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Edmund Sydney Williams, 1817 - 1891
Edmund Sydney Williams wrote the original of this autobiography in several stages, between 1867 and 1889. It has been re-copied several times, this version having been copied by Nevil Harvey-Williams in 2002. See last paragraph for full path from source.
I was born at Beeston in Nottinghamshire Jan. 28th 1817 in a house called the Gravel Pits which, when I went to see it 20 years after, had been turned into a public house. My mother's father lived in Beeston. He was a Mr. John Heath and was a hosiery manufacturer there; my father's father [Thomas Williams] had been a navy agent and contractor at Gosport, had made much money during the [Napoleonic] war and then gone into business at Nottingham as a hosiery merchant - and here my father and uncles and aunts were brought up - they lived in Plumpton [actually, Plumptre N.T.H.W.] House, Nottingham.
My grandfather Williams is said to have been a man of very superior abilities, a great and fascinating speaker and an excellent companion. While living at Gosport he was on very intimate terms with Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, brother of the Earl of Hardwick, and he offered to be the godfather of my father. My grandfather being a dissenter, however, objected to godfathers but named my father after him. My grandfather (b.1754), died in (1804) when my father was quite young. He had married a Miss Marsh, a relation of the Bishop of Peterborough's, and after his death the younger portion of the family was brought up Churchmen and women. Indeed, I believe that but for the peculiar circumstances in which my father was placed in Hamburg afterwards, he would not have been a dissenter either, much as he honoured the memory of his father.
Of course, I remember nothing of my grandfather Williams and I can hardly remember my grandmother, though she did once pay us a visit in Hamburg. My mother's father and mother also once paid us a visit when we were living in Altona (1820). I can just remember the fact.
When my grandfather died in 1804 my father was 18 and he had to take to the business with a partner and, having been very delicate in his youth, he never was a first rate man of business and the result was that one morning they found that the partner had bolted with every farthing he could lay hold of and involved the business to such an extent that they were obliged to liquidate. All that was saved was the money belonging to my grandmother, which was settled on her. This happened in 1816 or 1817 - after my sister Cary and I were born. [The family business, however, foundered in 1812, and this description is completely at variance with that available from other sources. The discrepancy in the dates suggest, perhaps, that the debacle he refers to is the bankruptcy of his father's linen drapers business in Cheltenham in the autumn of 1817, rather than the collapse of the family business in Nottingham. N.T.H.W.].
My grandfather had many intimate personal friends in the mercantile world and Mr. Thompson Hankey, an eminent city merchant and I believe a banker, offered my grandmother to take my father into their house, in the first instance as a corresponding clerk, if he could make up his mind to go to Germany for a time to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the German language, as well as French, which he knew. With this in view he went to Hamburg (or rather, in the first instance, to Altona near Hamburg) in 1818, where he remained for 40 years and where most of my brothers and sisters were born.
My father was the eldest of 4 sons and 3 daughters. The next brother, my uncle John, at the time when my father went to Germany, was offered either to follow him and also prepare himself for a post in a merchant's house, or to take a clerkship in the Bank of England. He chose the latter and died a clerk in the Bank of England; he was a good-tempered kind-hearted man but was not ambitious. The next brother Henry was in the Navy and had been in many actions during the war; he was with Nelson at Copenhagen and in many parts of the globe. When the peace came and there was little hope of promotion he left the Navy and, having become 'serious', he took to the missionary line and married and went to New Zealand, very early, long before it became a British Colony and is there still (1867) now as Archdeacon Henry Williams. The fourth and youngest son William was to have been a physician and indeed studied medicine and passed, but he also became 'serious' and followed his brother as a missionary to New Zealand but not till after he had been to Oxford and had been ordained in the ordinary way. He had better abilities and more opportunities of improving them - he is now Bishop of Waiapu in New Zealand and has translated the Prayer Book and great part of the Bible into New Zealand; also made a dictionary and a grammar of that language.
Of the daughters, Lydia, the eldest, married her cousin Edward Marsh, a clergyman, and had a very large family, very few of whom however grew up and there are not above 3 or 4 children in the next generation. [Some died young but most in their 60's/70's but did not marry, so there were not many grandchildren. D.A.S.W.]. Mary, the second, was a clever and talented girl but wild and whimsical. She went out as a governess and made plenty of money, out of which she was always cheated by some pretended saint. She went to America and there was bitten with a desire to convert the Jews and to be in Palestine at the time of the 'Second coming of Christ', which she believed to be in 1860 ot thereabouts, but she was again cheated out of all she had by a baptised Jew in whom she believed, and died in Bethlehem, I believe in great distress. She was no doubt a very good woman but a terrible bore - how glad we were to see the last of her. The youngest, Katherine, remained with my grandmother for many years after my grandfather's death; they removed from Nottingham to Southwell, where they took the old 'Palace' attached to the Minster and founded a ladies' school, which is still flourishing. She after many years married Edward Heathcote, a man of very good family, who was the organist at Southwell Minster and a thorough gentleman. I remember him well; he came to see us at Hamburg - he was lame. He died however more than 25 years ago, before I returned to England.
Of my mother's family there were three brothers only - William Prentice the eldest, who remained a bachelor; he was first at Lille as a lace manufacturer, then in 1836 about he came to England and for some years he had a situation in the Eastern Counties Railway when it was first started. He, however left in 1837 or 1838 and with James Brown went to America where he carried out an invention he had for making a varnish which should be light, flexible and durable and which they first applied to hats for Emigrants. This took very well and by degrees they applied it to other purposes and were the first inventors and for many years the only makers of what has since become so well known as American Leather Cloth. They made a fortune out of it and Brown lives retired in France, my uncle is still keeping on with a nephew Edmund Heath but he now generally lives here in London; he came here when my mother returned to England with my father.
The next brother James was a lawyer in Nottingham; he was a clever fellow but good for nothing. He brought up a large family very badly and the children left him in his old age to die in Nottingham, at last kept out of the workhouse only by the contributions of his relations.
Edmund, the youngest, started as a hosier in Wood Street, Cheapside, and would probably have done well but he had a large family and thought the Colonies a better place for them and he went to Canada and bought land near Guelph, and though the family has sunk somewhat in point of education he is doing very well; he is a magistrate and holds some other offices. His eldest son is my Uncle William's partner in Newark, New Jersey. [According to D.A.S.W., E.S.W. has got these in the wrong order; Edmund was the oldest, William Prentice was younger, and James's date of birth is not recorded. Also, it was Edmund's second son who became Uncle William's partner.]
The early years of my father's married life were spent in Beeston near my grandfather Heath's and there Cary and I were born but when my father went to Altona to learn German, he was induced by the persuasion of many of the influential merchants there and in Hamburg to remain there and, instead of learning German, to teach them and their sons English. He appeared to see his way to a better livelihood there than as a clerk in London and he wrote to my mother to come out to him. This she did with me, as a baby of 15 months, in the spring of 1818. Cary was left behind with her grandmother for a year or two.
I believe they first lived in Altona in the Pall Maille and afterwards in Ottensen, a little village close to Altona, but I remember nothing of this. My first recollections are in a house in the Elbe Street in Altona near the west end of the street and the town and close to the shore of the river; the garden of the house opened on to a shipbuilding yard on the river and here many of the leisure hours of us boys was spent - here John and I were constantly tumbling into the water - here we were always bathing against the strict orders of our mother and whipped in consequence; we were so often in the water, upset in boats and canoes, or fallen from the slips and the beams lying there that it is a wonder that we were not drowned - some higher fate appears reserved for us.
