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Full text of "Echoes of old county life : being recollections of sports, politics, and farming in the good old times"

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ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 



\N^bstef Family Library of Veterinary Mediaa 

Cummings School of Vetennary Medicine at 

Tufls University 

200 Westboro Road 

North Grafton, MA 01596 



ECHOES 



OF 



OLD COUNTY LIFE, 

BEING RECOLLECTIONS OF 

SPORT, POLITICS, AND FARMING IN THE 
GOOD OLD TIMES. 



BY 



J. K. FOWLER 

Of Aylesbury. 



LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD 

37, BEDFORD STREET, STRAND, W.C. 

;jjub(isbci- to the ^Inbui: Office. 

1892. 

\_^Ul rights reserved.'] 



Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, 
London & Bungay. 



TO 
THE RIGHT HON. SIR HARRY VERNEY, 

WHO FOR MORE THAN SIXTY YEARS 
HAS DONE MANY ACTS OF KINDNESS TO ME AND :MY FAMILY, 

£ g^bicate this g^ok 

AS A SLIGHT TRIBUTE OF RESPECT AND AFFECTION. 

October, 1892. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Introductory — Masters of the Buckhounds and other Eminent 
Sportsmen — Mowbray Morris and Lord Southampton — 'Varsity 
Races, Roger Palmer and the Crimean Steeplechase — Professor 
Neate — The Romance of Cheslyn Hall — Lord Chesterfield and 
the Election of Speaker Abercrombie — Grant's Picture of the 
Royal Hunt — Count D'Orsay : his Change of Clothes, his 
Knife-spinning, and his Sketches ... ... ... p. \ 

CHAPTER II. 

Elections at the Time of the Reform Bill of 1832 — Aylesbury 
Contests — " Potwallers " and the Ancient Franchise — Bribery 
and Treating — The Chiltern Hundreds — Anecdotes about Sir 
Richard Bethell : his Election Contests and Expulsion from 
the Conservative Club — A " Tie " between Smith and Went- 
worth — My Hunt Breakfast — How Arkwright made his 
Fortune — Lord Nugent's Election Fights — Winthrop Praed — 
— Voters and Refreshments : Curious Account-keeping — 
Amersham Elections and the Reward for the Fair ... p. 20 

CHAPTER III. 

Disraeli's Early Political History— His Election Contest at High 
Wycombe, and an old Radical Diary — The Story of his Early 
Radicalism — His Chartist Speech and Repartees on the 
Hustings — His Noisy Reception at Aylesbury— His Agricultural 
Foibles — Fawcett, the Comedian — Disraeli on Bob Lowe — His 
Famous Breakdown — His Boyish Prophecy ... ... A 4^^ 



viii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IV. 

Bulgarian Atrocities in Buckinghamshire — Lord Beaconsfield's 
Speech in the Corn Exchange at Aylesbury and Rothschild's 
Opinion of it — Disraeli and the Cattle Defence Association — 
Disraeli and Protection — At Hughenden : its Cedars, its Purchase 
— Mrs. Disraeli's Frugality — The Romantic Story of Miss 
Williams' Legacy — Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer 
— His ^Manchester Speech — His Opinion of the Disfranchising 
Act of 1832 — His Sympathy for the Agricultural Labouring 
Class, their Earnings, their Right of Combination — On Publicans 
and " Exhausted Volcanoes " — His Death and Funeral p. 59 

CHAPTER V. 

Bordeaux and Epernay in 1868 — An Incident at Chambord — 
Messrs. Nathaniel Johnstone : their Vineyards at Dausac — The 
Manufacture of Claret — Mr. Moet's Vineyards at Epernay — • 
The Manufacture of Champagne — National Tastes in Wine 
— Longevity — "Ways and Means" Lowndes ... ... A 79 

CHAPTER VI. 

Steeplechasing in the Year 1835 — The Great Race at Aylesbury : 
Captain Beecher wins from Mr. Allnutt — The Races the Year 
following : Jem Mason is too elever — The Royal Hunt Club ; 
Anecdotes of a Horse in their Dining-Room — Anecdotes of 
the Rev. C. Erie and Bishop Wilberforce — Mr. Carroll's Horses, 
Family, and Jokes ... ... ... p. 89 

CHAPTER VII. 

Louis XVIII. at Hartwell — The English Garden — The King has 
his own again ; my Father escorts him to London — The 
Manners of Parochial Clerg}' — Tate and Brady triumphant — 
Horsewhipping a Miller — An Independent Tory — Anecdote of 
Lord Palmerston and the Witty Bishop p. \o\ 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Prison Discipline Fifty Years Ago — Sweeping the Streets of 
Aylesbury— Old Jem and his Bill — Description of the County 



CONTENTS. ix 

Prison — Murderers and their Beer — Attempted Escapes — John 
Tawell, Quaker ; his Trial for Murder and his previous Career 
— " Apple-pip " Kelly — Imprisonment for Debt — Captain Paulet 
and "Tally ho! Hanmer" Aii5 



CHAPTER IX. 

The " Rochester Room " at the White Hart, Aylesbury— Its Decor- 
ation and History — The Glories of Eythrope— Sir Walter Scott 
— Vernon's Anecdotes about Turner — Anecdotes of Landseer — 
" Swill " from Her Majesty's Kitchens — Charles Gow — A Pun 
and its Interpretation by /"w^^/? ... ... ... i^. 134 



CHAPTER X. 

The Railway Mania — George Hudson, the Railway King — Serving 
Notices in Ireland — Railway Enterprise and Landlords — George 
Stephenson and the "Eldest Child" — In Coaching Days — Old 
Times in Winter — Dr. Lee's Prophecies and their Fulfilment — 
The late Duke of Buckingham and Chandos : an Uphill Fight 
— Stowe in Days of Prosperity — The Queen's Visit — In Days 
of Adversity — Sir Thomas Aubrey as an Upright Judge — Sir 
John Aubrey and his Dinners for the Free and Independent 

p. 148 

CHAPTER XI. 

University Steeplechase Meeting at Banbury — A Nasty Brook — A 
Famous Race over the Broughton Farm — A Horse comes Up- 
stairs — Leech Manning rides the little Grey Mare over the 
Dining-room Table — Gambling and Betting — A Captain who 
pursued Welshers — Of a Fool and his Folly — A Salt-water 
Tragedy p. 168 

CHAPTER XII. 

Fox-Hunting and Stag-Hunting — A fine Run with "the Baron" — 
Lord Lonsdale's Harriers and the Cumberland Bagmen — The 
Ballad of " The Captive Fox " — Jack Hannan v. Johnny Broome 
—Men of Peace and War — An Innocent Child, and a Clever 
Clearance ... ... ... ... ... ... ... P- ^^3 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Vienna Exhibition of 1873 — A Sturdy English Watch — The 
Emperor admires my Bull — A Contrast in Costume — The Paris 
Exhibition of 1878 — Four-horned Sheep — Rosa Bonheur visits 
the Cattle — Foot-and-Mouth Disease — The Projected Palestine 
Canal — The Times condemns it — Its Route, its Cost, its 
Future p. 197 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Posting on the Great North Road — Bob Newman of Regent Street 
— Old "Boys" — Loyal Tom King of Amersham ; he drives 
King George III. — An Elopement and the Sequel — May-Day 
Procession of the Mails — The Railway Fiend — The Wisdom of 
W^eller — Old London Inns — An English Bill of Fare and the 
Menu a la Russe—T\v^ Old Norfolk Circuit— The Bar Mess : 
Fitzroy Kelly v. Serjeant Storks — One Pint many Times — 
Puritan Ipswich — A Peccant Engine p. 210 

CHAPTER XV. 

Shorthorn Breeding— The Byles Dinners — Lord Dunmore to the 
Rescue — Eminent Breeders in the Palmy Days— My Sale and 
Sales in General — The Rose of the Quarter Sessions— A Dis- 
sertation on Poultry — The Prebendal Geese— The Aylesbury 
Duckling — A Year of W'et and a Year of War — A Legal 
Decision on Crops A -3^ 

CHAPTER XVI. 

A Poor Law Guardian — The Curse of Out-door Relief— The 
Fortunes of Agriculture— Harvest Homes— Allotments and 
Gardens— Steam and Spade — The Virtues of Co-operation — 
Since 1830 — The Swing Riots — Cottage Accommodation— The 
Smock Frock and the Black Coat— The Archdeacon and 
Potatoes— The Better Part /• -44 




ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PORTRAIT OF MR. J. K. FOWLER ... ... ... Frontispiece 

THE JUMP OVER THE DINNER-TABLE ... To face page 1 74 

"king charming," SHORTHORN BULL. From a drawing by 

HARRISON WEIR ... ... ... 'J\} face page 234 




ECHOES 



OLD COUNTY LIFE, 



CHAPTER I. 

Introductory — Masters of the Buckhounds and other Eminent 
Sportsmen— Mowbray Morris, and Lord Southampton — 'Varsity 
Races, Roger Pahiier and the Crimean Steeplechase — Professor 
Neate — The Romance of Cheslyn Hall — Lord Chesterfield and 
the Election of Speaker Abercrombie — Grant's Picture of the 
Royal Hunt — Count D'Orsay : his Change of Clothes, his 
Knife-spinning, and his Sketches. 

These ''Reminiscences" differ from others that have 
hitherto been published, in being those, not of men Hke 
Lord Malmesbury, Captain Gronow, the Hon. Grantley 
Berkeley, Mr. Greville, and others who belonged to the 
upper classes of society ; nor of legal luminaries, such as 
Serjeant Ballantine or Mr. Montagu Williams ; nor of a 
man renowned upon the stage or with the brush, but of 
a fair representative of middle-class life who, in the 
course of a busy career, has met many famous people, 
and here truthfully records what he remembers about 
them. I believe these records give a faithful picture of 
the times in which I have lived ; and, while I hope they 

B 

3V 



2 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

will be interesting and amusing, I may without vanity 
say that they have also an historical value, depicting as 
they do a series of events — social, sporting, literary, 
agricultural, and political — which stirred many thousands 
of minds in the middle of the nineteenth century. 

Amongst many of my recollections are some which 
may interest my readers, as bringing before them the 
names of several who have arrived at great eminence in 
the State, or in the general whirl of society. I remember 
when the late Lord Granville was Master of the Buck- 
hounds, and I dare say many there are who would 
hardly beheve that that eminent and courteous states- 
man began his public career in the above sporting 
capacit}-. I rode with him on one occasion to a meet 
at Creslow to show him the way there, as he had arrived 
from London after the hounds had left Aylesbury, and 
shall not forget the delightful six-mile ride I had with 
him : his conversation, his courteous manners, the plea- 
sure he felt at the beauty of our V^ale, and especially 
at the view from the hills where the deer was uncarted. 
Shortly after the start Lord Canning, afterwards Viceroy 
of Lidia, who always went in the first flight, charged a 
strong post-and-rail fence, and his horse, striking the top 
beam, came down, throwing his rider heavily. He lay 
motionless, and I jumped off my horse and called for 
assistance. We raised him up, loosened his collar, 
bathed his head and face with water, and he slowly 
regained consciousness. We took him to an adjoining 
farm-house, and after about an hour he was sufficiently 
recovered to return to Aylesbury, and was in the saddle 
again the next day as well as ever. 



MASTERS OF THE BUCKHOUNDS. 3 

I remember also Lord Kinnaird as Master of the 
Buckhounds. He afterwards became the leader of a 
religious party in London for some years, and his 
name is still remembered by many Exeter Hall 
Jiabitttes, who little thought he had ever held such a 
post of worldly pastime. It was generally considered 
that this nobleman was the chief cause of the gradual 
break-up of the visit of the Royal pack to Aylesbury. 
He used to bring- with him his wife, and they lived quietly 
in their private rooms at the White Hart. The jovial 
meetings of the Royal Hunt Club, thus deserted by the 
gallant Master, lost their charm, and the dinner-party 
rapidly diminished, as there was no centre round which 
they could rally after the day's sport was ended, and no 
company to recount the deeds of flood and field that 
might have distinguished it. The late Lord Rosslyn, as 
Master, I shall not forget, nor how, in riding home after 
a most severe run with a heavy and blinding storm of 
hail and sleet driving into our faces, my horse trod on 
the toe of a hound, causing him to cry out and whimper, 
when his lordship, who was a very quick-tempered man, 
blew me up in no very measured terms, till my good 
friend, Charles Davis, the Royal huntsman, came to my 
aid ; and in the evening Lord Rosslyn apologized to 
me for his hasty temper. 

Another and most popular Master I knew and have 
enjoyed a ride with — I mean Lord Cork ; and I shall not 
forget him, as Lord Dungarvan, riding over our farm in 
the Broughton country at one of the Oxford " 'Varsity " 
steeplechases, and seeing him go for the last two miles 
in the most dashing style without his cap, as he had lost it 



4 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

in charging a tremendous bullfincher, where it hung upon 
a prickly whitethorn about ten feet high. I think he ran 
third, out of a field of fourteen. The race was won by 
]\Ir. H. Bluiidell, who afterv\'ards distinguished himself 
in the Crimea, and is now a colonel and was a member 
of the late House of Commons. Another time that I 
met Lord Cork in the saddle was in Lord Carrington's 
park at High Wycombe, the last day poor Charles Davis 
hunted Her Majesty's hounds, as he had a severe fall 
over the wire of a telegraph pole, and, I think, never 
recovered sufficiently to hunt the pack again. 

Many amusing episodes rise to my mind as I recall 
memories of men long passed away, and of others still 
living. One of the most accomplished and most agree- 
able men it was ever my lot to meet was the late Mr. 
Mowbray Morris, the then financial manager of the 
Times. He was a remarkably handsome man, faultlessly 
dressed and perfect in his " get up," rode good horses — 
which he kept at Winslow with Harry Poole, the great 
arbiter of fashion in Savile Row, — and hunted generally 
with Lord Southampton's hounds and " Squire Drake's," 
but often with " the Baron." He was not a good 
horseman, and one day his horse, soon after the start, got 
the better of him, and carried him unwittingly amongst 
the pack. Lord Southampton, who often used very 
strong language, and would never submit to any breach 
of hunting manners, rode after him, and yelled out, 

"Hold hard, you printer!" His lordship had 

decided in his mind that any one connected with TJie 
Times must necessarily be a printer. 

When the 'Varsity Races were over the Broughton 



THE CRIMEAN STEEPLECHASE. 5 

country, there was a race in which young Roger Palmer, 
now Sir Roger, distinguished himself less than he after- 
wards did before Sebastopol. He rode a mare of old 
George Symonds', called The Parson's Daughter, a screw, 
but a famous fencer. Roger Palmer was a good-looking 
youngster, but noted for having a very big head, quite 
out of proportion to his body. The mare got well off, 
maintained her lead to near the end, and was so far 
ahead in the last field but one that her rider eased her, 
jumped into the winning field, and pulled her up into 
a walk, intending to pass quietly between the winning 
flags. The Hon. Mr. Portman was riding Joe Tollitt's 
horse. Valiant, and seeing his opportunity, he made a 
tremendous rush. Amidst the shouts of the spectators 
poor Palmer tried to put his mare into a gallop ; but 
alas! it was too late, and Valiant won by a short neck, 
amidst roars of laughter. Some one came up to Palmer 
and said, '' I always knew you would be beaten ; you 
never had Jiead enough to win a race." 

I am reminded by the mention of Sir Roger Palmer's 
name, of the delight with which we saw in the papers of 
the day that the great Crimean Steeplechase was won 
by Blundell, Dewar coming in second, both old 'Varsity 
riders and winners of races, keeping up the prestige of 
our Broughton and Aylesbury courses. And, indeed, 
those courses were no easy ones to negotiate : once, when 
showing the riders over the course at Broughton, Lord 
Ribblesdale and some others loudly proclaimed the 
improbability of any horse jumping the brook. They 
were all walking, but I was on my favourite mare, who 
was well known by my friends (but not by the 'V^arsity 



6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

riders) as a marvellous water-jumper. One and all they 
objected to this water-jump, till I remarked, "Well, I 
am only on an ordinary hunter, and she shall jump it in 
her snaffle-bridle, without whip or spur." They declared 
it an impossibilit}'. I was too careful of my own neck 
to risk it myse'.f, but called to one of my neighbours, a 
plucky farmer, one of the best light-weights I ever saw 
cross a country, who knew my mare's prowess well, and 
I asked him to ride her. He willingly did so, mounted 
her, took her back about three hundred yards, shook her 
up, and she flew the hurdles which were in front of the 
brook, and landed safely over it on her hind legs, never 
wetting her heels, and went on in her gallop without 
noticing it. After this there could be no objection, and 
the race took place. The result was that out of fifteen 
starters eleven of them got into the water, and the others 
stoutly refused, two of them precipitating their riders 
over their heads into the middle of it ; but as it was 
easy getting out, the race continued, and a fine finish 
was the result, Mr. Goldingham, I think, being declared 
winner. The jump of my mare was measured, and it 
was found she had cleared twenty-nine and a half feet. 

A most amusing feature of one University Meeting 
was the prowess of Professor Neate, Professor of Political 
Economy at Oxford, and at one time IMember of Parlia- 
ment for that city. The dons and heads of houses were 
determined to put down steeplechasing, but old Neate 
stood up for the undergraduates ; and, to show his con- 
tempt for their rulers, entered his own horse for one of 
the principal races, and named him " Vice-Chancellor." 
The day of the race came, and great doubts were raised 



PROFESSOR NEATE. 7 

as to who would be the jockey to steer the noted 
quadruped, when, to the astonishment of every one, the 
Professor himself appeared in a top-hat, and in his shirt- 
sleeves and black trousers. Amidst shouts of laughter 
the start was effected, and "the observ^cd of all observers " 
took several fences well till the famous water-jump came 
in view, which his horse first refused, and then fell with 
his rider plump into the middle of, sousing him over 
head and ears. The Professor went no farther, but 
consoled himself by saying he had made his protest 
against the Heads of Houses, and vindicated the rights 
of the students to enjoy a manly sport. 

In the early days of stag-hunting in the Vale with 
Baron Rothschild's hounds, two gentlemen were con- 
spicuous by the splendour of their stud and the style 
and completeness of their establishments. To mention 
the names of Cheslyn Hall and Sam Baker to many 
persons now living is to recall to their memories the 
geniality of their manners, their open-handed liberality, 
the jollity and good-humour of their conversation, and 
the " all-round " popularity of their sporting careers. 
Cheslyn Hall — or, as he was generally called, " Chess " 
— was the younger brother of a firm of solicitors in New 
Court, Lincoln's Inn. Their father had established a 
high-class business, supported by several aristocratic and 
rich clients, and was succeeded by the two brothers, 
Henry and Cheslyn. Samuel Baker was a son of the 
head of the well-known firm of Baker and Sons, con- 
tractors and builders — their contract for the Government 
for the construction of the Keyham Docks at Devonport 
alone came to some millions sterling. Sam had an 



8 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

elder brother George, who had a fine hunting estabhsh- 
ment with Mr. Henry Hall in Northamptonshire, with 
about twelve first-class hunters, and a household second 
to none in the neighbourhood. The other two brothers 
had their establishment at Tring for the Vale of 
Aylesbury. About the year 1851 Samuel Baker and 
Cheslyn Hall shifted their quarters to Aylesbury, build- 
ing excellent loose-boxes for twenty hunters, fitted up 
with every convenience, with groom's house, harness- 
and saddle-rooms, boiling-houses, and everything the 
most fastidious Master of Horse could require. They 
took up their abode at the White Hart — then the most 
noted house in the Midlands — and ordered rooms, in 
addition to their own, for the Hon. Robert Grimston, 
Johnny Bell, and the well-known steeplechase rider, Jem 
Mason. They and their guests lived luxuriously on 
rare viands and the most noted vintage wines : if there 
was one thing more than another they prided themselves 
on, it was the glorious port of the vintages 1820, '26, and 
*34. These gentlemen — Messrs. Hall and Baker — were 
at the head of every subscription for promoting sport, 
agricultural shows, charitable or other useful works in 
the neighbourhood ; yet such was their recklessness and 
extravagance that old-fashioned people looked askance 
and said an end would soon come to this extraor- 
dinary expenditure. At the end of the hunting season 
about twenty of their horses were sent to Tattersall's, 
where they realized what were then immense prices, 
several making 300, 350, and 400 guineas each. 

After these gentry had kept the game alive at Ayles- 
bury for some years, it was announced that Mr. Baker 



THE ROMANCE OF CHESLYN HALL. 9 

was going to be married to a Miss Burnand, the beautiful 
daughter of a well-known Stock Exchange financier, and 
about the end of the season a large party of ladies and 
gentlemen were invited down to view the combined stud 
and establishment, to take a last farewell of the bachelor- 
hood of the well-known Samuel Baker, and to duly 
celebrate the break-up of the sporting home of those 
two distinguished sportsmen. A superb luncheon was 
provided in the " Rochester" room at the White Hart, 
and the lawns and pleasure-grounds were filled by a 
large company of exquisitely-dressed and beautiful 
women, amongst whom the future bride was not the 
least fair. It was in the month of April, and peaches 
and nectarines at £'^ 3^". a dozen, strawberries at 16^. a 
pound, ices, and every costly luxury graced the board. 
After waiting some time it was noticed that no Cheslyn 
Hall appeared on the scene, to the surprise of all present, 
and of Mr. Baker especially. The company, after visiting 
the stud, returned to London ; the stud was removed 
to Tattersall's, and, as usual, made great prices ; the 
saddles, bridles, horse-cloths, and all the appurtenances 
of the establishment disappeared from the scene. After 
some weeks rumours got afloat that debts owing in the 
town had not been paid : this was unusual, as everything 
hitherto had been most punctually settled month by 
month. One morning an announcement appeared in 
The Times, with a flaming leading article, that the great 
firm of solicitors, the Brothers Hall, had become bank- 
rupt, with a deficiency of over £6y,ooo ; that moneys 
received by them for clients had been appropriated to 
their own uses ; that the extravagance of their establish- 



lo ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

ment at Ncasden, where they kept a stud for breeding 
hunters and cart-horses and a pack of harriers, the 
hunting estabh'shment of Cheslyn at Aylesbury, and of 
Henry at Kilsby, in Northamptonshire, to say nothing 
of two separate homes for the brothers and tlieir ladies 
in London, mainly accounted for the serious deficiencies 
in their accounts. Sir Charles Rushout was the principal 
sufterer ; he had such implicit confidence in the Halls 
that he actually committed his banking account into 
their hands, with power to draw on it as they wished. 
One specially hard case came to light, which was the 
ultimate cause of the utter collapse of the firm. A 
widow lady, w4io was one of their clients, was persuaded 
by them to sell her all, about ;^I200 from the Three per 
Cents., that they might put it out on mortgage at 5 per 
cent. Cheslyn went with her to the Bank of England, 
and the whole was sold out and handed over to him in 
bank-notes. He placed the lady in a cab and drove with 
her towards his ofiices to complete the mortgage; but in 
Fleet Street he suddenly stopped the cab and told her 
he saw a gentleman he w^as particularly anxious to talk 
to, and would be with her in New Court in a quarter 
of an hour. The unsuspecting widow sat in the cab 
about half an hour, and then getting tired, dismissed the 
driver, and went into the office and waited for over an 
hour more, still not imagining for a moment anything 
was wrong. She left word she could remain no longer, 
and went home to her hotel ; next morning she again 
appeared at the office, but, finding neither of the Messrs. 
Hall had arrived, for the first time she became frightened 
and communicated with her friends. The Halls never 



THE ROMANCE OF CHESLYN HALL. ii 

came back to their office, and their whole business came 
to an end. I believe the poor widow received about ^s. 
in the £ ; Mr. Cheslyn Hall had appropriated ^icoo of 
her fortune to stave off some pressing claims, and had 
kept the remainder for his own uses. 

If it had not been for this disgraceful transaction 
some sort of sympathy would have been felt for the 
Halls, as it was discovered that at the death of their 
father the estate was already hopelessly insolvent. 
After the utter wreck of the firm the brothers went 
abroad, and were maintained by the subscriptions of 
their old friends and ,;by the former recipients of their 
bounty and hospitality. The Hon. R. Grimston sent 
Cheslyn many a five-pound note, and Mr. Sam Baker^ 
who himself had been shamefully treated by his friend, 
supported him for some time. At last it was found that 
this reckless lawyer was living on his wits somewhere 
on the sea-coast of Devonshire ; that his easy, agreeable 
manners, his good looks, and the peculiar faculty he had 
of ingratiating himself with all with whom he came in 
contact, gave him the entree into such society as he 
could find there. Amongst others, the captain of the 
Coastguard service became his patron, introduced him 
to his friends, and a right good time Cheslyn Hall had, 
till at last one and the other began to compare notes, 
when it was found that he had borrowed money of his 
new friends all round — from some £^, some £\0, and 
from others one or two sovereigns at a time — and the 
captain was desired to inform him that they must part 
friends, and that he had better remove to another sphere. 
Cheslyn Hall had been lodging in a snug little cottage. 



12 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

and had given out that he was daily expecting heavy- 
remittances from London. When he found he could no 
longer remain in the district he went home : when the 
next morning his landlady went into his room, as he 
had not come down at his usual time, she found him 
dead on his bed, with an empty phial marked *' poison" 
in his hand. Thus ended the gay, joyous life of one 
who had been the pampered and petted child of fortune, 
and who had done as much to establish the Rothschild 
hounds in the Vale of Aylesbury as even the noted 
Barons themselves. 

At the close of the year 1835 Sir Robert Peel dis- 
solved Parliament, and the great trial of strength of 
the parties was to be on the Speakership. The King's 
staghounds were at Aylesbury the first week in February 
of the next year ; Lord Chesterfield was Master of the 
Buckhounds. I remember well that Lord Chesterfield 
was in the chair at this dinner of the Royal Hunt Club, 
in the great room at the White Hart at Aylesbury. 
There was a brilliant assemblage ; amongst the party 
were the Count D'Orsay, Lords F. and A. Fitzclarence, 
the Marquis of Clanricarde, Sir Horace Seymour, Sir 
Seymour Blane, Hon. A. Arundel, Mr. (afterwards Sir 
•Geo.) Wombwell, Johnny Bushe, Col. Standen, Captain 
Fairlic, Mr. De Burgh, the master of the rival pack of 
staghounds which hunted the Vale on alternate days 
with the Royal pack, the Vyses, the Harcourts, the 
Lcarmonths, the Seymours, the Sieverights, Harry Pey- 
ton, Shakerley, Newdegate, and many of the gayest 
men about town, over forty in all, ardent sportsmen. 
Betting had been the order of the day for many weeks 



LORD CHESTERFIELD. 13. 

as to the issue of the Parhamentary contest, the old 
Speaker, Manners-Sutton, representing the Ministry, 
and Mr. Abercrombie the Whigs. No railway or 
telegraph was then in existence, and the express as to 
the issue of the struggle was sent down by post-boy, 
stage by stage, and the argument was at its height 
when the clatter of the post-horse was heard in the yard. 
Well do I remember mine host (I can see him now) 
taking the sealed despatch up to the Earl in the chair, 
while wild excitement prevailed, and wagers were 
shouted across the table. The Earl broke the seals and 
his countenance fell ; I heard him say, " Gentlemen, it's 
all over. Abercrombie, 312 ; Sutton, 302 " (I think these 
were the numbers). " I shall no longer be Master of the 
Buckhounds." I never saw such an alteration from the 
extreme of gaiety to that of despondency. The Earl 
was the most popular sportsman at that time in England, 
and I think in about six weeks the Ministry resigned. 

These were indeed brilliant times for Aylesbury : 
never was such a gathering of noble sportsmen as- 
sembled together as used to meet at the White Hart, 
when the King's and Mr. De Burgh's staghounds came 
down for the week in November and in February and 
hunted alternate days. Nothing had ever been seen 
before or since like it. The hotel was not only filled, 
but the proprietor took as many private houses in the 
town as he could procure. I remembc^r one of these 
contained Lords Erroll, A. and F. Fitzclarence, and 
their friend. Poodle Wombwell ; another, Count D'Orsay, 
H. Baring, Whyte Melville, and Sir Horace Seymour ; a 
third, the Marquis of Waterford, Lord William Beresford, 



14 FXHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

and two others ; a fourth, Lords Gardner and Powers- 
court ; and others billeted wherever a good bed was 
to be found. At the hotel stayed Earl Chesterfield, the 
Prince Trautzmandorff, Hon. A. Arundel, Mr. De Burgh, 
Mr. Shakerley, Lords C. Paget, Cranstoun, Ossulton, 
Cantelupe, and Jocelyn. Stabling and forage were pro- 
vided for more than i6o hunters, and the George, which 
entertained the " Second String," was also full. The 
following is a list of the Royal Hunt Club which was 
formed at the White Hart, Aylesbury, in the year 
1835 — President, the Master of the Buckhounds for the 
time being ; First President, Earl of Chesterfield ; Lords 
Frederick and Augustus Fitzclarence, Marquis of Clan- 
ricarde. Earl of Erroll, Count D'Orsay, Colonel Sir 
Horace Seymour, Colonel Sir Seymour Blane, Hon. A. 
Arundel, Lieut-Colonel Standen, Captains Halford and 
Cosbey, Messrs. De Burgh, Wombwell, Bushe, Hawkins, 
Harcourt, G. Vyse, W. Vyse, Henry Bainbridge, Walter 
Learmonth, Thomas Learmonth, Henry Seymour, 
Shakerley, Newdegate, Carroll, Captains Sieveright and 
Fairlie. Many names were afterwards added to these, 
while on the Presidential roll as Masters of the Buck- 
hounds I remember the Earl of Erroll till 1839 ; Lord 
Kinnaird, 1840; Lord Rosslyn, 1841 ; Earl Granville, 
1846. 

It was a fine sight to see the horses led round the 
market square in the morning, after breakfast, and 
brought up one by one to the portico of the hotel and 
there mounted by their owners. The street was soon 
filled with scarlet coats, and carriages and four, and all 
sorts and conditions of conveyances going to the meet. 



PICTURE OF THE ROYAL HUNT. 15 

On one occasion when the meet was at Burston, it was 
computed that more than 2000 horsemen were present, 
and when the mass of horsemen charged the first fence, 
a new stake and binder, the whole fence fell flat, scores 
of riders having landed or fallen upon it. 

I was present when it was proposed to have the 
celebrated picture of the Royal Hunt painted. The 
idea was mooted at. the dinner-table, when Mr. Grant, 
the artist, was present, who was a good man across the 
Vale, and an excellent sportsman. Lord Chesterfield 
was in the chair, and it was agreed by all present that 
they would sit for their portraits, and that the picture 
should represent the miCet at Creslow, one of the most 
popular in the Vale, where at that time the Duke of 
Grafton's foxhounds also met, and where now that 
veteran sportsman, Selby Lowndes, shows plenty of 
sport. The house is a very fine, interesting mediaeval 
structure, formerly a portion of the ancient monastery 
of Christ Low. It belongs now, as it did then, to 
Lord de Clifford, in whose family it has been for cen- 
turies, and it is the reputed birthplace of poor ill-fated 
Rosamond Clifford, the " P'air Rosamond" of Henry H. 
A sketch of the place was taken, and the groups were 
designed, but before the picture was finished it was 
thought more appropriate to have the scene laid at 
Ascot Heath within sight of the kennels. Sir Francis 
Grant (late President of the Royal Academy) is to be 
seen in the picture behind Sir George Seymour, who is 
talking to Mr. Shifnel. The noble master, the hand- 
some Earl of Chesterfield, is in the centre on his horse 
Sir Oliver, with his official couples on his shoulder. In 



i6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

front of him stands Lord Erroll, a nobleman all over ; 
near him the handsome Count D'Orsay, whip in hand, 
his scarlet coat thrown open, showing his white waist- 
coat, his richly-embroidered satin scarf, his irreproach- 
able leathers and boots ; he is talking to the Duke of 
Beaufort, who is turning round on his horse to listen. 
Lord Adolphus is in this group, and Mr. Wombwell 
speaking to him. Messrs. Shakerley, H. Baring, and 
others are near at hand ; Sir Horace Seymour seated 
on the ground; the veteran Charles Davis, the King's 
huntsman, on his noted gray, The Hermit, while grouped 
at his feet are the hounds. Old Governor, a rare favour- 
ite, with his tail curled over his back. Minstrel, a grand 
hound, of rather large size, in the extreme foreground, 
and close to him the fleet Dairymaid. Riding, to the 
centre of the picture, are Sir Andrew Barnard and the 
Earl of Wilton, who with loosened rein is tapping Sir 
Andrew on the arm, and apparently beating time as 
though humming a tune. Lord Frederick Fitzclarcnce 
faces the spectator; Mr. Learmonth, with the one-armed 
sporting farmer, William Nash, in attendance. Behind 
these is the artist, then Mr. Grant ; and to the left are 
Sir Seymour Blane and Mr. W. Carroll, talking to 
" Paddy," on foot, — an Lishman who always ran with 
the hounds, and was generally well up at the finish. 
Many other portraits are there, and the picture is as 
much an historical one as if it portrayed a meeting of a 
Cabinet or a debate in the Houses of Parliament. 

The Count D'Orsay was the life of the party at 
Aylesbury, full of animal spirits, certainly one of the 
finest and handsomest men I ever saw ; he seemed, as 



COUNT D'ORSAY. 17 

did his companions, to abandon fashionable restraint, 
and give themselves up to rollicking schoolboy enjoy- 
ment when they came to the White Hart. "Knife- 
spinning" after dinner was one great source of fun. 
The Count and Mr. Peyton, afterwards Sir Henry, were 
the two generally pitted against each other, one on each 
side of the table ; the knives, selected by themselves, 
were w^U balanced, and at a given signal were set 
going by a swift twirl, and the betting commenced. 
I have seen scores of pounds lost over each match. 
When the Count had won, which was often the case, 
he was very liberal to the servants in attendance ; 
and I remember once on his leaving late at night, his 
carriage and four post-horses standing at the front door 
to take him to London, he distributed his sovereigns so 
plentifully that, happening to be in the hall, I too, as a 
boy, scrambled for and secured one of them, much to 
my delight. On one occasion, when he had only come 
prepared to stay two days, he was persuaded to prolong 
his visit, and he sent for the host and said, '' \Miat am I 
to do ? I have no more clothes here except what I wore 
yesterday and to-day." My father said that of course 
they would do again. " No, no," replied the Count ; '* I 
must not appear at the meet in the same dress again. 
You must send an express to London for my valet to 
bring a change of dress ; " and off went Humphrey, the 
old post-boy, on a saddle-horse to Mayfair, with a letter 
to his valet to come prepared for the next day. This 
was about six o'clock in the evening, and I recollect 
old Humphrey telling me that he had three horses on 
the road, changing at Berkhampstead and Watford, and 



i8 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

arrived in town, forty miles, by ten o'clock ; found the 
valet bad gone to Drury Lane Theatre ; went there and 
brought him off; and by nine o'clock the next morning, 
in a yellow post-chaise and pair, came the valet with a 
change of costume for Sir Count, who appeared in full 
hunting panoply, radiant with smiles, the admired of all 
admirers, at the meet at Aston Abbotts. This freak 
of fashion must have cost him at least £io, as the 
railway was not then opened, and posting was a heavy 
item. The old cook, who had come from IMerton 
College, Oxford, when my father, Mr. Fowler, first 
came to Aylesbury, more than twenty years previous, 
was pronounced by the Count, who called his friends 
around him and walked into the kitchen to show them, 
"the finest specimen of the English cook he had ever 
seen in his life." Poor old cook ! He was indeed a 
wonder, living forty-seven years at the White Hart, 
where, single-handed, he has sent up dinners for 400 
guests, and never a sauce or condiment forgotten. He 
was known to every nobleman and gentleman in the 
county, and was one of the best servants a master ever 
had. 

The Earl of Erroll was a most popular Master of 
the Buckhounds, and his brothers-in-law, Lords Frederick 
and Adolphus, were always with him at the Aylesbury 
meetings ; the latter a most wonderful likeness to his 
father, King William IV. Neither of them were good 
men over so stiff a country as the Vale of Aylesbury, 
but their genial manner, their handsome, good-natured 
countenances, and the splendid style of all their 
appointments, made them well noted in the field and in 



COUNT D'ORSAY. 19 

the town. It was a fine slf^ht to see the assembhgc 
seat themselves at dinner in the old Rochester Room at 
the White Hart, more than half of them in scarlet dress 
coats, the Count D'Orsay in a scarlet coat with a rather 
large roll collar thrown very much back, showing a 
broad expanse of white waistcoat, the coat lined and 
faced with pale blue satin, and the skirts with rich 
white watered silk. Dress was an art as well as 
expense in the old times. Oftentimes after dinner the 
conversation waxed fast and furious ; the party would 
break up into twos and threes and recount the doings of 
the day. Then the Count would take some sheets of 
paper, and with a pen and ink sketch the portraits of 
many of the club with the most perfect touch and 
accuracy, and pass the sketches silently round the table, 
from one to the other, till they arrived at the persons 
represented, who would start with astonishment on 
recognizing their own portraits. So little was thought 
of these scraps of paper, that when the party broke up 
the waiters, on clearing the tables, would throw these 
fugitive pieces behind the fire with the debris from the 
dessert plates, and burn what would now be gems of 
value. 




CHAPTER 11. 



Elections at the Time of the Reform Bill of 1S32 — Aylesbury 
Contests — " Potwallers " and the Ancient Franchise — Bribery 
and Treating — The Chiltern Hundreds — Anecdotes about Sir 
Richard Bethell : his Election Contests and Expulsion from 
the Conservativ^e Club — A " Tie " between Smith and Wcnt- 
worth — jMy Hunt Breakfast — How Arkwright made his 
Fortune — Lord Nugent's Election Fights — Winthrop Praed — 
A'oters and Refreshments : Curious Account-keeping — Amer- 
sham Elections and the Reward for the Fair. 

From my earliest bo}'hood I have taken great interest 
in the politics of the day. During the trying period of 
1831-32, when the Reform mania was raging, we boys at 
school took sides, following for the most part the opinion 
of our fathers. I found myself as a Tory in a miserable 
minority, for the wave of revolution and reform passed 
over England just as it did in France, although without 
the violence and bloodshed which characterizes political 
crises with our brethren across the Channel. Still, the 
upheaving of the masses showed itself in tlie agrarian 
outrages and the "Swing" riots, and when the first 
Reform Bill was thrown out in the House of Lords, a 
torrent of violent abuse burst forth, and at the General 
Election which ensued party spirit ran high ; the cry of 
" The Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill," was 
the rallying-cry of the Reform party, of the Whigs led 



REFORM ELECTIONS. 21 

by Lords Grey, Brougham, and John Russell, of the 
Radicals who followed Jos. Hume, Tom Duncombe, 
and Cobbctt, assisted by the Irish, under their chief, 
Dan O'Connell. 

The "great historic County of Bucks," so named, 
and rightly, by its future greatest ornament, Benjamin 
Disraeli, was not behindhand in getting excited ; every 
borough except Amersham was contested, even the little 
borough of Wendover, always considered a snug pocket- 
borough of the Smiths (the Carrington family), was 
fought by two candidates, Messrs. Burge and Camac; 
Liverpool merchants, in opposition to Abel Smith and 
his brother. The poll lasted two days, and the two 
latter were of course returned, the numbers being — 
A. Smith, yS ; S. Smith, yy ; Burge, 37 ; Camac, 36. 

Aylesbury was the scene of a lively contest. The two 
old members, both Reformers (Lord Nugent and Mr. 
Rickford, the banker), w^ere opposed by Viscount Kirk- 
wall, the son of the Earl of Orkney, who resided at 
l^aplow. The contest was really between the two 
lords, Mr. Rickford receiving the second votes of the 
electors of both parties. Lord Nugent was of a big, burly 
build, and Lord Kirkwall a very little man ; and the 
contest was called the battle between " Little David " 
and the " Giant Goliath." The poll was kept open for 
five days, and resulted in the return of the old members. 
The contest was fought under the old franchise, and as 
the Three Hundreds of Aylesbury had been about thirty 
years before attached to the Borough, it was like a County 
election. Some of the voters had to be brought up for 
more than fifteen miles to record their votes. The poll- 



22 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

ing for the County and Borough went on simultaneously, 
the town being crowded from morning till night with 
many hundreds of voters, with their friends, all of these 
folk eating and drinking either at the candidates' or 
some one else's expense, the cost to each candidate 
being enormous. 

It will be noticed that I alluded just now to the old 
franchise. The Borough, as well as the Hundreds, 
voted under the most ancient of all the franchises, 
viz., as " Potwallers " or " Potwallopers." A '' Potwaller " 
was a man who boiled his own pot on his own hearth, 
but who was not in receipt of parish relief. This was 
even more than household suffrage, and nearly approached 
universal suffrage, as two families might occupy one 
house ; but if it were divided in occupation, and each 
head of the family boiled his own pot, he was a voter. 
This franchise was considered as old as Alfred the Great, 
and was looked upon as a great privilege ; and my 
father, who was a freeholder, a renter, and a householder, 
always registered for many years after, up to the time 
of his death, on the old franchise. At the passing of 
the Reform Bill this franchise, with others — such as those 
enjoyed by freemen and freeholders, whether resident 
or not — was retained, and I think there are still two 
or three people living who are registered under it. The 
late Lord Beaconsfield always cons'dered the great 
Reform Bill of 1832 as a disfranchising Bill, and, 
although he kept his counsels well, he gave effect to 
his opinions by passing his Household Suffrage Bill 
in 1 868, afterwards extended to the counties by the 
joint efforts of Mr. Gladstone and Sir Stafford North- 



THE COUNTY CONTEST. 23 

cote at a later date. The late Mr. J. W. Henley, the 
member for Oxfordshire, may fairly be considered the 
reviver, if not the author, of household suffrage. In 
allusion to lowering the household franchise to an eight- 
pound or six pound rental, he said, " You had better 
give household suffrage at once, or some day there will 
be an ugly rusk to get over the boundary." 

With far-seeing policy, Mr. Disraeli followed Mr. 
Henley's advice ; and, although Lord Derby said it 
was a ** leap in the dark," the result has proved what 
Mr. Disraeli has often said to me, that there is an under- 
current of thorouG^h conservatism amon^fst the lower 
strata of the nation, and that " Tory principles are 
nothing unless popular." 

The County contest was between the Marquis of 
Chandos, only son of the Duke of Buckingham, who 
was known throughout England as " the Farmers' 
Friend," on the Tory side ; and John Smith, the uncle of 
the late Lord Carrington, who was then the Hon. Robert 
Smith, and had resigned his seat for the county to 
represent his pocket-borough of High Wycombe, on the 
Reform side, with Pascce Grcnfell as his partner. The 
Marquis was returned at the head of the poll, polling 
more plumpers than Smith did votes ; if another Tory 
had been started, the Smith family would have lost the 
county seat. The bands of music playing all day and a 
great part of the night ; the blaze of many huge flags 
and banners ; the rosettes of the supporters of the 
various candidates — the green of Lord Chandos, the 
orange and blue of Smith, the crimson of Mr. Grcnfell, 
with the Borough colours (purple and white) of Rickford, 



24 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

and the crimson and white of Kirkwall, the Grcnvillc 
green of Lord Nugent and his nephew the Marquis ; 
the shouting of the partisans,, who filled the streets in 
thousands, for nearly eight or ten days ; the noise of 
coaches, post-chaises, and vehicles of every description, 
passing along the streets — this exciting scene made ^ 
deep impression on my boyish mind. My father's house 
was the head-quarters of the Smiths, but he and all the 
family remained true to our Tory principles. 

Lord Chandos rode into the town on the day of the 
nomination at the head of at least 700 horsemen, com- 
posed of county gentlemen, farmers, and village trades- 
men, all well-mounted and wearing green favours on 
their breasts or laurel in their hats, and preceded by a 
band of thirty performers — I will not call them musicians, 
being selected more as voters than for any proficiency 
in music ; about twenty green flags fluttered over the 
procession bearing suitable mottoes in letters of gold. 
The equestrians were followed by a train of carriages 
half a mile in length. Mr. Smith, being an old man, 
came in a carriage and four, followed by an immense 
cavalcade with two huge flags emblazoned with the 
family arms and the motto, Tcnax in fide. At the 
head of the Tory procession was a man dressed as a 
lace -maker in women's clothes, with a lace-making 
pillow and bobbins complete, emblematic of the 
Buckinghamshire staple manufacture ; and all the green 
fla^s had borders nearlv two inches wide of beautiful 
lace, for which a large sum of money was paid. At the 
conclusion, and after the declaration, of the poll, the 
chairing took place round all the principal streets in the 



THE BOROUCJH CONTEST. 25 

town, the members, for the'r personal security, being 
surrounded by at least a hundred men carrying staves 
made of handles of hay-forks. The members having 
alighted at their respective inns, a free fight ensued, heads 
were cracked, and a scene of trouble and excitement 
terminated the election. 

The Town was not behind the Gounty in the 
luxurious character of its contest. The Borough of 
Aylesbury elections were always fought out on the 
bitterest party lines, and on the days of nomination per- 
sonalities were freely indulged in. In the year 1802 the 
Borough consisted only of the parish of Aylesbury. As I 
have mentioned, it was, in fact, more than household 
suffrage, and every one who '* paid his scot and bore his 
lot" was a voter. On the occasion of this election the 
bribery was so outrageous and so openly practised by all 
three candidates, that a Committee of the House of Com- 
mons recommended that the Borough should be thrown 
open to the Hundreds as well as the Parish of Ayles- 
bury. The candidates were the old sitting members, Mr. 
Bernard and Mr. Du Pre, who were unexpectedly opposed 
by a Mr. Bent, a Liverpool merchant and West Indian 
planter, and a stranger to the town. Soon after his 
arrival, liveliness took the place of the every-day routine, 
and for more than three weeks the place was almost a 
pandemonium. I have heard old people tell tales which 
would seem incredible had not the facts come out in 
the main before the Commons Committee. Most of the 
inns and public-houses were opened as it was called, and 
central committees formed for conducting the election. 

The head-quarters of Bernard was the George, Mr. 



26 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Du Pre held high festival at the White Hart, and 
Mr. Bent nailed his colours to the sign of the Bull's 
Head. Eating and drinking were continuous, and on 
certain nights in the week each of the agents appeared 
at head-quarters with a bowl of sparkling punch before 
him, and another bowl of guineas ; the former was ladled 
out to all who chose to come for it, and those who were 
thought staunch had from one to five guineas handed to 
them. It was arranged that these meetings should not 
clash, and they were held on different nights, so that it 
was no uncommon thing for a certain number of electors to 
call at each committee-room and receive the bribe and 
treating from all three candidates. Innumerable fights 
took place ; and on the day of the nomination one huge 
orgy prevailed. At the close of the poll, which lasted 
four days, Du Pre was at the head, Bent next, and 
Bernard was rejected, much to the chagrin and annoy- 
ance of the Grenville and Buckingham party, who had 
felt quite confident of success. 

Bernard subsequently presented a petition against the 
return of Bent ; after a number of irregularities had 
been proved. Bent waited on Du Pre and said if he 
did not pay the expenses of his (Bent's) election, 
he on his part would petition against Du Pre, and 
the latter, rather than lose his seat, consented to be 
bled to a fat tune. Thus Bent was unseated, and the 
Borough was represented by Du Pre and Bernard. As 
an instance of the extent to which bribery was then 
carried, it is an amusing fact that it was proved that 
Bent's people enlisted the choir at the parish church on 
their side, who, being well paid for their services, gave 



THE CHILTERN HUNDREDS. 27 

out and sang at church each Sunday during the contest 
the 57th Psahii, 5th verse, New Version, " O God, my 
heart is fixed, 'tis Befit,'' tlie last word being bawled out 
with great emphasis. After this the Borough was thrown 
open to the Three Hundreds of Aylesbury, and so con- 
tinued until the Reform Bill of 1880, when the old 
Borough was abolished and its boundaries enlarged ; it 
is now called the Aylesbury or Mid-Bucks Division of 
the County. 

I often meet with people who fail to understand the 
meaning of a Member of Parliament accepting the 
Stewardship of the " Chiltern Hundreds," the form, of 
course, by which a member vacates his seat. The 
Chiltern Hundreds are the Hundreds that cover and 
abut on the Chiltern Hills, and consist of the Three 
Hundreds of Aylesbury, the Hundred of Burn ham, the 
Hundred of Stoke, and the Hundred of Desborough. 
These Hills were mostly covered by beech-trees and 
thick scrub, and three of the great London roads to the 
north pass over the hills and through the thick woods, 
which used to be at one time infested by robbers and dan- 
gerous characters, and people journeying to the Metropolis 
were molested, robbed, and sometimes murdered by 
lawless gangs. As early as in the days of the Henrys 
and Edwards, the Crown appointed certain Knights as 
Stewards of these Hundreds, who had the modest salary 
of forty shillings a year, that they with their retainers 
should protect all travellers on their way. It was held 
more as an office of honour than one of gain, and, as it 
was a service held under the Crown, any one appointed 
as one of the Stewards, if he was a Member of Parlia- 



28 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

merit, was obliged to vacate his seat, in the same way 
as a Solicitor-General and several other members of a 
Government, who, however, seek re-election. An office 
of the same character is the Stewardship of the ]\Lanor 
of Worksop. 

Although I believe open bribery was destroyed at 
Aylesbury by enlarging the boundary of the Borough, 
still treating was carried on to a great extent. And 
there was some excuse ; the Borough became of an 
unwieldy area, containing parishes and places as much 
as fifteen miles distant from the town, and as every voter 
had to be conveyed to the poll at Aylesbury itself, a 
whole day was often spent by a man in going to and 
fro. I shall crive later some curious details of election 
expenses to show wdiat long purses elections in the good 
old times could drain. But it is not only for records of 
bribery that Aylesbury has a past worth noting : many 
interesting events are connected with the representation 
of the Borough. 

Sir Henry Austen Layard was first returned to Parlia- 
ment for Aylesbury in conjunction with Mr. Bethell, who 
became Lord-Chancellor Westbury. Mr. Layard was 
subsequently defeated by Mr., afterwards Sir, Thomas 
Bernard, the son of the Bernard of 1 802. We heard 
many stories of the future Lord-Chancellor whilst he 
was member for Aylesbury ; a marvellous advocate no 
doubt, he was nevertheless a conspicuous failure in 
Parliament, and even as a political speaker when address- 
ing his constituents he was extremely disagreeable, a 
certain mincing manner of delivery did not at all please 
the rough-and-ready voters of the immaculate Borough 













^ 



^' 



SIR RICHARD BETHELL. 29 

of Aylesbury. When he started' for the Borough his 
great patron was Mr. Acton Tindal, and both he and 
Bethell were members of the Conservative Club ; yet 
Bethcll came forward to oppose Bousfield Ferrand, who 
was already in the field as the Tory and Protectionist 
candidate, Bethell posing as the champion of Free Trade 
and advanced Whiggery. He defeated Ferrand during 
the last half-hour of the poll by twenty-two votes out of 
a constituency of I2C0. 

