Friday, 31 August 2012

Resurrection Day!

"I am Nell Coles.  It is my lot
to lie within the parish plot, rolled in a strip of poorhouse sheet
that had ado to reach my feet; nailed in a pinewood box, so thin
already it lets water in,
and tumbled here with naught to show
a Christian creature bides below.
To right and left the gentlefolk
are put to bed in three-inch oak;
linen-shrouded, lapped in lead;
smooth-turfed and tended, foot to head;
held safely in by curb and stone --
yet would I choose to change with none,
who, spite of pomp and high estate,
are of the dead most desolate.
All graves are hard, but none has less
of comfort or of kindliness --
tho' roofs be sound and walls be dry --
than those wherein my betters lie.
All graves are cold; but I knew cold
and lack and shivering of old.
I did not, as these great ones come
unpractised to a cheerless home.
Yet, praised be God, here at mine end
my poverty is turned my friend;
for at my elbow I can see
the shapes of bygone company --
Poll Makepeace; merryman Tom Finch,
and Lightfoot's Joan; can, at a pinch
throw out a jest to Silas King
shall set his rib-bones rattling;
and while my old jaw hangs in place
match tales with Martha Boniface --
what time the dead do lie alone
until the final Trump is blown.
When, even on that awful Day,
I think to be more blest than they;
for as they grapple, heave and strain
and strive to reach the light again,
all unnumbered I'll have found
my way up thro' the shuddering ground,
and scrambled with no trouble at all
by rocking tombs and shafts that fall,
past twisting cross and groaning urn--
out of my station, out of turn--
first in the place, the first to stand,
grave-gear bunched in my either hand,
making my bob, and like a nell,
crying 'Good day, Lord Gabriel!' "

Pauper's Piece  Ada Jackson
in Country Life magazine 1970


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Hydriotaphia, or Urn Burial

"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us.  A small fire sufficeth for life, great flames seemed too little after death, while men vainly affected precious pyres, and to burn like Sardanapalus, but the wisedom of funerall Laws found the folly of prodigal blazes, and reduced undoing fires, unto the rule of sober obsequies, when few could be so mean as not to provide wood, pitch, a mourner, and an Urne."

Hydriotaphia, Urne-Buriall  or, a Discourse of the Sepulchrall Urnes lately found in Norfolk.
Sir Thomas Browne

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Reading at "Fernley", Cookham

"What he read, besides the Bible, was largely a closed book to me.  But conversation with my brother, Sydney, was one means of glimpsing his mind.  Another was to take a look at the old card table.  Occupying most of the space was the old Bible given to him by Mr Hatch, often opened at Job.  Struggling for space round its fringes would be Byron, Keats, Donne, Urn Burial, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Possessed.  He was heavily influenced by Dostoevski.  Later, referring to those days, he regretted struggling so long with Carlyle's French Revolution.

He was unorthodox in in the manner of his reading.  During his whole life, I never knew him sit in a comfortable chair, for this or any other purpose.  He was a hard-chair reader, and sat at a table more often than not, with his legs screwed round one another at the ankles; and a funny oil lamp usually provided the light."

Stanley Spencer by his brother Gilbert    Gilbert Spencer

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Emily Bronte draft

"First worship God,  he that forgets to pray
Bids not himself good morrow nor good day."

George Herbert
Inscribed on Prayer board from Haworth Old Church, now in Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, W. Yorks.

Emily Bronte, by Patrick Branwell Bronte, 1833
National Portrait Gallery, London
NPG1724 National Portrait Gallery, London

"I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heather and the harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, wondering how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Valediction: of the booke

"This Booke, as long-liv'd as the elements,
Or as the world's form, this all-graved tome
In cypher writ, or new made Idiome,
We for loves clergy only'are instruments:
When this book is made thus,
Should againe the ravenous
Vandals and Goths inundate us,
Learning were safe; in this our Universe
Schooles might learne Sciences,  Spheares Musick,  Angels Verse."

Songs and Sonets  John Donne

A Ghost in the machine, Part 3.

