Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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into the air on the Downs, at the precise moment when an interested friend whom they had just left, being apprehensive of what would happen, was anxiously viewing him from his window, through a telescope." Those who look through telescopes are rarely so fortunate. It is odd that Hayley, a delicate and heavy man suffering from hip-disease, should have taken so little hurt. Although he had a covered passage for horse exercise in the grounds of his villa, no amount of practice seems to have improved his seat. This covered way has been removed, but a mulberry tree planted by Hayley still flourishes.
Whenever Hayley was ill he became an object of intense interest to visitors at Bognor. Binsted's Library in the town exhibited a daily bulletin ; and in 1819 the Prince and Princess of Saxe-Coburg called upon him, while the Princess of Hesse Homburg on her return sent a prescription from Germany.
Mrs. Opie, the novelist, who stayed with Mr. Hayley every summer, and also served as a magnet to devout sojourners at Bognor, has left an account of the poet's habits which is vastly more entertaining than his poetry. He rose at six or earlier and at once composed some devotional verse. At breakfast, he read to Mrs. Opie; afterwards Mrs. Opie read to him. At eleven they drank coffee, and before he dressed for dinner, a very temperate meal, Mrs. Opie sang. After dinner there was more reading aloud, the matter being either manuscript com­positions of Mr. Hayley's, or modern publications. Mr. Hayley took cocoa and Mrs. Opie tea, and afterwards Mrs. Opie read aloud or sang. At nine, the servants came to prayers, which were original compositions of Mr. Hayley's, read by him in a very impressive manner, and before bed, Mrs. Opie sang one of Mr. Hayley's hymns.
Hayley's grave is at Felpham, and his epitaph by Mrs. Opie may be read by the industrious on the wall of the church. Among the many epitaphs on his neighbours by Hayley him-
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