Mary Spence Watson diaries | 1899-1900

MSWP (& FEP) diaries

Diary

written by Mary Spence Watson

July 8th–December 31st 1899

[Written in pencil in a tiny pocket diary—

the pages from the first half of the year have been torn out.]

 

Key

NB If a name is not listed in the key the person concerned has not yet been identified.

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

Monday 3rd July

Town in morning. It has been suddenly arranged that Ruth must go to Plombières in Vosges for 3 weeks, so I packed to go with her. It is horrid having to leave Father and Mother alone and to give up sketching lessons etc., but I only trust it will cure Ruth. Theresa came out in afternoon and Norbert in the evening. Father came to see me in bed at night (and mother of course).

Tuesday 4th July

Singing lesson. Father saw me off by 2.59 to York—I felt very homesick. Met at York by Hugh, Mabel, Molly, nurse & Spot. On bus to 12 St. Mary’s, where we had a delightful evening.

Wednesday 5th July

Played with Molly in garden. Shopped with Mabel, met Frank returning from meeting—came and had coffee with us—most lucky for me. Mabel, Molly and the nurse saw me off at 12.20, and I arrived at Hampstead at 5.00. Ruth and May in. Great packing. Charlie and Evelyn to supper, after which E and I had a lovely confidential talk.

Thursday 6th July

Ruth and I left Charing X at 10, second class. Dear old Eve saw us off. Smooth crossing from Folkestone to Boulogne, about 2 hours. Second class to Paris. Most amusing—one man spilt a bottle of wine, and the whole thing smashed. Arrived 5.40. Drove to Hotel France et Suisse, Rue de Strasbourg—small and comfortable. Nice landlord and landlady. I went to buy stamps, then refreshing meal—for me vegetarian—and soon to bed as Ruth very tired. Dreadful noise and we did not sleep well.

Friday 7th July

Met Miss Maynard and May Harvey in Paris Station. Left Paris at 10.40, 2nd class comfortable window seats. Arrived Plombières 5.25. Mrs and Mary Swan met us and gave us tea and were most kind. At 7.0 we had dinner. Ruth and I had a table to ourselves. She has borne the journey wonderfully well. We have 2 nice bedrooms, but the place in ruinous. 15 frs a day, breakfast extra and 2 frs also for meals at 12 and 7 instead of 11 & 6.0.

Saturday 8th July

Dr. came to see R at 10.30. V. nice. Mrs Swan asked us to judge some poems of a prize competition she had set. At 11.30 R. went to drink waters—lunch at 12.0. At 3.0 she had half hour’s warm bath. Nice amusing bath woman, then rest and afternoon tea. Then we went short walk, she drank more water, then dinner at 7.0. They are kindly giving me vegetarian dishes. The R. sewed and I read aloud. Early to bed.

Sunday 9th July

Ruth had bath at 10, and drank waters before lunch. Then she rested, and I went a good walk in the woods—very hot and I found I soon got tired. We had afternoon tea with the Swans who were extremely nice—then we sat in a lovely hay field and R. sketched while I read aloud. Sad catastrophe to her blouse in the evening. We have (everyone) breakfast in our own rooms in the morning.

Monday 10th July

We each were weighed—R. 8 st 1 lbs., I, 9st 1lb. (4 lbs extra since Ireland in April—I suppose vegetarianism but it’s horrid) Afternoon I sketched and Ruth read aloud. Lovely fields, rather like Norway and picturesque people making hay. Very pretty small town.

Tuesday 11th July

We both felt sleepy—it is very hot. Madame Bottentuit called on us, and talked hard, in English. She is the doctor’s wife, then we had a long talk and short walk with the Swans.

Wednesday 12th July

In afternoon, went to buy flowers for Mary Swan’s birthday from an old peasant woman. Long talk with her. In evening sat in drawing room. I had long talk with elderly gentleman who lives in South Africa about the Transvaal. Ruth with an old Mr Atkinson, whose son, a Rugby master, is here trying the cure. Great thunderstorm. First French lessons, I went an hour’s walk with French lady to learn conversation.

Thursday 13th July

Cooler. Ruth began a kind of soothing douche in the Bath. Afternoon tea at Madame Bottentuits. Several other ladies there, not much of a walk today.

Friday 14th July

Doctor’s visit to R. in Bath. I had French lesson at 2.0, went a nice little walk, and Ruth had her lesson when we returned. Afternoon tea with Swan’s for last time, alas! Ruth sang a little in drawing room, but no one else there. In evening Ruth, old Mr Atkinson, an English lady and I walked to the church. Outside was a bandstand all hung with little lamps and it played the marseillaise, Russian National anthem etc. Very jolly. All the town illuminated and hung with flags because it is a national fete day.

Saturday 15th July

Very hot. Mr and Miss Freeman, Miss Blomfield and I saw the Swans off at 2.15 with very great sorrow. Ruth and I went a short walk through pretty hay fields, and had a consultation with the doctor about her throat. Miss Freeman and I had a game of draughts in the evening. Old Mr Atkinson sent us all into fits of laughter. He is 74 and most lively, but rather long winded.

Sunday 16th July

Very hot. 76 in the shade. In afternoon I went to R.C. church for about half hour, then Ruth, old Mr Atkinson and his son and I went a very nice short walk. Lovely view of Plombières.

Monday 17th July

I got up at 6.0 and walked to Fontaine Stanislas at 6.30. Brought Ruth her water at 11.30. We pottered about in afternoon and played pounce patience in evening.

Tuesday 18th July

Still very hot. Tried to go a drive but could not get a carriage. Ruth began ‘douche ascendante’. Very nice French lesson and lovely walk.

Wednesday 19th July

Game of tennis on grass court with Miss Freeman. Very hot. I got up early and sketched. Short walk with Ruth.

Thursday 20th July

80 in shade. Ruth, Miss Blomfield and I went an hour’s drive in the evening. After dinner, talked to old Mr Atkinson and his son—latter looks really ill and we are very sorry for him. Mathematical and science master at Rugby.

Friday 21st July

In afternoon Mr Atkinson and his son (Cuthbert), Ruth and I took tea and went to a well about 10 mins off. Got some boiling water from a cottage and had cakes and chocolate. Son returned to drink water and I went on to Etang Adolphe to get a bathe. After a long walk found 4 boys enjoying themselves in the water. It was maddening. However the walk was lovely. Sat out talking after dinner.

Saturday 22nd July

Went a walk to a pretty view in afternoon. Sat and talked after dinner.

Sunday 23rd July

Tremendous showers and thunder. Went short walk with the Atkinsons between the showers. Mr Atkinson junior showed us his butterflies and caterpillars and some photos. R. stopped baths for 2 or 3 days.

Monday 24th July

Poured nearly all day—to Mme Buttentuits to tea. Spanish lady and others there. I took away someone’s umbrella and had to return it. In evening R and I to see ‘Les Huguenots’ (Meyerbeer). Good performance—singers, but orchestra dreadful and v. out of tune. V. small stage. Lasted from 8 till 12.0 p.m.

Tuesday 25th July

In afternoon R went out with the Atkinsons, and I had a glorious walk—first to Etang Adolphe where I bathed and sketched, and back by Feuillée Dorothée, by a short cut, peasant man coming part of the way back with me. R and I played pounce patience in evening.

Wednesday 26th July

Very hot again. Played tennis with the Spanish children in the morning. Great fun in afternoon. R, Atkinsons and I went a short walk, ‘Cuthbert’ collected butterflies. R and Mr A. senior made tea. In evening I had a long talk with Miss Blomfield and ran races with Spanish children. Talked to General Haig one day.

Thursday 27th July

Hot—up at 5.30 and at 6.30 hired bicycle and went a glorious spin on road towards Remiremont—uphill all way, but lovely fresh air and smell like Norway. 16 kilometres (10 miles) in one hour. In afternoon R, Miss Blomfield, Atkinsons and I drove to Fenillée Dorothée and Nouvelle Dorothée—not far, but splendid view of Val D’ajol. Enjoyed it immensely. ‘Cuthbert’ photographed us. He is a puzzle to me, but he has got a sweet smile when he does it.

