MSWP (& FEP) diaries
Diary, 1896–99: Arnold's death
by Mary S.W. Pollard
[Note: The original diary is not currently available for full transcription. What follows is a selective transcript, made some years ago. All original text is enclosed in quotation marks, and is verbatim.]
NB If a name is not listed in the key the person concerned has not yet been identified.
1904 (with FEP)
‘Last year (1897) was a very happy one to me, except the last few months, & I want to recall a few of the specially happy times I had with Arnold, for even at the time I very much valued them.
‘In 1896 we all went to Ireland together, & on our last Sunday meeting, Father spoke to us with much emotion, saying that it was probably the last time that we would all be able to be together, & it was. I remember at the time feeling very sad. When we separated Mabel, Hugh, Aunt Car, Arnold & I went to Dublin where we spent from Friday till Monday at Allermuir, & much enjoyed it. Then Arnold & I went to spend a week at Anna Liffey. It was a great treat to be alone with him. We were both rather shy, but the Shackletons were as kind as possible, & we had some delightful excursions—one to Howth, where we bathed, & then walked about on the magnificent heather—to Killiney to dinner with Cousin Henry & Cousin Hannah Maria,—to see the sights of Dublin, the Cathedral, etc. . . . Cousin Joe was so pleased, because Arnold wore a suit made in Ardara.
‘We left the following Monday at Midday . . .’
‘In October Arnold went to Dalton Hall. Father & I saw him off at the Central (I think Mother had gone to Eastbourne with Ruth) . . .’
‘At the beginning of November, Father & Mother & I went to Ripon for a week end, & then I went on to Manchester to stay with Lily & Ernest Weiss.’
‘Xmas. 1896. Ruth away at Eastbourne, & Evie at St. Moritz. I had got up "Little Elfie" with Edie Richardson’s help, & the children acted it so prettily.’
‘A. went back to Dalton Hall rather early. Father & Mother went over to see him in February & took him to Derbyshire. At Easter the whole family, except Bertha & me, went to Grasmere. . . . I left to join Bertha at Swanley & spend a fortnight at Bournemouth.’
‘About 2.30 on Saturday, June 5th Arnold & I met in York Station & went to the river to join a boating party to which Mr E.B. Collinson had invited us. It was a glorious day. F.E. Pollard, Arnold & 2 other boys rowed me in a four-oar & I steered.’
‘I, & four or five others had to get back to the Mount meeting, so F.E. Pollard, Arnold & some others rowed us quickly back. I remember feeling very nervous, because I had to second the vote of hospitality to York friends, but I had learnt my speech off by heart.’
‘On Monday June 14th I was alone at home. Lily & Ernest Weiss were staying with us, & they, Evie & Ruth had gone to the Roman Wall with Cousin Charlie & Father was, of course, at the office. (Evie & Ernest were not yet engaged.) In the afternoon I was practising in the drawing room, when suddenly Arnold burst in upon me to my great surprise, as I did not know he was coming home so soon. I soon found out the reason though. Eva came down & we had some aft. tea & then a telegram came announcing Molly’s birth. Of course we were very much excited. Great discussions over her name. When it was decided to call her Mary, & we fixed on Molly to prevent confusion, Arnold was not pleased at first . . .’
‘The next few weeks I remember as being specially delightful. Arnold & I studied constitutional history pretty regularly every day up in his room (the nursery wh. had been done up, papered, etc.). We had great fun over it, reading Trails "Central Government." He was very severe if I let my thoughts wander. . . . Nearly every evening for the weather was good we had grand games of tennis, occasionally tennis parties. I often said "Oh, Arnold, it is so nice to have a brother to play with—you send such swift balls that it is splendid practise".’
‘When Father came from work, Arnold rushed to meet him, & they walked down the garden together. Mrs S. told me afterwards she had said "How nice it must be to be loved like that," for Father’s face lit up with pleasure when he met Arnold.’
‘Sometimes we played with bare feet, or I in my sandals. Another thing we did which we had not done for years, was practising jumping off the swing.’
‘One hot day he & I walked to West St. to try & hire a bicycle, so that we might go a short ride, but we did not succeed. He laughed at me, because I thought I could ride to Haydon Bridge, having had no practise. I certainly was quite mistaken.’
‘About the middle of July I went to Sedbergh for a short, delightful time.’
‘During this time Evie told me of her engagement. I was fearfully miserable at first, & Arnold came & comforted me, as he had done when he saw me first on my first return home from Jarrow.’
‘I was busy preparing for our yachting tour, & Arnold was quite interested & said "we must have a dress rehearsal" because I had bought a yachting cap, wh. amused him, a sailor blouse, etc.
‘Agnes & I started for Tarbut on Thursday, July 29th’
‘That summer for the first time we did not all go to Norway together. (I mean some of us did not go at all, though some did go.) Mabel, Hugh & Molly stayed at Stocksfield, Ruth went visiting, I was on the yacht, & the others were in Norway, which they enjoyed enormously.’
‘I reached home first, & opened out the house.’
