
something which showed that he was speculating heavily. My friend
remonstrated with the stockbroker for letting the man risk money that he
manifestly could not afford to lose. But the answer was--“Don’t make
yourself uneasy over him. He’s very fond of speculating, but he always
keeps a hundred thousand in Consols, so that he may never be reduced to
actual want.”

I doubt if many people understand the happiness of misers. It must be
like the happiness of feeling thoroughly fit. There is a joy in knowing
you can jump clean over any gate you see; and I think the miser has this
joy in knowing he can pay for anything he likes. But he does not go
buying things, any more than you go jumping over gates.

The air is often very buoyant here, especially upon the hill tops; and
one morning on the top of Easton Down a friend of mine turned round to
me and said--“Well, you know, I don’t think the Ascension was very much
of a miracle after all.” And certainly one felt there was no saying
where one wouldn’t go to, if one just gave a jump.

A man here said to me, “Her went up ’xactly like an angel,” as if he
often saw them go, and thought I must have seen them too. (He was
speaking of the finish of a play he saw in town.) Another person here
was very certain of what angels did or did not do. A stranger came to
the back-door one Sunday morning, and asked for a drink of cider to help
him on his way. He was denied it by the maid who was in charge there,
and thereupon he said to her--“You know not what you do. You might be
entertaining angels unawares.” To which she answered--“Get thee’ long.
Angels don’t go drinkin’ cider church-times.”

People sometimes ask me for advice on matters of which I am no judge,
and a girl once asked me this:--She had been engaged to a young man for
several years, but the engagement had just been broken off. She used to
suffer dreadfully from toothache; and in the early days of his affection
he sent her to the dentist, and paid for putting in a plate of teeth.
Was that plate of teeth a present that ought to be returned? Rightly or
wrongly, I said that it was not; and I see she has it still.

When teeth are drawn, young people here think nothing of the pain, but
often speak with pride of the resistance of their teeth--“he scarce
could stir’n,” or “he had a proper job to get’n.” In a letter to my
father, 20 January 1860, my grandfather says--“I saw a man spitting out
blood, and asked him the matter, when he said he had had a tooth drawn,
and the doctor had torn the jaw.... I gave him brandy on lint, which
soon stopped the flow of blood.... The old dentists or tooth-drawers
used to apply salt and water, which was not bad, though a little brandy
would have been better: but the fact is their charge was only sixpence,
so they could not afford the brandy. But now, I hear, those new
fashioned ones charge as much as five shillings: therefore there is no

A man here who was born in 1852, tells me that he had whooping-cough
when he was four years old, and that he was treated for it (if not cured
of it) by being laid on a sheep’s forme. A forme is the imprint that a
sheep makes on the grass by lying in one place all night; and when the
sheep gets up in the morning, a sort of vapour rises from the warm
ground underneath into the cold morning air. He was taken out into a
meadow in the early morning, and was told to lie face-downwards on a
forme and breathe this vapour in, not merely through the nostrils but
with open mouth. He breathed it in until the ground was cold and there
was no more vapour to be breathed (a matter of about five minutes) and
then he was taken home to bed.

People now-a-days laugh at cures like that, but they laughed at Jenner
when he first said that there was something about a cow that kept
small-pox away. There may be something about a sheep that cures the
whooping-cough; but there may be people who would rather have the
whooping-cough than cure it in this way. I remember about fifty years
ago a claret was being advertised as an antidote to gout; and the old
three-bottle men who tried it, all said that they would rather have the

I started drinking port when I was less than two years old. An
injudicious friend remonstrated with my mother--if I had port when I was
well, what could I take if I were ill and needed strengthening? She
answered that it would prevent my ever being ill. I never was ill enough
to spend a day in bed till I was fifty-five, and might never have been
ill at all, if I had gone on drinking port proportionately; but I
degenerated with the times and only drank two glasses, not two bottles,
as I should. There is an entry in Dyott’s Diary, 10 November
1787--“There were just twenty dined, and we drank sixty-three bottles of
wine.” I heard of a man going to a physician because he could not drink
three bottles, as his father did before him. The physician said,
“Perhaps it _was_ port that your father drank.” Even in my time it has
become a different wine. If I can trust my tongue, the vintages of 1900
and 1904 are quite unlike the vintages of 1847 and 1858 at similar ages.
Phylloxera attacked the Douro vineyards after 1878, and most of them
have been replanted with a stronger sort of vine.

My grandfather was a little disturbed about my starting port so early in
my life. He writes to my father on 22 November 1858, “My views are
different from yours respecting the treatment of young children:
however, I hope all will go right with him,” and again on 30 January
1859, “I hope he gets on well--but not too much port wine, mind.” All
went right with me, and I got on as he hoped; and he writes on 25
December 1859 that a neighbour said I had “limbs strong enough for a

Wrestling was formerly as great a sport in Devon as in Cornwall; but it
died out in this district about fifty years ago. My brother writes to my
father, 2 August 1866--“I went to see the wrestling, but it was a rough
and clumsy business.” This was at a festival at Lustleigh in honour of
the opening of the railway. My grandfather writes to my father, 28 May
1858--“There was a grand wrestling match at Moreton on Saturday, set on
foot by Mr *****, who said he would see one match more before he left
the world.” A few years earlier there was wrestling at Moreton every
summer. My grandfather notes, 22 June 1841, “Moreton Wrestling today,”
14 June 1842, “Wrestling at Moreton today and tomorrow,” and so on, and
usually with a further note that so-and-so or so-and-so had gone off
there instead of sticking to work.

Writing to my father on 10 November 1861, my grandfather says, “Football
was a game much played in my youth, but cricket was my favourite game.”
He was born in 1789; and the cricket and football of a century ago were
very different from cricket and football now.

The chimney-pot hat used to be worn in playing cricket; and I have seen
it worn in matches on village-greens and even at Lord’s. The distinction
between Gentlemen and Players was much sharper then than now; and the
Gentlemen wore chimney-pots, while the Players wore caps. Policemen also
wore chimney-pots, a London fashion adopted in Milan and retained by
policemen there. And the Channel Pilots wore chimney-pots. I remember
them on liners starting from the Thames. The pilots were dropped off
Dover or the Isle of Wight, and kept their hats on even when going down
the ship’s side to the pilot cutter, and came on board in the same style
on voyages home.

My father told me how he once got a lesson in the Continental way of
taking off your hat to anyone. He met Louis Philippe strolling in the
Tuileries gardens, and raised his hat to him as he would have raised it
to Prince Albert or anyone like that in England. And in reply the King
not merely raised his hat, but swung it right down to the level of his
knees and up again.

He notes in his diary on 17 September 1840 that he was at Versailles
that afternoon, and “there were no cheers or any sign of respect” when
Louis Philippe drove out from the Trianon. He also notes on 15 September
that “the Palais de Justice is strongly guarded, as young Bonaparte is
imprisoned there.” Some years afterwards he saw ‘young Bonaparte’ in the
Tuileries gardens and Louis Philippe at Kew.--Napoleon the Third had
landed in France on 6 August 1840, and was sentenced on 6 October to
imprisonment for life, not escaping until 1846.

After a visit to the Palais de Justice, 16 October 1839, he notes down
in his diary--“An advocate on the right bench was addressing the judges
as I entered. He used an immense deal of action and gesture, quite
unknown at the English bar. Then the advocate on the other side replied.
His action was much more violent, even when reading from documents.” He
liked things quietly done. In his diary, 24 March 1838, he speaks of
Lord Denman as “a judge more to my liking than any one I ever saw: quite
a contrast to some of them, especially in his exclusive attention to the
case in hand, instead of officiously meddling with every thing and body
in the court.”

Some twenty years ago a very astute old man in Paris got into litigation
in the English courts about a group of companies that he controlled; and
he asked me confidentially how much I thought he ought to give the judge
in order to secure the right decision. I felt it would be waste of time
to tell him that we did not do this here: so I told him what huge
salaries our judges got, and what big fortunes most of them had made
while they were at the Bar. He saw their price would be prohibitive, and
gave the notion up. He really had a very strong case that was bound to
win upon its merits; but from what he said, I gathered that merits were
not always the decisive point in France in litigation or in anything

I once saw a trial for brigandage in Sicily. (I think it must have been
at Girgenti in 1885, but am not quite sure.) This band of brigands never
made mistakes. They never tried to rob a man unless he happened to be
carrying a good amount of money: they never held a man to ransom unless
he was worth ransoming; and they never fixed his ransom at a higher sum
than his people could just manage to pay. They evidently had good
information; and there were comparatively few people from whom the
various bits of information could have come. And now the police had not
only got the band of brigands, but had got the members of the syndicate
that ran the band. I saw the prisoners in court--they were all inside a
great big iron cage like one of the aviaries at the Zoo--and I have
never seen more respectable and pious looking people than some of the
members of that syndicate.

There was a story going round Sicily then of some young scamp, who was
hard up, and arranged with brigands to capture him and share the ransom
that his parents were quite sure to pay. The parents paid up heavily,
and the brigands kept their word and gave him half.

I was at Taormina in 1883--it was a quiet place then with only two small
inns, not a suburb of hotels, as now--and I was reading in Goethe’s
diary of his travels, 7 May 1787, how he sat there in a garden by the
sea and planned _Nausikaa_, a five-act tragedy of which he wrote no more
than sixty lines. I am only a _Wahrheit_ man myself, and have no
_Dichtung_ in me: yet I have imagined Nausicaa in Corfu, when looking at
the stone Phæacian ship there; and I have also imagined Ulysses in
Sicily, when looking at the seven great rocks the Cyclops hurled at him
at Aci; but Taormina brought me down to 735 B.C., with the first Greek
colony in Sicily on the little headland there, and all that this
portended for Carthage and for Rome. Being a real poet, Goethe only
talks geology about the rocks at Aci, and rather regrets he did not
picnic there and hammer off some specimens of zeolite. He says the
Taormina scenery will provide him with a setting for his play: he will
model Ulysses on himself, his own conversation being quite as
entertaining and instructive as anything Ulysses can have said to the
Phæacians; and he will model Nausicaa on the ladies he left
broken-hearted at each place where he stayed.

A poet ought not to disclose the sources of his inspiration. One day
Petrarch was thinking of Laura till his eyes were filled with tears, and
he walked into a brook he did not see: hence _Del mar Tirreno_. And one
day Toplady got underneath a rock and kept dry in a storm: hence _Rock
of Ages_. Toplady was here the wiser man, and the better poet too, for
he says nothing of the rain, whereas Petrarch talks of his wet feet.

Goethe has disclosed his sources here; and his setting for the play
seems just as inappropriate as his heroine and hero. The ancients were
convinced that Corfu was Phæacia, and there is a certain austerity about
Corfu that exactly suits the theme; whereas Taormina is all riotous
luxuriance, befitting a Cyclops or a Satyr, but not Nausicaa. And surely
Ulysses and Nausicaa are worlds away from Goethe and the ladies who
adored him. Croce has called him ‘gran poeta’ and ‘borghese’ also, that
is, ‘bourgeois’ or ‘middle-class’; and I think it hits him off.

Tradition has made Homer old and blind, and knows nothing of his
maturity or youth. And from this I gather that he made his reputation
late in life; and I suspect he made it with his later work, the
_Odyssey_, or rather with the striking part of it, the travels of
Ulysses, v. 1-xiii. 184. I fancy that Ulysses was to Homer what Hajji
Baba was to Morier--a character of whom he could narrate all manner of
tales collected from all sources; and his tales of Southern Italy and
Sicily were just the tales to take the fancy of the Greeks, when they
first thought of planting colonies there.

For my own part I believe that he lived on until about 800 B.C.--as
Herodotos avers, ii. 53--and that he heard the first explorers’ tales of
all the places that Ulysses visits. I do not underrate the difficulties
of this, and have read some cubic feet of books about them; but, where
the critics trace the handiwork of different poets, I cannot see
anything but Homer at different stages of his life. He must have reached
a good old age; and an author’s point of view may shift a long way with
advancing years. In the Vatican Library they show you Henry the Eighth’s
treatise against Martin Luther with the author’s dedication to the

There is an amusing little volcano near Girgenti, and I once spent the
best part of a day there playing with it, 26 March 1885. It is called
the Maccaluba, which clearly is the Arabic _maklûbah_, ‘topsy-turvy,’ so
that the name goes back to the days of Arab rule in Sicily. The mound is
about 150 feet high, and on it there are little cones that shoot out gas
and mud. You throw turf and stones into the mouth of a cone until you
stop it up: then it wheezes and gurgles for a while, and finally shoots
out the things you have put in; and you retire briskly, as the mud is
scorching if it catches you. But the whole volcano was very quiet then,
and seemed more bored than angry in the way it shot things out.

Apart from its great cone, Etna has always given me the notion of a big
Bath Bun, the little cones being the lollipops. It covers more than four
hundred square miles--twice the whole extent of Dartmoor--and it is only
two miles high. It looks best at long distances, where the lower part is
hidden and the cone stands out: the best view I ever had of it, was from
a steamer going from Brindisi to Malta. With little more than a third of
the height, Vesuvius made more show. But it is sad to see Vesuvius now,
after the eruption of 1906: the cone fell in, and that has deprived the
mountain of its former grace. Volcanoes have these ups and downs. I
always wish I could have seen the rise of Monte Nuovo on the other side
of the bay. It is 450 feet in height, and rose up from level ground in
the course of a few hours.

We have an extinct volcano here, only half a mile from this house. One
sees geologists going round there now and then with their little bags
and hammers and going off with specimens. An eminent geologist came
lecturing here in 1906, and he spoke of volcanoes breaking out again
after long periods of calm, such outbreaks being usually most violent.
One of the listeners was much disturbed at hearing this, and thought it
hardly worth his while to go on putting in potatoes near such a
dangerous place. So he inquired when that hillock were a-likely to be
bustin’ forth. With the spaciousness of a true geologist, the lecturer
replied, “In the science of geology a period of thirty thousand years is
relatively....” The man went on with his potatoes.

Though living on the edge of a volcano, I do not worry about eruptions,
but only about earthquakes. I can remember two earthquakes in England--I
felt the shock in 1884 but slept through it in 1868--and I have seen
what earthquakes do abroad (especially at Chios in 1881) and I do not
want a heavy earthquake here. In these valleys it would be overwhelming.
The hillsides are strewn with granite rocks that have weathered away
till they have nearly lost their hold upon the ground--some actually are
Logans and go seesaw--and a smart shock would send them racing down into
the valleys below. Sometimes I see a rabbit start a stone off down a
hill; and, when the stone comes bouncing by, I picture what would happen
if the stone weighed ten or fifteen tons, and hundreds of such stones
were coming like an avalanche.

A year or two ago the End of the World became a common topic of
conversation, as a newspaper was exploiting some prediction of it. And a
man here cleared the matter up with the remark--“In church it be World
With_out_ End.” About fifty years ago my brother and I used to go to the
Scotch Church in Crown Court towards the end of December, to hear Dr
Cumming announce the End of the World for the ensuing year. But after a
few years he grew more wary, and he hedged--“And if the World does not
indeed come to an End, something else very remarkable will certainly
occur.” (I quote from memory, and may have got the words wrong, but they
were to that effect.) About the same date I heard a preacher in a
country church declaring that the World, “having now lasted for close
upon six thousand years, cannot reasonably be expected to last much

Coming into Jerusalem by the Damascus gate, 14 March 1882, I noticed two
unfamiliar objects standing out above the city walls against the evening
sky. Upon inquiry I found that they were ventilating pipes. A family
(American, I think) had taken a house there, as they thought the Day of
Judgement was at hand, yet wished to have a sanitated home meanwhile.
And other families had likewise taken houses at Jerusalem, the notion
being that the Last Judgement was going to be held there and residents
would get priority.

On a Good Friday morning I found a small girl standing on my door-step
here, eating a hot-cross-bun. I asked what she was doing there, and she
curtsied and said, “Please, zir, I be fasting.” And generally the
seasons of the Christian year were marked by buns, lamb, goose,
plum-pudding, pancakes and salt-fish far more than by observances at
church. There were no week-day services at Lustleigh except on Christmas
Day, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; and the only recognition of a
saint’s-day was the transfer of its collect to the following Sunday.
There was Communion four times in the year, each time with a fresh
bottle of wine at ten shillings per bottle. It was heralded by the
reading of the exhortation on the previous Sunday, and perhaps was held
in more esteem for being so uncommon.

