Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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38                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
fastened my door. Up stairs they came and threatened to break it open; so I ordered the boys to open it, when they poured into my room; and, as modesty forbid me to get out of bed, so I refrained; but their immodesty permitted them to draw me out of bed, as the common phrase is, topsy-turvey; but, however, at the intercession of Mr. Porter, they permitted
me to put on my-----, and instead of my upper cloaths, they gave me
time to put on my wife's petticoats; and in this manner they made me dance, without shoes and stockings, until they had emptied the bottle of wine and also a bottle of my beer. . . . About three o'clock in the afternoon they found their way to their respective homes, beginning to be a little serious, and, in my opinion, ashamed of their stupid enterprise and drunken preambulation. Now, let anyone call in reason to his assistance, and seriously reflect on what I have before recited, and they will join with me in thinking that the precepts delivered from the pulpit on Sunday, tho' delivered with the greatest ardour, must lose a great deal of their efficacy by such examples."
Most unquestionably there are few in these days who will not give a hearty approval to these sentiments of Mr. Thomas Turner. Perhaps it was in a vein of satire that, immediately after chronicling the above nocturnal orgies, our diarist adds:—"Sunday, March 3. We had as good a sermon as I ever heard Mr. Porter preach—it being against swearing."
Drinking would have been a topic more to the point.
We have before remarked on the greater freedom of intercourse between different classes in country places in former days. And here, in the above entries, is another instance; not very edifying certainly, but forcible.
Nor was this an exceptional meeting. Another is entered on the following March 7th, at which the same party—with the addition of a Mr. Calverley and Mrs. Atkins—met to sup at Mr. Joseph Fuller's, "drinking," says our diarist, "like horses, as the vulgar phrase is, and singing till many of us were very drunk, and then we went to dancing and pulling of wigs, caps and hats; and thus we continued in this frantic manner, behaving more like mad people than they that profess the name of Christians."
Three days after this they sup at Mr. Porter's, with a repetition of the same excesses, except that (perhaps in defer­ence to the recent exhortations from the rev. gentleman's pulpit) " there was no swearing and no ill words, by reason
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