Archy creates a situation  3:   the foregoing--

"lines hopping from key
to key in the shadow and being anxious
to finish my
god my god cried henry losing his nerve
the machine is writing all by itself it
is a ghost and threw himself face
downward on the bed and hid his face in the
pillow and kept on saying my god my
god it is a ghost and the woman screamed
and said it is
tom higginbotham s ghost that s whose ghost
it is oh i know whose
ghost it is my conscience tells me i
jilted him when we were studying
stenography together
at the business college and he went into
a decline and died and i have always
known in my heart that he
died of unrequited love o what a
wicked girl i was and he has come
back to haunt me
i have brought a curse upon you henry chase
him away says henry trembling so the bed
shook chase him away mable you coward you
chase him away yourself says mable and both
lay and recriminated and recriminated
with their heads under the covers hot
night though it was while i wrote
the foregoing lines but after
a while it came out henry had a
stenographer on his conscience too and
they got into a row and got so
mad they forgot to be scared i will
close now this house is easily seen from the
railroad station and the woman sits in
the window and writes i will be behind the waste
paper receptacle outside the station door
come and get me i am foot sore and weary
they are still quarrelling as i
close i can do no less than
say thank you mable and henry
in advance for mailing this

Archy & Mehitabel  Don Marquis

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Ghost in the machine, Part 2.

Archy creates a situation

".............a moment ago i was
interrupted by a woman s voice what
was that noise she said nothing at all
said a man s voice you are always
hearing things at night but it
sounded as if my typewriter were clicking she
insisted go to sleep said he then
i clicked it some more henry get up she said
there s someone in the house a moment
later the light was turned on and
they both stood in the doorway of the room now
are you satisfied he said you
see there is no one in here at
all i was hiding in the shadow under the
keys they went back into
their bed room and i began to write
the foregoing lines

henry henry she said do you hear that
i do he says it is nothing but the
house cooling off it always cracks that way
cooling off nothing she said not a
hot night like this then said henry it
is cracking with the heat i tell you
she said that is the typewriter clicking well
he said you saw for yourself the room was
empty and the door was locked it can t
be the typewriter to prove it to you
i will bring it in here he did so the
machine was set down
in the moonlight which came in one of
 the windows with the key side in the
shadow there he said look at it and see
for yourself it is not being operated by any one
just then i began to write the foregoing..."

(to be continued)
Archy & Mehitabel  Don Marquis

Friday, 24 August 2012

Lost in the Indian Ocean

November 1782  The aftermath of the hurricane on the Raynha de Portugal:

"I joined in searching amongst the heap of rubbish in the great cabin for anything worth preserving. ...After ransacking in a mass of dirt, so blended together it was difficult to separate for a long time, I got hold of a small tin case, much bruised but unbroken.  This I took to Mr Barretto as he lay in his hammock, who joyfully exclaimed it was the ship's papers.  He requested I would carefully open it and, should they be wet, get them dried, as they were of the utmost importance to him.  I directly set about it, but alas! they were totally useless, the ink being entirely effaced although written upon parchment, most of them separating into pieces in attempting to unfold them.  The only one that was at all legible, and that only partially, was Mr Barretto's Portuguese naturalisation.

Having lent my aid for the service of my friends, I next thought of my own concerns, and accordingly went to look after my escritoire,.... Upon opening it and examining the contents, everything in the way of paper was completely destroyed except three letters that I had received after all the others, and put into a leather pocket-book....What I lamented above everything else, though of no intrinsic value, was the loss of the large book in which I had copied the journals of every voyage I had made, and the remarkable circumstances that had occurred.  This was utterly destroyed, as well as my admission as an attorney of the Court of the King's bench and solicitor of the Court of Chancery which were in it."

Memoirs of a Georgian Rake   William Hickey,  edited by Roger Hudson for The Folio Society

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The wreck of the "Blanchefleur"

" 'This little fan and these tarnished slipper-buckles,'  the Abbe now said, giving his host a mournful smile, 'come, monsieur, out of that great Indiaman, the Blanchefleur.   A total loss, an utter wreck, my son, Mary save us.  The fine ship, the pride of the owners, officers and hands, has been broken among surges and rocks.  The coast of Africa, a savage place. ... Christ's pity! -- it's there the Blanchefleur struck and foundered.'

