Mary Spence Watson diaries | 1888-92  

MSWP (& FEP) diaries

Diary entries

by Mary Spence Watson (1875–1962)

1888–92

 

Key

1888–92

1893–95

1896–98

1897 (FEP)

1896–99

1899–1900

1901

1903

1904 (with FEP)

1904–07

1907–10

1911

1910–15

1915–20

1920–22

1922–26

1926–29

1930–36

1936–37

1938

1939

1940

1941–42

1942–46

1946–52

1950–58

1958–61

[Note: The first part of this transcript was made some years ago, and—though it appears reasonably complete—it is possible some entries were not selected for inclusion. Dates were not transcribed verbatim. All original text is enclosed in quotation marks, and is verbatim. There are also additional notes, in italics, made by Mary's daughter Caroline, many years later.]

‘Journal

MARY SPENCE WATSON

‘Tour in Scotland. 1888. June 15th-20

‘Then, at about 10.30 p.m. we arrived at Stirling where we went to the Golden Lion hotel.’

Stirling, (seeing the Castle etc) Calender (Trossachs Hotel).  Climbed Ben Venue, walked to lake Katrine and rowed to Ellens Isle – climbed Ben Alan/A’an except Bertha and Arnold who stayed behind and played with a little black pony.

Saturday, 16 June  . . . ‘then caught the train to Calender somewhere about 2.10 o’clock. We passed some beautiful scenery & at Calendar Mother, Mabel, Bertha, Arnold & myself got into a trap with ever so many seats & a good many people & drove to the Trossach’s hotel.’

18 June ‘P.S. Mother doesn’t make B & me eat meat this time while we are away.’

19 June Steamer along lake Katrine . . . ‘We arrived at the end (Stronachlacher) & took the coach with 4 horses to Inversnaid, the first little place along Loch Lomond. . . . Then we stopped at  . . . Luss. Luss is a most lovely little place with Lovely houses & cottages. We went to the hotel . . . Then we saw the place where mother & 2 others years ago went sliding down the waterfall.’

Wednesday, 20 June ‘But we left Mother, Ruth & Arnold at Edinburgh where they stayed at cousin Eliza’s till Friday. They enjoyed it extremely. Cousins Eliza & Jane were so kind & cousin Jane so funny. We had a lovely time.’

Tour at Örnaes

Tromso Amt.     

Near Gröno

Helgaland. 1888.

‘Silver wedding year of father & mother.


Ages.

Father = 51. Mother nearly 50.

Mabel = 24. Ruth = 21.

Evelyn = 17. Mary = 13.

Bertha = 11. Arnold = 8.

Mattie =           Dora Clark = 25

Tuesday, 23 July

‘We left home in the evening & went to the Norgé in a small launch of uncle John Richardson’s. A great many people went with us to see us off. Uncle John, Aunt Hope, Theresa, Charles, cousin Jeanie Sterge, Lena, Sara, & Laura Richardson, Lucy & Miss Inglis, etc.’

Thursday, 2 Aug

‘I have only been sick 3 times. We got to Bergen about 9. a.m.’

Friday, 3 Aug

‘The Jupiter is a most delicious steamer. The captain is so kind & nice & the food is nice & the cabins are beautiful. It was fitted up for royalty about 2 years ago so is nearly free from all smells.’

Monday, 6 Aug

‘The Captain took us round by the Hollands fiord as we wanted to see it very much. It was perfectly glorious. One glacier went right down to the fiord & the ship was stopped, a boat lowered & off we went. Nearly all the passengers went off. Father had his ice-axe so we went on the glacier a little way & were photographed by Mr Smith Halt. . . . The King & Queen of Saxony had been to the North Cape the week before in the Jupiter & had knighted the Captain. He imitated the way she tried to throw stones in such a funny way. Then we went back to the ship & soon arrived Ornaes.’

Wednesday, 8 Aug

‘Father fished with pretty good success. 4 char.’

Friday, 10 Aug

‘Father shot a splendid sea-gull . . . Mother & R sketched. In aft father fished in lake with Adam, we went a row & Evelyn skinned the sea-gull. I had dreadful pains the whole day. They used to come & go & come again.’

Monday, 13 Aug

‘Father shot a lovely little duck in coming in the boat to Shjaegge.’

No entry for this holiday after Sunday, August 19

‘Nov: 20th. 1888. Germany

‘Mabel & I with Edith Richardson have come here to learn German & music etc. Arthur brought us here & is going to Paris. We are staying a week at Miss Lewe’s Dresden & are then going to Frau Von Falckensteins.

7 Sedan Strasse. Dresden.

‘I will copy some of my letters home.’

In Dresden most of the dogs were muzzled. Comments on wonderful confectioners shops. You never saw such cakes hardly. Bertha would love them.

22 Nov 1888

‘When we got to London we were met by the Olivers & drove to an hotel where we met Dora Clark. Then we went on the top of a lovely omnibus to Regent Street . . . It was dreadful crossing the streets. Dora & I used to fly across . . . Then we went in the metropolitan railway back to the hotel . . . Uncle Theo came to see us off at the station & gave a pound between us. Wasn’t it awfully kind? . . . I think London seems awfully jolly. The "Adelaide" the steamer was very nice. (We went Harwich to Rotterdam) It had electric light which was jolly . . . We went into a lovely 2nd. class carriage. At 3 a.m we had to change (it was Hanover). It was rather a bother changing so early in the morning. We were examined by the custom house officers at 12 place & it was great fun. My box was merely opened. It was funny, in the box where the tea was they searched thoroughly & never found it. We changed again at Leipzig. There was snow on the ground as we went along. We saw oxen drawing carts. Dresden is very nice. . . . I hope father’s cold & mother’s knee will be better soon.’

29 Nov 1888

‘Then we went to the panarama which is splendid. It is of the Franco Prussian war & everything looks so real. The poor horses were awful to see. Some dead & some wounded with the blood all trickling down. In 1 place the horse was wounded & his master standing near, so sorry. . . .In the afternoon we went came to Frau Von Falckensteins. Our room is so nice, pretty large & with a piano in. My bed is a sofa bed & so comfortable. We have a jolly writing desk with secret draws.’

Wednesday, 5 Dec

‘Music lessons with Fraulein Prölz & enjoyed it extremely. German lessons also; Mabel with Fraulein Lücker & I with Fraulein V. Falckenstein.’

Thursday, 6 Dec

‘German, etc.’

Friday, 7 Dec

‘Sewing for me with Fr: Lücker. Knitting a pair of baby socks shoes German way..’

Saturday, 8 Dec

‘German & Music.’

Wednesday, 19 Dec

‘Went to Lohengrin (Both of us) & enjoyed it awfully.’