Friday 28th July

R. began baths again. In afternoon I had 3 splendid sets of tennis with a French girl in the park—I won 2. Also a nice French lesson—(walk). Great grief to me because Spanish children left in the evening. They had been going on Sunday and the mother thinks the eldest girl has got scarlet fever, so they have quite suddenly gone. I went to see them off. I shall miss them very much.

Saturday 29th July

In afternoon I went to see ‘Les Souterains’—first on a peignoir and we (the guide) and I each carried lamps and towels. Walked along to the Bain Stanislas. Heat terrific. I got absolutely soaked. Most interesting to see the very hot water coming straight out of the ground. Lovely starlight night. Talked to Miss Blomfield, Ruth to ‘the old gentleman’.

Sunday 30th July

Nothing much. In afternoon we went a short walk with the Atkinsons in the Park. Evening Miss Blomfield and I called on General Haig.

Monday 31st July

Ruth began to have her baths early at 7.15. Afternoon we had French lessons and tea on the hillside. Ruth, the old gentleman and ‘Cuthbert’ and I looked on. I had a long talk with some old peasant friends of ours, and tore my dress. Miss Blomfield and I paid long call on the Haigs in evening. Young Mr Atkinson much more genial to-night. “Oh, you’ve got your work, that’s charming.”

Tuesday 1st August

Afternoon I went to Cascade de Faymont and La Vallée des Roches with Mlle Tisserand. Walked for three and a half hours and the heat made me fell quite exhausted. Called on Haigs again in evening. Little boy on bicycle gave me a fright and ‘Cuthbert’ very angry and made him apologize.

Wednesday 2nd August

In afternoon Atkinsons, Miss Blomfield, R & I drove to Remiremont—3.30 to 7.0. Most delightful charming place. We saw the old church (13th century) and an old palace I think, now Palais de Justice. Views and colour of the hills exquisite. The others had dinner with us at our table.

Thursday 3rd August

R. and I shopped. Atkinsons came up the hill with us and we had our last tea party. I felt very out of it and consequently shy. Very hot day. Final call on Mme Bottentuit and visit to the doctor.

Friday 4th August

Saw ‘Cuthbert’s’ butterflies and photos. He was very nice and he and Miss Blomfield and Mr Atkinson saw us off by 2.15 to Paris. V. hot. Successful parting—they were all very kind and supplied us with lemonade, fruit etc. Carriage (2nd) to ourselves nearly all the way. Had some dinner on the way. Quite sorry to have left our friends at Plombières. Drove to Hotel du Chemin de Fer du Nord—arrived 9.30 and went straight to bed. Nice, quiet back rooms.

Saturday 5th August

Left Paris 10.30. Fearfully hot journey to Boulogne where we arrived at 2.8. Crossing slightly rough, and most refreshing. Arrived Hampstead 7.30. Linda and May welcomed us. Philip Spence and Phyllis staying there. I slept with Phyllis and we talked much. We have had a very comfortable journey and Ruth has stood it wonderfully well.

Sunday 6th August

Phyllis and I to Westminster Meeting. One old Friend in a Quaker bonnet spoke to us—someone called Fox. Left Hampstead too early for train and most luckily caught one at 8.0 direct through to Oban. Lovely sleeping berths, but neither of us could sleep for it was so shakey and went at such a terrific rate. Arrived Oban 8.45 Monday a.m.

Monday 7th August

Went straight to Marine Hotel and had breakfast then shopped and I looked out for the “Curlew” (or Griffin). Told it was not there but it was and steamed to Ballachulish in afternoon. Found telegram in the office begun “Frith—Dalt. R and I left at 12.30 arrived Onich 2.30. Met by Hugh and Mabel—others out. Came in later. Lovely house. Glorious to be here at last.

Tuesday 8th August

Glorious day. Father, Evelyn, Ber and I went a lovely walk to a lake. Took sandwiches and got some perfect milk. When we returned at about 5.0 F. Pollard was sitting in the garden. So jolly. He came to Mabel and Hugh’s with Evelyn and me to tea. The other yacht people had gone our old Glencoe walk (same day too). Cannot see the yacht. Most annoying that it is so far away. It was jolly to see him. Norbert arrived to stay with us in evening. Went short row. I slept very badly indeed.

Wednesday 9th August

Most went an excursion. Mabel, Ruth and I spent day together. At 5.0 Hugh and I began to bicycle to yacht because we thought they were not coming to tea, but we met 11 of them presently and brought them back. Great fun, but midges awful. F.E.P., W.H., Arthur Woodhead and his brothers, Fanny Hardy, Hannah and Essie Beakbane, E.F. Hill, Dearman Neave, Joe Wigham and Hugh Gibbons. Had a few old Griffin songs. Phil the Fluter, Kabul River, etc. I felt rather shy, but it was lovely.

 

Thursday 10th August

Glorious and almost perfect day. Hugh, Norbert, B. and I bicycled to Ballachulish and went on board the Curlew at 9.30. Steamed up to head of Loch, then down and stopped near Onich pier for Ruth. Went down to another loch, then to Fort William where we arrived before 6.0. Lovely dinner on board and tea. Quite hot. Had lovely talk with F. etc. Steered. Photographed Joe Wigham. Concert—‘Blue-eyed naney’, Slattery’s light dragoons, Harringans, the Barge masin and Nancy Lee, Drawbacks, violin duets and solos. Waddingtons seem nice girls. A.P. not well. Mrs A.P. perfectly sweet and awfully kind. Played pounce patience with Joe Wigham and won.

Friday 11th August

Hugh, B., Norbert and I cycled to Fort William. Father and mother by steamer and mother had a pony but I missed them. Met yacht people at post office and went up Ben Nevis. Heat nearly did for us. I had a nice time with F. by lake. We did not get up till nearly 4.0. I came down with F., Father, J.T.W., Joe Hayward, Arthur Woodhead and Dearman Neave. Great fun. I photographed them with Joe H’s camera. J.T.W. took me by the stream doing my hair. Arrived 8.30. They begged B. and me to sleep in the tent, but Hugh thought we ought not to so we cycled 10 miles home. Nice talk with Father. I should get quite spoiled if I went another yachting tour! Poor F. Joe H. very unselfish. A. Woodhead “It does amuse me the way we all call you Mary!!”

Mary Spence Watson on board the Curlew, August 1899

Mary Spence Watson (R), on board the Curlew, August 1899

 

Saturday 12th August

B. and I went at 10.30 to Corran Ferry to wave to the “Curlew”. It came at nearly 12.0, and we sang “adieu, dear kind friend” etc. Could see them quite well, and hear them say “Its Mary and Bertha” and “Have you got the pipe, have you smoked it yet.” (it had been put in my pocket.), then they all shouted a huge goodbye, and I felt utterly wretched as we saw it disappear. If only I could go on it again. It has been lovely and exciting seeing them. Then B., Katie, R., and I had bathe in the loch. She is staying with Hugh and Mabel. Afternoon we had a picnic tea by a glorious pool and bathed again. Molly had her first bathe. Maids came also. Katie, Norbert, B and I deep sea fishing. B caught a fish.

Sunday 13th August

Norbert, B. and I spent most of the morning in and out of a glorious pool. Katie to dinner and we all dozed in afternoon. Still very hot. In evening Norbert, B. and I went a walk and were nearly devoured by midges.

Monday 14th August

B. and I cycled (12 miles) to head of Loch Leven, bathed in an enormous pool, and then scrambled up a lovely, rocky glen—the one we passed on our old yachting Glencoe walk. Got milk at a cottage. Road lovely, but bad for cycling. Got back about 7.0. Storm coming up. Father, Norbert and Hugh fished and got a few small trout.

Tuesday 15th August

Rained most of the day—B. and I bathed before breakfast. We saw Katie off and N., B. and I went in boat. Bathed after dinner. Loch quite rough. Sketched. Lovely rainbow, double. All our water has gone and Mary has to do the cooking in a little cottage—most awkward, especially in the wet. Laurie came to stay with us and Dora Clark to stay with Mabel. Father and N. fished, caught some tiny trout.

Wednesday 16th August

Poured and great wind most of day. Father, Norbert and Hugh fished at Glencoe. Visit from Mabel, Dora and Molly. B. and I walked to Loch Leven hotel in afternoon and met Laurie on way back. Loch quite rough. Played whist in evening. Bathed as usual before breakfast.

