Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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114                 Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. X.
derived much benefit from any work done in East-Bourne. My uncle Mr. F. Brodie, had an observatory at The Gore, with a good telescope in it, a 6-inch refractor, from 1854 to 1858, but he did not make much use of it. He used colza oil for the lamps of the observatory, and constantly found the top of the small oil can he used for filling his lamps lying loose by the side of the can. His theory was, that the mice pushed the top off, and lowered their tails into the oil and sucked the oil from their tails !
I had an observatory in the tower of my house from 1876 to 1907, and a 6-inch achromatic refractor in it with which I did a certain amount of work, and to see and benefit by which, I am glad to say, visitors often came.
In connection, in a certain sense, with my astro­nomical work at East-Bourne, I may here introduce a strange instance of mental imbecility, as I regarded it at the time. On September 18, 1879, I was one of a party of 60 who agreed to join in a picnic tea at Wannock. Most of the company, including myself, went by train to Polegate and walked thence. On emerging from the
station, a very old friend Mrs. ------ said to me, " My
friend Mr.------is anxious to make your acquaintance,"
I said "All right; introduce him to me"—which was done. We walked to Wannock together and talked about various things, and then he mingled with the 60 and I never spoke to him again. Some weeks later Mrs. ------ said to me, " My friend Mr. ------was very dis­appointed with you : you talked with him for ^ an hour and never once mentioned the subject of Astronomy, which was the one subject on which he wished to hear you speak." I said " What a fool the man was : why did he not say he wished to talk Astronomy?" I hold that a person who has a hobby has no right to thrust his hobby into conversation with strangers, unless specifically asked to do so.
The East-Bourne Natural History Society has always been the chief scientific centre in the town, and a vast amount of valuable information has been gathered by its members, especially in its earlier days. Founded
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