A new Rector came to Lustleigh at the end of 1844, and remained there
till his death at the end of 1887; and at first the parish did not like
his innovations. My grandfather writes to my father on 15 December
1844--“I am informed that the parishioners will not submit to any
alteration in the service, and that the churchwardens have gone over the
parish to ascertain their opinions, and it is supposed the parson will
not attempt anything further to annoy them,” and again on 29 December
1844--“I saw Mr ***** on Thursday: he told me he had left the church for
seven weeks until last Sunday, when he determined to go and shew his
resentment by leaving the church on the parson going to the communion.
He did so, and again on Christmas day, but no one followed him. They are
opposed to the surplice and offertory, but have not spirit to resent it.
His brother (who is churchwarden) says unless the parson goes back to
the accustomed duties of the church, he will leave altogether. His
father talks more than he does, but it appears he has stood the whole,
offertory and all.”

He writes again, 20 January 1845, about people leaving the church--“What
will they do then? I suppose they will dissent and erect more chapels,
so we shall by and by have a plenty of ’Isms. I fancy we have quite
enough already.” People left the church and went to chapel for very
varied reasons. I remember an excellent old lady doing this because a
child of hers had caught its death of cold by the parson a-baptizin’ of
it without a-puttin’ of a kettleful o’ bilin’ water into that stoney

The new Rector was merely following the directions in the Book of Common
Prayer. After the Sermon he is to “return to the Lord’s Table and begin
the Offertory,” and then, “if there be no Communion,” he is to say a
Prayer and Collect, concluding with the Blessing. And he kept his
surplice on for finishing the service, instead of putting on a black
gown to preach in, as was the custom when the Offertory and Prayer and
Collect were omitted and the Blessing was given from the pulpit. He was
right enough in what he did; but it was hardly worth doing, if it scared
parishioners away.

The bishop was trying to stop all innovations. My grandfather writes to
my father, 20 January 1845--“What do you think of the old bishop’s
letter? I fancy it is very evasive: he gives them no direct
instructions. They are to do as they are now doing: he does not tell
them to withdraw any innovations.” It was only in more important matters
that the bishop gave direct instructions to his clergy. My grandfather
writes to my father, 27 October 1856--“The bishop has caused ***** to
shave off his beard: he was like a Crimean soldier.”

Innovations might have been accepted here at any other time; but this
was the period of Puseyism, and every innovation was supposed to be the
outcome of a plot to Romanize the church. People generally knew nothing
of ritual or doctrine, and would not have been so vehement about such
things, had there not been another cause behind--they thought the clergy
were not altogether honest over this. A few had gone over to Rome, and
there was a notion that many others would have done the same, if they
could have done it without giving up their livings. And from this point
of view Anglicanism was merely a fraudulent device for holding on to
livings, while assenting to the doctrines and ritual of Rome; or, as my
grandfather puts it, 10 November 1850, “to remain in receipt of the
Protestant pay while practising all the eccentricities of Romanism.”

However, there was not much sign of Romanism here, or of its
eccentricities. Once a stranger came to church and crossed herself, and
no one knew what she was at. It was described to me--“Her were
a-spot-in’ and a-stripe-in’ of herself”--as if it were telegraphy by dot
and dash.

There was a policeman who used to work here in the garden before he
joined the force; and, when he was home on leave, he came round to see
the gardener. I found them in the cider-cellar, looking at a dozen empty
casks that I had lately bought. These were port-pipes of over a hundred
gallons each; and, on seeing them ranged round the cellar, I began to
think of Ali Baba and the oil-jars for the Forty Thieves. The policeman
did not know the story, and listened very attentively and thoughtfully
while I recounted it to him; and then he said in a regretful way, “We
ain’t allowed to do that now.” Some years afterwards he had a murderer
in his hands, and the murderer died. It was really a very satisfactory
ending to the case, as it saved all the time and trouble that is wasted
on the trial and execution of a murderer caught red-handed in the act. I
presume the murderer died legitimately, but I thought about the Forty

I have a planisphere, and a young carpenter noticed it when he was
working in the house; and he showed an interest in it that astonished me
until I saw what he was at. He learnt the names of the constellations
and their places in the sky; and then, when he took damsels for romantic
walks, he had a topic of conversation that his rivals could not
touch.--An astronomer tells me that he has sometimes given a popular
lecture and invited questions at the end, and more than once he has been
asked--“You say the spectres [spectra] showed you what the stars be made
of, but how did you get at their names?”

Some years ago I transferred a youthful maidservant from my house here
to my house in town, and for several evenings after her arrival I heard
thunderous noises overhead. At last I made inquiry, and was informed
that she took exercise last thing at night by turning somersaults in her
room. Another time two youths from here were staying at my house in
town, while they were up for an examination; and the ample staircase
tempted them to descend it on their heads. Coming downstairs in the
twilight, I just saw the soles of their shoes, and could not imagine
what those four objects were, hovering in mid-air far down below me.
This method of progression is much in vogue at Lustleigh. On a hot day I
have seen a dozen boys going along the mill-leet upside down. With
sleeves tucked up, the water only wets the arms and scalp; but there is
always a chance of overbalancing and going in full-length. That sends
the water flying over anyone upon the path alongside; and sometimes, I
think, they do it purposely for that. As an exasperated man once said,
“they Lustleigh boys be hardly human.” Yet they might learn a little
from the boys in Italy. When those boys go stealing fruit, they leave
their clothes at home, as they run less risk of recognition, being
naked. But the boys here keep their clothes on, and so are recognized at

On a Sunday morning I met a Lustleigh damsel on her way to church,
wearing a new dress and evidently wishing it to be observed. For want of
anything better to say, I said, “You don’t go in for hobble skirts, I
see.” She answered, “No, not I: a proper fright I’d look in they.” And I
inquired Why. The answer was, “Why, mother says my thighs be like prize
marrows at a show.” Three old ladies, on their way to church, just
caught the last remark, and passed on with averted eyes in consternation
at our talk.

Some summers ago a young lady of about nineteen was lodging at a house
near here; and, like many other townsfolk, she found the country more
entrancing than the countryfolk find it themselves, “And her were proper
mazed a-gettin’ up all hours of the mornin’ and goin’ out for walks. And
her waked up everybody in the house a-bath-in’ of herself afore her
went. And one of they mornin’s after her’d a-bath’d herself, her went
off right across the valley without ever thinkin’ to put any of her
clothes on. And Jim *****, he were a-goin’ early to his work, as he had
a bit of thatchin’ to do four mile away, and he come sudden on her in
that copse. And he saith, ‘Bide thee there ahind that rock, and I’ll
tell my missis to bring’e a garment’.”

As a mid-Victorian bachelor, I was perturbed at post-Victorian spinsters
coming down to stay with me unchaperoned. The custom is established now;
but when it was an innovation, I wrote to one inquiring if she really
meant to come alone. And she answered--“Yes, of course. Sans chaperon,
sans culottes, sans everything.” Another one assured me that she could
not possibly need a chaperon, as she was thirty and had three false

A man who often came to Lustleigh, was careless of the clothes he wore;
and one of the Lustleigh people told him that he was lowering himself in
everybody’s estimation by dressing in that untidy way. He was looking
down the valley towards a house a long way off, as if he did not hear
the other man’s remarks: then, nodding towards the house, he said--“Did
you ever hear how old *****’s grandfather made all that money of his?”
The other man pricked up his ears, and said he had not heard. The answer
was--“Well, I can tell you, then. He always gave his whole attention to
his own affairs.”

That was about sixty years ago, before the railway came here bringing
fresh interests in. There were a good many people then who might have
done much better in the world by giving as much attention to their own
affairs as they were giving to other people’s. And in spite of all their
curiosity they very often got things wrong. It was all ‘putting two and
two together,’ drawing inferences and passing inferences on as facts. I
hear echoes of it still. People tell me positively of things that
happened in this neighbourhood at such or such a date, and I find
diaries and letters and other papers contradicting them. Sometimes they
tell me very unexpected things about myself, although they could have
ascertained the facts at any time by merely asking me. I used often to
go for a long Sunday walk, starting off along the Bovey road; and I was
told I went to church at Bovey most Sunday afternoons.

This ‘putting two and two together’ is a ticklish process even for a
careful man. I remember my father saying that he saw the Alabama at
Calais and the Kearsarge waiting for her outside. Now, the Alabama never
was at Calais: she went into Cherbourg, and the Kearsarge caught her
coming out from there, 19 June 1864. I thought it was merely a slip of
the tongue, Calais for Cherbourg; but his diary shows that he was not at
Cherbourg at the time. There is an entry on 23 April 1864, “saw a
Federal war-steamer lying off Calais, watching a Confederate vessel
within the harbour,” and at that date the Alabama was about latitude 17°
S. and longitude 32° W. I think he would have noted the ships’ names, if
he had ascertained them at the time; and I suppose that some years
afterwards he fancied that they must have been the Alabama and the

My father was puzzled about a lady who lived at Moreton, where she could
not possibly have many interests in life, yet seemed as active-minded
and alert as if she mixed in the great world. He spent some time one
afternoon in conversation with her, trying to discover where her
interests lay; but the only thing that was elicited was this--she always
made a point of knowing what everyone in Moreton had for dinner on a

Very small things made a great commotion in a little town like that.
There is a letter to my father from a friend there, 30 June 1843--“We
had Sand’s Horsemen here on Friday last, who managed to take about
100_l_, which is a larger sum than they took in Exeter in one day or
almost any other place. All the Beauty, Rank and Wealth of the
neighbourhood for some miles were present--quite grand for
Moreton--indeed I never saw so many persons in Moreton before. ***** and
his wife came to my house and brought two Miss *****s, and I escorted
one of them to the Horsemanship. Next day I was told that people said I
was after Miss ***** and the cash--she has about 7000_l._ I am
thoroughly sick of these reports.”

Not many years ago a man at Moreton said something slanderous about
another man there. He was threatened with an action, and compromised it
by agreeing to publish an apology and devote a sum of money to any
public purpose that the injured party chose to name. The public purpose
was chosen very astutely--taking the whitewash off the almshouses, a
fine old granite building dated 1637. The building is mentioned in the
guide-books, and many people go to see it. Finding it improved, they ask
about it; and then (as the astute man had foreseen) they hear the story
of the other man’s discomfiture.

In another country town a man did something that really was
discreditable; but people went on exaggerating it until at last they
dropped the real facts out, as these were much too trivial to be worth
mentioning in such a lurid tale. And thus he found himself in a position
to deny it all on oath. So he denied it, threatening prosecutions, and
received a whitewashing that he did not at all deserve, the local papers
denouncing “these unjustifiable aspersions on a man of blameless life.”

When people had to see a lawyer, they seldom told him the whole tale,
and thus got bad advice, unless he knew enough of their affairs
beforehand to enable him to get at all the facts. They would never trust
a lawyer if he kept a clerk, and hesitated if he were in partnership,
feeling that a clerk was sure to gossip and a partner might. And thus
the little country towns were full of lawyers with small practices, each
doing his own office work. There is a letter to my father, 12 September
1852, from a lawyer at Moreton, a very able man, who died in early life
from no complaint but being bored to death. He says--“I copied 29 sheets
draft and engrossed a deed and settled two mortgages and a lease
yesterday: hard work that.”

There came a time when lawyers (and others) did not work so hard at
Moreton. In his diary on 20 January 1870, two months before his death,
my grandfather notes that he had been to Moreton in the morning to see
the lawyer and the doctor--“neither at home, one hunting, the other
shooting: so lost my labour.”

That lawyer who went hunting, used to tell his clients, when they had a
good possessory title, they had much better burn their title-deeds, as
these were certain to have some blunder in them that would cause trouble
some day. He had drawn a good many of these deeds himself, so I suppose
he knew what they were likely to contain.

Writing to my father on 3 December 1844, my grandfather says--“There is
a literary society formed in Moreton. I suppose it must be a sort of
mechanics’ institute. I fear the intellect of Moreton is too shallow to
make much progress for some time. However, that is the way to make it

A friend of my father’s writes to him from Moreton on 23 November 1844,
“We have a meeting tomorrow for the purpose of establishing a Reading
Room and Library for all classes,” and then on 13 December, “I enclose a
copy of the rules of our Society for the promotion of knowledge.... We
have £11 to lay out in books at once. We have expended a portion of that
sum already in the purchase of selections from the ‘Family Library’ 2/6
per vol, Cabinet and Lardner’s Cyclopedia 3/-, and Chambers very useful
elementary books on the sciences etc., all the nos (27) of Knights
weekly volume 1/-each (the cheapest and best almost now publishing) and
two or three of Murrays cheap edition etc. etc., in all nearly 90
volumes: cost about £7. We are going to take in weekly the ‘Athenæum’,
Chambers Journal and Chambers Miscellany, some mechanics magazine and
one or two other monthlys. Lectures once a week till April. The object
of the Society is to benefit all classes and particularly tradesmen and
their apprentices and mechanics etc. who will be much better in the
reading room for a couple of hours than in a public house.” The reading
room was to be open three times a week, and the librarian was to have £8
a year for the use of the room (it being in his house) including coals
and candles and his own services.

There is now a Public Library at Moreton, an ostentatious building which
must have cost at least a hundred times as much as the books that it
contains. People can read newspapers there and bring away light
literature to read at home. But such libraries are seldom of real use.
There is not a library in Devon where real work can be done on very many
subjects; and the buildings of these libraries might be turned to some
account, if each one took a subject and acquired the proper books.

Being a Cambridge man, I can get books from the University
Library--Oxford men cannot get books from theirs--and by going to the
Reading Room at the British Museum, I can use the books in the immense
collection there. That was all I needed when I had a house in town: if I
wanted a book down here, I had only to wait till I went up. Now that I
am always here, I feel the loss of it, and have to buy extensively. I
have about four thousand books, and find I want quite eight or ten. If
you have only a single subject, you may perhaps get the necessary books;
but you can hardly manage that, if you have several subjects, and do not
want mere books-of-reference or text-books, but the books containing the
material on which such works are based. These books cannot always be
obtained without delay, and therefore must be ordered in advance, as
soon as you foresee that you will need them. And then, before a book
arrives, you may perceive another way of dealing with the subject, and
find you do not need the book at all.

I have tried to arrange my books by subjects, or alphabetically by
author’s names--with Roger Ascham next to Daisy Ashcroft--but it always
ends in my arranging them by sizes. If a book is higher or wider than
the book alongside, it bulges at the edges where the other does not hold
it in; and the slightest bulging lets the dust creep in between the
leaves. Books are classed as 4to, 8vo, 16mo, &c., according to the
folding of the sheets; but the sheets themselves are of all shapes and
sizes, crown, royal, demy, and so on. And books come out in dozens of
different heights and widths, as if they never were intended to stand in
rows on shelves.

In the Pepysian Library at Cambridge the books are all arranged by
sizes; and the arrangement is so rigid that the volumes of a work are
separated if there is the slightest difference in their size. But then
Mr Pepys had a catalogue of them that was “perfectly alphabeticall.”
They are in the bookcases that Sympson made for him in 1666, and they
number just three thousand. There is a story that he always kept that
number, neither more nor less, turning one book out if he brought
another in. But his catalogue has only 2474, and the other 526 were
added by his nephew: so it must really be a story of his nephew, not of

There was a saying of Mark Pattison’s that no man can respect himself
unless he has at least a thousand books, and I have heard it argued that
no man need have more. But really it must all depend on what editions
they are. There are ninety-four volumes in one edition of Voltaire’s
works, and another edition is contained in three. I have these three
volumes on my shelves: 6,250 pages with two columns to the page and 78
lines to the column, making about ten million words in all. Goethe’s
works are only half that length, but they spread out into five-and-fifty
volumes on my shelves: 18,000 pages of 29 lines each.

