(April 25th to May 1st)
‘He held up one of his big hands. “Gentlemen,” he says – slow he spoke, but his voice carried far – “I have to think of our country. Let me assure you that the treaty with Great Britain will be made even though every city in the Union burn me in effigy.”…
This is from “Brother Square-toes” in Rewards and Fairies.
George Washington, the President, is under pressure from public opinion to fight the British. But he knows that the United States is not ready for a war. This tale is linked to the poem ‘If..'(drawn from the character of Dr Starr Jameson of the ‘Jameson Raid’ in South Africa)
‘…you won’t decline. You’ll hang on to your two nice red-strapped axles and your new machine-moulded pinions like – a – like a leech on a lily stem ! There’s centuries of work in your old bones if you’d only apply yourself to it’ …
‘It is a matter on which it would be exceedingly ill-advised to form a hasty or a premature conclusion. I will give it my most careful consideration…’
This is from “Under the Mill Dam” in Traffics and Discoveries.
The ancient mill wheel, driven by the rushing waters from the high downs, and recorder in due order of all that happens from century to century, is to be refurbished and made to drive an electric generator. Like many political leaders of the day, it is very dubious about the need to move with the times…
‘But he hadn’t really done anything when you knew him, had he ?’ …
(he) pointed to the scars and scrapes left by Cattiwow’s great log. ‘You tell me that that good ship’s timber never done nothing against winds and weathers since her upspringing, and I’ll confess ye that young Frankie never done nothing neither…’
This is from “Simple Simon” in Rewards and Fairies.
Simon Cheyneys, ship-builder and Burgess of Rye, is recalling early days at sea with Francis Drake, snatching away protestant refugees from the Low Countries, and dodging Spanish warships across the treacherous Goodwin sands. This was his apprenticeship for later and greater sea battles.