Consequences - Chapter 34 - The end
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Chapter 34 - Charles' Diary continued
Paid special attention to baby Mary after work today in my accustomed time of playing with her. She does seem very unresponsive to my smiles & coos, but I must find out from others with young children what their opinion is on this matter. We can always consult with a child specialist if we continue to be worried. She seems to follow my finger a bit better than before. I must contrive a test to see if she can hear.
Wrote a long letter (about 20 pages) to William Dewse on his last letter, on the progress of Pen Ink & Paper urging him for another article, telling him of my poem to baby Mary which will be one of my contributions. Also giving him a detailed a/c & telling him to buy me three mos of the Nat. Ill Literary, a set of the town for 10/- or 5/ in odd nos &. Wrote to Bellerby to thank him for his heading to Clerk's ‘Elysium’ & to order two brackets for statuettes. Read London News.
I went to St. Clements Church & heard prosy dull dogmatic discourse from Mr. Davies. Afterwards I went to Boughton & met Wm. Barnesley who is here as his mother at Newark very unwell; he met me leaving college & we walked up to St. John's together; got the Pens, Ink & Paper out again at last! Mary unhappy as usual. I told her that the baby might smile at her, if she herself smiled at the baby. She didn’t like hearing that.
Broke my spectacles & discomposed thereby; at Plums & bought a new pair, for out-of-door wear. At Grainger’s & at Statford's looking for something suitable for Xmas gift for Mary. Must go to Deightons again. Wrote last evening to Miss King, a letter of condolence on her brother John's death.
Letter from Uncle Clephan inviting us to Stockton for Xmas. Kind thought but we must decline. At Deightons, bought a writing case & ordered note paper for Mary, also another Journal for her Christmas gift.
In evening I wrote to Uncle Clephan in reply to his two letters, thanking him but reluctantly declining his invitation for Xmas but promising to accept it as soon as baby Mary is up to travelling. Mr. Barnesley joined us for tea.
While buying the London Times, I couldn’t keep from buying new book just come into Grainger’s. It is a collection of fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson, a Danish writer whose work has great renown, but is only being discovered in this country. I bought a book for Mary (for the future obviously). Having sampled them in the shop, I could not resist, buying them perhaps more for myself than the baby.
Sarah is back with us again, having had half of Christmas eve and all of Christmas day at home. I am very pleased to see her again. What a night last night was. I shall never forget it.
We had a quiet Christmas, going to Church. There was no feeling of rejection from the others towards me. I think the worst of the problem has been faced and it is now over. We went to a party at Charles’ cousin Harry’s house. He is a widower, and his two year old daughter Eliza, a bonny sweet girl. I only hope Mary turns out to be as amenable. I wore my favourite green velvet dress, bought for my engagement party last Christmas. It fits well again. I almost feel normal.
Mary had many presents for her first Christmas. I gave her a soft doll and made a patchwork quilt for her bed with satin ribbon trim. She does seem to be marginally more interested in the world now. Charles gave her a collection of books by Hans Christian Anderson which have just come out. I was so annoyed at his choice.
“Why do you keep trying to think of her as normal?” I said. “You will only be disappointed. She may never read. She may never speak. She may never feed herself. We may have to have her care for the rest of our lives!” He stormed out of the house and slammed the door.
So I was left from 4 p.m. in sole charge of Mary as it was Sarah’s day off. Things went all right until about 7.30. Ella had come and feed her about 6 but she was very ill (although I think she was the worse for drink) and only gave a short feed and dealt with the baby rather roughly and left without giving the usual extra milk in a cup. Mary settled for a short time, and then began crying piercingly. I so much wished for Charles to return to take over from me. I put my nightgown on and prepared for sleep, hoping she would quieten. Perhaps she was fretting for food, and I had nothing to give her. I knew that Sarah would have made up some sugar and water and fed it in a bottle when there was no milk available, and thought to do that, but then Mary started crying even louder. I changed her nappy, and made her bed dry again, but she wouldn’t settle. I was beside myself with frustration. Finally, I sat down on the chair with her on my lap, undid the buttons of my nightgown, and put her to my breast, not expecting anything, but hoping for some temporary respite from the noise.
She suckled with greed, not even seeming to mind the absence of milk. She quietened, and I relaxed and suddenly realised that a strange sensation had come with the suckling. I felt as if a cord was being pulled between my breast and my womb. It was slightly painful, and slightly pleasurable. I didn’t know what to make of it. Mary relaxed in my arms, and went to sleep. I looked into her sweet face, and marvelled at her sprigs of hair which seems to be taking on the hue of mine. Her eyes, also, when I noticed them earlier, are clearly not going to be Charles bright blue, but more my green shade. She seemed to be away in dreamland, and then just as I was about to stand and put her in her cot, she had a twitch on her mouth that looked so like a smile. She was smiling in her sleep – dreaming of what?
