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F L Somerville

Ryde 1859 [1]

Portland House Ryde (see picture right taken c.2000))

August 13th 1859

Aug.13th. Mr Jones came to see Fred at 11 - found his pulse still 100 / recovering from rheumatic fever / and I was almost afraid of the journey for him, but he seemed to revive at every station, and bore it most wonderfully - At Reading we met Aubrey and Augustus SomervilleClick for Footnote detailF/N 1, - the latter just come from Liverpool to Bracknell for a week's holiday. He is much grown and improved - We also met the two Henry Hunters and Mr Meade, who went with us to Mortimer StationClick for Footnote detailF/N 2, - Got to Portsmouth at 6 / having left Newbold at one / drove down to the Victoria Pier, leaving the Servants [2]



to follow with the luggage - but they never came, and we went without them however they followed in an hour. On the Ryde Pier we met Kenelm and the whole family of Somerville, including Hugh - and some of Fred's brother Officers who were shocked to see him looking so ill! We put him into a Bath chair and he came on to this house, which we found comfortable as far as the Living rooms are concerned - but the Offices are wretched for a large family. We were very glad all to meet again after a fortnights separation and found them all very flourishing - I had a severe Tea, and were very glad to go to bed. -

14th Sunday Fred pretty well today, - and improving every hour - Henry Head came to see us - I stayed with Fred while they all went to different Churches - Very stormy in the morning [3] but then it cleared up by Church time. In the afternoon I went to Trinity - A very handsome new Church, with 500 free seats in the centre aisle and the duty very respectably done -. After Church we went to see Henry in his Lodgings near the Pier - found him with Hugh and Fred and 3 of the Rifle Brigade, Lord Cavendish, Mr Bunbury etc. - sat on the Pier a little and met Captain Donald, Mr Harriss's nephew / a friend of Henry's / and Mrs Maxwell, who we knew at Boulogne. Dined at 7 and did not go out again.

15th Stormy night, but fine day. Walked with Louy and Julia on the Strand and round by the wood - Did some shopping in Union St and home. Fred walked down to the Pier, and took a drive with Louy and Julia to Binstead. Kenelm and I called on Mrs Bankes but did not find her - then went on the Pier - very windy but pleasant. [4] Hugh and Emily and Selina walked to Binstead - Henry dined with us -

16th Started at 12 by steamer for Cowes Regatta. Henry Emily, and Hugh embarked on the Piper, but found there was no wind, so they found us on the Pier, and went with us - We met Mr Thorold, called on Lady Caroline Morant found Mr and Mrs Maturen there - he is the clergyman of Lymington but we did not take a fancy to him or his wife - We all sat in the Garden of the ClubhouseClick for Footnote detailF/N 3, to see the Boat races, where Lady Caroline joined us. Went to see Mrs Smith at the Lodge, - and old Captain Clarke - called on Mrs Denman, but she was out driving also on Mrs Lyon who was at Belmore house, but did not find her. After getting 3 dozen Cracknells we came home by the 6 o'clockClick for Footnote detailF/N 4, steamer dined at 7-30 the band played all the way back - Limerick militia [5]

17th On the Pier and in the Town - fine day, but cloudy - After luncheon I took a charming drive in a Pony carriage with Fred, round by Quarr AbbeyClick for Footnote detailF/N 5, and Fish GuardClick for Footnote detailF/N 6, - the former a nice little bit of a ruin, and the latter a small village on the Coast. Kenelm and the girls went to the Flower Show at Sir Augustus Clifford's a good band of East Kent Militia. I took a walk by myself up to St John's Church - very pretty, and new house building in all directions - Henry Head dined with us -.

18th Very warm close day - Lady Caroline Morant and Mrs William MorantClick for Footnote detailF/N 7, came over to luncheon, and I walked down with them to Lady Troubridge's and then sat on the Pier till they went back by the 5 o'clock steamer. Saw some of the drunken Russian Sailors [6] reeling about and some of the Rifles -

19th Very hot morning so I did not go out but after luncheon Fred Emily and I drove in the dear little Pony Carriage / from the York Hotel / to call on Lady Alicia Younge, found she had only just been confined an hour of a son and was doing well - I sat with Mr Younge in his dining room - and we then drove on to Sea View, a very pretty shady drive, but the hills are endless, and the roads so very stony, it takes off the pleasure of driving - It is about 4 miles by the road, but only two by the beach. We then went down to the end of the Pier to hear the band from the 'Diadem' at Spithead - a very good one - A letter from Mrs Manning - the 2nd post does not reach us here till near 7 - very tiresome.

