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Harry Furniss.

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counterbalance this by the charm of their
attire. I would suggest, with all due defer-
ence to feminine taste and fashions, that a
smart red jacket, a coquettish hat, and a dress
with some pretence to shape, would render the
presence of the ladies indispensable as orna-
ments to the links.

In the summertime tefinis is a great feature
of Eastbourne, and the tournament in Devon-
shire Park is one of the prettiest sights of
athletic England. But it is not for tennis, or
golf, or any of the usual seaside attractions
that Eastbourne is becoming notorious. Every
topic of conversation pales before that of the
Salvation Army.

The Wish Tower is a turf-crowned eminence
at the west end of the Parade. The chosen
resort of loving couples, it is the scene of the
mildest of flirtations. Nurses with their peram-
bulators wheel their charges up and down the
gravelled walk, and little children who have
passed the perambulator period of their exist-
ence play merrily about upon the grass. It is
a perfect picture of peace ; but the rolling of



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l62 FLYING VISITS.

the drum is heard in the distance, and the air is
rent by the discordant notes of brass instru-
ments and the jingle of tambourines, and
presently a motley crew approaches. The
white-faced, vacant-eyed, open-mouthed, un-
educated religionist is followed by the feeble,

tottering imbecile, the
professional howlers of
the gutter, and a de-
tach ment of half-
amused, half-sneering
camp-followers. This
is modern religion!
They take possession
of the peaceful stretch
of sward, the children
cease their games and
vanish terror-stricken,
the poor invalids ner-
vously make their way
indoors, and those who
are too ill to leave the
house writhe in agony in their chamber,
their nerves unstrung by the ear - splitting
din, and they are unable to get the rest
their state demands. This is the Salvation
Army, always the same, whether in the



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EASTBOURNE AFTER THE SEASON. 163

quiet London suburbs, the pretty inland
villages or the peaceful seaside ; but at East-
bourne we have not only a contrast to the
picture of peace, we have a veritable war.
When I was there the inhabitants had one of
their most sanguinary battles with ** the Army ; "
the Citadel was stormed, the windows smashed,
and the riotous scenes that took place, already
graphically described in the papers, were a
disgrace to civilization. These professional
religionists had brought this upon their own
heads by declaring their intention of importing
** converted '' pugilists, who, with ** Salvation "
across their chests and silver in their pockets,
were to give the townspeople ** wot for ** for
daring to protest against their town being
made obnoxious to themselves and to their
visitors, with the evident result of driving away
the latter from one of the most delightful
health resorts that grace our Southern shore.
Will cant and Barnumism win the day,
and will Eastbourne be forced to sink all its
interests and bow the knee to the *' General " ?
Perhaps, then, the motley band will parade the
pier, or, happy thought, even surround it in
open boats. Willingly would most of the in-
habitants of Eastbourne provide the craft, if



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l64 FLYING VISITS,

there was any prospect of a good strong breeze
rising which would carry the boats with their
crews far from their shores. At present the
pier is a safe retreat, and 1 was rather amused
to watch one visitor who had fled from the
turmoil, and sat, enveloped in his ulster, at the
end farthest from the shore. I dare say he
was pitying others less fortunate than himself,
who thus late in the season had come down to
the Sussex coast for peace and quietude, and
instead found themselves in the midst of a
modern edition of Dante's Inferno.



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w



Eastbourne.



My dear M.,

I am too^nnerved to write you a long letter
after witnessing Bedlam let loose, which just about
describes the Salvation Army disturba7ices here. I
can hardly join the Skeleton Army^ as my Jigure is as
unsuited for that as it is for the Life Guards ; but I
must say that I feel strongly for the poor policeman^
whose " life is not a happy one,'' and who gets knocked
about here duriftg these riots for the benefit of the
British Barnum.

Yours, etc.




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PINES AND PARSONS.



Why not Bradlaughmouth ? — Retired Warriors — The Bed-
room Brigade — A more Apropos Statue — Church, Ser-
mons, and Curates—The Sanctity of the Winter Garden
Destroyed — A Sumptuous Hotel — The Valley of the
Bourne — An Awe-inspiring Fountain — The Invalids'
Walk— Sir William.

