Chapter 7 October
1st October Up early for 7.45 breakfast. Then to the Forth Bridge (Dalmeny Station) by train. Saw several trains steam over the bridge, one of forty trucks heavily laden. The whole bridge is very grand. So huge and strong yet light looking, and the trains look quite majestic sailing across leaving billows of white smoke behind.
Back to town and to Holyrood in a cab. Then to the university to see Sir David Brewster's statue in the quadrangle, on to the Station. I went again into Prince's street, and got some delicious Oyster soup in a café crowded with people. It didn't seem quite proper, but nobody knew me there. Then I got an ice at another shop.
Caught the 2.30 train, which is an express, but stops at Longtown to take tickets. And mighty glad I was to get home again. I felt as though I hadn't had a proper meal for days. The Doctor appeared glad at our return and met us a the station accompanied by Tom, Martha had amused herself by tidying up my room, poor benighted woman!
2nd Stayed in bed till 10.30 or eleven. I stopped my clock last night by over winding it. Main spring broken I expect. Walked along the Glasgow road after lunch though I felt as though I had been to a ball. Weather uncertain, glass likewise.
3rd Carrie's birthday,* dear old thing! She behaves in a most motherly manner to me, and it is delightful to feel her in the same country. She talks of going back in the Aorangi, leaving on the 10th or 11th of December. I look forward to then with apprehension at being left entirely on my own hook.
* Elizabeth's sister Mrs Caroline Matthews was 29.
She would like to stay longer perhaps but Bob's tired of doing nothing. Have had an amusing letter from Jinny in which she tries to tease me about "dear" James. This allusion is for Alf's benefit, so that I may remember to tell him about it. Mr. and Mrs. Kidd came to tea. He not so deaf, but I devoted myself to her.
4th Tuesday A letter from Carrie, also a price list of Shetland wool shop in Edinburgh (John White and Co., 10 Trednick St.), also one enclosed from Mary with more commissions.
5th Don't feel well, so have done nothing all day but pant.
6th Feel better. The 1.10 express from Carlisle to Edinburgh got off the line at Tyneside about one and a half mile from here. I walked round to see it that way, past the church, bridge and farm, crossed the railway just an eighth of a mile from the train. There was nothing to see, no damage was done, nor was anybody injured, the passengers all walking here.
I wrote a few days ago to Miss Phillip whom I had met at Allenby, asking her to give me her opinion of my character from my writing. She is considered good at it and charges 1/- which she gives to charity. The answer came this morning and I will copy it here.
"You have a weak will, and are generally easily led, but at the same time you are inclined to being obstinate and unyielding in your opinions. You possess great natural vivacity, rapid, full of eagerness, original and rather singular in your tastes, with a good deal of imagination and activity of mind, not caring for form. You have a strong natural taste and sentiment for art, with a good deal of acuteness of perception and intelligence of a high order.
You are very economical and careful possessing much tact and finesse diplomatically clever at "getting on", taking a sensible clear view of things in general. There is a great deal of kindliness, sensitiveness and tenderness in your character, with grace, cultivation and nobility of mind, with a feeling of superiority over those around you who are either socially or intellectually beneath you, but with an entire absence of all pretension or self-assertion."
Dr. Christy went fishing, result nil, broke two rods.
7th Finished the red blouse. I spend most of my time sewing, reading and practising my guitar, with an occasional walk, shopping and meals.
I have decided to go to South Luffenham on the 25th before going to Lincoln as Rachel writes to say she goes to London on the 1st of November. Jinny and Peter are in London.
Dr. Christy went fishing, but came back to lunch as the river was rising. Mrs. Kidd called but did not stay long. I get on with her much better when alone. Today both Mr. and Mrs. Christy were present and it was very hard to think of anything worth saying and translating to them. Wrote to Carrie and for spence [?].
9th Sunday Went to church at the pretty old "Parish church of Arthurel." Such a pretty name. The rector, Mr. Graham, uncle of Sir Richard preached in such a low, effortless voice that I could hardly hear him, though only abut seven seats off.
Weather unsettled. In the evening we went to a Dissenter church to hear the newly appointed Minister. We went early, but I came out before service began because the church was hot, no ventilation, newly painted and two children in front eating Patchouli lollies! It made me feel ill.
10th As a fine day, Mrs. Christy decided to take me to see Caroline and invited Mrs. Kidd. We lunched at Riddings Junction whilst waiting ¾ hour for our train. Trained to Gilnockie then walked back to Caroline one and a half miles through lovely undulating, wooded country.