20th Boiling morning again - and we could hardly bear the heat on the Pier - after luncheon went out [7] with Emily Fred and Julia, to see Hugh and Henry fishing - found them at last, but they had caught nothing but an Eel - so we went to look at the 'Pip', a very nice little vessel - Fred and Julia now begged to be landed on the Pier, as they were not very happy, so we went on to see the Russian Frigate 'Svetland' / 60 Guns / and were most kindly received by the Officers. There are 40 of them and 250 men altogether on board - We were quite agreeably surprised at the cleanliness of it, and saw nothing objectionable in any way - Mass was going on in the lower deck, and a most grim looking Priest in a Greek dress and long beard officiated. The singing was rather pretty - [8] Henry Head dined with us.

21st Sunday. I went with Kenelm Louy and Mary to St Thomas's where we have taken a pew, and the Service is very respectably done - After Church we went down to Henry's to look at some first rate photographs by a Mr Lake Price an artist, who is come down to take the Royal family at Osborne, and the Grand Duke on board his Frigate, and certainly has brought the art to great perfection - he was very civil, and very well pleased with his own performances! At 3 o'clock we went to Trinity Church - and on our return met Mary walking with Mr Starkey, so we all went down to the Pier together and met Fred and the rest of the family. Fine day and much cooler than yesterday Lady Elizabeth Cartwright has a daughter. [9]

22nd Took a little walk with Louy, and in the afternoon drove with her, Emily and Miss Kaye to Quarr Abbey and on to Fish house, and Wooton Creek, while they sketched. Went on the Pier, and met Mr Starkey - also Sir David Cunynghame and his son - some of the Russians landed in their steamer -. Hugh went out fishing with Henry, but no sport -

23rd Boiling hot day - Mr and Mrs Cartwright came over to luncheon from East Cowes Castle - Sat with us on the Pier and went back by the five o'clock steamer. Met Sir George back on the Pier. I had not seen him for many years, but he recognised me, which is supposed to be a compliment! Hugh and Emily and Fred went out with Henry in the 'Pip' to Brown [10] Down camp opposite and saw the Queen / as did we / return in the 'Fairy' from Aldershot to Osborne - She passed close to the three Russian Vessels and they all saluted her, and manned the guns, a very pretty sight. Some of the Russians came ashore in their varied boats. Henry dined with us.

24th Strong easterly breeze - Hugh and Henry went in the 'Pip' to Lymington - Louy Emily and I went over with Captain Gooch / who lunched here / to Portsmouth to hear the band of the Rifle Brigade. It played on the Governor's Green from 4 till 6 - and we saw several of the Officers, Fred's friends Mr Bunbury, Buller etc. - came home by the 6 o'clock steamer Prince Albert very crowded, with people returning from Sir James Scarlet's ball last night - 600 people. [11]

Picture - Louisa Somerville, Lady Somerville's eldest daughter, shortly after the diaries were written.