As this was a test election in an agricultural constitu- 
ency about Protection and Free Trade, it made the 
Conservative party extremely angry, and they proposed 
that both Bethell and Tindal should be expelled from 
the Conservative Club. At that time Mr. W. Bcresford, 
one of the members for Essex, had made himself very 
notorious for his pronounced Toryism, and had delivered 
some very foolish speeches. He was known in the 
House of Commons by the sobriquet of '* \V. B." At 
the meeting to consider the expulsion, as the club-room 
was crowded, " W. B." got on a chair at the back of the 
room, and during Bethell's speech in defence of himself, 
called out, '' Speak louder, we can't hear you." Bethell 
turned round, pointed at " W. B.," and, in his sneering 
way, said, " Can't )'OU hear me .'' Why, your ears are 
long enough." When wit failed him, rudeness was a 
sure resource. Another story was equally characteristic. 
It is related that when Bethell was offered the Vice- 
Chancellorship he said, " I do not see the force of giving 
up fourteen thousand a year, and the pleasure of making 
very good speeches, for that of taking five thousand a 
year and the misery of listening to very bad ones." He 



30 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

once remarked, when he became SoHcitor-General, that 
" he thought the constituency of the Borough of Ayles- 
bury was one of the most poverty-stricken in England, 
as it was wonderful the number of applications he had 
from all sorts and conditions of men for situations and 
places under Government, from commissionerships down 
to that of village postman ; it seemed that so long as it 
was *a place,' it did not much matter what the endow- 
ment might be." 

At one General Election, Messrs. Bernard and Bethell, 
as the sitting members, intended to offer their services 
again, when suddenly Mr. C. Vernon Wentworth, a 
Whig, was started, it was said, to gain the scat from the 
Tory, ]Mr. Thos. Bernard ; but the Rothschild party, who 
were the strong supporters of Sir Richard Bethell, 
thought his seat was in danger, and were determined 
that Wentworth should be withdrawn. The Conser- 
vatives had started Mr. Saml. Geo. Smith, and offered 
to withdraw their candidate if Mr. Vernon Wentworth 
was withdrawn, and thus leave the position unchanged ; 
but the Wentworth party refused, the final result being 
that Sir Richard decamped and hurried off to Wolver- 
hampton, where he was returned, and retained that seat 
until his elevation to the Woolsack as Baron Westbury. 
This election was memorable as ending in a tie, Mr. 
Bernard being returned at the head of the poll by a 
narrow majority of seven, whilst Mr. Smith and Vernon 
Wentworth tied. The returning-officers returned all 
three to Parliament till, after a very expensive scrutiny, 
Mr. Smith was finally declared elected, and held the seat 
for twenty-one years, although strongly opposed on two 



SIR RICHARD BETHELL. 31 

occasions by Mr. Geo. Howell, as a Labour candidate, 
a man who, although born of no high degree, has proved 
himself able and honourable, and who conducted both 
these contests in a very proper manner. Mr. Smith in 
the end was beaten by Mr. Geo. Erskine Russell, much 
to the surprise of all his party, who had deemed his 
seat as safe as an hereditary title. 

When Bcthell retired it was in the beginning of the 
month of April, and I had invited Baron Lionel Roths- 
child to a hunt breakfast at my house, with all those 
who hunted with him, and to turn out the deer on my 
farm afterwards. There were a great number present, 
a brilliant field with many ladies, the day being fine 
and the sun warm. The stag, after being turned 
out, took towards Wendover and then up the Chiltern 
Hills ; the pace was severe, and, although only a five- 
mile point, men and horses were much fatigued. After 
breasting the hills I returned, and whilst riding home 
overtook Lord Burghersh, who w^as one of the hunting 
party, and like myself was fagged out, and came into 
my house to have some refreshment. On entering the 
breakfast-room we found Baron Lionel already seated, 
refreshing himself with lobster salad, and we began at 
once to refer to a conversation we had had in the 
morning about our withdrawing Mr. Smith and the 
Whigs Mr. Wcntvvorth. Baron Lionel struck the table 
angrily and said, " Mark my words, if any of my tenants 
vote for that fellow Wentworth, FU turn them out of 
their farms." Lord Burghersh burst out laughing, 
and, dropping his knife and fork, said, " What ! is this 
the way of the great Liberal member for the City of 



32 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

London ? I thought it was only we old Tories w^ho did 
this sort of thing ! " "I don't care," said the Baron, '^ if 
Wentworth stands Bethell shall retire at once " ; and 
he did, for he left the town that night for good. I 
mention this to show how bitterly the Rothschilds and 
the landed gentry, Liberal as well as Tory, at that time 
resented any interference with their power — for a great 
power this family had become in the neighbourhood of 
Aylesbury. After this election, Mr. Nathaniel Roths- 
child, Baron Lionel's eldest son, became the M.P. for 
Aylesbur}^ and retained his seat until he was called to 
the House of Lords as the first peer of the Jewish 
persuasion that ever entered that august assembly. 

While on a visit once at Rotherham in Yorkshire, I 
heard a curious story of the great Arkwright, the 
inventor of the marvellous machinery which gained 
England superiority over the world in the manufacture 
of cotton, w4iich — I give it cum grano sails — illustrates 
how bribery at elections was not always an unmixed 
evil. At a General Election, I think in 1784, Mr. 
Lascelles was one of the candidates for Preston, backed 
by the interest of the Harewood family. Enormous 
sums were spent by the candidates on either side. 
During the polling, which lasted many days, Mr. 
Lascelles was told that there was a barber named 
Arkwright, who lived in a cellar and shaved his 
customers for a penny, who had not voted, and wished 
to see him. Mr. Lascelles went off alone the next 
morning and sat down to be shaved. When the 
operation was completed, he told ]\Ir. Arkwright, the 
barber, who he was, and give him a ten-pound Bank of 



ARKWRIGHT'S FORTUxNE. 33 

England note. The barber discovered in a monnent 

the meaning of the gift, thanked hin:i, and said, " Sir 

Thomas," meaning his opponent, " has been shaved 

twice this morning !" Mr. Lascelies, going to the glass, 

rubbed his chin and thoughtfully remarked, " I think 

you have not done thij quite clean, you had better take 

a little more off," and again sat down in the chair. Ark- 

wright gave him another lathering, and scraped him a 

little more. When Mr. Lascelies said it would do nicely 

and produced two more tenners, the barber, slapping 

his thigh, cried out, " Now, sir, my fortune is made ; I 

wanted fifty pounds, and I have got it." He went off 

and voted for Lascelies, who was returned by a small 

majority. Some years afterwards, when Mr. Lascelies 

had become Earl of Harewood, he was seated in his 

library at Harewood House, when he saw a brilliant 

equipage approach, and a gentleman step out of it, who 

was announced as Mr. Arkwright. His Lordship said 

he had not the pleasure of knowing him. " Do you 

remember," was the reply, " being shaved by a man in 

a very humble position when you were elected for 

Preston.'*" "That he remembered well," his lordship 

answered, " and had often told the singular story." 

"Well," said Arkwright, "I am that man, and the 

money you paid me for my services, added to what your 

adversary gave me, made up fifty pounds. That sum 

enabled me to bring out my spinning machinery, the 

foundation of my fortune, and anything in the world I 

can do for you I will, as I look upon you as the greatest 

of my benefactors." 

During the discussions and decisions of Parliament 

D 



34 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

on the great Reform Bill of 1832, party spirit ran 
high, and the Tory and Whig gentry of the period 
freely bandied about personalities, which, nearly always 
witty and sharp, were sometimes characterized by the 
most bitter taunts. In my boyhood, as I have said, I had 
many opportunities in our old county town of Aylesbury 
of enjoying the fun of being present on the nomination 
day of both County and Borough. I have mentioned 
the contest between " Little David " and the " Giant 
Goliath/' at which, after a five days' poll of the Borough 
and Hundreds,'Lord Kirkwall was defeated, and the two 
Reform candidates, Lord Nugent and Mr. Rickford, 
were elected. Lord Nugent was notorious for never 
paying his tradesmen, and also for being fond of certain 
members of the fair sex. His residence. The Lilies, 
was about four miles from the town, and he was often 
met, as he was riding in to complete his canvass, by 
young men dressed in women's clothes, and curtseying 
and ogling him as he passed up 'the streets ; and long 
imaginary tradesmen's bills, unreceipted, were carried 
before him and waved triumphantly in his face. These 
pleasantries generally ended in a row and free fight, 
the supporters of " Little David " as a rule proving 
victorious. 

The Parliament did not last long, and on its disso- 
lution, after the passing of the Reform Bill, the two 
sitting members offered themselves for re-election, Mr. 
Rickford receiving the second votes of both parties. 
Mr. Winthrop Mackworth Praed, then a young barrister 
on the Norfolk Circuit, and very popular in Aylesbury, 
entered the lists against Lord Nugent, nothing daunted 



WINTHROP PRAED. 35 

by his lordship's former success, nor by his having 
been member for Aylesbury since the year 18 16. Mr. 
Praed had concluded an exceptionally brilliant career 
at Oxford, his oratorical powers at the Bar had already 
attracted attention, and his ever-famous poems received 
the universal praise of nearly all of his literary con- 
temporaries. His wife — who, I believe, was a West 
Indian lady, an exceedingly beautiful brunette — can- 
vassed with her husband most effectively. Lord Nugent, 
as an old Parliamentary hand, made light of the oppo- 
sition of " the unknown resident," as Mr. Winthrop 
Praed was called, and taunted him with his want of 
connection with the ancient Borough of Aylesbury. On 
the nomination day, on the hustings, one of his lordship's 
leading supporters called out during Mr. Praed's brilliant 
address, " Who are you ? Where do you come from ? 
Where do you live ?" Mr. Praed stopped, and promptly 
tackled his opponent: "Well, my good fellow, if I am 
defeated, which you seem confident I shall be, it 
matters not where I come from or where I live ; but if 
you elect me, which I think you will, why, perhaps at 
* The Lilies,' for I hear it is to be let ! " 

This sally was received with shouts of laughter by the 
bulk of his hearers, and gave great chagrin to Lord 
Nugent's supporters, as it had lately leaked out that 
his lordship, through impecuniosity, could not remain at 
The Lilies much longer. In the end Mr. Praed was 
returned after a severe contest, and Lord Nugent, for 
the first time in his political career, was defeated ; the 
Whig Government, however, shortly after solaced him 
with the position of Lord High Commissioner of the 



36 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Ionian Islands. Winthrop Praed did not live long to 
enjoy his Parliamentary honours ; consumption carried 
him off in the midst of a promising political and literary 
career, but his fugitive poems and more ambitious works 
will long remain to testify to his elegant and refined 
tastes. 

Two hard fights for the honour of representing the 
Borough afterwards took place between Mr. Thomas 
Benjamin Hobhouse, of philosophical Radical celebrity, 
fighting for the Whig-Radical party, and Colonel 
Hanmer for the Tories. The former, it was said, en- 
deavoured to regain the seat as a warming-pan for 
Lord Nugent ; but in both instances, after a very severe 
struggle, the Colonel triumphed, and JNIr. Hobhouse's 
philosophical ideas were not aired in the House of 
Commons. 'Mv. Rice Clayton, an independent country 
gentleman, later represented the Borough, and became 
endeared to all parties by his kindly intercourse with 
his constituents, especially with the poorer classes. 
Against him Lord Nugent, on his return, started again 
as a candidate at the next dissolution. The Conservative 
party, to retain the second seat, put up a Mr. Bering^ 
an architect and a Royal Academician, but politically 
an imbecile. j\Ir. Clavton had cjiven the Duke of 
Buckingham offence by supporting Sir Robert Peel in 
his financial policy, and the extreme Tory party quietly 
and secretly made a compact with the extreme Radicals 
to run in Lord Nugent, whilst they were to give their 
second votes to Mr. Bering. The plot succeeded, and, 
to the surprise and disgust of independent Conservatives, 
the much-beloved Rice Clayton was defeated. He wrote 



VOTERS AND REFRESHMENTS. 37 

an admirable and severe letter in The Times after the 
election, showing up in no half-tints the conduct of the 
Duke of Buckingham and his supporters in voting for 
the two extremes, and concluded by the prophecy : 
" My Lord Duke, the day of reckoning will surely 
come." Sure enough, in a very few months the financial 
crash of his Grace came, and after a twenty-eight days' 
sale, the whole of the splendid contents of his palatial 
residence at Stowe came under the auctioneer's hammer, 
and the autocratic duke politically ceased to exist. 

After returning members to Parliament for over 300 
years, the ancient Borough of Aylesbury, the first battle- 
ground of John Wilkes, was merged into the Division 
of Mid-Bucks, to be represented by that overpowering 
monied family, the Rothschilds, yet very popularly so, 
first by Lord Rothschild and now by Baron Ferdinand. 

But before I conclude my sketch of the Parliamentary 
history of my native borough, I must mention again the 
election of 1818, when Lord Nugent and »Mr. Rickford 
defeated the Hon. C. C. Cavendish, so that I may 
give a curious illustration of the manner in which some 
elections at this period were conducted. 

From some old account books in my possession, I find 
Mr. Cavendish and his friends occupied the White Hart. 
The committee met in March and continued to sit for 
three months, and they managed to guzzle and expend 
no less than £2^J 2s. 2d. There was also an executive 
committee, who professed to assist the other, and their 
little bill amounted to ;^io8 4^". 6d. ; but the really 
harrowing part of the business for this losing candidate 
must have been that of paying the bill for the necessary 



ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 



refreshments of the loyal and independent voters who 
had failed to return him. As a curiosity, I append the 
bill verbatim. The first day it will be perceived that 
there were as follows — 

1818. I St Day's Poll. 

June 24. — 25 Breakfasts — Solicitors, Clerks, etc. 
40 Freeholders' do. 

384 do. Dinners 

52 do. Solicitors, Clerks, etc 

Beer 

Wine 

Rum, Brandy, etc. 

50 Stavesmen, Breakfasts, Dinners, Supper 
and Beer 



£ 


s 


^. 


I 


17 


6 


••• 3 








... 58 


12 





... 13 








... 15 








... 130 








... 6 








■s, 






... 16 


5 








.^243 14 


6 


2nd day's poll, as before (but only 

dined) 

3rd day's poll (120 voters dined) 
4th day's poll (25 voters dined) 


230 voters 

176 5 

95 5 

30 12 



6 





Total ^545 17 






There were therefore 759 voters entertained in the four 
days, although only 420 voted, so the cost came to 
about 26s. per head. 

There was also a bill for the day of the declaration of 
the poll and the chairing, which amounted to ^56 ip\y 
and for posting and baiting of horses, ;^I05 Ss. 8d. ; so 
that the committee and a few extras brought the total up 
to ;^i,ioi 9^-. 3^. This sum was paid without a murmur, 
and a compliment to the proprietor of the inn on the 
great moderation of his account. From the old books 
I also extract the bill of fare of one day's dinner, and 
it will be seen that a substantiality pervaded every- 



VOTERS AND REFRESHMENTS. 39 

thing — 20 dishes fish ; 10 dishes boiled fowls ; 10 ditto 
roast ditto ; i ditto boiled leg pork and peas-pudding ; 
2 ditto hams ; 2 ditto haunches of mutton ; 6 ditto 
geese; 10 ditto pigeon-pies; 3 ditto boiled beef; 3 ditto 
roast ditto ; 2 ditto fillets veal ; i ditto loin ditto ; i 
ditto roast leg pork ; 2 ditto forequartcrs ditto ; i roast 
turkey ; I boiled ditto ; 2 roast pigs ; 16 plum-puddings ; 
60 custard ditto ; 20 fruit-pies ; 10 dishes custard ; fruit 
ditto, ditto ; blanc-mange, jellies, etc. etc. Well may 
the loyal and independent voters regret the loss of 
the " good old times ! " 

Some very amusing stories are told about the feasting 
that went on at several of the lesser inns ; but one bill 
sent in was so outrageous in the charges, that the 
committee were determined to examine the premises, 
and when they had measured up the cubical contents of 
the cellar, they found that if it had been filled from the 
floor to the ceiling and close up to the door, it would 
not contain much more than half the wine, spirits, and 
beer charged for. The landlord of this hostelry sat 
comfortably smoking his pipe in the parlour when the 
agents of the Hon. C. C. Cavendish came into the 
house to settle the bill, and Boniface, not daring to meet 
them, left it to his wife to complete the bargain. The 
only accounts which could be furnished were sundry chalk 
marks on the backs of doors of the rooms wherein the 
voters had been entertained ; under the head of "Beer" 
were a great number of lines, showing how many quarts 
of that potent beverage had been there consumed, also 
innumerable strokes of chalk for the tumblers of grog 
and punch, and, in addition, like marks for every bottle 



40 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

of strong port and fiery sherry, concluding with a line 
to indicate the numbers who had breakfasted and 
dined in each joom. So many doors h3.d been charged 
in the bill, at an average of somelhing like £io to ^^14 
per door ; and the good dame was constantly back- 
wards and forwards from her husband to the agents 
conducting the negotiations. At last the landlord said, 
with a view of settling the matter — "Very well, then, 
give 'em a door into the bargain." In the end they 
deducted a door and a half, and so squared the bill. I am 
not able to say how much this election cost ; but the 
Hon. Charles left the place, the races were abandoned, 
and it was many years before any of the family came 
into the town, and not until about the year 1853 did Mr. 
Cavendish essay to enter Parliament for his neighbour- 
hood, when he started for the County of Bucks, and was 
returned as the County representative, with the late 
Earl of Beaconsfield and Mr. Caledon George Du Pre as 
his colleagues, and he represented the County until he 
was created the first Lord Chesham. 

The ancient Borough of Agmondesham, previous to 
the Reform Bill of 1832, returned two members to 
Parliament, and the family of the Drakes, owning the 
greater part of the property in the borough, either sat 
for it themselves or returned whoever they pleased. 
When I was a boy I remember being present at one of 
the Amersham elections, and was highly delighted at 
t':e fun and the frolic. The candidates stood in front of 
the old Market Hall on two large stones, and after the 
usual nomination, in very brief speeches returned thanks 
for their selection. They then entered their carriages, 



AMERSHAM ELECTIONS. 41 

drawn by four horses, and perambulated the town, 
followed by a crowed of men, women, and children 
shouting and dancing around. There was-a very curious 
custom here which I had never heard of at any other 
town. At each of the inns in the town, and there 
were only a few, the women-folk, old and young, married 
and single, assembled — the two best inns being 
selected by the lady inhabitants, the others according 
to their order or grade in society — and, being seated 
round the public room in the house, these fair ones 
awaited the arrival of the newly-elected Members, who 
formally entered the room and very deliberately and 
demurely kissed them in turn. This performance con- 
cluded, a raid was made into the inn-rooms by the young 
men of the place, and, amidst loud laughter and .screams 
and struggles innumerable, they also kissed the not 
unwilling dames. 

It is useless defending the retainers of "rotten 
boroughs," as they were called ; but I cannot forbear 
mentioning that for strictly honourable, independent 
conduct, it was well known that none were more entirely 
unbiassed by political parties than the Members for 
Amersham, and probably, indeed no doubt, other 
members for so-called rotten boroughs possessed the 
same characteristics. 



J^iJ-lii 



CHAPTER III. 

Disraeli's Early Political History— His Election Contest at High 
Wycombe and an Old Radical Diary — The Story of his Early 
Radicalism — His Chartist Speech and Repartees on the Hust- 
ings — His Noisy Reception at Aylesbury — His Agricultural 
Foibles — Fawcett, the Comedian — Disraeli on Bob Lowe— His 
Famous Breakdown— His Boyish Prophecy. 

A GREAT deal has been said on many occasions, and 
as often as not used to the detriment of Lord Beacons- 
field, that he was guilty of tergiversation, that he shifted 
his opinions to suit his own purposes. His opponents 
and detractors are never satisfied without stating that 
he commenced his political life as a Radical, and a very 
advanced one, and that It was only at a later dat?, after 
his first public appearance, that he came out as a Tory 
and a supporter of Tory principles. I am old enough 
to remember his first appearance, or, at all events, one 
of his first appearances, as a public speaker, and this 
was when I was a school-boy, in the year 1832 ; I 
well remember his getting up in the County Hall, at 
the memorable election at that time, which was called 
the Reform Election. He was then the bitter opponent 
of the Reform Party, represented by Mr. John Smith, 
the cousin of the first Lord Carrlngton, and Mr. Pascoe 
Grenfell, who were opposed by the champion of the 



DISRAELI'S EARLY CAREER. 43 

Tories, the Marquis of Chandos, on whose behalf Mr. 
Benjamin DisraeU addressed the freeholders. I can 
see him now as a consummate dandy, in a frock-coat 
well thrown back, to display a white waistcoat, his 
hair falling over his shoulders in long black curls 
which he constantly shook from his face, as he gave vent 
to his pent-up thoughts. He made a most violent 
onslaught on the Whigs, which called up to the Council 
table in the County Hall Mr. Martin Smith, who gave 
Disraeli's statement the lie direct, and, I believe, 
challenged him to fight a duel. 

]\Ir. Disraeli's manner was very eccentric, and he 
was laughed at as a mountebank and a Jew adven- 
turer ; even his own — the Tory — party gave him the 
cold shoulder ; but he persevered, and at last made 
his speech, through the storm of ridicule and roars of 
laughter which greeted his singular antics. 

I have before me a copy of an old diary written by 
a well-known Reformer or Radical in 1832, and find 
in it the following — 

" Wycombe Election. 

''June 3. — E. Lytton Bulwer writes to B. Disraeli, 
Esq. : ' Mr. Hume expresses his great satisfaction in 
hearing that you were about to start for Wycombe. 
He has a high opinion of your talent and principles.' 
D. O'Connell writes to Lytton Bulwer : ' I have no 
acquaintance to whom I could recommend Mr. Disraeli. 
It grieves me, therefore, to be unable to serve him on 
his canvass.' Sir Francis Burdett also writes to Charles 
Gore : ' I am sorry I have not it in my power to 



44 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

promote Mr. Disraeli's return to Parliament.' Jos. 
Hume also writes in a similar strain. What a Radical 
this Disraeli must be to be found in such company. 

" 4. — The Reform Bill passes the House of Lords. 

" 7. — The Reform Bill receives the Royal Assent. 

"9. — Colonel Grey, son of the Premier, appears as a 
candidate for Wycombe in the place of Sir Thos. Baring, 
who has resigned. The Colonel made a hasty but a 
very successful canvass. 

" 12. — Colonel Grey's address to the electors of 
Wycombe is published. 

" 13. — Mr. Disraeli makes a public entry into 
Wycombe, standing in an open carriage drawn by four 
horses ; a great concourse went out to The Bird in 
Hand to meet him, and there were music and banners. 
Mr. Disraeli addressed the populace from the portico of 
the Lion Hotel. 

*' 26th was Wycombe Election, and there was great 
•excitement. The contest was between Colonel Grey 
and Mr. Disraeli ; the nomination was first priv^ate in 
the Council Chamber, and afterwards in public, although 
the public had no voice in the matter. Mr. Disraeli was 
proposed by Sprowster and King, and Colonel Grey by 
Wheeler and Rumsey. Both candidates addressed the 
assembly amidst great uproar. Polling commenced, and 
at five o'clock Disraeli retired, the numbers being — 

Grey 23 

Disraeli ... ... ... ... 12 

Majority for Grey ... 11 



DISRAELI'S EARLY CAREER. 45 

''Mr. Disraeli made an angry speech after the poll 
closed ; Grey was chaired." 

'' What a different constituency to ours," the writer 
goes on to say, referring to Aylesbury. " Here every 
man who boils his own pot has a vote. (This is the 
meaning of a pot-waller.) At Wycombe the Corpora- 
tion returns the members ; this, however, is the last 
election under the old style ; the next will be on the 
popular system of representation." 

The Reform Bill received the Royal Assent on June 
7th, and on the following December 3rd, Parliament was 
dissolved ; on the loth the election for High Wycombe 
took place under the new franchise. The candidates 
were the Hon. Robert Smith and Colonel Grey on the 
side of the then Whig Government, and Mr. Disraeli 
as their opponent in the Tory interest. He was pro- 
posed by a leading Tory of the town, and seconded by 
a Radical, as the extreme party were very bitter against 
the Whigs, Dan O'Connell at that time calling them 
"The base, bloody, and brutal Whigs." Disraeli had 
the show of hands with Smith, and Grey demanded a poll. 

On December nth, the first day, at the close of the 
poll, the numbers were — 

Smith 171 

Grey 136 

Disraeli ... ... ... ... 107 

1 2th. — The second day, at the final close of poll, it 
was — 

Smith ... ... ... ... 179 

Grey ... ... ... ... 140 

Disraeli ... ... ... ... 1 19 



46 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

It will be seen that Smith only increased his poll the 
second day by eight votes and Grey by but four votes, 
whereas Mr. Disraeli had polled twelve votes more than 
the first day. I have not been able to find out how 
many voters remained unpolled, but so small a majority 
over Disraeli shows how fully justified he was in fighting 
his battle. 

I now come to the serious charge, reiterated over and 
over again, that he commenced his political career as a 
Radical, backed up by the strong recommendations of 
the leaders of the extreme party, and that he distinctly 
advocated their opinions. I find that he did support 
the vote by ballot, and an enlargement of the franchise, 
which was not to be wondered at when he was rejected 
so decisively by the close Corporation o[ High 
Wycombe, and that even when the borough was said 
to be thrown open, the whole place was merely an 
appanage of the House of Smith, for each attempt to 
wrest the borough from the Carrington family proved 
it to be as rotten a family borough as any in the king- 
dom. But the facts of the case were told me a (qw 
years since by a clergyman, a man of the highest 
character, who, I know from his position, was able to 
corroborate every particular, and they were so singular 
and cogent, that I unhesitatingly place in this account 
my sincere belief 

He told me that at that time, December, 1832, he 
was an undergraduate at Oxford ; that he was most 
intimately acquainted with Benjamin Disraeli as young 
men together ; and that he was fired with the political 
enthusiasm of the young, and came up from Oxford to 



DISRAELI'S EARLY CAREER. 47 

render his friend all the assistance in his power, to can- 
vass for him, and endeavour to carry his election. A 
few days before the election, a party delegation of about 
twenty-five electors came to Mr. Disraeli's committee- 
room and stated that they — as representing the extreme 
Radicals — were so disj^usted at the treatment that their 
party were receiving from the Whig Government, that, if 
Mr. Disraeli could get any letters of introduction from 
their leaders, they would join the Tory party and vote for 
him; and moved also by his own animosity to the Whig 
oligarchy, Mr. Disraeli undertook, through some friends 
of his, to get a letter from both Mr. Daniel O'Connell 
and Mr. Hume, who wrote and recommended their 
friends at Wycombe to support his candidature. Now 
comes a remarkable coincidence. Old Mr. Norris, the 
then owner of Hughenden Manor, was one of Disraeli's 
staunchest supporters ; he had known him from boy- 
hood, his house being only an easy walk from 
Bradenham, the residence of Mr. Disraeli's father. 
He had invited Lisraeli to luncheon on the day before 
the election, and in the meantime Mr. Disraeli's com- 
mittee had received these two letters from Messrs. 
Hume and O'Connell, printed and circulated them 
throughout the borough, and a copy had got into Mr. 
Norris's hands, which so roused his indignation that 
he determined to forbid the young candidate the house 
on his arrival to luncheon. When Mr. Disraeli arrived 
he met him at the door, refused him admittance, and 
shut the door in his face. Mr. Disraeli lived to see 
the day when through that very door he welcomed 
the Queen of England to visit him as his guest. 



48 ECHOES CF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

My readers will allow that so strange and eventful 
a circumstance is worth recording, and doubtless had 
some influence at a later day, when his circumstances 
were more prosperous, in the Premier's desire to pur- 
chase Hughenden Manor. 

It will be seen by these statements that Mr. Disraeli's 
opinions were more formed by the fact of his hatred to 
Whiggery, which pervades all his early novels, than by 
a belief in the extrem.e doctrines of Radicalism. 

I remember once when visiting at Hughenden, that 
]\Ir. Disraeli put on his billy-cock hat, and with his legs 
enclosed in leather gaiters and a spud in his hand, he 
suggested taking a walk through that portion of the 
beech-woods surrounding the north-west of the Manor 
House, which he called the *' German forest." We were 
talking on many subjects, and as we passed an opening 
in the woods, he said, *' Come here, and sit ye down," 
and he led the way to a rough seat made of some 
split larch fir-poles, and completely out of sight of the 
" madding crowd." He remarked, " This is a favourite 
resort of mine. You can see no trace of a human being. 
I have only the beech-woods, primroses, and wild- 
flowers about me, and, more than all, it shuts out any 
view of Wycombe " — and he smiled complacently, and 
talked of farming, and the future prospects of that 
business. I spoke, amongst other real or imaginary 
grievances, about the incidence of the Game Laws as 
injuring the work of improvement on the land, and he 
said, " I would soon settle that question ; a very short 
Act of Parliament should be passed, which would be, in 
my opinion, effectual." I ventured to ask what it was^ 



THE GAME LAWS. 49 

and he replied, " Abolish gamekeepers." To this I 
cordially assented, and said they were never con- 
tented until they had set the landlord against the 
tenants, making mischief between them in every way — 
that this did not apply to all, but no tenant of gentle- 
manly feeling would submit to the tyranny of these 
generally ignorant men. He then said, " I have down 
in the autumn my friends, Lords Derby, Exeter, and 
Salisbury, and others, and they tell me they get as good 
sport at Hughcnden as they do anywhere. My tenants 
are my gamekeepers ; they vie with each other in keep- 
ing up a good head of game ; my larder is generally 
well filled, and it costs me nothing." 

I can fully endorse these opinions. When Mr. Cress- 
well Baker owned the parish of Hulcot, near Aylesbury 
— now the property of the Rothschild family — he acted 
in the same manner by his tenants ; he came down with 
his friends a little before Michaelmas, held his rent- 
audit, and I have heard many a good-natured quarrel 
over the dinner-table as to the number of coveys of birds 
on each tenant's farm, and as to who could show most 
hares and rabbits also. 

On one occasion, in conversation with Disraeli on 
some of his speeches and opinions in Parliament, he 
made a very curious but truthful remark, which should 
be recorded. It may be thought too severe ; but I, who 
knew how he had been shunted and traduced, with the 
cold shoulder given to him on many occasions in his 
early career by the county squires, was not surprised at 
the sarcasm. 

1 was mentioning that he once made a speech some 

E 



50 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

years since, when speaking of the Fergus O'Connor 
Chartist gatherings ; that the report in the papers 
stated that he turned round towards his own party, and 
said, " Why do the people elect leaders from amongst 
themselves? Because you, the country gentlemen of 
England, neglect them. If you were to do as you did 
of old, place yourselves at tlieir head, they would 
blindly, gladly follow you." These were something 
like the words I reminded him of, and he looked at 
me and said, "Yes, Mr. Fowler, and if they don't 
do that, of what use are country gentlemen ? " As 
Artemus Ward says : " The rebook was severe but 
merited." 

Many a time I have heard the great ^Minister crush 
his democratic opponents by some severe but good- 
humoured remark which brought on the speaker the 
ridicule of even his own friends and supporters. His 
readiness of retort, his imperturbable gravity, the twinkle 
of his eye, his apparently suppressed laughter at his 
own remarks, were irresistible. A Mr. Barry, of Chilton, 
a prominent Radical Dissenter, never let an occasion 
pass that he did not ask him if he would vote for the 
abolition of Church-rates. He listened patiently to his 
question, and said, " On so many occasions this gentle- 
man has asked the self-same question, that if I wanted 
another reason to those he had already given, it would 
be that if Church-rates were abolished, ' Othello's occu- 
pation would be gone.' " On another nomination day 
he was speaking very deliberately and calmly on some 
great foreign question, when a man in the crowd sang 
out, "Speak louder and quicker." He stopped, singled 



DISRAELI'S EARLY CAREER. 51 

the man out at once, and, pointini^ his finger at him, 
spoke very slowly and said, " I am obliged to speak 
slowly to drive what I have to say into your thick head." 
"You've got it now, Joe," said the fellow's companions, 
and silence reigned immediately. 

The County Election took place in December, 1832, 
the candidates being the Marquis of Chandos and Mr. 
Scott Murray (Tories), Mr. John Smith and Mr. Dash- 
wood (Whigs) ; and at the nomination in the County 
Hall at Aylesbury, after the candidates had been 
nominated, the local paper says — " Mr. D'Israeli now 
presented himself, and there at once occurred an uproar 
of the most extravagant description. Some half-dozen 
of the virulent Tories, including the ' petty officials,' and 
not excluding the Under-Sheriff (Mr. Tindal), seemed 
to be disposed to support him, but all the Tories of a 
higher class joined the great bulk of the meeting in 
their determination to resist his attempt to gain a 
hearing. He assumed several of his best attitudes and 
executed his lungs to the utmost, but to no purpose, 
except that every fresh effort he made produced addi- 
tional groans, and a volley of such epithets as ' Tory 
Radical,' ' Radical Tory,' Mountebank Orator,' etc., etc. 
Some made an objection to him that he was not a free- 
holder. He declared he was, but not registered. It 
was then contended, amidst the storm, that, not being 
registered, he had no right to speak. A great uproar 
ensued," of which I, although a boy, was an eye-witness, 
and can vouch for its truth ; and the report goes on to 
state — " Mr. D'Israeli " (at that time this was the way 
his name was spelt) '' again stood forward and exerted 



52 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

his voice to the utmost. He appeared to be in great 
anger, and was most violent in his action. At last, 
directing his observations to a particular part of the 
meeting, first pointing his finger, and then doubling 
his fist, he was just heard to say, 'Those gentlemen, so 

safe, so circumspect, and so cowardly ' The v/ords 

were no sooner uttered than Mr. John Abel Smith, son 
of i\Ir. John Smith, one of the candidates, rushed forward, 
and springing on the table, apparently under the 
influence of strong indignation, went up to I\Ir. DTsraeh*, 
whom he called on instantly to disclaim the expressions 
so addressed to him. This we understood Mr. D'Israeli 
to do. Mr. DTsraeli professed himself ready to explain, 
if the meeting would give him a hearing. The interest 
felt in the proceeding just witnessed procured for him 
at last that for which he had been so long labouring in 
vain. He said that as regarded what had just trans- 
pired, if, in the heat of the moment, excited as he 
naturally was, he had uttered anything that had wounded 
the feehngs of any gentleman, he was sorry for it. 
(Cheers.) Mr. D'Israeli, having thus got the ear of the 
meeting, indulged himself, as usual, in abusing the 
Whigs. He was much interrupted." 
The result of the poll was — 

Chandos (T) 2856 

Smith (W.) 2402 

Dash wood (W) 1646 

Scott Murray (T.) 1534 

I have quoted rather largely from this local paper, 
\\'hich at that time was the only one in the count}-, but 



DISRAELI'S EARLY CAREER. 53 

was a strong Whig journal, for it shows how baseless is 
the charge that at the outset of his career he came 
forward as a Radical. In allusion to his defeat at High 
Wycombe, this same paper says — " The die is cast. 
The Bradenham braggart is rejected, and the electors 
of Wycombe have to congratulate themselves on the 
glorious termination of a glorious struggle, and the 
Hon. Colonel Grey has been elected. It must be ad- 
mitted that Mr. D' Israeli's manner is imposing, his 
voice powerful, and his action extraordinary ; but tlie 
electors of Wycombe rejoice that he has bade them 
adieu — to him they say, 'Farewell for ever.'" 

Lord Beaconsfield — whilst Mr. Disraeli, as M.P. for 
Bucks — was always particularly anxious to pose as the 
British farmer, and phrases in many of his speeches 
have become household words. In one of his after- 
dinner speeches, at which I was present, he had a 
chance to show off his agricultural knowledge, and in 
speaking of the advantages of farmers breeding their 
own stock, he told them, as a great piece of original 
discovery in sheep-breeding, " that they should cross 
their Downs with Cotswolds." As this had been the 
practice for many years with nearly three-fourths of his 
hearers, there was not much valuable information in the 
advice ; but our facetious contemporary, Mr. Punch, 
seized upon the phrase, and recommended him to cross 
his party with a dash of his bitterest opponents. On 
another occasion, in the autumn, which was the time 
when the agricultural meetings were held, there had 
been a great drought, and the farmers were bitterly 
complaining about the shortness of food for their cattle; 



54 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Ulsracli told them, '' from inquiries he had made, that 
there was not much to complain of" ; as although " they 
had had a poor crop of hay, yet they had an excellent 
crop of a good juicy root." This startled his hearers, 
as, from the great drought, the few turnips there were, 
instead of being juicy, were small and as hard as 
stones, with no nutriment whatever in them. 

This reminds me of a good anecdote which Mr. 
Vernon, who left h's noble gallery of pictures to the 
nation, used to relate of Fawcett, the comedian, who 
was often a guest at his house. Fawcett was very 
desirous of being considered a country gentleman, and 
took a small place with a little land down in the country, 
where l^e found it was the custom of the farmers to 
assemble and smoke their pipes in the village inn in 
the evening. He joined them and listened attentively 
to their conversation. There had been a succession of 
wet weeks, and one after the other, as they cam.e into 
the parlour and began filling their pipes, the farmers 
invariably made the general remark, " Rare weather for 
turmuts !" which was acquiesced in by the remainder of 
the party. Fawcett treasured up this remark, and when 
he eot back to London he thougrht he must show off his 
aaricultural knowledcre ; and when his friends at the 
theatre, or anywhere else, were complaining of the wet 
weather, he always came out as an oracle with the 
remark, " Rare weather for turnips ! " and this phrase 
obtained him the reputation of being a distinguished 
authority on farming. It so happened that before he 
went back again to his country home a very serious 
drought had set in, and the soil was parched up in 



DISRAELI AS A FARMER. 55 

all directions ; but on his arrival home, as usual, he 
resorted to his village haunt, and, after the usual 
greeting, he thought he must show his friends that he 
had not forgotten their agricultural remarks, and said, 
" Rare weather for turmuts ! " Whereupon the farmers all 
sprang from their seats as though a bombshell had been 
thrown amongst them ; and one of them shouted out, 
" D — n it, sir, there ain't a turmut in the country ; 
they be all roasted up." Fawcett rarely ventured again 
to air his agricultural knowledge. 

In addition to Lord Beaconsfield's desire to be an 
authority on agricultural matters, he was anxious to 
also pose as a farmer — in full costume. At one of the 
annual m.eetings of the Royal and Central Bucks Asso- 
ciation, at Aylesbury, those attending the show-yard 
were startled by the appearance of their beloved M.P, 
entering in full panoply of agricultural mail, or, as he 
thought, in full farming costume. He had discarded 
the traditional top-boots, but appeared in a brown 
velveteen shooting-coat, with a flapping waistcoat, and 
over his black trousers he had drawn a pair of long 
dark-brown leather gaiters, with wooden buttons covered 
with leather up the side, reaching from his dandy 
Wellington boots to his hips, and fastened there with 
leathern straps to his brace buttons ; his head was 
covered with a black " billycock" hat, and a blue bird's- 
eye silk handkerchief was tied loosely round his neck, 
and he carried a big stick with a spud at the end ; in 
fact, he looked like a well-dressed gamekeeper. Every 
one was screaming with laughter, but he thought he was 
paying us agricultural folk a compliment by wearing what 



56 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

he considered to be the typical dress of the British farmer 
— he must have been surprised to find many of the real 
article dressed in the best modern style, and several with 
coats by the well-known Mr. Poole, of Savile Row. These 
little idiosyncrasies of his rather showed in reality how 
much he w^ished to identify himself with his own country 
people. His speeches at these meetings were half 
political, and half social and agricultural, and were as 
well scrutinized by the Press the next clay as a Ministerial 
speech at a Ninth of November Lord Mayor's dinner. 
One of his most effective hits was made at a political 
dinner at Newport Pagnell, where he attacked ]\Ir. Bob 
Lowe (Lord Sherbrooke), who had made a severe 
harangue against him the previous week. He spoke some- 
thing like these words: ''I now come to the right hon. 
member for the University of London. Why, this gentle- 
man entirely owes his seat in the House to me! For 
you may remember that he dared not show his face to 
any constituency of working-men in the kingdom, for he 
would assuredly be kicked off any hustings, as he w^as 
at Kidderminster ; and when we were completing our 
Reform Bill, we said. What is to be done with the member 
for Kidderminster .? And at last the thought struck me, 
so that he would not have to face a crowd of voters, we 
would give a member to the London University, and this 
would suit him. You may now ask me why we were so 
anxious to keep the right hon. gentleman in the House? 
Well, for this reason. We knew that no Liberal Minis- 
try could be complete w^itbout Mr. Lowe, and we knew 
perfectly well that any Ministry of which he formed a 
part he would inevitably wreck." It is impossible to de- 



DISRAELI'S EARLY CAREER. 57 

scribe the effect of this cHmax, as his hearers were wonder- 
ing, as they intently listened, what explanation he could 
give for his anxiety to find him a Parliamentary seat. 

There have been several versions of his great break- 
down, the failure of his first speech in Parliament. One 
of the reporters of The T lines ^ who was present in the 
House of Commons at the time, told mc what he vouched 
to be the true version. He had begun his speech in a 
mock heroic style, and alluded to the departure of a 
beloved monarch, — meaning the death of William IV., — 
and the House, which was the first Parliament of Queen 
Victoria, and for which I think he was returned the first 
time for Maidstone, began to titter. He then got angry, 
and his audience bursting out into loud laughter, he 
turned savagely on them, and said, " You won't hear 
me now ; but the day will come when you shall hear 
me." He was 3. pfotege o{ Lord Lyndhurst, and there is 
no doubt that on his first entering into public life he was 
rather bombastic. When he tried for the borough of 
Taunton, and was defeated, he said, " Recollect, the 
author of Vivian Grey cannot remain long out of 
Parliament." This, at the time considered vain and 
conceited, was only giving voice to the feeling of natural 
self-consciousness which he possessed in an eminent 
degree ; and after all it is no more than what has been 
recorded of Sheridan, after his equally conspicuous 
failure in the House at the commencement of his after- 
wards brilliant career. He was found in the dining- 
room of the House of Commons, with his face buried in 
his hands, and his friend said, " Cheer up, cheer up ; 
others have failed before now;" and he replied, *' I 



SS ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

know I havj got it in me, and, by God, some day it shall 
come out." There is also the well-known story of 
Lord Nelson, when commander of the Captain at the 
Battle of St. Vincent, which was fou::^ht under Admiral 
Jervis, Lord St. Vincent. One of Nelson's friends 
condoled with him on his name being unfairly left out 
of the despatch, when Nelson had done more than any 
other commander to win that great battle. " Never 
mind," was the reply, '' I'll have a Gazette of my own 
some day." It recalls also the celebrated remark on 
another occasion, " A peerage or Westminster Abbey." 
Yet Sheridan and Nelson are not accused of conceit. 

I was once ver}^ intimate with a Mr. Venables, now 
long passed away, who was a near relative of Alderman 
Venables, of the City of London, the proprietor of large 
paper-mills in the neighbourhood of High Wycombe. 
He told me a most interesting anecdote of the early 
life of Benjamin Disraeli. When they were boys 
they often walked home together towards Bradenham, 
where the elder Disraeli resided. One moonlight night, 
Benjamin, wlio, like himself, was about fourteen years 
of age, was unusually taciturn, walking moodily along, 
when Venables asked him what he was thinking about. 
"He answered, very slowly and deliberately, ' I am con- 
sidering what I shall be. I mean to get myself talked 
about.' 'How are you going to do that.'*' said L 
' Well, I shall write a book ; then I shall make some 
speeches, and get into Parliament.' I laughed at him ; 
and he then said, 'And I won't rest till I am made a 
Privy Councillor.' " " I then told him," said Venables, 
" not to talk such nonsense as that." 




CHAPTER IV. 

Bulgarian Atrocities in Buckinghamshire — Lord Beaconsfield's 
Speech in the Corn Exchange at Aylesbury and Rothschild's 
Opinion of it — Disraeli and the Cattle Defence Association — 
Disraeli and Protection — ^At Hughenden : its Cedars, its Purchase 
— Mrs. Disraeli's Frugality — The Romantic Story of Miss 
Williams' Legacy — Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer — 
His Manchester Speech — His Opinion of the Disfranchising 
Act of 1832 — His Sympathy for the Agricultural Labouring 
Class : their Earnings, their Right of Combination— On Pub- 
licans and Exhausted Volcanoes — His Death and Funeral. 

At the annual meeting of the Royal and Central Buck- 
ingham Agricultural Society in 1880, Mr. Disraeli had 
promised, as was generally his custom, to attend. But 
he had lately been created Earl of Beaconsfield after bis 
successful completion of the Berlin Treaty, and his 
elevation to the peerage had created a vacancy in the 
representation of the County of Bucks. At this time Mr. 
Gladstone and others had been stumping the country, 
haranguing the masses on the so-called '' Bulgarian 
Atrocities " ; the minds of the people v/ere much in- 
flamed, and doubts were entertained if the scat, thus 
vacated, could be held by the Conservative party, and 
the bye-election was looked forward to by both sides as 
a test election of the opinions of the people on this great 
question. The candidates for the vacant seat were the 



6o ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Hon. T. Fremantlc, eldest son of the late Lord Cottesloe, 
on the Conservative side, and the Hon. Rupert Carring- 
ton, brother of the popular Lord Carrlngton ; and both 
parties felt confident of .success. It need not be said 
that Lord Beaconsfield looked with the keenest interest 
on the result of the contest. The polling was fixed for 
the day after the public dinner of the Agricultural 
Society, and great anxiety was expressed lest Lord 
Beaconsfield should be absent from the dinner. A few 
days before the meeting I had the honour to receive 
the following letter from Lord Beaconsfield, which I 
insert from, I hope, a pardonable pride, that my opinion 
should have been deemed of service to him. 

" lo, Downing Street, Whitehall, 

^^ September 9, 1876. 

" Dear Mr. Fowler, 

'-'' You are one of those men in whose judgment 
and trustworthiness I have great confidence. I should 
therefore feel obliged to you if you would give me your 
opinion as to the prospect of our County contest. 

" Yours sincerely, 

'' Beaconsfield." 

I replied that I felt sure of a successful result, although 
we were confronted by a very strong opponent, and the 
representative of one of the most popular families in the 
county ; '"' but," I concluded my letter, " I feel convinced 
that your lordship's presence at the dinner will make at 
least three hundred votes difference to our party." 

I heard afterwards that my view was supported by 
that prince of good fellows, " Squire Drake," of Shar- 



LORD BEACONSFIELD. 6i 

deloes, who wrote to the same effect, and even rode 
over to Hughenden to persuade the Prime Minister to 
attend. The Earl then intimated that he would be 
present and dine with us. I was one of the Dinner 
Committee, and in forming the list of toasts his name 
was put down to respond to the " House of Lords." 
The Committee deputed me on his arrival to wait on 
him and inform him of the arrangement. His lordship 
did not appear till late in the afternoon, and, on his 
arrival at the George, together with the late Sir Robert 
Harvey, his brother representative in the county, we 
waited on him, and informed him on what he had to 
speak, and I shall not furget the annoyance he expressed 
at it. "What !" he said, "how can they expect me to do 
this, when I have not taken the oaths nor my seat in 
the House of Lords yet ? Lord Cottesloe should do it — 
I can't, I can't " ; and he hinted that he should go back 
to Hughenden. 

The late Sir Philip Rose^, who Avas present, calling 
me aside, said, seeing how much vexed his lordship was, 
that there should be a special toast of " The Prime 
Minister," and that I must go back to the Committee 
.and arrange it with them. The alteration being cordially 
accepted by them, I returned and informed Lord 
Beaconsfield of it, and he was satisfied. 

The crowd in and about the George Hotel was 
very great. The people assembled in the streets to 
-cheer their late Member, and the Corn Exchange, where 
the dinner was held under the chairmanship of the 
president of the Society, Mr. Nathaniel Grace Lambert, 
the Liberal Member of the county, was already crowded, 



62 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

the tables having been laid for five hundred, and the 
galleries filled with more than four hundred ladies. 
The Exchange stands at the bottom of the hill in the 
Market Square, and it was intended that his lordship 
should walk down, but when he came out of the hotel 
his carriage was standing to take him there, the servants 
thinking the crowd would be too great for their master 
to go through on foot. So he got into the brougham, 
and, turning round to me, he said, '' I must not go 
alone ; you must come with me." As we were going 
down the Square, he said, " Do they expect me to say 
anything to-day ? " meaning politically, and I replied, 
" Certainly ; we are all looking forward to what you 
have to say about the Bulgarian atrocities." " I cannot 
touch upon that ; you know how strictly forbidden 
we are by our Society's rules to speak on political 
questions." I answered, " Yes ; but this is not a political, 
but a great National Question, and we shall give you such 
a reception as you never before received in this county." 
" Do you think so ?" he said. " But you know I can't, I 
must not do it." I then replied, " I think, my lord, I 
can take a liberty with you. What do you think the 
public will say if you don't speak on this all-important 
question .? " " What's that ? " he said. " Why, that you 
are afraid of it." He waited a moment and then folded 
his arms and leant back in the corner of the carriage^ 
and then said, " If that's the case, I will speak." 

We then arrived amidst the cheering of the crowds 
which was so dense at the entrance to the Corn 
Exchange that we found it impossible to force our way 
through into the hall. I then suggested he should enter 



LORD BEACONSFIELD. 63 

by my business office, which adjoined, and get in through 
a back entrance, which led into the building. On arriving 
there we found the door locked, and all our knocking 
and banging proved ineffectual to gain admission, the 
waiters and assistants inside having been strictly ordered 
not to admit any one that way. In vain I told them it 
was Lord Beaconsficld, and that we must get in. They 
only laughed and said, " That won't do for us — that's no 
Lord Beaconsfield," and thought it was some attempt 
by people to use his name to obtain admittance. I then 
told them to go and fetch the Secretary, Mr. Geo. Fell, 
but nothing would persuade the senseless blockheads to 
do so. 

In the meantime his lordship sat down and Avaitcd 
patiently. When Mr. Denson, the Superintendent of 
the Police, came to us we again thundered for admission, 
but without avail. At last Lord Beaconsfield turned 
round, and with a sly twinkle in his eye, said, " Have 
you got no experienced burglar about here ? " Denson 
replied, "If I had authority, my lord, I'd soon get 
admission." "Well," I said, "I will give you that, as I 
am one of the Directors of the Market Company ; " and 
he then went into the Butchers' Mf^rket, and returning 
with a large iron meat-hook, wrenched the lock off the 
door, and in that way the Prime Minister of England 
entered the hall to make his great speech. 

Never shall I forget the scene we encountered as I 
walked through the hall to conduct him to his seat next 
the Chairman. The whole audience rose ; the cheering 
and clapping of hands, the waving of handkerchiefs 
from the ladies in the gallery, continued for several 



64 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

minutes ; his political opponents caught the contagion 
and seemed to vie with his supporters in the ovation. 
After dinner and the usual preliminary toasts had been 
disposed of; my old friend, John Treadwell, a typical 
British farmer, rose and proposed the "Prime Minister," 
and in a few appropriate and well-chosen words gave 
the toast and the time for three hearty cheers, which 
were responded to till the iron ribs of the roof rever- 
berated. I need not say with what calmness the Prime 
Minister spoke, with what earnestness he denounced the 
false and calumnious charges brought against our allies, 
how he showed up the specious pretences of the 
Russians, and how he shattered to pieces the arguments 
of Mr. Gladstone and his Russian friends. The speech 
electrified his audience, and the result of the election 
the next day proved my assertion that his presence at 
the meeting would make 300 votes difference to our side 
at the poll, for Mr. Fremantle was returned, to the 
great surprise of the Liberal party, by a majority of 
187. Lord Carrington very freely laid out his money 
on the occasion of counting the votes after the poll, by 
laying the odds of three to one on his brother, and 
losing £s^ to Squire Drake. 

