The Sussex Diarists. 37
imprecations sounding from side to side, as is too often the case at cards."
And, again, Feb. 2, in the same year, "We supped at Mr. Fuller's, and spent the evening with a great deal of mirth, till between one and two. Tho. Fuller brought my wife home upon his back. I cannot say I came home sober, though I was far from being bad company. I think we spent the evening with a great deal of pleasure."
Cards all night and merriment till between one and two in the morning do not say much for the habits of the day! to say nothing of carrying home ladies pick-a-back! But this is nothing to what took place on the succeeding 22nd and 25th of February :—
"About 4 p.m. I walked down to Whyly. We played at bragg the first part of the even. After ten we went to supper on four boiled chicken, four boiled ducks, minced veal, cold roast goose, chicken pasty and ham. Our company, Mr. and Mrs. Porter, Mr. and Mrs. Coates, Mrs. Atkins, Mrs. Hicks, Mr. Piper and wife, Joseph Fuller and wife, Tho. Fuller and wife, Dame Durrant, myself and wife and Mr. French's family. After supper our behaviour was far from that of serious, harmless mirth; it was downright obstreperious, mixed with a great deal of folly and stupidity. Our diversion was dancing or jumping about, without a violin or any musick, singing of foolish healths and drinking all the time as fast as it could be well poured down; and the parson of the parish was one among the mixed multitude. If conscience dictates right from wrong, as doubtless it sometimes does, mine is one that I may say is soon offended; for, I must say, I am always very uneasy at such behaviour, thinking it not like the behaviour of the primitive Christians, which I imagine was most in conformity to our Saviour's gospel. Nor would I be thought to be either a cynick or a stoick, but let social improving discourse pass round the company. About three o'clock, finding myself to have as much liquor as would do me good, I slipt away unobserved, leaving my wife to make my excuse. Though I was very far from sober, I came home, thank God, very safe and well, without even tumbling; and Mr. French's servant brought my wife home at ten minutes past five " (probably, add the Editors of the Diary, on his back).
This is pretty well in the way of " fooling;" but what follows beats it:—
"Thursday, Feb. 25th. This morning, about six o'clock, just as my wife was got to bed, we was awaked by Mrs. Porter, who pretended she wanted some cream of tartar ; but as soon as my wife got out of bed she vowed she should come down. She found Mr. Porter, Mr. Fuller, and his wife, with a lighted candle, and part of a bottle of port wine and a glass. The next thing was to have me down stairs, which being apprized of, I