I think you must have misunderstood the circumstances of the case mentioned in your Letter just recd – they are simply as follows – After I left you on Tuesday, I took the Father of the Boy, Cullimore the Constable & John Gale <2> – to the Police officers Residence, where he had deposited the two Branches broken from the Poplar Tree – Gale particularly examined the Tree & found that no injury had been done to it & I enjoined him to put the full value, if any had been done & he assured me that he could not estimate it beyond a shilling –
I desired the Police Man to say what would satisfy him & Cullimore for their time & trouble & he fixed the sum at s5/– which with s1/ for the Branches of the Tree – was to be paid by the Father – in a Month at the latest – out of 4/6 pr Week which he receives from the Parish – for the support of himself & his Wife – The Boy had absconded – fearing, I suppose, that he might be sent to Prison – I promised to pay the expence of the Summons, to the Magistrates Clerk, out of my own Pocket – from pity to the Father, who appears to be so destitute – The Police Man expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the arrangement – indeed it was his own, as far as the compensation to himself was concerned – & finding from John Gale, that the injury to the Tree was so very trifling, I was unwilling to take the matter before the Magistrates & increase the expence further to the poor old Man – particularly as the Boy was not to be found at present –
I hope that this statement will satisfy you that the matter was in no way slighted – on the contrary, I assure you that I made a point of giving all the weight to it that the circumstances would admit of –
I am Dear Sir
Yr Obliged Servt
W. H. Awdry
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. John Gale, carpenter at Lacock.