Bradlaugh and Bournemouth have not been
very closely associated, yet unconsciously
the people of Bournemouth, who are Churchy
in the strict sense of the word, have the statue
in their midst which I show in my sketch,
although they themselves are apparently un-
aware of the fact. In the very centre of the
town is a museum or art-gallery, or something
of that kind, in the garden attached to which
stands this statue, and it is probably the
untutored hand of the grand old sculptor.
Father Time, that has converted the features
of Wellington or Napier into those of the more
latter-day celebrity. Bournemouth is a new
place, and this work of art, to judge from the
marks of time upon it, was probably placed
there long before the hotels were built, the
pier thought of, or the health-restoring prop-



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PINES AND PARSONS. . 167

erties of the place discovered. Why was it
not then rechristened Bradlaughmouth ?

It is very Strang
retired miHtary men,
vocation in the e
portion of Hfe was
killing their fellow-cre
should find it difficu
when they have doff(
the red coat ar
donned mufti, to k
time. You general
find them mopir
about in Cathedr
cities, sampling tl
vegetables in the gree
grocer's shop, bargai
ing with the butche

or carrying home T ^

Times, which they ha ■

obtained on the hi
system at the rate of
one penny per hour.
These remarks apply^

to the un - invalided portion of the ^/\^
whilom defenders of our country ; the
less robust you will usually find at watering-



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l68 FLYING VISITS.

places such as Bournemouth. It is odd
that men who have seen so much of the
world in former days should be content
to vegetate as they do in after life. Perhaps
their minds become narrowed with their
incomes, and they go to the other extreme ;
perhaps, also, this is exemplified at no
place more than at Bournemouth. One day
I was asked by the doctor attending my
wife if I would Hke the *' Bedroom Brigade "
to visit her. I at first thought that this was a
body of prettily-uniformed trained nurses, but
to my surprise I was informed that the Bed-
room Brigade of Bournemouth was a number
of retired military men who went from house
to house to sing hymns at the bedsides of
invalids. What I said on hearing this I will
not repeat, but I hinted that I might welcome
them with my riding-whip in one hand and
the garden-hose in the other. The Brigade
did not storm the castle I tenanted for the
winter.

One of the features of Bournemouth is that
the tide never ebbs or flows. This we are
told ; but I only know that when I have ridden
any distance along the sands, I have had to
return pretty sharply by the way I came, or



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PINES AND PARSONS. 169

vtd the cliffs, to avoid the incoming waters.
But if the sea does not ebb or flow to any
great extent, there is a perpetual flood-tide of
humanity at the railway station, which is in-
creasing year by year. The railway has done
more to make Bournemouth than any enter-
prise on the part of the powers that be, and I
would recommend that the inhabitants should
remove the statue of Bradlaugh — much as the
memory of that excellent man deserves to be
perpetuated, even at Bournemouth — and put
up in place of it a statue of the Chairman of
the London and South-
Western Railway, or the
energetic manager, Mr.
Charles Scotter, who has
done so much to make
Bournemouth what it is.
The people of Bourne-
mouth may be classed
under two heads — doctors
and patients ; of course,
I am writing of Bournemouth as a wintering-
place, as it lays claim to be. Not being
myself an invalid, but, fortunately, rather
of a robust nature, I felt somewhat of an
intruder when I wintered there. The great



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170 FLYING VISITS,

fault of Bournemouth is that there is no
place to go to but church, and nothing to
discuss but sermons, or the charms of the latest
curate. An antidote has been suggested
in the shape of a Winter Garden, in the centre
of the town, in which to hold concerts, &c.,
but my experience of Bournemouth has been
that if anything of the sort were provided, the
management would have to provide the audi-
ences as well. If it comes to that, perhaps
Tussaud will do so. There is a charming
Winter Garden at Bournemouth, but, alas ! a
very good and respectable circus performed
there once ; religious hands were held up in
horror, eyes were uplifted, the sanctity of the
place was destroyed, the Garden has been left
to rack and ruin. I am rather surprised that
the banner of the Salvation Army does not
already float from the top.

