The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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THE SOUTH DOWNS                   211
dweller in the country, who, thinking for himself, had come to doubt the existence of political honesty.
"'Well," he said, 'in my opinion, politics are about like this: I've got a sow in my yard with twelve little uns, and they little uns can't all feed at once, because there isn't room enough, so I shut six on 'em out of the yard while t'other six be sucking, and the six as be shut out, they just do make a hem of a noise till they be let in, and then they be just as quiet as the rest.'
"I have heard another parishioner expressing himself much to the same effect, when he used to say—
"'I be a miller, and I've got rats, and I keep cats, and one day I looks into a place under my mill, and there I sees cats and rats all feeding together out of one trough at my expense.'"
As a rule, however, our Sussex people of an older day took little interest in national politics— Heaven knows they didn't miss much. The late Chancellor Parish discovered from careful inquiry that in his parish of Selmeston, some half-century ago, out of a total population of about four hundred, only fourteen had ever heard of Mr. Gladstone. The same writer (in his Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect) gives the following account of the impression made on a Sussex villager by another Premier: "' I never see one of these here gurt men there's s'much talk about in the peapers, only once, and that was up at Smiffle Show adunna-many years agoo. Prime Minister, they told me he was, up at Lunnon; a leetle, lear, miserable, skinny-looking chap as ever I see. " Why!" I says, " we doan't count our minister to be much, but he's a deal primer-looking than what yourn be."'"
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