Monday, 24 Dec

‘In the afternoon we went to hear some most beautiful singing in the church & then to another to hear some more. In the evening there was a lovely Xmas tree with walnuts covered with silver paper on it. Then each had a little on [sic] which were arranged our presents. The Falckensteins gave me 3 tiny little green vases, May & napkin ring & each a lot of cakes & goodies. The other girls also gave very nice things. Santa Claus did come to me & even to Mabel & gave us awfully nice things. Mabel gave me 2 exquisite handkerchiefs. Delicious letters we did get.’

Tuesday, 25 Dec

‘Spent the day at Miss Lewe’s. I suppose it was as nice as it could be, being away from home, but that was not much. They were all very kind. In the morning Edie came & we sang all father’s book of carols & enjoyed it very much. We came back here in the evening.’

Wednesday, 26 Dec

‘Nothing much.’

Friday, 28 Dec

‘Drawing. Then to see the crown jewels which are simply splendid especially the diamonds.’

Monday, 31 Dec

‘In the evening Mr Summer’s & Mr Watson came. We had a good deal of fun at finding your fortune under a place etc. I went to bed very late & at 10 minutes to 12 got up & put on a dressing gown. All the other girls came trooping into our room & went opened the windows wide to bring the New Year in. Suddenly a lovely red & then green light fell on the houses near, the bells began to toll in the distance & there was a shout of "Glückliches neu Jahr". We of course shouted also. It is such a nice way of bringing the New Year in, I think. Mabel read Tennyson’s poem to me about the bells & another.’

Tuesday, 1 Jan 1889

‘I went to American Church with some other girls in the morning & liked it very much.’

Thursday, 3 Jan

‘Went to Grosse Garten & skated.’

Friday, 4 Jan

‘Went to Drawing.’

Thursday, 7 Feb

‘My birthday. Now 14 years old. In the morning when I got down * found a birthday cake the Falckensteins had made, & some presents. From the the cake & some chocolates, Miss Fyfe 6 tiny scent bottles, Katy Knispell bottle of Eau de Cologne, Miss Summer’s chocolate, Miss Blanche Tulloch a bit of india rubber, Fanny & Cécile Mayor a sweet little pencil with dog’s head & darling Mabel a lovely pencil box & note paper. Most lovely paper. When May Hall came back from home she gave me some paper also. In the morning May & I went to the gallery & enjoyed it immensely. Then in the afternoon May & I went a delicious hours sledge in the Grosser Garten with 2 splendid horses & enjoyed it intensely. We saw the people skating. It was lovely. When I came back from the gallery I found enchanting letters from home. Every one wrote & mother’s & father’s were perfectly lovely. I had a very happy birthday, as happy as could be away from home I think. Mabel was so kind & sweet. It was the 3rd birthday running that I had not had with father & mother as they year before they were at "Limerick" & the year before that "Lewes."’

Monday, 11 Feb

‘Sophie Edie May & I to Meissen. It is very pretty & awfully interesting. The pottery was tremendously interesting.’

watercolour of Mary and Mabel's bed-sitting room in Dresden, 1889

Mary and Mabel's bed-sitting room in Dresden, 1889

Tuesday, 12 Feb

‘May, Edie & I to the "Meistersingers Von Nuremburg". It was extremely nice. On the way Mabel got my parcel from home. It was so kind of the home people to send one. Mother sent a splendid cake she had made herself & a darling sketch of a sunset view painted from the dining room window looking on to the Ravensworth hills. It is so pretty. Ruth & Evelyn sent me a pot, like a marmalade pot full of delicious chocolates. Bertha sent me the sweetest little, sort of box with delicious chocolates. It was so kind of them all.’

Saturday, 2 Mar

‘Skating in Grosse Garten. I am really getting on a little, now I think. With a band playing lovely music, its delicious. In the evening to a splendid smoking concert (only no smoke allowed this time).’

Thursday, 7 Mar

‘A lovely day ever to be remembered’.

‘Fräulein Prölz, Mabel & I to Leipsic to hear Frau Schumann play . . . The concert was in the New Gevand haus. It is a splendid hall, all lighted with electric light, red velvet cushions etc. We sat behind the orchestra & could watch the different instruments beautifully. Frau Schumann only played 1 thing & that with the orchestra but it was simply glorious. She looked lovely in a red velvet dress, but so old & tired. She had quite [sic] hair & is 70 yet played magnificently. The orchestra also played some lovely things. She, of course, something of Schumann’s.’

Tuesday, 12 Mar

‘I had simply a splitting headache & was sick 3 times so Mabel sent for the doctor. He was called Dr Hilian & was very nice. I hardly slept a wink that night, but was better the next morning. I stayed in bed all day as the doctor said I’d better, but & he came in the evening to measure my temperature. The girls & Falckensteins were very kind. Fräulein Prölz brought me some lilies of the valley & forgetmenots, Ernestine Bruce some lilies & large yellow dog daisies, & Edie some snowdrops & oranges. Mabel was about as kind as she possibly could have been. She bought whatever I wanted, including a pack of cards, & read Tennyson’s "Princess" aloud which I enjoyed awfully. It was read to her by mother (she says) at about my age when she wasn’t well.’

Thursday, 14 Mar

‘Doctor came.’

Friday, 15 Mar

‘Doctor came for last time. I am now nearly well.’

Saturday, 16 Mar

‘We moved from the Falckensteins to 19 Walpurgis Strasse, Dresden. We were very sorry to leave them. They had been awfully kind.’

Thursday, 28 Mar

‘Mabel & I to some glorious baths in Falcken Strasse. They are not very long, but about 7½ feet deep & spotlessly clean. Nice little houses to undress in. Before you go into the baths you have to to go in a douch to make yourself clean & then the baths are beautifully warm with a very nice lady teacher of swimming. All the time fresh water keeps running in etc. They are glorious.’

Thursday, 11 Apr

‘Baths . . . I treaded water a little, & tryed putting my legs down to see if I was in my depth, so as to practise getting them up again if I wasn’t.’

Tuesday, 23 Apr

‘Mabel, Hugh Edie & I started on a tour in Saxon Switzerland. We took the train to Potscha, & walked, thence, to Bastei, which is glorious. . . . We then walked to Rathen, a sweet tiny little village close by the Elbe, where we stayed the night.’

Thursday, 25 Apr

‘We went then to Prebischtor which is almost finer than the Bastei, glorious & Hernsckretchen where we took the train to Schandau. At Schan. we stayed in a delightful hotel "Dampfschiff."’

Saturday, 27 Apr

‘At Königstein we stayed in the Blauer Stern. In the visitor’s book we found father, mother, Annie Harwood, Uncle Herbie, & Aunt Hope’s names. They had stayed there 20 years ago.’