My earliest recollections are of the time when I must have been only 4 years old. It was when my sister Betsy was born in September 1820; my grandfather and grandmother Heath were there on a visit and I can remember him showing me an eclipse of the sun through some smoked glass - it was on 7th September of that year that Betsy was born. It was a big house according to my notions at the time and for long after, though when after 30 years I went to see the old place I found but a moderate sized house, plenty of rooms but all small. It was near the end of the street and beyond that the country began and the first place beyond the gate was a large public garden Rainvilles Garden into which we often went to play and to gather flowers - it was very much changed when I last saw it, for a railway incline runs close to it and divides it from the other gardens that we used to see opposite our windows - gardens in name but they were more like a wood and ran up a steep hill.
In that house were born John, Betsy, Philip and Mary. I many years afterwards found on a stall in Hamburg an etching in mezzotint of this very house - the only copy of the print I ever saw and it must have been made whilst we were living there for the light in the windows on the first floor show that it was taken while a long room of 5 windows was divided into two, which was done for us but removed immediately after.
From here I went to my first school - Miss Krohm's, which was in the Elbe Street at the corner of the Van der Smissens Allee. It was a girls school but there were a few more little boys, but I have no remembrance of them. My chief delight was the shipyard and many a ship have I seen built and launched from our bedroom windows. At very high tides, which occurred often in the spring after the melting of the ice and with a north-west wind, the river would rise to our doorstep and I remember once seeing one sheet of water from our house to Hamburg, a distance of above 5 miles. The river was frozen over almost every winter and many a time have we gone across on skates to the opposite shore in Hanover. There was always a Danish war-sloop lying off Altona in the Elbe and my earliest recollections are of the firing of the gun at 9 o'clock which often woke me out of my sleep and to hear which I often remained awake.
When our family grew so fast my father had at one time serious intentions of emigrating to Van Diemens Land, (now Tasmania); indeed he went so far as to purchase an immense chest of tools from England and taught himself and us the elements of carpentering. We also learnt basket-making and other accomplishments for a settler's life but somehow it never came to anything. I believe the difficulty was the money to be saved for the voyage of a large family and something to live upon out there. One of his friends, a Mr Leake, went out and others followed but I never heard of them again.
But the distance from Altona to Hamburg, where after a while he was principally employed, was too great and in 1825, I think, he removed to the suburb called 'The Berg' but since named St. Pauli but we only remained there a year. From here I went to my first boy's school, Dr Breuning in Hamburg and some of my schoolfellows there are now men of note in Hamburg - de Chapeaurouge, Hagedorn, Harry Berckmeyer, the elder brother of my more intimate friend, were my schoolfellows there. The school was close to St. Petri church and the building still remains, I believe, though much around it was burned down during the great fire.
But even this appeared too far from Hamburg and the following year we removed to Hamburg itself at the bottom of the Rodingsmark. During our stay there I remember my grandmama Heath died but there was not much to mark that year. Papa's cousin Edw. Marsh who afterwards married Miss Leake (Mrs. Dick's sister) was then living with us - the house had previously been inhabited by the Leakes who removed from thence to Horneburg in Hanover where Mr. L. started a brewery. Mr. Leake was one of those unfortunate men who always are experimentalising and never succeeding in anything. I went to visit them at Horneburg but Mrs Leake was then dead and the only one at home besides John Leake the son, a good for nothing fellow, was Ellen Leake, a sweet amiable girl - who was then engaged to be married to Mr. E. Marsh, but who died. [From this rather muddled syntax, it can probably be deduced that Edward Thomas Marsh, who features at greater length in my 'History of the Williams Family', originally intended to marry Ellen Leake, but when she died married her sister, who E.S.W. thinks might be Mary Leake. N.T.H.W.]
[Inserted here is part of a letter from Catherine Heathcote, visiting her brother Thomas Sydney in Hamburg, to Jane Williams, dated 24th July 1839.]
'... Whilst I am enjoying the society of one part of our dispersed family, I must not forget another tho' so distant as your dear selves.
It is now nine years since I was here and I have yielded to the kind & repeated invitations of Sydney & Caroline, to visit them once more & I particularly wished to come now, because poor Edw'd Thomas (E.T.Marsh, their cousin) is in a very poor state of health, and also Syd's daughter Mary is coming to school. ...
I found all Sydney's family quite well; but poor Edw'd's appearance shocked me greatly. He has a bad cough, has lost a great deal of flesh & he is very weak. Under these circumstances if he persists in giving lessons, which alone affords him an income, a few months will probably see his wife a widow and his children fatherless. His medical attendant, who is considered the cleverest man in Hamburg has ordered him to a bathing place on the Rhine for a month or so and we hope he will spend the winter with Catherine Leake, (now Mrs Dick) his wife's sister, at Frankfurt. Our summer is so fast passing away that no time should be lost & we happily succeeded in getting him off last night. He went in the Steamer to London, as the cheapest & best way. He will thus see John whom he has not seen for eighteen years & will then take another Steamer up the Rhine. His eldest girl, Ellen, is nearly ten years old & the next, Jane, the very image of her father, is between eight & nine. They go to a day school & seem affectionate & attentive children. The only boy living is Edw'd, about three years old; he is a handsome curly headed boy, but he requires more discipline than he has yet had. Another baby is almost daily expected. Poor Edw'd has not been well for the last four years & as he has appeared to become quite an old man people have not employed him much of late which of course is not convenient with an increasing family. & As to Sydney, he looks much younger than John and has still the blessing of excellent health.
... Caroline looks wonderfully well considering all things & is as active both in body & mind as ever. She has been busy lately in translating from the German [history of Queen Elizabeth] which she hopes to dispose of.'
The year in Hamburg was a disastrous one as far as health was concerned, the house lay between two canals which, at low water, stank, and created disease so we left again and this time settled on the opposite side of Hamburg, at a village called Wandsbeck - about 5 miles on the road to Lubeck. Here the Carrs were settled when we first went there and indeed for a part of the time lived in the same house with us. They were very pleasant people then and we had the benefit of their carriage and horses and altogether it was a pleasant year we spent there. Here Emma was born. The house was a good sized one, had a coach-house and stable and a very large garden opening on to the Wandsbeck woods. Some of the pleasantest recollections of my earlier boyhood are connected with that life at Wandsbeck - though we had to walk to town and back to school every day, and in the winter it was fearfully cold coming home against the East wind. We rarely rode - the expense was too great, even by the 'stoolwagon' which took the gentlemen to Town - but we often got on a return market cart. The woods however were our delight and though we were only there a year it seems as if we had lived there a very long time so much in memory attaches itself to Wandsbeck.
[Around this time, in late 1830, Edmund's grandmother, Mary Williams wrote a letter to her son and daughter-in-law, William and Jane, in New Zealand, expressing her concern at events in Hamburg.]