'Thomas Pidgeon knows all, ah me! that may now ever be known of the loss of the Blanchefleur.  He was a servant in that fatal ship, and, monsieur, you shall hear from his own lips a story of disaster, extraordinary peril, and tears.'

The young steward ceased, and looked, with a kind of questioning in the eyes, at the priest.  Lucy made a small movement, compassionate and woeful.  Stanyhurst  watched a candle burning out, with little jumps of flame, in its socket.  The priest gazed steadily, with a smile  kind and quiet, at the sailor.  No one spoke until Thomas Pidgeon again went on with the story.  And now, and through the remainder of the sailor's words, a low rumble, far or near, seemed, gradually to fill the chamber from without, to arise and enter and resound about the walls, and echo in the air; a noise distinct from and blending with, the constant dropping of rain.  Early industry was awake, and all the wheels of London beginning to revolve once more.

'Everything ended',  the young steward said;  'it all ended like now I must tell'. "

All Night at Mr. Stanyhurst's   Hugh Edwards
with an Introduction by Ian Fleming in 1963

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Flight of King James II

"hage the 31 of january

...but ended yesterday with voilence  as all great things do but kings: ours whent out: Lyke a farding candele: and has given us by this convension an occasion not of amending the goverment: but of melting itt down and make all new:..."

Carey Mordaunt, Viscountess Mordaunt,  later countess of Monmouth and, later, of Peterborough
from The Hague to John Locke,  January 1689
Correspondence of John Locke   ed. E.S. De Beer

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

a Ghost in the machine, Part 1.

Archy creates a situation

"whoever owns this typewriter
that this is sticking in will confer
a favour by mailing it to
mister marquis
well boss i am somewhere in long
island and i know now how
it got its name i
started out to find the
place you are commuting from and
after considerable trouble and being for some
days on the way i have lost myself but
at twilight last evening i
happened to glance towards a lighted
window in a house near the railway and i
saw a young woman writing on a typewriter i
waited until the light was out and crawled
up the side of the house and through a
hole in the screen fortunately there was a
piece of paper in the machine it was my only
chance to communicate with you and ask
you to hurry a relief party when
the house got quiet i began to write
the foregoing "
(to be continued)
Archy & Mehitabel   Don Marquis

Monday, 20 August 2012

At the National Portrait Gallery

"That night I sat up late reading. I have never met a more sympathetic library than that which my father assembled. Thanks to him I discovered The Martian and Peter Ibbetson, Wuthering Heights, and My Two Kings, by Mrs Evan Nepean, who, when she went to the National Portrait Gallery  and saw Kneller's portrait of dead Monmouth, suddenly remembered that it had once belonged to her;
 suddenly knew her former life at the court of Charles the Second, and wrote it,  in the War, and so inflamed me that I, too, have stood before the lovely, worthless James Scott and found it one of the beautiful pictures of the world - and could remember nothing!

These faces! How they fasten on one! I was safe, for some reason, from the fated fribble, but there are others ... all pressing their past, their claims, reaching out very, very quietly to draw one in ... they cease to be flat surfaces and become little stages onto which one could squeeze oneself...

And that scarred canvas,  dismissed as ' a dreadful daub' by the biographers:  Emily Bronte in stormy profile.  I am no art critic, I only value in pictures that which lies beyond them.  Emily managed to hurt me. She is, I am certain, harassed at her place in Trafalgar Square. When I first saw her I said, 'My dear, I cannot do anything about it'."

The Brontes Went to Woolworths  Rachel Ferguson

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch, Studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt. 1678
National Portrait Gallery, London

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Oxford Companion to English Literature

"The Oxford Companion to English Literature has proved a good companion to me, and I hope it will to others, though I trust its reader will not become quite as obsessed by it as I, necessarily, did.  The volume of work was enormous , and I was to be seen at times literally running round the central catalogue of the British Library Reading Room in my haste to check  the spelling of a title or a variant of a date.  There were moments of intense frustration when I would stand under that vast dome knowing that somewhere on those shelves was the answer to, for example, the connection between Paracelsus, the Rosicrucians, gnomes, sylphs, and Pope's The Rape of the Lock,  and simply not knowing where to begin to look.  It wasn't as though I had time to pursue every clue: in all, the new volume contains (I am told) 9,017 entries, which meant that I had to learn to improve on my starting time of a couple of entries written or edited a week.  And now it is all packed into one neat volume, and I can consult my own references without scrabbling through piles of files and typescript.  Despite the new technology, there is nothing as convenient as a book."