‘On Sunday, September 19th I think they returned, but Father & Arnold slept on board that night, & turned up to breakfast next morning. . . . Arnold was greatly interested in hearing about the yacht, & I think the very day they returned, he began to help me to develop my photos. From this time until he returned to Manchester early in October (4th), he & I spent a great part of every day in the darkened bathroom, & while doing the photos talked of many things. Also I sang him most of our Griffin songs, most of which he knew from hearing them at Dalton Hall—Eton Boating Song, Mandalay, My Old Dutch, etc. I bought some of them just before his illness thinking he might sing them at Christmas. He took some lovely photos of the drawing room & dining room, etc.
‘Bertha went back to Swanley almost immediately, & as I was the only daughter at home I saw a great deal of Arnold.’
‘June 21st (I ought to have put this before.) (Queen Victoria’s Diamond) Jubilee Day. . . . The train journey was rather exciting, as the whole way large bonfires were to be seen. At last I got tired, but Father & Arnold would give me no peace, & the whole way we rushed from one side of the carriage to the other to see the fires. We drove out home to find Ruth & Lily had had a nice drive through the town to see the bonfire on the moor.’
‘Basil’s 21st birthday, & he invited Arnold & me to go an excursion to Blyth. We had dinner early & walked into town with ‘Tommy’. Near the Central we tried to send him home, but he would not go, so we had to take him to the office. . . . We travelled with Percy & Cousin Jim Watson. Two traps met us to take us to Blyth Sands. There was a large party—Cousin Alice P. Basil, Phyllis, Cousin Nancy, Percy, Mary Spence, Sadie, Cousin Charlie, Philip & Gilbert, etc. . . . then some walked & some drove to North Shields where we had supper at Cousin Charlie’s, but A. & I had to leave in the middle to come home.’
‘When Ernest came back from Canada, Evelyn came home from Glasgow for a few days & he came also. We used to have singing & Arnold said to me "Why do you play everybody’s accompaniments except Ruth’s"?
‘I read Bertha & Arnold the Griffin public diary, & sang them "Griffins on the lark."’
‘Every morning when half dressed I used to go to wake him in the nursery, & soon afterwards he would come into my room in his pyjamas, looking very sleepy, on his way to the bath, & in spite of my protestations that it would untidy my hair, he made me lie down on the bed, & we used to talk.
‘Every evening when he was younger, I went to see him in bed at night, & we used to call out "Guternach, lebewohl, liebst du mich, Ich liebe dich, Schlafen Sie wohl, etc.
‘Lately he sat up later than I did, so he came to see me in bed. Before Mabel was engaged, he used to say, "Mary how is it none of you ever get married?—I wish you would," & he pretended his career was spoilt, because he had 5 sisters whom he thought he would have to support when he grew up!’
‘It is now just a year since Arnie began to be ill, & I have never had the courage to write about that terrible week till now.
‘On Wednesday evening Nov. 17th I went to York to stay a week before going to Liverpool where I expected Arnold to come & see me, & Agnes & I were going over to Manchester to see him. We heard afterwards that he had been planning our coming to tea one day, with some of the others, F.E. Pollard, & E.F. Hill I think, on Thursday night, the 18th just before he was taken ill. For several weeks he had had a very bad cold, which he mentioned in his letters, & one day Father said:– "I don’t at all like these colds Arnold gets. I am rather anxious about him," but after a time Arnold wrote that "my cold is better, it does not inconvenience me now". On Oct. 30th, I think, the Dalton Hall football team went to play against York. Arnold went, as he was now in the first eleven, & a very good player, & he stayed the week end there with Hugh. Unfortunately Mabel & Molly were staying with us at the time, & Arnold was very disappointed to miss them. I believe he had rather hoped to be told he might come home, but we never thought of it, alas! Miss Woodhead said he had looked very tired after the game & eaten very little. Mr Fryer met him, & said to Mabel that he had developed very much, & he was struck with how very nice & manly he looked.
‘Just a week before he became ill he played football at Penketh, & afterwards Mr Pollard, Miss Scott & others sang songs to the school children, many Griffin songs, & Arnold enjoyed it, & said in a letter how he had talked to Miss Scott about the yacht, I think. I believe playing football while he had back colds, did him a good deal of harm.
‘On Friday, November 19th 1897, he seemed quite well at breakfast time, (he used to sit at one side of the table, F.E. Pollard at the top & E.F. Hill just opposite him) & afterwards he did his work as usual, & had, I think, a logic lesson, Harold Schwann with him. I think he did not go to Owens, but had the lessons in the Hall. About 12. o’c. he began a violent headache & shivering, & went to Mr Graham, who sent him to lie down in his room, but he could hardly walk back to it. Mrs Graham, thinking the case might be infectious, at once had the sanatorium aired & the fire lit. What an unspeakable amount we owe to her & Mr Graham for their prompitude & care, & we can never be grateful enough for all their kindness to us & sympathy.
‘Arnold’s temperature was taken my Mr Graham & found to be 104o. He was moved to the Sanatorium at the top of the house, a doctor was sent for, & meanwhile he was left by himself to rest for two or three hours. Never again could he be left for a second alone.
‘Dr Vipont Brown came, & feared pneumonia, & sent a trained nurse to do the night watching. Nurse Craig a very nice nurse, Irish, from Donegal, did her very best & was so sympathetic.