'... We are at the present time under great anxiety on account of our colony at Hamburg. Though you live on the other side of the globe you are no stranger to the regularly progressive march of the Cholera (that dreadful scourge) from India through Persia into Russia and from thence it now promises to visit all Europe. We are not without our fears that it will come here. But there was no reason to think it would spare Hamburg. We do not know by the bye that it has yet got there, but Sydney and Edwards [her son and nephew] last letters, were of a very melancholy cast. He, the former, tells us their city was thrown into a dreadful consternation on Thursday the 1st of September by the intelligence that the cholera had broken out at Charlottenberg a small town about five English miles on this side of Berlin and orders were immediately given to cut off all communication with Prussia. The daily coaches were stopped and no person allowed to enter Mecklenberg from Prussia until he had performed twenty one days of Quarantine & most earnestly do they & we pray that the blessing of God may attend their endeavours to avert so dreadful a calamity but nevertheless so undeviating has been the progress of the disease in its course westward that but faint hopes are entertained of its course being interrupted. It appears to be communicated by vessels along the different rivers and one of the infected rivers the Havel communicates with the Elbe about 120 miles above Hamburg. The government at Hamburg are as active as possible making every possible preparation for it. Four large hospitals were nearly finished to receive the poorer class of patients and a very large burying ground was preparing for the bodies of those who may become its victims. But the disorder is not all they have to dread. Every kind of business will be at a stand. All schools will be shut, all lessons will cease, and nothing will be done so that the two families as well as many others will have not one farthing coming in at a time when so many extraordinary necessities are to be expected. These anticipation(s) of course make them very anxious as there is reason to fear their inactivity would continue at least a quarter of a year should they be mercifully preserved from the effects of the disorder on themselves and families. The bodies of the dead are to be burned and a man will go before the hearse who is to ring a bell and cry Cholera Cholera to warn every one to get out of the way and the houses of all those who have the disease will be marked by a large board with the word Cholera that no one may enter it. In every family Sydney says, they are laying in provisions and medicines as if the place was going to be bombarded. And nothing else is thought or spoken of from morning till night. It would be natural to suppose that this state of things would make every one serious but it is by no means the case with some few exceptions places of amusement are as much frequented as ever. The town is divided into districts, and to every district Physicians and nurses are appointed and ready to attend the moment they are called. They endeavour to keep constant in their minds that they are in the hands of an all wise Being that not a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge and design; and under his protecting care they shall be as safe then as now. But it is an awful situation! and that of Europe in general is not less so. Asia also is very bad. Indeed if I were young enough to think of running away from the evil to come I should make choice of New Zealand - there everything is improving - here everything is daily growing worse and worse.'
From here the Carrs left us to take the estate which he had bought, Tuschenbeck, near the Ratzburg Lake in Holstein, and to which place we boys were often invited in after years, and where I have spent some happy weeks at a time when Mrs. Carr was still young and agreeable and not the old cat she became in after years. Here on one of our holidays we met Dr. Sieveking - at least he was then Edward Sieveking and was at school at Ratzeburg. Many a ride on the young horses Mr. Carr was breeding and training have we had there and many a fall too. It was about 80 miles from Hamburg, but John and I have several times walked the distance, sleeping on the road in some farmhouse.
In Wandsbeck we knew Claudius, the son of the celebrated German author and poet who had also lived in that village.
But it was too far from Town; Papa had to get up at 6 in order to be in Town by 8 o'clock. We rarely saw him except late at night and on Sundays and after some time we removed again to St. Pauli, facing the Heinigen-Geistfeld, (Heiligen?), a large field not far from the Altona gate. It was near to the school to which Papa had now been appointed and to which we boys were sent - the Johanneum, a public school kept in the cloisters of the old Johannis Church. It was near to the chapel which the English dissenters in Hamburg had built and of which Papa was one of the trustees. [This seems to have been used by all sects, indicating a peaceful relationship - probably the cause of E.S.W.'s tolerance and dislike of fanatics. D.A.S.W.]. There were also many other English, mostly Yorkshire, wool merchants settled near about, the Beckitts, the Jacksons, the Dodgshuns, the Deacons and in fact the greater part of the dissenters were living in the neighbourhood. There we remained for some years till in fact I was 16 and left school.
I remained at the Johanneum till I was 14 but the school got a very bad name about this time; the class of boys was very inferior and I was then taken away and sent for the last two years to Mr. Lutkens in the Alte Wandrahm. This was a very superior school and the boys there of a very different class. Here I first saw all my subsequent friends in Hamburg - Berckmeyer, August and Hermann Behn, Schluter, Pehmoller, Droop, Mohring, Merck, Siemsen, Max and Lorenz Meyer, the Corrissens, were my school fellows there. Of my masters there Dr. Wichern afterwards became famous as the founder of the Rauhehaus, a kind of reformatory for young criminals, which has had a great success and been the model of many similar institutions in Germany.
Many of these schoolfellows are still my friends and most have risen to a good standing in their native town, but it is singular that those who were best off then are not so now, whilst those who were of no great account as to worldly position are now amongst the foremost in Hamburg. August and Hermann Behn were orphans and adopted by other people; Peter Siemsen now a man of enormous wealth, made in China, was the son of a writing master; Berckmeyer the son of a very respectable but decayed merchant.
When I had done school I was apprenticed to a bookseller in Hamburg - Schuberth and Niemeyer - a pushing but somewhat unscrupulous man was Schuberth and when after 2 years he quarrelled with his partner and they separated, I was released from my apprenticeship and having been in communication with Mr. Black of London (then Black, Young and Young) I was engaged as a clerk in their house in August 1836. It had then changed to Black and Armstrong.
The two years in the shop in Hamburg were of great service to me, as it was a small concern and I therefore got an insight into everything connected with the business. They soon found out that I could save them the services of a clerk and I was put to clerk's work, and when I was 19 I was thus enabled to leave home and earn my own living.
I began this [auto-biography] more than 10 years ago and will continue. I left home in August 1836 having had only about 2¼ years of apprenticeship, fortunately with a sure engagement, so the £5 my father gave me then, the only money I ever got from home, enabled me to reach London. I went to Hull first and from Hull by a steamer to London, which was then the most usual way of travelling; there were no railroads then. The ship was very crowded and we had a very delightful voyage, I remember. We arrived at London Bridge on a Sunday evening and I was to go first to my uncle John who lived in Islington - or rather Holloway - and I got there at last, for not having kept a note of his address I had to unpack my trunk in the cab to find the address on the letters. He then lived in a small house with a garden not very far from where he lived afterwards in a house in the Liverpool Road which he bought. It was a small house and although we had not been brought up in luxury, but rather the reverse, it seemed very modest in my eyes and like everything in London at first, after the cleanliness of Hamburg, very dirty. I have got used to it now, but the way in which in England things are left for years unwashed and scrubbed is very dirty compared with the Germans and Dutch who at least once a year have a general scrubbing of all painted material in the houses.
I was not to go to business for a week so I had the week to see London in. I walked with Uncle John into the City and he went to his work at the Bank and I walked to Cheapside, Fleet Street and the Strand and took just 6 hours to do it, from 9 till 3; looking in at all the shop windows and at what was going on in the streets. At 3, Uncle John was released and we then took the railroad, the first out of London, and the first I ever had been on to Greenwich. Another afternoon he took me to see the West End of London and we also called at Blacks, my future business place in Wellington Street, Strand. From the Saturday till Monday I spent at Sydenham with old Mr. and Mrs. Rivington; old friends (she at least) of my father and grandmother. (They were publishers; a family business. D.A.S.W.) Their only child John Rivington was some years older than I was and very shy and reserved so that I did not feel very much at home. By and by we became more easy towards one another and after 7 years he became my brother-in-law, as I shall tell farther on. Old Mr Rivington was a very fine specimen of the old generation, upright and generous, a high churchman, but of the old school, no Pusyism. Mrs. R. was his senior and a sweet old lady, who was very kind to me for my father's sake.