I have two dictionaries here, written by two old friends of mine--I have
known one of them for nearly forty years and the other one for some
years more. They both come down to stay with me, but I keep their works
apart. Side by side upon a shelf, the dictionaries look like Dignity and
Impudence in Landseer’s picture of the dogs. The dictionary of Egyptian
Hieroglyphics is the mastiff, and the terrier is the dictionary of
Colloquial Chinese. The mastiff is seven times the terrier’s weight and
size. But the little one has 1038 pages, of which 1030 are vocabulary,
with 45 lines of Chinese type per page. The big one has 1510 pages, of
which 1065 are vocabulary, with 60 lines of Hieroglyphic type per page
in double column of 30 lines apiece. So the little one is nearly
three-quarters the length of the big one, measured in vocabularies, only
the paper is much thinner and the type is small--in my eyes, much too
small, the Chinese being only a third of the height of the Hieroglyphic,
though the characters are more complex.

The author of the Chinese dictionary is also the inventor of a Chinese
typewriter. The machine was built by Remingtons; but commercially it has
not hitherto been much of a success, as there are no effective laws in
China for securing an inventor’s rights. As a rule, it takes two taps to
make a character complete, the left half coming with the first tap and
the right half with the second. By combining each of the left halves
with all the right halves in succession, it can produce a great variety
of characters. These, however, are not the characters employed in
classic Chinese writing, but more like modern characters evolved from
them for ordinary use. Chinese is written in upright lines that are read
from top to bottom and follow one another from right to left. Thus,
instead of having the characters upright, the typewriter has them lying
down. When the paper is taken out, the left edge is treated as the top,
and the lines and characters then come in proper order, only the right
halves are underneath the left halves instead of being beside them. And
this defect could not be cured without making the machine much larger
and more difficult to work.

The meaning of the characters varies with the tone in which they are
pronounced; and there are similar tones in English. At the tea-party the
little girl drawls out, “No, thanks”--tone 1: the hostess thereupon
exclaims, “What, none”--tone 2: a friend remonstrates, “Oh, really,
now”--tone 3; and the little girl then says what she has heard her
father say, “Take the damned thing away”--tone 4. The typewriter puts
down the number of the tone, and thus requires three taps in all, two
for the character itself and one for this.

This led me into planning a Cuneiform typewriter. I did not have one
built, but my plan was briefly this: I divided the wedges that are
upright or slope down from the wedges that are level or slope up, and
then picked out the commonest groups of each; and, instead of always
moving on from left to right, I had a catch to check the automatic
movement of the paper, so that one group could be printed on another
with the level wedges running across the uprights. The compound groups
are not exactly like the groups in printed books; but very often there
is just as great a difference between these printed groups and their
originals on the clay or stone. After studying Cuneiform in printed
books, people are annoyed at finding that they cannot read a word of the
real thing; and there are other kinds of print with that same fault.

Hebrew was written in letters that were practically the same as the
Phœnician letters from which our English capitals have come: yet it is
printed in letters that are not like ours nor like its own. In my
Cambridge days the Regius Professor of Hebrew (the late Dr Jarrett) was
trying hard to get this changed, and he brought out a Hebrew book in
what he called a modified Roman alphabet. I think he might have gone a
good deal further, and I do not know that anybody else has gone as far;
but, really, something should be done. Hebrew type is just about as bad
as any type can be, with half the letters so like others that they may
be confused. Greek type is not so bad; but it is quite unlike the Greek
of the inscriptions or the older manuscripts. And it expresses nothing
that Roman or Italic type would not express as well. If anybody says
Iota Subscript, I say iota was not subscript in good Greek, but kept its
dressing in the line.

We write English in the same style as Italic type, yet print it with the
Roman type that represents handwriting of four hundred years ago. If we
are going to copy other writing than our own, we might as well adopt the
Gothic type that still survives in Germany. Gothic and Italic both look
well, but nothing can be uglier than Roman. I consider it clear proof of
mania in a bibliomaniac, if he buys books in Roman type for anything but
common use. We ought to scrap the ugly thing, and print English (as we
write it) in Italic.

We should be merciful to children. There is quite enough for them to
learn, without their learning to read English in one lettering and write
it in another. And they might be spared some spelling. Why should they
have to ‘proceed’ with _e_ and _e_ together, and ‘recede’ with _e_ and
_e_ apart? Both words are based upon the Latin ‘cedere.’ Its participle
‘cessus’ is the base of ‘process’ and of ‘recess’ and also of ‘decease’:
yet they may not write ‘decess’ to match, though French has ‘décès’
matching ‘procès.’ Italian always treats the Greek _ph_ as _f_, and they
may do the same in ‘fancy’ and in ‘frenzy,’ but may not do it in
‘philosophy.’ We might at least abolish all anomalies, and also
downright blunders like the _h_ in anchor. There are difficulties enough
about our spelling without increasing them capriciously.

In early life the mind takes facts in and remembers them, but does not
judge them critically, whereas it afterwards becomes more critical and
less receptive. It would surely be good policy to feed the mind with
facts in the years when it retains them, and leave the reasoning for the
years when it can reason. But the policy has been to “make boys
think”--at least, that was my experience at Harrow--and that policy
defeats itself, as one cannot think effectively without a stock of facts
to think about.

Looking back on my eight years of Harrow and Cambridge and judging them
by results, I find that Classics have supplied me with a mass of
interesting and amusing facts to think about, whereas Mathematics only
taught me how to think on abstract things. Hardly any Mathematics linger
in my mind. Sometimes, when I am going to sleep, I think of Space and
wonder whether it is circumnavigated by the curves that go away to
Negative Infinity and come back again from Positive Infinity, as if the
two Infinities met. Sometimes I snap at people for saying Two and Two
make Four as if it were an axiom, instead of being a result attained by
rigid proof. And I sometimes lose my temper when they talk of what would
happen if there were a Fourth Dimension. I tell them they can get a
Fourth Dimension by putting Tetrahedrals for Cartesians, and it makes no
more difference than putting Centigrade for Fahrenheit and thereby
getting 15° of cold instead of 5° of heat.

Until I went to Harrow, I had a tutor at home, and he taught me to read
Virgil as anyone reads Dante, not stopping over every word to consider
it as grammar. But this did not assist me there. “Optative Future used
where Indicative Future would be required in Direct Oration.” That is my
note on Æschylos, _Persæ_, 360. I remember that my mind was far away at
Athens, watching the gusts of passion sweep across the audience when the
play recalled the battle they had fought at Salamis seven years before.
And my mind came back to Harrow with a jerk at hearing the suave voice
of Dr Butler addressing me by name, repeating this, and recommending me
to note it down.

In my Cambridge days the Mathematical Tripos and the Classical Tripos
were still in their primæval shape. It had gone on for half a century
with little change, and lasted until 1882. If you were going in for
either of these, you had no examinations (except Little Go) until the
middle of your fourth year there, and then came these two Triposes with
only four weeks interval between them. The system had worked well, but
subjects were enlarged till it became unworkable--Electricity and
Magnetism were reckoned as Mathematics, and so on with many other
things. Down to 1850 nobody could go into the Classical Tripos unless he
had already got honours in the Mathematical: in the next four years,
1851 to 1854, there were about thirty men each year who got honours in
both; but in the four years I was there, 1877 to 1880, this average of
thirty had fallen to an average of two, and in 1880 I was one of the
two. I was a Senior Optime in the Mathematical Tripos and got a bad
Third in the Classical--a result that always puzzles me, as I had a
considerable knowledge of the Classics even then.

I knew Greek enough at Harrow to get the prize there for Greek epigram,
but I did not go seriously into Greek until after I came down from
Cambridge. A few years later on, German reviewers were remarking that I
knew Greek inscriptions and Greek literature from Homer onwards to the
Fathers of the Church and the Byzantine authors, and that nothing
escaped me even in neglected writings like the Almagest. I was doing
other things as well, and cannot imagine now how I found time for all.

But my interest in the Byzantines was not quite keen enough to satisfy
Krumbacher. One day at Munich in 1896 he was advising me to read a book
in Russian instead of its translation into French, and I said I knew too
little of the language. He fired out--“You cannot read the Russian book?
You go to Patmos. Go to Patmos.” I told him I had been to Jericho--or
rather to its site--and had not found it very attractive; and Patmos had
looked just as unattractive when I had seen it from a ship. But he meant
it literally. I should learn good Russian from the monks, and could
collate Byzantine manuscripts as well. It really was a first-rate plan,
but somehow I did not go to Patmos.

He was remarkable to look at--his hair had turned snow-white when he was
only twenty, and he had eyes like coals of fire. In his own line he was
unquestionably the greatest man since Ducange; and there at Munich he
was a colleague of Furtwaengler, the greatest since Winckelmann in one
aspect of archæology. I knew Furtwaengler from 1885, when he was still
at Berlin, and Krumbacher from 1891. They both died far too young, at 53
or 54. With a further twenty years of life, they might have achieved far
greater things than they had yet attempted. They were unaffected men and
never posed, as Mommsen sometimes did when he thought of his resemblance
to Voltaire.

Once in Berlin I went to a sitting of the Archaeologische Gesellschaft,
3 March 1896. It was all plain living and high thinking there, and they
debated Pheidias and Plato amidst great bursts of Wagner that came in
from a concert-hall close by. I have a letter here that I wrote my
brother next day--“They manage their meetings in a much more formal way
than the people at the Institut at Paris; and they are more long-winded.
One of the men last night got his notes in such a muddle that he made
nearly all his statements three times over; but nobody seemed to mind.”
In my next letter, Dresden, 10 March 1896, I said that I had been to
call on Fleckeisen, and described him as “an old man with long white
hair, toddling about his study in a dressing-gown.” I regret to see that
in another letter I spoke of a society of learned men as “a cellar-ful
of beer-barrels.”

Amongst the learned Germans whom I used to meet, some few talked
politics quite freely; and I used to hear that everything that Bismarck
did was right, and everything that the young Emperor did was wrong. I
should like to hear what they are saying about the causes of this War.

I remember the abdication of the Emperor of the French in 1870; and now
in 1918, at the abdication of the German Emperor, the feeling of relief
is just the same. Both men had kept all Europe in alarm for years before
their fall. In turn they had the greatest army on the Continent and a
navy that was second to our own; and no one could foresee how they would
use their strength, as their foreign policy was all adventure and
sensation. There was very little sympathy with France at the disaster of
Sedan. It is the fashion now to talk as if we sympathised with France
all through. My recollection is that people were mostly against France
in 1870 until Paris was besieged: then they realized that Germany was
getting dangerous, and began to change their views.

After the war of 1870 the French did not get possession of their
Lorraine frontier till the indemnity was paid and the occupying army was
withdrawn. Then they fortified it so effectively from Belfort to Verdun
that everybody said the Germans would come round through Switzerland or
Belgium, if ever they came again. (I remember people saying this, about
1878 and onwards, quite as a matter of course.) Against Switzerland
there was the fortress of Besançon, and against Belgium there was
supposed to be a line from Verdun to Dunkirk through Lille. But this
line never was made effective, and gradually fell into decay. That
certainly was no affair of ours in the days of the Two Power standard,
when we were building ships to fight the French and Russians. But after
the Entente I thought we might request the French to pay attention to
their Swiss and Belgian frontiers. No doubt, they could not make as
strong a line from Dunkirk to Verdun as from Verdun to Belfort; but the
Germans were not likely to embroil themselves by going through Belgium,
if they had to face a line on the French frontier there of anything like
the same strength as the French line in Lorraine.

One of those learned Germans was making a tour in England
five-and-twenty years ago; and I met him at Portsmouth, and went over
the Victory with him. He showed much emotion at it all; and when we
reached the place where Nelson died, he quite broke down and burst out
into tears. And the quartermaster said, “I’m blowed.”

He may have pictured it more vividly than we did, for he was a veteran
of 1870, and knew what warfare meant. A great-uncle of mine was on the
Impregnable at the battle of Algiers in 1816, and I have heard him say
that it was really nauseous to have two hundred killed and wounded all
crowded up in such a narrow space.

Unless a naval battle has been fought close by the shore, no landsman
can well picture to himself what it was like. Looking down upon the
island and the straits of Salamis, I have seen the battle as vividly as
Trasimene or Waterloo; but I have never been able to conjure up
Trafalgar by thinking of the latitude and longitude that I was in. I
have tried it several times and always failed.

There have been many naval battles in the Dardanelles, in ancient times
and in the middle ages; but I did not think of these when I was there in
1880. Our fleet had gone up through the straits two years before; and
that seemed much more real. People criticised some things that Hornby
did, especially his sending ships right up the gulf of Xeros; but
everybody seemed quite sure that the strategic point was in the throat
of the peninsula, five miles north-east of Gallipoli, not in its toes at
Suvla bay and cape Helles, more than twenty and thirty miles south-west.
So, being out of date, I imagined that our Gallipoli expedition would
try to land near Yenikli-liman.

When people say that the Thermopylæ epitaph would suit Gallipoli, I
rather wonder if they see how very suitable it really is. It is not the
namby-pamby thing they think, “Go, tell the Spartans, thou that passest
by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.” It really is a stinging
thing, and the sting is in the tail, the last word of the line. “Tell
the Spartans it was _here_--in an untenable position, with a flank that
could be turned--it was _here_ that, in compliance with their orders,
our lives were thrown away.”

In a list of the books here that were acquired before 1846, the German
books are the collected works of Goethe, Schiller, Richter (Jean Paul)
and Koerner, as well as separate works of theirs, a few things by
Niemeyer, Tieck, Werner and Wilmsen, and some translations into German
from the Danish and Swedish of Andersen and Bremer. All this, of course,
is what is known as literature; and there is nothing at all utilitarian
except a volume of travels in Surinam, published at Potsdam in 1782. The
later acquisitions show how Germany has changed since 1846. These books
are crammed with information, but devoid of literary merit.--No doubt,
the recent books were chosen by myself, and the others by departed
relatives whose tastes and interests were not the same as mine; but this
will not explain the change. There was not the same scope for choice:
there were few books then of such appalling industry as those that come
out now, and there has not been another Goethe.

It is fifty years since I first travelled in Germany, 1868, and I have
watched the later stages of the transformation that had been foretold.
“But the Ideal is passing slowly away from the German mind ... and the
memories that led their grandsires to contemplate, will urge the youth
of the next generation to dare and to act.” Old Bulwer Lytton wrote that
in 1834 in his _Pilgrims of the Rhine_. I remember my father reading it
out to me in very early years.

He had a very dexterous way of giving me glowing accounts of places on
the Continent, and making me long to go there. And then, whenever I said
that I should like to go, he said to me, “Of course, you shall; but it’s
no good your going till you can talk to people there.” I commend that
dodge to parents whose children are disinclined to learn.

When my brother was at Harrow, my father was dissatisfied at his
learning so little German there, but my grandfather took quite another
view, 8 February 1863, “I should say, Let him be a proficient in the
French language first, for that is spoken nearly all the world over,
while German is more a flash thing than useful: all very well, if time
permits after learning the more useful. So let him get on with
Mathematics and the Classics, for that is what he will gain Honours on
(if any) and not the German language: that is merely an

Foreign languages ought to be begun in nurseries, and not left for
schools: all good linguists have begun by learning words in different
languages as soon as they could speak. If children are only told that a
certain creature is a cat, they will afterwards learn the word ‘chat’ as
a translation of the word ‘cat.’ But if they are told that the creature
is called ‘cat’ by some people and ‘chat’ by others, they are prepared
to find that other people call it ‘katze,’ others ‘gatto,’ and so on.
And they connect the creature with its foreign names at once, instead of
indirectly through the English name.--However, these nursery lessons are
not always a success. I remember a Parisian who learnt her English from
an Irish nurse, and always spoke it with a brogue.

Good linguists sometimes get confused, when languages have words with
similar sounds but different meanings. Thus, the German ‘nehmen’ sounds
like the English ‘name’ and ‘dumm’ like ‘dumb’ and ‘bekommen’ like
‘become.’ A man once said to me at breakfast, “I shall name bacon”:
then, seeing that I did not grasp what he had said, he hurriedly
corrected it, “Ach, I am dumb. I shall become bacon.”