25th Boiling hot day! At 12 o'clock we went over to Portsmouth Louy, Mary, Fred and I to see the Review on South Sea Common by Sir James Scarlet - Captain Gooch went with us, and was very kind and useful. Saw Mr Young on board and he gave a very good account of Lady Alicia and baby - We took a Fly and went to Blenheim Cottage at Southsea, to lunch with Sir David and Lady Cunynghame, who were very good natured and lively - but the heat was most overpowering! Colonel and Mrs Macmahon called - a very fine looking man, and Colonel Mountjoy Martin arrived from London, and seemed to think himself a person of great importance. [12] At three we walked across the Common with Lady Cunynghame, and took up a very good station on the Esplanade. Fred saw his Doctor who took us to a very good place near the General and they all marched close to us - The Rifle Brigade, Artillery, East Kent, Limerick and Cheshire Militias with their different bands playing. They then all attacked the fort and fired over each others heads - The Fort and Castle returned it and there was a tremendous firing on all sides - shells were fired into the sea too, but as that was at the further end of the Common we had not energy to follow them in the heat - but the sound was very fine and effective, and gave us some notion of what a siege would be and altogether we were very much pleased. [13] It was over about five and we trudged with Lady Caroline across the Common to Portsmouth, a few drops of rain giving indications of a thunder storm which gradually increased. We went up the High St. and saw the Militia march past and the General, who stopped and talked to Lady Caroline and offered us his house to shelter in - He is a fine old man - and very popular -. We now walk down to the Victoria Pier, and there came a pretty sharp thunder storm so we thought it best to wait under the awning for the next steamer at 7.15. Mr Starkey and Captain Gooch were there too - We did not get home till 1/2 past 8 - but quite dry, though there was some beautiful lightening during our crossing - and we enjoyed the cool air after the extreme heat. [14] We found them all at dinner having sent down to meet us at the two previous steamers - Hugh was returned from his expedition to Pennington - had seen Lady Erroll and Minnie - got aground on the Lymington Creek, but got home in six hours - He and Fred went to the Infirmary ball in the storm but it does not seem to have been very amusing - Fred is quite well and seems up to anything now - The lightening all the Evening was incessant, and most magnificent and the rain was much wanted -

26th A mild close day - I heard from Mrs Windham from Bedale, where she is staying with her widowed sister in law at Bedale - Emily and I and Fred and Mr./no Captain/ Gooch went out with us in the 'Pip'. It was Prince Albert's birthday, and all the ships [15] were decorated with Flags - We went first round the Russian Ships, and then down to Osborne. She is very nice fast little Vessel only 8 tons. Kenelm steered and we went merrily along -. Saw the Fairy with her steam up, and the 2 Queen's barges following - We waited some time to see the Queen but she did not embark till we had set sail again - however we saw the Guns manned on board the Victoria and Albert, and her Majesty go on board at 6 - we do not know for what purpose - but shall learn by the time tomorrow. Came home by 7. Captain Gooch and Henry dined with us - .


Quarr Abbey in the late 19th century.

27th Fine day again - Emily and [16] Fred went in the Pip to Portsmouth Harbour, and were 3 1/2 hours getting back, the tide being against them. I drove a Pony carriage with Sim and Miss Kaye to Binstead, while the others walked there to sketch. Then we drove on to Quarr Abbey and got into a narrow rutty lane and were obliged to turn round and come back into the Newport road. A capital Pony and carriage - We left Miss Kaye, and took up Mary at Binstead, and laughed all the way at our clever driving etc. - Walked on the Pier, and met Kenelm and Emily watching the Pip! They landed in a shore boat at 7 - Met the Felix Smiths, and Mrs Maxwell on the Pier.

28th Sunday - Fine clear day but cold wind. Went in the Rig [17] to St Thomas's Church - and at three to St Johns with Mary, a pretty little Church on the Hill close to the Turnpike in the wood -. Then went on the Pier, and met the whole family, and Mrs James Ward, with whom we renewed our acquaintance -. Met Captain Gooch too and walked the Hill with him - Henry came up to lunch with us, and went to Trinity Church. -

