31st December 1824

Recievd a letter from Hessey containing a Draft for £20, being the fund money & Earl Spencers half yearly salary — nothing further about my new poems is mentiond — wrote to Rev. H. F. Cary — Gatherd a cornflower in full bloom

30th December 1824

Recievd an answer from F Freeling to my enquiry wether the charge of a penny is legal at Deeping office for post paid & frankd letters & Newspapers & I find that it is for letters but no mention is made about newspapers so I am as ignorant as ever on that head but I will enquire further

To Cary
Helpstone
Dec. 30. 1824

MY DEAR SIR
I shoud have written long ago if I had been able for I always feel a pleasure in writing to those I esteem but had I been well I should have had little to say worth reading ... I have not yet finished my life ... I feel anxious to finish it & I feel also anxious that you shoud see it & I shall be greatly obliged for your opinion of it as I mean if I live to publish it I have gotten 8 chapters done & have carried it up to the 'Poems on Rural Life' &c — I feel it rather awkard to mention names as there are some that I cannot speak well of that is were I feel an objection I cannot flatter over it & I woud not willingly offend anyone. I have made free with myself & exposed my faults and failings without a wish to hide them, neither do 1 care what is said about me but if you shoud see anything that might be against me in speaking of others I shall be thankful of your advice & also your remarks on the thing altogether for it is written in a confusd stile & there will doubtless be found a deal of trifling in it for I am far from a close reasoner in prose . . . we must abide by providence who by the bye appears but an indifferent observer of troubles by times but we are not to play with destiny . . .

Yours sincerely & affectionatly

JOHN CLARE

29th December 1824

Went with neighbour Billings to Southey Wood & Gees Holt to hunt ferns—found none—met with a new species of moss fern stripd growing on a common species like the mistletoe on a thorn it is a sort of moss mistletoe—preservd a specimen—saw a branch of blackthorn dogrose & eldern in full leaf all in one hedgerow—saw a bumbarrel* with moss as if building a nest

* Long tailed tit

26th December 1824

[Image: Carry Akroyd]

Found at the bottom of a dyke made in the roman bank some pootys of varied colors & the large garden ones of a russet color with a great many others of the meadow sort which we calld 'badgers' when I was a schoolboy found nowere now but in wet places — there is a great many too of a water species now extinct — the Dyke is 4 foot deep & the soil is full of these shells [have they not pain] here ever since the romans made the bank & does the water sorts not imply that the fields were all fen & under water or wet & uncultivated at that time I think it does — I never walk on this bank but the legions of the roman army pass by my fancys with their mysterys of nearly 2000 years hanging like a mist around them what changes hath passd since then — were I found these shells it was heath land above Windy Well

Christmas Day 1824

Gatherd a handful of daiseys in full bloom —saw a woodbine & dogrose in the woods putting out in full leaf & a primrose root full of ripe flowers what a day this usd to be when a boy how eager I usd to attend the church to see it stuck with evergreens (emblems of Eternity) & the cottage windows & the picture ballads on the wall all stuck with ivy holly Box & yew such feelings are past—& 'all this world is proud of’

24th December 1824

Recievd a letter from Lord Radstock.

23rd December 1824

Recievd a letter from Mrs Emmerson & the Observer after a long absence in France—wrote a letter to Mrs. E & to Francis Freeling Esqr

22nd December 1824

A coppled crownd hen pheasant shot very large & colord about the breast & back like the cock but the head was plain.

18th December 1824

To Charles Abraham Elton
Milton
Decr 18 1824

My dear sir
I have got from home a few days to pass away time & try to improve my present misery's by other amusements than reading &c which has long ceased to be I have at the same time taking an opportunity,.of getting a frank for what I can say is scarcely worth the paper tho at one time it might be expected that I thought:otherwise by my fondness for scribbling & if I had been well I maker no doubt but I shoud have taken so much advantage of your invitation to near from me as to make you wish you had hot . . . get so. well as to write any thing or even correct what I have written — I mentioned the Shepherd's Calender to Hessey a long time back but he made no sort of answer in return in fact this is always the way they serve me I know not how they serve you but when I ask any thing about what may concern me or mine they pass it off & talk of other things a great length from the main road — there was nothing in the Epistle’ &c that I objected to but the two verses mentioning the Casts at Devilles & that was in the expression which I thought rather flat & as spoiling the general tenour of the other verses the, rest I would rather have seen as they were I recollect the line you mention & thought then that the word 'intensity of age' very good & happy — I like the 'Solitary wasp' in 'blakesmoor' & thought that Dequinceys article on Goethe exelent. . . .

16th December 1824

Saw Henderson's collection of Ferns which is far from compleat tho some of them are beautiful learnd from him of a singular instinct in plants of the creeping or climbing kind some having a propensity to twine to the left in their climbing & others to the right—the woodbine seems to twine to the left & the travellers joy to the right but this is not an invariable fact

15th December 1824

Went to Milton saw a fine edition of Linnaeus's Botany with beautiful plates & find that my fern which I found in Harrisons close dyke by the wood lane is the thorn-pointed fern saw also a beautiful book on insects with the plants they feed on by Curtis found Artis busy over his fossil plants & Roman antiquitys but his complaints of the deceptions of publishers are akin with mine

14th December 1824

A coppled crownd Crane shot at Billings's pond in the Green — Twas 4 foot high from the toes to the bill on the breast & rump was a thick shaggy down full of powder which seem to be a sort of pounce-box to the bird to dress its feathers with to keep out the wet its neck & breast were beautifully staind with streaks of watery brown its wings & back was slate-grey the down on its head was of the same color

13th December 1824

Bought a Moore's Almanack with its fresh budget of wonderful predictions on the weather & the times alterd with such earnest ambition of pretending truth that one Shoud think the motto 'the voice of the heavens' &c means nothing more or less then the voice of Moors Almanack &c — saw 2 Will o' Whisps last night

10th December 1824

Began to take the Stamford Mercury News-paper with Bradford & Stephenson.

8th December 1824

Found the common Pollypody on an old Willow tree in Lolham Lane & a small fem in Hilly Wood scarcely larger than some species of moss & a little resembling curld parsley I have namd it the dwarf maidenhair & believe it is very scarce here

7th December 1824

Another gipsy wedding of the Smith family fiddling & drinking as usual.

5th December 1824

I have been thinking today of all the large trees about our neighbourhood & those that have curious historys about them — there was a walnutt tree (now cut down) stood in Groves yard at Glinton of which this is the history — old Will Tyers now living says while going to Peakirk one day when a boy he pickd up a walnutt & took it home to set in his garden were it throve well & bore nutts before he left the house its present occupier got great quantitys of nutts most seasons & a few years back it was cut down & the timber sold for £50

3rd December 1824

Found a very beautiful fern in Oxey Wood suppose it the white maidenhair of Hill it is very scarce here

2nd December 1824

One of the largest floods ever known is out now an old neighbour Sam Sharp out last night at Deeping Gate on attempting to get home was drownd