Days Like These

3 April 1867

WILLIAM ALLINGHAM,

friend of Alfred Tennyson, describes in his journal

a visit to the Poet Laureate on the Isle of Wight:

"After dinner Tennyson concocts an experimental punch with whisky and claret - not successful. Talks of publishers, anon of higher things. He said, "I feel myself to be a centre - can't believe I shall die. Sometimes I have doubts, of a morning. Time and Space appear thus by reason of our boundedness." We spoke of Swedenborg, animals, etc., all with the friendliest sympathy and mutual understanding. T is the most delightful man in the world to converse with, even when he disagrees. To my inn, where I woke in the dark, bitten, and improvised two lines: Who in a country inn lies ill at ease/ On fozy feathers fill's with furious fleas."

5 April 1919

REV ANDREW CLARK,

an English country vicar, notes in his diary:

"All prisoners-of-war, except those who were in the very south of Germany, pass through Denmark on their way to England. When it was known that these prisoners were to pass through, a Danish committee was formed and the Danes were able to send gifts for the men. When the prisoners got to Copenhagen, they were treated right royally by the Danes, especially the British Tommies. Many of the men had no desire to be repatriated. Several of them took off their uniform and settled down in Denmark. 60,000 Frenchmen have asked that they may not be repatriated. The French officials are in great dismay at this, because they have published bitter reports as to the ill-treatment of their men, and they do not know how to tell the public."

8 April 1943

DENTON WELCH,

novelist, writes in his journal:

"The night before last, I sat in Hadlow churchyard on the memorial to the 30 hop-pickers drowned at Hartlake Bridge in 1853. Some of their Irish names had crumbled away, but others I could read: Donohue, Murphy, Clare. Their ages were inscribed too. Some were 19, 23, 52, four. I thought of them all, swept along with the bridge, floating on the surface of the water. Just 90 years ago those young ones turned up their eyes. And all their dirt, their thoughts, their joys, were washed away. The hops have been picked for 90 summers, and nobody thinks of the 30 bodies in the churchyard fished up out of the water."

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