When I first went to Greece, they still spelled Byron’s name
phonetically, Mpairon. They pronounce _b_ like our _v_, but _mp_ like
our _b_--a fact unknown to many of the people who talk about the Mpret
of Albania. Similarly, the Spaniards spelled O’Donohue’s name O’Donojo.
He was Cuesta’s chief-of-staff in the Peninsula. The veterans of that
war picked up the foreign names by hearsay, and usually got them right;
but now our veterans can read, they see how foreign names are spelled
and mispronounce them sadly. Leekatoo suggests a cockatoo, but really is
Le Câteau.

There is always a temptation to turn foreign names into some English
words with which we are familiar: we still say Leg-horn for Livorno,
though we have dropped Lush-bone for Lisboa, and call it Lisbon now. I
was looking for a ship at Devonport, the Hecate, and thought I spotted
her; so I asked, “Is that the Hekaty?” and was answered, “She’s the He
Cat.” In the gardens here the Gloire de Lorraine begonia is always
called the Lower End. I hear people talk of the Cornice as the Cornish
road, and make Hague rhyme with ague.

After the Kruger telegram _Punch_ printed an imaginary letter to the
German Emperor (18 January 1896) signed Grandmamma, but attributed on
internal evidence to the Duke of York, there being a nautical breeziness
about it, e.g. “Solche eine confounded Impertinenz habe ich nie
gesehen.” I saw this in Vienna, reprinted in the February number of
_Progress_, the editor stating explicitly that it was “drollig.” In the
ensuing War people on the Continent felt certain that our troops were
using Dum-Dum bullets; and I saw a newspaper at Paris which said that we
were slaughtering the Boers with our murderous Dam-Dams. And in 1912 or
1913 I saw one there which said that we expressed our highest hopes in
singing “God shave the King.”

In looking through the obsolete music here I found the anthem in the
good old form which should have been revived in 1910--“God save great
George our King”--and also in a later form that seems to be
forgotten--“God save Britannia’s King, William, our noble King.” There
was also a good deal of dance-music, some “as performed at His Majesty’s
balls, Almack’s, and the Court of France,” and some “as danced at
Almack’s, the Nobility’s balls, and the Assembly Rooms, Ramsgate.”
Judging by the music, the dancing was very animated then: in _Beauties
of the Ball Room_ the first dance is the Sailor’s Hornpipe. Pop Goes The
Weasel is described as “now become so popular in fashionable circles,”
and directions are given for dancing it and exclaiming at the right
moments “Pop Goes The Weasel.”

Amongst the old pamphlets and sermons here (mostly presented by their
authors) there is _A Sermon preached in Trinity Church, Cambridge, on
Feb. 1, 1857, the Sunday before the Bachelors’ Ball_. The text seems
inappropriate--“neither circumcision availeth anything, nor
uncircumcision, but a new creature.” The sermon is chiefly aimed at
candidates for ordination. They are to shun the Bachelors’ Ball, not
only for their own sake, but for the sake of others who might be led
astray by their example. And it gives an awful instance. “He received a
pressing invitation to a public ball.... In that ball-room he found, it
is stated, no fewer than six clergymen. To stifle the reproaches of
conscience, he went up to those six clergymen, and asked them, one by
one, if they thought there could be any harm in attending a public
ball.... To shelter their own inconsistency, they at once answered that
such amusements were perfectly harmless.... That night’s dissipation
removed all his former scruples.... He plunged into extravagance, had
recourse to gambling, became a bankrupt in his fortunes, perpetrated
forgery, administered poison, and at last expiated his crimes upon the
scaffold, the precincts of the prison receiving his strangled body, and
hell, it is to be feared, receiving his lost soul.”

There is also a volume of _Letters from Abroad_ by the man who preached
that sermon. After a brief residence in France, he knows all about the
French. “Like people in a fever, the French complain of everything
outside them, whereas the evil is within them. Had they in their
churches and schools sound Scriptural teaching, they would be contented.
But, being without the knowledge of the Bible,” etc.... “As I come from
our Protestant service on Sunday, I meet men and women carrying bundles
of firewood, which they have been gathering in the forest. It all arises
from their ignorance of God’s Word. Had they Bibles, I might refer them
to Num. XV. 36, where Moses asked God what was to be done to a man who
was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath; and God Himself answered, Let
the man be put to death.”

Then there is a sermon on _The Great Exhibition_, preached by a much
abler man, 4 May 1851. He also speaks of “our blessing of blessings, the
opened Bible,” but is not so sure of its effects. “There is too much
reason to apprehend that a vast increase of vice, and Sabbath-breaking,
and profaneness, may be added to the iniquity already abounding in our
demoralized metropolis ... and foreign visitors may leave our shores
worse than when they arrived.”

Writing from Exeter, 23 October 1838, my father says, “I went to hear
the Mayor preach on Sunday evening: he had an immense audience, and
spoke for about an hour and a half. He holds up the Bible alone as the
sole necessary book, condemns every creed and article framed by men,
calls every system of religion in the world a money-getting system,
etc., etc.” My father kept a copy of some verses on the Mayor, which
were very popular in Exeter just then, especially the lines, “on
Saturday sells gin to all, | preaches Sunday, | and on Monday, | sitting
in judgment in the Hall, | inflicts the fine for fight or fray | caused
by the gin of Saturday.”

I can still recall a conversation between my father and an old-fashioned
country doctor at a place where we were staying in 1866. I had been
reading _Tom Brown’s Schooldays_, and I began to listen attentively,
when I heard the doctor denouncing Rugby and speaking of Arnold’s
“presumption” in undertaking to bring up other men’s sons when he could
not bring up his own: every one of them had turned out badly. My father
looked surprised, and mentioned Matthew Arnold. The answer came with
several slaps upon the table--“Matthew, indeed! A free thinker, sir, a
Free Thinker.” And then the doctor went on to talk of the “impiety” of
bishop Colenso in remarking that the Book of Numbers had arranged the
Hebrew camp in such a way that the Levites’ quarters would be more than
a sabbath-day’s journey from the lavatories.

Colenso had begun his criticisms of the Pentateuch in 1862, and had
enraged the partisans of Verbal Inspiration. They could not deny that
his conclusions were arithmetically right, and they did just what the
Jesuits did in the days of Pascal and his _Provinciales_. In 1653 the
Pope condemned some doctrines in a book, but mentioned the wrong
book--the doctrines were not there. It was really no more than a slip of
the pen; but, being in a Papal Bull, it could not be corrected. So the
Jesuits cried “témérité” when anybody mentioned it, just as people like
this doctor cried “impiety.” These people vindicated Moses as
strenuously as Strabo vindicated Homer. They had no suspicion of
misreadings in the Hebrew or the Greek, or mistranslations in the
English version: they just adopted Burgon’s view, “every book, every
chapter, every verse, every word, every syllable, every letter, was the
direct utterance of the Most High.” In other words, the Most High would
not merely send a message off, but would see that it got through.

Now-a-days superior persons scoff at these benighted folk, but very
often seem to be astray in just as dark a night themselves. When I hear
dignitaries talking of the _Filioque_ Clause, I sometimes wonder if they
know how Shu “proceeded” from Neb-er-Tcher, when that deity transformed
himself into a Trinity by the emanation of Tefnut and Shu. The legend is
recorded (in Egyptian hieratic) in the papyrus of Nesi-Amsu, which is
considerably earlier than the Christian Era. And anyone who wants to
know it, will find it printed and translated in _Archæologia_, vol.

For many years there was a steady sale of _Questions on Church History_
by my mother’s sister, Emma King, written in 1848 when she was
twenty-seven. It begins with the church in Jerusalem, and deals with
persecutions, councils, doctrines, heresies, schisms, sects, orders,
missions, etc., ending with the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829; and
every question is answered with brevity and precision and strictly in
accordance with the Thirty Nine Articles. I have spoken of her
water-colours in my former _Small Talk_; and she was well informed--knew
Hebrew and Italian and many other things--but published no more books.
She married a Fellow of Trinity, who accepted one of the College
livings; and in that country Vicarage she spent the best part of her
time in making garments for the poor. She did, however, find time to
expurgate the _Ingoldsby Legends_, thus rendering them presentable at
Penny Readings. I have her copy with her pencillings. ‘There’s a cry and
a shout and a deuce of a rout’--_for_ deuce of a _read_ terrible. ‘The
Devil must be in that little Jackdaw’--_for_ The Devil _read_ A Demon.
And so on.

Like many books of that period, hers was “for Young Persons”. Others
were “for Young Ladies,” not differing much from these except in the Use
of the Globes, which was a subject for Young Ladies only. Few people
realize how wide the subject was. ‘What is whalebone?’ ‘Who were the
Sirens?’ ‘What are the properties of dogs?’ There are questions on
Cetus, Eridanus and Canis on the celestial globe: pages 430, 431 in
Butler’s _Exercises on the Globes_, 11th edition, 1827. On the
terrestrial globe (page 40) it asks, ‘What is the difference of latitude
between the places where Burns was born and Lazarus was raised from the

In my early years there were books “suitable for Sunday reading.” If the
Young Persons’ books were milk for babes, these books were the slops. I
have several that were given to me then; and with _Sunday echoes in
week-day hours_ there is a letter from the man who gave it. He said that
he was sure I should enjoy it, as his own children had enjoyed it so
very much indeed. After reading it, I wondered if they really had.
Happily for me, my father said authoritatively that the Continental
Bradshaw was a Sunday book, and so also Murray’s Guides. I thus had
pleasant Sunday afternoons, travelling in my easy chair.

Two friends of my father’s bought Livings in the Church, and consulted
him about the prices of the Next Presentations and Advowsons that were
offered to them. Here is the offer of a parish adjoining this, 17 May
1853, “The sum asked is £2250, of which £1250 may remain on mortgage of
the Advowson at 3½ per cent.... The present incumbent is in his 67th
year.” These men were of a sort that any parish would be glad to get:
kindly, courteous, generous, with considerable means and very
considerable learning--one had taken a First in Greats and the other had
been a Wrangler. They deserved the fattest of Livings, and yet they had
to buy; and they never had any preferment, though Canonries were given
to those two men who preached the sermons (that I have quoted) on dances
and the opened Bible. Of course, the traffic in Livings is indefensible
in theory, but in practice it may often lead to happier results than
public or official patronage.

There were some letters here that I destroyed, as they mentioned many
people’s names, and compromised them. Somebody wanted a seat in
Parliament, and was prepared to pay for it, if he could get it cheap.
(This was nearly seventy years ago.) Inquiries were made in various
boroughs of bad repute, and the replies were pretty much the same.
‘Bribery and corruption are intolerable things, and ought to be put
down; but, as men of the world, we have to take things as they are. The
seat will certainly be sold, and may as well be sold to you as sold to
anybody else. It probably will cost you so-and-so.’ The prices varied
very much, not having an open market to control them.

The sale of seats was hindered by prospects of disfranchisement. These
offers all stipulated that, whatever happened, there must be no
petition. Things would come out on petition that would lead to a
commission; and the commissioners would find out things enough to make
disfranchisement a certainty. And that would be the death of the goose
that laid those golden eggs.

After the general election of 1865 one of the commissioners was dining
with us, and after dinner he told my father what he thought about it
all: not in the measured terms of his report, but quite colloquially. I
learnt a lot of practical politics that night before I was sent off to

At the general election of 1868 the Liberal party was committed to
disestablishing the Irish church; and many good Liberals disapproved of
this, as they thought that disestablishment was not a matter for party
politics at all. A county constituency (not very far from Devon) was in
the hands of Liberals of that sort; and they refused strong candidates
and picked out one who was so weak that he was sure to lose the seat. He
lost it; and scrupulous people found fault with them for taking his
money (£3000, I believe) when they knew quite well that he would be

These men cared more for Church than State, and thought the end might
justify the means; but I have known seats lost without excuse. A breezy
sailor was looking for a seat in 1885, and tried a London constituency
in which I had a vote. He was a very strong candidate; but the local
Conservative Association would not adopt him unless he paid them £400 a
year. I cannot say (verbatim) where he told them all to go to; but he
went elsewhere himself and was elected. They got their £400 a year from
a nincompoop who lost the seat.

I remember a City man who was Vice-Chairman of one of the biggest
undertakings there, but found he had no chance of being Chairman unless
he was in Parliament--they wanted someone who could put their views
before the House. He was a first-rate businessman, but not a showy
speaker; so he got a brilliant young barrister to join him in contesting
a borough with two seats. He paid the second candidate’s expenses, only
“it must be understood that in his canvassing for himself, he of course
supports me as senior Liberal candidate.” I remember that young
barrister then--and also as a Judge long afterwards--and he was much too
big a man to be subordinate to anyone. He made such brilliant speeches
there that the senior Liberal candidate was totally eclipsed.

But his speeches did not really make much difference. A man writes to my
father, 7 July 1864, “I was twice solicited to contest this most rotten
borough, and will undertake to say that, whatever ***** may do, the best
bidder will gain the day. I never was so disgusted with any place. They
stipulate for 2 or 3000_l_ and leave you to be prepared to double this
sum or more. Depend upon it, nothing but money will do, and with a free
use of that, all is safe.”

Two incidents in that election are imprinted on my mind.--The senior
Liberal candidate was past the prime of life, but very tall and
dignified, with a charming face and silvery hair, which really was a
wig. Not having stood for Parliament before, he got a little flurried on
the hustings; and, meaning to wave his hat, he waved his wig as well.--A
voter happened to be coachman to a strong supporter of the other side,
who was at his London house just then. The coachman said it was “as much
as his place was worth” to ask his employer for leave to go down to
record his vote. And, with very little scratching of his head, that man
was able to reckon up, within a pound or two, how much his place was

Barefaced bribery is not a bad thing, in its way. The voter got hard
cash, and the candidate provided it; whereas the voter only gets wild
promises now, and these always cost the country a good deal, even if
they do no good to anybody. Moreover, when the voter could be bought,
there was not the same necessity for cramming him with lies. With his
pocket full of money and no illusions in his mind, he went gaily to the
poll, feeling that it was all a festival at which he was an honoured
guest. And in very many places it was very little else.

An old friend of the family writes to my mother from Brighton, 6 July
1841, “I was at Shoreham on Saturday. During the heat of the polling the
scene was more amusing and lively than what you saw here. Lord Howard
(who by the bye had on a shocking raffish dirty white hat) had between
thirty to forty men and boys drest in white with pink bands round their
bodies with ‘Howard for ever’ on them, shoulders and legs and hats also
decorated with pink ribbons, and each with a wand with flag attached.
There were also eight with huge flags, and two bands of music similarly
drest. They altogether formed a very pretty tableau. Their province was
to meet the voters coming up at the bridge, then form in procession and
escort them to the polling booths. Sir Charles Burrell’s were in white
with orange decorations: Goring’s white with red and ethereal blue. They
of course had music, and neither party was idle: so what with four bands
of music, a multitude of flags, vociferous cheers, horrid yells and
groans, and now and then a shindy, it made as spirited and lively a
contest as one would wish to see.”

Writing from Reigate on Sunday 13 May 1849, my father says, “I walked
over to Bletchingley, a rotten borough and much gone to decay, and there
I went to church. With the exception of about twenty well-dressed
people, the congregation was composed of hard-featured rough farmers
with lots of young girls and urchins belonging apparently to the parish
school: the choir was a fiddle, bass-viol and clarionet; and every body
and thing looking as uncouth as in the most remote districts.”
Bletchingley was one of the rotten boroughs that were disfranchised by
the Reform Bill of 1832. Till then it had two members. Shoreham had two
members until 1885.

He came up to London from Carshalton on the morning of 10 April 1848 and
“met Chartists all round Kennington.” Among my family relics I have a
truncheon: there were 150,000 special constables then, and they stopped
any Chartism. But the Charter itself seems harmless now: we have
accepted five of its six points, and might very well accept the other
one--annual parliaments. If we had general elections every year, they
would soon cease to be such great events, and such great nuisances; and
there might be greater continuity in our public policy. A moderate loss
of seats would warn the Ministers, if they were taking a wrong course;
and then they probably would alter course at once, instead of keeping on
for several years, and then losing so many seats that they are
superseded and their policy reversed.

