Elizabeth Spence Watson

Family Chronicles

[Complete transcript]

Volume 1, 1864-76


Elizabeth S. Watson

Moss Croft

July 18th 1864.


Family Chronicles

July 18th.

I intend to keep a chronicle of family events, & only wonder I have not done so before, so much has passed during the last year of my life. I have been married more than a year, & a very happy year it has been to me, & now I have a little daughter to make my happiness complete. As I sit here at the open window of our "den" I think of all my many blessings, the first & greatest of all my dear dear husband, our sweet little Mabel, our lovely home, & all our kind & loving friends, my heart is full of thankfulness to our heavenly Father who hath given us me all these richly to enjoy. But I must go back, & briefly put down some of the memorable events of the past year—If we live, in long after years, it will be interesting to us to refer to this chronicle, & if our dear child grows up, she may like to read, perhaps long after her parents are dead, what befel them before she was born, & afterwards during her childish years.

We were married on the 9th day of June in the year 1863—a very happy day for both of us—My home had been a far happier one than that of many girls. I had kind parents whom I dearly loved, although I am sorry to confess I often acted very ungratefully towards them, & plenty of dear brothers & sisters, & all outward wants supplied, so that most of my troubles were of my own making, & are deeply & heartily regretted now. But from my marriage morning a new kind of happiness began for me, a happiness, which, amid all sorrows & trials must always exist where there is true love between a man & his wife.

Our Wedding Tour was in Switzerland & North Italy, & was the most glorious & the happiest journey I ever made, but as I have related our adventures & our pleasures therein in another place I will not say more about it here—

We returned home on the 20th of July, just about a year ago—indeed exactly a year, reckoning by the day of the week. It was delightful to see our new pretty home, all so tastefully & beautifully arrayed, & still more delightful was the welcome we received from a happy company of fathers & mothers & brothers  sisters.

One kind face that welcomed us is gone from amongst us for ever;—never can we return again & have the same merry party to meet us -

And now began our quiet settled-down married life—We paid very few visits, having made up our minds to decline all invitations except those of our very nearest relations. We gave two large parties, to which nearly all the friends of the meeting were invited, & very pleasant evenings we had—walking in the garden, & games in the field—the evenings passed quickly & pleasantly enough—My life at this time was a very idle one—It was hot summer weather, & the temptations to loiter in the garden, & to eat gooseberries with Emily, were too great to be resisted.

The garden was delightful, & delightful too the long rambles I often took in the country, often with one or other of my sisters, most often quite alone. Through the Ravensworth woods, or by the fields to Lanceley, or down beside the Leams—these were the most frequent walks, & very beautiful ones, all of them.

Soon after our return home the meeting of the British Association was held in Newcastle. The visit of the "Wise Men" to our canny town was an event of immense importance, & the whole week was one continued round of meetings, soirées, lectures &c.

The Geographical & Physiological Sections attracted me the most, & to one or other of these two I attended daily, leaving unheard all the others. Professor Rollestone was President of the Physiological, & his remarks alone were well worth going to hear—He was a man who could be called nothing less than fascinating. Then my husband was one of the Secretaries in the Geographical Department & I liked to go there, not alone to hear the interesting papers, but also, I must confess, to hear him read in his clear manly voice, & to sit where, among all the crowd, I could still see his dearest face. -

Mr Francis Galton was our guest, a most learned & what or ancestors would call a "very fine gentleman".

It was a treat to listen to his conversations, & except that I stood in some awe of his learning, i was delighted with him. Then we had the advantage of often seeing Professor Rollestone, who with some other guests, stayed at Bensham—& one morning we had quite a distinguished company to breakfast. Our own townsmen & now famous naturalists John & Albany Hancock, Professor Rollestone, Professor Williamson, Mr Galton, & H.T. Mennell. Well this wise week, this time of interest & excitement passed away, ending, on our part with an excursion to Allenheads, & a descent of the Lead Mines, & then, not without some regrets, we settled down again into what is far the happiest after all—our quite home life.

[5½ lines of text very heavily crossed out and illegible.]

Then came a time of trouble & sorrow. The sad death of poor James Hack which happened at South Ashfield was quickly followed by that of my dear Father.  He had been out in the cold a few days previously, & had taken a chill which brought on, worse than before, his constant cough, & he became speedily worse &, on the 27th of November, early in the morning he suddenly sank, & died with little pain, & saved from the bitterness of parting. I had seen him the day before, & had thought him looking very much changed, but had scarcely thought the end was so near.

George & Emmie & Allie were at Gilsland, where we had hoped that our dear father would be able to join them as soon as his cold had left him—but it was not so to be. My poor brother & sisters were recalled to the house of so much mourning & our dear Father was buried in the Westgate Hill Cemetery on the following 4th day. It was indeed a great loss to all of us—He had always been to us a truly kind father, & was much beloved by us all. To our dear Mother the loss was the greatest, but she bore up, as she still does, with a brave spirit, for all our sakes, & makes us feel how doubly precious she is now. In times of trouble she is always strong, & never gives way to a selfish sorrow. I was taken ill just after my father's death, and was not able to attend his funeral. In about a fortnight, I was well again, & able to go about; the first time after this that I went to South Ashfield it was very sad to miss the dear kind father who had always given us such a loving welcome; only when we remembered the suffering of which he had so much on earth, we could not but rejoice that now he had no pain nor sorrow, & that the things which had so often troubled his sensitive feelings of right could trouble him no longer.

Our Christmas was a sad one—so many either ill or gone from amongst us. My father-in-law was very much out of health, & he, with several of the rest of the family spent the Christmas week & the early part of the New Year at Matlock.

One or two of our usual winter gatherings were held, but on some faces there was a sadness wh could not be dispelled. But with the New Year came rather brighter times. The travellers from Matlock returned with health restored, & having had much enjoyment. Nellie & Herbert went back to school, & the days sped quickly away. Then came Anna's illness—haemorrhage from the lungs, followed by long continued weakness. She first went to Sheffield for a change, as soon as ever her strength would allow, 7 afterwards, with Mother & the girls to Heugh Folds, where she gained much benefit. Although still not strong, she is comparatively well again, & able to go on with all her former occupations.

In April my brother John was married, after a short engagement, to Marianne Thöl. Emmie & Allie & Edward were at the marriage—which took place in London. The newly married pair made a tour in North Italy, & then stayed at Tynemouth until their house in Rye Hill was ready. They are now happily settled there.

On the 23rd of May in this year 1864 my little Mabel was born. She was a tiny child, but grew apace—She is now three months old, & is fat & flourishing, & a great delight to us all. I don't know how to describe my dear little baby. She has wide blue eyes, & pretty dimples when she smiles, which she often does; a fair complexion, & plenty of light hair—She has a well shaped head, with pretty little ears, & hands & arms that are always tossing about, in her extreme activity, & to add to the expression of her expressive face—Such is our little Mabel, & yet is these few words I have not told, & cannot tell, how dear she is to us both, how we love our darling & long for her that she may grow up good & fair, & that like little Mabel in the old story which used to please us so much as children, she may always be "alert & kind" & know that it is good to have a "willing hand." To her dear grandmother, my mother, this child is a great pleasure, & her Aunts make so much of her, that there is some danger of her becoming a spoiled child.

Now, in husband & home & child I am surely quite happy; & as the days speed away, I can only pray to be kept from too much setting my heart on the earthly happiness, for I tremble to think of what has befallen others far far more worthy, & might befall me too—

Aug. 16th. 1864

September 15th 1865.

When I last wrote in this book little Mabel was but three months old, & now more than a year has passed away, &, no longer a baby, Mabel runs about & calls "papa" or "mama", & begins in her childish way to understand some of the wonders & delights of the w her little world—Every day has made her dearer to us, & she seems to us the most delightful child that was ever given to a happy father & mother. And what have I to tell of all these days which go to make up the year? A whole long year which yet seems to have passed with all its minutes & hours & weeks & months but as a single day. Much of happiness, of quiet peaceful happiness which cannot be recorded, some trouble or sorrow, although more on account of others than belonging to ourselves. First my poor brother George fell into ill-health, & after trying various remedies, he at last went with Dr White to America for a complete change. Even this did not have the effect we could wish.

[About 9 lines heavily crossed out and illegible.]

George went to Oxfordshire to work a little at farming there for the winter, & he is now a good deal better.

[3 lines, less one word, heavily crossed out and illegible.]

Also Emily's engagement to our cousin Henry Richardson. The winter was a very severe one, & we had some splendid skating at Gosforth. Large parties were organised, & many merry afternoons we had—A great many ladies took advantage of the long frost to learn this delightful exercise, & the beautiful pond at Gosforth was in those still, calm winter afternoons, a very pretty sight.

Great was the fun, & by us the hard winter was a thing much to be desired—to the poor with little food, little fuel, & little clothing not so much, & of this I fear many a happy skater did not think enough.

Well it all passed away, & then came the pleasant spring time, with all its delicious sights & sounds of which one could surely never tire though one saw & heard for the hundredth time—In April my husband & I were separated for the first time since our marriage. But the cause of separation was a joyful one, & for me, at least, the time was necessarily a very pleasant one. Our dear & long absent Carrie came back to us at Heugh Folds, whither I with little Mabel, had gone to be among those to welcome her. Her long sad illness was over at last, & with health restored, she came back to us once more. It was indeed a time for great joy & deep thankfulness, & a fortnight with dear Mother & Anna & Allie, & our long lost Carrie was a truly happy time. Little Mabel was a great pleasure to all, & Carrie, who had for so long taken such a warm interest in her, was devoted to her. Ever since the day of its birth my little baby seemed to be a source of interest & comfort to Carrie—she knew when it was born, all before she was told, & said afterwards that she saw me lying pale in bed with a little nestling child beside me.

When afterwards a friend told of Mabel's birth, & gave the wrong day by mistake, Carrie said no it could not be for she had seen me the day before. The beautiful things this kind Aunt made for our pet were without number, & her tasteful hands could make them as few others could. I was delighted with Anna's house, Heugh Folds—so complete in all its arrangements, & so simply & prettily furnished -

Then in that beautiful country of lakes & mountains there is always plenty to do & to admires, so that time could never be said to hang heavily on our hands. I was obliged to return home on the 1st May, which was a Monday, but Robert came to my great joy on the Thursday so we spent three very happy days together. One day we walked over the Stake Pass, & through Borrowdale—another, with Allie, up Helvellyn, & the third a delightful ride together to Coniston. On Sunday we drove to Hawkshead's quiet little meeting, & in the evening walked with Carrie & Allie up the beautiful valley of Easedale. I must not forget to mention that one afternoon we took tea at Sir John Richardson's at Lancrigg, when Robert had much interesting talk with that fine old Arctic explorer, since our visit taken so suddenly away -

Well on the Monday my husband & I, (leaving little Mabel with her nursemaid) returned home by way of Carlisle, & paid a pleasant little visit on the way to Grandmama & Anna Mary at Newtown House -

It was strange to be at home without our child, but in a fortnight she returned, & great was our joy in having her back again. We both of us met the darling at the station, & she welcomed us with rapturous delight, scarcely knowing, in her joy, who to be with, but holding out little arms first to one & then to the other—

Two things I forgot to chronicle in their proper places., one was in February the birth of John's little boy Philip—the other Robert's temporary blindness in the early winter. For a fortnight he was unable to go out or do any work, but it was such a pleasure to wait on him & read to him, that, selfishly I fear, I had not enough regret—& he was so good & patient that it was a true pleasure to have him in the house all day -

Oct 10th 1865

My little history progresses but slowly, & I think, when too late, of many things I should have recorded—I have entirely omitted the account of our last year's trip into Wales, which, as there is no other remedy, must find a wrong place here. It was in September we went away, taking our little three months old Mabel with us. We started on my birthday the 12th of September, on a fine bright morning, destined alas, to be the last of its kind for two whole weeks. Chester was our first resting place, & Capel Curig the next, where we were joined by R's old friend Henry Mennell—But I will not stay to note the rain that fell day after day, & which could not fail to mar though it could not prevent our enjoyment of the beautiful country. In spite of the rain & the wind & the cold, we twice ascended Snowdon, once besides Moel Siabod, & Trifaen, & R. & H.T.M. the Glyders also—besides seeing Llanberris, Beddgelert & Bettws y Coed. From the mountain tops we had generally grand views of rolling mists, with occasional glimpses into the valley, far below—beyond this no more—& in such a place as Bettws it was rather provoking to have rain, rain, nothing but rain, instead of the glorious sunshine to give light & colour to those rich & beautiful woods.

However our journey was, after all, a very pleasant one, & the last two days, after leaving the mountains, spent at Conway & Carnarvon, were perfect as to weather, & I might almost say the same as to our enjoyment of them. One excursion that we made from Conway to Llandudno thence walking round the noble promontory of Great Orme's Head, was in every way delightful—the coast scenery was far finer than we had any idea of, & after all our previous experience of wet & gloomy days, the mere sensation of existence & health on that glorious day was in itself enjoyment enough -

Our little Mabel proved an excellent traveller, both by rail, car & boat, although it must be confessed to be somewhat of a risk to take so young a child on such a journey.

H.T. Mennell proved a very pleasant companion, always courteous & obliging, & very willing to overlook any little drawbacks or delays arising from our having the child—with whom indeed he was as we used to say "great friends".

This journey to Wales was our one journey of that year, but in the January of this present year when I wished to wean little Mabel, Robert & I went for two days to Richmond in Yorkshire, a very interesting old town & surrounded by a beautiful country—We had some very pleasant walks—to Easeby Abbey, or the moor—& altogether had a very nice little outing—I always enjoy excursions alone with my dear husband, who is at once the best husband, & the best companion & friend, & when i am tired, as I sometimes am after a long walk, & when tired, often I am sorry to say cross, none could then more kindly cheer & help, or more lightly pass over all foolish & unfriendly words.

Mabel had stayed the while we were away at South Ashfield & had quite easily got over the trouble of weaning—much more easily than her mother did -

I must now go on to our journey of this year which was in July, & into Switzerland once more. We were a party of five H.T. Mennell, our former pleasant companion, my two sisters Emmie & Allie & ourselves. This is not the place for me to relate the events of our tour which are duly related in my journal I wrote at the time but I must just say how delightful it was, & how more than ever impressed we were with the beauties & delights of that much loved country. It would be hard to say what gave us the greatest pleasure, whether the lovely [Neugern?] Alp, with Interlacken & Grindelwald, or our dear old favourite the Bel Alp, or the rich valley of Aosta, or beautiful Chamonix with where the Monarch reigns supreme. Each & all were beautiful, & all have left pictures in our minds of grandeur & beauty, which can never be effaced, but which must be a joy for ever, even though our outward vision be darkened, so that we never again can behold those wondrous scenes -

Robert & H.T. Mennell ascended Mont Blanc—& came down like conquering heroes, so greeted were they by all the village, & such firing of cannon & drinking of champagne as there was. I had longed to go up with them, but the weather was too uncertain, & after the fatigue of the Col du Géant the day before, it would have been unwise -

We came home the beginning of August, & on the 10th Emily Watson, my sister in law, was married to Henry Richardson my first cousin. The day went off very satisfactorily—the bride looked lovely, & spoke well, the bridesmaids looked very pretty in their light floating white muslins—the breakfast was excellent, partaken of in a tent in the field, & the afternoon drive to Gibside, & evening party very enjoyable. The young couple went off to Derby, thence to Devonshire. They are now settled in their pretty home at Forest Hall near Benton -

We have had a most unusual summer, fine dry weather throughout, & almost cloudless skies—Now there is a change—the rain is pouring in torrents & a fierce north east wind, that makes me think sadly of those at sea, is blowing with perfect fury -

We have just been a two days excursion into Teesdale, intending to make it three, but the change came, & we returned yesterday. We were fortunate however in having one day brilliant, & spent it very pleasantly at [Rovekby?—presumably Rokeby], & in driving up to Tess High Force. The next day, which was Sunday, we walked to Caldron Snout & High Cape Nick [sc. High Cup Nick], a walk of 23 miles there & back, & a very rough one, through the deep heather with many weary bogs & hags—The wind was boisterous & the clouds very low, but one walk was a very grand fine one, & we thoroughly enjoyed it, & as we had two fine days we could not grumble when the driving rain the next morning compelled us to come home—and home is so dear, & it is always such a pleasure to return to our little darling who gives us such a warm & joyous welcome, that we should be very ungrateful if we did not always think the coming home one of the pleasant parts of our journey -

Oct 10th' 65

My last entry in this book was made on the 10th of October, & I can scarcely realize that this is now the last day of January 1866—so quickly does time fly, & on day's little events give place to another. The things to which we look forward for days or weeks come & go, & after they are passed their importance becomes diminished in our eyes, as our life is happily more present & prospective than retrospective, except in so far as we all of us have past hopes & sorrows to mourn over, & many delights & blessings to think of with thankful loving hearts. Since our last journey to Teesdale we have stayed quietly at home, & have passed a pleasant Christmas, & at all events had a happy beginning of the new year. The usual round of family parties has been gone through, with a sprinkling of dancing parties, oratorios & concerts. On Christmas day we had a delightful morning's walk to the "hill head" at Ravensworth, & dined sumptuously at Bensham, joined in the evening afterwards by others of the large family group. Then we had a pleasant New Year's gathering at South Ashfield when everyone contributed some poem or charade, some of which were very good. There was only a small but a very pleasant party at Sunderland at Lucy's as she was not very well. About the middle of the month she had another boy—the fifth. One could wish it had been a girl, but both parents are well content. Etty Clapham too has another little boy, making a nice little group of three. Our old friend & companion Henry Mennell again spent two days with us at Christmas—the third visit since our marriage, & I think, the pleasantest of all.

We have had so far an extraordinaryly [sic] mild & open winter—no frost worth mentioning, & some days really summer like—Although this is but January, the rose trees in our garden are quite green, & the young lilacs are all shooting forth their beds. We cannot help now dreading lest a late frost should come, which would very much spoil the garden for all the summer. The westerly winds have been almost constant & at times fearfully violent, so that we, sitting quietly at home, have had our thoughts turned sorrowfully to those at sea. The catalogue of wrecks on the South West coast has been truly appalling, & the fearful loss of the "London" in the Bay of Biscay filled all England with sorrow. Here 220 passengers with their noble Captain all met their fearful death with a noble calmness which thrills one with admiration to read -The few who escaped in one of the boats saw the ship & all on board sing, only 10 minutes after they left her.

My little chronicle only purports to be a family one, or I might tell of much that has passed in the outside world—most of all of the fall of Slavery, & the end of the four years' strife in America—then of Palmerstone's death, of the new Russell-Gladstone ministry, & many other things—I might also tell of interesting lectures attended, & interesting books read, but all this would swell my journal to such a size that at present, at least, I must refrain. If in after years we should ever care to look over these pages, we shall take more interest, I fancy, in the little home affairs, & records of home happiness than of in meagre details of things far more important which in the history of our times must be read elsewhere.

Whilst I write, my little Mabel sits beside me, scribbling on white paper to her heart's content, every now & then making a violent rush at my book, with a sly twinkle in her merry eyes. She grows daily dearer to us, & we feel blessed indeed in house & home & friends.

Jan. 31st 1866.

It is now the 6th day of September, nearly 8 months since I last wrote in this book—the year which was then but beginning is now drawing towards its close. In the spring of the year I had a severe attack of bronchitis, & when I was sufficiently recovered, I was invited by my sister Anna to spend a few weeks at Heugh Folds taking little Mabel with me. This was in April . . . Still the three weeks I spent there passed pleasantly enough, although I do not like to be away so long from my husband, & find it impossible to have full enjoyment without him. Our little party consisted of Anna & Carrie & Mabel & myself for the first two weeks, when to my great joy, Robert came for a three days visit, bringing Allie with him, who stayed a week, returning with me at the end of that time. During R's stay, the weather was perfect, & we had a delightful time, & were able to take some very pleasant walks & excursions. At the end of another week I returned home, wishing to be with Robert, & not liking to leave him any longer in his loneliness. W I left Mabel under the ever kind care of her two Aunts, to remain with them while we made our little journey to London. This journey had been long looked forward to, but when it actually came we feared it was to be all a disappointment. R. had not been well, & felt quite unequal to all the fatigue he would have to go through, but as there was business which must be attended to in London, we resolved not to give it up. The change did wonders, he soon grew quite strong again, & we spent one of the pleasantest weeks I ever knew. There was much to see, but we did not attempt too much, & never allowed ourselves to get thoroughly tired. We visited H.T. Mennell at Croydon, saw the Flower Show at the Crystal Palace, examined pictures, passed a delightful afternoon at South Kensington, another at Richmond, & altogether enjoyed to the full our stay in the great city. We found the Charing Cross Hotel a very comfortable one, but sufficiently expensive.

After one week's city life, it was very pleasant to return (resting one night at Lancaster) to the quiet & rest of Heugh Folds, & to see our darling child again. One day there was only far too short, but R. could not spare more, so the next day our little family all departed by coach to Keswick, & then on by rail to Carlisle & Newcastle. There is little to tell of the quiet happy months that followed—except our sister Emmie's engagement to Gregory White—a great pleasure to us all. At the end of July my dear husband had a severe cold which left him ending in an attack of pleurisy, which left him very weak, so by the Doctor's orders, we set out for change of air & scene. We left the dear child at Ashfield where she is always happy, & it relieves us from anxiety on her account, & we spent 10 days very pleasantly in Yorkshire. We had very stormy weather, & with the but notwithstanding we enjoyed our little trip exceedingly, & were delighted with what we saw of the wonders of Yorkshire. Most of our time we spent in Wensleydale, which we traversed from top to bottom, & we also saw with great interest the marvellous Ingleborough Cave, as well as Weathercole Cave & others, & waterfalls innumerable. From Settle we crossed the hills to see Gordale Scar & Malham Cove, two very extraordinary & interesting places—the former one of the finest pieces of rock scenery we had ever seen in England

We both came home much strengthened & refreshed by our little tour, & a week after our return our dear sister Emmie's marriage took place. We had all long known & liked Gregory White, & there seems every prospect of a very happy union. The Wedding Day passed off most satisfactorily—the meeting was a particularly impressive one, & the ceremony very well gone through. Allie Nellie & M.F. White were the three bridesmaids. Very pretty indeed they looked in their graceful white dresses, while the Bride in simple muslin attire looked lovely. The bridegroom's men were Dr Compson, Dr Baker & our cousin Joe Richardson. The breakfast was beautiful & excellent, & the evening pleasantly spent—the bridal pair departing for Edinburgh at half past four. So although we are to lose our dear Emmie who must dwell far away at Woodstock, we rejoice in her happiness, & in the joyful fulfilment of long secretly cherished hopes. They are still away on their wedding tour, & have fallen in with our other sisters who are making a tour in Scotland.

Our dear child is two years & three months old, & a bright intelligent happy child she is. She is a most sweet companion, understanding so well what we say, & talking away easily herself. She is the delight of her parents' hearts, who think (as other parents do of their children) that there never was such a sweet, loving, & intelligent child. She is certainly brimming over with affection, & I need not say it is amply returned.

So now we seem settled down quietly for the winter, & if only dear Lucy was well again (she is now ill at Hendon) our family happiness would not have much to mar it. We trust she is recovering, although her progress is slow, & it is a sad thing for her poor husband, & five little boys. Much will probably happen to me within the next two months, & Lucy's little poem "The bliss of a mother bending" &c often recurs to my mind. What fate may be mine? "Let me not fear the future Coming quickly to me."

If our second little child should be at all like our first, we shall be blessed indeed—Let me close here, with a thankful heart for my rich & many blessings, & willing to accept at God's hand whatever He may see meet to send.

Sep. 6th 1866.

The snow is falling thick & white on the already deeply covered ground, & even with warm clothing, & good fires, it is difficult to keep warm in this bitter month of January. It is sad to think of what the poor must suffer—If we, who have every necessary comfort find the cold hard to bear how terrible it must be with poor & insufficient food, scanty clothing, or miserable fires. And yet how hard it is to help them, & what an unsolved problem the condition of the poor, & how best to aid them still is. The simple well known lines of Isaac Watts' often recur to my mind, & sum up concisely the difficulties so many of us must feel -

"What more than others I deserve?

Yet God has given me more".

Some of us seem to have every outward blessing—are there compensations for those to whom such blessing is denied? Let us at least seek to the best of our ability to mitigate the sufferings which are at least open & palpable.

And now for myself—the future which I looked forward to when I last wrote is now the past.—After much suffering & weakness I am strong & well again. On the 24th of October at about one in the morning my little girl was born. [ One line heavily crossed through and illegible.] Immediately afterwards I was very ill, & for some hours life & death seemed equal in the balance. I thought I was dying, & it felt very hard to go—to leave those who were so dear to me, & to part with the life which had been such a happy one. I had thought beforehand that I was resigned to whatever God might will, but when the test came it seemed so hard to go. My great fear was lest my little Darling Mabel should forget me—a weak & selfish fear, when I ought to have believed in the promises of God, which & looked beyond the short life here to the joyful reunion in that far better country. Of course I had no fears of this kind concerning my husband who was with me in all this time of trial, but it seemed very terrible to leave one who loved me so dearly, & whom I, in return loved with passionate love & admiration. But God in his great mercy spared my life, & the skill of my kind Doctor caused me speedily to begin to recover. A month of much weakness followed, yet a happy peaceful month, where my thoughts returned again & again to all my many blessings, & to the Infinite mercy which had spared me still for my dear husband & children. For I had now two children, Mabel & the little Ruth. My love for Ruth came gradually—her crying tormented my weak nerves, & it was long before I could believe it possible to love an other child as dearly as the first. But better thoughts came, & when the nurse left, & the helpless little baby became more exclusively my charge, then my love grew & increased until I wondered how it ever could have been otherwise. Now little Ruth is a sweet child of 3 months old, with a fair face, & dark blue eyes, & a bright winning smile. Mabel takes great delight in her baby sister, & assumes all the duties of a little Patroness.

Christmas with its pleasant festive gatherings (of which we had a full share this time) has passed away, & the New Year 1867 has silently, stealthily, but surely, as ever, taken the old year's place -

Our Christmas would have been a very happy one, if the shadow of poor Lucy's illness had not constantly been there—& now Emily is very ill, so that sorrow is busy making her rounds. In a large family circle there is always some household on which the shadow rests—Illness or death, or trouble of some sort—how seldom are they entirely absent from the family group -

"There is no flock, however watched & tended

But on dead lamb is there.

There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended

But has one vacant chair."

Our little household has just had the great treat of having so distinguished a man as Mr Froude for its guest. He came to lecture in Newcastle, & Moss Croft had the honour of entertaining him—in hearty though humble fashion. His lectures were extremely interesting & were evidently appreciated by very large audiences—The subject was "Erasmus & Luther & their times". The contrast between the two men was very finely brought out. Luther's utter abhorrence of a lie—Erasmus bearing with it if it answers its purposes (as he supposes) as well as the truth. Luther's real & living faith—Erasmus' mere intellectual belief—& so on. The calm philosophical reflections intermingled with the deeply interesting facts of the lectures were truly admirable, & the eloquent passages every here & there recurring, thrilled the large audiences to a perfect stillness. Above all, the largeness of belief, & the utter absence of sectarian or narrow-minded views were most impressive, & it must be our own fault if we have not profited by, as well as enjoyed the wisdom that came from the lips of a man like Froude—In private his society was very interesting, although, for my own part I stood in such awe of him that I could not feel quite at east—To meet in daily life one who was the intimate friend of Carlyle, Tennyson, Robert Browning, men whom we look upon as the greatest of our time, was quite an event in our quiet home life, & mad us (I speak at least for myself) feel more & more our own meagre & misty knowledge or ignorance, for I know not which to call it, & our own short-comings in all that is great & good.

Mr Froude told us many an interesting & amusing story, but it would take too long, even if I could do it, to sh recount them, besides he was such an inimitable story teller that they would lost half their force in the repetition.

He left us on Saturday to return to his home in London to continue his labours for his delightful history—one of the most fascinating books I ever read. I must not forget to mention that he has a little girl exactly the age of our little Ruth, in whose welfare of course I shall always be interested, if we are only favoured, in any way, to keep up ever so small an acquaintance with Mr Froude.

I forgot to say in its right place that at Christmas we had a very pleasant two days' visit from H.T. Mennell, who, as he did last year, joined our Xmas Eve party at Forest Hall -

Our brother John & his wife have removed from Rye Hill to Wingrove a very pleasant & commodious house on the West Road. The various children of our families, our little nephews & nieces are all flourishing, or by their rapid growth are constantly reminding us of the flight of time.

A few more years, & they will be the men & women which we are now, & we—where shall we be then? Oh that we may be enabled to bring up our dear children in the right way, that their lives may be true blessings both to themselves & to others -

Jan. 15th 1867.

'June 30th To morrow night we start on our Continental journey. We leave the dear dear children & our happy home—for what? Oh shall we return to them in health & safety? We have had a very happy spring, & the time has glided swiftly, peacefully away—

Can this continue, or do

             "black clouds lower

Like fate on the far off sea"?

Alas we can but trust—The same God who watches over us in our quiet daily life watches over us at all times & wherever we are, & what He wills is surely the best. We need not ride out to meet imaginary danger, & in making our arrangements both for ourselves & for our children, I believe we have taken every possible precaution. We believe it is right for us to go, & we leave the children in kind good care.

How very very happy they & we have been. On the 4th of July we hope to be at Lucerne to meet our dear Mother & sisters & George who have been there some weeks—To London, to Basle viâ Paris, to Lucerne, to Venice, to Verona, to the mountains . When shall we see our darlings again?

Farewell Mabel & little Ruth.

June 30th 1867 -


August 15th Home again! After all our journeyings we are home once more, & with our darling children who are well & strong as bairns could be. I trust it is with truly thankful hearts that we record our safe preservation during all our travels—We have had a most delightful time, & Newcastle, after the beautiful places we have been in, lookes smokier & more ill-favoured than ever—always excepting our own sweet little home—I kept a rough journal of our tour so that I will not here give more than the bare outline of it. We travelled straight to Lucerne, only spending one night in London en route. The few days spent at Lucerne with Mother & the rest were most enjoyable—it had been a pleasure long dreamed of, now at last fulfilled. It was with great regret we left beautiful Lucerne, even for scenes at least as fair. Carrie & Allie went on with us to Chur, over the Splügen to Chiavenna, down lake Como (exquisitely beautiful) to Milan, & after a day's rest there, on to Venice. Of this fascinating city I could dilate with pleasure, but will refrain. It stands alone in its strange dreamlike beauty, & here in our bleak north, its fair seas & fairer skies, its palaces, its churches, its pictures, & over all its bright, hot, golden, glorious sun haunt us like a passion. From Venice, from which Carrie & Allie returned previously, we went to Verona—there were joined by H.T. Mennell & our guide Fleuri & began our walking near Trent, Molveno, Prinzola, the Bedole Chalets in the lovely Val di Genova, the Bochetta Pass to Ponte di Legno, the Gavia to Sta Catarina, thence to Bormio, across the magnificent Stelvio to Trafoi with its charming little Inn & kind Frau Barbara Ortler—The ascent of the grant Ortler Spitz himself—the lounging dreamy day at beautiful Trafoi—the recrossing the Stelvio to Bormio, from Bormio to Firano, Le Place Pontremia, with which in spite of bad weather we were fairly enchanted—the the leave taking of the pleasant party there, & the journey home by way of Samedan, Chur, Andermatt, Lucerne, & Paris. We stayed 2 days in Paris to see the Exposition, but after the free, bracing life among the mountains we were soon tired, & came home a day sooner than we had intended. Two things I think I have specially gained from this journey—first a more ardent admiration & I hope a more reverend one, of God's works in this beautiful world—second a real delight such as I never quite experienced before in the grand old pictures of Titian, Tintoret, Raphael, Luini, & others of the old masters. Certainly I never had the same opportunity for admiring them, and of course they can be best judged on their native soil, but I have now seen & felt for myself their wonderful power & beauty. On the whole I think I never enjoyed a journey more—so much that were it not for home & the dear children I could have stayed with delight many weeks longer—Now those glorious mountains, & those sunny vallies are so far, so far away.

The dear bairnies have been very well & happy—a fortnight was spent at Newbiggin with kind Aunt Anne & Uncle Robert, & that was a delightful change for them. It is indeed a pleasure to be with the darlings again—a happy family in our own dear little home.


Jan. 21st

  I see that it is five months since I made my last entry—months that have absolutely flown away—Christmas with all its pleasures has come & gone, & we are now fairly launched into the New Year—1868 can scarcely be a happier year than 1867 has been, but I trust it may see us all further advanced in the right path, & that instead of regretting the days that are past we may only feel "nearer Home than we have been before".

I think the chief events that I have to record, outside of our small home sphere, are a visit to Woodstock & London, & Professors Seely & Rolleston's visits to us—

First for Woodstock—Robert had been much overworked, & was far from well, so as business called him to London about the beginning of last month, he decided to take me with him, that together we might enjoy a little change of scene. After all we did not travel together, for I wished much to see Emmie at Woodstock, & he had no time to spare for that—so I went by day to Woodstock, while he followed by night, direct to London. I had a charming little visit—only one whole day & two nights, but still long enough to let me see Woodstock & the beautiful Blenheim Park & get a peep at the beauties of Oxford—enough to make me long to go again & next time in the summer—

We drove over to Oxford in the afternoon, & saw the beautiful New Museum, & the Martyrs Memorial, & the outsides of the Colleges. One hour was all our time, & of course that was far too short to do all we wished to do. We called at Dr. Rolleston's but to my great disappointment found both him & Mrs. Rolleston out—& I have since discovered that the Professor was all the time in the Museum if I had only had the sense to ask for him there—

Next morning I left Woodstock, & rejoined Robert in London. What a great deal we had to tell each other—he of all the people he had met & the pleasant evening he had spent at the Alpine Club Dinner, & I of all my experiences at Woodstock & Oxford. After seeing the Winter Exhibition of sketches, we went out to make some calls—Mr. Froude was out, but Mrs. Froude received us very politely, & we were pleased to see the eldest daughter, a sweet looking girl of about 17, & the youngest child but one, a fine independent little fellow. Next we went to Mr. Galton's, & were most warmly received. Mr. Galton was more delightful than ever, & had the same simple but perfect manners; Mrs. Galton a very pleasant lady—we had about an hour's talk, & came away much pleased with our call—

In the evening went to hear Lord Dundreary, but came home driven out by the heat. Next morning we went down to Witley, where the whole afternoon was spent in exploring the wonderful treasures of Birket Foster's home—the most perfect house in its way, surely in all England. Everything is unique—bookcases, piano, china, wine glasses, all beautiful, & all quite different from what you see in any other people's houses. For instance the wine glasses & finger glasses, instead of being in sets, are all different. Agreeing only as to size, they are each of some distinct & beautiful design, many of them after the patterns of the old Venetian glass with lovely colour let in in spiral or other forms—But I will not stay to describe this wonderful place, for I could not do it justice if I did—Only the summer house I must not pass by—It is at the end of a long walk & is somewhat of this shape—quite plain as to outward form—

The interior wall, as rudely represented here, is gilded in panels & painted on the gold by Marks with illustrations of Shakespeare's Seven Ages. The paintings are beautifully done,—each one forms a picture in itself, but as you come up the long walk & see them at a distance, the effect is marvellous—the figures all stand out on the gold background, till you can scarcely help believing it is that you are gazing on a glorious sunset, & that the figures you see are dark against the sky.

After all our hospitable entertainment at Witley & all the lovely things to feast the eye & mind were were quite loth to return to the smoky town, but our time pressed, so we left in the morning, & after passing a rather gloomy day in London, while R. was attending to business which prevented our getting to Staines as we had intended, to see the Waltons, we left in the evening for York. We stayed very comfortably at the York Hotel, & the next day (Sunday) after meeting we had Herbert & Gertie & Robin Spence to dinner at the Inn. After a sad, but still encouraging visit to the Retreat where dear Lucy was most affectionate, we took tea at Cousin Henry's, & came home in the evening. The dear children were still at Ashfield where they had stayed during our absence, but the next morning I went over, & brought them home—to our mutual great delight.

Since all this there have been all the usual family parties &c of Christmas time. There was a Christmas tree at South Ashfield, a very pretty one, & a great success in every way—the only fault I had to find was that I & mine got far too many presents. Then the Xmas ship at Bensham, also very pretty, & sailing in a sea of pretty things—the sea itself being represented by green tissue paper -

Next came Professor Seeley's visit during his lectures here. The lectures were on Milton, & were deeply interesting, & the man is a most loveable one—He left quite a blank when he left us. A fortnight after Dr. Rolleston came, & he has just left us after spending a most delightful week. he is a brilliant, fascinating man, & what is far more, is a good one [half a line heavily crossed out and illegible]. His society was extremely interesting, & we had various people to meet him, all which made it quite a time of bustle & excitement. The two visits—his & Mr. Seeley's were widely different & yet both so very delightful in different ways. Dr. Rolleston lectured on the animals mentioned in Sacred & Profane writers; & extremely interesting his lectures were, especially the last, which was on the Animals of the Bible. Now he has gone too, & both these visits so much & long looked forward to, are over only too quickly—We are more than ever impressed with how much we have to learn & what a little time we have to learn in—Directly after Dr. Rolleston left us William White of Birmingham came to spend two nights with us—he spoke at the meeting of the Senior Class in the new Class rooms, & pleased every one very much—no one could fail to be struck by his earnest, loving words, conveyed in the most homely way, but reaching every heart -

Now my dear Robert is about to set forth for London again, & this time he has to pass very near Woodstock, so he will stop there, & Allie who is going to stay some time with Allie Emmie will be his companion. The two dear bairnies still grow & thrive Ruth has just begun to walk quite alone, & is very proud of her performances. She is a child of a remarkably sweet happy disposition, & is the delight of all the household—I have so often dilated on Mabel's sweetness that I must not say more now—only this that she is a most useful little maiden, & a real help to her mother, besides filling the home with sunshine.

So happily at Moss Croft is the New Year ushered in—Jan. 21st 1868


I omitted to record a very pleasant little visit from my old friend & schoolfellow Margaret Capper. She stayed 10 days with us in the Autumn of last year, & very pleasant days they were. It is quite astonishing to see how calm & happy & even joyful she is after having passed through so many & such deep sorrows. She has lost both husband & children, & has returned to her mother's home bereaved of all she held most dear—Yet she can speak with calm joyfulness of the past, & she seems to feel her beloved ones so near her that she cannot mourn as if they were lost. She is a bright example of resignation, & in addition to that of a heart full of love so ardent that she only fears the time is too short for her to do her master's work on earth.


When I kissed my little Mabel tonight after saying to her her evening hymn, she began to talk to me about the picture over the chimneypiece (a photograph of Holman Hunt's Light of the World)—She always calls it "that kind gentleman Jesus Christ", but her little mind is sorely puzzled to know how Jesus Christ can be the same as God & Our Father, & Our Lord—To explain to her very simply that which can neither be explained nor understood, I said "But May dear don't we sometimes call you May, & sometimes Mabel, & your name is Mabel Watson, & sometimes even Papa calls you Mab"? "Ah yes, she said, & Ma, once when I was coming home with Aunt Hope, & it was getting so dark, Aunt Hope said 'It is getting so dark, I can hardly see you my little Poppets'" "Yes my darling" I answered, & the trusting little heart was satisfied, kissed me over & over again, & quietly, happily went to sleep.

April 6th. 1868.


We have within the last six weeks got another little nephew & another little niece. My own sister Emily, Dr White's wife, has a son, whom they have called Douglas, & John & Marian have a little daughter, named Ernestine. [Three lines and one word heavily crossed through and illegible.] The two babies were born within a day of each other.

My other sister (sister in law) Emily lost her little baby, born about a fortnight before these others. It was a very great trial both to her & her husband, for the first little baby had been born dead, & now to lose a second, when all had gone on well apparently, & when the child lived for three days, did seem very hard. But Emily bore it very well & bravely, although for the second time she had to lay aside all the carefully, beautifully prepared baby clothes, which to every mother's heart, have such an indescribable charm, & with them to bury all the bright hopes so long & fondly cherished—

In the last few weeks, I have not been very well, having been much troubled with cough & rheumatism.

Often I have been much discouraged, not about my physical state, but because I seem to make so little real progress in anything that is good, & because I find the "being faithful in little things" so very hard. Ill temper so often given way to & excused to myself under the plea of being tired, or not feeling well—indolence, & neglect of what I choose to call little duties—how often all these sins beset me. And yet if I cannot be faithful in the little how can I be faithful in much? & how unless I myself strive more earnestly can I expect to teach the children to be gentle & patient? But what I want is not to reason or talk about these things—I believe I am conscious of many of my faults, & I doubt if a somewhat morbid self-analysis is likely to do good—There is a beautiful German hymn of which I am very fond, translated in the Lyra Germanica—One verse runs thus

"The light of reason cannot give

    Life to my soul,

Jesus alone can make me truly live

One glance of his can make my spirit whole

    Arise & shine

Oh Jesus, on this longing heart of mine".

April 6th 1868.

It is the 7th of July & this most beautiful summer is passing fast away. Such a summer has been never remembered—day after day of cloudless beauty & delicious heat, till we begin to think our climate is turning semi tropical. The only thing we have to complain of is the want of rain, for if this long drought continue much longer, it will be serious for the harvest. Meanwhile it is very delightful, & we enjoy it to the full. The children & I were at Grasmere in April & the beginning of May. They spent a most happy month there three weeks of which I was with them & although the weather was not very favourable, we had great enjoyment—& most of all the last 4 days when Robert came over to see us—He & I had a delightful walk to the top of Scawfell Pike, which we found remarkably easy, & another day we took our dear little Mabel up Helm Crag—a considerable feat for her, but one which she managed beautifully—This was the first what may be called mountain walk with our little daughter, & it was one which we all enjoyed, I cannot tell how much. Anna & Carrie were for most of the time we were at Heugh Folds the only members of the South Ashfield family there, but for the last few days Mother came, with Uncle Robert & Aunt Anne. Every one was very kind, & no children could have more devoted Aunts than ours. Little Philip too was there, which was a great additional pleasure for Mabel.

Now we are talking of going to Norway, a very formidable journey in prospect. May has not been quite well, & of course we shall not go until she is perfectly recovered, but even then I cannot help feeling anxious about leaving the children, especially as we go to places which letters take long to reach, & where telegrams are unknown—But Robert wishes me so much to go, & feels as if the benefit would be so great to him, that I think my duty is clear—I leave the dear bairnies in good care, in a pleasant home with a delightful garden to roam about in, so I trust all will be well—They are such precious children that to leave them at any time must be hard, but we know at that always & wherever we are, they & we are in God's hands to do with us whatsoever may seem to Him best. Meantime "Do not forecast" as old Herbert says.

Soon after we came from Grasmere Robert's brother Joe was married to Lucy Fenwick, after a long six years engagement. The meeting was a very solemn & impressive one with a beautiful sermon from Thos. Hodgkins, & a fervent prayer from Isaac Sharp. After the wedding breakfast at Lucy's brother's J.G. Fenwick's, the newly married went off to Edinburgh, thence to proceed to the Orkneys. They are now settled in their nice little house in Seymour St. We have had a delightful visit from Annie Harwood, one of Robert's old London friends. She is as pleasant a guest as it is possible to have, & has won golden opinions on all hands. With children she has a charming way, so that Mabel & Ruth were both very fond of her. She taught Mabel to sing "Twinkle twinkle", & "Mary had a little lamb" & it was very pretty to watch the sweet, earnest child's face gazing up into Miss Harwood's, & singing with all her mind & all her might, & to watch too the quiet gentle happy teaching. Miss Harwood had glorious weather for her stay, so she was able fully to appreciate the beauties of our North country scenery—We took her to Durham, to Barnard Castle & to Mitford & Tynemouth, & enjoyed them all—Indeed the whole fortnight she was with us was to us a very pleasant one—she is so simple & unpretending, & yet so cultivated & accomplished that we could not fail to enjoy her society—besides which her music & singing is to us such a great treat. Since this visit of hers we have made a flying visit to Leeds to see the Picture Exhibition there—rare treat—for such a collection of water colours we thought we had never seen before—not to mention all the glorious oil pictures. If I begin to particularize it would be too long a business, but I must just mention the Copley Fieldings, the Cox's, the Turner, the Cattermoles, & in the oils the quite bewitching little Edouard Frères'. We enjoyed our two days outing extremely, & were only reluctant to leave so many beautiful pictures unseen or unexamined. Allie & Nellie were with us, & when we came home they went on to Ackworth to the General Meeting & to join Mother there. Now I must stop for the present. When I write again, will it be when we return from Norway?


March 24th 1869

This journal has been shamefully neglected of late, it is actually nearly nine months since I wrote in it. Norway now seems so much a thing of the past that it requires only a passing notice, especially as I have jotted down our doings day by day in a little note book I had with me. We had a delightful tour on the whole, but I was anxious about May, whom we had left by no means well, to enjoy it thoroughly, although, to our great joy we found the darling quite better when we returned—She had been under kind care at Ashfield, where she had really been very poorly, as we heard afterwards—the accounts at the time were as favourable as possible, so save us all anxiety. Norway is certainly a beautiful country, & in many ways, I suppose unique, but it is not so beautiful as Switzerland, where we shall turn our thoughts when next there is a prospect of going abroad. But that will not be—I hope—for some time to come. It seems too bad to pass Norway over quite so summarily, so I will just note down what pleased us most.

Bergen, where we first arrived, is one of the most charming of towns—bright, clean & picturesque, & having the advantage of a really splendid situation. Christiania too is a lovely place, reminding us a good deal of Edinburgh, but more beautiful. Some Americans we met, who had just left Italy, said it was very like Florence. Gudvangen, Rönnei & Rodsheim were the most delightful places we made any stay in, & all three had their own peculiar charms—Gudvangen is the grandest, & very grand it is—Rönnei has a softer beauty, more like Loch Lomond—Rodsheim is perhaps not so beautiful as either of the other two, but is a good place to stay at nevertheless. For grandeur & beauty combined however, there is no partly like Romsdal—with its glorious mountains of most fantastic forms & equally glorious river, its fjord like a succession of charming lakes, & its rich wood—a combination of beauties rarely to be met with. Romsdal has this great peculiarity, that you descend the valley for many miles, the descent at times being very rapid, & the highest mountains are all at the foot of the valley, at the head of the beautiful fjord, which runs up many miles into the land. At the head of the fjord, where the fjord & the nice wild river, now tranquil & calm, meet stands Vossevangen Veblungsnaeset a picturesque little fishing village, built on a narrow promontory that runs into the sea. Here we stayed some weeks, so charming & delightful is the place—But our time was nearly up, and from Vossevangen Veblungsnaeset we began our long long drive to Christiania, or rather to Lillehammer where we were glad enough to exchange the wearisome carriole for the now welcome steamer. At Lom, near Rödsheim, we made the acquaintance of Pastor Halling & his wife, who treated us with overwhelming hospitality, & would scarcely let us leave their lovely home without our promising to go again to take the children to spend a week with them. Such kindness to complete strangers strikes us English as something quite extraordinary—it bespeaks a country thinly populated, for in most parts of England it would be simply impossible. Pastor Halling had a daughter living at Seaham, for whom we brought some things, from our her own home, & with whom, & her husband, we have since made a very pleasant acquaintance. They have quite lately left Seaham, & now live at Nottingham, so that I am afraid we shall not see much more of them—Mr. Flood is a clever, interesting man, & his wife very amiable & pleasant, but they both look delicate, & as if our English climate did not agree with them. After our return from Norway we became acquainted with a German gentleman, to whom we had been introduced one day at Wingrove before our journey. His name is Dr Merz, & I can only say of him that the more we know him, the more we admire him & value his friendship, & we have had time to get to know him now, for we have scarcely missed a Sunday visit since the middle of last August. He has been at some chemical works here, but we fear much lest he will have to leave & live in Glasgow. He is a great student of philosophy, & we are at present engaged in translating a book that is to be, on philosophical subjects—& in the process of translation I am brought to feel painfully my own ignorance concerning all the great domains of thought. Perhaps if we can ever satisfactorily accomplish this task, I shall be somewhat wiser at the end, but I see more clearly than ever how entirely I have neglected in my younger days all really mental training, all habits of thought, & of steady application, without which no one can possibly be said to be well-educated, even leaving out of account actual knowledge & information.

Robert undertook in the spring of the year to take the English Language & Literature class at the Literary & Philosophical Society. This involved for him a great deal of work, but he has had a class of between 30 & 40 ladies & gentlemen, & has given so far about 18 lectures. There are to be 25 in all—too many for one who has hard mental work all day, & who is not satisfied with any second hand or indifferent work. His lectures have been admirable, all agree, & those on Dramatic literature, yet to come, will be the best of all. We had a visit from Mr. Deutsch about Christmas, who lectured here on the Talmud &c. We liked him very much, but unfortunately his visit was rather cut short by what I must go back a little to tell. On Christmas day our dear little Ruth took the scarlet fever, then I took it, & Mary (the nurse) & then when we had recovered, & just when Mr. Deutsch was with us, Robert took it. He had, like the rest of us, a mild attack of scarlet fever, but gastric fever followed, & he was ill a long time. We had 7 weeks of sickness altogether—a long time, during all which we were separated from our dear Mabel, who was sent away at the first outbreak to Ashfield, & has happily escaped the fever altogether. Dr Wilson attended us, & was kind & attentive as ever, & to me it was such a pleasure to nurse my dear, patient husband, to have all day long to read to, & talk to, & do everything for, that I am afraid I was almost selfishly happy, so long as I did not feel any real anxiety about him. Now we are all happily quite well again, & thankful, I trust for the blessing of renewed health. In many families has a gap been made by this terrible scarlet fever, that we cannot be grateful enough to our Heavenly Father for leaving us an unbroken circle, & granting to us to be all once more in our happiest of little homes. We have been to Cullercoats for change of air, where dear little Ruth stayed a month, (while R. was ill)—joined, for part of the time, by May, & the last week by us. While there we had frequent visitors, Allie, George, Dr Merz, &c & much enjoyed the time. Since then Robert & I have been for 4 days to Helmsley in Yorkshire, a charming little place, with a nice old fashioned inn, (reminding us of the Red Lion at Bolton) where we were made supremely comfortable. We made excursions to Rievaulx Abbey, a magnificent ruin, Bylands & the Hambleton Hills, & to see a little church, one of the very oldest in England, with a Saxon inscription over the doorway—a quaint little place enough. We returned home by way of Whitby, a most picturesque & un-English looking town—altogether we had the most delightful outing, & came back to find our dear bairnies both very well—fat & flourishing—& with a hearty welcome for their parents. It was night when we arrived, but May wakened up to hug us, & little Ruthie roused herself from sleep to give us sweet kisses, then turned round again to suck her thumb. She is getting to talk now very nicely—she can say almost anything we tell her, & is at a very bewitching age. May is as sweet & lovely as ever, as we think, & is really growing a most useful little maiden. I could not have had a more efficient, let alone a sweeter helper, the day I was packing up my things to go away.