Monday, 29 Apr

‘This morning we came back to Dresden. We were very sorry that our delightful tour was at an end. It had been so nice having Hugh.’

Saturday, 18 May

‘May Edie & I to Siegfried (Wagner.) Rather dull & long.’

Tuesday, 21 May

‘We went to baths with Ella Wallace who can swim. It was great fun. I took my 1st dive & was very frightened & proud of it. I turned a somersault by mistake in the water. Mabel can dive beautifully now. I can tread water, turn head over heals, jump, dive kneeling, swim with hands & feet alone, swim on back forwards etc on side & back etc etc. In the evening we went to see Wagner’s "Dusk of the Gods". It was awfully long but glorious.’

Wednesday, 22 May

‘Packed.’

Thursday, 23 May

‘My darling May’s birthday. I gave her some flowers & a photo & she got several other things. This morning we went shopping & this evening "Oh glorious Joy" father & mother are coming.

‘We went for a few days tour to Berlin & had a glorious time. We saw the kaiser & king of Italy & Bismarck & went to Tannhaüser etc & enjoyed it all tremendously. We went home on Thursday, 30th.’

 

Osen.

Sveen.

Sønd fiord. Nr Bergen.

Norway. 1890.


Ages.

Father = 53 Evelyn = 19 Charles = 15

Mother = 51 Mary = 15                     

Mabel = 26 Bertha = 13                     

Ruth = 23 Arnold = 10                      


June 21st Saturday

‘Left home a little after 5. p.m. in Uncle John’s steam launch. We steamed over to the Newcastle landing where the Merzes were waiting to come & see us off & Charles to come with us. Then we went down the river to the Albert Edward docks where the "Britannia" was. We all got on board & then began to inspect the ship. It is extremely large compared to the "Norgé" being 2,200 tons & goes much faster. It is all lighted with electric light; the cabins are high & have nice comfortable births. Some cabins are on deck. They have very convenient washing stands which shut up & some of them have little tables. Ruth & I slept together & Mabel & Bertha, father alone & Charles alone & mother & Arnie.’

Sunday, 22 June

‘We got to Stavanger at about 8 . . .’

Monday, 23 June

‘We got to Bergen at about 5.30 rather an unearthly hour. We went a nice walk & then started in our new steamer – "Framnaes" at 8. . . . At about 8 we came to Vadheim . . . then at 8.30 began our 20 miles drive in stohlkjaeres. We had 5. The cook went in one & father & Arnie; Mabel & Charles Mother & Bertha & Ruth & I. . . . At last we came in sight of the Sönde fiord. It was after 12 p.m. but as light as day. We found our house all locked up, but woke the people in a cottage & they unlocked it.’

Tuesday, 24 June

‘Our cook who came with us from Bergen is called Tilly & is very nice. She speaks English well, having been in America for 5 years, which is a great comfort. We have another servant called Rebecca. . . . First we went to get some yeast etc. & then watched Father starting to fish in a lovely pool with a man called Lars just below the glorious foss. We soon saw him catch a 14 lb salmon. It fought so hard that it made him very tired & he had to come in to rest a little. . . . We had dinner at about 3. Father’s salmon was most delicious. In the afternoon Father went fishing & got a 16 lb salmon, but lost a much bigger one.’

Friday, 27 June

‘Bertha & I take it in turns to sleep in the hammock & Charles sleeps in one also. Last night was my first night in one & I enjoyed it very much only it felt rather strange at first. (It is a canvas hammock). The beds are double, wh: is not v. nice. B & R. sleep together, C&A; Father & mother & Mabel & I.’

Saturday, 28 June

‘We cannot get eatables at all easily her & have to send to Bergen for a good many things. . . . R. C. & A. caught a good many trout (fishing w. worms) & father caught 3 beauties (fishing w. flies). . . . (B. & I poked ant hills & put the ants in water to see them swim several times). The clegs were dreadful. I like Osen tremendously but the scenery is not nearly so grand as "Örnaes".’

Sunday, 29 June

‘This morning we had a little meeting & read a chapter of "Feats on the Fiord".’

Thursday, 3 July

‘Father got up early & caught one 4½ & one 34 lb salmon. The 34 lb one beats the record here.’

Thursday, 10 July

‘A year since Mattie’s wedding . . . Later, C. R. & I went deep seafishing. There were a lot of boats & 1 kind man tied us on to them so that we hadn’t to row to keep in the right place. Ruth caught 1 Whiting. They shouted Hurrah! when she caught it, & laughed at us for not getting more. We came back at about 11. p.m. w. the 1 solitary fish.’

Tuesday, 15 July

‘B. & A. got Mother to give them some almonds & raisins, a bun, goodies etc. These they hid under or on a mushroom to find out if there really were any fairies. Of course the goodies dissolved in the rain & the other things were left. They thought I must have found out & taken them. They had wanted to eat them so much poor little things.’

Friday, 18 July

‘Uncle Alec & P. came up & had dinner with us. . . . We walked on & then came back, made a fire & had tea (w. Per & Uncle Alec).’

Sunday, 20 July

‘In the aft. all w. P. & Uncle Alec except Father went in Lar’s big boat & had a v. nice row though it was rather rough.’

Monday, 21 July

‘Percy & Uncle Alec went to Vadheim directly after dinner. We have enjoyed having them v. much. They stayed at Ejdevik Inn.’

Thursday, 24 July

‘Mother sketches a great deal & so beautifully. She has done a great many.’

[notebook ends rather abruptly the following day, at the end of a page, but before the conclusion of the holiday]

[Transcript to here by Benjamin S. Beck; transcript from here on is complete, and by Katharine Coleman.]

1890

Journal at Osen (cont.)

July 25th Friday (cont) They got heaps but we didn’t know so bought some and had a delicious raspberry pie and jam. Bilberry pie and jam also. They had rather a fright for Evie suddenly exclaimed "There’s a snake". It was close to her, but coiled right round a rock so that they couldn’t see its head or tail, but it was very large and beautiful. They soon came away. We then had some of Martin Chuzzlewit in the evening. We had had a perfect day.

July 26th Saturday Pouring and looked very hopeless. Evie and Ruth cooked. In the afternoon it cleared up beautifully and all but Father and Arnold went in a boat on the fiord. It was as still as a lake and most delicious. We went a very long way down, close by the side and then bathed on the other side. The water was bitterly cold. We rowed home quickly. Had had a most delightful time.

