Retrospect: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Viscount Simon

Retrospect: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Viscount Simon

Retrospect: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Viscount Simon

Retrospect: The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Viscount Simon

Excerpt

John Simon of Thrustle Mill --the Pembrokeshire
paradise--My paternal grandparents --Not of
Jewish origin--An earlier Simon of Stackpole
Elidor--Edwin Simon, apprentice and student --
My mother and her people --Manchester, 1873-1883
--A recollection of the Midlothian campaign --Bath
--Donald Maclean and Lloyd George hear a
sermon--Cricketing parson --A lonely boy with too
few friends

JOHN SIMON, my father's father, was, in his later years, the tenant of a small farm called Thrustle Mill three miles south of Pembroke and little more than a mile from one of the wide and sandy bays which fringe the South Pembrokeshire coast. The white-washed two-storied farmhouse, with embowered porch and trim little garden, stands at a parting of roads, with a triangular green in front. On one side of the entrance was the parlour, and on the other a flagged kitchen, where in the season of harvest a barrel of home-brewed beer stood behind the door for the farmhands. Under the well-scrubbed uncarpeted stairs was a cupboard containing nets for catching rabbits and a muzzleloading gun, for Sir William Harcourt's Act of 1880 had, by a long overdue reform, conferred upon an occupier of land the right to kill hares and rabbits on his holding. Behind the kitchen was a lean-to dairy, with slate shelves for the pans of creaming milk and with an old-fashioned barrel-churn in the corner; and facing the back-door were the buildings of the corn-mill, to which neighbouring farmers occasionally sent their barley or oats for grinding, in sacks carried by donkeys. Then the sluice of the pond was raised and the moss-covered water-wheel began to turn. The mill-stream ran on between the fields till it reached the sea at "Freshwater East"--in my childhood's days an utterly unfrequented expanse of gently sloping sands where my little sister and I were the only bathers, using my . . .

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