Consequences - Chapter 18
Mary's Journal for June
Most of Charles’ aunts and cousins have made themselves known to me. Some I had met at the wedding, but I hadn’t realised until now, how very many relations Charles has in Worcester. Of course it was his mother’s home before her marriage and Charles was actually born here as she wanted to be near her mother at the time.
I was presented with a lovely pair of gloves by Charles’ Aunt Elizabeth Wilson – her husband is the main glove maker in Worcester. I did not know that most of the gloves for the country are made here. Aunt Elizabeth used to work as a laundress but now she has stopped doing that.
We of course had many gifts for wedding presents. Benjamin Walker who had brought a carriage up to York for the wedding kindly agreed to take my trunks and cases of belongings down for us, and they were delivered to us by him today. Now I can unpack and make this house feel like it belongs to me putting up my pictures and displaying my china ornaments. We can put Charles’ hundreds of books and magazines into the book closets. Pride of place must go to our wedding gift picture from Uncle Edward Cox and his wife Maria. It is a painting by J. W. Oakes based on one he did called ‘The Warren’ which was exhibited and won prizes last year. Mr. Cox saved an article from the newspaper telling all about it which he felt we should have so we could value it properly. I will paste it in this journal for safekeeping. The one we have is a similar scene, probably done as an earlier attempt at the famous picture.
J.W. Oakes is a Liverpool School artist and exhibited at the Liverpool Academy from 1839. By this time his landscapes were Pre-Raphaelite in style. This work, The Warren, is a quintessential Liverpool School painting in its sensitive atmospheric rendering of a very ordinary scene. The bisection of the canvas by an almost unbroken horizon line and the lack of ‘incident’ in the foreground are just two instances of the way in which it overturns conventions of landscape painting and attains real originality.
I cannot stop myself from standing in front of it and just looking into it for long periods of time. Charles lived in Liverpool in 1849 and 50 when he worked for his Uncle Cox to learn bookkeeping so he has very fond memories revived when he looks at the painting. It also brings back the thought of our last days of honeymoon.
One of our wedding presents was a silver calling card tray, which I have put by the front door. Charles said to expect some of the neighbours to call around and leave their cards, and then I can go and visit them and make their acquaintance. He says I should choose an ‘At home’ day and get some cards printed too; and then when I call on the others, I can leave my card with them. Life was so much simpler in York. I suppose I have gone up a social class by marrying Charles; I now have to deal with professional people instead of working class people with whom I am more comfortable.
I shall also walk down to the centre of Worcester today and visit the shops and see which ones I like. I need to buy some ingredients for making Charles’ tea too. I want to make his food more exciting, but Vegetarianism does make such restrictions on one’s choice. Tonight I shall try a receipt of my own. I shall make a Yorkshire Pudding casing and fill it with a sauce made of mushrooms, onions and soured cream. I hope he will like it. The mushrooms are Chanterelle, the only ones available at this time of year and I was very pleased to see them in the market. It is exciting have a new town to explore.
I went to make a survey of the available shops and to see which I would most like to give my custom. I walked from home down Rainbow Hill and Lowesmore Terrace and when I got to Sansome Walk, I turned left. I went by St. Martin’s Church on Corn Market, where Charles was christened, and often attends, then to St. Swithin’s Street. I looked in the window of John and Edward Mason, watch and clock makers. We could do with a clock for our new home. Then I came to a grocer on the corner, called Williams and Co. They had the most delicious looking array of teas and coffees in the window. We must go there later and try some of their stock. I then had to choose whether to go right or left. I walked down High Street, and was pleased to see the Showroom for Chamberlain's China which had a wonderful display in the window. I would have loved to go into it, but I thought it would be nice if we could go there together, and Charles can buy me something special for the house. Then to Deighton’s, at 53 High Street, a place Charles frequents – a bookstore, so I bought some stationery from them. A bit farther down the street I found Joseph Bennett, and spent some time looking at the baby clothes and linen in the window. I came to the impressive Guildhall and then turned and walked up the other side. I found another of Charles’ favourite shops, Stratford's at 90 High Street, almost back then at the Cross. Going North from The Cross is Foregate and George Anderson, the druggist was very friendly and welcoming to me. I bought some soap, just to have an excuse to introduce myself. Then to George Birley's, on the same road, which offers sundry items, and again I bought something small we didn’t need, but we can always use more envelopes with the number of letters we write. Chaplins is a men’s clothing store, so I just looked into the window. At George Grainger’s, another stationers, I was at a loss at what else to buy until I saw some sealing wax. I went to Stratford’s, another bookshop, now back by the crossroads, to buy some ink – so I think our collection of writing equipment must be complete. I asked them to arrange for the printing of my calling cards and they said it would take a few days. I walked down Broad Street, which lives up to its name, being much broader than the others. I didn’t dare go into Charles Parson's, the glove shop at 58 Broad Street, as we get our gloves from Richard Wilson, Charles uncle. I peeked down Angel Street where the market will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I think Worcester has a wonderful collection of shops, although nothing like the quantity we have in York, and I will no doubt enjoy being here. I even found a dry good shop that was having a clearance of the ends of bales. I must ask Charles if I can buy some fabric for new heavier curtains for our bedroom.