July 27th Sunday Very wet. Read and sang hymns. Cleared up a little and we had a delicious bathe. Mabel and I swam across the little bay with the boat beside us and were towed back most of the way. It wasn’t really far but we were very proud of it. In the afternoon we started for the 3rd Foss (about 5 miles). Ruth, Bertha and Arnold soon turned back and it rained pretty hard. Mother made a sketch there but we couldn’t find many bilberries. It was a very nice walk but we were tired when we got in.

July 28th Monday Pouring again. Stayed in, in the morning. Had a delicious bilberry pie for dinner. Cleared up for a few minutes in the afternoon. Had a nice but cold bathe. Bertha and Arnold cooked some lovely Ellen Buns.

July 29th Tuesday Alas! Wet again. Is it ever going to be fine again? As Father says, the waters of the Atlantic are pouring themselves upon us. Father fished and caught some large trout. In the afternoon Ruth and Arnold fished and Arnold caught 2 trout. Evie went to sleep and Mabel, Mother and Bertha went to Ejdevik and then a short way along the Főrde road. I went a tiny way with them and then came along by the beach which is most enchanting and then crossed the bog over to the road again. Evie and I had a delicious bathe. The water was so soft with all the rain. We tried leap frog and swimming on our backs together.

July 30th Wednesday Wet. Evie, Arnold, Bertha and I had a cold but nice bathe. In the afternoon we rowed to Sveen and took a walk. It was sopping wet but quite nice. Ruth got up to her knee in bog and thought she was going to sink right underneath but happily had 1 foot on land and had struggled out before we had time to help her. Really she wouldn’t have gone very far, but of course she didn’t know that and was very frightened. She and Mabel walked back. In the morning Father went to 3rd Fos to fish. He stayed all day there and has come back to-night with 27 enormous trout weighing about 26 lbs. Splendid.

July 31st Thursday Pouring. A telegram had to go from Főrde to Mr Madden about the river, so Evie and Mabel took it, driving there and back. I had a bathe. Went to Rejtevik (2nd Fos) and back. Ruth made 2 delicious trout pies.

August 1st Friday Pretty fair. All but Bertha, Arnold and I went to visit the Lillingstones who live at Iussa, 7 miles from Dale. They rowed in a boat with 3 rowers and came back by steamer in the evening. They enjoyed it tremendously. Bertha, Arnold and I had a delicious bathe. The tide was so high that it actually came right through the tent and we could scarcely undress. Then we went in the leaky boat a little but a heavy shower came on so we went home. After dinner we rowed across the river to the beach and made a splendid castle of sand there. Then we went to meet the others at Sveen. A kind man took us in his stohlkjaere nearly all the way to Ejdevik. Near Sveen we met 3 very nice English gentlemen. They helped us down a place so that we could get raspberries. We got a heap. They were so ripe that they dropped off if you touched them. The steamer was very late. We rowed back with the others. The Lillingstones say that the people here are very superstitious. When a baby is born they keep a candle always burning near it and lay an open knife on the bed until after it is christened.

August 2nd Saturday Fair. All but Father went to Viksvand, 3½ miles past Sande (Sande is 7 miles from here). We had 1 stohlkjaere and took it in turns to ride except Mabel and Evie who walked all the way there and back. It is the most lovely place. When we got to Sande, a heavy shower came on and we took refuge in a barn near the priest’s house. He saw us and invited us to sit in his verandah and gave us some delicious milk. He was very kind and helped Mabel with her plans of the walking tour. He told us that "Osen" means where the river runs into the sea or lake. We passed several glorious waterfalls, one in particular, in which the spray dashed up as high as the Fos itself. The river looked beautiful; part of the time it dashed down a narrow gorge and then became quite still. We passed 2 lakes before Viksvand which were almost prettier than Viksvand itself. We had a bathe at Viksvand and then dinner and I attempted to sketch. Ruth and Mother made lovely sketches. We then drove and walked home again. After 3 p.m. we had no showers and the sun came out and it was perfectly delicious. We enjoyed the day immensely. Father fished below 2nd Fos and caught 6 large trout and 3 salmon weighing 8½, 4½ and 2½ lbs. The reflections in the water in coming home were exquisite.

August 3rd Sunday Not very fine. Read and sang hymns and then picked raspberries, but they were rather spoiled with the rain. Mabel had a headache and was very tired. Very wet in afternoon.

August 4th Monday Slightly better, but still wet. Went to Sveen and back to Ejderke by old road which is lovely. Evie told me a good deal of "Looking Backward" and "Looking Forward". Then bathed. Cold but nice. Tide very high. In afternoon went to beautiful pool and bathed. Very cold but nice. Stream is a good deal swollen. Pool out of my depth, a lot. Then Mabel, Bertha and I went in the boat and read the "Abbot". It was most delicious. The hills were beautiful, all purple with lovely golden lights behind them etc.

August 5th Tuesday Fair. Hugh and Laurie came. Bathed. Had a lovely red currant pie for dinner. Then Bertha and I read in leaky boat and then walked over the knoll which is lovely, all covered with red, golden and yellow bracken. We saw lots of trout and salmon leaping up the stairs. Began to rain in evening again.

Mary, Bertha & Arnold in a stohlkjaere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary, Bertha & Arnold in a stohlkjaere

August 6th Wednesday The "Mount" goes back to-day. Happy me not to be going too! Rained just at the beginning of the morning and then turned out very hot and lovely. Hugh, Laurie, Mabel, Ruth and Evie set out on their walking tour. Ruth drove to Sande, the rest walked. At Sande they were going to drive to further end of Viksvand or walk to Viksvand and then row up the lake and walk to Kjael where they were going to stay at some farm houses. Mother, Bertha and I had a lovely bathe and then walked (at least Mother and I did) up the old road and off by paths until we got under the mountain. It was an enchanting walk. I can’t think how it is that we have never been it before. After dinner we rowed across to the beach, where mother sketched and we had great fun getting sticks for the fire and burying each other in sand. It was difficult to make the fire light as it was windy but we got it done at last and had a very nice tea. Father caught a 2 lb salmon and a fairly large trout.

August 7th Thursday Lovely day. Mother, Bertha and I went up the glen where we had come down from Kvanshest. It was a perfect walk. We went some way up the glen and then found a delicious pool where we bathed. A large waterfall and a small one ran into it. The latter was exactly like a shower bath – delicious. It was very refreshing as we were awfully hot. Then Mother made a lovely sketch of the bridge and rocks and Bertha and I wandered up the glen which is perfectly enchanting and got some lovely ferns and flowers. When we got home, I pressed the flowers and then Bertha and I went in the leaky boat and had a nice row. The fiord was delicious. It looked all pink with the exquisite sunset. We saw 3 heron and tried to find their nest but couldn’t. (Perhaps they hadn’t one). Arnie had been in the boat with Father while he was fishing. Father caught 3 fairly large trout.

