My book of the mo’ is English Eccentrics by Edith Sitwell (first published by Faber & Faber in 1933). I love her mini cameo of Squire Mytton (who once shared our Earth).
“… poor generous Squire Mytton, doomed, as I suppose, before his birth, to the horrors of the death that seized him when he was only 38 years of age. This squire of Halston, near Shrewsbury, was born on 30 September 1796 and was left fatherless before he was 2. When he was 10 years old, according to his friend, Nimrod, he was ‘a Pickle of the first order’. Indeed, his neighbour, Sir Richard Puleston, with a felicity of expression peculiarly his own, christened him “Mango, the King of the Pickles”, and he proved his title to the honour even to the end of his life.
Alas, how little did Sir Richard Puleston, with a felicity of expression peculiarly his own, or any other friend of poor John Mytton, know the doom that was in store for him, the eight bottles of port a day, changing soon to scarcely less of brandy, the ruined estate, the ruined life, the debtor’s prison, the death amid the horrors of delirium tremens.
Here he comes, that poor driven drunken ghost, blown by a turbulent hurricane weather. His life seemed to be spent in running like an ostrich - he walked as fast and as strongly as that bird - racing, jumping, driving, hunting, chased always by a high mad black wind.
He meant, always, to cheat that wind. Let it blow through him and eat him to the bone. He would show it how little he cared…….”
Have you known a ‘Squire Mytton’?