Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Then there was the Rev. A.M. Toplady, for some time vicar of Broad Hembury, near Honiton. While walking out with some friends in Somerset, he was caught in a storm, and the party sheltered in a well-known cave by the roadside, where, standing under its rocky entrance, he wrote this famous hymn:
Rock of ages, cleft for me.
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the Water and the Blood,
From Thy riven Side which flow’d,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
All these hymns are sung in every part of the world where the English tongue is spoken.
The two ladies were good singers, one soprano and the other contralto, while I sang tenor and my brother tried to sing bass; but, as he explained, he was not effective on the lower notes (nor, as a matter of fact, on the high ones either). He said afterwards it was as much as he could do to play the music without having to join in the singing, and at one point he narrowly escaped finishing two bars after the vocalists. Still we spent a very pleasant evening, the remembrance of which remained with us for many years, and we often caught ourselves wondering what became of those pretty girls at Torquay.
Monday, November 13th.
From time immemorial Torbay had been a favourite landing-place both for friends and foes, and it was supposed that the Roman Emperors Vespasian, Titus, and Adrian, when on their way to the camp on Milber Downs, had each landed near the place where Brixham now stands. Brixham was the best landing-place in the Bay, and the nearest to the open sea. It was a fishing-place of some importance when Torquay, its neighbour, was little known, except perhaps as a rendezvous of smugglers and pirates. Leland, in his famous Itinerary written in the sixteenth century, after describing the Bay of Torre as being about four miles across the entrance and “ten miles or more in compace,” says: “The Fishermen hath divers tymes taken up with theyr nettes yn Torre-bay mussons of harts, whereby men judge that in tymes paste it hath been forest grounds.” Clearly much of England has been washed away or has sunk beneath the ocean. Is not this part of the “Lyonesse” of the poets—the country of romance—the land of the fairies?
[Illustration: BRIXHAM HARBOUR]