266 Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XIX,
Extracts from Letters of Dr. Brodie.
I have been favoured by the loan of a number of old letters written by Dr. Brodie, 1803-1828, to his only sister Mrs. O'Connor. These letters are now in the possession of Mrs. O'Connor's grandson (and therefore my cousin), Mr. J. Sweetman, of Dublin. From these letters, I have made some extracts bearing on East-Bourne history.
Sir Arthur Piggott, M.P. is thus alluded to by Dr. Brodie in a letter dated February 6, 1816. It should be explained that he had been employed to draw a Bill in Chancery in connection with some Brodie property :—
" Sr. A. Piggott would settle the Bill since which I have not heard a word of the proceedings. Sr. Arthur was idle at Eastbourn—flirting wh Miss Nap instead of looking over papers (who by the by has since lost her father and that within a few days after he left Eastbourn)—Sr. Arthur tells his friends in London that Eastbourn is retired and therefore a proper place for to look over papers—At Eastbourn he tells us that he comes here for his health, to retreat from business ; not to prose over papers."
The Gilbert family are frequently mentioned in Dr. Brodie's letters. Thus under date of February 6, 1816, I find :—
" There is a sad to-do in the Church here, raising the dead that have been buried for two hundred years past. Gilbert's death, which took place on the 1st inst. here, has occasioned an uproar among his ancestors' bones, for the purpose of building him a vault to deposit his remains. At present, it is unknown what disposition of property he has made, as he desired that his will may not be opened till he was buried. Giddy is here, and appears in good spirits. It is the general opinion that he has locked up all his property to the children of Mrs. Giddy, with a handsome provision to Mrs. Gilbert for her life. However, a few days will put us in possession of the secret."
In a subsequent letter, dated March 17, 1816, I find: —
" The death of Gilbert gave Mrs. Gilbert the use of her brother's property for her life, then to Mrs. Giddy—Mr. Giddy, and afterwards to his children— in fail of issue to the Haverfield family ; in fail of issue then, to the then Lord Northampton in tail. Mrs. Gilbert has, I am sorry to say, paid the like debt of her brother, she died on Saturday evening at 7 o'clock wh the disorder which is very prevalent here, the influenza. Mrs. Giddy is now in possession and, I am confident, will keep it. She has began her reign by a frugal act of burying her aunt without a leaden coffin. The aunt gave lead to her brother —the niece thinks it superflous. Man wants but little hire below, and that little not long. I presume Mrs. Giddy reads the woru ' below,' to mean the grave, and iherefore the less encumbrance the better, as time will be comparatively short when she will assume another substance. This lady was sent for, express to London, as her aunt was dying; but as frugality is always commendable she left London in her own carriage which brought her half way, while in the meantime she wrote to her dying aunt to send her carriage to