The rocks in the Esk at Gilnockie are formed in the same way as those in Penton Lynn. At Caroline's store we had milk, after finding Blackberries on the way. Mrs. Kidd bought lollies and ginger biscuits. Then called on Mrs. Snodgrass at the Manse/Parsonage.
Dr. Snodgrass is in Canada, where they were both for some years. She is very kind and wished us to stay to tea etc. It was she who offered to take Carrie and me in, in the Spring when Mrs. Christy was expecting us to stay and had no room for us.
From there we went along the bank to the river bend, then to the square towered church and old grave yard. Then to the station where we ate pastry. Near the station is a coal mine and we saw some black miners returning from their work with their little lamps in their caps.
We reached home at 5.30 rather tired and footsore. My feet still seem soft even after the Bath pavements, and blister on the slightest provocation.
From Carrie that Bob and she must go to London for three or four weeks for him to get his back cured under Dr. Wharton-Hood. He and his father went to town to consult him.
11th Busy sewing and writing letters for the San Francisco mail on 13th. Wrote to Alf, Sallie and Chris. Called on Mrs. Kidd.
12th Wednesday Posted my letters, but find the 'Frisco mail went last week. I marked all my letters to go by it!
Walked to How End to find out where Mrs. Beaty got her butter prints with name on them. Met her on the road, driving a drag, to fetch in crops which have been trying to get dry for weeks. All the crops nearly are spoiled by the wet. Potter, Lowther Station. Carlisle is the name. Didn't feel well all the evening, had B and W [?]. Hot, went to bed.
13th Very sick last night. Stayed in bed till midday, feeling weak. I wonder what it is that upsets me here. The food is very plain. Walked towards Netherby this afternoon. Mrs. Kidd called, asked us to tea tomorrow. Two long letters from my darling! ["my darling" has been heavily scored out]
14th Two photographs of Ormond [Nephew] came this morning. So good of dear Alf to think of sending them, saying that he thinks I shall be as proud of them as of his. Funny old fellow. Also letters from Mother, Madge and Sallie. All good news except that Frank and Bundie were leaving next week. Letter dated Sept. 7th.
Enjoyed tea with Mrs. Kidd. Mrs. Christy has taken a flat in Haydon Mansions, Shaftsbury Avenue, three doors off Picadilly. Quarter past eleven, so to bed.
16th October, Sunday Windy and rather cold weather. Saw Lady Cynthia and Sir R. Graham. Mr. Gibson preached. It is curious that neither he or the Rector even call on strangers. The Kidds have been here since nearly a year, yet no one has called. Stayed at home the rest of the day. Don't like facing larrikins loafing about.
17th A lovely, bright day, with chilly air. Walked round to Arthurel, through the fields home. Such a beautiful evening without a breath of wind. All the shadows clearly reflected in the mill pond.
On the bank of the field near the church we discovered what must be an ancient well, which I hope to have time to sketch before I leave on the 22nd.
Mrs. Kidd and I went to a 'Service of Song' in one of the chapels, which was crowded and stuffy. Wonderful how afraid the poorer classes are of fresh air! It was a funny mixture of reading a sort of tale, about Harvest (by the by, this was a concert to sell off the fruit, etc. given to decorate the chapel on its first harvest thanksgiving) by a farmer, his son who goes as a missionary to Ceylon and is not heard of for five years; his daughter, a good girl who gradually dies meanwhile; his wife and two friends; singing hymns and solos between. We sat in the second seat, just before a table spread with fruit, dried and fresh, bread, onions, tarts, potatoes, grapes etc. for sale, also decorated with palms, flowers, pot plants etc besides the room decorations of cabbages, carrots, turnips hung from the chandelier on strings, oats, pine branches etc. The children in front and beside us were greatly amused and giggled to hear French spoken. We left at 10.05 before the sale began.
18th Another beautiful day after a hoar frost, the second frost we have had. The first was last Wednesday. Sewed all the morning.
Started for a walk by the river at 3 p.m. with Mrs. Kidd to see how the Doctor was enjoying himself fishing. His usual luck. He said a man had got two between 20 and 30 lbs in weight, he thought through snatching, i.e. using number threes, as Tom calls them, three hooks tied in a triangular way. We saw another further up doing likewise, but he stopped when we went near.
They say that Dr. Christy, Mr. Kidd and another one are the only three who don't snatch. Most of the other anglers are townspeople likewise the bailiffs. Discovered today that though Dr Christy once snatched, he is terribly down on other snatchers!
