Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIX.]                 Holker Hall.                               247
A Visit to Holker Hall.
On September 27, 1888, my wife and I were taking a trip on Lake Windermere in company with Mr. J. T. Hibbert, M.P., and amongst our fellow passengers was Lady Edward Cavendish with some relatives. She asked us whether we were staying in the neighbourhood, and if so whether we could go over and lunch at Holker Hall and see her father, who would be glad to hear tidings of things and people at East-Bourne. We accepted the invitation, and the next day found ourselves at the Hall, driving thither across country from Hampsfield and Cartwell. Arrived there we were ushered into a drawing room which at the moment was empty, and so we amused ourselves by examining the pictures. After a short time a cleric, evidently a Bishop, came into the room, stared at us, walked to the far end of the room, and resumed his writing. We resumed our examination of the pictures. Suddenly we came to one to which my wife called my attention saying " Look here, this is a picture of Tresco Abbey in the Scilly Islands."(a) No sooner had she uttered the words, than a hard voice from the far corner of the room shouted out, " No it t'aynt." The speaker was the Bishop of London (Temple). Soon after, Lady Louisa Egerton and her husband, Admiral Egerton, M.P., her sister-in-law, Lady Edward Cavendish with Mr. Victor Cavendish (the present Duke) entered the room and we were formally introduced to the famous Bishop, and made an acquaintance with him which he revived on his coming to Lambeth. The peculiar timbre of his voice remained till the end, and I was fortunate enough to hear him make his famous last speech in the House of Lords on December 4, 1902, on the Education Bill of that year. But this is a long digression from Holker Hall. I need hardly say that the old Duke's conversation included a good deal of historic matter connected with East-Bourne, a remark which also applies to the conversation of the 2 ladies, but the details of which I do not give.
(a) The property of Mr. Smith-Dorrien, a cousin of my wife's.
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