We badly need a word (say Pleistarchy) for government by majority. We
call it Democracy, but use that word in quite another sense. The
arguments for democracy are embodied in stock phrases, ‘the will of the
people,’ ‘vox populi,’ and so on, all implying that the people or
populus or dêmos is always going to be unanimous, just like a jury. It
may be necessary that the will of fifty-one should thwart the will of
forty-nine; but it cannot be justified by saying that the will of the
people must prevail, as that means the will of the whole hundred, if it
means anything at all. We should come nearer to democracy by stipulating
for majorities of two-thirds or three-fourths, as in America; but we
ought to have majorities of nine-tenths or nineteen-twentieths before we
talk about democracy here. And we might talk less nonsense, if we had a
word like Pleistarchy expressing what we really mean.

Corruption was not confined to politics. A friend of my father’s writes
to him from Torquay, 29 January 1845, about a younger brother who was
causing him anxiety. “You perhaps are aware that I have endeavoured to
obtain him a cadetship in the East India Company’s service.... I have
been thinking that his best course is to purchase the appointment I have
mentioned. These things are to be done, and are daily done, and it is
far better for him to pay £500 or £600 than continue in his present
course of life. I have strained all the efforts in my power with
political friends, but in vain, and there is now but one course
left--his purchasing the appointment. I am well aware that it is
illegal, but there is little doubt that it can be done.”

Another friend also had a younger brother who caused him much anxiety,
and he unburdens himself in his letters to my father--Dick has been
getting drunk, Dick has been making love, Dick has been borrowing money,
Dick is dragging our good name in the mire. Thirty years afterwards he
writes, “The assizes are just over, and Richard has tried the cases here
with great ability and dignity.” I need hardly say that I have changed
his name.

There is a letter to my father from a friend of his who had just been
made a judge--“I like my new occupation hugely. Whilst removing all
strain and pressure, it gives the mind full play and exercise, and up to
the present time it seems to suit body as well as mind.” Speaking of the
necessity of going in procession in his robes, another one exclaims, “I
often long to give a Whoop and cut a Caper in the midst of this

Some of these letters to my father are very outspoken in their criticism
of distinguished lawyers. Thus, 18 June 1876, “That ignoramus, the
Attorney General, whose opinion I would not take on the title to an
ant-heap....” Again, 20 December 1868, “Think of Collier being a judge.
He was a capital caricaturist on circuit, and made his best speeches in
cases of breach of promise _et id genus_. But beyond that....” My
father’s own criticisms were much more restrained. He writes to my
grandfather, 18 July 1850, “Yesterday morning I saw Wilde take his seat
as Lord Chancellor. He looked rather confused: he cannot possibly know
much about Equity, and how he is to get on I cannot understand.”

In 1920 the parish-clerk of Lustleigh was convicted of stamping an
insurance-card with stamps that had been used on another insurance-card
the year before. Notwithstanding his good character, he was sentenced to
nine months imprisonment; and this sentence was upheld by the Court of
Criminal Appeal in London. The sentence was manifestly out of all
proportion to the crime. The loss could not amount to more than 15_s._
2_d._ on a card, even if all the stamps on it were used a second time;
and, if nine months imprisonment is commensurate with 15_s._ 2_d._, I
cannot conceive what punishments would be sufficient for big frauds of
£50,000 or £100,000 that bring scores of families to destitution. The
15_s._ 2_d._ would be public money; and here was the Law fussing about a
loss of shillings at a time when hundreds and thousands of pounds of
public money were being obtained all round on the flimsiest of false
pretences, the Law being satisfied if some incompetent official had been
bamboozled into sanctioning the payment.

There is, of course, a theory that the punishment of crimes should be
proportionate to the difficulty of their detection, the chances of
immunity being counterbalanced by the risks of heavy punishment. But
with these insurance-cards there is more difficulty in committing the
crime than in detecting it. The cards are collected every half-year;
and, if the collection is efficient, there are not any cards about from
which old stamps can be detached. I suppose the Legislature understands
the workings of the criminal mind, but I sometimes wonder whether men
can be deterred from crime by dread of seven years penal servitude, if
they are not deterred by dread of five. If they reckon things up at all,
they probably pick out the biggest crime they can commit for any
specified sentence--“may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb”--and
then act accordingly.

Fines would be far better than imprisonment in very many cases, that is,
substantial fines with time allowed for payment by instalments. If this
man had been fined £50, it would have helped the public revenue. As it
was, the public had to maintain him for nine months and stopped his
doing any useful work--and he was a hard-working and pains-taking man.
Prisons are expensive things; and many of our prisons might be closed
and a big revenue raised from fines, but for this silly craze for
sending everyone to gaol.

I have a letter to my grandmother, 1 June 1843, from a nephew who had
gone out to Australia and settled at Sydney. “Our county, Cumberland, in
which Sydney is placed, will next month be the arena of a very spirited
contest. We send two members, and there are four candidates, one of whom
(the most monied man, a large distiller) tho’ now Free, was sent a
Convict. We immigrants think it impudence of him to offer as a
candidate, and the other party are as strong in his favour. I really
think he will be elected, tho’ the Press teems with his crimes, the
number of lashes received, and so on: his five associates were hanged.
These people have an hatred to immigrants, and will not support them if
they can deal with one of their own sort, and so frequently we see them
get on much better than if they had come to the colony of their own free

In spite of Convict competition this relative of mine did pretty well
out there. In a letter to my father, 9 July 1874, he says that he has
managed to put by £100,000 in the course of thirty years: all of it made
by steady work, and none by speculation.

In his letter of 1 June 1843 he says, “The colony is labouring under
temporary difficulties, but altogether it is advancing most rapidly:
every downfall drives people to some fresh resources. Keeping sheep used
to be almost the only employment: now that does not pay, agriculture is
gaining ground, and instead of sending our coin to America for wheat, we
grow our own. Altho’ sprung up like a mushroom in relation to the older
towns of England, Sydney is as large as Exeter, its market buildings as
good, its streets wider and the houses (that is, those recently built)
as good as any: our George Street is fully two miles long, with all the
bustle of Exeter Fore Street.”

Another first-cousin of my father’s went out to the colonies in very
different style. He was a Chancery barrister in London, and was so
cantankerous that they made him Attorney General of a colony in order to
get rid of him, and then made him Chief Justice there to prevent his
coming back--at any rate, that is what ill-natured people said. He had
plenty of ability, but little experience in criminal law. He felt that
pirates wanted hanging, and he hanged them; but I fear that he was
technically wrong.

There were three brothers at Moreton who went out to America. They were
not relations of mine, but were connexions by the marriage of their
eldest brother to one of my great-great-aunts, a sister of my father’s
mother’s mother. So far as I know the family history, it begins with
Clement Jackson of Moreton and Honor his wife, and goes on through their
son Abraham, born 1678, their grandson Jabez, born 1700, and their
great-grandson James, born 1730, to their great-great-grandsons Jabez,
born 1756, James, born 1757, Abraham, born 1767, and Henry, born 1778.
The last three went to America in 1772, 1783 and 1790, married there,
and died there in 1806, 1809, and 1840. They all settled in Georgia.
Their father had a friend out there, John Wereat; and Wereat looked
after James, and James looked after his young brothers.

James sided with the colonists in the War of Independence. He was in a
law-office at Savannah in the spring of 1776, when the British ships
came down from Boston commandeering; and he joined in the resistance
there and went on through the war, becoming a colonel then and a
major-general ten years afterwards. He was in the House of
Representatives in the first Congress of the United States, 1789 to
1791, and (after a disputed election) again till 1793, and then in the
Senate from 1793 to 1795, when he resigned and went back to Georgia to
attend to matters there. He was Governor of Georgia from 1798 to 1801,
and a Senator again from 1801 until his death (at Washington) in 1806.
It was a strange career for anybody born at Moreton.

His brothers Abraham and Henry did not go out to America until the war
was over. Abraham became a colonel. He fought a dozen duels, and in the
last one he and his opponent shot each other through the legs. They had
no seconds and no doctor, and were fighting on a lonely island in a
stream; and both were nearly dead when they were found. That was the
story that my father always told me; but I see there is a similar story
in Charlton’s _Life of James Jackson_, page 18--“They went upon the
ground without seconds, and fought at the desperate distance of a few
feet.... Mr Wells lost his life, and Major Jackson was badly wounded in
both of his knees.” That was in 1780, and the Major was James, not
Abraham, who was still in England then.

The youngest brother, Henry, came over to Paris in 1814 as secretary of
legation under Crawford, the United States minister-plenipotentiary;
and, when Crawford left, he stayed on as chargé d’affaires till a new
minister came. And his son, Henry Rootes Jackson, came over to Vienna as
chargé d’affaires in 1853, and was United States minister-resident there
from 1854 till 1858. At that time Francis Joseph was quite young, and
had not yet acquired the kindly dignity that graced his later years; and
H. R. Jackson told my father how very difficult it was, in speaking to
that great raw boy, to realize that one was speaking to an Apostolic

He was staying in London with my father in July and August 1854, and was
talking of coming down to stay here, but I am not certain that he ever
came. In an undated letter from Vienna he says, “If you could get my
father’s likeness for me, I should be most grateful.” And my grandfather
writes to my father, 31 December 1854, “I have Mr Jackson’s picture and
have paid a pound for it. It is a much better thing than I expected: it
is very well done, and the colours are very good; but the paper is
rotten. He has but one eye: his dress resembles more of the nobility
than of the middle classes.” This suggests some earlier member of the
Jackson family; but I do not know which one had lost an eye.

He wrote my father letters of rather ponderous jocosity: thus, Vienna, 8
December 1855, “I have determined, on the whole, not to take immediate
notice of the aspersions which you have felt yourself called upon to
launch at my country in general, and at the hogs of my native state in
particular. If I recollect aright, there are certain points in the
British Isles where persons, who raise hogs, are in the habit of tying
knots in their tails to prevent them from getting entirely through such
holes as may be accidentally left in barn walls. I leave it to be
determined whether these would, or would not, be apt scholars in the art
of snake killing.” On sending her one of these letters to read, 11
December 1856, my father remarks to my mother that it is “a strange
contrast to the refined and classic taste of his poems.” His poems, I
believe, were never much known in England; or even in America, outside
the southern states. And the best of them, _My wife and child_, was
attributed to T. J. Jackson, usually called ‘Stonewall.’

H. R. Jackson had been a colonel in the Mexican war, and was made a
brigadier-general in the Confederate army at the beginning of the War of
Secession; and he went through it all, surrendering at last at
Nashville. He had a son whom I remember very well; and the boy went all
through it too, from the beginning (when he was under sixteen) down to
the bitter end. So late as 31 May 1864 he writes from Savannah, “I am
confident of our ultimate success.” Thirty years afterwards, when he
talked of it to me, he said the Southerners had not been beaten by the
Northerners themselves, but by an alien force: there were comparatively
few real Yankees amongst the prisoners and dead. No doubt, the South
would have enlisted foreigners too, had not the blockade excluded them.

People in England mostly saw things from the Southern point of view; and
when the Northern point of view was put before them, it was not always
put persuasively. A certain Dr Jephson of Boston, U.S., delivered an
address at the Athenæum at Exeter on 17 March 1863. “The present
murderous and fratricidal war in the United States has been fomented by
the American slave-holders and the cotton-brokers in England.... This
plot on the part of the American slave-holders and the cotton fraternity
in England conjointly, to destroy the American Union, has served to
evoke such a bitter feeling on the part of the American people against
England....” Here was a red rag for John Bull. What right had the
Northerners to call themselves the American people? They were only part
of it, and the Southerners were part as well. If this had been a
cotton-spinning district, there would have been a riot. In those years I
was often staying with an aunt of mine not far from Macclesfield and
Bollington, where there were cotton mills; and I saw something of the
misery and destitution there, when the mills ceased work for want of raw
material. No one cared a bit about the merits of the quarrel between the
North and South; but everyone could see it was the Northerners who
caused all this distress--the supply of cotton was stopped by their

It usually was called a fratricidal war; but in many of the letters here
I find it called ‘this stupid war,’ and perhaps that was the better
epithet. Had the northern states said Go In Peace, the Wayward Sisters
would have been home again by now.

My father writes to my grandfather, Basle, 8 August 1849, “Mr Elihu
Burritt, the American writer, is travelling to get converts to the Peace
Congress, who are going to hold their next meeting at Paris on the 22nd.
I had several hours of conversation with him about America.... Four
Americans arrived here with us last evening, for a rapid run thro’ the
country and then on to attend the Peace Congress. They cannot speak
anything but English, and I had to translate for them at the stations,
else they would have got nothing to eat all day.”

My father always wrote home an account of little things to entertain the
old folks here. Thus, he writes from Exeter, 30 October 1838, “I went to
the Cathedral on Sunday morning: the Bishop seemed wonderfully devout.
He always is so in appearance, but there was less parade of it on
Sunday. I hope his sins, or at least a few of them, were wiped away by
his humility.”

He writes to one of his aunts, 19 August 1839, that he had been to
Windsor the day before (Sunday) and a friend at court had given him a
seat in the inner part of St George’s Chapel, and the Queen “wore a
white bonnet placed very far back over the head,” and “seemed tolerably
attentive to the service.”... “Afterwards she came out to walk on the
terrace, and walked all round amongst the people: we all made way, and
divided into two rows to let her pass between: she bowed to the people
as she passed, but walked through with a most royal air. She wore the
same little bonnet, and a blue gown and shawl. The Duchess of Kent
walked behind, occasionally by the side of her, but generally the Queen
walked on in front, very boldly, and seemed not to mind going in amongst
the crowd.”

He writes to my grandmother, 11 June 1840, “There has been a good deal
of talk here today in consequence of a young fellow having last evening
fired two pistols at the Queen as she was riding out: he was within
eight yards of her carriage, which was a low open one: the bullets
passed very near, but both missed her: he is in custody.... Last week I
had a ticket given me and was at the great Slave Trade Abolition meeting
at Exeter Hall. Prince Albert was in the chair: he looks at least 24 or
25, and has a regular German expression of face. He managed very well
and was not at all puzzled or frightened at facing so large a meeting.
He read his speech off his hat. There were some good speeches,
Archdeacon Wilberforce, Dr Lushington, Sir Robert Peel, the latter much
cheered, altho’ the applause to O’Connell beat everything else. It was
tremendous. I met him walking in Fleet Street a day or two previously.
He was then looking rather meanly dressed, but at the Meeting he was in
prime order, his best wig all nicely curled, a new hat, good coat, and
his face red and shining as a schoolboy’s.”

At that time of life my father thought a good deal of the way that
people dressed. I have seen two letters of his to young men coming up to
town: he tells them what things should be done and what things left
undone; but, before all things, they must not fail to wear black satin
stocks. The satin gleams in a daguerreotype of him, taken at Daguerre’s
on 7 or 8 October 1842, “on the roof of a seven story house, whence
there is a splendid view of Paris.” Later portraits of him show the
gradual decline of the stock into a chequered neckerchief, and then into
a lavender necktie taking only one turn round the neck.

He writes to one of his aunts, 9 May 1839, “We went to the National
Gallery and saw all the new paintings of the year.” From 1838 to 1868
the Royal Academy exhibitions were held at the National Gallery--I went
to several of them there--but they had previously been held at Somerset
House. He notes in his diary, 13 July 1832, “Went to Somerset House, saw
all the paintings,” and on 25 July, “Went to Angerstein’s paintings.”
The present National Gallery was not built then, and the pictures were
still at Angerstein’s in Pall Mall.--He also notes, 31 July, “Saw
Perkins’ steam gun, which fired 78 bullets in one minute against some
very thick iron plates at 30 yards distance, where the bullets were
immediately flattened with the force.”

He writes to her again from the Belle Vue at Brussels, 27 July 1839,
“The interior of the inn is all good, excepting as to carpets, which are
scarce, being of English manufacture and a heavy duty paid on them.” Yet
we talk of Brussels carpets: also of Vienna glass. I have a letter here
that I wrote to my mother from Vienna, 15 August 1875, “Not a bit of
Vienna glass to be seen anywhere.”