Etty Clapham has another little girl, now nearly three weeks old, & Lucy (Joe's wife) also a little girl. My brother & sister at Wingrove also too have an addition this year—in little Maurice. They have now three—so time flies. Anna & Carrie are abroad in Italy whither they went for Anna's health, but it has been a very unfortunate year, & they seem to have had colder weather there than we have had here.

In May the children, Mary (the nurse) & I went to spend a short time at Woodstock with our brother & sister there Gregory & Emmie. We enjoyed it extremely, it was a delightful place for the bairnies, who had the park to ramble in, & dear little Douglas to pet & play with. We had for the first few days warm pleasant weather, but just when I left to meet Robert at Kenilworth it had unfortunately changed, & we visited Kenilworth, Warwick, & Stratford in a cold wh was perfectly wintry & seemed much out of place with all the spring flowers & the air fragrant with the may. But we must take things as they come, & we enjoyed our little round very much spite of the cold. I had not seen Stratford before & Robert was delighted to be with me there, & I to see with him all that had so deeply interested him before. On his last visit, he had been with Allie in January, & the day was so warm that they sat out of doors as if it had been summer, & there were we in May half perished with the cold. We spent the night at Stratford, & the next day rejoined our children at Woodstock, spent Sunday there, & on Monday again left there & our brother & sister & drove to Oxford to spend a day with Professor Rolleston. We were one whole day & two nights with at his house, & enjoyed our stay very much. Both he & his wife were most kind & hospitable, & the children are charming. Several friends of the Professor's were invited to meet us on both nights so that we saw something, however little, of Oxford Society, & in the day Dr. Rolleston took us all over the city, inside many of the beautiful colleges & gardens, & the Bodleian &c. The eldest boy Humphry Davy is a remarkable boy, & will surely, if he lives, make a stir in the world some day. He is of a very scientific turn of mind, & when we were there, was turning all his attention to drains, ventilators & house building generally—unusual pursuits for a boy of seven. On the Monday Wednesday morning we left for London, where our sisters Alice & Nellie joined us at the Bedford Hotel & we had a delightful time together, in picture galleries & other delectable places. We paid a pleasant visit on the Sunday to Croydon where Henry Mennell lives, now happily married to a lady whom we all admired much. On Tuesday our children joined us, although we had a time of some anxiety first. They arrived safely, with Mary, but a quarter of an hour before the time advertised. We reached the station in good time according to Bradshaw, & waited for train after train in vain. We watched all arrivals, & spent weary anxious hours at that station, but saw nothing of our darlings. At last Robert & Allie went back to the Hotel, leaving Nellie & me to watch. To our great delight in about an hour's time R. & A. drove back bringing the children with them, & then was all the anxiety changed into the greatest jubilation. We excused ourselves by a special messenger from dining at Mrs. Gurneys, as such much of our time had been wasted at the station, & took the children to the Zoological gardens, a place of surpassing delight to a child, & not only to a child. We all enjoyed it both with them, & for ourselves too, & the ride on the camel & on the elephant will, I dare say, never be forgotten by them. The next morning we took them to the Crystal Palace, wh they much enjoyed, but soon grew tired of—so we only spent about two hours there, & then came back to the Bedford to pack up & prepare for leaving London. The children & I left in the afternoon for Cambridge, R. could not follow till the morning. Annie Harwood met us at the station with a capital roomy conveyance, & we drove to their pleasant, country home at Shelford, where Mrs. Harwood  Bessie, together with John & his wife, gave us a warm welcome. It seemed rather a bold thing to take the children & Mary all to a friend's house, but there was room for all, & such kindness that we were all sorry when the time for parting came. Annie Harwood, her brother John & I joined Robert in the morning at Cambridge where we [were] shewn all the Lions of the Place, returnign to spend a very happy evening at Shelford—with music & soup & talk. On the following day, after many affectionate leave-takings, we left our kind friends, & returned in safety with our dear children to our own dear home. Mabel & Ruthie were young travellers, but they had done well, they had much enjoyment, & won golden opinions, I think from all.

Nov. 30th 1869.

  I have just been turning over the pages of this book, & scarcely know whether to cry or laugh as I read upon about my "baby" May, but tears, happy tears will come when I think of the promise so far fulfilled of those early days, & how still dearer to me now is the strong sturdy willing little Mabel of nearly six years old. She is indeed a willing child, always ready to help, & quick, so quick to sympathize in sorrow or in joy. I have two stout little champions in my daughters, for when their father scolds me in fun, or pretends to tease me, they both run to me & put me under their special protection. We have had such a happy summer—sunshine without & sunshine within. The darling bairnies have been well, & the dear Father much better & stronger than he was. We have had a delightful tour in Germany, not alone this time, but a party of five, viz. Allie, Herbert, Annie Harwood, & ourselves. To all of us most of our rote was entirely new, & the charm of continental travelling seemed rather increased than diminished. We sailed from this place to Hamburgh, leaving our darlings under Carrie's kind care at Ashfield. We just escaped a severe storm at sea, & reached Hamburgh in safety, after (for most of us) quite a sufficiently rough passage to be very uncomfortable. We did not stay longer in Hamburgh than to give us time to see the fine zoological gardens,  to call on Madame Mützenbecher, then we went by afternoon train to Lübeck. Here we spent a charming evening with our friends the Voigts. We stayed at Duffche's pleasant hotel, but spent the whole evening with our friends. My old companion Maria has lived with since her marriage in Silesia, so I of course did not see her, but Martha (who has also been with us in Newcastle) gave us a most enthusiastic welcome, & Dr. & Madame Voigt were as kind & hospitable as possible. Martha & Gerhardt were the only children at home, so that the old chateau in wh they live with its 22 rooms, must seem strangely empty sometimes. It is a charming old place, irregular & quaint, & Martha's little sanctum especially delightful—overlooking the bright-red roofs & picturesque chimnies of the town. We had music & singing from Annie Harwood & Martha, which called forth enthusiastic shaking of hands from Dr. Voigt, & Martha & I had old times to talk over & many pleasant memories to revive. The evening finished by a social German supper, with due klinking [sic] of glasses for each others' healths, & lastly for the peace of Europe & the happy feeling between England & Germany. The next morning Martha & Gerhardt escorted us over the town, & showed us the various objects of interest. It is a charming old town with its Treppengiebel its fine brick churches & doorways. It is only a pity that inside the churches are spoiled by whitewash & hideous excrescences. A walk round the ramparts gave us a good general view, & we returned to Dr. Voigt's to an early dinner, when we received the same kind welcome as before, & immediately afterwards left their hospitable house to proceed on our journey. We left Lübeck with regret, & we all agreed that our first impressions of German social life were extremely pleasant ones.

We reached Berlin in the evening &, the hotel we had intended to stop at being full, we put up with somewhat inferior accommodation at the Hotel St Petersbourgh. The next morning we sallied out, made purchases in the tempting shops, looked at the statues, admired "Unter den Linden" from the bridge, & then went to the delightful museum. It is a magnificent museum, well worthy of much study, but as our time was short, we were compelled to pass hastily over the treasures of Roman & Greek Art &c. & devoted most of our attention to Kaulbach's panel staircase. The frescoes are all allegorical or & classical subjects, very nobly treated. The colour, although perhaps to our English eyes, still wanting in depth & richness, is yet a very different affair from any other German frescoes we have seen, & the pictures altogether are unquestionably very grand. In the picture gallery are some of Raphael's lovely Madonna's, & Titian's splendid portrait of his daughter Lavinia—a superb face & figure—& such colour. But I must not attempt to go over every day—& just mentioning Potsdam wh. we saw (& much admired) on Sunday, will pass on to Dresden. Here we saw the picture, the picture of the world, a picture wh. cannot be described, whose beauty can be only felt, & often now when far away it "flashes on that inward eye, Which is the bliss of solitude". If ever painter was inspired, surely Raphael was inspired when he depicted such divine tenderness mingled with such divine anxiety in the face of the earthly mother, & such divine foreshadowings in the child face of the baby, "her baby on her knee". After this picture all others seemed by comparison worthless, so on our second visit we tried to see the others first, & many very fine ictures there are, especially some of Titian's. Holbein's Madonna too is, in parts, very beautiful, & very interesting in contrast to the Italian Madonna. From Dresden we made a little excursion into Saxon Switzerland, with wh we were much delighted. The scenery is, so far as we have seen, quite unique, & the strange, isolated, richly wooded hills & the steep rocky precipices are very grand. Of course we walked up to the Bastei wh. is remarkably fine, & on descending, we passed the night at the little village of Königstein at the comfortable Inn the "blaue Stern"; the next morning we were up by five & presented ourselves for admittance at the earliest possible hour to the half-frozen looking sentry who guarded the entrance to the fortress. After some delay, an active intelligent young soldier offered himself as guide, & we were shown all over this wonderful natural fortress, made quite impregnable by artificial aid. The views from the terrace in the clear cold morning air were very fine, but, independently of the cold, we had not much time to linger, & ran down the steep hill to breakfast, wh. meal hastily despatched we despatched ourselves to the railway station, & on to Schandau. Thence we walked past the Kuhstul up the Great Winterberg, through splendid woods, & back to Herrenkretchen & Bodenbach. The next day we went on to Prague, a city full of beauty & interest, thence to Ratisbon where we saw the glorious Danube, then northwards again to Nüremberg "quaint old town of toil & traffic" fairest & best of all. Longfellow's description is admirable, the "fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart."—the wonderful & exquisite beauty of the stone carving, the bronze work, the picturesque bridges, the bright red roofs, the windows—& over all the presiding genius of Albrecht Dürer, long since departed, but still held in reverence, almost as the Patron saint of the town he loved & did so much for. We visited the pretty cemetery where he was laid when he "departed", nod died, & where too Hans Sachs, the cobbler poet rests from his poetic & prosaic labours. We were all charmed with Nüremberg, & regretted the short time we had for all its treasures. From Nüremberg we went to Heidelberg, thence to Aberwesel, making a two hours stay at Worms to call on our friend Dr Merz's father & sister, who live there. We had a most pleasant little visit, were received with open simple hospitality & only wished we could have stayed longer to become better acquainted with Herr Merz, & his lovely daughter, with her two sweet little children, Caroline, & Theodore (called after his uncle Dr Merz).

Aberwesel was delightful, & the Rhine far more beautiful than I had expected. We stayed here from Saturday Friday night to Sunday evening—going on Saturday down the river to Coblenz by steamer, up Ehrenbreitstein &c. back again by sail dor St. Goar, & walking the rest, past the Lurlei, making the ring rocks ring again with our repeated calls, & hearing with delight the echoes of the wonderful horn. On Sunday Robert & I had the most delightful of walks—up along the river side to Bacharach—a lovely little village well known in views of the Rhine, in wh. its pretty little Gothic chapel always makes it easily recognized. The happy quiet of that Sunday walk, the lingering among the peaceful graves in the little churchyard looking down on the rover, the talk of home, of our children & of things higher & better than even these, can never be forgotten. From Aberwesel we went on, by way of Kreuznach, through the wonderfully fine country to Trêves, whose fine Norman remains much interested us. We stayed at the Rother Haus a rambling old place formerly the Senate House. The rest of our journey is soon told. We passed on to Brussels where we stayed one night, & then to Antwerp—Here we had just time to see the Cathedral, & to gain a general impression of the city, & then we sailed in the Baron Osy for London. I must not however omit to mention Rubens' picture, the "Descent from the Cross" with wh. I can truly say, I was astonished. I could not have believed it possible for Rubens to have painted such a picture—it certainly must have been in his one moment of supreme inspiration. In the "Elevation of the Cross", although the rest of the picture is inferior, the face of our Lord is even more beautiful. They are both noble pictures.    A long but perfectly calm voyage brought us safely back to England, to late alas to catch the Express as we wished—so we had to swallow our disappointment as we best could—the disappointment of not seeing our darling children that night except in bed. We reached home about 1 in the morning (receiving a warm welcome from Mary & Annie) peeped at & quietly kissed the bairnies, & waited for the joyful greeting in the morning. There were safe & well, & our meeting was indeed a happy one, & with a thankful heart I record it thus. We parted from Annie Harwood, our true & tried companion, in London. It seemed strange after passing three weeks together to be again so widely separated—after having had all our plans & interests in common to be suddenly disunited, & all, except in memory, vanished away.


I left off last with a resumé of our tour abroad, & since that golden time we have passed through I hope the worst of our cold English winter, & the month of February ought to be the harbinger of spring. We have passed a happy Christmas, & whatever may be in store for us, the beginning at least of the New Year has been prosperous & pleasant. So many times have I recorded this—"a happy time" that sometimes the feeling of Polycrates (I think it was) comes over me, & if I had lived in his age, I also shld have made an offering to the gods, dreading such continued prosperity—but we know that all things are wisely ordered for us, & we may jofl & ought joyfully to accept "good at the hands of the Lord." In husband & children I am indeed supremely blest—I feel intensely the force of those beautiful lines

"Heed yet thou art the nobler of us two;

What dare I dream of that thou canst not do,

Outstripping my ten small steps with thy one stride?

& my only fear is lest I may be left so very far behind that our sympathies may become somewhat divided,—& yet knowing his noble nature, that fear is a base & unfounded one. We have had since Christmas a visit from Professor Rolleston, who was lecturing at the Lit. & Phil. This visit was more delightful than either of the preceding ones, & we both of us admired Dr R. even more than we did before. His lectures, which bore the unhappy title of "Sepulture", but wh touched far more upon collateral subjects, were by far the best of the season

We had the usual amount of feasting & festivity at Christmas, & as usual the children got presents more than enough.

The children—what shall I say of them? Will they, if they ever chance to read these pages recognize in what must seem my overdrawn descriptions (but are not) their own features? Mabel, my eldest born, is my dear little companion & helper, an active willing child, sweet-tempered, loving & good. How much we both enjoy her short morning lessons! She can now read with east the Sequel to the "Step by Step" & enjoys it thoroughly, & she write many a little letter without assistance except as to the spelling. She is not really pretty I believe, but to me she is such a bonny child, her fair hair & complexion, honest blue eyes & loving looks are far better than mere beauty of feature. As for Ruthie, she is the pet of all the household, for a child with more winning ways there could not be. She has better features than May, & if she lives, I cannot but think she will have a really fine face. She is a very sensitive child, the tears ever ready to start to her blue eyes. If I reprove her at all, the struggle is often hard to restrain the tears, & the innocent subterfuge both amusing & touching. To day while May was busy with her lessons, Ruth wanted the box of bricks brought upstairs to play with. I said "Not now darling, but afterwards you shall have them in the nursery, & build a famous tower." Ruthie pleaded for them now, & still I refused,—then the poor little lips began to pout & the eyes to brim over with tears, & the little head was pressed to my breast, & between her sobs came a plaintive "Doot's eyen so watery," or as she calls it "fo vautery". Sometimes again she says, when struggling not to give way "Ma, Doot only tired" One day she said to me quite spontaneously, Ma doen Ma think God ever thinks about Dootie?" Her affection for us is unbounded, & she has sweet caressing ways of stroking our cheeks, & saying "fo foft" (so soft.) Many a time does she leave her play to come & kiss my hands, or to give me a good hug, interrupting me at my work as little as possible. My darling children, may God keep you in His Holy Keeping!

Robert is away in London—he has been 12 times since last October, & is quite wearied with so many harrassing journeys. He generally travels at night, & although he sleeps easily, it is a fatiguing process, & he has had far too much of it. Last time, about three weeks ago, I accompanied him, & we had a very pleasant time, notwithstanding that R. was unable to go about with me during the day. But Mother & Carrie were there, having come up from Woodstock (where they had been with my sister Emily after the birth of little Margaret) & I saw pictures &c with Carrie. It was interesting in the Old Water Colour to see J.D. Watson's Cullercoats pictures, wh held their own well. Some of the Old Masters exhibited in the Royal Academy during the winter extremely interesting especially a magnificent portrait of a Doge by Titian.

Feb 17th 1870.

Dec. 1st 1870

A year has nearly passed away since I wrote in this book—passed so rapidly, so happily that I could scarcely believe it were it not for the inscribed date—too sure a token to be disregarded. In May when all the rest of the South Ashfield family were absent, Allie came to stay with us. Dr Merz was also with us at that time, & we spent a delightful month. The weather was beautiful, & the long bright warm evenings were generally spent out of doors, playing at bowls in the croquet ground, or other pleasant recreation. Delightful talks we had too—& we were all of us sorry when our happy party had to break up. On dear Mabel's birthday, the 23rd of May, we had a large children's party—& a more successful one could not have been. We all entered into it heart & soul—R. & Dr Merz put up two pretty balloons, wh were much applauded, & we had games of "blackthorn" "puss in the ring &c &c & all thoroughly enjoyed. We dispensed tea & cakes on the grass—a meal which was done full justice to. Never can I forget the merry little faces & voices of that day. In June the bairnies & I went to Grasmere, where we stayed, or rather I stayed, nearly three weeks—the children longer. It was a pleasant time, although for me the weather was, as usual at Grasmere, very impropitious. During my absence Mr Cooper & Birket Foster spent a few days with Robert, Allie acting as hostess. They R. & A. enjoyed their visit much.

I left the children at Heugh Folds with their kind Aunts, & joined Robert in London. We spent one day together there, seeing the pictures &c then crossed over from Dover to Ostend, Ostend to Cologne, Cologne (by the beautiful Rhine again) to Munich. Here we had a very pleasant time, seeing the pictures, sculptures &c. & having a very pleasant call on Kaulbach, who received us cordially. From Munich we went to Ober Ammergau, & there witnessed the wonderful Passion Play, wh Robert has described so fully & so admirably in his lecture that if my children wish to know about it, they must look there. As I also have partially described it, & given in some detail our adventures all through this tour, in my little journal book, I need not recapitulate them here. I will just barely outline our journey. Ober Ammergau to Innsprück [sic], Innsbrück to Zell, Krinsul, & other places in the Tyrol—Zell am See, a fascinating place—to Heiligenblut over the wonderfully beautiful Pfandelicharrte Joch—then prevented by R's being ill for a day or two from following out our plans, back to Innsbrück by a very circuitous but driving route. Thence to Salzburg, a charming place, & the excursion to Berchtesgarden & the Königsee perfect. Here we first heard of the declaration of the war, & most of the English beat a speedy retreat. We however expected letters at Vienna & were not inclined to curtail our journey for imaginary dangers. We took the steamer from Linz to Vienna, but that day unfortunately was very wet, so that we only half saw the beauties of the Danube—We were very much charmed with Vienna, wh is certainly a magnificent capital, with its stately streets, well planted with trees, its fine public buildings, & its beautiful gardens. We made here the acquaintance of some very nice English people—Mr. & Mrs. Dent & Mr. Jackson—Mrs. Dent is a very fine looking elderly lady. They live at Sudeley Castle nr Cheltenham, & gave us a warm invitation to visit them. Not receiving the message we expected from home, we thought there was no alternative but to go to Weimar to see for ourselves whether Nellie would come home with us or not. (She had been some months in Weimar) After some delay we reached Weimar, & here our troubles began. We were a day or two too late, all passenger traffic was giving way to the great military claims—all the trains were to carry soldiers, & our getting home in time for R.'s sister Nellie's wedding, became somewhat doubtful. Our adventures after this were manifold & both amusing & interesting, although the cause of them all was serious enough. As they are all laid down in my journal I will not go over them here. We were much pleased with what we saw of the German people, under the excitement & trouble of preparing for war, & we ourselves, when we might have expected far different treatment, met with uniform attention & politeness. We reached home at last, but not in time for the wedding. All our endeavours failed to bring that about. We were two days too late, & we had to content ourselves with hearing all the panegyrics on the beauty of the bride, the splendour of the breakfast &c. &c.. Our dear little Mabel was one of the bridesmaids, & we should like to have seen her, although her vanity was quite sufficiently aroused by the remarks of others. This wedding has made an impression on her mind that can never pass away. Since Nellie's marriage with John Gurney, they have had a good deal of trouble. First John was ill of gastric fever—then Nellie took it, & they are both so much weakened that all gaieties are to be forsworn for this winter, to Nellie's great disappointment. R.'s sister Gertrude, has also been ill of the same complaint—for 7 weeks—but is nearly well again now.

In September we had the Social Science Meeting in Newcastle, & a very interesting time it was. Canon Norris stayed with us one night, then Dr. Hodgson came—a most delightful guest. Mr Ludlow was also here for two or three nights, sleeping at Bensham, but taking his meals with us. I had bad cold & headache nearly all the time of the Social Science Congress, so did not attend many of the sittings. Those I did attend—chiefly on International Law. We had a good deal of company at Moss Croft—Dr. Brudnell Carter, Mr. Campbell {afterwards Sir George Campbell.}, &c. &c. One of the many entertainments provided for the members was a launch at my brother John's shipyard—a very fine affair & a complete success. Many of the people had never seen a launch before & were much delighted. Robert read a paper in the Educational Section on the "best means of obtaining higher education in boroughs", a paper wh was highly approved, & wh we hope will bring forth the long desired fruit—something in the shape of a University for Newcastle.

Since this my dear husband has been to France to endeavour to alleviate in some degree the sufferings of the poor peasants during & consequent upon this dreadful war. He went out with Thomas Whitwell, an old & tried friend. Their joint expenses were liberally paid by Joseph Pease. They had many troubles & difficulties & ran considerable personal risk, as R's pamphlet "The Villages around Metz" testifies. What I most dreaded was fever or smallpox, both of which are fearfully prevalent in the famine stricken country, but (& I desire humbly to thank God for his great mercy) my dear Robert returned to me safe & well, & very happy in having been made the instrument of much good. He has been at home about a month, but he is still extremely busy with work connected with the War Victims Fund—& just now he is absent, in company with William Jones, another of the Friends' Commissioners, lecturing at Birmingham, Nottingham, & Brighton, in the hope of interesting people in the subject or obtaining a large increase of funds. My poor brother George who had been away for so long returned home about 2 months ago in a sadly invalided state. We much fear he will never be well again, & if is sad indeed to see him in such a weak & helpless state. So ends my meagre record of nearly a year—a year of very great happiness, in spite of the clouds, which, in a large family circle always overshadow some, & affect by sympathy the rest.

July 13th 1871.

We are now far on in 1871, & I see that my last record was made in the cold December of the old year, & now in what ought to be the middle of the summer, we are only just enjoying really warm weather. It has been a cold late season in every way, & Midsummer day was really almost more like Midwinter. It is still very unsettled, & the weather prophets say we must expect a wet, cold summer throughout. Since I last wrote many things have happened, some sad, some joyful—My poor brother George died on the 7th of January, & much as we missed him, we could not but rejoice that his suffering life was ended. He was laid in the Westgate Cemetery beside my dear Father & little Isaac & Maggie.

In March Robert went off again to France, this time in company with Joseph Crosfield & Ernest Beck, to the neighbourhood of Paris to distribute relief there. He was absent nearly three weeks making arrangements with the maires of the different communes for the distribution of the Funds &c. Immediately after his return the civil war in Paris broke out, & many of the villages Robert & his friends had provided for, were plundered & destroyed, this time by their own countrymen instead of the foreigners. It was a great comfort that R. was safely home again before the tumults began, for the accounts in the papers were fearful -

On the 26th of April our little Evelyn was born. Robert was away in London on important business, wh was to me a very great trial, for he did not get home until a week afterwards. My kind Doctor also was prevented from attending me through illness, but he made every arrangement for my well-doing, send Dr Gibson in his stead, & I am thankful to say I recovered nicely, & had no drawbacks of any importance. My sister Alice stayed with me, & was my kind & devoted helper all through, while my equally kind sister Carrie took care of the dear bairnies for the next few days. Evelyn is now nearly three months old, & is a fine healthy little thing, very observant & active—indeed I am inclined to think, the sweetest little baby there ever was. Her two sisters are devotedly fond of her; May is never tired of having her in her arms, & they almost devour her with kisses. It is a sweet little trio—may they long be spared to us! I am much puzzled about teaching Mabel—she has need now of more regular teaching & discipline, than I, with the claims of my new baby, can possibly giver her—so although I much regret giving up our pleasant lessons together, I see that we must make some other arrangement.

My dear Mother has had several operations performed on her eyes, & now she can see a good deal with one eye—the other was obliged to be removed. It is a great joy to herself & to us all that she can really see, although she has gone through a great deal of suffering to regain this precious boon. But she is one who bears up bravely in every trial. Joined to a naturally hopeful & cheerful temperament, she has her faith firmly anchored so that storms cannot assail it.

She & my sisters have been in London to the Yearly Meeting, where Mother much enjoyed meeting & seeing old friends. They have now all returned to Ashfield, wh is a great pleasure to us, for the house seems strangely deserted when they are away.

Robert is still very busy with his education work, school board & other. It is a great joy to him that his University scheme has at last been taken up by others, & definitely brought into form, so that it is expected a new college will be opened in Newcastle in October.

I forgot to mention in connection with my mother & sisters' visit to London that they afterwards went to Bournemouth to see my sister Emmie & her husband, who have removed there from Woodstock. They hope Bournemouth will prove a more remunerative as well as a pleasanter place than Woodstock, & all are so far highly pleased with it. They are at present only in lodgings, but intend to build. We are preparing to enlarge our house, which we find now too small, & especially wanting a nursery. The ivy wh we planted 8 years ago, wondering how long it would take to grow, is now up to the roof of the house, & this & the honeysuckle & virginian creeper make our dear little Moss Croft very bonny. It is a sweet & delightful home, & we should never like to leave it—but we cannot help fearing that another 8 years will make vast changes in our neighbourhood. The opening of the Redheugh Bridge (of wh I hammered in the centre rivet) will bring far more people out in this Direction, & new houses & factories are already fast appearing.' 160-4

Dec 7th 1871.

The year is hastening to its close, & I must make my scanty records of what has transpired in its too short days. In these compressed pages joys & sorrows, life & death follow each other fast. I last recorded Evelyn's birth—& wrote of the gresh young life, just entering on its long journey—now I have to relate the death of Robert's dear Mother—the journey ended, the rest attained. It was on the 15th of August that she left us—she had been very feeble for many months, but was still well enough to entertain the idea of going to Rothbury, when she became suddenly worse. On Sunday the 13th we were all alarmed about her, & Dr Embleton was called in. He spoke assuringly but to many of us it was evident she was fast sinking. On Monday morning we were called early, & hastened to her bedside. Soon the whole family was assembled, & all that day, & that night & until ten o'clock on Tuesday morning, we watched around her bed. She was quite unconscious all the time, & we only knew she lived by her regular breathing. At length she was happily released, & so lovely did she look in death, so peaceful & happy that we could indeed believe that Death had for her been robbed of its sting. She was buried in Jesmond Cemetery on the 17th of August—a large number of friends following her to the grave. Robert's poor father feels his loss acutely—for him the world is changed—but he bears up bravely, & finds some relief in looking over the countless letters wh bring back all the past. Very soon after this, all the family went to Rothbury where we joined them for a few days, even little Evelyn going too. We enjoyed it much. Robert came up with Dr Merz over the Sunday, & we three went up Simonside in the morning, drinking in the fine fresh air, & enjoying the long walk.

Since then we have been quietly settled at home—Robert very busy as usual, & I too in a different way, with my hands quite full. The new college at wh or rather for which R. worked so hard, was opened in October under the auspices of the Dean of Durham (Dean Sabre). No mention was ever made of all Robert's exertions, which vexed me very much, although it really matters little, & he is far too good to care about it himself. Now the College is in full working order, with 4 Professors, viz—Herschel (Physics), Aldis (Mathematics), Page (Geology[)], & Marecco (Chemistry.) Ladies are to be admitted, wh is a great point gained, but as yet none have availed themselves of the privilege.

In October my sister Emily's little Mildred was born—at South Ashfield—I was with her at the time, & so take an especial interest in the little babe, who with her mother & Douglas, have now returned to their home at Bournemouth.

The Winter lectures have begun, & we have already had Dr. Rae & Mr. Magnusson staying with us, & have now Mr. Conway—All very pleasant guests—with Dr. Rae we were especially delighted, & his lectures on his Arctic experiences, told in simple graphic style, gave great satisfaction. Mr. Conway is a very interesting man, full of varied information, & knowing all the leading English men of the day.

Our dear little Mabel is now taught by Miss Herbert, with the Jullions & Pattinsons—She enjoys her lessons extremely & the companionship I think does her good. Miss Herbert says she never knew any one so quick in music, & in other things too her progress is very satisfactory. Ruthie learns in somewhat irregular fashion with me, for as I have now no nursemaid, I have many things to do, & no time to spare. I do not know how I should manage were Evelyn not the best of babies, but she really is so good that I find no difficulty—Of course however my time is almost entirely taken up with household work, & I have scarcely any leisure for reading. Evelyn is now a fat little body, able to sit by herself & amuse herself, & as good & happy a bairn as could anywhere be found—every body's pet & delight.

May 14th 1872.

We have just returned from a week's visit to London, & so enjoyable has it been that I feel impelled to make some record of it. But first I must note down one or two other little matters. I mentioned in my last notes that the winter lectures had begun, but the best of the whole series were to follow. Professor Seeley's on "The British Empire" were very original & delightful lectures, & our friend (who has several times I think been mentioned before in these pages) Dr. Merz's were certainly not less delightful. They were on Lord Bacon's Philosophy & its influence on English thought as contrasted with German thought. The lectures were not lectures properly so called, they were all spoken, & every one was astonished with the clearness of thought & the accuracy of memory they revealed. Nothing but a perfect familiarity with this & kindred subjects & a mind long accustomed to work out its own problems could have accomplished such a task. The lectures were most attentively listened to, & much appreciated, though by too small an audience—After the last Dr. Merz gave a supper to about 30 of his friends in the Station Hotel. It was a most delightful occasion—the supper of the very best, & everyone prepared to enjoy it. We all agreed that it was altogether a signal success.

The seat of honour, opposite to Dr. M. was assigned to me, & had had H. Clapham on one side of me & Mr. Scott on the other.

The very day after this supper, Allie was out riding with Robert, when her horse, a very spirited one ran away with her. She kept her seat grandly, but the horse would not be pulled in, & at the top of Westgate Hill, the corner of Elswick Lane, in nicely trying to turn it round, it came down with a crash. Allie was thrown over it, & received some severe bruises on her face. Robert soon came up in great alarm, & got her conveyed home in a cab. Her face was much hurt, & she had to stay about 10 days in bed, but the wounds healed far more quickly than we had expected, & under our good Dr Wilson's care she soon rallied. My poor mother, in addition to this anxiety, had the trial of Anna's great illness. As soon as Alice was sufficiently recovered, she and Mother went to Bournemouth where Anna & Carrie were, & stayed there some time. Anna slowly recovered, but she is still very weak—she is now at Grasmere with Carrie, & our dear little Ruthie is with them.

Robert had to go to London on business about a fortnight ago. Allie & I joined him on Saturday the 4th Dr Merz also came, & we all had very comfortable quarters at our old haunt the Bedford in Covent Garden. Sunday we spent at Birket Foster's at Witley. It was our one really fine day, & we enjoyed it extremely. The country looked quite glorious with its banks of golden gorse, & the atmosphere was so clear that we could see for miles & miles across the rich & lovely land. We were most kindly received by all, & in that treasure house of art, let alone outside, it would take long to weary. {nightingales}

Next morning we all went up to London together to the opening of the Royal Academy—There we saw many interesting people—the pictures were out of the question, but when we afterwards saw them we found indeed much to admire—F. Walker's picture "The Harbour of Refuge" was to our minds the finest of any of the pictures—the old Almshouses their red brick walls (the red softened by time & partly covered with ivy) glowing in the setting sun, the poor feeble inmates, one tottering down the walk leaning on the arm of a strong young girl, some clustered round the statue of Hercules (strength contrasted with weakness) & in the foreground a young mower cutting the fresh green grass—It is a most suggestive picture, one wh makes the eyes fill with tears, as we gaze -

In the Old Water Colour Exhibition there are many delightful pictures, but I must not linger either on these nor on the other gems of the Academy. We spent some happy hours in both—the evenings we spent in hearing Faust, seeing Pygmalion & Galatea &c. & enjoyed them to the full. One day Dr Merz Robert & I went to Brighton where we spent a very happy day. Mother, who had come up from Newcastle, & Allie, had left that morning for Kreuznach, where they have gone to be with my sister Nellie who has been all the winter at Montauban, but is not I am afraid yet much better. We earnestly hope the baths at Kreuznach may restore her to health.

At Brighton we sought for a house to contain the guests whom Dr. Merz has invited to the British Association meeting in August. We could not meet with what we wanted, & so fell back upon an hotel. We are looking forward with great joy to this delightful meeting, when we shall be a happy party of about 20—all invited by our kind & excellent friend Dr. Merz—the "Grand Hotel" looks a capital place, & if all is well we shall have a splendid time.

On Friday night we, i.e. Robert & I returned home, whilst Dr M. went off to Germany to see his father & sister—We had the warmest of welcomes from our darlings in the morning; & found them in radian health & spirits—Evelyn can walk now a few steps quite alone—she is a year & 3 weeks old—She is the merriest, bonniest bairn, with such fine dark eyes—It is quite time to have her photo'd—Dear little Ruthie is at Grasmere & we miss her much, but are glad to think of her as very happy with her Aunts, & with little Maurice, making that brightness in a house wh children only can. May is much occupied with her school & schoolfellows, & very happy. So has ended our delightful, never to be forgotten visit to London in this May (more like March) of the year 1872.

Alas for the vanity of human wishes—the meeting at Brighton so confidently looked forward to was not to be. Dr. Merz was compelled from unavoidable causes, to give up the scheme, but even had it been carried out, many of the guests would not have been able to be there. My sister Anna, who had been ill for nearly a year, was taken from us on the 5th of August. My mother & Allie had only been 10 days with Nellie at Kreuznach when they were summoned home again by Ann's increasing illness. I reached Grasmere before them, & was very glad to be any help to Carrie upon whom the anxiety & trouble pressed heavily. I stayed nearly a week at Grasmere, & although, to our great joy, dear Anna rallied from this attack, it was only for a short time. Still we rejoiced that Mother & the my sisters had been recalled, for it was to all a great comfort that they were with our dear one in those last days. After much suffering, she passed into a state of unconsciousness, & at length passed quietly away on the 5th of August. She was buried in Grasmere churchyard on the 8th on a lovely summer day, the cloud shadows resting on the hills she loved so well. As she was carried to her last resting place, sweet hymns of payer & praise were sung, which lingered & will linger long in our memories. It was a great trial that Robert was unable to be with me in Grasmere—he was unavoidably detained in London. My sister Anna was one of my earliest teachers, & I owe to her more than I can say. Her loss does indeed leave a wide gap in our already too broken family circle, & even now it is often hard to realize that she, the eldest of us all, one looked up to with admiration and affection by us all, is really taken from us.

Immediately I left Grasmere I joined Robert in London. He had been much overworked, & suffering extremely from headaches, & was ordered by the Dr to go abroad for a month. We therefore set off at once, spending Sunday in Paris, thence going to Berne, Kandersteg, Ried, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald the Engstlen Alp &c. At first Robert did not seem to get much better, but at last the air & exercise & complete change had the desired effect, & he returned home quite well. For part of the time we were joined by my brother John & Rosie Thöl, whose company we much enjoyed. Switzerland seemed to us a more glorious country than it had ever done before—in spite of much bad weather, & sad thoughts wh could not be wholly restrained we had a delightful tour, & came home refreshed & strengthened in every way. Among many other pleasant meetings, we were much pleased to make the acquaintance of Dean Howson, who, with his family, was staying at Grindelwald. The Dean is one of the most genial of men, & although we had never met before we parted with mutual regrets & many hopes for some future renewal of the acquaintance so pleasantly begun.

We found our three darlings all well on our return, & delighted to have us home again. The weather had been cold & wet in our absence, & continued cold & wet after our return, down to the very end of the year. More rain has fallen this past year than in any other year for many years past, & the change changes in temperature have also been more sudden & violent. During the last few months, the disasters at sea have been quite appalling, from the terrific storms wh. have followed each other in quick sucession. The Members of the Life Brigade at Tynemouth have nobly & often successfully exerted themselves at such times, to save life, & Robert has written a spirited little song to the tune of "A wet sheet & a flowing sea", in their honour.

In the Autumn my dear Mother had a serious illness wh caused us all much anxiety. She is just now recovering from it, & once more resuming her active life. My sister in law Gertrude has also been ill, but is now nearly well again. The alterations to our house are at last completed. They were begun in July, but were hindered by weather & other things. We have now got a new tiny drawing room, & a capital play room, & another bed-room. Our old dining room we have turned into the "den"—i e the library & smoking room—our old drawing room is now the dining-room, & our old den the a bedroom. We think these changes great improvements, & greatest of all is the addition of a play-room for the children. Their kind Grandmama has given them a fine new rocking horse wh gives them endless delight, & they have nice cupboards for their many toys. We had a large family party on Christmas Day—22 children & about as many of their elders. Robert's brother Herbert has come home from London where he has been during the last quarter. He seems a good deal out of health & Robert has gone with him to Ilkley where he will probably stay some time. Robert will be home again in a day or two, & on Wednesday & Friday he gives his two lectures on Caedmon & Browning—the last I am fully convinced is one of the best lectures that ever was written. Dr. Merz is also to give two lectures (on Coleridge & Schlegel), & Professor Seeley, whose lectures are always so well worth hearing. So far those given at the Lit. & Phil. have been decidedly a failure, but these to come will be quite different. Professor Seeley is again to stay with us, & this time we are anxious that Dr. Merz should meet him, & are therefore very glad of our extra room. On the 20th of this month our two little girls Mabel & Ruth are to go to a day school. Their lessons have been sadly neglected lately but I have found it impossible to teach them much myself, having so many household duties & so much sewing, besides the outdoor claims wh there are always are in a large family. Mabel has got on very well with Miss Herbert, but Ruth is a good deal behind hand. What they both need particularly, having good enough abilities, is regular discipline. I have a constant struggle with their untidy habits, wh at home it is difficult, as I am a good deal out, myself, steadily to counteract.

So now we are fairly launched into the New Year 1873—The past year has had many sorrows & anxieties, but also many blessings & great happiness, for, as was remarked to us the other day by an old friend of ours, our very anxieties are because of our blessings. May the year just begun, whether it bring us joy or sorrow, be spent more in His service, for whom, I trust, the love grows daily in our hearts.


Since writing the above, our darling Herbert has been taken from us. His health did not improve at Ilkley, & after about a fortnight's stay there, he returned home. At home he worked away at the Office, & the doubts & troubles wh had perplexed him, gradually passed away. This was, in great part, owing to Robert's constant help & sympathy; he never wearied, but with unfailing devotion helped him in every trouble. Just when our dear boy seemed to have conquered all his difficulties (which were throughout only those arising from a rare conscientiousness) he caught a cold wh settled on his chest, & gave us some cause for uneasiness. At this time my dear husband was ill with a very bad sore throat, & Herbert, in his great anxiety to be useful, went out to the office, when perhaps he should have stayed at home. When Robert was sufficiently recovered we left Newcastle, to go to Glasgow for a few days, partly for a little change for R. partly to see our friend Dr Merz who had been very ill of the measles. We left on the 22nd of March, & had spent two very pleasant days when we were recalled home by Herbert's alarming illness. He had been seized with Inflammation of the lungs, & the Dr said the danger was imminent. We returned on Tuesday the 25th in time to be recognized by our darling brother. He had been very delirious, & soon became so again, but his beautiful face had a kind smile for everyone who came near him, & even in his wanderings he seemed full of thoughtfulness for others. I had been watching beside him, with some of the others, for a short while, &, as my sister Allie was at Moss Croft, I thought I would leave him for a little & go home to tea. We had only been seated a moment or two when were hastily summoned to his bedside. As fast as possible we ran through the garden, & soon we all stood round the bed, to watch the life of him we so much loved, fast ebbing away. He died in perfect peace & quietness, not a sigh or a struggle to shew the moment when he passed from life to death—from death to life. His last words were "Lord it belongs not to my care Whether I die" then the faint voice ceased for ever, the rest of the verse remained unsaid. Before this he had repeated parts of the Lord's prayer & of some hymns, & tried to sing one verse. It was about 5 o'clock on the evening of the 25th of March that he passed away. His beautiful face looked exquisite in death, "the peace which passeth understanding" had come to him. He was laid in Jesmond Cemetery beside his dear mother, on the 28th a large band of friends & relations following him to the graveside. A very impressive meeting in the meeting house succeeded, Richard Butler relating the circumstances of his last illness & death. In the evening most of the members of the family circle met at Bensham Grove, where a sad & yet most comforting little meeting was held. And now he is gone for ever from our sight, our dearly-loved Herbert—loved not by us only, but by all who knew him. "And he is in his grave, but oh The difference to me". Robert & I had seen so much of him lately, & we had always had such a mutual fondness for each other, that we felt him in some respects almost more like a child than a brother. Poor Father feels it a terrible blow, & for Gertie, who was quite wrapt up in him, it is perhaps as hard as for any one. We have, in all our sorrow, the sure consolation of our darling's being perfectly happy & at rest. Joe was the only one of the family not at home, & on his birthday Herbert was laid in the grave, poor Joe quite unconscious even of his illness—far away in Egypt. And now I must go back a little to explain that we had been anxious about Joe's health, his lungs being somewhat affected, & it was recommended that he should go to Egypt for a few months. He was there therefore when all this took place. Latterly the accounts of him were not very good, & Robert set off to Naples to meet him on his way home, & bring him up to North Italy, where his wife will join him, to stay until the weather is sufficiently settled for him to return home. Robert has been away a fortnight, & has had a great deal of trouble & anxiety, the telegrams wh were sent to him, for some unexplained cause, failing to reach him, & he being consequently left in complete ignorance as to Joe's movements. Joe left Naples Alexandria later than he intended, & so Robert had a week's anxious delay in Naples, but now we have heard that at last all is right, that the brothers have met, & Joe is better. So I trust my darling will soon return home to me. I have had a time of great suspense.

I have not yet mentioned my dear mother's illness wh was a very serious one. She had an epileptic fit in January, followed by another about a month later. The first was extremely alarming, but the last was still more so. The Doctors gave up all hope of her recovery. It was on a Sunday, & we were called to Ashfield in the afternoon. For 36 hours she remained in a state of complete unconsciousness, & most of that time we were watching round her bed expecting every minute to be her last. Contrary to all expectation she began to revive, & it became possible to give her a little nourishment. This was in the middle of the night, & I was with her at the time. I at first thought it was probably only the little glimmer there so often is in such cases just before death, & I had my sisters called. Marvellous to relate however, my dear Mother revived more, & more, & after a few days of great anxiety, we became very hopeful about her. She is now almost as well as she was before her attack, except that her memory is much confused. This however is improving, & we trust, before long, she may have entirely regained her wonted clearness. She is, as ever, active in every thought & deed to help others.

Our own dear bairnies are all very well & flourishing, one bright spot in this strange sad year.            May 12th 1873.

Robert returned home from Italy after a month's absence, & as soon as Lucy & others of the family had gone out to poor Joe. The accounts grew worse & worse, & at last Father & Gertie set out. In about 10 days after their arrival—on the 24th of June, dear Joe was released from all his pain. He had suffered much in various ways, but had throughout borne all his sufferings with the most wonderful patience. He was quite ready, even eager to go, & the last words he wrote in his journal were, "Oh Jesus, come soon"! Growing weaker & weaker, he was at length just able to say "Farewell darling" to his wife who stood by his side, & then he quietly passed away to his rest. On the 26th he was buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Florence among the dark cypresses & the bright roses. Those of us at home, who unable to be present at that last sad time, had a little meeting here at our house. Several of Joe's friends were also here, & we also had the company of R. Butler who spoke very beautifully & impressively. The little party from Florence returned home at the end of the following week—a sad returning. Poor Lucy shews the greatest fortitude in her terrible loss. May God comfort her, as He only can, & may she find her sweet little children grow up to cheer & help her. They live close by us, at the opposite side of the lane, wh is very pleasant for us all.

On the 16th of August I took the dear children to Suss, where, at Millburn Cottage, we spent two happy weeks. Robert came for the last week wh of course, doubled my enjoyment. The children were all the time very well, & enjoyed to the full the delightful pleasures of that charming place. One memorable day we went up Ben Lomond—children & servants & all. We had a pony for dear wee Evie whom May held on her knee in going up, & I in going down. But alas the mists descended & the floods came, & we saw nothing from the top, & reached Rowardennan cold & drenched. But little Evie's behaviour deserves to be recorded—she sat on my knee all the way down, & wet & cold though she was, she never complained, but prattled away in her own sweet winning way, & when we, at last, got down the mountain, she said "Evie would ike to go up Ben Ormond adain".

We found Janet Paton at Millburn Cottage good-humoured as of old—quite a character, & the bathing in the river above the fall was as delicious as in the well remembered times, 14 long years ago.

After our return home, Mabel & Ruth went back to school, & they are now getting on very nicely there. They enjoy their lessons, & the walk seems to suit them well. They are very good, happy children, & a never ending delight -, all of them. As for little Evie, she is my sweet & precious little companion when her sisters are at school—how sweet & how precious words would fail me to tell.

Robert & my sister Allie & my brother John & I set off for Switzerland at the end of August. We went by Southampton, spending a few happy hours (Alice & I) at Bournemouth on the way, with Gregory & Emmie & the darling children in their sweet home. We were three weeks away, at Geneva, Sixt, Champéry, Siou, Evolena & Zermatt, & home by Neufchatel & Paris. John had such a severe attack of asthma at Sixt that he left us & went to Geneva, but, rapidly recovering, he happily rejoined us at Zermatt. Robert & he went up Monte Rosa. My feet were too sore for me to do any climbing, so Allie & I contented ourselves with going round by the vallies, while R. took the high passes. The weather was cold & uncertain, but R. had notwithstanding, a good share of his favourite sport. We were most pleased with Evolena & Zermatt—the latter is without doubt a magnificent place for head quarters.

Although we had much enjoyment, I was impatient to be back to the children, & it was a happy moment when I saw their sweet faces again.

Immediately on our return home, an event took place wh has given us all the greatest joy. This is, the engagement of our dearest friend Dr Merz to our darling sister Alice. Although we were not unprepared for it, it came with a wonderful suddenness at last, & it still seems almost too good to be true. The engagement gives universal satisfaction & dearest Mother, who is rather better just now, enters fully into the subject, & says she has "nothing but peace in the thought". To Robert & to me it is a joy indeed—that two people, dearest of sisters & best of friends—should be united in the holiest & happiest of unions, is cause for true thankfulness, & our earnest desire & prayer for them is, that the blessing of God may rest upon them, & abide with them always. My eyes are dim with happy tears as I write & my heart too full for words.

Sep. 26th 1873.

Jan. 2nd 1874.

Much has happened since my last entry in this book—unexpected sorrows & trials, & yet also, the fulfilment of a long cherished wish. To relate all in order, I must begin with the engagement of our dear sister Gertrude to my old friend Johnnie Edmundson, whom I first knew as a delightful & beautiful boy of 11, & who has retained all his old characteristics with the added graces of manhood & strength. We have but one objection to this happy engagement, & that is that we shall have to part with our dear Gertie to Dublin, & how we shall all miss her, I cannot say.

Allie's marriage was fixed for the 9th of December, the silver wedding day of Theodore's Uncle & Aunt, Mr & Mrs Leisler of Glasgow. But as the old proverb so truly says "Man proposeth, but God disposeth" it was not so to be. All the festivities were arranged, the dresses prepared, the guests had long since accepted, & our dear Mother seemed much better, & entered into it all with her usual ready sympathy.

'On Friday the 28th of November I spent the evening at Ashfield, helping to make the necessary arrangements for the breakfast, & for the disposal of the guests. Dear Mother was very bright, & more than usually affectionate. I never can forget her parting kiss, the last conscious one I was ever to have. The Sunday before, we had, with our guest Mr John Morley (, who was lecturing here, & paid us a delightful little visit) dined at Ashfield—the next Sunday the 30th we remained at home. All the afternoon I had a strange kind of desire to go over to Ashfield, but I did not go. I neglected this impulse, & much did I regret afterwards that I had done so. On that very afternoon she was taken ill, & when I saw her the next day, she was scarcely conscious. From this time until her death, it was an anxious time of watching. Severe remedies were tried, but all in vain—for the last two days the only sign of life was her breathing. On Friday, the 5th of December, this grew fainter & fainter, & at about one o'clock, we knew by its total cessation that our precious Mother was dead. Meanwhile Theodore's father had also been taken ill, & after much conflict of feeling, T. decided to go to Worms to see him, postponing, of course, their marriage. Poor Allie during these sad days looked worn with anxiety & trouble, but the course taken was clearly the best one. On the Monday following her death our dear Mother was laid in the grave, in the Westgate Cemetery, beside my Father & by brothers George & Isaac, & my little sister Maggie. Anna lies in the churchyard at Grasmere, & so out of our family circle of 13, six are taken to their eternal rest. After the funeral we had a very solemn & impressive meeting in the meeting house, & in the evening a family gathering at Ashfield, where dear Cousin Eliza read a very interesting short account written by Mother of her own early days. My sister Emily White, who had come to attend Allie's wedding, was with us during all this sad time, & her little baby Hilda proved a great solace to us, all with her happy unconsciousness of all that was passing. Cousin Eliza was then, as ever, an unfailing comfort, & we had the utmost kindness & sympathy from all our friends, both far & near. In With our dear Mother's death, we seem to have lost the centre, as it were, of one side of our family life, the home at Ashfield is necessarily broken up, & all is changed. Truly we have lost one, whose sweet & gentle influence can never be forgotten, & whose wide & generous sympathies made her universally beloved. She had passed through many sorrows, wh seemed only to ennoble & sanctify her, so that her calm sweet face expressed the peace of her soul. May we, as she did feel indeed God to be "Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope in years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our Eternal Home."

On the 15th of December Theodore returned to Newcastle, having left his Father still very ill. On the 17th he & Alice were married quite quietly at the Friends Meeting house. They went through the ceremony very nicely, & after they had spoken the simple, but beautiful words of our marriage service Richard Butler gave an excellent discourse, & T. Pumphrey & Cousin Eliza prayed for a blessing on the newly married. We all adjourned after meeting to Ashfield where the wedding breakfast was provided. Besides our own family there were Mr Leisler & Dr Rottenburg, & Gertie & Johnnie Edmundson. It could not be said to be a joyful time, when joy & sorrow were so strangely mingled. At 2 o'clock the young couple left for London, thence to Dover, Cologne & Worms. They are still abroad, & we have very bright, happy accounts from them.