Thursday 17th August

Father and Mother drove, Laurie, Hugh, Norbert, Dora B. and I cycled 15 miles against fearful wind to Strontian. B. and I bathed there. Had nice dinner in the inn. B. and I bought molto goodies and “bootlaces” exactly like 2 years ago and on the same date, in the same shop. Curious coincidence. Lovely sunset. I remembered the place and everything perfectly. Splendid ride back, coasting most of way. Crossed in ferry from Ardgour to Corran. Saw some deer on the hills, arrived back about 9.0. Ruth had been with Mabel and Molly.

 

Friday 18th August

Charlie Weiss spent day with us. He, Norbert, Laurie, B. and I had a bathed in the sea from the boat. Afternoon B. read “Virginibus Puerisque” to N. and me—picnic tea by pool. B. ent in boat afterwards, but the boating here is very unsatisfactory.

Saturday 19th August

Bathed before breakfast. All went to see Norbert off at 10.0. Very sorry to lose him—he is so nice, though a great teaze. Very wet, but fine at intervals. Laurie and I went short walk and up to reservoir. About 4.0 Mother, B., L. and I walked to farm, bathing on way and got lovely milk. Came back by beautiful gorge. Father and Hugh went deep sea fishing. B. and I sang some songs together.

Sunday 20th August

Mother and B. to chapel. Laurie photographed, I went to meet him and sketched. In afternoon B. and I had a glorious bathe from the boat—Father and Hugh came down in state of great anxiety—then we walked with Mabel, Molly etc to top of hill behind house and had a glorious view towards Fort William. Bertha and I took Mary and Sarah for a row, which they enjoyed muchly. Glorious sunset.

Monday 21st August

All except Molly to Glencoe, by coach and cycling. Laurie, B. and I got about half way up to Ossian’s Cave. Steep pull up, and a little climbing. After dinner at Glencoe Inn, B. and I bathed. Hugh, B. L. and I cycled back about 6.0, not good road. People laughed at our rationals. Glorious sunset. Father read “The Bothie” (Clough’s) aloud in evening.

Tuesday 22nd August

Laurie’s birthday, aged 30. B and I made a chocolate cake for him. B. and I cycled to Fort William to shop and get my watch mended. Afternoon Hugh and Mabel gave us all tea at the farm. B. and I had a perfect bathe in a pool on the way. Haymaked after tea. Delightful time. Ruth and Mabel drove there and walked back. Molly walked all the way back, in splendid spirits.

 

Laurie Richardson with Robert Spence Watson, Onich, 1899

Laurie Richardson, with Robert Spence Watson (R); Onich, 1899

 

Wednesday 23rd August

Bathed 3 times. Ruth, Mother, Mabel, Molly, L. and B. to beyond Ardgour by boat. Dora cycled, Father and I walked. Dreadfully hot, but Father sang, recited, and told me about our possession of Egypt. B. and I had a glorious bathe from the boat, and again lying in a shallow stream. Made tea. Hugh cycled to tea. Father repeated to me all the way home which was glorious—Tom Moore, James Hogg, Mrs Browning, Tennyson, James Montgomery, Byron, etc. V. high tide and great current at ferry.

Thursday 24th August

We always bathe before breakfast. Pottered about. Laurie, B. and I had a glorious bathe in a pool. Afternoon most by boat to Loch Leven hotel where they had afternoon tea. I cycled and sketched on the way. Very, very hot. Such a summer as this has not been known here for 42 years, we are told.

Friday 25th August

Saw Laurie off at 10.0. Father, Mother, B. and I to the Lake—milk at farm on way. I rowed Father, but he caught no fish and it began to thunder and rain, so we went into the farm and had tea. Cleared up, and we had a very nice walk home, Father singing and repeating 13 miles—very good for mother who is 62 nearly, for it is a tiring walk over long grass etc part of way. Great wind sprang up.

Saturday 26th August

Glorious day. Cooked. Aunt Car and Edith arrived in the morning. Afternoon Dora, Edith, B and I had a lovely bathe, undressing under the pier and diving from the boat. Quite an audience watched us. It was delicious; then we rowed Mabel and Molly to the point where we met all the others and the maids and had a very nice picnic tea. Midges fearful afterwards. They certainly are a dreadful plague round here.

Sunday 27th August

Some to Chapel. Afternoon very nice bathe at pier. Evening some walked. I sketched from top of hill. Splendid sight watching a thunderstorm come on. Aunt Car and I to Oak Cottage to supper. Delightful time. So nice have Aunt Car and Edith staying with us.

Monday 28th August

Glorious day. Dora went. Bathed from boat. Afternoon mother, B. Edith and I rowed to opposite shore—then they left me to go back and deep sea fish with Ruth. I went up [blank]—good hot climb, but glorious view, Loch Sunart, open sea, Eigg I think etc. I came straight down the face and across in the ferry. Only took about two and a half hours from the far slope to top and down again, but it was an effort.

Tuesday 29th August

B. and I cycled, rest by steamer to Fort William to see the games. All were most interested and quite excited. Dancing of reels, etc splendid, and a lovely sailor’s hornpipe, in costume. Throwing the caber, marvellous, a huge log, 24 ft long, almost too heavy to lift at all for us. Pole jumping excellent 11ft 6. But the winner has done 12 ft 6 before. Danced on little wooden platform surrounded by heather. B. and I sat on the hills. Lovely situation.

Wednesday 30th August

Saw Mabel, Hugh, Molly and their maids off at 10.0 with much sorrow. Fair in morning, but poured in afternoon. Edith, B. and I had a bathe, rather cold and rough, undressing in hut on pier. Father began reading aloud “Strange adventures of a phaeton” (Black).

Thursday 31st August

Slightly showery. All drove to Fort William, then to Glen Nevis, which is very grand and beautiful. Some walked to the top to see the falls, but they are not much. At Fort William we went to see a home industry bazaar. Drove home, getting back about 8.0. Rather tired. A very delightful day.

Friday 1st September

Bathed as usual before breakfast. Father went fishing. B. helped me beautifully to pack. She and Edith and I went to post office. I started on “Mountaineer” at 2.0, reached Oban 4.0. Rather wet, but faired. “Clansman” late and we did not start for Glasgow till 7.0. Had tea on board. 14 of us in ladies’ cabin, but I slept fairly well.

Saturday 2nd September

Reached Greenock 7.0. Took train to Glasgow and caught the 8.45 to Newcastle. Arrived at 1.0. Shopped. Quarries to tea, then to Bensham with my boxes. Marg. Shields and her children staying in our house. Back to Quarries for the night.

Sunday 3rd September

Morning Norbert and I to Bensham to pack. After dinner Teresa and I had nice call at Wingrove. Theodore Reiser is staying at the Quarries.

Monday 4th September

Teresa and I left at 9.30 in carriage with Freda, Cousin Sally, etc. Uncle Theo in same train. T. taught me Greek alphabet. Frank got in at Sheffield and I did enjoy the journey. Watched boys bathing in canal. Alice Whitlow and I drove in hansom to Handsworth where we are staying with Milly and Harry Sturge. Nice tea, then by cable train to reception and lecture by Canon Rawnsley on Francis of Assisi and photos of Assisi by George Thompson.

Tuesday 5th September

Heat Tremendous. Most interesting lecture by Prof. Rogers on “Israel and her enemies”, then Rendel Harris on “a new apocryphal gospel”. Then F. and I went into shop, and he had milk while I ate sandwiches. Then Teresa and I into R. Harris’ elementary Greek class. Lunch. Lots of us by train to Lichfield. Cathedral lovely. Dean took us round. Stayed to service. Tea. Saw house where Dr Johnson was born. I did not go to lecture in evening, but stayed in alone to write.

Wednesday 6th September

Two first lectures as yesterday—Ernest Rowntree and I went to Prof. Rogers’ Hebrew class—v. nice. Alice and I to vegetarian to lunch, then to Handsworth to change—Garden Party at Wyddrington—glorious grounds, but began to rain. To Southalls’ to dinner—sat between William Braithwaite, very nice and jolly and Christopher Southall. Then to lecture by J. Wilhelm Rowntree on “The Responsibility of a Free Ministry”.