29th This morning at 10 we heard firing from the Russian Ships, and then from the Ships at Spithead, Saw all the Guns manned and soon after the 'Fairy' gliding by, conveying her Majesty to Portsmouth en route to Scotland. She leaves London at 9 tonight [18] by Train, sleeping at Holyrood - At 12, we started with Emily on a Steamer to Cowes, called on Mrs Denman, but she was just packing up to leave Cowes for Ryde in the Fairy - We saw Captain Denman in full dress in the Club, and are very sorry to miss them - At 2 o'clock we took the 'Solent' and went on to Lymington - It blew very hard and was somewhat rough particularly in crossing from Yarmouth to Lymington up a long twisting creek, with nothing but mud shores to be seen - except a pretty view of Hurst Castle and the Needles. We found a fly awaiting us at the Pier and drove to Pennington house about a mile and a half through a very ugly bleak country - The House is rather a large one, and [19] few trees about it to shelter it from the winds - but the country is as ugly and uninteresting as possible. A square red brick house with stone corners, which has had a large drawing room and bed room added to it - We found dear Lady Erroll sitting alone in it, and delighted of course to greet us tho' alas she could not see us - and then Minny came in, almost blown away with the high windClick for Footnote detailF/N 8, -. The three boys are very nice fellows from 12 downwards, and have an excellent young Tutor Mr Austen, who seems to give entire satisfaction to all parties - The baby / Constance, my Goddaughter is a darling little fair blue eyed merry thing - Beatrice, a plain lively girl of 8 - and Somerville [20] a funny little white haired boy 4. It is quite touching to see dear Lady Erroll's patient cheerfulness under her terrible afflictions. She really is a pattern for us all.

30th Kenelm got a holiday for the boys today, and Cricket and blackberries were the amusements - We all set out to walk on the Salterns, a sort of mushy common - and met Captain Balfour walking from Lymington where he is living, with Mr Clifford / son of Sir Augustus / and a boy Wemyss. He showed us the salt drying pans made of iron, with furnaces beneath which cause the water to evaporate and leave the salt - which is heaped up in a warehouse and shipped off - the sea water is pumped up by a windmill into the pits - The men told us it was very hard [21] work, for as the fires must be kept burning, they can never undress from Monday till Saturday, but only lie down in their clothesClick for Footnote detailF/N 9. We returned home to see Mrs Balfour who is so pretty and pleasing, and reminded us of Mrs Sidney Herbert -. dark and graceful - When they were gone, we again started with Minny and the boys to walk, when we met a small carriage containing, Lady Caroline and her son and Lady Henrietta Morant so we turned back again to talk to them - Lady Henrietta is a distinguee looking person, but not handsome, and a very lovely agreeable manner - They very kindly asked us to dine and sleep at Brockenhurst tomorrow, but we were obliged to decline - Minny also pressed us to stay, but having seen them all, there was no great [22] temptation - It must be dreadfully dreary in the Winter! Mr Austen dined with us at 7 - and we liked him extremely, and I think them very fortunate in having secured him during Frederick's absence. -

31st Minnie's 40th birthday. We got up at 7 and found her ready to give us our breakfast, and the boys to open the gates and dear Lady Erroll to give us a last embrace - and then we drove down again to the Solent but not till Emily had filled her bag with their beautiful peaches and nectarines, which abound in their garden - we reached Cowes before 11 walked up to Belmore house, to call on Mrs Lyon, who we found at home - it was many years since I had seen her - and she is a little aged - but always looks nice - we sat sometime with her, and [23] bought some fruit and Cracknells, and then came on to Ryde by the 12.15 Steamer - Baron Dimsdale the Russian Doctor, and his wife were on board, and some very loving couples. We met Louy and Mary at the Pier, and Henry and Fred at the end, and all walked home together in time for the family luncheon - found a letter from Hugh, who is beginning his drill - and dining with Mr Musgrave - Henry Head dined with us - Kenelm and Louy and I went to call on Sir James and Lady Sterling at Thornbury Villa - and on Mrs Banks and Fanny Digby - A letter from Mrs Denman, who had called in our absence - as well as Sir Thomas and Lady Troubridge. [24]

Sept 1st At 10 o'clock the whole of the juvenile party in a Fly and a Pony carriage started for Brading and Shanklin to sketch etc. - rather showery unluckily - Kenelm and I remained quietly at home, and Sir James Stirling came and paid us a visit - a nice old man - Kenelm and I went to the Workshop and then on the Pier but it was showery - I prolonged my walk to the end of the Strand and explored the lower road which only lead me up to St John's turnpike, and I came home very tired - The family came home safe at 7 - having enjoyed their trip extremely - they lunched at Sandown - went on to Shanklin and Arreton - and had not much rain - Several Russians are settled at Sandown for bathing. [25]