Sydenham was then a very quiet country village. One coach left at 8 in the morning for London and it sufficed, for the greater part of the Sydenham inhabitants who had to go to London kept their own carriages. John R. rode to town - the old gentleman went by coach and so did I in those days when I did not prefer to walk over Herne Hill to Camberwell and then take an omnibus, a saving of 1/6d, an object in those days. There was no railroad in those days, the line of the rail to Croydon was then occupied by the Croydon Canal and very pretty the walks along the towing path of the canal were. Behind the Rivington's garden, a little distance off, was Penge Heath, upon which I can remember the first house built - the Almshouses - what is now completely built over and housing thousands of people; from a lane at the back of their garden one saw nothing but heath and common as far as Beckenham, which was then also a quiet country village of perhaps 500 inhabitants.
I had now to find lodgings and took one at 23, Ludgate Street, two doors from St. Paul's Church Yard, over a hosier's shops - a Mr Thorn - a friend of Uncle John's but he lived at Islington and I lodged his man of business, a Mr. Hudson. The shop is still extant and I went into it last year and was served by a young woman who must have been the baby when I lived there.
I soon got a few acquaintances. First, there was Edward Minton, who had lived at Hamburg and at Papa's house. He lived in Cheapside. Then there were the Rutts in Cornhill. Mrs. Rutt was a kind of aunt of my mother's. Then there were the Hogarths, two of whose boys were at Hamburg with Papa. I went to see them often out at Chelsea or Brompton, opposite where the Brompton Consumptive Hospital is now built. The Hogarths had a large family - two boys older than those they had at Hamburg and some younger children, the eldest daughter (Catherine), just married to Charles Dickens, as yet quite unknown, and another daughter, Mary, one of the sweetest girls I ever saw. She drew me often to Brompton after work was over at 8 o'clock, unfortunately, often in vain, for she was much with her sister and I had my long walk there and back for nothing and the next girl, Georgina, was but a little thing then. Mary Hogarth died that year very suddenly.
Old Hogarth was a very bad paymaster and Papa could not get any money, so, to reduce the debt, I went to live with them when, the year after, they went to live in Powis Place, Gt. Ormond Street, the last house on the left hand. There I often saw Charles Dickens and went with some of the family to Doughty Street, where C.D. then lived. But it only lasted about a year and a half; I found things were getting so bad that I left and the boys were sent back from Hamburg.
In the meantime I had been working away at Black & Armstrong and had made my way pretty well, notwithstanding the intense jealousy of a Scotchman, Wm. Allan, who thought too much of himself and, as I thought, too little of me. The other clerks were all of an inferior grade and I soon got ahead of them all, so that after 18 months I was taken with Mr Black to the Easter Fairs in Germany. In the year 1838 I first went with him, staying for a few days in Hamburg on my way out and being very much disappointed when I was ordered home via the Rhine and Brussels.
In these annual journeys to Leipzig I made numerous friendships which were of immense use to me afterwards. I never could have started in business with such a trifle of capital had I not the good wishes of the people whose friendship I made then and I saw a good deal of the world and of German life and of German men of letters. I used to go over to Berlin and then from Leipzig to Frankfurt and Darmstadt, Baden, Mannheim, Heidelberg and down the Rhine to Mayence, Coblenz, Cologne and then by either Belgium or by Holland, home to England.
In those days all travelling was done by coach - Post Coaches - or on the rivers by steamer; Easter Fair always being regulated by Easter and lasting a certain time. It always happened that I got to Cologne, Dusseldorf or Aix-la-Chapelle on Whit Sunday and there was every year, in one of the three towns, the Rhenish Musical Festival lasting 3 days, which I enjoyed very much, meeting at them many of my Rhenish friends. Bonn was a place I always liked to stop at for a day or two; it was one of the pleasantest in Germany. I remember Lassen, old Schlegel, Brandis, old Arndt and among the younger men, Gildemeister and Delius, who afterwards became famous as the best German Shakespearean scholar. Marcus and Weber, the two principal booksellers there, were very kind to me and I afterwards had a son of each of them in my business.
On these journeys I always managed at Frankfurt to run out to Offenbach to see my old friend Mrs Dick; she had been a Miss Leake and I had known her as long as I had known anyone. The family lived in Altona when we lived there and she and her sisters were my earliest friends, although they were all older than I was. Mrs Dick was the handsomest of the whole family and, even when an elderly woman of 60, just before she died in England, she was the sweetest looking old lady. She went out as a governess and then it was that Mr. Dick, a wealthy coachbuilder of Offenbach, saw her and they were married and it was one of the happiest families I have ever seen - both he and she thoroughly good, kind, generous and no pretence. They left Offenbach when their eldest boy settled in Paris and joined him there, but in 1870, being German, they had to leave and they all came to England, where they are now settled. [They were, in fact, from a Scottish family that had emigrated to Germany in the late 1660's but because they spoke German as a matter of course amongst themselves, the French regarded them as German. The whole family were quadrilingual - English, French, German & Norwegian, and later used a private jargon of their own in which they used whatever word was most convenient. For example - No! Mon Dieu, er det sikkert? How utterly schreklich. In 1880, when E.S.W. was writing, they were all living at Blackheath, London. D.A.S.W.]
The greatest pleasure, however, of these annual trips was the few days I was able to spend in Hamburg. By degrees, as we boys got away, things began to run a little more smoothly; there was more money and fewer to share it. Before I left, things had begun to look up. We had a big house and garden just on to the Berliner Gate, and there were always 5 or 6 English boarders who paid well but after a year or two, it proved too much worry and they removed into St. George's, near town on the 'Grosse Allee' and it was here I mostly visited them on my journeys.
My life was so far very pleasant. I had plenty of opportunity of improving my knowledge of business and came into contact at Blacks with many men who have been my friends for life, but the pay was miserable and only just sufficient to keep me - after 7 years I was only earning £110 per year - and I could not have saved a farthing had I not made the acquaintance of a Mr. Pole, the editor of the Foreign Quarterly Review, who was a very clever fellow but knew not a word of German, so I helped him and he helped me by enabling me to write reviews, which he considerably improved, and I got about 12 guineas a sheet for all this work, which in a very short time was equal to my salary. All this I saved and with a few other opportunities for earning money, I eventually was able to start in business with it.
I did not live long with the Hogarths. One day, when I returned from the German trip I found an execution in the house (presumably, he means a writ of some kind), and I was glad I had not left anything with them. I lived for a summer in Islington and then moved to 10 Lancaster Place in the Strand, on the 4th floor, where I lived for several years. It was not grand, for I had only one room, but it was airy and bright, with a view across the bridges, and it was a quiet house, where I could read and write undisturbed. I was living there when John came over with me from Hamburg. He had got an appointment on the London and Birmingham Railroad in the Audit Office in Euston Square and, here, for some months, we lived together, but his pay was much greater than my salary and his ideas were more grand, and no doubt we should soon have parted but he, in a few months, was selected by the head of the Audit Office to go down to Leicester, and become the accountant to the Midland and Counties Railway, then just started.
