From the Sussex County Magazine 1930
By Frank Watts
From one end of the village to the other young Jim is regarded as the worst boy since Albert Vidler ran away to sea.
"He is sech a ‘limb’ that I can’t do nawthen wi’ ‘im," is his father’s description.
The schoolmaster does his best, and Jim’s daily ration of cane has long since ceased to be a source of amusement to his classmates.
"The next boy to drop his pen gets the cane," the master threatens.
Down goes Jim’s pen and the punishment is awarded.
"Why do you irritate him, Jim?" I asked one day.
The wide grey eyes lit up.
"Well, teacher used to send me home – of course, I didn’t go – there are too many things to see on the Marsh at this time of the year."
He and I always got on well; frequently, on Saturday’s, he used to come round to my little dwelling and suggest casually that he had noticed some interesting bird that would pay for a closer study. I gave in and we set out for the day.
His first-hand knowledge of natural history has been a revelation to me. True, he does not know the names of all the different things he has observed, bus as regards the habits and curious mannerisms of the wild things that live on or visit the Romney Marsh he is a mine of original information. Among other things he drew my attention to the last year’s starlings being instructed in the art of nest building, and also pointed out the rook doing sentry duty.
When a boy is misunderstood it is inevitable that his interests and pleasures should bring trouble. Last summer his father punished him for getting out of his bedroom window and spending half the night in a little-wood listening to the nightingale. His one-time friend, the gamekeeper, is now his bitterest enemy since he discovered Jim releasing a jay that had been caught in a trap baited with birds’ eggs. Previous to that someone had opened the cage door and set the keeper’s skylark free. No one saw the deed, but Jim was suspected of the offence. The boy has never told me, but if he did do it the reason, I am sure, was not wanton mischief.
Last week Old George, the "looker," was in a terrible way; one of his lambs had tumbled into the swiftly flowing river. Nothing could be done for it. Exhausted by frantic struggles to reach the bank where its mother, with agonised "baas," rushed backwards and forwards, it sank lower and lower.
Splash! Young Jim had plunged into that ice-cold flood and pushed and supported the little mite until it was able to struggle out to its overjoyed parent.
I confess I am a hot defender of Young Jim, and shall watch his progress in later life with considerable interest.