Consequences - Chapter 22-23
CHAPTER 22 – Charles’ Diary for July
1 July FRIDAY
Mary busy making plans for Mayor’s party – altering her dress etc. She still looks very trim & not at all revealing her true state. Am very proud to be seen with her. It is something joyful to know one's name is now on the lips of my little pretty sweetheart grown now into the bloom of womanhood, handsome & worthy of all admiration.
Letter from Russells of Bromsgrove offering invitation to go for us to go over & appointing next Sunday. Wrote back with apologies, mentioning Mayor’s party that weekend. Mary, Mrs. Jones, Pruey & I up at the garden; came to rain, in the bower singing etc. then back to our house.
Letter from William Arrowsmith, who I knew slightly several years ago. He now lives in Bristol & works as a printer compositor. He helped us with our P I & P publications in the past. Must ask him if he will do another for us if I can get one organised. He mentions now being married to Jane. His father Isaac, also a printer, has taken over a printing firm in Bristol & took his family with him.
Mary & I walked up to Wilson’s together. Great anticipation of Saturday’s party. Very amusing sketch in Punch showing a cricket pavilion, but the ball was being fired from a cannon at the poor batsman defending the stumps. It was entitled Cricket: Capitol Practice for the Round Bowling of the Period. It is by John Leech.
Surprise letter today from Charles Alforth, who now lives in Surrey. He and Charles Alcock and I had some wild times together when they were private dragoons but Charles is much tamer now - married to Maria, with daughter Lizzy & doing well as a traveller in the lumber trade.
Wonderful party & feeling very much part of the business & political life of Worcester. Mary was dressed in excellent taste, was quite blooming & arrayed with unusual grace. She was very pleased to make new friends too & one in particular who is married to someone I vaguely know, Fredrick Boyce. We must plan to see more of both of them. At the Garden before breakfast to cut asparagus & afterwards walked up to Boughton church service; went to Wilson’s for dinner; made our debut as artichoke-eaters which none of us liked; after dinner to the garden for dessert; worked away at the weeds. Came back home to tea. Mary busy with her secret writing; seems very engrossed in it, but has not yet had the confidence to show me her work.
Letter from Father. Worcester Races commence today. Mary & I walked down to the Race Course, to see the Shows; were bored by Fred Jones & in trying to quit him, lost one another; saw Mr. & Mrs. George Birley; had not seen Mrs. Geo for some time, much older looking.
News of preliminary treaty to end the Austro-Sardinian War. Told Mary but she doesn’t have much apparent interest in current affairs & looked blank. At Garden last night; came home; ran up to Wilsons' house, admired the extensive & beautiful sweep of scenery from it, came back to our much more modest dwelling & wrote long letter to Father.
Last night Adelaide came to the garden & picked my roses & ate my fruit. We discussed other matters, all treated in a good-humoured, but kind-deep hearted manner.
After work walked with Adelaide back to Sansome Walk. At garden all the evening. Mary making objections to her coming to our garden, with small cause, I think. Mary is the offence-taking party in the quarrel, whereas I am deeply & justly concerned, she has heard uncalled for, prejudiced remarks, all which is very wounding to Adelaide.
In the town this morning at Deightons for ‘Illustrated London News’ which was remarkably dull. This evening Mary & I left by the 7:45 train for Bromsgrove taking ticket to return tomorrow or Monday if required; put up by Mr. Russell at the Golden Lion; Mrs. Russell is a cousin of mother's. Mr. & Mrs. Russell are an excellent couple.
Slept very comfortably, not up till nearly 9 & after breakfast we went to Church & heard an excellent sermon, from the text of ‘Come & see’ from the Rev. Mr. Millers, an exhortation to the Scriptures. Had a splendid dinner with the Russells & found no chance of getting over to Hagley to see my great-uncle there, who is, however, hearty & well. Walked with Mr. Russell to see the new workhouse & after tea Mr. & Mrs. Russell walked us to the station to set off by the 5:45 train so we were in Worcester by 6:30.
Letter from Father this morning. Mr. Barnesley who is in Worcester visiting his mother, also came over & with Jones here as well, we had a round game of whist; Mary improves all the time.
Last night Barnesley, Mary & I went to Wilsons to tea; Talked about new developments in science - Queen Victoria & President Buchanan exchanging messages over the transatlantic cable & electric home lighting demonstrated for the first time in the U.S. We have still to make a success of gas lighting.
Letter this morning from Uncle Cox. Richard came to tea last night & then went up to help in the garden giving me hints; digging celery trenches etc.
Reading Richelieu last night & finished it today. Mrs. Barnesley came down today this morning by 10 o'clock to meet up with her husband & see to her mother-in-law who is not very well.
At Hilbournes yesterday morning & in the evening at garden picking fruit, gathered 30 lbs. red currents for preserving; Mary has found receipt which she thinks might convert for making jam.
Rain prevented further fruit harvesting; Mary busy preserving all day; Alarmed by a fearful bill for sugar. Adelaide Hilbourne came down for the afternoon to render her assistance. Mary was cold and distant towards her.
Wrote yesterday to Charley Cox. Met Jones after work & then we went to the Theatre to see Othello by Act of Parl, exceedingly well played, very respectable company of players & a good house. First play Mary has seen in Worcester & she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Letter also from Lindsay who has been in Wales & in reply to one written him on Wednesday. Had all the black currents stolen from the garden. At garden last night. Hard at work all day.
CHAPTER 23 - Mary’s Journal
I am true to my word and visit Mary Ann each week. We have become great friends and confidants. She now knows that my baby will be due sooner than most would expect, and she wasn’t at all censorious of Charles and me for anticipating our wedding night. She says many women have their first births in less than nine months. She assumes that she got in the family way on their honeymoon, and if the babies go the full time, she will just make it to nine months of marriage. It is such a relief to be able to be honest with someone.
