Consequences - Chapter 6
CHAPTER 6 - Charles’ Diary for February
February 1 TUESDAY
Last night up to Boughton; they had no idea when to expect Aunt & Uncle home; they have now been above five weeks away, four of them in York. Yesterday morning letter from William Bacon enclosing copy of one from Mr. Wilkinson my old schoolmaster, written from New Orleans; he goes on Texas way. William seems to enjoy working in Northallerton, and especially the good food he is getting from his landlady - retired baker. Jones called on me just after I got back & I went to his house to tea; in the evening I wrote long letter to Mary & another to Father.
Yesterday John Needham went to dinner with me; he has been at the office for four or five days past, assisting me. His father hopes to make him a partner soon & I hope I will also be included in the partnership. Walked as far as Jones at breakfast, returning him pamphlets etc. Rec'd Yorkshireman with details of Wm. Bellerby's latest work, a cabinet with panels of his mezzotint woodengraving.
Paid Stone & Marshall their account & am once more clear of the bugbear, Debt. Wrote in the evening long letter to Alfred Wood with news in general & preaching Vegetarianism. With Harry at Deighton’s - Oastler from the Gas works there - a dress gent; “Harry went to a good action,” he said, “by stealth,” which I fancy Harry would blush to hear.
After breakfast walked up to John Fullwell & with him walked over Merrimans Hill, R'bow Hill, Gas Hill, Newtown, Ronkswood, & Virgins Tavern, looking out for a house likely to suit us for our lodgings after the wedding; there are two, one on R'bow Hill & one at Ronkswood likely to suit, but are rather large. Must check details. Mr. Needham at Birmingham; I very busy all day at the office getting my books posted up & having a great influx of customers to pay a/cs - had a couple of clergymen - Mr. Sherwood & Mr. Tubbitt & Sir Charles Hastings down for sometime in the afternoon part. Up to Boughton this evening & stayed all night there as Mrs. Griffin is having a general clearing out after the alterations done to the house.
Letter from Uncle Clephan telling of their news. The children are well after having severe winter colds.
Letter from Father yesterday. Wrote to Wm. Dewse yesterday. Enjoyed the luxury of a warm bath this eve.
Received from William Dewse two numbers of a popular periodical called The Town, famous for its cleverness above the ordinary run of such things, for its sensuality & its well drawn illustration. Went up to Boughton to tea, helping (?) & assisting (?) the young housekeepers there & as Jones came to the office to say he could not fulfill his part of our joint engagement to go to tea at Wilson’s, I decided not to go also & instead went for a meal with Harry & his family. Later I wrote my ‘Weekly Dispatch’ to Mary & another to Father.
Letter from Father this morning enclosed me a pair of Braces of Vulcanised Indian Rubber; added PS to my letter & sent if off; wrote also to Hicks the Bookseller. Noisy gathering at Mrs. Griffin’s last evening and while I was out they made use of my rooms. After some little hesitation as to the propriety of their taking possession of my rooms without permission, joined in with them; read Longfellow's translation of Tegnes divine poem ‘The Children of the Lord's Supper,’ to Mrs. Hyde & Mrs. Griffin at their request, Mrs. Hyde at its conclusion, however, wondered Catholics could write so well.
Last night walked up to Wilson’s & had tea there & long walk with Aunt discussing the houses available to rent that I had seen last week. She approves highly of & advises to look into it as soon as possible. I have written a poem to send to Mary for Valentine’s Day. I hope she will like it.
At Hilbourne's last night; no news of Eliza: lent Adelaide 1st volume of Monte Christo. Letter from Chas Geo Walker this morning, very pithy; also from Hicks with catalogue. Wrote long letter to William Dewse on the books I have read latterly; on future intentions as to possible house, on his coming over here etc. Wrote also to Hicks.
Wrote this morning to Father & Mary, with details of possible houses to rent. After which I walked up to Jones & after getting him out of bed, he & I went to Gregory’s Mill Lane, to look at a house likely to suit Mary & me, then to Fernhill Heath, Lady Wood Lane, Claines (having a glass of ale there), Northwick, reaching Jones’ home again by 3 in good dining condition; afterwards Jones & I up to Wilson’s to tea; back to house by 10; having had a very agreeable & refreshing day, being bright & frosty.
Wrote to Mr. R. Watson of Mansfield with enquiries after my old friend Watson, not having heard from him for some time past. Called on Uncle Wilson to order gloves & on Adelaide Hilbourne with 2nd volume of Monte Christo. Received a box of ginger biscuits today from Mary, in the shape of hearts. What a dear child she is; a very good cook as well. I must see her frank beautiful face again soon.