The walking party walked to Fjaerlands today (I think). It is the place where Father, Mother and Ruth had the adventure in the river with the pony when we were staying at Aardal.

(In the morning here we watched the salmon leaping up the stairs. Great fun. Huge one in top pool.)

August 8th Friday Glorious day and very hot. Had a delicious bathe. Read Shirley. Packed, as nearly all the things have to go tonight. In afternoon had another lovely bathe and then Mother and I went in the boat. Beautiful sunset and evening. Father fished but caught only 1 small trout. The walking party are at Fjaerlands today.

August 9th Saturday A brilliant day. Had 1 stohlkjaere and drove past 2nd fos to where there are 2 bridges and a road goes branching off the main road. There we went up. It doesn’t go far and we soon sent the stohlkjaere back home. Father fished trout down from the Alvaln (3rd fos) fos. He caught 14 trout, 1 weighing 3½ lbs, another 2 lbs and another 1½ lbs. The 14 together weighed 11 lbs. Bertha, Arnold and I had a nice bathe which was rather spoiled by the wasps. The valley was lovely. After dinner Mother and Bertha went a short walk and Arnold and I went down to the river and had fun trying to dam it up. We fixed to meet again but somehow or other missed and got in great anxiety about each other. Mother and Bertha got home long before us. Arnold and I when we got to 2nd fos found a lot of English and Norwegian gentlemen fishing the river. We waited ages to tell Father. Some of them drove away but he caught them somehow or other from the boat and gave them an awful blowing up when he suddenly discovered that one of them was Dr Stabel from Bergen. (I think it was 2 of his boys who were very rude to Arnold and me). Father caught the other 2 gentlemen just after he met Arnold and me and blew them up too. We went a little farther and then saw poor Mother. She had come to meet us and was fearfully anxious. It was 10 p.m. when we got home. I had no idea it was so late. Another lovely sunset. The walking party walked to Sogndals today.

August 10th Sunday Another glorious day. Read and tried to sing hymns and then had a delicious bathe. The water was very warm and the sun was very hot when we came out. After dinner we went up to Reikavik (2nd fos) and Father rowed us a good way up the river. The current was very strong but in coming down it was delicious. We enjoyed it very much. Mother sketched. Another lovely sunset. The walking party went to Marifaeren today.

August 11th Monday Lovely day. Father fished and caught 1 salmon weighing 2½ lbs and 4 trout 3½ lbs. We rowed down the fiord a little further than the straits and then landed and took a lovely short walk. Mother sketched and we played with ‘I am Thumb’ and sailed him. In the afternoon Bertha and I walked to Sveen to get raspberries but a thunderstorm came on and we scarcely got any. (The 1st thunderstorm I ever remember hearing in Norway). We asked leave to shelter in the Sveen Inn. The lady was very kind. She took us into a very pretty parlour and gave us some delicious ‘gooseberry juice’ to drink and cakes. When the storm had a little abated she gave us umbrellas to come home with. Cleared up in evening and lovely sunset. The landlady at Sveen was very interesting. Had been to England and America. Was quite a lady. Walking party to darling "Aardal".

August 12th Tuesday Lovely and very hot day. Rowed to Sveen. Tried to sketch pier. Took back umbrellas. Fiord was perfect; so still and the reflections were exquisite. Hvamshest looked splendid. A little wind sprang up in coming back and it was slightly rough. Had a perfect bathe altogether with Father. In afternoon got heather and ferns, finished "Shirley" and did various other things. Oh dear, our last day is nearly over. It is fearful to think of. Father caught 4 trout and 1 salmon weighing 6 lbs. One of the trout weighed 2½ lbs. Walking party to Laerdal.

August 13th Wednesday A lovely day. The stohlkjaeres we had ordered from Vadheim never came, so Father and Mother walked on and we ordered 2 others. Bathed before breakfast. Said goodbye to Lars and Mrs Lars and Tilly and Rebecca and Mr Mo and then set off. Fearfully sorry to leave Osen Fos where we had been so very happy. Father, Bertha and Arnie drove together and Mother and I. We had a very pretty pony but a very bad stumbler. We were rather sorry not to go by the Sveen way as we wanted to see right down the fiord but it was very nice to go the Vadheim way again. We passed some lovely lakes. When we got there we had a very nice dinner and then Mother went to sketch and I went with her. Father joined us after a while. Bertha and Arnie went a little row and just came in in time for tea. We had been seeking for them and could not find them. A kind gentleman had lent them his boat. Mr and Mrs Gibson and his brother in law joined us at tea-time. Then the steamer "Hornelen" came and we departed. We found there were no berths for us and Mother, Bertha and I slept in the saloon on deck which was quite nice. There were 2 little girls on board – Hilda and ( – ) Poe. They were jolly and great fun. Lived at Hampstead. Walking party to Gudvangen.

August 14th Thursday Lovely morning. Rained in afternoon. Got to Bergen a little before 8 a.m. Went to Smeby’s to breakfast. Gave us the bathroom to dress in, as all the other rooms were full. Then soon after breakfast Father and Mother and I began walking towards the station, to meet Mabel, Ruth and Evelyn. They had had a simply glorious time, came from Vossevangen in the train, and looked splendidly well. Jens Hlingenberg was delighted to see them, wouldn’t let them pay a farthing for staying all night etc. He took them up a mountain (He is the old landlord at Aardal.) It rained in the afternoon. Young Mr Smeby is exactly like a greyhound. We shopped in the afternoon and bought some jolly things. Father gave us each some money. I bought a tine (?) for Maud Nicholson and a spinning wheel for Isabel Yewdall etc.

The "Britannia" was extremely late owing to a fog. I think we started about 9.30 a.m. Crowds of people to watch her off. The rain had stopped and Bergen looked exquisite as we steamed slowly out, tugged by another small steamer. Stayed up pretty late and then went to the cabins which are most nice and comfortable. They have been improved by a jolly little ladder to climb up to the top berths.

August 15th Friday Woke up to a dreadful storm which grew worse. I intended to get up, but the hours rolled fearfully slowly by and I never moved. I heard poor Ber, sobbing in the next cabin. By night the storm was dreadful; in the middle of the night we only went at 2½ knots an hour. The captain was very anxious and stayed up all night. He said it was the worst summer storm he had ever known. He is a very nice man, and great fun. Father was taken quite off his feet once or twice. He didn’t tell us till afterwards what a bad storm it was and we really had no idea that it was nearly as bad as it was as the ship went so well. Father brought us some champagne before he went to bed.

