occasionally quoted) was written here, around materials collected during the author's period as rector of Burwash. Mr. Egerton was curate of Burwash from 1857 to 1862, and from 1865 to 1867, when he became rector and remained in the living until his death in 1888. His book is a kindly collection of the shrewd and humorous sayings of his Sussex parishioners, anecdotes of characteristic incidents, records of old customs now passing or passed away—the whole fused by the rector's genial personality.
It is to Burwash and Mr. Egerton that we owe some characteristic scraps of Sussex philosophy. Thus, Mr. Egerton tells of an old conservative whose advice to young men was this: "Mind you don't never have nothing in no way to do with none of their new-fangled schemes." Another Sussex cynic defined party government with grim impartiality: "Politics are about like this: I've got a sow in my yard with twelve little uns, and they little uns can't all feed at once, because there isn't room enough; so I shut six on 'em out of the yard while tother six be sucking, and the six as be shut out, they just do make a hem of a noise till they be let in; and then they be just as quiet as the rest."
The capacity of the Sussex man to put his foot down and keep it there, is shown in the refusal of Burwash to ring the bells when George IV., then Prince of Wales, passed through the village on his return to Brighton from a visit to Sir John Lade at Etchingham; the reason given being that the First Gentleman in Europe when rung in on his way to Sir John's had said nothing about beer. This must have been during one of the Prince's peculiarly needy periods, for the withholding of strong drink from his friends was never one of his failings. Another Burwash radical used to send up to the rectory with a message that he was about to gather fruit and the rector must send down for the tithe. The rector's man would go down—and receive one gooseberry from a basket of ten: all that was to be gathered that day.