The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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254                    THE SUSSEX COAST
that "the curate of Laughton came to the shop in the forenoon, and he having bought some things of me (and I could wish he had paid for them) dined with me, and also staid in the afternoon till he got in liquor, and being so complaisant as to keep him company, I was quite drunk. How do I detest myself for being so foolish!"
From an Englishman we expect grumbles, and we get them; for instance, in 1757 we read: "Oh, how dull is trade, how very scarce is money, never did I know so bad a time before." There are plenty more. Really touching entries record the last Communion and the death of his wife, dear Peggy, but less than a month after her funeral, alas, "not one of us went to bed sober; which folly of mine makes me very uneasy. Oh, that I cannot be a person of more resolution." The record with somewhat weari­some frequency acquaints us with details of the most swinish and bestial orgies in which all classes of the community got very drunk together, " danced, pulled wigs, caps and hats and behaved more like mad people than they that profess the name of Christ." Once when such a scene took place at the rectory (which was not unusual) "there was no swearing and no ill words by reason of which Mr. Porter calls it innocent mirth, but I in opinion differ much therefrom." Mr. Porter, the Rector of East Hoathly, seems sometimes to have preached good sermons, but precept was not followed up by example, far otherwise. Once Mr. Porter in a condition as to sobriety not unusual with him actually called on Mr. Turner at night, pulled him forcibly out of bed, and compelled him
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