"For the sake of the little children" we determined still to keep our Christmas, & as Father thought he could not stay at Bensham, we had the family gathering at Moss Croft. It was a sad yet happy time—The old associations & memories were almost at times too much to be borne—the thought of the many vacant places since last year—the accumulated sorrows of this saddest of all years—& yet, & yet we do most thankfully acknowledge the many mercies wh have been, & still are ours. Poor Lucy bore up bravely, though breaking down once or twice. How vivid seems last Christmas when Herbert & Joe were both with us.

Our darling children are very well & very happy—sorrow as yet passes very lightly o'er their young spirits. May & Ruth have made good progress at school, & much enjoy their life there—As for Evie I think a sweeter little thing never existed. She talks both very clearly & very intelligently for her age, & is a most companionable child. Many are the conversations we have together, & sore the questions that puzzle her little mind. We have an old dog buried in the garden, & she likes to go & see "Winnie's" grave. "Where is Winnie Mamma?" "Winnie is in the cold ground darling." "Where Grandmama is, Mama?" "Yes darling, only Grandmama is in Heaven, her spirit is in Heaven." "Then is Winnie in Heaven too Mamma?" When I told her one day the rain came from the clouds in the sky she said "The sky where Uncle Herbie is mama? Does Uncle Herbie feel the rain"? And when the rain & cold cutting wind were blowing in her face, she looked up to me with her happy smile "It's only a shower Ma." This evening after she was in bed, & I had said to her the invariably asked for "Noble Ark", she said her little Prayer. When she had finished, she said to me, "Ma say God make Evie a good little girl". I said these words, & the dear child seemed quite happy, & gave me the sweetest of kisses as I bade her farewell.

But it were vain to try to tell her sweet little sayings, or to describe the charm of her winning ways.

And now we have entered into a new year. May it be to us, whether it bring joy or sorrow, a year fraught with blessing—& may we strive more & more both to do & to suffer what ever our Heavenly Father sees meet.

If I have not mentioned in these last pages my dear husband, it is only because he is such an ever ready & constant sympathizer that his feelings & mine become too interwoven to be separated from each other. In sorrow, as in joy, he is, as he has ever been, best of helpers, truest of friends, & I do most humbly & ardently long that I were more worthy of such a husband.                                        E.S.W.

Jan. 2nd 1874

Note. I have omitted to mention one or two things wh. ought to be recorded. One is the marriage of my cousin Jennie to John Edmund Sturge, a very happy marriage except for the obstacle of distance from her friends. They live far off at Montserrat, but extremely enjoy the climate, & the beauty of the scenery, & Jennie gets on admirably with the negroes.

Just The other events swell the catalogue of sorrows, already so large. Just before my dear Mother's death, Robert's Aunt Mary Watson died very suddenly of heart disease. For her unmarried daughters especially, it was a crushing blow, & we all miss her genial, kindly ways. Then my first cousin Joseph H. Richardson was taken ill, & died after a short illness & much suffering. They lived in Cork, & the funeral took place there, but his poor wife will return to Plymouth to her mother's home. Poor Jennie at Montserrat would hear the sad news about a fortnight afterwards. My cousin was only 29 years old when he died, & was thus taken in the prime of manhood, & in the midst of a useful career.

Nov. 26th 1874 -

A whole year has nearly passed away since I wrote the last records. The ground is white with snow to day, & it looks as if we were to have a hard winter. The summer passed quickly, only too quickly & happily away. We saw early in the year, Alice & Theodore happily settled in their very pretty house, wh R. & I had had a great share in furnishing & arranging During their long absence in Germany. Theodore's father had a long illness, & died while they were still at Worms, so that they had the satisfaction of being with him in his last hours.

In May R. & I spent a very happy few days in London, finding, as always, when we go there, very much to interest us—The Royal Academy we thought particularly good, & were especially delighted with Leighton's & Alma Tadema's pictures.

In July during our children's holidays we spent a very happy fortnight at Grasmere with my sisters Carrie & Nellie. Robert was only able to stay three days with us at first, but he came again for three days at the end of our visit, & I met him at Keswick, when we made a most delightful little excursion to Borrowdale, & Buttermere by Honiston Crag. This last was far finer than we had had any view of—& the whole of Borrowdale is certainly the richest & perhaps the most beautiful district of the Lakes. One day we went to Watenlath, the most secluded & enchanting place—its little lake lying far up among the hills—as we saw it a perfect image of peace & solitude. We walked down to Routhwaite & thence rode back to Keswick. Our dear bairnies met us at the coach on our return to Grasmere, & merry & hearty were the greetings. And now to go back a little. The children found endless delights at Grasmere, plodging in Donnybeck, going up Mount Heugh, watching the ducks in the tarn below—"so happily the days of Thalaba went by." One day we went up (while R. was with us) "the mighty Helvellyn." We had all our three bairnies with us, & a pony for the little one, on which I or one of the others rode, with Evie on her knee. In spite of storm & mist & a fearfully cold wind we had a very successful day—We had no view from the top, except every now & then if the mist rolled away for a moment, a peep into the Red Tarn below, but we all enjoyed the expedition, & the comparative warmth & calm of Wythburn were all the more delightful after the bitter cold above.   Another day we spent in going by way of Easedale Tarn up Sergeant Man to Harrison Stickle descending into Langdale, & after a good twa there, going on to Grasmere, wh we reached about half past nine. This time too little Evie was with us, & proved such a brave little traveller that we never for a moment regretted taking her with us, although again the cold was very great, & her little feet & hands felt often almost frozen. We had two ponies this time, one for my sister Nellie who was with us—the other for mother & children as before.

Heugh Folds seemed very different without our dear eldest sisters who had always hitherto given us so warm a welcome but Carrie keeps up all the beautiful old arrangements & works away at the garden just as Anna used to do. Heugh Folds itself looked as lovely as ever, but so many loving hands & voices known to its first years we now miss for ever.

One Sunday evening Robert & I spent very pleasantly at Lancrigg. Lady Richardson has grown very feeble, but takes as warm an interest as ever in political & social questions. Whilst writing of her, I must mention now the book I have just been reading—her life of her mother Mrs. Fletcher. It is a most interesting book, & gives a charming picture of that noble woman, who seems to have been universally admired & beloved. I feel it quite a privilege to have had a glimpse of the fine old lady when taken by my mother to Lancrigg in 1851 when I was 13 years old. Mrs Fletcher reminds me in many ways of my own dear mother, only my mother, from the force of circumstances, lived in a much narrower circle, & was more exclusively occupied with family cares. My sister Caroline has written a very interesting memoir of her, which I have copied, & which is now being circulated among our friends.

Our little Evie is a fascinating little thing—I could tell many stories of her winning ways, but will only put down one or two instances—Once at Grasmere, when Carrie had not been very well, Evie woke up in the night, & all she said was "How is dear Aunt Car?" & then, when satisfied, quietly went to sleep again.

Another time she fell out of bed a great thump on the floor. The poor little thing after one short sharp cry, only said "Please dear Mama, has Aunt Nellie come home"? (Nellie had been expected the night before)

One night when I went to see her in her little crib & told her as usual the story of the Noble Ark, she asked me the curious question "Mama was God wet?" I said "No darling, God was up in the sky, in Heaven". She answered quickly "But the rain comes from the sky"—which made me laugh so, that I escaped the difficulty of a reply.

She has quickly learned her letters, & now every morning is eager to say her little words, & to put together one-syllabled words out of her letter box.

May & Ruth are making good progress at their school, which they continue to like very much. They are able now both to amuse themselves with reading (wh. Mabel has done for a long time) but and to take a great interest in many of the things that are going on, & to enjoy having books read & explained to them wh. perhaps they could scarcely understand entirely by themselves.

Mabel has several times taken a part in our Shakespeare Readings wh we instituted last winter at our house. We choose a play, & invite some of our friends, assigning different parts to each to read & our own dear May generally takes on or two of the subordinate characters, & she really reads well, & with considerable appreciation. We have now in this way gone through "As you like it", "Merchant of Venice," "Macbeth", "Julius Caesar", "King Lear", & "Richard II" with great interest & profit. The first week in September we had a very pleasant visit from Miss Gibson, a sister of Mr. Gibson who often comes out to see us on Sundays, & who is always one of our Shakespeare readers—Miss Gibson is very artistic, & a very clever, but at the same time simple & pleasant girl. She pleased us much by taking a portrait of our bonnie Evie (on an old cigar box lid.) It is slightly painted in oils, & makes a very pretty little picture, though not a flattering one of our sweet child. The colour is certainly very good, & the likeness very fair, considering the difficulties under which it was taken.

Immediately after this visit, R. & I left home for a little journey into Belgium. We spent a fortnight very pleasantly in that interesting country, & we both enjoyed our tour so extremely that it seemed like a renewal of our first youth. Elsewhere I have noted down each day's doings, so I will only here mention the principal places we visited: Ypres, Tournay, Louvain, Liège, & Namur were the principal cities we visited, & their old Town Halls & Cathedrals we found full of interest & beauty, especially Ypres, Tournay & Louvain. The Romanesque Cathedra of Tournay is one of peculiar interest, & the Town Hall of Louvain one of marvellous richness & beauty. Then we travelled in & out among Shakespeare's Forest of Arden, & a wonderfully large & glorious forest it is. We also saw the grotto of Han near Rochefort, a grotto magnesian limestone cave or series of caves of extraordinary extent, & containing some magnificent stalactites. Some of the chambers are of enormous size, & the whole grotto extends from one side of the hill to the opposite one—a journey, (leisurely taken to see the wonders of the caves) of 2½ to 3 hours altogether. Our exit was quite unique—we descended from one of the chambers to a dark & solemn lake, & there, entering a large boat, we were rowed along in the darkness, until a strange weird light began to shimmer on the sides of the cave, gradually melting & changing into something of unearthly beauty, & so, stealing slowly onwards, we emerged at length into a dazzling brightness which faded all too soon into the "light of common day."

But perhaps the most interesting part of all our tour was the visit to Sedan, Metz & Gravelotte—the scene of Robert's labours during the war. We went over all the field of Gravelotte with sad but thrilling interest. All is so green & lovely now that there are but the innumerable crosses to mark, to a superficial gaze, the place of the fearful fight. We wondered afresh at the determination & valour of the Germans to gain the day with such fearful disadvantages of situation &c. On our way back to Metz we called at the village of St Privat, & there saw the excellent Curé whom R. had made acquaintance with during the sad war-time, & who had so nobly helped the poor sufferers in the church at the risk of his own life. His church still lies in ruins, & he speaks mournfully of the many evil effects of the war. His kind thoughtful face bears the impress of much sadness, as though he felt the burden of fighting with evil almost too heavy to be borne. But he gave us a most kindly welcome, & was delighted to see Robert again. It was most interesting to me to visit these places where my dear husband had toiled so hard, & to see the appreciation in wh his labours were held.

Metz is a beautiful & apparently very thriving town, although from the little we heard, there seems to be a very bitter feeling among the French towards their conquerors. All is gay & smooth outside but there may be a volcano underneath. As for the environs of Metz they are "fair as the garden of the Lord".

We came home, after our delightful outing, feeling all the better & stronger for it; & found our dear children, who had been kindly taken in at their Grandpapa's at Bensham Grove, very well & happy.

On the 5th of October our little nephew Charles Hestermann Merz was born. His mother has now nicely recovered, & the baby is a fine flourishing child. My sisters Caroline & Nellie, whose home at Ashfield since our dear mother's death is now broken up—have after spending a few weeks in Newcastle, gone to Italy for the winter. We have good accounts of them from Florence & trust the warmer climate may do dear Nellie good. They are delighted with all they have seen, so far of Italy, & anticipate much enjoyment.

We have been once again to London within the last few weeks. R. went up on business, & suffered so much from intense pain in the head that he sent for me. I found him happily recovering, but was very glad I went. Now we are drifting fast towards Christmas, & winter engagements are crowding thickly upon us—What will two months, or rather more, bring to me? Shall I again be spared to my beloved & loving ones? "In God's hands we leave all the rest."

Nov. 27th 1874.

Sunday, May 16th -

A sore throat keeps me from meeting to-day, & I feel inclined to write up my long neglected journal—So much sorrow came upon us towards the end of last year that I had no heart to write, & since then I have been so busy that I have never been able to find the time. When I last wrote my our dear Father in law was in his usual health & spirits, & we were all looking forward to his being with us at Christmas—a thing wh had not happened since his wife's death. He had bought books for all the grandchildren, & written their names in, but, as if he had had some presentiment of what was going to happen, he said to us, when we laughed at him for being so beforehand, "We cannot tell what may happen before Christmas." He had had a cough & cold, but made rather light of it, going in to work as usual, when, on the 11th of December he was taken much worse. The Dr said at once there was great danger—he was suffering from a complication of disease—bronchitis, heart complaint &c. He thought from the very first he would not rally, & he spoke to us all with calm & joyful anticipation of the approaching end. He told of his happiness, of his faith in Jesus, the only Refuge, & of the joy he had in looking forward to meeting with the beloved ones gone before. We all felt it a privilege to be with him in those last sad days when we felt he was rapidly passing away from us. The watching continued till Monday, the 14th when he quietly passed away. On the 17th he was laid in the grave at Jesmond beside his wife & our darling Herbert, an immense concourse of people joining the procession. A meeting was afterwards held in the meeting house—very largely attended, when T. Hodgkin, R.B. Butler & T. Pumphrey all spoke very beautifully, dwelling on the special characteristics of our dear Father—his love & tenderness, & child-like faith. We did indeed feel that we had lost one whom we had continually trusted & looked up to, & whose place could never be filled. Robert is now the head of the family, & we feel older by many years. Letters of sympathy flowed in from all sides—there seemed to be but one opinion as to the love & reverence in wh our Father had always been held—by men of all shades of opinion & beliefs. After much perplexity & doubt it was at last decided that we should move to the old house—it is now being considerably altered & improved, & about August we expect to move into it. It will be with great regret that we leave this sweet home where we have spent 11 such happy years, but there were many things to be considered, & it seemed best that we should go.

On the 7th of February our fourth little girl, Mary Spence was born—a sweet & lovely baby. She is now three months old, & a most engaging child.

On the 24th of February our sister Gertrude was married to John W. Edmundson. It was a time of very mingled feelings, recent sorrows weighting heavily upon our hearts, & yet we rejoiced in the prospect of her happiness, & of her being safely cared for now, her when deprived of a father's care. We miss her very much—she was is beloved by all who know her—but we know she is happy, & has a husband who will be loving & faithful to her. Our brother Willie is engaged to Fanny McAllum, & so he too is happily settled. They are to be married on the 8th of July.

March 21st 1876

I see that nearly a year has passed away since I wrote in this book. I could not have believed it were the dates not there to convince me. I wrote last in our dear Moss Croft, & now we are so settled in Bensham Grove that it seems almost as though we had been there for years. It is more difficult to write when such a long period has intervened—the little events of daily life sink into insignificance & do not seem worth noting, & yet these very little evens make up the sum of our lives, wh are hastening oh so fast away. We did not leave home at all last summer. Robert found it impossible to leave his business—I was much occupied with baby, & preparing to leave Moss Croft, & the summer passed quickly & happily away. We had a charming week end with the children at Alnwick where the profusion of primroses & other wild flowers made Ruthie quite wild. Then later on we spent a few days at Blanchland—a most delightful place—The Inn is part of the old monastery, & very different indeed from most country Inns now a days. Although the weather was very cold, we enjoyed rambling about the beautiful country extremely. After we returned I was a good deal troubled with a bad cold & cough, & it was thought best I should go to Bournemouth for a little change, & be out of the way of the moving. So I took dear little Evie with me, & we set off—spending a night in London on the way. We spent a fortnight very pleasantly at Bournemouth—at my sister's. It was very pleasant to find Gregory & Emily settled in their own nice house, so charmingly designed by our dear Anna—The children, Douglas, Margaret, Mildred, Hilda & little Mary Gladys are all dear little things—Douglas is at school at Windsor—Margaret, an eager active child, goes to a lady close at hand, to have a little lesson every morning. Mildred is her father's pet, & a sweet child, but only delicate, I fear. When we returned home, it was no more to our beloved Moss Croft, but to our new (Robert's old) home. Although R. had worked hard to get things into order, there was still much to be done, but he had got so many things beautifully arranged for me that some of the rooms looked most lovely. It was several weeks before we got everything arranged, but now we are completely settled & enjoy the view, & the larger rooms, & the sunshine very much. We had the usual large party at Christmas, & have had several parties, & many guests since. The children have all been very well since we came here—dear little Mary now toddles about, & grows daily in intelligence & sweetness, & we say of her, as I suppose we said of each of the others in turn, "the sweetest baby ever seen." We have been busy trying to get up a High School for girls like those wh already exist in Different parts of London & elsewhere. We quite hope one may be opened in Gateshead before May. Robert has had many evening meetings this winter—political &c. He has spoken several times on the Slave Circular issued by the Tory government, wh has excited so much dissatisfaction all through the Country. I always like if possible to go to these meetings—it is such a treat to hear my husband speak. His last speech on this question was really magnificent.

Our brother Willy has been very ill since his marriage—he is now at Bournemouth with his wife, daily gaining strength we hope. Harry & Emily R. are also there with their children—Poor little Harold is much worse, & the Doctors think very seriously of his case.

We are expecting a visit from Johnnie & Gertie & their little boy Herbert Watson born last November. It will be delightful to have our dear Gertie with us again.—At Easter we hope to spend a few days at Grasmere, & then, if all be well, we look forward—at least we speculate on fresh fields & pastures new—even the far off land of Norway, whither we should like to transport for their holidays our bonnie bairns & ourselves—

It is a great delight to us that our sister Carrie has come to live at Moss Croft—it is such a pleasure to have her so near, & to see her too in our dear old house. Nellie is in Italy, but is coming back soon—to go with C. to Grasmere. I forgot to mention in its right place that in January Robert & I made a delightful little excursion into Cornwall. R. had not been well, & was much needing a holiday when business called him to Huntingdon. He had to go to see poor Mr Burdon Sanderson who was dreadfully injured by the Abbots' Ripton railway accident. So it seemed a good opportunity for me to go join him,—or rather we travelled as far as Huntingdon together, when I went on to London, & R. joined me there the next day. The following morning (after seeing Romeo & Juliet that evening) we went to see the Winter Exhibition of the Royal Academy, & F. Walker's drawings—These last were peculiarly interesting—We were much struck by the careful studies wh. had been made previous to painting the larger pictures—In the Harbour of Refuge this was particularly & most beautifully exemplified. In the evening we went down to Witley where we spent a delightful evening in that ever charming house—the next day, by Basingstoke & Winchester to Bournemouth, where we spent an evening very pleasantly with Gregory & Emmie. The following morning we, i.e. R. & Emmie & I had a delightful ride—the sun was quite hot, although unfortunately the mist was so thick that we could not get any of the distant views, & we left without R's having been able to see properly appreciate the beauty of Bournemouth. We left at 1.30 for Exeter, wh we reached about half past six. That evening we went to call on my dear old friends & Teachers, the Dymonds, at least Miriam Dymond, & her sister now Josephine Wilkey. It was truly delightful to see their dear faces again & to have a little talk over the old happy times at Lewes. They both looked very well, & gave us a warm welcome—Josephine Wilkey, though aged, retains all her old beauty of feature & expression, with the same marvellous violet blue eyes.

We reluctantly left Exeter the next day, & went on to Penzance—where that same evening we made an excursion to St Michael's Mount. Although the weather was dull & stormy we were much pleased with Penzance—the bay is truly a noble sweep. The next day we took a trap, & drove about half way towards the Land End—then we got out & walked down to see the curious Logan rock, & thence a magnificent walk along the coast, to the Land's End. The rocks are very fine all the way—great pillars of granite, covered with gray lichen, & the haunts of sea birds. The sea was rough, & the waves dashed grandly against the great grey cliffs, whilst the colour of the breaking waves was something quite singular in its beauty. It was exactly the colour of the exquisite blue green in the deep crevasse of a glacier, so that we could fancy the waves had rolled straight away from the land of ice & snow. It was strange to stand on the very Land's End itself—a place so familiar in our school days, & wh. we had so often looked longingly at, as it lay in that far corner of the map. Our time was only far too short—that beautiful coast should have days & weeks to explore it. Back to Penzance—& after dinner a call on Maggie Paynter (née Pattinson) then, well tired with our long walk, to bed. On Monday morning we drove to Helstone, then walked from the exquisite Kynance Cove with its wonderful serpentine Rocks to the Lizard—a most enjoyable walk—We had very comfortable quarters at the charming Inn at Helstone, & were loth to leave, but our time was short, & we had to go on—So on Tuesday we journeyed to Bristol where we spent the night at Frank Tuckett's—in his lovely home surrounded by treasures—a home suggestive of true English comfort, & culture & refinement. We were only sorry that its owner was all alone there—& could not but wish he had some one to share it all with him, & to cheer his lonely hours—The next day he kindly lent us his brougham to drive to Clifton, with the beauty of wh. we were quite surprised. A pleasant little visit to Mr. Walton at Bromsgrove where we saw his three dear little motherless boys—brought our journey nearly to an end. On the Thursday we travelled back to our own dear home, & although we did not arrive till 8 o'clock even dear wee Mary was up to see us, & we had the warmest & most rapturous of welcomes from all our precious children. We found little Mary had become quite independent during our short absence, & could toddle about all over. So ended a truly delightful little tour—one never to be forgotten, for it was really without alloy, with the one exception that we were very anxious about our brother Willy, but we had encouraging reports almost every day of his progress. We were so happy in each other, & so disposed to enjoy everything that even the railway travelling was pleasant, & there seemed a radiance of beauty over all our surroundings.

March 22nd 1876.

Volume 2, 1877-85

Given to E.S. Watson by her sister A. M. Merz—on the latter's return from her wedding tour.     Feb. 6th 1874

March 6th 1877.

I think I may as well utilize this beautiful book, wh. I have had now for more than three years, by making it Volume the second of my family Chronicles. Again I have let almost twelve months glide away without note or comment, & yet they have been months of much delight & wonder in many ways. I see that in my last entry I speak of our half formed plan of going to Norway. Well that half-formed plan became a living reality, & to the astonishment of all our friends, & amid the forebodings of some, we actually took all


Note—I have by accident missed out this page—so I will take advantage, to utilize it by noting one or two forgotten, or rather neglected things.   One is that in the spring of this year our dear Mabel took riding lessons with Mr. Forbes in the Riding School here, & soon became a very good rider. She had had some practice before on a little pony we had, wh. Ruth also rode, & rode well, until she turned nervous & refused to ride any more. I do not know that I have ever remarked upon the delightful rides Robert & I have had together—at one time or another in the course of our married life. Both in the old Ashfield days but more especially since Alice's wedding—for Dr Merz made her a present of a beautiful horse called Rosie, a splendid creature wh we have been fortunate enough to ride as well as its mistress. In the long spring evenings, & especially in the particularly beautiful ones of last spring, when the woods were carpeted with hyacinths, & everything looked lovely, we had some never to be forgotten rides—finding out new paths & new beauties every day. Now we have a nice little horse of our own called Jessie, wh Mabel rides admirably, & wh is also large enough for either Robert or me.

our four children across "to Norroway o'er the faem" We sailed from Hull in the "Argo" on Thursday the 20th of July & at midnight on Saturday, after a good voyage, & a sail from Stavanger in smooth water, of great beauty, we landed at the picturesque town of Bergen. Never can I forget the loveliness of that summer night—the noble hills surrounding the town standing out dark against the clear sky, the lights of the town & of the shipping, & above all the sky itself still radiant with the glory of the departed sun, departed so soon to reappear bringing renewed life & hope & beauty. The journal of our happy Norwegian life is all told in another book, & yet I must linger a little on some of its characteristics. We spent three happy days at Bergen, finding most comfortable quarters at Holett's Hotel, & enjoying to the full the fresh new life. All the dear children had borne the journey well—as for Mary she proved a capital traveller, & accommodated herself in a praiseworthy way to all the changes of hours, difference of food & c. On the third day we left Bergen in the Steamer "Sogn" for Aardal—a long & rather tedious voyage, owing to the wet cold weather—At last however we reached our destination & in our rough but comfortable little home at Aardal, we spent three of the happiest weeks I ever remember. It was a complete rest & refreshment—from the oldest of us to the youngest we all enjoyed it—& the boating, the bathing, the excursions, the kind & hospitable & simple people, the long twilights, the wealth of sunshine, the glorious mountains & the entrancing fjords can never be forgotten.

After a few days spent at Balestrand on the same wonderful Sogne fjord—& another place of exquisite beauty, we set sail again for England. We were not quite so fortunate in our return voyage, & were delighted indeed to welcome even the grimy looking town of Hull after the miseries of the sea.

Our own dear home seemed a palace of luxury after the simple abodes we had been accustomed to in Norway—we received a warm welcome from all our friends, & many were the adventures we had to relate -

In September the High School, wh had with much difficulty & after many delays, been organized, was opened, & our three eldest girls all began to attend it. Except as regards numbers, it is answering very well—Miss Rowdon & her assistants are able & energetic Teachers, & the progress of the children is satisfactory.

During the winter months we have had many guests—some of them very interesting ones. Mr. & Mrs. Bosworth Smith—Principal Shairpe, Mr. Sydney Colvin & many others—& much family company. At Christmas we had a house full of company & the usual large gathering on Christmas Day—this time, though still saddened as it always must be, by many recollections, yet freer from the presence of sorrow than it had been for years. The children were all in full merriment—to them the present is so all in all that the past can scarcely cast a shade. We have now nephews & nieces growing up to manhood & womanhood, & we feel ourselves often strangely of—& yet the feelings of & sympathies with youth are still, I hope, strong within us. It was a great pleasure to welcome Johnnie & Gertie Edmundson, who came over from Ireland to spend a week here—leaving their little boy with Cousin Mary E.

Since Christmas we have been variously occupied—I have been very busy in forwarding & attending some Cookery Classes—organized by the Edinburgh school of Cookery—but managed here by a local Committee of wh I was Secretary & my sister Caroline Treasurer. The Classes, wh were of two kinds, one, a cheap course for artisans' wives, (2/- for 12 lessons) the other rather a higher style of cooking, for Ladies, 10/6 for 12 lessons) were a great success. After paying all expenses, we had £330 to send to Edinburgh—a very handsome surplus. I was glad enough when the Classes were over, as, though very interesting, they were also very fatiguing. I should not omit to mention that Mrs. Mc pherson, the Teacher was very able, both as a lecturer, & as a practical Cook—& her teaching was fully appreciated by the numbers who crowded to the Lecture Room.

We have had a Norwegian lady, Mrs. Flood, daughter of Paster Halling of Christiania, but formerly of Lom, staying with us for 10 weeks. She has been a pleasant & easily pleased guest, & has I hope, much enjoyed her stay. She has now just left us to stay with the Miss Herberts at their school at Tynemouth—there to pursue her English studies.

Robert & I have just returned from a delightful little journey to Ireland. We went by Dumfries, Stranraer & Belfast to Dublin, spent three days there very pleasantly with Johnnie & Gertie, driving to Powerscourt, the Dangle &c. & visiting Cousin Mary & the many kind friends settled about Fox Rock. Then we went off for three or four days to Killarney, a little trip wh we exceedingly enjoyed. Although the weather was cold, it was pretty fine, & we were quite surprised with the beauty & richness of the scenery of Killarney. We had the large Victoria Hotel all to ourselves—& were consequently free from many of the annoyances of Irish travelling in the summer—beggars &c &c. The glorious Evergreens are surely quite unique in that part—the Laurustinus, the Laurel in full flower, & in the sheltered places the crimson rhododendron &c. in bloom—while the Wellingtonia, the yew, the Arbutus, the Evergreen oak &c &c. grow in the richest profusion. We returned to Dublin after three days of keen enjoyment, & left for home the following morning—quitting Ireland, & our many kind friends with regret, but bent upon renewing our acquaintance both with the country & its people at some not far distant period. Our darling children received us rapturously, & we were soon again settled in to home life & work—very happy in our home, in our children, in our friends, & above all in each other—& with thankful hearts, I trust to the Giver of all good—who has given us so much richly to enjoy.

Oct. 21st 1877 -

When I wrote in this book last it was in the spring of the year, when we were all looking forward to the Summer, & now the leaves are falling fast, & Winter is nearly here—So many things have happened since last March—First of all, another little girl, our Darling little Bertha was given to us on the 18th of May. I recovered nicely, & the new baby, like all of her sisters in turn before her, was much made of, & considered the greatest treasure. She is now a plump little thing with dimpled cheeks & wide blue eyes, & the sunniest of sunny smiles—Her sisters delight in nursing her, & she lets them haul her about in a most amiable manner. When she was just a month old, as Ruth had not been very well, we went down to Cullercoats for two or three days. There Ruth rapidly recovered, & I grew very strong, & dear little Bertha grew & prospered. My sister Caroline had most kindly proposed to us that we should stay at Heugh Folds for a month, as we could not go very far afield with baby. So, soon after the children's holidays had begun,—on the 10th of August, we set off for that sweet home. As I could not leave Baby, Mabel had the rare treat of riding all the way to Grasmere on horseback with her dear papa, & a glorious ride they had. They stayed the first night at Haydon Bridge, the second at Alston, the third at Penrith—& on the third day (Saturday) rode into Grasmere. Ruth & I were on Mount Heugh watching for them, but never expecting they would arrive so soon, when the sound of horses' feet made us look up, & we saw the two dear ones cantering along the level road beneath us—Ruth shrieked with delight, & down we rushed by the other way to meet them. This month at Grasmere was a very happy time, although the weather was often against us, & although we were by no means so free from care as in dear & happy Norway.

We made many delightful excursions, & May & Ruth proved themselves capital walkers, & Mary & Bertha excellent travellers—not forgetting dear little Evie—who had been tried before. Mabel & Ruth were up Scawfell Pike with us—also up Coniston Old Man—& Skiddaw. Another delightful day we set out about 9 o'clock & walked over to Patterdale by Grisedale Pass—had a second breakfast there—then, after a row on the lake, we set off & climbed Helvellyn by Striding Edge, having a perfectly marvellous view from the top wh we reached at half past five in the evening—then down again to Grisedale Tarn & back to Grasmere. This was a long walk for our children—over 20 miles but they walked into the house quite fresh, after of day of keen enjoyment. Indeed their appreciation of & enthusiasm over the mountain scenery was delightful to witness. On Skiddaw we had some wonderful mist effects—the morning had been hopelessly wet—perfect deluges of rain—but it cleared up about 12 sufficiently for us to decide on attempting the walk. We were well repaid—the marvellous revelations of mountain & lake—the wonderful effects of colour—the scene changing like a kaleidoscope, only with infinitely more variety—all these mad an impression wh can never be effaced. We ascended Fairfield another day, & had magnificent views of the precipices of Helvellyn—We walked all round the ridge & down into the Rydal valley—a very fine excursion.

Another happy day R. & I rode all round Windermere lake—a ride of exquisite beauty. This was almost our only ride—as poor Jessie Mabel's nice pony got a sore back. The other horse was my sister Alice's Rosie—a splendid creature—lent to us as Alice & Theodore were from home. We dined at the delightful old fashioned Inn, the "Swan" at Newby Bridge, & then rode home close by the shore of the lake for the greater part of the way—rejoicing in the delicious blue water & the luxurian trees. Dear little Bertha even went some of our excursions—when we took all the children & some of the servants—to Langdale, to Coniston & to Troutbeck—&—without us but with the servants down Windermere in a steamer. Evie & Mary & Bertha were all capital travellers entering into the spirit & enjoyment of the thing like their elders. While we were at Heugh Folds my brother John sent us a copy of dear Anna's memoir, wh he had compiled. We read it with intense interest—all her delight in her mountain home so graphically described it was touching to read of there—in the dear home from wh she had passed for ever. Her letters are full of interest—especially some of the earlier ones to H.M. Peile—& three from Paris. It is a book wh will be much valued by our children & wh we rejoice that our brother has so admirably arranged—although it is a pity that some errors have crept in wh a little more care might have avoided.

During part of our stay at Grasmere my sister Emily White, & Margaret were with us—a very pleasant time—Margaret is a bright, eager, clever child, & enjoyed roaming about in a happy fearless way. The country was even more beautiful than we had recollected or thought, & we became much better acquainted with it than we had ever been before.

On the 7th of September we returned home, & soon afterwards my sister Caroline went to Heugh Folds, where she was joined by Annie Atkins. Then the children went back to school, & both they & I have been very busy ever since. What with home duties & cares—sewing (no light matter when 5 girls have to be provided for) much correspondence, & Ragged School & Training Home work outside not to speak of social duties—I find my time completely taken up—& have little leisure for reading, except just the morning's newspaper. But life passes very happily, if very quickly & so long as I can manage to get through the greater part of the day's obvious duties, I am well content. There is not time for choice or hesitation—each day brings plenty of work to be done—& this is certainly the happiest way of life—although one is very apt to wish at times for a little more leisure. Now I have been nearly three weeks alone with my children—my dearest R. having been abroad on a business journey with my brother John. He has been the greater part of the time at Buda Pesth—& I have had delightful letters from him full of interest, detailing all the curious things he meets with. They have necessarily in the course of their business, been brought into contact with several very aristocratic families, & have been most hospitably, indeed royally entertained. Now Robert is on his way home, by way of Vienna, Salzburg, &c & I hope before this week is over to have him home again. Home, dear as it is is a different place when he is away—then comes our busy winter, with all our guests—& lectures & meetings &c &c  But enough for tonight.

Sunday night Oct. 21 '77

March 27th 1878.

Three months of the new year 1878 almost gone, & no entry made in any book—so swiftly have the days sped away. We have had a very busy winter—many guests & much pleasant social intercourse, but leaving little leisure for various things one would like to get done. Among the lecturers at the Literary & Philosophical Society's rooms, we had as our guests, Mr Ralston, the Russian writer & traveller, Mr W.H. Pollock, Prof. Meiklejohn, Professor Rolleston, Professor Hodgson, Canon Dixon—all more or less interesting in their various ways, to some of them extremely so. Professor Rolleston is always a delightful guest, & this time we especially enjoyed his visit, & also that of Dr Hodgson—Perhaps it was partly owing to our having been all in good health, & freer from anxiety than sometimes & I at all events have grown less shy, & find it less formidable to entertain strangers than I used to do—believing that very often the truest kindness is to make them quite at home, & let them come & go as they like, having the Library entirely at their service. Professor Meiklejohn gave us two capital lectures on "Parody" & Premature Education. Dr Hodgkin's were on the "Economics of Mr Ruskin"—a subject that was very cleverly dealt with. Almost immediately afterwards we heard of the illness from brain fever of poor Ruskin, so that one could almost regret he had been so severely handled—(although due justice was rendered to his wonderful genius & his love for all that is good & noble)

At Christmas time we had the usual large family gathering—we had 5 small Christmas trees up stairs in the playroom, & a lovely sight it was to see them all hung with pretty coloured toys & lights, & lit up with innumerable tapers, while Chinese lanterns illumined the room. The merry little children clustering round made a charming group, & all were delighted with the many pretty gifts wh had been nestling in the recesses of the trees for old & young. It was a great pleasure to have dear little Harold with us—the first Christmas for four years—but he is now so wonderfully improved, since trying Dr Sayer's method of cure that he is able to walk about & play like other children. Johnnie & Gertie Edmundson & their two dear children stayed with us, so we were quite a large household. Gertie's little Baby is just about the same age as our sweet Bertha, & the two made a lovely pair.

Outside of our happy family circle the dreadful war in the East has engrossed much of our attention—happily it is over at last, but oh after what expenditure of life & treasure, & leaving how many widows & orphans in sad perpetuity of suffering. And even yet we do not feel sure that our own England may not contribute to this dire calamity of war, she is at all events making it possible, if not probable, by her vast preparations. When will nations learn that to be armed at all points is just the one step before going to war? It is like giving two children each an open bladed & sharp knife, & telling them they must keep them always open ready for use, but never use them. We can easily surmise what the consequences would be. And—after all the bloodshed & all the suffering & sorrow, diplomacy steps in at the end, & says 'Now we will settle this difference'.

On the 2nd of March, just after I had weaned darling little Bertha, we took the 3 eldest children to Saltburn for 2 days. We spent the Sunday there very pleasantly, having lovely weather—& returning home on Monday wh was the half term holiday. On Tuesday the 12th R. set out for London, by night train, I following the next morning with little Dora Richardson, who was going to her Aunt's, Theresa Gilman. We stayed at a small French Hotel in Ryder St & found it very comfortable. It was amusing to find ourselves all surrounded by French speaking people in the heart of the great English Metropolis & to find French cooking & French ways everywhere prevalent. It was very cold when we were in London, & on the whole our visit was rather a disappointing one (to me as R. was so much engaged) although the Grosvenor Gallery with its wonderful specimens of early water colour drawings, & the Turner Collection were most fascinating. We left London on Friday evening, & spent that night at Witley. The beautiful house seemed more full of beauty than ever, & the welcome given to us was kind & hospitable as it always is. Maggie & Ellen Foster are charming girls, while Willy is a delightful boy. Uncle Birket has two very fine drawings for the Paris Exhibition—the "Falls of the Tummel" & Greenwich—two of the largest & most beautiful of his I ever remember to have seen.

From Witley we went on to Ryde in the Isle of Wight on Saturday morning—by way of Portsmouth. From Ryde we took the train to Ventnor where we arrived about 4 o'clock. It was a cold but bright day, & we enjoyed, after our very cold journey, a walk along the coast, returning to our Inn the "Esplanade Hotel" to a good dinner at 6 o'clock. The next day, (Sunday) we had a charming walk—up Boniface Down, & round to Shanklin, wh is the loveliest of villages, with trim thatched cottages, embowered in evergreens, & little gardens already gay with flowers—then back by the Undercliff to Ventnor. The growth of evergreen close by the sea was a delightful sight to our eyes accustomed to the bleak bareness of our Northern Coasts, while the scarlet geraniums flowering in the open air, stocks, myrtles magnolias &c all told of a climate & soil very different from ours. On our way home we passed Bonchurch, a most lovely little church & one of the smallest in England, excelled in this particular, (if excellence it be) by St Lawrence wh we saw the next day, & wh is only about 20 ft long. We had another walk in the evening—when in the half lights the dark trees & clustering shrubs, with the great downs rising up behind, looked very weird & grand. On Monday we took a carriage & drove through a lovely country, past many neat picturesque, beautifully situated villages, to Freshwater Bay. Thence we visited Alum Bay with its marvellously coloured cliffs, & walked back across the Downs, descending to the fortifications above the "Needles" so as to get a better view of those wonderful rocks—most impressive from that point. This day was one of great enjoyment, & not the least part of it the pleasant rest at the delightful Freshwater Bay Hotel with its nice sitting room, bedroom with spotless white curtains & comfortable bed, & balcony opening to the sea, whence we watched the brilliant moon glitter on the scarcely rippled sea. The next morning (Tuesday the 19th) we left Freshwater by boat, sending our traps round to Yarmouth—We had a splendid sail to Alum Bay, finding the Needles even more impressive when passing close by, & between them. They are indeed arêtes of the finest description, & there had need to be a lighthouse off that terrible point to warn ships from the fatal place—We found at this place both wind & tide so much against us that the said had to be lowered, & as the boatmen said it would take a long time to pull round to Yarmouth, we walk landed at Alum Bay & walked from there—carrying our heavy wraps with us, but otherwise much enjoying the walk. At the quaint little town of Yarmouth our carriage met us, & we drove on to Carisbrooke, seeing the fine ruins there—then on to Newport, whence we once more took the train to Cowes. From here, after a long wait, we sailed across to Southampton—leaving the lovely Isle of Wight where we had spent three such happy days, with great regret. We took up our quarters at Southampton at the Railway Hotel, & the next morning drove to Netley Abbey —a magnificent ruin, bowered in luxuriant Ivy. After breakfast we took the train to Lyndhurst Road where we were joined by my sister Emily, & Maria White. We then had a splendid walk of 16 miles in the New Forest—quite losing ourselves in its apparently boundless recesses—Some of the Ancient beeches & oaks are of prodigious size & very beautiful, & the whole district is one of extreme interest & beauty. We missed our first train, but caught the 6 one to Bournemouth, where we arrived about half past 7, & were very glad of dinner at the fashionable hour of 8. We were warmly welcomed by Gregory & all the children—whom we were delighted to see. Charles & Norbert Merz are staying there during their parents' absence in Spain, & we were pleased to find them so well & happy, both of them looking very bonny. On Thursday we wrote letters, saw Philip at his school, had a charming walk in the afternoon, then left Bournemouth, after a most pleasant visit, for Salisbury. Here we stayed one night at the White Hart, driving the next morning to see that marvellous relic of antiquity—Stonehenge. Then, after dinner to London—hastily passing through, & home by way of York, where I stayed on the Saturday morning, to see the girls' school, with wh I was much pleased, & where we hope our dearest Mabel will be able to go at Christmas. R. had to hurry home on account of election business—so I followed him in the afternoon—& we were both rapturously welcomed by our darling children. So ended our most happy little outing—most happy—& only too short. I must not forget to say that our dear Mabel has passed her jnr Cambridge Examination—with wh both she & we are well pleased.

Aug. 13th

I wrote last in the bleak month of March, I now since then a whole happy summer has come, & alas! almost gone. Such a summer! so full of beauty & brightness & heat—as is scarcely ever remembered before. We had looked forward to & planned another excursion to Norway, where six weeks were so happily past spent in 1876, but this delightful project has not been realized. The election business that I spoke of in my last entry was a business indeed. After lasting three whole weeks, & causing for R. an amount of labour & anxiety such as he had never before experienced, the result was a "tie"—that is the two number of votes was the same for each Candidate. Mr Grey was the Liberal Candidate the grandson of the Earl Grey of Reform fame, whose monument adorns the head of our Grey St. He is a very young man, only a little over 20— but a fine fellow, & much liked by all with whom he came in contact. He came out wonderfully as a politician during the testing time before the Election, & the result was extremely disappointing to the Liberals—a "scrutiny" afterwards shewed that the ballot papers had been so carelessly dealt with by the returning Officers that, although Mr Grey had actually more votes than his opponent—Mr Ridley, through the absence in several cases of the official stamp, Mr Ridley won the day. So ever ended the ever memorable election Contest for South Northumberland of 1878—Mr Ridley took his seat—in Parliament -, & helped to swell the ranks of the already too powerful Conservatives under d'Israeli's brillian but misleading reign. R. was very much knocked up with all his hard work, so in May, having given up Norway, we carried out an often talked of scheme. R. & I went by train to Wetheral, whence the two horses, Rosie & Jessie had been sent on before under Robson's charge. At Wetheral we had some tea at the little Inn close to the station, then set off, riding through a delightful country, by the side of the richly wooded Eden, for Kirk Oswald. Everything was lovely in the golden light of that may evening, & we seemed to have left care behind. We found a pleasant resting place at Kirk Oswald, a pretty straggling village, boasting several Inns. On Sunday morning we set off after breakfast for the woods of Croglin, of whose beauty we had heard much. Our walk lay first through pleasant fields, until we came to Munnery—once evidently a fine place, but now fallen into disrepair, & savouring somewhat of the "Haunted House". Obtaining after long knocking the key of the grounds from the maiden in charge, we set off. Keeping to the high path first, we at length came gradually down to where the Croglin joins the Eden. Here the path is most romantic—running under the red-sandstone cliffs, with charming little nooks & arches, & the two rivers, blended in one, rippling & murmuring beneath.

We returned by the lower path, close by the stream, delighted with the deep gorges, the fine cascades, the rich overhanging woods—& then emerged once more at Nunnery gates, to wander back to our Sunday dinner, through the lovely meadows.

At two o'clock we started for Pooley Bridge, wh we reached about 7—after a delightful ride past the wonderful Druidical circle of Long Meg & her daughters, & also past the historical home of Eden Hall. At Pooley it was so cold that a fire was welcome, & tea very refreshing. Next morning we were off early in the fine, but not clear atmosphere. The beauty of that ride up Ullswater can never be forgotten. The mountains at the head of the Lake lay in a tender mist of blue, wh gave them a heavenly beauty—while the lake lay as a mirror at their feet, reflecting every rock & tree—Only too soon was the lake passed—then began our ascent of Kirkstone. The fair blue mist came down in rain before we reached the top—but we could not grumble—The bread & cheese & milk were as excellent as ever at the 'Travellers' Rest', & then we rode joyfully on to Grasmere. The next day was wet, & spent indoors—the next Robert set off with Alice for the return ride—going by Kendal Kirby Lonsdale, Kirby Steven & Barnard Castle. I returned on Friday with Charles & Norbert, having spent a delightful afternoon at Coniston with Carrie, calling on the old ladies, the Misses Beevor, who live at the "Thwaite"—ladies of a bye gone age almost, & with a garden of old fashioned beauty & character like themselves.

Since our return home we have had lovely summer weather, & the children have almost lived out of doors. We have played at Lawn Tennis a good deal—a new acquisition for us—& a capital game it is. Now our home is different—our dear Mabel has gone to York school. She went on the 7th of this month, & we miss her sadly—but trust our darling will be happy.

Feb. 27th 1879.

It is almost incredible to me that more than six months & more have passed away since my last entry. The time seems to go more & more swiftly each succeeding year. I wrote last of splendid hot days, & lovely summer weather—since then what bitter cold, what long frosts, what storms of snow, one following another, have been our portion. But to day has been beautiful, mild & sunny, & filling our hearts with joy at the thought of spring—never more welcome than after such a winter. But I must go back first.

In September we had a fortnight's visit from R's two three cousins Maggie & Ellen Foster, Birket Foster's daughters, & John Foster's daughter Alice. A gay time we had—parties, lawn tennis &c &c & charming their sojourn here. Ellen became engaged to Mr Seymour Bell, an engagement that we trust may be productive of much happiness. Soon after this Robert & I set out for our often talked of & now about to be realized journey to Italy—How is it possible to describe the delights of this journey? The climate, the art, the scenery, the people—everything to us was full of beauty & of joy. We left Newcastle on the 20th of September at 2.45 4 p.m. reaching York at about half past 6. There on the platform was our precious Mabel to meet us, & our kind friend Henry Tennant, who drove us, as arranged, to their hospitable house "The Plantation." Dear Mabel had been asked also, to spend the night; & so we had all we could desire. We spent a happy evening together, & next morning visited the Minster, called at the school &c returning to HT's to dine, before leaving at 3 o'clock for London. These kind friends, Mr & Mrs Tennant, are a great help to Mabel in her school life, & many a happy evening has she passed at their pleasant home.

We drove through London to Charing X—& travelled straight on to Paris viâ Folkestone & Boulogne—Reaching Paris at about 9 a.m. we drove to the Hotel du Louvre where we had the refreshment of breakfast, & the perhaps still greater refreshment of a bath. Then on again—on on till we reached Turin about 9 the next morning—Turin within sight of the snowy Alps rising like a glorious vision to dispel all thought of fatigue. But I must not linger over the view from the Superga, marvellous though it was—nor must I go from town to town, each more delightful than the last. If my children who read these pages wish for the details, they will find them, far more ample & far more worthily given than I could write them, in R's journal letters written at the time. I will content myself with noting here a few of the chief points of interest. First then Ravenna—one of the most interesting towns we had ever visited. Never shall I forget the glory of green & gold wh burst upon our sight—in the church of S. Appollinare Nuovo, in the long line of virgins & saints of marvellous mosaic looking down from the clerestory. Never can the wonderful mausoleum of Galla Placidia fade from my mind—Christ the youthful Shepherd—the blue vaulted roof with golden stars—the borders of pomegranates—the lamb,—emblem of purity & innocence—Then the solemn beauty of the Pineta—the desolate marsh land, from wh the sea has retreated, where stands still the curious old church so rich in memorials of antiquity—S. Appolinare in Classe—& where once stood the port of Ravenna, Classis:― the glory of the mosaic dome of St Vitelo—all these I hope my children will one day see, & I can wish for them nothing better than that they should enjoy them with the same joy & awe & reverence as their father & mother did before them.

Mrs Fred. Gibson joined us at Ravenna & was with us, more or less, for the next 3 weeks. From Ravenna we went to Rimini, the Republic of S. Marino, & Ancona—then back to Pesaro & across the mountains to Urbino & Gubbio—a delightful drive, although the eastern side of the Appennines is bare & sterile compared with the western. Then to Perugia—a most charming old city, in the midst of exquisite country—a rich & luxuriant land. Here we had excellent quarters at Madame Brufani's capital hotel, just outside the town. One day we drove to Assisi, & saw Giotto's frescoes in the lower church, & all many of the other interests of that interesting place From Perugia to Rome—most fascinating of all—here we stayed at Miss Shed's pleasant pension, & met some very agreeable & interesting people. The interests of Rome are, of course, far too vast to be more than dipped into, with a sip here & there, in a five days' stay—but what we did see we enjoyed to the full. The sculpture in the Vatican, the pictures of Raphael, the memorials of old Rome, in its marvellous vastness—all these filled us with wonder & delight. And then the blue skies, & the clear air—surely there never was a place so delightful as Rome—but then we saw it but for five short brilliant days—had we been longer, who knows? & felt the burden of the heat of the summer, or the cold, without proper means of warming, of winter, we might have been somewhat disenchanted, as others have been before us.

From Rome we came by way of Orvieto to Siena to Florence—Siena is a most interesting place, picturesquely situated on its red-brown hills, & with all the memories of its revered Saint still clinging to it. The house of Catharine is still preserved, & all the relics of her labours & her vigils are guarded with a tender reverence. Since coming come I have read with extreme interest Mrs Butler's life of Catharine of Siena—one of the noblest women of that or any age. With Sodoma's pictures in Siena we were especially delighted—he was an unknown painter to us before, & we were quite astonished by the power & the beauty of his art. His chief pictures relate to Catharine of Siena, & are in the Church of S. Domenico—but he has also one or two of great beauty in the Academia della bella Arti, especially "The Flagellation of Christ", & "Judith"—(See my photograph book of Italy—for these) Almost all the works of Sodoma are frescoes in Siena, & the fact of his having painted very few easel pictures accounts for his being so little known. Siena abounds in interest, both architectural & otherwise, & in spite of almost continuous rain, we enjoyed our two days' stay there very much -

At Florence we stayed at Miss Erle's—the same pension where poor Joe had been in his long illness, & where he passed away to his last rest.

I no longer wonder that poets have sung of & painters have extolled Florence for surely a more beautiful city with more exquisite surrounds has never existed on God's earth. Whether seen from the fair hills of Fiesole, or the heights of San Miniato, for the the topmost stair of the Bargello—or whether you wind along the lovely Arno, among the glads of the Cascina, all is beautiful.