‘That night Mr Graham wrote to Father & Mother, & the letter arrived at breakfast-time on Saturday. At once they felt very anxious, & Mother decided to go to Manchester, & telegraphed, receiving the reply "glad you are coming", for already Arnold was much worse, & a letter arrived soon after she had gone, at least, the same day, to say how really dangerously ill Arnold was. Mrs Graham was watching him on Sat. morning while the nurse rested in the next room, & suddenly he jumped out of bed, & rushed to the wall where he talked & pointed. She knew it was dangerous to leave him for a moment, but was obliged to do so, while she rushed to wake the nurse, & asked her if she could watch him while she went to get a student to help. The nurse went in, & persuaded Arnold to get back into bed, & then Mrs Graham returned with Mr Dobson, a medical student, & afterwards there were always one or two men to help, & generally 2 or 3 people sitting in the passage also. 19 people helped to nurse him or run messages—Mr & Mrs Graham, ourselves, Dr Harris & Dr Vipont Brown, Nurse Craig, Ernest & Lily Weiss, Mr Dobson, Mr Hill, Mr Pollard & Mr Hayward. At first he did not need to be kept very quiet, but afterwards the bells had to be muffled, everyone talked in whispers, & the whole house was marvellously quiet.
‘How well I remember that Saturday 20th. The night before I had written Arnie a long letter, (I had not written to him for a week or two before, partly because I expected to see him so soon) asking him if he would be able to meet me on my way thro’ Manchester to Liverpool the following Friday, saying it would be perfect to see him, that I had heaps to tell him, & expected he would be invited to the Thompsons for the week end, etc. I posted this on Saturday morning, but I’m afraid he was far too ill to see it, or know anything about it.
‘Then Mabel & I were busy in the kitchen, & I was teaching Annie to make rissoles. I remarked that "I must make Arnold something nice to take him next week, toffee perhaps." Just before dinner I think a telegram arrived from Mother telling us to meet her at the Station at 2. "Arnold unwell". It gave us rather a shock, but until we knew more details we could not be very anxious, though already we felt rather wretched. I at once suggested that he might have pneumonia because of his having had such a bad cold, but I had no idea that pneumonia is so dangerous. Of course we went to meet Mother, & heard from her about Mr Graham’s first letter, but she had left before the second, worse account reached home. She promised to send us word as soon as possible. She was taking "John Inglesant" to read to him if he was well enough after a time, & the exquisite slippers she was working for his birthday. Alas! he never lived to see that day.
‘In the aft. Hugh, Mabel & I went a short walk, & then to the Mount to see a hockey match, but all the time our thoughts were in Manchester. We had aft. tea with Miss Harrison, & she seemed to think Arnold’s case must be rather serious.
‘That night Mother wrote a card I think (or else she telegraphed) wh. we got next morning, telling us that Arnold had known her, & said "Oh Mother, I’m so glad you’ve come," but that he was dangerously ill. He had symptoms the second day, which he should not have had till the 4th or 5th. Mother suggested he sld have warm instead of cold food, & then his sickness got better.
‘On Sat. night he was so ill that Mother telegraphed to Father to come; he got the telegram about 12.30, so waited up till he could get the first train, a slow one, about 6.0 on Sunday morning. He had written to us the day before saying "this is torture". Ruth was left alone, but several people came down to inquire after Arnold, & Gertie came down to stay the night with her.
‘We got a telegram from Father asking us to meet him about 10.0, wh. we did, taking him some provisions, & little Molly to cheer him. I dreaded the thought of meeting him, expecting to see him utterly crushed, but instead he gave us a feeling of strength & hope. His face was swollen with toothache, but he forgot about this pain in the other terrible anguish, & yet he was so marvellously brave.
‘We saw him off, & then got thro’ the rest of the day as best we could. Hilda Clark, Sarah Edmundson, Roger, Marion & Bobby Mennell, & Lewis Richardson came to tea, & we laughed, & talked to them with a sickening feeling in our hearts all the time.
‘On Monday morning Mabel came into my room with a card from Father saying "the doctors are doubtful whether they can keep him alive over Friday." I had somehow thought that he could not possibly die, but now we had to face the worst. Evelyn & Bertha only heard of his illness on Monday morning, & Evie went off to Manchester to stay with the Weiss’. Poor little Ber!—all alone far away at Swanley, & yet I felt bad enough with Mabel. Ernest had said I could go there, but we had a telegram saying Ruth was going, & Mother wanted me to stay with Mabel.
‘So at about 12.0 o’clock on Monday morning we went down to the station to meet Ruth. I longed to go with her, but she promised to write if I could go, & it was thought better not. Mabel & I wanted to have Bertha at York, as she was so far away all by herself.
‘That Monday was a dreadful day—no more telegrams were to be sent unless we had to be sent for. I believe Mabel & I went to the Minster in the afternoon, or perhaps it was on Tuesday, but the music made one feel almost worse. We dare not leave the house for long. Once we went across to Bootham to try & borrow a book in which to read up about pneumonia. Miss Woodhead & John Fryer were very kind. All through, Hugh was a great, great help, for he is so strong & calm. We wrote many letters, & received much sympathy in letters from Aunt Gertie, Gertie, etc.