2nd It began to rain about 11 and was very showery all morning - To our surprise Mrs Lyon and Mary came over to luncheon at two, thoroughly wet - it cleared a little, and we walked down to the end of the Pier with them, and saw one off for Portsmouth and the other for Cowes - but it poured again and we returned home - The Wherries and Pilot boats sailed but the Boat racing etc. is put off till tomorrow, when I hope it may be finer - Henry dined with us -

3rd A fine day again - The Anniversary of our 26th Wedding day - happy and prosperous as usual thank God. The Regatta was to be finished today - and the Pier was so crowded that Kenelm and I, Emily and Selina went out in a boat from which [26] we saw the Duck hunt famously dodging in and out of the Pier - Fred and Henry sailed in the 'Pip' - We rowed on to the Russian Frigate and went on board her - She is a very fine ship but there were not so many officers to do the honours as in the other ship nor was it in such good order - There are 700 men in her, 2 huge guns of 120 lbs each and 60 guns of 60 lbs - She was built in America, and is going to Cronstadt on 25th - The Grand Dukes Cabin is very neat and handsome and the Captain's also - but the men look dirty and untidy - There was a whole fleet of small vessels sailing for the prize and each to get something, but they won by lottery and by good sailing - Met Sir James and Lady Stirling on[ 27] the Pier, and had a parley with them. Saw the Arrow, and some of the Rifles in their yacht - The name of the Russian Ship is the 'General Admiral' -.

4th Sunday - Fine day - Went to St Thomas's in the morning, and stayed the Sacrament - all very reverently done - Saw Sir Thomas and Lady Troubridge and Sir James and Lady Stirling there - In the afternoon to Trinity - also very respectably done - 5 babies christened and very fully attended - Went on the Pier with all the family - met Henry, and sat with the Miss MaxwellsClick for Footnote detailF/N 10, a little - but they are not fascinating.

5th Brilliant day - Lady Troubridge called early to find us at home, and is handsome, and very unaffected. [28] At 12, we all went down to see dear Emily off to Portsmouth on route for Beech HillClick for Footnote detailF/N 11, - escorted to the Rail by Kenelm, Fred and Louy - I took a very nice walk with Miss Kaye and Julia to St Clare and up through the wood by Appley Tower and St Johns. The Portsmouth party came home by four, having seen Emily safe off.

6th Heavy rain for an hour or two but it cleared, and became a fine day. We were taken in this morning by the announcement of a Mrs Hardy. I expected to see a friend and walked up to shake hands and found it was a stranger - She sat mincing and talking very small talk for some time, and we did not know what to make of her - till she pulled some Drawings out of her pocket wretched daubs / and asked us to [29] patronise her husband who had taught Lord Stoppard etc. and was subject to fits - We were nearly in fits too, and could say nothing civil about the drawing. Went shopping with Louy and Selina and then down to the Pier, where I lost my purse alas! Saw the Grand Duke Constantine embark in his barge 16 oars, and went on board the large ship 'General Admiral' which is to sail tomorrow morning - They had a grand dispute about the Ball I hear, as they spoilt all the furniture. The Frigate still remains.

8th Showery day - Kenelm and I went early to call on Sir Thomas and Lady Troubridge in the Strand - He is a large good natured looking man and manages wonderfully without legs! Click for Footnote detailF/N 12. [30] Kenelm, Fred and two sisters went to Portsmouth to hear the band, while I went with Selina and Julia to 'Dr Mark and his little men', in the Victorian Rooms - a most interesting Concert, he has established a Concert for their education at Manchester - pays 1000 pounds a year for their masters only clothes and feeds them - for they are mostly the children of very poor parents and puts them out to some trade - He has already educated nearly 4000 and seems a most amiable benevolent man - a German by birth - and their performance / all by heart / is quite wonderful! He deserves all encouragement. The party came back at 6.30 and we went to the Pier to meet them, but it was so cold and stormy I could not wait - Henry dined with us - Letter from dear Emily who arrived all safe at Beech Hill - Hugh is there.[31]

8th Showery Day - the girls went to call on Lady Sterling - and I walked with Louy by Spencers road to Binstead to sketch the church. A very pretty walk though shady lanes and a hilly footpath -. Kenelm encountered 'Ned Talbot' in the Pier - Staying with the Admiral Bowles at Portsmouth.