John at this time was very pious also and on that point we did not quite agree. He had all the old fashioned notions of the strictly evangelical school and was a rigid dissenter. Although he kept up his dissent for many years after that, at Leicester, I think it was gradually very much modified and, indeed, though we never had much correspondence on these subjects, I found in after years that he had become nearly, if not quite, as broad as myself. It was Picton, who afterwards married Jessie, and who was for many years a dissenting minister at Leicester, who had much to do with his change of views.
In business at Black and Armstongs I was learning not only what to do but also what to avoid. The reckless way in which that business was carried on convinced me some years before the final crash that it could not go on and I bided my time. I made friends there, many of whom are my dear friends now.
About 1841 I left Lancaster Place and went to live at Doddington Grove, in Kennington. Young Gorrissen from Hamburg and Donner of Altona were living there and Momber who afterwards became partner of Suse & Sibeth's lived out there and we formed a pleasant little society of Germans. It took me however half an hour to walk to business which was of great benefit to my health, as well as the better air of the half-country as Kennington then was.
Things at B & A's were getting worse and worse, and money was getting scarce there, and I found they could not last much longer. Among the friends I had made at B & A was Mr. Holloway, then a print seller in 14, Henrietta Street. I had met him on one of my journeys in Germany; we travelled together in the Mail coach from Liege to Cologne, then on the boat from Cologne to Mayence, and we got very intimate so that when I got back to London, I went to see him. He took me upstairs to his wife, a sweet woman who had her second baby in her arms then (young Marseille; 1841) and from that day to this they have been my intimate friends and more - she particularly. I was often there in the evenings and soon came to know many of their friends and relations. Mr. H. also when going abroad went to see them [his parents] in Hamburg and so the tie was made closer.
Here also I first saw Mrs. H's cousin, Kate Goodban, my first wife, then a little girl going to Maldon in Essex, to school, and here I once spent a whole Sunday with her father, old Mr Goodban years before I ever dreamt of becoming his son-in-law. Fanny Goodban to, who was very pretty then, often came up and stayed with them. At the Holloways I also first met Mr Norgate, who was then a tutor in a school in Tunbridge Wells. He had been to Cambridge and was to have gone into the Church, but he could not swallow the 39 articles; still, he had little inclination for schoolmastering and by and by we came to the conclusion that his money and mine, and our joint work, might make a living out of foreign books, and we settled, in the winter of 1842-43, to do so. His money was somewhat more than mine but we had only £700 between us. Holloway was moving to 25, Bedford Street, and we settled to take his old house, 14, Henrietta Street.
The Holloways have been intimately connected with me and my life. In their house I first saw my partner and there also my wife. They have been more like brother and sister to me than any one of my own brothers and sisters. When I first began business and housekeeping in Henrietta Street, it was Mrs. H. who arranged all for us. She engaged for us (me and Norgate), Mrs Coggin as our housekeeper, a worthy excellent woman with a beast of a husband who eventually drank himself to death, but she always supported him and in the end, when he was past doing anything, he died in our house, she spending her earnings in keeping him. She was an honest good woman and when she was past working for her living, which she did so long as she could, I allowed her something to make her latter end a little more comfortable. She managed for us two bachelors very economically so that for the first two years we did not spend £100 a year for the whole housekeeping.
We took the house, 14, Henrietta Street, from Mr Holloway and we let off 2 rooms to old Chaffin, then Holloway's bookkeeper, and the rest of the house we had for business and our living rooms and, after a little, for a clerk. The house was then an old one and very small, the shop only extending about 40 feet, and nothing beyond but a little yard about 10 feet square. What we afterwards acquired was then part of Norman's printing office. The shop was just the size of two rooms thrown into one, and a little extra closet beyond. This we occupied till 1853, when the lease fell in, and we took a 21 years lease from the Duke of Bedford, and got possession of the ground at the back, where we built our large room and, while this was building, we took a shop at 16, Bedford Street, and kept it for a few years.
We lived for the first few years (N. and I.) very economically for, with our small capital, we were anxious to save all we could, but business flourished; we had many friends and we worked very hard, often till 1 or 2 in the morning. I have often, on Mondays and Fridays, then the only foreign post nights, written all my letters after 8 and taken them myself to St. Martins le Grand by 11 at night. We had then no clerk but after 2 years we got a German, a brother of Engelman of Leipzig, who was a good clerk, but not a good character. He was a loose fish and I fear got into some trouble, ruined his health so that we were obliged to send him home. After that we have had several sons of our German correspondents - first a son of Marcus of Bonn who, however, was a fool and of no use, so we dismissed him after a year. He remained in London and even set up shop here, but it was no use; he took to drinking and both he and a wife he married died of drink. Then came young Mauthe from Hamburg, a nice fellow but no worker. He remained a year or thereabouts. Then came a son of Froman of Jena, a nice quiet and industrious fellow, quite up to the mark in every respect, a worthy son of an excellent father. Afterwards we had the sons of Weber of Bonn and of K. Reimer of Berlin, and his cousin, young Hirsel of Leipzig, all gentlemen and first rate clerks, who were not only useful assistants to me, but made good use of their time and experience, which was of great use to them. Of these Hirzel and Reimer are alive and doing well at the head of their father's businesses, which they have inherited. Weber is blind and has retired from business, having ample means, and selling his business to another pupil of mine, Flittner. Young Froman died two years ago.
We increased our business considerably in a few years and added French, Italian and Scandinavian to the German and were doing well when 1848 came, with its revolutions and disturbances on the continent, but we had been prudent, and we were able to be quiet without anxiety and we had time then for a little selfish enjoyment. I went to see Philip at Derby and there made the acquaintance of a family who had been very kind to him - the Formans. There was a daughter, Annie Forman, who, without being exactly handsome, was a very charming girl and I thought she would make me an excelllent wife. I fell in love with her, or thought I did, and after a while I proposed to her, and she accepted, but referred me to her father. Now this old Forman was an old villain, nominally a strict dissenter, but a vile character; a shrewd man of business. He wanted to know all about my income and means, etc., etc., and appeared satisfied and allowed the engagement to go on. He objected to my not being a 'strict dissenter', so I went down and ascertained through Philip that the girl would not act against her father, and so that came to an end. She afterwards married an old man in Manchester and, after his death, a dissenting minister, and I have heard of her since; she has no family and is said to be very generous and kind-hearted.
The eldest son married a Miss Hanson, and her sisters sometimes visit the McEwans here at Bickley.
The eldest son, Robt. Forman, lives in London but I have never come across him and do not care to do so. He was not worth much and I understand now lives on his wife's income, having made away with all his own. Philip at that time was supposed to be engaged to the second daughter but that also never came to anything. During all the time that I was engaged to Miss Forman, Kate Goodban was staying with the Holloways, first as a visitor but afterwards as governess to Mary H.. The H's were very kind to me during and after the end of this engagement, and I was often over in Bedford Street with them. There, in time and by degrees, I found out what a good, dear creature she was and I came to love her and admire her, and though she had a number of admirers - some very ardent, such as Charles Horsley, and even Mr Norgate, I thought that I could see that she preferred me to them, and in March 1849 I was engaged to her, and on July 18, we were married. The year before, while my engagement to Miss Forman was going on, Mr Holloway and Norgate and I took a house for the summer at Harrow, and Kate Goodban was there all the time, and I saw much of her in a way that few people see young girls. I was supposed to be engaged, so I could not go about with her as much as I liked, but I thought then that Mr Norgate had her in his eye, but it was not so.