Just as I sat there marvelling at her, I was aware that Charles had come in and was looking at us, together. His eyes were wet, “It is a miracle,” he said. “You have finally found each other.” And it was true. I suddenly had nothing but love and compassion for my little girl. All my disgust and dread and anger at her for ruining my life had drifted away. Charles said we looked like the Madonna and Child. He was overly sentimental about it, with it being Christmas Day. Together we put our baby to bed, and then we went to bed too, and loved each other as we have not done for many months.
In the new year we have an appointment to see Professor Hogarth who will give Mary a thorough examination, and then we will be able to move on and help her to change or accept her as she is.
What a wonderful Christmas we had, although it did not start out quite so fine. We went to church, everyone seemed friendly & normal. We went to a children’s party at cousin Harry’s house for the benefit of his daughter Eliza. Present were Harry and Eliza Walker, Mrs. Mary Ann Walker, Charley & Pruey Griffin; Eliza, Rich, George & Emily Wilson; Adelaide Hilbourne with her sons; Mary, baby Mary & self, 15 of us; a very noisy party, the usual routine of games at forfeits & lunch.
Then we came home & opened presents. When I showed Mary the book I had bought for baby Mary she shouted & shouted at me that how couldn’t I understand that Mary was stupid & would never read & never be normal & would be our responsibility for the rest of our lives. I knew that she was upset, but felt I had had enough of her tantrums & stormed out of the house, slamming the door.
I went to Boughton & later went to Wilson’s. When I got home, I suddenly remembered that it was Sarah’s day off & that Mary would have the job of putting baby Mary to bed on her own, which she has never done before. I walked quietly in the house & up the stairs & as I opened the door into the baby’s room I saw the most wonderful sight. Mary was there, with her nightgown open. She was holding baby Mary in her arms & crooning to her softly as she slept. She had bared her breast as if she had been feeding her. I couldn’t stop the tears from coursing down my face. It was what I had hoped & prayed for these past months. Finally Mary had accepted our baby & was growing to love her. Mary & I put her to bed together & then retired to our bed, much happier than for as long as I can remember.
Mary told me that she has found dampness on her clothes & suspects that she might be capable of producing milk, even after this long abstinence from it. She will try feeding Mary herself for short periods today & see if her theory holds.
Letter from Uncle Clephan also with Christmas greetings. Jones down last night, having been away for above a week owing to our general behavior to him, he says, by which he supposes he was not so welcome as hither to he had been; long talk thereon & general explanation regarding understanding.
At the Natural History Socy room this evening with Jones to hear Mr. Hastings, a son of Sir Chas Hastings deliver a course on History beginning with the landing of Henry the 7th; he gave an excellent sketch of the state of England at this period, her laws, customs, manners of the people, the conditions of town & country; with a review of European affairs, a sketch of Columbus etc.- a very useful practical discourse. Mr. Needham had invited Mary & me to dinner with him for Sunday & I accepted the invitation but considering after my vegetarian principles ‘their unsocial nature’ I fairly requested him to excuse us & in a kindly spirit he did.
Letter from Uncle Clephan saying he is building a boat for his own family use – “The Elysian” by name & hopes we shall sail in it next summer - I hope so too.
Busy at the office; London News full of pantomime intelligence & illustrations; no note paper down from Deightons; Began letter to Father this morning having had letter from him with a/c of the Christmas festivities at home; which were generally domestic parties; In the evening I managed to finish my letter to & got a pretty long one written, with account of Christmas doings; & retrospection of my progress, & how tho perfectly satisfied with everything round me, still I hope for something more. We will explore the possibilities of baby Mary’s problems early in the New Year. I have made an appointment with Professor Hogarth at the Hospital. So on to a new year & a new decade. This past decade has been full of joy but also full of sorrow with the death of dear Mother, whom I shall never forget. But also joy at finding again the love of my life & at the pleasure of getting to know our beautiful baby.
Mary’s Journal - continued
The strangest thing. I seem to be producing milk. I feel my breasts fill up, and drips come out and make my shift wet. I have decided to try to feed Mary for a few minutes each time before Ella feeds her, and see if my milk supply will come in any useful quantity. It is like we are being given a chance to start all over again. It is like a small miracle.
I can only hope that 1860 will have something good to offer us. For much of 1859 I was in a black fug, but I will make an effort and we have already begun to be a much happier family.