Son Freddie, Clinton, Buller, Bunbury and colleagues from the Rifle Brigade.

9th Pouring all morning - but it cleared at one and we got out - Miss Sterling called to arrange about the Masonic Ball tonight. Kenelm and Fred and the two girls went to Dr. Mark's concert. Julia and I took a long walk on the Newchurch road, and down a narrow steep lane - out by the Infirmary - rather tired - but at 10 we went to the Ball, Fred and two girls [32] Being only 3 shilling tickets, we expected a great mixture, but it proved to be a very select nice little dance - Only a pianoforte and Clarinet but well played by Mr Jones - and we stayed till 2.30 - Mademoiselle Lacase and Miss Ellison seemed to be the great attractions - The former a Russian but we thought them very bad style and admired the Miss Sterlings much more - they were very good natured in introducing the girls to their partner. Many of the Rifle brigade were there, Lord E. ClintonClick for Footnote detailF/N 13, Mr Buller Mr Ruthven etc. I made acquaintance with Mr Vansikert Member for Windsor, and Mrs Sterling whom we knew formerly at Leamington - Altogether it was far pleasanter than we expected.

[33] 10th Fine day but cool - met Mrs Maxwell and her daughters - The girls went to Binstead and Quarr and Kenelm and I on the Strand, and up by Appley Tower round by St Johns road - We met Fred and his two friends Bunbury and Swenna walking - Saw the Trafalgar sail to the Westward - very handsome 90 guns - The Great Eastern passed the back of the Island on her way to Portland this morning. Every body is rushing down to Weymouth to see her by Train and steamers / Henry dined with us -



The Great Eastern in 1859.

11th My 55th birthday / How time flies /the faster as one gets older but I have innumerable blessings to [34] be thankful for - and I hope I am so - A bright and beautiful day - This morning I received a beautiful purse / to replace my lost one - and a copy of Verses from my four daughters - a most acceptable present and a great promise of poetical genius. Went with Julia to St James's Church, a very curious one, with Anti Chapel, Gratings etc. - but the duty very well performed, by our old friend Mr Ker, who used to be at St Mary's Leamington - In the Evening to Trinity. Mr Wade the Encumbent we did not much like -. Afterwards on the Pier a constant moving Panorama. Met Colonel and Mrs Bruce, Miss Sterling Messrs Buller Vanddeur etc. KB drunken Russians as usual. [35] We hear there has been an accident on board the Great Eastern, and several men killed! by the boiler bursting - several poor men killed!

12th Mary and I started for Southampton at 9-20 in 'The Queen' steamer a very fine day with a light breeze. Stayed only 10 minutes at Cowes and got to Southampton at 12. Walked up the Town to the basket shop etc. Got our luncheon at Fisk's, and then took a Fly up to Colonel Tryons. They have a very good house near the Polygon / Wroxton Terrace / and were very glad to see us - Colonel Tryon very kindly offered his services to show us the Docks, which we were very glad to accept - Saw some very fine steamers, the Aneida, the [36] Ripon, the June a new one just come from London the Tasmania and several others - / the largest 3,000 ton looks so immense, that one can hardly realize the idea of the Great Eastern being 25,000 / - the accounts of her accident are fearfulClick for Footnote detailF/N 14, - We returned by the 4.30 Steamer and got home at 7 to dinner - Fred had been over to Portsmouth to see his surgeon who pronounces him fit for duty so he joins tomorrow! Letters from Emily and Miss Kaye - the latter tells us of old Miss Elich's marriage at 58 to a Bigot and Alice Warburton's tomorrow.

13th Stormy day - I walked with Louy by the sea to Spring Vale to call on Lady Alicia Young - but she was gone out, and I only saw the small baby, who is doing well - It is a dreary looking place, and [37] the mud smelt dreadfully. It is a very nice walk by the Sea Wall, and home by the road and Appley.

