The Sussex Diarists. 19
months. He stayed with me but a very short time. Paid Thos. Avery his wages in full, though he was sick part of the time.
" 1741. John Steer went away from my house Dec. 16th. He was with me about a year, and I had just given him a coat, waistcoat, breaches, and hat, and 3 shirts, which cost me ^5. is.
" 1742. Sarah Juppe came to live with me March 25th, and is to have £2. 10s. if she stays with me to Lady Day, 1743. But this she did not do. For she left me Nov. 7th, and came to me on the 16th of the same month."
Mr. Turner suggests a reason for this quitting service one day and returning to it two or three days later. It was to avoid making a servant chargeable to the parish by an uninterrupted twelve months' hiring. One of the blessings of the old Poor Law!
Like most country gentlemen, the Stapleys were sportsmen, and there are numerous entries concerning dogs, guns, foxes, and even hawks, showing that falconry was not yet an obsolete sport. Thus, in 1642, " Bought a hawk for £z, and in 1643 bought another at the same price." These must have been well-trained birds to fetch such high prices.
There is nothing about music in the Stapley diaries—no mention of concerts or pianofortes or even fiddles; but Mr. Richard Stapley had an ear for one species of music. Ex. gr.: " Paid to William Ashford, for two beagles, which make my cry complete, £ 4. 15s."
This expression calls to mind the beautiful lines uttered by Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream :—
v My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, So flew'd, so sanded; and their heads are hung With ears that sweep away the morning dew; Crook-knee'd and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls ; Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells, Each under each. A cry more tuneable Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn, In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly : Judge, when you hear.
On the 5th of October, 1739, Mr. Stapley records a sad misfortune to his canine establishment:—"I had a mad dog in my kennel, and was obliged to kill all my hounds. Six of them were all hanging at the same time."