There is no doubt about it that Bourne-
mouth is extremely prettily situated, and
perhaps I may be excused if my description of
its natural charms savors somewhat of the
familiar phraseology of the guide book. As
the visitor passes that beautiful little spot
Christchurch, en route to Bournemouth, he
lets the carriage window down so as to inhale



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PINES AND PARSONS. 171

the fragrant odor of the pine-trees, at the
risk of getting a cinder in his eye from the
engine, a sniff of the stoker's oil-rag, or the
spicy zephyrs from the Bournemouth gas-
works. Arriving at his destination, he is
poHtely escorted to the 'bus of the Bath Hotel,
and he soon finds himself in a veritable home
of luxury and a temple of Art. As he walks
through this museum of treasures he halts on
his way to his rooms, to renew acquaintance
with some celebrated Academy picture by a
modern master, whose work now hangs on the
walls of the hotel. In his rooms he finds art
treasures rich and rare around him, which are
soon described to him by his host, who is well
known as a traveller, and is not the least
ornamental member of the Geographical
Society. He must not leave this princely
hotel without paying a visit to its Japanese
museum, stocked with the rarest of treasures,
which Mr. Russell Cotes has collected and
brought home with him.

Passing through the spacious gardens, the
visitor finds himself on the East Cliff, with
the charming valley of the Bourne lying
stretched out at his feet. In parenthesis, I
may* remark that this is suggestive of the



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172 FLYING VISITS.

chestnut that the ''valet lay smiling before
him," for how a valley lies stretched at your
feet is a mystery wrapped in the imagination
of authors of guide books.

The valley is studded with houses of



singular artistic beauty, nestling as it were
among the foliage of J;he health-restorative
fir-trees, and the silvery Bourne, softly mur-
muring in its pebbly bed as it meanders on its
seaward course, whispers a gentle protest to
the stones which bar its progress with their up-
raised head. Be it recorded, this gentlest and
most refined of rivers is swept out regularly



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PINES AND PARSONS. 173

every morning with brooms, as carefully as the
rooms in the houses which are dotted along on
either side of it. The strains of music lure
you to the centre of the town, and here you
can spend many an hour in admiring the
beauties of the well-stocked and handsomely-
appointed establishments, and some days in
regretting that Shoolbred or Whiteley have
not established his business and his charges
in Bournemouth. Perhaps you may be a bit
ruffled in spirit after looking at your butcher s
or fishmonger's bill, so it is not only artistic
but diplomatic of the tradespeople to supply
gratuitous music to soothe their customers.
Walking through Dean Park, which is like a
corner of Hampstead Heath, you leave the
cemetery upon your right and strike into



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174 FLYING VISITS,

the woods. Should you do so from the
East side on horseback, as I have frequently
done, you may find that you can halloo till you
are hoarse, but you can't get out of the wood,
for the proprietor, who is kind enough to open
the gate at one end, closes the gate at the other ;
and if the lodge-keeper happens to have gone
shopping, or is having a siesta, you may find
yourself an hour or more late for dinner. But
then what more can you or your horse want to
sustain animation than the life-giving odor of
the pines ? Bournemouth must not be offended



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PINES AND PARSONS. 175



if it is termed a mushroom town, as it is only
sixty years old, and is still growing. And it
must not kill the goose that lays the golden
eggs ; in other words, it must not fell the trees
that bring the invalids' money into the town,
and it will take some time yet for the visitors
to discover that they can buy pine-oil in Ox-
ford Street, which, rubbed on their railings and
doorposts, would benefit them just the same.
Bournemouth is not altogether artificial. By
nature it is prettily situated, and according to
medical dicta is a heaven-sent haven for the
invalid. But Nature has been aided by Art.
Could anything be more beautiful, more artistic,
more awe-inspiring than this fountain in the
public gardens, which I have sketched on the



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176 FLYING VISITS.

Spot ? But the name of the place in Bourne-
mouth is not altogether a misnomer. I refer
to the *' Invalids' Walk," /; - . •
where the in
san d w i c h e d
between the
robust, and
where the
beauty, wealth
and f a s h i o n

most do con- ^

gregate. ^-..^

Most guide-book authors would probably

'^ with a list
itinguished
who do
:, or have
nted, the
: e. They
d doubt-
ell you that
ir William
Harcourt
comes
- from his
country seat in the New Forest and sits
beaming under the Bournemouth firs ; and



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178 FLYING VISITS.

doubtless they would tell you that Lord Port-
arlington, the resident notability, is the moving
spirit of the place. This is true.

Doubtless they will also tell you something
about Bournemouth eulogistic of its moderate
charges, its many amusements and attractions,
and of its continual round of pleasure and
gayety. This is not true.



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Bournemouth.

