MSWP (& FEP) diaries
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. Dates were not transcribed verbatim. 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)
‘Sept. I have not written since we came here from Bensham on Sept. 15th & it is now November. The horrible war drags on. It is appalling.
‘It has been a fairly nice Autumn & good weather. Our chief excitement was B. & B.’s last functions at the Mansion House—a dinner to heads of departments at Cocoa Works was very enjoyable . . . I went on Nov. 9th to see the new Lord Mayor installed, & watched Bowes disrobing & putting the cloak & chain on him. Nice votes of thanks to B. & B.
‘This term F. is only working ½ time at the school & the other ½ lecturing for the Northern Peace Board. It means a good many week-ends away, but it is interesting for him, & I’m thankful if he is able to do any good in the peace cause.
‘We’ve had our first case of infection in the family. M. appeared at breakfast time on Nov. 11th with chicken pox (caught at school) . . . The other 2, R. & C. had to stay from school, & caught bad coughs. Later the other 3 children began fortunately together; none of them were ill when the spots came out, but miserable & cross beforehand. The rash lasted, tho’ very slightly, nearly 3 weeks, & as the weather was icy cold & wet & snowy they could hardly ever get out.
‘Our nice nursemaid Agnes left on Nov. 2nd having been here 2½ years. She wept bitterly, especially at leaving Caro, & said it was ‘awful’. I got a young girl of 15—Kathleen Cooper—to begin with £12 a year. She had never been out & needed a good deal of training.
‘My nice maid Violet, left on Dec. 7th. She had meant to stay over Xmas, but had to have her adenoids done & left me rather unfairly. I tried to get Daisy, but after being here a day (it was blissful having her) she was telegraphed for as her young man was seriously ill. I had some hard work, tho’ the children were very good in helping & F. did fires before breakfast, & then Daisy sent a friend of hers—Annie Carlton, but she does not sleep in.’
9 Dec ‘Daisy came to help, but had to go, because young man ill.’
‘The next few weeks were tiresome & muddly. Annie Carlton helped one week-end, & then D. came back for afternoons, but I had to do all the morning work except on Saturdays.’
Wednesday, 22 Dec ‘After a great packing up, we all left by the 12.40 for Bensham, leaving Daisy to shut the house up. We had engaged a carriage & were locked in; baby went to sleep & D. had given us delicious sandwiches, so we had a very easy journey to Durham. There we had missed the connection to Bensham, but after a short wait we got an express to Gateshead & K. took the 3 children home by tram while F. baby & I drove in a cab. Warm welcome from darling Mother. K. sleeps in nursery, with C. in tiny room, R. & M. in Father & Mother’s room & baby with us in beaver room.’
Christmas Day ‘All the children to our bed with their stockings & great excitement. Then presents, not too many & all very nice, particularly Aunt N. Gurney’s & Miss Cooper’s. Are having the real Xmas dinner to-morrow.’
Sunday, 26 Dec ‘Mother had a cable from poor E. "6 mos. notice". It is a shame.’
5 Jan ‘I left baby for the first time with Kathleen, & F. & I came to York for Teacher’s Guild, (K. has slept one night with baby before.) arriving about 4.0. Violet had opened out house for us, but cd not stay to prepare a meal & Will was coming to stay with us.’
6 Jan ‘Violet came for the day & got breakfast ready, as we did not have it till 8.30.’
7 Jan . . . ‘F. & I reached Bensham after 5.0. Warm welcome from ‘Granny’ & the darling bairnies, whom I have missed terribly.’
10 Jan . . . arrived York about 4.0. Daisy had opened the house for us, & of course gave us a warm welcome . . . A girl came to see me who I engaged. She had heard of this place, thro’ Sarah, Edna’s maid & offered to come at £22 a year. Daisy came ½ day on the 11th & all day on the 12th & Rachel Illing aged 29, came that evening, much to children’s excitement. She is capable & nice, but not v. thorough. I am thankful to have a proper maid again.’
8 Feb ‘F. has been giving a course of lectures at So. Shields, & had a very good teachers meeting in N/C. About 70 came, mostly women.’
18 Feb ‘My ‘At Home’ Day. Hugh & Mother came over by N.E.R. shareholders tickets . . . ‘Rachel’ manages ‘At Home’ teas well.’
5 Mar ‘Apparently R. has had a sort of influenza: he was a week in bed & then all 3 other children began, & baby’s cough seemed nearly to choke her. I was quite anxious, & one night (F. was away a great deal) I never took off my clothes, but just lay on the bead. She coughed all day & till 12.0 at night without ceasing (making herself sick once or twice) & of course cd not sleep. After 12.0 she got some restless sleep then she began bronchitis & looked really ill, so did Caro, & R. kept getting feverish again. Marg. was not bad, except for cough, but sometimes they were all in bed to breakfast; & R. C. & baby all day. One night Edna came & slept with M. & C. as I did not want Kathleen to get knocked up, & it was such a comfort to have her. Then on March 4th Mother wrote "would I like Miss Curry"? & I wired at once "Yes" & she came that very afternoon. Baby has now been poorly off & on for 7 weeks, & this last week has been really awful. She was poorly with teeth before getting influenza & bronchitis.’
23 Mar ‘At last the children are practically well again. It is the very greatest relief. Baby was hardly allowed to be lifted out of the cot, & had to be in a room 60o day & night, & as it was very cold wet weather, it wasn’t easy to get it hot enough. When F. was away, I had baby & Robert, & Miss Curry had Caro & Marg. & we lived in bedrooms. Bobbo got back to school on March 20th & Miss Curry went back to N/C. & 2 or 3 days before that we began to use the nursery again. Miss C. has been a great help, splendid at amusing the children & the last day or two helped in sewing.’
22 Mar ‘"Tribunals" now in full swing. I’ve been once or twice—we are fairly fortunate in York, but the whole thing is unfair & odious, & oh, this wicked, wicked war. Will England & the other nations ever come to their senses. There is a feeling of terrible depression, & prices, rise, rise, rise, though that is a minor evil to the slaughter & cruelties.’
. . . ‘April . . . Mother came for the week-end, & it was perfect having her, but she was not very well, 8th-10th. F. as usual away.’
Tuesday, 11 Apr ‘F. & I to Leeds to Northern Peace Conference. Met Mother there, Isabel, Eva E. Hugh & lots of nice people. F. spoke splendidly on "The Relation of the State to the Individual." J.W. Graham said it was one of the best papers he had heard on this subject, & several people wanted it sent to Hibbert Journal. I had to return in aft. because of Marg. F. stayed till evening. He was at Jordans for week-end, then went straight to Leeds on the Monday, again on Tues. & Wed.’
‘Rachel & I spring cleaned the drawing room in a day with a wonderful electric vaccuum sweeper. (3/6 a day to hire.) We had engaged rooms for the holidays for April 15th & Dr F. wanted the 3 children to get off as they needed a change & in case M. had whooping cough, so as F. had a meeting in Leeds on the Sat. aft. (15th) I had to leave him in charge of M. hoping they could follow on the Monday. Kathleen, R. C. baby & I left at 2.49 for Whitby, v. crowded at first. Baby much interested in the animals in the fields. Gave her sandwiches & milk in the train. Lovely day. Reached Whitby about 4.30 & were met by Mr Sanderson with a small trap & cart. The children & K. drove & I cycled to Dale House Farm, Stainsacre, 2½ miles off. We passed a house that had been wrecked during the German bombardment. We have 2 beautiful sitting rooms, piano, 2 good bedrooms & 2 tiny bedrooms. Baby settled at once (after we’d had tea) in her new cot.’
17 Apr ‘Telegram from F. to say he wd arrive at 9.0 & he had wired for Miss Curry to look after Marg. F. arrived just before 10.0 It is lovely to have him, but horrid to feel we’ve had to leave M. like this.’
Sunday, 23 Apr ‘Baby slept right thro’ the night.’
Easter Monday, 24 Apr ‘I went to York; arrived home ¼ to 3 & found Marg. & Miss Curry resting . . . I did not see Rachel as she was out at Daisy’s wedding . . . I had to leave by 7.0 train.’
26 Apr ‘Aft. I let K. out, so we took children with Mrs Sanderson’s "go cart" (baby has only just begun to ride in it) to wood near Hawskar, put baby on a rug & had our tea there. She generally has rusks & milk, but she throughly enjoyed bread & butter & cold milk & cake!’
30 Apr ‘Walked to moor in aft. Baby screamed, & got abscess in ear.’
2 May ‘About ¼ to 10 p.m. baby cried & I went up to bed—came down in dressing gown to get her some biscuits & met Mrs Sanderson who said "There is a Zeppelin". I went out to the yard to Mr S. & stood there sometime watching the flash light seeking it, but cd not see it nor hear it, but directly I went upstairs again I heard its engines distinctly & some bombs dropped far away. I did not feel very nervous & never dreamed of it going on to York.’
3 May ‘We had a blissfully happy time, but had to start back at 11.15, because of C. & baby’s dinner & then Mr S. told us he had heard in Whitby of a raid last night in York & much damage done. Kathleen & I felt anxious. In aft. I got a wire from Ber "Alright, hope you are", & next day heard from F. of the alarming time they had had. He & Miss Curry (Rachel & Margaret all went into the dining room. I am so thankful all those I love are safe.’
4 May ‘Letters eagerly awaited. A good deal about the raid.’
5 May ‘Letter from F. rather alarming. Fears of German invasion, & he wishes we were back in York. I gave Kathleen & R. a French lesson, & we played games, etc.’
Sunday, 7 May ‘Baby had an awful night, & again an abscess in her ear burst.’
Wednesday, 10 May ‘Arrived York about 2.30 . . . Nice welcome from Rachel . . . Edna came in aft.’
21 May ‘F. actually had a week-end at home.’
22 May ‘I went by 2.5 to Bensham . . . Mother in the garden, looking rather aged.’
23 May ‘V. bad night with baby who has begun whooping cough—no, that was 24th.’
24 May ‘Caro’s 4th birthday.’
29 May ‘Children & I to tea in garden with Katherine R. Very nice. She asked me to become President of the York branch of Womens’ International League! I’ve refused . . . Baby bad fits of coughing. F. came back from Y.M. at midnight.’
31 May ‘I left baby to Frank last night & slept with R. as he begged me to.’
11 June ‘I had Mrs Andrews’ daughter from 9–6.0 (2/-) & Rachel waited & managed quite well. She also made some cakes. We only had 5 or 6 people to tea—2 naval airmen!! Kathleen put baby to bed, but I did Caro. Eric & Hugh to supper. Everything was left ready, & Rachel came in at 9.30 to wash up.’
Whit Monday, 12 June ‘Uncle Johnny also to dinner, but F. couldn’t come. Mount Meeting at 2.30. V. nice. "Lucy Harrison" entrance scholarship started. I spoke! . . . I let Rachel out in aft. K. in evening, but it was not a public holiday of war. 2 or 3 days ago Lord Kitchener was drowned—ship struck by mine & nearly all lost. Just before that there was a tremendous naval battle. Thousands killed. Oh, the wickedness of it all. The conscientious objectors are having a terrible time, a few Friends among them (most Friends more or less exempted.) Some are in France; many brutally treated in England, esp. at Richmond—frog march, stripped to waist & knocked about, etc. They are very brave.’
17 June ‘F. went to London to War & Social Order Comtee yesterday, & had not returned when I left at 1.52 for Wheel Birks. Got to Stocksfield about 4.30 & darling Bobbo met me & we drove up together. . . . Marg. & Colin at one gate, & at house door Mother, Sarah E. & Gertrude. . . . Mother does not look as well as I had hoped for.’
