Page:Highways and Byways in Sussex.djvu/90

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heirs" only £8,000 out of a great fortune. The name Hothampton soon vanished.

The local authorities of Bognor seem to be keenly alive to the value of enterprise, for their walls are covered with instructions as to what may or may not be done in the interests of cleanliness and popularity; a new sea-wall has been built; receptacles for waste paper continually confront one, and deck chairs at twopence for three hours are practically unavoidable. And yet Bognor remains a dull place, once the visitor has left his beach abode—tent or bathing box, whichever it may be. It seems to be a town without resources. But it has the interest, denied one in more fashionable watering-places, of presenting old and new Bognor at the same moment; not that old Bognor is really old, but it is instructive to see the kind of crescent which was considered the last word in architectural enterprise when our great-grandmothers were young and would take the sea air.

From Bognor it is a mere step to Felpham, a village less than a mile to the east. Whether or not one goes there to-day is a matter of taste; but a hundred years ago to omit a visit was to confess one's-self a boor, for William Hayley, the poet and friend of genius, lived there, and his castellated stucco house became a shrine. At that day it seems to have been no uncommon sight for the visitor to Bognor to be refreshed by the spectacle of the poet falling from his horse. According to his biographer, Cowper's Johnny of Norfolk, Hayley descended to earth almost as often as Alice's White Knight, partly from the high spirit of his steed, and partly from a habit which he never abandoned of wearing military spurs and carrying an umbrella. The memoir of the poet contains this agreeable passage: "The Editor was once riding gently by his side, on the stony beach of Bognor, when the wind suddenly reversed his umbrella as he unfolded it; his horse, with a single but desperate plunge, pitched him on his head in an instant. . . . On another occasion, on the same visit . . . . he was tost