My father writes from Louvain, 11 October 1843, “We went out after the
rain to see the most remarkable object in the town, the magnificent
Hôtel de Ville: far surpassing the idea I had formed from the engravings
of it. The whole of the exterior is most elaborately and finely carved,
and delicate beyond description; and it is absolutely perfect as regards
repair, not one inch of carving being broken.”--Happily it is quite
perfect still, in spite of our great Propaganda lie of the Destruction
of Louvain.

He writes from Braine-le-Comte, 3 August 1849, “I don’t notice the
slightest difference in France caused by the Revolution: all seems just
as it used to be.” And from Basle, 8 August, “All the Baden territory is
under martial law and full of Prussian troops, but agriculture goes on
just as if nothing had happened.”

He writes from Dinan to my grandfather on 12 August 1847, “This morning
we went through the market and saw pigs there as tall and thin as
greyhounds.” And to my grandmother on 15 August, “You would be surprised
to see how exemplary the parish priests are here in their conduct: it
beats everything I have ever seen in England. Their whole time is
devoted to their flock. They have service _every_ day, and spend the
rest of it in calling on the different members of their congregation,
the poorest as well as the richest.”

Though my father’s letters were pretty full, my grandmother detected
gaps. She writes, 15 January 1840, “You don’t say who you were with at
Covent Garden seeing out the old year and bringing in the new. I should
like to know.” And then she gives him a little bit of good
advice--“Youth passes rapidly away: therefore, my dear son, make the
most and the best of it.” Later on she feared that he was making a
little too much of it. She writes him, 20 November 1842, “I hope never
to hear you express a wish to go on the Continent more. I recollect your
saying when you came to Wreyland that you had not been in bed for two
nights.” I see from his diary that it was three: one in the diligence,
Paris to Boulogne, the next in the steamer, Boulogne to London, and the
next in the train, London to Taunton, and in the coach from there. I see
also from his diary that he was at Covent Garden with persons of
complete respectability.

I have nearly a thousand letters that my grandfather and grandmother
wrote to him from here, and I suppose he wrote as many in reply; but few
of these survived. My grandfather writes to him, 29 October 1848, “I
looked all the house over for your letter, but could not find it, your
mother having destroyed lots of my papers, as she does when it takes her
in head, without asking whether it is of importance or not: which very
often inconveniences me.” I wish my grandfather had locked his papers

People have told me that they have destroyed old parchments, “as nobody
could read such things.” And out of ignorance or wantonness people have
been destroying things year after year. In 1837 my father was taking
notes and copying documents, as if he meant to write a history of the
neighbourhood. On coming to Wrey Barton he observes, “The late owner is
said about fifteen years ago to have burnt all the deeds which were then
more than sixty years old.” In the winter of 1838-39 he copied out a
document of 20 August 1607 with a copy of a document of 21 September
1342 annexed to it, “which roll is now shewed forth to the said
commissioners, and the copy thereof is filed unto these presentments.”
The old roll sets out the customs of the manor of South Teign. That
manor extended into the parishes of Chagford, Moreton and North Bovey,
and first belonged to the Crown and then to the Duchy of Cornwall. Under
an Act of 13 July 1863 (26 & 27 Victoria, cap. 49) the Duchy was
empowered to sell the manor; and there is a letter from the Duchy
office, 4 November 1863, asking my father for a copy of his copy. I
suppose the original had disappeared since 1839.

My father once sent a friend a ‘short-copy’ of an article on the
interaction of the Anglo-Saxon and the Celtic languages. A ‘short-copy’
is a reprint of such pages in a publication as make up an article; but
the venerable man was not aware of this, and wrote back in a rage,
Moreton, 28 July 1857, “Some confounded rascal has torn away 38 pages
from the beginning of the work, and how many from the latter part I
cannot say, it ends at 94. If I could get hold of the ears of the
scoundrel, I would make them tingle. Such a gratuitous piece of mischief
is enough to make a saint mad, for I dare say the fellow could make no
more of his plunder than a pig.”

In the English edition of Hanotaux’s _Contemporary France_ there is a
footnote, vol. 1, page 127--“Demander a Bertrand le text Billet.”
Bertrand was the librarian at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and I
suppose Hanotaux wanted to quote the document at first hand from the
archives instead of quoting it at second hand as printed in Lamberty.
And his editor did not understand.

The ancients also made mistakes like that. There is a Greek inscription
at Stratoniceia, engraved in Fellows’ _Asia Minor_, pages 255, 256. It
looks just like a table of accounts--the words begin at the left end of
the lines, and at the right end there are figures, with an interval of
varying length between the figures and the words. It really is a set of
verses, and the figures give the number of letters in each line. They
probably were meant to guide the mason in his work, but he has carved it
all up on the temple wall. On the temple wall at Denderah there is a
long inscription in Egyptian hieroglyphics with portraits of the deities
who are mentioned in the text. At the portrait of Isis the hieroglyphics
say “wood: gold: eyes of precious stone: two cubits high,” at the
portrait of Heqit (the frog goddess) they say “silver overlaid with
gold: five spans high,” and so on--it is engraved in Mariette’s
_Denderah_, vol. IV, plate 88. The mason has carved his instructions on
the wall, not knowing the meaning of the hieroglyphs.

Goethe used often to dictate, but did not always look at what was
written down; and years afterwards (_Werke_, vol. XLV, pp. 158 ff., ed.
1835) he found that Tugendfreund had been taken down as Kuchenfreund,
John Hunter as Schon Hundert, and so on.

Printers sometimes make mistakes. In a proof that I was reading for a
friend, the nomen and pre-nomen of Rameses II had become his women and
pre-women. But very often it is not the printer’s fault. In my former
_Small Talk_ I wrote Anaxagoras for Aristagoras, and passed it in the
proofs, page 76. Had it been anybody else’s work, I should have seen the
error at once; but I suppose my mind was running on what I meant to say,
and I thought I saw it there. And this may also be the reason why
amateur artists very often fail to see the faults in their own work.
They see the picture that they meant to paint, and not the daub that
they have done.

Poets, I presume, use verse in preference to prose because it suits
their thoughts; and yet they often sacrifice the substance to the form.
In _Ye mariners of England_ Campbell wants a rhyme for ‘seas,’ and
therefore says their flag has braved ‘the battle and the breeze.’ It
ought to be ‘the battle and the blast’--the breeze needs no more braving
than sham-fights. In _Dies iræ_ Tommaso da Celano (or whoever it was)
had to find a rhyme for ‘favilla’ and ‘sibylla,’ and thus came down to
‘dies illa,’ which is much too mild a term for Doomsday. Translators
have avoided this by putting in some stronger term--Macaulay makes it
“On that great, that awful day.” And in translations this is possible,
though not in the original, as there is no fit word that rhymes.

According to Macaulay’s _Ivry_, the knights had only one spur each, “a
thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest, a thousand
knights,” etc. Tennyson says Six Hundred in _The Charge of the Light
Brigade_, but that was not actually the strength. If I were editing him,
I should put in a note in proper form--“six hundred: compare ‘sexcenta’
in Latin and ‘hexacosia’ in late Greek, a round number based on the
Babylonian sexagesimal system and used indefinitely, like myriad.”

Annotations and translations may explain things, but are never so neat
as emendations that make an author say just what you think he should
have said. Why should Saint Paul want ladies to cover their heads, ‘dia
tous aggelous,’ because of the angels? Listen to Jeremy Taylor, his
_Liberty of Prophesying_, section 3, “If it were read ‘dia tous
agelous,’ that the sense be, women in public assemblies must wear a
vail, by reason of the companies of young men there present, it would be
no ill exchange for the loss of a letter, to make so probable, so clear
a sense of the place.”

And very often emendations may be made without touching the letters at
all, Shakespeare says in his _Sonnets_, 107, “The prophetic soul of the
wide world, dreaming on things to come.” Homer might likewise say that
the future is in the dreams of the gods, ‘theôn en g’ounasi,’ instead of
saying that it is on their knees, ‘en gounasi.’ An apostrophe is all you
want. Change the vowel-points, and you may connect Magdalene with
‘megaddela,’ and so get Mary the Masseuse.

When Aristotle’s _Constitution of Athens_ was brought to light and
printed, I made some observations on it in the _Athenæum_, 7 February
1891, a few days after it came out. The editor had cited the passage in
chapter 54 which shows that it was written after 329 B.C., but had
overlooked a passage in chapter 46 which shows that it was written
before 325 B.C.; and I cited this passage, and thereby limited the date.
Amongst other things I proposed to read _architheô_ ... for _archiereô_
... in chapter 56, as I happened to remember that _architheôrois_ came
in the same context in an inscription of that period. I think my reading
was right--all subsequent editions have adopted it--but I should very
much like to know if the word went wrong in copying or dictation, or was
a slip of Aristotle’s own pen.

I fancy that the Greek and Latin authors wrote the wrong word now and
then, and never noticed it. That is not the view of textual critics and
editors: they ascribe all errors to the men who copied out the
manuscripts. But this limits them to errors that might arise in copying,
and thus restricts the choice of emendations far too much. Take such an
emendation as _Isara_ for _Arar_ in Livy, xxi. 31. This makes Livy say
that the river was the Isère, not the Saône; but the context requires
him to say it was the Durance, otherwise he would be saying ‘right’
instead of ‘left’ a few lines further on. A copyist might easily write
_arar_ for _isara_, so this emendation is accepted, although it does not

Such emendations are deceitful things. In this case they make Livy say
the Isère, and make Polybios say it also, iii. 49, though he says
something else; and then Members of the Alpine Club go saying that the
river must have been the Isère, since Livy and Polybios agree in saying
that it was. Other folk may say it does not matter what the river was;
but that is a reason for leaving the whole thing alone, not for getting
it wrong. If you take it up at all, you should not risk the sort of
snubbing that Westbury gave the herald after cross-examination--“Go
away, you silly man: you don’t even understand your own silly science.”

My father used to tell me of Westbury’s methods at the Bar. A judge
would put a question that seemed to be a poser. Westbury would pause,
and then he would not only answer it convincingly, but would put the
point with such lucidity that you could not understand how anyone had
failed to see it. And the judge would turn quite red, feeling that he
had asked a foolish question, and people in court would titter and
guffaw, though half of them could never have answered it at all.

But gifts that help an advocate, may be a hindrance to an author. It
does sometimes happen that a reviewer knows no more about a subject than
he could gather from the book he is reviewing. An author collects
materials till he is bewildered--“cannot see the wood for the
trees”--and he makes a bulky book, putting all this material in, but
doing nothing to clear the subject up. And the reviewer will praise him
for his wealth of learning, and will say he has done all that is humanly
possible towards the solution of a problem that really is insoluble.
Another author sifts the materials and solves the problem. He makes a
much smaller book, putting in nothing that is not essential, and stating
his conclusions so effectively that they command assent. And the
reviewer will dismiss it as a book of platitudes, which tells you
nothing that is not obvious to the meanest comprehension.--These, of
course, are extreme cases; but the reviewer often fails to see that mere
pomposity is not a guarantee of solid learning, and that frivolity need
not mean shallowness. There was an essay, _The critic as artist_,
written by Wilde in 1891, and full of epigram and paradox; and the
reviewers were so dazzled by his flippancy that hardly any of them saw
how much sound sense there was beneath it all. A good judge told me that
he considered it the best thing of its kind since Plato.

A friend of mine in the same house at Harrow went up to Oxford at the
same time that I went up to Cambridge, October 1876. He came over to see
me at Trinity, and I went over to see him at Magdalen. (It made me wish
that I had gone there too.) On the Sunday evening the Lessons were read
by one of the Demies. His reading was dramatically good, but his
appearance was astonishing, with his long hair hanging down upon his
surplice. I asked who on earth he was, and was told he was a man named
Wilde, who could be awfully amusing, but dressed just like a guy. I
never made his acquaintance; but, having once seen him, I knew him by
sight for evermore. The last time I saw him was in September 1897. I was
at Naples, and he was staying in the same hotel--under an assumed name.

My father was never a collector, but would sometimes buy a thing he
liked. My grandfather did not approve, and used to write him letters
about it, thus, 27 May 1855, “I should say your money might be more
advantageously employed than with coins and pictures.” When my
grandfather was eighty and my father fifty, this lecturing still went
on: 27 July 1869, “You may say No business of mine. I am your father.”
It was my turn next. I had a little money when I came of age, and I had
a wish to buy a picture by Burne Jones, _Laus Veneris_. My elders looked
askance, and talked about Consols; but I should have made a very much
better investment than Consols, had I bought that picture then and sold
it some years afterwards.

Amongst other presents when I came of age, I got a pair of old bronze
busts of Roman emperors. They have been a source of pleasure to me now
for forty years; but a dear old lady asked me on that festal day what
comfort I should find in them upon my death-bed. There is a precept in
the Talmud, _Bâbâ Bathrâ_, vol. VIII, page 60 _b_--“If they are merry at
a wedding-feast, cast ashes on the bridegroom’s head.” Happily, she did
not know of that. She would have done it, if she had.

I began collecting Greek vases soon after I had come of age, and I found
many pitfalls in the way. Thus, I bought three vases somewhere in
Etruria in 1883, and the owner undertook to smuggle them out of Italy;
but one of the three he sent me, was not one of the three I chose; and I
had no redress. There was never much risk of buying a vase that was a
downright sham. Plenty of ancient vases come to light in a dilapidated
state, and the forgers fake these up in preference to making new ones. I
got to know their tricks, but have not kept pace with them since I gave
up collecting. In looking at a vase not long ago, I said I could not see
the slightest difference between the new glaze and the old. A wiser man
said, “Lick it,” and then I found the new glaze had a different taste.

I was at a sale of antiquities at Sotheby’s in 1890, and one of the lots
consisted of two Greek vases which were so much alike in style and shape
and size that they would make a pair. But one of them was obviously a
modern copy of the Amymone vase in the Jatta collection at Ruvo; and
people in the auction room resented this, and called out to the
auctioneer to go on to the next lot. He said, “But really, gentlemen,
are there no bids at all for this?” and I said, “Oh, ten shillings,” and
he knocked it down to me. And thus I not only got the copy but got the
other vase as well; and this is genuine enough and very interesting too,
as it depicts the race in which a lighted torch was carried by runners
in relays.

All these Greek vases here were made between 600 and 400 B.C. or
thereabouts. In the early style the figures are painted in black and
purple on the pale yellow of the clay: in the next style the clay is
orange and the painting is technically better, and large portions of the
vases are painted black: in the next stage the process is
reversed--instead of black figures on an orange or yellow background,
there is now a black background with red figures, red being now the
colour of the clay. These red-figured vases show Greek art at its very
best, and the others mark the stages that led up to it. Personally, I do
not care much for vases earlier than these. Very nice vases were found
at Ialysos in the island of Rhodes, and Ruskin bought them for the
British Museum; but they have none of those great qualities that make
Greek art worth studying, nor even a foretaste of such qualities. In its
maturity Greek art was far the greatest that the world has ever seen,
but it was not so in its infancy or its senile decay.

Apart from any merit they may have as works of art, Greek vases often
have a human interest, especially if they are inscribed. One vase here
tells you as an interesting fact, “Tleson, the son of Nearchos, made
me.” Another says, “Zephyria is a beauty”; and there is the lady
herself, attired in a very big helmet and a little pair of drawers,
wielding a shield and spear as she performs a Pyrrhic dance. (There is a
picture of this vase in the _Revue Archéologique_ for 1895, vol. XXVI,
page 221.) Another depicts a man conversing with a youth, and the man
has the features of Socrates and satyr’s ears as well. This vase came
out of a tomb at Siana in the island of Rhodes, and is as fresh as when
it left the potter’s hands at Athens: its only blemish is the imprint of
his thumb, made by touching it before the clay was dry. Others are
interesting for their former owners’ sake. One belonged to Fergusson,
the historian of architecture, and another to Samuel Rogers, the poet,
and others to great collectors of the Vulci period, such as Beugnot and

Being at Burgos, 3 September 1877, I went out to the Monastery of San
Pedro de Cardeña, the burial-place of the Cid. The monastery had been
uninhabited for forty years: the keys were kept at a village some way
off, and the man who kept them had gone out shooting. (Whilst waiting
for his return, I saw a little of Spanish agriculture: the oxen treading
out the corn, and the peasants winnowing it by throwing it up into the
air and trusting to the wind to blow the chaff away.) When he returned,
we went down to the monastery; and in the library he suggested that I
might like to take away a book or two in remembrance of the place. I had
scruples, but he really was considering the best interests of the books
themselves. If I had taken them, they might be here in safety; and they
have rotted away.