Here again our stay was far too short for all the delights of the Pitti palace & the Uffizi—but some of the many pictures there can never be forgotten, nor the quiet beauty & exceeding interest of the Convent of S. Marco—where the "beato Angelico" lived & laboured in holy love.

From Florence we journeyed to Pisa—thence to Spezia, a most delicious place on the beautiful gulf of Spezia—next Here our friend Mr Gibson left us. We had still another 10 days of almost unmixed happiness. Our excursion to the beautiful Porto Venere was most delightful—then on to Genoa—truly la Superba—then to S Remo, where we left the train with its tantalizing tunnels, & irritating noise—& took to driving, notwithstanding the hopeless torrents of rain wh hid all but glimpses of lovely sea, & the rich vegetation bording the road. We stayed the night at Menton, & the next morning rose brilliantly over the blue Mediterranean—making us long to linger in so exquisite a place—We bathed in the warm delicious water, then drove on, after breakfast, to Nice,—a truly glorious drive, unequalled, we thought, by any even of the many beautiful drives we had had together. Perhaps it was partly because we were nearing all too soon the end of our happy journey—but whatever the reason that drive along the Riviera will remain for ever indelibly impressed on both our hearts as one of those times of perfect enjoyment in each other & in every thing around us.

We were much pleased with Nice, but had to leave it, after one night's stay, for Marseilles. At Marseilles we had one day, visiting in a tempest of wind, the curious Church of La Gare, filled with votive offerings—the grateful records of lives saved from shipwreck or other peril. Then on to Paris—where we left the bright summer—& entered into what seemed by contrast the cold of the Arctic regions. Two days at the grand Continental Hotel, visiting the wonderful but fatiguing exhibition, where however the water colours, & especially Burne Jones intensely delighted us—& then once more across the narrow sea & home to old England once more. We hurried straight through London, & reached York at 1 in the morning, where at the new Station Hotel, we found most comfortable quarters,—a nice fire & English tea awaiting us. Dear Mabel joined us at breakfast next morning, & we had a happy time indeed—then home by later express to see all our other darlings—& to find all well—for which & all our blessings may we have truly grateful hearts.

We reached home on the 1st of November, & almost immediately afterwards came the first great snowstorm—One storm followed another, with occasional intervals of thaw—until nearly the end of February—a winter so cold is happily rare, & now that March winds & hot sunshine reign, we all rejoice in the real advent of Spring. Christmas was a true old fashioned snowy Christmas. We had our usual large party, with some exceptions. The Edmundsons who were with us last time could not come this—& the Gurneys were also away. We missed them much—but the party was a very successful one—Old Father Christmas in the shape of Uncle Alec—dispensing the various gifts—the playroom being very prettily decorated with holly &c.

The winter has been a very sad one for the poor. The depression in trade added to the unusually severe weather, caused much suffering—but all classes seem to have striven to mitigate this distress, & ladies1 as well as gentlemen2 [sc. gentlemen as well as ladies—ed.] have been very active in seeking out the destitute, & dispensing relief both in food & clothing. The town has been all divided into districts, with Relief Committees for each—so that it has been a busy time.

We have had fewer of the Lit. & Phil. lecturers than usual to stay with us, but had delightful little visits from Professor Seeley & Prof. Bryce, both in different ways, very interesting & able men. R. & I have now just returned from a hurried visit to Leeds, where R. gave his admirable lecture on Robert Browning to a large audience at the Rooms of the Young Men's Christian Association. We took our dear Mabel (who is now happily settled at York school) on with us, & were all most hospitably entertained at Headingley by the Hewitsons.

Our other dear bairnies are all pretty well Ruth much stronger, & getting on well at the High School—dear little Evie thoroughly enjoying school—Mary bonnie & bewitching, & darling wee Bertha, the pet of all. The weather has been so severe that they have been out (the two little ones) far less than usual, & have suffered a good deal from colds &c. But now we may hope they will soon get out more, & grow strong & hardy. They are precious children—all of them.

March 6th 1879

I should not omit to note the skating wh the older girls enjoyed so keenly—All the ponds in the neigbourhood were turned to account, & great fun had all the girls & boys home from school. They liked the frost bar better than their elders. I also had some delightful skating with the children—but it took up too much time in such a busy season to enjoy much of it—& as for R. he was only twice, I think on the ice. Hundreds of people skated at night by means of the electric light, wh seems to have been in that way a great success—Now, after the long winger, we are beginning our rides again—a pleasure apparently for horses as well as riders—so fresh & full of spirit are Jessie & Rosie—

To day (7th March) we have been to a meeting about the scholarship scheme, which Robert originated 2 years ago. Three candidates are found worthy, & obtain a scholarship each of £25—to enable them to pass from the elementary to the Higher Schools—Dean Lake spoke to the boys—It was a good meeting—but, as usual he who had worked the hardest, & originated the whole affair, got none of the credit. The great name of the Dean is preeminent, & he is assumed to have planned & carried out the scheme. However it matters not. R. cares little about this, so that the thing prospers, but I think it is rather hard.'

[Oct 17th 1879]

On the 7th of March when I last wrote, we had a right to be expecting spring-like days—but alas the spring came & went, more like winter—the summer cold & dull with scarcely any sun—& now in October, after some weeks of really fine & partly brilliant weather, we are again all too soon in the cold of winter. Such a contrast this summer has been with its wet & sunless days to the hot beauty of the last. However to us it only brings disappointment & discomfort, but to many it has brought distress & ruin. The farmers, in a bad plight before, have been brought to the lowest depths, & trade has been so bad in all quarters that the distress among the working classes has been very great. Steps are, I am glad to say now being taken, to provide employment of some kind for the unemployed, & to organize systematic relief. Again we were obliged to give up thinking of Norway—but in June R. & I took our dear Mabel to London for a week. We much enjoyed the short stay in the great city—lodging at 64 Pall Mall. We saw the Academy—the Old Water Colour Exhibition, South Kensington, the Tower, the Houses of Parliament &c &  had a charming excursion to Windsor, where we took out our little nephew Douglas White, & where Mabel was greatly gratified by a sight of Royalty itself in the person of a plain little elderly lady dressed in black, driving out into the Park in an ordinary open carriage with a pair of horses.

Later on in July the same little party, with the addition of Ruth, had a week's excursion on the borders. Starting at Rothbury from H. & E. Clapham's comfortable lodgings, we were driven in a pouring rain, to Whittingham, thence we walked on in the same to Wooler, where we got comfortable quarters at the "Cottage", well pleased to find shelter & a nice warm tea after our 13 miles' wet walk. Next day we drove to Chillingham to see the Park & the wild cattle of wh we had so often heard. From Wooler we also visited Dord & Etal, both model villages of great interest & beauty. Ford is especially interesting from the pains wh Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford has taken to add to its beauty & to contribute to the pleasure & instruction of the villages. The pretty school house is adorned with frescoes done by her hand—of scenes taken from Scripture History—forming a most interesting series. Ford Castle is a very beautiful one, & the grounds quite exquisite—while the little thatched cottages at Etal with their trim flowery gardens, & the old ruin overlooking them are equally delightful in their way. Flodden Field is very near Wooler, & the children were much delighted to go over the incidents of the battle on the sport, & to rest by Sybil's lovely well. From Wooler we drove to Yetholm, the gipsies' haunt—a pretty place lying among grassy hills. Our visit in the morning to Esther Faa the gypsy Queen, was very interesting. She is now an old woman over 80 yrs of age—but still loves to talk of her wandering days—& has the love of wandering & a wild life strong within her—although she lives in the cleanest & neatest of little cottages yclept "the Palace". She much enjoyed a chat with Robert, who was quite a congenial spirit. We went from Yetholm to beautiful Jedburgh, with its old Abbey, its lovely river & its fine woods, thence over the Carter to Horsley, & thence again in pouring rain, back to our comfortable home. We had a week of great enjoyment, notwithstanding the drawback of the dull cold weather -To Robert it was a great rest & refreshment.

Since then we have been quietly at home—with many visitors of various kinds—some very interesting ones—Mr Creighton, Mr Moorsom, Albert Grey, George Macdonald & many others. Our dear Mabel returned to school the 2nd week in August—Ruth & Evelyn are now again settled at the High School where Miss Cooper has taken Miss Rowdon's (now Mrs Forty) place as Head Mistress. Miss Cooper & her friend Miss Ayscough stayed a week with us while looking out for a house—We were much pleased with her. She seems determined to make the school a success—already there are over 60 pupils, & we hope when the new school house is ready there may be a great addition.

Now my dear R. has gone off on a long journey—the first pleasure journey I think he has ever taken without my accompanying him—but I could not have managed it this time, so I encouraged him to go alone, for he much needed rest & change. He sailed towards the end of last month for Gibraltar in the "Edward Williams"—the sole passenger. He had a good & pleasant voyage, & is now in that strange country Morocco—May he have a safe & pleasant journey & return in health & strength to those who love him so dearly. The children are all well & happy, & very good—but I miss my husband sorely. Dear little Bertha is quite a picture—so bonny & well, & so good tempered—soon the dear wee pet will have to "try the stirk stall" Thank God for all His mercies—May He guide & keep us all!

I forgot to mention a happy little visit R. & I made to Belsay Castle the beautiful home of Sir Arthur & Lady Middleton. We were so charmed with the place—with them, their children, & so enjoyed the Sunday we spent there. Since then—since those few short weeks ago Lady Constance Middleton has been taken away from her devoted husband & her happy home. A baby was born to her—but she died—& poor Sir Arthur will be a desolate man. Truly we none of us can tell what a day may bring forth—we can but trust, & say to ourselves or to one another

Sei ruhig, 'sind in Gottes' hand!

Oct 17th 1879

April 5th 1880. 

Another year has come in, & a third part of it almost gone, since I last recorded anything in this journal. How the weeks speed away—the prospect of winter seemed hard, & now the bright spring days have come, full of hope & promise, & we have got a bonny wee laddie Arnold Spence Watson—born December 6th 1879 also to cheer us with promise for the future, & our five dear girls are all well & thriving—so we have every reason for joy & thankfulness. Our little Arnold was born on the 6th of December, in the depth of a bitter winter, but he is was a strong healthy baby, & never seemed to suffer from the cold. He is now 4 months old, & the delight of us all—such a good tempered bonny little thing. Bertha is now quite grown out of the baby—a tall strong girl, rather passionate at times, but very good & sweet for the most part. 'Mary is an active little thing, always wanting some employment, delighted to nurse baby, or do any little useful office she can. When the new school opens for the Summer term (in May) she is to go to the Preparatory Class wh we hope will be opened chiefly on the Kindergarten system, for little girls & boys. During the winter we have had many guests of interest—George Macdonald, a delightful & truly lovable man—one whose personal influence is evidently very great, & who as a Preacher, is I think more full of the spirit of Christ than anyone I ever heard before—His sermons are practical & full of force—& overflowing with love & earnestness. Dr Grosart also stayed with us—another very interesting man, full of earnestness—Prof. Knight of St. Andrews we found a most interesting guest, while Mr Moorsom, Mr Albert Grey, Mr Mandell Creighton &c have also visited us, each visit bringing pleasure & interest of various kinds—

Our Christmas passed away much more quietly than usual, as I was not strong enough to have much company or to go out much.  We had our darling Mabel home from York—& rejoiced in her sweet presence. She is one emphatically who makes "sunshine in a shady place." She is now a great girl of 15—quite as tall as her mother, & strong & full of activity.

Well, the holidays passed away, the children returned to their respective schools, & the weeks rolled away on. The month of February was delightful—bright sunny days, when it was a pleasure to be out in the garden & to take our little Arnold & the dear wee lassies—Baby grew apace—he is now a bonny boy of 4 months old, bright & intelligent, & full of life—with full dark eyes, & growing I hope & trust, every day more & more like his dear Father. He is a great pet with all his sisters—little Mary especially delighting to nurse him & proving a capital hand.

As the 1st of March was Ruth's & Evelyn's half term holiday, we took advantage of its being on the Monday to go away—from Saturday till Monday—My sister Carrie, the children's much loved "Aunt Car" went with us—the rest of the party consisted of the dear Father, Ruth, Evelyn, Arnold, (who was still inseparable from his mother) Dorothy, (the nursemaid), & myself.

We went on the Saturday morning the 28th February, to Bamborough putting up at the comfortable home-like little Inn, the Crewe Arms. That same afternoon we had a charming walk along the shore, watching the fine colours of the ever changeful sea, & the sunlight gleams over the rocky Farne Islands—& playing at "King of the Castle" among the curious comical shaped hills of sand wh form add such picturesque variety to the landscape. The children had rare fun, & their elders were children too for the nonce, tumbling & rolling about in the sand, & fancying themselves ancient heroes storming some proud lord's fortress. After all the fun, we were ready enough for dinner, & then to bed at 9 o'clock. Sunday was a lovely day "so calm, so bright." We had an exquisite walk along the sands to the northwards—with Holy Island gleaming in the distance—The waves were dashing up against the rocks grandly, & the white spray was dazzling in the sunshine. The dear bairnies were wild with joy—In the afternoon they played on the sand, Dorothy going out with them with little Arnold—while Robert, Carrie & I walked by the road to North Sunderland & back—a walk of six miles. At North Sunderland we arranged to go across to the Farne Islands on the following morning, if not too stormy—but alas the morning brought such a tremendous storm of wind that it was vain to think of crossing. We might have been detained for hours, or even days, as people have been at times—unable to recross the strip of sea—& what would our friends at home have thought, not to speak of our little baby Arnold. On Monday, instead of this much wished for expedition we made a visit to the grand old castle, wh towers above the village, & is seen from our Inn. We had a most interesting time—easily saw the stately apartments, overlooking the wide stretch of sea—saw the deep well, clambered to the top of the castle to get what view the raging wind would let us, & afterwards went over the adjoining school & Training Home for girls, wh we found very interesting. Mr Storrer, the Agent for the Owners of the Castle took us all over the building—& afterwards into his charming house—also part of the old fortress. Then Robert& Carrie, having to be early in town set off on their homeward journey, the children & I following by a later train {Driving in a tremendous storm of wind, almost a hurricane, to Belford.)—all of us much refreshed by this truly delightful little outing.

Almost immediately after this, came the news of the dissolution of Parliament, wh brought a fearful amount of hard work for Robert. He undertook the conduct of Albert Grey's election, & after the unfortunate "tie" of 1874—we were all most eagerly anxious that, this time, he should be successful. Now, when I write, it is about three weeks since the work began & not till next Saturday will it all be over. But the Liberals have had glorious victories "all along the line."—far more, & far greater majorities than the most sanguine had dared to hope. Here in Newcastle & Gateshead we have had an exciting time. It was resolved to try & return two Liberals for Newcastle, & after in vain trying to get a local man (Robert was pressed & urged to stand) Mr Ashton Wentworth Dilke was applied to, & acceded to the request. He married a daughter of Mr Eustace Smith of Gosforth, so that as he said, "his better half" was local. Then began a great campaign of speechifying &c. In the first meeting arranged for the Town Hall when Messrs Cowen & Dilke were to sink all differences of foreign policy, & to meet as coadjutors on the same platform, the crush was so tremendous that poor Mr Cowen got severely hurt & had to be removed fainting from the meeting. No meeting was speeches were consequently held that night—but amid some confusion owing to the terrific crowd wh was far greater than had ever been anticipated, the meeting broke up. It was terrible to see the surging multitude—now swaying backwards & forwards like the waves of the sea—now swarming over the railings wh separated the area below from the side elevations, until there really seemed to be danger of an absolute stampede—but happily there was no other accident that we heard of beyond the that to one of the most important persons in the meeting. On subsequent evenings Mr Dilke spoke often, very ably setting forth his views, & meeting with ever growing support & favour from the multitudes who crowded to hear him. He won his way unaided too—at least so far as making speeches was concerned, although of course his whole course was immensely aided by the Liberal Association & first & foremost by my dear husband. The result was that Messrs Cowen & Dilke were returned by a large majority. Meanwhile Albert Grey's canvassing, wh is conducted almost entirely on the voluntary principle, is going actively on, & he is holding meetings, both in Newcastle, & in all the neighbouring towns & villages of South Northumberland, whilst Robert is working away every night till 9 or 10 o'clock & often later still arranging all the multifarious affairs of the election, & straining ever nerve to make it sure. His cousin Edward Watson, who is helping him, told me there was seldom a day passed without spending a sovereign on postage stamps. But now I must go back & tell of the doings of the polling day. Saturday, the 3rd of April was fixed by the Sheriff as the Polling day. In the afternoon I thought I would take Ruth & Evie into the town to see what was going on. We afterwards decided to go to Willy & Fanny's to tea, & return to the G'head Town Hall to hear the declaration of the Poll. An old friend of Robert's, Gainsford Bruce, a gentleman whom we like & admire much, had been urged to contest the seat so well occupied since 1874 by Mr James. It was a great pity for few people thought he had any chance, in a town so imbued with the liberal spirit as Gateshead.

'About 6 o'clock a large crowd collected in the street in front of the Town Hall in Gateshead. We had expected to stand there too, but Mr France saw us, & kindly took us into the Council Chamber, where we could both see & hear well. Nearly two hours we waited, as did the dense crowd outside, for the declaration wh was to shew the decision of the town. We were comfortable enough, having nice seats & pleasant company, but the patience of those outside was certainly surprising. At length the exciting moment arrived—the mayor declared from the Balcony that


James had 5000 votes (odd)
Bruce  ___ 1000 ____

Loud cheers burst from the multitude, wh were echoed & re-echoed—then the numbers, written clearly on a large board were hung out to be read—then Mr James made a beautiful little speech, in wh he chiefly adverted to the courtesy & honourable conduct of his opponent. Then Mr Bruce spoke in similar terms—& instead of the rioting, hooting & groaning wh too often greet a defeated Candidate, three cheers were given for Bruce—& the vast multitude dispersed.

After shaking hands with both Candidates—the victor & the vanquished, we left the Town Hall, & sending the dear bairnies home, Willy & I walked across the High Level Bridge, & were fortunate enough to be just in time for the Declaration of the Poll at Newcastle. It was not expected to be until 10 or 10.30 but the arrangements for the counting had been so admirable that all was ready by about 9 o'clock. We were in a room above Franklin's shop—together with Mr & Mrs Eustace Smith, Mr John C. Swan Mrs Dilke, Dr Wilson & his family & many others—

When the numbers—in white letters on a large black board—& read by the bright lime light arranged on purpose, were made known, the cheering was tremendous—


Cowen ______ 11,000 odd
Dilke ________ 10 000 "
Hammond ____ 5 000 "

The speeches wh followed—from the Town Hall, we could not hear—the distance was too great. Young Mr Cowen, Mr Dilke & Mr Beaumont spoke—poor Mr Hammond never put in an appearance at all. After many congratulations given & received, we left the room & Robert & I went up to Mr Dilke's Central Committee Rooms in Grey St. Here the scene which followed really defies description—the laughing, & shouting & gesticulating & hand shaking, & congratulating were such as I never saw equalled, & never expect to see the like again.

In a moment Robert was dragged from my sight by some one hearing the shouts of "Spence Watson" from the crowd assembled in the street below. He was hoisted up to the window (on a dangerous ledge,) & there addressed the people amid tremendous cheering. It was a grand time—but almost too exciting. I had not believed I could have been so excited over any electioneering whatever.

When at last, after all this, we reached our home, the quiet seemed quite marvellous. A telegram was awaiting R. to tell him, on this day of victories, of another. Mr Dendy, who was in Italy on business, had won his case.

Now I will finish this history for to night, & in a few more days I hope I shall have to record at least one more victory—that of Albert Grey in conjunction with Mr Beaumont, for South Northumberland. But R. is very anxious, & not at all confident. I wish—oh I wish it were all over. In after years my children will like to read this story of their dear Father's efforts, & of all that took part place in this memorable contest, & Ruth & Evelyn will remember with proud pleasure that they were spectators of the play—actors to some extent—in Gateshead their native town of Gateshead. They will remember their triumph in Mr James' success, & their sorrow for poor Mr Bruce's defeat—& among minor incidents they will not forget the making & the hoisting of the green & buff & blue flag, & the making & wearing of rosettes of these colours—the green & buff for Mr James—the blue for Mr Dilke—.

April 6th 1880

I must now complete the election story so far as our own immediate district is concerned. In North Northumberland the Tory influence of the Duke & his supporters proved too strong from for Mr John Clay, the Tenant Farmer, who made a gallant struggle, but was defeated. In South Durham & in North Durham the Liberals were victorious, & now I have the delight of recording that they also won the seat—so nearly contested in 1878, & finally adjudged then to Mr Ridley.

It was a long & anxious week—but the polling day came at last. There was a great meeting in the Circus on the Wednesday, when Mr Grey made a very good speech. On the Friday was the Polling—& that night Robert stayed up at Hexham, the place where the counting was to take place—at the county town. The night before he had stayed at the Turk's Head in Newcastle, as he was obliged to work so late—& for several previous evenings he had not returned home till 11—some not till half past 12. I was growing quite anxious for his health from this continued strain—but it all ended happily at last.

A telegram reached me about 2 o'clock with these words & figures


Grey ------ 3896
Beaumont - 3694
Ridley ----- 3622

& so the double victory was one [sic]—& two Liberal members returned to Parliament. We were all rejoiced that Mr Grey was so far at the head of the poll, there was great rejoicing everywhere.

Had I known what time they would return to Newcastle, I should certainly have gone to see the ovation at the Central Station. Afterwards the admiring crowds escorted Mr Grey along to the Chronicle office, & there he & Mr Beaumont—& Robert & others all addressed the people from the window. I hear it was a splendid sight—& the greatest enthusiasm prevailed. At Hexham Mr Grey had the horses taken out of his carriage by his ardent followers, & he was drawn along by hundreds at a rapid rate all through the town.

Delightful letters of congratulation afterwards poured in. One letter of Mr Grey's in answer to mine I copy here, because it shews his appreciation of my dear husband's services. And so ended this ever memorable election of 1880.

Note. The voluntary canvassing carried on for Mr Grey's election was so successful that half of the money subscribed for the costs was afterwards returned to the subscribers.              Jun 1880.

The new Parliament will have an enormous Liberal majority, & hope great things from it, although it has a legacy of ill doing & mismanagement, to deal with. There are, I believe, seven members of the Society of Friends now also Members of Parliament.

Copy of Albert Grey's letter.

Howick—April 11.


"Dear Mrs Watson,

A thousand thanks for your charming letter of congratulation. It is, as you say, a glorious victory—& the fact that we are victorious is in very very great measure owing to your husband. God bless him!

Revenge is sweet—& I have tasted it—for the junior member for South Northumberland is profoundly dissatisfied. I am so proud to think that you have honoured my wife's little Rosette so much—she will be very pleased to hear it.

I have had an enthusiastic reception here—the fishermen of Craster & the villagers of Howick did me lusty honour on my arrival. They were wild with enthusiasm. I wish you could have witnessed the scene when I made them a few remarks. Every sentence whatever it was was received with three ringing Hurrahs. Lozenges will be a premium this morning. I shall be in Newcastle on Tuesday. Yours very truly

Albert Grey"

On the 23rd of April—Friday—Ruth, Evelyn, Mary, Bertha Arnold & I, with Dorothy the nursemaid, set out for Grasmere. We travelled by Carlisle, & had a car waiting for us at Windermere to take us the lovely drive of 8 miles thence to Grasmere. We had a warm welcome from our dear sister Carrie—whose lovely house, with its exquisite surroundings, looked more lovely than ever. The following day, Saturday, Robert came, joined accompanied by our dear Mabel who met him at Darlington with leave of absence of a week. Oh what a happy week that was! I must try to give a short summary of our doings—for our children in the after time—That same evening we went up Nab Scar, & down to Rydal, & back by the pony path—a most charming ramble & scramble.

The moon as we walked home, looked gigantic in its golden splendour, & a perfect glamour of beauty lay over mountains & lakes.

On Sunday, most of us went to church in the morning, & in the evening strolled about the garden—as I had charge of baby & could not go far.

Monday, the 26th of April was dear Evelyn's 9th birthday, & we signalized it by making a delightful excursion. Starting in a two horsed car about 9 o'clock for Keswick, we stopped a little short of the town to see the curious Druidical Circle—a very interesting relic of the past of a mysterious vanished faith. Passing through The situation of the stones is very impressive, on high ground, but all surrounded by higher, excepting on one side where the plain stretches away towards the Scotch hills. Skiddaw & Saddleback rise strikingly above it, & beyond the vale of St John Helvellyn stands up grandly. Passing through Keswick, we drove on to Barrow near where we dismounted & by the side of a lovely stream took our lunch, with great difficulty getting a fire so far to burn, amid clouds of smoke, as just about to boil some water in the kettle we had brought with us, & making some tea. Then we walked on up the beautiful valley to the sweet little hamlet of Watendlath—past its quiet lake & over the hills, by the tarns to Wythburn where we rejoined the car—sent round to meet us, & drove back to Grasmere, arriving about 7 o'clock—a delightful & memorable day for us all—& for our sweet little Evelyn never to be forgotten as her happily spent birthday.

On Tuesday R. took a long solitary walk—Miss Taylor came to dinner, & in the afternoon we had some pleasant boating. On Wednesday we drove to Tilberthwaite—a wild romantic drive, & ascended Wetherlam—a great ambition of Ruth's—most successfully realized. It is a charming excursion—the gorge at the foot of Wetherlam very fine indeed—the after scramble up the mountain thoroughly enjoyable. The view from the top is very fine—quite equal in many respects to that from the Old Man. Our drive home from Coniston after we came down was delightful.

On Thursday R. & Mabel had a ride—Miss Fletcher came in the evening—on Friday alas they departed one for York, the other for Newcastle—all too soon the happy days had sped away. That same day C. Ruth Evelyn & I drove in a phaeton to Fellfoot, in Little Langdale, thence walked over Wrynose Pass into the Duddon Valley, & down this, beside the winding river, the scenery growing finer & finer as we descended, until reluctantly we left it to ascent Walna Scar, wh led us over into the Coniston valley. It was a long walk of about 17 miles but both little Evie & Carrie, (who was quite surprised at her own powers) accomplished it without over fatigue or any evil results. It is a charming excursion—the Duddon with its clear green Rhone like pools—in one of wh it was secluded enough to enjoy a delicious bathe without fear—Ruth Evie & I—is fascinating—while the solitude & stillness of the valley, away from all tourists, & even all Inns is are great attractions to all who love nature for its own sake, & care little for grand Hotels—However we should have fared badly in the absence of an Inn, had we not been able to obtain some oatcake & milk at a nice farm house—where the people seemed to live in most primitive simplicity. From Coniston we drove home—wh we reached between 8 & 9—after a long but delightful day.

Saturday was spent in a more leisurely way—in the afternoon C. & I had a nice call on Lady Richardson—I forgot to mention that the Sunday before R. & I had made a similar one on the dear old lady, now grown sadly feeble, but still with all her wonted interest in politics—poetry &c.

On Sunday we had a pleasant walk over Loughrigg & round by High Close—on Monday was spent in collecting ferns & flowers, packing &c. & on Tuesday morning we left by the early coach for Windermere—our happiest of happy visits come to an end. It had been such a great pleasure to have dear Carrie able to go about with us so much, & we had been favoured with good health—& splendid weather—the dear bairnies had all been with us, & all so good & happy—dear wee Arnold as much as anyone—& Heugh Folds & all its surroundings were so radiant with beauty.

Newcastle looked grimy enough as we approached it, but the dear Father was at the station to meet us & after all Home is Home.

Then followed a very busy time preparing for the opening of the new High School at the top of the Windmill Hills. We had been the first originators of promoters of this school, but in the old building, Prospect Cottage, it has not been very successful. We were very anxious to make it a complete success now, & thought a good deal depended on the opening. The Local Committee took great pains—& it certainly was a very good thing. Mr W.D. James presided, & Lady James, Lady F. Cavendish, Mr Stone, the Dean of Durham, Mr Creighton & Miss Gurney all attended.

All of these, except Mr Stone, afterwards dined with us: an evening much dreaded by me, but wh passed off delightfully. The dinner was well cooked by Mrs Turnbull, & the guests not formidable at all, as I had fancied—but simple & easily pleased. Dr Wilson & Mr Waterson were also with us—Lady Frederick Cavendish as a charming lady—she spoke so very nicely at the opening of the school—just a few happy sentences.

Every one seemed to think the opening of the school entirely satisfactory—it is certainly a Capital building, & I do most earnestly hope will answer now—or shortly.

Since this the Co-operative Congress has been held in Newcastle & we have had Mr Thomas Hughes (Tom Brown at Oxford) & Mr Holyoake as our guests. The former is a very interesting & delightful man, quite a typical English gentleman, both in appearance & manners—whose acquaintance we were delighted to make. He is most earnest on the subject of Co operation believing that all business must ultimately be carried on on Co-operative principles.

The first day of the Congress, the Bishop of Durham presided—the 2nd day Robert—giving an admirable address at the beginning & making as Mr Hughes said "a most excellent Chairman."

May 27th 1880.


In June our darling Mabel returned home for the holidays—& as unfortunately the holidays of the her school & the High School are at different times we were obliged to organize different excursions for them. We had planned a fortnight's tour in Brittany for Mabel, but on the very day on wh we were to start, R. came home at midday with the announcement that Brittany must be given up. He had to go to Sweden. We were a little disappointed, but still nothing loth to go with him to Sweden instead. So we postponed our departure till the morrow so as to alter our arrangements a little & then set out by way of London for Göteborg. I have written in a separate book a pretty full account of our Swedish tour, so I will only here note its principal features—A day in London before starting was very enjoyable—the Academy was a great treat—& Briton Rivière's noble picture of the Lions wandering about in the blue moonlight among the majestic pillars of some old ruined Eastern city—& Brett's "Our Empire" a glorious vision of the sea full of poetry & beauty, will never be forgotten. I am afraid these are the only two pictures wh have remained very vivid in my mind. The Grosvenor Gallery, with the exception of Burne Jones' beautiful but unsatisfactory "Golden Stairs" was very disappointing. We also had the great pleasure of seeing & hearing Irving & Ellen Terry in "The Merchant of Venice."

Very early on the morning of June      [blank] we were roused from our slumbers in the Charing X Hotel, & by 4 a.m. were driving through the wholly deserted & quiet streets down to the Millwall Docks. But I must not now linger again over this delightful journey—our voyage was a pleasant one—but Göteborg looked enchanting as we approached it—on Sunday afternoon—& it was truly delicious to wander in its fragrant & beautiful gardens after our tossing in the steamer—From Göteborg we went by rail (night express) to Stockholm a splendid city—thence north, with Mr Carr & Mr Emblon, a Swedish lawyer to Lündsvall—where the principal part of R's business lay—Mabel & I were most hospitably entertained by different members of the Wickstrom family—in their pretty country house—& in the evening drove to the Hotel where the business was being transacted, where we waited 4 long hours before the gentlemen were ready. It was all very amusing though, & the magnificent supper wh followed the amicable close of the business was really a wonderful affair. At 11 at night we started in the funny little steamer "Nyvik II" for Nyvik—& what a tossing we had. Poor Mabel was very sick—& we were all of us glad when morning dawned & we landed at 6 o'clock at the close to Mr Carr's pretty home at Nyvik. We were hospitably entertained by this nice family—(Mr & Mrs Carr, & 7 boys & 2 girls)  from Saturday to Tuesday—when we all came away—we to return for a few days to Stockholm—they on their way to England—thence after a short stay—to New Zealand. We felt exceedingly sorry for them—they were so attached to their Swedish home, where they had lived 4 happy years—& they were going forth to an uncertain future & an unknown & far distant land.

During our whole stay in Sweden we met with the greatest kindness both from English & Swedes—& although the country itself is not to be compared with Norway, yet our stay there was full of interest, & we found much to admire.

Our voyage through the Gotha Canal & the great Swedish lakes Wener & Wetter was exceedingly interesting We passed through many locks & rose to a great height—above the level of the sea—descending again towards Göteborg. The Falls of Folhättan are wonderfully fine—Niagara—on a small scale—& all the surroundings are very beautiful. From Göteborg we sailed—on an exquisitely calm blue sea—down the Sound to Copenhagen, & after a short stay in that beautiful & interesting city of two days, we left for Hamburgh, where we saw my sister Nelly & her husband—thence via Köln & Flushing to Queenborough & home—& to a happy meeting with all our dear ones—Mabel had already exceeded her holiday—so the first two days were busily occupied in getting her ready for school. Then the darling was despatched to York—& we settled down again to home life—much missing our sweet companion in our Swedish tour.

Soon after our return we took lodgings at Whitley for our little bairnies who had been rather flagging—dear wee Arnold especially looking very pale & pulled down.

After much searching, I at last found a delightful house belong to Mrs Elder, close by the sea, & here with 2 bedrooms & a very nice sitting room the three little ones, Mary Bertha & Arnold with two servants stayed a fortnight. I often went down to see them, & Ruthie & Evie were also there for the 2nd week. All the children enjoyed it much, & looked much better at the end of their stay.

The last six days of their holiday was were spent by Ruth & Evie in delightful fashion. We took them over the Border—a charming but all too short excursion. We set forth on Sep. 15th in the early morning for Riccarton, but long before we got there, the clouds had gathered & were pouring down as if vials of wrath. The wind was furious too, & altogether it seemed a most disconsolate beginning. We were obliged to alter our plans somewhat, & stopped at Newcastleton, a neat little town with a pleasant Inn where the kitchen fire was the most attractive feature. After an excellent dinner we plucked up courage, & drove to Hermitage Castle a grand old building 6 miles off—famous in many a Border song—& also as being the place whither Mary Queen of Scots rode many long miles to see her imprisoned lover Bothwell. It stands grim & desloate among the lonely hills—better thus than when when it was the shelter of stern men bent on deeds of cruelty & revenge—as witness the dreadful tale of the Count Soulis. At 7 o'clock in the evening, when we had been warmed or cheered by some delicious tea, we set forth again in the pelting rain to the station & in about an hour reached Canobie Station. A long dark walk along the highroad brought us at last to the cheerful Inn—wh was welcome indeed—& we soon sought our comfortable beds—pretty well tired with our first day's experiences -

Sep. 16th broke bright & beautiful & with light hearts we rose & dressed, & went out into the Inn garden in the fresh morning air to see the swiftly flowing Esk just below. The children pictured with delight the "racing & chasing o'er Canobie Sea"—sea wh looked lovely in the morning sunlight fringed with noble trees, & with a background of rich wood. After an excellent breakfast, we shouldered our knapsacks & left behind the comfortable the "Cross Keys", regretting that we could not prolong our stay. The 7 miles walk to Langholm was very lovely—all along by the side of the Esk—with is rich woodland scenery—past Gilnockie the home of poor Johnnie Armstrong—so cruelly treated by the Scottish King—At the pretty town of Langholm we dines, & thence drove to Ecclefechan the birthplace of Thomas Carlyle where we caught the train to Beattock—thence omnibus to Moffat. Moffat was very full in view of the flower show on the morrow, but we got delightful rooms in a sort of dépendance of the Buccleugh Arms—In the morning we drove to the well to see the water drinking & to taste the water—of wh one little drink was quite enough—It was another bright beautiful day—& we drove to the Grey Mare's Tail a very fine waterfall among the hills. Here we dismissed the car, & set out to walk—a beautiful moorland walk—past the Loch of the Lowes—down to St Mary's lovely loch—& to Tibbie Shiel's snug little nest. .  How cosy & delicious it looked—nestling in by the Lake—& how inviting its old & old fashioned little rooms rich in associations of Sir Walter & the Shepherd. We had a lovely walk after dinner over the hills to get a peep into Ettrick—& then back to our Inn in the gathering darkness, to our funny little box beds, wh were quite a novel experience for the children. Of course old Campaigners like R. & myself had slept in all sorts of queer places & were easily contented. The next day, Saturday, was showery & stormy looking, but we much enjoyed our walk by the side of the lake to the old churchyard of St Mary's Kirk—a remarkable burying ground where almost everyone whose death was recorded, seemed to have been above 70—many above 80 or 90. Not a vestige of the old Church is left, but we fancied the lady in the ballad of the "Gay Goshawk" being borne to the "4th church in Fair Scotland"—& there springing up from her bravely feigned death to meet her Douglas lover.

We then climbed the hill above, & descended into the Meggit valley thence back to Tibbie's. On Sunday we had intended going to the Scotch Kirk—but finding there was no service within six miles, until 4 o'clock, we resolved to walk to Loch Skene first, returning to dinner at 2. We little knew what we had undertaken—such a walk over the hills—such great morasses of peat on uneven ground "hags" as they are usually called. Long before we reached the desolate little loch—it was 1 o'clock & we reluctantly gave up all thoughts of going to Church. In coming home we lost our way (trying a new track) & should have fared badly had we not come to a friendly cottage high among the hills where we got some welcome food & rest, & then got a little boy to guide uss us part way over the hills—At last—at five o'clock, we reached our sweet little Inn once more, very ready for the long kept dinner, & very glad to be in shelter & at rest—although our wild day among the hills had been one of true enjoyment. The golden colours of the Autumn grass as the wind swept over it—the grandeur of the stormy sky, & the great cloud-shadows passing o'er the hills—& not least the fresh free mountain air—were all a glory & a joy—That Sunday evening when we drew near to the cosy fire, & Ruth & Evie read to us words spoken by the Psalmist of Israel so many thousand years ago—but still finding an echo in so many hearts—was an evening full of peace & joy & thankfulness.

All too soon came Monday our last day—but the walk down by the side of St. Mary's lovely loch & the drive from the Gordon Arms about 6 miles from Tibbie's all down the rich & beautiful vale of Yarrow, were most delightful. It was very pleasant to see the keen interest the children took in the old Ballads—they must needs stoop to drink at the Douglas burn where poor Earl Douglas stooped when he had received his death wound; & Gilnockie, the home of the unfortunate Johnnie Armstrong, Dryhope Tower, the birthplace of the Flower of Yarrow, & many another spot all awakened a keen sense of interest. '"Yarrow visited" by us will surely be some day "Yarrow revisited" by the dear companions of this tour—how or with whom, who can say—but with tender thoughts we may be sure of the Father & Mother who walked beside them then, the dear Father with his endless store of ballad & song & story—& never failing goodness.

But farewell to Yarrow—we brought home some seeds of the broom & the wild rose, wh have been planted in the hope of some memorial of that happy time—We returned home by way of Hawick & Riccarton, arriving at Bensham about 10 o'clock—& next day began school. The dear little ones had come up from Whitley, looking all the better for their stay there—Arnold still pale, but much better than he had been, & so good & sweet.

The next few days after our return home we had Maggie & Ellen Foster staying with us—a pleasant little visit. They afterwards went to South Shields to stay with the Dales, & M. Foster is now engaged to Mr J. Dale—& seems exceedingly happy.

On the 28th Sep. R. & I set out by way of Barnard Castle for Grasmere, where the first meeting of the Wordsworth Society was to be held the following day. As there was no coach from Windermere when we arrive, so we left our Portmanteau to come afterwards, & set out to walk. This particular walk we had rarely made—generally children & luggage making us more convenient to drive—& very much did we enjoy it. The afternoon was lovely & so too was Windermere with its noble background of hills—& further on sweet little Rydal—It was growing dusk when soon after six Carrie came running down the garden to greet us, & we entered the dear home where we had spent so many happy days. The meeting next day was quite successful—although of rather a formidable formal character. The Bishop of St Andrews, Dr Wordsworth, presided, & Professor Knight made a clear & able statement of the aims of the young Society—& a Committee was formed, of wh R. was a member. In the evening Prof. Knight & his brother in law Mr Wilson, with Miss Wilson dined at Heugh Folds, & a very pleasant evening was spent. We left Grasmere with my sister Alice's children & their nurse on the following day—R. returning home viâ Barnard Castle, I by Carlisle so as to pay a little visit wh was a very pleasant one, to A.M. Nicholson & her family

The following Saturday, Oct 2nd R. & I went by arrangement to Embleton to spend the week end. Mrs Creighton received us in her grand stately manner, & shewed us all over the beautiful garden & took us down to see the sea shore with Dunstanborough in the distance

Sir George & Lady Grey, & Mr & Mrs Widdrington came to dinner—the two latter remaining over the Sunday.

We heard a good sermon from Mr Creighton on Sunday morning; in the afternoon we walked with the Widdringtons & Mrs C. to Dunstanborough, where we met Albert Grey who had walked over in from the opposite direction of Howick. In the eve I to church again—then a long & pleasant talk, & to bed. On Monday morning we all set forth in the rain for Christon Bank Rly Stn. on our several ways home—after a charming little visit. The house at Embleton is one of the few remaining instances of a fortified vicarage—of course very much altered & enlarged, but the old fortified part still standing, covered with ivy & very picturesque. Inside the house is most tastefully furnished—full of pretty & artistic things, & shewing everywhere the evidence of cultivated & artistic minds. Mr Creighton is very interesting, Mrs C—exceedingly handsome & clever & stately—a little awe-inspiring perhaps—& the children are handsome & clever like their parents.

We have just heard of the death of Lady Richardson at Grasmere—another link with the past gone. The valley will not seem the same without her. We are so sorry we could not see her during our last little visit but we have recollections of many pleasant & interesting times spent in her society. She died very suddenly—& the very day before had remarked to my sister Carrie—"What a blessing it would be to be spared a long & suffering illness."

About 10 days ago I went to York to see our darling Mabel—& to talk to Miss Scott whom I had not yet met—I had a delightful time—my darling May met me at the station—I had dinner with the girls—rather a formidable opportunity Seven of the girls came to the Hotel to get tea with us—& the evening passed off very successfully, although R. unfortunately could not be back from Sheffield (where he had been to attend some law meetings) in time. He came that night however, & in the morning we had May & Ernest Corder to breakfast. Then R. departed—May & I went to the Exhibition, to amke some calls together &c then to a nice little dinner at the Inn—then I home—& dearest Mabel back to her happy school.

May 1st 1881

It has been a long long severe winter but at last this showery May Day, there are signs of Spring. Last Autumn at the half term holiday we took Ruth & Evie to Barnard Castle or rather to Rokeby (the Morritt Arms) for two days—leaving N.C. on a Saturday & returning on Monday. This was the beginning of winter (Oct. 1st) the hills were all covered with snow & it was intensely cold. But the Morritt Arms was snug & comfortable, & although Sunday was dull & showery we got much pleasure out of our little visit. The river Tees was in great flood—rushing & roaring along—& the spot where I had once before watched the Great quietly rippling over its grey stones to join the Tees was quite unrecognizable in its great expanse of turbulent waters. On Monday R. had to leave early. Ruth, Evie & I walked by the river side to Barnard Castle in the pleasant sunshine Barnard Castle from above Eggleston Abbey looked very fine with its background—a long stretch of snow covered hills—We had dinner at the Kings' Arms—& afterwards instead of returning home at once as we intended, delayed our departure till a later train & strolled up the lovely valley enjoying our walk extremely. Too soon was this little holiday over—then came school again—but all the more work to be done because of the happy rest.

Our Christmas gathering was a very merry one—Punch & Judy in the Playroom was an intense delight to the merry eager little bairns, & their delight is always reflected on their more sober elders.

We have had many guests & much pleasant social intercourse during the long winter—but nothing very notable—Professor Knight's visit was a true pleasure—& our acquaintance with Mr Morton, the University Extension lecturer (who gave a course of 12 lectures on Astronomy) has been very pleasant. Both he & Mr Roberts have many times been here—& we see much of hope for the world with young men like these rising up—full of a noble enthusiasm for good.

A young Mr Toynbee also, a friend of Mr Albert Grey's came down to lecture here, staying, very pleasantly, with us. His lecture on "Industry & Democracy" was a very able one, presaging good hope for the future—very different from the pessimist views so often held at the present day.

On the 25th of February we took our faithful companions Ruth & Evelyn to York, there meeting our dear Mabel, & all having tea together at the comfortable Station Hotel. In the evening R. & I went by invitation to attend the Sheriff's (Richard Thompson) banquet Conversazione—wh was a brilliant affair. One of its notable features was that all the refreshments provided were strictly teetotal. Usually a great dinner exclusively for gentlemen, is given by the Sheriff—& this Quaker Sheriff preserving the traditions of his Fathers, wished to show that an entertainment could be successful without what is usually considered absolutely essential. And a great success indeed it was—brilliantly lighted & a brilliant assemblage of ladies & gentlemen—all the élite of York as we supposed, but to us mostly unknown. Still we met many acquaintances, & had much pleasant talk. The Lady Mayoress—Mrs John S. Rowntree looked quite charming in her pretty simple dress, with her graceful greetings to all—& there was much to interest & please in the way of scientific exhibitions, music &c &c while the refreshments, tea, coffee, cocoa, lemonade &c &c cakes, ices, sandwiches &c were of the most abundant & excellent.

On Saturday morning we proceeded to Scarborough—for the half-term holiday (Monday). Unfortunately the weather was against us- it was a drizzling cold rain all the afternoon while we made our explorations—but not so bad as to prevent our enjoyment of the picturesque old town with the Castle wherein our poor brave George Fox was confined (unworthy followers we) rising grandly above it. We had a long ramble, & back to dinner at 6—Lionel Clapham joining us from Oliver's Mount School. Sunday was also cold & bleak—& on Monday after a fine morning there came a tremendous snow storm. R. left early with Mr Tennant—the children & I walked about, Ruth & Evie having a warm salt water bath wh they enjoyed much. Then we dined at Mrs Tennant's who was kindness itself, & then by train home—dear May leaving us at York.

On the 14th of April, the day before Good Friday all the dear children, that is, Ruth, Evelyn, Mary, Bertha, Arnold, with Mattie went off to Grasmere. "Aunt Car" had most kindly asked them all to spend their Easter holidays & their cousins Maurice & Ernestine Richardson were to join them. A little later in the day, Robert & I set out in a different direction—to have a little outing all to ourselves & by ourselves—a long talked of project, for we had not been away together alone since 1878.  Most delightful has our little tour proved, only all too short—for we must needs be back on the 25th. We first of all met Mabel at York, & spending two hours with her—for wh we had to pay the penalty of missing Worcester altogether—but it was well worth—we strayed into the Minster & heard part of the Service—the hymn "Rock of Ages cleft for me" sung most pathetically with an exquisite beauty—never had I been before so struck with this noble building—"the height, the space, the gloom, the glory"—

A long rather weary journey 3rd class—brought us at 11 P.M. to Birmingham where we spent the night—then on next morning through pleasant country to Malvern where we put up at the Imperial Hotel, very comfortable quarters. We were not long before we found ourselves up through the long steep street of the town, & out & away among the breezy hills. How we did revel in the beauty—Below us lay the great plan of Worcestershire, rich & fertile—"fair as the garden of the Lord" & everywhere around us the spring was bursting into beauty. We soon got away from the common haunts of men—"over the hills & far away" & down to the pretty undulating country on the other side—to the old church of Collwell, a fine old Palace once occupied by the Bishops of Hereford (wh I tried to sketch, while R. walked 4 miles further on to Bosbury.) Near this is Hope End (the house itself all destroyed & rebuilt in another spot) where our greatest poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning spent her youth. It was interesting to see the country which inspired her poems.

Then back by a different road—taking the Worcestershire Beacon en route—a delightful ramble. Saturday we spent at Tewkesbury—a most picturesque old place—where the Avon & the Severn join, & rich in historical associations. The Abbey Church is noted for its fine monuments—we were shown round by a very interesting verger enthusiastic about his church & its relics—Here are the bones of Clarence—"false, fleeting, perjured Clarence" "who slew me in the field by Tewkesbury"—with other relics curious & suggestive. Close by the Abbey is a beautiful old house in front of wh on an exquisite lawn stands the finest Cedar I ever saw, &, oh, shade of the Abbot! this house in inhabited by a rich Dissenter!

Sunday was a balmy delicious spring day—worthy of Easter Sunday wh it was. To the old Church marvellously decorated with flowers—in the morning—in the afternoon a long, lovely ramble over hill & dale—passing the sweetest of little villages—Cradley, with its old church standing among its venerable yews, & the graves beneath adorned by loving hands, with daffodils, primroses &c An old man, a sort of guardian of the place showed us his little house & all his belongings—but first of all took us to see "his dearest treasure" the grassy flowered-covered mound where his wife of 36 years lay buried—a most touching little episode—which seemed to link our hearts together—we two in health & strength & unbroken happiness, & he the old man desolate, yet in such perfect childlike confidence of a joyful reunion that he almost seemd to feel her about him yet.

Our walk back to Malvern was one of fascinating beauty—when we gained the highest point on the hills, below us lay the valley in sunset glow—on the other side deep down in shadow nestled the comfortable houses with their twinkling lights, & far away stretched the great Worcestershire plain losing itself in darkness.

On the Monday morning we reluctantly bade adieu to these lovely hills, & took train to Hereford—thence, after seeing the Cathedral wh is of inferior interest compared with others—we went on by train to the finely situated town of Ross—thence drove down to Whitcliff, walking thence by Symond's Yat to Monmouth—a lovely walk all the way by the side of the winding & beautiful Wye. The view from Symond's Yat is very fine, but it was rather unidealized by the presence of a host of Sunday School children & their Teachers—(apparently) although their pleasure was pleasant to see. We put at at Monmouth at the Beaufort Arms—a comfortable Inn—& next morning were rowed down the river to Tintern—It must be a delightful excursion in warm bright weather—but we missed the sunshine of the day before, & the wind was bitterly cold.

We were so delighted with Tintern that we decided to stay all night at the cosy little "Beaufort Arms"—& after lunch strolled out to see the wonderful Abbey, wh is one of the most perfect ruins left in England—if this be not a contradiction in terms, then walked to the Wynd Cliff, ascending through a romantic little moss-lined cottage to the top of a high cliff by means of a cleverly executed staircase. The view from the top is magnificent even although we lacked the glory of the sunshine.

The number of fine yew trees on the banks & hills surrounding the Wye is quite remarkable—I never remember to have seen so many & of course at this time of year they shewed to great advantage. On Wednesday morng we left Tintern, & went on to Gloucester, seeing the fine castle of Chepstow en route—Gloucester Cathedral is very interesting, espcially its exquisite cloisters—its crypt & its splendid stained glass—both ancient & modern. Ludlow was our resting place that night—a charming town, & our Inn "The Feathers" most picturesque of old-timbered houses—Our explorations of the neighbourhood, delightfully begun in that bright clear evening, were renewed with still greater pleasure next morning. The old Castle is the finest we have ever seen—& must have been truly magnificent in the days of its splendours, when Sir Henry Sydney was its President, & when Milton acted his "Comus" there. And yet how much of terrible & pathetic those walls have witnessed—the poor guilty Marion               [blank] when the traitors through the carelessness of her lover had made their way into the castle seizing her lover's sword & stabbing him to the heart, then hurling herself from the window into the depths below—the poor little Princes taken from their splendid apartments here to be murdered in the Tower by their cruel Uncle—the ill-fated Catharine of Arragon here being married to the young Prince Arthur before the fickle Henry came upon the scene—all these seemed to float in vision before us as we lingered in the silent & roofless chambers of this vast & once mighty castle. Among its comic elements is a huge dripping pan with the other apparatus for roasting an ox whole—the dripping pan the pretty size of about 9 ft by 7 ft.