As a sequel to this political episode, I cannot omit 
the following incident. About a fortnight after this 
meeting, an agricultural dinner was held at Princes 
Risborough, a small town within the district of the 
Borough of Aylesbury, and one of its polling places, 
although nine miles from the actual town of Aylesbury. 
I was walking from the station in company with Sir 
Nathaniel, now Lord Rothschild, and with him was a 



BULGARIAN ATROCITIES. 65 

leading Liberal Dissenter, who was Chairman of his 
Committee. Sir Nathaniel remarked, in reference to 
Lord Beaconsfield's Bulgarian speech, that it was but 
seldom he made a mistake in public speaking, but that 
in this instance he made a very great and important one. 
On my asking what it was, he said, " I was not present ; 
but I read the report of the speech in TJie Times the 
next morning, in which he said, ' We are aware that on 
this question we, the Ministry, are not in accord with 
the views of the majority in the kingdom.' This was 
a serious statement, and fraught with serious conse- 
quences ; " to which Sir Nathaniel's great supporter 
said, " Well, but it was quite true." " No," said Sir 
Nathaniel, " it was not true ; it is only the voice of a 
noisy minority, who chatter about the country without 
contradiction, and make out that they are the spokes- 
men for the nation. Now,'' he continued, " see the effect 
of this statement : I happen to know that these w^ords 
were brought to the attention of the Czar and his 
ministers, and have encouraged him in his Eastern 
policy, and proved a great trouble to the English 
Ministry and. their Turkish allies." 

I hope my readers w^ill pardon this rather lengthy 
account of Lord Beaconsfield's first public appearance 
in the County after he had ceased to represent it in the 
House of Commons, but it is my greatest pride that I 
had the distinguished honour to have nominated him as 
a candidate on the last two occasions on which he stood 
for the County of Buckingham, and even the details of 
Disraeli's career are to me, and I think to many besides 

myself, of peculiar charm and interest. 

F 



66 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Soon after he became Earl of Beaconsfield, after his 
return from his brilliant mission to Berlin, he was at 
Aylesbury, and on seeing him I remarked he was looking" 
very well. "Yes," he replied, "I am glad to say I am, 
except for a slight attack of gout ; " to which I answered, 
" But people say if you have an attack of that malady 
you take a fresh lease of your life." He said, " Well, I 
am not sure that I would not rather be a tenant-at-will 
and give up the lease." This remark was in pleasant 
reference to the many interviews I had had with him on 
the Agricultural Holdings Act, especially as to tenants- 
at-will and leaseholders. It was a trait in his character 
that he invariably consulted those of his constituents 
who were tolerably well informed on such subjects as 
required his attention in Parliament, and always availed 
himself of their practical knowledge in any department 
which bore upon the subject under discussion. 

I had been appointed many years ago Chairman of the 
"Home Cattle Defence Association," a society which 
had its centre in London, for pressing on the Govern- 
ment the necessity for stamping out cattle diseases^ 
which are chiefly imported from abroad. This was a 
subject in which Disraeli expressed considerable interest,, 
and he brought his mind to bear on such details as were 
necessary to frame such a Bill before Parliament as ta 
ensure its successful career through the House of 
Commons. One day, when' attending Quarter Sessions 
at Aylesbury, he asked me to come up to Hughenden 
and to bring with me three others well versed in the 
subject, to consult with him on the best means of pro- 
cedure. He said, " Pll only have four of you, as too 



DISRAELI AND AGRICULTURE. 67 

many cooks spoil the broth." I took with me the late 
Mr. Odams of Bishops Stortford, who had done more to 
bring public opinion to bear on the question than any- 
other man, and who had built a wharf on the banks of 
the Thames and fitted it up for "the slaughter of all 
foreign cattle on their debarkation," the principle for 
which we as a society had always contended. Mr. 
George Lepper, the eminent veterinary surgeon, was 
another ; and I think Mr. John Treadwell was the fourth. 
The late Sir Philip Rose was with Mr. Disraeli, and after 
luncheon we adjourned to the library and went into the 
whole subject. Disraeli said he felt entirely with us as 
to our view that the only way to get rid of thes2 diseases 
v>'as to stamp them out by slaughter at the port of 
debarkation, but Ministers had to consider the opinions 
of the dwellers in the big towns of the North, who 
believed it would stop our foreign supply and tend to 
make meat dearer. We combated this opinion, and 
expressed our belief that it would have the contrary 
effect. Mr. Odams pointed out that the whole foreign 
supply of imported live meat only averaged 7^ per cent., 
and asked if it were fair to jeopardize the 92^ per cent, 
of our home cattle to keep up the importation of so 
insignificant an amount. This statement made a great 
impression upon Mr. Disraeli, and he immediately referred 
to the Board of Trade returns, and finding it was perfectly 
correct, promised to give us every support. I think he 
was at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

We all remarked on the perfectly business-like manner 
and the complete mastery of every detail he evinced 
whilst Ave were discussing the matter with him ; and this 



68 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

I have al\va}'S heard was a characteristic of him — when- 
ever he received a deputation he was " at home " in 
everything, and no one who had once had occasion to 
meet him dared to make any incorrect statement, as he 
would be down on him in a moment, fetch out his 
authority, and overwhelm him by either facts or figures. 

I believe you obtain from m.any a public man in 
private conversation oftentimes a clearer insight into his 
opinions than you do by his public speeches. On one 
occasion I remarked to Disraeli that for several Sessions 
of Parliament I had never heard him even mention the 
word " Protection." He replied, " You may as well 
attempt to put life into the dead bones of a skeleton as 
to revive Protection in this country." 

I think in one of his novels he says " that somehow or 
other if you meet the English country gentleman on the 
heated plains of India, on the deserts of Egypt, or on 
the icy slopes of the Alps, he has always a snug corner 
in his conversation to talk of Quarter Sessions." At 
our own Quarter Sessions dinners I have often heard 
him in conversation, and although not a great talker at 
the table, his remarks were so amusing and his sarcasm 
was so refined, that though severe, he was never ill- 
natured. I remember on one occasion the conversation 
turned on the newly-discovered fact that there were two 
dormant peerages in the Lowndes family — one in the 
Selby Lowndes of Whaddon, and another in the other 
county family of the same name, William Lowndes of 
Chesham, who ov/ned a considerable property situated 
in Belgravia, comprising Lowndes Square and Chesham 
Place. Mr. Disraeli remarked that "somehow or other. 



AT HUC^.HENDEN. 69 

if Cubitt (the great builder) built mansions and palaces 
over several acres of ground in the West End of London, 
a dormant peerage was almost sure to be found in the 
family of the owner." 

When walking with him round Hughenden one day I 
remarked how interesting the whole district was, as 
being full of historic lore, and expressed my admiration 
of his residence. " Yes," he said, " it is interesting. The 
De Montforts lie in the church, and I have every reason 
to believe that Simon de Montfort resided here and left 
this house to compel King John to sign the Magna 
Charta." Ankerwyke is not more than twelve miles 
from Hughenden on the Buckinghamshire side of the 
Thames, while Magna Charta Island is in the middle of 
the river. King John came from Windsor on the Berks 
side, whilst the great Baron and his retainers were on the 
Bucks side, and the two parties met on this island as 
neutral ground. On another occasion at Hughenden I 
noticed to him how luxuriantly the trees grew, especially 
the cedars and the pines, and instanced a young cedar 
of Lebanon which had grown to a large size. He told 
me he had brought it himself with a few others from the 
valley of Lebanon wlien some years ago he travelled in 
Palestine, and that he had given one to Lady Grenvillc 
of Dropmore, a place about six miles distant, and that 
there was great rivalry between them as to which grew 
the best, her ladyship annually coming over to see his 
tree and compare notes, whilst he returned the visit. " I 
was always pleased," he said, "to find mine was far the 
finest specimen, notwithstanding old Frost, her gardener, 
took especial care of hers." 



70 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

]\Ir. Disraeli purchased the Hughcnden property about 
1845, chiefly, I beUeve, to satisfy the country gentlemen 
that he was a landed proprietor like themselves, and that 
they should not throw in his teeth — which they to their 
shame had often done — that he was only an interloper 
and adventurer. Mr. Norris was the owner of the 
property, whose name in connection with his starting for 
the borough of Wycombe I have previously noticed. 
The price paid was, I think, ;^35,ooo, including the 
mansion and timber. Through his writings and Mrs. 
Disraeli's economic household management, he managed 
to raise £1^,000, and borrowed ^^20,000 on mortgage, 
and, with care and frugality, managed to keep up the 
mansion and entertain his friends, greatly aided by his 
better half. I have heard some amusing stories of her 
excessive frugality. The following was told me by one 
who had ample means of knowing the circumstances. 
Mrs. Disraeli and her husband had come down from 
London to spend the Easter vacation at Hughenden, 
and had called on the various tradesmen at Wycombe 
to order the groceries and other requirements for their 
ten days' or fortnight's stay. It so happened that 
their sojourn was rather abruptly shortened, and Mrs. 
Disraeli was seen calling at the grocers and other 
purveyors, taking out of the carriage the non-con- 
sumed wares, and asking the shopkeepers to receive them 
back and have them re-weighed, and so to make a 
reduction in their accounts. The great statesman, witn 
folded arms, was leaning back in the carriage looking 
perfectly nonchalant, but evidently desirous to have no 
share in the frugil transaction. I have heard many 



MISS WILLIAMS' LEGACY. 71 

other stories of Mrs. Disraeli's peculiarities, and her 
parsimony was often carried to a ridiculous extent ; 
however, it had the effect of ridding her husband of 
pecuniary troubles, and added to the great respect and 
affection he always entertained towards her, and which 
she amply deserved. 

I am tempted to refer to the romance that proved so 
important a feature in Lord Beaconsfield's remarkable 
career. After the publication of each novel he was in 
the habit of receiving many congratulations from friends 
and literary people on the success of his works, and 
amongst others there came one from a lady of whom he 
knew nothing whatever, who lived in the neighbourhood 
of Torquay. She was in the habit of writing most 
enthusiastic praises, almost fulsome adulation, of his 
great abilities, not only as a writer but as a politician. 
He took but little notice of her except by formal letters 
of thanks, and thought no more of the matter. Some 
time afterwards, circumstances happened that took him 
and Mrs. Disraeli to the West of England, and they went 
to Torquay ; then the thought struck him that he should 
find out who this Platonic lover could be, and in due 
course he discovered that she was a Miss Williams,, a 
lady of some property, living in that neighbourhood. He 
determined to call and pay his respects to her. He did 
so, and the old lady was so thoroughly delighted that 
she could scarcely contain herself. At last she had 
obtained the object of her ambition, and had seen the 
great man for whom she had for years felt the deepest 
admiration. ]\Ir. Disraeli prolonged his visit, and again 
called on her, and on his return to London forwarded 



72 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

her a set of his works, and continued to do so when 
any new publication of his appeared. Some few years 
afterwards this lady died, and, to his utter astonishment, 
left him all her fortune. This amounted to over ^^40,000, 
and it enabled him to pay off the whole of the encum- 
brances on his estate. This great benefactress was 
buried at Hughenden, and lies in the same vault contain- 
ing the remains of the famous author and statesman and 
those of his wife. 

I shall not soon forget the time when he first entered 
office, and, to the astonishment of every one, became 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. On the morning it 
was announced in TJic Times that he had accepted 
office, I was riding to the meet of the Staghounds, and 
Baron Lionel de Rothschild, father of the present Lord 
Rothschild, overtook me, and whilst riding onwards 
began talking of the new Derby Administration. I 
expressed my surprise at ]\Ir. Disraeli being appointed 
to preside over the finances of the country, and doubted 
his capability for the office. The Baron replied, '' The 
public make a great mistake. I know him well — his 
genius is equal to anything ; he will make a good 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, far better than Sir 
Charles Wood, Spring-Rice, and .many others who r.ave 
gone before him." This, coming from so eminent an 
authority as Baron Lionel, quite satisfied me, and I soon 
afterwards had occasion to find out that his opinion 
was justified. 

A great agitation had commenced against a most 
obnoxious tax, " the post-horse duty," which was levied 
in a very objectionable manner, and was the last of the 



DISRAELI AND AGRICULTURE. -ji 

taxes which were " farmed," as it was called, or " let " 
to private individuals who exacted from the postmasters 
the uttermost farthing- ; and owing to the great un- 
certainty of the law, the. grossest injustice in the shape 
of fines was perpetrated. I was one of a committee 
composed of members drawn from all parts of England 
to meet in London in order to press the Government 
for the removal or at least amelioration of this im- 
position. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir 
Charles Wood, afterwards Lord Halifax, received our 
deputation, and gave us so little encouragement to 
proceed that we came away in utter disgust, not only 
at the flippancy and absolute discourtesy to which we 
were subjected, but also with the crass ignorance he 
displayed in everything which related to the incidence 
of the tax. Soon after this disappointment of our 
hopes, Mr. Disraeli came into office ; the same committee 
came together again to interview the new Chancellor, 
and one and all were filled with admiration at the tact, 
ability, and knowledge he showed on the occasion. We 
found him in his office in Downing Street ready to 
receive our deputation. Books and statistics were all 
prepared, the late Mr. Priestly, chief commissioner of 
stamps and taxes, stood at his elbow ; with this gentleman 
Mr. Disraeli constantly consulted, and at each statement 
referred to the Blue Books before him, occasionally 
correcting the speakers if any inaccurate statements 
were put forward. In the end he promised us a full 
and favourable consideration of our complaints ; unfor- 
tunately for us, he was out of office in a few months, and 
we had no opportunity of rectifying our grievances. 



74 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Not long after Disraeli's memorable visit to ^Manchester 
on April 3rd, 1872, I had an opportunity of speaking to 
him of his reception there, and he said he thought he 
had never been so heartily received anywhere as in that 
cit}'. I mentioned that I had intimate friends resident 
at Manchester, and that I heard from them that no 
public man, not Gven Mr. John Bright, had received 
such a welcome. I proceeded to mention several salient 
points of his address, which, I remarked, bore out many 
of the opinions which had been fully expressed by him 
in his earlier novels, especially upon the franchise, to 
all which he still seemed thoroughly to adhere. Even 
now I recall a few memorable sentences of this speech 
in the Free Trade Hall. In speaking of the Reform 
Act, he said, "Lord Grey in his measure of 1832, 
^vhich was, no doubt, on the whole a statesmanlike 
measure, committed a great, and, for the time, it 
appeared an irretrievable error. By that measure he 
not only made no provision for the representation of the 
working-classes in the Constitution, but he absolutely 
abolished those ancient franchises which the working- 
classes had enjoyed and exercised from time immemorial. 
That was the origin of Chartism, and of that electoral 
uneasiness which existed in this country more or less 
for thirty years." He said to me that " he was sure I must 
have remembered that he had on several occasions in 
our County Hall said that the Reform Bill of 1832 was a 
disfranchising measure," and I alluded to. the disfranchise- 
ment of the ancient Potwaller and the old Freemen. In 
reference to education he spoke with his usual strong 
yet cautious manner: "The public mind will arrive at 



DISRAELI AND AGRICULTURE. 75 

conclusions which you may call Dogmas and Formu- 
laries and prescribe by Acts of Parliament ; but I am 
persuaded that a system of national education which 
repudiates the religious instincts of our nature will be 
the greatest of failures, but more fatal to the State than 
to the Church." How truly also he hit the right nail on 
the head, when he said, in this Manchester speech of 
h's, ".Gentlemen, political institutions are the embodied 
experience of a race.'' 

Disraeli was always particularly anxious for the 
welfare of the agricultural labourer, and I do not 
forget how, in one of his speeches at the meeting of 
the Bucks Agricultural Association, in speaking of the 
sanitary condition and the better housing of the 
labourers, he said, "In building cottages there aic 
three absolutely necessary things to be provided — an 
oven, a tank, and a porch." This is practical advice ; 
and in his Manchester speech I find the following, 
which perhaps may shock the sensitive nerves of many 
of my agricultural friends. " And in the first place," he 
said, " to prevent any misconception, I beg to express 
my opinion that an agricultural labourer has as m.uch 
right to combine for the bettering of his condition as a 
manufacturing labourer or a worker in metals." Again, 
he said, " Gentlemen, I should deeply regret to see the 
tillage of this country reduced and a recurrence to 
pasture take place. I should regret it principally on 
account of the labourers themselves. Their new friends 
call them * Hodge,' and describe them as a feeble bod}', 
and stolid in mind. That is not my experience of them 
— T believe them to be a stalwart race, sufficiently shrewd 



76 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

and open to reason. I would say to them with con- 
fidence, as the great Athenian said to the Spartan who 
rudely assailed him, ' Strike, but hear me.' '' A capital 
instance of the rich humour in which his speeches 
abound ! 

Illustrating how the public generally are mistaken 
in estimating the earnings of the agricultural labourer, 
I told him I had everj^ year taken out from my labour- 
book the annual earnings of my ordinary workmen — 
not my carters, shepherds, cowmen, or Sunday men as 
we call them — and found they averaged I'js. gd. per 
week, and that the larger their families, after a certain 
age, the better off they were ; that 1 had several men 
who had one or two boys, under fourteen years of age, 
working on the farms, who supplemented the standing 
wages of their father of I-JJ'. per week by at least ^. to 
5^". each, this bringing up their weekly wage to 2jS. to 
2^s. per week ; and as they had for each family a really 
good cottage and large garden for is. 6d. per week, 
they were practically better off than men in the manu- 
facturing districts, where wages averaged from 2S>s. to 
30i-. per week, with high rents for inferior dwellings. 
Lord Beaconsfield replied, " That from his personal 
knowledge, not only of Hughenden, but other districts 
of the country, he had no hesitation in saying that the 
improvement in the lot of the rural labourer during the 
past fifty years was most remarkable, and that their 
toil, by the introduction of improved machinery, and 
also by the introduction of the allotment system, was 
not so severe as of old." This I endorsed, and said 
we could scarcely get any one. except old men, to 



DISRAELI AND AGRICULTURE. 77 

use the flail for thrashing, and only a few who even 
knew how to handle and sharpen the scythe. But I 
might cover pages with notes of Disraeli's comments on 
matters with which I myself was intimately acquainted ; 
his conversations convinced me that Lord Beaconsfield 
had mastered the politics of country life, and was ready 
with remedies which he felt would be of use. 

I cannot refrain from quoting one more extract from 
Mr. Disraeli's Manchester speech, so exactly applicable 
is it to the present time. Speaking on the licensing 
question, he said, " I doubt not there is in this hall 
more than one publican who remembers that last year 
an Act was introduced to declare that all publicans 
were sinners. I doubt not there are in this hall widows 
and orphans who remember the profligate proposition 
to plunder their lonely heritage." And that master- 
piece of illustration, " The unnatural stimulus of the 
Ministry was subsiding. Their paroxysms ended in 
prostration. As I sit opposite the Treasury Bench the 
Ministers remind me of one of those marine landscapes 
not unusual on the coast of South America. You 
behold a range of exhausted volcanoes. Not a flame 
flickers on a single pallid crest, but the situation is 
still dangerous. There are occasional earthquakes, and 
ever and anon the dark rumbling of the sea." 

These reminiscences of Lord Beaconsfield merely 
record what may seem commonplace anecdotes and 
remarks ; others will present to the world the higher 
attributes of his statesmanship, but my hope is that 
probably some of the anecdotes, which people may call 
trivialities, tend to show the inner mind and life of a 



78 FXHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE 

great man when untrammelled by weighty problems of 
State. At the funeral of this great statesman I was 
privileged to enter the church. Never shall I forget the 
solemn scene, for never before in history was anything 
like it. The procession was honoured by the presence 
of the Prince of Wales and his royal brothers, foreign 
ambassadors, most of the leading inhabitants of the 
county, by even those who had been his greatest 
opponents, men like Lord Hartington and Sir William 
Harcourt. One alone was conspicuous by his absence. 
He had missed his train at Paddington ! The beauty 
of the surrounding neighbourhood, of the village 
church and churchyard standing in the park at 
Hughenden, the truly sylvan landscape, the quiet of 
the " beech-clad Chilterns," the crowds of sobbings 
reverential villagers, the respectful grief of his tenantry, 
formed a picture never to hz forgotten, while this last 
tribute of respect, to one of the most remarkable men 
of this or any other age or country, was being paid. 
No one more deeply mourned his loss than the writer 
of these memories. The monument erected to the 
memory of his father, Isaac Disraeli, by his devoted 
wife, over-topping the park at Hughenden, and the 
restoration of the beautiful parish church itself, will 
of themselves perpetuate the name and reputation of 
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, K.G., whose 
dust now mingles with ancient champions of the 
people's rights, in the church containing the ashes 
of those noble crusaders, the De Montforts, names 
ever to be associated with the most stirring events in 
the history of England's freedom. 




CHAPTER V. 

Bordeaux and Epernay in 1868 — An Incident at Chambord — 
Messrs. Nathaniel Johnstone : their Vineyards at Dausac — The 
Manufacture of Claret — Mr. Moet's Vineyards at Epernay — 
The Manufacture of Champagne — National Tastes in Wine 
— Longevity — " Ways and Cleans " Lowndes. 

Having some spare time at my disposal after harvest 
in the year 1868, I determined to pay a long-contem- 
plated visit to the wine districts of France, especially 
the claret and champagne countries, and in the second 
week of September started with two young friends on a 
tour of inspection. Our travels were more prolonged 
than we had intended, as the vintage was not yet in full 
swing; but I shall not weary my readers with any 
description of them. At Chambord, I remember, after 
lingering some time in the splendid chateau, we pro- 
ceeded to a small hotel in its neighbourhood, and, 
ordering a bottle of champagne and some light repast, 
we went into a room, where two well-dressed country- 
men were seated. The smart, pretty-looking girl who 
brought in our wine, pointed to a moderately-executed 
engraving hanging on the wall, and said, " Messieurs, 
voila le Comte dc Chambord." I said, " Oui, le roi 
de France — Henri V." The two men, jumping up. 



So ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

embraced me enthusiastically — the girl was equally 
excited ; they scarcely knew how to express themselves, 
so delighted were they that we dared to speak out 
boldly. It showed at once how truly the old Royalist 
feeling still existed in this valley of the Loire. 

At Macau, a place on the banks of that not very 
attractive stream, the Garonne, Mr. Arthur Johnstone 
met us with his carriage and horses to take us to his 
chateau at Dausac. Here we were received most 
kindly by the mother of our host and his father, Mr. 
Nathaniel Johnstone, the head of the great firm. With 
them we visited their vineyards to see the gathering 
of the grapes, and the whole process of making the 
celebrated " Claret," a title which, of course, is almost 
unknown in France, as all the wine of that district is 
called " Vin de Bordeaux," and then named after the 
estate or property, as " Lafitte," '' Margaux," and so on. 

The grapes, gathered carefully in baskets, are carried 
to waggons in which rest two large wicker panniers. 
Each waggon is drawn by two bullocks, of a light brown 
or dun colour, with wide-spreading horns of large size. 
These carts are drawn up to an opening in the wall of 
the factory ; the grapes are thrown on to an inclined 
plane, whence the bunches slide down on to a sieve or 
wire table, by which stand fine-looking, cleanly men, with 
bared arms, who pick out the unripe or decayed grapes 
and scratch or rub them through this coarse sieve. The 
grapes and juice fall through into a trough underneath, 
the bunch and stalks being left behind, and the grapes, 
some of which are crushed and others whole, are then 
carried in large vessels and poured into mighty vats, hold- 



VIN DE BORDEAUX. 8r 

ing memy hundreds of gallons, where the wine begins to 
ferment in a few hours — about eight or ten ; those grapes 
which have not been crushed burst of themselves, the 
juice falls to the bottom, and the skins and seed-pips 
and pieces of stalk float on the top. The vat is con- 
tinually filled up till it will hold no more. The mass of 
skins and stalks soon becomes solid and forms a sort of 
handcake of considerable thickness on the top, and thus 
partly preserves the wine. The fermentation is allowed 
to go on unchecked, but is carefully watched until the 
spring, when all fermentation is exhausted. The wine 
is then drawn off from the bottom of the vat and put 
into smaller vessels, conveniently placed for closer ex- 
amination. Whilst fermenting the casks are continually 
filled up, until about a year is passed, when they are 
racked off and are left for another year. 

The liquor is then fit for shipment, but the higher 
class wines are kept for another year, and the premiers 
cms, of which there are only four, namely, *' Lafitte," 
" Latour," " Chateaux Margaux," and " Haut Brion," 
generally for four years before their final bottling. 
Amongst the seconds cms are " Mouton Rothschild,'' 
''*■ La Rose," " Cos Destournel," " Leoville," " Chateaux 
Palmer," and many others ; and in the trots ianes cms 
are " La Grange," "Ducru Baucailleux " ; quatriemcs cms, 
*'St. Julien," "St. Estephe," "Mouton D'Armaillac" ; 
while in the cinquihnes cms, or fifth growth, " Pontet 
Canet " heads the list, with at least twelve or fifteen 
more ; and all below these are unclassed wines, m.any 
however of excellent quality in certain seasons. 

Old Mr. Johnstone told me that they have annually a 

G 



82 ECHOES CF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

grand dinner of the Syndicate of Bordeaux, which is 
considered one of the most important and finest dinners 
of the kind in France. A special wine is provided with 
each course, to gradually educate the palate until the 
acme of perfection in taste is attained. At their last 
dinner, the wine for which the highest position had been 
assigned was " Pontet Canet " of 1858, which in that 
year, although a fifth growth, took precedence of 
" Lafitte " and all other wines. The seasons have a 
marked effect on some estates; in the year 1867 the 
'* Chateaux ]\Iargaux " was sold at (^d. per bottle ! We 
were shown the " Caves " of this noted Johnstone firm, in 
which were stored over 20,000 hhds. of c'aret, and over 
LOOO,000 bottles, many of them of the choicest vintages. 
I had always been a considerable purchaser of claret, 
and air. Harry Johnstone showed mc the wines of 1865 
reserved for me, which I had bought in the year 1867, 
and I think I never drank anything better flavoured. 
They were "Lafitte," "Latour," "Mouton Rothschild," 
" Cos Destourncl," and " La Rose." They were in the 
highest cond'tion, and were sent over to me for bottling 
in the spring of 1869, and I, who ought not to, may say 
that they exceptionally did honour to their selection. I 
have some of the first-named still left, and certainly it 
is a grand wine. 

I remember that the general election for the Chamber 
of Deputies was going on whilst we were in Bordeaux, 
and Mr. Nathaniel Johnstone, junr., was a candidate for 
the district. Ke was an Imperialist, and the house of 
which he was a member took the greatest interest in 
his success. He was fortunate in getting elected by a 



EPERNAY. 83 

considerable majority. His election was petitioned 
against on the ground that he was an alien ; he how- 
ever proved his nationality, as his father and himself 
had become naturalized some years before. 

After this most enjoyable visit we returned to Paris, 
where I was glad to meet my two eldest daughters at 
the Hotel du Louvre, where they had arrived on the 
same day from Boulogne. I left my two young travel- 
ling companions to escort them around Paris, whilst I 
went on a visit to my friends, Messrs. Moet and Chandon, 
the chiefs of the noted Epernay House, celebrated 
throughout the world for their well-known brands of 
champagne. I was fortunate, after a delightful journey 
from Paris, in finding the head of the firm at home 
— a fine old gentleman of courtly and most agreeable 
manners, who treated me in the kindest way, and walked 
with me through the town of Epernay up to the hills to 
his extensive vineyards, by far the largest in France. 
The vintage had begun, so that I was in time to 
see the gathering of the grapes by hundreds of men, 
women, and children, assembled together from all 
quarters — a most picturesque scene. After walking a 
long time the old gentleman — then of seventy-seven 
years of age, walking briskly by my side — looking over 
the valley of the Marne, which river formed a beautiful 
addition to the landscape, pointed out the various 
districts visible from the high ground on which we 
stood. Ay about five miles away, Sillery a little below 
us, Bouzy almost adjoining ; but the chief district was 
Epernay itself, where Messrs. Moet have 1200 acres ot 
vineyards. 



84 ECHOES CF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

I was surprised to find that they grew chieflx' a black 
grape, the vine being trained close to the ground, and 
looking very different to the vine\'ards of Bordeaux, 
Avhere the vines are carefully trained upwards of seven 
feet high, the bunches reminding }'ou of an English 
liot-house ; but at Epernay the bunches are small and 
hard, and are like the grap:s grown on the walls of 
cottages in our country. The grapes from which the 
"white dry Sillery" is made are white, but the juice is 
blended with a small portion of the black grape. 

We next visited the buildings where the wine was 
made, an operation quite different from that employed 
at Bordeaux. Here the grapes, being put into a press, 
the juice is squeezed out, the skins remaining behind, 
and as the colouring matter is derived from the skin, 
the wine is of a slight pink colour, in many instances 
only a pale amber. It would need too long a descrip- 
tion to give seriatim the various processes the wine 
undergoes before it reaches the consumer. With the 
best classes of champagne it takes three years before it 
is fit for consumption ; the manipulating and disgorging 
in the second year, the corking, wiring, stringing, tin- 
foiling, or waxing — all this costing infinite care and 
labour^ and this is in addition to that most essentia! 
operation, the preparation and mixing of the liqueur- 
Whatever may be said of "Brut" wnne, I believe every 
bottle made has a certain amount of liqueur in it, even 
as low as I per cent. ; the generality has about 3 
per cent., and the richer wines, still preferred by some 
people, have 5 per cent., whilst the wines consumed by 
the French people themselves and the Germans have 



TASTES IN WINE. 85 

7 per cent., and the Austrians and Russians, who chiefly 
consume "Madame CHcquots" and " Roederers," .have 
even more. 

The Americans, liking their champagne rather sweet, 
prefer Piper's wines. The chief firms who ship to 
Enghand, and whose wines are in the highest repute, 
are Perrier Jouet, Pommery, Heidseck, Ernest Irroy, 
Giesler, Lanson, Ayala, Jules Mumm, and Pol Roger ; 
but Moet's has by far the largest consumption in 
England, and their "Brut Imperial" is equal to any 
of the most noted shippers. Many manufacturers of 
champagne are not growers ; they are purchasers of the 
wine of the farmers in the various districts, manipulating 
them according to the tastes of their customers. ]\Iessrs. 
Simon and Kingscote, the representatives of Messrs. 
Moet and Chandon in England, import enormots 
quantities, almost reaching a million bottles per annum. 
A propos of sweet and dry wine, 1 cannot forbear giving 
old Mr. Moet's opinion on the subject. I remarked '* that 
the English people thought the champagne shipped to 
this country was too sweet, and that we should like it as 
they drink it in France." "Ah!" said he, " that is a 
great mistake ; you English are the driest people in the 
world. The Russians are the sweetest, next to them 
Prussians, then the PVench and Belgians, then the 
Americans, and you English the driest." 

With regard to the addition of the liqueur, he said, 
" What do you do with your strawberries ? You add a 
little sugar, it brings out the flavour of the strawberry ; 
you take the melon on your plate, you shake a little 
sugar over it, and it brings out the flavour of the melon ; 



86 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

that Is all we do to our wine. We know from a century 
of study what our wines want, and we can prepare them 
accordingly. If you want ' Brut ' wine you can have 
It, but all champagnes want a little sometlilng to bring 
out the highest flavour of the grapes." And this 
opinion, from a long experience of the taste of many 
eminent judges of wine in England, I can strongly 
endorse. I remember I also remarked jokingly whilst 
on the hill-sides In the midst of his vineyards, that I did 
not see any gooseberry-trees or rhubarb. He answered 
seriously but good-humouredly, and said, " That Is 
another folly of your people and shows their ignorance. 
We can get more juice out of an acre of vines than out 
of three or four acres devoted to the cultivation of either 
of the vegetables you mention, and I believe you would 
not find as many rhubarb plants in the many miles of 
country you are overlooking as you find in half an acre 
of any gardens round London." 

I little thought when I was visiting this fair land and 
marvelling at its beauty and fruitfulness, and seeing in 
every direction the result of centuries of thought, labour, 
and skill, that in less than two years it was to be over- 
run and occupied by thousands of foreign troops on 
their hostile march to Paris ; yet with all the German 
hatred of the French, and the memory of the years of 
misery and degradation that they underwent, under a 
greater Napoleon than the then ruler of France, Napoleon 
II L, the German troops carefully protected the people 
of this district, and I was told that a record was kept of 
every bottle of wine the soldiers consumed, and that it 
was all honestly paid for. My kind old friend, Mr. 



LONGEVITY. 87 

Moet, left his home at this time, and went to Jersey, 
where he resided until the German occupation termin- 
ated, when he returned to his ancestral home and died 
at the patriarchal age of eighty-two years. 

I think to live to such a ripe age, as did Mr. Moet, is 
less rare now than it used to be. Sir George Cornewall 
Lewis asserted that there are no thoroughly authenti- 
cated cases of centenarians ; but that there are cases of 
undoubted certainty I am convinced, and for one of 
them I can personally vouch. An oM lady, a Mrs. 
Grace, died in the year 1877, who was certainly born in 
1776 ; she had been a Miss Rickford before her 
marriage, sister to William Rickford, the banker, and 
Member of Parliament for the Borough. Born in the 
town, baptized there, married there, she lived all her life 
at Aylesbury, and there can be no doubt but that she was 
the identical lady whose birth and baptism in 1776 ap- 
peared in the parish registry. Had she been a daughter 
of some poor person, such errors as Sir George Lewis 
indicated might have been possible, but she was known 
to every one, a lady moving always in a good position. 
On Mrs. Grace attaining her hundredth year, I took her 
a bouquet of choice flowers, culled from my greenhouse, 
and found her perfectly sensible and cheerful ; only her 
eyesight had failed her. 

I can myself well remember seeing the Hon. T. 
Grenvillc, great-uncle to the late Duke of Buckingham, 
passing through Aylesbury in the year 1 835, on a visit 
to Stowe : he was fond of relating that when a boy at 
Eton, he and some companions used to congregate 
round an old man to hear him tell stories which his 



88 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

grandfather, who had stood as one of the senthiels at the 
execution of Charles L, had told him ! I myself there- 
fore have seen a man who wanted only one link to connect 
him with the reign of Charles I., a period of over two 
hundred and forty years ! To instance another case. 
In the year 1837 my father became tenant of Broughton 
Farm, which then belonged to Mr. Richard Lowndes, 
who had been at one time a barrister on circuit, and 
from his manner of cross-examining witnesses, nick- 
named " Bother 'em Lowndes." This old gentleman 
granted my father a lease of the farm for fourteen years, 
and after signing it, said, '^ Now, Mr. Fowler, I am only 
granting you this lease for your own protection, for I am 
beyond the age of a man " (he was over eighty years of 
age), " and I hope you will enjoy the tenancy after I am 
gone." He lived to grant my father another lease for 
fourteen years. I recollect old ]\Ir. Lowndes taking a 
great-nephew of his upon his knee, and saying to him, 
" 1 have many a time had your father on my knee, and 
your grandfather and I were brothers. Ah !" he con- 
tinued, " and I can remember well my grandfather, and 
he was Chancellor of the Exchequer to Queen Anne ! " 
To this Chancellor of the Exchequer is attributed one of 
the most popular axioms in the English language. He 
was looking over the shoulders of one of the junior 
clerks in the Treasury, and saw by his casting up of 
some accounts that he was wrong. " Oh," said the clerk, 
*' it is only a few pence ! " " Never you mind that," said 
the astute Chancellor; ''you take care of the pence, 
the pounds will take care of themselves." 




CHAPTER VI. 



Steeplechasing in the year 1835 — The Great Race at Aylesbury : 
Captain Beecher wins from Mr. Allnutt — The Races the year 
following : Jem Mason is too clever — The Royal Hunt Club : 
Anecdotes of a Horse in their Dining-Room — Anecdotes of 
the Rev. C.Erie and Bishop Wilberforce — Mr. Carroll's Horses, 
Family, and Jokes. 

The annals of the steeplechase proper seem to com- 
mence in the }'ear 1834, when the first important 
event of acknowledged record came off at St. Albans, 
where the renowned horses, Moonraker and Grimaldi, 
made so great a sensation. St. Albans can boast of 
having provided the course for the first gre.it public 
steeplechase, but I have always held that Aylesbury 
had the right to second honours. 

One evening, at the celebrated " Crockfords " Club, 
discussing the peculiarities of the various hunting 
districts in England, Mr. Henry Peyton, the eldest son 
of that " prince of whips," Sir Henry Peyton — whose 
yellow drag and faultless team of greys with their 
brightly kept brass harness, with " Old George," his 
esteemed stud-groom, and Joe Buswell his second man 
" perched up aloft" behind him, were a thing of renown 
in the "Good Old Times" — spoke of the difficulties of 



90 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

crossing the Vale of Aylesbury, mentioning especially the 
brooks which intersected the course afterwards selected. 
This was questioned by some of the noble sportsmen 
present, and the conversation ended by a promise from 
Mr. Peyton that he would undertake to give ihcm a fair 
four-mile course over a hunting country which he himself 
had often ridden, and which he stated that men hunting 
in that district were compelled to face if they rode fairly 
to hounds like sportsmen. It should be noted that at 
that time Mr. Peyton was allowed to be one of the best 
cross-country riders in England. His proposal was 
accepted, and he determined to carry it out. He con- 
sulted his friend, Captain Lamb, on the subject, and the 
latter undertook to find a silver cup of fifty guineas as a 
prize, and the following conditions were drawn up and 
agreed to — Each horse to carry I2st. ^ibs., twenty 
guineas entrance P.P., the second horse to save his 
stake; and the race was fixed to come off within one 
month. When the entries were closed, it was found that 
there were twenty-one horses entered. 

On the night before the race the head-quarters of 
the committee, the White Hart at Aylesbury, was 
crowded with the elite of the sporting world ; every inn 
was filled, and stables were at a premium. There was no 
railway then to the town, and as the race was timed for 
twelve o'clock, there was but little chance of visitors 
from London arriving in time unless they came over- 
night. The course determined on was from Waddesdon 
wind-mill, about four and a half miles from Aylesbury, to 
a field in front of the church, the steeple of which forms 
a distinctive feature in the district and for some miles 



RACES AT AYLESBURY. 91 

round. There is a small grass enclosure in front of the 
wind-mill, and the whole line, excepting about three 
acres of allotment and gardens near the town, was then 
under grass. The fences were left in their natural state > 
untrimmed, and were not only formidable in aspect, 
but really difficult to negotiate. The course was most 
severe, and comprised several doubles and tall bull- 
finchers, ox fences with post and rails, big singles, 
one cross road, one deeply-rutted lane, one fairly-sized 
brook, one thick spinney, and the river Thame, about 
twenty-eight feet wide ! This line ran parallel with the 
turnpike road, so that a horseman riding along it was 
able to keep abreast of the runners, and could see nearly 
every fence jumped. No flags marked the course, and 
until the morning of the race the line of country was 
kept a profound secret, for fear that any of the proposed 
riders should avail himself of the opportunity of seeing 
the fences and thus find out any weak place in the 
obstacles to be encountered. 

On the morning of the race the company thronged 
the whole line of the turnpike road. The course to be 
taken was announced for the first time, but no flags 
whatever were used except the usual two in the winning 
field. The horses, with their riders mounted, left the 
White Hart and other inns, after weighing in the yard 
of the head-quarters. The colours worn by the riders 
were of unusual brilliance, and my memory enables me 
to recollect a trivial incident, which I remember telling 
to the late Lady Brassey, celebrated for her Voyage in 
the Sunbeam. Whilst weighing, Mr. Allnutt, Lady 
Brasscy's father, appeared in a very resplendent satin 



92 ECHOES CF CLD COUNTY LIFE. 

jacket of purple and careen plaid, and Mr. Peyton stroked 
it and said, " How pretty. I wonder if it will be as clean 
as now at the end of the race." Lady Brassey told me 
that she had that very jacket at home, and that her 
father had always treasured it as a memorable record of 
that great race. 

At the time I speak of I was a boy who had just left 
school, and as ev^ery horse in the town was engaged, j 
was glad to get a mount on an old grey post-horse with 
a post-boy's saddle with a crupper, and, thus equipped, I 
stationed myself close to the Stone Bridge river, where I 
lingered for some time regarding the strange and novel 
scene. Twenty horses with their riders faced the starter, 
who thus addressed the competitors : *' Do you see 
Aylesbury church-steeple ? " — " Yes." — " Well, when you 
get near it, you will see two red flags in a field ; now 
the first horse that passes between those two flags will 
win the race ; none of you must go on to the turnpike 
road or you will be disqualified. Are }^ou ready?" — 
"Yes." — Then "Off"; and away they sped on their 
perilous journey. Bell's Life describes the race, but 
my personal recollection is that at the river twelve 
or more seemed to be racing at it together, and I 
counted, a moment after, thirteen floating about and 
struggling to get out in a disorderly crowd. The 
Marquis of Waterford, who rode his nearly-thoroughbred 
horse Lancet, put him at the river at a splitting pace, 
but as soon as his fore-feet touched the bank he fell 
backwards. The poor horse was got out with great 
difficulty after being in the water a long time, and a 
fortnight after died in the White Hart stable at Aylcs- 



RACES AT AYLESBURY. 93 

bury from the injuries received while being pulled out 
of the river. Mr. Allnutt, on the grey mare Laurestina, 
was the first out of the river, and sailed gallantly away at 
least a long fiald ahead, before ever old Martin Bcecher, 
on a well-known rat-tailed horse, Vivian, could get 
well on his way. He had ridden his horse gently dcwn 
the bank into the water, and once on the other side flung 
himself off on to the land, and pulled his horse out, re- 
mounted, and set off in hot pursuit of the mare. That 
veteran sportsman, John Brown of Tring, still living, 
though about ninety years of age — immortalized by the 
poetical description of the " Bag Fox," when Lord 
Lonsdale hunted with his well-known harriers — was on 
his famous hunter, Confidence, and had a regular souser : 
no novelty however to him, as he always fearlessly rode 
to hounds at everything which came in his way. Then 
the young jockey, Jem Mason, one of the finest and most 
accomplished horsemen who ever appeared in the pig- 
skin, made his dediit in public on Mr. Tilbury's Pros- 
pero. Mr. Anderson, I think, rode his own horse, The 
Poet. But each and every one found the bottom of the 
river, and many of them did not make any attempt after- 
wards to overtake the leading horses. 

In the end, Laurestina, after keeping the lead for the 
whole distance from the river, fell from sheer distress 
into the winning field, and old Beecher, on Vivian, slipped 
past her and won cleverly. Mr. Allnutt quickly re- 
mounted and came in second, whilst the third place wvis 
awarded to Prospero. Captain Lamb, the owner of 
Vivian, won only a small stake, as plunging on steeple- 
chases was but little practised in those days. 



94 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

This rac3 was the prelude to many more in the 
Aylesbury Vale, and in the year 1836 two of the most 
celebrated steeplechases of the day were run during the 
February meeting of the Royal Hunt. The first was 
a heavy-weight race, for horses carrying I2st. /lbs., 
and was run early in the day, on Tuesday, so that the 
liounds could meet after the conclusion of the race. 
Vivian, again steered by Beecher, was the favourite, but 
was beaten a short length by Saladin, ridden by Powell ; 
perhaps the Captain had made too sure. This race was 
marked by many mishaps, one of which was the crippling 
for life of Billy Bean, who after scuttling through a deep 
brook came to a stiff bullfincher, and, in steering his 
horse through a gap near a tree, caught his leg against 
the trunk, and broke his knee-cap. 

On the Thursday the light-weight race was run, each 
horse carrying list, /lbs., and many of the same horses 
c mpeted as on Tuesday. Here the rat-tailed veteran, 
Vivian, won an exciting race ; Grimaldi, the old grey of 
St. Albans notoriety, being second ; The Pony, third ; 
and, I think, the w^inner's former competitor, Laurestina, 
was fourth. It w^as a splendid race over one of the 
st'ffest countries in England. The start was at 
Waddesdon, and the course was on the opposite side of 
the road to that of 1835. The finish was at Ouarrendon. 
The Marquis of Waterford fell two fences from home, 
and his horse, Yellow Dwarf, w^as very much injured. 
He rode himself, and felt sure of winning, but came to 
grief at a great double which he attempted to clear at 
one stride. Jem Mason was first favourite. He rode 
a splendid horse, of great power and much speed. In 



RACES AT AYLESBURY. 95 

the middle of the race was a very stiff fence, and in it 
was an old gateway, railed up with very strong rails, 
which it was supposed no horse would attempt to jump. 
The night before the race the two upper rails were sawn 
nearly in two, so as just to hang together. This had 
been done privately, and Jem was told to r'de full 
swing at it, and once safely over, he would have a great 
advantage over the rest of the field ; but the " little 
game " was discovered, and early in the morning an extra 
rail, doubly strong, was inserted, and the unsuspicious 
Jem rode confidently at this obstacle. The horse struck 
the rail, came over a tremendous cropper, and lost all 
chance of the race. 

The fame of the Aylesbury Vale country, both as a 
hunting and steeplechasing centre, became now firmly 
established. The races usually took place about eleven 
o'clock, and the turn-out of the stag about half-past 
twelve, and after a jovial club dinner in the evening, the 
company were generally well tired out ; but still it left 
time for many a joke and a freak. On one occasion the 
Marquis of Waterford brought his horse up-stairs into 
the dining-room. Lord Jocelyn and Mr. Ricardo led 
the horse up the garden steps, which were very steep 
indeed, took him into the dining-room and round the 
table, gave him some apples and biscuits, which he ate, 
and then commenced to get him down-stairs. It was 
useless to attempt his descent by the same stairs, so 
steep were they, so he was led round the corridor to 
the front staircase, which was easy of descent. The 
floor of the passage was polished oak, and, although 
carpeted in the middle, the horse slipped badh', and at 



95 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

the head of the stairs obstinately refused to move one 
jot. At last he began kicking, smashed the passage 
windows, and soon cleared a ring behind him ; Lord 
Jocelyn and his comrade resolutely slicking to his head. 
Eventually when a little quieted they blindfolded him, 
and, once he began to descend, he could not stop, and 
blundered down into the entrance hall, having done 
himself no injury ; and, excepting to a few banisters and 
the smashing of some windows, but little damage was 
done. This was the first attempt which had been made 
of bringing a horse up-stairs as a visitor, and must not 
be confounded with the far more remarkable feat which 
I shall describe hereafter, performed some years after- 
wards in the same room. 

Most of these sporting celebrities have been gathered 
to their forefathers, but the staid and steady member 
for Warwickshire, Mr. Newdegate, scarcely seems yet 
to have left us, so fresh his memory ; and that prince of 
companions, Mr. Lorraine Baldwin, will, I am sure, look 
back with pleasure, mingled with some regret, at the 
jolly days he passed with the Royal Hunt at the White 
Hart at Aylesbury. 

Amongst the invited guests who were privileged to 
meet at the select dinner-table was the Rev, Christopher 
Erie, the esteemed though eccentric Rector of Hardwick, 
a small village about four miles from Aylesbury. He 
generally was seen at the meet of the Royal and Mr. 
de Burgh's Staghounds, and was a great favourite with 
all the Masters of the BuckhounJs. Mr. Erie was 
brother of the late Lord Chief Justice Erie, and was a 
ripe classical scholar, well known, when a Fellow of New 



BISHOP WILBERFORCE. 97 

Collets, Oxford, as a genial, kind-hearted man, and it 
was not till late in life that he was inducted into the 
tolerably rich college living of Hardwick. It was my 
privilege to enjoy his friendship, as amongst my most 
agreeable recollections. My own school training enabled 
me to appreciate his sayings and to enjoy the Latin and 
Greek puns and witticisms he was so fond of telling. 
One thing alone which he did when he was accustomed 
to dine with the Hunt Club was enough to declare his 
goodness of heart and kindness to the poor. The host 
was surprised to find Mr. Erie, the first time he came 
into Aylesbury, after he had been the guest of the 
Master of the Buckhounds, asking how much the dinner 
bill had come to ? He was told it was of no consequence, 
as his dinner was charged to the Master of the 
Buckhounds. This did not satisfy him, and at last, on 
being told the amount, varying as it did from twenty- 
five to thirty shillings per head, we found that the next 
day he went round and distributed the amount amongst 
the old and deserving poor of his parish and the 
neighbouring hamlet of Weedon. His heart was always 
open to any tale of distress, and his pocket also. 

Many stories are told of this reverend sportsman, 
some relating also to the late Bishop of Oxford, Dr. 
Wilberforce, who was very fond of Mr. Erie, and was 
always glad to get a " rise " out of his country rector. 
As the following anecdote has had many variations, I 
venture here to give the version related to me by Mr. 
Erie himself. Sir Thomas Digby Aubrey, who lived at 
Oving, a parish adjoining that of Mr. Erie, had invited 

the Bishop to dinner, and several of the neighbouring 

H 



98 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

gentry and clergy to meet liim, and amongst others the 
Reverend Christopher. Now, the reverend gentleman 
was very fond of going to see the hounds meet, and, 
pottering along through a well-known line of gates, 
generally managed to sec a good deal of fun. The 
Bishop, hearing of this, thought it would be a good 
opportunity to trot Mr. Erie out at Sir Thomas's dinner- 
party, and in conversation said he had a great objection 
to his clergy riding to hounds, and, with a merry twinkle 
of his eye, alluded pointedly to the worthy Rector. Mr. 
Erie, in reply, said that he saw no harm in it, and that 
people who went to the carnal enjoyment of balls were 
equally reprehensible with men who occasionally went 
to a meet of the hounds ; and he deemed it his duty, 
he said, to allude to a statement in the Court Circular 
of the past week, in which it mentioned that amongst 
the guests at Her Majesty's State Ball at Buckingham 
Palace was the Bishop of Oxford ! A great laugh 
ensued, and his lordship replied, *' Yes, Mr. Erie, but I 
make it a rule never to go into the room where the 
dancers are." The ready retort was, '' Exactly my case, 
my lord ; for I make it a rule never to be in the same 
field where the hounds are running." There w^as an 
explosion of laughter at this, at the Bishop's expense, 
in which his lordship heartily joined, when the Rector 
added he did not much care for hunting, and seldom 
went with any but Baron Rothschild's hounds, as he 
wished particularly " to promote Christianity amongst 
the Jews." 