We married at Canterbury, in St. George's church, by Mr Stratton, an old friend of the Goodban's, and we started from there to Folkestone, and went to Dover and Antwerp, Brussels, Waterloo, Liege, Cologne and up the Rhine as far as Bingen, and then home by Brussels and Lille, to Calais and Dover, Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells and home to Henrietta Street. Norgate left the house and we had our 4 rooms there, still letting 2 to old Chaffin. We were very happy and content there, and here, in Jan. 1851, Fanny was born.
1851 was a great year; the first great exhibition in Hyde Park; Uncle William from New Zealand [William Williams] came to England and remained a year in England, with his wife and Leonard [William Leonard W. age 22] and Maria [Anna Maria W. age 12]. It was a year of great change in England, the influx of foreigners was very great, and I think it did much to encourage the study of German and French.
In 1852 we had a little boy born but he lived only a few days, and I thought the fact of our living in the middle of the town was, perhaps, a cause, and I determined if possible to get away from Henrietta Street. In 1853 our lease terminated, and we took a lease of 21 years from the Duke of Bedford; had to build our room on the ground floor on the ancient garden and improve the house, and this was the immediate cause of our leaving. We took a house in Inverness Terrace (No. 16), then just being built, first for a year, and then on a lease for 7 years. The advantage of the fresher air and the vicinity of Kensington Gardens for Kate and the baby [Fanny. D.A.S.W.] were the attractions, besides a low rent, ony £75.
From here I started in the morning about 9 and was in business by about half past and got home to dinner by half past 6, but very rarely to leisure, for much work was still to be done after dinner. The walk was a pleasant one through Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park Corner, then across the Green Park to Pall Mall, and so to Henrietta Street, and in the evening, the same walk home. Kate would in the summer often come to meet me, but alone it was unpleasant; she attracted too much disagreeable attention walking across Hyde Park at a fashionable hour.
In March 1854 Gertrude was born, in Inv. Terr. and in 1855, another boy, who, however, did not live for more than 3 weeks. In 1854, we went to Kreuznach, partly for Kate's sake to bathe and drink the water, partly for Fanny's sake, who was weak with a threatening curvature of the spine. I took them and Fanny Goodban and left them there, coming home and going to fetch them back at the end of 5 weeks.
My brother Tom came over to London in 1852 and, after being for a year at Suse and Sibeth's, went into Huth & Co's house, where he remained several years. He was often with us and we have always been great friends. He went with us in, 1852, to Hamburg, where he took Fanny to see her grandparents, and we left her with them while we, Tom and Kate and I, made a trip to Leipzig, Dresden, the Saxon Switzerland, and when Tom had to leave, we extended our journey to Berlin and back to Hamburg by Brunswick. Tom left Huth's and went to New Orleans. first as a clerk, afterwards as a partner to C. Kick. He married, in 1857, Marie Legendre, and came over with her in 1858 to visit us in Hamburg. She was a pretty little French creole, but I do not think the marriage turned out quite happy; she dressed well and was a pleasant enough companion, but lazy, and I do not think she cared much for him, as English wives care for their husbands. They came to us in 1863, of which more later on.
In 1855, Fanny Goodban, Kate and I took a holiday on the Rhine and went to Paris to see the Gt. Exhibition there. We started from Canterbury and went by omnibus to Dover, and during the night, to Ostend, (Dr Rost being also with us so far), then to Antwerp, to Brussels and to Waterloo, then to Liege, Cologne, the Rhine to Frankfurt, and Heidelberg. Then we stayed a few days at Baden where, owing to having crushed my finger in the window of the Railway, I was laid up for a few days, but we saw all the pretty places round Baden in a carriage, and then went by Strasburg to Paris, sleeping at Epernay. We saw the Exhibition. Mr Holloway and Anna and Edw. Goodban from Florence were there at the same time but, again, I was in bed several days; the result of my accident. We enjoyed the trip very much; the two children were left with Grandma at Canterbury; we had plenty of time and we did not allow expense to interfere. It was altogether one of the most agreeable holidays we had together.
John Rivington married Cary in 1843, Sept 7. She had been jilted by Joe Holland, to whom she had been engaged for several years and had made up her mind to go away and earn her own living. At first she had nealy accepted an engagement as governess in the family of a Russian Prince who was the governor of Ormburg in Asiatic Russia but, just before, Aunt Kate [Catherine Heathcote], hearing of it, offered her a place in her school, with the understanding that she should share it with her by and by, and she came over to Southwell in 1842, and was there a year about. John R. had been to Hamburg the year before and had seen her and had fallen in love, but he heard that she was engaged and, instead of returning to Hamburg from his German tour, came home by the Rhine. When the affair with Joe Holland was broken off, old Mrs Rivington invited her to come and spend a summer holiday with her at Sydenham, and so it came about that they fell in love with one another, and were married from Uncle Marsh's house at Aylesford, near Maidstone. [Catherine Heathcote wrote a letter to her sister-in-law, Jane Williams, dated 28th July 1843, and recounts;]
'... In a former letter I have told you that Caroline Williams came over (from Hamburg) at Christmas to be a helper to me in the school as she wished to take a situation in this country & I wanted an assistant I proposed her coming & I found her every thing I could wish. But she was so very pleasing in her appearance and manners that I could not but fear that I might be soon called upon to part with her again & so the event has proved. She has been staying with Mrs Rivington and Mr John Rivington has gained her affections & is now in a great hurry to make her his wife, which is very provoking to me for I shall not easily find anyone to replace her. Mrs Rivington is quite as much pleased as her son. She is becoming very feeble now & is anxious to see John married before she dies & she feels that Caroline will make her a very attentive daughter-in-law.'
I was just then a beginner of my business, and many evenings I spent with them at Sydenham. At first they lived with the old lady at the Cottage in Lower Sydenham, but when Amy was born they removed to a house in the Park at Sydenham, where Alfred and Margaret were born. When I got married, there arose an unpleasant feeling between her and Kate. I had been her favourite brother and I think she felt jealous I suppose that she was no longer first in my affections. There was an estrangement which lasted some years till Mama came over, and then it was made right again, but they never again were the same.
Then they took a house in Norwood, not far from where the Crystal Palace is now built, and then he built himself a house on the top of Sydenham Hill, where they lived for some years, and afterwards took a house at Edgware, from whence John R. drove every morning to Waterloo Place and out again in the evening; it was before railways went to Edgware. Then they lived for some years in Upp. Seymour Street, Portman Square, then he retired from business and they went to live at Marychurch, in Torquay. Then they lived in Dusseldorf for a year or two, as Alfred had decided to be a painter, and afterwards lived in Upper Porchester Terrace for a year or two in order that Alfred might have a home and, finally, when he gave that up and became a parson, they went to live in Babbacombe, near Torquay.
Amy had gone into a sisterhood and lived at Bovey Tracey, in Devon; Margaret and Bertha at home and, Alfred, after being a master in the choir school of St. Paul's, took a Naval Chaplaincy, and was on board the Temeraire in the Mediteranean in 1878 to 1881. While there in 1880, J.R. and C. and the 3 girls and Mary Bott went a tour in Switzerland, and on the 26th June going over the Tete Noir, the carriage with J.R., C. and Amy were thrown over a precipice. Cary was killed on the spot, J.R., dreadfully injured, broke both his arms, and Amy was also slightly hurt. I was telegraphed for, and got there in 4 days, and Alfred also, and he arrived a few days after I did.