We tore ourselves away from the Castle at last, & wandered through the wood where the Lady Alice was lost—the origin of "Comus"—then up Marieknoll a pretty hill whence there is a view of wonderful beauty—& then by another road getting a distant view of Downton Castle, back to Ludlow. After dinner we reluctantly left this delightful spot, & travelled on to Shrewsbury—staying at that ominous bird's "The Raven", wh however to us brought nothing but good luck. Shrewsbury abounds with quaint, picturesque old houses, & we greatly enjoyed strolling about among them, & also seeing the really marvellous old oak 45 ft in circumference from wh Owen Glendower watched the battle of Shrewsbury.

At 5.30 that eveg we left for Kendal—viâ Crewe, & after a safe & rapid journey reached the pretty little northern town where "The King's Arms" proved a most welcome resting place. Next morng we had intended walking to Grasmere over Long Sleddale but the weather proving stormy, we rather changed our project, & instead walked from Stavely by Troutbeck to Grasmere—the last part of it unfortunately done in pouring rain. But the warm welcome from Carrie & all our dear bairnies was truly delightful, & the happy two days at this much loved home, with our dear ones was a most happy ending to our ten days of I might say almost unalloyed delight.

R. preceded me home by a few hours as I stopped at Wigton to see Lucy whose little boy Joey was very ill from the after effects of scarlet fever. He is now I am glad to say progressing nicely, & I hope will soon be well again.

The next day after arriving at home came our dearest Mabel full of health & strength & spirits for her short holiday of three days—"gone alas! like a dream too soon"—but bright & joyous as she knows how to make them. We have had a pleasant little visit also from Dr Grosart, who came to attend the Presbyterian Synod held here—Now we have little Lucy with us during her mother's absence—& this evening all our dear ones have returned from Grasmere looking well & blooming, & telling with rapture of all their enjoyment & adventure. Truly the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places, & what fulness of blessing is ours!

May 2nd


I do not recall anything of especial interest between May & July, except that we had some lovely weather, & our garden was gayer than I ever remember it before. So beautiful indeed did home & its surroundings look that we felt it almost a shame to go away. But a sharp though short illness of Robert's hastened the departure wh we had planned for the end of term—only first I must not forget to note that our darling Mabel left York in June, & is now at home with us—a great boon to us all. Before the school broke up there was a great gathering of old scholars & friends—the Jubilee of the School which had been founded 50 years before. A dear old friend, Hannah Sewell, who had been its first superintendent was there, & many other friends whom it was interesting to meet. In the evening there was an Examination of the girls in French, German &c (never shall I forget how our darling Mabel looked that day) & in the evening a large gathering in a tent erected for the purpose in a field. The weather was superb—the tea provided excellent—the speeches full of interest, & the songs (written for the occasion by Isaline Wiffen) sung by the girls who were so soon to separate—to go out into the great world with all its cares & dangers, were inexpressibly touching. We were the guests of Richard Thompson the Sheriff—in his very pretty tasteful house, & experienced the same thoughtful hospitality as we had experienced before. In the afternoon—to back, there was a reception at the Mansion House by John & Elizabeth Rowntree, the Lord & Lady Mayoress—Everything that could possibly be done for the entertainment & comfort of friends was done, & the feeling of love & Christian fellowship that everywhere prevailed was very delightful. Susan Scott spoke to me so warmly of our Mabel & of how they would all miss her—& the dear child herself felt keenly parting with so many dear companions although I hope she has made some friends for life.

On the 19th of July we set sail with out whole family—the nursemaid Mettie, & the housemaid Margaret—in the "Johan Sverdrup" for Bergen. Dr & Mrs Wilson were with us, bound also for Bergen. It was a cold rainy day when we started—went down the river (from the Gateshead Quay) by the 7.a.m. boat—& almost directly after we reached the "Johan Sverdrup,, we sailed away. It was too foggy to see anything of the coast, but as the day wore away, it became very fine, & the sea was so still that we were able to have the table spread, & take our meals on deck. It is a Norwegian ship, v very clean & comfortable she was, with well appointed meals. We left Newcastle on Tuesday, & reached Bergen on Thursday morning—again in pouring rain. At Holdt's we could not be taken in, but we found excellent quarters at the "Scandinavie"—wh is in a better situation that Holdt's. We spent 5 days in Bergen & greatly enjoyed them, although the weather was by no means of the best. The place seemed to us more beautiful than ever—& it was with great regret we left it even to go on to greater beauty still. It was very pleasant having the Dr & Mrs Wilson with us, & we were glad that they so heartily appreciated our favourite town. On the Saturday they bade good bye to us, to make a little tour in the Hardanger.

Our dear little Arnold had such a bad cough, after Dr Wilson left, that we became quite anxious about him, & even doubted whether we cld continue our journey. However we consulted Dr Stabel, the highest authority in Bergen & a very delightful gentleman, & he completely reassured us. He made a most careful examination of the child, & then told us his lungs were perfectly sound, but that his throat was slightly affected. He gave us some medicine wh had wonderful effect, for the dear little laddie seemed to lose his cough at once, & although we had been told particularly to avoid the damp for him, & we he was constantly exposed to damp, owing to the weather over wh we had no control, he gained strength rapidly, & never ailed anything more.

On Sunday, after a long but at last successful search, we succeeded in reaching finding the little room where the few Friends at Bergen hold their meeting, & it was pleasant to sit down with them, & join in that worship wh comes from the heart, no matter what the difference of language or of land.

On the Monday at midnight we sailed away from Bergen in the "Fjalir", & after a very stormy passage, reached Faleide at 5 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday. Although of course we had corresponded about our quarters, we had never seen them, & therefore felt it somewhat of a risk to come with so many children to this unknown spot. We soon found there was no cause for fear—the house where we were to stay near the charming little Inn was all we could desire, & Mr & Mrs Tenden only too anxious to please. Here we spent 4 happy weeks—a time of true rest & refreshment. I have elsewhere noted our daily doings, so I will sum up here some of our delights. First of all the daily joy of beholding the noble range of mountains from our windows, & below us the fjord with its changing but always beautiful colours. Then the woods & the meadows & the lakes, & the boating & bathing & the picnics with all the beloved children, & the bilberries & the molteberries, & the comforts & even luxuries of our daily fare—& the kindness of the people—these are but a hasty summary of the joys of those four happy weeks.

The children were all enthusiastic & thoroughly appreciative—& it was the greatest pleasure to have them all with us—the little ones were so good & happy, & notwithstanding torrents of rain the fine pure air seemed to give them all health & strength. At last the day came—all too soon, when we must leave this happy house—there were many amusing little instances interchanges of courtesies & presents beforehand—& on a glorious morning, the 24th of August, we said good bye to Mr & Mrs Tenden, & their children, & Kauda & Melina & all our kind friends, & sorrowfully, with many tears, sailed away, again in the "Fjalir", from that much loved Faleide. A fine passage brought us back to Bergen, whence, after one day's stay, we sailed away for Newcastle, & the miseries of this last voyage I will not dwell on. Home is home, & was more delightful than ever after the wretchedness of the sea. What we should have done on board ship without the dear Father, I cannot tell—at one time he had Arnold both to wash & dress—everyone else being too ill to look after the poor child.

Soon after we came home, I fell on the floor & hurt my knee wh became badly inflamed, & I was quite crippled for some weeks. I am thankful to be quite well & strong now. I was most happily nursed & tended, when recovering by kind Uncle Robert & Aunt Anne Foster at their nice little house at Newbiggin by the Sea, where I spent 10 happy days—part of the time with some of the dear children with me. The dear children went back to school on the 20th September, & are all very happy & making good progress. Dear little Mary & Bertha are sweet little Kindergarten pupils, & are learning to sing so nicely—among other things. The Gymnasium at the High School is finished & fitted up, & the girls have capital gymnastic exercises every week. There are over 200 pupils in the school, which is now a great success thanks to Miss Cooper's energy & tact.

We are having beautiful mild weather—a pleasant shortening of winter—

Robert & I have just been for a short visit to Professor Knight's at St Andrews, wh we much enjoyed. We heard the address & saw the Installation of the new Lord Rector Sir Theodore Martin, & in the evening, at a grand reception, saw all the beauty & fashion of St. Andrews. Lady Martin was also there with her husband—the Helen Faucit of theatrical fame. It was very interesting to meet them, & R. had some pleasant talk with them. Sir Theodore Martin takes a very gloomy view of affairs in England, thinks we have no friends abroad & looks upon the proceedings of the Liberal Government just as Sir Walter Scott did on that of his day—as likely to bring ruin & disgrace on the country. Thank God, his expectations have not been realized, & reading Sir Theodore Martin's in the light of history, we may believe his are equally chimerical.

St. Andrews is a beautifully situated town, & contains many interesting historical relics. Prof. Knight & his wife were extremely kind, & we were sorry to leave them so soon. R. was to have been home to take the chair at Mr Dilke's meeting but & for this purpose we left St Andrews at 7.30 a.m. but the wind was so tremendous that no steamers were running on the firth of Forth, & after long delay, all passengers for Edinburgh were sent round by Stirling. So we did not reach home till 10 P.M. after the stormy meeting wh we soon heard of was over. The following night there was another meeting—a much quieter one, though still noisy at times. R. was in the chair, & was attentively listened to—he made an admirable Chairman, I think everyone must acknowledge. Mr Morley made a capital speech—but poor Mr Dilke was constantly interrupted—chiefly by a very small section of the Irish party, who contrived to make a great deal of uproar. Mr Dilke came again—on the 9th—& had a most successful meeting—R. again in the Chair.

And now the year is swiftly drawing to a close—& with a thankful heart I close this record—perhaps the last for 1881—wh has been a happy year for me & mine.

Nov. 29th 1881

I must make a note of our Christmas—this Christmas before it gets blended & confused with other Christmases for this has been such a particularly happy one, & the older we grow the more we feel the uncertainty of all things, & the possibility of "the last." With the exception of the Claphams, who, to our great disappointment, were prevented from coming by the sudden death of R.C. Clapham, all our circle was gathered together—with the addition of the Dendys, Dr Baumgartner & Mrs Rendell. Also our friend Captain Kron, who turned up unexpectedly, & who was a great addition to our party. We knew him as the mate of the "Fjalir", a very pleasant gentlemanly man. Our children now take much of the task of entertaining off our hands—Ruth had drilled some of the little ones in representing "Mary Mary Quite Contrary"—Little Bo-Peep & other nursery rhymes, as well as the old ballad of King Wenceslaus wh was charmingly sung by the little Kindergarten pupils. Our little Mary was quite a leader & carried on the singing with great energy. It was very pretty to see all the sweet little faces, & hear the sweet young voices join in the old familiar songs. Our bonnie winsome Arnold went "round & round the Mulberry Bush" with the rest, & very lovely he looked in his Christmas frock worked by kind Mrs Dendy's skilful hands. Then Mr & Mrs Dendy had helped the older children to get up the Christmas Carol, & a very successful little act it was.


Mr Dendy was Mr Scrooge
Mrs Rendell __________ his nephew
Percy Corder ________ Bob Cratchett
Mabel ________ Mrs Cratchett
Ruth the ghost of Xmas past
Miss Dendy ____ the ghost of Xmas future
Dr Baumgartner the ghost of Xmas past [sic]
Joey _____ Scrooge as a boy
Evie ________ his little sister
Mary ____________ Tiny Tim

It was very well got up & well acted, & much approved. There have been many Christmas parties this winter; & we have besides been to see the Electric Light works—the glass works at the Leams, Mr Davidson's Flour Mill—the old church at Jarrow—& done various other things. The weather has been very windy, but very mild, & delightful—the air so fresh & pure—"Of a' the airts the wind can blow, I dearly lo'e the West"—that the mere sense of existence is a joy—

Certainly the children are somewhat disappointed to have no skating—but they have been very happy, all of them, & I am thankful to say, very well. The rose leaves in the garden are all in leaf—will the frosts come still—the unkindly frosts & spoil their tender leaves. Mabel has entered the College Course of Mathematics—the only Lady student at present in this class—the Junior Division, & will now—with singing & music—her reading class, German & Mathematics, have her time fully taken up. It is so delightful to have our precious Mabel at home with us that we wonder how we could ever let her go to school.

I have been reading with great interest "John Inglesant", a book full of interest beauty. The Author (J.H. Shorthouse) has entered so fully into the spirit of the times both in England & in Italy, both as regards Art & Politics & Religion, & his sympathies with the mystery & difficulty of Life are so deep & earnest that the book may well be called a philsophical Romance—It is yet more—for it must strengthen the faith of every waverer, & shew how the had hand of God directs all our life, if we & how "it is not so easy to ruin him with whom the pressure of Christ's hand yet lingers in the palm."

Jan. 10th


At the half term holiday we too our three eldest girls & Lucy (their cousin) to Whitby. The weather was unfavourable except for one lovely morning (Sunday) but in spite of this we extremely enjoyed our two three days stay in the picturesque town, the exploration of Hilda's Abbey, where the wild & whistling winds rudely drove away our dreams of the fair abbess & the saintly Caedmon—the stormy walk along the fine cliffs to the romantic little village on the shores of Robin Hood's Bay—& on the Monday when the wild west wind had given place to the still fiercer North Easter, watching the great breakers dash in over the piers tossing their tawny manes like wild sea horses.

Then at Easter, foregoing any lengthened excursion, we again set forth with our three eldest children, reaching Richmond on the Thursday—seeing its fine old Castle & also Easby Abbey on Good Friday, then having a glorious drive up Wensleydale to Bolton Castle—a grim strong tower, still partly inhabitated [sic], with grand views both down the valley & up to the fine hills at its head. This Castle is chiefly interesting as having been the place where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned—we noted the road wh she took in her flight—, & fancied the sorrow of her recapture, & how her keepers would lighten her bonds. From Bolton we partly drove, partly walked to Middleham where in the nice little Inn the "White Swan" we found a comfortable resting place—The next morning we had quite a treat in seeing the horses from the Racing Stables having their gallops on the grand moor there is hard by—There must have been over 200 horses altogether & it was a very inspiriting sight. Richard III's favourite Castle, Middleham, is now sadly ruined, having been an extensive & convenient quarry last century for all the good folk of the neighbourhood who doubtless thought they did a good work in helping to cart away such rubbish. But enough remains to show what a magnificent Castle it must have been in the days of its strength—& our intelligent guide shewed us how its first requirements had been outgrown, & succeeded by an outer series of buildings all round connected with the inner circle by covered bridges wh have long since disappeared. On the morning of Saturday about 11 o'clock we drove down the valley of Masham where we dined in the somewhat shabby Inn of the neat little market town—Then, ordering our trap to follow us in the course of two or three hours, we walked on to the beautiful grounds of Hackfall. Here Art has done her best (or worst) in some respects to disfigure nature, by creating miserable sham castles, or ridiculous arbours but she has also happily made delightful paths, through winding woods, & placed made seats where one would love to linger. The view from one of these resting places is indeed worth lingering over—the blue & winding river far below us—with its richly wooded banks—& the lovely & luxuriant country stretching away beyond it, losing itself at last in the faint blue distance where the towers of York Minster could can be dimly descried.

After a charming ramble in these beautiful woods, we rejoined the carriage, & drove in the now chilly evening on to Ripon—where found capital quarters in the "Crown" an old fashioned & most excellent Hostelry in the Market Place. The pleasant fire & the delicious tea were most acceptable & we rejoiced too in the quaint old pictures & wonderful china of our Inn. On Easter Sunday we attended service at the Cathedral—not to much edification I fear—afterwards had a lovely walk by the river side, & again in the afternoon by the banks of the Canal in the quiet peaceful meadow country with a beauty all its own. it was a time of true enjoyment, & although the magical & exciting beauty of the hills was wanting, yet there was a glory of colour in the far distances of the plain country, & a tenderness & peace in the near surroundings such as could not fail to satisfy even such ardent lovers of the mountains as ourselves. Never can I forget the dark outline of Ripon Cathedral seen against the dark rose purple of the western sky—a picture for Turner—

On Monday we spent a delightful day among the woods at Studley & the magnificent ruins of Fountains Abbey, & then home by an evening train—after a quite charming little outing in wh we were favoured by brilliant weather, good health & good spirits—The children are delightful companions—so enthusiastic & appreciative—making it always a pleasure to have them with us. The dear little ones were well, & all had gone smoothly in our few days' absence.

Sleep now threatens to overcome me, so I think I must postpone the account of my visit to London till another night. It was an exciting & eventful time, & needs more attention than I can give it now. R. is still way—his business having detained him. We have thought much of him this quiet Sunday. Ruth, Mary & I dined pleasantly at Wingrove, & since then the dear girls & I have read & talked together very happily—while in the earlier part of the evening the precious little ones careered about us merrily with surprising activity.

May 14th 1882

On Tuesday the 2nd of May, R. & I left Newcastle by the 12.50 train—quickly passed the group of children with their sweet upturned faces at the end of the lane—& sped away to London wh we reached at 7.30. Dr Merz was at the station to meet us, & drove me off at once to their house in Stafford Terrace, Kensington, while R. went off in another direction to the meeting of the Alpine Club. The house the Merzs have taken for 3 months is a very nice one, in a pleasant situation, very near the Kensington gardens, & easily accessible. I received a warm welcome, & spent a pleasant restful evening. Then followed 9 days of great interest the pictures, the Parks, the riding, the driving, the shops, the people—there is so much of fascination & delight in this wonderful London. Robert was much taken up with business, so that he was not able to go about with with us very much—but when we met we compared notes & found how much of interest the other had to tell. The Royal Academy this year is delightful—although perhaps there are no pictures of such surpassing excellence as sometimes. But there are far more pictures above the average, & there are many wh, the longer you look at the more you like them. Of all the landscapes, Leader's "At Evening Time there shall be light" is the most beautiful—a flooded country—a grey church—a little village—an old stone wall, & a flood of golden glory over all—Alfred Hunt's Sonning too is very lovely—the old bridge with its many arches—& again a quiet church & village—the reflections in the river exquisite. Although Leighton's pictures are generally so smooth & waxy as to suggest a doll like want of strength—yet "Melittion" is a charming picture. It is a girl of exquisite grace & beauty, in a robe that his half yellow, half salmon colour—with a glorious background of pomegranate leaves & fruit—She bears on her arm a vase of the same yellowish colour, & the harmony of the whole picture is quite wonderful.

Brittain Rivière's "Portal of a Magician" is a noble picture of the entrace to an Eastern Palace guarded by two grand leopards—Brett's "Falling Thermometer"—the approach of a storm on a sunny Southern sea is extremely grand, & another sea picture of his, in wh the mussels on the rocks are painted with wonderful fidelity—is worthy of the same careful hand & poetic mind.

Millais' portraits are as usual tours de force of painting—the textures therein depicted being quite illim Inimitable—but otherwise uninteresting except the fine portrait of "Sir Henry Thompson".

In the Old Water Colour Exhibition almost all the pictures were worth looking at—most of all Mrs Allingham's exquisite "Well", a woman getting water from a well, with a bonny child beside her—Clara Montalba's views in Venice Herbert Marshall's old towns in Belgium &c Hunt's Durham—Birket Foster's "Ailsa Craig", & one or two exquisite little things of Wilmot Pilsbury's.

The Grosvenor Gallery was not so interesting as sometimes—though Burne Jones' glorious colouring is well worth seeing—but then there is often so little but fine colour—His "Danae watching the Building of the Brazen Tower" is a perfect gem of colour, & I liked it in every way far better than his larger works. Leighton has an exquisite head of a child in a purple hood—a most lovely picture.

It is always interesting after seeing the modern pictures to visit the National Gallery, or compare them with the Old Masters. The wonderful richness & power of some of those old portraits must make even our best portrait painters almost despair. On the other hand Turner's pictures are quite unrivalled—but then he stands alone as Shakespeare does—one can go again & again & ever find new beauties in Turner's works—whether oils or water colours—

Then, in addition to the pictures we saw the Electric lighting at the Crystal Palace—the Zoological Gardens (where the three little Merzs all rode on the Elephant) the ladies going to the Queen's Drawing Room—the riding in the park &c &c .

The Wordsworth meeting was held while we were in London, & very interesting it was to see Browning, & Matthew Arnold especially Browning on whom we looked with reverence & affection. Some good papers were read, especi particularly one by R. W. Hutton on Wordsworth's styles—In the evening the members of the Society met at Lord Coleridge's—where a very pleasant evening was spent. J.D. Shorthouse, the Author of "John Inglesant" was there—a man of unattractive appearance & with a painful stammer—Matthew Arnold—Lady Eastlake, Lord Houghton & other celebrities—Lady Coleridge (now deceased) must have been a fine artist—to judge from a remarkably beautiful portrait of Cardinal Newman, done by her—& another of Lord Coleridge.

On Sunday we dined at Alfred Hunt's, & had a delightful time—He is a quiet, artistic looking man—very thoughtful & with much interesting conversation—His wife writes novels, wh no one seems to have read. Her conversation is racy—their house is in Kensington—many lovely pictures therein. Just after we left we heard the dreadful news of the assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish & Mr Burke in Dublin—a tragedy wh thrilled us as it has thrilled all England with horror & has evoked the deepest sympathy for the bereaved wife & sister. Lord F. Cavendish had only been a few hours in Dublin when the brutal deed was done—so that it was quite impossible that he personally could have caused any ill-will. Poor Mr Gladstone must be almost heart-broken—it was he who urged Lord F. Cavendish to accept the Chief Secretary's Office—& it is said he looked upon him almost like a son.

Among other pleasant things in London we breakfasted one morning at Albert Grey's in the magnificent house of Mr & Mrs Holford, Mrs Grey's parents. Both Mr & Mrs Grey were charming, & the children delightful—the house contains many most valuable old pictures—notably a landscape by Cuyp—wh has a curious history. Mr Holford had got a picture by Cuyp, wh seemed to end at tone side somewhat abruptly—a clever dealer actually discovered somewhere far away the other half, & has joined the two pieces together so beautifully that the join can scarcely be discerned. The Library in this house is magnificent—& the beautiful white marble stairs leading up to the beautiful suite of drawing rooms are quite regal looking. Altogether we had a delightful visit, & were quite fascinated by our Host & Hostess. Afterwards I went to the Swimming Bath & swam the length of the Bath (70 ft) not much to boast of, still I was glad I could do even that, considering my recent, (& still felt) lameness. I must not forget to mention that most of the time we were at Stafford Terrace Professor Knight was there also—& very pleasant it was to see so much of him. We liked him more than ever, & marvelled at his quiet & painstaking Wordsworth enthusiasm. Our sister Carrie was also there—full of zeal for the varied interest of London, & intensely loyal—& in spite of bad headaches eager to go about—many pleasant expeditions we all had together, & never can I forget this delightful visit. The dear children were all so good & happy & bonny—& their Father & Mother most kind & hospitable—I came home nearly a week before R. who could not get his business settled & now I am sitting up (midnight) expecting him home in another hour. He has been a whole fortnight away, & delightful indeed will it be to have him with us again. Got grant him a safe journey—& us both a happy meeting.

Our precious children are all well, except that little Arnold has a cough, & is rather troubled with swollen glands (from his teeth, the Dr says) What a darling little fellow he is—to see his delight in pictures is quite a delight. And how dear they all are—our children, & what a joy it always is to come home to them, & be with them again—even after most absorbing interests.

     "Oh what would the world be to us

      If the children were no more."


May 17th 1882.

Tomorrow (May 18th) is our young sturdy little Bertha's birthday—she will be five years old.

The summer is over & gone since I wrote last—then all its joys were to come, now, all too soon, they lie behind us like a dream. But the realilty has been as bright & happy as any dream—We had some lovely weather before the school broke up—& our garden looked almost too beautiful to leave. We had some pleasant little garden parties, & a good deal of delightful riding. Then, on the 25th of July came the long talked of holiday. We all set sail—the same party as last year, for Bergen—Father & Mother & all the children, & the two servants Mattie & Margaret. Our daily life is duly recorded in my journal of that time, so I will only touch upon a few of the more striking characteristics of our stay.

The voyage both in coming & going was decidedly rough, & we were all glad when the long days—the only too long days of our six weeks' holiday came to an end. But, once in Faleide, we were perfectly happy—the same delightful people, the same glorious land, & not the same wet weather of last year, but sunshine & bright blue skies. It would be hard to say what we enjoyed most—the walks, the picnics, the boating, the bathing were all so delightful The dear girls leaned to swim very nicely & R. had plenty of good fishing through the kindness of friends. In the Alden river he caught one very large salmon, 3ft 10 in length which was kippered & brought home & much approved. We met some very pleasant people—Mr Hooper, Mr Taddy, & Mr Lindsell, fishermen who had taken the Stryn river Mr & Mrs Byron who had the Olden river &c We had several mountain expeditions this year—notably the St. Ceciliens Krone, a beautiful peak 7000 ft hight [sic], wh R. & I ascended. We left Faleide by steamer at 6.a.m. left Olden at 9 to begin our walk—reached the summit after a hard climb at about 4—came down into another valley, a very long one, the foot of wh we reached at last at 11 p.m. Then an hour's row up & across the fjord to Faleide.

We also went up Glittereggen, with our three eldest girls. It took us 6 hours to reach to top, by a very gradual ascent, & about 3 to come down by a much steeper way to Kjös. We had, although the day was not a bright or sunny one, a magnificent view from Glittereggen of mountains, fjords, snow fields, & glaciers, lakes.

We made several excursions to Lodal & Alden & Stryn, besides numerous shorter walks with the children—one of which to Zuringler Saeter Sea, when even little Arnold went with us, must not be forgotten, & another to the same place, when after much fishing, we were benighted in coming home, & dear little Mary walked so bravely on in the dark woods. It was at least a 14 miles' walk, altogether—a good stretch for a little lassie of 7.

We had one very pleasant picnic to Stryn, where we were most hospitably entertained by our sporting friends, & afterwards rowed back in the moonlight. They had dinner with us on another occasion, when a super-excellent repast was provided by careful Mrs Tenden, in which some of the Ryper caught by R. in his day's shooting with the Doctor formed a conspicuous & most excellent item.

To all of us from the least to the greatest this time in Norway was a time of almost unalloyed enjoyment, or rather I should say of true happiness & neither coughs nor colds nor any other ailment troubled us in the pure air of that delightful land. I should like to tell of the sweetness of the children one & all, of little Arnold's sayings, of Mary's pretty prattle, of Bertha's delight in gathering flowers "for Miss Grady", of the keen appreciation of our elder girls—but Norway is a never ending theme, & I must not linger.

We reached home again on Sep. 4th—the six weeks had gone like a flash—but leaving untold memories of happiness

I should not omit to mention that, owing to a little paper I had written for the Household Magazine on the Liquor Laws of Norway, a paper the materials for which had been furnished by the kindness of Mr Hopstock, & wh had been translated into Norsk—we were taken the round of the spirit shops, & everything was shewn their working &c.. The diminution in drunkenness has been most striking since the enforcement of these laws, & the formation of the Company. See Art. In North of England Household Magazine No. 1881.

Very soon after our return we had a long visit from Mr Morton & Mr Roberts who came on University Extension work. They held a series of meetings in the Mining Districts, & made arrangements for various courses of lectures. Prof. Stuart of Cambridge came down for one of the meetings held in Newcastle—at wh the speeches were all admirable in different ways—Prof. Stuart's clear concise & to the point, Mr Roberts calm & practical & earnest, & Mr Morton's boiling over with eager enthusiasm. The University Extension scheme is gaining ground—the lectures this session on "Electricity" by Mr Thompson of Cambridge are well attended & very successful. We found both Mr Roberts & Mr Morton exceedingly pleasant guests—they are both such earnest good men besides being men of exceptional ability that their conversations is always stimulating & interesting.

The Sanitary Congress was held in Newcastle in September, & during its sittings, Dr Arthur Mitchell of Edinburgh was our guest—at the same time that Mr Roberts & Mr Morton were with us, so that we had a full house. Dr Mitchell is a delightful man. He is president of the Scottish Archaeological Society, & has written a book wh he has sent to me, called "The Past in the Present" wh throws a different light on many archaelogical [sic] remains differing from that in wh they are generally read. The book is one of extreme interest—it shews how the past lingers in the present, & how the remnants of a simple state of existence co-exist with a high civilization—it shews how objects in cla[?]y loc found in certain localities may be wrongly conjectured to be of extreme age—while in reality similar objects are still in daily use, & are in fact not the first efforts of an advancing art, but the last decaying efforts of an art almost died out. We extremely enjoyed Dr Mitchell's little visit—from Tuesday till Saturday—He is a man of most varied interests & withal so genial & delightful that we were extremely glad Miss Stevenson had introduced us to him. During the Sanitary Congress he read Dr Mitchell read a paper on the Relation of Climate to Disease—or rather on the relations of the seasons to disease—shewing that certain diseases invariably coincide with certain months—His lecture gave the results of months & years of research, & was accompanied by a multitude of most ingenious diagrams.

I see I have not mentioned that twice our dear Mabel has been top of the Mathematical Class (Junior Division) twice—at least the first time she was absolutely top, & the second time she & Miss Renwick, the only other lady student, were bracketed together. (I was interrupted here, & now Jan. 3rd 1883 resume my pen to record yet another similar result of the last Examination. Again she & Miss Renwick are at the front, with 2nd class honours, & this after only one term in that class.) But now I must go back to Cambridge, whither at the end of October Robert & Mabel & I spent two or three happy days. Mabel & I went on Friday the 27th R. to our great disappointment not being able to come till the next day. We were most warmly welcomed by our friends the Holmdens & their sister Bessie Harwood.—Mr Holmden we had not known before, but found him a most kind & hospitable host, & in every way worthy of our old friend Annie Harwood.

Saturday was a day of wind & rain, but we were driven about by our kind hostess from one place of interest to another—to Jesus College Chapel to see the beautiful Morris windows (the finest modern stained glass I have ever seen, reminding me of those glorious Ravenna mosaics in the church of S. Appolinara.) Trinity Chapel we also saw where there are very find windows though of a totally different kind, by foreign artists. The decoration of this chapel is beautiful & the wood carving very fine. In the Entrance Hall or outer chapel there is a remarkably fine statue by Roubilliac of Sir Isaac Newton by Roubilliac (whom this College delights to honour as one of her sons) & also a statue of Lord Macaulay.

In the large Dining Hall of Trinity there is an exquisite Gainsborough—a lovely boy with a pale dove coloured cloak, & a large hat in his hands, a fair-haired blue eyed child coming over a hill—a blue grey sky behind.

The Kitchen at Trinity is a sight to see—a large fireplace with a very narrow back—& a long long horizontal row of chickens turning slowly round & round all together.

Mr Howe, a fellow of Trinity, a Mathematical Professor at University College London, took us to see the Trinity Library, a fine well proportioned room, containing many objects of great interest, among others the m.s.s. of Milton's Paradise Lost shewing its original dramatic intention, the m.s. of Lycidas—the original document of the Scotch Covenant, & the rude Telescope with which Newton accomplished such great things.

We then went to see the Chapel at St John's, but the dim light prevented our seeing more than the fine marble pillars in the outer chapel & the beautiful stone carving in the Chancel with the exquisite bit of old interlaced work. The Dining Hall is a pleasant room, but the Combination room is charming a low room with its white embossed ceiling, & Elizabethan wooden mantelpieces. Mr MacAlister a delightful Scotchman "who can do everything" shewed us over the Library, in wh Coverdale's Bible, the first printed in English is to be seen, besides various beautiful m.s.s.

Then came the main object of our journey, the visit to Newnham—First to the North Hall where the rooms looked small & poor after the beautiful old rooms we had seen, & the passages bare & workhouse-like—but where Miss Gladstone charmed us by her pleasant welcome. The South Hall under Miss Clough has nicer rooms—but on the whole we preferred the North Hall After seeing Newnham we attended the very impressive service at King's where the singing was exquisitely beautiful—"By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down" &c most pathetic—and a foretaste of Heaven in the words "And the Lamb wh is in the midst of the Throne shall lead them" &c & "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, & God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

The Henry VII roof of this Chapel is most beautiful—& the old stalls are exceedingly fine.

Robert joined us in the evening at Gonville Place, & heard our day's experiences—a day only too full of interest & delight.

On Sunday we walked, in the beautiful bright morning, by the backs of the Colleges, & then to the Sunday School where Mr & Mrs Holmden, Mr Roberts, Mr MacAlister & others teach a number of men, a school in wh they have worked devotedly for years. In the afternoon we called on Prof. Seeley, & attended the service in University Chapel, & in the evening at Trinity Chapel,—a very impressive sight, all the gra undergraduates being in their white surplices—It was a touching thing to see all those fine young faces, & to think of the chequered & varied future before them.

On Monday we went to Girton with wh w were much pleased. The building is much superior to Newnham—but on the whole we preferred the latter, although it was not decided on for our dear child until after we came home. In the afternoon we saw Peterhouse &c R. left in the evening—a too short visit—for London. Mabel & I had a delightful quiet evening, hearing beautiful music from Mrs Holmden & Mr H. & [Olive?]—& having much pleasant talk. Then on Tuesday morning our happy three days' visit came to an end, we parted from our truly kind & delightful friends, & left the place wh had interested us so greatly.

Bessie Harwood has been an invalid since she was 11 yrs old, & yet she goes out every day in her Bath chair, having the entrée of most of the Colleges, & interests herself in all that goes on both in her own family circle & in the outside world.

I forgot to note our lunch at Mr Roberts' nice rooms, & our delightful intercourse with him during these days, & also our visit to Mr Rowe's rooms & to Professor Stuart's admirable workshops—

Since our return we have had pleasant visits from Mr Blackburn, the Art Lecturer, & from Mr Edmund W. Gosse—the son of the naturalist, a poet, & a delightful gentleman—in the best sense of that often abused name.

And now Christmas has come & gone—we had over 70 on Christmas Day—old & young, & a very merry happy part, "Cinderella", got up by Ruth, was charmingly acted by some of the younger ones—Mary being a sweet little Cinderella, Charles the Prince, (acted with great dignity) Ernestine the godmother, Evie & Dora the two unkind sisters, & George the Herald. We had Christmas trees for the wee bairnies beautifully arranged by the dear father in the Library with a bower of evergreen in the background whence the presents issued from the hands of Percy disguised as Santa Claus with long flowing white beard & silver locks. All the nephews & nieces had presents, wh seemed generally to give great satisfaction. Miss Cooper, not having gone home was with us on that day, with her friend Miss Ayscough, & entered into the spirit of the family mirth most heartily—Everyone was charmed with her. I must not omit to note that our dear little Mary got a prize at the High School—for term work & general good conduct. Evie would certainly have had one too had she not been moved into a higher Class, among much older girls.

The prize giving day was a very pleasant one—Miss Cooper giving another of her admirable little addresses, & Robert making a capital speech -

We have had the usual round of parties—delightful to the young folk but a wee bit tiring to the older ones—notwithstanding or perhaps because of much hospitality & kindness.

Louisa Stevenson of Edinburgh has paid us a very pleasant little visit—from Saturday till Monday—staying on after the dinner party—in wh Mr J.W. Swan, about to leave Gateshead for London, was the principal guest—the Stevensons of Tynemouth &c

Today our sister Gertrude Edmundson has her 5th child—3rd boy—to be called Cyril—a happy new year's gift.

And now I will close this long ramble with just recording our precious little Arnold's sweetness. I wish I could put down some of his quaint & pretty speeches—a more loving winning little laddie surely never lived.

He is so lovely—& almost too sweet when he turns his dear little arms around my neck with "I do love ou" God grant that he keep the pure heart of a child in the midst of this evil world—& may He help us to train him & all our darlings aright—We are indeed blessed in each other's love & in our children's—& thankfully record the opening of this New Year. 1883.


Robert & I returned a few days ago from a little journey in the South of England. R. had been much overworked, & was suffering from sore throat, & so we took a week's holiday together. We went first to London to attend a Conference there—a very earnest & impressive one, where we met Mrs Butler, Professor Stuart, & many other noble Christian workers.

We stayed in London at the admirable "Grand Hotel", from Thursday Wednesday eveg till Saturday. On Friday we spent our time chiefly in Picture galleries. The collection of Rossetti at Burlington House is very interesting, & yet more so that at the Burlington Fine Arts Club Room. Many of these latter are sketches or designs for the larger & more finished pictures—so that the one collection is a most interesting supplement to the other. One's first idea on going into a room full of Rossettis is—What mawkish, sentimental, ridiculous, sensual looking women—with their square heavy chins, thick full lips, & large blue eyes with great masses of thick hair coming low down over their foreheads—But as one gazes the first feeling of disquiet passes away, & one begins to realize the marvellous beauty of colour, the richness & depth unequalled in any other modern artist, & to see also that in spite of many affectations there is a meaning & a symbolism by no means unworthy of study. One does certainly get a little tired of Beatrice & her maidens, & of Dante the only man, or almost so, whom Rossetti seems to have cared to paint—& yet there are one or two paintings of this same Dante & Beatrice which are indeed supremely beautiful. That wh I liked the best was the dream of Beatrice's Death; the fair lady lies on a couch, her golden hair streaming over her shoulders—A curtain is upheld over her filled with May blossoms—borne by two beautiful maidens in green robes—Love stoops down to kiss Beatrice, & at the same time pointing his arrow backwards at Dante who is just behind him—through an open doorway are seen the towers & streets of Florence—

In the evening we went to see "Much Ado about Nothing" Irving & Ellen Terry. Marvellous acting, & still more marvellous play. I never was so much impressed with Shakespeare's greatness—one play  & that by no means the finest, & yet so full of life & wit & character—what heights & depths between it & the ordinary modern stage drama.

On Saturday morning Theodore & Alice Merz came to breakfast at our Hotel, & afterwards we spent a pleasant morning with us seeing pictures &c In the afternoon we went down to Northchurch to visit our friend, Mr' Morton & his family. We spent a most pleasant Sunday in there—Mr Morton, the father is a clever, interesting man, Mrs Morton a genial, nice sensible woman, & the daughter a pretty & very sweet girl, with a decided talent for Art painting. On Sunday afternoon, our friend Mr Morton took us a long delightful walk through Lord Brownlow's Park, & over a breezy common covered with gorse, wh later on must make it like a field of cloth of gold.

Mrs Morton knows the Tennysons very well—indeed she had something to do with bringing about the match wh had been broken off between Tennyson & is wife. At that time they were both very young, & Tennyson of course quite unknown—a poet seemed a doubtful sort of profession, & Tennyson's brother had taken to opium eating—However the marriage was brought about & has been an extremely happy one—The eldest son Hallam is his father's Secretary, & devotes himself entirely to him, & to waiting on his mother, wheeling her about in a Bath Chair &c—The younger son Lionel is married & lives in London.

On Monday morning we left Northchurch—& our most kind & hospitable friends there, & travelled with Mr Morton to London. At Paddington station we parted, he to go to his law studies, we to journey to Wells, which we did not reach till between 3 & 4 in the afternoon.

Wells is a charming place—the Cathedral is most interesting—the silvery colour of the stone is peculiarly beautiful—& inside their there is a perfect glory of old glass—The west front is very rich in sculpture, while the covered Bridge across the Street to the Bishop's Close is, I should think, unique. The Swan Hotel where we stayed, looked out straight across the Green to this wonderful West front—so that we got to know it well, even in our short stay. But the most delightful part of Wells is the Bishop's Palace, surrounded by its moat—a beautiful piece of water coming continually fresh from the wells from wh the town takes its name, & on wh float & dive & swim multitudes of stately swans, & white & bright coloured ducks—We were taken over the Bishop's grounds by the Head gardener, & shewn the beautiful ruins of the old Banquetting Hall—the lawn where grew many strange exoting trees—the fruit garden so prolific that instead of speaking of quarts of fruit as we are accustomed to—or even stones—we were told of a "ton of raspberries" & many cwts of strawberries gooseberries &c. I suspect that some delicious apricot jam wh we partook of at the "Swan" had its origin in those deli fertile fruit gardens. We lingered long about this beautiful place, quite fascinated by the old moat & the drawbridge, & all the relics of the past in close proximity to the civilization & luxury of the present.

The next morning we took the train to Cheddar & saw the noble Cheddar cliffs—We were fortunate in having bright sunshine, & the ivy & lichen covered cliffs looked very beautiful—The famous limestone cave is pretty, but after some we saw abroad seemed small, & somewhat poor. In the afternoon we went on to Glastonbury—a hopeless looking place from the Station—but most interesting on further acquaintance. The ruins of the Abbey—alas now ruined—are extremely rich & beautiful—& only thinking of the dreadful iniquities of that age can reconcile one to the iconoclastic fury wh swept away such glory & splendour of beauty as Glastonbury must have had. The Abbot's Kitchen {still intact} is a fine old building with 4 fire places & a central chimney—It was once let to the Friends for a Meeting House—The Abbot's Barn is a barn unlike the barns of these degenerate days. The delicate tracery fragments of delicate tracery in the Abbey itself, wh still remain, the bold & effective dog-tooth ornament, the interlacing arches, & one magnificent doorway all tell of a richness & beauty wh could not have been surpassed by any of the monasteries in England. And yet—and yet—some of the beautiful building—the fallen capitals, the broken pillars, the ruined arches were actually taken to be ground into a road-way from Bath to Wells to Glastonbury.

On the Wednesday morning we went up Tor Hill—to see the "Island Valley of Avilion"—Before this we had no idea of its beauty—we thought it was all in the poet's imagination—but now, although we could not say, with marshy ground below us & a fearful wind blowing on every side—"where falls not rain nor hail nor any snow, nor ever wind blows loudly"—it did look so entirely the "Island valley of Avilion that we could well believe in its summer beauty when the trees wh clothed its plains were green, & its undulating meadows lapped in summer sunshine. The view is a most extensive one—bounded by the Bristol Channel on one side & by the Mendip & Quantock Hills on the others.

We came on by way of Bristol, to Worcester—meeting Wm S. Clark & having some very pleasant conversation with him— Liberalism among the agricultural population of these parts seems almost unknown, & unfortunate Liberal speakers are sure to get a pelting of rotten eggs & other such rough handling.

I forgot to say we stayed at the delightful old "George" Inn at Glastonbury—one of the few old houses still remaining intact—in its external arrangements, & not very much altered probably, inside—

At Worcester we slept at the "Bell a very snug hostelry—

The Cathedral in this city is very beautiful—the cloisters particularly interesting. Gilbert Scott has managed the restoration very admirably—& the Cathedral itself—the interior, is more beautiful than Wells—but it lacks the glory of the old glass -

At 10 on Wed Thursday morning we set out for home—passing through a flooded country with thick fog on either hand—& reaching our own beloved home about five o'clock—where our rapturous welcome was enough to gladden the heart & the limbs of the coldest. So ended our all too short outing—too short but very happy, & I am thankful to think that it has done my dearest R. much good—although he still needs far more rest than he can get. We have just had our sweet little Mary's birthday party—she is 8 years old—such a happy group of sweet & bonnie bairns.

Feb. 9th 1883


I have not put down many things wh some day when I can find leisure I want to record—To night I am too tired, but I must tell two stories of our sweet little Arnold, who really is the sweetest & most precious little boy it is possible to imagine. He has a will of his own, & can be very naughty, but this rarely happens, & many a struggle the dear child has to conquer his self will.

On Sunday among various other guests (Archdeacon Watkins among the number) Henry Tennant was here. He called little Arnold to speak to him, & after shaking hands with him said, "Well Arnold have you nothing to say to me?" when the gentle little voice naïvely replied "I am very well, thank you."

Yesterday I told Arnold to shut the door—he objected & said Bertha must go & help him. This I would not allow—then he wanted Mary—but I forbad this also. Then I said "Won't Arnold try to be good—won't he try to be Mother's good little boy? Look at Mother & tell her." The sweet trusting eyes were raised to mine, & the sweet little arms flung round my neck with a kiss, & away the darling ran to shut the door.

All his pretty prattle it would be impossible to describe—his recollections of Norway, of the steamer, of the bathing—his intelligent questioning—when I or his father have a headache his "I will kiss ou & make ou better"—his love for us all—his devotion to Mattie—he is so sweet that we dread setting our hearts too much on that precious little life.

To morrow our dear eldest child is 19 years old—How like a happy dream those years have rolled away.

May 22nd 1883


Alas, alas it is now November, & no record of the summer past, & our eldest darling away at Cambridge, & the glory of the summer all past & gone.

Mabel worked hard at French & Mathematics all through the winter & spring, & in June she passed the Dyker Local (Cambridge) Examination in these subjects. Directly the Examn was over, we left home—R. & I. & Mabel & Ruth. We stayed Saturday night in London, & the next day crossed the Channel in the "Invicta" the sea exquisitely smooth & sunshine over all. Then we had a long day & night before we reached Lucerne, wh looked most beautiful to our tired eyes & minds. We spent 2 or 3 days on the lake of Lucerne, going up Pilatus to be greeted on the top with joy & cold—(warm & pleasant inside the ghostly looking Inn, where two niedliche maidens did everything possible for our comfort—(& charged accordingly) In coming down the next day we met Mr Claude Thompson who shared our wanderings for the next two days, & very pleasant days they were, giving us the most delightful impressions of that lovely lake. We parted at Gersau—he going back to Zürich—we going on over the St Gotthard—so dear to me from happy recollections of 1863—into Italy. We stopped at Göschenen & then went through the wonderful tunnel & on to Faido thence, after two days stay, across the mountains to Fensio in the Val Maggia a charming, unfrequented place, at the head of a lovely valley—Then on to Locarno, Baveno, Orta—the "gem like Orta", Varallo, Arona, Milan, Cernobbio on Lake Como, Monte Generoso, Lugano & back to Lucerne—a most enchanting round. As I write the bare words what visions come up before me—what glory of sunshine, what forests of chestnuts—what "hills of corn & vine", what wealth & fragrance of flowers—what enchanting lakes—what noble mountains—The history of this journey is duly recorded elsewhere—I must content myself now with saying how lovely it all was, & how we enjoyed seeing these exquisite scenes with our two dear girls, whom we found full of intelligent appreciation. Mabel had the most energy & enjoyed the walking more, but Ruth revelled in the flowers, & made a very fair collection, considering the difficulties of constantly travelling about—And the flowers were wonderful—golden lilies & white lilies & gentians & anemones, & pansies & soldanellas & primulas—not to speak of the glorious magnolias & pomegranate flowers & oleanders &c &c The only bad weather we had on this tour (except thunderstorms) was on the top of the St Gotthard, & on the Swiss side of it. We ascended the Galenstock, a high snow mountain (12,000 ft) but again (as on Pilatus) were unfortunate; we saw absolutely nothing but mist, & we had a wet afternoon at beautiful Lucerne. But we had sunshine enough & beauty enough in the valleys to prevent repining over these small drawbacks—although the Galenstock was certainly a great disappointment—In coming home we stopped a night at Rheims & another at Amiens,—a part of the journey almost as delightful in its way as the beautiful Italy. We stayed two nights in London (at the Grand Hotel) on our return journey, & then came home to our dear Evelyn, who was the only one at home—the three little ones having gone a week before with Mattie to Grasmere to their ever kind Aunt "Car". Evie was delighted to have us back, & even after the delights of Italy home was home—but oh the smoke & the dirt & the squalor. Our darling little ones came back to us in the following week, poor little Arnold suffering from a gathered neck, wh however soon got much better.

The holidays passed quickly & happily away, & just before they ended R. & I took Evie her promised visit to Scotland. We only had a week, & Evie & I were obliged to set out before Robert—spending that day at Pitlochrie & spending the next day wandering up the fine pass of Killiecrankie, & seeing the Tummel & banks of the Garry." Next day R. joined us & we went on to Inverness & Beauly—driving thence to Invercannich wh we made headquarters for the next few days, exploring the beautiful valleys of Glen Affrich & Glencannich. They are very rich, beautiful glens, abounding in birch & heather & fern, & traversed each with one of those peculiarly Scotch cairn-gorm coloured exquisite rivers. But the game preserving wh is carried on by in the hands of an American who has the land thereabouts on lease, is carried on to a most annoying extent so that even the right to walk on the "heather hills" was denied to us, & this spoiled to some extent the pleasure of this otherwise very happy little tour. Old Mr Kerr at the Invercannich Hotel did everything to make us comfortable—for Carrie's sake, if not for our own—for C. had left golden opinions behind her, & her poem in the visitors' book descriptive of the delights of the Hotel & of the Country, had been "far better than an advertisement". We returned home by Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit & Dunkeld, admiring at the latter place, the noble woods & exquisite grounds belonging to the Duke of Athol, & marvelling at the "Rumbling Bridges"—Evie was a charming little companion—never tiring, & never troubled with unnecessary fears, but full of interest & as merry as a bird, flitting hither & thither to get us raspberries or blackberries or picking up curious stones or wonderful fungi.

After we came home we had a pleasant visit from Mr Morton, who was in these parts on University Extension business—also from Birket Foster & his wife & Willy—from Mr J. Morley (our new Member the account of whose election I see I have entirely omitted—poor Mr Dilke had died at Algiers in the spring) & various other friends.

On the 9th of October R. gave the opening address at the College of Medicine in Newcastle. He was dressed in his St Andrews' Doctor's gown, & looked extremely handsome—The address was a very fine one—its aim was to get a more complete college—it will probably be printed shortly. The Dean was not very favourable to the scheme, but he is getting old now, & cannot be expected to initiate reform. The reform will come in spite of him.

The next morning the 10th I took my precious Mabel to Cambridge to instal her into her room at Newnham in the North Hall under Miss Gladstone. The first night she slept with me at Mrs Holmden's the next day we spent in putting her room right, & arranging her things & the day after I left the darling child & went on with a sad heart to London, & thence to Bournemouth. I spent three days very pleasantly with my sister Emily & her husband & their sweet children—then went on to Cheltenham, passing two nights with my cousin Jane Sturge & seeing the magnificent Ladies' College—then on to Leeds, where I joined R. who had come to attend the great Reform Demonstration at wh John Bright was to preside. We stayed with our kind friends the Hewitsons, & very much enjoyed the great meeting—held for the purpose of urging on the Government the importance of assimilating the County to the Borough Franchise, & hearing John Bright speak. I had never heard him before—he certainly was not so eloquent as I had expected, but his speech was a model of clearness, & full of force.

Now we are settled in for the winter, but oh how we miss our Mabel—she was a perpetual sunshine in the house, & was always ready with loving sympathy for everyone.