August 16th Saturday The stewardess told us we might get in about 11; Father said he didn’t expect we’d get in till Sunday night at which we felt in despair. At last however we crossed the bar and were in the Tyne once more. Ruth and I got up, and the rest also. It was, I think, about 4.30 or 5 p.m. We were met at North Shields by Cousin Charlie Spence and May etc. They were very kind; had been waiting all day. They had been very anxious about us and had got up in the night to see what the storm was like. It was perfect to feel ourselves on land once more. We went by train to the "Central" and then drove home. Tea was ready, but I tore upstairs, and had a hot bath, washed my head and when I went down to tea, very hungry, I found Aunt Hope and Uncle Theo, there. I think Uncle Johnie came also. We all felt very giddy and my back felt hollow, through lying on it for so long and having so little to eat, all the next day.

On Monday, alas! I go back to school. So ended our exceedingly happy holiday in Norway.

 

A Visit to the Farne Islands 1891

June 19th Friday Father, Mother, Bertha, Arnold and I (the only ones at home) and Mr Dendy, left Newcastle by 5.21 train for Chathill. We got there about 6.30 I think and then drove to Sea-houses passing North Sunderland on the way. These 2 places are very near each other. The drive was most delightful – about an hour, I think. The woods with rabbits running about were lovely and the blue Cheviots in the distance looked exquisite. We stayed at the "Bamburgh Castle Inn" which was rough but nice. There was just room for us all. The food was nice and everything quite clean. B and I sleep together. The landlady and landlord are nice, the latter is amusing and looks rather like an old sea-captain. Bertha says he reminds her of "Silver" in Treasure Island. He looks as though he drank rather much sometimes.

June 20th Saturday Had breakfast at 7 and at 8.30 started in a jolly, big boat with Cuthbertson (landlord) and 2 rowers (one very nice) for the Farne Islands. It was a lovely day when we started and the sea was perfectly smooth. We sailed nearly all the way. As we approached the Longstone Islands a horrid fog came and we could scarcely see anything. The sea was rather rough in some places. Took about 1 hour to reach Longstone. We landed and went over the lighthouse which was very interesting indeed. We saw the huge revolving light at the top and Grace Darling’s bedroom etc. The foghorn kept making a deafening noise all the time. We then sailed to the Stapel Island. It is a long way from Longstone and we appeared to be in open sea for we could see no land anywhere. This island was most interesting – crowded with birds. We had to be careful where we trod for the ground was covered with nests of guillemots, gulls, eiderducks etc. The kittiewakes were very pretty and built mostly on ledges of rock. The puffins build in rabbit holes, so you cannot see their nests, but Cuthbertson took one out. It hurt him greatly by biting him and clawing him. Their eggs are white or yellow. The sea looked a mass of birds – there were such a lot swimming about on it and looking so pretty.

Then we saw the 4 Pinnacles. These are splendid rocks, crowded with birds all making a great noise. I never saw so many birds before. They were all crowded together. The young seagulls and other birds were so fluffy and sweet. We took them in our hands. Arnold longed to take some eggs but we mightn’t. (We only landed on 4 of the islands.)

Then we went to the House Islands or Greater Farne. This had scarcely any birds on it. We had dinner here and then saw an interesting old church and Cuthbert’s Cell, which is nothing but ruins now. The fog lifted for a time and we could see Bamburgh Castle, but it soon came down again. There is a lighthouse on this island also. We sailed round the Pinnacles and then to Tern Island. This is really extraordinary. The terns are very pretty little white birds with forked tails – rather like swallows in shape. The ground was perfectly covered with eggs of different colours and very pretty. They were not in nests and you had to be dreadfully careful not to tread on them as they were so hard to see, being the colour of the stones. You couldn’t go a step without being surrounded by eggs. There really were thousands of them. We then sailed back to the inn and arrived there a little after 3. It was foggy and sea rather rough. We sailed back very quickly. I wish we could have seen the seal Island as I wanted to see the seals.

We then went a walk on the lovely Bamburgh sands and plodged a little. Mother sketched. We had some nice crab for tea but not so nice as we had at Holy Island, long ago. The view is lovely when the fog lifts. We can see Holy Island, Bamburgh, Cheviots etc. The seaweed and shells are most lovely.

Mr Dendy went this evening.

June 21st Sunday Very, very misty. Can scarcely see a thing. Breakfasted at 8. Went a delightful walk by the sea to Bamburgh and on the way had a bathe. We had no bathing dresses but no-one was near. Father and Arnold also bathed in another place. Not very cold and most delightful. Sort of creek. I enjoyed it immensely but wished I had a towel. Bamburgh Castle looked splendid in the mist. We walked round it. Father sang and repeated to us going back and that was delightful. It is about 3 miles from Sea-houses to Bamburgh. Had a very nice dinner at 2 and then went "Mother’s Walk". A short, lovely walk along the cliffs. View would have been lovely if not so misty. Found comfrey etc. Plodged. Tea early and then drove to Chathill and got here about 9.30. Father’s eyes were very bad. It is a great pity, they hurt him so.

We all wished we could have stayed longer. It has been delightful. The Inn was cheap.

Breakfast 1 shilling each
Dinner 1 shilling each
Tea 1 shilling each
Beds 1 shilling each
Boat to Farnes £1.0.0 etc and so on.

 

A Visit to London 1891

July 30th Thursday I have been staying Bewdley and today at 12.55 Mr Sturge and Edna and I went to Kidderminster (next station to Bewdley. Here I changed trains and left them to come to London. I had a nice journey and passed through Worcester and Oxford. At Paddington I was met by Father. It was delightful to see him again and to see him and his eyes better, though he still does not look strong.

We drove to our lodgings:- Mrs Richards, 27 Upper Bedford Place., and had a little tea. Then we walked very slowly to King’s Cross Station passing University College (where Father studied) and Church etc on the way. We had a long time to wait, but at last Mother and Arnold came. It was delicious to see them again.

I have long looked forward to this visit to London and am enjoying it immensely. Arnold and I each have a jolly little room at the top of the house. We have a large sitting room, and generally have most of our meals in town.

July 31st Friday Breakfast 8.45. Soon after we went to the Zoo. We went part of the way in the Underground Railway and then walked through Regent’s Park which was very beautiful and gay with flowers. We meant to meet Aunt Nellie and Denis in the Zoo but somehow missed. We had an exceedingly interesting time and saw nearly everything. The lions and bears were very interesting. We saw Uncle John Spence’s bear and watched the polar bear plunging in the water. We made the brown bear climb the pole. The monkeys were very jolly. I do like them. The seal was nearly the most interesting. It did exactly what the keeper told it to do and caught fish so cleverly in its mouth and then kissed the keeper.

