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he had no objection, but believed that the Churchwarden's accounts were in a very confused state.
After dinner I visited West's wife, who is much weaker, and not able now to leave her bed. The young man at Wick Lane is, I should think, very near his end, as he can only speak in a whisper, and his legs are much swollen. Goold's wife much the same, Cottle's daughter I found very little altered in the three weeks I have been absent. Mr. Barter 1 administered the Sacrament to her as I requested he would do. I promised to lend her a book to read as she said it would be an amusement to her. From hence I walked to Timsbury and drank tea and chatted with Mr. and Mrs. Barter till ten o'clock. Mrs. Jarrett I found was at Camerton for three days lately, and is expected with the newly married pair this week. The budget will then be opened.
Monday, July 8th.-I called upon John Rossiter with a list I had made out for the Irish contribution to which I set my name for £5. I then asked him his reason for not attending the visitation as my Churchwarden on Friday, he replied that Weeks' accounts respecting the Bells were in such a state and the difficulty of collecting the money so great, that he would have nothing to do with it. I answered, that he had performed the office of Churchwarden in signing the Briefs and other matters, and having given no notice of his intention to decline it, I had considered him as such, but if he wished to give it up, I should substitute Keel in his place, and send him on the 16th to be sworn in. . . . That he (Rossiter) was to all intents and purposes my Churchwarden, but if he was disposed to consider the duties of his office as unpleasant and purposed discharging them unwillingly, I would, as I before said, nominate Keel. To this he answered that it was Weeks he had to complain of, that he had collected some of the bells money and never accounted for it, if he collected still greater sums and spent them, they would come upon him; I said it was his duty to see that the sums collected
1 Wm. Brudenell Barter, M.A. (Prebendary of Wells, J.P., Rector of Timsbury, 1783–1825).
were rightly secured, that the Parish, when I dismissed the man for his ill conduct, ought to have been better advised than to put him in an office which would give him power to defraud them, they might be sure if he could advise Widcombe after having embezzled the Parish Money, to drive off his stock, that he could not be an honest man, and they were rightly served for their folly, they ought to have learnt experience from the example of Lippiat in a former instance, when I had objected to him as Overseer, that the Parish immediately appointed him, and were cheated as they deserved to be. That it was the conduct of the Parish in these particulars that has made me determine not to attend any Vestry without I was obliged to do so, and I full well saw that they would so much increase their difficulties that ruin must ensue. He said this was certainly the case, but he was afraid to act; for if he opposed such things, he should make the people his enemies, and they would injure his character behind his back.
I told him to do his duty and not to be afraid of what people said of him, that I always acted upon this principle, and no more minded the malevolence and calumny of the people of Camerton than I did the whistling of the wind. 'But you have not got your bread to gain by it as I have ' was the reply. Yet, I answered, if one is to be deterred from acting uprightly and doing justice through apprehension of displeasing knaves there is a great chance of displeasing One whose favour we ought to be more anxious to secure.
The true meaning of all this is, that Rossiter as well as Weeks, and he as well as twenty others are open to having things brought home to themselves if they venture to stir so the whole mass must undergoe the state of fermentation, and continue dung till they rot. I clearly see I cannot live longer with this people, I am so continually disgusted with their conduct, and in the situation I am placed, I cannot avoid noticing it. At the conclusion of our conversation Rossiter agreed to go round with Hicks to-morrow to collect the money.
I afterwards visited the three invalids, Dawson, the man in Wick Lane seemed in a dying state, yet he was able to attend to the prayers I read to him. On returning home, I selected some of the Coal fossils, for Miss Seagrim, in order to go to Bath to-morrow when I send the car and having brought up my Journal went to bed a little after ten.
Tuesday, July 9th.-The poor man in Wick Lane died in the night. After breakfast I sent my Car into Bath for the boys who returned to dinner; the interval till their arrival was occupied in settling accounts. I had to pay the mowers £4, Heal £3, also Goold £3. There are altogether three mows of hay about thirty tons. The barn floor is laid, but the doors not yet fixed (the rooms of the house lathed but not plaistered) I gave orders for completing the work as speedily as possible, since I must put in a tenant by Michaelmas, if Mrs. Jarrett does not rent the Tithe. If the patroness could get rid of me altogether, and let Mr. Gooch step into my shoes, it would be a good stroke of policy. I am inclined to think this Lady looks with a Jezebel's eye on Naboth's Vineyard: yet though sons of Belial might be found in abundance, thanks to our well administered laws, it is more difficult to carry into execution acts of treachery and malevolence, than under a despotic government Je crains mon Dieu et je n'ai point d'autre crainte.'