19 June ‘I left with Marg. at 3.15 from house—train 3.37. . . . Marg. saw baby in bed asleep & said she wd not have know her.’
20 June ‘I don’t think baby knows M. either, but soon got used to her.’
6 July ‘Bobbo . . . also said baby had altered so he wd not have known her.’
9 July ‘Woke up feeling as if Aunt Car had died.’
Monday, 10 July ‘Heard from Mother that dear Aunt Car died peacefully on July 8th in evening, conscious to the last. She had a stroke when Mother was there just after Easter, & one could not want her illness prolonged, but what a loss to all of us. She has been a wonderful Aunt & given us so many happy times, & such a wonderful example of patience & goodness . . . How I loved her, & even loved her strict ways, & the splendid way in which her household ran on wheels, so that one hardly realized anything had ever to be done. Womens’ International Comtee in evening. I am a V. President.’
Tuesday, 11 July ‘I left by 8.26 for
Windermere. Caro in tears! At Carnforth heard the train I was going in only runs
on Mon. & Sat. . . I arrived Prince of Wales hotel at 4.0 o’clock after the
funeral was over, & found the relations at the house having tea. I felt sad &
upset, but Mother & Evie were so kind, & Edith the maid brought me tea in
bedroom. Then I went downstairs, & saw Percy, Aunt H. & Uncle Theo, Teresa,
Chas. etc. Poor Aunt N. Kuhlmann may not leave Letchworth. Mother, E. & I
took went to the lovely cemetery & I took a few flowers.
Ernest, Evie & I stayed night at Mrs Borwicks, & had dinner
12 July ‘I woke feeling headachey & sick. Evie gave me ginger, etc, & I recovered . . . Got back after 5.0.’
16 July . . . ‘Mr Jowett came, & on 17th there was a U.D.C. meeting. Passed off well, but mob outside. No harm done.’
21 July ‘N.C.F. meeting at Clifton Lawn among exquisite roses. Most interesting. Some of our nice men now in Durham jail.’
‘Kathleen went away for a week’s holiday on July 29th so I was very busy.’
Thursday, 3 Aug ‘Our wedding day. Roger Casement hanged. . . . I don’t like being left alone as we’ve had 2 Zeppelin scares.’
Saturday, 12 Aug . . . ‘came to Oldstead by the 3.0 train. Got to Coxwold at 3.40.’
Sunday, 13 Aug ‘Bobbo slept with me last night—Kathleen & baby in one bed, & M. & C. in the other in a large room. It is lovely to be getting a rest; I feel very tired out. We all went up to the Tower, wheeling baby most of the way in a go-cart.’
14 Aug . . . ‘F. came back to my great joy, & we cycled up to Oldstead. He had bought a new bicycle in York—for the last 2 yrs we have been sharing mine.’
17 Aug ‘I let K. out in morning . . .’
23 Aug ‘Alas I lost the silver watch Father gave me when I was 15—the first I ever had.’
26 Aug ‘Aft. I drove (after early dinner) to meet Mother & Edmund at Thirsk, at 3.20. Train v. late. Beautiful drive back arriving about 5.40.’
30 Aug ‘I drove down with baby in aft. to see Mother & E. off to Scarboro’. It has been perfect having them here, & has, I think, done Mother good. She had a really good night last night, without so much fear of Zeppelins. She is wonderful, for she is nearly 78.’
31 Aug ‘Arrived home at 6.0 & Rachel gave us nice welcome & had put lovely flowers in all the rooms, many of which she had brought from her home. After putting the children to bed, K. went home for her 2nd week’s holiday. It was a dull week for me—I had both children at nights, & baby was sleeping badly; she was sick one night, & Caro the next—baby was not at all well . . . Rachel was very nice. One day I felt v. poorly myself.’
9 Sept ‘F. had to go to Jordans by A.R.’s request. We had expected to have this one week-end tog. & were very disappointed, for F. is continuing his peace work this term.’
11 Sept ‘F. came back in evening. . . . Evening Women’s International Comtee. I am a Vice Pres. It was started a few mos. ago.’
16 Sept ‘9 years ago since darling Mabel died. . . . F. & I went to cemetery. I saw him off at 7.0 to Rawdon.’
18 Sept ‘F. came back early.’
20 Sept ‘F. travelled with her, going to London for the day to "War & Social Order Comtee.’
25 Sept ‘Evening I spoke at W.
International on a pamphlet. . . . F. & I had gone to bed & had just had the
light out about 20 mins. when at 10 mins to 11.0 there was a great crash. I
rushed upstairs & got K. Rachel & baby, then I
took sent Robert
& Marg. down, & I brought Caro & we sat in the dining room in misery. Children
absolutely good, talking quietly—baby never made a sound. After about ½ an hour,
we thought the raid was over & went to bed again, but a long time after, we
heard bombs far off, & windows rattled, so we all got up again. It was hateful.
However no loss of life. But this in 20th cent. it is
26 Sept ‘Ber has been so kind & Rachel & Kathleen very helpful. K. is most useful.’
27 Sept ‘F. to Rochdale. Back at midnight. I am horribly nervous.’
25 Oct ‘I took Caro to Bensham & stayed till the 28th leaving her there. My nerves are now much better again, for the weather has been awful lately & therefore too bad for Zeppelins!’
4 Nov ‘It is blissful to have F. at home for a week-end.’
11 Nov ‘Conference at Bootham. F. spoke on The Demand for a New Spirit."’
16 Nov ‘Mock trial at the school. Frank was the Judge.’
18 Nov ‘F. went yesterday to Stockport & is staying with Lady Barlow. . . . F. does not look at all well yet.’
22 Nov ‘Mother brought Caro back in aft. & stayed with us 3 nights, then went to B. for 2 nights. I met them, & the children & Rachel & Kathleen gave a warm welcome, rushing out to the cab . . . It is blissful having Mother; she is so wonderful & never cross like I am. We turned out of our room for her.
‘F. at Stockport for one night.’
25 Nov ‘Mother to B’s, but came to baby Ruth’s little party.’
27 Nov ‘Mother went home. It has been just perfect having her here. It was a good thing she did go home, for we had our 3rd horrible raid. (2nd for some of us). F. had just come in from a meeting & was telling me about it, & at 20 mins. to 10.0 the lights began to go up & down, & then out. Kathleen had just undressed, but she at once got baby up & came down. Rachel was still downstairs. We left the other children, lit candles, etc, but after a long wait, K. & baby went back to bed, & Rachel went & talked to K. who dropped sound asleep. About 11.0 R. came down & said "I’m going to bed." She had only been gone 2 or 3 mins. when I told F. I thought I heard the engines, & he went out to see. It was. I rushed up to R. & Kathleen & the latter would not wake—then to Robert & Caro who were in our room—F. had sent Marg. down—she woke immediately & was so good, going down alone. F. took Caro, but Bobbo would not wake & I had partly to carry him; the bombs were dropping meantime & our gun firing. The children called it a picnic & played rhyming game. This attack soon over, but long after another Zepp. came & the sound of the firing & bombs seemed to go on a long time. It was most alarming. I think it was about 1.0 when we packed the children off to bed, but the lights did not go on till 3.15. A gt cheering made us think a Zepp. was down, & 2 were down, but one was nr Norfolk & the other in Co. Durham.
‘Next day we went to see Miss Martin Leake’s house wh. was quite demolished & she had a very narrow escape. Mrs Hall’s little girl in Feversham Ter. had also a narrow escape & had to have a serious operation, but I believe no lives were lost.’
‘One afternoon & evening a lot of us belonging to the N.C.F. distributed Ponsonby’s "Why must the war go on" to about 12,000 houses in York. F. & I did all Clifton with a little help from Bobbo & Marg. Later these became illegal under "Defence of the Realm" Act.’
‘Gt fuss about travelling, but we got on alright. Rachel saw us off at 9.30 on Friday, Dec. 22nd. Long wait at N/C . . . Kathleen & the rest of us went with baby in go-cart to meeting house . . . Met Mother, Colin & a maid (Winifred) at N/C. station & arrived Stocksfield 1.30. Rds like glass. Mother & children drove, K. wheeled baby.’
Sunday, 24 Dec ‘Kathleen & the 2 small ones had dinner alone; the rest of us went to Wheel Birks; brought Mother & E. back to tea—had Xmas cake, etc. F. & I have lovely evenings reading aloud. K. lights the fire in kitchen in morning; I cook breakfast & we all have breakfast tog. & do the sitting room fire afterwards. Sent notes up chimney. R. is supposed now to know who Santa Claus is, but nearly wept because his note got burnt.’
Xmas Day ‘Gt. excitement over stockings. . . . Real Xmas dinner to-morrow, but turkey to-day! . . . Splendid Xmas tree. K. Caro & Baby stayed on at W. Birks; F. M. R. & I had walk back in dark, rather fun.’
27 Dec ‘Finished packing & then went to stay at W. Birks.’
1 Jan ‘Mother had a longing for Aydon Castle, so she, F. Ed. R. & I took sandwiches—Mother drove with the wee ones nearly to Riding Mill, then they returned & we walked on. . . . Mother went there when 10 yrs old staying with Aunt Car at R. Mill.
‘Altogether we walked about 9½ miles, Mother 6½. She is marvellous; she is 78! & I, all of us were tired. She hired motor car at Corbridge & we drove home in time for tea.’
6 Jan ‘F. went early to go to Glasgow, & then to Teacher’s Guild at Leicester. We all left with great regret in morning (maids up at 4.30 to clean!) All drove, except me, to station. Molly & Esther & Brewis met us in N/C. Got 11.20 to Bensham. It has been lovely & done us all much good being at Stocksfield.’
12 Jan ‘F. to Scotland on 12th Aft. lovely visit from Aunt Hope. Children sang (Caro sang John Peel) & she gave them each 1/-.’
Saturday, 13 Jan ‘Left Bensham by 1.3 to Durham. Met Esther there. Arrived York about 4.0 . . . Rachel gave us warm welcome & had house nice . . . Baby has been like a little angel.’
15 Jan ‘F. got back.’
19 Jan ‘F. to Glasgow & Edinburgh.’
22 Jan ‘F. got back at 3.15, had school, came here to tea at 6.0 & caught the 6.45 to Wakefield. Such hard work.’
27 Jan ‘F. went to Glasgow yesterday.’
29 Jan ‘F. came home in aft.’
Sunday, 11 Feb ‘Baby has been in bed 3 whole days with bronchitis, as good as gold, but nights poor.’
13 Feb ‘V. good lecture by Hon. Bertrand Russell—"State & Individual Freedom." F. Ber & I to meet him at coffee at A.R.’s’
24 Feb ‘Ernest Weiss has stayed the last 2 nights with us. Lectured last night at Bootham on "food of plants". Yesterday heard he had been made an F.R.S.—gt. excitement.’
3 Mar ‘F. & I addressed envelopes in aft. for Ed. Backhouse who is going to be peace candidate at Stockton Election (the Liberal M.P. has died.) Quite exciting. F. is at home for his first week-end this term. Yesterday he was at Bradford U.D.C. meetings. Ramsay MacDonald, Morel, etc.’
14 Mar ‘C.O’s wife & baby (Mrs Andrew White) aged 1 year 4 mos. arrive. Nice, but it is rather a business.’
20 Mar ‘Election at Stockton. Alas, Ed. Backhouse only got just under 600 votes. The people are still mad.
‘There has just been a revolution in Russia & the Czar has abdicated the throne!’