Letter from Hicks with enclosures; also from William Bacon. Wrote to Uncle Cox. Up at Boughton; Aunt & Uncle at York yet. The Dean of Worcester, the Rev. John Peel brother to the late Sir Robert, came to the office to pay his bill & talked with me; he is the beau-ideal of a beneficent bishop, placid, almost timid, with apparent ignorance of worldly affairs with more such as he to give kind words the link between rich and poor would be stronger than it is. Wrote yesterday to Sanders & Otley for their pamphlet on Book Societies
Letter from Watson's father in answer to my last, saying that last accounts of him are favourable & that he still remains at New York: received Yorkshireman with a/c of a very horrible affair in which our old neighbours of Dale St. are deeply concerned. Wrote to Mary as to her last letter & opinions on the house scheme. Her letters to me seem somewhat distracted these days. I hope she is keeping well.
At Hilbournes last night & at Deighton’s. Reading George Sand’s Lucrezia Floriani in which Sand depicts the relationship with Fredrick Chopin, who was Prince Karol de Rosald in the book.
Letter from William Bacon this morning; wrote to Edward Thackray to send me another ‘setting’ of Bantam eggs for me to rear. Wrote also to Charles George in reply to his last. Walked after breakfast round by Perry Wood to Wilson’s where all the Wilson’s jaunted & I set off in the fields in which daisies & cowslips are now springing up; up to Crookbarrow, Whittington; back to Wilson’s to dinner & afterwards Uncle & I set off round by Perry Wood, Mushroom Hill, Gas Hill & Virgins Tavern Road to my lodgings where Aunt joined us & all had tea together, talk & books afterwards.
Wrote to Uncle Cox last night. Ordered ‘shiny’ boots at Weavers which should do for the wedding.
Harry proposed that Aunt, Uncle move to York, while he stays here, sell the house they live in, send poor old Mr. Powell out to board somewhere or as Harry jocularly, but in an irreverent manner unpleasant to listen to said, ‘put arsenic in his nightcap.’ The main objections show themselves on the face of it, as the propriety of selling the only source of income uncle possesses & the attendance which Harry requires when left. Unpleasant bickering & disputes arising there from. Aunt backing Harry in whatever was most inconsiderate.
Up last night at Wilson’s & had tea there; talking of my house scheme. The house I would most likely prefer is furnished, as the owners are going abroad for several years & have no need of it. They intend to leave in late April, so it would suit our needs admirably. Letter this morning from Uncle Clephan by which I learn that Miss Helen Clephan is very seriously ill; but my cousin thrives which is as it should be, despite his many previous illnesses.
I have had a most distressing letter from Mary today, stating that she may be with child as a result of our liaison in early January. I cannot believe it is so. She must be mistaken, but none the less I have said that I will go to York on Saturday to resolve the situation. If what she fears is true, we must decide how best to deal with it as quickly as possible.
Letter from Father this morning; Uncle Henry continues to improve but is not yet able to follow up his journey. At Deighton’s, etc. at Hilbourne's in the evening: saw Agnes Cropper now happily engaged as school mistress; she is tall and well shaped, her dress was handsome and fashionable. She has a good complexion with agreeable features. I cannot write of ordinary things, my mind is so unsettled as a result of what Mary has written.
Received Yorkshireman from home, I didn’t mention to Father that I intend to be in York this weekend. I will let him know more when I ascertain what the situation involves.
Very unsatisfactory conversation with Mary. She has all the signs of impending motherhood & I must admit I was very surprised, having assumed that the situation was dealt with. However, must not think such thoughts now. Meeting with her parents tomorrow to find solution; I was very displeased that she had discussed our personal business with Aunt Ann Mayfield. Am staying with Father this evening, but have only given him a very rough outline of our problems; Mary Wilson very curious indeed & could hardly contain her questions, but I brushed her aside.
Mary was hysterical in the interview with her parents. They were cool towards me to start with, but softened somewhat when I told them that having given the situation much thought, I decided we should be married as soon as possible – perhaps within a fortnight. They said they would consider the matter & give me their opinion by post. Mary was weeping uncontrollably when I left & I didn’t feel very happy myself. I had not intended our married life to start like this.
I used the milk train for the return journey, leaving York at 9.38, changing at Derby at 12.22 and Birmingham at 3.02 arriving here at 3.36 a.m. Only fitful sleep on the train, and hardly got into bed before it was time to get up for work.
I had letters from both Mr. Eagle & Mary this morning. Mr. Eagle’s was sensible & told me that he agreed with my proposals & they would start putting into action plans for a quiet wedding in a few weeks time. I will have to get a special license & we will have to make an appointment with a magistrate. I think March 13 will be the best date. Then I read Mary’s letter & she was distraught. She says she cannot believe that I am the man whom she agreed to marry & she has now changed her mind & does not want to marry me soon & perhaps not at all. Poor Mary. She is much unsettled in her mind by her predicament.