Our old servant Elizabeth leaves us tomorrow, having been 12 years with us—she is going to be married. She has been a faithful servant—& we shall miss her much—Margaret, the housemaid, is to be cook, Charlotte her sister the housemaid, & another girl has come to take Charlotte's place. So goes the world!

Nov. 12th



We have just had a delightful little visit from Professor James Stuart, a true man, whom everyone who knows loves -

He gave us one night some interesting reminiscences of his childhood—he was taught by his mother until he was 9 years of age, & owes much to her—then he lived for some years with his Grandmother & went to a school at St Andrews—This grandmother he described as a remarkable woman—one of great power & influence—Mary Godwin afterwards Mrs Shelley used to stay a great deal with her, & the sadness of Mrs Shelley's life, he thinks affected his grandmother—Also her being a very strong woman mentally without the outlet wh she should have had, made her as Prof. Stuart now thinks, rather an unhappy woman—A letter of William Godwin's Mrs Shelley's father, is in his possession wh does not give a favourable view of Godwin's character. Prof. Stuart has an old Aunt living at Dundee, who, although now at a great age, has all her faculties & takes the liveliest interest in all that goes on—It is significant & very encouraging that this old lady thinks everything in Scotland now better than it was 50 years ago—except—a curious exception—education—Dundee was at that time a small town & the boys & girls of all classes were taught together. This she thinks was a great good—she also thinks the education was more thorough & satisfactory in her earlier days—Prof Stuart made great friends with our little Arnold, & the beautiful Norwegian ship wh our good friend Dr Stabel sent him from Bergen was duly admired & discussed by them—the Captain being seen to be eating his dinner in the Cabin, & two sweet little kittens beside him!

Mrs Butler was not able to come to the meeting wh Prof. Stuart had to address—or she would have been our guest also. It was a small but good meeting—R. spoke most beautifully—I wished that all our young men friends (could2 have heard him), (v many1 others besides)—Prof. Stuart's address was clear & excellent—The great work wh they have in hand is growing daily, & their efforts in one direction have grown in others until all Europe & America too are beginning to feel their noble influence

Nov. 29th




Three months of 1884 have all but gone, & Christmas with all its pleasures seems already far away—before I have written a word in my book. We had a large & happy gathering, although since last year death has taken our kind & genial brother in law Henry Clapham, leaving a gap wh no one else can fill. Our dear Aunt Anne Foster was also absent through illness—a long continued & severe illness, from wh however to the joy of us all, she has, at length, completely recovered. The number of our grown up nephews & nieces is now almost alarming—so that, with all the little ones still left, our Christmas parties almost seem composed of three generations, ourselves being the old people.

The dear father's lovely little book "The Children's Christmas"—the music by Myles Foster—was sung by all the children—exquisite to listen to, & exquisite to see. The pretty little book has been a great favourite this winter as it well deserves to be, & we have sent copies of it far & wide.

It was the greatest delight to have our darling Mabel home again, for she is like sunshine in the house. Now she is home again after her 2nd term at Newnham, wh she has enjoyed much more than her first, having thoroughly entered into the spirit of the place, & advanced more with her studies, besides having made many friends. R. & I spent a Sunday very pleasantly with her & our friends the Holmdens during this last term. We had afternoon tea on the Saturday in Mabel's room, & were joined by Miss Gladstone & several of the students—Then on Sunday we had tea in Prof. Stuart's rooms, meeting several interesting people—afterwards we attended the eveg service in Trinity Chapel—a most impressive sight. Dr Thompson, the Master of Trinity was sitting almost close to us, & his fine but naughty face does certainly not belie the character the hosts of anecdotes concerning him give. Near him was the Prince of Wales' eldest son—query, our future king?—an amiable looking youth, but in no way striking.

I forgot to say that in the day or two we were in London we saw the delightful collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds' pictures in the Grosvenor Gallery—a galaxy of grace & beauty—also Alfred Hunt's glorious poetic representations of some of our beloved northern haunts—Whitby, Dunstanborough Bamborough &c—We were unfortunate in missing people we wanted to see in London—but we had a delightful time in spite of some disappointments.

In returning home from Cambridge we spent a couple of hours at York, when I went up to the Retreat & saw our dear Lucy Corder, & poor old Colonel Pryziemski—a sad wreck—& a most touching visit.

In January we had an interesting visit from Mr Morley & Mr Chamberlain. An immense meeting was held in the Circus R. in the Chair. Mr Chamberlain made an excellent impression, & the meeting was a great success. Mr Morley has thoroughly made Tyneside his own, & is always enthusiastically welcomed. As for the Chairman, there is no need I should sing his praises—every Newcastle audience knows there is no one better than he to preside at a meeting, whether peaceful or stormy.

We had several interesting guests to meet Mr Chamberlain & Mr Morley at breakfast—among others Sir Henry Havelock Allen, the son of the brave Sir Henry Havelock who did such good service in India—Mr Burt, the excellent member for Morpeth, Sir Joseph Pease &c. There was great talk over the Shipping Bill wh Mr Chamberlain has much at heart, but wh as things look now, he seems scarcely likely to be able to pilot safely through the house. The accounts he gave us of profits from over insurance, & the reckless loss of life at sea were terrible—some bill, if not his, must be sorely needed. Mr Morley thinks Mr Gladstone will certainly resign before long—& since he said this, there has been all the terrible Egyptian business wh must have harrassed him & galled him to the quick. Notwithstanding all General Gordon's influence, events seem going hardly with him, whilst in other directions the loss of life & the slaughter of the brave Arabs have been terrible. Most of the talk (to return) during Mr Chamberlain's visit, was in the library, over pipes & cigars—into wh sanctuary I did not venture to enter, so that I had to be content with retailed accounts afterwards.

The capacities of our household were tested to the uttermost during this visit—but everything went on well. As our old & faithful "Ibbet" (Elizabeth) who had been with us 12 years had gone, we had Mrs Turnbull to help Margaret with the cooking—wh was all very nice.

At the end of February there was a Concert given by all the High School girls, assisted by several ladies & gentlemen, in the Town Hall at Gateshead. All the parents & many friends were present, & the "May Queen" was beautifully performed. Ethel Pattinson sang her solo parts exquisitely—Mr Fearon of Durham presided & after the performance, he gave away the prizes. Our little Evie took two, one for term work & one for Examn work, & dear little Mary was "highly commanded" as she innocently said. It was a lovely sight to see all the girls in their white dresses with their scarlet badges & pretty flowers—& the sweet fair faces brought many touching thoughts. The next night the Concert was given again to a very appreciative audience of the poor of Gateshead.

The dear father has not been at all well the last few days—it has been beautiful to see the little son so tenderly nursing him—sitting on his bed, & stroking him & telling him stories, & saying all manner of pretty things to him. But indeed no words could say how sweet & dear this little son of ours is—very shy with strangers, he pours forth his affection on us, & his loving ways & his pretty prattle are almost too sweet. When Dr Wilson & R. were talking one day of what profession some boy should be, R. said to Arnold, "& what will you be Arnold?" "I'll be a Liberal" was the instant reply of the dear little laddie, wh made us all laugh.

But the children are all so sweet, so dear—& now that Mabel is at home again, we are a happy family indeed—None has improved more than our winsome little Bertha, who is wilful enough at times, but very good generally & so bonny & sweet. Ruth has left school, & is now going on with drawing, botany & music at home, or at the School of Art.

Last Sunday Dr Alfred Russell Wallace dined with us—a man who has travelled far & wide in the cause of science, & who had much of interest to relate. He told us some interesting stories of life in New Guinea, & one in particular, shewing the advantage of going unarmed among savages—A Dr Russian Doctor who wished to make scientific explorations, decided on going to New Guinea, entirely unarmed, & living for 6 months among the natives. He was taken there—the sailors landed & built him a hut, & then left him, promising to return for him in six months. The natives gathered round him, & tried to frighten him, they pointed their spears at his breast, they stretched their cross bows armed with arrows at him, but as he showed undaunted courage, & and answered all their menaces with smiles & friendly gestures, they soon ceased to trouble him, & ultimately looked upon him as a superior being who could not be hurt. He became very friendly with them, was able to cure many of their ailments, learned their language & was helped by them by all the means wh lay in their power, in his scientific pursuits.

Another gentleman, an Italian Dr tried another, also very effective way of getting what he wanted—supposing the people very ignorant. Having had some of his things stolen he said he knew they had been stolen, & they must be restored, & to shew them his power, he secretly placed dynamite under a large stone wh was by them considered sacred, & told them this stone would fly into the air to accuse them. In a short time this actually happened, & so terrified the people that all his stolen goods were instantly brought back to him, & henceforth his goods were left in peace.

Dr Wallace also told us of a man (whose name I forget) who completed tamed a boa constrictor. He used to stroke it gently, & feed it & the creature used to nestle in his lap while he was at work.

March 27th 1884

We have had several other interesting guests—Mr Acland of Oxford, among them. He is the man who has made great reforms in the expenditure at Oxford—reduced the Salary of the Head Cook at Christ's College by one half—to the great disgust of the old Dons, & otherwise effecting much needed alterations. The old Cook was pensioned off—being a bad subject to begin reform—with a pension of £300 a year! & the new Cook who does the work, has the same. Mr Acland is a great believer in Cooperation, & takes immense interest in all the efforts now made to improve the condition of the people, by living among them & cooperating with them. It was he who told us of the proposed Hall in the East end of London, to be called the "Toynbee Hall" in memory of Arnold Toynbee—where young Oxford men gone to London may live & constantly meet with their former neighbours—There has just been an Exhibition of pictures in Whitechapel with a Catalogue written on purpose to explain & describe the pictures, & many young Oxford men spent their evenings at this Exhibition selling the Catalogues at 1d & otherwise doing all the work of paid officials—interesting themselves in the visitors & helping them to understand & profit by what they saw. While Mr Acland was with us, Dr Markby of Calcutta (the Calcutta representative to the Edinh Tercentenary Anniversary) dined with us—he gave us much interesting information about Indian students, & their extraordinary ability. He says they often live on a handful of rice in a day—sleep on a mat—have only one book among several so that they learn even mathematics from hearing only—& that through the medium of English—& that they pass through their examinations with brilliancy. He told of two students in particular who wished to pass an Examn in Latin & Greek—Dr Markby tried to dissuade them, because of the short time they had to get up the necessary knowledge—so different from the time usually spent on these subjects by an English student—However they tried, & succeeded brilliantly. He thinks they are, as a race, extremely quick & clever, & this not only in learning but in practical matters—but that Europeans are slow to recognize their ability, & desirous of keeping it bac in the background.

Prof. & Mrs Seeley stayed with us both in going to & returning from the great festival at Edinburgh, wh they described as most impressive—One day we made an excursion to Newbiggin & thence walked—some driving—to Warkworth. It was a gray sombre day, but just as we reached Warkworth the sun shone out & illumined the old Castle & the surrounding woods—The Seeleys were much struck with Warkworth—both Castle & Hermitage—the picturesque & pathetic tale of the latter they had never heard—The Merzs were with us, & our large party all had tea in the pleasant little "Sun" Inn—In returning home in the train endless songs beguiled the way, to the amusement & pleasure of our friends—& to my delight, for I love that impromptu & hearty singing. Mabel's friend Dora Clark, a charming girl, was with us too, & sang beautifully. Prof. Seeley is a most interesting man but his wife, although a pleasant, withal very fidgetty lady, does not seem exactly the woman to help him on. It was funny to see the dear little man  plodging through the stream wh barred the way on the Warkworth sands. Robert took the ladies of the party one by one in his strong arms & carried them over, Dr Merz, the Professor & Herbert Corder more leisurely plodged through afterwards.

In May we were in London for a few days, & met there my sister Carrie, & our Ruth who had been paying several delightful visits with her Aunt. They had been to Birmingham to the Allbrights, to Leamington to Miss Atkins, to Cheltenham, to my sister Emily White's at Bournemouth, & to Mrs Howard's in London. We went together to several places of interest, & attended the Wordsworth meeting, at wh Robert read a beautiful paper on "Wordsworth's Relations to Science." The meeting was in the Library at Lambeth, & the Archbishop of Canterbury was there Mr Lowell was in the Chair, & made a charming introductory speech full of humour & point. The Rev. Mr Ainger read a paper on Charles Lamb's early appreciation of Wordsworth—a very happy discourse, with much genial humour, partly his own, partly Charles Lamb's. The success of the meeting was rather marred by a long winded oration from the Hon. Roden Noel—about what no one knows—but wh tired every out.

After the meeting, R. & I drove to Mr Albert Grey's, where we had afternoon tea, & a very pleasant visit. Mrs Grey was charming—ditto the children—Mr Grey always is—The Thursfields were there & Mrs T. & I were shewn over the magnificent suite of rooms by Mrs Grey, who pointed out all the most famous old pictures, & acted Cicerone in the most friendly way.

That same day we had had breakfast with Mr Bryce & his sister, & extremely enjoyed their pleasant talk, & their interesting house. Mr Bryce almost despairs of progress in the House of Commons & finds to be a Member of Parliament by no means an enviable lot. He is much in love with America & would like to live there. Query would government be any better there. He thinks there will have to be a complete Revolution—a peaceful one—before things are much better in England.

At Whitsuntide Ruth & I had a charming little excursion to Grasmere. We left Newcastle at 9.30, &, travelling viâ Darlington Barnard Castle & Tebay had a pleasant journey to Windermere. The coach ride from Windermere to Grasmere was the only unpleasant part of the journey—for we were completely enveloped in clouds of dust wh almost blinded us—Carrie was at the Prince of Wales' Hotel to meet us, & the Heugh Folds garden, after climbing the hill, was a veritable Elysium. I never saw it so lovely—such masses of rhododendrons, such gorse & broom—a glory of gold & forget me nots, fair yellow poppies, azaleas, hyacinths & countless other flowers—It was enough to sit still & breathe the sweet perfumed air, & gaze on the wealth of flowers, & beyond to the peaceful lake.

Annie Atkins was staying at Heugh Folds. On the Saturday we all went up beyond Nab Scar—a delightful walk, with lovely views all the way. In the evening boating on the lake, & sketching. On Sunday morning when C. & A.A. had gone to early service & Ruth & I were sitting at breakfast, who should appear but Robert. We expected his coming but never thought he could arrive so early. He had left Newcastle, after playing in a cricket match at the Boy's High School, at 7 o'clock travelled to Penrith, & at once started to walk to Grasmere—leaving Penrith at 1 a.m. & reaching G. at 8.30. He walked viâ Pooley Bridge, We had a delightful Sunday, but on Monday, R. had to leave to go to an old scholar's association meeting at York. Carrie, Annie Atkins, Ruth & I drove in the afternoon (June 2nd) to Coniston to call on Miss Susan Beever—the dear old lady of "The Thwaite" Ruskin's great friend, & the writer Editor of his Frondes Agrestes—She is 80 years old, & not able to go out much—but her mind is as fresh as ever; she still learns new poems by heart, & repeats them beautifully & is full of fun & repartee. When C. asked if she might introduce the Goodwins to her "Will you not be bored by them, Miss Beever?"—"Will they not be bored by me?" was her instant reply. She says Ruskin's face cannot be painted or modelled "it is the light in his face." She took us into her charming little room, where were pictures by Turner lent by Ruskin—two portraits of Mr & Mrs Collingwood, the husband's by the wife, & the wife's by the husband—two most beautiful faces—an exquisite water colour by Ruskin of faded oak leaves set in a deep blue background—a most exquisitely wonderfully drawn picture—also delicate painted feathers—underneath one is written "To dear Miss Susie, to shew her how her favourites clothe themselves". On coming away she repeated some beautiful lines expressive of her peace & joy. She said to me "Will you kiss me?"—A wonderful old woman she is, racy, loving, eager, sympathetic. Of the four sisters who made the four terraces in the quaint old garden with the quaint little steps, each step a garden & the beds gay with flowers on either hand, only Miss Susie is left. She looked after us as we reluctantly turned away, shading her eyes with her hands. A blessing seemed to follow us as we went, & the thought that it may be the last time we shall ever seem the dear unique old lady mingled with sadness the brightness of our visit. A. Atkins told how Ruth did not care for animals apropos of cats & bats—Miss Beever said earnestly to Ruth "Oh my dear, will you learn to love them?"

We returned by way of a long rich gorge, with exquisite views of the lake, looking back, & on to Tarn Howes a lovely tarn in a superb situation with such views of Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam, the Langdales &c Then by Skelwith, & Red Bank home. The following sonnet was written by Miss Lloyd, for Miss Beever.

"Behind the hills a light from sunset skies,

The sheltering boughs sway in the western breeze;

Two windows gleam, high 'mid the tall, dim trees,

The tall, dim trees that round thy dwelling rise.

I entered, with expectant heart & eyes

I saw thy soul as calm & crystal clear

As I had imaged any soul to be.

Then my heart cried, I praise my God for thee

Nor greater blessing wished thee, for to say

'God bless thee' were an answered prayer to pray."

A. Lloyd.


I should have mentioned on the Sunday the pleasant visit of the Goodwins & Miss Fletcher to Heugh Folds. Mr Goodwin is an Artist with a most refined & gentle face—they are both charming people. Miss Fletcher has great powers of thought-reading & some amusing experiments were tried.

On Tuesday—Whit Tuesday, Ruth & I left this lovely home, & now look back to those three days as a bright episode in our lives -


'On July 22nd we sailed for Bergen, our whole family & Mattie. Of the delights of our stay in Norway I have written in another book—suffice it here to say we had an ideally happy time. Norway is now to us the "land of lands"—& our rambles over the fjelde, our sailings on the fjords with our dear children—now in this smoky place with all its duties & cares & anxieties, seem like some happy far off dream.

We left our beloved Faleide to its kind people on the 29th August, & after an exceptionally fine voyage, reached home on September 1st. Since then we have been very busy—many guests, & many things to do. We have had a pleasant little visit from Mr Morley, who made a magnificent speech in the Town Hall, R. in the Chair. Then we had a fortnight's visit from Mr Morton, who came on University extension affairs—from my sister Emily White, with her sweet little Mary Gladys—Then Professor Stuart came, & for a few nights we had to let Evie & one of the little ones sleep at Moss Croft, not having room for all our guests. Professor Stuart had been with Gladstone in his Scotch journey, & had many interesting things to tell us about him. He says Gladstone generally gets about 500 letters a week—he has a very systematic way of dealing with them. They are all opened first of all by one of his Seies & marked those wh do not require Gladstone's supervision are not laid before him. The others are, & he marks on the envelope how each is to be answered—having various short signs intelligible to the Secretary. This business generally occupies the morning till one o'clock. Before making a great speech he puts all papers &c relating to it into a box. Then the day or so before, he goes over all these, making notes of what he intends to use. The last few hours before the time of his speech he reads a novel or some other light book, & does not think of his speech at all. He makes notes for the peroration, but his powers of language are so great that he does not need to do more.

Prof. Stuart says the one thing Gladstone seems quite ignorant of is science—that he talks of scientific things as a child would do. He says he is a capital man of business. The enthusiasm with wh he has been met all through his Scotch journey has been quite unbounded. He read us some most picturesque letters from Miss Gladstone keeping up the record of events since he left them. All the little incidents of the journey most charmingly told. How at one place photographs were being sold of the "Grand Old Man, 2d each"—"the Grand Old Man with his wife 3d &c &c shouted out in business like tones just under Miss Gladstone's nose. How at Carlisle a great crowd gathered, & Miss G. watched the expression of the peoples' faces & how sometimes even their jaws seemed to move at the emphatic parts, in sympathy with the people—how at one place Mrs Gladstone was presented with a box of soap by a working man, how at another place 20 yds of velvet were offered—at another grapes & everywhere flowers. We heard from another source that at Hawick woolen combinations were given—hung up in full view of all—one marked for "Mrs Gladstone, another for Mrs Trevelyan"—It is impossible to reproduce all Miss Gladstone's pretty touches. Had I only known shorthand I should have been tempted surreptitiously to set down a good deal. The guests at Lord Rosebery's—their anxiety about their host who had broken his collar bone—their meeting Sir Andrew Clark, & Miss Powell, a Newnham student staying with them—her fear lest her parents should get overdone, or crushed in the surging crowds—the planting of trees, the graceful little speeches of her father—every little detail brings the whole things vividly before us. The last letter was written at each station as they went along—so that it was really more than a journal—an hourly a record from hour to hour.

The meeting at Seaton Delaval at wh Prof. Stuart, Mr Roberts, Mr Morton, Mr Grey, Mr Hodgkin & many others were prest to meet the minders, & consider the present position of University Extension, & the best ways of making placing it on a sound economical basis, was exceedingly interesting—Prof. Stuart's speech in particular. Our dear Mabel was unable to go with us then. She has had a very bad cold for 10 days, & is quite pulled down. Arnold, the sweet little laddie has had his first week of school. He declared he would not go—"I will follow you Papa wherever you go, but I won't go to school." However when the time came, he went without a murmur, & he has been so happy—& so good, Miss Sewell says. I took Prof. Stuart & my sister Emily to the school; we heard some excellent lessons given, particularly one by Miss Hawkyard, & saw the sweet little Kindergarten children—our wee Arnold looking so bonny among them—Prof. Stuart was delighted with the teaching & the teachers, & I felt a maternal pride in the school—

One evening future Premiers were discussed. Prof. Stuart thinks the Premier must have a strong religious element in his character. Mr Morley & Mr Chamberlain compared—Morley almost has the religious element. Chamberlain not, & somewhat lacking the finer instincts of a gentleman. Gladstone says he is content to leave certain questions—he cannot enter on them now. For instance, Women's Suffrage he knows will come, but he would rather not meddle with it—he thinks it will not be in his day.


March, 1885

We thought the winter had passed & gone, & lo on this "wild March morning" it is here again—snowing fast & furiously. I had planned to do up our dear Ruth's garden, to have it in fair array when she comes home next week, but instead shall devote an hour to this neglected book. I wrote last in the Autumn. Since then what stirring times there have been. War in the Soudan—Gordon killed, Gladstone, the hero of the Autumn, fallen in the minds of many, from his topmost seat of glory—threatened difficulties with Russia—fearful stagnation of trade, (except the wicked business of making implements of war) & distress among all classes—it is a bad look out for our country. The winter has been a mild one, wh has been one great comfort for the poor—but had it not been for the liberal response to the appeals for help, & to the indefatigable exertions of many ladies & gentlemen, the suffering must have been tenfold greater. Many people, formerly looked upon as wealthy, have been reduced to sad straits, & their troubles rendered all the greater by the difficulty of selling their possessions in these bad times.

In November last, our dear Mabel had a slight attack of scarlet fever at Newnham. I went to her at once, & after a little talk with Miss Gladstone & Miss Richardson, in Miss G's pleasant room, I was taken upstairs out to the hospital wing where Mabel was, changed my dress, & hastened in to the dear child. She was never really ill, so that it was not a time of much anxiety, & we both enjoyed the quiet rest together. At first we had a nurse from the Hospital, but after one week I let her go, as there was not need for her services, & then it was my delight to be my darling's sole nurse. Every morning I lighted the fire, & dusted & swept the room & arranged the lovely flowers with wh kind friends made our little hospital like a fragrant garden. Then there were innumerable letters to write & fumigate before posting; delightful books to read, & various little household duties which made the time pass quickly away. We read together, besides other things, "A Doubting Heart" Miss Keary's charming story, Mrs Stowe's quaint & pretty "Poganuc People, their Lives & Loves"—a part of "Esmond", Miss Richardson & Katie Pattinson had given Mabel "Poems of the Inner Life," & many of these we much enjoyed together. Every morning a nice woman came in to do any washing or cleaning that might be required, & I took advantage of her being there to take a walk & do any little errands in the town. I grew quite familiar with the beautiful Colleges, & enjoyed intensely my walks among the "Backs", where the stately trees, beautiful in winter as in summer, watch over the quiet river. During this time I often saw Mr & Mrs Robinson & Miss Harwood whose kindness to us in every way I can never forget.

Then, when Mabel was better & able to be up, kind friends came to the window, to see & be seen, while I acted as the purveyor of many messages from an adjoining window. At last came the time when she herself could talk from the wiindow, & then go out in the garden, & on the morning afternoon of the 16th—the day on which the students went down, I went to her room in the College, & packed up her things, ready to start for home the next morning. And so, on the 17th Dec. we left together the snug little Hospital (in wh Mabel was the first patient) Miss Gladstone, the Housekeeper & the servants all seeing us off, with many kind words. Indeed every one had been so kind to us, & we had been so happy together, that, although joyful at our release & at the prospect of going home, we could each have said,

"Even I

     Regain my freedom with a sigh."


& now that it is all over, the anxieties, the separation from home, & the few small troubles we feel

"That cares & trials seem at last

Through Memory's sunset air

Like distant ranges overpast

In purple distance fair."


I forgot to say, in describing our arrangements, that our meals were brought to us, & deposited on the stairs where I went to fetch them in—Of course tea, I made for ourselves, & we were kept supplied with a little store of bread, butter & milk.

After much anxious thought, we had decided that Mabel should go to Whitley, to lodgings for a week before coming home—we had taken Mrs Elder's nice lodging, where we were before, Mattie had been down & seen that everything was ready for us. Robert & my sister Carrie met us at Newcastle & were a few short minutes with us before we went on to Whitley & our rooms a joyful meeting indeed it was. Our rooms at Whitley were most comfortable—I settled dear Mabel in, & the next day changed places with Evie, who again changed with Ruth, & at the end of the week we were all—with thankful hearts, together at home again.

Our Christmas party was a very happy & successful one—some of the young people helped by the Dendys, acted two scenes from "Uncle Tom" "The Quaker Settlement" & "Topsy" Both were very good. Mrs Dendy made a sweet "Rachel Halliday" & Mabel acted the charming little "Ruth"  Mr Dendy was an admirable "St Clair", & Evie a capital "Topsy." Miss Baumgartner was "Miss Ophelia".

We have had very pleasant little visits from Mr Albert Grey, Mr Courtney (on Proportional Representation) & Mr Morley. Mr Green (of Mount Cook fame), Mr Edward Whymper, the first to ascend Chimborazo & Cotopaxi, & many other interesting people. In January our dear Ruth went to Bedford College in London, Mabel taking her. (I had been up from Cambridge in the Autumn & arranged for this) She found the routine work & regular hours & the rather strict regulations, a little trying at first, but she writes very happily, & we are convinced it is the right place for her. Next week the dear child comes home. Mabel comes on Saturday next.

In February last R. & I went up to London, thence to Cambridge to spend Sunday most pleasantly with Professor & Mrs Seeley, & back again to London. In Cambridge we saw & heard much that was interesting. Prof. Seeley is a host in himself, & both he & Mrs Seeley were abounding in hospitality—Their only child Fanny, is a striking looking girl of 13, already, as her father told us, with the true literary spirit—knowing thoroughly Keats & Wordsworth—Keats her favourite poet. Her father directs her reading, & she is only allowed to have 1 hour's German a day & 1½ hour for music, in the way of settled study. Prof. Seeley does not at all approve of carrying on more than one language at a time—He says Fanny is never at a loss for something to do—She plays a great deal with some young companions, & seems a thoroughly natural, & most intelligent child—not at all conceited, although with some reason for being so.

I attended the little meeting at Cambridge in the morning—a restful refreshing time, & in the afternoon we all went to King's Chapel, & were much impressed with the beautiful service there, & the sight of all those young men, so soon to enter into the real battle of life. The anthem was peculiarly impressive—from Mendellsohn's [sic] Hymn of Praise. First of all came the wailing—"The sorrows of death laid hold upon me, the pangs of Hell got hold upon me"—then the beautiful recitative tenor "Watchman what of the night—will the night ever be past? See ye, enquire ye, will the night pass?"—& then the exquisite child's voice (soprano) breaking forth "The night is departing, the day is approaching"—taken up by the chorus & echoed again & again. It was most beautiful & touching, & we all felt it appropriate to the feelings predominant in all our hearts—to the cloud hanging over our country—but we trust, the day—the day of better things is approaching—Miss Gladstone sat very near us, with bowed head. I know she was thinking of her father & all his heavy anxieties. The hymn, without accompaniment was exquisite—"Art thou weary are thou languid" &c

After this most beautiful service, we called in to see Mr Roberts in his beau newly done up & very pretty rooms—where we met Mr & Miss Grant—then on to Newnham where our dear Mabel had tea for us & several of her College friends Miss Richards, Katie Pattinson Miss Norris, Miss Jullion, Miss Lee, Miss Rolleston—a very pleasant, but all too short time. At the Seeleys in the eveg Mr & Mrs Magnuson were there to meet us—We had some pretty Icelandic & Norse songs from then in the after dinner. Altogether a very nice time. R. & Ruth left the next evening by the early train (I forgot to say Ruth ahd come with us, & stayed at the College) while I waited till the afternoon,  had some delightful hours with Mabel. In London we saw the collection of Old Masters at Burlington House, the Grosvenor with its Gainsboroughs &c The great event however, was the Marquis of Ripon's reception Banquet. Ruth & I had ladies' tickets & a capital place, just above John Bright, whose noble old head was finer than any of his aristocratic neighbours. Lord Ripon, Lord Kimberley, the Marquis of Hartington, Lords Cowper, Aberdare, Northbrook with one or two outside the Cabinet, of whom my dear husband, best & handsomest of them all, was one, sat at the chief table raised above the others—& environed by masses of exquisite flowers & palms & ferns—It was a wonderful sight altogether—the galleries filled with brilliantly dressed ladies—the long rows of tables filling up the Hall, occupied by Liberals from all parts of the country, & the horse shoe table at the top among its flowers with its decorated nobles—The speeches were not remarkable—& the evening was far too long—John Bright could not speak till 11.30—& would have only made a remark or two at that late hour, had not the people persistently urged "Go on go on". R. spoke admirably to the toast of the "Two Houses of Parliament", but his speech, not being an M.P. nor having a handle to his name, was not reported, greatly to my dissatisfaction. Since that eveg I have heard so many praises of it, through Mr Morley & others that I am all the more vexed. Sir Chas. Dilke commented on it, defending the Govt wh R. had, somewhat hardly perhaps, but very discriminately criticized.

We returned home on the 28th, having much enjoyed our few days in London, & having our dear Ruth so much with us. R. had had a good deal of heavy business to attend to, but still was somewhat refreshed by the change. We came back by way of Bedford, & Leicester the former an interesting place with its statue of John Bunyan &c—the latter a dull town, but comfortable quarters at the "Stag & Pheasant."—to York where we met several friends at a Conference about the war. A very prolonged discussion wh shewed me more than anything the difficulties of the case. Since then R. has had to go to Derby on the same subject & has had much correspondence & work in connection therewith. There will probably be a meeting shortly of the National Liberal Federation, when it is hoped a Resolution may be carried urging the Govt not to prosecute the war in the Soudan. We reached home & our darling children at about 8—& found the warmest of welcomes—R. is now very busy—far too many engagements—lectures on "Domestic Reforms" "Peace" &c—& often looks sadly tired & overworked—but I trust a few day's holiday at Easter will be very restful to him.

On the 7th of February, our dear nephew Cecil Richardson, my brother John's son, died, after a very suffering illness. He was just 15 when he died, & such a fine, bright boy. It is a great grief to his parents, but they are bearing their sorrow with a noble resignation.

Little Norbert Merz had a slight attack of scarlet fever in January—& during his illness his brother Charles, who was to go to school, stayed here—a clever, helpful boy. He & Mary became fast friends, & made several expeditions together—often very usefully.

While I have been writing, the snow has all melted away, & the sun breaks out once more—and so I end this long history.

March 18th 1885


I must not omit to record a very pleasant visit from Mr Moncure D. Conway—Long ago he came to see us at Moss Croft, & was good enough to write in our Visitor's Book there that he had gathered moss roses at Moss Croft—symbolically of course—He then gave Mabel "Little Women," a book wh has given a world of pleasure to many little readers since. He is as full of interest as ever—& had a great deal to tell us of his recent visits to different courts in Europe—The Ball at the Winter Palace at St Petersburg be describes as of extraordinary brilliance. 3000 people sat down at midnight to a hot dinner (called supper) of many courses—Everything quite perfect—& beautiful waiting. The Empress (Dagmar) our Princess of Wales' sister is very charming—& very accomplished speaks English as if she lived in Belgravia—The Empress of Austria Mr Conway thinks a martyr to fashion—her waist pinched in so that she can scarcely it is painful to look upon. She never eats a bite at the State Dinners, although everything is placed before her as though she were intending to. The Austrian ladies are the worst Mr Conway has seen in respect to this hateful fashion of small waists. He thinks the Empress loves to go away to hunt &c to escape these thraldoms "to get out of her stays". Mr Conway gave us his views about Carlyle & Mrs Carlyle with both of whom he was on terms of intimate friendship—as he was also with Froude—He thinks the Biography was shamefully hurried through the press, & much pain thereby caused to many people still living. Carlyle he thinks was really a far finer character than his wife, whose bitterness & jealousies were quite unfounded. Mrs C. fancied she was only asked to Mrs Lady Ashburton's &c for her husband's sake, & so wld not go—thus forcing Carlyle to go without her. Carlyle had a habit of soliloquizing in writing—so that he really put down almost every thought, & wh of us could stand that test? Mr Conway lectured on Sunday most ably on Emerson & Carlyle, pointing out some of the gross inaccuracies & the mistakes of Froude's work, & describing the characteristic differences between the two friends—the one an Optimist in all his thoughts, the other a Pessimist—The circumstances of their lives no doubt had much to do with these views—still, as a man Emerson was the finer man of the two. The friendship between them was very beautiful.

One night during Mr C's visit spiritualistic experiences were talked of, & as a proof that mere jugglers can be at least as wonderful as some of them he related an experience of his in India. He went to see a native conjurer—he (the conjuror) was standing a good way off a plain deal table, with no cover on it—quite open to view. This man took a number of little tiny dolls & put them on the table. He then retreated a good way off, keeping his hands motionless by his side, while he ordered the dolls to dance—He made them dance in many different ways—all round the table, in one corner, in a circle &c—He then asked Mr Conway if he would like to see any particular dance. Mr C. replied that he wld like two of the dolls to come & waltz together. This they immediately did, at the bidding of the Conjuror. The latter finally took a penny (one of Mr C's) & placed it on one corner of the table. The penny forthwith stood up on end, & danced away across the table, & popped itself into a box!

Mr C. told us in detail how completely Madame Bravatsky had been exposed—There had been a well arranged plot between her & an other medium wh  had been all found out—But i could not possibly put down the half of all the interesting things Mr Conway discoursed of—he has the most observant eyes, & thoughtful mind wh & wide experience wh make him a most interesting companion. He left America years ago—(he was driven forth from his native Virginia owing to his Anti Slavery view) & now he & his wife are returning to be near their tow old mothers who want their children near them before they die. Mr Conway's father was a slaveholder, & during the war several of his brothers fought on the Southern side, so that he had a time of terrible anxiety.

Our dear Mabel & Ruth have both come home, & we had planned to go all together to Heugh Folds wh my sister Carrie had kindly placed at our disposal for the holidays. But alas—"the best laid schemes of mice & men gae aft agley"—our little Arnold has taken the measles, & we have had to send the other children off without him. He is going on well, & we must be thankful if he recovers nicely with no evil effects—but it is a bitter disappointment not to take the precious little laddie. The others their cousin Lucy with them, & Margaret & Charlotte (the two servants who are to do duty there) all went off this morning. Robert & I hope to follow tomorrow, if Arnold is still doing well—just over the Easter Monday holiday. The house seems strangely desolate—only the wee laddie upstairs in his nursery, tired & weak, the devoted Mattie who has worked splendidly though she is much disappointed not to go to Grasmere, & Mary the Cook—Mr Morley is coming to stay the night—he & Robert have a meeting this evening, & will be out to supper about 9 o'clock.

It has been a disappointing time to our two dear girls Mabel & Ruth who have been able to see so little of their friends, & now are likely to be a good deal separated from us during the remainder of their holidays. They will go straight back to Cambridge & to London. Ruth looks very well—as if her London life thoroughly suited her—& she is so bonny.

Evie has been most kindly allowed by Miss Cooper to work her Examn papers at her house (& Mary too). This was a very kind concession, & took away the regret of missing some school days. Dear Evie has come out 2nd in her form. We have not yet heard the results of the others. Evie is in the "Cambridge form".

April 1st 1885.


In June we had a most delightful time in Cambridge—the rough notes of our visit here inserted—& also at Witley. After Mabel & Ruth came home we had several garden parties—successful ones on the whole, although the weather was sometimes against us—Then on July 28th we sailed in the "Norge" for Norway. The record of the happy six weeks spent in that delightful land, I give elsewhere. I will only here say that we found rest & refreshment & delight—and our pleasure was greatly increased by our having dear "Aunt Car" with us, & by her appreciation of that the land so dear to us—Newcastle & Gateshead looked very black & the streets very squalid when we landed after our long & tempestuous voyage—we should have reached the Tyne on Monday morning early, but it was midnight before, after long tossings, we at length came to our "desire haven" then it was too late to go up the river, & back to our little berths we had to go, instead of to the delicious home beds we had expected. But indeed we could not complain—thankful we were to have reached the English shores in safety, & when on the Tuesday morning (Sep 15th) we walked over the hills & came to our own beloved home, what a paradise it looked—I don't know whether Ørstenvik will ever quite take the place in our hearts that Faleide has done, beautiful though it is, and in some respects even more beautiful.

And now we have been for nearly six weeks settled in at home, & busy with all the multifarious concerns of home life. The dear father has lectures, meetings political, social &c wh keep him out in the evenings far more than we like or he likes either, and he sees little of the precious children. He is busy now for the fourth time with the arduous task of arbitration—in the Iron Trade. It is indeed a heavy task—little do either masters or men know the long hours of anxious earnest toil given to this work, nor the pain wh a reduction in wages costs him. They would both trust him even more did they know all this—but it is too heavy a burden, & I hope he will never be asked again.

Mabel & Ruth have both gone back to Newnham & Bedford Colleges, & I mess them sorely—Mabel is very happy, but Ruth longs for home. The other dear children are all at the High School—Evie in the Cambridge form—Mary in Miss Parker's, Bertha in the 1st under Miss Bicknell, & Arnold in the Kindergarten under [one word heavily crossed out and illegible] Miss Sewell. It is impossible to describe the loveliness of our little boy—he grows sweeter & lovelier every day, & is so good & obedient. His pretty sayings would fill a book—surely never child prattled so sweetly. He said when his father sang his song about Norway

"I will be a gallant sailor,

As happy as can be"—

"But I am not a gallant sailor Papa, for I was so sea sick." He would like to go to Norway in "chariots best." One day he was wishing for a writing wand—& said to his father—"I know what I'd wish for"—"What would you wish for Arnold"? And the sweet little voice whispered "That you needn't go to the office, papa." When he comes in to our bed in the mornings his little heart seems to overflow with love—He comes in between us & smothers us with kisses, & then begin songs & stories & endless prattle of the most bewitching kind, & Mattie's knock at the door comes far too soon. He is so like his dear father in face—may he only grow like him in mind—May God keep this precious little son from the evil of the world. I could write of the others too, & all their dearness—but it is too long a theme—we are indeed blessed in our loving & beloved & lovely children.

We have had a very nice visit from Mr Morton—also from Mr Roberts, Mr Slingsby on his way home from Norway, & others. Mrs Flood has been with us 4 weeks & returns to Norway next week. She & I are reading "En Glad Gut" together, such a pretty story of Bjørn Bjørnnsen's—The picture of Norwegian life is so charming & so true.


Dec. 1st

The year is drawing to a close, & my book with it—already we are in the Christmas month, & next week our dear Mabel returns home. Ruth not till the Xmas week. After Mrs Flood left us, we had a pleasant 5 days' visit from Miss Dorothy Tennant, a charming lady—one of the cleverest & most accomplished we have ever met. She came with her brother in law Mr Frederick Myers, who gave one of the Sunday lectures in Newcastle. He was obliged to leave us on the Monday, but Miss Tennant stayed on until Thursday morng She is the author & artist of "London Ragamuffins" in the "English Illustrated Magazine" an extremely clever sketch, both the writing & the drawing. A charming little sketch in our Visitor's Book is a delightful memento both of her ability & of her visit. Everyone was delighted with her—she has such a nice way with the children, & shews them so many ingenious things that she was soon a prime favourite. Monday, Nov. 2nd was the half term & Miss Tennant went with us, first to South Shields where the children had a bathe & a swim in the fine new Swimming Bath, then across the ferry to Tynemouth North Shields & on to Tynemouth where we had dinner with the Herberts, & afterwards a stroll on the sands & fine fun among the rocks—altogether a delightful holiday. Miss Tennant told us during her stay many interesting things about her childhood & her home. She & her brothers & sisters were always allowed to do whatever they liked—but on closer interrogation as to this seemingly very doubtful régime, I found that their love & reverence for their father & mother were such that they would never willingly do anything they knew they would not like. In some few cases the doing what they liked brought its own punishment & so was a lesson they would not forget. Their father & mother & a tutor used to teach them, & every evening their father used to read to them—a pretty picture of happy family life. The rule—want of no rule seems to have answered admirably—if only the same wise & loving spirit could prevail in every household! John Bright was a great favourite of Miss Tennant's—he & Cobden used often to come to her father's to discuss the Corn law question—Once Dolly when a tiny child wrote a letter to John Bright telling him how she liked him &c but saying he must not answer it, for she did not know whether she should write it. Soon after he called & asked to see Dolly specially, when he gave her a present of Whittier's Poems—with her name written in. When Dolly was quite a little girl she once ran away from home for a bit of un. They were then staying in the country, in Wales. The wise mother found out where the child was, & then wisely left her (making privately arrangements with the farm people she had gone to) This soon wrought its own cure, & Dolly was glad enough to return home.

Soon after Miss Tennant left us, having occasion to go up to London, I took Mabel & Ruth to call at Richmond Terrace where she lives—Here we saw the handsome stately mother—the beautiful rooms, the glorious pictures of Mrs Myers by Millais, & of Dolly by Watts—the one glowing with scarlet & rich colour, the other subdued & tender & exquisite—splendid examples of two styles of painting. I should certainly choose the Watts but the rich beauty of the other is not to be gainsaid. We saw the Studio too, & the little Sanctum where Dorothy has the portraits of her heroes—Gambetta, Leonard Courtney John Bright, John Morley, Mr Burt, & last (& first to me) my husband & my little son. We spent a most interesting hour & a half or so—hearing some curious tragical family histories {story of Miss Gordon & Mr Cooper & Mr ____ ____} & getting a glimpse into another sort of world. Miss Tennant works all day in her studio till six o'clock—& then she is free to enjoy society &c Her Mother does everything for her, in the way of providing her dress & freeing her from all care.

We had intended going down to Bournemouth to spend Sunday with the Whites, but a slight attack of scarlet fever wh little Mary White had prevented our carrying out this pleasant project so instead we went down to Virginia Water, stayed at the not very nice inn "The Wheatsheaf"—had a "day of days" for Sunday—saw over the vast Holloway College for Ladies, walked to Windsor & admired the glorious view from the terrace—& partly drove, partly walked back to Virginia Water where, in the glowing sunset the trees with their golden & crimson foliage were reflected in magical beauty—in The next morning in cold & fog back to London—Mabel to Cambridge Ruth to Bedford College, I home.

We had, in the earlier part of this month a pleasant little visit from Mr Chandarvarkar, an Indian gentleman, one of a deputation sent from India to plead for justice for Indians. At a public meeting at wh Robert presided & made an admirable, wise, & sympathetic speech—this gentleman & his Colleague appeared in their Turbans looking very picturesque, & pleaded their cause very ably. Mr Chandarvarkar stayed with us & the other gentleman Mr Ramaswamy came to breakfast one morning—he was a very handsome genial man, speaking English perfectly—but longing to be back in his own warm climate.

And now we have just had the Elections—an exciting time. Robert has been so busy—out night after night, helping every body with his presence & his wise counsels & his stirring speeches—& taking no rest himself. It seemed likely at first that there was going to be a Tory Reaction but here in the North the Liberals have done much to retrieve the losses in the South. Mr James, Mr Joicey, Mr Wilson, Sir Edward Grey—all Liberals, & on Saturday there was the Polling at Newcastle. There were grave doubts & fears because of the way in wh Mr Cowen had behaved. He has always acted most ungenerously to Mr Morley as he did to Mr Dilke, & his support from the Tories & from the Irish vote made Mr Morley's a hard battle to fight. The counting took place yesterday—Mrs Morley, Mrs Stephens, my three sweet little bairns & I had a room in St Nicholas Square, near the Post Office, whence we could see the great crowds collected to hear the Declaration of the Poll—& the board with the fateful numbers at the end of the counting. Two & a half hours we waited anxiously—at one time we feared the excited crowds would do some mischief—the mischief wh idle hands will find to do. The long waiting was tedious, & as carts with difficulty passed through the crowd, the people seized on a barrel of apples—soon forced it open, sent the apples flying hither & thither, chucked the barrel about on the tips of innumerable hands, &, worse still, got hold of some passing coke & flung it far & near to the great danger of broken heads or eyes put out. However no serious injury occurred, & at last, at 2.20, the welcome numbers appeared, welcome in all except that we should rather have seen Mr Morley head the Poll. The numbers stand thus—


Cowen 10489
Morley 10129
Hamond 9500

The analysis stands thus—votes for



Cowen & Morley 2718
Cowen Plumpers 2814
Morley " 7105
Hamond " 4237
Hamond & Cowen 4957
Morley & Hamond 306

- so that if it had not been for the Tory votes to Cowen & the solid Irish votes Morley would have been head of the Poll.

How glad I am this election is over—it has been a trying time—the Liberal Association, with R. at its head have had continual opposition & obloquy. It has been a hard won fight, & we rejoice in the grand victory. R. has gone to York tonight to read his lecture on Browning at "The Mount"—he gets no rest when he so much needs it—his cough is very bad, & two days he was mostly in bed just before the final meeting for Mr Morley—at wh he was Chairman, in spite of his illness -

Among our other guests we had for one night Mr Auberon Herbert, an interesting man, with peculiar views—admirable for Utopia, but scarcely, I fear practicable for the world as it is. But it was very interesting to hear his views, with many of wh we agreed—although seeing the extreme difficulty of working them. He is an earnest, devoted man & one whom we should like to see more of. We met on common ground on Norway, where he too has been with his family—at a place called Ornaes, just within the Arctic Circle. Happy man, he had 3 whole months there!

Bertha & Arnold have been to night to a party at Dr Wilson's—They have come in in radiant beauty to tell me all their delight, & before she went to bed little Bertha stood by my side & repeated to me with such spirit & expression, The Fairies of the Cauldron Sow. It was quite a treat to hear her, & to see the while her speaking face, so lovely in its trust & in its beauty—"And where have you been my Mary? And where have you been to day"? Then Mary sang to me her sweet little songs, & talked of Flodden & Bannockburn, & acted the dear little mother to Bertha & Arnold—& Arnold kissed & hugged me. And we were all so happy. Only the dear father should have been here, & the elder daughters. Sweet Evie was, but not the other two. God bless you all my children, and keep you & us in His holy keeping. Farewell.

Dec. 1st '85

Albert Grey's Election for the Tyneside Division, if he is successful—on Friday—I must note the result here. A. Grey won by a large majority—over Gainsford Bruce -


Volume 3, 1886-99

'Elizabeth Spence Watson

Home Records

Vol. III. 1886

Bensham Grove.

March 6th 1886.

The sixth of March, & scarcely a sign of spring—snow lying deep all around, & a hard keen frost. We have had a severe winter—no very hard frosts, but constant slighter ones—followed by thaw & frost again, & more or less snow almost always on the ground—slushy & unpleasant to walk on, & dirty & unpleasant to look on. This week we have had one of the most terrible storms ever remembered. I certainly never knew anything at all like it. Monday March 1st was the half term holiday, & we had intended going to Whitley for a stretch on the sands, & a breath of sea air—but the fast falling snow & strong wind compelled us to give up our project. All day it snowed, & the fierce wind blew the snow into drifts so deep that to flounder into one was positively dangerous—Tuesday was almost equally bad, railway communication was stopped on many of the local lines & on the main line north—& many are the stories of snowed up travellers—kept at Acklington or Morpeth or elsewhere for hours—as much as 60 hours. Hundreds of men were sent to clear the lines, but the drifts were so deep that the task took long to accomplish. There were extraordinary adventures & escapes by pedestrians or and those travelling by conveyance—carters &c in the country. Even here we were completely snowed up at the back, & had to be dug out before we could get any communication by the back door. No milk came from Whickham for 2 days—a thing we never knew before—The great snow ploughs drawn by 8 horses piled the snow up on either hand in the streets of Newcastle, leaving great walls of snow between which to walk or drive. Altogether we have been for the time as if transferred to the Arctic regions—only happily with less cold—& for a short time. On Thursday & Friday the streets were all slush—but to day fresh snow & frost appear—all looks white & beautiful & glittering in the sunshing—but—oh we long for the spring, & to see the green earth again.

Our Christmas—to go backwards was a very happy one—we had a pleasant visit from Dora Clark & Miss Pritchard (one of the Teachers at the Croydon High School—) two I should say, for Dora is also teaching there now. Our large party was very successful—particularly so I think from the good acting of our two visitors—with others in a little scene very well got up. All too soon the holidays with their varied interests, passed away, & our dear girls returned to their work. Mabel is studying hard—hoping to pass the Mathematical Tripos Examn shortly after Easter. Ruth is much happier now at Bedford College—& has many kind friends.

The Government resigned early in February, & Mr Gladstone once more accepted office. He appointed Mr Morley Chief Secretary for Ireland, wh necessitated a fresh election here. It was a shame under these circumstances to contest the seat, but Mr Hamond was determined. It was hard work for Mr Morley—he had only a few days before the Polling, & had to go to Dublin in the interval—to Dublin on Monday night after a great meeting here, & back again to speak at a great meeting on Thursday night. The enthusiasm in his favour was great. Thursday's meeting was a splendid one—enthusiastic in the highest degree & unanimous. Robert was in the Chair & did well as he always does. Evie & I went in to see the Declaration of the Poll. We were in an office above Franklin's shop, whence we could watch at our ease the swaying crowds, & all the fun. At ¼ past 11—sooner a good deal than was expected the lamplimelight revealed on the great board put out of the window of the Town Hall—the thrice welcome result that Morley had a majority of more than 2000.