Margaret Drabble 1985

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Valedictory: The Scholar to the Ashes of his Library

"Gone the books of many names,
Eaten up by hostile flames,
Loss of all his store at once
Leaves him a senescent dunce.

Tecum habita et noris
What your freightage at threescore is.
Where is now a lifetime's reading?
Is aught left for years succeeding?
Just a few scraps often quoted,
Or a fragment vaguely noted;
All is ash and burnt-out embers
But what one poor brain remembers.
Yet he sees the friendly faces
Row on row in their set places;
Knows exactly what is in them,
Could he wake up and re-win them.
Nay; they're ghosts, and they are gone
Into charred oblivion.

Fortune of the war, old man;
Play the Stoic if you can;
In the breast the heart be hid
Of the Second Aeneid,
Known and conned too many years
Not to transubstantiate tears.
'Studies into manners pass' --
So the sage's saying was.
Studies are for virtue's sake;
Be the man that they should make."

Charles Brodribb     Lincoln's Inn, October 1940
From The Book of The City,  editor Ian Norrie

The Melancholy Shepherd

"False Cupid with (mis)Fortune's Wheel, hath won my Hand and Heart,
Who Siren-like did Lure me with Lute and charmed Harp;
The Cup of Care and Sorrow's Cross do 'clipse my Star and Sun,
My Rose is bl(a)sted and my Bones, Lo! Death inters in Urn."

(Di Di in Di Vo Cangiando il Pelo C il Mio Miserabile Viso)

English embroidery, known as The Shepheard Buss (or Kiss),  1570-1600
Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sacred paper

"Another familiar figure in every bazar crowd is the old Chinese Confucianist, whose self-appointed duty is to collect any pieces of paper lying about and save the sacred writing from desecration.  He carries a pronged picker and puts the fragments of paper into the basket which he carries.  He also collects all that is placed in small boxes standing in different parts of the bazar and marked 'Receptacles for the respectful collection of sacred paper'.  All these he takes to the temple to be burnt by the priest."

The Gobi Desert  Mildred Cable  with Francesca French

Thursday, 16 August 2012

An office poet

"expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook upon life
i see things from the underside now

...night after night I have written poetry for you
on your typewriter

...and i will write you a series of poems showing how things look
to a cockroach

...don't you ever eat any sandwiches in your office
i haven't had a crumb of bread for i don't know how long
or a piece of ham or anything but apple parings
and paste leave a piece of paper in your machine
every night you can call me archy"

Archy & Mehitabel   Don Marquis

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Paper for a King

" 'Go to Jutland,' says the King.  'You see how the terrain encompasses both timber and water in great quantities. I will send a surveyor with you.  And then you will return and tell me if the Carta Ponti Numero Due and Numero Uno  can be produced from Danish trees.  I am interested only in paper of this kind of quality -- with which my own calligraphy can become infatuated.  If you can make this, I will give you the patents for your mill and we shall work out what profits shall be yours and what shall be mine.'

Signor Ponti beams.  Already, he allows himself to imagine  the Ponti watermark surfacing on Danish documents of State, on almanacs and sheets of music, on handbills and architectural drawings, on the endpapers of learned books, on love letters and wills.  He even contemplates the delicious notion that the word 'Ponti' might become so synonymous with fine paper that, in due time, Danes would refer to it thus: 'Bring me a sheet of ponti, Sir' or ' The unhappy lover crumpled the piece of ponti and cast it into the fire'.

And the King, too, is smiling.  His brain feels clear. It is as though, on the clean sheets of paper, he has already begun to write down a future from which heartache and poverty are suddenly, unexpectedly, absent."