14th Very stormy again, but we walked down to the Pier to see Fred off by the 3-10 Steamer to join his Regiment at Portsmouth. The girls went to luncheon with the Stirlings, and walked with them to Appley after - they are so very kind and pleasant, and I wish we had known them sooner - Julia went to drink tea with the little one - I walked on the Binstead road alone - Henry dined with us yesterday, and was obliged to go home in a Bath chair it poured so.

15th Bright and very calm day - we went by the 2.10 steamer - Kenelm [38] Louy Selina, and I to Portsmouth - Count and Countess Strogenoff - and all their children, Governess Dogs etc. crossed with us / She was a Pf Leuchleabey and very nice looking / We drove up to Southsea / Portland Terrace / to call on the Felix Smiths, and found them just going to the Common to see the Review so we all went together and saw it almost better than the last time, and much more comfortably as the heat was then so great. We met Fred, who was in uniform but did not manoevre with them not being quite strong enough - Poor Kenelm had caught cold and was obliged to retire to the Pier and sit there until we joined him. We returned by the 5.30 Steamer and found Julia with her young friend Georgy Sterling at Tea. Kenelm went to bed early with mustard plasterClick for Footnote detailF/N 15, [39] Letter from dear Emily, who had been drenched in a Thunder Storm at Beech Hill - but is very happy -

16th Letter from dear Lady Erroll - Lady Caroline is staying with them. Kenelm is better this morning - but did not get much sleep with pain. However I hope it is only muscular. The girls walked with Miss Sterling to St Clare, and were delighted with the Gardens and place. I waited to see Mr Bloxham the Doctor who came to see Kenelm at 5 - He thinks it proceeds from cold, and hopes soon to do him good - I went on the Pier with Julia and called on Henry who is still very piano - Mary and Selina went to the Sterlings to Tea or rather to Supper, on Ducks and toasted cheese. [40]

17th Very windy and stormy again poor Kenelm much better this morning but in the afternoon not so well, and saw Mr Bloxam a second time - He is a nephew of Sir Thomas Lawrence's - and a very satisfactory man - went with Julia to call on Lady Sterling but she was out -. Mr and Miss Anderson called, to ask us to their ball on Tuesday - Fred came over to see us - Henry Head called also - he is better.

18th Sunday - Dear Kenelm had a pretty good night and is certainly better today, but I was very anxious about him yesterday Evening - fearing a return of his former inflammation - However Morphine, and a Laudenum poultice relieved him, and my fears happily! The girls returned about 11 having enjoyed their dinner at the Stirlings. Wedding cards from Miss Garnet and Major Kelt whom we met at Dunchurch. [41] I did not go to Church in the morning but read the prayers to Kenelm, who remains in bed today tho' better, fine day and calm - I went to Trinity Church in the Afternoon - and then went to the end of the Pier to meet Fred but he never arrived - Met the Charles Holbecks and their children. They are living at Shalford house. Walked back with them - The girls went to Binstead Church with the Stirlings - Henry dined with us -.

19th Dear Kenelm better, but had a disturbed night - Came to the Drawing room - The Charles Holbecks called early. I went to Mr James, to take the house on a little longer - I hope only a day or two - Went on the Pier with Louy, Mary, and Henry - met the Stirlings, and the little girl Georgie came to Tea. [42] Called on Lady Troubridge, but they were gone - and the Maxwells out - Fred never appeared -.

20th A very good night and Kenelm down to breakfast, so I hope all is going well -. He went out twice. After luncheon we took a Phaeton and Louy, Mary, Julia and I, drove to Bembridge to call on Lady Lifford. We went by the Village of St Helens, down a steep hill, and across a very deep sandy bit of CommonClick for Footnote detailF/N 16, to the Ferry, and crossed the Brading harbour in the boat to Bembridge - Walked up a pretty road thro' an Avenue and found 'Hill Grove' quite a new Country House - poor Lady Lifford was so low about her elder sister Miss Maude / who is dying / that [43] she could not see me - but the two Miss Hewetts received us very kindly, showed us their very / pretty little Church, with a Spire gathered violets for us - and then regaled us with Tea and bread and butter and walked us down to the Ferry where Chacon was ready to row us across again - and we remounted our Fly and got home 1/4 before 7 - found Fred and Henry, with Kenelm, awaiting our arrival - for dinner - after which they chaperoned Louy and Mary to Mr Anderson's ball at Beldormer Tower - which they enjoyed, and did not come home till near four! -