‘Those who were at Dalton Hall, wrote often, but as Arnold was never the same except for a few minutes, the news was usually contradictory. He was delirious nearly all the time, with only, occasionally, periods when he knew people, & knew what he was saying. The delirium was terrible, but through it all he hardly ever said a bad word, & in his periods of consciousness he was always so gentle & courteous. At first those who were nursing talked to him to distract his attention. He said some very funny things. When Mr Hill went into the room, someone said "This is Mr Hill, you know him, don’t you Arnold?" & Arnold said "Yes, & a great fool he is too," but really he liked him very much this term, & Mr Hill had told me that Arnold had grown much less shy.
‘’Generally he took his food well, & had a good appetite, but once he would not take some medicine, because he said he must have it out of a paper cup. After trying to make him take it in various ways, Mrs Graham sent for one of the little afternoon teacups, which Lily & I had helped him to choose his first term, & he drank it out of that.
‘Another time he talked much about coffee, & said that his coffee was not nice, he had been told of a certain shop round the corner where you could get good coffee. Ruth pretended to send for some, & then brought in some Benger’s food, & under the delusion that it was coffee, he drank it, & said "Ah! that is good".
‘Tuesday, also, Mabel & I were still at York, & the day seemed nearly endless. We sewed & wrote, & I believe I read some of "the Pirate", but oh, it was so terrible to go to bed, & feel that we might wake to the news that all was over. We just longed, at least to be nearer.
‘On Wed. morning after breakfast
I wrote to Evie,
& was in the middle Uncle Johnnie, Edgar, Sarah & her friend Mary
Cooper came in. How good it was to see them. The two former were I think
returning from Cousin Henry Wigham’s funeral at Dublin. They stayed a short
time, & then I went with them to the Station to see them off. When I returned I
wrote a letter to Evie & was in the middle of one to Mr Hill
to ask for particulars, when a telegram came. It was about 10.45 I think. Our
nerves seemed to jump at the sound of a bell, for we expected one continually.
It was from Evie, & just said "come, wire train to college & Ernest will meet
you at the Station." We trembled so that we could hardly look out the trains—the
first we could not catch, as Mabel had much to arrange about Molly, etc, but we
could catch one about 12.30 or 1.0. We sent to Hugh who was at meeting, had some
food, & went off as soon as possible. Hugh came too, & was so kind, & got us
papers, etc. though we could hardly read. We thought often of Bertha travelling
alone. As we neared Manchester we felt almost sick with anxiety to know whether
we should be in time. We came into a great thick yellow fog, which somehow
seemed to forbode evil. We could not see Ernest, so drove up to the Hall, & how
far it seemed. We rang, & Lily was the first person I remember coming to meet
us—thank God, the crisis was not yet over. We went into a sitting room where we
soon met Evie, Ruth & Mrs Graham, & then we learned that
Mother had only just been told that we were coming—she did not seem quite to
wish us sent for, perhaps feeling that all hope would then seem to be gone, so
Evie took the responsibility on herself, & I believe Mother was very glad when
we came. Evie had asked the doctor in the morning, & he said "the crisis will
probably come this evening—if they are coming at all, they must come now." How
grateful we were to her for telegraphing! Joe Hayward had been to meet us, but
there are 2 stations close together, & he went to the different one from which
we arrived, so we missed him. We went into the drawing room for tea, & saw Mr
Pollard there, & Mr Hill directly afterwards & Mr
Hayward. Shortly afterwards Bertha arrived. Poor little Ber! She had been going
to London to stay with the Weiss’, but happily got the telegram before she went,
& in time to get an early train to Manchester. Mrs Weiss had
been going to come with her, but of course it was too late to arrange that, so
she had the long journey all alone; there was a muddle about meeting her, so she
was driving up alone when she saw Ernest, & stopped, so he took her to 4 Clifton
Avenue, & then brought her to the Hall. I saw her just after having been to see
Arnold. Father wanted me to go, & so did I, only I dreaded it. They were afraid
of exciting him so I might only look at him from behind a screen. Frank Pollard
had said to me "You must expect to see him changed", but oh, it was a shock to
see him, & he had just been changed, & was so exhausted & groaned as though in
pain. Darling Arnie, how I longed to throw my arms on round him
& tell him how I loved him.
‘At the beginning he had several times asked for me, & spoken about me, probably because of my intended visit. He said "Let me get up & go into the next room; Mary is there with Mr Pollard & some other fellows & she is getting married." He wanted to cut me in half, & join me together again, "but that kind of thing can’t go on for ever you know". We, who had just come, helped to prepare his food, etc, but did not nurse him, for they were afraid of exciting him, as now he had to be kept absolutely quiet. They told us of the funny things he said, & they made us laugh, & helped us to bear the dreadful delirium. He would work out wonderful problems, & talked a great deal about his work. It seemed to be rather on his mind. Once he talked about his bicycle to Father & said "I gave £11 for mine, Mousie only gave £6 for hers." He had never seen mine, but I had told him about it.
‘Once he said to Evie, "Mary has never finished copying out Father’s songs, (a collection I was making) but you’re both so naughty, you wont get the songs from Father. He also said to her "You will make him happy, wont you"? evidently meaning Ernest.
‘He was saying something which the person who was nursing contradicted, & he said, "Are you in command of the ship or am I"? It was so unlike his usual gentle modesty.