Thursday 7th September

Wet. Third lecture I attended Prof. Davison on Poetical Literature of O.T. Veg. Restaurant with F. and Alice Whitlow. After F. and I to Art Gallery and Botanical gardens. Then I with Alice and Teresa and Milly to Illa Sturge’s where we danced. Evening lecture on “A bundle of letters 30 centuries old” by Prof. Rogers. Splendid.

Friday 8th September

Only two morning lectures. Went to Worcester—saw Cathedral—very fine. Had jokes with Hugh Gibbons and Frank. Then I went on the river for about three quarters of an hour with those two. We took a cab down. Tea in a tent. Jolly Curlew stories coming back in train. Evening lecture by Joan Fry on Tauler & Bochure [Bochine?]. I was sleepy, having slept badly night before. “You look ill” he said.

Saturday 9th September

Weather lovely. Two lectures. 1 p.m. started for Stratford. Teresa and I in party D and knew no one. Mr Bayes conducted. Went to river (bridge), Memorial buildings, Shakespeare’s house, Parish church, and then met party C and had tea together. Happily at last I got next Frank, and after he, Teresa, Hugh G. and I walked through fields to Anne Hathaway’s cottage. V. pretty. Then Mr. Barrow, (“petrified bun” man) joined us. He, F. Teresa, H. and I came back together in train. Played “I’ve just come back from Paris” and adjective game.

Sunday 10th September

Adult Meeting at 9.0. Alice and I went at 9.30. Then to Bull St. Heaps spoke and it lasted one and threequarters hours. Then to Mrs. Wilson Sturge’s to dinner. I sat next Rendel Harris. At 3.0. Annual Meeting of Adult Schools in Town Hall, then Teresa and I to Mrs King’s to tea. Nice talk with Prof. McGilbert. Saw Mrs K’s Scotch sketches. Called in at Mariemont. Evening Meeting Bull St. 6.30. Miss Wallis’ paper. Alice, Milly and I to Maida Sturge’s to supper. Reading here and hymns after our return.

Monday 11th September

Three meetings—bought some lunch and ate it in 1.15 train to Harvington. A lot of us went. We got out at Bromsgrove and drove to Harvington Hall—a fine old moated building, in dreadful disrepair and with nice old secret hiding places. Then to Percy and Mrs. Bigland’s to tea, and then drove back, views very pretty. Got in at 7.0. and went to veg. for dinner.

Short talk with F. Met Mrs Clark and Roger. Lecture by J. W. Graham on Isaac Pennington. Mrs G. tiresome.

Tuesday 12th September

3 lectures. F. came to veg. with me, and then I had to say goodbye. I bicycled with a party to Finstall Albright’s country house. Most of way with Olga and Mr. Binns. Prof. Ramsay etc. there. Came back by train. Evening lecture on Madame Guyon by Rendel Harris. Dinner at Frederick Road.

Wednesday 13th September

Lectures. Afternoon garden party in botanical gardens. Splendid bicycle gymkana. To dinner to Southfield (Lily and Sophie Sturge). I sat between John B. Clark and Mr. Tangye. Evening lecture on Terste[e]gen by Horace Govan.

Thursday 14th September

Lovely fine day. To Warwick. Saw St. Mary’s church, Beauchamp Chapel, Castle, Guy’s Tower, Leicester hospital, tea at Meeting House, then jail where Friends were imprisoned, and we had a short meeting there. Got back about 7.0. Lecture by William Braithwaite on Development of Christian Morality.

Friday 15th September

Poured in afternoon. I went by 3.35 to Wolverhampton—Mary Carr and Bessie Brockbank met me at the station, and we went over the laundry which was most interesting (green olive oil soap for flannels!) Then had tea. Roger a dear little thing. Evening lecture by Mr Grubb.

Saturday 16th September

Meeting for Worship 9.30–10.30. A lot of us by 11.30 in saloon to York, and Freda and I travelled rest of way together. Dear Father met me and the train was nearly an hour late. It was sweet of him. Lovely to be at home again.

Sunday 17th September

To Meeting, and Wingrove to dinner and tea. Several others there, including Theresa and Ernest. Delightful visit. Dora read me most beautifully poems by Kipling and Victor Hugo.

Monday 18th September

V. windy and showery. Shopped in Gateshead and went to Edmundsons. Began cleaning lower rooms. Charlie and Lily took Father and me to see Irving and Ellen Terry in “Robespierre”. Acting magnificent, but rather too harrowing. I caught a horrid cold.

Tuesday 19th September

Stayed in all day, nearly—cold made me feel very depressed and tired.

Wednesday 20th September

To see Aunt Gertie—house-cleaning progresses. I am doing the cooking till tomorrow when Mrs Sanderson will come to do it.

Thursday 21st September

Afternoon went to meet Bessie Highet, who had come to be interviewed at School of Cookery. This was on Wednesday.

B. came out to-day.

Friday 22nd September

Bertha came last night, but is staying at the Quarries. She came out to lunch, and it was lovely to see her and we did some shopping and went to see Aunt Gertie. Laurie came out in evening. I see this ought to have been written on Thursday. Friday. To cemetery and shopped. Poured coming back.

Saturday 23rd September

I went to see dear little Ber off at 5.0 to begin her new work at Backhouse’s. I do wish she were going to stay at home. In evening Father, Mr Burton and I went to see Irving in “Waterloo” and “The Bells”. He is a grand actor. Waterloo was very touching.

Sunday 24th September

Father took “children’s meeting” and I went in too. V. nice. Psalm 122. Dinner together. Sarah and Eva in afternoon and Charlotte (Mrs Sanderson’s daughter) and her fine mischievous boy. To supper Mr Foster—bad tongue—I felt ashamed though not my fault.

Monday 25th September

First music lesson with Mr Preston—very nice. In afternoon met B. Highet and took her to her lodgings then met Isabel, and brought her home. Looked at photos and talked.

Tuesday 26th September

Shopped and had lunch in town. Laurie to dinner. Brought us lovely honey.

Wednesday 27th September

Afternoon to Tynemouth. Sea lovely. Went into Aquarium. Romanian band. Wonderful juggler, etc.

Thursday 28th September

I bicycled to cemetery. We made a cake which was a failure. Read “The Forest Lovers” aloud. Evening to dinner at Quarries. Aunt Hope, Uncle Theo, Chas and Norbert. Jolly to see Charles again. Played ‘shovet’. Got teased as usual. V. nice evening.

Friday 29th September

Workhouse. Aunt Gertie’s to tea. Jolly evening. Exciting news of birth of a nephew. Mabel getting on very well.

Saturday 30th September

Great day cooking and preparing the house for Mother, Ruth and the maids who arrived about 6.0 in the evening. Lovely to have them, and Ruth brought heaps of green.

Sunday 1st October

Bessie Highet and young Mr Meiklejohn to dinner. Gilbert, Miss Webb, Miss May to tea. Mr Skipsey to supper.

Monday 2nd October

Bad music lesson. Mr Preston said “very bad” nearly all the time.

Tuesday 3rd October

Maud Nicholson came in afternoon and she, Isabel and I went over the leather works. Very interesting. Gertie and Laurie to tea. Father to London.

Wednesday 4th October

Singing lesson and shopped in afternoon. Mother to Mabel at York.

Thursday 5th October

Father came home. To cemetery etc. in morning. In evening to lecture on music by Mr Champion.

Friday 6th October

Workhouse. Lecture by Prof. Vaughan on “Wordsworth and his contemporaries”. Introductory lecture. To Mrs Denton’s to afternoon tea to see Isabel’s “Auntie Belle”. Very nice.

Saturday 7th October

Ruth and Father to Ripon. Mother joined them there. Isabel and I read. Took Molly to Aunt Gertie’s etc.

Sunday 8th October

To Quarries to dinner. Back to tea and Miss Laing came. Very nice, and we had great fun with Molly, who was simply delicious, and played at putting us to bed, etc. Isabel and I put her to bed and she was so good. Then I sang to her and left her and she went off to sleep at once.

Monday 9th October

Ruth and Father returned. Better music lesson. Afternoon Isabel and I went over Sunbeam electric lamp works. Uncle Johnnie took us round, and it was extremely interesting. Ruth taught us a new patience in the evening.

Tuesday 10th October

Isabel went away.

