344 THE SUSSEX COAST
Beyond the old town is East Hill; it may be climbed on foot or ascended by the lift which appears in both the photographs opposite p. 336. Toward the sea is a steep cliff; a golf-course, faint traces of a pre-Roman camp, and a beautiful view over the red tiles of the old town with the castle beyond and Beachy Head in the distance are its chief attractions.
In 1786, according to a writer in the Gentleman s Magazine, the town was computed to contain near 3,000 inhabitants, with no dissenters from the Church of England of any kind. One of the treasures of the Corporation was the arms of France "carved on wood, and painted in proper colours, with embellishments " taken from a gate of Quebec in 1759, and presented to Hastings by General Murray. This is still here despite the desire of the Canadian city to get it back.
Theodore Hook, writing in 1804, has a good word for Hastings : " One circumstance, above all others, must render Hastings dear to those who have a regard to morality. Vice has not yet erected her standard here; the numerous tribes of professional gamblers, unhappy profligates and fashionable swindlers find employment elsewhere. Innocent recreational delight, card assemblies, billiards, riding, walking, reading, fishing, and other modes of pastime banish care from the mind, whilst the salubrity of the atmosphere impels disease from the body." Ten years later wrote Byron from Hastings: "I have been renewing my acquaintance with my old friend Ocean, and I find his bosom as pleasant a pillow for one's head in the morning as his daughters' of Paphos could be in the twilight. I have been swimming and eating turbot and smuggling neat brandies and silk-handker-