‘Sometimes he grew very violent; & once when he struck the nurse or Mother, Father said to him, "Arnold, darling, you should not do that—no gentleman ever strikes a lady" & he replied "Is it a lady? I’m so sorry, I forgot." He liked Ruth to sing to him, & sometimes joined in, for his voice was quite strong, though hoarse, & he sometimes beat time with his finger. He liked "Dolly." Evie used to repeat poems to him, & he would have "My doves" over & over again, but if she tried another he would grow restless.
‘Once he said to Father or Mother "Am I going to live" & Mother said "Darling, thou art going home."
‘It was dreadful to hear him always talking, talking, & he could get no sleep, which was what was most needed.
‘Once he threw his arms round Mother’s neck & said "I have tried to be a good boy to you, Mother".
‘One day he stroked Evie’s hair & then stopped, saying "Oh no, I forgot you don’t like it," because he used to have a habit of always touching it at mealtimes, etc, when he passed her to ring the bell or something like that, & she objected.
‘The nurse said she had never, I think, known a stronger patient. The doctor said he must have a beautiful mind, or he could not have lived so long, for the delirium was so terrible.
‘As the crisis was expected on Wed: night, Mrs Graham made us up beds in the nursery, so that we could all be in the house close at hand. Her children had been set to Dr Browns. Dr Brown very kindly stayed the night sleeping in the nurse’s room. I think Father & Mother Mr Graham, & Mr Hill were nursing that night. Evie & I undressed & went to bed in one nursery, & the others in the room through. Evie was worn out, & went to sleep, but I kept hearing noises above, & could not sleep at all. I think it was about 11 or 12 o’clock (our door was open) when I saw a light, & Father appeared, asking for ice. Evie woke at once, & we got Hugh who went out to buy some more, I think. Then Evie & I dressed in case we were wanted, as she said that Arnold might get excited if he noticed that we did not look the same as usual. The others got up too—on no account, she said, must he see us with red eyes, so we struggled hard not to cry.
‘Suddenly there were such piercing shrieks from above, that I felt if Arnold were suffering so, I could almost rather he would die. I shall never forget that moment—it was agony to hear him. Mr Graham came & tried to reassure us—he had been given an injection of morphia, & been held too tightly, I think.
‘Then Ruth went to sing to him, a terrible strain for her.
‘(Sometimes Father sang to him, hymns I think.)
‘Soon afterwards Father came & said "He is dying, if you want to see him you must come now. Evie said to us, wait a little until we are quite sure, for will only excite him. Presently Father came back & said "you must come at once", so we all assembled round Arnold’s bedside. Dr Brown was there, & Dr Harris had been sent for. Bertha & I were each on one side of Father, close to Arnie’s head. He lay there muttering, & pointing to the ceiling with one finger. Suddenly he turned & looked straight at us, as though he knew that Bertha & I had not seen him before. I whispered to Father, that I could not believe he was really dying, & presently Dr Harris came, & sent us all straight out of the room, saying it was only a relapse & we were using up the air.
‘I think we lay down again, but did not sleep, & at last morning came, & with it fresh hope.
‘Hugh had to go back to York on Thursday.
‘After breakfast, Bertha, Lily, Joe Hayward & I went to town to buy Arnold some more pyjamas, though even then we often had to wash a pair. J.W. Hayward did not go to work for a whole week, so as to help us.
‘In the afternoon I believe I read aloud to Mother & Ruth, but Mother could not sleep at all. Bertha & I went to have tea in Joe Hayward’s room. F.E. Pollard brought me some most lovely roses from Mr & Mrs Pollard. He made us some coffee after dinner once, but we dare not stay long, for we liked to be as near Arnold as possible. He called a great deal for Ber, but did not seem to know her when she went to him. She told me he kept calling "God, God, God" over & over again, & "God’s near me", "Praise the Lord", & I think he tried to sing a hymn. He also kept saying "I’m dying." Bertha & I could not bear the thought of trying to sleep in the nursery again, listening to every sound above, so Lily kindly stayed with us in the drawing room. There were 2 sofas, & nice, easy chairs. F.E. Pollard, E.F. Hill & Joe Hayward spent a great part of the night with us, & F.E.P. & J.W.H. kindly read aloud part of "the Princess", & some of "Beside the bonny brier-bush." We grew very hungry, & they got us some eggs & milk.
‘We longed that Arnold should get some sleep, & at last with the aid of morphia, he did sleep a little. He was given champagne directly he woke, to revive him, & he had so much of it that I felt afraid if he lived that he might have a taste for it. Mr Brockbank kindly sent us some champagne & flowers, & everyone was so kind, telegraphing & inquiring for Arnold.
‘The doctors seemed to think that the crisis had not been passed on Wed: night, but they could not exactly say, as the case was such an exceptionally bad one. They expected that if his temperature would go down the delirium would cease, but they were afraid that it might fall suddenly, & that then he would have no strength left to recover. However on Friday for the first time Dr Harris said to Father "I can really give you a little hope." Considering the severity of his illness Arnold had lived so long, & now his temperature went down quietly to normal, his tongue, however, remaining black. Strange to say, the delirium did not cease. It was an exceptionally bad case, one of the worst Dr Harris had ever had.
‘Once, I think on Friday, he shook hands with both the doctors, saying "Goodbye, thank you very much, I feel much better now."
‘This hope, coming at the end, & being so soon crushed, make it harder to bear.