John Heath Williams, my next brother, who came to England with me in 1839 or 40 and, after being in the audit office of the London and Birmingham Railway for a year, was promoted to be the accountant of the Midland Counties Railway, and went to live at Leicester, and I visited him there several times. From there, when the amalgamation of several lines took place, and it was called the Midland Railway, he was removed to Derby, and was there for some years, but a quarrel with old (King) Hudson [George Hudson, 'Railway King'; Manager of the newly formed Midland Railway. D.A.S.W.] induced him to throw up his post and he started as a stock and share broker in Leicester, having in 1848 married Emma Miall, and has done very well for himself, as he is now a wealthy man. He had 4 sons and 3 daughters. Frank, the oldest, was always a great trouble to them; I think he was a spoilt child from the beginning and, after many scrapes, getting into debt and other troubles which his father had to make good, he set up as a stockbroker in Bradford and married the daughter of a manufacturer there and had one child - but he committed a 'breach of trust' in selling shares confided to him and using the money in ruinous speculations on the Stock Exchange, so that to save him from a criminal prosecution, his father had to pay £4,000 to make good his deficiency. After that he lived upon an allowance his father made him until he died in February 1883 of inflammation of the lungs. Sydney, the second son, was to be a solicitor but after a little while he chose to go to the bar, and is now in Lincoln's Inn, with a very moderate income. Harry, the 3rd, is John's partner and, for a bachelor, a rich man, and so is the 4th, Ernest, who is a solicitor and partner of Mr. Burgess in Leicester. He married in 1883 a daughter of a Nottingham man. The three girls, Nelly, Florence and Agnes, are still at home, and sometimes come to see us. Sydney, living in the Temple, is often with us.
Philip, my younger brother, was bred an engineer, and after serving his time in Hamburg, worked for a time at Maudsley and Fields in Lambeth, living with me and Norgate in Henrietta Street, and afterwards went to Derby, where he was the manager of some silk mills, but John's success as a stockbroker induced him to try his hand at this, and he joined a young Forman and started in Derby, but young Forman would speculate, and they came to grief, and in 1850 he left England for Australia for the gold diggings and was away two years, during which time he only just kept himself, and then returned to London where, after a time he became a clerk to William Strode, and by and by his partner, and is now at the head of that concern, with young Strode as his junior partner. His eldest son, Arthur, is also in the business and will probably become a partner, as he has given his attention to Electricity, and will take that branch of the business. He married Julia Miall, Emma's sister, in 1856, and has, besides Arthur, Marion, the only girl, Stanley, Howard and Percy.
My second sister, Betsy, married in Hamburg in 1843 Charles Dodgshun and they lived in Hamburg but, in 1848, he died of a cold caught as an officer at a fire and she, after giving birth to Charley, died also, and the 3 children, Sydney, Lydia and Charley, were left with their grandparents. In order that the money left by Charles D. might accumulate for the children, Tom took upon himself all the charges for Charlie and I for Sydney, who by and by was sent at my expense to Dr Dammanns at Hameln, and when he was 16 he came to us in London and into my business, where he rose to be the head clerk, but when he was 26 he suddenly made up his mind to emigrate to New Zealand, and there he is now, and I have not had a line from him since he left.
Business had been improving every year, paricularly after 1851, when we built our large room in Henrietta Street, and we had been doing a good business in Scotland, principally through an Edinburgh bookseller, Seton, who we assisted in every way, but in 1855 he made up his mind to throw us over and to go direct to Germany. This was the immediate cause of my carrying out a plan I had long entertained, of having a branch shop in Edinb., so I went down in the autumn of !855 and remained in Edinb. some weeks. I eventually took the shop in Frederick Street which I afterwards purchased on a lease, and in October, Mr. Szumrak went down to manage it. Szumrak was a Hungarian, and had been mixed up with the 1848 revolution there. When it was crushed, he escaped to Hamburg and was there in Herold's business where Papa saw him often, and liked him. Afterwards, in 1849 or 50, the Austrians came to Hamburg and it was no longer safe for him and, on Papa's recommendation, I engaged him for our business and he remained a year or more, when the gold fever broke out in Australia which tempted Philip to go out. They went out together and he was more lucky than Philip, and got enough gold to enable him to travel over the Australian Colonies and, by way of California and the U.S., back to London, where I was glad to have him again and I thought him a proper person to send to Edinb.. There he remained for many years till he came to be the chief clerk in Henrietta Street.
The Edinb. business was a good one, not very lucrative at first, but by degrees it has become a very good investment, and it was an inducement for often visiting Scotland. I used to go down in the summer to enable Sz. to get a holiday, and we have spent many holidays there. In 1857, we went with Mary in August and stayed a month, had lodgings in Charlotte Street, and afterwards had a tour to Perth, Taymouth, Killin, and to Loch Lomond and Glasgow.
In 1858, in the spring, I went to Leipzig and, coming home, I went to Hamburg, it having been decided that Papa and Mama were to come back to England. I took Mama back with me, leaving the rest to pack up what was to be brought over, and to wind up affairs. This could not have been accomplished if it had not been for Uncle William, [I think this can only be Wm. Prentice Heath, Mama's brother, a well to do bachelor. D.A.S.W.] who had proposed to live with them in England and pay whatever was necessary to make the place comfortable and, for this, we children were always grateful to him. They all got over by the end of June - Papa and Mama, Jessie, Mary and Lydia Dodgshun. Mary had before she left got engaged to Charles Miall, the brother of John's and Philip's wives, and they were married in September 1858, so that Jessie was the only daughter left. They took a house in Kildare Terrace, Bayswater, not far from Inverness Terrace, and remained there 8 years, when both we and they removed to Balham.
The summer of 1859, Uncle William took them for a long holiday in Wales; they were most of the time at Dolgelley, where we went to see them, and then all went by Barmouth and Beddgellert, and round Snowdon to Carnarvon, Bangor and Chester. On the return journey we stopped at Rugby, and from there made the excursion to Warwick and Stratford on Avon.
In 1860, Uncle W. and the old folks went to spend a holiday at Torquay, but it was too hot for younger people, except in the hills.
In 1861, the lease of Inv. Terrace being up and the landlord intending to double the rent, we removed to Balham (in March) to Hookwood Lodge, where we had a nice garden. At that time Balham was a small place, at the outside there were 50 houses, except the High Road. There was a street of cottages and another cross road to Clapham Park, and 3 houses on Bedford Hill - the Brands, the Schlussers at the Priory, and James Shoolbred, in a large new house. In Balham Grove there were 8 houses and the last of these I had taken for the old people, where they came a week or two after us. Stanley Dent had the house at the nearer end. At that time the railroad had just opened to Victoria, and I was one of the first persons to take a season ticket on the line; most of the inhabitants of Balham were city men and went to town by the omnibus. We lived in Balham for 12 years till Feb'y. 1874, that is, I and Kate till her death in 1866, and from 1868 to 74, Nora and I lived there. It was a happy time till 1866. We made many friends, and some old friends are living near the Hunts in the Grove next door to Papa's, the Dents, the Macmillans, the Greenhills, Mr. Cree, who married a Plater. Mama died in the Grove on Dec 31, 1862 and then Papa went to live with Mary. Here I lost my dear Kate, who died on Aug. 28. In 1862, we went to Scotland for our holiday. In 1863, Tom and his family came from New Orleans, and for a time lived with us but afterwards took a house on Clapham Common. It was during the American war, and he (Tom) went in the summer to Petersburgh and the two families (Tom's and E.S.W.'s) went to spend the summer at Seaford. I took Sydney Dodgshun to Florence with Fred. Goodban, via Paris and Switzerland, and I stayed a few days in Florence, but it was so frightfully hot that I left via Leghorn and Genoa and Milan, to Switzerland via the Splugen Pass. I walked down the pass from .... to .... and at Coire took the railway to Ragatz, and then via Zurich and Paris, home. At Florence I stayed with Edw. Goodban, who had then, thanks to Fred, a fine business, which has since gone down so that, now, 1887, it has to be wound up. I am afraid I shall never go to Italy again for, at the only time I can get away, it is too hot for us Northeners to live in. The change from Milan to Switzerland was something marvellous, which I had reason to remember, for during the heat I had left off everything I could stow away and felt the change over the Splugen, where the snow lay very severely, but the walk down the pass appeared to take away all ill effects. I saw Pisa on the way from Florence to Leghorn - of the latter place I saw nothing, it was dark when I went on board the steamer. Genoa I saw only what could be seen in 2 hours, for I was anxious to get into a cooler atmosphere. I joined Kate and the children at Seaford and from Seaford we brought 2 servants, Margaret Davis and Caroline Clark, who have been with us ever since.
