Page:Highways and Byways in Sussex.djvu/144

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116
CHAP.
SHELLEY IN SUSSEX

intrinsic merit, but because it helps to bring him before us in his Field Place days, of which too little is known:—

"Monday, July 18, 1803.
"MISS KATE,
"HORSHAM,
"SUSSEX.

"Dear Kate,—We have proposed a day at the pond next Wednesday, and if you will come to-morrow morning I would be much obliged to you, and if you could any how bring Tom over to stay all the night, I would thank you. We are to have a cold dinner over at the pond, and come home to eat a bit of roast chicken and peas at about nine o'clock. Mama depends upon your bringing Tom over to-morrow, and if you don't we shall be very much disappointed. Tell the bearer not to forget to bring me a fairing, which is some ginger-bread, sweetmeat, hunting-nuts, and a pocket-book. Now I end.

"I am not
"Your obedient servant,
"P. B. SHELLEY.

We are proud to call Shelley the Sussex poet, but he wrote no Sussex poems, and a singularly uncongenial father (for the cursing of whom and the King the boy was famous at Eton) made him glad to avoid the county when he was older. It was, however, to a Sussex lady, Miss Hitchener of Hurstpierpoint, that Shelley, when in Ireland in 1812, forwarded the box of inflammatory matter which the Custom House officers confiscated—copies of his pamphlet on Ireland and his "Declaration of Rights" broadside, which Miss Hitchener was to distribute among Sussex farmers who would display them on their walls. These were the same documents that Shelley used to put in bottles and throw out to sea, greatly to the perplexity of the spectators and not a little to the annoyance of the Government. Miss Hitchener, as well as the revolutionary, was kept under surveillance, as we learn from the letter from the Postmaster-