This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading.

All instalments of “Samuel's Sentiments” were published in what became known as the 'Great Depression', which followed the financial crisis of 1873. According to the historian, A. E. Musson, 'the depression … was not unbroken … There were cyclical fluctuations, with booms reaching peaks in 1882 and 1890, and slumps descending to troughs in 1879, 1886, and 1893. But the booms were short-lived, and slumps prolonged …'Samuel may well be correct that conditions were improving for many people in December 1889. —— David Skilton

Winter – mind. Awful predicament for the masher who has walked to a party and been splashed by a passing cab.

I like winter myself, sir. There is something sickly about our English summer, that is if one has to stop the major part of it in a great hot, dusty town, where the very dogs crawl about with their tongues lolling out, and where one has to carry about half a pound of tar on the soles of one's boots and not a little of the same charming substance on the bottom of one's best 'bags.' I have no doubt that tar is a very wonderful substance as things go, but it is out of place on light trousers. I prefer winter mud myself – mud does brush off, but just you try to brush tar off; Eureka!! There is something soothing to me about winter – I can walk boldly out early in the evening without fearing to meet any of my creditors; I haven't, when I see one coming to cut down any side streets or up any blind alleys, or to affect to gaze with great intentness into a sausage shop window as though I contemplated buying the whole stock. I can strut boldly forth, knowing that as long as my linen is clean and my overcoat a tolerably good one, there is no garish sunlight to show up the shininess of my seams or the fulled edge of my trowser bottoms [turn-ups].

I admit that winter has its horrors – lectures, magic lantern entertainers, men who ask you if it is 'cold enough' and the like. It is bad for the poor, too; but God be thanked, sir, the dawn of this present winter comes with golden visions of good trade, good wages, and the prospect of prosperity and happiness for the many. Let us offer up a heartfelt prayer for the few – and pass on – though not pass by if we have a chance of helping those same few.

The sort of damsel that no one asks to learn to skate.

I go skating in winter – when there is any. If there isn't any, I sit in the parlour of the Spotted Dog o’ nights and tell elaborate lies about my powers on the rink. Who was that who interrupted by saying 'on the drink'[?I I have always one comforting assurance in my mind, sir, about the yarns that I tell, and that is that nobody believes me. The knowledge of that fact sometimes quietens my conscience. I am a splendid skater; I can skate on the 'outside edge' – of the pond. You should see me do the 'Dutch Roll' – after a heavy night at the club. I can roll all over the pond – and sometimes in it. But skating is hard work – in fact, I never really knew what it was to have a 'drag' upon me till I went skating. I should have been content to have a drag upon me, but when part of it goes into one it is a different matter. Whenever anyone on the ice observes to me, 'This is beautiful ice,' I am always obliged subsequently to admit that it is, it makes such an impression on me. A friend of mine informs me that he can on the ice do the movement known as the 'Spread eagle' to perfection. I'll back myself against him any time – I can spread eagle all over the place, and do the 'long slide' on the bridge of my nose, too. l can dance on the ice, though: at least I once did so when a careless attendant ran the gimlet he was boring my heel with almost up to my ankle bone.

In winter I used to go in for 'paper-chases' – I do now sometimes, but the paper is in the form of cheques. I have followed the hounds several time[s] – at a few miles['] distance, and on foot. After I had walked several miles up to the calf of the leg in slush, I almost wonder that the hounds didn’t follow me. Possibly they were too well fed, and didn't care about munching bones. These winter amusements are very charming. There is blowing one's nose, for instance, and trying if one can't at one break give a friend a couple of sneezes and a beating. But they are charming, these manly sports. Football is a nice game – for the reporters who make money out of it, and for the spectators when any one is killed. And it isn't bad fun for the doctors, who must regard the hosts of shivering spectators with the most lively feeling of satisfaction, for it is all good for trade. In the absence of a first-class European war, football is an excellent game. I think if I played football, I'd be a member of the County Committee, adjourn frequently to the Queen Hotel, and play at being a judge. I think that sitting alongside Mr Justice Perkins and a steaming glass of Scotch (but with lemon, please) I could deal out even-handed justice immensely well. Seeing that I don't know anything about it, I should make a most impartial judge. I haven't studied the question of professionalism, but I can't quite see why a man who has skill and talent in any one direction, shouldn't make all he can out of it – I know I would. If I did consent to allow a man to beat me in the diaphragm and to wipe up a muddy field with me, I’d be paid for it cash down, no reduction – or I'd go on strike and leave the premises, mud, goals, and all the bag o' tricks.

The hibernating female – one who seems to sleep throughout the winter.

I expect Christmas here soon – in fact, a good many people do. My daughters do. They have begun to look up all the cards common to the season that they received last year – those without any writing (such as 'For Dear Mary Ann') at the back. My daughters are not, I am proud to say, selfish. They are going to send those cards, which they regard as merely a loan, away again in order that so much beauty may not be lost to the world. I induced all my children to provide for the joys of Christmas by putting their weekly money and chance presents into a 'thrift box.' I keep the key myself in order that I may know the exact amount contained in the box. This prevents dishonest speculation on the part of the servant – or otherwise. I know the exact, amount that was in the box – it is beautifully lined with Co-op. checks at present. I thought it necessary to put in the Co-op. checks in order to produce a delusive rattle. I forget exactly how much I am – taking care of, on behalf of the box; it is either 13. 4d or 16. 4d, I don't know which, but it is quite immaterial. Some of my younger children have formed the nucleus of a Christmas tree. At present the collection consists of two coloured glass balls, the broken knob of a door, a toy sheep that seems to have been frisking among the cinders, a one-eyed doll, and other pleasing articles. They had the tree also, but they burnt it on '[??]t' night.

Ugh; winter is here. Let us shiver and shake, and stimulants take; let us drink to the fog and the sleet; while the snow's on the roof, let our hearts and our 'oof' go forth [??] the poor in the street. Where is Tennyson after that?

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Musson A. E. . 'The Great Depression in Britain, 1873-1896: A Reappraisal'. Journal of Economic History 19 (June 1959): 199-28.

Last modified 21 March 2022