30 Mar ‘Mrs White & baby departed to lodgings, as children broke up to-day for fear of German measles.’
31 Mar ‘F. went to Liverpool.’
Good Friday, 6 Apr ‘We’ve been busy spring cleaning, but I let Rachel out this aft. & evening.’
10 Apr . . . ‘Mother had just arrived [at Bensham] from Otterburn where she has been with Edmund.’
14 Apr ‘Alas, America has entered the War.’
‘This next week Rachel & I very busy spring-cleaning; got on very well.’
Saturday, 21 Apr ‘Had dinner early, then F. cycled, & Kathleen saw me off with the children by 2.47 to Sand Hutton (Holtby Station—Mrs Smith, Chapel Farm.). K. & Rachel went away for week-end, R. taking Frisk. F. met us at Holtby & we walked to the farm about 1½ miles, wheeling baby—had sent luggage by carrier. . . . All 4 children in one room, & only 2 beds, one of wh. was single. We had to take baby in by us at 10.30, & she never went to sleep till after 3.0.’
Sunday, 22 Apr ‘Mrs Smith most kind & gave R. another room to sleep in. The 3 wee girls sleep tog. changing beds as they wish, & Marg. dresses baby every morning, so F. & I get nice long nights. We had a splendid week . . . The owls at night hooted so, that once I jumped up thinking I heard baby, & yet we are only 7 miles from York! . . . Another day took baby out for the day for the first time in her life I think. Went to Buttercrambe. After sandwiches Caro went to sleep, but baby lay & played. . . . F. had to cycle in to York after early breakfast to go to Jordans for week-end conference . . . Mon. 30th I wheeled baby, the others drove to station & after a v. nice parting from Mrs Smith reached York at 5.30 & home at 6.0. Warm welcome from Rachel & Kathleen, & house beautiful, flowers everywhere, but new kitchen boiler had just been put in ½ hour before we arrived.
‘F. came home after 11.0 p.m.’
1 May ‘I sent maids to theatre.’
4 May ‘I forgot to say that the N/C. corporation sent a telegram to Russia to congratulate them on the Revolution & said they thought they wd like to have a telegram from N/C. the birthplace of Dr Spence Watson & Jos. Cowen". How Father wd have rejoiced in the freedom Russia seems to have at last got for herself.’
Saturday, 19 May ‘I started at about 9.30 for Worcester. F. was away & cd not see me off. Baby cried. . . . Arrived about 4.30. Dean met me, & in the motor car were Mother & Mr Ede (Sarah). . . . Mother & I have rooms to ourselves in wh. Geo. III slept.’
Sunday, 20 May ‘Mother & I had to go to service, tho’ being held as empire day, & many soldiers there. Sang 3 verses of Nat. Anthem kneeling. However Dean’s sermon good.’
21 May ‘No petrol hardly, so no drives in car.’
22 May ‘Left in morning with Mother for London . . . By underground to Devonshire House Hotel—nice rooms & v. convenient, but poor food.’
25 May ‘Extremely interesting meetings about peace conference, etc. F. arrived at 5.30 for the night. Mother & I to Charles & Stella’s to dinner.’
Saturday, 26 May ‘Back to London by 6.42, then goodbye to F. who was returning to York, & Mother & I with Dora, Esther & Mary R. to Croydon.’
Sunday, 27 May ‘Mother & I left about 7.0 for London again.’
Tuesday, 29 May ‘The meetings are very tiring, so we decided to go to Disley to-day. Mother v. poorly in night, & I was anxious. She did not look fit to travel. Arrived Stockport about 3.30 & Evie & Erica met us. Disley at 4.30.’
Wednesday, 30 May ‘After dinner I left at 2.0 & arrived York at 6.0.’
Saturday, 9 June ‘Aft. R. M. Frank & I got big boat from "Air’s" at 3.0 o’clock, rowed up to Clifton where Kathleen, baby & Caro joined us. Rachel brought the tea, & took back the go-cart & then went out herself till 6.30 . . . Then F. to Harrogate for week-end.’
10 June ‘Began letting Kathleen out on Sundays (every fortnight) at 4.0 instead of after tea, so I am alone with the children.’
16 June ‘F. went to Scalby
yesterday to stay at Wrea Head for a
Wednesday, 27 June ‘Baby, Kathleen, Caro, Isabel Y. (who was here for 3 or 4 days) Nurse Curry, Willy & I all went up to the Mount to see the children do their midsummer dances . . . Ruthy was so good.’
10 July ‘Precious Mother came & stayed till the 14th. We had a most delicious visit from her, but she seemed to me much older & walked very slowly. . . . We missed Mother dreadfully when she left on the 14th. She had breakfast in bed every day; she gets v. depressed about the war & misses Ruth so much. . . .
‘Housekeeping is becoming a terrible problem—sugar so hard to get & everything so dear.
‘On the 13th we heard of the death of young "Martlow", a C.O. who had been sent from being a clerk, to France (a week later) where he underwent the death sentence, but was brought home, & finally accepted the home office scheme. He wasn’t satisfied with it, got v. depressed & finally apparently drowned himself. This wicked war.’
1 Aug ‘Frank has not been v. well last few weeks, & a short time ago baby & Caro had asthma badly.’
Friday, 3 Aug ‘Ready in good time, & left York, (Kathleen seeing us off) at 12.40 in crowded train for Askrigg. Had sandwiches. Taking Rachel with us . . . Arrived Askrigg 3.8. . . . Children walked, baby in go-cart, F. & I cycled to Riverdale House (Mrs Atkinson, £4 per week) Bainbridge.’
Sunday, 5 Aug ‘Baby not very well . . . Rachel out in evening. Baby feverish & slept with us.’
6 Aug ‘Aft. as baby better took tea, & went to Mill Ghyll . . . Glorious time, but very hot. Too much for baby, & she seemed very poorly at night.’
7 Aug ‘F. & I stayed with baby, only taking her a tiny walk.’
8 Aug ‘Baby much better.’
11 Aug ‘Aft. sent children out with their tea, & F. & I met Mother.’
13 Aug . . . ‘Rachel went home by the 5.46 train, & I am left with the children for a few days.’
14 Aug ‘Granny hired a trap & we started at 9.0 with all the children for Hardraw Scaw.’
15 Aug ‘Fine, but not v. hot. Went by the river to Semmer Water, carrying baby nearly all the way . . . Tiring for Granny, but lovely walk Sat eating sandwiches near the lake, then Mother sketched, & baby went to sleep in my arms for about ½ hr.’
16 Aug ‘Mother, the other children & I walked to Askrigg . . . then to old mill—baby "paggled" & Caro & Marg. bathed—then the 2 latter & Mother went home thro’ fields, & I brought baby back in go-cart by road. She had a bad fall out of it, & Caro was poorly in aft.’
17 Aug ‘Kathleen arrived in evening. F. & I met her at Askrigg (we cycled) & the fruiterer’s wife kindly brought her back in her trap.’
20 Aug ‘K. poorly & I sent her to bed directly after tea & put children to bed.’
21 Aug ‘R. fished—I sketched—baby plodged, Caro & Marg. bathed & pulled K. in (she is better) & she had to go back & change stockings etc. Aft. F. & I walked to Nappa, & there joined trap with Mother & children—drove to see beautiful Aysgarth falls, & back by Worton Rd. Got back 5.30. Baby had been as good as gold all the way, tho’ it was a long drive from 2.45 to 5.30.’
Sunday, 26 Aug ‘Meeting—F. & Mother spoke.’
27 Aug ‘Arthur Pollard arrived soon after breakfast; then the Weisses. . . . Arthur went back to Hawes by train.’
29 Aug ‘Marg. has sketched several times, & is v. industrious. She sleeps in bed with baby—K. in same room.’
30 Aug ‘Darling Mother went to stay at Low Blean farm; the children drove with her. It is horrid without her. She is so sweet & lovely, & plays with the children—chess with R. helped M. to make a doll’s frock, etc.’
31 Aug ‘K. took children to river to plodge: they had dinner at 12.0 & walked to station, leaving by 1.25. F. & I, after nice parting from Mrs Atkinson & Mrs Kirkbride (gave latter 5/- Mother had given her 10/-) left on cycles for Northallerton, about 30 miles . . . reached Northallerton at 2.40 & met the children as their train came in—(same time as 14 years ago.) on at 3.26 & home about 4.30 . . . Rachel had nice tea ready, lovely flowers in the rooms, etc.’
3 Sept ‘F. to Sedbergh . . . arriving Baliol School Sedbergh about 12.15 p.m. in the dark!’
Monday, 10 Sept ‘F. arrived 1.42.’
12 Sept ‘F. to Woodbrooke.’
19 Oct ‘F. went to Halifax. I had just got
to N.C.F. in Micklegate when lights when [sic] out. I was terrified & ran &
cycled (without lamp) as quickly back as I could. Caro awake & had to be brought
downstairs—R. had just got into bath, when light went out. He came down & did a
composition on Caxton by candlelight! Finally about ¼ to 10.0 I got
him upstairs & C. asleep in dining room. M. & baby we had never disturbed. Late
on Kathleen went to bed, & Rachel at 1.15 a.m. I sat up as F. ought to have
returned at 12 p.m. I went to bed at ¼ to 2.0 as lights came on, but F. did not
get back till nearly 3.30. He had been several hours in Normanton station. It
was a bad time, but I don’t think any of us felt as nervous as we used to do. R.
was anxious to save his "missionary pig", whatever happened!
‘I think this night made Caro nervous afterwards.’
3 Nov ‘Kathleen, after being here 2 years,
left, but is coming in afternoons still. She has been excellent in most ways, &
I am very fond of her. F. was away, so we shut up house for week-end, as R. & M.
are going to be with the Graingers at Oldstead for their half term holiday, &
baby, Caro & I are going to Bensham. Kathleen, R. & M. saw us off (no porters &
M. had to
Caro carry baby right over steps) & then K. saw R. &
M. off. . . .
‘Baby, Caro & I had a blissfully happy week with Mother, tho’ I was tired, & baby was not quite well. . . . Mother was v. energetic. . . .
‘Baby & I left on Sat. Nov. 10th at 2.0 Gertrude coming to N/C. to see us off . . . We got home about 4.30. only Rachel & Robert in. . . . V. queer without Kathleen.’
26 Nov ‘Alas, Rachel gave notice as she wants to be married in Jan. It has been very sudden & as I thought she was settled with me for years, I feel it is very trying. She told me once she settled here on the very 1st night, & she said "If anyone isn’t happy here, it’s their own fault
‘Lord Morley has sent Mother his reminiscences—she is pleased. He answered her letter of thanks & said it was so nice to hear from her in "these distracting times."’
13 Dec ‘Mother arrived with Caro, just before tea. Lovely to have them.’
14 Dec ‘All of us, even baby, to see Mount Junior performance.’
16 Dec ‘Terribly wet, but F. & Mother went to hear ‘Messiah’ in Minster. Phyllis Lett so glorious that Mother wept. They had to walk back, & it rather knocked Mother up, but she soon recovered.
‘On 15th Mother went to Burton Croft. We miss her dreadfully. She helped in every way she cd, even with the beds!’
‘We had our Xmas party on Xmas Eve. Kathleen came to help. It was all a tremendous success, & Rachel did splendidly. We had a tiny Xmas tree on the tea table, very pretty, no presents on it except a choc. for everyone—from 4 to 4.30 we talked—all Burton Croft family & Mother & Edmund came—then tea—girdle cakes, hot bread (Rachel baked to-day & did all the kitchen out—washed on Sat.) Xmas cake, choc. cake, rice buns & gingerbread . . . Then carols, games, etc, & all departed about 6.30. Rachel went altogether at 7.15. I felt very wan; she has been splendid in her work especially washing, & except sulky once or twice (& to Kathleen) has always been nice to me & good tempered. I miss her terribly. We gave her a lovely tea service, about £1-15.0 I think.’