Wednesday 11th October

Monthly Meeting. Laurie, Gilbert, Herbie, Edgar, Phyllis, Norman and I to Peace Meeting about Transvaal. Got there at 20 mins to 7.0 and never heard one word. Thos. Burt in chair. Chas Fenwick etc spoke, but Father never got a chance. Fearful noise. At 10.30 rush made for platform. I was terrified. Father pushed people down, and police came to rescue, but it might have been serious. Plummer and Runciman (greatly) to blame and Tory agent Appleby.

Thursday 12th October

Laurie to dinner.

Friday 13th October

Workhouse. Olga, Freda, Teresa and I met at meeting house for Bible study. Prof. Vaughan on Wordsworth. I went to cemetery and to Friends’ Soirée Committee (Food) at Horrie Holmes’.

Saturday 14th October

Oh! Joy. Mother came home. Earl Grey to stay with us. Aunt Hope, Uncle Theo, Charles and Marie Bonnet to dinner. V. successful. I did not go in. Afterwards R. sang and I played the pipes. Earl Grey admired my Quaker dress.

Sunday 15th October

To Meeting—then I took Lily Watson’s Sunday School class—got on pretty well. Thos. and Mrs Burt, Mr and Tishy Eole, Mr Virrian, Mr Fisher, Mr Whitburn (used to be an engine driver), Miss Tooke, Mr Maddison M.P. to tea. Then we went into Earl Grey’s lecture on “Industrial Cooperation”. He, Father and I walked home together.

Monday 16th October

Earl Grey went. Mother, R. and I to Mansons to tea to meet Mr and Mrs Jos. Swan. R. and I also called on Cousin Alice Watson.

Tuesday 17th October

I took Tommy short cycle ride—he had a nice swim. Father to speak at Alliance Meeting at Manchester.

Wednesday 18th October

Singing lesson. Mother and I to lecture in evening by Marie Bonnet in French on Physcology [sic] of French Literature.

Thursday 19th October

Afternoon Mother and I went to South Shields to North of England W.L.A. Conference. Began at 2.0. Largest gathering ever been. Most interesting. Lady Trevelyan in chair. Mother spoke beautifully and carried a resolution against government proceedings in sending us to war with Transvaal. Papers on Woman’s Suffrage, Better Housing of Poor etc. Evening W.S. Robson M.P. spoke and Mrs Mallet, who left only a few mins. for Mother.

Friday 20th October

Workhouse. Interesting class on Job. Lecture on Wordsworth. Militia have been called out.

Saturday 21st October

Expected Mr Morton but he did not turn up.

Sunday 22nd October

Geoffrey Garrett and Aunt Nellie Kuhlmann to dinner. I took Lily Watson’s class and explained part of Ezra. Mr and Mrs Keeble to tea. They were most amusing.

Monday 23rd October

Music lesson. Bicycled to cemetery and shopped.

Tuesday 24th October

R’s birthday—she was in bed with bad cold. Mother and I to chamber concert in evening. Sarasate and Neitzel who accompanied him. I did not enjoy it much.

Wednesday 25th October

Helped to cut up, and decorate Meeting House. Lunch in town with Mother. Friends’ Soirée 7–9. Very successful. Music—cinematograph, shocks, wonderful coloured photos, etc. Nice to see Basil again, he has been away so long.

Thursday 26th October

To lunch at Cousin Kate’s to see Daisy Fry who was very nice indeed. Then to Meeting House—children’s party from 5 till after 7.0. They seemed to enjoy it immensely. Cinematograph. Joe Hayward showed his engine, etc.

Friday 27th October

Workhouse. Lectures etc. Feel horribly depressed. Dinner party but I did not go in to dinner—[illeg.], Lily Spence and Mrs Teddy Hodgkin, P[...] and Mrs Gurney, Bedsons, and Mr Windley. Mother very sweet and made me some lovely buttered toast for tea, etc. and tried to comfort me, but I felt very cross.

Saturday 28th October

Ruth to York to stay with B. and then Mabel. Mother, Father and I arrived at Wetheral soon after 3.0 p.m., had tea and went a lovely walk in the woods by the river—trees a very fine colour. Very nice old fashioned inn “The Crown” close to the station.

Sunday 29th October

Very damp, but fair at the beginning of the morning. Walked in the woods and Mother and I sketched. Then it began to pour and continued all day. I went a short walk in afternoon alone, but it was dreary. Read a great deal, wrote etc and made paper boats and boxes. Very nice restful day. Early to bed.

Monday 30th October

Lovely and fine. Father went into town by 8.0 train. Mother and I went a walk and went by 9.45. Reached home after 12.0. Evening to Y social. Lady Cecilia Roberts and Dr Vickerman Rutherford spoke, and mother moved vote of thanks. Temperleys very nice.

Tuesday 31st October

Stayed in all day and sewed, etc. Evening Father and Mother to Denelys’ to dinner—I to lecture by Mr Morton on “Astronomy”.

Wednesday 1st November

Singing lesson. Shopped. To Theosophist Meeting in evening. Subject “Unity of all Being”. Rather interesting, but great deal of rubbish talked.

Thursday 2nd November

Aunt Hope and the Telfords called in the afternoon.

Friday 3rd November

Horrid time at workhouse. Dear Cousin Eliza Wigham died—I am glad I got to know her so well in Edinburgh. Fearful wind and rain, and we got soaked going from ‘Job’ to the College.

Saturday 4th November

Ruth came home. I cooked, did flowers and went to see Aunt Gertie and Eva, both in bed. 4.30 to 6.30 about 30 people came to hear Mr Rowley on ‘Ancoats’. They had tea first in dining room. Interesting. Percy and Nellie stayed to dinner. Mr Rowley and Miss Alice Garland are staying weekend with us.

Sunday 5th November

Bessie Highet, Charles and his friend Mr McClelland to dinner and Dr Webb, 2 Herberts and Mr Mundahl to tea. Lecture on Influence of Religion upon Art by Mr Rowley. Miss Garland gave me interesting account about the Transvaal.

Monday 6th November

To lecture in evening on Judolan [sc. Jenolan] caves of New South Wales by Father Gurrin.

Tuesday 7th November

Father to London. Laurie to tea.

Wednesday 8th November

Joseph Rowntree, and Laurie, to tea and to speak on his book. Mother and I went to the meeting. Discussion after—many speeches, esp. Guy Hayler’s very bad. Mother and I paid calls in afternoon and had afternoon tea with Mrs Keeble. Went to cemetery.

Thursday 9th November

I don’t think anything special happened.

Friday 10th November

Workhouse etc. Cousin Jennie, Olga, Freda, Aunt Ermine, Uncle Harry, Olive and Nellie to dinner. Olga, Fred and I sang before the other came. Pleasant evening.

Saturday 11th November

Father and Mother and I in afternoon to cookery school. Saw diplomas presented by Lady Dale. Dear old Volkhovsky to stay week-end.

Sunday 12th November

Norbert, Aunt Car, Herr Stinnitz (?) to dinner. Volk and I had nice walk to the park.

Monday 13th November

Earl Kimberley arrived to lunch. Dinner in evening, but I went to Miss Rees’ concert, and also was short time with Mother at a W.L.A Meeting in Newcastle, where she presided beautifully. Basil set me to station after concert.

Tuesday 14th November

Bicycled to cemetery. Miss Balgarnie to lunch. Great Liberal Meeting in evening. (Sir?) Earl Grey in chair—spoke beautifully. Lord Kimberley, Thos. Cairns, Fenwick, Ald. Stephens and Sir Jas. Joicey spoke, and Father made a beautiful speech, getting far more of a reception than anyone else. How proud Ruth and I felt of him. Earl K. told us interesting things at suppertime.

Wednesday 15th November

Earl K. departed, rather a relief, tho’ he is most interesting. Ruth and I to see Benson in Richard III. Very fine performance. Father and Mother to peace lecture at Meeting House.

 

Earl Kimberley’s Visit Nov 13—15th 1899

[from Mary Spence Watson's Commonplace Book]

Most interesting stories about his one and three quarters years in Ireland as Lord Lieutenant. Most cleverly put down Fenian Rebellion in 1864—wrote to Prime Minister (Lord Palmerston) saying an important blow was about to be struck—of course he would answer any questions, but as secrecy essential, he would be glad if he might be trusted as far as possible. Lord P. answered that he would ask for no information at all. He suspended Habeas Corpus act, and only 1 hour before appointed time, police were informed, and searched head office, finding masses of treasonous papers. Many put in prison, and they grew frightened, and the rebellion was soon put down.