My good old friend came to tell me this story a few 
days afterwards with this amusing addition. The 



BISHOP WILBERFORCE. 99 

Bishop had come into the neighbourhood to held a 
series of confirmations in various parishes, and the day 
after the dinner-party he was to be at Ouainton, 
about three miles from Hardvvick. Mr. Erie was, as 
uswTiX, pottering along after the Baron's hounds (a Miss 
Potter, a very smart horsewoman, being out, who much 
pleased him), when, feeling somewhat thirsty, and 
knowing that the Rector of Quainton's wife carried at 
her girdle a bunch of keys, one of which opened a tap 
of exceedingly good home-brewed beer, he hung his 
horse to the gate of the gardens leading up to the 
Rectory, dismounted, and boldly walked up the path 
leading to the front door. What was his dismay at 
meeting (as he described it) a grand funeral procession 
of clergy, headed by a pair of lawn sleeves — no other than 
his censor, the Bishop. " What do you think I did ? " 
said he. " Sprang behind the laurels, and hid myself, 
like Adam and Eve in Paradise, while the Lord passed 
by!' His horse had to be removed to allow his lordship 
to pass into the church which was adjoining, and none 
of them were aware of the identity of the owner. It 
need not be said that the worthy Rector trotted home to 
Hardwick, and there was no vaoxo: potteriitg \.\i2X day. 

On one occasion when the hounds were running pretty 
hard, the Duke de Grammont, who was a tolerably good 
man across country, got into the Cublington brook. 
Baron Lionel de Rothschild was there, and did not 
attempt to jump it, but was very solicitous to get the 
Duke out of the water safely. Mr. Erie was there also, 
and strongly urged the Baron to go in and fetch the 
Duke out, which the Baron resolutely declined to do, 



loo ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

notwithstanding all Mr. Erie's arguments and entreaties. 
Some time afterwards the Baron asked him why he was 
so anxious to get him into the brook ? The Rector told 
him, if he had once got him in he would have kept him 
there "till he had baptized him and made him a 
Christian." The hounds met annually at Hard wick, 
whicli meant the Rectory, where a famous breakfast was 
laid out, to wh"ch all were bidden to attend. There was 
alwa\-s a fine ham in the centre of the table, which he 
persistently would press Baron Meyer to partake of, as 
he could assure him it was a mnttoji ham. On one 
occasion Sir Robert Peel was at the meet there with 
Lady Peel and the Baroness, and many ladies from 
Mentmore. Soon after the start, Sir Robert had a fall. 
Mr. Erie assisted him to mount ; in fact, as he told me 
the next day, he tried to liloinit Pelion Ossa. Lady 
Peel lost a fur cloak at the same time, which was after- 
wards found, whereupon the Rector wrote a poem chiefly 
composed of Latin and Greek quotations, but saying 
that it had been at last found in Houndsditch, where 
doubtless it had been taken by some of the party. 
Baron Meyer was justly offended at this, and although 
he put up with many of Mr. Erie's eccentricities, he 
thought this was going too far, and for some long time 
afterwards he was excluded from the Mentmore parties, 
where he had up to that time always been a most 
welcome guest. 

Poor dear old Rector ! how much you were beloved, 
how truly charitable you were ! I well remember once 
your accompanying your brother, the Lord Chief Justice, 
on a visit to my farm on horseback to see the mowing- 



MR. CARROLL'S JOKES. loi 

machine which was then just new, and the first ever used 
in the Vale of Aylesbury, and how pleased the Chief 
Justice was. The machine did its work well, although 
one of the earliest ever turned out by Walter Wood. 
It had a wooden frame, and was made at Hoosick 
Falls, U.S., America, and Colonel Cranston (Mr. Wood's 
partner) came down specially to drive and start it. The 
Rev. Christopher Erie died at a ripe old age, and was 
buried in Hartwell Churchyard, regretted by all who 
knew him. By his will he left a considerable sum of 
money to build a convalescent ward to the Bucks 
General Infirmary. 

Mr. Wm. Carroll, of Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, was 
wine merchant to the Royal Hunt Club, as he had been 
an original member of the club, but a little extra gaiety 
and sport had brought down " his noble to ninepence." 
Carroll was an Irishman of the most genial type, and as 
a post-prandial conversationalist he has been rarely 
equalled. Some of his stories would be a little too broad 
for publication nowadays, but one he told with great 
gusto, and with his richest of all rich brogues, I well 
remember. Before the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was 
passed, every Irish voter was asked before he polled, 
of what religion he was ? Of course every scheme 
was tried to evade the question, for if he proved to be 
a Roman Catholic the vote was lost. Tim Raffety 
presented himself at the polling-booth at one of the 
Irish borough elections, and was asked the usual 
question, " What religion are ye .'* " Answer, " Bi gor, 
sor, and I am the same religion as me forefathers." — 
'' Come, Tim, that won't do ; tell us plainly." No other 



I02 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

answer could be obtained. Then the clerk tried another, 
and said, " Of what persuasion are you ? " " By jabers," 
said Tim, who gave a roUicking flourish with his shille- 
lagh, " I should like to see the man a persuading o' 
me ! " Several other plans were tried, and no satis- 
factory answer was given. At last, in despair, he was 
asked, " Of what way of thinking are j^ou .^" — " Well, 
sor, I am the same way of thinking as me landlady." 
— " Why, Tim, that's no answer ; what does she think ? " 
" Well, sor," answered Tim, " I owe her seven pound 
ten for rint, and she thinks I shall never pay her, and 
so do I." 

Mr. Carroll gave my father a slight sketch of his life. 
He was the son of an Irish landed gentleman of fair 
fortune. " On coming into my property," he said, " I 
was soon one of the gayest of the gay. I went to 
London, joined in all the fast doings of the day, and, 
when the hunting season began, went to Melton with a 
stud of nine horses, and lived well up to my income 
and a little beyond it. In about two years I married, 
and sold a hunter, leaving me with eight ; before the 
season came round I had a dear little daughter born — I 
sold a hunter ; the next year the same thing occurred — 
I sold a hunter. I was left then with five horses, but I 
thought I could still get my five days a week ; but before 
the next season I had another daughter — I sold a 
hunter. I then thought it time to give up Melton, and 
hunted in Middlesex, with the King's Staghounds. As 
I had another daughter in less than another year, I sold 
a hunter; and before nine years had passed I had seven 
daughters and a wife I loved dearly, and having each 



MR. CARROLL'S JOKES. 103 

year sold a hunter, I was reduced at last to my brown 
cob. Now I have my ride to the meet on him, potter 
about through the best line o' gates I can find, and enjoy 
life as much as ever." And indeed I well remember 
Mr. Carroll's round jolly red face, his short curly flaxen 
hair, his quiet humour and ready wit. His portrait is to 
be seen in the picture by Grant of the Royal Hunt, 
in the left-hand corner of it; he is represented without 
his hat, on a cob, talking to Sir Seymour Blane and 
his bosom friend, Johnny Bushe, and looking up to 
him is Paddy, the fellow who used to run v/ith the 
pack. 

Some of Carroll's sayings were very smart. On one 
occasion, when Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence — who was 
of course a sailor, the son of our sailor king and the 
famous actress, Mrs. Jordan — was telling the company 
after dinner that he had had a bad fall over a fence 
near Hardwick, Carroll said, '' Oh ! it could not have 
hurt you much, as you are too much of a Tar to care 
for a pitch!' 







CHAPTER VII. 

Louis XVIII. at Hartwell — The English Garden — The King has 
his own again ; my Father escorts him to London — The 
iManners of Parochial Clergy — Tate and Brady triumphant — 
Horse-whipping a Miller — An Independent Tory— Anecdote of 
Lord Palmerston and the Witty Bishop, 

When Napoleon the Great, at the beginning of this 
century, drove the Royal Family out of France, and they 
sought shelter with us, our Government were doubtful 
where they could be placed in safety, so as to prevent 
a co2ip de main either from the French themselves, 
or by the Revolutionary party in England ; and it was 
deemed necessary for their security that the Royal 
exiles should reside somewhere in the centre of Eng- 
land. Hartwell was the place selected, a stately 
mansion surrounded with fine timber, standing in a 
park of great pastoral beauty. A picturesque little 
church, embosomed in trees, is within a hundred yards 
of the mansion, with large kitchen gardens and remark- 
ably pleasing ornamental grounds adjoining it, with 
shady alcoves enclosing a lovely bowling-green, where 
Louis XVIII. and his small Court were fond of disport- 



LOUIS XVIII. AT HARTWELL. 105 

ing themselves. About the year 1808 the\^ took up 
their residence at Hartwell, and the resources of the 
little village were strained to their utmost to accom- 
modate the Court. Every lodge, even the gardeners' 
and gamekeepers' cottages, were occupied by Royalties 
or important people attendant on the King. In one 
small cottage in the wood was housed the Duchesse 
d'Angouleme ; the Due de Berri in one of the lodges, in 
another the Due de Blacas ; w^iilst the King and his 
amiable consort, with the Prince de Conde, and their 
personal retinue, occupied the mansion, one of the rooms 
of w^hich was fitted up as a chapel with confessional, 
and other rooms for the abbe attendant on his Majesty. 
The French nobility, with their families, were to be seen 
visiting the primitive inhabitants of this Buckingham- 
shire village, and often extended their walks to attend 
the market at the town of Aylesbury, w^hich stands 
about two miles distant. 

In that town my father had come to reside, when about 
twenty-one years of age (in 181 2), and, w^onderful to 
relate, had already acquired, at Berkhampstead Grammar 
School, a good knowledge of the French language — a 
rare accomplishment in those days, when the Continent 
was practically closed against all but the w^ealthiest 
Englishmen — and he was almost the only man in the 
neighbourhood of Aylesbury who could converse with 
the Royal Family and their retinue. Tl:e King often 
sent for him on matters of business, and I have heard 
him tell many anecdotes of the residents of the house, 
and of the habits there of the French Court. Generally 
the King, with a certain amount of royal state, dined in 



io6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

public, and people were admitted to walk past the party 
when at dinner. The French Queen died at Hartwell : 
after the entrance of the allies into Paris, in 1814, her 
body was taken to France, and I believe was buried at 
St. Denis. Portraits of Louis XVIIL, " Louis le Desire," 
as he was called, are still to be seen in Hartwell House, 
with the Prince de Conde and other celebrities attached 
to the retinue of the King. The old churchyard has 
several memorials of those who died in exile, but I 
cannot find that any Frenchman or Frenchwoman 
remained behind when the King for the last time left 
the village. I have many times in wandering among 
the shady groves of Hartwell found, carved on the 
trees, lines giving expression to the sense of comfort 
and happiness which the exiles experienced during 
their prolonged stay here ; one tree has carved 
deeply in the bark, "Quel Plaisir" ; another beech-tree, 
'* Toujours Heureux." 

Louis, on his return to France, had a garden formed 
and planted at Versailles, on the plan, exactly repro- 
duced, of the Queen's private garden at Hartwell, that 
he might commemorate, so he said, " the happy, happy 
cays he had spent in that charming county." This 
garden still exists, but very few of the visitors to the 
glorious palace of Versailles, who ask for " Le Jardin 
Anglais," are aware of its origin. During the past 
twenty years I have twice visited it, but am bound to 
say, that either the one has been so grown over, or the 
other at Hartwell has been so altered, that I failed to 
connect them, except in the general outline and usual 
character of a truly " English " garden. 



JOURNEY TO LONDON. 107 

At Aylesbury great were the rejoicings in 18 14, and 
loud the shoutings when it was announced that the 
alHed armies had entered Paris, that the great Napoleon 
had signed his abdication, and that "the King would 
have his own again." The town of Aylesbury was eji 
fete as the French King passed through it on his way to 
London — a narrow street leading into the Market Square 
still perpetuates the memory of the event by bearing 
the name of Bourbon Street. My father with five other 
young men mounted their horses to form a small body- 
guard and rode by the side of the King's carriage, intend- 
ing to go as far as the first stage to Great Berkhampstead, 
about fourteen miles from Hartwell. The Kinsf's carriasre 
was drawn by four post-horses, and several other carriages 
followed. On arriving at Berkhampstead the first change 
of horses was at the King's Arms, then kept by a Mr. 
Page, who had three very good-looking daughters, one 
of whom, sweet Miss Polly — not sweet Anne — Page, the 
King had often been much struck with ; and he never 
passed through the town either going to or coming from 
the Metropolis without having a chat and paying atten- 
tions to " sweet Polly Page." This was well known to 
my father and his friends, and they knew therefore that 
a quarter of an hour or so would be consumed in the 
ostensible act of changing horses, while the King would 
devote the time to a flirtation with the fair Polly. They 
therefore pushed on to Boxmoor, about four miles, gave 
their horses a mouthful of hay and some water, and 
waited for the King's arrival, intending to accompany 
him as far as Watford. His Majesty caught sight of 
the cavalcade, and expressed to my father the pleasure 



io8 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

he felt at their attention. Being well mounted, they 
trotted on another seven miles to Watford, and there 
hearing that our Prince Regent, with many of the great 
officers of State, and several Royal princes from the Con- 
tinent, were assembled to meet his Majesty at Stanmore, 
they resolved, if possible, to see this historic interview. 
Riding on to Bushey, without stopping at Watford, they 
had time to have their somewhat tired horses groomed 
down and fed, and by the time the King arrived, four of 
them — for two could not get further than Box moor — 
were mounted and ready again to continue their escort ; 
and they thus rode on to the Abercorn Arms at 
Stanmore. There was a great crowd round the portico 
of the inn, and a guard of cavalry to receive his Majesty. 
My father and his three friends pushing forward, the 
King seemed greatly pleased, and desired them to keep 
near him. They jumped off their horses and stood on 
each side of the entrance, and saw the Prince Regent 
embrace the French King, and receive him with much 
affection amidst the enthusiasm of the people, which was 
unbounded. Again mounting their nags, they rode 
towards London ; within about a mile from London the 
Royal cortege again overtook them, and they accom- 
panied the King to the Pulteney Hotel (I think that was 
the name), where his retinue were to be accommodated. 
After seeing the King safely bestowed, my father and 
his friends rode off, tired enough, to the Old Bell in 
Holborn, at that time one of the leading inns in London, 
and which may yet be seen in its primitive state, the 
galleries round the old stable-yard, the old coffee-room, 
with box divisions, scarcely altered for 150 years or more. 



PAROCHIAL CLERGY. 109 

My father served the office of Vicar's churchwarden for 
twenty-five years in succession to the Rev. Mr. Morley. 
Many scenes I can call to recollection, thought innocent 
enough at the time, of the manners then of the paro- 
chial clergy. Aylesbury was a " peculiar," and therefore 
not under the jurisdiction of the Archdeacon, and once 
a year "The Peculiar," as he was called, visited the 
parish, and this visit was made the occasion of a 
demonstration in favour of the Church, and as a natural 
consequence then, a jovial dinner followed. I am sorry 
to say that at such gatherings I have repeatedly seen 
even the clerical dignitaries themselves in a high state 
of fever, I fear not so much from their post-prandial 
speeches, as from the libations they poured out and 
imbibed in responding to the loyal and patriotic toasts 
which were given on these occasions. It was the custom 
for about thirty of the principal inhabitants to dine 
together, and a sum of ^5 or £6 was charged to the 
parish from the church-rate, the balance being paid 
pro 7'ata by those who dined, and this custom was 
continued until loud complaints were made, when the 
question of church-rates became a vcxata qucestio. 

As an instance of the complete change of opinion 
that has taken place since that time, especially as to 
the manner of conducting Divine service, I may state 
that in the old church at Aylesbury, which is one of 
great beauty and interest — erected about the end of 
the twelfth century, and a splendid specimen of early 
English — a huge organ gallery filled up the whole of 
the centre of the tower and part of the transepts ; 
on each side were seats for the choir — two young 



no ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

ladles usually taking the solos and singing them very 
artistically, assisted by some six well-trained amateurs 
with really fine voices. Before the service commenced, 
a very elaborate piece of music, with an organ accom- 
paniment, more theatrical than devotional, was given ; 
a special favourite was " Sound the Loud Timbrel." Of 
chanting there was none, but an elaborate anthem was 
sung, and the new version of the Psalms by Tate and 
Brady, to be found in all Prayer-books of the time. 
The old Vicar, Mr. Morley, being at least seventy years 
of age, married for the second time a young and very 
pretty woman, who, on coming to the Vicarage, brought 
about a complete revolution, and introduced a very 
low church service and an Evangelical style of 
doctrine, with a hymn-book which was looked upon 
with the greatest horror by the older members of the 
congregation. On the old Vicar wishing the new hymn- 
book to be used, the choir resigned, the organ was 
played in dumb show, and as soon as one of the 
newly-introduced hymns were given out, most of the 
leading families left the church. Dr. Kaye, the Bishop 
of Lincoln (Aylesbury was then in the Lincoln Diocese), 
tried to calm down the schism ; my father carried on 
the correspondence on behalf of the parishioners ; the 
trouble ended in a compromise, one old psalm and one 
hymn being declared the rule in each service. The 
truce negotiated, the choir returned to their duties ; 
but the breach had been created, and from that date 
the parish has been divided by very sharp lines, and 
now the Evangelical party have built a church of their 
own, in the adjoining hamlet of Walton. 



PAROCHIAL CLERGY. iii 

Mr. Morley was succeeded at Aylesbury by the 
Rev. J. Pretyman, a grand-nephew of the Bishop of 
Lincohi, and Mr. Pretyman by the Rev. Edward Bicker- 
steth, Archdeacon of Buckingham, afterwards Dean 
of Lichfield. The Archdeacon, Purey Cust, now the 
accomplished Dean of York, was the next incumbent, 
and was followed by the Rev. Arthur Lloyd, now Vicar 
and Canon of Newcastle-on-Tyne, who is acting Dean 
of that new diocese, and a most powerful and eloquent 
preacher. It is curious that three succeeding vicars 
have been promoted successively to deaneries, and I 
may safely say that the parochial re'gn for more than 
thirty years of three such men has had a great and 
beneficial effect on the character of the people, their 
churchmanship, and sense of Christian duties, not only 
in the town, but in the whole neighbourhood. 

When I was about twenty years of age I had already 
taken a part in the religious politics of the day. The 
wrangle over church-rates, which had been steadily 
growing in rancour for some years, had now become 
intensified, and in no part of England perhaps did the 
odium tJieologicum rage with greater violence than at 
Aylesbury. My father had been Vicar's churchwarden 
for many years, and, like his people before him, had 
been very persistent in standing up for the rights and 
privileges of the Church. A big, burly miller, named 
Pursell, one of the overseers of the parish, took a very 
prominent part in the opposition to church-rates, 
and he came up one evening in June to my father, 
who was standing under the portico in front of his own 
house, and began abusing him shamefully, and accusing 



112 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

him of malversation of the parish money. My sister, 
who happened to overhear the conversation, sent for me, 
as I was enjoying a game of bowls on the bowling- 
green. By the time I arrived upon the scene I found 
Mr. Pursell shaking his fist in my father's face, and 
applying the most abusive epithets to him. I hurried 
up and told him if he "dared to insult my father I 
would give him a deuced good horsewhipping." He 
at onc3 turned his wrath on me, and finally I took 
my hunting-whip and thrashed him without mercy, 
while he strove all the time to hit me, but I was 
far too active for him, and escaped his every onslaught. 
He soon took himself off, and shortly afterwards 
brought an action against my father and myself for 
assault and battery. My father defended the action, 
and his solicitor engaged the then well-known Serjeant 
Storks and Mr. Byles (afterwards Mr. Justice Byles) 
as Junior, who advised that we should plead guilty 
and admit our liability for damages, and have a jury 
under the Sheriff to assess them. 

The day of trial having come, we found Mr. Fitzroy 
Kelly, afterwards Lord Chief Baron, and Mr. Roberts 
arrayed against us. The Court was crowded to suffo- 
cation. After the examination of the witnesses for the 
plaintiff, Mr. Serjeant Storks said he did not intend to 
call any witnesses, and thus prevented Mr. Kelly ad- 
dressing the jury in reply. The serjeant made a most 
humorous and telling speech, and the jury gave a 
verdict " for the defendants ! " for, they said, it served 
the rascal right, and every one of them would have 
acted as I had done if they had been in my place. The 



PALMERSTON AND WILBERFORCE. 113 

Under-sheriff explained to the jury that they had only 
to assess the damages, and th:it we had pleaded 
" guilty." The damages having l^cen claimed as ;^300, 
it was for them to say how much of that sum they 
would assess ; but they still persisted in finding for the 
defendants, and it was not until they had been told that 
it could not end there, that if they still gave this verdict 
the case would have to be carried to a higher court, and 
would cost the defendants a very heavy sum, that they 
consented to give damages, £^. We had offered ;z^iOO 
to settle it before going to trial, so the result was a great 
triumph for my father. The trial, however, with costs, 
came to more than the £100, and the costs to the 
plaintiff to over £^0 ; so much for thrashing a miller, 
however abusive ! 

In connection with the Tate and Brady version of the 
Psalms, I remember being told a good story, as all 
stories about Lord Palmerston and Wilberforce, Bishop 
of Oxford, are likely to be. On one occasion these two 
were visiting at a country house, and on the morning of 
departure were told that carriages were ready to take 
the departing guests to the railway station. Palmerston 
settled to go in one of these carriages, as he feared 
there would be rain ; but the Bishop, who was a great 
pedestrian, preferred to walk. Before he had proceeded 
half-way to the station a heavy storm of rain came on ; 
yet the good Bishop struggled on, when the carriage 
containing Lord Palmerston overtook him, and his lord- 
ship called out from its window a part of the first 
v^erse of the Tate and Brady version of the first psalm — 

" How blest is he who ne'er consents 
By ill advice to walk." 



lU 



ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 



But Bishop Wilberforce, with the usual twinkle in his 
eye, replied with the remainder of the verse — 

" Nor stands in sinners' ways, nor sits 
Where men profanely talk." 

And the Bishop drew to one side, and proceeded to 
walk on. As our friends across the Atlantic -would say, 
" The Bishop had him thar ! " 

Another story used to be told about Bishop Wilber- 
force, which, authentic or not, was believed to be so in 
the locality of Aylesbury, and was held to be a righteous 
illustration of episcopal displeasure at unworthy tale- 
bearing. An evangelical rector represented to the 
Bishop that, among other such enormities, a neighbour- 
ing broad-church sporting parson actually proposed to 
ride a match at a county hunt race meeting. " Does he, 
indeed .-* " said his amiable Bishop. " Then, I bet half-a- 
crown he wins." 





CHAPTER VIII. 

Prison Discipline Fifty Years Ago — Sweeping the Streets of 
Aylesbury — Old Jem and his Bill — Description of the County 
Prison — Murderers and their Beer — Attempted Escapes — John 
Tawell, Quaker ; his Trial for Murder and his previous Career 
— " Apple-pip Kelly " — Imprisonment for Debt — Captain 
Paulet and " Tally-ho 1 Hanmer." 

In recalling my recollections of prison discipline, it 
seems to me that many of the customs which then 
appeared ordinary instances of life can scarcely now be 
credited. Market-day at Aylesbury was Saturday ; and 
after four o'clock in the afternoon, gangs of prisoners 
were turned out of the gaol, under the superintendence 
of one, or at most two, turnkeys, to sweep the streets. 
These prisoners were dressed in blue and yellow uni- 
forms, cut in grotesque fashion, and carried their birch- 
brooms with them. Many of their friends from different 
parts of the county came to see them, and chatted and 
joked with them in the streets during their scavenging 
surreptitiously gave them tobacco and money, occasionally 
treated them with beer, and many a joke was cracked 



ii6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

with boisterous laughter. No disgrace was felt at having 
friends who were convicts, and the inhabitants of the 
town looked upon it as a good thing to get their streets 
cleaned at the expense of the country. 

In front of the County Hall was a broad footway, 
fenced on the side of the roadway by thick, iron posts, 
to which were attached strong chains ; from this paved 
footway the office of the Clerk of the Peace and the 
Assize Court and Magistrates' Chamber were approached 
by broad flights of steps. The footway was called the 
*' Gaol Stones," and for the first quarter of the present 
century the debtors were permitted to exercise here, and 
to sit on the steps to the court, the public passing and 
repassing all day being subject to the ribald jokes, and 
oftentimes insulting speeches, made to them by these, 
generally dishonest, inhabitants of the debtors' wards. 
Beer was a luxury often indulged in in full view of the 
public ; but this scandal at last was abolished by order of 
the magistrates. Prisoners were often employed outside 
the gaol walls, and Mr. Acton Chaplin, who was for many 
years Clerk of the Peace, was permitted to use the labour 
of the prisoners for his own private use. At one time he 
held about forty acres of the farm I have since occupied, 
the Prebendal Farm, which adjoined my residence (Wil- 
lowbank), which then belonged to Mr. A. Chaplin, from 
whose family I purchased it. The ornamental grounds 
adjoining the house were extensive and beautiful, high 
banks planted with fine timber, a lake of nearly an 
acre in extent, supplied with water from an adjacent 
mill-stream ; and these grounds were all laid out and 
completed by prisoners from the gaol, and the farm land 



PRISON DISCIPLINE. 117 

was cultivated also by the spade husbandry of these 
men. The gan^s were marched across the main street 
from a back entrance of the county gaol in charge 
of an old turnkey ; and so little degradation did the men 
feel, and so easy was their lot, that escapes were scarcely 
even heard of or attempted by men who were sentenced 
to short terms of imprisonment. 

An amusing incident happened to my father when he 
first came to Aylesbury in 181 2. Old Mr. Sherift", the 
then governor of the gaol, was an intimate friend of my 
grandfather's, and he was anxious to assist his friend's 
son. He offered my father the services of one of the 
prisoners to do the odd work of the house, such as 
milking the cow, feeding the pigs, working in the 
garden, etc., and my father was nothing loth in accepting 
it. The man, who was undergoing a sentence of six 
months' hard labour, and had served part of his time, 
immediately entered on his duties, had his dinner 
daily and half a pint of beer, and dressed in his 
labourer's clothes and not in the gaol uniform — was, in 
fact, treated as one of the servants of the household. 
My father was seated at his dinner one market-day, at 
the termination of the prisoner's sentence and after he 
had had his discharge, when he was told "Jem " 
wanted to see him. " Come in," said my father ; "what 
is it you want ? " " Well, sir," Jem replied, " I've brought 
in your little bill ; " and he handed him a little scrap of 
paper, made out by himself, charging about 6d. per day 
for all the days he had been at work. My father said, 
*' What do you mean, you scoundrel ^ why, you have 
been a prisoner a'.l the time. If you don't take yourself 



Ii8 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

off my premises directly I'll send the constable after 
you." Jem took the hint and himself off at the same 
time, and I suppose went home on his way rejoic- 
ing. This is a sample of gaol discipline within easy 
recollection. 

The sons of our neighbour, the governor, being about 
my own age, and going to the same school, I was 
constantly visiting at their residence within the walls of 
the prison, while the windows of our nursery and other 
rooms looked into the gaol premises. I therefore had 
many opportunities of seeing the prisoners, and of 
knowing the system of management then employed. 
At that time, 1824 to 1840, and for very many years 
previously, scarcely any attempt at classification of 
prisoners had been practised ; and in this prison, which 
had the reputation of being excellently managed, there 
were about eight wards, surrounded by high walls, with 
loose bricks at the top to crush the rash convict who 
would venture to escape. Around these wards were the 
living-rooms ; the floor as well as some of the yards were 
paved with Yorkshire flagstones, a few had a pavement 
round a gravel centre. There were open fireplaces in 
most of the rooms, closets, and dust-holes adjoining. 
The sleeping-rooms over the living-rooms Avere caged 
off into separate enclosures by iron bars, with a boarded 
partition between each cage ; the doors were iron 
gratings with a bar to drop on the staple on the floor, 
the cage opposite having a similar arrangement, so that 
two bars might fall on the same staple. Sometimes the 
turnkey would accidentally oniit to thread the chain 
through one of the staples, or the bar might be bent. 



PRISON DISCIPLINE. 119 

and so the prisoner would very often have it in his 
power to open his door, and the opposite one of course 
also, and two prisoners would be at large in the room, 
performing any practical jokes they liked on those who 
were in the still secured compartments. Such prisoners 
as were to be tried at the Assizes, and those accused of 
very heinous crimes, were in close cells, but all opened 
into one room. The drop or gallows Avas fixed on an 
iron balcony running along and fronting the street in 
advance of the three large centre windows of the County 
Hall. The first ward was called the Old Gaol, and 
there those accused of heinous crimes, and those who 
were to be tried at the Assizes, were confined. Here 
convicts awaiting the convenience of the authorities for 
removal for transportation, and murderers, and per- 
petrators of other terrible crimes who had been 
acquitted on the ground of insanity, might be seen 
side by side with some young man of great respect- 
ability and good position, afterwards to be proved 
by trial to be innocent, compelled to associate with 
wretches like these, and to submit to the fellowship, 
ribald conversation, or blasphemy of the vilest and most 
hardened criminals. Then came the New Gaol for 
those of lesser crimes, awaiting trial at Quarter Sessions ; 
then the Datchet Ward, named after a number of 
rioters from the village of that name once incarcerated 
here ; and next came the Women's W^ard. There wxre 
two larger wards called the Bridewell, for men under- 
going various terms of imprisonment, and below these 
were the Boys' Wards ; then the chapel, adjoining which 
was the Debtors' Ward ; and lastl)- the infirmary. 



I20 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

This system of herding all classes of prisoners 
together was eminently adapted for the formation of a 
criminal class, and to that end succeeded admirably. 

In the outer doors of these wards I have enumerated 
was a smaller trap-doer, through which various things 
could be passed to the inmates ; and an old woman, 
Polly Batt, had the privilege of supplying any prisoner 
with whatever he required, if only he had the money to 
pay. Tobacco, chops, bacon, vegetables, tea and sugar, 
could be had, and as scarcely any supervision was 
exercised, on many occasions files and other implements 
to aid an escape were surreptitiously conveyed to the 
inmates. But the crowning absurdity of all remains to 
be mentioned — these prison worthies were allowed as 
much beer (but no spirits) as they could pay for ; it is 
true that there was a sort of arrangement that no man 
should have more than a pint a day, but as a man who 
had plenty of money could arrange with others who had 
none, one man might get six or eight pints a day. 
When the agricultural or Swing rioters were in gaol, in 
the year 183 1, there were served in one day from the 
White Hart 112 quarts of beer to the various wards. 
The White Hart was celebrated fur its Marlow beer, and 
it was carried round openly by a potman, who served his 
customers through the little door, the money being taken 
at the time, or, if there were any well-known man in gaol, 
he could go on credit. In an old account-book now 
before me, I see several items for beer scored up — 
C. Lynn, is. ; C. Lynn, is. ^d.^ etc. This man was 
guilty of a dreadful murder in the Whaddon Chase, 
but was acquitted on the ground of insanity, and 



ATTEMPTED ESCAPES. 121 

eventually died in the prison, where he was always 
considered perfectly sane. 

When I was a very little boy 1 remember beinp^ taken 
into the gaol to see some condemned criminals, accom- 
panying my father and several of his friends. We 
visited Banks and the two Cribbs, under sentence of 
death for horse-stealing ; they were heavily ironed with 
chains round their ankles, tied up to their waists with a 
handkerchief They were notorious thieves, the first of 
whom acknowledged that he had stolen ninety-nine 
horses at various times. They were confined in the 
Old Gaol, the sleeping-cells of which were under the 
floor of the Assize Courts. These men effected their 
escape from prison in a very remarkable manner. By 
some means they possessed themselves of a piece of iron 
hoop, which they had notched and transformed into a 
sort of saw ; with this and a pocket-knife they managed 
to peck down the ceiling of their dormitories, and carried 
away the dislodged plaster in their handkerchiefs each 
morning and threw it down the drains ; they then sawed 
through the beams and rafters overhead, using great 
labour and perseverance until they managed to saw 
throuo-h the floorino; and obtained an entrance to the 
Assize Court. One of the Cribbs was a broad-shouldered 
stout man, and they were more than an hour lifting him 
through the hole, lacerating his shoulders very much in 
the operation. From the courts they entered the 
County Hall adjoining, where they found a long ladder 
then being used in white-washing the ceiling ; they 
thrust the end of the ladder through one of the windows 
opening into the Market Square, and from the top spar 



122 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

they tied their sheets and blankets, ripped up into 
lengths and made into a rope, and by this means they 
descended into the Square. It was late in the month of 
February, and, favoured by the darkness, they commenced 
their descent soon after five in the morning. An old 
barber, however, named Tommy Norris^ who was a very 
early riser, looking out of his house, which was nearly 
opposite the County Hall, saw them in the glimmer of 
the early morning descend the rope. He gave the alarm, 
the men were followed, and one of the Cribbs was 
captured on my farm, his fettered legs having caught on 
the top of a field-gate ; he had fallen head-foremost to 
the ground, where he lay unable to get up. Banks was 
found in a hayrick about four miles away, and the other 
condemned felon was captured not far from his comrade 
in a ditch. They expressed their belief that if they 
had not been detained so long in getting their comrade 
through the hole they might have made their escape in 
safety, even though in irons, as it was no uncommon 
thing for the gipsies and wandering vagrants to file 
through prisoners' fetters, and as they had no distinctive 
clothes, they thus easily would avoid detection. 

They were hung according to their sentence. Their 
companions under sentence of death were Randell and 
Croker, who had committed a dastardly murder on a 
poor defenceless old couple named Needle, who kept a 
turnpike-gate about two miles from Aylesbury, and who 
were murdered under the impression that they had 
plenty of money, the takings of a week or more. The 
wretches found after the murder that the money upon 
the old people amounted to only a few shillings, as the 



ATTEMPTED ESCAPES. 125 

day before they had remitted the monthly earnings to 
the lessee of the tolls. The custom at the time I speak 
of was to hang murderers forty-eight hours after they 
were sentenced — they were generally tried on Friday 
that the)' might be hanged on the Monday morning, 
giving them a Sunday for a funeral sermon to be preached 
to them by the chaplain of the gaol — and these three 
criminals, who had made so gallant a dash for life and 
liberty, were brought back to prison and hanged 
seatndciii artei/i. 

Escapes from the gaol at Aylesbury were frequent, 
and one especially was very boldly planned, and, if it 
had not been discovered in time, would have led to 
most serious consequences. One afternoon my father 
was startled at seeing Mr. Sheriff, the governor, rushing 
into his house, begging him to come to the gaol with all 
the men he could collect, as he was afraid the turnkey 
would be overpowered and half the prisoners in the 
gaol would escape. At once from all parts of the 
premises our men were marched off into the prison, 
armed with a weapon of some kind, an old flint blunder- 
buss, a ship's cutlass, or a thick stick. The prisoners in 
the ward called the Old Gaol, the most desperate of 
the criminals, headed by a young man named Saunders, 
who was accused of a burglary with violence, with more 
than twenty horse and sheep stealers, highway robbers, 
and burglars under his command, were in possession of 
the ward, and having taken out the wooden legs of the 
forms and torn up their bedding to make a sort of 
binding cord to thread the forms together into a ladder, 
were scaling up the back of the governor's house and 



124 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

into three dormer-windows of the servants' bedrooms, 
which opened on to a gutter over the gaol-yard. When 
Mr. Sheriff came into his house, he, with his eldest son, 
both courageous men, rushed up-stairs, and on going into 
the attics found Saunders had reached the top and was 
already in the gutter, while three or four other men 
were swarming up the impromptu ladder, and would 
soon have been alongside of their leader. Young ]\Ir. 
Sheriff grappled with the leader, took him by the collar, 
and attempted to drag him in through the window, 
when the scoundrel, finding his case hopeless, determined 
to kill both himself and his captor at once, and, seizing 
Mr. Sheriff by his coat-collar, tried to spring over the 
low parapet down on to the paving-stones below ; and 
thus would have dashed himself and Mr. Sheriff to 
pieces. Fortunately he slipped into the gutter half 
over the ledge, and hung almost in mid-air till some 
warders managed by main force to drag both men into 
the room through the window. Saunders still fought 
most stubbornly, but was at length overpowered and 
secured with strong handcuffs and fetters. 

In the meantime, by vigorously pelting those on the 
temporary ladder and those below with brick-bats, the 
mutiny was overcome and order restored. It was be- 
lieved that Charlie Lynn, the Whaddon Chase murderer, 
had given private information of the intended outbreak 
to the governor, but had not known how soon it would 
be attempted. Saunders, who was a good-looking young 
man of about twenty-four years of age, had been a valet 
and gentleman's servant, and was tempted and led into 
evil by bad companions and gay living. He was con- 



TRIAL OF JOHN TAWELL. 125 

victcd to be hung for the burglary of which he was 
accused, and before his execution confessed his crime 
and gave information about his companions in the 
burglary, and in consequence another man, named 
Dowsett, was taken and tried at the next Assizes, found 
guilty, condemned to death, but afterwards reprieved 
and sent to Botany Bay for life ; there, however, he 
assaulted one of his keepers, and finally suffered the 
same fate as Saunders. 

There were several remarkable criminal trials in the 
county of Bucks, and of one of them, at which I was 
present, I am tempted to give a slight account. 

I know few trials of modern times which created 
greater interest than that of John Tawell, the Quaker, 
for the murder of Sarah Hart, of Salt Hill. The 
prisoner was a man of considerable property, who 
lived at Berkhampstead, and moved In good society. The 
trial lasted for three days, and was presided over by 
Baron Park, afterwards Lord Wensleydale. The facts 
which came out in evidence were these. Sarah Hart 
was the mother of two children, and lived in a neat little 
cottage by the side of the high-road at Salt Hill ; every 
quarter-day, or about that time, she used to tell her 
neighbours she expected her " good man " to call and 
bring her quarterly income. In the October previous to 
the murder he had been taken seriously ill after his visit, 
and so it was with much anxiety she was awaiting him 
to call in January. She and her children met him at 
the door ; he sent out for some bottled porter for their 
dinner, and stayed some time. He was seen to leave 
the cottage very hurriedly, and a violent and shrill 



126 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

scream being heard shortly after his departure, the poor 
woman's neighbour entered Sarah Hart's cottage and 
found her in the throes of death. After two or three 
more screams, one fainter than the other, she expired 
in her neighbour's arms, on the floor of the cottage. 

The affair was so sudden, the woman who w^as with 
]\Irs. Hart was so unnerved, that the Quaker was not 
followed. After he left the cottage he hurried towards 
Slough, met an omnibus going to Windsor, entered it, 
and, after going rather over half a mile, got out, and 
was seen by the driver to go up to the house called '' The 
Herschells," which was at one time the residence of the 
celebrated astronomer, Herschell ; he did not, however, 
attempt to call, but merely went to the door of the 
house and turned back again, the omnibus having gone 
out of sight. He then quickly returned to Slough 
station, got into a train which was waiting, and was 
whisked off, as he thought, safely to London. But he 
had reckoned without his host ; for unknown to him, or 
at all events unheeded, science had just discovered how 
to put into practice one of her greatest w^onders, the 
■" electric telegraph," this being the first time the invention 
was put into play as a detective of crime. The station- 
master wh'cd to Paddington — " A Quaker in the train ; 
watch him, follow him, and on no account lose sight of 
him ; find out who he is." This was done. Tawell, 
arriving in town, was followed to a house at Islington, 
which he entered, and in which he remained for some 
time. On leaving he was traced to Euston Station, then 
by rail to Great Berkhampstead, where it was found that 
he was a well-known and greatly-respected resident. He 



TRIAL OF JOHN TAWELL. 127 

had been married only two or three years previously to 
a very charming widow, a Quakeress of the name of 
Cutforth, living in good style and in high repute. The 
next day Tawell was arrested, brought to Aylesbury, 
and at the March Assizes was tried for the murder. 

The above facts were proved, and also that he had 
brought prussic acid at a chemist's shop in London ; that 
the woman Sarah Hart had been his first wife's servant 
when he was living at Sydney, New South Wales, and 
that he had two children by her ; that he allowed her 
fifty-two pounds a year, which he paid quarterly ; 
that he wanted not only to save this annual sum, but 
that he feared daily that she might find out where he 
lived, and would expose and degrade him amongst all 
the Friends. 

The trial was made memorable by the ingenious and 
yet preposterous defence set up b}^ his counsel, Mr. 
Fitzroy Kelly, O.C, afterwards Lord Chief Baron of the 
Exchequer. Contrary to experience, there was no smell 
of prussic acid either in the victim's throat or in the 
room, and only a faint trace in the intestines. Mr. Kelly 
therefore hoped to persuade the jury that this trace 
was the result of her having eaten several apples during 
the day, which was not denied, some apple-pips being 
found in the stomach ; that all apple-pips contained traces 
of prussic acid, and would fully account for the small 
quantity of that deadly poison found in the body. This 
defence earned for the eminent lawyer the sobriquet of 
" Apple-pip Kelly." He made a most powerful and 
eloquent appeal to the jury; and the judge, as it was 
past six o'clock on the second day, decided to postpone 



128 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

his summing-up till the next day, feeling that a serious 
impression had been made on the jury, and being 
determined that they should form a calm decision on 
this singular case. The next day some witnesses were 
called to testify to character, the counsel for the prose- 
cution replied on the defence, the judge summed up, and 
it was again 1 ite in the day when the jury retired to 
consider their verdict. About nine o'clock they returned 
with a verdict of " Guilty," and Tawell was condemned 
to death. This seemed quite to astound the prisoner, 
who had firmly believed he would be acquitted. 

The prisoner's version of the case was that he called 
on the dead woman to pay her as usual her quarterly 
allowance, and had told her he must leave her never to 
see her again ; that she then took a phial from her pocket 
and said, ** I will do for myself" ; he tried to stop her, 
but she said, " I will, I will," and before he could arrest 
her hand, she swallowed the poison, and he was so 
horrified that he got away as fast as he could. But no 
trace of a phial was found in the room. The excuse the 
prisoner made for buying prussic acid in London was 
that he was troubled with varicose veins ; and this was 
true, and he used the same remedy while in prison. 
His wife firmly believed in his innocence, and, indeed, 
some of his friends had come down in a carriage from 
Berkhampstead to bring him home after his acquittal. 
After his condemnation his poor suffering wife came to 
visit him, and I escorted her to see her husband. I shall 
never forget her sorrow and heart-broken grief, nor the 
appearance of the wretched man. As I entered the 
parlour of the cjovernor's house, where the interview was 



TRIAL OF JOHN TAWELL. 129 

to take place, he came in with his warder through another 
door. He seemed completely paralyzed at the sight of 
his wife, and turned deadly pale ; a poor, insignificant 
little man in his Quaker's garb, looking utterly miserable. 
This lady bore her husband one child, a boy, whom she 
named after his father. Although urged to give him her 
widowed name of Cutforth, she sternly refused, and to 
the end she believed in her husband's innocence. 

Tawell was hung on a cold March morning ; the snow 
laid thickly on the ground, and the wind swept a driving 
sleet against the upturned faces of the thousands of 
people — many of them, I am sorry to say, women — who 
thronged the Market Square at Aylesbury ; and when 
the bolt was drawn, the wind so buffeted about the 
wretched little body of the murderer, that it was believed 
by many he was struggling still for half an hour after- 
wards. Calcraft, the executioner, however, declared that 
the man died instantly. 

Tawell's confession had been given by him to the 
Rev. Mr. Cox, the chaplain of the prison, who, however, 
refused to disclose its contents, saying it was given under 
the seal of confession to a priest, a course of action that 
at the time was severely criticized. 

Mr. Sheriff, the governor of the gaol, stated that the 
accused man had actually confessed his guilt the night 
before his execution, admitting that he had administered 
the poison in the bottled porter, and that he had made 
the like attempt in the October previous with morphia, 
but without success. He further led Mr. Sheriff to 
believe that he had also tried to poison his son's widow 
on the same evening at Islington, having ordered bottled 



I30 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

porter there also for supper, but her mother would not 
allow her to drink it. He was an accomplished villain^ 
who made a religious exterior a cloak to his abominable 
crimes. 

Tawell's life was a curious one ; he had been appren- 
ticed to a chemist, and afterwards obtained a situation 
in the house of Mar.sden and Sons, wholesale druggists, 
where he became a model assistant, was put on the road 
as traveller, and whilst thus employed he forged and 
uttered a cheque on the Uxbridge Bank of Hull and Co., 
who were also Quakers. At that time forgery was a 
capital offence, and as the Quakers were averse to taking 
away life, it was arranged that the criminal should plead 
guilty to uttering the cheque, but not to forging, and he 
was sentenced to be transported for fourteen years. He 
was sent to Sydney, where his wife and family followed 
him. From his good conduct he soon obtained a ticket- 
of-leave, and set up a chemist's shop in Sydney, and 
there rapidly obtained a fortune. His wife died, under 
suspicious circumstances, of course. Obtaining a free 
pardon, he returned to England, Sarah Hart accompany- 
ing the family ; and hence the cottage at Salt Hill and 
the two children. Married to Mrs. Cutforth, Tawell was 
anxious to be reinstated in the brotherhood of the Society 
of Friends, but, fearful of his liaison being discovered, 
resolved to be rid of Sarah Hart. He was a sordid 
wretch into the bargain ; as he had to pay his son's widow 
^^"50 a year, he tried to put her out of the way in the 
same manner. There is little that is heroic about most 
criminals. 

Imprisonment for debt often struck me as a very bar- 



IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT. 131 

barous custom. If a man got into debt, oftentimes by 
misfortunes over which he had no control, the law locked 
him up for an indefinite time, thus preventing him from 
working or carrying on any business to enable him ever 
to pay his debts. Some singular illustrations of the folly 
of the system were given at Aylesbury. A Captain 
Paulet, brother to Lady Nugent, who had a fine old estate, 
but from youthful folly and extravagance had got into 
debt, was imprisoned in the county gaol. He did not 
approve of the prison fare, and begged my father to 
supply him daily with breakfast and dinner, half a pint 
of port wine, and a pint of beer. The Captain remained 
in prison for over two years, and the account, for which 
my father received no money at the time, increased to 
over £1^0 \ but my father had confidence in the 
Captain's honour, and it was justified, for many years 
afterwards he sent ;^I00, with a promise to pay the 
balance with interest. Whilst in prison many friends 
visited the debtor and supplied him with spare cash, 
till after several years he came into his estate at 
Addington. But by then he was a broken-down 
man, and ended his days in an asylum, never having 
recovered his incarceration. My father did not receive 
the balance of his account, but I have no doubt, had 
the Captain been able to have legally arranged with 
his creditors, most of them would have been paid, at 
all events a reasonable composition, and he might have 
ended his days as a quiet country gentleman. 

I remember Captain Paulet well ; he had been a great 
fisherman, and once caught the finest pike I ever saw 
from the Weston Turville reservoir ; it was in splendid 



132 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

condition, and weighed twenty-eight and a half pounds. 
The Captain sent it as a present to the market-table 
at the White Hart ; it was baked on a board, no tin 
or dish being long enough. I took out the teeth, and 
for many years used them as cribbage-pegs. Captain 
Paulet's estate was in the end purchased by the Right 
Hon. J. Gellibrand Hubbard, afterwards raised to the 
peerage as Baron Addington. 

Another odd occupant of the debtors' prison, some time 
afterwards, was an eccentric country parson, the rector 
of Simpson, in the county of Bucks. He was of good 
family, and rejoiced in the name of "Tally-ho ! Hanmer," 
a reckless fox-hunting parson, of not much credit to his 
cloth. I never saw this amiable cleric in any other 
costume than mahogany-coloured top-boots and a 
square-cut black riding-coat, with black breeches, 
crowned by a peculiar low black hat, with a broad and 
flat brim. When " Tally-ho ! Hanmer " was in very 
low water, he would borrow a sovereign or a five-pound 
note, with garnished tale of great distress, from many 
an old college friend. On one occasion a generous 
individual, touched by a sad story of his, forked out a 
five-pound note to enable the lively rector to go home 
to his Buckinghamshire parish to perform his Sunday 
duties. The donor told a mutual friend of mine and 
his of his action, and was astonished to hear that he 
had been fleeced. They were both going to dine at 
Long's Hotel in Bond Street, and on entering the 
passage — there, not to be mistaken, hung Parson Han- 
mer's hat ! They entered the coffee-room, the impe- 
cunious rector was there, supplied with a most rechercJie 



IMPRISONMEiNT FOR DEBT. 



33 



dinner and a bottle of champagne at his elbow, spending 
the five pounds kindly lent him to go home to his duties. 
He brazened the situation out, finished his repast, wished 
his friend good-night, and went on to the play. 

This frolicsome parson owed my father about i^iQO 
for food supplied to him in prison. My father never 
was paid a farthing of it. He was popular in his parish 
with all his faults, charitable to the poor, and, I have 
been told, preached excellent sermons. His rectory 
house was generally barricaded against creditors 
throughout the week, and only on Sundays could he 
walk about in its grounds and visit his parishioners. 

These were men of the past. " Tally-ho ! Hanmer " 
was a rollicking jolly sportsman, a bachelor, and a type 
of a class once very prevalent in England. For good 
or evil such men are no more. 





CHAPTER IX. 

The "Rochester Room" at the White Hart, Aylesbury— Its Decor- 
ation and History — The Glories of Eythrope— Sir Walter Scott 
— Vernon's Anecdotes about Turner — Anecdotes of Landseer — 
" Swill " from Her Majesty's Kitchens — Charles Gow — A Pun 
and its Interpretation by Punch. 

Amongst our most interesting of popular antiquities 
are our ancient English mansions, their halls and 
libraries, and surroundings. It is much to be deplored 
that authentic records of these fast-disappearing land- 
marks of our own national history have not more often 
been preserved. The " Old Room " is an example of 
such a landmark, most interesting in relation to the 
event whose memory it was built to perpetuate, and 
most curious in respect to its appearance. But the 
" Old Rochester Room " at Aylesbury is now only a 
memory; the site of the once well-known hostelry, the 
White Hart, is now covered by the Corn Exchange and 
public markets. The building, at the time of its demo- 
lition, was in a most substantial state of preservation, 
and the "Old Room," with its pictures, and elaborate 
gilding and ornamentation, had only been lately cleaned 
and restored, and looked, as it really was, in 1864, in as 
good trim as the day it left the hands of the builder 
and decorator. 



THE 'ROCHESTER ROOM.' 135 

This room was forty-two feet by twenty-three, and 
twelve feet in height ; it was panelled from top to 
bottom with recesses in solid framework finely carved 
for the reception of paintings; the ^' Ggg and tongue" 
ornament in carved wood ran round the cornice, which 
was richly gilt ; and the spacious fireplace was superbly 
carved with scroll-work after the fashion of the period, 
and was also ornamented with gold and other colours. 
The upper portion of the panelling was arranged with 
alternate groups of fruit, flowers, and warlike trophies. 
The ceiling was divided into nine compartments, with 
gilt bosses at the intersection of the beams. The centre, 
or largest compartment, was filled with a painting on 
canvas of two life-sized figures seated, representing 
Peace and Concord, with palm branches in their hands 
(the initials C. R. are above the principal figures), and 
Cherubim flying from behind the clouds, of whom two 
arc bearing a crown, and two are below, holding a scroll 
with the following legend — ■ 

" Let Peace and Concord sit and singe, 
And Subjects yield obedience to their Kinge." 

