Chapter 9 December
1st December Etty came early. Went to stores for various small things. Had lunch there. Then to tea with Lord D. in Gray's Inn. Raining steadily, got wet round skirt. Lord D. lives on the second floor at 19 South Square, old worn wooden steps. Enjoyed tea and cake, and drive home in a hansom cab. He's better looking than Robert, but shorter.
2nd Friday At home all morning. After lunch Lord D. called and asked me to go with him to the Savoy to get titbits. Got tickets for that night for Haddon Hall. He called for me at eight pm and drove me there in a hansom. Our seats were in the stalls, near the door, so we were not too warm. Electric light lighted the theatre. Very pretty piece, comic opera. He came in and supped.
4th Sunday To service at the Chapel Royal Savoy. Canon Curtis preached. To tea with the two old Purnells, then service at the Wells Street Chapel, where the singing is considered good.
5th To tea with Fanny Cator.
6th To Bath for the day to see the last of Carrie [sister].
Started from Paddington at 9 am, snow falling in large flakes, which overjoyed me not having seen it for so many years. However it had stopped by the time we had got into the country though the fields were white with it, and still ponds frozen over.
We reached Bath at 11.25 and found a lovely, bright, sunny day. Bob and Carrie met us at the station and drove us up with the Sunday horse. Mr and Mrs Matthews soon returned, both seeming well. Charlie was also there, looking pretty well, though his leg is bad. We had a very nice lunch then Arthur appeared. Nothing was said to him about me, he came and stood and looked at me and when asked who I was he said at once "Aunty Bessie" and soon got used to me again. We had grand romps together, he trying to frighten me by screaming and looking fierce. He is too sweet for anything. Bob and Carrie leave Bath on Friday at 1pm for Plymouth, where they stay the night and go on board the Aorangi next day at 2 or 3 pm.
We started for London at six, reaching there at 8.15pm, only stopping at Swindon. Both rather tired. I found a note from the Army and Navy Stores to say Ralph's things hadn't gone because the auxiliary things to be enclosed had not come. Most disgusting as they ought to have been on board on Saturday.
7th Went to Army and Navy Stores, Mrs Christy accompanying me. Ettie and Edie called before I was quite dressed to sympathize about Ralph's things not going. Found on enquiry the auxillary things hadn't even come from the manufacturers, and these what Ralph wanted most, papers, felt, etc. They promised them by Friday at latest. To tea with Miss Fanny. Letter from Father and Mother.
8th Walked out with Lord D. to get tickets for The Grands at the Court theatre. Fanny Cator came here to tea.
9th Went with Mrs Christy to the Army and Navy Stores, to inquire about some broken things found amongst those sent to be packed at the Stores. Then to Hanover Street to see the squirrel. After lunch to see Mrs. Johnson on the other side of the river. Dressed and to the theatre at eight. Very well acted play as well as funny.
Letter from Alf, most depressing. [she had apparently received a letter from her fiancé in New Zealand telling her that he was jilting her]
10th To tea with Miss Cartor, and have my dress tried on at Mrs. Leigh's. Find she has a son at Auckland working with her nephew called Abel, a painter and publisher. Going north on the 16th, next Friday.
11th Sunday To church at St Margaret's, Westminster where Archdeacon Farrar preached the best sermon I have yet heard. The aisles were crowded before the service began, but we were allowed to take seats directly the bell ceased ringing when there was a scramble for them. I sat in the front chair on a hot air grating. The service was perfect in every way, no intoning. Directly after driven to Gloucester Road and Fanny took me to an organ recital at the Albert Hall, where there were about 2,000 people. We paid 3d for a seat in the balcony. When people stood they did not pay at all.
Tea with Fanny, then in a cab to Hanover Square where Mrs Christy took me to see the Wendermans in Great Marlborough Street. Then home through the slummy part and supper in the kitchen.
12th To Fanny Cator's and she took me to see the pictures at the South Kensington. Especially some lent by Lord Francis Pelham-Clinton.
13th Mrs Leigh came to try on my dress. Then Fanny took me to see the pictures at the National Museum and stayed to lunch. Melanie and Margaret Wenderman came to tea. Margot stayed to dinner, Melanie having to be at the Savoy before that.
14th Shopping during the morning. Fanny took me to a matiné at the Covent Garden Theatre Orfeo, where the two Roughs took the parts of Orpheus and Eurydice followed by Cavalleria Rusticana, which I g[?]. Managed to find our way home by instinct, through wet streets and drizzle.
15th Shopping all the morning, Christmas presents. Got a lace handkerchief for Jinny, puppets for Peter and games for the boys. Packed. Got to bed about 12 o'clock.
16th Got up before eight. Breakfasted upstairs. Cab not ordered by the Porter. So grand fuss. Caught ten o'clock train from King's Cross. The Flying Scotsman, which goes so smoothly, yet so quickly that there is no discomfort. Stopped a few minutes at Potter's Bar, opined something was wrong with the engine. Then at Grantham and at Doncaster for seven minutes. At York for twenty minutes, where people have lunch and where our carriage got filled with women, but we were only three before. A handsome girl of 14 got in under the impression she was going to Whitby. I did what I could for her at Newcastle when a train left in an hour or so for Whitby. My train left almost at once for Cleadon Lane, so I got here sooner than I expected as Fanner met me. Julia White is staying here for a few days and I like her - Dora Graves I like also, she keeps Oswald in good order. Jinny the same as ever. The house most comfortable, huge fires of Arundel coal. One also in my room.
17th Left at home all day, which I greatly enjoyed. Walked past the Hanton mine and timed to return by the cliffs but was obliged to strike for the road again as it was almost dark and wet and slippery under foot. They all returned from Newcastle soon after five. Weather still warm and roads muddy. Mr and Mrs Anderson, Messrs. Allison, and Davison to dinner, Mr Williamson also.
18th To church at 10.30 accompanied by Jinny and Oswald. Dr. Ridley and Captain Haggitt R.E. came for the day.
19th Julia went home from Sunderland.
20th All again at Newcastle. Dance at Tynemouth. Drove, nervous about the ferry.
21st Norman returned from school greatly to Oswald's delight. J. and S. to dinner at Cleadon Park, where live the Andersons.
22nd Thursday Dance at Sunderland. Mr and Mrs J. Allison, Mr and Mrs Sanbent, Mr Dawson, Mrs Anderson, Mr Angus and Mr Baily were here to dinner and all went together to the ball except Mr Anderson and Mr Dawson and Peter. I went in the bus with the men. Came home all in it except Mr and Mrs Allison, reaching home at 1.30am. A good dance.
23rd Mr and Mrs Fraser, nurse and baby came for Christmas.
24th Jinny, Oswald and I went in the morning to Sunderland, escorted as far as Rober[?] by Mr and Mrs Fraser. Drove back in a cab. Fanny, Frank, nurse and little boy arrived at three. Then some children and Miss Williamson for the Christmas tree. I got off it, a booklet, a glass and brass inkstand and three pairs of scissors on a mount, besides crackers. Mr W. W. to dinner, and Mr P. Jobling.
25th [Christmas 1892]
Fanny gave me a bottle of scent, the third bottle I have received during the last five weeks. Peter gave me a pair of gloves. Went to church, which was decorated, but looked bare to me after our Christmas profusion of flowers. Found Mr Potter and a friend, but they did not stay. Then for a walk on the beach with the Frasers.
Yesterday was cold, but today there is a hard white frost and bright sun. Ideal Xmas weather. Late dinner with the boys there. 6d, a ring and buttons in the blazing pudding. Fanny and I practiced our guitars and mandolin together.
26th Frank and Co left.