He had letters threatening his life—some rather amusing:– "We must inform you that we intend to shoot you, but wish you to know that it is not a personal matter at all!" However he even walked about Phoenix Park alone (after a time with loaded revolver in pocket) and never was insulted—castle guarded all night, every corner with sentries. He had not liked Irish before he went, but in spite of his rather trying time, grew very fond of them. Says this is a remarkable fact, as [and?] the experience of many others.

One of the leaders Steele (?) escaped from prison. He was informed by telegram just as speaking at some affair at Waterford—felt it great blow, and thought he must have shown bad news by his face, but told afterwards that he had not moved a muscle. One man who knew said "Oh you don’t know my people, they’ll think he escaped by aid of the government and you’ll have no more trouble" (he feared another rising) and to his surprise it was so.

Scientifically (he tried) impossible to prove there is a God ("can a man search God" ‘Job’) but no reason why we should not believe in God through other ways, and Earl K does, but he said many people lose their faith and belief through scientific searchings and cannot get beyond and feel that there are other ways of knowing God.

Taught his delicate son himself—must have been splendid teacher—only about 1 hour a day, but all through his parliamentary office work he kept it up. Son took curious fits and would only be held by his father—at last cured in wonderful way by taking Indian hemp.

Met 2 delightful Americans—gentleman and his wife. After travelling with them all day, exchanged cards. She exclaimed "Oh my, have I really been talking to a live earl"!? Man said to him "I’m in Perry’s Pens, what are you"?

He brought a valet here who helped to wait—had dinner and other meals with the servants.

Story of speech about alkalis of which he knew nothing, with Lord Salisbury, great chemist, sitting opposite. Also of naval architecture—congratulated afterwards on having such a knowledge of the subject, when he’d just been coached up a few minutes before.

Also he had to answer Mr (    ) when he had not heard his speech. Terrified, but tried—at last Mr (    ) got up and said he had never said such things, so "What did the Hon. member say?" said Earl K. and then of course the Hon, member repeated (not knowing Earl K. had not heard his speech) and with a clue to go upon Earl K. was able to answer him.

 

Thursday 16th November

Father to Carlisle. Mother to York for a week.

Friday 17th November

Evening to “School for Scandal”—simply splendid. Went behind afterwards, and saw Benson and Mrs Benson. Father to London.

Saturday 18th November

Ruth and I to South Ashfield to evening on “Friendship”. Very nice, but as usual I was left till almost last before anyone would take me in to supper. Alan and Basil played beautifully, Ruth sang “Ein gute Kamerad” and “Meeting of the Waters”, and we all read extracts on ‘Friendship’—Joe H. and Kathleen there.

Sunday 19th November

Only Mr Morton to dinner. Benson, (awfully nice), Sadie, Teresa, Ernest, Basil, Carl and Ethel Leyel, Dr Bentham to tea. Basil and Sadie to supper.

Monday 20th November

I went to Dolmetch’s lecture in evening on Music of Shakespeare, illustrated. Viols lovely. Lecture good but rather long. Mr. Morton, Father and Ruth to theatre.

Tuesday 21st November

Benson sent 2 tickets for stalls, so Basil and I went to the “Rivals”. Father and Mr Skipsey in dress circle. Most amusing play.

Wednesday 22nd November

Evening Father and I to “Macbeth”. Splendid performance. Afterwards went onto stage and had jolly talk with the Bensons, Mrs B. looking very handsome in her ordinary clothes. She did Lady Macbeth splendidly. Ruth to dinner at young Runcimans.

Thursday 23rd November

Theatre Royal burnt down in the night. Terrible for Benson. Dear Mother returned home from York. So nice to have her again. Ruth and I called on Mayoress, and Sheriff’s wife.

Friday 24th November

Evening to the choral concert in Olympia. Richter conducted. Great success. We took Dr Webb. I sat next Laurie. All dresses in white and looked v. nice. Ruth sang in it. Brahms’ ‘Song of Destiny’ and Beethoven’s “Choral Symphony”, and overtures etc played by orchestra.

Saturday 25th November

Mother and I to cemetery, and then to Maple St. where Mother presided and spoke beautifully at a “Teachers at Home”. Mrs Pease there and spoke and Miss Cleghorn from Sheffield. Interesting account of the N.U.T. Mostly board school teachers there. Stayed to tea. Ruth and Laurie to see Benson at Byker. Asquith to dinner. Father, he and Mr Morton had been to meeting at Ashington. Asquith said Chamberlain did not hold himself at all responsible for the war and does not seem to mind about it.

Sunday 26th November

Mr Drabble, Bessie Highet, Miss Trustram to tea. After tea Mr Morton and the others gave riddles and puzzles and we had great fun. Edgar to supper. Mr Morton told most interesting things about J.K.S. Father read chapter in Revelation ending “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” and Lyza Germanica “Rest of the weary” and “Christ shall gather in his own.” Poor Father and Mother and I have not helped them a bit!

Monday 27th November

I made a cross. In afternoon to cemetery. Ruth and I made the grave look lovely. Taylor had a wreath, Evie lovely cross, Ber a lovely wreath, Joe Hayward had sent an exquisite kind of cross, Laurie lovely flowers. Mother went up in the morning, and yesterday with Father. F.E.P. sent flowers to Mabel. Oh what a long 2 years, and how dreary the future without Arnold. Wickham Howard came in evening to paint Mother.

Tuesday 28th November

To sewing meeting at Amy Holmes’ and then to call on Percy and Nelly and Archie and Manya. Then to half of Prof. Vaughan’s lecture on Charlotte Bronte. He puts her higher than Geo. Eliot. (sic)

Wednesday 29th November

Singing. Sarah Edmundson to dinner and then to lecture by J. Stevenson Rowntree on “The Book of Discipline”.

Thursday 30th November

2 years ago was Arnie’s funeral. I went to the cemetery. Also to dentist’s.

Friday 1st December

As usual. Wickham Howard still here. Mother’s portrait very nice. Some to Wingrove.

Saturday 2nd December

I went to Hexham to play pipes at a penny concert, and stayed week-end at Maiden Cross. Mr Briggs played violin, Mr Meagher sang many songs that Joe Wigham used to sing, Beattie Davies sang, etc. Laurie there and very kind to me for my pipes were a dead failure. Room hot and I very nervous and had to give up after 2 trials in despair. Most humiliating. I felt quite miserable.

Sunday 3rd December

To service in Abbey. Played pipes in afternoon. Went a walk with Olga and Frida and called on the two Miss Lobbeys. Began to rain.

Monday 4th December

Damp, but Olga and I went splendid walk to farm houses with parish magazines. Country round is beautiful, and people said they loved it so and would hate to live in town. 2 Miss Ridleys to afternoon tea—Read “King John” aloud in evening.

Tuesday 5th December

With Olga to her singing lesson. Very wet. Afternoon to National Home Reading of King John. Someone read a paper, then discussed. Curate sat at head of table—all ladies round. I caught 5.30 train, and went to Prof. Vaughan’s lecture on Victor Hugo, and then had a warm welcome home. Mr Morton to stay the night.

Wednesday 6th December

Arnie would have been 20 to-day. I went to cemetery. Pouring day. Aunt Hope’s to tea and then to hear Thos. Hodgkin on “The Sacraments”. Most interesting. Mother, (rather against the grain, esp. to-day) and Ruth and Father to the “Private Secretary”.

Thursday 7th December

Mrs Lovibond etc called. Mother to preside for Mrs Sheldon Amos at Wallsend, and I to W.L.A. in Gateshead. Dr Ethel Williams read paper on the “Better Housing of the Poor.”

Friday 8th December

Prof. Vaughan appealed to me in lecture to pronounce something in French as he said his French was so bad!! Mine would be worse!! Mrs Ellis Griffith (Miss May Owen) came.

Saturday 9th December

Horrid (I thought) party in evening. Several brides, Basil, Claus, etc. Music—Mrs Griffth sang, and Ruth very well, and Basil played etc. I was very cross to Basil.

Sunday 10th December

Miss Tooke to dinner. Miss Moberley to tea. Mrs. Griffith gave very good lecture on “Welsh National Melodies” and sang beautifully Welsh songs to harp accompaniment. There was also a lovely quartet unaccompanied. Mrs G. is very nice and says amusing things—unconventional.