The other compartments were filled with frescoes, and 
in the four corners were really artistic emblems of the 
four seasons. The panelled walls were intended to 
represent a statue and picture gallery ; the niches con- 
tained painted figures of Julius and Augustus Csesar, 
Diana, Juno, Venus, Industry, Diligence, Pallas, Honour, 
and Majesty ; the principal compartment a large picture 
on canvas of yEneas carrying his father, Anchises, on his 
shoulder from the burning Troy ; Creusa was seated on 



136 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

the ruins, and "The boy, Ascanius," was depicted look- 
ing up at his father. This was a copy of the Vatican 
picture. Over the fireplace was a picture of Tomyris, 
Queen of the Scythians, receiving the head of the great 
Cyrus, which she had ordered to be thrown into a vessel 
of human blood, after she had defeated and killed him, 
with the words, " Satia te sanguine qucm semper sitisti." 
Two other large paintings filled the remaining compart- 
ments, representing Mercury and Argus ; and over the 
door was a recumbent Venus with a Cupid holding back 
the drapery — a grand picture in life-size. The grate was 
brought from a house built for Nell Gwynne by 
Charles II., and was a peculiarly handsome one. On 
a gable outside the room was the date in large iron 
figures, 1663. 

The circumstances under which this room in the 
White Hart was built are these. Clarendon, in his 
History of the Great Rebellion^ relates that — 

''When he (Rochester) returned from the north he lodged 
at Aylesbury ; and having been observed to ride out of the way 
in a large ground, not far from the town, of which he seemed 
to take some survey, and had asked many questions of a 
country fellow who was there (that ground in truth belonging 
to his own wife), the next Justice of the Peace had notice of 
it ; who, being a man devoted to the Government, and all that 
country very ill affected always to the King, and the news of 
Salisbury and the proclamation thereupon having put all men 
on their guard, came himself to the town where the Earl was; 
and being informed that there were only two gentlemen above 
at supper (for Sir Nicholas Armorer was likewise with the Earl, 
and had accompanied him in that journey), he went into the 
stable; and upon view of the horses, found they were the 



THE 'ROCHESTER ROOM.' 137 

same which had been observed in the ground. The Justice 
commanded the keeper of the inn, one Gilvy, who, besides 
that he was a person notoriously affected to the Government, 
was hkewise an officer, ' That he should not suffer those horses, 
nor the persons to whom they belonged, to go out of thj honse, 
till he, the said Justice, came thither in the morning, when he 
would examine the gentlemen, who they were, and from whence 
they came.' The Earl was quickly advertised of all that passed 
below, and enough apprehensive of what must follow in the 
morning. Whereupon he presently sent for the master of the 
house, and nobody being present but his companion, he told 
him, ' He would put his life into his hands, which he might 
destroy or preserve : that he could get nothing by the one, but 
by the other he should have profit, and the goodwill of many 
friends, who might be able to do him good.' Then he told 
him who he was ; and as an earnest of more benefit that he 
might receive hereafter, he gave him thirty or forty Jacobus's, 
and a fair gold chain, which was more worth to be sold than 
one hundred pounds. Whether the man was moved by the 
reward, which he might have possessed without deserving 
it, or by generosity, or by wisdom and foresight, for he was a 
man of very good understanding, and might consider the changes 
which followed after, and in which this service proved of advan- 
tage to him, he did resolve to permit and contrive their escape. 
And though he thought fit to be accountable to the Justice for 
their horses, yet he caused two other, as good for their purpose, 
of his own, to be made ready by a trusty servant in another 
stable; who about midnight conducted them into London-way, 
which put them in safety. The innkeeper was visited in the 
morning by the Justice, whom he carried into the stable where 
the horses still stood, he having still kept the key in his own 
pocket, not making any doubt of the persons while he kept 
their horses ; but the innkeeper confessed they were escaped 
out of the house in the night, how or whither he could not 
imagine. The Justice threatened loud ; but the innkeeper was 



138 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

of that unquestionable fidelity, and gave such daily demonstra- 
tion of his affection to the Commonwealth, that Cromwell 
more suspected the connivance of the Justice (who ought 
not to have deferred the examination of the persons till 
the morning) than the integrity of a man so well known as the 
innkeeper was. The Earl remained in London whilst the 
inquiry was warm and importunate, and afterwards easily 
procured a passage for Flanders, and so returned to Cologne." 

Tradition, borne out by many facts, then records that 
after the year 1660, when Charles II. was restored 
to the throne, Gilvy, the innkeeper mentioned in this 
history, was sent for to Court, and the King paid him 
great attention, for he had then become a colonel in 
the army of the Commonwealth ; and that the Earl of 
Rochester, out of gratitude to him for saving his life, 
came down to Aylesbury, and, as a lasting memorial of 
his escape and of his gratitude, built him this room and 
appurtenances, and decorated it as here described. 

Many persons who were good judges of pictures 
consider they were all painted by Antonio Verrio, who 
painted the ceilings at Whitehall ; at all events, no 
expense had been spared to render the building worthy 
of the event it was built to commemorate. 

The White Hart is supposed by many to have been 
an inn as far back as the Wars of the Roses, and to 
have been the rendezvous of the White Rose Party. 
The old structure, which was pulled down in 1S13, was 
a very curious building, with three high gables facing 
the street, and a large gallery running round the great 
court-yard. There was one singular circumstance relat- 
ing to it, in the names of the rooms on the f^round floor. 



THE 'ROCHESTER ROOM.' 139 

which names were retained until the house was pulled 
down for the Corn Exchange in 1863. The commercial- 
room kept its name of " Change" — it was where, in the 
remembrance of many old people, the principal business 
of the town was carried on ; " The Crown," where the 
taxes and customs were collected; "The Mitre," where 
the Church dues were annually paid; and "The 
Fountain," a name often used in connection with inns or 
taverns, but the meaning of which Is somewhat obscure. 
It is stated that the Bishops of Lincoln, in whose diocese 
Aylesbury then was, held their visitations uninter- 
ruptedly at the White Hart for nearly three centuries. 
Every one who knew the old house deeply regretted its 
destruction, but, like many other buildings, it has yielded 
to the necessities of modern requirements, and the hand- 
some Corn Exchange and the commodious markets 
now stand where It once stood, and probably will be of 
as much service to future generations as the old Inn was 
to thousands who took their ease therein, and who each 
in his turn have departed out of this world. But the old 
motto seems like to be forgot — 

" Let Peace and Concord sit and singe, 
And Subjects yield obedience to their Kinge." 

Eythrope House, about four miles from the town of 
Aylesbury, at the beginning of the present century was 
a splendid residence, and the then Earl of Chesterfield 
kept great state there. The park, gardens, and 
ornamental grounds covered several score of acres 
around the house, and a large sheet of water, well 
stocked with fish, added greatly to the beauty of the 
view from the mansion, and formed a charmin<7 feature 



I40 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

in the landscape. The house was approached by a 
classic bridge of ornamental stonework, flanked on 
either side with statues of great size and elegance. 
This noble mansion is also a thing of the past ; it was 
pulled down and utterly destroyed in the }^car 1812. 

A curious story was accepted in Aylesbury to account 
for the destruction of Eythrope, and the retirement of 
the family of the Chesterfields from the neighbourhood. 
It was told me by one who was a resident near Eythrope 
at the time, and who vouched for its truth. About the 
beginning of the century the Earl of Chesterfield was 
confidently expecting to receive the appointment of 
Lord-Lieutenant of the Count}', the then occupant of 
the post, a very old man, being reported to be dying. 
A distinguished party was visiting at Eythrope at the 
time ; the Earl and most of his guests had been 
amusing themselves in the morning, riding and shooting, 
but returned to the house for luncheon. One gentleman 
who had remained indoors, and received first inspection 
of the mid-day post-bag, greeted his host with, " Halloa, 
Chesterfield : here's startling news," and proceeded to 
read from the daily pa'^.er an account of the death of 
the Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, in which it 
was stated also that the Prime Minister, William Pitt, 
had already promised Baron Cobham the now vacant 
Lord-Licutenanc^^ The brow of the expectant Lord- 
Lieutenant was clouded, he retired to his room, and 
begged to be excused appearing at dinner that evening ; 
the next morning he said he had important business in 
town, which required his immediate attention. The 
house party broke up and rapidly dispersed. Lord 



SIR WALTER SCOTT. 141 

Chesterfield left Eythrope that day, and never set foot 
again in the county. A year or two after he gave orders 
that the mansion should be destroyed and the place 
dismantled, and the glories of Eythrope came to an end. 

The Eythrope estate subsequently became the 
property of the Marquis d'Harcourt ; from him it was 
purchased a few years since by Miss Alice de Rothschild, 
who has built a spacious pavilion near the site of the 
old house, and has once more made the gardens 
celebrated for artistic design and their beautiful display 
of flowers and rare shrubs. 

My recollection does not, of course, carry me back to 
the time when Lord Chesterfield entertained m^en of 
fashion and fame at Eythrope, but still it seems able to 
transport me to days distant enough for the thoughts 
of ordinary men and their methods of life to be very 
different to what they are now. I remember one 
evening, in the year 1828, a carriage and pair of horses 
pulling up at our door, and a benevolent-looking, elderly 
gentleman, with a young lady, alighting therefrom to 
take up their abode for the night ; after they had dined 
and retired to bed, a servant informed my father that he 
had learned from the servant in attendance upon the 
visitor that his master was " Mister" Walter Scott. My 
father at once knew, from the portraits he had seen of 
the author of Wavcrky, who his illustrious guest must 
be, and told me to wait with my mother and younger 
brother in the hall to wish the guest of the night good 
morning — we were youngsters then of six or seven 
years. I remember Sir Walter, as he thanked my 
father for his attention to him and his daughter. My 



14^ ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

father answered, " That if Sir Walter had had a hundredth 
part of the entertainment that the perusal of his 
charming writings had given to himself, he would 
indeed have been pleased." Sir Walter, shaking my 
father by the hand, warmly thanked him for his ex- 
pressions of appreciation, and patted me on the head, 
saying he hoped I should grow up to be a good man ; 
then his daughter kissed me, and the carriage rolled on 
to its destination. 

Some years ago I was very intimate with Vernon 
Heath, who achieved great success as a photographic 
artist, not only in portraiture, but chiefly in his magnifi- 
cent studies of trees and landscape scenery. Vernon 
Heath was a nephew of ]\Ir. Robert Vernon, who be- 
queathed his wonderful collection of pictures of British 
art to the nation. I occasionally visited at Mr. Vernon's 
residence, at 50, Pall Mall, and heard several anecdotes 
relating to him and his pictures. One of his best pictures 
was by his friend Turner, the Golden Branch I think 
it is called ; in the foreground there is a female figure 
with a sickle in her hand. This picture was placed over 
the mantel-piece in the breakfast-room, and one morning 
Vernon Heath remarked to his uncle " that the figure 
was moving." The owner laughed and made light of it, 
but next morning Vernon Heath again said," I am sure 
it is moving and has moved " ; with that he mounted 
some steps and discovered that the figure had curled up 
and was nearly detached from the picture. Old Mr. 
Vernon, in a rage, summoned Turner at once. When 
the great artist arrived, he coolly got on to the steps, and 
with his fingers pulled the figure off the picture. He 



ANECDOTES OF LANDSEER. 143 

then allayed Mr. Vernon's wrath by explaining that he 
remembered the circumstance well, that he had cut out 
the figure in paper, stuck it on casually, and went on 
painting over it, forgetful of the fact ; and, although some 
years had elapsed since the picture was painted, no 
effect had been produced on it until probably the 
warmth of the fireplace had at last curled it up. Turner 
at once repaired the damage, and the canvas is none 
the worse for it. 

One of the most charming pictures ever painted by 
Landseer, which is by many connoisseurs thought to be 
his best in the Vernon selection, is that of the two King 
Charles spaniels lying on a table, with a cavalier's hat 
and plume near them, and a few other accessories. The 
history, as related to me by Vernon Heath, is amusing. 
Mr. Vernon had given Landseer a commission to paint 
a picture to be exhibited the following year at the 
British Institution, which was next door to his residence ; 
the price was to be 500 guineas, the subject being left to 
Landseer, who chose some of his patron's noted King 
Charles spaniels, and took sketches accordingly. The 
day for receiving the pictures arrived, the post of honour 
over the fireplace in the principal room being reserved 
for Landseer, but no picture was forthcoming, the 
excuse being that pressure of business had prevented its 
completion. Next year again, and some weeks before 
the opening, Vernon Heath called to remind the artist of 
his promise, and on the day for receiving the works of 
art exactly the same thing occurred, and no " Landseer " 
was exhibited. This excited Vernon's ire, but there was 
no help for it, and with renewed promises for the next 



144 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

season his wrath was appeased. Determined not to be 
thrice disappointed, Vernon Heath was sent to tlie 
dilatory painter in good time, and, to his disgust, there 
Avas apparently no picture ready, but two days only 
before the reception Landseer promised faithfully it 
should be in the place reserved for it. As several 
considerable advances of money had been made by Mr. 
Vernon on the strength of his promises, he insisted that 
no failure should again occur, and on the morning before 
the opening the picture arrived quite wet from the 
easel. Vernon Heath assured me that it had not been 
commenced more than forty-eight hours before its 
delivery ! When the picture is carefully examined, every 
one will be perfectly astonished at the marvellous 
dexterity and beauty of finish of this masterly perform- 
ance — i^SOO was thus easily and satisfactorily earned in 
less than two days. 

Landseer often told the following story of himself, 
which was related to me by the Duke of Grafton, when 
still Lord Charles Fitzroy. He was once passing down 
a street near Piccadilly, and seeing a very good specimen 
of his own work in the window of a picture-dealer, 
walked into the shop and inquired the name of the 
painter. The attendant said the picture was a genuine 
Landseer, and one of the best he ever painted. Landseer 
took it up and critically examined it, and asked if the 
dealer could warrant it. " Most certainly," he replied ; 
"and what is more, he'll never paint another." " How is 
that.?" says Landseer. "Gone, sir, gone," he replied, 
putting his finger to his forehead ; " gone, sir, completely 
off his head, and not likely ever to recover." Landseer 



ANECDOTES OF LANDSEER. 145 

splittiii:^ with laughter, hurried out of the shop, fearing 
he might hear more of his supposed infirmity. Lord 
Cliarles Fitzroy told me another characteristic story of 
Landseer in connection with one of his most noted 
pictures, that of a boat crossing a loch in Scotland, 
containing portraits of the late Prince Albert and her 
Majesty, with gillies in attendance, returning from a 
shooting excursion. This picture was being painted at 
Balmoral, and the Prince was particularly anxious that 
the portrait of the Queen sliould be correct ; Landseer 
indeed had painted it in and out several times. One 
morning early, Prince Albert en'ered the studio before 
Landseer was up, and found the Queen's portrait admir- 
ably dehneated, and he immediately wrote on a half 
sheet of paper, which he fixed to the easel, " Portrait of 
the Queen excellent and highly satisfactory." Some 
time afterwards, on entering the studio, he found Landseer 
had smudged and painted out the likeness to show that 
he was not to be interfered with or dictated to by any 
one. Landseer was quick at catching likenesses ; once, 
when lie was on a visit to Ardington, Mr. Vernon's 
country seat in Berkshire, he was asked on coming out 
of church, " Who preached } " He immediately took out 
his pencil and sketched on the back of a letter a very 
corrcc!; portrait of the rector, and replied, " I don't 
know who he was, but that is he." So lifelike was it, 
that no one who knew the subject could mistake it. 

A really clever artist, at the time not m.uch appre- 
ciated, Charles Gow, who occasionally exhibited at the 
Academy, told me an amusing anecdote of one of Land- 
seer's models, a great brawny fellow, who often did duty 



146 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

as one of his Highland keepers ; he was a sort of coster- 
monger in London, who somewhere or other kept pigs. 
One day, when Landseer was painting him, he said, 
*' j\Ir. Landseer, you be often along o' the Queen ; I 
wish you'd ask a favour of her for me." " What is it? " 
says Landseer ; "perhaps she might grant it." "Well, 
sir, you see I keeps a pig, and I should b^ very much 
obliged to her if she'll let me have her swill." "Swill " 
in the country we call " hog-wash," the washings-up of 
the kitchen. Gow, who told me this story, was once 
painting the portrait of a pony of mine as it was standing 
in a stall at the White Hart. He was very busy — easel 
up, maul-stick in hand, palette on thumb, very intently 
looking at his model. A country labourer opened the 
door and looked in ; he shut it quickly, with an apolo- 
getic remark, " Oh, '^cusc me, I see you be a-singeing of 
him!" 

Many of us in our day have sent contributions to that 
most facetious and clever of all modern publications, 
Punch. Not many of us have seen them appear. Some 
forty years ago, whilst chatting with a bevy of young 
friends and manufacturing many wretched puns, I at 
last hit upon a conundrum which so tickled my com- 
panions' risible faculties and mine own, that I proudly 
sent it to Punch. The escape of Louis Napoleon from 
the fortress of Ham was the constant subject of conver- 
sation ; my conundrum, " Why did Louis Napoleon 
cut azuay from Ham ? " Answer : " To save his bacon." 
We young men looked anxiously for the publication of 
this masterpiece. It appeared ; but what was my 
horror to see it appear, as near as I can remember, 



*HAM AND BACON.' 147 

thus: "An old gentleman, who has just commenced 
punning, has sent us the following — 'Why did Louis 
Napoleon cut away from Ham ? To save Jiis bacon! 
The pun is supposed to consist of the connection between 
Ham and Bacon /" Here was a miserable ending to all 
our anticipations ; but the editor really thought he had 
got hold of a good thing, as in the ensuing year's 
almanac appeared, " On this day Louis Napoleon cut 
away from Ham to save his bacon " — Sic transit gloria 
mundi. 




\ STOP 5T0'^ ; 




CHAPTER X. 

The Railway Mania— George Hudson, the Railway King— Serving 
Notices in Ireland— Railway Enterprise and Landlords — George 
Stephenson and the "Eldest Child" — In Coaching Days — Old 
Times in Winter — Dr. Lee's Prophecies and their Fulfilment — 
The late Duke of Buckingham and Chandos : an Uphill Fight 
— Stowe in Days of Prosperity — -The Queen's Visit — In Days 
of Adversity — Sir Thomas Aubrey as an Upright Judge — Sir 
John Aubrey and his Dinners for the Free and Independent. 

In our days, when the country is covered with a network 
of raihvay lines, some record from personal observations 
of the great raihvay mania of 1846-47 may be of some 
interest. In the previous year Sir Robert Peel, then 
Prime Minister, had given his vote in favour of direct 
through lines, and consequently of shorter routes. This 
stimulated engineers, lawyers, financiers, and a whole 
troop of company promoters to concoct and bring out 
schemes for easier access to various points, some of 
them undoubtedly useful, but many of them utterly 
impracticable. The Stock Exchange w^as soon flooded 
with prospectuses, speculation became rife, and immense 
fortunes were rapidly made, and, 7;w7'e suo, in the end 
more rapidly dissipated. The name of George Hudson, 
the " Railway King," recalls to the minds of the older 



THE RAILWAY KING. 149 

among us the history of the movement. Mr. Hudson, 
who was a draper in the City of York and Lord Mayor 
of that ancient city, was connected with the North- 
Eastern Line, of which he became chairman ; and, being 
a man of real financial ability and determined courage, 
he rapidly became associated with many of the projected 
undertakings, notably with the Great Eastern, then 
called the Eastern Counties Railway. He pushed these 
forward, and became chairman of some of them, whilst 
an intimate friend of mine, Mr. David Waddington, 
became his vice-chairman, and together they amassed a 
considerable fortune. Mr. Geo. Hudson came to London, 
took one of the newly-erected mansions at Albert Gate, 
and gave a series of splendid dinners and entertain- 
ments, presided over by Mrs. Hudson, who, being one of 
les nouveaux ricJies, was made the shaft of many funny 
stories, similar to those attributed to the heroic Mrs. 
Ramsbotham. The Railway King had his levees 
attended by many of the leaders of both Houses of 
Parliament ; members of the Royal Family were not 
ashamed to be amongst the numbers who flocked to his 
house ; and the lately-elected member for Sunderland 
completely carried London society by storm. Then 
came the dire crash about 1850 ; every one " went for " 
George Hudson ; a large sum of money, amounting to 
some ;^ 200,000, he was forced to disgorge by order of the 
Courts. He was obliged to give up his seat in Parliament 
and to retire to the Continent, where he lived on the 
wretched remnants of his fortune ; till at last, reduced 
almost to want, a subscription was started for him 
amongst those who had not only partaken of his bound- 



ISO ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

less hospitality, but had made comparatively large 
fortunes from his various railway schemes. 

I remember I assisted to complete the plans for the 
Midland Grand Junction, which ran from Northampton 
to Reading. I shall never forget the night of the 30th 
November, 1847, which was the last night for depositing 
the plans. The White Hart at Aylesbury was filled 
with engineers, lawyers, parliamentary agents, and their 
satellites, and as each batch of plans was completed and 
rolled up, the post-chaises rattled out of the yard, from 
mid-day to nine p.m., and the plans were despatched by 
them to Oxford, Reading, Hertford, Bedford, and North- 
ampton. It was nearly eight o'clock before the plans 
for Northampton were ready ; an engine with steam 
up was waiting at the Aylesbury station to take this 
precious freight to Northampton, nearly fifty miles 
distant by rail. At length, a couple of clerks carried 
the documents down to the station and took their seats 
in a single coach attached to a guard's break and the 
engine, and off they started. When between Leighton 
Buzzard and Bletchley, the fuel became exhausted, and 
the guard and the emissaries jumped down and tore up 
some of the rails which fenced the line, broke them up, 
and so kept the fire of the engine going until they 
arrived at Bletchley, where they replenished, and again 
started on their journey. This delay caused them more 
than half an hour's loss of time, and it was a quarter to 
twelve when they neared Northampton station. On 
arriving they sprang out of the carriage, and ran off up 
the steep hill to the office of the Clerk of the Peace in 
the Market Square, and rapped hurriedly at the door, 



THE RAILWAY MANIA. 151 

just before the church clock struck twelve. No one 
answered their repeated knockings, and a policeman 
informed them that the Clerk of the Peace had arranged 
that the plans should be brought to his private house, 
about five minutes' distance off ; but when they arrived 
there the official refused to receive them, as it was past 
twelve o'clock at night. They remonstrated with him, 
and said they could prove their presence at his proper 
official residence before twelve, and insisted on deposit- 
ing their plans. During the altercation, the door being 
open, they threw the plans into the house, and ran 
back to the station, returned on the engine, and arrived 
at Aylesbury about three o'clock in the morning. On 
a full representation of the facts before the Standing 
Orders Committee, it was decided that the plans were 
to be deemed in time, as, by the evidence of the police- 
man, they were at the Clerk's official place for deposit 
before the hour named. It must have cost the company 
at least £^0 to deposit this one set of plans. 

It is impossible to measure the reckless extravagance 
which was practised at this time in the parliamentary 
contests of rival lines, and for which, even to the present 
day, the travelling public are still obliged to pay. This 
needless outlay was mainly brought about by the orders 
and regulations of Parliament itself. It was at that 
time necessary that personal notice should be served on 
every owner of property, however small, along which 
the line passed ; and as a friend of mine was on the 
staff of Messrs. Crowdey and Maynard, solicitors to the 
Eastern Counties Line, he obtained the appointment for 
me to serve the notices on those owners of property on 



152 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

the Tilbury and Southend Line who resided in Ireland. 
It was the year of the great famine, and I was anxious 
to judge for myself the real state of the famine-stricken 
Irish people. 

I received instructions to proceed at once to Dublin, 
with £^o in bank-notes and gold to pay my expenses, 
and, further, always " to travel like a gentleman," to 
hire post-horses, four if necessary — the notices were all 
to be served by the 5th of December. 

In Limerick the evidence of the famine was very 
apparent ; nothing could exceed the misery, starvation, 
and wretchedness of the people. The relief works 
were in full operation, chiefly consisting of the breaking 
up of some of the finest roads in the world, and running 
them even, under pretence of lowering the hills and 
filling up the valleys ! The Government of the day 
had defeated a statesman-like proposal of Lord George 
Bentinck, to lay out several millions on railway works, 
which would, by this time, have been of inestimable 
benefit to Ireland. My tour was cut short by a letter 
from my sisters, asking me to hurry home, as my father 
was most dangerously ill. I therefore went through to 
London and reported myself, handing in my account — 
between four and five pounds left out of the fifty pounds 
given me for expenses. I was told I need not be so 
particular in my cash statements, and that I had better 
keep the balance. I dined with the staff, and was then 
requested to accompany the cashier into his office, who 
said, " Let me see, you have been sixteen days on your 
journey ; you are entitled to £2 2s. a day for your 
services," and he gave me a cheque for £2,3 12s. I 



THE RAILWAY MANIA. 153 

believe the two properties for which I had to serve 
notices were not worth together more than ;^i5o; and 
I received ^83 12s. alone for this work, which can 
now be done by two penny stamped letters. 

In less than a year afterwards the crash came, and 
most of the great fortunes accumulated during the 
previous six years crumbled to the dust. Many 
families were brought to the very verge of ruin by 
the rampant speculation and inordinate competition 
to obtain possession of certain districts of the country, 
in the hope of aiding and swelling the already over- 
grown businesses of some of the existing great railway 
companies. 

Amongst the most bitter opponents of railways, as 
a landowner, was the Duke of Buckingham, the father 
of the late Duke. One of the projected lines, at the 
time of which I am now v/riting, went through the 
Duke's property at Stov/e, near Buckingham, and he 
raised a complete posse coinitatus of his labourers and 
dependents to oppose the survey. A raw Irishman, 
named Oliver Byrne, was the engineer of the line, and 
numerous affrays took place between his chainmen and 
assistant surveyors and the Duke's posse ; there was 
many a fight and breaking of heads, and every obstacle 
was raised to prevent a survey being made and the 
levels taken. Large sheets and tarpaulins were sus- 
pended on poles, and stretched across fields and roads 
in the vain hope of preventing the theodolites being 
used. At last, one night, Oliver Byrne galloped up to 
the White Hart in a chaise and four, shouting, " I've 
done the Duke, I've done the Duke"; and, overjoyed 



154 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

at his success, celebrated his triumph in libations of 
champagne. It appears he obtained two moderately- 
sized ladders, and, with a strong body of men, planted 
them on a footpath w^hich made the base line of his 
survey, stationing here one surveyor with a theodolite, 
strongly attached to the rounds of one ladder, and 
another with a similar arrangement fifty yards off, 
and by this expedient he succeeded in taking his 
levels and survey, looking over the obstacles erected by 
the Duke's men, and so kept on from distance to 
distance for more than half a mile over the protected 
property. Survey work was carried out by moonlight 
by one staff of men, whilst another lot took up a 
position on other portions of the estate, to divert the 
attention of the obstructionists from their proceedings. 
This is one instance of the difficulties which many of 
our lines of railway had to overcome, caused by the 
blind opposition of landowners. 

In the original plan of a railway from London to 
Birmingham, laid down by G. Stephenson, almost every 
landowner along the line, which has since become the 
New ]\Ietropolitan Railway to Aylesbury, opposed it 
most bitterly — Cox of Hillingdon, Nevvdigate of Ux- 
bridge, Way of Denham, Hibbert of Chalfont, Drake 
of Amersham (with a length of nearly forty-five miles), 
Lord Carrington, and the Smiths of Wendover, and the 
then Duke of Buckingham, with all the squirearchy who 
were under his influence. It was this opposition which 
drove Stephenson to adopt the present line via Wat- 
ford, Tring, and Bletchlcy. Here, again, the opposition 
of Lords Essex, Clarendon, and others at the first- 



GEORGE STEPHENSON. 155 

named place prevented the company going through 
their properties, and drove them to the other side of 
Watford, necessitating the viaduct near Bushey, the 
long Watford tunnel, the heavy Boxmoor embank- 
ment, and the deep chalk cuttings at Tring. It is said 
that compelling the line to go on the present side of 
Watford caused an excess in the outlay of a quarter of 
a million of money more than was contemplated in the 
original estimate. It was not the landowners only who 
were at fault ; even the great town of Northampton 
refused the railway access to their town, and banished 
it to Blisworth, four miles away ; while the University 
authorities at Oxford forced the Great Western to go 
to Didcot, seven miles distant from their ancient city. 

The little Aylesbury railway to Cheddington was 
the first branch which directly opened into the main 
line. At the dinner to celebrate the opening of the 
Aylesbury railway, in responding to his health, Robert 
Stephenson said, " Whatever may occur, you ma}^ rely 
upon it that the London and Birmingham Railway will 
never forget its ' eldest child,' " a statement that has 
been amply fulfilled ; it never has forgotten to oppress 
and injure its poor bantling. It was not till the year 
1889, nearly fifty years afterwards, that a new station 
was built at Aylesbury, the wretchedly small and 
inconvenient station remaining as it was built at first, 
although the traffic had increased twenty-fold. 

Development of traffic ! — The old Aylesbury coach 
" The Despatch " used to leave the town, previously to the 
opening of the railway, with wdiat was considered a good 
fair load of four outside and two inside passengers daily. 



156 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

About six other coaches passed up to London and down 
during the day, on an average carrying two passengers 
each. This would make about twenty-four passengers 
in and out of the town daily except on Sundays, when 
the coaches did not run. At the present time, the 
London and North- Western Railway average, in and out, 
450, the Great Western 350, and the little despised 
Aylesbury and Buckingham 200 daily, making in all 
1000 passengers who travel from and to the town every 
day, Sundays included ! And we read of further facilities 
being required ! How the goods and the ordinary supply 
of food used to be carried to us now seems a wonder. 
About four broad-wheeled waggons, each drawn by eight 
powerful horses, passed through the town daily, and a 
few carriers' carts went twice a week to and from 
London : the branch of the Grand Junction Canal 
brought most of the heavy traffic, and all the coal. The 
town in 1837 contained about 4600 inhabitants, now 
about 10,000. The surrounding villages and districts 
remain about the same in population as then. With 
regard to the coal supply, people can scarcely credit 
the shifts the inhabitants had to endure before the open- 
ing of railways. Many thousand tons were stacked in 
reserve on the extensive coal wharf of the Grand Junc- 
tion Canal in the month of September to make ready 
for the winter : if the canal was frozen over, the supply 
soon became exhausted, the price, ordinarily 305. per 
ton, rose to 40^". and even more. The town and neigh- 
bourhood before the canal was opened — 181 2 — must 
in the winter have been in a deplorable condition. I 
have heard my father say, that in the great frost which 



DR. LEE'S PROPHECY. 157 

lasted thirteen weeks in 18 14, they kept up the kitchen 
fire only, and in the kitchen the family, the guests, and 
servants all had to assemble, the heat being kept in with 
cinders and broken glass. At last my grandfather sent 
a waggon and four horses from his farm at Amersham 
some twenty-five miles, fifteen miles from Aylesbur}', 
and another ten miles to Uxbridge, and brought back 
two tons of Newcastle coal — the coal cost £^ at 
Uxbridge. Of course, until the railway was opened it 
was impossible to carry on any large factory in the town, 
as there were no adequate means of transport to or from 
the place either for the raw material, coal, or machinery. 
A curious prophecy, based on an intuitive idea of the 
powers of science and of steam, was ventured upon by 
the late eccentric owner of Hartwell House, Dr. Lee, at 
our opening railway dinner. In his speech he said, 
amidst the laughter of the company, "I should not be 
surprised if the day would come when, in addition to 
our Aylesbury branch, we should see a little branch to 
Thame, another to Princes Risbro', another to Waddes- 
don, and another to Wendover ; and perhaps some of us 
may live to see this." The three first have long been in 
use — and I am glad to say I have, in conjunction with the 
learned doctor and Sir Harry Verney, had a hand in 
carrying these through — the last, to Wendover, through 
the instrumentality of the Metropolitan Company, is now 
an accomplished fact, and the despised, condemned, and 
ridiculed Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway will be- 
come a portion of a great main line from London to the 
North of England. 

I first became acquainted with the late Duke of 



158 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Buckingham and Chandos about the year i860, in 
connection with raihvay business, and our pleasant 
relations once begun continued to the time of his 
Grace's lamented death. I had seen and known a great 
deal of him from his youth upwards, and believe there 
seldom was a more honourable, trustworthy, hardworking, 
able man. When the great crash in his father's affairs 
came, our world held the opinion that the fortune of the 
family could never again be in the ascendant. It was 
in the year 1 847 that the blow fell which deprived the 
then Marquis of Chandos of his ancestral home and 
patrimony. His grandfather, the first Duke of Buck- 
ingham, when Marquis of Buckingham, married the 
daughter, and only child, of the Duke of Chandos, a 
man of illustrious descent, whose ancestor, knighted on 
the field of Agincourt as Sir Richard Chandos, became 
ennobled by successive sovereigns, till the title died out 
when the family was only represented by this daughter. 
Soon after the coronation of George IV. the Marquis 
of Chandos was created Duke of Buckingham and 
Chandos, thus reviving the title of his wife's father. 
Their eldest son, Richard Plantagenet Nugent Bridges 
Temple Grenville (truly a galaxy of names !), was the 
well-known Marquis of Chandos, the *' Farmers' Friend," 
and undoubtedly the most popular man amongst the 
agriculturists in the kingdom. The celebrated 
" Chandos Clause," moved and carried by him in the 
House of Commons during the debates on the great 
Reform Bill of the Whig Government of 1832, enfran- 
chised the;^5o renter of land, and this clause was fraught 
with weighty consequence to the future government 



DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. 159 

of the country, as it imparted a strong Conservative 
element to the new constitution, and enabled the Tory 
party a few years afterwards, under Sir Robert Peel, 
and his active, youthful right hand, the present Mr. 
W. E. Gladstone, to resume the government. The ruling 
passion of the Marquis of Chandos, when he succeeded 
to the dukedom, was territorial aggrandisement and 
power, and every estate that fell either under the 
auctioneer's hammer, or was sold by private contract 
in Bucks, was swallowed by his capacious maw : old 
mansions were either razed to the ground or turned into 
farmhouses — in many instances they were suffered to fall 
into decay — that he might be really lord paramount, 
and that so far as political power was concerned nothing 
should "stand between the wind and his nobility." 
Money was borrowed at 5 per cent, or more, to pay for 
properties that would scarcely yield 2 per cent., as he 
paid most exorbitant prices for land ; and, to pose as the 
farmers' friend and to gain political power, he let his 
farms at absurdly low rents. To this must be added 
considerable sums spent in elections and expensive 
establishments at Wotton and Stowe : it was only a 
question of time, therefore, how long this would 
continue. 

The whole matter culminated in a grand celebration 
of the coming of age of his only son, the late Duke. 
Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Albert graced 
Stowe with their presence to do honour to the de- 
scendant of the younger royal line of the Plantagenets, 
the Duke being descended from Mary, the widow of 
Louis, King of France, the younger sister of Henry 



i6o ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

VI 1 1., who was afterwards married to Charles Brandon, 
Duke of Suffolk. The magnificence with which this 
royal visit was carried out almost exceeds belief. A 
great part of Stowe was newly furnished, and the state 
bedroom was a marvel of expensive upholstery. All 
the county assembled there ; the tenants were feted, the 
tradesmen, their families and friends, of the borough of 
Buckingham and Aylesbury were right royally enter- 
tained ; balls, concerts, and yeomanry fetes were the 
order of the day. These festivities continued for the 
greater part of a week, and the London and local 
papers utilized all their stock of adjectives in describing 
the splendour of the entertainment. I have been told 
that the young Marquis, even while the Queen and 
Prince were being entertained, was taken into the 
library and, in utter ignorance of their import, signed 
papers which practically alienated the greater part 
of the landed property, and left him comparatively 
a beggar. In less than two years after this the sheriff 
was in possession of Stowe, and the whole of the 
magnificent furniture, gems of art, statuary, and pictures, 
collected at enormous cost in Italy and elsewhere by the 
first Duke, was brought to the hammer. The sale 
lasted twenty-eight days. Never was such a complete 
destruction of a great property before in England. 
The Duke and Duchess, with their son the Marquis of 
Chandos, were left absolutely without a furnished home. 
I have given this sketch of a ruined house to 
illustrate the difficulties the late Duke had to contend 
with from the outset of his career. The Norwich 
Union and some other great insurance offices had 



DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. i6i 

heavy policies on the life of the Duke, and knowing 

the perfect integrity and business-hke habits of the 

Marquis of Chandos, they made him manager or 

steward of the Wotton estate, giving him, I am told, 

;^I500 per annum as a salary, out of which, in a most 

disinterested way, he gave his father ^500 a year to 

enable him to live in comfort at the Great Western 

Hotel at Paddington, and to his mother the Duchess 

the same, she having been lent by the Queen a suite 

of apartments at Hampton Court. Wotton had been 

partly refurnished, and the Marquis resided there, 

superintended the labourers on the estate, looked after 

the land drainage, cutting off water-courses, felling and 

sawing up timber, and all the various operations of 

land management. I have many times seen him, whilst 

I was hunting with the Bicester hounds, standing up to 

his ankles in clay laying out and planning water-courses 

and drains, and thoroughly looking after upwards of a 

hundred labourers. After a year or two he married a 

very amiable lady, Miss Harvey of Langley Park, to 

whom he was greatly attached, and who bore him three 

daughters. With her, I heard, he had about £1000 a 

year from her father ; and his mechanical and business - 

Hke habits, his love of railway w^ork and knowledge of 

locomotive engines, earned him the position of Chairman 

of the London and North-Western Railway, with a 

salary of ;^2500 per annum. 

The Marquis from that time, with his very modest 

requirements, was able to save money. The Duke, his 

father, somewhat suddenly died; the life policies for 

which his life was insured fell in, and I believe some- 

M 



i62 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

tiling like ;^i 70,000 became payable, and with this the 
new Duke entirely freed the Wotton estate, and with 
the surplus was enabled to purchase back in a few years 
some of the outlying farms. The death also of his 
mother, which grieved him greath', as he was deeply 
attached to her, was followed, in about three years, by 
that of her brother the Marquis of Breadalbane, who, 
having no lineal descendants, left his nephew the Duke 
nearly a quarter of a million cash ! Here was then a 
climax, and a solatium for his hard-earned and laborious 
exertions to maintain his honour and family fame 
untarnished. 

The Duke lost the position, however, of Chairman of 
the London and North-Western Railway, through the 
Liverpool and Manchester school thinking that he 
looked too much after minor details and failed to grasp 
more extended fields of operation afforded by the large 
manufacturing districts of the North of England, 
Whatever may have been their ideas, I think it redounds 
greatly to his credit that he foresaw the necessity of 
doubling the line of railway, and it was during his reign 
that the third line of railway was laid down, which has 
now culminated in four lines reaching to Rugb\\ When 
the Duke first insisted upon the laying down of a third 
line, one of the leading engineers sneered at the idea : 
*' like the fifth wheel to a coach," he said it would be. 

A gentleman with whom I had some connection in 
railway matters a few years before, called on me one day 
in i860 with Mr. Brydone, who was at that time engineer 
to the Great Northern Railway, and wished to consult 
me respecting a proposed line to Thame. I told them 



DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. 163 

it was useless to go there, as a bill had been obtained in 
Parliament by the Great Western branch to run from 
Maidenhead to High Wycombe, and from thence to 
Oxford ; but if they would be guided by me I would 
show them a projected portion of old Gaorge Stephen- 
son's original line from London to Birmingham, which 
was afterwards partly carried out by his son Robert, 
but which had never been completed between Claydon 
and Aylesbury. I took them over my suggested route 
through Quainton to Claydon so as to join the Bucking- 
hamshire line, which ran from Bletchley to Banbury and 
Oxford. The Marquis of Chandos was then Chairman 
of the London and North-Western Railway, and on 
our return we determined to consult his lordship, and 
called at Wotton. Fortunately we found him at home, 
and he fell in with our views immediately ; said he 
would become chairman of our company, and would 
take ;^5000 in shares if we brought it out. When our 
surveys were made, the bill deposited in Parliament, and 
the company formed, he carried out his promises, became 
our chairm.an, and launched the project. Through his 
indefatigable zeal and business-like ability the line, after 
many years of trouble and disaster, was completed and 
opened. I joined the Board of Directors at the com- 
mencement, and Sir Harry Verney became vice-chair- 
man with a representative board of directors — Sir Harry 
and myself are the only men of the original Board now 
alive. 

We directors had reason to congratulate ourselves 
upon the Duke of Buckingham's acuteness and remark- 
able knowledge of minor details as to business manage- 



i64 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

ment. The secretary to the company, shortly after the 
line was opened, reported to the Board that, as there 
were several level crossings chiefly of an occupation 
nature, he had thought it necessary to have some 
special padlocks made for the gates, in order to prevent 
people from opening them, and leaving them open, to 
the danger of the traffic on the line. He showed us 
the keys, which were very elaborate with complicated 
wards, to cost S^- ^<^- each, a charge which his Grace 
thought excessive. He left the Board-room with a key 
in his hand unknown to us, and sent one of the clerks 
for a piece of soap. He then quietly pressed the soap 
into the wards of the key and put it into the lock, and 
on withdrawing the key showed it to us with the soap 
intact in the wards, a proof that the whole apparent 
intricacy was a Brummagem fraud, that there were no 
obstructions whatever in the locks, and that any key, or 
even an old bent nail, would open them. The value of 
the locks was about lod. or is. each, but neither the 
secretary nor an}^ of those present would ever have 
thought of such a test. 

I have been told that the Duke constantly, when 
Chairman of the London and North-Western Railway, 
drove the engine from London for very long distances, 
carefully noting every hundredweight of fuel consumed, 
the quantity of oil for engines, and comparing it with 
the speed at which the engine travelled, and that he 
even noted the quantity of cotton-waste consumed on 
the journey. He had a keen eye for every detail of any 
business with which he was connected. But besides 
being an able businessman, he was a just and a generous 



DUKE OF BUCKINGHA?^!. 165 

one. When the rinderpest broke out in the county the 
Duke was indefatigable in carrying out the regulations 
of the Government as to slaughter of the infected cattle, 
but he shared all the losses of this dire scourge with his 
tenants. Again, whilst himself in the East, as Governor 
cf Madras, there had been on his Wotton estate a terrible 
outbreak of liver rot, which carried off every sheep in 
the parish except ten or twelve Welsh ewes ; the Duke 
ordered his steward to ascertain how much loss each of 
his tenants had sustained, and on the next rent-day each 
tenant had the full amount of his loss deducted from his 
rent, and in most instances the tenants left the steward's 
ofhce with some scores of pounds more than when they 
went in. One man told me that above a ;^ioo had 
been handed to him beyond his half-year's rent. These 
were noble and disinterested acts, most unostentatiously 
done, and springing from a kind and considerate heart. 
In person and manners the Duke was not attractive, but 
he possessed qualities more valuable than those reflected 
in the glass of fashion ; his death was not only a grief to 
his friends, but a loss to the nation, whom he had served 
as a Minister of the Crown. He had raised himself from 
real poverty by his assiduity and careful personal 
management, he had succeeded in freeing his estate 
from encumbrances, refurnished Stowe, buying back, 
wherever he could find them, everything that had been 
sold at the great sale, and he left behind him something 
like ;/^ 1 20,000 for his daughters and their husbands. 

The family estate of Wotton went at his death to his 
nephew, Mr. Gore Langton, heir to the title of Earl 
Temple ; his eldest daughter, Lady Mary, the wife of 



i66 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Captain JMorgan, became possessed of Stowe, and 
succeeded to the title of Baroness Kinloss. The 
dukedom, in default of male heirs, became extinct for 
the fourth or fifth time. It is remarkable that there 
have been so many Dukes of Buckingham, in so many 
different famiHes, which have in turn died out for want 
of heirs male : the celebrated Duke in the time of 
Richard IIL, the Staffords, the Villiers in the time of 
Charles, and now the Grenvilles — it would seem that a 
fatality attached to this great and historic title. 

Another excellent specimen of the old country gentle- 
man was Sir Thomas Aubrey, He was Chairman of 
the Quarter Sessions for many years ; he wore generally 
a blue coat, gilt buttons, a buff waistcoat, and large shirt 
frill projecting from the front. Many a quaint story is 
told of him when on the bench. A man was once tried 
before him for stealing ducks, and the jury found him 
" Not guilty." Sir Thomas then addressed him and 
said : " Prisoner at the bar, you have had a very narrow 
escape, and when you go next over Priestwood Common, 
dont you steal ducks again!' Once a witness came up 
to give a man under trial a character; the prisoner was 
quite unknown to the Bench, and the witness on being 
asked what he knew of the prisoner gave the usual 
stereotyped answer, " He never knowed nothing amiss 
of him before then." Sir Thomas said, " Nor more did 
I ; if that's all you have to say about him you may sit 
down." Sir Thomas, when Colonel Aubre}^ once started 
as a candidate for the Borough of Aylesbury, but did 
not venture to go to the poll. He was nephew to Sir 
John Aubrey, of Dorton, who, when he died, left all the 



SIR JOHN AUBREY. 167 

family estates he possibly could away from his nephew, 
as Sir Thomas had married a young lady contrary to 
his wishes. She died within a year or so of her marriage, 
childless. Sir Thomas never married again, and as Sir 
John had left the estates to a stranger, and had leased 
the Welsh and other properties at very long leases and 
at ridiculously low rates, so as to impoverish his nephew 
as much as possible, it may be imagined that Sir Thomas 
did not trouble himself to improve the estates. I once 
visited his ancient mansion and park, Llantrithet, near 
Cardiff, with his steward, and found the deer destroyed, 
the house nearly dismantled, and the estate almost 
denuded of timber. 

This Sir John Aubrey was for some years member for 
the County of Bucks, and stood the celebrated poll for 
the election in 1784, when he was returned at the head 
of the poll over the Hon. Thomas Grenville and Lord 
Verney. One amusing record we have of that election. 
Sir John knew there were many residents in the borough 
and county who were above receiving ordinary money 
bribes, so he was accustomed to invite a rather aristo- 
cratic party to dine at Dorton House, and by the side 
of each guest on the dinner-table was placed a handsome 
silver cup, which at the conclusion of the entertainment 
each gentleman was expected to put into his pocket and 
carry home with him as a memento of his visit. On the 
cup was inscribed, " May voters be free, and representa- 
tives independent." I have seen many of these cups, 
which are now becoming very rare ; the late Mr. James 
bought several, and I believe some are in the collections 
of the Rothschild family. 




CHAPTER XL 

University Steeplechase Meeting at Banbury — A Nasty Brook — A 
Famous Race over the Broughton Farm — A Horse comes Up- 
stairs — Leech Manning rides the little Grey Mare over the 
Dining-room Table — Gambling and Betting — A Captain who 
pursued Welshers — Of a Fool and his Folly— A Salt-water 
Tragedy. 

In the year 1848 or 1849 I was at Banbury attending 
the Oxford University Steeplechases, and in the evening, 
after the sport had concluded for the day, an objection 
was made to a horse that had run on the wrong side of 
a flag. Angry words were used, and the dispute grew 
fast and furious, when at last it was agreed to refer the 
matter to the late Mr. Henry Cooper, a well-known 
sporting draper in Banbur}^ w^ho, after hearing the 
dispute, gave his decision, the purport however of which I 
forget. So exasperating was it to the losing party, chiefly 
consisting of undergraduates, that they vowed they 
would never go to Banbury again, and asked me if I 
would allow them to use the Aylesbury course, which 
was at that time over my father's farm at Broughton, 
near Aylesbury. I at once consented, and the next year 
they came to the old town ; but as there had been a 
race over a very severe course on the other s*de of the 
town a few weeks before, the undergraduates determined 



BANBURY STEEPLECHASE. 169 

to hold their first meeting there. This course started 
near the County Infirmary grounds, and after passing 
over three or four grass fields the line crossed the Bicester 
turnpike road ; after two more grass enclosures came 
''The Brook," a rattling good one, about sixteen feet 
wide, no fence on the take-offside, but fair naked water ; 
the line then ran over a very strong country, with stiffest 
of " buUfinchers," as far as Dr. Lee's park at Hartwell. 

The race — over seventeen riders came to the post — 
was won by the well-known gentleman jock, familiarly 
called Jemmy Allgood, of Brasenose College, and much 
liked in University circles, on a mare belonging to Charlie 
Symonds, named Freshwater; the second was Kathleen, 
ridden by Mr. Bunney ; and then came one of my old 
friend Joe Tollitt's string, his well-seasoned horse Valiant. 
Joe Tollitt still lives, an octogenarian, or very near it, 
and is young-looking and as hearty as ever, thanks to 
the glorious old vintage port which he has always 
patronized, and which he still thoroughly enjoys, but, I 
must do him the justice to add, always in moderation. 

At this meeting an amusing incident occurred which 
may be worth chronicling. A match was ridden between 
A. W. Myers, on a mare called Clementina, and a horse 
called Sailor. Myers, on coming near the dreaded 
brook, fairly funked, and in the middle of the grass field 
threw himself off his mount and left his mare to herself 
An undergraduate named Mr. Burlton in a most plucky 
manner rushed forward, caught the mare's bridle, vaulted 
into the vacant saddle, sent her at a rattling pace at 
the brook, and clearing the water-jump in splendid style, 
rode the whole course, challenged the Sailor when 



I70 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

nearing home, when both horses raced at a cHpping 
pace at the brook again on the return journey, and 
both cleared it, but the amateur was first to pass the 
winning-post. Although Burlton pulled the scales down, 
the decision was given however against his winning the 
race, and the Sailor was declared the winner. 

It was after this meeting, in the next year, that 
arrangements were made to run over the Broughton 
country. This had been made famous as the line over 
which the celebrated race was run in which the four 
leading steeplechasers of the day put to the test their 
skill as fencers, and their mettle as racers. This 
wonderful, perhaps matchless quartet, consisted of Mr. 
Vevers' Vainhope, four years old, Qst. lolbs., ridden by 
William Archer, the father of the noted and still 
lamented ''Freddy Archer"; jMr. Elmore's British 
Yeoman, aged, list., ridden by Jem Mason ; Mr. Clark's 
]\Iaria Day, ridden by Frisbey, lost. 5lbs., aged ; and Mr. 
Hassell's The Young 'Un, five years old, lost. 2lbs., 
ridden by Tom Ablett. Five others started, all of 
public or local celebrity, and an immense concourse of 
spectators assembled on Broughton Farm to see these 
animals try their best over a course such as had never 
been crossed before. Starting in a meadow adjoining 
the arm of the Grand Junction Canal to Aylesbury, they 
crossed three large grass fields to a mill-stream, the take- 
off being on a rising ground and an ugly descent for the 
landing ; across the turnpike road out of which an 
awkward double had to be negotiated, over steep ridge 
and furrow grass meadows into four fields of heavy 
plough ; then, turning to the left near to the village of 



A FAMOUS STEEPLECHASE. 171 

Weston Turville, the line came to a small brook with a 
stiff eight feet high " bullfincher," uncut — as every fence 
was that day ; bearing to the left again, they recrossed the 
turnpike, skirted the Tring road over four grass fields, 
crossed the winning-field, and, turning round a flag to 
the right, the mill-dam had to be jumped a second 
time ; then over three more great grass enclosures, with 
rattling " bullfinchers" and one smart double ; and then 
a straight half-mile home, over a big stake and binder 
newly laid down, to the mill-dam, with its rising take- 
off and a deep drop on landing, into a small grass field, 
and, to get out of it, they had to jump a tremendous 
single, with a broad ditch on the landing side, into the 
winning-field : the run in was about four hundred yards 
up a steep incline. Here assembled the crowd of both 
sexes, and, as the horses could be seen for more than 
half a mile to the finish, the excitement was well 
sustained. 