Music and Silence  Rose Tremain

Henry Cole's handwriting

" When I left school and for years afterwards I looked back upon it as a place where all my time had been wasted, and where I had learnt worse than nothing .... I spelt badly, read stammeringly, wrote well.    I could repeat a few Latin scraps and this certainly helped me to copy the mediaeval Latin jargon of the public records when that became my occupation. 
I took off my Tudor dress on the 9th April 1823 and on the 10th presented myself in an Oxford mixture suit with tailed coat at Mr. Cohen's office."
Henry Cole won a silver medal for his writing while at Christ's Hospital.  Mr Cohen (who became Sir Francis Palgrave) employed Henry and two fellow former pupils to copy out old documents so that they could be prepared for publication by the Record Commission.

Sir Henry Cole:  quotations sourced from King Cole by E. Bonython

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Doves Press

" 'Consecratio quae offertur ab homine non redimetur nec vendetur sed morte morietur'.

To the bed of the River Thames, the River on whose banks I have printed all my printed Books, I, THE DOVES PRESS bequeath The Doves Press fount of Type, -- the punches, matrices, and type in use at The Doves Press at the time of my death.  And may the River, in its tides and flow, pass over them to and from the great sea for ever and ever, or until its tides and flow for ever cease; then may they share the fates of all the worlds and pass from change to change for ever upon the Tides of Time untouched of other use."

Catalogue Raisonne, printed in 1916 by T.J. Cobden Sanderson of The Doves Press.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bed of Ware - an Elephant Folio?

"Sir Andrew Aguecheek:  Will either of you bear me a challenge to him?

Sir Toby Belch:  Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief; it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent, and full of invention: taunt him with the licence of ink: if thou  thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss;  and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware in England, set 'em down: go, about it.  Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter: about it."

 Twelfth Night; or, What you Will  William Shakespeare

Sunday, 12 August 2012


" Here we all are, by day;  by night w'are hurl'd
By dreames, each one, into a sev'rall world."

Hesperides  Robert Herrick 1648

Saturday, 11 August 2012

A lexicographer's view

"But as every language has a time of rudeness antecedent to perfection, as well as of false refinement and declension, I have been cautious lest my zeal for antiquity might drive me into times too remote, and crowd my book with words now no longer understood.  I have fixed Sidney's work for the boundary, beyond which I make few excursions.  From the authors which rose in the time of Elizabeth, a speech might be formed adequate to all the purposes of use and elegance.  If the language of theology were extracted from Hooker and the translation of the Bible; the terms of natural knowledge from Bacon; the phrases of policy, war, and navigation from Raleigh; the dialect of poetry and fiction from Spenser and Sidney; and the diction of common life from Shakespeare, few ideas would be lost to mankind, for want of English words, in which they might be expressed."

A Dictionary of the English Language: in which the words are deduced from their originals, explained in their different meanings, and authorised by the names of the writers in whose works they are found."

Dr. Samuel Johnson,    Preface to the Folio edition, 1755

Friday, 10 August 2012

Words and pictures

"The little girl had the makings of a poet in her, who being told to make sure of her meaning before she spoke, said:  'How can I know what I think till I see what I say?' "

The Art of Thought  Graham Wallas

Thursday, 9 August 2012


 " 'You see,' continued the minister, bowing thankfully to the duke, 'Dictionopolis is the place where all the words in the world come from.  They're grown right here in our orchards.'
'I didn't know they grew on trees,' said Milo timidly.
'Where did you think they grew?' shouted the earl irritably.
A small crowd began to gather to see the little boy who didn't know that letters grew on trees.
'I didn't know they grew at all,' admitted Milo even more timidly.  Several people shook their heads sadly.
'Well, money doesn't grow on trees, does it?' demanded the count.
'I've heard not', said Milo.
'Then something must. Why not words?' exclaimed the under-secretary triumphantly.  The crowd cheered his display of logic and went about their business.
'...people come from everywhere to buy the words they need or trade in the ones they haven't used.'

'Our job,' said the count, 'is to see that all the words sold are proper ones, for it wouldn't do to to sell someone a word that had no meaning or didn't exist at all.  For instance, if you bought a word like ghlbtsk, where would you use it?'

...'But we never choose which ones to use,' explained the earl, as they walked towards the market stalls,  'for as long as they mean what they mean to mean we don't care if they make sense or nonsense.' "

The Phantom Tollbooth  Norton Juster 1962

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Cautionary Rhyme

"If all the World was Paper
And all the Sea was Ink,
And all the Trees were bread and cheese,
What should we have to drink?"

