The Sussex Diarists. 51
last, for in the last entry but one, taking " a ride to pay my intended wife a visit," after a " serious walk," he takes his leave at the very proper hour of ten o'clock, but, "after parting with her, I went to take my horse, and, happening into company—[alack, that company was to Thomas Turner, as to Jack Falstaff, the ruin of him!]—I staid till ten minutes past 12 and came home about four o'clock."
Let us hope that this was the last lapse and that " his dear Molly" kept him in better order than his " dear Peggy" and never required to be taken home on Mr. Tho. Fuller's back! He was married to her by his old friend and boon companion, Mr. Porter, on the 19th June, 1765, and now he writes, " Thank God, I begin once more to be a little settled and am happy in my choice. I have, it's true, not married a learned lady, nor is she a gay one; but I trust she is good-natured and one that will use her utmost endeavour to make me happy. As to her fortune, I shall one day have something considerable, and there seems to be rather a flowing stream. Well, here let us drop the subject and begin a new one."
And so we part with Thomas Turner. Here he dropped his diary and did not commence a new one; at least, none has been preserved. Perhaps Molly found it out and put a stop to such waste of time, or she may have burnt it, finding some impertinent reference to herself, or used it as waste
paper, or-----but there, let us rejoice that we have got so
much as we have. The diary, the Editors of it tell us, was originally in at least 116 stout memorandum books, and these, with the exception of a few, have been preserved. They may be ranked amongst the literary treasures of Sussex, of which, as we have already said, Thomas Turner is the Pepys—the first, in point of merit, of the Sussex Diarists.
Walter Gale, schoolmaster at Mayfield, was a contemporary of Thomas Turner, general dealer at East Hothly. Both " flourished " in the middle of the last century; both belonged to the middle class of life; and the educational gifts of each were of much the same extent. The chief difference in their