‘Baby has been feverish & is not well yet.’
Xmas Day ‘I believe first time we’ve had no yule doos . . . Daisy & her baby called to see us—came to B. Croft where I had gone at 12.0 to give baby her dinner. She is still poorly, but had a v. long sleep. We had a most sumptuous dinner for war-time—I did enjoy it—Mrs Morrell & Cuthbert & ‘Aunt Sally Atkinson’ there. You may not buy cream now! but we had turkey, plum pudding, etc & cheese & dessert —chocs, apples, etc. . . . Baby sat on my knee—she would not leave me for a minute. Later Betty showed her museum then a beautiful tea—then the pièce de resistance—Bowes dressed up as Father Xmas—knocked at window—let in—Billy & Baby a little frightened—Caro sweet—"Come in, Father Christmas, come in"—so excited to think she was really seeing him—he gave little presents all round, & then Frank took baby & me home, & went back for the others. In spite of the war, it has been a truly lovely Xmas, one of the nicest for some time I think—only for baby not being well, & we wished the Weisses were with us & Richardsons. I forgot to mention Santa Claus. The stockings were a great joy.’
Boxing Day ‘One of B’s maids got married to-day, & was at B. Croft next morning before breakfast. I hear Rachel has not got married yet. Tiring day, as I had everything to do, & children so wild, but Kathleen came in afternoon.’
27 Dec . . . ‘baby . . . is better now . . .’
‘I have secured a good charwoman.’
28 Dec ‘Florence Batey came from Bensham to help me for a fortnight—so kind of Mother, who helps in every way. She is 17 & very fond of children.’
29 Dec ‘Mother went to Disley. It has been perfect having her in York.’
30 Dec ‘F. spoke on "disarmament" in evening, at Ebor Hall.’
31 Dec ‘Charles Trevelyan to high tea. F. met him at 4.10. I felt shy at first, but simply loved his visit. He was so jolly to the children, so interesting—recalled old days—how Father coached him, etc—how he had taken ages to learn not to walk about the platform like Father (he still does!) etc. I had prepared the tea, rummelled eggs, mac. & cheese, etc. V. nice. For the first time for months we had real butter—Robert had been allowed to sit up to tea as a treat, & he discovered this & said "I say, it’s real butter—have some Mr Trevelyan"! Caro sang to him—baby v. naughty when Florence put her to bed—Mr T. came up to see her in the bedroom & to speak to F. who lives near Cambo. I took Mr T. to the Coop. Hall as F. went early; he said "That’s a bright boy of yours, but they’re all bright children." He talked a lot about Sidcot, domestic things etc.
‘Splendid meeting, room packed. So glad for F’s sake. Splendid speech, & Mr T. so nice afterwards in saying goodbye.’
1 Jan ‘Sugar tickets begin, tho’ we’ve had them at the Stores for some-time. I do miss Rachel.’
4 Jan ‘F. to War & Social Order Comtee at Dalton Hall.’
7 Jan ‘F. returned at 6.15.’
8 Jan ‘F. to Teacher’s Guild. London.’
14 Jan ‘Florence returned to Bensham. I have very good young woman—Mrs Andrews—who comes in to help several times a week, & does the washing.’
16 Jan ‘We’ve had to stand in queues for margarine, but are now being rationed.
‘I’ve got a bad gathered finger—had it sometime.’
Friday, 18 Jan ‘I’ve had an awful sore throat for several days & felt very poorly. F. left for Cockermouth in morning.’
Saturday, 19 Jan ‘I sent for Dr Fraser as my throat so bad. She said it was "very nasty, verging on quinsy". My charwoman went at dinner-time, & I was forced to do everything at week-end & sleep alone with the children for the first time. . . . I felt so ill I went to bed at 8.0—first time I had slept all alone with the children, but I felt too wretched to care whether Zepps came or not! Temp. 101o.’
20 Jan ‘Crawled up & got breakfast ready with M’s help. Rob. in bed, feverish & with bad throat. Ber took M. & C. to tea, & Edna came & put them to bed, but I had dinner to do, etc, & Dr F. says my finger must be taken more care of, or may be very troublesome—2nd finger, right hand.’
22 Jan ‘Q.M. I could not go of course.’
25 Jan ‘In aft. started awful cold & felt ill—went to bed.’
26 Jan ‘Eva is staying here now to help more—we have charwoman. Wretched day—headachey & awful cold. Stayed in bed all day. Dr says influenza.’
Sunday, 27 Jan ‘Stayed in bed all day. Have hardly seen the darling bairnies.’
28 Jan ‘Got up a little.’
29 Jan ‘Eva went & kindly took Caro with her—C. has had a cold—Eva has been most kind. I don’t know what we’d have done without her. Rob. is at Burton Croft, so having only M. & baby makes it easier for me to recover, for I feel very shaky, & just as one finger is cured, I have got another gathered finger. Bertha is awfully kind taking Ruth out in mornings, & one day she came in & made scones, but I’m learning to cook with the left hand.’
4 Feb ‘Eva came for day & brought Caro home, so well. She says they have loved having her. She had made a duster for me (has only just begun to learn to hem) & a pincushion for F. a feeder for baby, & she gave M. & R. something too & was so excited.’
5 Feb ‘Mrs Dietz (Marie) aged 57, widow of a German & a German herself came. I did dread it. I parted with my nice charwoman young Mrs Andrews—& at first Marie needed very much teaching, but she is such a nice woman, & has had a hard time. I am truly sorry for her. She is eager to please. I offered £20 a year for a start. She has to go to police station every week.’
7 Feb ‘Children full of my birthday—oatcake & cakes from R. pen from M. duster from C. & little mat from Ruth, (paper one) book "The Lovers" & flowers from F. cake from Jeanie & hdcfs. £1 from Mother, biscuits & ovaltine from Evie & address bk from Nurse P.’
‘End of Feb. & beginning of March much trouble with Ruthie’s ears & chest—X rayed etc. Have written about it in Ruth’s diary.
‘Mother came for week-end to stay with B. It was enchanting to have her.
‘Prices steadily rising—war getting more appalling—4th year now, nearly. Rationed for meat, butter or margarine, cheese (which we can rarely get) tea, etc. Shopping is hateful, but the rationing is fairer than the queues.’
12 Apr ‘Zepp scare. I went to bed about 11.0, but F. sat up till nearly 2.0 when the lights came on. I’m not so nervous now, & we’ve not had many scares lately.’
Thursday, 18 Apr ‘Marie went to Gateshead (I paid her fare) Rachel came to clean the house (2 guineas for 2 weeks, no food—Marie & I have done pantry, her bedroom, M’s room) & we all left at 10.0 for Whitby. Nice journey, arrived there at 12.0 . . . Walked to Miss Doughty’s (York House, Royal Crescent) & arrived in a gale—an icy one too—Caro could hardly manage even holding my hand; she & M. were nearly crying—baby was in go-cart . . . Baby & Caro cd not go out in aft. I had to shop & go to Food Control office.’
19 Apr ‘Mother, with Florence arrived about tea-time. We had fire for her in her lovely room.’
21 Apr ‘Aft. Florence took baby out . . .’
23 Apr ‘F. to Keighley to speak for Mr Bland, peace candidate.’
25 Apr ‘F. back in evening.’
Monday, 29 Apr ‘Mother took the 3 other children to Bensham by morning train. We felt wan when they had gone . . . Mr Bland has not got in at Whitby.’
1 May ‘Heard that the others are probably beginning [measles].’
3 May ‘Telegraphed for Kathleen: she came about 4.30 & I left my darling Car who is still in bed to her & started by 4.45 train for Gateshead. Reached Bensham 10.30 p.m. Darling Mother still up.’
4 May . . . ‘Ruthie up still, but she went to bed next day. I slept at first with R. & M. but when Ruth got worse with her, she would let no one touch her but me. Maids very good in helping, & in sleeping wherever we wanted. Once the worst was over I enjoyed reading to the bairnies & playing games, chess, halma, patience, etc.’
14 May . . . ‘I returned to York, as Caro was going back from Whitby & the others were beginning to get out. Mother has been kindness itself.’
16 May ‘Old Marie is doing better. It is nice to be settled again.’
21 May ‘Rachel came back to me (Kathleen left on May 18th) as nurse partly. Said it felt like coming home. V. nice to have her.’
22 May ‘Mother brought the 3 children. F. & I met them at 3.0 o’clock. R. & M. well; Ruthie not very. Crowded train & tiring journey for Mother who is nearly 80.’
25 May ‘Have bought baby new go-cart, & sold pram for £1.7.0 & wooden go-cart for 5/-.’
Friday, 5 July ‘After great plannings I took Ruthie to join Mother at Skinburness, 2 miles from Silloth. Rachel & Caro saw us off, as the latter was off school with a cough. We left at 9.20 & had an easy, comfortable journey to Carlisle where we met Mother. Arrived Silloth 3.15, & drove in motor car to hotel. Nice tea. Mother is paying everything for us, fares too, so kindly—R. 5/- a day, us each 12/6, but v. nice meals, & they let us have breakfast at 8.0, & it is lovely to have nothing to do with meals, for they are getting worse & worse—the lack of fruit is so trying.’
‘We spent a delightful week—hotel nearly empty—one day drove to Allonby to see Cousins Ned & Alice & tasted our first strawberries there. 9 miles there & 9 back (in tub) & only 7/- Baby dropped asleep coming back. Weather rather cold & showery & Ruthie had v. bad cough first few days. However it did us good, & last day she & I plodged & I bathed, & tried to make her. Lovely being with Mother, but she gets very tired now. . . . Left on July 12th parted hurriedly from Mother at Carlisle & arrived home (Ruthie in go-cart) in pouring rain . . . Ruthie rather shy at first. She has been as good as gold all the time we’ve been away, & eats so beautifully, never spilling. I had to hire a go-cart, for she walks so very little.’
19 July ‘I don’t think I mentioned that now we are rationed all over the country for butter, & margarine (5 oz. each weekly) fats, tea, sugar & meat.
‘One day a few months ago at night I was rather unhappy, & said no one loved me, or that F. didn’t, & Caro who was sleeping in a little bed near us & was supposed to be asleep, said in a sleepy little voice "I love you, Mummy." It was so sweet.
‘Baby who often sleeps with us now, often wakes in the night & says "Mummy". "What darling"? "I love oo" & then drops off to sleep again.’
Wed, 31 July ‘F. & I started for summer school at Kendal "Education & the New World Order."
1 Aug ‘F. & I returned early to see Lucy—had cup of tea. Had not seen her since Hugo’s death in F.A.U. few weeks ago.’
2 Aug ‘Frank lectured on "The State & Humanity—Some Perils & Hopes". I had just heard (thro’ letters forwarded from York) of Mother’s sudden illness—directly after lecture telegram fr. Edmund asking me to go & help. Felt v. anxious. Packed—no train till 4.0, so went to see Dalton House in aft. . . . F. & Arthur saw me off . . . E. met me at 10.30. Did not see Mother as she had gone to sleep w. sleeping draught. She was suddenly taken ill on July 29th while dressing & cd hardly move. Suffered agony. Gertrude was splendid & slept w. her. Heart v. bad for 2 days.’