Got back to tea, or rather coffee at 4.40 then shopped with her a short time. We saw plenty of Salmon jump, rising out of the water, but it seems impossible to hook them. The Esk is considered a bad rising river.
It is now ten to eleven p.m. It is no use getting into bed early as I seldom get to sleep before [?]. Mr. C. is also an "insomniac" if that is a word.
19th Fine, frosty morning, rain after lunch. The doctor did not fish. Shopped and walked a mile along the Glasgow road with Mrs. Kidd, dark before we got home.
20th Dull morning. Sewed, practised guitar and went to look at the Salmon in the water near the bridge. There were some between 20 and 30 lbs jumping two and three feet out of the water. Many had white noses from a growth of fungus which attacks them in fresh water. Tom says it gets cured when they return to the sea.
I am reading A History of Cumberland by Richard Ferguson. Amongst other advertised books printed are two published by Francis Jollie in 1794 and 1800. The first is Cumberland, the History of the County by W. Hutchinson. The other description of Cumberland (Westmorland and Lancashire) by John Hansman, Carlisle, published by Jollie. 1800. Both I should very much like to get.
Cake - 6 oz sugar and 3 of butter, cream, sour instead of milk in the Christy cake are an improvement.
21st Packed up. Mrs. Kidd came to tea.
22nd Waked up and rose at 6.30. Tom took my luggage to the station. In to Carlisle with crowds of market people by the 3.5 train, Mrs. Christy seeing me off. The people put their square baskets covered with white cloths in the van whose floor they covered. It was a cold sunny morning, the puddles being frozen and the railway sleepers still white. Just had time to get my ticket and catch the 3.45 train to Leeds, conveyed by a very civil guard, to whom I finally gave a shilling. He made the carriage into one for ladies only.
Passed up the valley of the Eden which was high and thick looking. The trees on either side of it were of all colours from pale yellow to brown and red, dark green to apple. Each stood out a different colour in the morning sun, set off by their background of snow sprinkled hills. Nearby the snow was within a hundred yards of us. We were about 200 feet above the sea the guard told me. Waited at Leeds from 12.30 to 1.30. Large station and excellent coffee.
Next changed at Nottingham, there a lady was the only other occupant of the carriage having been seen off by her cousin the Bishop of Ripon, she told me. We got into conversation, as we stopped nowhere before Sheffield. She knows the General Fultons. I think she said her name was Mac[?] and seemed nice in the [?]paght style.
Had some tea at Nottingham where I arrived at 3.15, leaving at 3.45. Arrived at Marton at 5.35, changed and got to Luffenham at 5.51, where Rachel met me with the dogcart. It was dark before I left Marton, but we soon reached the Rectory a mile away. There I was immediately ushered into the drawing room to Mrs. Holden, whilst the Doctor was sent for. She looks a little feeble and thin, with a cast, but must have been handsome when young.
She dresses very picturesquely, with a high comb and small muslin cap. He is short and has grown a beard but seems very nice and kind. Asked me to kiss him when going to bed, which I was only too glad to do.
Dornan came down also. Her husband died five weeks ago tomorrow poor child. She is tallish and massive, with rather a hooked nose and fair hair. Handsome on the whole, but dimmed by sorrow.
I had tea and was taken to my room where I found a letter from Jinny with a list of the people at the races and balls including our own names. I wonder how people got hold of mine. Chrissa's birthday. I had a great lunch given me by Mrs. Christy., Chicken sandwiches, three buttered buns, a bag of biscuits, apples, a bottle of beer.
23rd Sunday Up for prayers at 8.45. Breakfast at 9. To church with Rachel and poor Georgiana in widows' weeds.
A dear old Norman church part built in 1100 and 20 or 30, part in the next century. The walls are rough stones inside. Dr. Holden tells me the plaster was scraped off in a ritualistic frenzy by a predecessor. He does two services a day, being 76, entirely without help. He both reads and preaches splendidly. The choir is good for a country one.
Lunch at one, then walked to North Luffenham with Rachel and walked around the church, which is also very old. Did not go to church in the evening. Dinner at eight.
Josephine has kept her bed the last six weeks. A new phase. Have not yet seen her, but hear she is incurable.
Both there villages are very old. Such queer old houses, especially the Hall at North Luf. Many houses are ruined. It is strange to hear the villagers talk good English after the North country ones. I think Rachel thinks me mad for taking so much interest in old houses, stone walls, hedges, gravestones etc! She can have no idea how new they all are to me.