Whilst attending Cottle's daughter this morning her Mother told me, that Mr. Gooch, who is to be married this day to Miss Jarrett was expected at Camerton on Friday, that the Lady herself was not expected for a month or six weeks, and in the plenitude of her gossip, she continued to state that Mrs. Jarrett, when here, was very thin and unwell; that she cried over her daughter (Cottle's) as if she had been her own: that when she told her that Mr. Skinner had been so good as to call before he left home: she (Mrs. Jarrett) said she had a great regard for Mr. Skinner herself and would go up to her knees in snow to do him any good.
When I reflect that these Cottles have been Mrs. Jarrett's agents, and the collectors of every kind of village calumny to amuse, I think I may read through them and her on the present occasion (as) Mrs. Jarrett expressed very differently to Clark the Schoolmaster in February, when she turned him from her house screaming out as the man described 'like a Fiend': 'Now there will be no gossiping with those I hate.' This certainly was a little unguarded in this politic Lady but it is not the first time she has laid herself open to my notice.
With respect to the Cottles, having employed them as far as they could be made subservient to her plans against me, she then pretends a great regard for me: Mrs. Jarrett reminds me of the Fable of the Ostrich-Sed satis, jam satis.
Wednesday, July 10th.-The boys called at Radstock and I was concerned to hear Mrs. Richard Boodle 1 had been so seriously ill. . . . About the middle of the day the Bells rang out a merry peal, in consequence, I understood, of the intelligence of Miss Jarrett's marriage having been received. In the evening there was a Funeral of an Infant and I could not help remarking how fully the tolling for the deceased had been absorbed by the more merry news. Harris, the Clerk, not being in attendance (at the funeral) I enquired the reason and learnt he had been despatched by order of Mrs. Jarrett, to carry bridecake round the neighbourhood.
Bacon called in the evening and paid his last halfyear's rent of glebe and tythe, he wished a further reduction of rent which I was not inclined to make.
As there was great shouting at the Coal Works, music playing, singing, etc., etc., which I could hear from the Parsonage field, I imagined at first that the whole populace participated in the glad tidings which set the Bells aringing; but Bacon informed me the Proprietors of the Works were present at the Bailiff's and had distributed money, on account of the discovery of a fresh vein of coal, which promised to be very advantageous. This, I think is indeed
The Rev. Richard Boodle, Rector of Radstock, 1814-1853.
good news for the Parish, as it regards the future prospects of so many who depend on the prosperity of the Mines.
Thursday, July 11th.-Day came in the morning and paid his adjustments-there must be something wrong, but I cannot detect it: the whole of the Parks for which I used to receive from Chichester £20 per annum, when he compounded for Hay, only nets me now when fed off, £6 II. 0. Out of this sum I paid Day two guineas for rent of the Church road, he informed me that the Lambs would be ready to be tithed in the evening. I afterwards passed three hours in my Study, then visited the sick. The Boys rode into Bath to see their Grandmother. I therefore dined alone. After dinner, I walked with my servant, Heal, to Day's Farm to tithe the Lambs: sixteen came to my share, but there was a little shabby manœuvring about the last, which was a lamb with its back broke, which Day said fell to my share; however I must take things as I find them, I cannot yet help myself, but I must take an early opportunity of getting a tenant, as I would not have this interruption to my usual pursuits for twice the value of the living.
The poor man Dawson who died on Tuesday was buried this evening and a merry peal succeeded, as in the pre
I understand that £2 are ordered to the ringers, as Dilly the Butler asked me how I should recommend its being paid? I said if possible, one half to be spent in Beer, the other to be divided amongst them: but I feared this could not be done. I shall be heartily glad when this scene of drunkenness and uproar is at an end. No work done at the Pits and the people are more brutified than ever.
Friday, July 12th.-Between eleven and twelve last night I was awoke by a jingling of bells announcing the arrival of the Bride and Bridegroom; and before I got up, I was destined to be grievously tormented by a more noisy peal which continued the whole of the day with little intermission. In the course of the morning I called upon Cottle's daughter who continues daily losing strength,