Consequences - Chapter 29-30
CHAPTER 29 - Mary’s Journal
Today was the first of Sarah’s half days off, and we coped well without her. Since we still have Ella coming in, we asked her to do an extra feed tonight at 9, rather than us have to cope with the bottle method that Sarah is using.
On Sunday, Charles and I took Mary out in the perambulator for her first outing since her birth. We walked along to his Uncle Richard and Aunt Elizabeth’s house for afternoon tea and as an early celebration of Charles’ thirtieth birthday on Thursday. I didn’t feel up to inviting people around to us, so was very relieved when someone else took it upon themselves to make the party. Of course they know by now of our baby’s birth. But nobody except Mary Ann and Fredrick know that we tried to give her away (unless they have told). I was nervous and I know that Charles was too, but he said unless we behaved as if we thought everything was normal, we would never get over this situation.
All the family were there because it was Charles’ birthday celebration, but I think they also came out of curiosity as much as anything. They bent over the perambulator and said what a bonny baby she was – and indeed she has progressed well after her poor start, her colour has improved and she is now starting to resemble a normal baby. She is quite good in that she doesn’t cry very much. Ella frequently has to wake her to feed her, and she seems to go easily back to sleep again afterwards. Many of my friends have had babies who cried for hours without end, so we are lucky in that regard. No one overtly referred to her birth in relation to the time of our wedding, for which I was truly grateful, but everyone was embarrassed and stiff and it was not a pleasant afternoon. But we have made the first step and Charles assures me that each visit from now on will get easier and soon everyone will forget all about her early birth.
We told my family about her arrival as soon as Charles brought her home. We hadn’t told them of our pretend child’s death which is just as well, as that would have caused no end of explaining. In fact I rather think Charles planned all along that we would get Mary back as soon as I was well enough to accept the situation, and that is why he didn’t tell anyone anything about it. He just said I was unwell and staying with friends when asked.
I did go out on Charles’ birthday, and bought him two books which he is very pleased about. He is very easy to buy for, as he values books so highly. I bought him Oliver Wendell Holmes book called the Autocrat at the Breakfast Table, and Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes. I shall enjoy reading the latter myself but can’t say I have any interest in the former. Charles finds it fascinating and is already well into reading it.
I am writing in this journal less and less these days. I have such a lack of interest in what I am doing that there is no need to compound the problem by putting it in writing. Here is the receipt I found for preserving fruit.
Pour into a clean earthen pot two quarts of spring water, and throw into it as quickly as they can be pared, quartered and weighed, four pounds of nonesuches, pearmains, Ripstone pippins, or any other good boiling apples of fine flavour. When they are done, stew them gently until they are well broken, but not reduced quite to pulp; turn them into a jelly bag, or strain the juice from them without pressure through a closely woven cloth, which should be gathered over the fruit, and tied, and suspended above a deep pan until the juice ceases to drop from it; this, if not very clear, must be rendered so before it is used for syrup or jelly, but for all other purposes once straining, it will be sufficient. Quinces are prepared in the same way, and with the same proportions of fruit and water, but they must not be too long boiled, or the juice will become red. We have found it answers well to have them simmered until they are perfectly tender, and then to leave them with their liquor in a bowl until the following day, when the juice will be rich and clear. They should be thrown into the water very quickly after they are pared and weighed, as the air will soon discolour them. The juice will form a jelly much more easily if the cores and pips be left in the fruit.
We have just read the most dreadful news. In Liverpool a merchant vessel of Royal charter came aground and 459 on board have died. I can just visualise the area where it happened, as we were walking very near there on our last days of honeymoon. God have mercy on their souls.
CHAPTER 30 - Charles’ Diary for October
October 1 SATURDAY
Today was Sarah’s first half day off. Mary wouldn’t deal with the baby at all, but I found that I could cope with changing her & playing with her to give her some stimulation. Emma came as usual for her feeds.
Took baby Mary out in perambulator for first time today. Went to Wilson’s. Everyone gathered & seemed supportive & wished us well. Mary feels they were condemnatory, but she is still very unsettled in situation & very depressed about everything. Had good wishes for my forthcoming Birthday. Melancholy circumstance, marking my progress on the road of life by fearful looming mile-posts, which coming suddenly to view looks ghastly.
My birthday today with greetings from Father, Uncle Charles, CG, Uncle Clephan, and Barnsleys. Letter from George Thackray who will work with Mr. Monkhouse the Lithographer for three years, which is like to prove a good spec. Wrote to Mrs. Barnesley sending her receipt for French finger. Mary gave me two new books. Much appreciated.
Letter from Mrs. Russell inviting us there for Sunday week. Wrote declining & telling of baby Mary’s birth. Wrote long letter to William Dewse by way of stirer-up, on his long silence, on the birth, the P, I. & P.
Today, busy at office, commencement of Hop Season & the rest. At Grainger’s & Stratford’s. I am in deep reading of Carlyle's Cromwell letters.
