Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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20                   Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. II.
Mr. Pitman once told me that he had had the water analysed, and that it was nothing but pure spring water, a fact which led many years afterwards to the East-Bourne Water Company utilising it for the supply of the town, though it is'not now habitually drawn upon.
The sea-shore, formerly very accessible (but not so now) through the gap in the cliff past a picturesque cottage, used to be a favourite site for picnics before the Water Company blocked it. I remember two picnics there. On August 28, 1862, I was present at one at which a very nerve-shaking incident occurred. My grandmother's carriage with its pair of horses had been driven down the fairly tolerable road to the sea-shore laden with some of the good things of this life. The horses had been taken out and tethered. Whilst we were enjoying our luncheon it was discovered that the two horses were quietly trotting up a coastguard path in the face of the cliff, thereabouts, I suppose, 200 ft. high ; and a false step would have brought one or both of them over and down to the beach where they must inevitably have been killed. The coachman, William Winter by name, frightened out of his wits, started to run after them, but it was quickly evident that even had he overtaken them he could have done nothing useful, so he wisely halted until the horses had reached the level grass at the top of the cliff where they began to browse, and where they were secured and brought back by an inland road none the worse for their quasi-a\-pme experiences. The path is marked on Plate XIII., Fig. 24, with a cross.
The other picnic I referred to was fixed to take the shape of a moonlight supper on the beach on August 3, 1887. The supper was duly served and the party, number­ing about 30, were seated or were squatting around eager to be fed. It was suddenly suggested that the moon was not giving an adequate supply of light for the supper to be enjoyed in comfort; and it was then ascertained by one of the party that an eclipse of the moon was in progress. Before long the moon went nearly out and the supper had to be finished by such light as was
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