Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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he left her ten guineas, and took his leave with tears in his eyes and departed to his ship."
Hastings had a famous rector at the beginning of the last century, in the person of the Rev. Webster Whistler, who combined with the eastern benefice that of Newtimber, near Hurstpierpoint, and managed to serve both to a great age. He lived to be eighty-four and died full of vigour in 1831. In 1817, following upon a quarrel with the squire, the Newtimber living was put up for auction in London. Mr. Whistler decided to be present, but anonymous. The auctioneer mentioned in his introduction the various charms of the benefice, ending with the superlative advantage that it was held by an aged and infirm clergyman with one foot in the grave. At this point the proceedings were interrupted by a large and powerful figure in clerical costume springing on the table and crying out to the company : " Now, gentlemen, do I look like a man tottering on the brink of the grave ? My left leg gives me no sign of weakness, and as for the other, Mr. Auctioneer, if you repeat your remarks you will find it very much at your service." The living found no purchaser.
Mr. Whistler had a Chinese indifference to the necessary end of all things, which prompted him to use an aged yew tree in his garden, that had longgiven him shade but must now be felled, as material for his coffin. This coffin he placed at the foot of his bed as a chest for clothes until its proper purpose was fulfilled.
Hastings was also the home of Edward Capel, a Shakes­peare-editor of the eighteenth century. Capel, who is said to have copied out in his own hand the entire works of the poet no fewer than ten times, was the designer of his own house, which seems to have been a miracle of discomfort. He was an eccentric of the most determined character, so much so that he gradually lost all friends. According to Horsfield, " The spirit of nicety and refinement prevailed in it [his house] so much during his lifetime, that when a friend (a
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