When the brook was jumped, all four were together, 
Vainhope and British Yeoman being a few lengths in 
advance of Maria Day and the Young 'Un. The two 
former came along breasting the last fence together ; 
each making an enormous jump they landed safely, and 
such a set-to has seldom been seen as between the 
accomplished riders Jem Mason and W. Archer ; but 
the extra weight on the Yeoman told in the end, and 
Vainhope came in the winner by a length, the third and 
fourth being only a few lengths behind. All the horses 
were pumped out ; the winner only four years old ! Mr. 
Elmore, the owner of the Yeoman, was dreadfully 
disappointed — he had made sure of the success of his 



172 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

party, the well-known stamina of his horse, and the fact 
of his being steered by the " Prince of Steeplechase 
Riders," giving them every confidence. Mr. Yevers, 
the owner of Vainhope, was also pretty sure of victory, 
as in addition to his horse's brilliant fencing he had an 
extraordinary turn of speed, and his trainer, Bradshaw, 
was equally confident, if only the horse could be kept 
on his legs. About a mile from the finish, I was 
standing with Bradshaw, and as Vainhope passed he 
was lying second and going strong and well, but 
throwincr his head about and sprinklins: his sides and 
neck with white foam. I said, " The horse seems 
beaten." Bradshaw answered, "That's just what I want 
him to look ; so long as he can do that he's all right. 
He is a very free sweater, and in tip-top condition, 
and so long as he can perspire freely he can never be 
beaten." The result proved how true this opinion was. 

The race took over twenty-two minutes to run ; and 
as some doubt was expressed as to the distance, the 
riders saying they were sure it was over four miles, 
Messrs. Hall and Baker, who in conjunction with myself 
had laid out the course, measured it then and there, 
when we found it to have been over five miles and a 
half. It was therefore in length almost unprecedented ; 
the fences were in a perfectly natural state, uncut, and 
only marked here and there with a single flag : never 
before or since has such a race been run, for after this 
time more care has been taken to measure the course 
correctly. 

It should be mentioned, as a remarkable circumstance, 
and as an instance of what a really good steeplechaser 



A HORSE UP-STAIRS. 173 

of unequalled stamina and power can do, that in jumping 
the last fence into the winning-field, every one present 
was astonished at the apparent space the horses cleared ; 
and soon after the race was over, the distance from 
where their fore-feet left the ground to the points where 
their hind-feet indented the turf was measured, and it 
was found that a space of thirty-four feet seven inches 
had been cleared — this too after running five miles and 
three chains over the stiff and varied course I have 
endeavoured to describe. 

In the year 185 1, at one of the early meetings of the 
Aylesbury Aristocratic Steeplechases, and during the 
stewards' dinner at the White Hart in the grand old 
Rochester Room, the following event occurred. 

The conversation turned to the fact that the Marquis 
of Waterford had once taken a noted hunter up the 
stairs and led him round the dining-table in this very 
room, whilst the noble Master of the Buckhounds, the 
Earl of Erroll, and his guests fed the horse on biscuits 
and apples — the Marquis afterwards leading him down- 
stairs again into the entrance hall. One of the young 
Oxford gentlemen, well known for his splendid riding 
in the steeplechases which were then being held, turned 
to old Charlie Symonds and said, " I believe, Charlie, 
the little grey would come up these or any other stairs." 
It was asked if the trial might be made, and, on consent 
being obtained, down went two or three choice spirits 
into the stable-yard, and, to the astonishment of the 
party (nearly fifty people being present), a lumbering 
noise was heard on the stairs, and presently in w^alked 
the gallant grey. After leading him round the table 



174 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

and resting him before a large fire which blazed in the 
fine old grate before which many a time and oft poor 
NclHe Gwynne had warmed her dainty feet, the horse, 
led by a halter, was induced to jump over the backs of 
a couple of chairs. Then, J. Leech Manning, a sporting 
farmer of the neighbourhood, said he would undertake 
to ride him over the dinner-table (it should be mentioned 
that the dinner was still in progress, the third course 
was being consumed, the decanters of wine going their 
round, the candelabra all alight, and various wax lights 
as well were sparkling on the board). No sooner said 
than Manning jumped on to the barebacked horse, and 
taking the halter in his hand, he rode him up into the 
corner of the room, which was about forty feet long by 
twenty-two feet wide, the table in the meantime having 
been slightly slued round : Manning struck the horse 
with his heel, and with a slap on his neck with his right 
hand he sent him flying over the table, covered as it was 
with all the usual appurtenances to a repast : he cleared 
it well, then, to the surprise of all, he turned the horse in 
splendid style and jumped him back again. 

The gentleman who first suggested the attempt, 
now a noted parish priest in an extreme northern 
county, then essayed the same feat. The horse 
answered to his cry of "Come up," and just cleared 
the table, but caught one of his heels on its edge, 
and pulling the cloth over smashed a few plates and 
glasses, which fell with a loud clatter, whereupon the 
rider struck the gallant steed with his open hand, and 
again he cleared the whole in much better style than 
before. Of course, immediately a dozen others, emulous 



A JUMP OVER A TABLE. 175 

of fame, wished to essay the feat, but I thought there had 
been enough done to try the temper of the noble Httle 
horse, and a veto was put on any more displays of circus 
riding. Then the difficulty arose — How are we to get 
the horse to descend the stairs ? From the Rochester 
Room to the top of the staircase there was a long gallery 
with floor of polished oak, and this gallery had to be 
traversed before the descent commenced ; a narrow 
carpet ran the entire length, and along this the horse 
went quietly enough, but on coming to the top of the 
stairs he stoutly refused to make the descent. Nothing we 
could do would induce him to put his foot downwards on 
to the first step, and although all the time he was as quiet 
as a lamb, no one could suggest a means of overcoming 
his scruples at taking so unusual a course. In this 
dilemma a learned Q.C., who was staying in the house, 
who had started as candidate to represent the ancient 
borough of Aylesbury in Parliament, and, with him, his 
elder brother, a worthy baronet and M.P. for a county 
borough, hearing the noise on the stairs came from their 
sitting-room, and at once suggested an easy solution of 
the difficulty, viz. to tie a wet towel over the horse's 
head, blindfold him, take him to the end of the long 
corridor, and then to lead him steadily along without 
stopping a moment, but to keep him going without any 
hesitation. This advice was no sooner given than it 
was put into practice, and the horse coming along 
freely enough, he began to go down the stairs, but get- 
ting frightened he stumbled and fell on his knees, but 
did not cease to scramble on. The two men who held 
him tightly by the head evidently reassured the well- 



176 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

trained dining-room performer, and in the end he landed 
safely in the entrance hall, merely breaking three or four 
of the carved oak balusters. 

This stands out an unique feat of horsemanship, for it 
must be remembered that when the ]\Iarquis of Waterford, 
assisted by Mr. Ric.irdo, brought his horse into the room 
they did not attempt any riding. At the time the grey 
accomplished its feat, a youthful earl, then an under- 
graduate at Oxford, was in the chair at the dinner, who 
is now a noble duke, renowned for his thorough devotion 
to the duties of his station, and well known by every one 
in the " land o' cakes." Some year or so after, the 
talented horse was bought by a worthy Quaker at 
Leighton Buzzard, and a noted judge of horseflesh, who 
was always pleased to show his friends the gallant grey 
that had jumped the table in the Rochester Room at 
Aylesbury. 

Whenever I had the opportunity I endeavoured to keep 
down betting and gambling during the 'Varsity Steeple- 
chases, and can boast of having been more or less suc- 
cessful The gambling done by and between themselves 
as members of the 'Varsity was not a serious matter, 
as their own money passed backwards and forwards 
between them, and in the end not much harm was done ; 
but when strangers and adventurers came down, hoping to 
rob the undergraduates with impunity, I was determined 
to do my very best to get rid of them. Ordinarily 
the wagers between undergraduates took the form of 
backing their own mounts, or one old University favour- 
ite against another ; but sometimes they extended into 
occasional hazards on the great public races, and, as 



GAMBLING AND BETTING. 177 

the 'Varsity meetings were held generally in March, the 
Derby and Oaks were, at times, somewhat heavily 
speculated upon : I myself was never a man to bet more 
than a few pounds on the big races. At one of these 
University meetings, after dinner, I was asked my opinion 
of the next year's Derby ; I said I had a fancy for West- 
Australian. I was told he had no chance, and a Mr. — 
well ! I will leave his name a blank — offered me ^^50 
to ;^4, which I took, and another, who was only a visitor, 

a Captain K , said that I had laid my money out 

badly, and he would give me 15 to I, £60 to £/\., against 
him. This being very tempting, contrary to my usual 
custom I took it, thus standing to win ;^II0 or lose 
£S. The horse rose rapidly in the betting, and about 
six weeks afterwards, knowing that a wager was not 
" well made till it was well hedged," I laid a certain 
sporting parson or " Squarson " £^0 to ^8 against the 
horse, thus standing to win £jo and lose nothing. 
To my delight West-Australian won. On the following 
market-day, when my clerical friend appeared, I joyfully 
gave him my cheque for £^0. I regret to say I never 
received one farthing of my £1 10. 

My disgust was so great, that I resolved never again 
to bet on a horse-race. The former young gentleman, 
then of Merton College, came to a regular smash ; the 

last I heard of Captain K was, that about three years 

afterwards he took a very prominent part in heading a 
party at the Doncaster St. Leger who w^ere pursuing a 
" Welsher," whom they stripped of his clothes, and, I 
believe, soundly thrashed ; the scamp in truth being quite 
as deserving of that treatment himself, if we are to judge 



178 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

the indignant captain by the way he had behaved to me 
and to others. 

As to gambling, "the Boys" played Van John, ard 
fairly won of each other many a fiver perhaps, but 
knowing that I discountenanced anything like a regular 
gambling-table, they never ventured to introduce those 
worthies who make it a practice to fleece all with whom 
they come in contact. On one occasion, however, after 
the banquet on the first day of the meeting, the entries 
for the " Open Handicap" were handed in, and I myself 
and two competent assistants were selected as handi- 
cappers, and went up-stairs to a private room to complete 
our work. On opening the door a well-dressed man in 
bland terms begged of us to come in and join the partw 
The room was already occupied, and our indignation was 
aroused by seeing a regular table set out for play, and, at 
the head of it, some well-known "hell-keepers" from 
London. The table was surrounded by a choice party of 
the guests who had been dining with us, prominent among 
them a duke and viscount. The champagne was flowing 
freely, the party much excited and in full play at rouge 
et noir or roulette, baccarat b^ing then unknown. I told 
them at once that if they did not immediately break 
up the table and disperse, I would fetch the police and 
have them all taken into custody ; and I threatened the 
proprietor of the hotel that I would have him and his 
house indicted if the gambling was not instantly put a 
stop to. The duke and his friends begged of me and 
my brother handicappers to withdraw, and promised they 
would stop the play; but we on our side were inexorable 
and stayed in the room until the table was removed, and 



GAMBLING AND BETTING. 179 

the party dispersed. The proprietors of the table, not 
having been more than two hours at play, had won over 
£i,400y the duke having contributed £800, and the 
unhappy viscount ;^300. The oddity of the story lay in 
the fact that the duke himself had brought these rascals 
and their play appliances down with him. 

There are worse dangers, however, than the fascination 
of gambling, and worse disasters than any loss of money. 
My third brother, who had commenced his seafaring 
career as a midshipman in the service of the old East 
India Company, used to tell a tale of a tragedy, the 
chief scenes of which took place upon a vessel of which 
he was chief officer, though only twenty-five years of 
age. It was a fine vessel, one of Mr. Green's, bound to 
Sydney vui the Cape, and then for Madras. The 
commander was a popular young officer, who in a 
previous voyage had become enamoured of a fascinat- 
ing young widow, who had a child of about six years 
old, and had married her. In less than a month from his 
marriage he took this new command. I went on the 
vessel from Blackwall to Plymouth to see the last of my 
brother. At Plymouth the captain joined the ship with 
his wife, but there was not sufficient accommodation on 
board for the nurse and child. The lady indignantly 
refused to make the journey without her child, and the 
result was that the ship sailed with the captain, while 
his wife and her child remained behind. 

The captain was a handsome and gentleman-like 
fellow, and an experienced seaman. Amongst the 
passengers was a captain of the English army, who had 
with him his wife and family of young children, the 



iSo ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

youngest a baby in arms. All went pleasantly enough 
on the voyage to the Cape, though my brother observed 
that his commander paid marked attention to the army 
captain's wife, who was a very handsome woman. On 
their arrival at Port Stephens, the military captain 
disembarked and took up his residence there, and the 
naval captain was an admitted visitor to his house, and 
became a too frequent attendant on the lady of the 
household. The ship remained about a fortnight loading 
her cargo, and then one fine night weighed anchor and 
sailed for Madras. On my brother taking charge of the 
watch at four o'clock a.m., one of the seamen told him 
that a boat with the commander in it had come along- 
side soon after twelve o'clock, and that he was accom- 
panied by the captain's wife, and that she was aboard. 
My brother was indignant, and immediately went to the 
commander's cabin, and asked if the story were true. 
" Yes," he said ; " her husband has behaved ill to her, and 
she has determined to go home to her friends. She has 
placed herself under my protection, and I have consented 
to take her on to Madras, and send her home overland 
to England." My brother was determined to be no 
party to the proceedings, and declared that he would 
" put the ship about " and land the lady at Port 
Stephens. The captain then asserted his authority, 
and forbade his doing so, and he, as chief officer, 
knew he was powerless, but determined when the vessel 
got to her destination to send a full account of the 
proceeding to Messrs. Green, and exonerate himself 
and his brother officers from all responsibility in the 
transaction. 



A SALT-WATER TRAGEDY. i8i 

On arriving at Madras the lady went ashore with the 
captain, and for nearly six weeks the captain rarely 
visited the ship ; but she again took up her quarters 
when the ship set sail to the Mauritius. The night 
before the vessel set off again for England, the captain 
sent for my brother, who found him in his cabin, with 
his head buried in his hands, sobbing deeply. He told 
my brother that he was an utterly ruined man ; that he 
was so fascinated by this woman he had given up every- 
thing for her ; that he dare not face his wife on his 
return to England, nor the lady's husband ; that he 
knew he was a villain, but was powerless to throw off 
his infatuation : he therefore had determined to resign 
his position as captain of the vessel, and to give the 
command over to my brother, to whom he handed a 
document recounting all the circumstances, and a 
statement of accounts, to be delivered to Messrs. Green 
on arrival in London. In the morning he and the lady 
who was the cause of his ruin left the ship with all 
their luggage, and the ship passed into the hands of my 
brother. 

But the tragedy had only begun. The commander's 
wife was so horrified at the transaction that she lost her 
senses, and ended her days in an asylum ; his father, a 
well-beloved and earnest parfsh priest, soon died, 
broken-hearted at the conduct of his only son. The 
injured captain sought the relief, and obtained it, of the 
Divorce Court. What a plot for a novel ! but what a 
pitiful reality ! The guilty lovers departed from the 
Mauritius after some weeks to California, and there he 



l82 



ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 



blew his brains out with a pistol, while she took to 
inordinate drinking, and after the death of her lover 
became a miserable outcast, and died, so I heard, in the 
wretchedest poverty. 

There are other infatuations than for cards and dice ! 





CHAPTER XIT. 



Fox-Hunting and Stag-Hunting — A fine Run with "the Baron" — • 
Lord Lonsdale's Harriers and the Cumberland Bagmen — The 
Ballad of" The Captive Fox " — Jack Hannan v. Johnny Broome 
— Men of Peace and War — An Innocent Child, and a Clever 
Clearance. 

In all the sports of the field that I have indulged in, 
nothing has given me greater pleasure than being 
mounted on a good horse, following a gallant pack of 
hounds over a grass country. More than sixty years 
of my life having been passed in the midst of the 
glorious V^ale of Aylesbury, 1 have had opportunities 
of enjoying this '* sport of kings" to the best advantage. 
I have no intention of writing a homily on hunting, but 
I cannot resist jotting down a few impressions as they 
have often struck me. 

It has been the custom for many years, and in many 
counties, to look with contempt on stag-hunting, and 
every absurd epithet has been used to prejudice sports- 
men against its pursuit. " Calf-hunting " has been the 
most popular of the cries against it ; but why " calf" } 
There are many and good reasons for the popularity of 
stag:-huntincr in certain favoured districts. I am an old 
fox-hunter, and an ardent admirer of the pursuit of 



i84 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

" Reynard," and freely admit that no pleasure is so 
great as a meet on a fine day at the covert-side. There 
with a cheery word for all, is the gallant master, a 
country gentleman living on his own estate, dispensing 
the hospitality of the district, his house the rendezvous 
of all true sportsmen ; the squire's lady and the family 
beloved by the villagers, and ingratiating themselves with 
the residents in the district. There, representatives of the 
peerage and other sporting gentry have plenty to say to 
the farmers and riding tradesmen of the nearest towns ; 
mutual admiration of each other's horses and opinions 
as to their merits freely pass, and a recounting of noted 
runs in which either played a prominent part forms a 
plentiful source of conversation. At length the hounds 
are put into cover, till first a whimper, then a challenge 
from an old hound, and the stentorian cry of the hunts- 
man, with " Tally-ho ! Gone away ! " echoes through 
the wood, a rattling run of fifty minutes, the fox pulled 
down fairly in the open, and every one who had a 
chance of getting away and maintaining his place good, 
exults in the success of the day : probably another 
covert is drawn, and another fox found, is either lost 
or is run to ground ; and then men quietly jog home, 
highly gratified with their day's sport. Well, that is 
a pleasant picture ; but now look at the reverse one, 
and it is no exaggeration to say it is of constant 
occurrence, even in the best of countries. Instead of 
a fine cheery morning, a raw cold mist ; a ride about 
the covert-side in a deep clay district, while the thick 
haze turns to a cold drizzle. The hounds draw blank ! 
What is to be done now .'' Another covert is two miles 



HUNTING FOX AND STAG. 185 

off ; on you jog, turn the collar of your coat up, scarcely 
exchange a word with your neighbours ; at last, in a 
pelting shower, the hounds are put into the gorse, and 
again — blank ! Nothing daunted, on you trot again. 
It gets late in the afternoon ; the hounds feather out 
of covert without even a whimper: a iQ^\N minutes' con- 
versation, and then the hounds, with heads and sterns 
down, drag along the road a miserable ten miles home. 
You who had ridden ten miles to the meet in the 
morning, are now fifteen miles from home ; about 6.30 
you get back ; jaded, damp, and tired, you slide off 
your fagged horse, thoroughly annoyed at a wasted 
day. 

To the man who is fond of hunting, or even may 
require strong horse exercise for his health, if he lives 
in the country and amongst a sporting fraternity with 
whom he can heartily associate, a blank day is not of 
much consequence ; but to the man who lives in 
London, or in one of the great manufacturing towns, 
it is of great importance that he should rarely, if ever, 
be indulged with a luxury of this description. The 
establishment of so well found and equipped a pack 
of stag-hounds as those of Lord Rothschild is a real 
blessing to the urban sportsman — and there are many 
as true and keen followers of sport in the Metropolis 
as in the best of the Shires. Men who have their 
duties to attend to in Parliament or in public offices, 
others with financial business in the City, and not seldom 
men engaged in trade, find it of the utmost consequence 
that they should be spared the annoyance and dis- 
appointment of a blank day. To me, it is a pleasant 



iS6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

sight to go to Euston station when " The Rothschild " 
hounds meet in the Vale, or to Paddington when "The 
Queen's" meet near Slough, and view the crowd of 
well-dressed men and women who throng the platform, 
ready to enjoy what they know will be certain sport 
when they reach the meet ; not always, of course, great 
runs, but never a blank day. Like other packs of 
hounds, they may have bad scenting days, or the deer 
may get on to a turnpike road or railway, and run a 
mile or so on it. But I have seen as grand a run 
with the stag over a wild country as I ever have 
with a fox ; and of one of such runs — the best run I 
ever saw in my life — I cannot resist from giving some 
account. 

I rode one bright morning on my not altogether un- 
known Belzoni mare, as fine a hunter as a man ever 
could desire, to the meet of " the Baron " at Cublington, 
about eight miles from Aylesbury. The deer was uncarted 
and the hounds laid on about 12.30. Not a second did 
the deer hesitate, but went straight over all the fine 
grass fields by Aston Abbotts, to the right over the 
Creslow brook into the noted " Creslow great ground," 
a magnificent grass enclosure of nearly 400 acres. The 
brook left at least five-sixths of the field behind, who 
mostly however overtook the hounds near Whitchurch. 
" The quarry " then went at a great pace by North 
Marston and Grandborough over a branch of the Ouse, 
leaving Winslow to the right, and on to Claydon Woods. 
Here the hounds were stopped for five minutes, as we 
had then ridden about twelve miles ; and many of the 
field left, having had their say. On again went the 



STAG-HUxNTING. 187 

gallant stag over a wild deep country by Marsh Gibbon, 
tiring the horses sadly, till even that determined sports- 
man, the late Hon. Robert Grinston, gave up and re- 
tired, leaving about a dozen still following. On nearing 
Launton, about two miles from Bicester, the pack had 
distanced me, but I kept on their track, and, when 
Cheslyn Hall came up, we heard some hounds not very 
far off. We galloped on ; a labourer told us they 
hadn't been gone above five minutes, and showed us the 
line they took. After riding nearly a mile we arrived 
near enough to discover that it was Mr. Drake's hounds 
we were pursuing, and they were full-cry after a rattling 
good fox, while the " Staggers," with only five men with 
them, had gone towards Bucknell. On we pushed our 
tired steeds, and were soon rewarded by meeting the 
stag, with three and a half couple of tired hounds follow- 
ing him. The faint music of the hounds infused new 
life into our horses, and we sped on to the town of 
Bicester: in a few minutes up came Tom Ball, the 
huntsman, and two light weights, who always went 
well — Messrs. T. W. Morris and B. Hawes, then M.P. 
for Lambeth — and then came one or two stragglers 
with the rest of the pack. The deer took over a low 
wall, and went through the gardens at the back of the 
houses in the main street of the town : I well remember, 
as I rode down the street, passing that prince of whips, 
old Sir Henry Peyton, with his four greys and bright 
yellow coach, and Lady Peyton by his side. The stag 
took the open again after going through Bicester, and 
was safely secured about a mile further on, at Langford 
P'arm, the birthplace of Sir Joseph Paxton of Crystal 



i88 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Palace fame. The inner man was refreshed, and gruel 
given to our gallant steeds ; and, after resting half an 
hour, I trotted off along the turnpike road, sixteen miles 
to Aylesbury ; the hounds took a cross country route to 
Mentmore, and, like myself, reached home about 7.30, 
having ridden at least fifty miles. 

The only other class of hunting worthy of record 
beside fox-hunting and the stag, is that with harriers. 
It is a charming sight to see a pack of these little 
"currant jelly" dogs, feathering away under a hedge- 
row, hunting their hare on her exact track, and filling 
the air with their lovely music — for no hounds have such 
music, and give tongue like harriers. I have enjoyed 
good sport with the late Sir Robert Harvey's and Mr. 
Harding Cox's harriers ; but for the real essence of 
good sport with harriers the late Lord Lonsdale's was 
the pack to follow. 

The late Earl of Lonsdale kept a pack of harriers 
at the Harcourt Arms Hotel, by the Tring Station on 
the London and North-Western Railway, about thirty 
miles from town. The hounds were drafted from Mr. 
Drake's and the Old Berkeley foxhounds, and a few 
from Baron Rothschild's staghounds ; and these, with 
some large-framed harriers, made a rare combination 
of speedy dogs, and afforded capital sport on the off- 
days of the stag and foxhound meets. After a time 
his lordship experienced a great scarcity of hares in the 
Vale, and he was advised to bring down from his 
Cumberland estates some wild foxes, and try what he 
could do with them, on those days when no hare could 
be found. The " bag foxes," though they afforded 



EARL OF LONSDALE. 189 

excellent sport, were considered Cockney game, beneath 
the dignity of the real fox-hunter, and great fun was 
made of their doings. But the Earl was not to be beat, 
and he determined to sec what he could do by hunting 
and training these Cumberland animals. The Station 
Hotel was kept by a rare old sportsman, Mr. Sam 
Brown, a twin-brother of John Brown, who rode his 
horse Confidence in the first Aylesbury Steeplechase 
in 1835 (these two men were born in or about 1794, and 
only joined the majority two or three years since, at 
ninety-two and ninety-four years of age, and they rode 
young horses up to three or four years of their decease). 
There was a large barn adjoining the hotel, and inside 
it were arranged rows of cages, which contained the 
foxes ; and within the building fences and rails were 
put up, and their keeper, " the man with the broom," 
was accustomed every morning to stir up " Reynard," 
and exercise him backwards and forwards over these 
artificial fences. On certain days, the Earl and the field 
would go out and look for a hare, when a man would 
come up and say, " My Lud, I seed a fox go away 
yonder." " Thank you, my man," the Earl would reply, 
giving him half-a-crown ; " show me where." Mr. William 
Reid, who lived at The Node, near Hitchin, and who 
hunted with the Hertfordshire, was so jealous of the 
sport these foxes gave that he composed some verses, 
which were inserted in Bell's Life, the then great 
sporting paper of the day; these were quoted and 
sung in almost every sporting county in England at 
that time. 



I90 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 



THE CAPTIVE FOX. 

It was of an Earl with an ancient name, 
Who hunted the fox. but preferr'd him tame, 
Tho' his sire had been a keen hunter free 
And bold as e'er rode o'er a grass countree. 
That sire once mounted his well-bred horse, 
And view'd the fox from the hillside gorse. 
His son has come down by a second-class train. 
Worried a bagman and home again. 

'Tis half-past twelve by the station clocks, 

And the Earl has call'd for his horse and fox. 

Behind the good Earl there rides a groom. 

And next comes a man with a big birch broom, 

Wearing the Earl's discarded breeches, 

Who will tickle the fox when he comes to the ditches. 

The Earl's admirers are ranged in Brown's yard. 

They all wear black boots, and mean to ride hard ; 

Either wily fox or the timid hare 

Be the game to-day, none of them care : 

It was well that the Earl had call'd for his fox. 

And brought him from Tring in a little deal box. 

Three hours or more they drew for a hare. 

And drew all in vain, 'twas blank despair ; 

Then cried the Earl to the elder Brown, 

" Open the box and turn him down." 

They turn'd him down in Aylesbury Vale, 

In sight of a fence call'd post and rail, 

To suit the views of a certain gent 

Who rather liked rails and thought he " went." 

Over the rails, the first to fly. 

Was the jumping gent, but the fox was sly, 

And would have declined, but the Earl and his groom. 

The Huntsman and Whip, and the man with the broom. 

And some boys in a cart, and the Browns, Sam and John, 

Would not hear of his shrinking, and urged him on. 



THE CAPTIVE FOX. 191 

A pleasant line the captive took, 

Avoiding the doubles and shirking the brook ; 

As you may imagine he went by rule, 

Only taking the fences he learnt at school. 

Five hounds of Baron Rothschild's breed, 

Unmatch'd for courage and strength and speed, 

Close on his flying traces they came. 

And almost won the desperate game ; 

Just as the Earl prepared to sound 

The dread " Whoo Whoop," he went to ground ; 

So they dug him out, the Earl and his groom. 

The Huntsman and Whip, and the man with the broom. 

The fox and the hounds are at Tring again, 

And his lordship return'd by the four o'clock train. 

The well-known Jem Morgan, who hunted Mr. 
Conyer's hounds in Essex for some years, was Lord 
Lonsdale's huntsman, and, although he enjoyed his ride 
over the fine grass country round Aylesbury, he never 
could be reconciled to hunting the " Bagman." Poor 
old Morgan was pensioned off by his lordship, but not 
long after broke his neck from a fall off his horse while 
hunting with the Old Berkeley near Chesham. After 
he fell he remounted his horse, viewed the fox away, 
gave the " Tally ho ! " and followed over two fields, but 
felt faint, and rode to a neighbouring farmhouse, laid 
down on a sofa, and, when the doctor came to examine 
him, he raised himself up, his head fell forward, and he 
died instantly. He was a rare specimen of a true 
sportsman, a most courteous man, and as fine a horse- 
man as ever crossed a saddle. 

" The noble art of self-defence" has, after some half- 
century of slumber, apparently reviv^ed, but under the 
milder name of a glove-fight. Probably the science of 
defence can be as well practised with gloves as with the 



192 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

knuckles, de piiris 7iaturalibus, and without the brutal 
punishment. One of the most determined and gallant 
contests ever fought in modern days (for the details my 
readers must be referred to the pages of BeWs Life of 
nearly sixty years ago) was a fight for the champion- 
ship of the light weights, for i^500, the combatants being 
Johnny Broome and Jack Hannan. I am not quite 
sure, but I think Broome won ; he represented London, 
whilst Hannan hailed from Birmingham. 

The contest took place at the little village of Am- 
brosedcn, near Bicester, on the borders of the counties 
of Bucks and Oxon,and not far from Northamptonshire. 
My father had just gone on a visit to some agri- 
cultural friends in that county, and I, very young then, 
was for the first time in my life left in charge of our 
house of business. One evening whilst lounging about 
with an almost empty house to look after, I was startled 
by the sudden arrival of an open barouche and four 
post-horses. The barouche contained four gentlemen 
who impatiently demanded if they could have beds. 
They were answered in the affirmative, and on alighting, 
they expressed their surprise that the house was not 
full of company. I could not repress my astonishment 
at their surprise until the strangers informed me that 
"the great fight" v/as to come off the very next morn- 
ing, but that the locality wdiere it was to take place had 
been kept a strict secret, and that it was not impossible 
only a very short time would elapse before the house 
and probably the town of Aylesbury would be crammed 
with visitors. One of the guests. Lord Walter Butler, 
ordered dinner, and then they began to deposit with me 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 193 

for safe-keeping their watches, chains, purses, and other 
valuables, to be retained by me until their return, after 
the battle. 

As they had anticipated, a few minutes after they 
had spoken, up drove an omnibus drawn by four horses, 
containing twelve or fourteen hungry travellers all 
calling together for beds and dinner, and, whilst the 
well-known old cook of Count D'Orsay fame was taking 
their several orders, we were apprised of the arrival of 
another omnibus and four, followed in quick rotation 
by two more carriages laden with cargoes of the backers 
of one or other of the champions. 

By this time the whole house was filled with noisy 
sportsmen, and many applicants were sent away for 
want of accommodation. The great Rochester Room was 
at once taken possession of, and beds were made up 
even on the floor, while later comers went off to the 
other inns in the town, but many who preferred to stop 
with us had to remain up the whole night long. I 
should have mentioned that one of the carriages reaching 
the White Hart contained six barristers who were in 
the habit of attending the Norfolk Circuit, Aylesbury 
being then one of the towns in which the Assizes on 
that circuit were held. Mr. Birch was one, and I think 
Mr. Byles another, afterwards Serjeant and subsequently 
Mr. Justice Byles. On my expressing to Mr. Birch my 
surprise at their presence on such an occasion, he told 
me very seriously, that they were all averse to seeing a 
prize-fight, but thought it their duty to witness one, as 
they often had clients who, having got into difficulties 
during a prize-fight, afterwards entrusted them with their 

O 



194 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

defence, and they found that they lacked sufficient know- 
ledge to conduct their cases satisfactorily. Anyhow, 
on business or pleasure bent, there they were, lawyers, 
lords, and sharpers. I found I had under my charge 
the elite of " The Fancy " — noble lords. Members of 
Parliament, and men of most of the learned profes- 
sions, It was even whispered that "the cloth" was 
represented. 

Early in the morning the town of Aylesbury was 
astir, and every horse I could obtain in the place was 
requisitioned, while the town was ransacked to supply 
the visitors with breakfast. The crowd assembled to 
witness the fight was immense ; the Aylesbury contingent 
hailed from London, but others came in vast numbers 
from Birmingham, vid Banbury and Bicester, and these 
exceeded in numbers the Southerners. The fight was a 
gallant one, and the scene was devoid of all the disgusting 
brutality that has usually been attributed to these battles. 
After nearly eighty rounds had been fought out, one of 
the combatants came forward and shook hands with his 
opponent, and confessed he had had enough, and was 
fairly beaten, and not a single hitch occurred to mar 
the exhibition of a splendid display of science, pluck, 
and endurance. 

Some amusing episodes occurred during the day. 
One friend of mine, a leading farmer in the neighbour- 
hood of Bicester, attended the fight on horseback, and 
some men, who were pressed upon by his horse, earnestly 
entreated him to take charge of a poor little boy, about 
twelve years old, who, they said, was being nearly 
crushed to death. My friend kindly permitted them to 



PRIZE-FIGHTING. 19S 

put the lad up behind his saddle ; he told the boy 
to put his arms round him and to hold on ti^ht. The 
boy did so, and, when near the close of the fight, the 
men heartily thanked my friend for his kindness to their 
kinsman, and, lifting the innocent little lad down, were 
soon lost sight of. The rider then discovered that his 
watch and purse were gone, and every farthing of 
money he had, nearly i^20. The poor little fellow had 
managed to rummage the farmer's pockets with eminent 
success. 

Of course these pugilistic encounters brought together 
crowds of thieves and scoundrels of every description, 
and the districts in which the contests took place were 
often pillaged wholesale. The proprietor of the King's 
Arms at Bicester lost nearly all his plate, about ^lOO 
worth, while several inns in Aylesbury were also sadly 
plundered. The Bull's Head Inn lost nearly all the 
takings of the day, about £2^, which was stolen from 
the desk. The Crown Inn lost ^20 in plate, and about 
the same in money, and minor depredations were the 
order of the day. It was my good luck to lose nothing 
whatever ; perhaps it was that I had only the cream of 
the visitors, and the plunderers thought it better to keep 
away from the '' upper ten," some of whom at least 
would probably have known them well enough as doubt- 
ful customers, and in self-defence would have denounced 
them. The police had been carefully informed before- 
hand that the fight w^as sure to take place at Brackley, 
about twenty miles distant, on the borders of North- 
amptonshire. They therefore attended at that place in 



196 



ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 



large numbers, so that the battle at Ambroseden pro- 
ceeded undisturbed by the guardians of the peace. 
It is curious that the police seemed always the last 
body to get wind of the real locality to be honoured 
by being made the site of a pugilistic encounter. 





CHAPTER XIII. 

The Vienna Exhibition of 1873— A Sturdy English Watch— The 
Emperor admires my Bull — A Contrast in Costume — The Paris 
Exhibition of 1878 — Four-horned Sheep — Rosa Bonheur visits 
the Cattle — Foot-and-Mouth Disease — The Projected Palestine 
Canal — The Times condemns it — Its Route, its Cost, its 
Future. 

To myself some of the most pleasant recollections of 
my life relate to my official connection with the Vienna 
Exhibition of 1873, and the Paris Exhibition of 1878. 
I had offered to assist in getting up a representative 
section of English live stock in connection with the 
" Welt-Ausstellung" at Vienna, and Mr. Philip (now Sir 
Philip) Cunliffe Owen accepted my assistance. With 
the exception of cattle, we obtained an excellent entry. 
The cattle entry consisted entirely of shorthorns ; I 
entered a young bull, " Royal Geneva," one year and 
ten months old, and his own brother and a red heifer of 
the Bates ''Secrecy" tribe; but our most distinguished 
breeders were deterred by the distance and the dread 
of cattle disease. We secured an excellent exhibit of 
sheep and pigs : Mr. Treadwell sent sheep of his 
Oxfordshire Down breed, and some Berkshire pigs 
of the small white variety ; Lord Chesham his splendid 
Shropshire Downs, R. Russell his Kentish, W. Dudding 



198 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

his Lincolns, R. Swannick his Cotswolds, and Lords 
Sondes and Walsingham their magnificent Southdowns. 
These were all fine specimens of our flocks. Mr. 
Duckering sent his large white breed of pigs, and myself 
and several exhibitors Berkshires and other varieties. 

It was no easy matter to select herdsmen for so long 
a journey. I had arranged that my herdsman, a fine 
tall specimen of a Highlander, should take charge of 
my cattle, and act as a sort of head-man over the others. 
He had prepared to don his full Highland costume ; 
but just before he started he received an advantageous 
offer from Mr. Tait, the manager of the Queen's show 
farm, to return to her Majesty's service, and I was 
reluctantly obliged to waive my hope of exhibiting 
to the denizens of Vienna the dignified presence and 
martial costume of this gaunt Scotchman. Mr. Cook, 
who engaged to convey the precious live freight to its 
destination, provided an interpreter, a word my men 
converted into a " terminator." 

I was accompanied by Mr. Kirbell, Lord Chesham's 
farm-steward, who had never before been out of England. 
We arrived at about 1 1 p.m. at Cologne. The next 
morning I wanted to show m.y friend the cathedral and 
other places of interest, as I had been there before on 
more than one occasion. I took out my watch to alter 
the time and set it by the cathedral clock, as it was 
quite an hour out, being set to London time. Mr. 
Kirbell stoutly refused to tamper with the hands of his 
timepiece; he "was sure these foreign clocks were all 
wrong," he had had his watch for nearly twenty years, 
and had never altered it, and he would not do it then. 



VIENNA EXHIBITION. 199 

In vain did I try to explain to him, that the further he 
went eastward the more his time would require cor- 
rection. No argument would induce him to budge, and 
when at Vienna, I found he had risen at unearthly hours 
and perambulated about the city alone, having persisted 
in being guided by his watch, stoutly asserting that 

these d d foreign clocks were all wrong. Kirbell 

was very anxious also to keep a record of all the places 
he visited, and always jotted down in his pocket-book 
the names of the various stations we had stopped at, or 
passed ; after some time he said, " How curious it is 
there are so many stations of the same name!" I 
replied that I had not observed it. He showed me his 
record to prove he was right, and sure enough I found 
over and over again the word " Ausgang," which he had 
confidently entered as the name of many stations we 
had passed on the route. 

Arrived at Vienna, and comfortably housed through 
Sir Philip Cunliffe Owen's kind forethought, I pro- 
ceeded to see after the arrangement of our English 
contingent of live beasts under the shedding of the show- 
building. A small colony of Hungarians were located 
just outside. The cattle they exhibited were fine large 
animals of a dark mouse-colour, rather hard in skin, 
with great spreading horns, the cows not good milkers, 
scarcely giving more milk than enough to keep their 
calves. The men were clad in the picturesque costume 
of their country, and were a fine, sturdy set of fellows. 

When the exhibition was opened, the Emperor Franz 
Joseph first visited this Hungarian colony, and then 
entered the general exhibition, attended by a numerous 



2CXD ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

suite and by the principal managers of the show, chief 
amongst whom was the Baron Schwarz Senborn, a most 
courteous gentleman, with a cheerful manner, which 
won the good opinion of all with whom he was brought 
in contact. I had the honour of being introduced to 
the Emperor, who was very anxious to see the English 
animals, especially the shorthorns. Surrounded by the 
Court, he first passed through the sheep department, 
and was much pleased with Mr. Russell's and Mr. 
Budding's Longwools, and Lords Walsingham's and 
Sondes' Southdowns, but was chiefly struck with the 
beauty of Lord Chesham's Shropshires, which he 
examined carefully and declared his admiration of. 
On arriving at the shorthorns he expressed astonish- 
ment at the size and character of my bull "Royal 
Geneva," and asked to see him led out for inspection ; 
he said he was not surprised at the renown the English 
shorthorns had attained, when he saw the specimens 
England had sent to the Exhibition. His uncle, the 
Archduke Albrecht, who himself is a great breeder of 
shorthorns, also declared himself greatly pleased with 
my bull, which eventually obtained the first prize. My 
man in charge was much elated by the success, in which 
he claimed to share, and boasts, even now, that " he is the 
only man in England who ever led out a bull for an 
Emperor to look at." 

I was struck with the picturesque costumes of the 
men and women in charge of the cattle. Here were 
Tyrolese peasants in gay costumes, bright ribbons in 
their hats, in velvet jackets richly embroidered ; their 
women in short white petticoats, scarlet or black velvet 



VIENNA EXHIBITION. 201 

jackets, with charming^ head-dresses, scarlet stockings, 
black shoes and steel buckles. It was amusing to see 
these young women literally with one hand " taking the 
bull by the horns," and with the other holding a short 
cord from his nostrils, leading him out and walking him 
round the ring with as much ease as our own men could 
with assistance of stick and ring. Here also were 
Austrians and Hungarians in even more brilliant garb ; 
Swiss peasants with their wives tending their silver-grey 
cattle — cattle so good in quality and appearance, that 
Mr. Robert Russell, of Kentish renown, bought several, 
and brought them home to England. Sclavonians 
there were, Galicians, Italians, Bohemians, and many 
from Eastern countries bordering on Turkey, Russians 
of unmistakeable Tartar physiognomy, all in their native 
dresses, and forming an ethnological group of rare 
interest to any student of Nature's races. I could 
not help contrasting the untidy, rough, and slovenly 
appearance of our cattle-men and shepherds with the 
smartness and picturesque appearance of their con- 
tinental brethren. The usual fustian jacket, corduroy 
trousers, billycock hat, and sometimes a smart but not 
over clean smock frock, could not have impressed the 
foreigners with a sense of the boasted superiority of our 
race. 

Some excellent specimens of Austrian cattle were 
shown, many of the native breeds being sensibly im- 
proved by judicious crossing with our best strains, and 
the pure shorthorns belonging to the Archduke Albrecht, 
sprung directly from our Queen's Knightley and Booth 
herd, were wonderfully good ; indeed the Archduke's 



202 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

fat cattle were fit for any of our Christmas exhibitions 
at Birmingham or IsHngton. 

I sold the prize bull and a heifer for 2,000 florins to 
Count Polanowski from Galicia — 1,400 florins for the 
bull, and 600 for the heifer. It was very fortunate for 
me that I did not trust to the auction sale, for the prices 
obtained were simply absurd ; after several animals had 
been knocked down at less that butcher's prices, the 
remainder were withdrawn, and the cattle show of" Welt- 
Ausstellung " at Wien was brought to an end. Nearly all 
the sheep, however, from England sold at good prices ; 
some few were returned to Stettin and disposed of there ; 
but one conclusion I arrived at was, that it is a mistake 
to take cattle of highly-distinguished lineage to con- 
tinental shows — good shapely animals, plenty of flesh, 
with full pedigrees, but of any mixture of tribes, which 
in England make but ordinary prices, will prove possibly 
remunerative at such places ; but woe betide a breeder 
if he depends on his Duchess, his Oxford, his Knightley, 
or his Booth blood, as the foreign buyer knows nothing 
of the way in which fashion rules the price with us. 

I must not forget to add that Mr. Kirbell's watch 
stuck to its English time m spite of every change of 
latitude, and on his arrival on British soil proved to 
be within a minute of Greenwich time. 

In the year 1878 it was proposed by the French 
Government that an exhibition of Cattle and Poultry 
should be held during the months of May and June, in 
connection with the great international gathering in 
Paris. The Royal Agricultural Society of England was 
consulted, and the Council undertook to co-operate, and 



PARIS EXHIBITION. 203 

were somewhat tardily assisted by the then English 
Government. The late Sir Brandeth Gibbs was appointed 
by the Society to superintend the entries, and to make 
arrangements for the due conveyance of the cattle and 
poultry and the management and feeding whilst at the 
Exhibition, and I received a formal appointment to 
assist him. 

The collection of cattle, sheep, and pigs was an 
excellent one, and consisted of about sixty shorthorns, 
fifty Highland, Polled Angus, and other Scotch breeds, 
and twenty-five Herefords and longhorns. Her Majesty 
contributed a large number of shorthorn cattle. The 
Marquis of Exeter, Lord Bective, Lady Pigot, Mr. 
Fox, myself, and other shorthorn breeders sent several 
other fine specimens. The Queen also sent Devons, 
and Mr. Fryer Sussex. The Scots were nobly repre- 
sented by Mr. M'Combie, Sir Macpherson Grant, and Mr. 
Duncan. The Duke of Buckingham and Mr. Farmer 
contributed excellent longhorns, and Mr. Robertson, 
of Dublin, Little Kerries from Ireland. There were no 
Alderneys or Jerseys, and only a single Ayrshire. The 
sheep were a good lot, Oxfordshires, Kentish, Dorset, 
and the "race Jonas Webb," as our friends across the 
Channel still persist in calling our Southdowns. It is 
curious how some of the original names of sheep, which 
they bore when introduced into France many years ago, 
still adhere to them — the " race Dishley," longwools, when 
crossed become " Dishley Merinos," " Dishley Artesi- 
cnnes," "Southdo.vn Merinos," "Southdown Dishley." 

Some remarkably curious sheep were pointed out to 
me, as illustrating a paper read by me some time before 



204 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

at the Farmers' Club on the " Influence of the Male 
Animal in externals in breeding." A Mr. Isaac Watts, 
who resided near Devizes, had a desire to produce a breed 
of sheep with four horns ; the Dorsets having only two 
large curling horns on the head. Whilst he was in South 
America he had seen some four-horned mountain sheep, 
and succeeded in bringing to England a four-horned 
ram. His first cross with his Dorset flock produced all 
four-horned sheep, and he succeeded in establishing the 
type. These sheep were fins specimens, and the head 
of the original imported four-horned ram was stuffed and 
preserved, and exhibited in the pen over the progeny. 

Nearly every day his Royal Highness the Prince of 
Wales came to look at the live-stock department, and 
took the keenest interest in its arrangements. He 
thoroughly identified himself with the well-being of the 
undertaking, and to his advice not a little of its success 
was due. The final decision of the premier prize given 
for the best group or collection of cattle exhibited was 
anxiously awaited. After a keen competition the prize 
was finally adjudicated to Mr. M'Combie's beautiful 
Polled Angus, her Majesty and the Marquis of Exeter 
with their shorthorns coming next. 1 was content with 
only an "honourable mention" for my heifer " Graffin 
Foggathorpe," but I was compensated by winning the 
gold medal for the best collection of poultry. 

I recollect a curious incident which took place at the 
close of the show. Sir Philip Owen came to me one 
day and said some people had been to ask if he could 
arrange for the letting of Mr. James Duncan's fine 
Highland bull for six months. I was much surprised 



PARIS EXHIBITION. 205 

at the demand, as I wondered why this animal should 
be required to improve the " Charolais " and other noted 
French breeds, but as Mr. Duncan had left Paris I wrote 
to ask his terms. He replied, *' Fifty guineas for tJie hire 
for six months, and one hundred and fifty guineas for 
the animal if bought outright." The next day Sir 
Philip called round with a rather ordinary-looking 
oldish French lady, and said the animal was not required 
for breeding, but as a model for the lady accompanying 
him, who was no other than Madame Rosa Bonheur. 
The little dame, who scarcely spoke a word of English, 
said, if it could be arranged, she wished the bull sent 
direct to her studio at Fontainebleau. Mr. Duncan was 
again written to, and replied that Madame Bonheur 
might have the bull for nothing, and that he was only 
too happy to have his herd immortalized by so great an 
artist, and I saw the animal safely despatched to its 
novel destination. I have since seen at M. Lefevre's 
gallery a remarkably grand portrait of this bull, who 
now figures in many of Madame's pictures of Highland 
cattle and scenery. Mr. Duncan told me that some 
time afterwards he had received a splendid portrait of 
his animal in Rosa Bonheur's most perfect style. 

It is a melancholy tale to tell of the conclusion of this 
great undertaking, that on our return to England I 
di. covered that we had brought back with us the 
dreaded " foot-and-mouth " disease. Nearly one-half 
of the cattle either died or were slaughtered at Brown's 
Wharf on the Thames, and several thousand pounds 
were sacrificed by this heavy misfortune. I have no 
doubt whatever that the Rinderpest, Pleuro-Pneumonia, 
and Foot-and-Mouth Disease are unmistakeably of 



2o6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

foreign origin. As, and until Mr. Chaplin became 
Minister for Agriculture, the Government of the day 
were loth to grapple with this dreadful scourge, some of 
the leading farmers formed a society called "The Home 
Cattle Defence Association," and that well-known 
leader of the agriculturists, Jno. Clayden of Littlebury 
was appointed chairman, and myself vice-chairman. 
The principle which we supported was, that "all im- 
ported cattle should be slaughtered at the port of 
debarkation"; and this being persistently insisted on, 
was at length made the foundation of all our cattle- 
disease legislation. Of course we were denounced as in 
reality only advocating protection in disguise ; but when 
we proved that the loss to Great Britain during these 
outbreaks had been more than ten millions sterling, 
people began to see it was a national question. 

Amongst the projects w^ith which I have been con- 
nected, none has interested me so much as that of the 
Palestine Canal. ]\Ir. Henley, an old Indian engineer, 
asked me to act on the Board of Directors, and assist in 
trying to accomplish this gigantic undertaking. After 
full consultation with Hobart Pacha, Sir Henry Layard, 
Admiral Inglefield, and others whose opinions were of 
value, wc managed to form a syndicate, with the Duke 
of Sutherland at its head, with a small capital of 
;^ 10,000, to provide funds for a survey and report. 
I believe Lord Dufferin w^as then in Cairo, and under- 
took to superintend the management of the surveyors 
and engineers ; but a first blow to the proposal was the 
foul murder of Palmer and his companion on or near 
the district to be surveyed ; then came the news that 
the Arabs would massacre any one who appeared on the 



PALESTINE CANAL. 207 

territory, and Lord Dufferin had to withdraw the survey 
for the time, and the fortunes of the scheme began to 
wane. My friend, Mr. Henley, then became danger- 
ously ill, and as he was an old man of seventy-three or 
seventy-four, he made over to me the entire manage- 
ment on his behalf 

A powerful article in The Tz7nes appeared, strongly 
condemnatory of the proposed canal, and making a 
point of its destroying, if ever completed, all the most 
sacred spots of Holy Scripture — the river Jordan, the 
Dead Sea, the city of Jericho, and other sites conse- 
crated in history. I replied, the next day, in the same 
paper, that if it were uii fait accompli, the canal would 
not do the injury to sacred sentiment that the Suez 
Canal had done, as that great work had entirely de- 
stroyed the recorded Passage of the Israelites through 
the Red Sea ; that many other events had taken place 
in modern times of the same character, which had been 
conducive to the advance of civilization. 

I may perhaps, as briefly as possible, give the general 
outlines of the scheme. There are two forks to the Red 
Sea, one forming the Gulf of Suez, the other the Gulf of 
Akabah. From the latter is a remarkable depression, 
about twenty miles from the sea, which rapidly falls 
a depth of 13CO feet to the Dead Sea, and this depres- 
sion is continued for the whole distance through the 
valley of the river Jordan, and then slowly rises up to 
the Sea of Tiberias. This valley is in parts twelve or 
fourteen miles wide ; on the western side stands the 
city of Jerusalem, which, at present, is 2000 feet above 
the valley and the Dead Sea. Mr. Henley's plan was 



2o8 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

to cut a channel about sixty yards wide, for about 
twenty miles from the top of the Gulf of Akabah, and 
let in the waters of the Red Sea ; and, as the whole 
country from thence to the Dead Sea is a loose sandy 
gravel, it would wash out its own course to the inland 
sea and rapidly submerge it. The river Jordan rises 
many miles to the north of this sea, and flows into it, 
and the waters would fill the valley on each side of the 
river, and continue to do so up to the Sea of Tiberias. 
At the Mediterranean end from the Gulf of Acre, it 
would pass down the valley of Esdraelon, submerging 
the brook Kedron, and through a cutting of twenty-seven 
miles from near Mount Carmel, would join the valley 
of the Jordan about thirty miles south of the Lake of 
Tiberias. Here the waters of the Mediterranean would 
rapidly assist in filling up the valley, and meet the 
waters of the Red Sea. 

