Judith Walker's Holiday 1830 - 6
The papers have now arrived, including the London Gazette, so Mary and I can catch up with the news we have missed over the last month. It was a fine evening and we all walked the two miles into town and called at the Post Office. The man said the paper had lain there nearly a week. That means that they could have given it to us a week before when we were in, but it is such a post office.
We had a letter from Jane this morning, and other newspapers were sent from Mary's father in Liverpool. So we shall have plenty to read.
Mary heard that her mother, who had much trouble last week with a pain in her stomach, is now better. Agnes has had a very swelled face in consequence of her first tooth taken out and another put in.
We also read that my daughter Maria is not now going to Woolton because the gentleman whose house they were going to rent for the summer now wishes to stay there all summer, so they are going to Birkinhead instead on Tuesday.
Mary was also told that the house that her father is having built at Spring Bank is going well, and one from the group will be fit to be inhabited in about a week. Her brother George got back from Wales, where he had been since we left, and goes into Yorkshire this week.
Also there was a letter waiting for Mary from William (pictured above). In it he described another visit to the theatre. He mentioned about how he and she had gone to see Edmund Keen in Liverpool in August last year and he said that was the only time he had ever seen him, and as he is about to give up the stage, in this country at least, and go to America, he felt he could not let him walk off without paying his respects to him once more, and therefore went to see him last Friday in the play Sir Giles Overreach. It is subtitled, A New Way to Pay Old Debts and is by Philip Massinger. He was very much pleased but very hot, the house being more than full.
He also wrote this:
“Perhaps you will not have heard that her present Majesty Queen Adelaide is a pattern of the female virtues and is held up by all the papers as a paragon of perfection – also that his present Majesty (who is bye the bye King William the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, being William the 1st of Hanover, 2nd of Ireland, 3rd of Scotland and 4th of England) has already become remarkably popular by a variety of little attentions to the comfort of the people. Both he and the Queen are to be at the funeral next Thursday. I had thought of going but find it will be so crowded and difficult to get in that I shall not. I hear that the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria are going to Malvern in about a month. Parliament is about to be dissolved next Tuesday but one, and the writs for the elections will be immediately issued and the new Parliament is to meet in October. I don't know if you knew that there is always a General Election when there is the accession of a new King.”
Today Henry and his family and I are going to George's for tea. But Mary decided to stay behind. She did not feel inclined to go with us. She also decided against going to church and says she went for a walk, and started a letter to William to fill her day.
Tuesday. We had a second newspaper from William, and both found much to read in it.
We all decided to set off to see Mr. Crutchley, who lives about four miles off. We took our dinner in a basket and ate in on Rainbow Hill, a little out of Worcester, from which there is a lovely view. It was a very hot day and we were glad to sit down and rest ourselves. We got to his house about 3. Mary says it was much like home, being there, as Mrs. Crutchley was sitting surrounded by her family all at their lessons and work. We of course disturbed them. There were four girls and two boys, and Mary said the boys reminded her of her brothers Nathan and Henry. The eldest girl is about 19 and the youngest 13. We spent a very pleasant afternoon and evening, walking about the grounds and garden. Mary managed to have a swing, and we were thinking about how much little Harriet would have enjoyed herself had she come with us.
Miss Crutchley paints very beautifully, principally birds and butterflies and a few shells. The young women had such a romp in the fields.
We got home about a half past 10, rather tired.
Mary and I went to take tea with a Mrs. Henson today. She is a remarkably pleasant woman and very clever. Her eldest daughter is about 21, a very small girl. Mary was very fond of her. Her son too is a very nice young man about 19 called William. We spent our evening so pleasantly that we stayed until 5 minutes to 12 when Mr. Henson took us home. It was nearly 1 when we got home to Henry and Hy, and they had retired, thinking we were going to stay there all night. Mrs. Henson draws beautifully, her heads are the best I ever saw, she does them in French crayons and it takes her three months to do one - in the evening we had some music. Mrs. Henson plays very well, and so does Stella but not so well as her mother. Mary think Stella is the sweetest singer she has heard for some time.
On Saturday, Mary had a letter from home saying they were all well. Later she and Henry went for a walk to Worcester to put the letters she had written to her home and William in at the post office.
Mary and I took Harry to his school, and then went shopping. As we are leaving fairly soon, we wanted to buy gifts for the family who have put up with us over the last month.
Mary bought Harriet a doll of which I daresay she will not be a little proud. We called at the post office, and then dined with George. After dinner we went to the Cathedral to hear the anthem sung.