‘All Friday the house was kept as quiet as possible. At dinner-time Mr Graham always gave the students a report about Arnold.
‘In the afternoon just before dinner, Bertha & I went a short walk in pouring rain with F.E. Pollard to get some fresh air & buy peppermints.
‘Again we spent the night in the drawing room—I forgot to say Ruth, Lily, Bertha & I all had some tea in Mr Hill’s room. He kept coming to see us in the drawing room, & bringing reports about Arnold—then Father came & had a short rest, snoring so loud that he made us quite nervous, though Arnold could not possibly have heard. I believe Arnold slept a good deal that night, & seemed to be going on nicely.
‘When we grew hungry we went into the Housekeeper’s room with Mr Hill, & got something to eat, & at about 5.0 o’clock I think he took us to his room, lit the fire, & then read us "Toomai of the Elephants", & an amusing part out of "A tramp abroad". But we wanted to return to the drawing room, in case we were needed, & then he went to see Arnold. About 7.0 o’c. he came in, & said to us "Arnold is worse, & I am going for Dr Harris." November 27th Saturday. Then we abandoned all hope & felt that the end was near. Dr. Brown had most kindly slept all the last 3 nights in the nurse’s room.
‘We went at once to tell the others, & then tried to eat some breakfast, but nearly choking with the effort.
‘Dr Harris came, & could do little more. We sent for compressed Oxygen which Ernest gave to Arnold (Arnold was generally best with him) & warmed lots of blankets, hot bottles, etc, but it was no good. The disease had left him; he had made a gallant fight for life, but he now had not strength to recover. When the end was very near Father said I might go in & speak to him. I kissed his forehead & said "Arnold darling, it’s Mary, I’ve come now," & for just a second or two he looked straight at me, & gave a tiny smile; I’m sure he recognised me, & the remembrance of that happy moment, helped me much to bear the pain afterwards.
‘He quietly ceased to breathe soon after 3.0 o’clock; all of us were waiting round the bed, Mr & Mrs Graham, the nurse, Dr Brown, & some of the students. I was sitting next Father & Bertha; the words of the hymn "Thy will be done" rang in my ears, though it seemed too hard to say. We all kissed him & then went to the drawing room. After a time we wrote letters & sent telegrams, & Father had many arrangements to make. I think he read us some of "In Memoriam." In the evening some went out, & I grew so miserable that I went with Mabel to see Mr Hill. Arnold had been moved to a lower room, & lovely lilies & chrysanthemums placed on his breast. Father, Mother & I went in to see him, & for the first time Father completely broke down. He had been so splendidly brave, he & Mother, helping us all, & it was so dreadful to see him, I could hardly bear it. Poor Father, all his hopes shattered, & Arnold to whom he told nearly everything taken away from him. It was hard enough for us, but how much harder for Father & Mother. Mr Hill had gone for a walk with Mr Pollard, but Mr Dobson took me into his room, & was so kind, reading "In Memoriam" to me; it made me feel much calmer.
‘Bertha & I spent the night at the Weiss’—Lily slept with us very kindly, & we were so worn-out that we went to sleep at once.
‘The next morning, as soon as possible, we went to Dalton Hall, where we found Father & Mother, & the others in Arnold’s room looking over his things, some of which were to be given to those who had helped us. In one drawer we found on a piece of paper "I am not going to smoke when I go to Cambridge."
‘I wanted to see Agnes Thompson, so Lily & I went to ask Mr
Hill to telegraph. He was in bed, but got up at once, & she came in the
afternoon & was so sweet & kind. I spent a little time in F.E. Pollard’s room,
reading Arnold’s letters to him, &
with in Joe Haywards room, &
with Mr Hill & Agnes. It was a fearfully stormy day, with
thunder & lightning. In the evening Thos. Hodgkin came, & we had a little
meeting. J.W. Graham spoke beautifully on the story of Lazarus & "Jesus wept".
Thos. Hodgkin spoke also, & Father said a few words, beautifully.
‘Agnes stayed at the Hall all night, & Bertha & I again at the Weiss’. On Monday morning we looked on his dear face for the last time. The sunshine lit it up, as though with hope, & he looked happy, but oh so worn & old & changed. We put some ferns & flowers into the coffin & then it was closed.
‘We went round to the students’ rooms, those who had helped us, to thank them, said goodbye to all the servants many of whom were weeping, & drove to the station. Some of the students carried the coffin to the train. Mr Gill & Hugh Gibbons, both great friends of Arnold’s were there too. We said goodbye to all our kind sympathetic friends & started about 12.45 I think. At York Hugh & Molly met us, & Hugh came on with us. Laurie, Cousin Charlie, etc, met us at Newcastle, & some of our dear Aunts at Bensham Grove. Lily & Ernest came with us.
‘On Tuesday Nov. 30th Arnold was laid to rest in the Jesmond Cemetery. I felt a kind of dead feeling, & could hardly realise what was happening. Father wished everything to be simple, so we drove in ordinary cabs. The coffin was carried to the grave by cousins. Thos. Pumphrey & Canon Moore Ede spoke, then we drove to the meeting house, where Fielden Thorpe spoke & Aunt Gertie repeated the hymn "where the wicked cease from trembling & the weary are at rest." Dear Father spoke so beautifully with great difficulty, & said "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away, blessed by the name of the Lord."