3 Aug ‘What a different world from 15 years ago. Mother looks very white & frail, but is wonderfully alert mentally. Chrissie Mennell came & was a great help. I had not been feeling v. well, & on the 5th was so bad with biliousness I also had to go to bed. Chrissie most kind.’
6 Aug ‘I got up in Aft. Mother much better.’
7 Aug ‘Mother down to tea.’
8 Aug ‘Chrissie & I left.’
14 Aug ‘I left about 12.0 for Manchester.’
Thursday, 15 Aug . . . ‘was just ready to meet the family at 4.30.’
16 Aug ‘We had some very hot weather & all our meals on the verandah (Ruthie too.) . . . another day all but Marie went to near canal, children plodged in tunnel & had a "ripping" time, & then we got boiling water from a farm & had tea near a stream—Ruthie so pleased to see a hen "paddling" across the stream! . . . One day I let Rachel go to M/C. & another we all (except Ruthie who was left with Marie) went by 1.10 train to . . . Bellevue . . .’
26 & 27 Aug ‘We hope Mother went to Portinscale yesterday with Molly.’
31 Aug . . . ‘F. went to Bradford for a U.D.C. Committee for the day.’
Tuesday, 3 Sept ‘V. cheerful letter fr. Mother, but about 2:20 telegram from Evie to say she is too unwell to go to York next week for her 80th birthday picnic. Bitterly disappointing, & later on a letter arrived from Evie saying how much better Mother is, & so happy & comfortable, etc, but her letter & Mother’s were written on Sunday.’
4 Sept ‘Mother had got up in night, fallen, bruised her face & had bad nose bleeding, but had lain alone till early cup of tea. Such a pity. We wired for Miss Barringer (who I have just engaged) to go to her at once.’
5 Sept ‘Rachel went to York by 9.47 to get house ready.’
7 Sept ‘F. went to Penrith & Kendal at 8.10.’
9 Sept ‘Dinner early, & left at 1.10 via Stockport, Stalybridge & Leeds. At Stalybr. train crowded, & we had to separate. M. had to stand in our carriage, but Ruthie went to sleep on my knee . . . F. met us at York, at 6.0, & home was very welcome.’
12 Sept ‘Ber, Dia & I by 10.0 train to N/C. for Mother’s 80th birthday. Arrived just before dinner (to which Edmund came) & saw her beautiful letters & presents. For dinner beautiful baked & stuffed fish, veg. marrow, potatoes, apple pie, & choc. & white shape, & custard. Mother looked exquisite, but frail. I liked Miss Barringer. Mother only got home 2 days ago, & her cheek is still bruised. It was a horrible accident, striking the iron of the bed, but it might have injured her still more seriously. Went in garden in aft. Aunt Hope & Uncle T. George & Isabel to tea—all enjoyed Jeanie’s birthday cake, also girdle cakes & apple cake & red tomato jelly—left at 6.38 from Bensham—a perfect little visit. (Mother wrote to Evie that "every moment was precious".)
‘Our darling boy’s last few days before entering on a new phase of his life. F. was away for the week-end, so R. slept with me both nights, & the last night he slept with F. & me in Ruthie’s bed : she slept with Caro, & Margaret alone. . . .
‘I enjoy so reading aloud to him, & helping him with his music, etc. (not grammar & sums which I have forgotten!).’
18 Sept ‘M. C. & Ruthie had a bath together & great fun . . . Before R. went to school, the last day or two, all 4 children were constantly playing trains in the passage or in the drawing room. Perhaps it was partly because they used to spend hours in the garden at Disley watching the trains, writing down the numbers of the engines, etc.’
21 Sept ‘F. in Glasgow . . .’
7 Oct ‘At last a real proposal for an armistice from Germany. How glorious—if only we take it as we ought. Prince Max’s speech is fine.’
Sunday, 29 Sept ‘We heard that Mother went to meeting, & walked the whole way home, so thought she was so much better, but apparently that evening she sat in drawing room with fire nearly out (we are rationed for coal now) & caught a chill or else the walk had been too much for her, & on Sept 30th she felt poorly & went to bed before lunch, then began a heart attack.’
2 Oct . . . ‘Mother wrote to me saying she was getting better & the pain was not so bad, but it had been very bad. Evie got a very shaky letter from her. We supposed she was getting better, but Evie came here on the 7th for a Committee & had arranged to go on to Mother on the 8th & stay till the 11th On Wed. Oct. 9th Evie slept with Mother (as Miss B. had had disturbed nights & Winifred had been up a lot too) but Mother had a night of "agonizing pain" & poor Evie was much alarmed. Next day (10th) they got a nurse—Miss Barringer will have to go, as a permanent nurse is needed. All the 11th, after getting Evie’s letters I felt unutterably miserable; it is so dreadful to think of our precious Mother’s pain. She is having morphia & sleeping draughts, but is very depressed.
‘Two or 3 weeks ago Mother got 1000 copies printed of a leaflet "his German Mother" to give away.’
Wednesday, 16 Oct ‘I went to Bensham Grove, arriving there about 4.30. Mother looked lovely in bed, but she seemed very ill, & very depressed.’
17 Oct ‘Before breakfast heard of Ada Jullion’s death; sent nurse to help—poor Beattie all alone . . . After breakfast told Mother. It gave her a great shock & put her back, but was unavoidable. She said she wished she could sleep away too.’
18 Oct ‘Mother gradually better all day.’
19 Oct ‘V. good night—no morphia & slept 10–4. Said "feel well & hungry", but alas, the pain began almost at once (what the Dr calls flatulence: it has been heart) & darling Mother got worse all day & v. bad in evening. Cd hardly speak.’
Sunday, 20 Oct ‘Mother had better day. Sat in chair in bedroom a good deal & walked 2 or 3 times across the room.’
21 Oct ‘Lovely day with Mother, reading her ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ etc. Miss B. read her about the ‘Delectable Mts’, but she found she felt herself rather critical. The pain was pretty bad & I spoke to Dr W. about a consultation. I had to leave at 6.30. It was very hard—Mother said "Pray for me that I may be patient", & she hugged me & we wept together. She is so unutterably sweet & good. I did hate leaving her, especially in pain. F. met me about 10.0 p.m.’
24 Oct ‘Heard from Edmund that Dr Beattie went yesterday for consultation—agreed mostly with Dr W. but thinks very seriously of the case. The world is so dark—prospects of peace seem delayed (tho’ the Germans have asked for an armistice) & there are tragedies on all sides.
‘For a few days Mother was very ill . . .’
‘On Nov. 5th I took M. & C. to Bensham for the day—Mother did not know & was so pleased to see them . . . I had quite a nice week, but there was gt. upset with the maids & it was v. trying. On Sun. Nov 10th we carried Mother downstairs for ½ hr, but she felt ill & did not enjoy it.’
Monday, 11 Nov ‘At last, aft 4¼ years of war, armistice signed this morning. Most exciting. Bensham flag up. Most people stopped work for the day. Terms hard for the Germans. Mother actually walked down to lunch & was carried up again afterwards. She has been in bed since beginning of Oct. It is glorious that the fighting has ceased at last, but there is not a good spirit in the country. I returned home at night. F. met me. Poor old Marie depressed.’
19 Nov ‘The ‘plague’ (trench fever? influenza?) still rages in England—heaps of people die after 2 or 3 days illness—often of pneumonia.’
29 Nov ‘Gt. meeting of women to hear the 3 candidates—Arnold Rowntree, Sir J. Butcher, & Mr Gill.’
30 Nov ‘We are still rationed for margarine (5 oz each weekly) lard, meat, sugar (½ l) & I think still for bacon.’
14 Dec ‘Unfair, khaki election. Women over 30 (married) with vote for first time. Exciting. F. & I voted at 8.0 a.m. I for Arnold R. F. for Mr Gill. Sorry we were not alike.’
16 Dec ‘War Victims Sale. I sold things. Mrs Jos. R. gave me £1 to buy things for the children.’
20 Dec ‘Winifred & Florence behaved badly to Miss Barringer & had to leave—such a pity. We had a Xmas dinner, in drawing room, & managed alright, though Rachel had the day off, but she had prepared things beforehand, & as we managed to get enough currants for 2 Xmas puddings, we had one of them. The Weisses had barely an hour for a dinner here—Ruthie had it with us & in the middle said "Could I kiss you, Mummy"?’
Xmas Day ‘M. & C. woke very early, & Ruthie (who was with us) in middle of night, but she went to sleep again . . . Jeanie kindly sent us among other things a gt hamper of apples—such a blessing, for fruit has been too expensive & almost unattainable lately, & with milk so scarce & dear (8d qt) puddings have been a problem.
‘Children went short walk & Marie to chapel. At 12.0 Rachel went home till after tea. I gave Ruthie her dinner & then we all went down to Burton Croft, & Ruthie went straight to sleep. "Aunt Sally" & Mrs Morrell there. . . . at about ¼ to 4, Dia, Betty, Marg. (beast) Billy & Caro acted Beauty & Beast, then all the children (except Bobbo) even Ruthie put on nightgowns & with bare feet & candles came in singing "Hush, here comes the dream man". I played it. It was pretty. Tea with Xmas tree on table & crackers, then Father Xmas, carols & departure after a very happy day. Rachel came at 6.30 & put the children to bed. But we’ve missed Mother dreadfully. She had a happy day with the Weisses.’
Boxing Day. ‘Rachel went home to her sister’s wedding & stayed the night.’
28 Dec ‘Took M. & R. to hear declaration of poll—waited a good time—till about 1.40. Sir J. Butcher huge majority, & only 1 member now so Arnold R. is out. No excitement & only small crowd. For first time elections were all on one day, & not declared till to-day of soldiers votes who were abroad—results astonishing—Asquith out, & nearly all the real liberals & best labour men out—C.P.T. Philip Snowden, Runciman, etc.’
New Year’s Eve ‘Our party—the Morrells & Davie Crichton. Came about 4.0. Tea 4.30—had hung room with Chinese lanterns. Afterwards Robert repeated, with action, dressed in F’s coat & hat "when this frightful war is over, no more foreign trash I’ll buy", & Ruthie "I had a little doggie & he cd sit & beg"—then played, cat & mouse (2 rows of chairs) musical chairs, up jenkins, had a Sir Roger de Coverly, Ruthie doing it so sweetly, chumps, etc. M. & I played a duet, & the children sang with F. in parts, "Oh who will o’er the downs"—we played whistle game & sang Auld Lang Syne. They went after 7.0. None of us sat the old year out. I dropped asleep in drawing room, so thought bed best.’
1 Jan ‘Thank goodness we are at last beginning a year again with more or less of peace, tho’ we still seem to be fighting in Russia. Pres. Wilson has been in England for a week. F. went to Teachers’ Guild at Leighton Park.’
16 Jan ‘F. to London at 12.0. . . . M. & C. went home & I went to Leeman Rd to canvass for Mrs Wilkinson.
‘Mother kept writing to know how R. was, & his letters gradually grew brighter. Mother wrote to me nearly every day, & at last I remarked that her writing was growing very shaky.’
Tuesday, 25 Jan . . . ‘I took Ruthie by the morning train to stay with her, full of happy plans. Hugh met us & said she had had a very bad night & was not so well, & that was the first intimation we had of her being worse. He put us in Bensham train & we arrived 11.30. Brewis met us. At the house, no one about except a new maid Farghn [?]. She went for the new nurse (Mitchell) who told us to go & see Granny. She was sitting dressed in her bedroom in dressing gown & gave us a lovely welcome but said "Darling, I’m afraid thou wilt be disappointed not to find me as well as thou expected." She had insisted on dressing for my sake, though not fit for it. Apparently up till yesterday she had been about as well as usual, tho’ getting weaker—even yesterday was downstairs twice, though I think she had begun to be worse on Sunday. (I saw her down last on armistice day.)
