Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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32                   Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
good resolutions, which—but the sequel will show how he kept them. He determines to rise early, to breakfast between seven and eight, and to dine between the hours of twelve and one; eating sparingly of meat, but plenty of garden stuff; his supper to consist of weak broth, water-gruel, or milk pottage, varied occasionally with a fruit pie.
" If," he says, " I am at home, or in company abroad, I will never drink more than four glasses of strong beer; one to drink the King's health, the second to the Royal Family, the third to all friends, and the fourth to the pleasure of the company. If there is either wine or punch, never upon any terms or perswasion to drink more than eight glasses, each glass to hold no more than half a quarter of a pint."
He concludes with the resolution, " allways to go to bed at or before ten o'clock."
Mr. Turner was at this time a married man. Men married early ioo years ago, in all ranks of life; for competition was not so fierce as it is now, and men were less ambitious in their aims and women less expensive in their dress and houses. His wife, too, shared in his literary tastes, for an early entry tells us that on one occasion " my wife read to me that moving scene of the funeral of Miss Clarissa Harlow" (in Richardson's novel), and thereupon he makes the edifying remark:—
" Oh, may the Supreme Being give me grace to lead my life in such a manner as my exit may in some measure be like that divine creature's."
And let it not be supposed that the East Hoathly grocer's readings was limited to novels. In the course of five or six weeks, say the editors of his diary (Messrs. R. W. Blencowe and M. A. Lower), "we find him recording his perusal of Gray's Poems, Stewart On the Supreme Being, the Whole Duty of Man, Paradise Lost and Regained, Othello, the Universal Magazine, Thomson's Seasons, Young's Night Thoughts, Tournefort's Voyage to the Levant, and Peregrine Pickle."
A very good six weeks' reading for a man engaged all the day in trade ! Another day we find him reading part of Boyle's Lectures ; then he turns from science to politics and reads "several numbers of the Freeholder" which, he adds,
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