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wanted some cream of tartar; but as soon as
my wife got out of bed, she vowed she should
come down. She found Mr. Porter, Mr. Fuller
and his wife, with a lighted candle and part of
a bottle of wine and a glass. The next thing,"
says T. T., " was to have me down stairs."  As
he would not come down, they went up to him,
dragged him out of bed, made him put on his
wife's petticoats, and dance without shoes and
stockings, until they had emptied the bottle of
wine, and also a bottle of their victim's beer.
Doubtless they were punishing him for having
left their company. It was not till about three
o'clock in the afternoon that these people found
their way to their respective homes. On the
Sunday following, the diary says, " We had as
good a sermon as ever I heard Mr. Porter preach,
it being against swearing."

Of the prevalence of the habit of swearing the
back parlour diary gives frequent illustration.
The debates at the vestry meetings seems to
have consisted chiefly in successive rounds of
oaths. " In the even I went down to the vestry;
there was no business of any moment to transact,
but oaths and imprecations seemed to resound
from all sides of the room; the sounds seemed
to be harsh and grating, so that I came home
soon after seven. I believe, if the penalty
were paid assigned by the Legislature, by every
person that swears that constitute our vestry,
there would be no need to levy any tax to maintain
our poor." The poor might literally have
been fed upon curses. Again, on another day,
he wrote: " After dinner I went down to Jones
to the vestry. We had several warm arguments
at our vestry to-day, and several volleys of
execrable oaths oftentime redouned, from
almost all parts of the room. A most rude and
shocking thing at public meetings."

Mrs. Turner had continual ill health; the
diarist becomes melancholy and affectionate as
her life draws to a close. His recreations have
to be enjoyed without her. She can no longer
go to see the mountebank at the next village, or
the æsmorama, or the person at Jones's with an
electrical machine. " My niece and I went to
see it; and thoe I have seen it several years
agoe, I think there is something in it agreeable
and instructing, but at the same time very
surprising. As to my own part, I am quite at a
loss to form any idea of the phœinomina." The
wife dies at last, and the diarist observes:
"I may justly say with the incomparable
Mr. Young, ' Let them whoever lost an angel,
pity me.'"

Two or three years after the death of his
"dear Peggy," Mr. Turner, who pined in his
journal " for want of the company of the more
softer sex," lost his friend Mr. French, " after a
long and lingering illness, which it is to be
doubted was first brought on by the to frequent
use of spirituous liquors, and particularly gin. If
it was possible to make any estimate of the
quantity he drank for several years, I should
think he could not drink less, on a moderate
computation, than twenty gallons a year." This
was looked upon as a degeneracy by the diarist.
"Custom," he says, "has brought tea and
spirituous liquors so much in fashion, that I
dare be bold to say, they often, to often, prove
our ruin. I think, since I have lived at Hothly,
I never knew trade so dull, or money so scarce,
the whole neighbourhood being almost reduced
to poverty."

We part from Mr. Turner with the approach
of the event that brought his diary to an abrupt
end. About four years after the death of his
Peggy, he married Molly Hicks, a girl with
expectations of property, and the daughter of a
yeoman, though herself a servant to Luke Spence,
Esq., of South Malling. The courtship was
tremendously fatiguing. On one day, says the
worthy little shopkeeper, who owns that neither
he nor his Molly are good-looking, "in the afternoon,
rode over to Chiddingly to pay my charmer,
or intended wife, or sweetheart, or whatever
other name may be more proper, a visit at her
father's, where I drank tea, in company with
their family and Miss Ann Thatcher. I supped
there on some rasures of bacon. It being an
excessive wet and windy night, I had the opportunity,
sure I should say the pleasure, or perhaps
some might say the unspeakable happiness, to
sit up with Molly Hicks, or my charmer, all
night. I came home at forty minutes past five
in the morningI must not say fatigued; no,
no, that could not be; it could be only a little
sleepy for want of rest." These night-watches
of courtship, filled, he says, with serious
discourse, were rather frequent, and at last the
book in the back parlour contained the honest
confession: " Very dull and sleepy; this courting
does not agree with my constitution, and
perhaps it may be only taking pains to create
more pains."

Such a sketch of the life of a village shopkeeper
a hundred years ago, reminds us of a
change of manners as conspicuous among the
people as among the clergy of the rural parishes.
With all the defects peculiar to provincial life
as there are defects peculiar also to life in great
citiesat the present day, we are surely
wholesomer and happier than we could possibly have
been, and we live longer lives than we could
easily have lived, under the social conditions
which afflicted Mr. Turner, grocer, draper,
chandler, &c., of East Hothly, and which
impoverished so many of his neighbours.

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