Mr. Henley computed that it would take three years 
for the two seas to fill the enormous natural depression, 
and that upwards of 736,272,000,000 of cubic yards of 
water would be required for the purpose. Jerusalem 
is now 2000 feet above the Jordan, but if the 
Palestine Canal were completed, it would only be 
700 feet above it, and less than ten miles from the 
canal, and would probably become an important port. 
The plain on which Damascus stands is one of the most 
fertile in the world. The city itself contains a popu- 
lation of 110,000 souls, and a continuous stream of 
pilgrims pass from the city and its neighbourhood to 
Mecca. With the development of the productive soil, it 
Avas computed that an enormous amount of traffic would 



PALESTINE CANAL. 209 

find Its way to the canal, and pass out either to the 
Indies or to the Mediterranean ports. 

The estimates for this remarkable work varied from 
twenty-five millions to fifty millions sterling. The Suez 
Canal is believed to have cost over forty millions ; but 
55 per cent, of its earnings have to be expended in 
dredging the channel, and keeping its ports open from 
the immense accumulation of sand. Besides which, after 
all, it is a mere ditch, and at any time an accident might 
stop the whole traffic, whereas, in the Palestine Canal, the 
channel would be of great depth and width — in some 
places twelve to fourteen miles wide — and sailing-ships 
of the largest size could easily navigate throughout its 
entire length. 

In the end the Syndicate which was at that time 
formed (1884) resolved to wait until a more certain 
survey could be formed, especially at the Akabah end of 
the canal, and up to the present time the scheme has 
been in abeyance ; but I firmly believe that some day 
this gigantic project will eventually be carried out, and 
will do more to enlarge the power and influence of 
England in the East than any suggestion that has as yet 
been made. 





CHAPTER XIV. 

Posting on the Great North Road — Bob Newman of Regent Street 
— Old " Boys " — Loyal Tom King of Amersham ; he drives 
King George III. — An Elopement and the Sequel — May-Day 
Procession of the Mails — The Railway Fiend — The Wisdom of 
Weller — Old London Inns — An English Bill of Fare and the 
Menu a la Russe—i:\i^ Old Norfolk Circuit— The Bar Mess : 
Fitzroy Kelly v. Serjeant Storks — One Pint many Times — 
Puritan Ipswich — A Peccant Engine. 

In my early childhood and boyhood the old modes of 
travelling by post-horses and stage-coaches had been 
brought to great perfection, and the pace at which the 
public then travelled seemed incredible to a former 
generation — in fact, the arrangements for the different 
lines of posting on the main arteries out of London 
almost deserved the name of a fine art. The practice of 
what was called "running in money" was the system of 
paying post-boys a certain sum of money as a premium 
for bringing a carriage with either a pair or four horses 
to the first change. For instance, we will take Barnet as 
our starting-point, which was the first station on the 
great North Road. This small town, like nearly all 
those on the whole route, had two rival posting-establish- 
ments, and each establishment had its own line of 
posting-houses the whole way to York, Chester, or 



POSTING DAYS. 211 

wherever it might be. The boys — often very old post- 
boys — had on each line distinctive costumes ; either the 
blue or buff jackets, and either white or black top-hats, 
the white generally with the blue, and the black with the 
buffs ; and it was very rarely that a gentleman, travelling 
in his own carriage for more than a hundred miles, if he 
once got on to the blue line, ever got off it till he arrived 
at his destination. It was all essential, therefore, to get 
possession of the carriage for the first stage, and, w^hen 
competition was keen, a post-boy at Barnet would have 
\Qs. given him by the post-master for bringing ajob^ as it 
was called ; and when the carriage arrived at the next 
change the same post-boy would bring back from the 
second post-master js. 6d., and at the next 5^. would be 
sent back, and at the fourth 2s. 6d. would be returned ; 
so the los. paid by the first post-master was divided 
between himself and the next three, and by this time the 
carriage and its occupants had got fairly on to the main 
line of either posting-houses. 

It was very rarely that there was a third house in any 
town. Old " Bob Nev/man," of Regent Street, was the 
great man for London, and even now the remains of his 
establishment may be seen on the road to the Derby, 
with the four greys and the blue-jacketed and white silk 
hatted post-boys, bumping the saddle like real old 
times. At many of the first stages out of London very 
large establishments were kept. The two rival houses 
at Barnet each kept from twenty to thirty pairs of post- 
horses ; Hounslow, Uxbridge, and the houses on great 
roads to the Eastern counties and to Dover did the 
same. The usual charge was is. 6d. per mile for a pair 



212 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

of horses, and 3^-. for four horses ; the post-boys were 
paid something over 3<^. per mile ; and as there were 
generally two turnpike gates, often three, between every 
stage, at a charge of 9^. to is. per pair, this, in addition 
to the tip of 6d. to the ostler at each stage, brought the 
cost of posting to about 2s. per mile. The old yellow 
post-chaise, immortalized by Caldecott, and generally 
seen in elopements, had one seat for two people inside, 
and a small " dickey," as it was called, in front, where 
the gentleman's valet could ride. This gave way to the 
post-chariot, with box-seat holding two, for the valet and 
lady's maid ; in turn the post-chariot was supplanted by 
the fly, which held four inside, and threw open, with a 
lofty box-seat, and conveyed six people. Soon after the 
pair of horses began to disappear, and the '•' one-horse 
fly " became the fashion, to the horror of the old- 
fashioned post-master and his old boys. The introduc- 
tion of the railways put a stop to all this system, post- 
ing has degenerated into a fly to and from the station, 
and this aristocratic species of locomotion has become a 
thing of the past. 

Dickens makes the immortal Sam Weller say, "No- 
body ever saw a dead post-boy or dead donkey," and 
the longevity of the former was proverbial ; although 
their lives were passed out in all weathers, oftentimes all 
night through, with constant liquoring up at roadside 
public-houses, yet they were a healthy, hardy race. 
Arrived at the end of a stage they groomed their horses, 
washed their legs, unharnessed and fed them with a good 
feed of hay, chaff, and corn at the charge of is., and 2d. 
for ostler, and the boys went indoors and had, free of 



POSTING DAYS. 2 [3 

cost, a good meal, a pint of beer, and glass of hot grog 
before they departed, provided by the landlord of 
the inn. My father had an old boy, Humphrey by 
name, known far and near, whose age no one could 
make out, but he lived at the White Hart for more than 
forty years, and bumped the saddle to the last. Elderly 
ladies selected him for his care and civility, but he also 
could put a pair of good stepping horses along at 
ten to twelve miles an hour among the best of them. 

When poor Henry Dixon, " The Druid," once visited 
me, I told him a tale of a post-boy which so pleased 
him that he introduced it into his book of Saddle and 
Sirloin, and it was selected by The Times in their 
review of his book as one of the best anecdotes of the 
time. It was this. My grandfather was a tenant of a 
large farm of Mr. Drake's, of Amersham, and also of the 
Crown Inn. One morning in the beginning of the 
century, the usual cry when a "job," as it was called, 
appeared, of "First turn out" was heard. My grand- 
father went to the door of a yellow post-chaise, and saw 
a kindly-looking, benevolent old gentleman sitting in the 
corner, in hunting costume, who ordered out a chaise 
and pair to W^indsor, which was about fifteen miles off. 
" The first turn," singularly enough, as events proved, 
was old Tom King, who quickly got out " the yellow," 
the old gentleman got in, and was bowled off to Windsor. 
When Tom returned at night he was greatly excited, 
and he declared, and it was the truth, that he had 
been driving the King, George the Third. He had got 
rather moist on the occasion, and for many years after- 
wards always asked on the anniversary of the event for 



214 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

a holiday, which he spent sitting in the corner of the 
post-chaise where the King had sat, smoking his pipe, 
drinking sundry pots of beer, and treating all comers 
that they might pledge the King's health ; and he 
enlivened his company, and destroyed the peace of all 
-who heard him, by playing "God save the King" on the 
key-bugle till late at night, when the beer and smoke 
began to take effect, and the notes on the bugle got 
more entangled and fainter, till it ceased altogether. 
Poor old Tom's loyalty never failed. When he ceased 
to be a " boy," and had become a pensioner on my 
family, he was regaled with a good dinner and plenty of 
ale on each anniversary, but on this condition — that he 
did not play the key-bugle. 

A propros of the old yellow post-chaise, I can just 
remember a singular adventure. One evening — when a 
little boy — 1 was standing in the portico of the White 
Hart with my father, when a post-chaise and four horses 
came down the street at a furious rate. On pulling up at 
the door a handsome, military-looking young gentleman 
got out, and handed out a charming and beautiful young 
lad}', ordering another chaise and horses out directly. 
/\lmost before the order was given, a }'Oung gentleman 
galloped up, jumped off a horse which was covered with 
foam, seized the first gentleman by the collar, knocked 
him down, and thrashed him with his riding-whip. The 
young lady screamed and ran up the street and took 
refuge in a small public-house. In a few minutes a 
second chaise and pair came rattling down the street, 
containing an old gentleman, who jumped out demand- 
ing, " Where is my daughter?" A crowd had collected, 



AN ELOPEMENT. 215 

and my father had not seen in the confusion whither the 
lady had fled ; but on hearing her whereabouts he went to 
her, found her in hysterics, and unable to be moved. Her 
father soon calmed her ; meanwhile the gentleman who 
had been so suddenly assailed had at last struggled on to 
his feet, and was engaged in a hand-to-hand encounter 
with his opponent, but was soon separated. The young 
lady was taken possession of by her father, and returned 
with him and the younger man who had ridden up 
in pursuit. The poor young fellow who had eloped with 
the girl, most disconsolate at her loss, stayed at the 
house that night, and told my father his story. It ap- 
peared that the young lady was engaged to a gentleman 
she did not care for ; and after he had met her at a ball 
and at other places at Cheltenham, she became attached 
to him, and at last agreed to elope with him. A chaise 
and four was ordered, and before her parents were moving 
in the morning she left the house with only a hand- 
bag. Her lover met her, and they went first to Oxford, 
intending either to get to London or to the North Road 
and so on to Gretna Green. To elude pursuit they took 
post-horses to Thame, instead of keeping on the high- 
road, and then came on to Aylesbury. Whilst on the 
turnpike road, they saw a man at the corner of a bye- 
road breaking stones, and asked him the route. The father 
and the lady's brother following, singularly enough had 
pulled up and asked the same man if he had seen a chaise 
and four pass that way. He told them that about half 
an hour before one had turned off towards Bicester. ]\Iy 
father, who felt much interested in the romantic affair, 
heard some time afterwards that a hostile meeting had 



2i6 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

been the result, and that on the sands at Boulogne the 
brother of the unfortunate lady shot the officer, who died 
on the spot. These romances of the road are no more. 
An elopement by the Tvletropolitan Railway line has 
not much glamour about it. 

Nowadays one of the prettiest sights of the London 
season are the parades of the " Coaching " and '' Four-in- 
hand " Clubs ; but with all their beauty they cannot com- 
pare with the old May-Day processions of the mail coaches 
to St. Martin's-le- Grand. It was my good fortune as a 
boy to accompany m^y father, as the guest of Mr. Fagg of 
Bedfont, the proprietor of the coaches on one of the 
Western routes, to the yearly banquet given in 1832 by 
the contractor for his Majesty's mails at his establish- 
ment in Millbank. This was the ^z/^";'^/^/ for the building 
of the coaches, the harness-making, and all the requisites 
for the equipment of the mails. There, were assembled 
all the London coach proprietors, the Chaplins and 
Horns, the Sherborns, the Nelsons, the Hearnes, the 
Faggs, et id genus oinne, men who had each from 600 to 
1000 horses at work, who prided themselves on the fact 
that nowhere in the world were to be found such horses, 
such coaches, such drivers, or such guards — shoulder to 
shoulder with many of the elite of London's sportsmen 
and "Knights of the Ribbons," the fathers and grand- 
sires of the Four-in-hand men of the present day. 

After the luncheon the company adjourned to the 
Embankment, where the mails fully equipped were on 
view. Tlie coaches and harness were either new or newly 
painted and furbished, the horses in pink of condition 
and beauty, the coachmen and guards in new liveries of 



PROCESSION OF MAILS. 217 

scarlet and gold, each proprietor vying with his opponent 
in an endeavour to produce the most perfect turn-out. 
Critics abounded, and the judges gave the awards un- 
biassed by any predilections for the teams which passed 
through their respective districts. The procession 
started, and dense crowds of spectators thronged the 
route from Westminster through the Strand, Fleet 
Street, and Ludgate Hill, by the Old Bailey, to the 
General Post Office, St. Martin's-le-Grand. Here the 
mail-bags were loaded, and on such a special occasion 
nearly every seat for passengers was filled, and off the 
coaches started on their respective journeys. Well 
might foreigners exclaim, with the thought of their own 
lumbering diligences before them, that it was worth 
travelling to England to see the completeness and style 
with w^hich the public were conveyed from one part of 
the kingdom to the other, and the celerity and despatch 
with which the correspondence of the nation was 
distributed. 

Great opposition was shown by the stage-coach 
proprietors and post-masters to the innovation of the 
iron horse ; prognostications were lavishly made of the 
absolute impossibility of the railway competing in pace 
and safety w^ith the old coach and yellow post-chaise ; 
pamphlets threw doubt on George Stephenson's state- 
ment that he could carry passengers at twenty miles an 
hour, and every effort was made to prevent passengers 
travelling by the new system. Messrs. Chaplin and 
Home alone had the prescience to see that the " old 
order changeth, yielding place to new," and when the 
London and Birmingham Railway was near completion 



2i8 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

they assisted the Company by finding omnibuses and 
vehicles to meet their trains at Euston, and to convey 
passengers over the unfinished sections of the Hue. It 
was a long time before the exclusiveness of the nobility 
and of the old country gentlemen was broken through, 
before they would condescend to mix with those who 
could not boast their own private carriages ; and for 
some time after the railway lines were opened private 
carriages were conveyed on trucks, and the owners rode 
inside them, till the manifest dangers of the system 
became patent, and they were compelled to put up 
with the ordinary first-class compartments. It was no 
less than a social revolution that was silently produced 
by the leveUing tendency of steam locomotion. 

The capital embarked in the coaching and carrying 
business at that time was estimated at many millions 
of pounds. Men of the present day can form but a 
small idea of the importance of coaching and posting 
before railways were perfected. It seemed hard, after 
Telford, Macadam, and other engineers had laid out and 
improved the great main roads of the kingdom, and 
coaching and posting had arrived as near as possible to 
perfection, • that the Stephcnsons, the Brunels, and 
Lockes should have cast to the winds the splendid 
results that had been achieved by the knights of the 
whip and the road. As an old coach proprietor I must 
perforce recount a few of the grievances which we 
country proprietors loved to air. The London firms 
had many great advantages over us. Every coach that 
left any booking-ofhce was charged ^i per month 
for booking passengers, and as many hundred coaches 



POSTING DAYS. 219 

ran into London, at ;^I2 per annum each, it became 
a very large sum for the Londoners to pocket, amount- 
ing to some thousands a year. Each coach was charged 
I2S. 6d. a week for washing and greasing the wheels ; 
for every parcel or passenger had to be paid 2d. for 
booking ; the coachmen paid their takings into the 
London end, and thus the London proprietors had 
thousands always at their bankers. The accounts were 
made up monthly, and divided at so much per mile 
for their earnings, and each man who horsed the coach 
had his mileage sent him, whilst if any loss of parcels or 
otherwise had happened on his section of the road, he 
was the person made responsible. At every stage the 
coachman took what was called his waybill into the 
office and entered the number of passengers taken up 
and carried, their fares were placed in the proper 
column, and the money was given up at the journey's 
end. The proprietors were thus entirely at the mercy 
of the coachmen and guards, as there was no check 
upon the miles the passengers were recorded as having 
travelled. It was always considered that the government, 
in duty and taxes, owned one wheel of the coach, and 
the coachman and guard purloined another wheel, the 
turnpikes, farriers, harness-makers, and coach-painters 
had another, which left one wheel only to the proprietors 
as their share of the profit. Only when the coachman 
and guard began to " shoulder," as it was called, and took 
an unexampled pull at the takings, did proprietors wax 
wroth, and a general dismissal all round took place. It 
was amusing to watch the way in which the old coachmen 
of the mails and long stages looked down on the drivers 



220 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

of short stages, and the four-horse men on the pah'- 
horse men. Dickens with capital humour illustrates 
this by the mouth of the elder Weller to Sam, who 
in writing his love-letter had ventured on a rhyme ; upon 
which the elder Weller remarked : " It was wery wulgar 
to write Potry — he never knowed a coachman write 
Potry, except vun as wrote a most affecting copy o' 
werses the night afore he vos hung ; but then he vos 
only a Camberzuell man — so that says nothing" — the 
Camberwell stages being pair-horse coaches only. 

When I was a boy the inhabitants of a country district 
niade the inns where the mails and stage-coaches which 
served their locality arrived and started from in London 
their halting-places : tlius, the Old Bell Inn, Holborn, 
was the resort of the residents in Bucks and the 
adjoining counties ; the King's Arms, Snow Hill, for 
Warwickshire and Northamptonshire ; the Spread 
Eagle, Gracechurch Street, and the Swan with Two 
Necks accommodated the dwellers in Essex, and other 
districts had each their favourite house. The Old Bell 
remains as it was more than fifty years ago, and all who 
have a desire to see an old London inn should visit the 
house before it is swept away to make room for the 
modern improvements which are everywhere changing 
the aspect of Old London ; the Bull, nearly adjoining it, 
is of the same character, and still awaits the inevitable 
change. The coffee-room at the Old Bell was carpetless ; 
it had boxes, as they were called, or divisions, each 
provided with a small table and fixed seats, some 
holding eight, some six, and some with accommodation 
only for one or two persons. The cooking, though plain, 



OLD LONDON INNS. 221 

was excellent ; a joint was ready, with a dish of fish, 
daily about five o'clock, but the country folk generally 
preferred rump-steak and oyster sauce, with a fried sole, 
prime ripe cheddar cheese, and a tankard of strong ale, 
the dinner to wind up with a bottle of undeniably good 
old crusted port. Then, at seven o'clock, most of the 
company went off to the play, and, on their return, a 
score of native oysters with stout, and after this a glass 
of hot brown brandy and water, prepared the guests 
for bed. I remember my father taking me and my 
brother up from the country to see Joey Grimaldi 
as clown in the pantomime. The lumbering hackney 
coach and pair of horses afforded us the means of 
locomotion ; cabs had not been introduced, and, until 
Mr. Shillibeer, that eminent innovator, had bethought 
him of the omnibus, there was no other way of reaching 
the destination required except on foot. But the 
greatest change is in these old-fashioned inns themselves, 
altered out of all recognition into the modern Jiotel. 
The first step was the improving and fitting-up of The 
Castle and Falcon, Aldersgate Street, Bacon's Hotel in 
Great Queen Street, The Golden Cross, Charing Cross ; 
then new buildings arose, The Queen's or The Bull and 
Mouth, St. Martin's-le-Grand, which has since disap- 
peared to allow the enlargement of the Post-office ; then 
the railway companies built their station caravansaries, 
and such structures as the Langham came on the 
scene ; and now of course the hotels of London 
dwarf the royal palaces and the Houses of Parlianient 
themselves. 

I noticed lately in reading Captain Gronow's reminis- 



222 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

cences, he remarks upon the inferiority of the dinners 
at the few clubs which were in existence at the close 
of the Regency, how the fashionable society of the 
day preferred dining at the Clarendon, Grillon's, or 
Limmer's. The change which periodically takes place 
in the manners and customs of the diner is very 
noticeable. During the last fifty years there has been 
a complete alteration, not only in the nature of the 
viands served up for consumption, but in the serving 
of them, in the table decorations, in the very furniture 
of the dining-room. The main feature, which must 
strike every one, is the decrease in the heavy joints, 
dishes of fish, rich puddings, and in the old profusion 
of vegetables, under the weight of which the tables 
groaned, which have now been replaced by lightness and 
elegance even in the viands, and by the delicate and 
tasteful style in which they are now presented to the 
guests. I might illustrate my meaning by a uienu, or, 
as it used to be called, a "Bill of Fare," of the Olden 
Time. I found it amongst some papers at the White 
Hart. About twenty guests partook of this dinner, 
which was given to Lord Blaney by the officers of the 
Bucks Yeomanry. The chief characteristic, as it ap- 
pears on the carte, is that each course was placed on the 
table complete — sauces, vegetables, side dishes, or, as 
we now call them, entrdes^ along with the joints — and 
everything was carved upon and served from the table, 
nothing being handed round by the waiters. The 
manner in which the dishes are noted down on the page 
is to direct the waiters as to where to place them on 
the table. 



OLD-FASHIONED DINING. 



23 



BILL OF FARE. 

at 5 p.m. 

White Hart, Aylesbury. Thursday, September 13, 1815. 

First Course. 

Turtle Soup. 

Potatoes. 

Lobster Sauce. Melted Butter. Lobster Sauce. 

Turbot. 

Butter. 

Potatoes. 

Turtle Soup. 



Harricot INIutton. 



Greens. 

Veal Olives. 

Potatoes. 

Tremlong of Beef. 



Scco7id Course 
Boiled Fowls. 
Oyster Sauce 

Tongue. 

Mint Sauce. 

Saddle of Lamb. 

Salad. 

Boiled Leg of Pork 

Pease Pudding. 

Roast Fowls. 



Beef Olives. 
Turnips and Carrots. 

Stewed Pigeons. 

French Beans. 
Cauliflower. 



Sweet Sauce. 
Potatoes. 

Bread Sauce. 



Third Course. 

Brace of Birds. 

Hare. 

(Flowers.) 

Hare. 

Brace of Birds. 



Bread Sauce. 
Potatoes. 

Bread Sauce. 



Jelly. 

Custards= 

Apricot Tart. 

Blancmange. 



Fourth Course. 
Gooseberry Pie. 
Baked Apple Pudding. 

Plum Pie. 
Boiled Plum Pudding. 
Port. Sherry. 

Claret. Champagne. 

Turtle Punch. 



Blancmange. 
Apricot Tart. 

Custards. 
Fruit in Jelly. 



224 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE 

I extract this, as I found it, from the book in which 
the orders and arrangen:ients for dinners were recorded. 
From an old account-book I find the bill with wine 
came to about one pound ten shillings a head. The 
substantiality of the repast, and the hour at which it was 
served, are worthy of note, and the boiled leg of pork 
and pease-pudding ; but this was probably a favourite 
dish of Lord Blaney's. In the same way, at the dinners 
of the Royal Hunt Club, the standard dishes of " steak 
and oyster pudding" and " Irish stew " were ordered to 
be served every day, as Lord ErroU would insist upon 
these dishes appearing at every dinner of the Hunt. 

I notice by an entry in the book I have referred to, 
that one of the last of these old-fashioned dinners was 
given by " Squire " Drake to about seventy gentlemen : 
one of the courses consisted of twenty-six dishes of fish. 
The dinner a la RiLsse gradually superseded the old 
English style, even at the Tory White Hart. It had 
obvious advantages, advantages both aesthetic and from 
the point of view of practical comfort, but it entails in 
waiting and decoration a larger degree of expenditure, 
and lacks something of the hospitality of the former 
method. It is possible that a combination of the two 
styles might produce a yet happier result. 

The White Hart at Aylesbury being situated close 
to the Assize Courts, that hostelry became the head- 
quarters of the lawyers who attended what was at that 
time the Norfolk Circuit. Most, if not all, the members 
of the Bar had their lodgings at private houses ; but 
when the railways began to bring all these gentlemen 
of the legal profession in a crowd together into the 



OLD NORFOLK CIRCUIT. 225 

town, the seclusion and exclusiveness of barristers when 
on circuit was brought to an end, and barristers as well 
as solicitors began to occupy the hotels, both for lodging 
and meals, except indeed the leaders, who still kept to 
their private lodgings. 

Between the years 1835 and 1840, Fitzroy Kelly and 
his friend, Mr. Dasent, were convicted of bribery or 
some other irregularity in connection with the elections 
of Yarmouth and Norwich ; for this they were fined 
and imprisoned, and a split ensued amongst certain 
members of the Circuit, which separated it into two 
parties, one clique going by the name of " Kelly's," and 
the other " the Serjeant's " ; this latter group being 
headed by Serjeant Storks, with Serjeant Byles, of 
" Byles on Bills" fame, as coadjutor. The White Hart 
was selected for the Bar mess of the Serjeant's party, 
which eventually swallowed up the rival faction. Ayles- 
bury came first on the Circuit, and in the charming 
grounds of the hotel the members of the Bar were 
accustomed to meet the magistracy and solicitors and 
their friends. 

Of course at the Bar and Quarter Sessions dinners 
many a good story was told. A woman was tried at 
Quarter Sessions one day for robbing a man at Aston 
Clinton. They were at a public-house together, when 
the female picked the pocket of the man, who bore the 
aristocratic name of Montague. Mr. Mordaunt Wells 
(afterwards Mr. Serjeant and finally Sir Mordaunt, and 
a Judge in India) cross-examined the prosecutor, en- 
deavouring to prove to the best of his ability that the 
man was drunk. He questioned him as to his con- 

Q 



226 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

sumption of beer. " How many pints did you have 
whilst in the tap-room .? " " Only one," answered Mon- 
tague. ]\Ir. Wells demanded if he would swear he had 
not had ten pints. He would swear he hadn't. '• Will 
you swear you had not nine or eight } " Still came the 
denial ; then followed the usual brow-beating, from seven 
to six, even to four. Whereupon Montague said, " It's 
no use your bothering me about how many pints I had ; 
I'll swear I had but one, but how many times it was 
filled I can't say." Amidst loud laughter Mr. Wells 
ceased his cross-examination. 

On another occasion, the day after a private dinner 
at my house, Mr. Newton, the Marlborough Street chief 
macristrate, asked Mr. Charles Merewether how the 
late Hillam Mills, who was fond of a good glass of 
wine, got on after the wine was on the table ? " Oh ! 
very well," he answered, "he helped himself as usual 
every time the port came to him and never passed the 
claret." Poor old Hillam Mills, he was truly a boon 
companion ; once when I was visiting him at his resi- 
dence near Ipswich, he took me in a fly to call on the 
Lord Chief Baron, who lived at The Chantry, a house 
near the town. I asked the driver if he was a voter for 
the borough ? " No," he replied in the sing-song ver- 
nacular of the Eastern Counties, " I wish I was. I've 
only a vote for the Coperation, and I only gets half-a- 
crown for my vote there, and I should have a sovereign 
if I was a woter for the Borough." This clenched an 
argument I was having with Mills about the value of 
the franchise, which at that time was the burning 
political question of the day. 



A RAILWAY CASE. 227 

Some years ago an action was tried at the Assizes 
at Aylesbury which excited great interest in tlie railway 
world. The action was brought by Sir Thos. F. Fre- 
mantle, afterwards Lord Cottesloe, to recover damages 
from the London and North-Western Railway Co. for 
setting on fire the farm-buildings on his estate at 
Swanbourne, adjoining the Buckinghamshire Railway, 
which was owned and worked by the larger company. 
It was alleged that the sparks from an engine passing 
along the line from Bletchley to Oxford and Banbury 
had caused the ignition, and damages to the value of 
the buildings was claimed thereon. For some years past 
the railway companies throughout England had been 
subjected to these actions, and considerable sums had 
been paid in consequence. This was a test case, that 
the legal question should be set at rest once and for all, 
and that the point should be settled as to whether a 
railway company was answerable for damage from their 
engines when working on the line, if the company had 
taken every precaution that human skill could accom- 
plish, not only in working the traffic, but in the building 
of their locomotives, and had availed themselves of 
every opportunity that science and invention could 
suggest in order to be as perfect in every detail as 
possible. 

Sir T. Fremantle's party asserted and proved that a 
spark from an engine passing down the line had alighted 
on the thatched roof of one of the farm-buildings and 
had set on fire and burnt down the property, therefore, 
they argued, the company were liable for the negligence 
and carelessness of the driver in charge of the engine. 



228 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

The case of the company was, that the engine was so 
constructed that if it did emit sparks, they were innocu- 
ous, as they dispersed in the atmosphere before they 
descended. Eminent engineers proved that they had 
carefully examined the engine in question, and that it 
was of the highest class of construction, was almost a 
new one ; and that as the Legislature had granted them 
an Act of Parliament to construct the line of railway, 
it also compelled the company to run trains for pas- 
sengers and goods at stated fares and rates, and that, 
having taken every precaution to have their engines 
constructed efficiently, they were not liable. Mr. O'Malley, 
O.C., who was counsel for Sir T. Fremantle, cross- 
examined the great authority, Mr. Fairbairn. After his 
evidence, which was concise and very conclusive for the 
company, Mr. O'Malley said, " Well, sir, then you mean 
to say that this engine was built with all the skill that 
human ingenuity could suggest } " " Yes ! " " That it 
was impossible — absolutely impossible — for it to emit 
sparks that could burn down a building .? " Mr. Fair- 
bairn said, " Yes, except from the greatest carelessness 
on the part of the stoker ! " Mr. O'Malley turned round 
immediately to the Judge, and said, " I submit, my lord, 
that the evidence of the defendants' witness fully estab- 
lishes our case. If yourself and the jury are satisfied 
that these buildings were destroyed by a spark from the 
engine, it shows there was great carelessness on the part 
of the servants of the defendants, and I therefore claim 
the verdict." The learned judge summed up, and the 
jury gave a verdict for the plaintiff. 

Some weeks afterwards the locomotive superintendent 



A RAILWAY CASE. 



229 



of the line called upon me, and, in conversation about 
the trial, said that the evidence of their own witnesses 
had been absolutely correct, that it was quite impossible 
for that engine to have set fire to any place ; " but," he 
said, " the buildings were burnt by the sparks of another 
of our engines, which had gone up the line a few minutes 
before the one in question ; and this fact I knew per- 
fectly, and so did the drivers of the engines all 
through the trial!"' The jury's verdict, as so often is 
the case, though wrong on the actual strict facts of the 
case before them, was just in substance. 







CHAPTER XV. 

Shorthorn Breeding- — The Bates Dinners — Lord Dunmore to the 
Rescue — Eminent Breeders in the Palmy Days — My Sale and 
Sales in General — The Rose of the Quarter Sessions — A Dis- 
sertation on Poultry — The Prebendal Geese — The Aylesbury 
Duckling — A Year of Wet and a Year of ^Var — A Legal 
Decision on Crops. 

For many years I was prominently associated with the 
fascinating pursuit of shorthorn cattle breeding. The 
shorthorn world was divided into two schools, the 
Bates and Booth admirers. My delight in the 
Knightley or Fawsley breed, a strain of great purity 
established by Sir Charles Knightley, of Fawsley in 
Northamptonshire, had induced me to throw in my 
lot with the former tribe. 

The last chapter partook of the nature of a 
gastronomical treatise, but I cannot refrain from 
supplementing its narrative by some mention of the 
Bates dinners, banquets given by the leaders of those 
gentlemen who fostered that distinguished line of 
beasts. They had their origin in a very singular event. 
Mr. Robartes possessed an excellent herd of cattle, 
which had become distinguished for their style and 
quality, and he had been using a highly-bred Bates 



SHORTHORN BREEDING. 231 

bull, Duke of Tregunter, of the purest Duchess 

blood, which he had purchased of Col. Gunter, of 

Wetherby. After using him a short time, the bull 

proved to be worthless for stock purposes, and he was 

advertised to be sold with a large draft of other cattle 

from Mr. Robartes' herd. It became known that there 

was a design by some unscrupulous people to buy this 

bull for apparent use in their herds, and so obtain 

for the stock a fictitious value ; and when The Duke 

was put up for sale, an animated contest took place. 

To the surprise of a number of Bates men present, 

the animal was bought by Lord Dunmore for 155 

guineas. In less than half an hour the bull had ceased 

to exist ; his lordship sold him at once to a butcher, 

and had him killed on the premises, so that no pretence 

should be made of his services. As the value of the bull 

for butcher's purposes was not more than twenty-five 

guineas. Lord Dunmore would have been a great loser 

by the transaction had not the Bates men present 

been so pleased with his pluck that a subscription was 

at once got up, and a considerable sum beyond the 

purchase-money raised and presented to Lord Dunmore, 

who, after recouping himself the outlay, provided a 

most excellent dinner to the leading followers of the 

Bates blood. 

This was the first of the annual Bates dinners. 
Splendid entertainments they were. Lord Feversham 
gave his at the St. James's Hotel, the Duke of Devon- 
shire at his own house ; but critics preferred, perhaps 
of all the series, the banquet to which we Bates men 
were invited by the Marquis of Exeter to partake of 



232 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

at the Albion, in Aldersgate Street. I have by me a 
list of those who sat down to enjoy the hospitahty of 
Lord Skelmersdale, now Earl of Lathom, on May ist, 
1872, at the Clarendon Hotel ; and they represent 
perhaps some of the most noted breeders of shorthorns, 
when shorthorn breeding was in its palmiest days. I 
find there were present Lord Skelmersdale (in the 
chair), and the Earl of Dunmore (the vice-chairman), 
the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Sartoris, Lord Braybrooke, 
Mr. Cheney of Gaddesby, Mr. Tredcroft, the Earl of 
Feversham, Mr. Larking, Mr. Foster of Kilhow, Mr. T. 
Brassey, M.P., Mr. Beauford, Colonel Kingscote, M.P., 
Lord Penrhyn, Mr. E. Bowley, Captain Oliver, Mr. A. 
Robartes, Mr. Mackinstosh, Mr. Angerstein, M.P., ]\Ir. 
Sheldon of Brailes, the Earl of Bective, Mr. Samuda, 
M.P., and myself 

The value of shorthorns has become much reduced 
since then ; animals which then made thousands of 
pounds would now scarcely realize as many hundreds. 

No sketch of the state of agriculture would be 
complete without some allusion to the extraordinary 
mania, as it may fairly be called, which existed about 
this period of 1870 for shorthorn cattle breeding, and 
the incredible prices obtained by some of the 
ashionably-bred tribes, especially of the Bates and 
Knightley lines. In my account of the Vienna ex- 
hibition I have mentioned my bull. Royal Geneva, and 
the price it fetched. At my sale in 1874, a young 
cow, Princely, made 125 guineas ; Spicey Light- 
burne 120 guineas; Knightley V. 115 guineas; 
my heifer calf, Kentish Nonsuch, sixteen months old. 



SHORTHORN BREEDING. 233 

made 175 guineas; Charming Knightley, nine months 
old, I sold to the Duke of Manchester for 175 
guineas ; Charming Geneva, seven months old, fetched 
125 guineas; my heifer calves making an average of 
^131 ^s. each. These were prices vv^hich made short- 
horn breeding pay. At this same sale Lord Chesham 
gave 100 guineas for Secrecy, a three-year-old heifer, 
considered by some, but not by me, a doubtful breeder. 
Three years afterwards, at his lordship's sale, Lord 
Fitzhardinge gave 400 guineas for her, and the heifer 
with which at my sale she was in calf by King 
Charming, made 275 guineas, and the calf then by her 
side 115 guineas; so that, on the outlay of 100 guineas,, 
in two years she made a profit of nearly 800 guineas for 
Lord Chesham ! 

Those who have not gone deeply into the science and 
practice of breeding cannot appreciate the pleasure and 
excitement a breeder experiences when, at a first-class 
shorthorn sale-ring, under the direction of the veteran 
" Strafford," or the blandishments of the courteous John 
Thornton, one of a noted tribe enters the ring, the 
pedigree is recited through a line of duchesses, cul- 
minating either in the renowned J. Brown's, Old Red 
Bull, or the noted Hubback. The bidding commences 
by hundreds or by a thousand. " Going, going 1 Ah ! 
you nearly lost it, sir." — " 2,500," " 2,600 " — " Thank you, 
sir — and fifty" ("Bravo," from the crowd); " 2,700 in 
two places " ; " and fifty." " Thank you, my lord," and 
so on till 3,000 is passed, and, the biddings still in- 
creasing, the glass slowly runs out, the word " gone " 
is uttered, and my Lord Fitzhardinge is declared the 



234 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

buyer of the bull at 4,500 guineas. Such was the sum 
actually realized for Duke of Connaught, at Lord 
Dunmore's sale in 1875, the largest sum ever reached 
in England at a public sale of shorthorns. There were, 
indeed, plucky breeders then. I had the pleasure of 
paying a visit to Underley to see the sixth Duchess of 
Oneida, a cow for which Lord Bective had given 3,500 
guineas in America, and her splendid deep-red bull calf, 
Duke of Underley. No breeder of my day, unless it 
be the Earl of Dun more, has ever shown the spirit of 
enterprise more than the Earl of Bective. 

My Knightley blood always stood me in good stead, 
and so long as I could make from 150 to 200 guineas 
each for yearling heifers, I had no cause to grumble. 
I think the best and most useful purchase I ever 
made was by my giving 50 guineas for a three weeks 
old white bull calf, King Charming, one of the Bates 
and Charmer tribe. I used him for three years with 
success, and then sold him to an eminent dairy 
farmer near Aylesbury for 120 guineas. Nothing can 
be more disheartening to breeders than the wretched 
prices which shorthorns have lately made at sales ; the 
thousands have dropped to hundreds, and the hundreds 
to twenties, and it is now a rarity to find a sale at 
which the average is more than forty guineas, whereas 
mine, which had no pretensions to rank with many 
others, ran to an average of ^104 each, and Lord 
Dunmore's realized over 540 guineas each. 

The ingenuity with which Hodge and his confreres 
managed to twist the names of my cattle used to amuse 
me. I had a cow called Alberta, but my man per- 




^ 



POULTRY BREEDING. 235 

sisted in calling her "All Butter"; while he called my 
Chevalier barley the " Shrivelled ear." When I was 
judging farming in Worcestershire the owner of one of 
the competing farms recommended us to eat one of his 
pears, which he called the Bronchitis ; we discovered, on 
looking at the label, it was the " Bon Chretien." But, 
for an excellent misnomer, the following always com- 
mended itself to me : — The Clerk of the Peace for the 
county of Bucks had a very good garden, and was ac- 
customed to present the Chairman of Quarter Sessions 
each quarter with a bunch of a well-known rose, called 
La Rose des Quatre Saisons ; his gardener always per- 
sisted in calling it the " Rose of the Quarter Sessions." 

Poultry-breeding and rearing has for many years been 
a special hobby of mine. I have contributed occasionally 
papers on this subject to the Farmers' Club, and in 1885, 
I think it was, I stated my views and experiences in the 
matter to a representative of the Daily Nezvs, who 
appeared in the midst of the Chiltern Hills on inter- 
viewing bent. 

It is often asked why we should pay hard money out 
of the country for what might be grown in it .? Why, 
when we have plenty of corn, do we not feed more 
fowls .? In 1884 we imported ^^"2,908,927 worth of eggs, 
or nine times as much in value as in 1859, and poultry 
to the amount of £66g,6o^, or about ten and a half 
times as much as twenty-five years ago. Why have we 
no great poultry farms } No doubt our production of 
poultry and eggs might be considerably increased, but 
an England all poultry farm is just as absurd an idea as 
an England all pasture, all orchard, or all market-garden. 



236 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

I know of no single instance in which a large poultry 
farm has been successful. To begin with, poultry are 
very sensitive to variations of climate and the character 
of the soil on which they are raised. But granted that 
the conditions needful for a great poultry farm are all 
that could be desired or expected in this country, there 
are other difficulties. One of these, easily overlooked 
except by those having technical knowledge, is that, 
where many head of poultry are kept, of finding suffi- 
cient animal food on any given area. A fowl is not 
only a graminivorous, but a carnivorous or insectivorous 
creature, and requires a certain quantity of animal food, 
such as the larvae of insects, which it pursues and hunts 
for with extraordinary avidity. Now, even admitting 
that the area of the poultry run is in the beginning wide 
enough to supply sufficient insect-food, the demand 
increases as its square year by year, but the tendency 
of a poultry farm is to exterminate the insects. So 
soon as you have to go out and buy food you are no 
longer likely to make a profit. As many pigs as can be 
fed on the refuse of a farm, with a little grain, meal, or 
" toppings," and a few beans occasionally bought, will 
return a profit, and so will the poultry, which can be 
maintained out of odds and ends ; but I would not 
recommend any person to buy food by the ton to feed 
poultry. It would not pay, inasmuch as it would be 
impossible to compete against the price of Russian or 
of French fowls. To raise poultry largely the population 
also requires education, just as to grow fruit. The pick- 
ing and packing of fruit and the dressing of fowls for 
the market do not come by instinct, like driving a gig 



POULTRY BREEDING. 237 

and the rest of it ; but at the same time it is essentially 
the work of a small farmer, yeoman, or cottager, who 
can do very well by as much poultry as his wife can 
look after. In Ireland almost every peasant rears a 
clutch of geese, a brood of turkeys, or keeps at least 
a few fowls, and the animals do exceedingly well. This 
is because they roost either actually in the peasant's 
cabin, where there is a fire, or in a lean-to shanty into 
which the heat penetrates. They thus receive personal 
attention when young, and are not left to take care of 
themselves and fight against cold and wet. This is a 
strong example in favour, so far as poultry is concerned, 
o{ la petite culttcre ^g^Anst large farms; and certainly in 
this country also, yeomen's or cottagers' fowls seem to 
do better than those raised on a larger scale. It is likely 
enough that farmers dislike their labourers keeping any 
large quantity of poultry lest they are tempted to purloin 
corn ; fowl-growing and egg-selling are businesses in 
themselves, extras, as it were, on a small homestead. 
France, with her army of small farmers, proprietors or 
leaseholders, naturally raises a vastly greater quantity of 
poultry per square mile than can be the case in England. 
The majority of our barndoor fowls, it must be admitted, 
are mongrels, but we have some fine poultry in this 
country — better, I think, than in France. The French, 
however, not only dress their poultry better for the market, 
but cook it better than we do. They stuff their fowls 
with fresh butter before roasting them, and baste them 
continually. One rarely tastes a good roast fowl in 
England, more for want of culinary knowledge than 
want of good poultry. 



238 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

As layers and for the table, game-fowl have hardly 
an equal. Their eggs and flesh are both perfect, and 
for beauty a black-breasted red is quite at the head of 
the list. But they fight so terribly that nothing else can 
live near them. The coming fowl is, I think, the Indian 
game, a bird like an improved Malay. It first turned 
up in Devonshire, having been brought by ship to the 
ports of that county. The Indian game, as it is called, 
is now a fixed type ; they lay the finest egg, and 
continuously, and the chickens are so hardy as to be 
unkillable by the ordinary diseases and accidents to 
which chicks are liable. My brother brought from 
Madras an Indian game cock and hen from Ootaca- 
mund. They were blue in colour. We crossed them 
with our Indian game, and have a stock of very fine 
birds. I have exported many of these — several cockerels 
to IMonte Video. Another capital race is the Plymouth 
Rocks, bred by the Americans from, I think, a cuckoo- 
coloured fowl and the Cochin. The legs are now clean, 
clear from feathers, but the head, tail, and roaring crow 
of the Cochin remain ; they lay brown or buff eggs 
like the Cochin, but always lighter in colour. These 
handsome yellow-legged birds are good layers and 
excellent mothers, and with the Indian game make the 
hardiest and handiest stock for a farm. The Leghorns, 
too, are among the best of the varieties recently in- 
troduced. These are almost everlasting layers, producing 
eggs throughout the year, and lay very large fine eggs, 
larger than those of any other sort I know. Hamburghs, 
also, are good layers, but the Leghorn and Minorca 
eggs are the heaviest by a good deal, and are driving 



POULTRY BREEDING. 239 

the Hamburghs out of the market. The laying power 
is all important. New-laid eggs always fetch a good 
price, and cannot be competed against by the foreign or \ 
"box" eggs. There is an erroneous impression that, as 
of common butter, comparatively stale eggs are good 
enough for cooking. They may serve, but they are not 
so good as those a day old, just as the better the butter 
the fitter it is for cooking, especially for basting poultry. 
The difference again in an omelette is very marked : ' 
when made with fresh eggs it is incomparably lighter, 
more fluid and digestible, than when made from those 
four or five days old, not to say older. 

A collector of eggs at Aylesbury, who sent about 3,000 
weekly to London, told me that he got better eggs from 
cottages than from farmers, who are not particular 
enough as to the variety of poultry they keep. The 
average, extending over the whole year, of Miss Morris's 
Plymouth Rocks and Dorkings, with other varieties 
selected for early laying, is 93 per head. Higher 
averages have been made by some kinds. Pure 
Minorcas have averaged 150, and I believe the Leghorns 
and Spanish varieties, if well attended to, might rival 
this high figure. In this country eggs are sold by the 
score, but in America by weight, and this American 
plan would be a good one to introduce into our country. 
A score of common farm-yard eggs will weigh about 
2 lbs., but a score Leghorns 3 lbs., or half as much again. 
This, allowing a well-cared-for Leghorn hen to lay 140 
eggs in the year, would give 21 lbs., against 14 lbs. laid 
by the farm-yard hen. 

Various strains of poultry are suited to various 



240 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

localities. Spanish have been neglected of late, but 
they are excellent for stable-yards and about suburbs, 
where they pick up a living. They were once highly 
fancied for their large eggs and delicate flesh, but they 
never sit. White Leghorns, with their beautiful scarlet 
combs and wattles and yellow legs, 'appear to great 
advantage when there is a grass run, but look grimy 
where the black Spanish thrive. The game bantam and 
Pekin bantams are charming creatures. Yokohamas 
are purely ornamental, but the little Japanese silkies are 
valuable for sitting on pheasants' or partridges* eggs on 
account of their light weight. Of the French kinds the 
Crevecoeurs, Houdans, and La Fleche are the birds 
Avhich produce the famous capons and poulardes for the 
Paris market. The La Fleche variety has been tried in 
England, but mostly without success. They • require 
care, I believe, and therefore thrive best among a 
peasant proprietary. 

The Prebendal Farm was as noted for the geese I 
reared upon it as, I think I may say without conceit, it 
was celebrated for its ducks and fowls. At Birmingham 
in 1883 I showed a goose weighing 34 lbs., and at the 
Amsterdam Exhibition a gander weighing 33 lbs. and a 
goose 32 lbs., or of quite double the size of what would 
be deemed a very fine goose in any market. I intro- 
duced with success various foreign species of ducks — 
the Pekins with their deep orange-coloured bills and 
golden white plumage, hardy in nature and rapid in 
growth, the Cayuga, from the State of New York, the 
perfection of a winter duck, a prolific layer of eggs, of a 
lar^e size and weight when mature, a superb black 



POULTRY BREEDING. 241 

plumage, fine dark flesh, even better in flavour than that 
of an ordinary wild duck ; but of course the pure 
Aylesbury strain was what I most cultivated. 

All round Aylesbury the cottagers keep their " set of 
ducks." It is these whose snow-white plumage the 
tourist admires on the river Thame. They are driven 
home at night and well looked after. The eggs are 
hatched out by Dorking or Cochin China hens, for ducks 
are bad sitters. Often the eggs are sold to a " ducker," 
who gets them hatched, and then raises and fattens the 
young ducks, sometimes four or five thousand head in a 
season. These young ducklings are very carefully and 
artificially fed, first on hard-boiled eggs chopped fine 
with rice and mixed with finely-chopped bullock's liver, 
and afterwards with barley-meal and tallow greaves, 
with perhaps a little horseflesh ; their hTe extends over 
only eight or nine weeks, and of the joys of pond and 
river they have no experience. The Aylesbury duckling 
has, or rather had, no competitor. In the beginning of 
the season he used to be worth some eighteen shillings 
per couple, later in the season eleven or thirteen. 

The pure Aylesbury breed, long-bodied, white plumage, 

without spot, with pale, flesh-coloured bill and bright 

orange-coloured legs and feet, is prized everywhere for 

its great size, delicacy, and merchantable quality. A 

white duck always looks cleaner when plucked, and is 

consequently more saleable than a darker-hued one. But 

the pure Aylesburys seem to lose their *' points " in other 

places ; it is a purely local breed. The first sign of 

degeneracy is the appearance of dark spots or splashes 

on the bill. About Aylesbury there is abundance of 

R 



242 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

what Is locally called duck-gravel, a deposit like pumice- 
stone, into which the ducks push their bills. Every 
ducker's place has a lump of this duck-gravel, a coralline 
stuff like little oyster-shells. This is exported to other 
places, but the ducks do not seem to thrive so well 
elsewhere, and their bills soon lose their delicacy of 
colour. 

The first year of my farming experiences, 1S53, '^vas 
noted as the "wet year" ; it was nearly my ruin ; I had 
a farm of 200 acres flooded seven times in six months ; 
my hay was carried away down the river, my corn 
sprouted In the ear, and I lost 200 sheep by the liver 
rot. The glanders destroyed all my horses, my cattle 
scarcely put any fat on to their carcases, and in the 
end I found myself i^i2QO poorer than when I began. 
The following year rumours of war sprang up, and I 
possessed a splendid breadth of wheat, as, despite the 
covenants of my lease, I had sown with wheat nearly all 
my ploughed land. The Crimean War broke out, and 
my crop was sold at nearly Sos. a quarter, and recouped 
me nearly £600 of my former loss. 

Of stringent covenants in a lease, now happily almost 
extinct, I must tell a good story of a London lawyer, who 
went down Into the country as agent for a certain land- 
lord, knowing as much of agriculture as a tenant would 
of Chancery practice. He went over the farm at harvest 
with the tenant, book in hand, to note down the various 
croppings In each field. On entering one of the fields 
they came to a heavy crop of oats, and on reference to 
his book, the lawyer found it had been used for 7u/izte 
corn crop the year before, and the growth of two white 



FARMING COVENANTS. 



543 



crops in succession was forbidden by the lease. He 
called the tenant's attention to the fact, who, rather a 
wag in his way, took the Cockney on one side, and said, 
" Don't show your ignorance before the men ; look 
here, sir," and then rubbing out several ears of oats in 
his hand, and blowing the chaff away, a fine sample of 
black oats was discovered, to the great astonishment of 
the lawyer, who was perfectly satisfied that the farmer 
had kept well within the terms of the lease, and had not 
grown two white corn crops in succession ! 








CHAPTER XVL 

A Poor Law Guardian— The Curse of Out-door Relief— The 
Fortunes of Agriculture — Harvest Homes — Allotments and 
Gardens — Steam and Spade — The Virtues of Co-operation — 
Since 1830 — The Swing Riots — Cottage Accommodation — The 
Smock Frock and the Black Coat — The Archdeacon and 
Potatoes — The Better Part. 

