A Remarkable Amount Of Mud

Sabine Baring-Gould Week continues, with another snippet from Purcell’s biography. It is 1867, and our hero (aetat. 33) has been appointed to the position “with the depressing title of Perpetual Curate” to Dalton…

“Dalton, a hamlet in Swaledale, was called, not without reason, ‘Dalton i’t Muck’, by reason of the remarkable amount of mud through which its few inhabitants had in winter to make their way. A profusion of wild flowers in summer was an agreeable feature of the place though somewhat outweighed by at least three disadvantages: the smallness of the stipend, the stupidity of the people, and the enthusiasm of the Viscountess Downe…

“The natives were perhaps affected by the mud.”

I am reminded of Ruskin’s peasants of the Vaudois valleys, “where the marshes… blast their helpless inhabitants into fevered idiotism”.

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