Day after Day 24
June 1st 1906
As promised here is the description of the wedding. May looked so beautiful in her silk dress
with its flowing train. Her dress was a two piece with a high neck of lace and faux pearls, with long sleeves which draped in points to cover her hands. The skirt had vertical pin tucks down the front and multiple rows of horizontal tucks on the lower area, continuing on the train. She wore a lace veil which had been her mother's.
Of course you don't know our church. It was built fairly recently, in 1887, and became the parish church for our part of town rather than St. Martin's. The walls are Ombersley stone in various tints. Perhaps the best part is the chancel roof, decorated in colours and unusually effective. The nave is covered by the 14th Century roof from Guester Hall at Cathedral Priory which was taken from there in 1864, and restored and re-erected here. Below the east window of the apse, there is a
sculptured representation in high relief of the Last Supper by Boulton, who also carved the pulpit. The font is of stone, alabaster and marble. It is a large church, with 900 sittings altogether, 650
of them being free. But on this wedding day there were no more than 50 in the church.
My dress, as her bridesmaid, was in blue. The neckline is slightly squared, the sleeves are 3/4 length. Insertions and embroidery flourish everywhere. The skirt has two kick pleats in
front and two in back, along with numerous vertical insertions, coin dot type embroidery and embroidered panels. I'm sure it will serve me well when we have fancy occasions to go to in Ipoh, as it is both modest and cool.
We both carried roses in our bouquets - hers were white and mine were an orangey red.
Tom, acting, for their father, gave May away. John of course looked very smart in his clerical suit. He had Jimmy for his best man as you were not there to take the part. The meal after the ceremony was perfect and the menu was as follows:
Fillet of Haddock
Roast Sirloin of Beef
Potatoes - Peas
Cheese and Biscuits
John and May had a week's holiday in the Lake District and they have just returned to Warwick for the new term.
I enjoyed hearing about the caves. How difficult will it be for us to explore or do we need to go only on paths that are established? What sorts of animals do you see there? Are there dangerous spiders as one hears about from Australia?
As I mentioned before, your parents, with Dot, Mark, Una and Bobs moved into Lansdowne Crescent as well, which meant that our families will be closer than ever. They were very pleased to see that number 6 had come on the market. The previous owner Raymond Burrow who is a solicitor, bought a place in the country near Malvern.
Number 6 is the biggest of all the houses on Lansdowne Crescent, excepting Lansdowne Villa. It is sufficiently large for them to offer a bedroom to your aunt Dot, and with Mark having gone off to Camborne, Jimmy on his own now, and with John and you both permanently away from home, and only Bobs and Una at home, there was plenty of room for the two families to move together.
Your last quote was from George Herbert. I didn't know, but Father did. I think he enjoys this game as much as we do, and he always is pleased to have one up on me.
Here is yours for this letter, 'How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book'. I suppose that was true with you. Your new era, your life in Malaya, was started by reading a book about mining, many years ago.
and also eagerly awaiting our marriage,
July 10th 1906
How true your sentiments in regard to the quote. I think that is Thoreau again. He has given us a lot to think about with his writing. How about this one?, 'I am a galley slave to pen and ink.'
You asked about the dangers of living here. I will try to reassure you, but it is sensible to take the advice of those who have been here longer and know more about it than we do.
Some of the animals here are tigers, wild pigs, lizards, crocodiles, rhinos, and elephants. The animal that the Malaysians are most afraid of is the tiger. They are not afraid of lizards. There are snakes and there are spiders.
A grayish brown monkey is very familiar. They aren't worried by humans and can be quite bold. They are found everywhere in the lowland, jungles and even in the mangrove swamp. The main problem with them is that they are carriers of malaria, so everyone must avoid contact with them.
The Malayan tigers, the largest predators of the Peninsular forests, are elusive and usually shy of man. Often it is the sick or old tigers that become man-eaters, but increasingly, the loss of tiger habitat has been to blame for most man-tiger conflicts.
Wildcats can be found in almost all types of forests, from the lowlands to the mountains. Most of the time though, encounters of wildcats are made by pure luck! We sometimes walk on open trails or logging roads, or along the river to spot animals along the riverbank. Cats are active by night, so we need to take acetylene lamps.
There are other creatures which I have yet to see. The leopard for instance, which can adapt to almost any habitat that provides sufficient food and cover. It occupies lowland forest, mountains, grassland, brush country and deserts.
The leopard cat is more adaptable to deforested areas and is often found near villages. The golden cat lives in deciduous forests, tropical rainforest and occasionally open habitats.
Ipoh is surrounded by mountains on all sides and a forested area in not far away. It has numerous where butterflies can be collected, and many people enjoy collectecting praying mantises.