‘For the evening some of the relations came out, & Mr Graham, E.F. Hill, F.E. Pollard, J.W. Hayward who had come from Dalton Hall, & E.B. Collinson from York.
‘Father read some of the beautiful letters which he & Mother have received; they had nearly 600 altogether I think.
‘I have been writing this account just a year after Arnold’s death. How much we have missed him, especially in the Summer holiday, & now, when those days of terrible anxiety are being vividly recalled to our minds. Sometimes the aching longing just to speak to him once again, is almost overpowering, but I must try to remember that he is happy, & be thankful that he will not have to suffer the sorrows & troubles of this world.
‘Dora Clark told me that Mr Ashby, one of the students said to her that he thought he wd miss Arnold more than he wd have missed anyone else. One day the "boots" said to him crying:– Oh I shall miss Mr Spence Watson so; he was the only one who never complained about his boots".
‘Our old gardener Tom Harbron used to say that Arnold was too good to live, & it must have been true.
‘I want to add one or two of Arnold’s favourite expressions:– "it’s as easy as putty", "Du bis eine curiose kraut", "tut-tut", etc, "be careless".
‘To-day is Nov. 25th, nearly a year since he died, & it is touching to see how many people have been thinking of us & him. Indeed he is not forgotten.
‘We have received an exquisite wreath from Dalton Hall, from F.E. Pollard, A.J. Gill, Hugh Gibbins & E.F. Hill, the 4 left at the Hall who were most friends of Arnold, beautiful lilies, violets & chrysanthemums in a kind of cross from Joe Hayward, lovely flowers from Esther.
‘Bertha & I have each made a wreath. We had meant all to meet together near York for Sunday, but the weather is too bad to take the risk for Ruth or Molly, so Evelyn & Ernest have come here.
‘[I must mention that the last time he was in Norway, Arnold began to learn shooting, & shot a small sparrow, & Bertha was angry with him. In his illness this seemed to be on his mind, & J.W. Graham said "It was rather cruel, Arnold", & he said "Yes, I’ll never do it again."] He asked whether he would hear any of Father’s lectures in the Spring, & Father said, "Possibly my boy, you’ll hear the first". Father’s names for him were "Barnabas, Captain, Colonel.
‘I have not said that Arnold went back to Manchester for the last term on Oct. I remember the day before watching him pack, which he did very nicely, & helping Mother to sew tapes for him, etc. He left me many directions about the photos, & was eager to see how one he had taken of ‘Tommy’ with my camera, would turn out.
‘He went early, about 9.35 I think from Bensham, so as to get dinner with Hugh & Mabel at York. Mother & I saw him off, & the house felt so lonely when he had gone. One of the last things he said to me was:– "I do hope there’ll be an excursion train on the 16th". This was because I had had an invitation to the first "Griffin" gathering on that date, & to stay with Mrs Pollard, & the porter said that if I asked the superintendent of the railway company he would probably put an excursion on, if they thought anyone else would go. The excursion was put on 20 or 3 days later, but I did not go, partly because of lessons, partly because of the Richter concert, & then it was also too late for the ‘Griffin’. How I repented afterwards that I had not gone! And I am very sorry I have not been to one of the "Griffins", for they had rather lost their pleasure when there was no Arnold to talk to about them, or to say "Has Mary got the Griffin case yet?—I am longing to see it". In his room I found some toffee unfinished, which I had made for him before he went back to the Hall; I also made him a chocolate cake, & one which he gave to the "yachtsmen", as he called them. He enjoyed helping to "lick the dish"! We used to teaze each other, he saying my nose was so long that it was in the way when he tried to kiss me, & that it was growing crooked, & I that his mouth was growing crooked.
‘Nov. 26th 1898. Saturday. This afternoon Father, Mother, Evelyn, Ernest, Bertha & I took the wreaths to the grave. They looked so beautiful. Mother repeated part of a poem by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Oh, Arnold darling, how we all loved thee. Poor, poor Father & Mother. They are marvellously brave.
‘Arnold in his illness also remarked how disappointed he had been not to give Linda Weiss a tea-party, but she had left Manchester too soon.
‘When he was little I remember hearing him try to sing one of his favourite hymns "through the night of doubt & sorrow." He was also fond of "Once in royal David’s city", & asked me to ask for it at one of our Sunday morning readings.
‘These words were on Arnold’s calendar in his room at the time of his death:– "Through the desolate November, Violets their tryst remember, To the end they whisper still—"Peace on earth, to men goodwill." Lucy A. Bennett.
‘In his illness he mentioned both Basil & Claus.’
‘I went back to Manchester in December 1898 to stay with Evelyn & Ernest. They were suddenly called to London about the 10th owing to Mrs Weiss’ death, & I went to stay one night at the hall. The next day, before going to Liverpool, Mrs Graham & little Richard (aged about 5.0) came & had lunch with me at Clifton Avenue. In my bedroom was a photo of Arnold when he was little & a later one. Little Richard said to me "That is a photo of Arnold Spence Watson like one we have got." I said "Do you remember him?" & he said "Oh, yes! & I remember his death at the Hall a year ago". Then I showed him the other photograph, & he said when Mrs Graham entered the room "Mother, that is a photograph of Arnold Spence Watson when he was a little boy."