In the year 1871 I consented to serve as guardian of the 
poor, and went to my first meeting of the board deeply 
imbued with the importance of my duties, and fall of 
sympathy for the applicants. Our chairman and vice- 
chairman were both excellent, kindly neighbours, one a 
retired farmer from an adjoining village, the other a 
grazier, a man of property, resident in the town. Under 
their guidance and management the rates of the Union 
were extremely heavy, the mass of the labouring people 
paupers, and the out-door relief had risen to a very high 
average, as compared with some of the best-managed 
Unions. Not many weeks after my election, I began to 
have my misgivings as to the humanitarianism of this 
system, and, in conjunction with several of my brother 
guardians, we were determined that a complete alter- 
ation should be attempted, and, in direct opposition to 
our chairman, we insisted on a more vigorous application 
of the workhouse test. We were soon rewarded by a 



THE POOR LAW. 245 

diminution of rates, as well as a reduction in the 
number of applicants for relief, so that by the end of 
the year the Union rate was reduced 20 per cent., and 
the number of paupers receiving out-door relief was 
diminished in proportion. We made another alteration by 
the compulsion exercised on the children of paupers to 
contribute to the maintenance of their parents. It really 
surprised me to find Englishmen, perhaps paupers for 
years, receiving 3^-. to 5^". per week from the rates whose 
sons were in business, some of them better off than many 
guardians on the board. These scamps, as soon as they 
were threatened with a summons, at once took theii 
parents off the pay list. Others, again — young, heart> 
agricultural labourers, single men, earning from 14^-. to 
i6s. per week, when such wages went further than larger 
sums nowadays — refused to contribute a farthing to 
the support of an aged father or mother, not even 
having the excuse of belonging to some club, in most 
instances lodging themselves with brothers or sisters, 
and paying perhaps not more than is. per week for their 
lodging, spending the remainder of their earnings entirely 
upon themselves. I have now been a guardian many 
years, and have seen the poor rate — the rate raised 
especially for the poor — reduced more than one-half; 
the poor themselves are better off, and a healthier feeling 
is springing up amongst the agricultural labourers in 
the district ; the proper spirit of pride slowly asserting 
itself, has developed amongst them a desire to be above 
dependence upon the parish. Much of this feeling has 
no doubt been caused by the higher wages of the field 
labourer, much b/ the improved system of education. 



246 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

— which, retarded as it has been by the obstinate in- 
difference of those who should have been better advised, 
has still made steady progress — but still more by the 
better administration of the law, especially in reference 
to the restrictions of out-door relief. I believe the Poor 
Law of England to have been framed on benevolent 
principles, but I have no doubt it has engendered 
amongst the wage-earning class that utter thriftlessness 
which led to the downfall and almost to the destruction 
of the principle of independence ; it absolutely broke up 
all feelings of filial affection, it has fostered imprudent 
marriages, and has destroyed many of the most honour- 
able feelings of domestic life. 

The more I examine into the position of the agri- 
cultural labourer, the more I am convinced of the utter 
demoralization caused by the Poor L.aw ; from its com- 
mencement to the present time, the same baneful results 
are to be found pervading nearly every relation of 
country life. In the beginning of the history of the 
last fifty years of my life miserably low wages were 
supplemented by the rates, the agricultural labourer 
was a mere serf tied to his parish, entirely in the hands 
of the farmer, who in his turn was generally, from his 
isolation in country districts, a self-opinionated, obstinate 
man, objecting to all interference with his jog-trot 
routine, believing that the groove in which he moved 
was the be-all and end-all of his existence, and if 
any advice was offered him, he surely spurned it with 
contempt. The farmers' position and opinions were 
winked at by the resident landlord, who seemed to be 
content to be the lord of the land, without the respon- 



RURAL LIFE. 247 

sibilities of the landlord, whilst the parish clergyman, 
wishing to be on good terms with all classes, readily 
acquiesced in the usual parochial system ; and yet, in 
spite of this species of mental stagnation, rural England 
was happy in her institutions, and gloried in her country 
life. All parties seemed to be bound together in their 
parish existence, and when the rivalry of adjoining 
parishes was stimulated by the annual cricket-match or 
the bell-ringing of treble bob majors, everything connected 
with the event was carried out with mutual good-humour. 
The squire and the parson, with their families, especially 
the lady department, spread refinement amongst the 
homes of their tenants, and a portion of that refinement 
entered the dwellings of the poor. But the advent of 
that mighty reformer, the steam-engine, coursing along 
through many a secluded hamlet, and the inevitable 
railway station, created a restlessness and almost a 
rebellion against established customs, and brought what 
is called civilization and enlightenment amongst the 
primitive inhabitants. Artificial manure, "gohanner," 
as the immortal Jorrocks called it, took the place of the 
old farm-yard muck ; oil-cake, locust-beans and various 
spiced feeding stuffs, all of them tending to enrich the 
land, were brought almost to tlie doors of many of the 
more intelligent farmers. The schoolmaster was abroad ; 
books were published, local newspapers started, advo- 
cating opinions which forced new ideas into the houses 
of all farmers as well as of the landlords. This great 
outburst of kindling fire illumined the darkest recesses 
of every country village as much as it did the manu- 
facturing town ; the countrymen were slower perhaps to 



248 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

appreciate the benefits of science, but, when once aroused, 
their spirit of enterprise bore a favourable comparison 
with the much-lauded manufacturing brother. The best 
instance of this is in the support given to the manu- 
facture of agricultural inij^lements, which in its im- 
portance not only to England, but to her colonies, and 
to the whole world, rivals that of the most celebrated 
inventions for the manufacture of cotton, wool, or hard- 
ware. The introduction of the steam cultivator by a 
Buckinghamshire tenant-farmer, W. Smith of Wolstone, 
commenced a new era in the history of agriculture, an 
invention further improved upon by Fowler of Leeds 
and Howard of Bedford, follow^ed by the steam thrasher, 
and this again followed, in its turn, by improved reaping 
and mowing machines, — all proving unmistakcably that 
the fire of enterprise was not dead, and only needed the 
spark to kindle it into a flame. 

The establishment in 1S39 ^f the Royal Agricultural 
Society of England was the outcome of many important 
local agricultural associations, around which, as a centre, 
landlords, tenants, men of science, manufacturers, and 
the general public could circulate their opinions, and put 
in practice many of their theories, and it raised the tone 
of agriculture most materially. Agriculture thrived, land 
soon went up in value, the landlord had more money to 
spend in trade, the farmer's home was improved, his 
children were better educated, the labourer's wages 
were increased, his dwelling was made more habitable — 
when suddenly these halcyon days were rudely ended 
by the intrusion of the Irish famine. The miseries 
endured by a whole people brought home to the mind 



FORTUNES OF AGRICULTURE. 249 

of the statesman who then ruled the destiny of England, 
Sir R. Peel, that it was wrong to tax the food of the 
masses, and the repeal of the Corn Laws was the out- 
come of this conviction. At first "a heavy blow, and 
great discouragement " fell on the cultivators of the 
land, the years 1848 — 1852 were very disastrous, many 
cultivators were ruined, and the price of wheat fell from 
the average of 69^". ^d. in 1847 to 38^-. ']d. in 185 i. 

The years 1852 and 1853 witnessed the same calamity 
that oppressed us again in 1879 and 1880 in their con- 
tinuous rains and floods, rotting the sheep and destroying 
the crops. Then came the good harvests of 1854, 1855, 
and 1856 ; the Russian War stopped the supplies of corn 
from the Black Sea and the Baltic, and the price of 
wheat rose respectively to 72^. jd.^ J^s. 9^., 89^-. 2d. I 
myself sold in 1856 a considerable quantity of fine wheat 
at 100^. per quarter; little attention was at that time 
bestowed upon American produce, but we have lived to 
see how the application of steam machinery both on 
land and sea has annihilated space ; the European 
supply of agricultural products has fallen off, but tlie 
importation of American corn and meat has grown to 
gigantic proportions ; with bad harvests, the partial 
destruction of our herds by pleuro-pneumonia and foot- 
and-mouth disease following that direful scourge the 
rinderpest, and during some of the past years the frightful 
loss of our flocks by liver rot — with all this added to 
lowering of prices, I fear many of our best farmers have 
been ruined, and under present circumstances there 
seems little or no hope of amelioration. But I trust 
that, as before, when times are at the worst they begin 



250 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

to mend, and that the pluck and determination of the 
British farmer will, under a merciful Providence, carry 
him through the present deplorable state of his affairs. 
He is being met in a liberal spirit by his landlord, who 
year after year does not hesitate to lower his rents, aids 
him in the improvement of his buildings, consents to his 
having entire freedom of cultivation, grants more liberal 
covenants, and sanctions a more reasonable agreement 
on the basis of the Agricultural Holdings Act. At the 
same time I hold that the burthens, which now so 
heavily and most unfairly press on the land, must be 
removed, the highway rates must be more fairly appor- 
tioned, the charge for the maintenance of the poor and 
the insane be placed on a wider basis, and we may yet 
see agriculture itself again, and Old England will once 
more become 

" Great, glorious, and free, 
First flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea." 

One feature of old country life is fast vanishing from 
our sight, I mean the old-fashioned harvest-home festival, 
which long was kept up at most of the farm-houses in 
the country, especially among the well-to-do tenantry. 
I mention my own, not perhaps as a sample, because 
living in a town and having other business operations, 
it was scarcely a typical gathering ; but my father, for 
some years previously to his death living at his quiet 
homestead, which was situated about two miles from the 
town, was about as fair a specimen of a tenant-farmer 
as could be found in the county. His custom was to 
invite some of the village tradesmen, such as the black- 
smith, wheelwright, and carpenter, to join the festive 



HARVEST HOMES. 251 

throng, and these, with about twenty of the labourers, 
old and young, formed with the family a company of 
about forty persons ; my father took the head of the 
table, myself the bottom end. A round of beef and a 
haunch of mutton, with a goodly addition of plum- 
pudding, formed the cheer, with plenty of good beer, 
and, after grace had been said, pipes and tobacco were 
placed on the table, and an address referring to the 
harvest and the prospects of the coming year used to be 
delivered with great propriety by my worthy father, who 
was an excellent speaker. The song and joke went 
round, and after about half an hour had been spent in 
such convivial interchanges, the men now being well 
warmed to their work, the following ceremony took 
place : Three of the men sitting near each other slood 
up, whilst one of the others, selected as a tolerably good 
singer, struck up the following stanza — 

"Here's a health unto our master, the founder of the feast, 
I hope to God with all my heart his soul in heaven may rest, 
And all his works may prosper that e'er he takes in hand, 
For we are all his servants, and all at his command — 
So drink, boys, drink, and see you do not spill, 
For if you do you shall drink two, for 'tis our master's will." 

Each of the three men standing up held a cup con- 
taining half a pint of beer in his hand, and at the words 
" Drink, boys, drink," they had to gulp down the nut- 
brown beverage, the bystanders watching intently to 
see if any drop was spilled, for then the double penalty 
was surely inflicted. This performance always occasioned 
great fun, and then toast, speech, and song went on till 
near midnight, when most of the guests took their de- 



252 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

parture for their homes in the village, which was about 
a mile distant, but several of them lay down in the barn 
or stable that they might be ready for their work the 
next morning. 

I regret to have to admit that the chief number oi 
the company before their departure were generally 
intoxicated, although merry and full of fun ; it would 
have been against the spirit and public opinion of the 
time to have sent one's guests home sober. One man 
told me, as a criterion of good beer, " he didn't think 
nothing of no beer if it did not give him three falls for a 
shilling." When travelling on the Continent I had been 
struck with the absence of drunkenness amongst the 
country folk, so I thought I would try the use of claret 
and water, made into a nicely-flavoured claret cup, at 
the next convivial gathering of labouring folk at home. 
Instead of offering so much beer, I made three or four 
gallons of liquor by putting two quarts of water to one 
quart of good sound wine costing about is. 2(^., and with 
a slice or two of lemon, a little nutmeg and a quarter of 
a pound of sugar, I made a beverage which cost rather 
under 6d. per quart. In proposing her Majesty's health 
after supper, I told them what I had seen in France, 
especially after the vintage, and that they should be free 
to try and use wine instead of beer. I placed tumblers 
and jugs of " cup " on the table along with the mugs and 
tankard of beer, and I found that more than half the 
men preferred the claret cup and stuck to it during the 
evening, and told me next day how well they felt and 
how much they preferred it to beer, but I do not pretend 
that in the hay or harvest-field it would have been 



HARVEST HOMES. 253 

so popular, besides which, there is tiie expense to be 
considered. 

I generally managed to have my harvest home the 
day after the Town Horticultural Show and banquet, 
for which London professional singers were engaged, 
and I usually succeeded in persuading some of them 
to stay and enjoy " a day in the country," and improve, 
besides, the harmony of our evening ; they would enjoy 
the quaint rustic songs of the labourers, and themselves 
would sing such fine old glees as "The Chough and 
Crow," " Life's a Bumper," " Glorious Apollo." In my 
employment was a deaf man, much appreciated as a 
singer ; on one of these occasions, one of my men having 
sung a dreary composition of inordinate length, which 
thoroughly bored his audience, his deaf neighbour was 
called upon to follow him, when, to the horror and 
dismay of every one, he struck up the very same ditty 
which had so tired the company just before; shouting 
and demonstration alike failed to make the deaf man 
understand the predicament, and he droned out the 
whole of the dreary song to the bitter end. 

I persuaded Douglas Jerrold to attend one of these 
annual festivals, to whom a joke had introduced me. I 
h.^.d been in the habit of jotting down in a diary any 
racy or interesting scraps which I had chanced upon in 
a newspaper, and Douglas Jerrold was looking through 
this book, and seemed much amused at one extract in 
particular ; handing it to his friend, at whose house 
he was staying, and with whom he had come to my 
father's, then laughing heartily, he told me that he was 
the author of it : " Women, when maids, are mid as 



254 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

milk ; once make them wives, and they lean their backs 
against their marriage certificate and defy you." But 
my harvest celebrations did not only consist of song 
and joke ; I tried to make the pleasant gatherings of 
more permanent use, by shortly commenting on the 
position of agriculture and explaining to my men 
any new inventions or improvements which had been 
adopted during the year. 

On taking my farm I determined to do my utmost to 
improve the position of my labourers. I apportioned a 
certain section of the farm to be used as allotments for 
the labourers working thereon. I am now speaking of 
the year 1853, and I kept up the system up to the time 
I gave up the farm in 1879 ; for those twenty-six years 
I found it had a marvellously good and beneficial effect. 
I gave the men the very best land on the farm, and 
close to the homestead and farmyard ; they were charged 
the same amount per acre that I paid myself, with the 
rates and taxes added ; no man had less than a rood, 
nor more than half an acre, as I found practically that 
this was quite as much as a man and his family could 
cultivate, and that it amply supplied the family with 
vegetables for their own consumption, and oftentimes 
left them with an abundance over to sell. They had 
full permission to fetch whatever amount of manure 
they required from my farmyard, I, on my part, making 
it a condition that their holdings should be well-culti- 
vated and kept clean. On my harvest-home festival 
we had a horticultural show of all the garden produce ; 
I put the rents of their holdings together, which were 
supplemented by the gift of a sovereign from my land- 



CO-OPERATIOx\ IN FARMING. 255 

lord and of the ^ame sum by my wife, who ever took 
the greatest personal interest in the well-being of the 
wives and children of the men, and I then distributed 
the amount in prizes for their produce. The specimens 
of their vegetables were splendid, and my labourers 
were generally most successful at the Horticultural 
Society's Show in the town. With little expense nearly 
every farmer throughout England, if he will only take 
the trouble, might benefit in the same way the men he 
employs on the land, and endear them to the soil they 
are helping to cultivate by giving them an interest in 
part of it ; the only essential is that, where this plan 
is carried out, the gardens should be as near as possible 
to the homestead, as the men after a hard day's work, 
naturally, do not like to walk a mile there and back to 
their allotment ground, and they should, besides, have 
every opportunity of getting manure easily. I set apart 
four acres out of 200 for this purpose, and I never 
regretted it, and felt sure it benefited me as much as 
the men, as they were always fresh to their work, 
and were certain to be on the spot whenever they were 
wanted. 

In co-operation I found another feature in which the 
lot of the agricultural labourer could be largely amelior- 
ated, and be made of immense service to his employer 
at but little expense. My purpose was to encourage 
the men to do their best with the machinery I purchased 
and employed on the farm. When 1 first became con- 
vinced that steam culture was im fait accompli, I went 
to Mr. Howard's, of Bedford, and bought my own set 
of steam-tackle, the system of Smith, of Wolstone ; my 



256 ECHOES CF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

engine I hired from the man who threshed my corn, 
giving him ;^ I a day for the h're ; my ploughman rode 
on the cultivator, and to liim I gave, in addition to his 
full weekly wage, ^^d. an acre on all he cultivated, and, as 
he did about five acres a day, he earned an extra six 
shillings a week ; the anchor men, and all others em- 
ployed at that work, also had so much an acre, the 
result being that they worked as long in the evenings as 
it was possible to see, and started as early as they could 
be about in the morning ; if the work was scamped, it 
was my fault. When the mowing-machine was brought 
out, I was the first in the county of Bucks to purchase 
and use one ; it was an American machine, one of 
Walter Wood's, a really good machine, although it 
would be laughed at now, so great, since that time, have 
been the improvements in agricultural implements. 
When I determined on purchasing this machine I sent 
for my carter, who had hitherto been the head of a gang 
of five mowers, and who not only mowed mine, but also 
the crops of my neighbours, and found on inquiry that 
they could, by extremely hard labour, earn about 30^". 
a week in haytime, they finding their own beer. I then 
broke the ice, and told him I was going to give 
him a carriage and pair of horses to drive, and that for 
the future he would earn as much as a coachman as he 
was earning then by dragging himself to pieces by 
mowing ; he could not understand w^hat I meant, but I 
told him to prepare a new set of leather reins, and to 
have ready a pair of his most active horses. Then, one 
day, Mr. Cranston, of the firm of Walter Wood and Co., 
arrived with the mower, the horses were harnessed to it, 



CO-OPERATION IN FARMING. 257 

and, Mr. Cranston driving, they dashed through the 

c;ateway into the standing grass, levelHng it as they 

went, to the unbounded surprise of Jem, my carter, 

and of all my numerous friends who had assembled to 

witness the result. Jem now in turn took his seat, and 

after a few lessons he drove it remarkably well, mowing 

upwards of a hundred acres that year, including clover 

and meadow grass, without an accident. I gave him 6d. 

an acre and four pints of beer a day ; in this way he 

earned considerably more than he could have done by 

mowing with his scythe, so he was content to become a 

gentleman, driving his carriage and pair, throughout 

haytime. When the reaping-machine came out in a 

good form, I repeated the same tactics ; to all the men 

1 gave extra pay, and they regarded with good will 

every labour-saving machine I afterwards purchased 

and used. 

The most successful application of co-operation was, I 

found, in regard to the production of live stock on the 

farm and their exhibition at Agricultural Shows. My 

cowman had 5^. a head for all the calves he reared on 

the farm ; the shepherd had 6d. for every lamb, about 160 

being reared annually; the carter \os. for every colt 

reared, and 20 per cent, on all prizes won by the stock 

at the shows. Each man had an interest in the earnings 

of the farm and in its produce and crops. When I won 

a prize for the cultivation of root crops, and for the best 

samples of wheat, barley, or beans, or for the general 

cultivation on the farm, I divided 20 per cent, of the 

sum so obtained between all the men on the farm. I 

think most strongly that this method of dealing with 

S 



258 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

workmen might be carried out to a much greater extent 
in agriculture than it is at present, with very beneficial 
results ; but then I am, it is true, speaking of the 
halcyon days of farming, and not of the depressed 
industry, as it now exists, in all parts of the country. 

In the period from the year 1830 onwards will be found 
most of the great alterations that have taken place in 
the science and practice and position of agriculture ; 
the discoveries of chemical science as to manures, the 
invention of the steam cultivator, the introduction of 
the mowing and reaping-machine, the rise of the vast 
establishments for the manufacturing of every variety 
of agricultural machinery, the abolition of the Corn 
Laws, the fearful outbreaks of the cattle plague or 
rinderpest, the great improvement in the breeds of cattle, 
especially of shorthorns, the influence of railways on agri- 
culture — all these circumstances have had an important 
bearing on country life. Yet, notwithstanding the 
lamentable depression of agriculture just now, men who 
can remember the years of 1831-32, and look back on 
the troubles which the farmers surmounted then, may 
hope the time is not far distant when success will again 
crown their efforts. 

When I was at school in 1831, every farm in the parish 
of Aylesbury was untenanted and in the hands of the 
landlord, whilst the pitiably bad management of the Poor 
Law had pauperized nearly the whole working population 
of the kingdom. In this year I was accustomed to look 
from my bed-room window at Uxbridge School and see, 
on many a night, three or four blazing homesteads. 
These troublous times culminated in the rising of the 



THE SWIXG RIOTS. 259 

agricultural labourers. Bodies of lawless men marched 
from village to village, breaking up every machine 
invented for the saving of labour. The farmers and 
trading classes were powerless to control them ; the 
yeomanry were called out, and special constables were 
sworn in to suppress the " Swing riots," as they were 
styled, from the threatening letters which farmers received 
warning them that their farms would be destroyed, and 
signed " Swing," in allusion, probably, to the penalty of 
hanging for arson. Along the valley of the Colne, and 
especially in the Wycombe valley, many of the paper- 
mills were gutted, the machinery smashed, and the town 
of Wycombe and district got into the hands of a lawless 
mob. At that time a pack of staghounds was kept in 
the neighbourhood of Uxbridge, and was hunted by a 
right good master, Mr. Sullivan. One day, the deer 
having been taken at West Wycombe, the well-mounted 
field of horsemen were returning through the town, and 
found the place practically in the hands of a ruffianly 
mob, which the local authorities were powerless to 
combat. The high-spirited master of the hounds called 
on his companions to follow him, and with the butt- 
ends of their hunting-whips they slashed in amongst the 
mob, drove them helter-skelter out of the town, took 
several prisoners, and delivered the borough from their 
depredations. 

These unfortunate outbreaks lasted for several weeks, 
and then, in nearly every part of the county, a special 
Commission of Assize was held, and at Aylesbury scores 
of misguided men were arraigned for riot and arson, were 
mostly found guilty and sentenced to various terms of 



26o ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

imprisonment and transportation, and the country be- 
came gradually quieted. Among others, two men, whose 
names I forbear to mention, were tried for these crimes 
and sentenced to death, but three days before the time 
fixed for execution they received a reprieve, and the 
sentence was commuted to transportation for life. One 
died in New^ South Wales, and the other, a tall, fine 
agricultural labourer, received a pardon after having 
served several years of his sentence. He returned to 
his native parish, and became a thriving man ; and a 
few years ago, whilst I was in the Assize Court, I saw 
this very man a prosecutor giving evidence against a 
prisoner who had robbed him, and who was of course 
standing in the dock, in the very same place where 
the prosecutor had stood some years before and had 
heard himself sentenced to death ! 

I have omitted to state one serious cause of the mal- 
administration of the old Poor Law, due, I regret to say, 
to scandalous behaviour of many landowners during the 
early part of the present century — this was the system of 
pulling down and destroying the cottages on an estate, 
and by this means driving the labourers into other 
parishes, so as to get rid of the cost of the maintenance 
of the poor altogether, especially in old age. I have 
even known instances in which the parish church was for 
a like reason permitted to fall into decay. Quarrendon, 
near Aylesbury, is an instance ; and the clergyman, 
who was non-resident, and whose duty it was to serve 
the parish, took no action, as it saved him the trouble 
of going from his residence to a parish two miles off; 
thus also the farmers got rid of the church-rates ; and, 



COTTAGE ACCOAIMODATIOX. 261 

in the instance I have alluded to, they used the 
beams of the church to make gate-posts, and broke 
down the walls to repair their gateways. I once made 
a calculation of the number of miles that a very 
deserving: and clever herdsman of one of our leading" 
graziers in this parish had walked in going to and from 
his work durincr the time he had lived with him, being: 
nearly fifty years. I proved he had walked three times 
round the world to do his duty to his master ! I told 
the man's master of this fact, and he replied, "I can't 
help it, there are but three cottages in the parish" — a 
parish of over 2000 acres. I remember that I wrote to 
T/ie Times detailing these circumstances as an instance 
of the short-sighted policy of both landlords and tenants 
in permitting such a state of things. 

The smock-frock farmer has almost ceased to exist, 
but some still survive and hold small occupations of 
from fifty to a hundred acres, leading an industrious, 
hard-faring life, living ofttimes more frugally than 
their labourers, and going on, as the saying is on the 
Chiltern Plills, " from cherry-time to cherry-time," and 
getting " no forrarder." Fresh meat to them is a Sunday 
and market-day luxury ; but to say that a man cannot 
rise from the labouring ranks is to state what is con- 
trary to the fact. I have known myself instances of 
successful countrymen. One man I recollect had 
started life as a plough-boy, was a saving lad, began 
dealing in pigs, then kept a horse and cart, and 
followed what was called " higgling," buying eggs and 
poultry, and with a little carrying of goods to various 
market towns, and an occasional journey to London, 



262 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

saved money enough to take a small farm, and by 
degrees, with great industry and perseverance, added 
to his farm till he became the tenant of 300 acres, and 
the owner himself of 100 more acres, besides of several 
cottages. He brought up a large family of sons, and 
placed them into farms, dying, a few years since, a 
well-to-do man. He could neither read nor write; and 
one New Year's Day he brought me his banker's pass- 
book — at the time money had been very dear, up 
to 10 or 12 per cent. — and told me how handsomely his 
bankers had behaved to him, as they had that day made 
him a present of three five-pound notes for having kept 
a good balance in their hands. I looked at his pass- 
book, and found the average balance through the year 
had been nearly £1200 ! No wonder his banker could 
afford to give him ^15. He was churchwarden of his 
parish, and had a serious quarrel with the parish clerk, a 
drunken fellow, and I advised him to write to the Arch- 
deacon of Buckingham and get the clerk dismissed. 
" That'll never do" said Johnny, " for he's the only man 
in parish as can read the sarvice." 

Archdeacon of Buckingham ! He lived at Shanklin 
in the Isle of Wight, and was only to be seen in 
Buckinghamshire once in two or three years. At one of 
these parochial visitations, few and far between, he went 
into a certain church and was shown round by the 
sexton, the rector being from home at the time. On 
entering the churchyard he found about half of it dug 
up and planted with potatoes, and the Archdeacon, much 
horrified, exclaimed, " What, what ! Potatoes, potatoes ! 
This is very wrong, very wrong indeed ! " " Yes, sir," 



CLERICAL ANECDOTES. 263 

says the sexton, " I tould mcaster 'twere wrong, for it 
were taters last year, and taters the year afore, and it 
ought to have bin wheat this year." 

Another archidiaconal story, from Suffolk. The 
Archdeacon, when visiting a certain parish, asked the 
parish clerk what sort of man the rector was ; the 
clerk, looking hard at the lectern with the eagle and 
out-stretched wings, and at the same time pointing 
to the pulpit, replied, " Well, sir, he ain't much in the 
tub, but he's stunning behind the goose," or "geuse" 
as the Suffolk vernacular has it. Country folk are 
seldom lacking in the quality of a certain dry humour. 
In the neighbourhood of Tring, on the Chiltern 
Hills, lived one of those small farmers who had 
been apparently very successful in life, and had the 
reputation of being a moneyed man, but who had 
gained his cash in a very doubtful manner, and his 
neighbours did not hesitate to discuss that manner. 
One day this farmer was enjoying his pipe over a 
pint of ale in a village public. To him a rather 
plain, eccentric character, rejoicing in the sobriquet of 
Bunker — " I say, Master David, I took your part t'other 
day ; I stood up for you, I did." " Did you. Bunker ? " 
said David. " That was very kind of you. How did 
you take my part ^ " To him again, Bunker — 
" Well, I was having a pipe with a man near St. 
Albans, who said he knowed a man who had seed a 
man as had stole more sheep than you had ; and I said 
he was a liar." It may be well imagined that David 
went home a sadder, if not a wiser man, determined not 
again to invite the confidences of Bunker. 



264 ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

After the year 1835 a marked improvement rapidly 
took place, both in the habits of the tenants, in the 
management of their farms, in their households, and in 
the general style of their living. The farmers, their 
wives and families, began to dress as well as their 
fellows in the towns, and in their household began to 
practise the social amenities of life ; the farmer rode 
a good horse to hounds, and the education of his 
family now left little to be desired. All this is as it 
should be. Drudgery is not the end-all of life. As a 
boy I saw the serviceable smock-frock give way to 
broadcloth, and a decent horse and' trap take the place 
of the old market conveyances ; I saw agriculture 
awake from days of torpor and depression and exalted 
into its rightful standing, as one of the great scientific 
industries of our nation ; I have lived to see it 
again depressed and reduced, and once more the 
rural districts pervaded with a spirit of doubt and 
unrest and uncertainty in what the future may have in 
store. I make no pretence to play the part of a prophet ; 
I merely have tried to sketch in some sort of rough 
outline things I myself have seen and know ; but, alike 
to those that are disheartened and those that bestir 
themselves overmuch, I would quote averse the country- 
folk in my day used to sing occasionally at their 
gatherings — 

" The race is not ahvays got 

By them Avot strive and for it run, 
Nor the Battel to them peopel 

Wot's got the longest gun ." 

THE END. 



37 Bedford Street, Strand, 
London, 

October, 1892. 



A SELECTION FROM 

MR. EDWARD ARNOLD'S LIST. 



^elt) ant) Jjortltcoming cMorks. 



STUDENT AND SINGER: 

THE REMINISCENCES OF CHARLES SANTLEY. 

With a photogravure portrait, of the Author as a young man, and two other 

portraits in operatic costun-ie. 

Demy 8vo. , cloth, i6s. 

" Mr. Charles Santley, the famous singer, has been writing his Reminiscences, 
which will be published in the autumn by Mr. Edward Arnold. For many years 
Mr. Santley was as prominent on the operatic stage as he is to-day in oratorio or 
concert-room ; and his book is full of anecdotes of the Dii Majores whose names 
are a household word in ' the profession.* His account of his own training, his 
early difficulties and mature triumphs will be no less welcome to the general than 
to the musical public." — 7"/?^ Academy, announcing the book on July 30. 



ENGLAND IN EGYPT. 

By ALFRED MILNKR, 
Late Under-Secretary of Finance in Egypt. 

Demy 8vo., i6s. 

This important work deals with the period of the British occupation in Egypt, 
describing the causes by which it was rendered necessary, and the difficulties that 
have been successively faced and overcome. As a work of reference the book will 
prove invaluable to all who are concerned w ith the affairs of Egypt ; while as a 



A Selection from Mr. Edward Arnold's List. 



history of one of the most remarkable enterprises ever undertaken by this country 
abroad, it presents a record of events rarely paralleled, and full of deep interest to 
all patriotic Englishmen. 

Outline of Contents. 

The Fellah as Soldier. 
The Race against Bank- 
ruptcy. 
The Struggle for Water. 
Experiments in Justice 



The Land of Paradox. 
Restoring Order. 
The Veiled Protectorate. 
International Fetters. 
The Years of Gloom. 
The Break in the Clouds 



Odds and Ends of Reform. 



The Egyptian View of the 
Future. 

The French View. 

The Other Powers. 

The Teaching of Expe- 
rience 



THE MEMORIES OF DEAN HOLE. 

With a photogravure portrait of the Author, and several original illustrations from 
sketches by Leech and Thackeray. 

Demy 8vo , cloth, i6s. 

The Dean of Rochester has arranged his " Memories " under alphabetical chapters : 
thus, he takes in order Archers, Artists, Authors, Cricketers, P^cclesiastics, 
Gamblers, Gardeners, Hunters and Shooters, Oxonians, Preachers, and 
W^orking Men. Many have been his friends in all these divisions, and the book 
is full of anecdotes and good stories. 

EXTRACT FROM THE PREFACE. 

" These Memories are the holiday task of an old boy, who desires, and hopes that he 
deserves, to rest, but is too fond of work to be quite idle. And though he cannot aspire to 
combine with his own relaxation any signal service to his fellow men, he ventures to hope 
that from the varied e.\perience of a long and happy life, among all sorts and conditions of 
men, he may communicate information which will be interesting and suggestions which may 
be useful." 



ECHOES OF OLD COUNTY LIFE. 

Being Recollections of Sport, Society, Politics and Farming in the good Old Times. 

By J. K. FOWLER (RuSTicus), 
Formerly of th£ White Hart Hotel and the Prebendal Farms, Aylesbury. 

With a photogravure portrait of the Author and other illustrations. 
Large imperial, cloth, los. 6d. 

*^* It is also intended to issue a large paper edition limited to two hundred copies 
only. Price 21s. net. Subscribers' names will be entered and the orders 
executed as received until the edition is exhausted. 

The book is dedicated by permission to the Right Hon. Sir Harry Verney, Bart. , 
and contains many curious and hitherto unpublished anecdotes related by Mr. 
Fowler, from personal knowledge, of a large number of eminent sportsmen, politi- 
cians, and public men, including Lord Beaconsfield, Count D'Orsay, Lord West- 
bury, the Rothschilds, Bishop W'ilberforce, etc. There are also numerous 
reminiscences of the last days of coaching and posting and the early days of railways, 
and of country life and manners, and agriculture in the middle of the century. 



A Selection from Mr. Edward Arnold's List. 3 

THE BATTLES OF FREDERICK 
THE GREAT. 

Abstracted from Carlyle's Biography, and Edited by 

CYRIL RANSOM E, M.A., 
Professor of History at the Yorkshire College. 

With numerous illustrations reproduced from the German Imperial State Edition of 
Frederick's Works by special permission of the Director-General of the Royal 
Museum of Berlin, the original battle-plans from Carlyle's Biography, and a map. 

Square 8vo., cloth, 5s. 

The " History of Frederick the Great." in some ways the grandest monument 
of Carlyle's genius, has hitherto only been accessible in its complete form, filling ten 
volumes. Professor Ransome's Extracts have been made by special arrangement 
with the publishers (Messrs. Chapman and Hall), in the belief that, both as affording 
brilliant examples of Carlyle's style, and as intensely interesting from a historical 
and military standpoint, such a book cannot fail to be welcome. 

The illustrations by Menzel are not those familiar to readers of Kiigler's 
" History of Frederick," but were drawn for the Imperial German State Edition of 
Frederick the Great's Works, never before accessible to the public, and specially 
reproduced for this book by permission of the Director-General of the Koniglichen 
Museen at Berlin. 



OMARAH'S HISTORY OF YAMAN. 

The Arabic Text, Edited, with a Translation, 

By HENRY CASSELS KAY, 

Member of the Royal Asiatic Society. 

Demy 8vo., cloth, 17s. 6d. net. 

" Mr. Kay is to be heartily congratulated on the completion of a work of true scholarship 
and indubitable worth." — Athencenm. 

" We have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Kay's book on Mediajval Arabia stands clearly 
in the front rank of Oriental historical scholarship. As a learned commentary on an obscure 
and difificult text, it is a monument of industry and thoroughness. The notes throw a flood of 
light upon one of the least known periods of Mohammedan history." — Saturday Reviezu. 



THE MORAL INSTRUCTION OF 
CHILDREN. 

By FELIX ADLER, 
President of the Ethical Society of New York. 

Crown 8vo. , cloth, 6s. 

This is a new volume in the International Education Series. A List of the Series 
can be had on application. 



A Selection from Mr. Edward Arnold's List. 



'^t)e §^it6ten's ^aoourife Series. 

A charming Series of Juvenile Books, each plentifully illustrated, and written in 
simple language to please young readers. Handsomely bound, and designed to 
form an attractive and entertaining Series of gift-books for presents and prizes. 

Price Two Shillings each. 

DEEDS OF GOLD. 

A book of heroic and patriotic deeds, tending to inspire a love of courage, bravery, 

and devotion. 

MY BOOK OF FABLES. 

Chosen chiefly from the famous old Fables of /Esop and others dear to children of 

all generations. 

MY STORY-BOOK OF ANIMALS. 

Anecdotes and tales about animals, from the familiar pets of the house to the beasts 

of the forest. 

RHYMES FOR YOU AND ME. 

Short verses and rhymes, which everybody loves, and which are the first to be 
learned and the last to be forgotten by children. 



Each Volume contains about Thirty Illustrations. 
Price Two Shillings. 



Illustrated by John Leech. 

A LITTLE TOUR IN IRELAND. By An Oxonian. 

With nearly 40 illustrations by John Leech, including the famous steel 

frontispiece of the "Claddagh." Large imperial i6mo., handsomely 

bound, gilt top, los. 6d. 

The " Oxonian " who accompanied John Leech in his famous " Little Tour in 
Ireland," and who wrote the account which was illustrated by Leech in his happiest 
and most successful manner, was the present Dean of Rochester. The book has 
been out of print for over thirty years, for, although the first edition was exhausted 
in a few weeks after publication, no other was issued, the second being withdrawn, 
owing to a question as to the copyright. 

" A welcome contribution to the revival of Leech literature. Mr. Hole, the ' Oxonian ' 
of those days, was blessed with buoyant spirits, and even then had a delightful taste for 
' couleur de roses ' ; his narrative is full of fun, observation, kindliness, remarkable and un- 
usual comprehension of the people of Ireland, and sympathy with them. Leech's illustrations 
are charming ; their exaggeration has not the slightest touch of malice, and their humour is 
irresistible." — IVorld. 

"Leech's drawings comprise some of that artist's happiest work as a book illustrator.'' — 
Saturday Review. 

" A book to buy, to read, and to trea.sure jealously." — iVestmonand Gazette. 



A Selection from Mr. Edward Arnold's List. 5 

A BOOK ABOUT THE GARDEN AND THE GARDENER. 

By ilie Very Rev. S. Reynolds Hole, Dean of Rochester, Author of "A 
Book About Roses," etc. With steel plate frontispiece by John Leech. 
Crown 8vo. , 6s. 

Contents : The Joy of a Garden— The Gardener's Dream— The Six of Spades 
—My First Fight in the Wars of the Roses— Some Cornish Gardens— Spring Gar- 
dens—Spring Garden at Belvoir— Alpine Gardens— The Carnation— A Wall of 
Flowers— Types of Gardeners— Love among the Tea Roses ; etc. 

" No less charming and useful than the Author's ' Book About Roses.' "—Daily 
Telegraph. 

" A dainty book, . . . a profusion of jokes and good stories, with a vein of serious thought 
running through the whole." — Guardian. 

" A delightful volume, full, not merely of information, but of humour and entertainment." 
— World. 

'•Dean Hole has contrived to make his book both amusing and of real practical utility." 
— Morning Post. 

" The papers are all written with that charming mixture of practical skill in gardening, 
learning in the literary art, clerical knowledge of the nature of men and strong love of flowers, 
that is already familiar to this author's readers." — Scotsman. 

A BOOK ABOUT ROSES. By the Very Rev. S. Reynolds 

Hole, Dean of Rochester. Twelfth Edition. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 2S. 6d. 



ANIMAL SKETCHES. A Popular Book of Natural History. 

By Professor C. Lloyu Morgan, F.G.S., Principal of University College, 
Bristol, Author of "Animal Life and Intelligence," " The Springs of Conduct," 
etc. With nearly sixty illustrations by W. Monkhouse Rowe. Large crown 
8vo., cloth, 7s. 6d. 

Contents : 
The King of Beasts. | Seals and Sea Lions. Thornies and Tinkers. 

Bruin the Bear. I Awuk the Walrus. Eels and Elvers. 

Long-Nose, Long-Neck, Flittermice. The Oyster. 

and Stumpy. Master Impertinence. The Honey Bee. 

Cousin Sarah. Snakes. Spiders. 

Sallv's Poor Relations. The Ostrich. 1 Crayfishes. 

Horns and Antlers. 1 Dwarf Lions. I The Mermaid. 

Froggies. ' 

" One of the most simply delightful books about Natural History that has come under our 
notice since the days of Frank Buckland, whose mantle, indeed, the present author appears 
to have inherited. Like Buckland, Professor Morgan writes at first hand. The result is a 
charming volume full of bright and lively anecdotes about all manner of animals, as fresh and 
simple as if they were being told to a circle of eager listeners, and with just a slight tincture 
of science in occasionally explaining interesting peculiarities or differences of structure."— 
Guardian. 

"There is a pervading tone of sympathy with all that lives, as well as a general love and 
admiration of nature, that renders it a most suitable work for the young. The cover and 
general get-up are attractive, and every school should add this charming volume to its list of 
prizes with the certainty that it will be highly appreciated for its own sake by the recipients, 
and that its influence will be altogether wholesome and good." — Nature. 

" Every page is bright with information and enticing zn^cAox.^." —Westmorland Gazette. 

" An altogether delightful book; the illustrations, moreover, and that is saying a groat 
deal, are worthy of the text." — Leeds Mercury. 

"A very charming book." — Daily Chronicle. 

" Every boy with a taste for natural history ought to be presented with a copy." — Lady's 
Pictorial. 

" A charming book about animals." — Saturday Review. 



6 A Selection from Mr. Edward Arnold's List. 

MEN OF MIGHT. Studies of Great Characters. By A. C. 

Benson, M.A., and H. F. W. Tatham, M.A. , Assistant Masters at Eton 

College. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 3s. 6d. 

Contents : , 

Socrates. , Carlo Borromeo. , Dr. Arnold. 

Mahomet. F^nelon. Livingstone. 

St. Bernard. I John Wesley. ] General Gordon. 

Savonarola. George Washington, Father Damien. 

Michael Angelo. Henry Martyn. 

'• Models of what such compositions should be; full of incident and anecdote, with the 
right note of enthusiasm, where it justly comes in, with Httle if anything of direct sermonizing, 
though the moral for an intelligent lad is never far to seek. It is a long time since we have 
seen a better book for youngsters." —Gita7-dian. 

"There is enough here to stimulate the interest and broaden the sympathies of any 
audience. Studiously simple, yet never puerile, the ' Studies' are nicely calculated to satisfy 
that most critical of all critics, a set of boys varying in age from fifteen to eighteen." — Record. 

EDUCATION FROM A NATIONAL STANDPOINT. Trans- 

lated from the French of Alfred Fouillee, by W. J. Greenstkeet, M.A., 
Head Master of the Marling School, Stroud. Forming a Volume in "The 
International Education Series." Crown 8vo , cloth, 7s. 6d. 

" The reader will rise from the study of this brilliant and stimulating book with a sense of 
gratitude to M. Fouillde for the forcible manner in which the difficulties we must all have felt 
are stated, and for his admirable endeavours to construct a workable scheme of secondary 
educditiovi."— Journal 0/ Education. 

LOVE-LETTERS OF A WORLDLY WOMAN. By Mrs. W. K. 

Clifford, Author of " Mrs. Keith's Crime," " Aunt Anne," etc. In one vol., 

crown 8vo., 6s. 

" It is that 7-ara avis— 2. volume characterized by knowledge of human nature, and 
brightened by refined wit." — Morning Post. 

"A book that will gladden the hearts of all those who love literature for its own sake."— 
IVorld. 

" I have been reading one of the cleverest books that ever a woman wrote — that is, 
' Love-Letters of a Worldly Woman.' " — Queen. 

" The characterization of the dratiiatis persona in each case is forcible and clear, and the 
letters in which the three stories are embodied are natural and on the whole convincing." — 
A tJietuBum. 

"This volume comes to us in a particularly charming dress, which we hope may entice 
readers to one of the most delicate, most original, and most noticeable books of the season. . . . 
Many writers have pictured to us a woman, but none more successfully than Mrs. Clifford, 
who^e Madge Brooke stands forth distinct and almost flesh and blood, — a human document." 
— Review 0/ Reviews. 

" In short analytical stories of this kind Mrs. Clifford has come to take a unique position 
in England.'' — Black and White. 

BAREROCK ; op, The Island of Pearls. By Henry Nash. 

With numerous full-page and other Illustrations by Lancelot Speed. Large 
crown 8vo. Over 400 pages, handsomely bound, gilt edges, 6s. 

" An excellent work, the interest of which, from commencement to finish, does not flag for 
an instant." — Daily Telegraph. 

" The story is a particularly good one, interesting from start to finish, without being too 
sensational." — Reviexv 0/ Reviews. 

" For fertility of invention, wealth of imagination, and luxuriousness of incident, commend 
us to ' Barerock,' the new story of adventure by Henry lisLsh."— Sheffield Telegraph. 

" A book vastly to our taste— a book to charm all boys, and renew the boy in all who have 
ever been boys." — Saturday Review. 

" A captivating story of adventures by sea and land. ' — Daily News. 



A Selection from Mr. Edward A mold's List. 



FRIENDS OF THE OLDEN TIME. By Alice Gardner, 

Lecturer in History at Newnham College, Cambridge. Illustrated. Square 

8vo., 23. 6d. 

"A capital little book for children, whose interest in history it is desired to stimulate by 
lively and picturesque narratives of the lives of heroes, and the nobler aspects of heroic times. 
Leonidas and Pericles, Solon and Socrates, Camillus and Hannibal, the Gracchi and Alex- 
ander, form the subject of Miss Gardner's animated recitals, which possess all the charm of 
simplicity and clearness that should belong to stories told to children." — Satiirdav RcTtiw. 



WORKS FOR THE LIBRARY. 

Wi MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. By Sir Gerald H. Portal, 

K.C.M.G., C. R., Her Majesty's Consul-General for British East Africa. With 

photogravure portrait, map, and numerous illustrations. Demy 8vo., 15s. 

" The dangers to which the mission was constantly exposed, and the calmness and courage 
with which they were faced are simply and modestly recorded, whilst we obtain also much 
light as to the habits and characteristics ot the Abyssinians as a nation." — United Serrice 
Institution Joii7-nal. 

DARK DAYS IN CHILE: An Account of the Revolution 

of 1891. By Maurice H. Hervey, Special Correspondent of the Times. 

With 15 full-page illustrations. Demy Svc, i6s. 

" We have derived from Mr. Hervey's book a more intimate and vivid notion of things 
and people in Chile, of the forces and the men that were the chief factors in the war, than we 
have derived from any previous source." — Freeman s Journal. 

POLITICAL SCIENCE AND COMPARATIVE CONSTITU- 
TIONAL LAW. By John W. Burgess. Ph.D., LL.D., Dean of the Uni- 
versity Faculty of Political Science in Columbia College, U.S.A. In two 
volumes. Demy 8vo., cloth, 25s. 

"The work is full of keen analysis and suggestive comment, and may be confidently 
recommended to all serious students of comparative politics and jurisprudence." — Times. 

ANIMAL LIFE AND INTELLIGENCE. By C. Lloyd Morgan, 

F.G.S., Principal of University College, Bristol, Author of "Animal Sketches," 

"The Springs of Conduct," etc. With 40 illustrations and a photo-etched 

frontispiece. Second Edition. 512 pp., demy 8vo. , cloth, i6s. 

" The work will prove a boon to all who desire to gain a general knowledge of the more 
interesting problems of modern biology and psychology by the perusal of a single compact, 
luminous, and very readable volume."— Dr. A. R. Wallace, in Nature. 

A GENERAL ASTRONOMY. By Charles A. Young, Professor 

of Astronomy in the College of New Jersey, Associate of the Royal Astro- 
nomical Society, Author of "The Sun," etc. In one volume, 550 pages. 
With 250 illustrations, and supplemented with the necessary tables. Royal 8vo., 
half-morocco, 12s. 6d. 

"A grand book by a grand man. The work should become a text-book wherever the 
English language is spoken, for no abler, no more trustworthy compilation of the kind has 
ever appeared for the advantage of students in every line of higher education." — Fro/. Fiazzi 
Smyth. 

THE LIFE, ART, AND CHARACTERS OF SHAKESPEARE. 

By Henry N. Hudson, LL.D., Editor of " The Harvard Sliakespeare," etc. 

Two vols. Large crown Svc, cloth, 21s. 

" They deserve to find a place in every library devoted to Shakespeare, to editions of his 
works, to his biography, or to the works of commentators." — Athentrum. 



A Selection from Mr. Edward Arnold's List. 



THE BEST ELIZABETHAN PLAYS. Edited, with an Intro- 
duction, by William R. Thayer. The selection comprises " The Jew of 
Malta," by Marlowe; "The Alchemist," by Ben Jonson ; " Philaster," by 
Beaumont and Fletcher; "The Two Noble Kinsmen," by Fletcher and 
Shakespeare ; and " The Duchess of Malfi," by Webster. 612 pages. Large 
crown 8vo., cloth, 7s. 6d. 
"A useful edition slightly expurgated." — Times. 

A HANDBOOK TO DANTE. By Giovanni A. Scartazzini. 

Translated from the Italian, with notes and additions, by Thomas Davidson, 

M.A. In two parts ; the first treating of Dante's life, the second of his works. 

To every section is appended a valuable Bibliography. Crown 8vo. , cloth, 6s. 

" This handbook gives us just what we require, a faithful representation of the man, his 

life, his love, his historj', and his work." — Perth Advertiser. 

DANTE'S ELEVEN LETTERS. Translated and Edited by the 

late C. S. Latham, with a Preface by Professor Charles Eliot Norton. 
Crown 8vo. , cloth, 6s. 
" An interesting and serviceable contribution to Dante literature." — AthencFU))i. 

THE JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY : A Journal of Animal 

Morphology, devoted principally to embryological, anatomical, and histological 
subjects. Edited by C. O. Whitman, Professor of Biology in Clark University, 
U.S.A. Three numbers in a volume, of 100 to 150 large 4to. pages, with 
numerous plates. Single numbers, 17s. 6d. ; subscription to the volume of 
three numbers, 45s. Volumes I. to V. can now be obtained, and the first 
two numbers of Volume VI. 

" The articles are all able, all excellent of their kind, and all informing and suggestive."— 
Glasgow Herald. 

THE FORUM : The Famous American Review, which holds 

a position in the United States equivalent to that of the Nineteenth Century 
in England. Price 2s. 6d. monthly ; annual subscription, post free, 30s. 
A conspicuous feature in the Review is the prominence it gives to articles by European 

contributors, nearly every number containing articles by the best English writers. It is 

obtainable in England about the loth of each month. 

THE WESTMINSTER REVIEW. Price 2s. 6d. monthly. 
THE PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW. Editedby J. G.Schurman, 

Professor of Philosophy in Cornell University, U.S.A. S;.\ Numbers a year. 
Single Numbers, 3s, 6d. ; Annual Subscription, 12s. 6d. 

SIX YEARS OF UNIONIST GOVERNMENT, 1886-1892. 

By C. A. WinTM(jRK, M.P. Post 8vo. , cloth, 2>. 6(i. 

PUBLICATIONS OF THE INDIA OFFICE AND OF THE 

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. Mr. Edward Arnold, having been 
appointed Publisher to the Secretary of State for India in Council, has now on 
sale the above publications at 37, Bedford Street, Strand, and is prepared to 
supply full information concerning them on application. 

INDIAN GOVERNMENT MAPS. Any of the Map.s in this 

magnificent series can now be obtained at the shortest notice from Mr. Edwakd 
Arnold, Publisher to the India Office. 



LONDON : / 

EDWARD ARNOLD, 37, BEDFORD STREET, STRAND, W.C. 
JJublisIicr to the fnbia C)fficc. 



Webster Family Library d Veterinary Me 
Curnmirtgs School of Veterinary Medici 
Tufts University 
200 Westtx)ro Road 



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