The birds were very pretty. We had a delicious dinner here of salmon, cheese and méringue glacée. In the evening at 5 we took 2 hansoms and drove to Madame Tussaud’s. This also was exceedingly interesting. I liked the chamber of horrors very much. We were very tired when we got home.

August 1st Saturday A very full day. First we took an omnibus and drove along Cheapside etc, past the General Post Office, Royal Exchange, Mansion House, Peabody Statue, Bank of England, Bow Church, Guildhall, Holborn Viaduct, Newgate Prison (I think), Christ Church Hospital, Crosly Hall etc. (These are things we saw on the way). Before we took the omnibus we went for a minute into the British Museum. We passed St. Pauls which is very fine. We saw 2 statues of Wellington etc. At last we got to the Tower. It was immensely interesting. It seemed so funny to think that Elisabeth passed through the "Traitors’ Gate". The armoury was very interesting. We saw some little pieces of wood off the "Royal George". Tower Green was also very interesting etc.

We then took the steamer past Blackfriar’s Bridge and London Bridge where we got out. We saw Cleopatra’s Needle on the way. We saw Somerset House and the Fire Monument and Pudding Lane where the Fire began (and saw Thames Embankment).

We then went to the Houses of Parliament. I enjoyed seeing these immensely. We did not go into the House of Commons as they were sitting but we saw the Lords. The statues and pictures in the corridor are splendid. We then went into Westminster Abbey but could not go over it as a service was going on.

We drove to the South Kensington Natural History Museum next. It is great fun driving about in hansoms. This museum is really splendid. The now extinct animals are very interesting, especially when Mother explains about them. The little humming birds etc were lovely, but I think, prettiest of all were the dear little English birds arranged so prettily in their nests, among flowers etc. We had a delicious little ‘afternoon tea’ here and then walked to Hyde Park. There was not much riding or driving as the season is about over but what there was, was jolly to watch. We took hansoms and drove back to our lodgings.

August 2nd Sunday A most delightful day – perhaps the nicest of all. At about 10, I think, we took the train to Windsor. We approached it in pouring rain which however did not last very long though it was very showery all day. We took an open carriage and drove to Burnham Beeches, passing on the way Stoke Pogis Church. We got out here and went to see Gray’s grave and the sort of tombstone which has been put up. The church is one of the prettiest I have ever seen only a very ugly spire has been added to the Tower. Service was going on, and the singing sounded lovely. The church looks very old, and many of the graves have long wooden boards instead of tombstones.

We then drove on to Burnham Beeches which are perfectly glorious woods. The Beeches are magnificent. Unhappily we couldn’t stay long. We then drove back to Windsor and saw Eton College which looks very nice and the chapel is lovely. We had dinner and then walked along the Castle Terrace. We could not go inside. The view from the Terrace was perfectly splendid. We could see for miles around.

At about 4.30 we took the train to Pinner but had a very long journey and had to drive to Pinner from Harrow on the Hill. Aunt Nellie and Denis were alone in the house. It was delightful to see Aunt Nellie for it is many years since I have seen her and I have never seen Denis before. He was in his bath when we got there and is a most bewitching little thing. We could not stay very long as it was then so late so we took the train back again and arrived at our lodgings at about 11.0, I think.

August 3rd Monday In the morning we went to the British Museum. Father and Arnold went to see a cricket match. The British Museum is exceedingly interesting. We saw the Rosetta Stone and some splendid old manuscript books and the Magna Carta and mummies and some very pretty water colour painting and many other beautiful things. The Reading Room is splendid. When Father was at University College he used to go and read there.

In the afternoon we took the train to Upper Norwood (Sydenham Hill). Here we were met by Mr Hume and walked to his very pretty house called the Chalet. It is not very large but he is going to build on some more bedrooms. There were 2 ladies and his daughter there. I had a lovely bedroom to myself and so had Arnold. We had afternoon tea and then talked etc till dinner which was perfectly delicious. Then we saw some glorious fireworks which were being sent up from the Crystal Palace.

Mr Hume has built on to his house a most beautiful room, adorned with stags’ heads etc, most of which he has shot himself. It is really a lovely room. He is most awfully kind. He looks much like a seal or walrus I think.

August 4th Tuesday Father and Arnold went to "Lords" to see the great cricket match in which Shrewsbury was playing –they were greatly disappointed – they saw very little as it rained most of the time. We had a very nice dinner and then went to the Crystal Palace. It is really splendid. We saw a stupid play called "The Mischief Maker". Then at about 5 we met Father and Arnie. We had some tea and then went through the different courts. The Moorish ones are beautiful. We looked at various other things and then Arnold and I climbed up a high tower whence we had a splendid view. We went up and down in ¼ hour, much to the astonishment of the 2 ladies from Mr Hume’s who had come with us to the Crystal Palace.

We then went to see some trained wild beasts. These were simply marvellous. There were bears, lions, dogs, etc and they all were put together but didn’t fight at all. Of course they were all young. They did most wonderful things such as see-sawing etc and then they were all allowed to play. This was great fun and almost the best part. Soon after this we took the train home again (to our lodgings).

August 5th Wednesday Father took Arnold to breakfast at the Liberal Club and later on Mother and I walked there, passing Trafalgar Square which is very nice. The Club is beautiful. We went all over it. Then we went and saw the Horse Guards and Whitehall which is very interesting. We saw where Charles I was executed. Then we walked along Regent Street and here, alas! I had to part from Father. Mother had a headache and Arnie was very tired but we walked home and had dinner. At 3.0 we drove to King’s X and I got into the 3.20 train for York. I travelled there with Nellie Morland.

We have had a perfectly delicious time in London. Father and Mother have been so perfectly lovely.

 

A visit to Whittingham 1892

Thursday April 14th Evie and I have come home for our Easter holiday, which lasts only from to-day till Tuesday.

This evening Father, Ruth, Evie, Arnie and I started in the train at about 5.30 for Whittingham. We had a very comfortable journey, travelling 1st class, of about 2 hours. We came by Alnwick. A Mr Gibson travelled with us part of the way, and a very funny lady, (if lady she could be called) the rest of the way. Her name, I think, was Lady St. Vincent, and it certainly was entertaining listening to her talk, which was about her "smart dresses", jewel case, which she seemed in terror of loosing, keepers, dogs etc, etc.

We got out at the "Bridge of Aln" or Whittingham station. Ruth and Arnie drove with the boxes in a trap, and we walked. It is 1½ miles from the station to this delightful "Castle Inn". The trap came back and drove us the rest of the way. Here we have a sitting room and 3 bedrooms, we girls, taking it in turns to sleep alone. It is one of the nicest inns I have ever stayed at. The beds are so comfortable, and everything is spotlessly clean – we have baths in the morning and whenever we come in, they bring us delicious hot water, and the food is excellent. The view out of the windows is lovely.