I had to let her into the secret of our plans for my going to Scarborough at the beginning of next month. She wanted me to be around to be support for her when her babies arrive, but I couldn’t allow her to think that I would do it, and then knowingly let her down. She doesn’t understand how I could give my baby up, even if it is for only a year. But we must stick to our plan.
Charles is not feeling well. We don’t know what exactly is wrong with him, perhaps ague. He blames his illness on the fact that the weather is very hot and the air is still. He has pain in his stomach and the doctor has prescribed Choldyne (chlorohydrate and morphine plus cannabis) to make him feel better and at least he can now sleep.
Mary Ann allowed me to copy these from her mother’s book of receipts.
ACHES & PAINS:
4 oz. paraffin, 4 oz. methylated spirits, 4 oz. white wine vinegar (from chemist cost 8d), 1 oz. camphor, 2 egg whites. Mix together, shake well. Rub sore spots.
2 oz. olive oil, 1 oz. oil of amber, 1 drachm oil of cloves. To be mixed together and rubbed on the chest at bedtime.
A COUGH MIXTURE:
2 drachms peppermint, 2 drachms aniseed, 2 drachms laudanum, 2 drachms ether, 1/2 lb. black treacle, Scald black treacle with 1 pint of water. Cool treacle/water liquid.Add drugs. Dose : 1 tbsp. 3 times a day
CURE FOR STUBBORN COLDS:
5lb. elderberries, simmered with 1lb. white sugar. Strain. 1 tbsp. in hot water will cure the most stubborn cold.
SORE THROATS & COUGHS:
Warm 6 oz. of pure honey until it liquefies, then stir into 6 oz. white wine vinegar. Put in wide mouthed bottle and cork well.
JELLY FOR A WEAK PERSON:
Put two ounces of peel’d isinglass into a quart of tea both with cloves, cinnamon and sugar to your taste. Simmer it over a clear fire till reduced to a pint. When cold take a bit whenever you feel inclined.
Beat a fresh laid egg, and wet it with a quarter of a pint of new milk warmed. A heaped spoonful of Cappilaire with a bit more water and a little grated nutmeg. Don’t warm it after the egg is in. Take it at 11 and 4.
I hope these will tempt Charles’ appetite. I need to stay at home and care for Charles, but I can spend the time he is sleeping in writing poetry.
Each time I visit one of my new friends’ houses I become more dissatisfied with our little cottage. Having lived all my life in an Inn, I am used to big rooms with high ceilings. But this house is cosy, and small enough for me to easily keep clean. I remember when we visited with Mrs. Gaskell on our honeymoon, how lovely her house was, but the windows were enormous, and she had huge wooden shutters on the insides, which were to ward off the winter chills. Charles says we must continue to live in this small cottage until he perhaps can establish himself as a partner with Mr. Needham. There is talk that Mr. Needham’s son William who is now 23 might be coming into the business as well.
For the moment, Charles thinks we can afford to make small changes in the furnishings, such as a new wall covering for the sitting room. I don’t like the busy pattern on the one we have now. I would also love to replace the curtains with velvet drapes possibly in a dark green. I will use Charles’ Aunt Elizabeth’s sewing machine and I can make those myself. I do need to find more to keep me busy as time hangs heavy when I have no one to visit, and Charles is at work.
I have asked Charles to arrange for John from work to make some shelves for us in the attic. I need to get on and do a large amount of preserving, and we are very limited in storage space in the kitchen. The attic is shallow, but large enough for one to crawl into, and then almost stand at the apex of the roof. John made the shed for Charles’ garden, and I know that he can use the extra bit of money that this would bring.
I have bought two dozen jars for preserving, with rubbers and lids. Although I have helped with this work when at home, this will be my first attempt to do it on such a large scale on my own. I have many receipts to try, including pickled beetroot and pickled lettuce, which I have never had before. The beans and peas will be best preserved as they are, with a light salting. I will bottle fruits and make jam as well. I expect to be very busy over the next week.
I have been studying the form for Whist so that when we have Charles friends, the two Miss Bridges around on Saturday, I will not show Charles up.
I will write down here some of the rules and suggestions I have taken in, and possibly by writing them, my brain will accept them more readily.
By playing a straightforward game you will most rapidly obtain the credit of being thought an intelligent whist player.
The general use of general principles in whist facilitates calculation in reference to your partner’s hand.
The first hand should always lead from its longest suit.
The second hand should play low.
The third hand, as a rule, should play high.
The fourth hand should confine himself almost wholly to winning or losing with the strictest regard for economy.
Play high in weak suits, in order to strengthen your partner, while in your strong suits you leave him to strengthen you.
Never finesse against a weak hand. It is as much labour lost as in killing a gnat with a hammer.
The third round of a suit only escapes a trump once in four times.
I must show these axioms to Charles:
When you have a poor partner, play the simplest possible game. It is obvious that the more profound your game in, the less he will follow you.
With a bad partner do not give hazardous information by your leads. He will not comprehend you, while the adversaries may.
Our whist evening went well; although I am sure the ladies looked at me somewhat askance. I am feeling like I can no longer conceal my bulge, despite all the contrivances. So I have asked Charles if we can avoid social encounters for the present time. It will not be long before I am off to Aunt Ann to fulfil our plans.
Charles felt that as a treat for me before I go off to York, we should take a trip up into the Hills. He hired a carriage as I am not able to walk easily long distances any more. We lunched at Defford at the Crown kept by old friends of Charles, the Workmans. It was enjoyable for me to be in an Inn again and brought back sweet memories.