This is an article written by my two times great grandfather from a book entitled Various subjects and is dated 1889. For a full explanation.
I found this article didn’t say as much about holidays as I would have liked to have read. It’s more like he is writing in a journal about his observations relating to items of interests and he often goes off on a tangent. Still, some of it is interesting and he seems to make a point on things we take for granted.
The woman in the picture is his granddaughter, Minnie Constance Stott, who was my Nana’s mum.
Although everybody would like to have a holiday, and although it is advisable that everybody should have a holiday, everybody does not get one. There are some persons who are often trouble not with how to obtain a holiday, but where they can best spend one, but these are persons who are wealthy, who have perhaps been born rich and riches thrust upon them, or what is really more honourable have made themselves rich. There are positions, however, that are not always the happiest although they are always the most enviable. Some beings spend everything whilst other save all they are able. Happy creatures! These are they who can take holiday and who can enjoy them too. Some people are always afraid of expense, but with careful management a holiday need not cost very much.
He who contemplates a holiday ‘round the world’ should well think of the time it would take, and also of the cost; if he can afford both, he would do well to take his travels by land and by sea, as it is more enjoyable to see distant lands than to read of them – books instruct but to the close observer nature is the best teacher; those, however who cannot visit other worlds may learn much at home. Some persons learn something everywhere – they see sermons in stones, books, in running rooks, and good in everything. That, however which is edifying to one may be passed by unnoticed by another. Little things although very remarkable, full of interest, and very instructive, are seldom noticed, whilst those of gigantic stature always command attention by their hugeness. Man may, and does, unobservedly, continuous teach man; and the illiterate to some observers may be full of wisdom.
Having ourselves received an invitation, and having accepted it, we lately spent an enjoyable holiday, note where there was any dread of mal de mer, as there was no sea, but in the midst of arboriculture, agriculture, and floriculture; trees that are neglected may be admired, but uncultivated fields are regrettable. Flowers, where they come under the heading of floriculture or not, are always attractive. Wild flowers, especially to those who are able to describe them by their names, are always sweet and interesting. That which is neglected is considered valueless, but even little attention when it was given to wild flowers discovers loveliness in ever form.
A visit to the Italian Exhibition, on our holiday journey, we found interesting in many ways, but beyond stating here (we intend to particularise hereafter) that we were somewhat disappointed, although it was a matter of utility, to find English youths dressed as Italians selling programmes, we, however, were inwardly amused when we intentionally addressed them in the Italian language and afterwards in the French, to receive only smiles by their not understanding. The youths were too polite to be rude. Rudeness is always offensive, whilst politeness never fails to please.
When at Oxford we had pleasure in seeing that at the entrance of the gardens of New College the motto of the Winchester School, “Manners mayketh man,” was prominently placed. Some person are filled with manners whist others seem never able to understand them. Although this college retains the adjective “new,” senility may be seen everywhere, as our readers will readily understand when they are told that this structure of learning was founded in the year 1379, was opened with solemn and religious ceremonial on April 14th, 1896, and that “after the lapse of 500 years most of the buildings remain to this day as they were designed by munificent founder.” But in order to be very precise we are further told that “it should be noted that the upper storey of the great quadrangle was added in 1675,”
When at another college, the Corpus Christi, which was founded in the year 1516 and was dedicated ‘to the honour of the most precious body of our Lord Jesus Christ, of His most spotless mother, and of all the saint’s patrons of Cathedral churches of Winchester, Durham, Bath and Wells and Exeter,” we had further but quiet amusement on asking our guide the meaning of Corpus Christi and receiving the answer that it was the name of the college. Seeing that the conductor was not a Latin scholar, we ultimately told him what we thought every person in Oxford knew, that the words in English are the body of Christ.
The new College, which, as will be readily know by what we say above, is no longer new, reminds us of the New Ricer Company, which continues this name, although it was established in the year 1619.
It will be interesting to know that, according to Burdett’s Official Intelligence, “the New River Company’s shares, as established by charter, are freehold, and are divided into moieties – none moiety, or 36 parts, being held by the incorporated “Adventures’ the other moiety, or 86 parts, being originally held by King James the First, who paid half the expenses, and subsequently, then the moiety was regranted by Charles the First by persons now called King’s share-holders, who are not incorporated with the Adventures. Both these moieties are again sub-divided, and held by numerous persons, and, being real estate, are subject to entail and to trusts for minors. Each holder of proportionate part of a share adequate value has a vote for the counties of Middlesex and Hertford.” It will be further interesting to learn that “these shares are usually sold in fractions by public auction,” and that the highest price that has ever been obtained for a share was £104,400 for an income of £2,136 in October 1877 and that the last registered sale (on 23rd November 1887) was at the rate of from £84,000 to £86,400 per share. It will thus be seen that this “New” College and this “New” Company are interesting various ways.
Naturalists, scholars, students, ecclesiastics, authors, and other learned men tell us that everything is adapted for purpose; those where are close observers of nature very quickly learn this. As we found our rural retreat that the earwig was a little troublesome, we were told by and intelligent lady that the frog was the best destroyer of these insects, and that every frog she could procure she turned into her garden. Toads, were told by a gardener, were kept by him in melon frames for a similar purpose. Our lady friend, we were pleased to learn, had discovered the usefulness of the frog by observation. Of toads we read in White’s Natural History of Selbourne: – It is strange that the matter with regards to the venom of toads has not been yet settled.” But T.B., in the same book, tells us: – “I have a toad so tame that when it was held in one’s hand it would take its food from the other held near it. The manner in which this animal takes its prey is very interesting. The tongue when at rest is doubled back upon itself in the mouth, and the apex, which is broad, is imbued with the most tenacious mucus. On seeing an insect the animal fixes its beautiful eyes upon, leans or creeps forward, and when within reach the tongue is projected upon the insect, and again returned into the mouth with the captive prey, by a notion so rapid that without the most careful observation the action cannot be followed.” We, however, have digressed.
Holidays with observation are more enjoyable that those that are taken simply because they are holidays. There are compulsory holidays, however – holidays that are taken because the body requires rest and mental effort requires a change. Holidays give pleasure every way, prospective and retrospective; holidays prolong life, and those who spend money in the enjoyment of them spend money well.