Went to Wilson’s today, after dinner Jones came; walked up to St. John's - Mary , baby & I to Boughton to tea.
Long letter from William Dewse after a wide interval of silence; he has been a fortnight in Leeds & is disgusted with it; proposed instead to visit Worcester again next Summer, consents to contribute to the P I & P. Registered Mary’s birth. It needs to be done within six weeks of birth, but no charge unless later than that.
Wrote letter of explanation to Aunt Ann this morning (after having had a long one from her misunderstanding all).
Bought at Birley’s & sent to Edward Thackray as a birthday gift a pair of good razors.
Jones & I walked up Tolladine Road & crossed fields to Crowle & back through Newtown; Up to Boughton in afternoon, Harry at Bredon; all the rest well & good tempered; baby Mary is growing & progressing, but still is very much an infant & doesn’t seem to react to me or anyone else.
After work yesterday went to Wilson’s to tea; on the Park Hill, with beautiful prospect of the town below & surrounding country. Monday, still no letters; busy at office.
Mr. N went to Bristol Tuesday. Added PS to Father’s letter & off.
Wrote last night to Lindsay, replying to his former one & its topics; mainly on love & its singleness which I sometimes doubt the consistency of, hope it won't sound treason to Lindsay's ears; told him about baby Mary.
Wrote yesterday to Uncle Clephan to ask after him, not having heard since he was in London & received letter from him this morning, our letters having crossed; he was recalled suddenly from London by ill news - a customer of his who owed him £180 & whose bill for £150 he held - had failed. Wrote also to George on his becoming a Lithographer with exhortation to persevere. Mary busy preserving fruit.
Letter from Ned this morning with thanks for the present which he had received safely, but had been too busy to acknowledge earlier; his birthday went off with spirit; festivities kept up until 5 the following morning Read the London News.
Sarah’s day off so invited Aunt Walker and Harry & Eliza around to help us out with caring for Mary. All went well. No letters arrived so wrote more.
Read in the paper about the death of Louis Spohr, German violinist & composer, following only a few weeks from the death of Karl Baedeker, author & publisher.
Pleasant surprised by a letter from also one from Charley - kind & good humoured as usual, wishing to see me in the Happy Valley again; wrote back a long letter to him talking about baby Mary & how she is progressing.
Working at an article for the proposed mag in evening. Astonished on Monday by the gift of a sovereign from Mr. Haines the Coal Master, for the baby, which I thought best to deposit in the Saving Bank before it flew off. Wednesday was busy day at the office, Mr. N. being away at Bristol again. Jones down in evening. Did a trifle at article for the Mag.
Jones up last night; he & I & walked up the New Road, & then came in & read at Carlyle's Cromwell which I am now in the 4th volume of giving this great work the best perusal I have yet had in chance of doing & learning some good. I hope from it or I had better not have looked at it; Grainger lends me it, he has an immense collection of works bearing on Cromwell & the times of the martyr Charles & Nell Guyune - defender Charles second. I have little to say that is of interest to Mary these days, who droops around the house.
Mr. Needham has been down at Bristol this week the same as he was last & only returned last night. Had a letter from Father on Thursday morning saying he had been to Palace at Bishopthorp in company which was pleasant to hear. Answered his letter with a long one last night.
Mary & baby & I started on our first family expedition at 11 o'clock for Malvern going by rented coach by the Upham Road a little way & then by a by lane past Shenards & Warnard Greens, through a beautifully tinted country at the fall of the leaf, on to the Wyche which we dined off bread & cheese at John Davis as I usually do; feeding Mary with a bottle of sugar water provided by Sarah for the occasion; then along the brow of the hills through the clouds, so speaking, which dragged along the summits into Malvern & back to Worcester again by the regular road. It was very pleasant but also a continual struggle, with Mary so much resenting our daughter’s presence with us. Sarah spent the day doing housework and doing baby’s washing with which she had got behind.
Wrote to Ned Thackray & to Uncle Clephan on our Malvern trip, Busy all this day at the office, as indeed Monday usually is. I met Jones in the evening & we had a long walk & a talk together as we formerly used to, talking of marriage in general but with its bearing on himself in particular but also in our marriage specifically & his relations at home where he still lives with his mother.
A long letter from Charley Cox in reply to my last. Wrote in evening - a long letter to Aunt Clephan with encouragement to her to be of good cheer. Letter from Miss King, whose illness had prevented her writing previously, her brother John is dead, indeed her family seems a fated one. Aunt Walker called yesterday dinner time. Wrote to Mr. John Mayfield at Hagley, my Great-Uncle as to William & Mary Mayfield & their conduct as being most praise-worthy. Have hired a man to work at my garden for a week or so & to get it into good order; planting out, making a new strawberry bed, dressing asparagus forming new walls, laying on crating of ashes on them & bringing the whole in to a creditable condition before the winter.