Instantly Evie & I fled down the stairs & along through the surging rushing crowds—to the Liberal Club. Tearing upstairs we found ourselves in the top room, overlooking the balcony in wh presently Mr Morley & his devoted friends appeared, & among ringing cheers, addressed the crowds below. After many mutual congratulations & handshakings, Evie & I left, & with Mr Dendy, found our way to the Station Hotel. There Mr Morley was, looking tired & worn, but greatly rejoiced with his victory. Mr W.D. Stephens, Mr J. Richardson, Mr Havelock & several other gentlemen—of course including the President of the Liberal Association, were all there, & it was amusing to hear the chaff & fun that went on—now that the battle was over—the victory won. At about midnight we left & walked home across the Redheugh Bridge—Mr Morley left N.C. by the 2 A.M. train—for a few days rest before his still harder work began. I forgot to say that directly it was fixed that he should be Chief Secretary, he wrote to R. "I have accepted the post of danger"—"oh for an hour's talk with you." This was two days before it was generally known—we seemed to have be the bearers of a weighty secret, & our hearts went out in sympathy to the man who stood in that post of danger. As he left Newcastle for Dublin his last words to Robert were, leaning out of the carriage window "Ora pro nobis." He feels the responsibility—the immense difficulty of the undertaking. May success crown his efforts—for he is a true man!

He told us all about his visit to Osborne, where the Queen was when he had to go to "kiss hands" on entering office. He says the Queen did not say one word either to him, or to Lord Herschel or Mr Heneage who were with him. They simply kissed the extended fingers, & then sidled out backwards as best they could. How unsympathetic! It is no wonder that people sometimes say Of what use this pageantry of State—this expensive monarchy with its innumerable radiating branches.

While Mr Morley was with us the riots in London occurred—a vast meeting of unemployed men in Hyde Park—who had been addressed in a somewhat stirring way—not however incited—by Messrs Hyndman, Burns & others, wrecked shops, broke windows, & performed a great deal of wilful & useless damage. An enormous fund has since been subscribed to alleviate the distress—but the problem of the future remains unsolved. Here too the distress has been & is very severe, but much has been done to relieve it, soup kitchens opened, penny dinners both for workmen, & children at the Board Schools—& the greater number by far have free dinners—& various other agencies. When shall we see a better state of things?—trade seems in great measure to have departed from Tyneside—"What will tomorrow bring? Who can tell?'


The summer has come & gone, our pleasant holiday is over, & we are again the murky atmosphere of Gateshead, the happy weeks that have gone seeming more & more like a dream, & the every day cares of busy life more & more a reality. But indeed we have everything to be thankful for—our children are all well & I think no family could be happier or more united. On the 4th of August, Mattie took our three sweet little children to Bournemouth—the long journey was satisfactorily accomplished, & the three weeks they spent there were weeks of extreme happiness. Their Uncle & Aunt, Gregory & Emily White were kindness itself to them, & the our children & the troop of merry cousins had a fine time together—almost living in the open air, bathing & boating & making excursions &c. Then they went to Grasmere to my sister Carrie's kind care at the ever dear Heugh Folds, & here too, although the weather was against them, they had a most delightful time. C. provided so many nice excursions, the crowning one of all being the ascent of Helvellyn, when even little Arnold rode up on a pony. They went by Grisedale & returned by Wythburn.

Meanwhile their parents, with Ruth & Evie, left London on Aug. 12th for Basle—thence—very much wearied with the long journey, they went to Münster (or Montiers) a pretty little town, half German, half French, among the Juras, where at the comfortable Gasthof zum Hirsch, they spent three pleasant days. We—to change the pronoun—then went up to Weissenstein—a mountain Inn of first rate kind at the height of about 6000 ft. Here, although we had persistent mist & rain for three days, we enjoyed the rest, & the pleasant society we met, especially that of Mr & Mrs Andrews.

The whole range of the Alps is visible from the Weissenstein on clear days, but we were never so fortunate to see further than down into the lovely valley with Soleure apparently at our feet, & the Winding Ahr, & occasional glimpses of the lakes of Neufchatel & Brienne. One day when we wandered out, tired of being so long indoors, we completely lost our way & wandered for hours wh might have been prolonged even over the night, had we not at last succeeded met a little herd boy, who was able to lead us to Weissenstein—to which we found we had several times been quite close to without knowing it. On the 21st we came to Basle, & on the 22nd met our dear Mabel who had travelled from Cambridge. A very happy day was spent in Basle & then we travelled on to Constance, staying at the exquisitely situated Insel Hotel—a most picturesque & beautiful Hotel—formerly a monastery. I see I have not mentioned—as I should have done before—that Mabel passed her Examination in the Mathematical Tripos, & received warmest congratulations on all sides. After studying Chemistry in the Long Vacation at Cambridge (whence she joined us at Basle) she is now, to our great delight at home with us, & teaches Mathematics & Chemistry &c at the High School.

- Well at Constance we revelled in the beauty & luxuriance of this delightful Inn, of fragrant & exquisite gardens, & of the sunny lake with its blue clear blue waters so delicious to bathe in. Too soon had we to tear ourselves away, & to pass Bregenz wh looked if possible still more fascinating, but we longed for the mountains—In the Oetzthal we had three days of rather bad weather, but when from Sölden to Gurgl it was lovely. We were warmly welcomed by the powerful looking, somewhat grimy, handsome old Curé who keeps the little Inn at Gurgl, & found comfortable quarters there. Thence we crossed the mountains by the Ramoljoch to Fend—a lovely little place where we spent three or four days, R—Ruth & Evie ascending the Wildspitz, the highest mountain in Tyrol. From the [Sanmoar hütte ?] a rude but comfortable little place at the height of 8000 ft we (our whole party) ascended the Similaren [?] (12000 ft) & had a glorious view—We left our quarters at 3 & reached the top at 8—the snow being in first rate condition, & the only drawback being the great cold. We saw the Ortler & Bernina ranges grandly—the Dolomites—all the nearer Tyrolese mountains, & far away 200 miles off, Mont Blanc easily distinguished as the monarch of mountains even at that immense distance. We had a long hot descent to "Unsere liebe Frau"—a village at the head of the Schalser thal—down wh, with delighting in its wild, romantic beauty, we walked & drove next day, to Meran. Meran is exquisitely situated in the midst of luxuriant Southern vegetation, & surrounded by grand mountains The heat was desperate, & so in spite of luxurious delights after our mountain fare & mountain inns, we left next day for Botzen, an equally charming place—thence to wander up the Eggen thal to lovely Pirchabrück over to Vigo di Fassa—The short experience we had of carrying our heavy knapsacks on the road to Pirchabrück was not satisfactory so we hired a mule for the onward journey, & our guides were the Landlord, a handsome jovial man, & his little son of seven, who led the mule & walked 8 miles up hill without a murmur or complaint. Such a bonny boy he was, reminding us of the dear little laddie at home—We passed through woods in wh grew wild strawberries & raspberries in profusion—we met a troop of wild horses, & than a troop of far more formidable bulls, bellowing like the bulls of Bashan—huge creatures that looked as if their breath of their nostrils might almost blow you down—But our guide menaced them with his great pole & drove them away—& so these dangers were passed in safety  The little lad was left at a delightful looking Inn on the a broad meadow land at the highest part of the pass—till his father returned. At Vigo we found comfortable quarters at an Italian Inn where the good people did everything to make us comfortable—even bringing 3 great tubs of hot water for our baths. The only drawback was the abundance of fleas, wh cannot be counted among the good things of life, & wh tormented poor Ruth above measure.

Vigo is a picturesque little place with fine views of the Rottenmanner & other Dolomite mountains—we were off early next morng over the Susia pass—an enchanting Park-like walk to Paneveggio—Here on the quiet Sunday afternoon we rested—on the pleasant grass, & among the woods, & in sight of the towering Cimon della Pala, looking gloriously inaccessible among the clouds. The Inn at Paneveggio is an old monastery—picturesque & comfortable, & quite luxurious in the matter of food, & most kind & friendly people,—the little "Tony" of Walter White's book now the important Landlord of the place. On Monday over the grand new road to San Martino where we halted for an hour or two & then on to Primiero to the nice Inn "Gilli"—Primiero is gloriously situated, although for a prolonged stay it is too hot & low down—But our evening & morning there were delightful—among the luxurious vegetation, & with the glorious mountains all around us—We strolled up in the morning as near as we could to the Castle of San Pietro on its inaccessible height—trying in vain to find some path or staircase to reach its ruined walls—The rock & the walls have so broken away that it cannot now be reached—it remains in its solitary grandeur a type of the power & a sign of the violence of former ages—How delicious was it to bathe in the clear stream wh sometimes glides, among sunny pools, sometimes leaps in wild bounds down the valley—& how we lenvied the Count of          [blank] with his delicious retreat in his upland valley under the shadow of the Dolomites.

After dinner back to San Martino where we spent nearly three pleasant days—ascending the Cimon di Rosetta, & enjoying to the full the varied charms of that lovely place—a capital Inn, pleasant society, & most beautiful scenery. But alas we had to leave, & thence began our homeward journey—Down the long valley to Predazzo—walking—then by carriage to Neumarkt—& from Neumarkt to Bregenz Botzen by train—Thence once more over the Bremer to beautiful Innsbrück where we spent a happy Sunday, enjoying the view—under the clearest & bluest of skies—from the old Tower in the Maria Theresa Strasse—marvelling at the quaint statues in the Domkirche—& at the exquisite picturesqueness of the chief street bounded with its golden window. From Innsbrück to Bregenz—fair Bregenz—where the sunset light over Constance from the Gebhardsberg, & the morning radiance from the Pfänder linger as enchanting visions in our memories—where the bathing in the blue waters of the lake "that waters that delicious land" was revelled in all the more because the time was short—from Bregenz to Constance, back to the charming Insel Hotel—then to Basle where we spent a very pleasant day with T. & A. Merz & Nellie K., meeting them on their outward journey we—on our homeward—& Basle to London & home—home to the sweetest children & the warmest welcome in the world—with happy thankful hearts.

Now we are all in the full tide of work again—Ruth back at Bedford College—Mabel teaching at the High School, & the others all making good progress there—working conscientiously & well. The dear father is only too busy with meetings & lectures of various kinds—but how many good & noble things does he help forward


Nov. 1886

I can scarcely believe that a whole year has almost fled since I wrote the last words. Another summer has come & gone, another holiday slipped away, other pleasures, other cares, other troubles all blended together in the past. My bad memory makes it hard for me to retrace my steps, but I must try.

Last Christmas is too much mixed up with former Christmases to stand out with distinctness in my mind, but I know that it was a very happy one, & that we were again favoured to meet together—a large family party—in health & gladness.

For part of the holidays we had our nephew Douglas White & his sister Margaret staying with us—The winter was a severe one, & the young people enjoyed much skating. In February Lady Frederick Cavendish gave away the prizes at the Girls' High School—She stayed with us for two or three nights bringing her maid with her. We had a dinner party of those especially interested in the school, to meet her. We were all charmed with her simple gracious ways, & with the many interesting things she had to tell us. When Maid of Honour to the Queen she received as a present an exquisite miniature of the Queen set in diamonds, wh she valued greatly—She spoke with much affection of the Queen, & also of the Prince Consort, of whom she had a very high opinion—altho' some of the needful reforms wh he introduced into the domestic economy of his household gave offence to many, & made him, with the less conscientious of his people, somewhat unpopular. Lady Frederick is the President of a sort of mothers' meeting union & addressed meetings while in this neighbourhood, at Morpeth, at Tudhoe & at St Anthony's. She seems to be universally beloved & her attitude in this Irish question deserves the highest admiration. She told us a great deal about Gladstone, for whom she has the highest esteem & reverence & spoke of him—as "almost perfect".

In the spring term we had the great treat of Mr Moulton's lectures (University Extension) on Faust, & afterwards on the Tempest. He has a wonderful power of getting at the heart of things, & of interesting his audience in a way they had never thought of & this, added to a strong dramatic force of expression & a marvellous memory for recitation make him quite a unique lecturer. This year he is lecturing on the ancient Greek tragedies, but the crowds who throng the room make it well night impossible to attend with pleasure, except by going in so soon as long before the appointed hour.

The Easter holidays brought bright weather, but intensely cold East winds. We made a very pleasant little excursion to the "Marmion" country—We had just been re-reading that fascinating poem, & all the children, even sweet wee Arnold, had enjoyed it so much & so we made a pilgrimage to Holy Island, Ford Castle Etal, Flodden (staying at Cornhill) Tizell, Norham & Tantallon. Only the three 4 eldest girls went the walking part with us—Mattie & the two little ones joined us at Canty Bay, a delightful place near North Berwick, & close to Tantallon Castle, where Ruth the three youngest children & I stayed several nights. R. unfortunately had to return home on Monday night, & Mabel & Evie on Tuesday. The Canty Bay Hotel is a charming little house, close down by the sea, & with the noble Bass Rock full in view opposite, & with a landlord a sort of admirable Crighton in a practical way, a handsome, much travelled, well read & withal handy man.

In May, Hanna Velle, a Norwegian girl from Orsterwill came over, hoping to find a situation as servant. She stayed with us three weeks, but although we did every thing we could to make her happy, she pined for the fjelde, & she was so childish & untrained that we were not sorry when her father gave her leave to return to her native land.

Then came the great question of our summer travel—Mr Auberon Herbert had recommended Ørnaes, within the Arctic Circle, but it seemed so very far away, & our own home, with the lovely garden, in the enchanting summer weather, looked too beautiful to leave. So some of us were foolishly faint-hearted, dreading the long journey & the discomforts of the voyage. But R. sorely needed a holiday, & for him there is no rest like a complete change. Mr Frank Tuckett paid us a pleasant little visit of one night only in June, on his way to Norway, & he it was who recommended us go to viâ Christiania by boating & to Trondjheim by rail & on to Ørnaes—This plan we adopted—on the 29th of July the long long school term was over, & we all set sail from Tyne Dock for Christiania. My sister Allie & her children accompanied us in the train to the ship, supplying us bountifully with apples, lemons &c for the voyage. A fierce wind was raging, & some hearts were faint with fear—But the sailors assured us it was only a land wind, & so it proved. As soon as we got out to sea the wind completely dropped—Cocaine & all other appliances against sea sickness were discarded, & we had the rare experience of a quite smooth voyage to Christiania, wh we reached on Monday morng about 9 o'clock. The latter part from lovely Arendal where we stopped a few hours, was up the fjord, & in going was quite lake like in its smoothness—not so in coming back.

From Trondhjeim we sailed in the Haakon Jarl north to Ørnaes wh we reached on the 4th of August. At first we were somewhat disappointed, for the snow mountains were hidden, & the country looked dull & grey. We received a pleasant welcome from our host & hostess Mr & Mrs Bernhoft, & we took possession of the rooms provided for us in two little houses. Then followed a month of great happiness, albeit rain & mist too often obscured the glorious views wh the sunshine at other times revealed, & prevented almost all the longer excursions wh we had planned. But the free wild life, the exquisite beauty of island & of water, the long lingering twilights the gorgeous sunsets sometimes following a day of cloud & rain, the rapture of enjoyment in the really brilliant days—the wonderful bird life—the kind people—all made our northern home one of joyous delight the memory of wh can never pass away.

R. fished for the party, & kept us so well supplied that we only twice had to buy any fresh meat. It was a pretty sight to see our little Arnold clad in his waterproofs, & carrying the fishing bag setting forth with his dear father, & many a weary tramp did he go without a murmur, many a wetting did he get without complaint—always wanting to carry & help in every way he could. A sweeter little companion there never was. Our kitchen was of the smallest—only 2 people could turn round in it—but great were the feats of cooking performed by Mabel & Ruth, & Mattie. One trout pie of huge dimensions contained 5 doz trout, wh were mostly consumed at one meal—while scones, delicious puddings, fladbrød & grød vanished as if by magic.

In the evenings we read together the "Children of Gibeon", that strange, moving clever tale, & with the dear little ones "Feats on the Fjord" of wh neither old nor young ever tie. We seemed very near Sulitelma & Rolf's enchanted island, & the birds, & the islands & the caves we saw seemed to bring us into yet closer sympathy with that delightful story.

We left Ørnaes at the end of August, returning home the same way as that by wh we went. At Trondhjeim we paid a charming little visit to Mr Carl Bornhoff's Mrs Halling's brother. He & his wife, (& one little girl born after 12 years of married life) live in a lovely house in a most beautiful sitaution, on the fjord. We came from Trondhjeim to Christiania by rail again, & spent a few days very pleasantly there at no 33 Carl Johans Gade—well cared for by the Søstrene Larsen. We were twice out at Lian station where Mrs Halling & her family have their house—close on the shores of the beautiful Christiania fjord, & on the edge of a pine forest. We experienced great hospitality from them all, & much enjoyed seeing so much of Mrs Flood—And then on the 9th of September on a stormy day, we set forth for the long journey home & after much tossing & misery we arrived in the Tyne on Monday the 12th at about 2 o'clock—many hours later than we should have been. Home looked lovely as it always does—& baths & food soon restored our "shattered energies". One week of comparative idleness at home, & then school began again, & now all are hard at work Mabel teaching, & the little ones learning—Arnold at the Boys' High School, & winter engagements, lectures &c are hastening upon us, together with the too short days wh tell of the approach of winter. I have been reading again Dr Kane's thrilling account of his Arctic travels & marvel at his endurance through all that terrible time, with day after of day of darkness, & the thermometer 30°, 40°, & even sometimes 70° below zero. We think it cold here—& murmur!

We have had a delightful visit from Mr Morley, whom we learn to admire more & more—Whatever the creed of the man he certainly has the Christian spirit.

I forgot to mention that just before we went to Norway R. & I had a very pleasant little visit to Wallington to see Sir George & Lady Trevelyan. It is a beautiful house, surrounded by noble trees & in the heart of our beautiful Northumberland scenery—We enjoyed being there much—Also this summer I met my old & dear friend of my girlhood Maria Grantoff (Voigt) little changed, although I had not seen her for more than 30 years -

My sister Carrie has suffered much from her eyes, but a lengthened stay in Germany & Switzerland has done her much good. She is now again at her home at the Quarries with the Merzs—& next door to our dear Uncle Robert & Aunt Anne Foster, who are both well & take the same kind & active interest in the various branches of the family as ever.


Dec. 17th {1887}

Lord Herschell has been staying with us for a night—after a meeting in the Town Hall. We have had Mr Swan & some other gentlemen to meet him, & some of the stories he told were so racy that I must put them down before I forget them. Mr Dowse, an Irish barrister was very witty—Once when something was said by him to a witness about the Devil, the witness replied, & as everyone thought, but Mr Dowse thought very cleverly by saying, "I have not the honour of his acquaintance"—but the barrister was equal to the occasion & instantly replied "No sir, that is a pleasure to come"—& the laugh was all on the other side. Mr Bernal Osborne was once so castigated by him in the House of Commons that ever afterwards he dared not open his mouth if his formidable opponent was present. Once Mr Dowse heard that Mr Bernal Osborne intended speaking, & stayed on intending to answer him, but growing very hungry, he at last left the House. Now was Mr Osborne's opportunity, he jumped up, but failed to catch the Speaker's eye—Shortly afterwards Mr Dowse returned—but no further attempt came on Mr Osborne's part. Mr Jones was another very witty barrister—He used to dress very shabbily, & once was stopped by a Policeman when entering the Court with "Have you any business here Sir? "Not so much as I should like, my good man" was the answer, "but what I have, I must do". This same Mr Jones was very long winded, & once when Lord Hatherley, impatient of the endless pleading, said "The time is passing, Mr Jones, the time is passing"—Mr Jones with a wave of his hand replied instanter "Let it pass, my Lord." Sir Patrick O Brien used often to take more than was good for him to drink—he had married a somewhat severe—probably none too much so—wife—& once when a friend offered to accompany him to see him safely home, Sir Patrick looked up with an amused air, "Shure & you don't know Molly O Brien, or you wouldn't propose such a thing".

Lord Herschell thinks Irish wit in the House disappearing now—He gave us a wonderful account of his visit to America, & the kindness & hospitality shewn to him & his party—especially by a millionaire, Mr Mackay whom they had met on the voyage out—Mr M. sent them every morning the most exquisite flowers & fruits, together with cigars & various other luxuries. He put a house with servants, food &c all at their disposal, & they could telephone at will either for engine with rly train, or carriage or horses to come for their convenience. The rly was so arranged as to be within 20 yds of the house. The Californian scenery & climate Lord Herschell thinks so delightful that if the Pilgrim Fathers could have landed on the Pacific shores instead of the Atlantic, the latter seaboard might never have been colonized. But should we then have had the hardy & energetic race wh now inhabits those shores?

These are just a few of the stories & remarks made in this visit—Most of the stories wh made us all laugh I have alas already forgotten—& besides this only gives the mere surface impression of Lord Herschell who seems to have the most comprehensive & marvellously clear mastery of every subject he touches upon. One more story—the best Irish "bull" he every heard—an Irishman in a glowing speech—spoke of "breaking the breach wh had so long divided us"—Mr Swan who was here, told of his experiences in Ireland—how he had had workmen there for 16 yrs & never had a difficulty with them—their generous nature &c

We had another very interesting—in a different way—guest a short while since—Commander Cameron who made the only first journey across Africa, from East to West, conquering unheard of difficulties & suffering from fever, hostile natives, scarcity of food &c. His book & his lecture both gave terrible pictures of the uncivilized natives & their disgusting customs, of the horrors of the Slave trade, of the torrid heat of the climate—the swamps, the vast forests &c. Shall any of us live to see that great continent civilized & opened out to healthy honest commerce?

In September we had a visit from Mr Roberts at a meeting held in the Exhibition Theatre, & addressed by Lord Ripon, Mr Morley, & Mr Brown of Cambridge the Newcastle centre of Cambridge University Extension was affiliated to the Durham University—This scheme wh it had taken R. & others much thought & time to work out, offers special advantages to North Country students—but I need not here go into the details—

On December the 9th Lady Trevelyan gave away the prizes to the successful students at the Girls' High School. It was a delightful time—there were admirable recitations of "The dream of fair women" & "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire"—singing, music &c & then the prizes were given. Our dear Evelyn has won the Company's Scholarship, tenable for two years—& Mary had two prizes, one for term & one for Examn work, & Bertha a prize for Recitation—so we felt very proud of our children. R. was in the Chair, & spoke well & sympathetically as he always does, & Miss Cooper read a charling little paper, specially mentioning among others Evelyn—& her good work. Then there was tea in the class rooms—Mabel presiding in one, very prettily decorated, & afterwards a capital gymnastic display in the Hall—under Mr Leblique's guidance—Evie again being well to the fore.

Now the Boys' School has broken up—& Christmas is once more just upon us—


July 28th 1889.

I can really scarcely believe that nearly two years have passed away since I last wrote in this book, & all the many interesting things that have happened in the interval are now compressed & lost in my forgetful brain.

So lest I forget this I must record our dear Evelyn's leaving the High School. Thirteen years has she been there, & it was a hard wrench to leave—but the memory she leaves behind her is indeed a blessed thing. I copy here what is written by Miss Wheeler & Miss Cooper—in her last report.

"A pupil whom it has always been a pleasure to teach" ADW.

"Evie's forgetfulness of self & large minded devotion to the general good have made her a power in the school where her work has been an ever increasing source of pleasure." J.C.C.

When I called on Miss Cooper to bid her good bye—she spoke to me of Evie in words that were almost too touching—her voice was broken with emotion & her eyes filled with tears as she told me of Evie's goodness & unselfishness—"I never had such a head girl as Evie, the whole school will miss her, teachers & scholars alike, for she has made herself such a power in the school—& all in such a way that she has never let the thought or fact of her being the head girl obtrude itself." Words to this effect & more I cannot quite remember the exact phrases—& more—made my mother's heart rejoice with thankful joy—May God bless the future of this beloved child! I know how much she owes to Miss Cooper, Miss Wheeler, & some of the other teachers—& how happy these school years have been—The future must bring more care, more anxiety & responsibility with it, but she has a brave heart—She goes on the 25th of September to Mrs Bergman Østerberg's Gymnastic College at Hampstead—May her influence there be of good, as it has been in the High School—A new epoch begins in the dear child's life—a time always of sadness even if mingled with hope & joy.

Mabel & Mary have spent six pleasant months in Dresden—& met many kind friends—& made good progress in German & music & singing. Robert & I went to Italy in April & had a time of intense interest & enjoyment—in Rome, Naples & Sicily—The sunshine & the beauty of those enchanting lands! Our Northern England looks cole & grey beside them—but it is England, & home! & so beloved! I have written in another book the journal of our tour—so will not now repeat. Most delightful it was to meet our two dear girls at Dresden—after 6 mo's separation, & after a few days in Berlin, with a most interesting visit to Prof & Madame Curtius, to bring them home & have them with us once again—How delightful I really cannot say. Mary is going to York in August, poor little Mary—we believe it is for her good, & that she will, after the first few weeks are over, be very happy—but it is the parting will be a great trial on both sides. She is such a sensitive fastidious little thing that we know there will be many pangs, but she needs a little sterner discipline—a little recognition that her own feelings, her own pains & pleasures are not of all importance—still we know how her loving little heart will suffer—& dread it for her.

Ruth has been on a round of visits—to Mrs Howard—to the Price's at Neath &c & has been very gay & happy—She is now at home—Bertha is at Grasmere with "Aunt Car", & her cousins Theresa & Ernest Merz—& our sweet little Arnold is going there too this week with me & Mary—who goes there for a week before York.

I have missed so much of interest that I scarcely can go back now—To skip out nearly two years is really too bad—& I cannot recall—my treacherous memory muddles one year with another, so that I can give no connected account. I have even omitted the second visit to Ørnaes, but except that the pleasure of it was very much increased by our having Mabel's friend Dora Clark with us, there was nothing very different from the last to specialize it. We sailed this time to Bergen, then northward to Trondjheim & on to Ørnaes—The weather, though by no means good, was better than the year before, & we were much delighted with the beauty of the country—There was plenty to do for all—fishing, bathing, cooking boating, & in the evenings reading of Carlyle's grim Norwegian heroes—"The Early Kings of Norway"—Dora was a delightful companion—so clever, so lovely & so good—Altogether our time at Ørnaes was, in spite of many apparent external drawbacks, almost ideally happy—But this is long ago—alas how long ago!

In November of last year Mabel & Mary went, with Edith Richardson, to Dresden. They spent 6 mos. there, studying German, music, & (Mary) drawing. It was a very interesting time for them. R. & I came up from Italy after our delightful tour there & brought the dear girls home. What a happy meeting it was—after so many months' absence. At Venice we met the Wingrove party—J.W. & M. Richardson, & Ernestine & Dora, & spent 3 very pleasant days together in that fascinating place. This & the time in Sicily, were the most interesting parts of our tour—our experiences on Mt Etna—the strange walk through the night over the snow—the intense cold above those slumbering fires, the strangeness of it all—can never be forgotten. Then the beauty of Taormina—the radiance & the glory—& the marvellous ruined temples & theatres at Syracuse & other places, telling of races past away, of powers & principalities swept away for ever, & making us feel in contemplating these things like ants in an ant-heap—one of an innumerable multitude to love for a day & perish out of sight—if we had not the "large hope"—But these things awaken too many thoughts—I must pass on. In another book, I have written down our impressions of those wonderful lands, & a full account of our climb up Etna—not quite to the top I grieve to say -

In February of this year, there were some grand meetings in London on the Irish question. There had been a grand huge petition prepared, under the name of the "National Protest" & these meetings were to confirm & strengthen this protest. They were most inspiriting—that in Farringdon St where a number of resolutions were proposed, & where my dear husband made—as several people afterwards said "the speech of the afternoon—& then the huge meeting in St James' Hall, presided over by Mr Morley, when he & Mr Parnell were received in a tumultuous storm of applause wh lasted for nearly 10 minutes—all this was magnificent—we hoped for great results, & of course great good was done, but Balfour & the Govt still remain in power, & Ireland still denied -

Now after all this skipping backward & forward, I must come nearer home. In Aug. I took Mary to Grasmere for a few days' visit before she went to York. Bertha & Arnold was already there, & Arnold I took with me—The weather was mostly wet, but we had much enjoyment notwithstanding. It was very pleasant to find our dear sister Carrie much stronger than last year, & able to walk about far more than then.

I went to York with many misgivings, but was much pleased with the school, & with the teachers, & with the appearance of the girls. It was hard to leave my sweet little Mary, but she has settled much better than we expected, & writes very happily of her new surroundings.

We have had a busy time lately—The British Assn has had its meeting here, & we have had, as our guest Mr Francis Galton who was our first guest after our marriage 26 years ago. His wife came with him this time, & we have found them delightful guests—so genial & interested as well as interesting, & easily pleased Mrs Galton is sister to Dr Butler who married Miss Ramsay the Senior Wrangler—& sister also to Canon Butler of Winchester—Josephine Butler's husband. Mr Galton is full of ingenious theories of all kinds—deducing character from impressions of thumbs handwriting &c. He is very interesting in conversation, albeit a little deaf -

Besides these two we had Claude Thompson & Frank Oliver—Dr Burdon Sanderson & his wife were to have been with us, but were prevented by the illness of the former. We have had many interesting guests to dinner &c We dined every night at 6 so as to leave time (scanty enough) to go in to the eveg meetings. Mr Poulton of the Biological section, Mr Mackinder Geographical—Dr John Rae of Arctic fame—Mr & Mrs Nansen from Christiania—Dr Nansen the intrepid young explorer of Greenland who received quite an ovation—crowds going to hear him in whichever section he spoke.

He had just married, & set off immediately for England to attend these meetings. He & his charming young wife dined with us on Sunday; they were so pleased with our speaking a little Norwegian to them—Mrs Nansen sang beautifully & every one was charmed with her—Then we had another Norwegian who has travelled in the unexplored parts of Queensland—Carl Sumholtz He told us many of his painful experiences there—of the savage people, who were often Cannibals & had no houses, simply scratched upon a little earth for a hollow—of his having to live on snakes, beetles &c for 4 yrs his digestive organs were so much injured that he has had since to spend 2 summers in Carlsbad, & many other things—Professor Adams now of London, but then of Marlborough Coll. was also here—a gentleman who was with us on the Col de la Jungfrau 26 yrs ago on our wedding tour when we had those remarkable electrical experiences recorded in the Visitors' Book at the Eggisch Horn, & also in the Alpine Journal.

Tom Pattison's father, now 80 yrs old—Prof. Barrett of Dublin, with wonderful "hypnotism" stories Mr Gardiner the Botanist, Mr & Mrs Bennett, our old friend & Compagnon de Voyage Henry Mennell & his nice son {Mr Morley} & others joined our circle—The social part of the Association was certainly to us the most interesting—the most delightful—the papers read in the different sections were sometimes far too abstruse for non scientific people—&, when popular, the rooms were so crowded that it was difficult to find ingress. Then the time was too short for adequate discssion so that often there was no definite conclusion arrive at. Still much that we heard was of very great interest—the Conversaziones were brilliant, & some of the excursions—notably that to Haworth to wh Ruth Evie & I went—most delightful. So that altogether this meeting of the B.A. in Newcastle in 1889 has been a memorable time. Now it is all over—Mr & Mrs Galton have gone—an affectionate parting—the younger guests gone too—& I am writing now on this quiet Sunday—such a contrast to the last.

I have had such a delightful time with darling Bertha & Arnold—reading the story of Gideon with them, on wh T. Hodgkin preached this morning—on the "weak things of the world confounding the Mighty" &c It was quite delightful to see the dear children's interest—then I read them that pretty story of Jean Ingelow's "The Grandmother's Shoe". These times are rare on Sundays, & therefore all the more prized. We had some of the Wingrove young people to tea, & afterwards Miss Cooper, & Robbie—but all left early. Now dear Ruth's clear voice is ringing out—such exquisite notes—Evelyn—our darling Evelyn goes to London to Mrs Bergman Østerberg's Coll. on Tuesday—How we shall do without her I don't know. I am to take her up—seeing our sweet little Mary on the way. The High school begins tomorrow—Bertha the only representative now—what a change. Arnold goes back to school on Tuesday Mabel is at Grasmere—& R. who has business at Penrith there also—just for the day. The weather is cold & bright—the summer—"the sweet summer days are ended—with all their gentle delight"

Sunday, Sep 22nd 1889.


Sunday again—but now close upon the end of another year—the last Sunday before 1890 breaks upon us. I am sitting in the Dining room alone with little Arnold who is just downstairs again (or rather mixing with the rest, for he has been out many times) after the mildest of mild attacks of scarlet fever. I have been sole nurse & caretaker, & very happy the sweet boy & I have been together. Not one grumble has escaped from his lips, although he was left up stairs on Christmas day. But every one has been so kind, & he has been surrounded by so many pleasant things that grumbling could scarcely find entrance. He & I have played chess (I after the first teaching of it to him, almost always defeated) we have read with delight "The Swan & her Crew" Mr Dendy's kind present—we have made up riddles—& altogether had quite a fine time—He has never been ill, so that there has been happily no anxiety—only every precaution taken to prevent future ill effects. And now the sweet child is among us once more, & very happy we are & thankful to be all together again. Evelyn is home from London, & Mary from York (much grown) & Dora Clark is staying with us—R. is very busy, with a difficult Arbitration case on hand connected with the North Eastern Railway, besides sending out circulars to people in the Russian cause & various other outside things, in addition to all the heavy Office work. But he is always cheery & bright—the very life of the house—& in spite of all his work, he contrives to get through twice as much—I might almost say ten times as much as any one else. We have all been extremely interested in Stepniak's novel "The Career of a Nihilist" indeed the conditions of political prisoners in Russia has aroused our warmest sympathies & indignation—first of all by reading Mr George Keenan's wonderful articles in "The Century" magazine & then by meeting with Stepniak, who lectured here & stayed with us. He is a simple minded man, extremely able—& devoting all his strength & ability to the cause of his suffering people. Later we have had a visit from Prince Kropotkin who fascinated us with his interesting accounts of hair-breadth escapes & captures & details of prison life. He is certainly a man who has made the most of his opportunities—for he wrote an elaborate scientific work in one prison (this was petitioned for, & leave granted) & in another he contrived by the help of a smith to make some tools out of an old file, & then learned carpentering to such purpose that he now makes many of their own tables, sofas & chairs. He also learned bookbinding, & now takes the greatest delight in binding his books.

Well, this intercourse with Russian patriots, who have suffered for their country—who can say how much? has led to Robert's (whose sympathies are always practical) drawing up in conjunction with them, a circular to be sent to other sympathizers, asking for signatures & substantial help so that pamphlets & other literature may be distributed, & Russian sufferings be known to some purpose. It has been intensely interesting to see these men, & to be brought face to face with some of those terrible problems, wh we should be so happy to be able, in ever so small a way, to help to solve.


Our Women's Liberal Association had its Annual Meeting in November. It was addressed by Mrs Byles of Bradford who has lately been in Ireland, & who spoke with keen sympathy of the wrongs of Ireland. The tea was very successful, & left a good balance in hand. I have been to Cramlington, to Ryton & to Consitt, on the two former places giving an account of the life & labours of Father Mathew, the great Temperance Reformer—at Consitt helping to form a W.L.A. in that district. Lately however, owing to my having been almost entirely with little Arnold, I have done nothing outside.


In November too we had an interesting visit from Lord Spencer, who, with Mr Morley as Chairman, had a splendid meeting in the Town Hall. Lord Spencer—the "Red Earl" is a tall, grave, & earnest man—with bushy red beard, & blue eyes. After a breakfast party invited to meet him when sitting in the Drawing Room, he told the assembled guests the whole story of the dreadful time when Lord Frederick Cavendish was murdered. Unfortunately the girls & I were not in the room at the time, but R. wrote down from recollection the account, which I here transcribe.

"6th Nov. 1889. After breakfast when we returned to the Drawing room, the conversation turned upon Stepniak's new novel, & upon the whole question of the Russian Govt & the Nihilistic methods of curing its evils. There was some little defence for assasination on the ground that it was the only weapon left to the Russian people, & that unless they could intimidate the powers there was nothing else they could do. They had tried Reason & appeals to justice & the like in vain. Lord Spencer did not think that the Russian Govt could be too heavily condemned but at the same time strongly protested against the idea that Assasination could ever be a legitimate weapon. He said that exactly the same thing had been urged in Ireland & that it was under this idea & from mistaken patriotism that the Phoenix Park murders were committed.

'Mr Burke was not a bigotted Orangeman. He was a warm hearted Irishman of strong national tendencies, but he was the permanent official & represented the Castle Govt in the minds of the Irish people. Lord Spencer knew him well: He had worked with him for more than five years during every day of which he passed a considerable portion of time with him, & knew him therefore intimately. On the very Saturday on wh the murders occurred he had his last interview with him. He & Lord Frederick Cavendish had a sort of triumphal entry into Dublin, were received with great & tumultuous enthusiasm. During the morning Mr Burke had an interview of more than an hour with Lord Spencer, & amongst other things said that "he wished to introduce the head of the Police who was to apply to me to release two leading political prisoners. I thought that although they must be released, it would not be well to release them on this day as it would produce the effect of my being in a hurry to do an act wh might appear to be done simply for the sake of popularity, & Mr Burke earnestly urged me to do it, but I could not see my way. This was the last conversation we ever had. After our interview ended I went out to ride for exercise accompanied by an aide-de-camp & a groom. I rode down to see Miss Burke I think & made a short call upon her, & as I was passing through the Phoenix Park on my way back to the Viceregal lodge, I thought should I take a canter down the grass, or should I take a short cut home? I was very tired & took the short cut. I did not see Mr Burke & Lord Frederick Cavendish, but they were actually walking down the very piece of grass which I should have cantered down, & the murderers were lying in wait for them at that moment. I had stopped to see a Polo match, & had got off my horse for a short time & stood within a few yards of Carey who was on his way to the Ambush. I had gone upstairs in the Viceregal Lodge & was looking out of the window over the Park talking with a member of my family when I heard a wild cry, & saw a man running towards the house & waving his hands & shouting out murder. We all ran down to the door & he came up, & said two men had been stabbed close by. He pointed to the place, which we could see quite distinctly. It was in fact not so far as that chimney off—(pointing to a chimney of Mosscroft.) I wished at once to go out to the place & see for myself what had happened, but my staff refused to have this, as they thought it might be a mere ruse, & that someone might be lying in wait to do me an injury, & in a very few minutes I learned the dreadful news of whom it really was that was killed. I could not but think that, had I cantered down the turf, I should have passed the band of murderers almost at the very time that Lord Frederick Cavendish & Mr Burke reached them, & that the whole thing would have been stopped, for they must have dispersed in the presence of three mounted men. Lord Frederick Cavendish had been in high spirits & was universally beloved. I am persuaded that it was a pure accident that he was killed: the accident of his being in Mr Burke's company. As for Mr Burke's murder, it was deliberately planned & planned by men of education & some of them men of refinement. Miss Burke, not the sister to whom Davitt erroneously referred, but a cousin & a very close friend of Mr Burke's, took a similar view of the whole matter as Lady Frederick Cavendish & she actually visited the condemned men in their cells & spent much time with them. One of them, a young fellow of 21 boasted of the matter. He was an ardent Nationalist, full of patriotic zeal, with his mind stored with patriotic poems & songs, & a man of an enthusiastic & devoted nature & he believed absolutely that he had done a brave & proper act in the direct interests of Ireland. One day when he was in the exercise ground he heard a curious noise, & on asking the Police who were with him what it was, they said that it was the sods being beaten down over the grave of one of his comrades, who had been executed that day. From that moment he was altogether changed. He himself was hanged in a day or two, but he at once began to think seriously of the matter, & he confessed before he died that he had taken part in the matter murder, but that he now believed that the step had been a wrong one, although taken under what he considered the highest motives." (Here ends Lord Spencer's acct) "John Morley, when I (RSW) called on him at midday had heard of this. He said to me that he would have given much to have been present for it was a historic incident to hear from the lips of the man who was governing the land at the moment full & sympathetic details of so sad a historic account"

Dictated by R.S.W. same

day. Nov. 6th 1889.     


Again has winter given place to spring, & spring to the full luxuriance of summer—The busy days speed onwards, & often seem to leave no sign, except an increased sense of responsibility because "the time is short". It has been a happy half year—nearly half a year has actually gone since New Year's Day 1890—but it is difficult to recall what has happened. We have had, as usual many interesting guests—we have been to London—in March—& seen a good deal of our dear children there, Evelyn & Bertha.

Evelyn is making good progress, & one of the interesting things she does is to teach swimming at Whitechapel—with the other resident students to some of the poor children of that neighbourhood. She also teaches gymnastic exercises at [Reremonde ?] to children who come in from the elementary schools—& she finds her physiological studies very interesting. Dear little Bertha's time is nearly over—she is a great favourite there, & Madame says they will all be sorry to lose her—while of Evie she writes "she is as good as she is nice". Mabel has been teaching again in the High School—Ruth has been in Germany with "Aunt Car" whose eyes gave her great trouble. They stayed for some weeks at Wiesbaden, & it is delightful to think that now she can see quite well, & can both go about & read & write with ease—all of wh were difficult or impossible to her before. Our cousin Sarah Ann Richardson & Sara, & later Miss Davies joined "Aunt Car" & Ruth at Wiesbaden, & a very merry party they were. Ruth lived in a "maze of sweet sound"—enjoying to the full the daily Concert—& also the beautiful country & the clean town, so different from our own poor dusty dirty Gateshead—All this is passed now, & our sweet Ruth after paying so many visits in & about London that we thought we should never get her back again, is at last at home—& delightful it is to have her. "Aunt Car" is at Grasmere—where I went to be with her for 3 happy days—& now the school half term is nearly over—& in another fortnight we shall be off to Norway. For my dear Robert's sake I shall be glad when we are fairly off—so much he needs a holiday. He has worked far too hard of late—so many arbitrations outside of his business—& so much thought & labour on Russian affairs—far more than any one who glances at the pamphlets or the little paper just issued can have any idea of. What conferences—correspondence—thought, anxiety & trouble before these practical steps could be taken. But the work has indeed been full of interest, & I am sure he is thankful that to him it has been given to have a part in so great a cause—to have been one of the pioneers—I might well say the pioneer in this great movement. The correspondence wh it has led to has been full of interest—letters from all kinds of people—Editors, Barristers, teachers, artisans, authors, actors, artists &c One letter wh particularly interested us fro was from one of "Aunt Jack's" Company. She wrote to Stopford Brooke that she was on her way to his Church, wishing that she could make some little Easter offering, but not knowing what it should be, when his sermon on Russia (taken from the pamphlets) gave her the motive, & she sent a sovereign. Miss Hesba Streeton the Authoress, has both subscribed herself & got many others to subscribe—& dear old Miss Beever of the Thwaite Coniston has, after sending £1——before, just sent other £5—— with a beautiful letter wishing well to the cause. Her knowledge of it arose from my telling her about the actress, when C. & I drove over to Coniston one lovely day to see her—And so the circles grow & widen until they reach the shore'—When will that be?


Just now we are particularly interested in India for we have had a visit from two Indian gentlemen & Mr Hume. The latter has been 41 years in India so he ought to know something of the country & its people—& it is quite refreshing to hear him say that tell of his experience—so different from that of many (most) Anglo Indians—He thinks them (the nation) trustworthy, & full of gratitude for any kindness—whereas we have heard it said by Englishmen who have lived in India that it is impossible to trust them  that "gratitude" is a word unknown in their language. Surendra Nath Banerjee is the Principal of the Ripon Coll. at Calcutta—he is a handsome & very able man—with a complete knowledge of English Mr Mudholkar is a barrister a younger man, but also one of great ability. At the evening meeting held in the Circus on June 2nd they both spoke well, but Mr Banerjee, with extraordinary command of English, made a most telling speech advocating the cause of his countrymen -

Mr Hume is the son of Joseph Hume the Political Economist—the man who worked so hard in Parliament that Combinations of Workmen should not be held illegal—for making possible trades unions.

Mr Hume, his son, is a remarkable man—full of knowledge & enthusiasm—& most interesting in conversation. Our sympathies were much drawn out for him because just after he landed in England 3 months ago, he received a telegram telling him how his wife was dead. For a time he was completely prostrated, but at length he resolved to rouse himself, & go on with the work he has so much at heart—securing greater freedom of representation to the Indian people. Education is spreading there with marvellous rapidity, & yet even the educated people are allowed no share in the government of their own Country. The Indian National Councils wh have been attended by men from all parts of the Empire, & certain very moderate demands made wh they claim in justice should be conceded.

We had much talk with Mr Hume of all kinds—he told us a great deal about India—about Indian Women—about his own house & garden—a garden so beautiful that people went from all parts to see it—"but it is nothing to me now, I do not care now to go back to it" were his sad words after telling us of his wonderful collection of birds—10,000 given to the British Museum. He was making a great study of natural history & had about 100 workers in different places under his organization working for him—All his notes collected in this way—piles & piles of them, were once taken by his native servant—& sold for waste paper. It was during Mr Hume's absence & the servant thought that he was doing a service—Too late they tried to get some of it back—but, said Mr Hume, "the work of a lifetime was destroyed."

It is delightful to think that we have been permitted to be of some use to this Mr Hume as the following letter, received soon after he left, testifies. What a blessed thing it is that we—all men I mean—are sometimes permitted to be the unconscious instrument of good & healing.


Dundee 5.6.90

"Dear Mrs Watson,

"        I cannot let another day go by without writing to thank you & yours for all your kindness. With you I have spent the first happy days I have known since my trouble, & I shall never forget them—but you have done more—you have renewed for me my almost despairing faith in humanity by shewing me that it was possible even in this age to live in the spirit of Christ—or in the spirit of the French dogma which they stole from his teachings "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality." Honestly you have come upon me like a refreshing shower after a long persistent drought. There are times in mens' lives when the mental & moral machinery seems to have run down & when the only thing to long for, & to look forward to seems to be death, & then He sends some faithful hand to wind up again the clock, to run on until his appointed hour strikes. Yours has been the hand in my case, & I shall be grateful to & love you all as long as I live. Internally now I am an utterly different man to what I was when I came to you—& you have been the instruments—it is your hands that have helped me—unconsciously it may be—as the sun shining shed unconsciously warmth & healing—out of the slough once more on to firm ground. I shall ask you to let me write to you sometimes, & I shall live in hopes of seeing you all again some day—With best love to your dear Husband & Children I remain

'Ever yours affectately

A O Hume—"


Sunday—Oct 19. 1890—

I am sitting in the dining room alone this quiet Sunday eveg. A bad cold & loss of voice has prevented me from going with R. to Falloden to Sir Edward Grey's—& delightful as that would probably have been, a perfectly quiet Sunday without any guests—only the three dear children who are at home—has been a true rest. Mabel has gone to Liverpool to say goodbye to Dora Clark before she sails for Alexandria—Evelyn is in London, Mary at York, so that Ruth, Bertha & Arnold are the only bairns at home—It has been a sad day for the little ones—A squirrel sent only yesterday by Miss Gomm for them, has ended its short little life to day The long journey from London & the terror of a new abode & perhaps too much handling though in the way of kindness proved too much for it, & this morning the poor little thing was curled up as if asleep—but quite dead & stiff. The children were much distressed & so were we all—a tragedy wh has quite saddened the day -. Miss Gomm is an Irish lady who has been here to speak abut Ireland to the Womens' Liberal Assn She had a sweet little squirrel wh she takes about everywhere with her. It is quite tame, & sleeps under her pillow at night. This little pet so delighted Ruth & Arnold that Miss Gomm promised to send them one like it—& lo that little chapter of history is begun & ended all in a day -

The Womens' Liberal Assn began its session with a Conversazione held in the new Assembly Rooms, Barras Bridge—Mr Arner's Band diversified the proceedings, & Miss Gomm & Mr Morton spoke—the latter very ably. It was altogether a great success.

But I must go back to that June day—the longest day of the year—the 21st when our whole family set sail for Bergen. It was on a Saturday night—my brother John had sent his steam launch for us & our luggage, & we left the Redheugh pier about 5 o'clock & steamed gaily down the river, the Edmundsons, even dear "Aunt Gertie" waving to us from the bridge. A multitude of friends of the various passengers were at Tyne Dock to bid goodbye & to wave adieux. Among ours were the Merzs—Charles was going with us—Charlie & Alice Spence—Lionel Clapham Pastor & Mrs Dahl, & my brother John who had come down with us on the steam launch, & arranged everything so beautifully for us. The Britannia is a splendid boat, & although the shaking of the screw was very unpleasant, & those with any tendency to seasickness soon ran away from the deck cabins—we had a splendid passage. The sea was smooth & beautiful, & we never lost a meal—even going down stairs to partake of—a quite wonderful thing for most of us—At Stavanger we had time for a walk in the beautiful sunset—& then another night—(Arnold & I had the lower cabins—very comfortable indeed, & the little man so good & sweet) & in the early morning in the brilliance of midsummer we reached the dear familiar Bergen. There was not much time to spare—our luggage was quickly transferred to the             [blank] & at about 8 o'clock we started for our onward voyage. Very merry we all were—songs & stories enlivened the voyage, & two young friends Howard Priestman & Mr Barrow proved pleasant companions. Almost too soon—so lovely was the sail—we reached Vadheim & at once ordered stolkjoerer to take us across to Osen.

We had tea first in the pretty Inn at Vadheim, & then set off—a gay company in 5 stolkjoerer for the long ride of 18 miles. It was through a beautiful country & we merrily raced along. The night was nearly as light as day—until at 11.30 it grew dusk, & we drove up before a large imposing home, wh was to be our home for the next 7 weeks.—On the way I must not forget to mention, we saw a group of young men & maidens gaily dancing in a meadow, in hour of St John's Eve.

The house was all shut-up, & the farmer had to be wakened before we could get-in. We hastily fixed on our rooms, & then tumbled into bed—not to wake till broad daylight streamed in upon us—When I said "we all left home" &c—I should have mentioned that our sweet—Evelyn was still at Hampstead for the end of the term—On the 17th of July she joined us travelling by herself—& finding no difficulty, & delighted indeed were we to have the dear child with us once more—Charles Merz had to leave us just before that. It was very nice to have him with us, & a charming companion we found him. Of the delights of our stay at Osen, of the lovely country, of the nice house, of the enchanting bathing, & the prowess of our children in swimming, of the boating, the walking, the rambles on the hills—what pen could tell?

Robert fished, & kept us truly supplied in regal fashion—& I sketched & we all enjoyed the free wild life to the full. We had a few visitors—not enough to make it burdensome—only a very pleasant variety—Alec & Percy Corder spent three happy days with us—the three most perfect days as to weather—we then went up Kvamhest, & sat for two hours on the top enjoying the glorious view. The first expedition to that mountain had been rather disastrous—we had taken all the children & set off at night hoping for a fine sunrise—but, mist & rain & bitter cold were our portion, & we had to abandon reaching the "aller höchste spitze"—However this last expedition made ample demands—One little incident might have been serious, when Mabel glissaded over a snowfield, & shot over some rocks at the bottom. Happily she escaped with a few bad bruises, but it makes me shudder even now to think how differently it might have ended.