Monday 11th December

I went to Cullercoats to lunch. Aunt Nellie rather poorly—then to Wingrove to afternoon tea and Merz’s—Ernest, Theresa, Lewis R. and I had splendid sledging down Denton Bank—2 sledges. It was delightful. I got home about 10.0.

Tuesday 12th December

To see Miss Mawson. Very kind, and I am made treasurer of the W.L.A. Afternoon we had a sewing meeting, but it was very small. Mrs and Miss Gunns, Aunt Car and Cousin Kate. Mrs Morton arrived to tea. Father to meeting at Birkenhead.

Wednesday 13th December

Mother went to M.M. then Town Mission Bazaar. Afternoon meeting and evening at Quarries. She is splendid.

Singing lesson. Monthly meeting—lunch at Town Mission Bazaar. Many there I knew. Laurie then helped me to choose a barometer. Ruth to stay with Spence’s till Saturday. Father still away—in London now I think. Mother and I to Quarries to dinner to meet Robin Hodgkin and Dendys. Electric shocks. Still freezing and I’ve walked all the way home. Mother is wonderful for 61.

Thursday 14th December

Father came home.

Friday 15th December

In evening I went to party at the Gunns’ and played my pipes. Amusing, but rather nice time.

Saturday 16th December

Theresa, Ernest and I by 10.15 to Gosforth—no skating—walked home by cycle track—great fun, but v. tiring walking in snow. Finally got about 15 mins on v. bad ice on the moor (Bull Park). Evening Mr Morton came to stay—pipes contest. Ruth sang beautifully. Mowat played splendidly—Clough got first prize. Mowat does not compete now, as he has got the gold medal.

Sunday 17th December

I stayed to Aunt Gertie’s to dinner. Herbie Edmundson to tea. Carols etc.

Monday 18th December

Rehearsal of act. Sarah Ed. stayed night. Percy to dinner. Shopped.

Tuesday 19th December

To Gables on business in morning. In evening, Claus, Ernest Merz and I to Spohr’s Last Judgement with orchestra in Cathedral. Evelyn arrived. Joy! Dear old Mr Morton went away.

Wednesday 20th December

Shopped with Evie in morning.

Thursday 21st December

Hugh, Mabel, Molly, Colin and the nurse arrived at lunch time. Evening Ernest arrived. Mother is simply marvellous. She remembers everything—has to arrange all about Father’s reading at the Schools, get tickets distributed, arrange for our huge party, etc.

Friday 22nd December

Busy all day. In evening rehearsal, dear little Ber arrived. Father read the Xmas Carol and Ruth sang 2 songs to about 250 poor people from this neighbourhood in a Board School close to here, and we gave them all tea. Of course, as I was rehearsing, I unhappily had to miss this, but believe it was very successful.

Saturday 23rd December

Ber and I to cemetery—Evening at 6.0. Gables party. Awfully jolly. Laurie gave me a pocket atlas. We played jolly games. I knocked off 3 lumps of sugar, sitting on a basket on a stick—I did enjoy it. We also played sitting opposite a person blindfold and putting goody in his mouth with a spoon. Ruth was too tired to go.

Sunday 24th December

Father spoke beautifully in Meeting. We all went but Ruth. Evelyn and Ernest to North Shields in afternoon. Sent notes to Santa Claus in evening. Heard waits in night. Threw them 2/-.

Monday 25th December

Mother went to Workhouse. Jolly xmas presents. Fearfully busy all day. First arrivals about 4.0. Others at 5.30. Children sweet. About 80 people altogether I think. Act successful. Mr Collins proposal scene—Eliz. Bennett, Sarah Edmundson, Mr B. Ernest Weiss, Percy Mr Collins, myself Mrs B. Scene—strawberry picnic Mrs Elton, Sarah, Louis R.—Mr Knightly. Party awfully jolly. Lovely supper. Everyone nice. Went at 10 o’clock and we cleared up.

Tuesday 26th December

Lovely day. Hugh, Ernest, Evie, Bertha and I to Haltwhistle and walked to Bardon mill—about 27 altogether. Ernest and Teresa, Basil, Phyllis etc. Tea at Hot Bank. Hard frost, but got svaking [?] Crag Lough frozen and we slid on it.

Wednesday 27th December

Bertha and I, Teresa, Ernest and Louis to Gosforth by 10.25. Evie, Ernest and Ruth later. Ice fair. Came back by 4.10. Mabel in bed all day poorly. In evening most to Tudor Lodge. B. Gilber, R. Lewis, Katie, Teresa, Ernest and I to Maskelyne and Cooke’s. Rather vulgar, and not nearly as good as some things I have seen. Rather tired.

Thursday 28th December

Complete thaw in afternoon. Mabel still poorly. Most of us to a childrens’ party at the Gurneys (White House). Evie and Ernest to Quarries to dinner.

Friday 29th December

Pouring. Molly gave me an imaginary breakfast. Bertha to see over Uncle Harry’s farms at Ashington. Laurie came out in evening. Evie and Ernest to stay night at Shields. Ruth to sing at the Blind concert in schools in Gateshead. I played for her. Geof. Worsdell played, Mr Burton sang etc.

Saturday 30th December

Mabel, Hugh and the Babies went to the Gables. In evening South Ashfield Party—delightful. Little Holmes’ and Baumgartners acted “Amelia and the Dwarfs” most beautifully. Ruth sang. Albert Richardson took me into supper. Frida Sturge recited. Very nice party.

Sunday 31st December

Father took childrens’ meeting, and we went in. Norbert and Aunt Car to dinner. Mr Genns to tea. Edgar and Cyril to supper. Mother has a bad cold. Most of us sat up. Father read Tennyson’s 2 poems to us, and before we sang “Here’s to the year that’s awa”. The ending of the old year is very sad and I feel depressed. It seemed so different before Arnie died.

 

Diary entries from her commonplace book

January 1900 I got a sharp attack of influenza quite suddenly, & was nearly a week in bed. Everyone was so kind, & send me fruit, flowers, jelly etc. On Jan.          Father, Mother & I went to Grange over Sands, and stayed at Rigg's Hotel. Ruth came on Friday, & Evelyn & Ernest for one night; Agnes Thompson on Saturday & stayed till Tuesday. It was v. cold, & first days snowy, but cleared up & became frosty. The view from Hampsfell Hospice, across the Lake mts. Bow Fell, etc, covered w. snow like gt. alps was simply glorious, & Morecambe Bay in another direction, the sea all glistening w. the sun.

We went excursions to Furness Abbey, (wh. is fascinating, tho' rather spoiled by the railway,) wh. we combined w. Swarthmore Meeting house & Hall. We cd not see over the hall, as a lady were there v. ill, but we saw the staircase, & Geo. Fox's desk & the window he preached from.

We went to Cartmell Church (priory) built in the form of a gk. cross, statue of Lord Fred. Cavendish—v. big church. Agnes & I went to meeting at Cartmel, splendid sermon about the war from Herbert Midgeley. To Levens Hall, beautiful old building, v. curious yew trees, cut like cocks, bears, etc. Rather disappointing in a way, esp. as we cd not see inside the Hall, & Sizar Castle 2 miles further on is really the site of 'Helbecek of Bannisdale', at least so we were told.

On Tuesday I went to York, & stayed 2 nights w. Bertha at Acomb—heard the result of the York election at the Lib. club.

Mother & Ruth came next day to stay w. Mabel & we all went home tog. on Thursday.

Visit of Mr and Mrs Henschel February 14th–27th 1900

Extremely nice, simple and easy to get on with. Mrs H. rather like ‘Rosa’ in appearance, very taking, and dresses prettily. She is American, he German. He is 10 years older than she—I think she was married when about 22—they have one daughter of 18. We had Alan, Mr and Mrs Frank Marshall, Lily and Cousin Charlie, Mr Pattinson and Katie Marillier to meet them on Saturday. The Sunday and Monday lectures, or rather musical recitals were glorious. They both sing splendidly, he accompanies. They are fun together, he gets so excited and springs about like a child. They seem absolutely devoted. He gave Ruth one of his songs. Told some interesting stories about his life. In Germany used often to stay with Princess Alice of Hesse, played duets with her. She had 2 books of Scotch and English songs, given her by her husband , and promised if he went to England ever that she would get him some, as she could not give him those. 2 years after he came to England, and one day found the books in his lodgings!