Mary admits now that she enjoys going to the Cathedral in an afternoon for it is sweet to hear the singers, and whilst the prayers are read, we walked about the cloisters and the other parts. There are some very fine monuments to be seen. We then took a walk down the river side. There is something particularly pleasing to me in the pastoral scenery ever attendant upon an inland navigable river. As we proceeded from the town the river appeared to form a kind of circle which could only be traced by the white sails half hidden amongst the trees, some slowly gliding along, others stationary, scarcely a barge ruffled the surface of the river which reflected the landscape bright and clear on its bosom. The banks were covered with rushes, and occasionally studded with daisies and other flowers, and sometimes lined with cattle patiently eying the cool stream.
I went to Worcester on my own today, and brought back letters from the Post office. We are going home soon – Mary to Liverpool, and me back to York. I think Mary is quite homesick for her friends and family. We shall be leaving sometime in the next 10 days or so. We have stayed much longer than Mary initially anticipated. Her mother told her she could stay three weeks, and she has already exceeded six.
She had a letter from William. He mentioned another sighting of the royalty.
“I had an excellent view of the King, Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, last Wednesday, at the Regent's Park Barracks, where they were reviewing two regiments of the Horse Guards. I was as close as possible to them, and might have had the pleasure of kissing his majesty’s hand. They are becoming if possible more and more popular every day – except the aristocracy and they seem to think they are making themselves too cheap.
July 27, 1830
The heat today is very oppressive. Mary is trying to write a letter, but she says that her hand trembles so much so it is as much as she can do to guide it. We spend most of our time lying or lolling on a sofa. Mary says it is never this hot at Liverpool and I could say the same for York.
On Thursday and Friday we had rather lazy days, with Mary reading in the morning and having a sleep in the afternoon. At 9 o'clock we would decide to go for a walk, and would get home about 10, have supper and then walk or sit in the garden for ¾ of an hour.
Saturday Mary and I went into Worcester thinking to meet up again with Jane at the coach office, but she did not come that night. All the inhabitants of the town appeared to be out and staring about them, for the Judge had just come into town for the Assizes, and he and all his attendants were going across the top of the street as we were going up. I think the town is all in a bustle owing to the Assizes.
On Sunday afternoon Mary and Mary Ann and Jane went to the College and were pleased with the singing, but not the service (at least that was Mary's point of view.) She says she will be glad to get to Liverpool that she may go to chapel again and says she has spent her last seven Sundays in a very curious manner.
They then they went to tea at George' house. He told them about how his house is near to the site of the Battle of Worcester, and told them the story of it. It is quite a hill that he lives on.
Mary told me the gist of the story when she got home.
The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 and was the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians defeated the Royalists, predominantly Scottish forces of King Charles II. The 16,000 Royalist forces were overwhelmed by the 28,000 strong army of Cromwell. Charles was trying to get back the throne that had been lost when his father was executed.
Plans were for us to go to Malvern again, but could not on account of the excess heat. There will not be time for another trip there before we leave.
On Monday we spent the day at Mary Ann's and went with George in the morning to see the China manufacturer – Chamberlains.
Between us we bought a very pretty service plate for Henry and Hy, as a thank you for having us to stay. It is hand decorated and has a scalloped edge, with a monogrammed W in the centre.
The monogrammed is surrounded by the Latin inscription HONOREM MEUM NEMINI DABO which roughly translates to "I will never surrender my honor".
We were very much pleased. It is curious to see the different processes of moulding, turning, burning, glazing, painting and gilding. We were surprised to see how easy the painting appeared to be done and how quickly too. Mary said, “What would take me a couple of days, they would do in a couple of hours, and even in that short time would perhaps look better than mine.”
All the painters looked very sickly and thin. I did not wonder at it for the smell of the paints, oils and turpentine when we went into the room was enough to knock us down.
Mary is very depressed, having heard from William that he will probably be extending his time in London by a further six or seven months. She is planning her trip home Monday or Tuesday. The plan is for Henry, who will be about his travels anyway, to go with her to Birmingham, where she will stay all night, and he can then see her off on the coach the next morning.
We had one last newspaper from William to read. It was full of details about the French problem – it rather sounds like Civil War. And there was an article that we discussed in some detail, and a nun in France who claims to have had a vision of Mary. Our Mary thought it was poppycock.
Here is the gist of the article.
Catherine Labouré was a twenty-four year old novice sister when she was privileged to see Mary, late at night, on 18 July, in the chapel at the convent at Rue du Bac in Paris. She was escorted by a figure she later took to be her guardian angel and saw Mary descend the altar steps and sit in the spiritual director's chair.
She told Catherine that she had a mission for her and of the bad times which were to come, but promised help and grace for those who prayed. In particular she spoke of the religious persecution that would break out in Paris later in the century, while also foretelling the coming events in the capital. Catherine repeated all this to her spiritual director, Fr. Aladel, who was sceptical, but when the revolution in Paris began on July 27th, his scepticism disappeared and he then reported what she had seen and the message.