Chapter 4 July
27th June, Bob* and Walter met me at Bath station and gave me alarming accounts of the old "haybags" and "ants nests" in Bath as we drove home up the hill. There first Carrie then Mrs. Matthews met me at the door and very glad I was to arrive. Mrs. Matthews is much younger looking than I should have supposed, hardly looking more than forty. Mr. Matthews is a fine looking old gentleman and most kind. I met Godfrey at dinner and liked him immensely.
He reminds me of cousin Robin and delights in teasing Bob and Walter by saying amongst other things: "My dear fellow you know I can't compete", which greatly annoys them. I had not time to change my dress and hardly any even to "clean" myself. It was delicious to be in a well-kept house again and at peace after the old ship. The boys seemed glad of my arrival. Arthur is installed as prime pet in the house, even the servants worship him.
28th Was taken round the garden and conservatories and unpacked during the morning. In the evening we went to hear the band in the park after light tea at six. It was light till we got home at 9.30 when we supped then sat on the balcony till pretty late. Godfrey went back to Chatham, where he is adjutant, in the afternoon. The park where the band plays is rather pretty. One sits on a chair under the trees (after paying a penny) and listens and watches the girls walking up and down in trailing dresses, ugly hats at the back of their hair and watteau pleat jackets. Such objects!
29th Helped Carrie make dickies during the morning and went shopping with her in the afternoon. Sales all the go, some thing wonderfully cheap. Got a hat which was far too expensive, a silk tea gown far too cheap and a fine macintosh with a large cape such as I have longed for. Had afternoon tea at Forths, treated by Carrie.
Went down town with Walter, through to corridor and market to a music shop where I got two Coster songs. Then to the Roman bath, then to taste the waters which, as Mr. Matthews says, "taste of warm flat irons!" We have dinner at 8 o'clock and coffee afterward, which is nice but keeps me awake.
Friday, 1st July Carrie, Bob and Walter went for a week's visit to London prior to a round of visits.
2nd Drove out to Claverton in the afternoon with Mr. and Mrs. Matthews and had afternoon tea at the Vicarage with the Waldys. Tea was cold and bread and butter cut the day before, otherwise a pleasant visit.
They have a splendid Deerhound, also fine roses some of which little Miss Waldy gave me, and a dear old house. Little Miss Waldy reminds me of Clarissa and seems a very nice child. Her sister and brothers had gone to Tenby for the day.
The old manor at Claverton had been taken down and rebuilt further off the road, but the old gates, terraces and lodges and the church are still there just on the road, but rather decrepit looking. They remind one of Christmas pictures one sees of oldfashioned places in the Graphic.
Wanleigh Manor, on the opposite side of the river is an old house belonging to the Skrines, covered with ivy. The country round Bath is very pretty, such fine beeches.
July 3rd Went to church at Christchurch. Got there at 10.30 so as to get good seats and did not get out again until 1 o'clock. The service was well conducted and the choir good so I liked it.
July 4th to 20th Did shopping. Had a gold crown put onto the roots of the tooth that I broke on board, which hardly hurt at all. Drove in Mrs. Lindsay's carriage out through Weston. Another day through Batheaston towards Bathford along the Warminster road. Tuesday 17th Mrs. Hall arrived from Florence.
Wednesday 22nd Went shopping in Mrs. Lindsay's carriage and pair. The black Irish horse stuck us up in the market street, pretending to be afraid of the train. She would not budge even when it was past, scene, crowd collected, every man shouting advice to Eric who takes no notice but sits stolid and unmoved as ever. Some loafer opens the door, suggesting we should get out, which I am only too thankful to do as the carriage is backing onto the pavement almost against an iron post. At last Eric gets down and leads her away like a lamb or, nearly so. We hop in and off we go at a great pace. In the afternoon the rest of my dresses arrive from London and the one made by Miss Reynolds in Bath. Grand trying on! Walked to Beechey Cliff.
Thursday 23rd Went to the charity chapel with Mr. Matthews in the morning. Dreamy service, stuffy place.
Friday 24th Went down town in the afternoon.
Saturday 25th Drove to town with Mr. & Mrs. Matthews and Mrs. Hall. Took my dress to be lengthened. Went to Mr. Smith to let him see if the gold crown was all right. There met Mr. Matthews and inquired about tourist tickets at the Midland Railway Station.
Sunday 26th Packed up. Mrs. Matthews let me store some of my things in an old portmanteau and leave them. Packing occupied me most of the morning. Went to town after tea. Ordered my tea set to be sent to London to be enclosed with Seaman's case for New Zealand Went to Mallett and saw ACA initial design.
Monday 27th Longtower. Got up half an hour earlier and had breakfast.
Left "The Ferns" at 8.35 for Midland station, Anstey accompanying me. Dear Mrs. Hall gave me a large checked silk Italian handkerchief before breakfast, which was very kind. She is a sweet, handsome old lady of seventy-two or so, and has a low pleasant voice.
Left by the nine o'clock train, changed at Margotsfield and Sheffield, passing on the way through Gloucester, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Burton where there were large pyramids of beer barrels, Derby, Chesterfield and its twisted church spire, Sheffield, Leeds, Skipton, Settle, Harves, and Appleby to Carlisle where Mrs. Christy met me.
To Sheffield from Gloucester where they almost threw themselves into our carriage thus making its occupants eleven instead of twelve, we had a curious fussy old couple, evidently railway servants as tender adieux to the refreshment room girls as we steamed off. They offered me Ham sandwiches, which they declared were cut that morning fresh! As I refused they gave me biscuits which I was obliged to eat, not altogether unwillingly.
I reached Carlisle rather late as everybody is going to Scotland just now. As I was getting out my luggage Mrs. Christy came up. She is hardly altered since nine years ago as I recognised her at once. I had some tea in the refreshment room then we sallied forth into the town, but found all the shops shut.
Saw the Carlisle Journal office. Reached Longtower at about 8 o'clock met by Dr. Christy. Got to the house, a funny little one in a small terrace called Jubilee Terrace and had supper. My bedroom is half sitting room as well. There are two bedrooms, a parlour and a kitchen.
Tuesday 28th Walked by the river Esk during the morning. Got lovely Forget-me-nots. In the afternoon walked towards the fine old church. The country is flat, well-wooded and very pretty. The river has a wide, stony bed and shallow water at present.
Wednesday 29th Went by the 10.30 train to market at Carlisle. Found the market very crowded and found it difficult to push our way through the throng of peasant women carrying baskets, perambulators, children, marketers, etc. What struck me was that there was no noise or loud talking though the place was so crowded.
I got very tired walking about 'till the train started for home. We tried to find Pater's lawyer whose name I imagined to be Watson. I had an idea that he might be going to Askrigg in which case I should have liked to go with him to see it. We went to two people of that name. The first was a nice old man who knew the name, but thought he was not the man.
Thursday 30th Went to church with Mrs. Christy. The weather threatened, so the congregation was sparse. The curate took the entire service, the vicar, Mr. Graham being away. He read very funnily, first almost drawling then hurrying over two or three words, such as "Pardon dissolve us from all our wickedness etc." He also continually catches one's eye, which makes me smile because he jumps about like a cork all the time.
31st Walked in the afternoon.