The Four Men: A Farrago The Thirtieth of October 1902, Pg. 16. Myself. "We are well met, Sailor, you and Grizzlebeard and I in this parish of Bright- ling, which, though it lies so far from the most and the best of our county, is in a way a shrine of it." Grizzlebeard. "This I never heard of Brightling, but of Hurstmonceaux." Myself. "There may be shrines and shrines on land, and sanctities of many kinds. Pg. 17. For you will notice, Grizzlebeard, or rather you should have noticed already, having lived so long, that good things do not jostle." The Sailor. "But why do you say this of Brightling? It is perhaps because of these great folds of woods which are now open to the autumn and make a harp to catch the wind? Certainly if I'd woken here from illness or long sleep I should know by the air and by the trees in what land I was." Grizzlebeard. "No, he was thinking of the obelisk which draws eyes to itself from Sussex all around." Myself ." I was thinking of something far more worthy, and of the soul of a man. For do you not note the sign of this inn by which it is known?" The Sailor . "Why, it is called 'The Fuller's Arms'; there being so many sheep I take it, and therefore so much wool and therefore fulling." Myself . "No, it is not called so for such a reason, but after the arms or the name of one Fuller, a squire of these parts, who had in him the Sussex heart and blood, as had
Pg. 18. Earl Godwin and others famous in history. And indeed this man Fuller deserves to be famous and to be called, so to speak, the very demigod of my county, for he spent all his money in a roaring way, and lived in his time like an immortal being conscious of what was worth man's while during his little passage through the daylight. I have heard it said that Fuller of Brightling, being made a Knight of the Shire for the County of Sussex in the time when King George the Third was upon the throne, had himself drawn to Westminster in a noble great coach, with six huge, hefty and determined horses to draw it, but these were not of the Sussex breed, for there is none. And he " Grizzlebeard. "You say right that they were not 'Sussex horses,' for there are only two things in Sussex which Sussex deigns to give its name to, and the first is the spaniel, and the second is the sheep. Note you, many kingdoms and counties and lands are prodigal of their names, because their names are of little account and in no way Pg. 19. sacred, so that one will give its name to a cheese and another to a horse, and another to some kind of ironwork or other, and another to clotted cream or to butter, and another to something ridiculous, as to a cat with no tail. But it is not so with Sussex, for our name is not a name to be used like a label and tied on to common things, seeing that we were the first place to be crated when the word was made, and we shall certainly be the last to remain, regal and at ease when all the rest is very miserably perishing on the Day of Judgment by a horrible great rain of fire from Heaven/ Which will fall, if I am not mistaken, upon the whole earth, and strike all round the edges of the county, consuming Tonbridge, and Appledore (but not Rye), and Horley, and Ockley, and Hazelmere, and very cer- tainly Petersfield and Havant, and there shall be an especial woe for Hayling Island; but one one hair of the head of Sussex shall be singed, it has been so ordained from the beginning, and that in spite of Burwash and those who dwell therein."
Pg 20. Myself. "Now you have stopped me in the midst of what I was saying about Fuller, that noble great man sprung from this noble great land." The Sailor. "You left him going up to Westminster in a coach with six great horses, to sit in Parliament and be a Knight of the Shire." Myself. "That is so, and, God willing as he went ha sang the song 'Golier ! Golier!' and I make little doubt that until he came to the Marches of the county, and entered the barbarous places outside, great crowds gathered at his passage and cheered him as such a man should be cheered, for he was a most noble man, and very free with all good things. Nor did he know what lay before him, having knowledge of nothing so evils as Westminster, nor anything so stuffy so vile has her most detestable Commons House, where men sit palsied and glower, hating each other and themselves: but he know nothing yet except broad Sussex. "Well then, when he had come to West- minster, very soon there was a day in which Pg. 21. the Big-wigs would have a debate, all empty and worthless upon Hot Air, or the value of nothingness; and the man who took most money there out of the taxes, and his first cousin who sat opposite and to whom he had promised the next wad of public wealth and his brother-in-law and his parasite and all the rest of the thieves had begun their pompous folly, when great Fuller arose in his place, full of the South, and said that he had not come to the Commons House to talk any such balderdash, then and there, to give them an Eulogy upon the County of Sussex, from which he had come and which was the captain ground and head county of the whole world. "This Eulogy he very promptly and power- fully began, using his voice as a healthy man should, who will drown all opposition and who can call a dog to heel from half a mile away. And indeed though a storm rose round him from all those lesser men, who had come to Westminster, not for the praise or honour of their land, but to fill their. Pg. 22. pockets, he very manfully shouted and was heard above it all, so that the Sergeant-at- Arms grew sick with fear, and the Clerk at the Table wished he had never been born. But the Speaker, whose business it is to keep the place inane (I do not remember his name, for such men are not famous after death), stood up in is gown and called to Fuller that he was our of order. And since Fuller would not yield, every man I the House called out 'Order!" eight or nine hundred times. But when they were exhausted, the great Fuller, Fuller of Brightling, cried out over them all; " 'Do you think I care for you , you in significant little man in the wig? Take that!' And with these words he snapped his fingers in the face of the bunch of them, and walked out of the Commons House, and got into his great coach with its six powerful horses, and ordering their heads to be set southwards he at last regained his own land, where he was received as such a man should be, with bells ringing and gins firing, little boys cheering, and all ducks, hens, and Pg. 23. pigs flying form before his approach to the left and to the right of the road. Ever since that day it has been held a singular honour and one surpassing all others to be a squire of Brightling, but no honour what- soever to be a member of the Commons House. He spent all his great fortune upon the poor of Sussex and of his own parish, bidding them drink deep and ear hearty as being habits the best preservative of life, until at last he also died. There is the story of Fuller of Brightling, and may we all deserve as well as he".
The Four Men: A Farrago was first conceived in 1902 and published in 1912. The term farrago means an assortment or a medley; a hodgepodge. This novel follows the adventures of Grizzlebeard, the sailor, the poet and "Myself" during a four day, ninety mile trek across East and West Sussex from Robertsbridge to South Harting. The tale is peppered with creative anachronisms including a level crossing at the "Battle of Battle". Obviously Belloc did not know Jack Fuller personally, as he was born 36 years after Fuller's death. It is certain that Fuller had, by Belloc's time, been immortalized through local folklore. This work of fiction is often cited by those researching Fuller's life but cannot be relied upon. Fuller was never made a "knight of the shire" in fact he famously turned down the peerage offered by Pitt the younger. Belloc makes it seem like the House of Commons was a foreign place to Fuller when in fact he had been 9 years a Member of Parliament for Sussex (and a Member for Southampton prior to that) when the famed incident in the House took place. Nevertheless, this amusing and colourful depiction of the Squire of Brightling pays homage to the legend of Honest John Fuller.
Joseph-Pierre Hilaire Belloc was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France to a French father and British mother. He was a very versatile writer who penned poetry, essays, children's fiction and historical works. A Catholic apologist, he was a close friend of G.K. Chesterton. He was a Liberal member of Parliament for South Salford (1906 to 1910). Belloc died on July 16, 1953 at Guildford, Surrey.
John 'Mad Jack' Fuller Hilaire Belloc - Writer 1870 -1953