Thank God, all those happy weeks passed by with no serious accident—& although we had a great deal of rain, we contrived to be very happy indoors, & whether in storm or in sunshine the country is always beautiful

Towards the end of our stay Hugh & Laurence Richardson came, & our three eldest girls went off with them for a little walking tour. They had splendid weather, & a most delightful time. Among other places they visited Fjoerlands when Mabel & Ruth when little girls were so nearly swept away in the stream—& they also went to Aardal where we spent three happy weeks in 1876—Old Jens Klingenberg was so pleased to see them that he would take no pay from "Watsons"—a touching little episode—especially when we remember that it is 14 years since we were there, & that the little maidens of that time had grown out of all knowledge.

Our girls rejoined us at Bergen, & after one day there we set out, on our homeward journey—A long rough passage was a great contrast to the outgoing one—but it would be too much ever to expect two good voyages—in the same year.

Since returning home we have had the most beautiful Autumn weather—day after day of almost cloudless beauty such as I never remember before. Ruth & I have been taking sketching lessons, & enjoyed sitting in the cornfields trying our hands at the corn-stooks & the trees.

Winger engagements have now begun & Christmas will be upon us directly. Robert is very busy with a paper on the all absorbing Labour question, & he has taken part in several Irish meetings. He works only far too hard—or that I always fear the good he got in Norway cannot last.'

We have had very pleasant visits from Sophie Kenrick a friend of Mabel's, & Ella Wallis a friend of Ruth's—have made acquaintance with Mr & Mrs Lyttleton (he the master of Selwyn College, the brother of Lady Frederick Cavendish) They came for the inaugural meeting of University Extension—when Mr Lyttelton gave an admirable lecture on the "Study of History". They stayed the one night here—a very short, but pleasant visit. Mrs L. is the President of the Cambridge W.L.A. & is evidently a woman of great power—Then we had a delightful two days' visit from Mr & Mrs Holmden on their way back from Scotland. It was indeed pleasant to welcome again these old & kind friends, whose goodness to Mabel when she was at Newnham we never can forget.

There has just been great excitement in the town over the visits of first Mr Balfour & then Mr Morley. The latter made, as we think an unanswerable & magnificent speech. The meeting in the Town Hall presided over by Mr Burt was the largest & most enthusiastic we ever saw, except Mr Gladstone's at Birmingham, & there was a large overflow meeting in the Corn Exchange downstairs. R. had to address this, so that unfortunately he missed the whole of Mr Morley's speech—but he did not leave until his part in the great meeting was over, & we had listened to his few trenchant & eloquent words. Mr Morley turned round to me beaming with approbation when he sat down. Earl Granville's speech was good, but unfortunately inaudible except to those near at hand.

This was the first large political meeting Bertha & Arnold had attended—It was a grand treat for them. Mr Storey in his speech compared Mr Morley to Achilles & Mr Balfour to Hector, because the former killed the latter, but the children were by no means satisfied, because they "liked Hector so much better than Achilles."

But the most interesting—in a personal way—part of the very interesting day was the unveiling by Mr Morley of a portrait of my dear husband wh has been painted for the Liberal Club, & at their desire & expense. Miss Etherington, the young lady who painted it is very clever—she is only 26 & yet has painted about 50 portraits. She stayed with us a few days, & we liked her so much—she is such a pleasant simple girl, with a great deal of power not at first apparent. The portrait was begun at the Office, & the expression when nearly finished did not at all satisfy me—it had that anxious expression wh belongs, I hope more to the Office than home. During the visit here when the picture was finished the genial home expression was grasped—& I am now quite satisfied, except that I wickedly covet the delightful picture for my own.

The unveiling was a most interesting ceremony—both Mr Stevenson & Mr Morley spoke so beautifully about my dear husband—& I know so well how all they said was true—& far more—& how for me there is that "other side" wh is best & dearest of all. Truly I have been blest.

We were so sorry that three of our girls were from home—Mabel who had gone to Liverpool to say goodbye to Dora Clark who is sailing for Alexandria—Evelyn in London—& Mary at York—I believe I said this before—But Ruth & Bertha & Arnold were with us—& to them it was a "red letter day"  I here insert the newspaper account of the proceedings -


1st of 3 sections of newspaper clipping about the presentation of Robert Spence Watson's portrait 3rd of 3 sections of newspaper clipping about the presentation of Robert Spence Watson's portrait
2nd of 3 sections of newspaper clipping about the presentation of Robert Spence Watson's portrait

[My scan of the final segment of this clipping has become corrupted, and will be replaced as soon as I can re-locate the original clipping.]

Lady Trevelyan was our guest—the 20th & 21st She had never heard Mr Morley or been at such a great political meeting, & was much interested. Sir George Trevelyan was away at Eccles speaking for the Liberal Candidate there—& to day—Oct 23rd we have just heard of the Liberal success—a happy augury for the General Eelction—which surely—surely cannot be far off—


When we returned from the Federation meetings at Sheffield in November, I thought I shld at once write down an account of that interesting time, & now it is the 1st of April. I was going to say "it is spring" only this Arctic looking morning when the ground is thickly covered with frost, the look would belie the words—& I have not once opened the book.

R. & I went to Sheffield in November to a series of important Liberal Federation meetings to be held there. We stayed at the Hotel near the Station, where Mr Schnadhorst & his wife, & the Mundellas, & Mr Harris Sanders, Mr Clephan & others of the party were staying The Conference wh extended over two days, was very interesting—or perhaps I should scarcely call it a Conference, but rather a meeting when various resolutions were brought forward & spoken to. The Irish question was under a cloud, through the misdoings of Parnell, but it was interesting to observe the long programme of social questions & the enthusiasm with wh they were received. The disestablishment of the Church in Wales, the regulation of the liquor traffic—land legislation then were especially favourably received—while Mr Percy Banting brought forward the subject of the better government of London in an admirable speech. Sir Wilfrid Lawson, witty as usual, was requested to "disestablish the Church, to abolish the House of Lords, & to abolish the liquor traffic in a speech of ten minutes". Before he had spoken five, every one was convulsed with laughter. Of course it was very gratifying to me to see the honour done to the new President of the Federation. Prof Stuart proposed his election in a speech of singular felicity, followed by H.J. Wilson in similar terms. In the great meeting in the Drill Hall in the evening Mr Morley again referred to the new President, as one whom he had long known, & who had a "heart of gold".

All the more delightful to me to hear these things that I knew them to be no mere flattery, but true every word. The new President filled his place admirably; no long speeches were required of him, but he spoke well & to the point.

There was much pleasant social intercourse in this Sheffield time—with the Liberal contingent at the Inn & at Henry J. Wilson's, a charming house at Asgathorpe (formely the Olivers'—or rather Mrs Oliver's family, the Walls—) There was a meeting on one of the days of the Womens' Liberal Assn at wh Mrs H.J. Wilson presided—Mrs Byles, Lord Compton Mr Hammond, a candidate for one of the divisions of Sheffield spoke, & I also had to do my little part. In coming home we paid a pleasant little call on Mary Ann & Hannah Hewitson whom we found a good deal failed, but cordial & hospitable as ever.

The Christmas party passed off with the accustomed success—some of the young people acted with great spirit "Ici on parle Français" Where all were good it were invidious to particularize, but perhaps Ernestine as the young Frenchman specially distinguished herself. Her very gestures were French, & her get-up capital.

But oh the changes, the changes "that the hurrying years have seen"—Christmas is no longer all mirth & jilly to eyes that—though without the poet's wisdom—have "kept watch o'er man's mortality".

And this Christmas too has come & gone, & we are now in April so fast the days speed on. Mabel & I have had a little trip to London, a very pleasant one, though not without its disappointments, & Mabel's knee wh had troubled her for some time is now quite well again. Dr Wharton Hood whom we consulted said "Don't be persuaded to lie up" & the advice seems to have been good—only of course the lying up & the real cure had been before.

Since then R. & I have paid visits to Oxford, Norwich, Cromer & Yarmouth—That to Yarmouth was to see Mr Dendy's mother a charming old lady of 70 with not a gray hair in her head apparently—& full of interest. Cromer is a beautiful place but the weather was sorely against us, while for our row on the "Broads" we had one of the bitterest days, & all our wraps & precautions against the cold made the expedition seem almost ludicrous.

On the way home R. had to diverge to attend some Federation meetings at Sheffield. I, after a little détour by Ilkley, came home by way of York, spending a delightful afternoon with our dear Mary. Now Evelyn has been at home for 4 days, & has gone off to Stockholm with Emily Baker & Ethel Stevenson—Ruth is in Wiesbaden again with my sister Carrie, & S.A R. & Lena Richardson & Mabel Bertha & Arnold are the only children at home.

July 10, 1892.

It is more than a year since I wrote in this book, & how much has happened since then. The dear father & I had a delightful time in Spain in the late Autumn—going in the "Ormuz" a splendid vessel, to Gibraltar, we afterwards crossed over to Tangier & spent a few very pleasant days in that strange & interesting place, Where people & things of long ago Biblical times mingle with all the commonplaces of to day—where no wheeled vehicles exist, but everything, even to a grand piano is carried on the backs of donkeys or mules—where the telephone, on of the most modern & remarkable of scientific inventions exists side by side with the scribe writing, cross-legged, for those who cannot write—a place for the artist, for the antiquarian & for the Ethnologist for there all races seem to mingle. From Tangier we crossed over to Cadiz, thence to Seville, Cordova, Rouda, Granada, Murcia, Elche (with its palms) Alicante Valencia, Barcelona, Paris & home -

At Seville it was very disappointing that the Cathedral was being repaired, & all the scaffolding prevented our seeing it—the picture gallery too was closed—The Cathedra, once the mosque of Cordova, we found a fascinating place—It was like being in a dim forest to wander among its coloured & innumerable pillars—Picturesque Rouda pleased us much, but Granada is surely one of the most beautiful places in the world. Its gardens of delight, its lofty & stately palace, its glorious mountains, its pathetic history make it a most entrancing place -

Barcelona we thought the finest manufacturing town we had ever seen, with its stately streets with their avenues of trees,  its palatial mansions Our excursion to Montserrat that extraordinary isolated mountain with its eyrie-like monastery was most interesting & the view of the distant snowy Pyrenees made us long to linger among them instead of rushing past in the night as we had to do, & leaving them far behind.

While we were absent Mabel worked too hard—then came Christmas time with its many engagements, & Mabel quite broke down. Her poor circulation affected her hands so much that they became too painful & sore to use, & Dr Wilson said it was absolutely necessary that she should go South to a warmer climate. So, in much anxiety, we prepared to go immediately—my sister Carrie very kindly offered to go with us & we decided to take Bertha too. On the 7th of January 1892 we left home, staying two days in London, to consult another Dr who also said the warm climate was the best possible remedy. The dear father was with us, & saw us off from Plymouth—Archie Ross also meeting us there full of helpful kindness—in the good ship "Kaikoura". It was an anxious time but fortunately both C. & I kept quite well. I was able to look after Mabel who bore the journey well, & soon recovered in the delicious warm air of Teneriffe. Our chief stay was at Orotava, a delightful place where riding, driving, sketching, Spanish lessons & other diversions made the time pass very pleasantly, & where we met many nice people—then to Jeod where the Peak is seen to still greater advantage than at Orotava—& then over the mountains by a magnificent pass 7000 ft high over to Günnar. The view from the top of this pass was superb—far above the clouds, we looked down on a white billowy sea of cloud with the blue blue island of Palma rising above it on the far horizon—& the Peak of Tenerife rising soaring into the blue sky above us—We rested more than an hour in the sunshine & heat, thankful to be favoured with so lovely a day—so different from our expectations as we came up through the mist. We each had a mule except Bertha who rode a pony, a pack mule for our food & wraps a man for each steed, & one for the pack mule & a guide as well, so we were quite a cavalcade. We reached Günnar about 8 hours after we left Orotava—between 4 & 5 o'cl. & were welcomed by Miss Edwards to the pretty little Hotel. Here we had a delightful stay of 5 weeks enjoying the lovely garden, the enchanting views of sea & hills—The mountains rise up nobly behind the scattered little town—beautiful they are both in form & colour—Old Colonel Rocke who painted a great deal was continually in raptures about the mountains—"had never seen anything more beautiful—what could any one want more &c" He & his wife were very pleasant people, & Mr Roe who came later—The latter was musical & he & Mabel played & sang together to their own, & our great pleasure. We took Spanish lessons again here, & made some progress, especially Mabel & Bertha. From Günnar we came just before Easter to Santa Cruz & after a wearisome delay of more than a week at the International Hotel, we embarked in the "Mandingo" for Madeira. At Funchal we stayed at the Santa Clara Hotel—a very good one, but disappointing in having no views from the garden, wh was however indeed2 lovely1 with flowers, lilies, geraniums, roses, honeysuckle & all kinds of lovely things. Madeira is more beautiful than Tenerife, & we especially enjoyed a week's stay at Santa Anna on the north side of the island, a quiet little place with beautiful views, & delightful walks—The Hotel, formerly a gentleman's house is very comfortable, but the absence of any English speaking person is a great drawback. We met in Funchal, & again in Santa Anna a delightful old lady, Miss Arabella Shore. She is a keen politician, with an exceedingly clear, critical mind—a strong upholder of Women's Suffrage. And When she found out who I was, or rather whose wife I was, she was amusingly enthusiastic, & we immediately became friends. Afterwards, at Funchal, I said to her one day, "I wonder if you are any relation of that Emily Shore whose journal I read with so much interest." Her eyes filled with tears, as she answered "I am her sister". Then then told me how she had come to Madeira after 50 years—to see her sister's grave & to see once more the places endeared to her childish recollections—We talked much about that beautiful young life, so early closed, of her marvellous abilities her gentleness & goodness.

Later we returned to England in the same boat, the "Empusa" with Mr Shore—this lady's brother—also very clever & interesting.

When in London in October, I went down to Orchard Payle to see Miss A. Shore & her sister Louisa—two most charming old ladies, delightfully racy & clever—I was shewn the lovely portrait of Emily—the reproduction in the book gives a very faint idea of her loveliness—& also her clever little sketches—paintings of flowers, birds & butterflies—The last named were scarcely to be distinguished from the real insect, so wonderfully were they painted.


In July of this year the General Election took place—a stirring time. To the great mortification & regret of all good Liberals Mr Hamond succeeded in putting out Mr Craig. Mr Morley, who was returned, although with fewer votes than Mr Hamond, was shortly made Chief Secretary for Ireland—wh necessitated a fresh election. The Conservatives & Liberal Unionists, flushed with victory, brought up Mr Rolli, to contest the seat—but this time the Liberals worked as they had never done before, & Mr Morley was triumphantly returned—a comfortable reversal of the feeling before. We had Mr Michael Davitt, Mr Lief Jones, Mr C.P. Trevelyan, Miss Rowntree, & Countess Alice Kearney all staying with us—& for a single night only Mr Herbert Gladstone, Mr Blake (Ex Premier of Canada) & Mr Henry Fowler. All our guests were busy from morning to night—when, over the supper table, there ware many adventures & incidents to relate. It was the most exciting election we had ever known—& the end crowned all.


March 1893 -

A third fourth part of the new year is almost gone—& I have made no record—The days fly past—leaving so little result—Christmas came & went—with its gladness & its sadness—& now already we are in March—We have had some beautiful summer like weather—quite exceptional in its calm beauty—Already But now it is colder & probably will be colder still & wet for Easter—We have only had Ruth with us at home. Mabel has been since the end of January with C.J. & Alice Spence & their family in Italy & Sicily—They invited her so kindly, & it seemed such a delightful opening that we gladly consented. I fear she will just come back to cold weather—but we must hope not. We have missed her much—although Ruth is bright & merry & helpful—Evelyn is teaching again at York—& Bertha & Arnold at school—& Mary has gone to the School of Domestic Economy at Edinburgh, where she is very happy. But it is strange to have often such a quiet house—& to have no little children to work for now. I remember when a girl, hearing some friend say how often the young were sympathized with, & the old were sympathized with but the middle aged or elderly were left out, & how much they needed sympathy. I little thought then how I should come acutely to feel the truth of those words. The depression that comes upon me is at times almost unbearable. No little ones who must be cared for & worked for—no little feet to come running to meet you one—the work that has to be of one's own choosing with the perpetual sense of "cui bono"? The strength & hope of youth gone & a constant feeling of weariness upon one. Well can I realize that friend's remarks, & could even long to be under some direction wh would say "do this" & take away the dreaded feeling of responsibility. It is easy to me now to see how elderly people often go into sisterhoods or join the Church of Rome—it is that they may be under the guidance wh is easier to them than choosing their own path. For indeed it is not so easy to "do the duty which lies nearest to thee" which Carlyle talks of—"Oh but to know the road"—is more often the cry of our hears & those dear people who speak as if it were oh so easy to open the heart & receive a blessing scarcely know what some of us fell. They speak as though it were just as easy to open the heart as the hand—All this may seem morbid—but it weighs heavily upon me at times, even although I know & recognize most fully now much I have to be thankful for—the best of husbands & children—dear home & kindest friends—may God in His mercy, grant me more of His peace!


We have had another election in Gateshead, owing to Lord Northbourne's death, wh raised our member Mr James to the Peerage. After a hot contest between Mr Ralli (a third time candidate & unsuccessful) Mr & Mr Allan, the latter a staunch Radical was elected—900 majority. This new Govt is the best there has been for many a long day—& is doing splendid work. Already the Home Rule Bill, the local veto Bill, the Parish Council Bill (in wh "sex is no disqualification") have been brought in. There will be tremendous opposition, but the Liberals are a good & solid majority of 40—& let us trust will carry these splendid measures. Mr Gladstone is more wonderful than ever—83—& yet strong to work, & "head & shoulders" as Mr Morley once said, "above every one else. It is an exciting time, & one fraught with progress.


Feb. 3rd 1895.

Nearly two years since I made an entry in this book—how the months fly—And now all the little events wh seemed of so much importance as they came, have passed & gone—so that one is tempted to say 'what matter? in a hundred years it will all be the same.'

I have actually never chronicled our stay in Wales in the hot summer of 1893—at a house called Bryn Cothi—in a pretty, but not surprisingly beautiful country in Caermarthenshire The fishing too was very disappointing for R, & for Charles who was with us—for the hot weather had made the water far too low. In the late But we were a merry party & had much enjoyment, although dear Ruth's not being very well was a great drawback. Afterwards I took her to London, where she was for some time under Mrs (Dr) Scherlieb. A long time of delicacy followed—but now I am thankful to say she is much stronger. I seem never to have mentioned the happy tour in Devonshire which R. & I made together in the late Autumn of 1892—loitering at beautiful Lynton & Lynmouth, & visiting Clovelly & other charming places. We enjoyed it extremely, in spite of rough blustering weather at Tintagel & at Chapford—& rain wh prevented our seeing Endsleigh, "the earthly Paradise."

The winter of 1893 is very much a blank, so I must e'en pass it over—& tell how in the early spring of '94 I took Ruth to Llandudno to stay at Miss Wood's delightful Boarding House—It was a lovely spring—Lilac & laburnum out by the end of March, & primroses in abundance in the beautiful woods—(we had been at Ilkley in the autumn also for Ruth's health—but happily she was much better when at Llandudno—& gained strength daily) It was a delightful place, though spoiled by much ugly building—& the sea & the cliffs—the Great & Little Orme—& the neighbouring woods were a never ending pleasure—I got all the sketching I could & made some progress I hope.

At the end of June we sailed for Norway except Evelyn & Mary who joined us later, & Mabel who came later still. It was intensely hot at Skjolden & very relaxing for Ruth, who was not well there.

(Interrupted here—I now take up the thread more than two months afterwards.)

Our cousins C.J. Spence & his wife & family came also to Skjolden later on, & many a delightful expedition the young people had together—learning snow-shoing on the mountains—bathing in the fjord &c

When the time approached for Bertha & Arnold to return to school, R. went home with them. The rest of us went up to Maristuen—above Laerdal, where the air was far more bracing than at Skjolden, & in spite of cold & rain the 3 weeks' stay there did Ruth much good. We returned in detachments—Evie & Mary first, then Mabel, Ruth & I.

And now the long, cold winter of {We were without water—except rain water for a whole month & had the man hole in the boiler out all that time.} 1894 & 5 with all its pleasures & all its sorrows, & for the poor its many privations has passed away, & summer seems really at hand, with bursting buds, & pleasant wamrth. It has been a busy time—many guests coming & going—guardian work, Liberal meetings &c &c—many a disappointment, but also many a joy—though more than ever the sense of the "petty done, the undone vast." Ruth has been though still far from strong, much better than she was last winter, which is a great comfort—but one cold after another had has sadly interfered with her exquisite singing—singing wh to me is far more lovely & far more expressive than any prima donna's. Mabel has been for two terms the "Lady Tutor" at the College of Science—under Principal Gurney—a very responsible & interesting post. She has to generally superintend the women students, besides taking some mathematical classes, & the whole arrangements for the cleaning of the College are under her care. She is of course at the College all day—so we do not see very much of her—but are glad to think she is so well & happily employed, where her sympathy & interest are so useful.

Evelyn is teaching Swedish gymnastics at Cambridge -

Mary has gained a 1st class Diploma at the School of Domestic Economy in Newcastle both for High Class & plain cookery, & a second class for Laundry—& well she deserves them for she has worked hard. Bertha & Arnold after a few days' holiday at Easter have returned to York. They went with us—their father & me & Ruth & Mary—to Alston over Easter Sunday, & much we enjoyed the few days' rest—Snow was still on the heights, & even quite down in the valleys, in sheltered places.

Our two youngest bairns are no longer children—Bertha will soon be 18 & many a time I feel that my task is nearly done—that I am no longer needed. But perhaps this is but a cowardly feeling, & I struggle against it—husband needs me if not children—& their devoted love abides with me. R. is sadly tired now, & needs a rest, & if all is well, he & I are going off to the South of France this next week—for two or three weeks -

April 20, 1895


June 3rd 1895

Here we are again at home after—& have indeed been here more than a fortnight—our delightful time among the Pyrnees over & gone—Our route was from London to Pau, with a few hours' break at Paris. We spent one day—a Sunday at Pau—& on Monday made made a charming excursion to Eaux Chaudes & Gabas—on a day of days when the sunshine brought out all the beauty of the early summer woods, & when the glorious mountains elevated themselves in perfect clearness. From Pau we went by rail to Pierrefitte—thence by diligence to Cauterets, a charming place high up the valley, with the stream wh Tennyson immortalizes in the beautiful lines "All along the valley, stream that flashest white" &c The place abounds with beautiful walks among the wooded hills—we made one fine pedestrian excursion to the Lac du Gaube, generally a riding excursion, but we had 3 hours on the patheless pathless snow, & were glad of sunshine & clear air—So much snow fell this year in all this district that there were many remains of avalanches, & near Cauterets in particular, a great piece of road has been entirely destroyed, & one bridge swept quite away, & part of another—So that passengers by the diligence like ourselves had to get down & walk into Cauterets by a long circuitous route, our luggage being carried across somehow. From Cauterets we walked down the valley to Pierrefitte thence drove by diligence to Luz, a charming little place set in the midst of multitudinous tall poplars—crowned with a fine old ruined Castle on a steep hill—& with noble mountains all around. We drove from Luz one day to Gavarine to see the wonderful "Cirque de Gavarine". Unfortunately the day was not clear, but in spite of not seeing the tops of the mountains the Cirque was very impressive On our drive up & down we passed acres acres of wild daffodils—covered as went up with thickly falling snow, wh had melted by the time we came down again. Truly "the fields of the daffodil", & mostly lovely they were.

From Luz again by Pierrefitte to Baquères de Bigorre, & thence for a few days to Baquères de Souchon an exquisite place in the very heart of the mountains, & yet with Southern vegetation & Southern flowers—Here we stayed at the Hotel d'Angleterre, where we had, as it was out of the season a splendid salon all to ourselves, & a most comfortable & luxurious bedroom. Indeed, out of the season was fortunate for us, as prices in the season must be ruinous One room we enquire about, wh for us was 8 francs, was 20 francs in the season!

This tour of ours has been a great refreshment & delight—the country is grand & beautiful exceedingly—quite beyond our highest expectations the vegetation rich & beautiful—the flowers—in May—enchanting—whole fields of wild narcissus poeticus—as well as daffodils & countless other flowers—& the people invariably kind & gracious & pleasant.

We returned home the same way, by Pau, Paris—in wh we stayed a day to see the Salon—& London—thence a flying visit to Cambridge to our friends the Holmdens, & to see our dear Evelyn, to York to see Bertha & Arnold, & home once more.



Dec. 14, 1897.

Twenty three years ago, this day my dear father in law died. That was a sad time, although he died—his life work accomplished—like a shock of corn fully garnered. Our own immediate family circle has been unbroken since our marriage nearly 34 years ago—but now—oh sorrow of sorrows, our youngest, our dearly beloved Arnold has been taken from us. It is so long since I have written in this book that I have not told of his leaving York, & going to Dalton Hall at Manchester—to prepare for Cambridge. Alas all the bright hopes of his future on earth are shattered now—but he has entered the Heavenly home & the higher service. I can scarcely write for the tears which blind my eyes, but I must try to write a little record of his last days. He went to Dalton Hall in the Autumn of 1896—& in the report of his 1st Term—Mr Neild, the then Principal says "His conduct has been all that I could desire." It was hard to part with him, but we believed he would have more advantages for study there than at home, & so we let him go. In February of this year—oh how well I recall it, his father & I went to Edensor near Chatsworth to spent a Saty & Sunday. Our dear boy joined us on the Saturday, & we went to Haddon Hall wh interested him so much. Deep snow lay on the ground, but we had nice fires in the comfortable Inn, & what a happy time we had. On Sunday we went over Chatsworth & then took a walk, through the snow, up a high hill—seeing what to us is a rare sight—frozen waterfalls, glittering in the sun shine. In the evening the dear father had to leave us—we drove down to the station together, & saw him off, & then Arnold & I walked back in the darkness to the cosy Inn—regretting father's departure, but very happy together. On Monday morning early, we left for Manchester—where he & I had lunch with Ernest & Lily Weiss. Then I went to his College room at Dalton, where he made me afternoon tea—never can I forget his tender care for me—nor how he shewed me all the home treasures of his room—& how we talked of home, of Norway & of his work at Manchester &c I stayed the night at Dalton Hall—Mrs Neild kindly letting Arnold stay with me in the drawing room—then next morning (Tuesday) he drove with me part way to the station—getting out at the nearest point to the College. I have kept the letter which he wrote to me at Sedbergh, when he says he felt so lonely when the cab drove away, & I left him. I had a very pleasant three days' visit to Mabel & Hugh—I see I have not even noted their marriage—but I told that happy story in their wedding book. It was a joyful time, a radiant day—hosts of kind friends—& a happy home they had at Havera Bank, Sedbergh—for the 1st year of their married life. In June I was again there—to welcome the advent of their sweet little baby, who has come like a sunbeam into our lives. Arnold's term was over, & he came to Sedbergh before going home. As there was not room at Havera Bank, he stayed in a house near—& on the Sunday he & I walked down through the fields to the peaceful little Meeting House at Brigflatts, where Peace seemed to reign. After meeting he had a bathe in a splendid pool near at hand. I sitting on the bank above—then another happy walk through the fields—past the school houses—I so proud of my son—& so happy to be with him. In the evening he went with Hugh to the impressive Chapel service. On Monday the little baby came & we thought it best for Arnold to go home. I have forgotten to speak of Easter, when we all went to Mrs Hayes' lodgings at Grasmere. Our dog "Tommy" was objected to, so Arnold had a room outside, & Tommy slept under his bed. How lovely the country was, the garden brilliant with flowers—daffodils, hyacinths &c & what delightful walks we had. Just before coming away, Arnold & his cousin Ernest Merz & Theresa & Hugh made an expedition to Langdale—Hugh & Theresa returning, Arnold & Ernest going on & making the ascent of Bowfell and Scawfell. At Wastwater they met with Mr J.W. Graham & J.W. Robinson, & with them ascended Great Gable. In coming down J. W. Robinson had what might have been a serious accident—I here insert Ernest Merz's graphic acct of it. How fond these dear bright cousins of his were of him & how they will miss him. When they parted, Ernest says they said to each other "When shall we meet again"—Ah when? They went to Germany soon after this, & have never seen him since. Arnold & Ernest went on to Crummock & stayed a night a the house C.J. Spence had taken. Next day they walked to Watendlath—& parted there Ernest walking over the hills to Wytheburn—for Grasmere—Arnold walking with C.J.S. to Keswick—where I was waiting for him. We came home together—how delighted I was to see him again, & so thankful, when he told me of J.W. Robinson's accident that he & Ernest had escaped. How we looked back at the mountains, & down on the rushing streams & the spring woods, bursting into faint greenery—& how little did I think that was the last last time he would ever be with me in that Lake country, wh we loved so well.

In August R. & I. & Evelyn & Bertha & Arnold went to Norway—to Skarsenian above Sundalsøren. The drive to it was up a long, steep, narrow valley, at the bottom of which rushed the impetuous Driva river. The first voyage from Bergen to Sundalsøren was quite delightful—especially the part between Christiansund & Sundalsoren, where we passed stretch after stretch of enchanting fjord, with fair hills rising above—with beautiful woods, & happy hamlets—a perfect Paradise to outward seeming. On reaching Sundalsøren R. & I started in stolkjoere—Evie, Bertha & Arnold on their bicycles—up the valley. The 1st eveg we stayed at Storjahle—& on the eveg of the 2nd day, in wind & rain, we reached Skarsenin—on the last part of the journey the roads were terribly bad, & there was almost constant walking both for those who drove, & those who bicycled. Of the happy Norway times I scarcely dare to speak—the last we had, or shall ever have with our beloved boy. Part Most of the time was spent at Skarsenin, but the last week at Kise, further up the valley, & a much better fishing place. Never can I forget our pride & delight when Arnold caught his first salmon. All through these happy weeks we had him with us, & I cannot remember one cross word, or one selfish action of his—he was always the same, gentle affectionate, loving son & brother.

The voyage home was stormy, & he caught cold, & was not very well at Christiansund & Bergen, but he seemed to get better at home, & after a few more happy weeks at home, when he had some coaching from Mr Saunderson, he returned to Dalton Hall—on Oct. 4th & we never saw him again, until called there by his sudden illness. He was making good progress in his studies, & developing much intellectually, when all the bright prospects of his earthly career were cut off for ever. On Friday Nov. 19th he breakfasted as usual, had a lesson with Mr Pollard—but about noon complained of a very bad headache & shivering. As soon as possible he was put to bed, in the Sanatorium, a nice room at the top of the house—his temperature taken by Mr Graham, (now Principal) & found to be 104o. Dr V. Brown was sent for, & later, a nurse. We were written to, & on Saturday morning, the 20th, I started for Manchester. Hugh & Mabel, & darling little Molly, & Mary, wh was staying with them, met me at York—& Lily Weiss at Manchester. She drove up with me to the Hall—where I soon found how ill our darling was. But he knew me at once, & threw his dear arms around my neck, with "Oh Mother I am so delighted to see you." I telegraphed for the dear father to come next morning & he came on Sunday by slow train—on Monday Ruth came & Evelyn from Glasgow, & on Wednesday Bertha from Swanley, Hugh & Mabel from York, & Evelyn from Glasgow. Some stayed part of the time with L. & E. Weiss, but mostly at the Dalton—Mr & Mrs Graham most kindly making room, by sending their two sweet little children to Dr Brown's Dr Harris was called in on the 1st Saturday, & spoke very seriously of the illness. All the sad days that followed are confused in my mind like some sad & terrible dream—night was generally turned into day with the long watchings by his sick bed—when even in his delirium he seemed able to remember & thank us for any little service done. Once I heard him saying "Help God, oh help"—& he was helped. Another time he thought he was going home, & called to the driver to drive "quicker, quicker—home to Bensham Grove". And he has gone home, but to another home from than ours.

'Once he threw his dear arms round my neck, & said "Mother I have tried to be a good boy to you"—as indeed he was. Many times we had sweet little talks with him, but generally the delirium continued, & all we could do was to try & soothe him. We had the most kind & devoted helpers—Mr & Mrs Graham were unremitting in their care & their kindness Many of the students, Mr Pollard Mr Hill, Mr Hayward, & Mr Dobson took turns in watching—his tutor Mr Pollard too, & Ernest Weiss were most helpful—while our own dear girls & Lily Weiss when they could not be in the room, helped in every possible way outside—in preparing food, &c &c. The days wore on—the best skill that two clever Drs could give—the best care & nursing that our devoted nurse Craig & all of us could give—was given. On Friday when he got, at last, through an injection of morphia, some sleep, there was a gleam of home—but his strength could not rally—& on Saturday morning, the 27th November, the same day on wh, 34 years before, my dear father died, our precious & beloved son passed quietly away. The delirium had left him but he was not conscious—he just breathed more & more faintly until at a little after three o'cl. In the afternoon he ceased to breathe. We were all standing round his bed—with Mr & Mrs Graham, the Dr, the nurse & some of the students.

Some exquisite lilies were laid on his dear breast very soon after he died, & was had been taken to the lower room, & chrysanthemums & violets sent by kind friends. Sunday the 28th we spent quietly at Dalton—looking over & arranging his things &c. In the evening Dr Hodgkin came, & we had a little meeting, with comforting & helpful words. Monday was the sad travelling home day—Hugh joining us at York. Carrie & Allie & Gertie most kind & full of sympathy were here to meet us—& on Tuesday—Nov. 30th our darling was laid to rest at Jesmond—his coffin borne to the grave by his cousins Herbert & Edgar Edmundson, Hugh Watson, Laurence Richardson & Bowman Watson. Many beautiful wreaths & crosses covered the coffin, & the grave afterwards—& many sympathizing friends stood around. But we could not see them—it was as if we walked in a dream. Mr Graham Mr Pollard, Mr Hill & Mr Dobson & Mr Hayward all came from Manchester, & we had our brothers & sisters in the evening. We have had abounding sympathy from friends far & near—about 600 letters & cards—& we have many consolations but our Arnold has gone, & life can never be the same again for us—although we know that

"We give thee to thy God, the God who gave thee."

"Had He asked us, well we know

We should cry, oh spare this blow!

Yes, with streaming tears should pray,

'Lord, we love him, let him stay'.

But the Lord dough nought amiss,

And since He hath ordered this,

We have nought to do but still

Rest in silence on His will."

I should have said that At the Cemetery, the Rector Canon Moore Ede, & Thomas Pumphrey spoke a few words. At the meeting in the Meeting House afterwards Fielden Thorp who had come from York, spoke very impressively—& my dear Robert was enabled to say a few beautiful words of thankfulness & resignation even in the midst of his sorrow.


There are one or two things I have forgotten to mention in connection with our beloved Arnold's illness. One is, that on the Friday evening, the day before his death, he when Dr Harris & Dr Brown were going away after their evening visit, he stretched out his hand first to one, then to the other, & said so sweetly "Goodbye, & thank you so much." It was so lovely to see & to hear, but a chill went through my heart when for I thought he knew it was the last time.

It was so pitiful all through his illness, to hear "Mother, Mother" in a feeble appealing voice, & I stooped down to catch the words he would say, but could not hear or understand. Oh how I longed to be able to help him, & it was all in vain, but a greater help than ours was with him, a very present help in trouble.

The telegram that J. & G. Edmundson sent us when the heard the end had come was this

'"He giveth His belovèd sleep."

Dec. 16th 1897


The following poem is from a little book of verses by Elizabeth Waterhouse—(Dr Hodgkin's sister) & have given me great comfort. Lucy Hodgkin gave me the book, & this poem "In Winter",  the following one "In Summer"—ha seem to me most beautiful—they are written in memory of her own son Maurice—who died after a short illness, just as our darling did.


"In Winter"

"In windy winter, O my love, my love,

   I seek the spot where most I think of thee,

When no blue breaks the windy murk above,

   And no bird sings upon the straining tree.


For then thy grave, where now no petals fall,

   The sodden churchyard, & the stormy tide,

Yea, all that is, seems but a great grey wall

   With shining summer on the other side


Yes, shining summer in a perfect place,

   And then, my beautiful, art standing ther

I cannot see the splendour of thy face,

   Nor guess the new-lit glory of thy hair;


But one day, surely dear, a little door

   In this grey wall will open, thou wilt come

And I shall look upon thy face once more,

   And thou wilt take my hand & lead me home"


E. Waterhouse.


We have been at Alnmouth for the Christmas week, & over New Year's Day—to Nethergrange—the beautiful house most kindly lent to us by J.W. & Helen Pease. We were all there—all but one—& Hugh & Mabel, & their sweetest of babies, little Molly—& Ernest & Lily Weiss—all so kind & helpful. It was good for us, this change, & the young people saw many of the interesting places of our beautiful Country. And now we are once more entering into the ordinary affairs of life. Mary has gone to Leicester, to Mrs Ellis'—Bertha has returned to Swanley—Evelyn is at Manchester. She & Ernest Weiss are to be married on March 21st & now—we must try, as Tennyson says—to let "Memory be changed to hope".

 Jan. 19, 1898


Sonnet by R.S.W.

Nov. 28. 1897.

Can it, my precious boy, be thou art gone

From her who bore thee? shall thy loving kiss

Never again linger our lips upon?

And must we still thy cherished presence miss

And never more hear thy loved voice. Is this

The end of thy glad life? All past & gone—

The smile still on thy face as though in bliss

And we weep here without our only son.

Thy thin white hands lie folded on thy breast

The pain has left thy forehead: we can bear

Our ceaseless pain, & know that it is best—

Pressing our kisses on thy death-cold hair

And irresponsive brow—that thou shouldst rest

And we live on, until we meet thee there.



"Only a year".

One year ago, a singing voice

   A clear blue eye,

And clustering curls of sunny hair,

   Too fair to die.


Only a year, no voice, no smile,

   No glance of eye,

No clustering curls of sunny hair

  —Fair but to die.


One year ago what loves, what schemes

   Far into life,

What joyous hopes, what high resolves

   What generous strife.


The silent picture on the wall,

   The burial stone -

Of all that beauty, life & joy

   Remain alone.


One year, one year, one little year,

   And so much gone,

And yet the even flow of life

   Moves calmly on


The grave grows green, the flowers bloom fair

   Above that head.

No sorrowing tint of leaf or spray

   Says he is dead.


No pause or hush of merry birds

   That may sing above

Tells us how coldly sleeps below

   The form we love.


Where hast thou been this year beloved?

   What has thou seen?

What visions fair, what glorious life

   Where thou hast been?


The veil, the veil, so thin, so strong

   'Twixt us & thee

The mystic veil, when shall it fall

   That we may see?


Not dead, not sleeping, not even gone,

   But present still,

And waiting for the coming hour

   Of God's sweet will.


Lord of the living & the dead,

   Our Saviour dear,

We lay in silence at thy feet

   This sad sad year."


To us too, as to the Author of these beautiful lines, Harriet Beecher Stowe, on the death of her son, who was drowned, one whilst bathing, one year after their visit to England (to Beech Grove, amongst other places, the house of my father & mother, where I well remember the joy & excitement of seeing them.)

Nov. 27th 1898.


Dec. 6th 1899.

Twenty years ago today our darling was given to us—& for nearly 18 happy years he was ours—& surely he is ours still, although we can never more on earth look on his beloved face. From baby up to young manhood, I retrace it all, & know more than ever how much we loved, & how much we have lost.

Miss Hammerston who is engaged to Mr Gill, one of the students who helped us so kindly at Dalton Hall—writes thus to Evelyn—"When I think of your brother I like to remember that line of Tennyson's "Wearing the white flower of a blameless life". Don't you think it suits our "sweet little fellow?" It originated in fun, but it has since grown almost sacred. Arthur & I at least, never use it without a tender recollection of the fair boy whom the highest King called to the 'Island valley of Avilion before the battle had worn & wearied him."


"For if, thy living voice, aspect & form

Gladdened the ear, & pleased the watchful eye

Of old affection, doubt not thou thy death

Will make thee doubly dear, & that no voice

Will ne'er again those constant hearts rejoice

Like that which God took from thee with thy breath".


(Unbound supplementary pages)

I have written nothing in my journals since the beginning of 1898—& it is now 1916. I had not the heart, after the death of our beloved Arnold, to write any more, & now

"All my losses did I tell you

   Ye perchance would look away,

Ye would answer me 'Farewell you

   Make sad company to day,

And your tears are falling faster

   than the bitter words you say"


Mabel was the next to go—our eldest & dearly beloved Mabel—then the dear companion of my life—my comrade, my helper, my friend, my husband—then Ruth the last remaining daughter at the old house who was more to me than I can say. Mabel died in 1904 [pencil correction to 1907] after a long time of increasing weakness—borne with unfailing patience & gentleness. I had fixed to go with her to Glasgow for her to be under Dr Walker, the Osteopathist, & had made all arrangements, when a letter came from Hugh saying she had caught a chill & could not go. So I went instead to York, hoping to be of use in nursing—but alas when I reached St Mary's I found our darling very ill, with two nurses already installed. She welcomed me in her own loving way—"My precious, I am delighted to see thee" but these were nearly the last words she said—she sank quietly to rest on the 16th day of September, her little Esther's birthday, & she lies in the quiet Friends' Burial ground in York. How great her loss to her husband, & her three dear children, to her parents & her sisters, no words can say—Then in 1911—on March 2nd my dear husband, after many years of failing health, was taken from us. We had been to Tenerife, to where, after being at the point of death, he had rallied sufficiently to return to England, staying at Lyndhurst for a time before coming north—then we spent several winter months at Ventnor, where Ruth also was with us—& she too was ill. Home was the best for him, & he lingered for several years, & when at last he passed way we could not mourn, for his more than three score & ten years were—in a sense—labour & sorrow, & after years of toil & devotion for others, it was meet that he should rest, though Life, henceforth was changed for me, & for many. In going back over the years I seem only to remember the losses—that there were pleasures I know, but somehow I cannot well recall them. My remaining children & my grandchildren were always a source of joy—& I think, with a thankful heart that

"God is good & gives new gladness

When the old He takes away".

Molly, my eldest grandchild, is a little baby when Arnold died, is now 19 years of age, & studying to be a Doctor—a sweet girl constantly reminding me of her mother—Colin, a bright active practical boy is to be a farmer, Esther, not yet 15 is one of Dora Clark's exceptionally clever students—Evelyn's three girls Elsa, at the Mount School, York, Erica at an excellent school at Stockport, & bright winning little Mabel Irene, are all charming children, with marked individuality. Mary's four—Robert, so called after his grandfather; Margaret; Caroline, after the dear "Aunt Car" so lately taken from us—& little Ruth, after the Ruth who has gone from among us—& Bertha's three—Lydia Ruth (Dia) Betty & Willy—all three are lovely & delightful children—& a joy indeed to the old Grannie who loves to have them with her. And so the new generation unconsciously, but surely, pushes out the old, whose sands are nearly run out. May their work be better than ours. This terrible war has raged now for two years & who can say what is to follow. If Peace comes—as we all hope & pray—speedily—we must never return to the old paths, & the work of reconstruction will be vast & difficult.

But now I must tell about my Ruth. My early journals say "a child with more winning ways there could not be." Even then her little subterfuges to hide pain were like the courage of her later years. I tell how when she was disappointed about some toys she only pressed her head against me & said "Doot's eyes so watery".—She was a lovely child with her golden hair & blue eyes—& a prettier pair than Mabel & Ruth would be hard to find. They were devoted to each other—I can never forget the meeting at Cullercoats after a long separation when Ruth had had scarlet fever—the exquisite delight of being together again. They went to their first school together, in Bewick Rd (Miss Every's) & afterwards to the High School. Later Ruth went to Bedford College, where she made many friends—chief among them Lily Weiss. This friendship may be said to be the first step in knowing the Weiss family, & to my dear Evelyn's marriage with Ernest Weiss—& later to Lily Weiss' marriage with Charles Spence. Ruth shewed great aptitude for drawing at Bedford College, & for Literature—She exceedingly enjoyed Prof. Hall's literary lessons, and we all know her love of music; she had an exquisite voice & a very good ear—& her singing has given delight to friends far & near. She had—I am speaking of a later time—a very large répertoire of songs—German & English & Scotch & Irish—Her enunciation was perfect—so clear one could hear every word & she sang with exquisite expression. Into the Irish songs she threw all the fervour of pathos for the sorrows of Ireland—her rendering of "The Arbretus Tree", & "Patrick Sarsfield" can never be forgotten—"Oh why Patrick Sarsfield, o why did you go?" Some of Christina Rossetti's too were most beautiful—"Stay June Stay" & "Who has seen the wind"? Songs for the children delighted them—"Little brown brother" "Molly with her broken toy" & "When a pig wears a wig." But indeed it is impossible to do more than touch on the charm & delight of her sweet singing—which was appreciated not only by those ignorant of musical lore, but by those of real musical gifts who often admired her singing more than that of professional & well known singers.

Ruth was the beloved companion in many a journey—her eye for beauty in its many forms made her an enthusiastic & delightful one—only want of strength often sadly marred her pleasure. In the summer of 1912 Edmund Gower came to England from Tasmania. An old attachment was renewed—& ultimately Ruth consented—though with many tears—to leave her old house & return with him as his wife to that far off land. On the 15th of October 1912 she & Edmund were married in the little meeting house at Hawkshead. Dia & Betty Morrell were the two lovely little bridesmaids—Bowes & Bertha, Hugh Richardson, Ernest Weiss, Frank Pollard, J.W. & G. Edmundson, Herbert & May Corder, Percy & Nelly C. Sara Renton, Lilian Wise, Margaret White & Miss Innes, Edmund's Aunt, were the guests—some at the Hotel, some in at the lodgings. Evelyn & Mary were unable to be with us. It was a lovely day—the bright colour of October on hills & woods. The meeting was a solemn & impressive one G. Edmundson, & Herbert Corder & Mr Naish speaking words of exhortation & comfort. Luncheon followed at the Red Lion Hotel—a very pleasant company—& after some speeches the dear couple drove off in a motor car for Keswick calling on the way to see dear "Aunt Car" at Heugh Folds, the last time either of them saw that beloved aunt, so lately gone from among us. In November the dear newly married couple sailed for Tasmania—viâ the Cape. We had all learned to love Edmund—who to me has been, & is a very dear son in law. Ruth had been far from strong for many years—had "suffered many things from many physicians" but the Doctors consulted before she left England had given it as their opinion that the climate of Tasmania would quite restore her. But climate is not everything—the conditions of her life at Hobart were very different from those at home, the food not nearly so good—& she missed the care & attention she had been used to at home. Edmund did what he could but of course his school duties kept him much occupied. Even the climate was not what we had expected. In the hot weather cold winds set in in the afternoon—& no sun ever shined in her drawing room facing South wh often felt chilly & needed a fire. In March 1913 I set out for Tasmania with Sara Renton my dear & ever helpful companion. How thankful I am that I made this journey, & was able to be so much with my beloved Ruth again. The long posts, nearly 6 weeks, made the parting a very hard one to bear. The voyage was full of interest, & we met with many pleasant companions, Miss Balgarine, an old friend, especially. The ports of call too were very interesting—Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Ceylon—then the Australian shores—Fremantle Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne. I can never forget the early morning when I first saw Australia—lights shone on the long pier of Fremantle, & the sky glowed with the "roseate hues of early dawn". Perth is a beautiful little city. When we were in the port of Adelaide Mr & Mrs Robson—quite unknown Friends, came down to see us—unfortunately we had left to go up to Adelaide—(a letter they had written had not reached us—They actually came down again—14 miles each way—could kindness to strangers go further? They had wished us to go up to their country house—a pleasure we were very sorry to miss. However the Purser gave permission for them to stay & have dinner with us so that we had time for a nice talk. At Melbourne Joseph Haire was looking out for us—he said he "spotted" us directly, though we were just looking over the rail of the ship in our travelling gear. He took us afterwards to the beautiful Botanical Gardens & was most kind in every way. So our first impressions both of Australia & its people were truly pleasant ones. A night—two nights I think it was—at Menzies luxurious Hotel—with real beds to sleep in—were most refreshing—then we sailed on to Tasmania in the Loongaua—a somewhat tedious voyage—for when we got into the river we had to be transferred into another smaller boat—the water not being deep enough for ours. Slowly we steamed up in the crowded little boat, towards Launceston, looking out on the cleared ground & pleasant fields & orchards—& at last—at last, we saw the dear face of Edmund on the wharf at Launceston. What joy it was to see him I cannot tell. After lunch at one of the Hotels, we packed ourselves into a car, & drove away to Hobart, thro' new & beautiful scenes—& at last there was my beloved Ruth standing at the door of Hadley's—to greet us. With what infinite joy I clasped her to my arms.

Of all the happy times at Hobart I cannot dwell—we met many kind friends, saw much of the beautiful country made ourselves at home in the delightful school, sketched much, made many excursions, & found Hobart a delightful place to stay in, & Hadleys a comfortable Hotel (There was no room for us at the school) We made many calls—& the D'Eurdens, the Stansfields the Barclays, the Halls, & many others proved very kind friends—not to speak of the Robeys, Alice J. Bell, & others belonging to the little meeting. But alas my dear Ruth was not stronger, & I left Hobart Melbourne with a sorrowful heart—the day before Christmas Day 1913 leaving my two dear ones standing on the pier, & little thinking that one beloved face I should never see again.

My kind companion on the voyage out, Sara Renton had gone home before me. I met Mrs Knox Lyal, & some pleasant Australian ladies but the return voyage was not so delightful as the voyage there—although the landing on old England's shores & meeting my dear ones here again was indeed joyful. Mary & Bowes (always such a good kind helper) met me at Tilbury, & we were soon on our way to York where I stayed over the Sunday, & where it was lovely to see & to be with Bertha & her three darling children & Mary {Mary & Bowes I had seen before} Frank & their three—I stayed at Burton Croft. I received the warmest & most loving welcome from all—& at Bensham too, when I returned to the dear old home.

But dear Ruth grew worse & on the 20th of August 1914 after a very long & suffering time, her bright brave spirit passed away. An operation to discover the cause of her continued weakness, had revealed an incurable growth. Edmund had cabled this, so we were in some sense prepared for it, & yet when the end came it was a terrible blow. It was hard to think that I could be with her in those last suffering weeks, altho' I know that Edmund did everything possible for her. She was removed from the Nursing Home into the little house Edmund had taken for them, & only two days—two happy days—was she permitted to live there. She was buried in the Cemetery at Cornelian Bay—far far from the land of her birth -

Life is changed for me without that beloved child—& changed for us all who loved her so much—most of all for Edmund who had to return last year (after his visit to England), to his lonely home. Now (July 1916) he has left Hobart altogether & I expect him home tomorrow. It is a joyful thought, & yet full of sadness. It is a changed world too into which he returns—for war still desolates Europe—& there are thousands of desolated hearts & homes—' [Ms ends]