24th After lunch walked again with Rachel to North Luf to see about hiring a pony for her to ride with no success. Got the key of the church to see the new windows presented by the Rector Mr. Denison. It was so aesthetic that it was not so effective as a bright coloured one would have been, though, in itself, very beautiful. Funny old memorial plates on the walls of three and four hundred years ago.
This morning Georgiana told me some of her troubles, of which she has had quite her share lately. Her husband Spence Holmes died after twelve months illness, after sixteen months marriage. Her baby died two weeks before him.
Dr. Holden talked to me from dinner to prayer time. Told me how Lord Lyttleton 1 offered him the headmastership of Christ's College in Christchurch; also about Bishop Designate Jackson, 2 and many other interesting things.
He is the best of the lot, so far. Both Mrs Holden and the Rector seem very hard and impatient towards Georgiana. One would think she needed all the sympathy they could give her, yet Mrs. Holden continually scolds and worries her in every way possible and the Rector seems to egg her on in a nasty way, so that, I fear, I shall soon dislike her. They seem to be aggrieved at Georgiana coming back to them. She flies to him for comfort. They say Alf is very good looking from his photograph, and greatly admire those he sent me of Ormond.
25th Frosty morning but bright. Walked to Morcot a mile to enquire for ponies. Called at one curious old house dated 1664. Also through a muddy farm yard to see a black pony sans character. The only suitable one is required during the winter for Mr. Onslow, Lord Onslow's cousin.
Dornan in bed all day with neuralgia. Prayers morning and evening attended by Georgiana, the Canon and me, also the servants, I not always there in the morning. Rachel not because she is delicate (?) I think complexion. She is fed on birds, eats little and seems dainty.
26th Hoar frost. Dornan gone for the day to Greatham. Rachel drove me to Normanton in the dogcart with ponies in view. Again unsuccessful. I'm going to Lincoln on 7th.
27th Wrote letters for the 'Frisco mail. Weather warm and wet. Walked in afternoon with Georgiana through the village. She and Rachel sang after dinner.
28th Friday Another wet, warm day. Was too wet for walking. Letters again. Teaching Georgiana to net, find her an apt pupil. Like her best so far. Rose asks me to stay with her on my way north. Mrs. Holden catechises me terribly about home ways. Tells me not to come into the drawing room with boots, etc!
29th Windy morning blowing away clouds and leaves off the brown trees. Worried because I shut the door making a draught. Mrs. Holden declared that she in consequence had strained her back, opening the door whilst carrying jugs of water. I felt inclined to remark that the drawing had another from the hall by going which she would be obliged to open one instead of two through the library. However she continues to use two and complain, and make me feel as uncomfortable and cross as possible. I have since heard nothing more of the back. I write this solely as specimen of her nagging character. I wish I were going away directly instead of a prospect of ten more days of it. There is no peace.
Walked with Georgiana. through North Luf and back over the valley and high stream, crossing two footbridges made of slabs of stone. Canon Holden gave me a photo of the church and promised me more of the house and Bundie [Sister-in-Law]. Showed me his study and dressing room, both crammed with books and photos. He is a dear old man! Rachel has heard of a horse at Ketton to come on Monday for approval. Saturday has come again already! Warm day.
Sunday 30th Lovely bright warm day. To church here in the morning, Litany and commandments! The Curate wears black gloves. With Georgiana to afternoon service at North Luf, a nice old church. The roof has carved angels on the rafters, gargoyles at the end of each arch. One is a woman in an old sort of hood, another of a man with his hair so like the knave of [blank] so must be very old. [small drawing of what looks like 1860s "flip" hair-do]
The rector Mr. Dennis has lately put in a handsome aesthetic chancel window of which he appears very proud. He asked us into his house, but we could not. The augeries or rather omens were rather awful. No regular choir, the school children taking its place, of course should singing be desired. Greatly raised Dr. Holden by talking disparagingly of Miss Memsden, in whom he implicitly believes!
31st Mrs Holden in bed all day with a bad headache. I felt like a mouse when the cat is away. Walked to Morcot with Georgiana, rather muddy woods. Back by the fields. Letters from Mother, Mrs. Christy, Mrs. St. Leger, Etty in Berlin. Got about half a pound of lollies at Morcot for 3d, also nice chocolates at 1d an oz. It is not easy to buy good sweets in these little villages. Mother's letter dated 10th September. Frank and Bob to leave Patea on the 14th for Sydney.