My dear Af.,

Arrived in bronchial Bournemouth this
afternoon. Rain coming dow7i iyi torrents^ so it is quite
appropriate that we should go to the Royal Bath
Hotel. It is kept by a genial Scotchman^ not of the
name of Mackintosh^ but Mr. Russell Cotes ^ F.R.G.S.
and C.B. (Commander of the Bath, of course /).
This princely hotel is not only gorgeous but comfort-
able^ and Lika Joko felt at home at once among the
curiosities in the Japanese Museum; but you will
see what I say about it in my article in " Black and
Whiter . . .

. . • There was a theatre here once, but the
Bournemouth visitors would not enter one^ so they did
away zvith the boxes and galleries, and now the build-
ing is known as the Town Hall. My experience of
Town Halls is that they are almost invariably dreary



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l8o FLYING VISITS.

and draughty. I could do nothing with my audience ;
in fact, the matinee I gave here this afternoon is the
only occasion I have made my appearance on the plat-
form amidst dead silence, or, to put it in theatrical
phraseology, ^^ without a hand'' Not a smile or a
laugh could I extract, and I felt that although I had
been a success everywhere else, it zvas impossible to be
humorous in such a place and with such an audience.
I was told beforehand not to expect much, as my audi-
ence could not laugh, only having one lung between
three of them ; but surely there would have been no
danger in indulging in a smile now and then, and
when I waxed eloquent, in giving me a hand. No,
they were as cold and chilly as the weather itself ;
and I was beginniftg to feel that I must sit down my-
self and turn the whole proceedifigs into a Quakers*
meeting, when a telegram was handed to me from the
wings. It came from Mr, John Aird, tvho knew I
was at Bournemouth that day, and was sent from the
House of Commons to tell me the sad news of the
death of the First Lord of the Treasury, Mr. W. H,
Smith. I came forward, and, as the papers said,
" in a few touching and eloquent words " broke the
sad tidings to my audience. I flatter myself that
not ofte of the countless ministers who pervade Bourne-
mouth could have done it more sincerely or more



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FLYING VISITS.



i8l



iouckingly^ and when I etdogized the late Leader and
gave a short peroration instead of my usual humor-
ous remarks about him, the audience ivoke up and be^
came quite enthusiastic. It was
the style of thing they were
accustomed to, and they felt at
last there ivas something to
appreciate — they had not alto-
gether wasted their sanctimoni-
ous afternoon. . . .

. . . / shall be glad to get
away from Botirnemouth as soon
as possible. I shall have to
brave the wrath of the Professor^
as the cemetery here is well-stocked, and he wofCt have
half enough time to ^^do " it thoroughly. . . .

Yours, etc..





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w



Godalming.



My dear M.^

Just a line to tell you that I pass through
town to-morrozu on my way north, and am looking
forward to having a chat with you during my brief
breathing space in the city of cities. I promise you
faithfully that I will abstain from all mention of
the " Humours of Parliament " or the Professor : I
should think you have had enough of them by this
time. I feel it my incumbent duty to enliven the
monotony of touring every now and then by a prac-
tical joke y which I generally perpetrate at the expense
of Mac. We have just left an old-fashioned hotel at
LeweSy in which the Boots, as well as Mac, has been
my victim. On retiring at night, I fished out of my
boot-bag one boot out of each pair. There were five
different boots altogether, and these I placed carefully



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FLYING VISITS, 1 83

in a row outside my door. In the morning I was
awoke by a muttering outside in the passage^ and I
chuckled to myself at the discomfiture of the Boots. ,
When he had finished his soliloquy and gone his way
I opened tfie door ; there were the five boots cleaned^



all in a row. I rung the bell violently and said
there must be some mistake^ all my boots were odd
ones. They were all for the right foot, and I told
them I wasn't an oivner of a wooden leg. The poor
Boots was up a tree — a boot-tree, in fact — and could
only scratch his head. Then I opined that it must
have been my companion's mischievous humor, and
suggested that he, the Boots, should find some means



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1 84 FLYING VISITS.