The museums at Athens were a sore temptation to collectors, when I first
went there more than forty years ago. There were a dozen of these
museums scattered about the town: some of them mere sheds, and hardly
any with glass cases for the smaller things, but only wire netting. And
there were such beautiful little things that would so easily come
through the mesh and go into a collector’s pocket; and they could not
possibly be reclaimed, as they were not marked or numbered, and the
inventories were vague. In my innocence I bought a vase from a
distinguished man (a Greek) and paid him rather a high price for it,
forgetting that he probably had stolen it, and I might just as well have
stolen it myself.

A very curious vase was discovered in Ægina and placed in one of these
museums, a shed on the Acropolis. The vase had a globular body and a
griffin’s neck and head above, with the griffin’s beak as spout. A long
time afterwards the British Museum bought a vase exactly like it,
discovered (it was said) in Thera. As there was one vase of this kind,
there might very well be others; but the vase from Ægina was no longer
to be found in any museum at Athens.

There was a good collection of ancient coins in one of these museums,
and on the night of 10/11 November 1887 the best part of the collection
disappeared. It was stolen by a well-known resident at Athens, Dr
Pericles Raphtopoulos, who was afterwards unwise enough to go to Paris
and steal a collection there, not realising that the French police-force
was more efficient than the Greek. But the facts had not come out when I
reached Athens in the early spring (1888) and everybody told me that
the Keeper had been selling the finest specimens, one by one, and
replacing them by imitations, until at last he saw the game was up, and
sold off all the fine coins that remained. (In reality, the imitations
had been bought to illustrate some lectures.) There is much public
spirit in Greece; and many people were giving their private collections
to the nation, to make good the loss. I fancied that the next Keeper
might sell all these as well; but the answer was, “Oh, no, we will not
have a Greek again,” and they appointed Dr Pick.

Accidents will happen in the very best museums. In 1845 the Portland
vase was smashed in the British Museum, and in 1900 the François vase
was smashed in the Museo Archeologico at Florence. The damage in London
was done by an outsider: not so at Florence, if what I heard was true. I
was told (at the time) that the Keeper was reprimanding a mutinous
subordinate: the vase was on its pedestal in the centre of the room: the
insubordinate person threw a heavy stool at his superior’s head, but
unfortunately missed him and hit the vase instead. The bits were put
together so very skilfully that, when I saw the vase again, I hardly
noticed the repairs.

At the British Museum there used to be officials called Attendants. They
were appointed by the Lord Chancellor, the Primate and the Speaker, and
usually were men of whom they had some personal knowledge. One of these
Attendants had been a servant of a former Primate, and he was like a
father to the students, taking care of their drawings and easels, and
giving them much good advice. I happened to be dining with some friends
in Portland Place, and was amazed to see him officiating as butler there
in his most archiepiscopal style. (The butler of the house had got the
gout, and he had been called in.) When I saw him next, he spoke
apologetically--“Not a very satisfactory dinner, sir, I fear, when I had
the pleasure of meeting you last week. All aspics and jellies, sir, and
there should have been lamb cutlets.”

One of my friends had a particularly pompous butler. A girl gave my
friend a kitten, and he called it Cissy after her. Missing the kitten
one morning, he inquired, “Where’s Cissy?” The butler bowed. “I beg your
pardon, sir, you may not have observed it, but Cissy is a Lady’s name,
and the cat is a Gentleman cat.”

At a sale at Christie’s in 1903 I saw a painting that attracted me, and
I bought it, and hung it in the Tallet here. It was catalogued only as a
portrait, 30 × 25, English School, and “the property of a gentleman”;
but it appears to be a portrait of James Barry (1741-1806) painted by
himself, when he was young. There are other portraits of him painted by
himself at other times of life: one at the National Portrait Gallery,
another at the South Kensington Museum, another at the Society of Arts,
and probably others elsewhere. He also painted himself as Timanthes in
the _Victors at Olympia_, one of his big pictures at the Society of
Arts; and it seems clear to me (though Boswell did not see it) that Dr
Johnson was thinking of Pliny’s criticism of Timanthes, when he made his
celebrated criticism on Barry’s pictures there, 26 May 1783--“Whatever
the hand may have done, the mind has done its part. There is a grasp of
mind there which you will find nowhere else.” Pliny had said, “cum sit
ars summa, ingenium tamen ultra artem est.”

In those six huge pictures he depicts the progress of the human race
from the time of Orpheus onward till it comes to Navigation and Commerce
and the Society of Arts, and thus into Elysium, with a glimpse of
Tartarus beyond. This last bit was invidious, and he was asked for
explanations “respecting the emaciated leg which belongs to the garter
and star precipitating into Tartarus, which was said to be a portrait
made out of resentment to a great nobleman.” Up in Elysium, Marcus
Brutus is leaning on the shoulder of Sir Thomas More; Lycurgus is
examining the laws of William Penn, who is supported by King Alfred;
Annibale Carracci is talking to Pheidias, with Giles Hussey just behind
him; and so on throughout a picture forty-two feet long. And all these
people in Elysium wear the clothes they wore on earth. Barry had made
progress since the _Death of Wolfe_. West painted that exactly as it
happened, with everyone in uniform. Most artists thought it should have
been idealized; and, as a protest, Barry painted it with all the figures
in the nude.

Barry was in Rome from 1766 to 1770, and Winckelmann was there till
1768; and Winckelmann irritated Barry. Amongst other things, “Abbé
Wincleman, who has also passed a magisterial censure upon all the
English poets, was, to my own knowledge of him, so little acquainted
with the language they wrote in, that he was scarcely able to understand
even an ordinary article of intelligence in one of our gazettes.” That
comes in his _Inquiry into the real and imaginary obstructions to the
acquisition of the Arts in England_, published in 1775. Speaking of this
in 1798, he says--“My idea of writing on that subject arose from the
ill-founded, scurrilous aspersions on the climate and on the genius and
capacity of the people of our islands, which made part of the history of
the art, written by the Abbé Wincleman, and (whilst I was at Rome) much
read and talked of, to the great annoyance of our little colony at the
English coffee-house.” The coffee-house was in the Piazza di Spagna, and
the colony then numbered about thirty artists, English, Scotch and

He says in his _Inquiry_, “They ascribe the grand style of design of the
Greeks and Italians to the frequent opportunities that occur in such
warm climates of seeing the people naked.... In our countries the
practice of boxing alone furnishes more frequent exhibitions of the
naked, and of the best kind, than any that are now to be met with in
Italy.” I fancy he was wrong about the quantity of nudity, but right
about its quality. Better models could be found in England than anywhere
abroad, if artists took the trouble to secure them.

Looking at their landscapes, I sometimes think that English artists care
less for getting the finest point of view than getting the most
comfortable place to pitch their easel and camp-stool. And usually they
take professional models for the figure, as these are easiest to get.
They have not the enterprise of Giovanni di Bologna in asking an entire
stranger to be sculptured in the nude. The _Rape of the Sabines_ shows
how wise he was in asking Ginori.

Winckelmann said that he saw people in real life, who were more
beautiful than Guido’s _Archangel_ or Raphael’s _Galatea_. And if our
artists took the trouble, they might see people here in England, who are
more beautiful than anything in modern art. One afternoon I saw a bather
walking up the sands; and he caught sight of something in the distance,
and stopped abruptly, putting up his hand to shade his eyes. If I could
have fixed him there in gilded bronze, he might have faced the
_Apoxyomenos_ or any other figure by Lysippos.

When artists find their models fall short of their ideals, they usually
begin idealizing them. And when the models are Italians, this answers
very well, as the Italians are not unlike the ancient Greeks in build,
and the ancient Greeks have given most artists their ideals. But when
the models are English, it does not do at all, the English being
generally built another way. For one thing, the ilio-femoral ligament is
not so short, and an Englishman can therefore straighten out his back to
an extent that few Italians can, and no Greeks ever could. Think of the
_Doryphoros_ and the _Diadumenos_ being measured for frock-coats, and
the amount of padding that the tailor would have to put in the small of
the back to make their coats look right.

The professional models in England used mostly to be Italians; but now
there are many Jews among them, and a few of other races. A model once
explained to me, “Here I am of the Latin race: there I am Slav,” first
pointing towards the buttocks and then towards the chest. We must have
thoroughbred English models, if we want real English art; but the right
people are seldom willing to endure the strain of staying motionless for
fifty minutes at a time, though some of the professional models can do
that five or six times in a day. The only chance would be with
snap-shots or time-studies, taking only a few minutes each.

In looking at the students’ work at the National Competitions of Art
Schools, I always feel that some schools treat their students rather
badly in giving them such wretched models. It must be discouraging to
have to draw these people who are not worth drawing, though not so great
a waste of time as drawing plaster casts and other easy things. You set
beginners to shoot snipe, reckoning that this will teach them to shoot
anything; and you should likewise start beginners at the life-class.

There is a prize for studies from life, given by the Society of Arts out
of the income of a fund that was subscribed as a memorial to Mulready;
and the studies are exhibited at these National Competitions. But the
prize cannot now be given every year, as the income is too small. A
patron of the Arts might well augment that fund.

When models sit for great artists, they will ask them now and then why
they do this or that and why they do it one way rather than another.
Thinking the answers over and comparing them, the models get an insight
into things that few critics understand. I have generally found
professional models acuter than professional critics in their judgments
upon works of art.

In the days of the Pre-Raphaelites the professional critics did their
best to crush the young men who could paint, and now-a-days they praise
the young men who can neither paint nor draw. Both methods are annoying
to real artists, though they will some day make their mark, whatever the
critics may say. But the new method is more harmful, as it gives the
scamps their chance. They see that critics can talk the public into
giving 50 or 100 guineas for things that would not otherwise fetch more
than 18 pence; and they can easily hoax the critics.

I believe that public taste is guided more by Baedeker than by any other
man or body of men or books. When I go sightseeing abroad, I see people
of all nations relying on his Guides. They hardly look at anything
unless it has a star *, and when there is a double star **, their
admiration knows no bounds. Stars, however, rise and set, and single and
double sometimes interchange. I have compared his treatment of the Brera
at Milan in his _Northern Italy_ in the first English edition, 1868, and
in the fourteenth, 1913. (I had these with me on the earliest and the
latest of my visits there.) In 1868 six pictures have a star, and one
has a double star. In 1913 the double star remains, and two of the
single stars, but the other four have disappeared; and there now are
stars to seven pictures that had none in 1868. And people go star-gazing
just the same.

My father made old Baedeker’s acquaintance in 1839 or ’40, and formed a
very high opinion of him. At that time he was a bookseller in Coblence,
and little known outside the Rhineland, the subject of his earliest
Guide. Thirty years ago I thought that Hendschel would oust Bradshaw
just as Baedeker had ousted Murray; but the Continental Bradshaw was
afterwards brought up to date, and Murray’s Guides were not.

There was a big statue of Wellington at Hyde Park Corner, where there is
a little statue of him now; and the big statue stood upon the Arch until
the Arch was taken down and set up further back in 1883. A great-uncle
of mine writes to my maternal grandmother, 23 March 1847, “I have seen
the Wellington Statue. It is not at all too large for the Arch, and is a
noble thing indeed.” It was new then, and everyone was finding fault
with it. It was much too big for the Arch, and it was not a noble thing;
but the present statue of the Duke is an ignoble thing. If things are
bad, by all means do away with them; but do not replace them by things
that may be just as bad, though with another kind of badness. Look at
the great west window in Exeter Cathedral: the new glass has not the
same demerits as the old, but as a work of art it is every bit as bad,
and it is much less interesting.

While the new Cathedral at Westminster was being built, I went in
several times to see it, and once I tested its acoustics very
unexpectedly. The chancel steps had not been built, so I walked up a
plank; and the plank came up like a see-saw when I reached the higher
end. It jerked me off, and I said something suitable. And then my words
ascended to the apse, and were rolled back along the nave and aisles
like a thunderous Amen.--I remember three designs for that Cathedral.
First it was to be a Gothic building, rivalling the Abbey. Then it was
designed as a Basilica, rather like St Paul’s at Rome as rebuilt since
the fire. And then came the Byzantine thing we know: like all Byzantine
things, far better inside than out.

An architect in London designed a house near here, and a specification
was sent down from town: all walls to rest upon a concrete bed of
specified size. The site was solid rock; and tons of granite were
blasted out to make way for the concrete bed.--I happened to tell this
to a ship-owner, and he remarked with some surprise, “I thought it was
only Government officials who did that kind of thing.” And he told me of
a ship of his that was employed in carrying troops. The regulations said
that there must be (I think) eight feet clear height between the decks,
and this ship of his had more, say ten. And temporary decks were built
two feet above the permanent decks in order to reduce the height to

There is a letter to my mother from one of her aunts, Southsea, 4
October 1861, “We went to see ‘the Warrior’ in dock, and a most
beautiful sight she is. We went all over her, she is immense! It is
thought she must roll much in anything of a heavy sea, and Kit and other
Naval men think she ought not to be sent into danger, such ships being
fitter to defend the coasts instead of new batteries. That unhappy
‘Great Eastern’! Will anyone ever venture in her again?” The Great
Eastern had been caught in an Atlantic gale three weeks before, and the
passengers found it very uncomfortable--“The two cows that fell with
their cowshed down into the ladies’ cabin were killed by the violence of
the shock.” I remember the Great Eastern very well, and also the
Warrior--I saw her first in 1864, in Torbay. She was the earliest of our
ironclads, and was completed in 1861.

In the old days of little wooden ships this part of England had a much
larger share in shipping. Before _Lloyd’s Register_ began, there were
two rival registers of shipping--the shipowners’ red book, which began
in 1799, and the underwriters’ green book, which began some years
before, but lost many of its supporters by changing its system of
classification in 1797. The underwriters had kept surveyors at
twenty-four ports in Great Britain and Ireland; and six of the
twenty-four were less than twenty miles from here--Dartmouth,
Teignmouth, Exmouth, Starcross, Topsham and Exeter. And in 1799 the
shipowners put surveyors at twenty-two of these, omitting Exmouth and
Starcross, and adding six other ports, making twenty-eight in all. There
were eighty-eight surveying ports in 1834, when _Lloyd’s Register_ was
started; and these included Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Topsham and Exeter,
but the two last had only one surveyor between them. In another fifty
years all four had ceased to be surveying ports, and the nearest
surveyor was at Plymouth.

I wrote the article on Ships in the great _Dictionnaire des Antiquités_
edited by Daremberg and Saglio; and while at work on it, I found that I
was cramped for space, and therefore asked for more. But the answer was
that they had given me as much space for ‘Navis’ as they had given
Navarre for ‘Meretrices,’ and my subject could not possibly require more
space than his.

There is an old cottage here called Bowhouse, one of the six old
dwellings that form the hamlet here. I repaired it in 1919 and cut a
window through the west wall, as it was rather dark inside; and three
old coins were found there while the work was going on, one of George
the Third, one of William the Third, and one of Henry the Third. The
George III was underneath the staircase, and might have slipped down
through a crack. The William III was found in sweeping up a floor, but
there was no knowing how it came to be amongst the rubbish there. The
Henry III was embedded in the west wall where the window was cut
through. That is a very thick wall, built of cob, and was found to be
‘as hard as brass’ for cutting. The coin was in the middle of the cob,
and certainly had been there ever since the wall was built.

The coin is one of the ‘short cross’ pennies that were superseded by the
‘long cross’ pennies in 1249. It has the names of Henry as the king,
Adam as the moneyer and London as the mint; and Adam was moneyer there
from 1205 to 1237. Henry the Third did not become king until 1216; but
the coin may perhaps be earlier than that, as Henry the Second put the
name of Henry on these pennies in 1180, and his successors never altered
it. The coin is much the worse for wear, and may have been in use for
many years before it found its way into the wall.