Through my research I have found out the following:
Charles Simpson Walker – (born 1829) our hero – does well for himself. He becomes a partner in the Coal, Corn and Guano Business, with Mr. E.H. Needham and his son William, and later becomes sole owner of his own business. Charles and Mary move from their small cottage to a big house at 4 Rainbow Terrace, where they raise five children. They have several servants and a governess. His only son, Frank Clephan, is born in 1864, but dies in 1878. His daughters besides Mary (born 1859) are called Lilian Elizabeth, born in 1866; Lucy Marion born in 1868 and Charlotte Simpson, born in 1873. When Charles owns the business, they move to premises 26, and 27 Lowesmore in Worcester – two beautiful half timbered black and white buildings next door to each other – one to live in and one as an office. In 1901, Charles retired and sold his business to Mssrs. Cornforth and Cale. His address after that is listed as St. Margaret's, Bromyard Rd, a much less impressive semi-detatched property. He died aged 79, of senile decay and pneumonia on October 8, 1908, at home. His daughter Charlotte was with him and gave the information for the death certificate. He divides his property between the two daughters who continue to live in Worcester, but the others get a share of the estate.
Mary Eagle Walker – our heroine, shares the life with her husband as listed above. She dies in 1902 of apoplexy.
Mary Walker – our baby heroine – I know nothing more about. She continues to live with her parents up until 1907 when her father dies. I presume that she is one of the Miss Walkers who continue to live in Worcester.
Lucy Marion Walker – towards the end of the 19th Century, she moved to Kirby Lonsdale and became a teacher at the Clergy Teacher’s School. But she returned to Worcester after her father died, and she herself died there in 1909 – aged only 42.
Lillian Elizabeth Walker – became a nurse and moved to London, where she is listed as working at St John Westminster Hospital for Women. I think she might have married Bernhold Wolf in 1909. He lived in a boarding house near the hospital which was used as lodgings by medical staff. They had a son in 1910 called John Carl and lived in Lambeth. As he might be Charles Walker’s only direct descendant, I would be interested in tracing him.
Charlotte Simpson Walker – wasn’t living at home for the 1901 census, but I don’t know where she was. She continued to live in Worcester and was friends with my husband's family, which is not doubt why we now have Charles’ diary. In a Worcester directory for 1916, there is a listing for The Misses Walker at Redlands, 5 Henwick Road. Charlotte died in 1935 at the age of 62.
Here is Charles Walker’s obituary.
The following is the Obituary of Charles Walker which was published in the Worcester Chronicle, the Saturday following his death.
‘DEATH OF MR. C.S. WALKER
One of Worcester's literary men, and a figure formerly well-known on the Corn market, passed away on Monday at St. Margaret's Bromyard Road, in Mr. Charles Simpson Walker. His age was 79.A native of York [not so according to his birth and baptismal certificates], Mr. Walker came to Worcester in 1844 [again, I doubt the accuracy of that date, and think it should be 1849] as a clerk in the office of Mr. W.B. Needham's father, with whom afterwards he went into partnership. When Mr. Needham died this partnership was continued with his son, Mr. W.B. Needham, but subsequently it was terminated, and Mr. Walker started a business of his own in Lowesmore from which he retired seven or eight years ago, and which was taken over by Messrs. Cornforth and Cale.
On the Cornmarket he was looked upon as a man of great integrity, and was highly esteemed. Of a retiring disposition, Mr. Walker refrained from participating in affairs of public life. He was of an entirely genial nature. His intense love for books caused him to gather around him a large collection, and he prided himself on being the recipient of many letters from well-known authors, among them Mark Twain. His literary attainments were considerable, and he was looked upon as one of Worcester's best littérateurs.
Albert Jones, (born 1829) Charles’ best friend, continued to live with his mother. He also continued to work as a coach trimmer. After his mother’s death, he lived with his sister, and then later with his niece. He spent some time out of Worcester, living in lodgings in Tewksbury, but was back in Worcester in 1901, which is as far as the research goes.
Adelaide Hilbourne (born 1832) – friend of Charles. She never married, but has several children, who are all brought up at her father’s house. They have different surnames, but she keeps her own name - which I assume to mean that she didn’t marry any of the children’s fathers.
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I was pleased with the happy
I was pleased with the happy ending, jean, and found the epilogue fascinating. I have thoroughly enjoyed following these chapters, and really admire the detail you have put in along with the research. Well written and very well done!
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Hey this is amazing. How
Hey this is amazing. How lovely that Charles and Mary are able to cope and make a go of things together! The 'what happened next' infomation ; it's - to call it the'icing on the cake' seems trivial. Maybe 'the proof of the pudding' and in a very good way Elsie
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poor Adelaide. But a happy
poor Adelaide. But a happy ending for the others. I wonder if, in the terminology of the day, Mary was a simpleton.
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A lovely ending, especially
A lovely ending, especially Mary having to cope, and so believingly 'finding' her feelings for the baby, and Charles returning to such a sight that must be so emotional, and have made him so glad that they had persevered. So easy to see these old photos and have no imagination of what complexities people may have had in their lives. Rhiannon
PS What shlould I read next??!
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