(see Penguin Book of Comic & Curious Verse, ed. J.M. Cohen, for further verses)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A Merry Friendship

"If all be true that I do think
There are five reasons we should drink;
Good wine -- a friend -- or being dry --
Or lest we should be by and by --
Or any other reason why."

H. Aldrich, Lustre Jug inscription 1780
Kettle's Yard, Cambridge

Monday, 6 August 2012

Epistolary friends

"I have taken the liberty to trouble you with the inclosed to our Oxford friend* whom I suppose you often meet at the Trumpet ... I hope he is not soe taken up with the names of princes and great men in his index but that he will afford a line or two to an old friend of mean rank dormant in the Country, ...who when he has got you here, shall not much envie those who fill the mouth of fame in the histories and Gazets of the age."
*James Tyrrell
Locke to Anthony Collins in London, June 1704

Correspondence of John Locke ed. E. S. De Beer

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Impertinent Concernes

"  ...'Tis in Vaine that I think...of Suiting my Mind to my Condition, for Businesse and the Impertinent Concernes of a Mistresse of a Familie will never have Anie Place in my Heart, and I can at most do no more then submit to Them.

Damaris Masham  1687
Correspondence of John Locke (III. 896) ed. E. S. De Beer

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A writer's idyll?

June 3rd: Astounding and enchanting change in the weather, which becomes warm.  I carry chair, writing-materials, rug, and cushion into the garden, but am called in to have a look at the Pantry Sink, please, as it seems to have blocked itself up.  Attempted return to garden frustrated by arrival of note from the village concerning Garden Fete arrangements, which requires immediate answer, necessity for speaking to the butcher on the telephone, and sudden realisation that Laundry List hasn't yet been made out, and the Van will be here at eleven.  When it does come, I have to speak about the tablecloths, which leads  -- do not know how-- to long conversation about the Derby, the Van speaking highly of an outsider  - Trews - whilst I uphold the chances of Silver Flare - (mainly because I like the name).

Shortly after this, Mrs S arrives from the village, to collect jumble for Garden Fete, which takes time.  After lunch, sky clouds over, and Mademoiselle and Vicky kindly help me to carry chair, writing-materials, rug, and cushion into the house again."

Diary of a Provincial Lady, E.M. Delafield

Friday, 3 August 2012

Importunate readers

"If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbour, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (noted by Mrs Sarah Yule, from a lecture)
Penguin Dictionary of Quotations - Cohen & Cohen

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Letters from Turfan

"The professional letter-writer sits at the door of the Post Office.  It is his job to listen to what any particular man wishes to say to his distant friends or relatives, then, using flowery and appropriate terms to write out the message in the form of a letter to the person indicated.  He sits behind a table on which are placed inkslab, a Chinese pen, letter-paper and a pad.  The client comes to the side of the table and tells his tale.  The writer listens, bargains the price, pulls up his long sleeve, lifts the block of Chinese ink, rubs it very slowly over the inkslab, dexterously applies the brush to the ink, stroking its hair to a fine point, then, with a flourish of his hand begins to draw beautiful ideographs on the paper."

The Gobi Desert  Mildred Cable  with Francesca French

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Greek 'Fire'

Patras, July 30th:

"The heat is at present intense.  In England, if it reaches 98 (degrees) you are all on fire: the other day in travelling between Athens and Megara, the thermometer was at 125.!!!

....I shall continue to write briefly, but frequently, and am glad to hear from you; but you fill your letters with things from the papers, as if English newspapers were not found all over the world.  I have at this moment a dozen before me.  Pray take care of my books, and believe me, my dear mother,
Yours very faithfully,

Lord Byron, Letter to his mother, 1810

French Rain

Amiens 28 July:

"Ned and me much Diverted to find ourselves in this strange Country, and I hung my head out of the coach window all the journey down to this place admiring the sights, but my father complains greatly of the rain which he never observes in his native land, but which vexes him here; the French louis for which he reluctantly parts with his precious Sterling, and the Rapacity of the people in general."
Miss Cleone Knox, County Down, Ireland

The Diary of a Young Lady of Fashion 1764-5
Magdalen King-Hall