Before he married he gave parties to people like George Eliot, Alma Tadema, Browning etc. Knew Rubinstein, Brahms; of course has played and sung before the Queen more than once. Princess Louise was a pupil of his, but he advised her to give up music, as she had better talents in other directions. Met her bicycling alone in Bedford Park at quarter to 8 in the morning, spoke to her, she would not mount while he watched!!

Is now a naturalized Englishman. Says no one who grew fond of England could ever want to live anywhere else, so much freer, and your next door neighbour does not know exactly what you do, as even in Berlin!

At end of conducting his opera in Dresden was called before the people 16 times.

He took "Tommy" a short walk. Mrs H. says Tommy has one of most beautiful faces she has seen. She grew so fond of him, but did not admire his figure.

They sang at the Tyne Theatre and at the Lit & Phil.

Later—Mrs H. has written a charming letter to say how much they enjoyed being here, hope they may come again, and that we will go to see them in London.

 

 

[Foregoing transcript by Katharine S. Coleman, with her permission.]

[Selective transcript by Ben Beck, with additional notes, in italics, made by Mary's daughter Caroline, many years later:]

Switzerland.         1900

 ‘Ruth went to Zermatt with Sarah Richardson from Plombières; Father & Mother went a short tour in Germany, & Bertha & I joined them all at Zermatt a week later.’

Saturday, 1 Sept

‘I left Newcastle at 1.0, Lily Spence bringing me grapes for the journey; met Bertha at York at about 3.0, changed to train for Harwich, J.B.M. seeing us off . . .’

Monday, 3 Sept

‘Changed at Visp where there is a grand view of the Balferin horn, & arrived at Zermatt, coming up the steep little railway, at 6.20. Went to Hotel Zermatt . . .’

Tuesday, 4 Sept

‘Left Zermatt by the electric railway at 8.20 & got to Riffel Alp at 9.0 where we met Father & Mother. . . . Went at once to see Ruth who was still in bed, & Sarah R. & Ernestine, who was going off climbing. Father, Mother, Ber, Sarah & I walked to see the Findelen glacier, & B. took some photos. Poor Father can hardly go up hill at all which is v. disappointing both for him & us.’

‘There are nice little bedrooms for it is really quite a little inn. Just before we went [to bed] Julen came & said he was sorry a German gentleman wd have to sleep through our room, "but he is married, so it is alright"!! (Julen speaks English) We got to bed, & then this gentleman came, blew out his candle & rushed thro’ the room, exclaiming "I do beg your pardon, misses".’

Friday, 7 Sept

‘Had tea at Zermatt, then toiled up to the Riffel Alp, just in time for dinner. I had a short talk with T.P. O’Connor M.P. who had just come.’

Mary and Ber climbed the Breithorn (13,685 ft) staying at a hut en route, and roped for the glacier—Ernestine also was there.

Saturday, 8 Sept

‘I did want to do some more climbs. Guides said we cd do the Matterhorn, but we wd rather do something easier!! Came by train to Visp, (Vüge) where we had lunch at the Hotel du Soleil, a nice old-fashioned inn wh. Father & Mother stayed at in 1863. Splendid view of their mt. the Balferin. . . . At 2.40 came by train to Aigle, past Martigny; reached there at 5.0, & stayed at Hotel Beau Site.’

Monday, 10 Sept

‘We passed a pretty village called Gsteig, where we got some tea in the pretty chalet inn, & then came to Gstade, where we stayed in the pretty inn (The White Horse), & had a good dinner of eggs, milk, trout, etc. (Of course I did not touch the trout!) Almost all the houses are chalets. It looks a lovely place, but alas! soon the railway is going to be brought here.’

Tuesday, 11 Sept

‘Started to drive about 9.0 a.m. to Zweisimmer—went over 2 covered bridges—not a v. long drive—we got there about 11.0 & left our luggage at the Krone hotel . . .’

Wednesday, 12 Sept

‘Drove past Wimmis with its fine castle to Spiez (Hotel Spiezerhof) on Lac de Monne . . . the hotel right on the margin of the lake.’

Impressed by Diablerets mountain . . . .

Thursday, 13 Sept

 . . . ‘we did enjoy it, only it is so sad & disappointing that Father can no longer come with us, & of course Mother & Ruth cannot either.’

Friday, 15 Sept

‘Started at 10.0 by steamer & went down (or up?) the lake to Interlaken, whence we drove to the Hotel Jungfrau Blick . . .’

Visited many more places, mostly at Interlaken, walked extensively and sketched, bathed etc.

Mention of the amazing Trummelbach Falls . . . .

Tuesday, 18 Sept

‘Those hateful tories! Father got a telegram saying that a dissolution has been decided on, & that the writs must be out by Tuesday, so he says he must go home to-morrow.’

Wednesday, 19 Sept

‘Father packed, & we went a short walk into the town. After lunch B. & I walked to the station to see him off. Just before the train went he & Mother arrived, & he had just got a telegram to say he needn’t be in London till Tuesday, wh. is much better. It was lucky it came in time, & we are so thankful, for it would not have been half as nice without him, & besides his health can ill afford to have his holiday cut short.’

Thursday, 20 Sept

‘We heard an old man playing an ‘alpen horn’ on the way, wh. made a splendid echo, but I think it is never actually used for the cows now. There is rather a pretty yodel wh. a boy sings to the cows nearly every morning outside my window.’

‘It has been one of our nicest days, if only Father, Mother & R. cd have done the walk with us. It is sad to see the contrast in Father since last year in Scotland, all owing to that overwork during that horrible electric light business in May, in London. He has never recovered from it & can hardly walk at all, which is most disappointing, & almost makes us not wish to go walks, for it seems so queer without Father, who used to be so strong. It is a pity he has not a hobby like Mother for sketching.’

Saturday, 22 Sept

‘Packed, & left Interlaken w. great regret by the 11.5 for Basle . . . We arrived at Berne about 1.15 . . . Arrived at Basle about 4.0; R. drove, the rest of us walked to "Les Trois Rois" hotel, where Father & Mother stayed on their wedding tour.’

Notebook includes a loose printed slip, with engravings of the ‘Hotel des Trois Rois à Bâle. C. Flück Propriétaire.’

Sunday, 23 Sept

‘Father was obliged to start at 9.55 on his journey for London (because of Parliamentary business.)’

Monday, 24 Sept

 . . . ‘as we arrived at Mainz at 4.30, Ruth said she was dreadfully tired, so Mother suddenly decided to stay there, & hustled us all out of the train. We went to the Central Sta Hotel opposite the Station . . .’

Tuesday, 25 Sept

 . . . ‘we did not reach Cologne till nearly 1.30. We went straight to the Hotel Ernst, & had a good lunch, & got letters, which brought the sad news that Albert Pollard has got consumption, & told us of Martha Hack’s sudden death from an accident.’

‘We went on again by the 4.50 train, got some tea & food on board, & reached Rotterdam about 9.15 by English time . . . We drove to the Hotel Weimar . . .’

Wednesday, 26 Sept

 . . . ‘I don’t much care for Rotterdam. A curious fashion has lasted all this time, wh. much struck Mother, when she went there as a girl of 18, of hanging little single or double looking-glasses outside the windows, so that the people inside may see those passing down the street. Nearly all the houses have these glasses outside.’

Thursday, 27 Sept

‘Had a horribly rough passage. We were all ill, even I. The water came down into the saloon, & the engines suddenly stopped, & Ruth & I were afraid we would drown. Reached Harwich late, & were in rough water till the last minute.’

Caught train eventually and were met at York by Mabel—stayed night. Then . . . ‘Mother & I reached home at 8.15 & were given a nice welcome by the servants & the new cook—Jane Robertson. Father had not got our telegram which we had sent home, & was staying at the Quarries, which was disappointing.

‘We have had a splendid holiday, only too short (for B. & me!) & seen heaps of beautiful places & lovely interesting things; travelled in almost too much luxury! but one gets tired of hotels, & home is very delightful, even if the sky is murky & gloomy!

‘But I am grateful to Father & Mother for all the splendid holidays they give us.’

 

 


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