Then I went to the Library at the Athenaeum in Angel Place and borrowed some books. It is next to the National History Museum, which was started by Sir Charles Hastings, one of Charles’ customers of whom he speaks highly. Next to that is the Theatre, although we have no plans for going there at the moment.
We went to the service at St. Martin’s Church today so I got a chance to view it properly. It is a square towered Georgian built church made of dark bricks. It is known for its bell ringing and it has four fine bells. It is situated next to a pub called The Slug and Lettuce which made me smile. The people seemed friendly and the rector Reverend Charles Bullock was pleased to make our acquaintance after the service. We also talked briefly with his wife, who he introduced as Caroline. They are both very young and this is his first parish, having first been a Curate in Norfolk which is where they hail from. She said she missed the wide open spaces of her home county. Then we took a trip to Bredon in the afternoon; my first taste of Worcestershire outside the city. Beautiful scenery.
Several people have left cards for me. This seems to be quite a fancy neighbourhood. At Red House, our closest neighbours, we have Mr. and Mrs. (Sophia) John Gillan. It is a very imposing house. Her servant brought the card around. Then Mr. and Mrs. (Mary) George Cant live on Rainbow Hill. Rev. Charles and Mrs. (Clare) Bullock also live on Rainbow Hill and he is the Rector for St. Martin’s, where we went to church on Sunday. Mr. Henry and Mrs. (Fanny) Heaton are from 5 Rainbow Hill Terrace. He is the Baptist Minister and also is in charge of the Nonconformist Chapel. At 7 Rainbow Terrace we have Mr. George and Mrs. (Emily) Brown. And also we got a card from Mr. Richard and Mrs. (Mary) Ward, which says he is a solicitor. I know that Charles has dealings with solicitors quite frequently. I hope I won’t embarrass him by seeming inarticulate. I hope they don’t shun me if they realise I am expecting. I am still looking quite slim and continue to wear my altered corsets pulled as tight as I can manage. I eat very little but don’t seem to feel hungry much of the time. I thank Aunt Ann, as I now have to call her, each time I look in the mirror. With the alterations she encouraged me to make, I hardly look bigger than I did in January. Of course, Charles and I know differently, but that doesn’t matter.
I must write to Aunt Ann and see how she is progressing with making arrangements for our trip to Scarborough later in the year.
We see ever such a lot of Charles friend Albert Jones. He comes here frequently and Charles invites him for meals and goes for walks with him. He is a coachbuilder, so has not much connection to Charles through his work, but his mother works as a gloveress for Uncle Wilson and his brother Eli is a glover, so no doubt they met through that connection. He seems very old to be still living with his mother.
I collected my cards from the printer today. I have chosen Wednesday for my ‘At Home,’ but since there is nobody to be ‘at home’ for today, I shall use my time to take my cards around to all those neighbours who sent their cards to me. Perhaps by next week I will have some guests to entertain.
Charles is encouraging me to write poetry. He of course is very clever with his words and writes stories, poems and articles with ease. He and his friends used to publish a small leaflet of their work which they called the Paper, Pen and Ink Society. I think they hope to revive it again this year. Those friends have mostly drifted away from this area, but Charles still writes to them regularly. His cousin Harry is living nearby and he still writes. I will put my feeble efforts into this journal so no one else can see them, unless I feel comfortable that they are worthy of others’ attention.
Charles told me to write about what I know and feel strongly about – so I think that would be our wedding. I don’t know how to begin writing, so I will put my ideas on pieces of scrap paper to start with, and when I think the work is suitably polished, I will copy it into this book.
On a wedding ring
Hail simple circlet of pure gold!
What strong magnetic powers forever hold
That though you seem so very small and slight
No power can sever those whom you unite.
There sure was nothing form’d by fate
At once so little and so very great
The dearest wish of youth’s manhood pride
The heartfelt joy of blushing bride.
I don’t think it is very good, but for a first attempt I am quite proud of it. I shall try again another day to say more about the wedding.
Alfred Jones stayed til eleven last night, after having been doing things in the garden and wherever else with Charles. Charles must realise that now he is married, he cannot just act as he did as a single man. I was most peeved.