‘On Nov. 27th F.E. Pollard told me I think, that Mr Graham gave the new students a short account of Arnold, & read some of "In Memoriam.
‘It was very painful to go back to the Hall, tho’ Mother with her usual bravery, had been the first to do so.
‘I sat next Arnold’s friend Arthur Gill at breakfast. He is engaged to be married, & wrote to Evelyn, saying how pleased Arnold wd have been to know it, for they had discussed it beforehand, & Arnold had laughingly said that he would be his best man!’
‘Extract from a letter to Evie from Beryl A. Hammerton. She had never seen Arnold or any of us, but in a former note says that Mr Gill, to whom she is engaged, spoke of hin so often with such affection, that she feels as if he had been a friend of hers too. "The lines you quoted are very beautiful. When I think of your brother I like to remember that line "Wearing the white flower of a blameless life." Don’t you think it suits our "sweet little fellow?" That, as perhaps you know, was the name they gave him at the Hall. 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-knight whom the Great King called to the "island-valley of Avilion" before the battle had worn & wearied him."’
Notebook concludes with pasted-in cuttings from the Newcastle Daily Leader and an unidentified paper of 29 Nov 1897, and the Newcastle Daily Chronicle, Newcastle Daily Journal & Newcastle Daily Leader of 1 Dec 1897.
Those present at the funeral listed as follows:
|Mr Alrick Richardson
Mr & Mrs David Richardson
Mr Wigham Richardson, J.P.
Mr Lawrence Richardson
Mr Herbert Edmondson
Mr Edgar Edmondson
Mr Gilbert Richardson
Mr & Mrs Thomas Pumphrey, J.P.
Mr Bernard Pumphrey
Mr Edward Watson, Sen.
Mr Edward Watson, Jun.
Mr Hugh Watson
Mr J.W. Pease, J.P., of Pendower
Mr Howard Pease
Mr Thomas Carrick Watson
Miss Sara Richardson
Mr Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr Charles Fenwick, M.P.
Mr & Mrs J.W. Steel
Mr & Mrs J.J. Gurney
Mr William M. Angus
the Rev. Principal H.P. Gurney
Professor & Mrs J.T. Merz
Professor P.B. Bedson (representing the Durham College of Science, Newcastle)
Mr Hodgkin, Jun.
Mr & Mrs F.W. Dendy
Mr & Mrs John Havelock
Mr Arthur Scholefield
Mr R. Middleton
Mr Wilson Worsdell (Gateshead, chief locomotive superintendent North-Eastern Railway)
Mr W.S. Burton
Mr J.M. Redmayne
Mr R.C. Clephan
the Rev. Canon W. Moore Ede (Rector of Gateshead)
Mr Charles J. Spence
Mr Fielden Thorp (York)
Mr R.L. Markham
Miss Telfer (Women’s Liberal Association)
Mr Norman Clapham
Mr & Mrs Percy Corder
Mr Alfred Holmes
Mr George TweddellMr C.P. Trevelyan
Mr Thomas Hunter (ex-Postmaster of Newcastle
Mr Thomas Ayton
Mr Joshua Davison
Mr James Wilson
Mr George Reed
Mr William Joyce
Mr & Mrs John Pattinson
Cllr Bradshaw (Gateshead)
Mr J.W. Taylor
Mr & Mrs Appleton
Mr L.G. Pattinson (Felling)
Mr Herbert Corder (Sunderland)
the Rev. Richard Leitch (Blackett Street Presbyterian Church
Mr Charles Williams (secretary of the Technical Education Committee of the Northumberland County Council)
Mr Charles Carter
Mr W.J. Reed
Cllr Nicholas Temperley, JP, Chairman, andMr Ralph Young, Secretary, of the Northumberland Miners’ Association
Mr Guy Hayler and
the Rev. A.B. Tebb, representing the North of England Temperance League
Mr H. Boyle, J.P.
Mr J.W. Graham, head of Dalton Hall, Owen’s College, Manchester
Miss Moffatt, and
Miss L. Telford (representing the Newcastle Women’s Liberal Association)
The whole of the office staff of Messrs Watson & Dendy, Newcastle
Mr J. Cameron Swan, President of the Newcastle Liberal and Radical Association, & Mr W.J. Noble, were prevented by business engagements from being present.
The chief mourners were Dr & Mrs R. Spence Watson, Mr & Mrs Hugh Richardson, and Misses Ruth, Evelyn, Mary and Bertha Spence Watson
Ald. John Foster Spence & Miss Spence (North Shields)
Mr & Mrs W.S. Corder, J.P.
Mr & Mrs James Watson
Mr Gerald France
Mr C.J. Dymond
Mr G.S. Stewart
Mr T. Jamieson
Mr Walter Golding
Mrs W. Thorburn
Dr & Mrs Selwyn Pattinson
the Mayor of Newcastle (Ald. T.B. Sanderson)
Ald. Wm Sutton
Cllr W.R. Plummer, J.P.
Cllr G.C. Binks, Newcastle
Cllr Thomas Cairns
Mr James Stuart
Mr W.T. Martin
Mr W.J.S. Scott
Mr Joseph Phillips
Mr Fred Burn (representing the Newcastle Liberal and Radical Association)
[Transcript by Benjamin S. Beck]