Do not worry, I don't expect you will see tigers, snakes or wild boars, though they do see us I am sure. I will tell you more when I next write, as I think perhaps I have frightened you
enough for one letter.
7 Lansdowne Crescent, Worcester
August 1st 1906
The election commissioners are busy in Worcester trying to sort out the facts of the scandal from
the last election. My father is getting more and more politically minded, and I know he is being pestered to stand for council. He was a councilor when he first moved to Worcester 20 years ago, and apparently his father was an alderman back in Surrey where he lived for the first part of his life.
The churches are trying hard to get trustworthy citizens to stand up and be counted when it comes to civic office, and I think that is influencing him. He came home the other night and said that he felt that perhaps he had a calling to go back into politics.
I have decided my contribution will be to reorganize my group of women who marched and petitioned for women's suffrage back in 1903. We shall this time try to influence women around here who have the vote for local elections, but who do not choose to use it. We will try to encourage more of them to get out and vote in November. It is my latest quest. I have already goT Charlotte and the Tree girls involved again. We will miss May this time. She has more important things to think about.
May writes that she is almost sure that she is pregnant, and if so, the baby will be born in early spring. She seems very pleased, and I am sure John is too. They will be here visiting in a few weeks time. It will be so good to see May again.
My good friend Evelyn Underwood gave me the sweetest book. It is called The Ghosts of My Friends, and is a sort of autograph book with a difference. You get your guests to write their names in sideways on a folded page, and then immediately blot the page to spread the ink. The shape that results from this is very odd. The idea is for the person to add features to the shape to make
it look like a person. I had mother do the first one. She wrote Louisa Marion King then blotted it. She put in eyes, nose, mouth, chin, eyebrows, a necklace, arms and hands, but the rest of the shape
was formed by the ink blot. It is such fun.
I don't know if I have told you much about my friend Evelyn. She went to school at the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls in Battersea, London. We got to know her because her father who
is a coal merchant is in the same masonic lodge as father.
I don't suppose you are a Mason. Father tells me that it is a most wonderful group for a man to belong to. He said, "Our fraternity has a wonderful history, which dates back more than three centuries. It is one of the world's oldest secular fraternities, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Founded on the three great principles of brotherly love, relief and truth, it aims to bring together men of goodwill, regardless of background and other differences. The essential
qualification for admission is belief in a supreme being."
As far as quotations go, your last one sounded like Honore de Balzac (again with help from Father). I think I will go back to quoting things about music. 'There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music'.
Do tell me more about the beasties of Malaya. I am fascinated and won't be frightened as long as I have you there to protect me from the tigers, and even the lizards.
September 8th 1906
So you are getting involved in politics, trying to get women to go out and vote. I applaud you for
doing so and wish you every success. But don't forget that from Christmas time onwards, all your attention will need to be focused on me, not on the politics of Worcester, or even Britain.
In regards to the quote, you gave me a clue when you mentioned your favourite authors. It's George Eliot. My quote is also about music. Here is a hint. It comes from an early source.
'Among all men on the earth bards have a share of honor and reverence, because the muse has taught them songs and loves the race of bards.'
You asked for more information about creatures to be found in Malaya. Spiders can be found everywhere - inside the house, in the garden or backyard, in the fields, in the belukar (overgrown patch) and deep in the forest. There are spiders which look like spiders, spiders which look like ants, spiders which mimic bird droppings!
The Argiope spider (pictured above) weaves a web marked with distinctive zig-zag bands of white silk. It is known as the Signature Spider because of this. It spider holds its legs together in pairs, making it look like a creature with four legs instead of eight.
Crab spiders ambush their prey, lying in wait on flowers for nectar-feeding insects. These insects may be much larger than the spider but they are soon paralysed with a venomous bite.
Jumping Spider - Unlike web-weaving spiders which ensnare flying insects in their nets or crab spiders which ambush their prey, jumping spiders actively hunt for food. Jumping spiders prey not only on insects but also other spider species.
The Spiny-backed Spider has projections which curve over its back like a pair of horns. It is
also known as the Horned Spider.
The Kerengga Ant-like Jumper - These are ant-mimics among the jumping spiders who mimic the
ferocious weaver ant which is locally known as the kerengga. The female spider is a near-perfect copy of the ant, but the male's disguise is somewhat spoilt by his large jaws which protrude from the
head like an oversized nose.
However, you can be reassured, that although I have seen many spiders, I have never been bitten, nor have I heard of any fatalities amongst the workers around here from bites.
Malaria is a big problem around here, but we take preventive measures, such as having lights outside the camp to attract the mosquitoes and catch them in nets, and of course nets over our beds. We all wear long sleeved high necked clothing, and if all else fails, we have large
stocks of quinine.
I hope you are enjoying your election campaign trail and have managed to recruit all sorts of women to your way of thinking. Good luck with it.
Love from Harold