‘Karin Ericsson arrived & Mother wd see her, so I took Ruthie for swing in garden, & then had to talk to Maggie Corder till lunch time. (She didn’t see Mother) & when we went back to Mother’s room she was back in bed, & she never got out again, to sit up. It was a bitter disappointment. She kept saying about Ruthie "wie schön, wie schön". Aft. I left Ruthie downstairs after her rest & went to sit by Mother. She wanted to get up a moment & I helped her, then I could not get her back into bed. She didn’t answer me, & I think she had one of her sort of strokes—I couldn’t reach the bell, & at last she said "I’m falling" & I felt I couldn’t hold her, though she was in my arms, & began to call for help. When Dr Williams & nurse appeared. I was trembling with nervousness. She got worse & at 10 p.m. we telephoned to B. Croft to say she was very ill. She looked dreadful. Miss Barringer sat up with her with Nurse resting in the room. Sunday, (2 days ago) Mother had been downstairs twice, & yesterday also.’
29 Jan ‘Bad day. Much pain. Ruthie so good playing alone in dining room. Much pain, splitting headache, perhaps due to morphia & sleeping draught. (Has had morphia every day now for last 4 months.) Expected Dr, who never came, & late in evening telephoned to say she wd not come till next day. Mother said "It’s too bad". Cd not talk much—saw Ruthie for minute. Last night v. comatose—cd not take teeth out. To-night I sat up in bedroom in dressing gown, nurse asleep in same room; I had to have Ruthie all alone in spare room, but did not tell her. Edmund next door & I asked him to listen. She cried in night, he went in & told her to go to sleep again, & she was perfectly good. Mother had pretty good quiet night. I got her to do all in bed. Went back to baby about 6.0 a.m.’
Thursday, 30 Jan ‘Always take Ruthie in before breakfast to kiss Granny. Yesterday she sat in evening on my knee quietly looking at Neddy & Dolly. I helped Nurse to wash Mother. Bertha arrived at 12.0. Mother pleased to see her. We had not told her she was coming. B. did not think her looking v. ill. B. sat with her in aft. & I took Ruthie in go-cart to Park. Dr came—pus in urine, bad sign, possibly ulcer, possibly the end. Mother got worse, cd hardly move, & hand shook, evidently gt pain, but smiled sweetly on nurse & on Ruthie & me when Ruthie went to say goodbye, for B. kindly took Ruthie home, as it was impossible to look after her. She has been good. Ruthie sat on bed for a few mins. & Mother said she was "an angel." Ruthie did not get home till after 10 p.m. but never slept. Rachel met her with go-cart. She was quite lively—Rachel said "Fancy keeping our baby out as late as this, & she has never been out before after 6.30!" While I was alone with Mother she kept saying "Oh God, oh God."
‘Miss Barringer was sitting up, while nurse in bed, so I went to bed, but almost at once Nurse sent for me as Mother in terrible pain. The tears streamed down my face; we seemed helpless, & Mother too ill to say where pain was, but clutched bedclothes in extremity of pain. I suggested hot bottle low down, & gradually it & the morphia took effect, & the pain seemed less, & I went to bed, after getting Edmund to telephone a telegram to Evie. Mother had murmured "Mary" & seemed to like to feel my hand. Later Dr discovered it had been an abscess in the kidneys, which must have been terrible pain—she had seemed before to think it was still heart or flatulence, but discovered blood in the urine. Poor darling Mother.’
31 Jan ‘Mother said to me "Thou hast been such a comfort to me". Evie arrived about 10 p.m. Splendid night—I sat up.’
1 Feb ‘Better day. I repeated "Thou art with me" at night, & Ed. sang "Abide with me".’
Monday, 3 Feb ‘I went home by late train, as Evie thought it best for us not to be all there tog. It was hard to leave. Mother had been put on water bed. Evie wrote that she seemed better, had had more food, & walked from the chair to Nurse’s bed while the mattress was being dried (water bed had leaked). She said "It shows I am growing stronger."
‘However Evie telephoned to Bertha on Wed. Feb. 5th that Mother was worse, & later that we must go—I had gone up to prep. M. at Mount, but was sent for. (Frank away) Rachel most kind, & came to station with me (poor little Margy cried so about Granny) & B. & I arrived home about midnight. Ed. met us & we walked out. About 1.0 or 2.0 a.m. I think we thought Mother was dying & all stood round the bed. At last I had to rush away & Miss Barringer came & was so kind to me.’
6 Feb ‘I went in to Mother after breakfast—she was in gt distress, saying "I dreamt I was dead, & you were all standing round, but it was not a grave." She kept weeping & implored me to tell her the truth. I told her she had been fearfully ill, but had recovered. She said "It must have been dreadful for all of you." Once she said "And I did long to go so." She had longed for some months for rest. She was still very worried, & cd not understand it at all, tho’ I tried to soothe her. She rallied, so on Sat. Evie went home, & I was going on Sunday. Mother did not much want me to go, but I said I wd come back soon: perhaps this was before.’
7 Feb ‘My birthday—Mother asked how old I was. Evie gave me lovely gloves, & Evie & Ber bought beautiful cakes.
‘Sat. night I sat up, & Nurse slept soundly, but Mother got v. confused, & tried to get out of bed, & then made room for me beside her, & got v. angry with me—I had to call Nurse, & we cd not help laughing, but it was terrible, & how I prayed she might not live to have her mind affected. Bertha so sweet to me—brushed my hair. She may not have morphia now, but does not seem in much pain since abscess burst.’
Sunday, 9 Feb ‘Mother quiet again & said when I went to say goodbye (tho’ she did not know I was going away) "My Mary, who has done so much for me." I left at 10.10 on Sun. morning.’
Monday, 10 Feb ‘Took
Ruth out, but heard thro’ telephone at B. Croft that Mother worse, so went back
to Bensham at 2.36. Mother had had another v. wild night. Can still make herself
11 Feb ‘Evie arrived 4.26 B. & I with Mother. B. sang a verse of "Abide with me" & I repeated "The Noble Ark" & 23rd psalm, & Mother evidently took them in. I was with her alone while others at dinner (supper). Noticed her face change, & got the others in. Stood there for ages, & then Mother rallied again.’
Wednesday, 12 Feb ‘Getting weaker. No food now. Ed. & I on sofas in dining room till 2.0 or 3.0 a.m. then went to bed. B. & E. in Mother’s room.
‘Got a second nurse on the 10th—Nurse Whitehead—v. nice.’
13 Feb ‘Since Tues. I think Mother has lain with eyes shut, only occasionally moving her hands. To-day began giving spoonfuls of brandy & water or milk & water, as Dr thought it just possible she might recover.
‘Getting weaker. Looks very beautiful & peaceful. Aunt Hope, etc, to see her. I went to town. Aft. wet, bad headache, so to bed at 6.30. Got up at 10.30 p.m., & went to se Mother. She looked very ill. Miss B. (who is always doing things for us, heating bottles etc) got me tea & lemon & I sat & talked to Ed. till 11.30. He is so upset, he cannot sleep, but he is such a help.’
Friday, 14 Feb ‘Mother much weaker. Nurse liked us all to be there as much as possible. Choking fits & rattle. B. & I to tea at 4.0, leaving Evie half asleep in the room & Nurse Whitehead on duty—Teresa came. We were just going upstairs when bell rung violently—tore up, end was coming suddenly, & was quite peaceful a few minutes later. She looked exquisite afterwards with her hair plaited like she always did, & there was never a feeling of death in the room.
‘One day I said "I wish I could take away thy pain," & she said "I’m glad thou can’t". Once she said "How lovely you all look."
Sunday, 16 Feb ‘Bowes arranged Mother’s sketches beautifully, & we had a glorious view of them all day long, choosing different ones. They are exquisite.’
Monday, 17 Feb ‘Funeral 1.30. F. & I drove with E. & E. Rained at the cemetery. Herbie Corder spoke, & Ed. read a psalm. Meeting house full. Uncle Theo spoke beautifully about her love of nature & poetry. Mrs Gillie & one of the Aliens. Carriages had disappeared. A good many relations to tea, & it was really nice to see them—all so kind & delighted with the photos, sketches, etc. Business talk afterwards.’
18 Feb ‘B. E. & I very busy doing darling Mother’s clothes & other belongings.
‘Returned home on Thurs. Feb 20th at about 6.0. Warm welcome from bairnies. I forgot to say that Bobbo came from Ackworth for the funeral on the Mon. morning, & stayed at Quarries . . .
‘Wreaths lovely—one from W.I.L. said "She sought peace & ensured it". One from Men’s Liberal Assn though Mother had not subscribed lately, because of the war.’
6 Mar ‘Evie, Bertha & I all went to
Bensham in the aft. & Miss. B. & Edmund gave us a warm welcome, & Mother’s
beautiful portrait on the easel looked so lovely, but one did miss her
lovely greeting. We spent the first 3 days over the dining room, working at
letters from 9.15 a.m. till 10.p.m. & yet it took us 3 days, though we did not
read them all all through. It was fascinating work, records of our early life,
letters from Maria Grantoff, Father’s Polish friend Prymieski when Father lodged
with Edmund’s grandmother Mrs Gower, Mother’s 21st
birthday letters, letters about the beloved Josephine Dymond, & so on.
Afterwards we went through the other rooms in turn & returned to our homes on
March 17th . . . Ruthie had a cough & was not very well; Caro
after I got back had a bad feverish attack & headache, & Ruthie began same sort
of thing on
March April 3rd & was in bed for
10 days—after a week of it I got Dr Fraser. Fortunately tho’
still in bed I was able to have her on April 11th Friday, for
we had all fixed to meet at Bensham for the last time, & to choose things. E. &
E. went on the 10th but B. & B. F. & I by the 9.40 train on
the 11th & directly we got to Bensham Grove, after being
welcomed by the others & by Father & Mother’s beautiful portraits we started to
work. F. & I went over the house together first. Afterwards in aft. we all went
thro’ the rooms together choosing furniture in turn.
‘Bowes arranged the glass most beautifully in sets, Moorish things, Sowerly glass, German pottery, pressed or moulded glass, & Venetian glass, & we all chose what we wanted. On the 12th we chose pictures in turn; Hugh, Molly, Colin & Esther came to tea. We managed to keep the house looking much the same & so beautiful, until nearly the end.’
Sunday, 13 Apr ‘Bowes & Frank are slaving at books, but it is fascinating. One cannot bear to let the things one loves go to strangers.’
Monday, 14 Apr ‘The man came from Bainbridge’s about furniture—also Mr Gillman about a settlement. I woke with bad headache, & have had for several days bad throat (prob. got from Ruthie) & had to go & lie down till after dinner. . . . I recovered enough to go with B. & see Gertrude & the baby boy, born on April 11th Brewis delighted with the £20 Mother had left him. We gave Miss Barringer £10. She has done well—says she felt like a little sparrow sitting at the head of the table among us all. We are leaving her & Edmund till Wed. 23rd when dear Bensham Grove as we know it will be no more. . . . Bertha, Frank & I left at 6.40, Edmund seeing us off, after saying goodbye to faithful Miss Barringer. It felt too sad, but as Mother says so constantly in her diaries, we have so very much to be thankful for, & so many blessings still, & after a nice journey we had the loveliest welcome from our darling bairnies . . . Ruthie also woke & was sweet, so we did rejoice in the love that is given us, though we have lost so much, & now that the excitement is over it feels far harder to bear. I feel quite lost without darling Mother, & her constant letters, & I just long to write to her & tell her all our little doings.