21st Raining all night and morning till 12, when it happily cleared, and Selina and I took leave of pretty Ryde [44] and leaving the weeping Sisters and Henry on the Pier, embarked for Portsmouth did not find Fred on the Pier as we expected - drove up to the station and had a prosperous journey by Winchester to Basingstoke - where we changed for Reading, or rather Mortimer, where we arrived at 4.40 - found Charlotte Hunter, and Emily looking as bright as ever, and greeting us most affectionately - jumped into the Waggonette, and drove to Beech Hill where the old pair, were prepared to receive us - gave us some tea and then we strolled about the Garden. Still in high beauty - dined and worked, talked etc. till bed time.

22nd Fine bright day luckily. Went out with Mrs Hunter, and were busy cutting down Shrubberies, and [45] taking in pretty views till luncheon. Selina and the girls went to the School, and blackberrying etc. - Selina rode with Mr Hunter to Swallowfield etc. and Mrs Hunter Charlotte Emily and I drove in the Waggonette to call at Goodrest - found Mrs Willes and her daughter, who were very civil - and showed us the Garden and the beautiful view from the Terrace. It is a very nice comfortable house too - From thence we went via Shinfield, and 3 Mile Cross to meet Kenelm and the family at the Mortimer station - he is quite well and there was a great clamour for five minutes, when they wizzed away from our sight and we came back to give an opinion as to the arrangement of a 'Diner a la Russe'. [46] The effect upon flat dishes was pronounced a total failure, and the good old fashioned adopted. At 7 our fourteen guests assembled and Selina made her debut in the dining out department - Sir John and Lady Harrington - / he a little man with a bald head, and pointed beard, just like a Vandyck picture and very pleasant and good natured / She rather a handsome would be - fine London Lady -. Colonel and Mrs Parks Mr and Mrs Alfiez, nouveaux riches and very free and easy in consequence. Mr Cobham and his son, who left Ryde with us - rather 2nd rate. We had only music from our own girls, as Sir John has unfortunately lost his voice - he sings beautifully. [47]

23rd A very mild damp day after a rainy night - busy cutting again the girls went to the School and mushrooming - After luncheon we all went in the Waggonette to Swallowfield Cricket match - It is a large flat place, but a good house - Lady Russell was very civil and we sat under some large trees, in a field - Sir John and Lady Harrington two Miss Erskine Perry's, and a few other neighbours were there - Sir Charles and his brother George playing and Miss Russell and Priscilla and Mary being agreeable to their guests - We went into the house, and found the tea and fruit spread in the Hall, of which we partook - and then drove home, singing catches and glees at the top of our voices - found Henry returned [48] from Shooting with Dr Smith - Miss Oldfield arrived to dinner rather a nice girl - music and Pips filled up the Evening -

24th Henry went early to London very mild and fitful again after a wet night -. I quite forgot to mention Miss Codrington's visit yesterday. She drove over to luncheon, and helped us to cut down the Shrubbery - At one o'clock we drove to Reading with Mrs Hunter and Charlotte -. It was very hot - Walked about and went to the S.E.Station with Mrs Hunter but did not find Mrs Somerville there - The Ramseys came down there to see us, just come from Paris and Boulogne - At 3 our train arrived and we parted with much regret from the Hunters. [49] Found Mrs Begland and her sister in the train, and came on with them to Leamington - Found the 3 girls waiting for us at the Station - Emily and Sim. Walked home - found Kenelm rather weak and languid - but I hope Mr Jones will soon set him to rights again - The house looks so clean and comfortable and the garden very pretty and ferns beautiful - Found letters from Mrs Fairfax, Mrs Manning, Miss Kaye, and Lady Willoughby. Colonel and Mrs Pratt go to Malta on Thursday - and thus ends our 'Short and uneventful history' of 2 months at Ryde -. 1859

[FINIS] - transcribed by Bruce Osborne 2001



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