Good Friday. April 15th We had a very nice breakfast at 8.30 – hot cross buns. Arnie is better this morning, but still has a bad cold – he wasn’t very well last night. The ground was quite covered with snow this morning, which is rather disappointing and it is very cold, but on the whole it has been a sunny day with scarcely any snow.

Soon after breakfast we started off and first went to St Ninian’s Well, quite near here. He was a monk and baptized people at this well. Then we went up the Thrunton Crags which are splendid and Evie, Arnie and I think we found Weddenburn’s cave. We had a grand walk along the top of the Crags, with a splendid view of the Cheviots covered with snow, and stretches of the beautiful blue sea, here and there, and in the other direction Simonside and other hills. We came down, past Callaby hall, and through a splendid avenue, back here. We, at least, Ruth and I were tired, for it seemed a long walk after our York walks, especially as it was hilly, but it was splendid.

After dinner we read and Father and Ruth slept and then Evie and Arnie went birds’ nesting and Father and I went to Eslington Park, a mile or 2 from here. It is beautiful and filled with fallow deer, stags and fawns. The stags I admired much the most. Here Evie etc joined us, and we had a bitterly cold, through beautiful, walk back to the inn. The hills were a splendid blue colour and the sky was lovely. We had tea at 7 and then Ruth and Arnie had a game of bezique – Arnie teaching Ruth which was rather a hard task.

Saturday. April 16th Had breakfast at 8.10 and then walked to the station hoping to meet the Merz’s but however they did not come, so we took the train on 2 stations further to Hedgeley. The station master said he would have kept the train waiting ½ an hour for Dr Spence Watson; he was such a nice man. We began our walk to Linhope Spout at 9.15. We passed Brandon and Ingram. Ruth did not go all the way with us as she was tired, so we picked her up on the way back.

We had a grand walk, very lonely – only a scattered farm house here and there. We got right up among the hills and had a lovely view. Evie, with her usual energy, rushed up a little mountain and said she saw the sea, etc.

Lindhope is not far from Hedgehip. We had dinner at the spout, which is a very pretty waterfall, about 56 ft high and had a good deal of water in. In coming back we had tea and eggs (very nice) at Linhope Farm, and missed thereby a heavy snowstorm, which covered the hills and made them look exquisite, and the ground soon was quite dry again. There was a bitter wind nearly all the way but on the whole it was fine. Father sang to us a lot. We went home rather a different way, straight to Whittingham, passing near Glanton, a lovely village. My leg began to hurt fearfully – stiffness I suppose, and Arnie and I grew very tired. It was a long walk – quite 20 miles we reckoned, probably more – and it seemed specially long after our short ones at York.

We had dinner soon after we got in, a little after 5 – Lionel, and Norman Clapham, a Mr Priestmann, and Laurie R. turned up to dinner. The 3 first are staying at Rothbury. We had a most delightful day, but I wish they did not pass quite so quickly.

Sunday April 17th I had a bad night last night, woke often and did not get to sleep again after 5, owing to the aching of my leg. Ruth and I went to church – rather a nice service, but I nearly went to sleep. Father, Evie and Arnie tried to find the priest’s cave but were unsuccessful, and walked over the Thrunton Crags.

After dinner we wrote and read till after 4, when we started on a walk through Eslington Park to Little Ryle. My leg hurt, so I walked slowly behind the others and had a lonely but lovely walk. The evening was much the finest part of the day, and the sky was beautiful, and it was not very cold. I did not get quite to Little Ryle, but there is nothing particular to see there. The others went up a hill and had a lovely view. I only got back here a few minutes before them. It is a beautifully starry night.

Monday. April 18th We are rather disappointed to find no primroses here, but they have been spoiled by the frost and are not yet out. We had breakfast at 8 and walked to the station and took the 9.4 train to Wooperton – a place about 4 stations further on. Here we got out and walked to Percy’s Leap – which is quite near. There are 2 stones put up to show the place he leapt from, when he was wounded. The distance he leapt was I think 21 ft and then he was carried on a little further to a cross (put up afterwards) where he died. We saw this also. It looks very old and has remains of designs on it, and fishes, which I believe were the symbol of Christ.

We then proceeded to Crawley’s Tower, near Powburn, a beautiful old Pele Tower, from which there was a splendid view. Father told us many interesting things on this walk. We came back here over the hills past Glanton and had a splendid view of the sea and the Farnes and the Cheviots. On the way we went into a wood and got a few primroses.

We had dinner at 3 and are soon going for a little toddle, but we are going home by the 7.20 train and are going to spend to-morrow (Evie’s and my last day) at the Merz’s.

To-day has been beautifully warm, with only a few hail showers. I am fearfully sorry to be leaving this lovely place but hope we may return to it. The invigorating air has given us huge appetites. We have often talked of Mother, and Mabel and Bertha and wished they were here. We have had a perfectly lovely time and much laughter and many jokes. Father sang and repeated to us a great deal on the walks which made them ever so much nicer.

A happy and cosy resting place in Whittingham we’ve found,

We have climbed the hills, we have faced the fells through deep snow covered ground.

And at night in the jolly "Castle" we have trolled the jest and song

Until sleep and snore made short once more the night so quiet and long.

Our grave all studious Eve proved by physiology

That the best Highland whisky wasn’t half as strong as tea.

Her energy was stupendous, more than enough to cope

With all the hills in Northumberland from Little Ryle to Hedgehop.

The Ruth who is like wise Samuel consumed eggs by the score,

Until as she walked her shoulders looked three times as broad as before.

But Arnold, her gallant admirer, said, "Father, I’d bet a guinea

That not from Tweed to Coaly Tyne you would find such a singing hinny.

The neat and airy Mary protested she could not walk,

But her stiffness proved as melangé and dubious as her talk.

She loved not to climb up mountains, but by way of joke instead

She spent the whole of each livelong day kicking about in bed.

And Arnold was always certain and sure and positive quite –

The more self-evidently wrong, the more self-consciously right.

He stuffed his eggs in his pocket, and when they o’erflowed with yoke

Declared he had done it on purpose for it was a splendid joke.

And so we leave thee Whittingham, kind to us thou hast been

In spite of the snow and storm cloud our thoughts of thee will be green.

And we long that the fates may bring us soon back to thee once more,

For we hold thee dear as a resting-place as any we’ve known before.

 

Composed by Father in the "Castle Inn" in about a ¼ of an hour. (not quite all true, but mostly)

(Evie’s energy and Arnie’s positiveness is quite true and very good. My stiffness was real and not dubious.)

 

 


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