‘Ruthie is practically well again, but a great deal pulled down.’
‘Rachel said all the children were as good as gold while we were away.
‘I forgot to say that after Mother’s death the Vicar of Gateshead—Rev. Gadd—called, & said he wd be only too pleased to lend Bensham church for any service we liked, & when I told him we would not need it, he said "I am going to speak about her to-morrow in church & we’ll have a hymn for her, so I asked if it might be "Lead, kindly light" & he said "certainly". I thought it was one of her favourite hymns, but Edmund who sang nearly every night to her in bed says her favourites were, "Abide with me" & "At evening when the sun was set".’
Thursday, 17 Apr . . . ‘we left for Oldstead Hall at about 10.0 a.m. F. cycling all the way. Marie had gone home over Easter (I paid fare) & Rachel also with Frisk—we have got a lot of the cleaning done—most of the upstairs rooms. I have just raised Rachel’s wages from 23 to £26. At Coxwold Miss Grainger met us with trap & cart for luggage, & we all drove up, as it was very muddy.’
Easter Monday, 21 Apr ‘Bowes had to go to Bensham to help Edmund with books.’
22 Apr ‘F. Caro, Ruthie & I picked flowers, & R. had long sleep outside in aft. She often sleeps here till after 3.0, tho’ we have dinner at 12.30.’
25 Apr ‘B. kindly took Ruthie for the day . . . Left Helmsly at 3.30 & had a very cold drive back, picking Ruthie up at Byland (she had had such a happy day) . . .’
28 Apr ‘Deep snow & very cold. Children made snowballs & a snow man. Ruthie said "it’s ice, not snow, because it’s so cold." . . .
‘One day I got Caro & Ruthie to Tower, & Ruthie walked a good deal of the way up.’
Tuesday, 29 Apr ‘Aft. F. & I had tea at 4.0 & I cycled with him to Coxwold & saw him off at 5.0 to Newcastle for the Sale.’
30 Apr ‘Ruthie slept most of aft. & did not seem quite well . . .
‘Sad letter from Evie written in greenhouse while people pouring in to house & garden as it was "view day" yesterday, & the Sale begins to-day.’
1 May ‘Ruthie had bad night (M. said) & I found her temp. 101o . . . I felt I’d better get Ruthie home at once, so left her in bed, packed in fearful scurry, Marg. helping me grandly, paid bill, dressed Ruthie, & she & R. drove in waggonette at 10.15, I cycling, to catch 11.0 train . . . Ruthie & I got home alright, much to surprise of Marie & Rachel, but house was ready & beautifully cleaned. We put Ruthie straight to bed. Rachel has white-washed & distempered M. & C’s room, & Marie has white-washed bathroom, lavatory, scullery kitchen & washhouse. I got unpacked, & attended to Ruthie. F. arrived at 10 p.m. & gave a most interesting account of the Sale. Things have mostly gone v. well. Pathetic the way Marg. Shield bought things, e.g. "rug which I remember strapping up for the Master many a time". Sarah Harriott too.’
3 May ‘Ruthie so poorly, that I sent for Dr. Dr Kemp came & found her throat v. bad. Took swab, as afraid of diptheric throat but fortunately only tonsilitis. She suffered a lot, & temp. high. Did not like to be left for a moment, & Rob. & Caro not allowed in the room. However after a week she was much better. . . . Robert . . . has been very sweet & loving lately, & slept with me in the "big bed" as Ruthie calls it last night.
‘Furniture from Bensham arrived on the 5th or 6th. Bobbo & Caro shrieked with excitement—have been watching for it for days.’
5 June ‘Ruthie feverish—sent for Dr Fraser—in bed all Whitsuntide & then developped dreadful ulcerated throat, & did not get up again till June 24th & then only for an hour.’
12 June ‘Ruthie so poorly that Dr thought I had better get a nurse. I did not get one, but Isabel went home, as I cd do nothing with her. V. anxious, but Ruthie took a turn for the better soon afterwards.’
16 June ‘B. & I had an ‘At Home’ at B. Croft 4–7. Glorious day. Rachel helped there all day, & it was most difficult for me to leave Ruthie, but Marie looked after her. Showed Mother’s sketches.’
25 June ‘Ruthie much better . . .’
26 June ‘1st cocoa works party for several years. F. away—I took M. & C. & they loved it. Good tea—strawberries & cream for supper, but no choc’s.’
28 June ‘Peace signed at last with the Germans. It is a mercy, but does not seem much of a peace.’
8 July ‘Ruthie well again at last.’
Monday, 21 July ‘Rachel left to be married to a widower with 5 children. She has been with me over 3 years altogether & I shall miss her greatly. She has done her work well, & got up to-day at 5.30 to do the washing & did all the little extra things & got them ironed before she went. (She has washed all the duvets etc this year.) I gave her her hat (18/6) & had a sketch of mother’s framed for her (8/6).’
22 July ‘Aft. meeting on starving children (Miss McColl.) I took Ruthie for part time, as I had to go & there was no one to look after her.’
23 July ‘Marie went home for a fortnight, & we had a strenuous time, for we could get no help at all, but F. always lit kitchen fire & helped a lot, & the children were good too, weather glorious, & Bertha awfully kind in asking them to meals, etc. . . . We went a lot to the swimming baths . . . Caro bathed too, & Ruthie once or twice . . . Caro broke up on 28th That day I took Ruthie to see Dr Lepage at Manchester, who was encouraging on the whole.’
Thursday, 7 Aug ‘Left the house at ¼ to 9.0, Bertha, Dia & Betty most kindly coming to shut the house up & finish off for us . . . Caro & Ruthie got up at 6.0, but I heard them & sent them back to bed. Glorious day. Windermere 2.40 . . . At Pr. of Wales Marie met us having come from Gateshead. Edith gave us nice welcome & house lovely, just like in dear Aunt Car’s time, only electric light has been put in. Children wild with excitement. M. says she adores it, & Ruthie wants to live here.’
Sunday, 10 Aug ‘Maria ill in night with bilious attack, & in bed all day. All but F. to church—M. brought Ruthie & Caro out before sermon.’
11 Aug ‘In a boat for an hour. Lovely. Even Ruthie tried to row.’
12 Aug ‘Took children to above Shepherd’s Bridge & had a lovely bathe in deep pool, even little Ruthie, looking like the sweetest water baby. F. alone did not bathe. Mary Pullan came to look after the children, a girl of 15 recommended by Miss Arnold, from Litton, near Skipton.’
13 Aug ‘I took C. & Ruthie with Mary & gave them a bathe near Shepherd’s Bridge . . . Began a bad cold.’
14 Aug. Ear ache. Aft. went with children to bathe (did not bathe myself) but felt poorly—Caro rather feverish. Earache worse & worse. Went to bed with Caro after tea. Frightful toothache & headache too all night. Abscess burst about 1.0 or 2.0 a.m. but still bad pain in head & swollen face.’
15 Aug ‘Stayed in bed. Caro better. Sent to village for syringe. . . . I struggled up after tea to greet Edmund who was coming for a week but had to go nearly straight back to bed.’
16 Aug ‘Miserable day. Felt very ill. Ruthie feverish too.’
Sunday, 17 Aug ‘Aft. sent for Dr Johnson, who says influenza & bad abscess in ear. No more syringing. Hurrah. Can’t read. Next few days were wretched, but Dr most kind. Abscess discharging freely, & I was very deaf. Gradually improved.’
27 Aug ‘I believe I came downstairs to tea—it was 25th. Feel very shaky, & legs are so weak.’
29 Aug ‘Ruthie & I had tea together in the once or twice [sic], & once we all went on the lake.’
6 Sept ‘Marie went to York. Aft. we had a lovely picnic tea at Donny Beck. It was a little bit showery, but a great success, & I think the only time Ruthie has had a picnic this time. I came down to breakfast 1st for time!’
Sunday, 6 Sept ‘Ruthie is much stronger now—walks better, tho’ not much yet—has long sleeps in afternoons (has dinner early).’
7 Sept ‘Breakfast at ¼ to 7.0. Left at 7.15 by private bus with Mary. F. cycled to Oxenholme. Mary only just caught her train. We came back via Darlington. Harry & Lucy met us at Kendal. Marie had everything nice for us—got back about 3.0 . . . V. busy altering rooms, as we are to have 2 boys to sleep here—Basely & Duckworth. (1/- a night each boy.)
‘Am getting on alright with Marie, & charwoman once a week. I’ve had a woman 3 or 4 times for the children’s clothes too.’
26 or 27 Sept ‘At midnight the great national railway strike began; to most people it came as a great & most inconvenient surprise. It lasted about 10 days. Personally we hardly felt only, only sugar ration reduced to 4 oz. each weekly while it lasted.’
18 Oct ‘Jeanie & Willie Pollard & Robert to tea with us at Colthart’s (1/6 each but very nice.)’
6 Nov ‘Edith Robinson Quartett at Mount, alto Frank Merrick, pianist, excellent. He is a C.O. lately out of prison.’
10 Nov ‘Frank is considering applying for Sec. of National Peace Council, or Swarthmore, Leeds [?]. It is awfully hard to know what it is right to do, for such a wrench to leave York & Bertha & many kind friends, esp. Edna, but he has determined to leave Bootham next summer.’
21 Nov ‘U.D.C. A. Ponsonby on Russia & League of Nations. Excellent. I spoke to him afterwards about Father & he said he had had the house pointed out to him a few days ago.’
29 Nov ‘Caro almost well again, but Ruthie in bed now. Still I managed to go with Marg. to the Mount at 7.0 to see a Xmas Mystery Play done by some of the Teachers . . . I wish Frank had seen it. He is at Warrington.’
27 Nov . . . ‘F. & I went to Tannhaüser [sic].
‘Milk is now 10d and 11d qt.’
13 Dec ‘I felt ill, temp over 101o & had to go to bed.’
Sunday, 14 Dec ‘I felt ill, bad head, sore throat & aching limbs—prob. have caught influenza from children. Also have a gathered finger.’
16 Dec ‘Got up to tea, tho’ still feeling very wretched.’
18 Dec ‘I was still feeling weak, but was washing something in the bathroom about 11.0 o’clock, when F. dashed up with an open letter in his hand, & gave me a loving kiss saying "Dearest". I felt an awful shock, knowing at once that he was accepted as Secretary of the "National Peace Council". Of course I am glad for his sake, & it is an honour, especially as there were 30 or 40 applicants, & I think Father & Mother & F’s Father & Mother would have been pleased, but I can hardly bear to think of leaving York & Bertha & our many kind friends. I can scarcely speak of it.’
Xmas Eve ‘Ruthie got three threepenny bits out of her moneybox days before Xmas, wrapped them up & kept looking for them & then gave them to me. Carols, letters to Santa Claus etc; Ruthie did not want to send one for she said "he never brings me what I want."! Children woke in middle of night—Ruthie very bothered because I wd not let her look at her stocking, but F. not well.’
Xmas Day ‘F. in bed all day, so it was not
as happy as usual. We went down to B. Croft to dinner, Ruthie sitting up for it
for first time—Mrs Morrell, Miss Atkinson & Cuthbert there
too—beautiful dinner—then I ran up to see Frank here—back to act out of "Alice
thro’ the Looking Glass". Betty & Bobby awfully funny as Tweedledum & Tweedledee . . .
