The feast took place at the village inn. The parish was large and there were a good many tithe-payers present. The Agent, a leading solicitor in the town whom I knew, rode on horse-back from Brighton, in top-boots and spurs, and a friend, both of his and of the Rector's rode, with him as a guest; the Rector himself was present, dressed in a tail-coat, knee-breeches, silk stockings and shoes. After the usual business was over the festivities began and were kept up till a late hour; but when the party broke up it was found that the Rector was unable to walk. The Agent and the friend agreed to see him to his home about a mile away. By walking one on each side and supporting him they got on pretty well until they came to a place where, in those days, a stream several inches deep ran over the road (it now runs under the road in a culvert) and this stream was crossed by a foot-bridge of one plank raised three or four feet on wooden piles. This was an insurmountable obstacle to further progress, and the Agent, having top-boots on, said he would carry the Rector over the stream on his back. This he did, but the Rector's silk stockings came in contact at every step with the spurs which caused loud complaints and ejaculations, "How these d——d brambles do scratch!" Home was at last reached, and it was then discovered that one tail of the Rector's coat was missing, and, they dared not present their friend to his wife in that condition, they cut off the other tail and made the coat into an Eton jacket. Still they could not summon up courage to face the meeting of those two, so they placed the Rector against the front door, rang the bell and disappeared in the darkness. When the door was unfastened, the Rector's weight sent it in with a crash, and a female voice was heard speaking in such high, shrill tones that they were very glad they had allowed "discretion to be the better part of valour."
|<< Previous - Threshing or Winnowing||Contents||Sussex Bell Teams - Next >>|