The title comes from a book I have which is the Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799 – 1818.It is a pleasant little book (though I don't think he was a very benevolent Parson - he seemed to find the poor of the parish very tedious!). I found it of particular interest as he was writing around the time that my Devon ancestors were moving village to search for work, on account of the Napoleonic Wars. Agricultural labourers - of which there were many - underwent terrible hardships because of the price of wheat. He was the Parson at Overstowey, on the edge of the Quantock Hills in Somerset. He and his wife lost 4 of their 5 children to an epidemic of scarlet fever in the space of a fortnight, and raised only Mary (who survived) and William, who was born when his wife was 47. A Welshman by birth, he was born in Denbighshire in 1746. Sadly, many of his 90 diaries didn't survive. He must have been quite an outspoken character, and his hatred of all Democrats, Methodists and Catholics probably found him few friends.
A comment of his, one May day in 1800:
"There is a fire downstairs in the parlour which should not be at this time of year." Oops - bet the maid got it in the neck for that one . . .
He certainly spoke as he saw:
Oct. 5 1803: "Mr and Miss Keats could not come to dinner having had a serious Rumpus amongst the servants. That tribe of beings are much altered of late years, no subordination among them. The Glorious Effects of the French Revolution."
January 12, 1812:
"Rode out to Plainsfield and spoke to Farmer Stone about this Infamous Girl they have taken into the Parish (Porter). She will corrupt the whole Parish if she continues here, the parents take her in the hopes to make gain of her, and moreover they expect support from the Parish too. I will put a stop to this and Farmer Stone says he has a Summons for her for she does not belong to this Parish. She is the daughter of Villain Porter's wife by the brother of the husband before marriage. It is grievous to have such things take place under ones nose and yet not be able to stop it. Alas - what will this world come to?" If only he knew . . .
I think he had rather a sharp wit. Perhaps a tad judgemental too . . .
“Briffet is here to kill the sow. A horrible looking fellow, his very countenance is sufficient to kill anything, a large hulky fellow, a face absolutely furrowed with the small pox (a very uncommon thing in these days of inoculations) two ferret eyes and a little turned up nose with a mouth wide as a barn door and lips as thick and projecting they look like two rollers of raw beef bolstered up to guard against, as it were, the approach to his nasty ragged rotten teeth. However, he is a good pig killer”.