After tea Father Xmas came—Billy,
Betty Caro & Ruthie still
26 Dec ‘F. so poorly, I sent for Dr Gostling who feared diptheria, but fortunately it was not so. Our party had to be put off. I had much to do, & children quarrelled rather.’
29 Dec ‘Miss Cooke from Hessle came to help with children. It was a great relief, as they quite took to her, & Ruthie slept with her. . . .
[? 7 Jan] ‘F. went to London for Teacher’s Guild, tho’ hardly fit for it. He has been in bed a good many days.’
10 Jan ‘It had been fine last few days, but to-day awful when F. & I started off for Manor Farm, Hawnby—6½ miles from Helmsley, pouring rain & deep slush underfoot. We were done up, & yet tho’ F. not well I gave him my rüc-sac as my shoulders ached so, & carried his knapsack. Got there about 2.30 . . . 6/- a day—cream every meal & lots of real butter.’
12 Jan ‘Home about 6.30—M. had arrived from Stocksfield in aft:’
15 Jan ‘F. began his last term at Bootham. . . . Have now got Basely & Vardon in the house instead of Duckworth.
‘Busy trying to hear of a house near London.’
25 Jan ‘Ruthie taken for 50 or 60 miles motor ride in aft. got "awfully, awfully tired"—with Mrs Hirst & Bertha—hardly spoke a word, they said. I don’t think she had been in one before.’
7 Feb ‘Children perfectly sweet. Ruthie so excited kept waking in night & wanting to get up! I got lots of presents—flowers from F. lovely card & ink pills—Bobbo. kettle holder—Marg. made by herself—hdcf from Caro & Ruthie with M on worked by Caro—orange from Ruthie—bought when out with me a few days previously with her own penny—I was supposed to know nothing about it (she still hides like an ostrich!) cake, hot water bottle from Jeanie, etc, & eggs & tulips from Ber, & later on £2 from her & Bowes to spend on going to London. Unfortunately I have bad cough & felt poorly . . .’
Monday, 9 Feb ‘V. busy—packed ready for London to-morrow. Ruthie to go to B. Croft. She doesn’t want to go, & keeps saying "I will be so lonely without you." She has never been away alone, except 1 night there, & then was homesick, tho’ devoted to Bertha. She woke in night & said "I wish it wasn’t Tuesday." I dreaded going away fearfully, felt ill & nervous, couldn’t sleep, & finally could not get up for 7.40 train, so F. sent for Dr Fraser, who said my cough was very bad, & I must stay in bed. It was all fearfully annoying, but I was thankful I hadn’t started, & as Ruthie went to Bertha’s I got 2 or 3 good days’ rest in bed, & soon got cured.’
16 Feb ‘Left for London by 7.40 with Bertha, F. coming to station with me. . . . At King’s X C. Mennell met us & put us on bus for Victoria—there Evie met us, & she & I went to Croydon to see houses . . . No success. After some tea E. went back to London, & I went to stay at the Red House.’
17 Feb ‘Chrissie with me to Sydenham, then I on to Purley. Did not like either.’
18 Feb. ‘Nice day at Woodside Park. Trixie Clapham so kind. Dinner & tea with her, & house-hunting. V. nice, but too expensive.’
19 Feb ‘To Esher with Chrissie . . . Then to Hammersmith to tea with Mrs Gerard Meynell in St. Peter’s Square. Nice situation, & hope to get their house for a year. (It has fallen thro’, alas!)’
20 Feb . . . ‘arrived home 6.0. Everyone out, except Marie, but gave me warm welcome when they came in.’
3 Mar ‘Mrs Jenkins, French lady widow of English officer (aged 31) began coming every day to dinner & tea to talk French. (12/6 weekly, not Sundays) She is charming. Takes Ruthie out or sews, & talks French at meals.’
10 Mar ‘F. & I went to London at 3 a.m.! after trying to get some sleep in dining room. Arrived 7.0, went to Blackheath & just before 8.0 got some breakfast there in a dairy—started on our house-hunting at 9.0. First one at Lee good, but dry rot, next no use, then all the way to Sidcup—no use there. Back to London, eating buns in train, & F. to Nat. Peace Council—I to Highgate, where I tramped wearily all aft. Met Frank at King’s X & had tea, & got 6.0 train home, arriving after 10.0.’
20 Mar ‘F. has been having French & German lessons with Herr Belger; (I German too) has just finished. Really left Bootham on the 15th (after 25 years there) but has to correct the exam papers. I feel the parting with the school dreadfully. I have loved being connected with it. I forgot to say that on Sat. March 13th Cuthbert Morrell kindly took B. & me, Billy, Caro & Ruthie to Ackworth, starting 2.0 & getting back 6.30. All our children have now seen it.’
23 Mar ‘F. & I by 3. a.m. train to Reading—saw "White Knights" met Evie at Paddington & had lunch with her—then F. & I to Broxbourne to see a house & back same evening.’
30 Mar ‘F. & M. broke up & Bobbo back from Ackworth (in a friend’s motor car) No farewell to F. but A.R. says it will be next term, as the "Save the children" Bazaar took up so much time.’
7 Apr ‘Frank went to London to stay as paying guest with Sophie & to begin his work properly as Secretary of the National Peace Council. It is horrid being left here.’
19 Apr ‘Edna kindly lent us "Brow Cottage" Fylingdale, & as the weather had improved I took the children for a week, but we arrived in pouring rain & had to walk from Ravenscar along a rough track—I never thought little Ruthie cd do it, for she always rides, but she was so plucky, & I sent the other 3 on in front . . . One day we all, except Ruthie, had a dip, very cold, & once they all plodged & Ruthie loved it & jumped over the little waves . . . Ruthie & Caro sometimes helped to wash up. We had v. simple meals, but the bairnies were sure the King hadn’t nicer ones, e.g. potatoes, peas & tinned pears. We had plenty of milk & a good lot of eggs 3½ each, & 1 lb. butter 3/6—awful price. Our last day was nice & fine. Returned home at 6.0 on April 26th & had tea at once. Edna & Vida met us, & Bertha & Dia came while we had tea, & gave us the loveliest welcome—I feel it will nearly break my heart to go to Reading & leave Bertha. Also she brought us 2 squares of honey, some eggs & biscuits.
‘Marie had everything lovely too & was so kind, & had put up "Welcome to home, sweet home." Frisk, who we had given away, had come back.
‘I forgot to say that on April 16th I think F. bought "White Knights House" Reading for £1250 on a long lease, ground rent £10 annually. He came home for week-end 24th—26th. It is very queer no longer rushing off to see houses, or searching thro’ Dalton’s Advertizer, Country Life, etc. It’s a relief to be settled, but feels a little flat.’
1 May ‘F. spoke at Liverpool last night, so came home for week-end. It was lovely, like a honeymoon again!’
23 May ‘Seemed a very quiet time for me & so horrid having F. away. He is at a peace conference at Basle.’
27 May ‘F. returned to London.’
Saturday, 29 May ‘F. came in the evening & stayed till Monday morning. I was fearfully excited. It is a month all but 2 days since I had seen him; we have hardly been separated so long since our marriage (unless Tenerife) & it felt like a second honeymoon.’
1 June ‘Postage went up to 2d for 3 oz. It is awful. F. & I only write every other day.’
12 June ‘F. came home last night to attend Friends’ Northern Peace Board here to-day. It is lovely to have him.
‘Marie went for her holiday on June 7th (washed on Sat.) so I am very busy & very tired.’
14 June ‘F. lit boiler fire for me, & I did the washing—7 prs. knickers, 12 prs. socks & stocks. 5 frocks, etc. It was a big wash, but I got it mostly ironed by 8.30 in evening.’
15 June ‘F. went by 2.45 to Glasgow & National Peace Congress. He has got it up (his first) & I do hope it will be a success.’
16 June ‘After the lesson we all went to the gala, & the children enjoyed it, but I got v. tired & it is not ½ as good as pre-war years. Ruthie’s first time & she was v. excited. She came down on mat with Duncan Naish! . . . Ruthie woke for fireworks, so I woke the other two, & we went up to top room & saw them well.’
19 June ‘Marie arrived, 2 days earlier than I had expected, after quite good holiday, & F. came at 1.0 a.m. Congress meetings have been very successful, tho’ small. I am thankful, esp. as it is the first F. has arranged.’
21 June ‘F. went back to London by 6.20 p.m. It is horrid always being separated.’
6 July ‘Cocoa works party. Even Ruthie stayed to the strawberries & cream at 8.15 as it is her first & last time there. Went on engine. Short concert. Ruthie so good—in bed by 9.15 & slept till 8.0 next morning.’
7 July ‘We all went to tea in B’s garden at a chapel "do". M. & Ruthie got prizes for egg & spoon races & M. for skipping. (Ruthie’s was only agst 1 wee girl who began to cry!)’
16 July ‘To opening of Bensham Settlement with Bertha, Betty & Margaret. Edmund met us. We went to cemetery & to see E’s rooms & his lovely Bensham pictures, then he took B. & me in the car to the Quarries (B. & M. had gone to Laurie & Gertie’s) where Uncle Theo, Aunt H. & Teresa gave us a warm welcome. Dean of Worcester to lunch—most cordial. To Bensham at 3.30. Pouring. Sarah Harriott met us at the door, & she broke down, so did I. Miss Jowitt, the Warden, so kind. Tea. 100 people there—relations & others—then Dean spoke & Percy. B. & I saw over the house which is really very nice & then some of us had supper in library & we left N/C. by the 7.15, feeling thankful for this memorial of Father & Mother.’
20 July ‘Ruthie & I saw Bertha & Bowes off at 9.55 with Sir C. & Lady Starmer to Canada—imperial press conference. I felt v. melancholy.’
30 July ‘Frank came home at 6.30. It is 5½ weeks since he was here—the longest separation since we were married.’
3 Aug ‘Yesterday v. busy making red currant & gooseberry jelly from fruit Mrs Jos. Rowntree had kindly let the children pick. To-day (our own wedding day) we started in a boat at 10.0 for Lynton Locks to camp for 3 days. Rather strong wind against us, but the children rowed splendidly, even Caro doing some . . . Reached Lynton, v. tired, between 4 & 5, quickly made a fire & had tea. Some miners camping close to. Our tent (belonging to the Bootham camp,) very nice. Got children mostly undressed & slept on sacks filled with straw—each had one blanket or rug. I was v. cold all night, & it poured, & came thro’ a bit & the noise woke the bairnies, & poor little Caro cried she was so frightened. I hardly slept at all.’
5 Aug ‘Caro has cold & seems feverish & Ruthie not particularly well.’
6 Aug . . . ‘left for home at 2.0 . . . Got back at 4.0 & some of us landed at Clifton . . . We paid 10/- for the land where tent was—32/- for the boat (4 days) & gave 4/6 to camp funds as we had the tent for nothing. . . . The children have been very good, never grumbling at the discomforts. Bobbo rowed across the river all alone. Even Ruthie rowed with one oar with me.’
12 Aug ‘Frank went back to London after our short holiday here, to the "All Friends Conference". . . . We heard later how splendidly he had spoken, & I felt very proud of him. It lasted about 10 days.’
17 Aug ‘Ruthie & I all alone, but she plays in the street with little girl "Bunty".’
20 Aug ‘Robert met Ruthie & me in York station in aft. & we went to Wheel Birks, leaving poor old Marie alone.’
23 Aug ‘The 2 good maids look after us well, & give us beautiful food.’
[Transcript by Benjamin S. Beck]