of retaliation ; so he selected a pair of my boots
which most resembled Mac's, and put them outside his
door, while I packed Mac's away in my bag. I
walked off to the station as usual, and had really for-
gotten all about the incident, and the train was just
about to start, when I found that the Itiggage had not
turned up. However, it arrived just in tiine, with
Mac limping painfully along by the side, and high up
on the hill I could see the Boots convulsed with laugh-
ter, and pointing Mac out to an amused group of the
hotel servants. I suppose it was the feeliiig of a second
boyhood that prompted me to perpetrate this joke, as I

was on my way to
'■'=^==^=^^^ " = — a public school —

Charterhouse, to
wit — where I gave
my entertainment
to an excellent and
appreciative atidi-
ence of the boys a7id
their friends. At
the time of writing I am returning to town by the last
train, which insists upon stopping at every little out-
of-the-way station to take in milk-cans. I think there
is nothing so irritating in travelling as the clattering
and banging of milk-cans. I would rather travel in a



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FLYING VISITS. 1 85

cattle-triick with the beasts themselves than on a train
which stops to take in their produce. It annoys me
so titat I must leave everything till I see you and have
a chat with you over a cup of coffee^ without milk.
As ivhen I am with you tJte subject of the Professor
is tabooed^ I may tell you now that he is staying till
Monday at Lewes ^ where he is going to spend a happy
Sunday inspecting the jaily and he is going to have
the (to him) inestimable treat of sleeping all night
in the cell in which the murderer Lefroy spent his last
momefits.

Yours, etc.y




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NOTES BY THE WAY, AND A
LOOK IN AT RIPON.



The Last Coach of the Season— The Old Style and the New—
The Black Country — A Modem Hades — Peaceful Ripon
—I Explore the Wrong Hotel— The Wail of the Nine
o'clock Horn— The Facetious Producer thereof—" Old
Boots" — ** Made in Germany "^German v, English Wait-
ers — The Mayor^s Procession — ** We don't like London."

|OMING away from
the** Sunny South"
in a cold rain and
a biting east wind,
wrapped in your
railway rugs, it is
enough to spoil your
romantic picturings
of the good old
[len you peer through
it window - pane ot
your comfortable railway
carriage and see the last coach of the season,
passengerless, cheerlessly winding its way
through the muddy lanes, while the melan-
choly guard is winding his unmusical horn,



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A LOOK IN AT RIP ON, 1 8/

and the weather-beaten driver emits a disdain-
ful grunt as the express rushes by. Probably
the old driver s thoughts, when he sees the
train swerve as it rattles noisily over the
points, turn to the remark which one of his
comrades is reported to have made when a
railway traveller remarked on tlie frequency



of coach accidents as compared with railway
casualties : *' Yes," said the old - fashioned
Jehu, '* when a coach turns over you are laid
nicely on the soft turf, and — there you are I
but when there is a railway smash, where are
youT

But had we not the iron horse, I suppose
we should not have that prosperous, if repul-
sive and unsightly, district known as the
Black Country, which stretches in all its



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1 88 FLYING VISITS,

grimy hideousness on either side of the rail-
way track as our train passes rapidly through
the Midlands, with chimneys pouring forth
volumes of dense smoke, engines panting,
furnaces roaring, hammers clanging, and



myriads of half-clad, smoke-begrimed men
toiling incessantly, looking to an unaccus-
tomed eye like a vast army of diabolical
fiends, as they pass to and fro in the lurid
light of this modern Hades. It is a sight to
make a Ruskin shudder, and a capitalist
smile.



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A LOOK IN AT RIPON. 1 89

Having spent some weeks going over the



I

cases at the station, he awaits his train ; and



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I go FLYING VISITS,

a young lady, in all probability the daughter
of one of the clergy who pervade the neigh-
borhood, is about to start for the metrop-
olis, to seek a wider field in which to earn,
perhaps, something more than her accustomed
bread-and-butter.

Perhaps nothing will demonstrate the
apathetic lethargy of Ripon more than an
incident which happened to me soon after I
arrived. There are two well-known old-
fashioned hotels next door but one to each
other, either of which would delight the heart
of an antiquarian ; so much alike that, after
a short walk, I returned to my hotel, as I
thought, walked upstairs, but couldn't for the
life of me find either my sitting-room or my
bedroom. There was not a soul to be seen,
and silence reigned supreme. I tried every
room in the house, rang bells, pocketed silver
spoons, broke into the larder, and was just in
the act of demolishing a rabbit-pie I found
there, when a horrible thought struck me
that the proprietor and servants had de-
camped with my luggage, after drugging my
luckless travelling companion. Nervously I
approached the huge grandfather's clock in the
hall, fully expecting to discover his lifeless body



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Online LibraryHarry FurnissFlying visits → online text (page 7 of 11)