These silver pennies were worth a good deal then. There was an Inquiry
on 20 May 1316 after the death of William le Pruz--the old knight whose
effigy is now in Lustleigh church at the south end of the transept--and
his meadows at Lustleigh were valued at 3_d._ a year an acre, against £5
now, or just 400 times as many pence. But the real value of the meadows
must be pretty much the same.

Under the Corn Production Act of 1917 the Wages Board not only fixed a
minimum wage for agricultural work, but also fixed a maximum for the
deduction from the wage when the worker is provided with a cottage. In
this district the maximum is 3_s._ a week; and I am now paying 3_s._
5_d._ a week on a cottage in rates and taxes and fire-insurance. I get
nothing for the cottage, but only lose by it, and therefore am not eager
to build more.

In this district the old cottages are relatively better than the new,
judging them by the general standard of comfort at the time when they
were built; and some of them are absolutely better, as they have more
spacious rooms. My grandfather writes from here, 1 June 1851, “Prince
Albert must not think of putting labouring men in parlours, if he
expects good hardy soldiers and sailors.” The modern cottages have
parlours, seldom used, and bedrooms that will hardly hold a bed.

Innovations have seldom been improvements here. There are very many new
things that are better than the old; but here one chiefly sees the new
things that are cheaper than the old, and these are not always better.
Many of them are not really cheaper. I have just given the roof of this
house a new coat of thatch that ought to last for twenty years or more.
The thatching here is done with wheat straw; so I grew a crop close by,
and sold the grain and kept the straw. Slate or tile costs more; and
with such roofing I should have to spend a great deal more on fuel, to
keep the house as warm in winter time.

In some ways a thatched roof is better than a cellar as a place for
storing wine: the temperature just suits the wine, and there is not any
damp. My grandfather tried keeping some above his bedroom ceiling; but
it was an inconvenient place for fetching bottles down, and accidents
may happen when thatchers are about.

After looking at my vases here, a foreigner made me a little speech.
“Oh, your country, how wonderful it is. Who should think to find choice
works of ancient Greece with a roof of what you call the Thetch. In
another house I find antiquities of Egypt, in another the Oriental
porcelain and the lacquer, in another I find pictures most superb. Where
originals do not exist, I find reproductions of the greatest works.
Surely your England is the most artistic country in the world.”--I fear
that England is Artistic in another sense. One day a shopman was showing
me things all covered with clumsy ornament, and I asked if there was
nothing of good design, without all these excrescences. He seemed
puzzled at this, and then it dawned upon him, “Oh, I see, sir. You want
something less Artistic.”

This was a secluded place until the railway came. My grandfather writes
on 23 September 1849, “I find most people like Wreyland, that is, those
advancing in years: so quiet and so sheltered.” And then on 3 January
1864, “I cannot fancy that any railway improves scenery, but this will
not so disturb it as one might imagine.... They fancy it is cutting up
the country and letting in more people, which will destroy the scenery
and the quiet of the neighbourhood; but they think more of its
introducing new society than destroying the scenery.”

People who live amidst fine scenery are apt to treat it with contempt,
partly from familiarity and partly (I think) because they do not see the
scenery as other people see it. You form a higher opinion of a man if
you have only seen him at his best, than if you have also seen him at
his worst and in all intermediate states. It is the same with scenery.
Most strangers see this district in the height of summer, whereas the
natives see it in the winter time as well, and have both aspects of it
in their mind when they are looking at it; and they sometimes show
impatience when strangers praise it overmuch. A farmer here was leaning
over a gate from which there is a glorious view. Seeing the view, a
passer-by remarked to him how glorious it was. The farmer answered,
“Durn the view. I bain’t lookin’ at no view. I be lookin’ how they
dratted rabbits ’as ated up my tunnips.”

When the railway came, a plan was drawn up showing how the hillsides
were to be laid out with winding roads and villas in the accepted
Torquay style; and two such villas were built, but happily no further
harm was done.--Torquay had spread out with its winding roads all over
the unsheltered hills, and was trading on the reputation it had gained
when it was all in shelter. After wintering there, a lady told me it was
the first time she had wintered in a place where the ink froze on her
writing table.

The old houses here are generally down in hollows, as the old people
thought more of shelter than of anything else: they never dreamt of
building houses in unsheltered places for the sake of views. In 1849-50
a house was built on the hill behind Lustleigh, facing Lustleigh Cleave.
My grandfather writes, 5 January 1851, “I told them last summer, when
they were talking of their view, that they had not yet experienced a
South Wester. Now they have experienced one, they have packed off, bag
and baggage: one window blown in and smashed to pieces, wood and all,
and others damaged.”

Since then that house has been much altered and enlarged, and now has a
set of turrets. Turrets were a novelty here; and, looking at it, someone
said to me, “Bain’t shaped proper, like a house: more like a cruet, I
call’n.” Architects so often spoil their work by thinking only of
design, without considering whether it will suit the district and the
site. Two great houses have been built within ten miles of here in
recent years. One is by an Oxford architect--now dead--and would look
very well in Oxford, in the Broad, or even in the country, if it stood
on level ground and had big trees behind. Half-way up a steep hill-side,
it is hardly a success. The other is by Lutyens. It stands on a hill-top
that was better without it; but, if there had to be a house there, this
was the very thing.

Another edifice is by a man I cannot call an Architect: a simple Tect,
and nothing more. There happened to be a corrugated iron shed close by;
and a man remarked to me, “That is one of the few buildings of which I
can conscientiously say that its appearance is improved by having a
corrugated iron shed in front of it.”

All over Devon our A1 villages are being converted into C3 towns; but
this is being done by people who have only C3 minds and little
experience of anything above C3. I hate their works, but resent their
want of culture far less than I resent the want of breeding in the
people who appreciate a view and build a house where they can see it,
well knowing that their house will spoil the view for everybody else.

There was a copse of nut-bushes growing wild amongst the rocks on the
way to Lustleigh Cleave. In early years I felt quite sure that
Providence had put it there to give us a supply of nuts to take to the
Nut Cracker--a logan-stone at the top of the Cleave, so delicately
poised that it just cracked the nuts and did not crush them. And now the
bushes are cut down and the rocks rolled over, and in their place there
is a cluster of corrugated iron huts.

When a War Memorial was projected here, I thought that the names of the
dead might be carved on one of the great rocks on Lustleigh Cleave, with
the date and nothing more. As it is, they have been carved on a neat
little wooden tablet with an inscription of the usual kind, and put up
in the church. I fancy our memorial might have been more worthy of them,
had their names been on the granite in the solitude up there with that
wild ravine below.

We have another memorial here, of which we all are proud. It is at the
railway station. “Beneath this slab, and stretched out flat, lies Jumbo,
once our station cat.” That cat had many lives: jumped in and out
between the wheels of trains, and yet died in its bed.

A tombstone is primarily a label for identifying what is down below; but
survivors will not always face that brutal fact. They merely give the
name and age; and in after years this may not be enough. I had to find
the next-of-kin to an old servant of ours who was over ninety when she
died. (She had always kept them at a distance, as they often wished to
borrow money that she did not wish to lend.) There was an entry in a
Family Bible, say, A.B. born 1 January 1820; and there were tombstones
of three persons named A.B. who died at ages answering to that.--They
ought to give the birthday and the parents’ Christian names, to show
exactly who is there. Instead of that, they usually give texts and
verses out of hymns.

This has always been a healthy district, and so very quiet that people
had no worries; and they usually lived on till a great age. I have heard
it said regretfully, “Ah, her died young,” and then heard it explained,
“Her ne’er saw sixty.” Times are changing now. Looking at the tombstones
of some kindred of my own, I was observing how the ages fell from
nineties and eighties to seventies and sixties. I said nothing aloud,
but the sexton read my thoughts and put them into words, “Aye, zir, they
do say as each generation be weaker and wiser than the last.”

                   *       *       *       *       *

                         _BY THE SAME AUTHOR_

                        SMALL TALK AT WREYLAND

                             FIRST SERIES

                   Demy 8vo. Illustrated. 8_s._ net.

“Mr Torr chats to us. We feel that we have been invited to Wreyland and
are sitting with him over the fire while he turns through his
grandfather’s and his father’s letters and reads us little extracts, and
lets his talk wander as it will from suggestion to suggestion.... A
quaint ingenuity and originality of idea plays about it all: a sly wit
flashes here and there. But always, behind everything, we feel Wreyland,
the Devon home, the rooted life. We should like to give some examples;
but choosing them is as difficult as choosing raspberries when all are
ripe; for, in the classic phrase of the reviewer, there is not a dull
page in Mr Torr’s book. We confess to skipping a single paragraph. On
turning back to read it we found that we had missed a fragrant bit of
social history.... As to good stories, open any page that you will and
you will find one.... The only point of capping a good talker’s stories
is to egg him on to tell more. We hope that Mr Torr will take the
hint.”--_Times Literary Supplement._

“He has travelled far afield in Europe, and he comes back to Wreyland
and dips into his grandfather’s and his father’s letters, and his own
memory as well, and tells us what he thinks of things that were and are.
And what we like is the easy balance of his mind. The old times were not
always the good times, and modern days are not altogether bad; so Mr
Torr has taken each as it has come, and has been content
therewith.”--_Morning Post._

“Wreyland is Mr Torr’s home near Dartmoor, and his book gives us a sort
of comic mirror of life at Wreyland during his own life and the life of
his grandfather. For Mr Torr sees life comically as surely as Jane
Austen herself.... It would be difficult, indeed, to define the reasons
of its astonishing attractiveness. Probably one of them is that Mr Torr
was born with a genius for enjoyment, and that he somehow infects us
with his happiness in his most trivial pages.”--_Daily News._

“This short book is worth a dozen of the silly volumes that now flood
the book-market. It preserves country lore of the sort that is fast
decaying, mingled with travel notes, a few details of scholarship and
family history. The ordinary local historian is industrious, but wanting
in other ways. Mr Torr is a scholar: he has, too, an excellent sense of
humour, an inquiring mind and an observant eye.”--_Saturday Review._

“A man who takes a keen interest in his ancestral place and in his
humble neighbours, and who at the same time is in touch with the world
of scholarship through his special studies, may be said to make the most
of life.... Mr Torr, like a true scholar, wastes no words. The essence
of the ordinary book of memoirs, as he knows, is in the anecdotes. He
therefore gives the anecdotes without the usual framework, telling them
neatly and briefly, and passing from one subject to another without even
a chapter-heading to break the flow of good talk.”--_Spectator._

“Mr Torr’s book is as typically English as a Christmas pudding.... His
book is far more than a local history, however; it should be read as a
complementary volume to _Mansfield Park_ and _Pendennis_, to _Life’s
Little Ironies_ and _The Way of all Flesh_.... From Mr Torr we learn
just how good life could be for a wealthy, self-contained, enterprising
Englishman in the last hundred years or so. It was all more or less
comic relief to him. Old walls are almost serious, and old roofs, and
the beauty of fine days and fine landscape; the rest is good

“He has travelled and written books, he is a depository of odd lore,
sometimes local, sometimes classical, sometimes smacking of the great
world. Intermixed with his own chatty reminiscences he gives us extracts
from old family letters and other glimpses of days which the war has
caused to seem further off than they are. Reading this charming little
book is very much like listening to the squire gossiping by his own

“And when we close his book and try to recollect what it was in it that
made it so hard to lay down, we begin to be aware that his converse with
us has flowed on in just that artless inevitable way: one thing, as the
saying goes, leads to another.... He has charm; and the charm of this
extraordinary book we despair of conveying by any quotation or any
description; we can only say it is there.”--_Field._

“He goes from story to story, from oddment to oddment, wasting no time
in generalisations or connecting platitudes. The result is an
extraordinary medley that might almost (save only for a few dates) have
been written fifty years ago, or fifty years hence, by a man of Mr
Torr’s knowledge, habits, and temperament, and that could have been read
with as much pleasure by a man of George I’s reign as it probably will
be by people who accidentally run across it in the reign of George
XII.”--_Land and Water._

“If by ‘small talk’ is meant gossip, Mr Torr will not be offended if we
say that this is one of the pleasantest books of gossip which we ever
came across.... The district is a little out of the world, and it is no
wonder that some of the pleasant superstitions of rural England have not
died out there.... The family were great travellers, and many parallel
examples from other countries are adduced to illustrate the
superstitions of Devonshire.”--_Country Life._

“Mr Torr was well advised by his friends to publish these jottings,
originally intended for private circulation. They will specially
interest Devonians, as they are mostly about the manners and customs,
superstitions and traditions of that fascinating county in the days
before railways, but they give you glimpses also of later days and of
places of more general interest, of Italy, for example, when under the
intolerable tyranny of Austria, and of France when in the throes of the
Franco-Prussian War, and even a glimpse of Napoleon the

“We are grateful that in days like these he has drawn from his store of
reminiscences such a delightful and varied assortment of small talk. He
brings to his aid, too, diaries and letters of relatives as keenly
observant and as alert and shrewd as himself.”--_Queen._

“My first thought was, ‘What on earth is the University Press doing with
small talk in an obscure village?’ My second was, ‘How enterprising they
were to get hold of such an odd and excellent book!’... I do not know
any book in which so many characteristic and uniformly good stories of
Devonshire people are to be found.... But he has gone far beyond the
locality. He is liable to touch on anything in the world except his
inner self. That is a pity. A little more egoism would have made his
book even better.”--_The New Statesman._

“‘I meant,’ writes the author of this attractive miscellany, ‘to keep to
local matters, but it has gone much further than that.’ It has. _Small
Talk at Wreyland_ travels over half the world and many centuries of
history.... The ordinary reader who merely wishes to roam the world
without leaving his own fireside will find Mr Torr a delightful

“It is seldom that one comes on so good a volume of gossip as _Small
Talk at Wreyland_.... _Emma_ itself hardly throws more light on the
comic side of human nature than do some of these old letters.... But it
is for its glimpses of life in Wreyland, not of the larger world, that
one will return again and again to Mr Torr’s most entertaining

“So we look for the kind of book an accomplished scholar produces, and
we are not disappointed, though Mr Torr has left his materials in ‘most
admired disorder.’... With Mr Torr some new theme is always turning
up--we never know quite how or when.... We are obliged to him for some
capital gossip, and we shall be glad to have more.”--_Notes and

“Mr Torr, of Wreyland (a Devonshire hamlet), has a super-excellent
memory, a pleasant sense of humour, and a useful aptitude for keeping
old diaries and letters. Not only does Mr Torr keep these, but he
actually reads them, and extracts from them the juiciest morsels for our
delectation.... Perhaps, after all, it is manner even more than matter
which makes the charm of this book.”--_Literary World._

“Wreyland is a hamlet in Devonshire; and Mr Torr’s book of gossip gives
us the life at Wreyland in his own, his father’s, and his grandfather’s
days. The concrete pleasure and happiness of it, the deep association
between man and man, and between man and nature, bring one back to
reality and life. There is a richness in country life, whether of
peasant or squire, which makes the epigram of the pulpit and the
philosophy of the school seem thin and foolish. The unconscious wisdom
of life radiates through Mr Torr’s pages, and it is a bigger thing and a
better than any despair or mockery, than any explanations or

“The book is exceedingly interesting, diverting, and informing. To me it
has been better than many discourses of the learned, and some
exhortations of the pious.”--_Methodist Recorder._

“A book, if it is a good book, must be natural, unforced, something that
has ‘grow’d’ as Topsy herself grow’d in _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_. Well,
_Small Talk at Wreyland_ has grow’d, as a regard for it grows as one
turns its pages and reads of peaceful days and pleasant journeys, and,
sometimes, of notable people. It has all the qualities of good talk by a
good host who has gathered a few friends about him in his home in some
interesting part of the country.”--_Church Family Newspaper._

“I wish we could fence off a district of Mr Torr’s Devonshire, and
preserve it and its population as an exhibit.... I wish quite
passionately that the inhabitants of Wreyland as a type could be
preserved. It is a rest to pause and contemplate them. They are so
mellow.”--_Saturday Westminster Gazette._

                      CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

                      LONDON: FETTER LANE, E.C. 4

                          C. F. CLAY, MANAGER

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