In 1864, we spent our holiday at Ventnor, as we could not get away till late in the summer, for F. Norgate and I made up our minds to dissolve the partnership, and the arrangement took a good deal of time. [ Frederic Norgates obituary, London Times 1908 ].
We took our holiday, K. F. and G. (Kate, Fanny and Gertrude) to Switzerland. We went to Basle by Cologne and the Rhine, stopping at Heidelberg, and from Basle to Berne and Illau and Interlaken, to the glacier, and then to Meyringen, and an excursion to the Rosenlaui glacier. I walked but the 3 girls were on horese or mules. Then we took a carriage over the Brunig to Lucerne and after seeing the lake on a steamer, went on to Zurich and saw that lake. Then via Basle to Paris, where we saw the Dicks and got home safe.
Jessie was married from our house to J. Allanson Picton, on March 20, and she went with him to live at Leicester. The Craiks had taken a little house in Tooting and we saw them often. During the summer we had a dinner party to which the Craiks brought Nora and Alice Dobell, who were staying with them, and I first saw Nora, who made a great impression on Kate. She admired her very much and often spoke of her in her melancholy moods, and said she would have been the right woman for me to have married. I did not think of this at the time, attributed it only to her state; she was always more or less melancholy before her confinements, but it occurred to me afterwards. The Craiks moved to Beckenham (Chilchester Lodge) and Kate and I visited them several times in the summer. On Aug. 29 Kate was confined of a dead child and died from loss of blood. I have written a separate paper when the loss was heavy upon me.
When I recovered a little, I made up my mind to leave the house, to go into a smaller one, and I sold the greater part of my books and was trying to let the house, when Mr. and Mrs. Holloway came to stay with us, and in the course of conversation it was agreed to stay on in the house, and for these two to come to us and to live with us, sharing expenses. In October, we all went for a change to Bournemouth and returned to our joint hosekeeping, which was very pleasant and very quiet.
I worked hard this year; I found work a blessing to make me forget my trouble. I often went to the Craiks, they were both so sympathetic. Once, I was driving with Mr. C. form the station, when he said, "You remember the two Miss Dobells that you saw with us." "Yes".  "One of them is going to be married" - "The elder, of course." - "No, the younger, and to an artist, a Mr. Riviere, and they will come and live near us here at Keston." I was surprised, for the elder, Nora, was so very much more beautiful and then I asked, who they were. I had a notion that they were of some county family in Gloucestershire; I had heard that Mrs Craik had lived with them for years, and I knew that Sydney Dobell, their brother, had been very generous to several young authors, etc. Then he told me that Mr. D. was a wine merchant at Cheltenham. Then Kate's talk about the elder one came into my mind and I thought that I might have an opportunity of seeing her again.
The image is from a miniature (62 x 80mm) painting of the elder sister, Nora Selina Dobell 1841-1924. Though 24 years younger than Edmund, she was soon to become his wife. Painter: A. L. Riviere, 1885. More at miniature owners website
In Oct. I had to go down to Cheltenham to see Mr. Dobson and, having mentioned it to Mrs. Craik, she wished me to go and see the Dobells, and she would write to them. I went to Cheltenham, and on the way stopped at Cirencester to see young Arthur Berckmeyer. I went to the Plough and in the afternoon I went out to Detmore, [Charlton Kings, Cheltenham. Home of John Dobell's family. D.A.S.W.], where they were all very kind and invited me to come and stay with them. As soon as I saw Nora again I made up my mind to try and win her, as she was so entirely all one could wish for, only I was sure that there must be some reason why she should have grown up to be 26 and not have been caught up. I remained there for a few days and then came home and had a long talk with Mrs. C., who assured me that there was no one else she cared for, or she would have been sure to have known it. I was in too great a hurry, I could not wait and wrote to her, but was very gently but very decidedly refused, and so I thought it was all over and we went on as before - but Mrs. Craik and I had many conversations about her, and Mrs. C. thought that if it could be brought about it would be a very happy thing for both of us and she told me that in the spring her brother Clarence was to be married, and that they would all come up, and Nora would come and stay with her and the sister, Mrs Riviere, who was then married and living at Keston. She wrote to her and asked whether if she came I might come and see them, and to this she consented upon the understanding that it bound her to nothing.
In May 1868, Clarence Dobell was married at Hampstead to Emily Duffield, and Nora went to stay with Mrs Craik. They (the Dobells) had lodgings at Hampstead at first and there I went to see them, and one evening we all went to the Haymarket Theatre together, and I often went to Mrs. Craik's in the evenings and on Sundays and to Keston when she was there, but I could not make up my mind whether she would say Yes, and had written a letter to Mrs. Dobell saying that I feared it was of no use my coming down to Cheltenham, and mentioned to Mrs. Craik that I intended to do so, and at the last moment, when Nora was leaving by the train, she told her of it, but she said "Tell him to come and not to write", which was enough. I went to Detmore the Sunday after this and on the 24th May we were engaged, to the satisfaction of all the family except Dr. Dobell, whose wife behaved very nastily, and we have never had any further intercourse with them.
We were married at Charlton church on Aug. 4th. Fanny and Gertrude, John Rivington and Cary, John and Emma were there; my best man was Aldis Wright. We went to Reading and the next day, via Guildford, to Dover, then to Antwerp and to Cologne up the Rhine to Heidelberg to Basle, Lucerne and Fluelen, where we hired a carriage which took us to Hospenthal and over the Furka pass to the Rhone glacier. Here we left the carriage and went on the horses over the Marienwand to the Grimsel pass, slept at the hospice and rode the next day down the Handek valley to Meyringen, and the next day to Interlaken, where we stayed for a few days, going to see the Grindelwald glacier, and Lauterbrunnen. We had intended to go via the Gammi pass to the Rhone valley but we were tired and wanted to get letters at Geneva, so we went straight by rail to Geneva, where we stayed several days, and went up the lake as far as Clarens. The lake being a little rough, the captain would not go on to Montreux, so we had a little walk and came back to the boat - many passengers were so frighted at what was really nothing that they went back by rail. From Geneva we went the first day to Dijon and the 2nd to Paris, where we stayed at the Hotel des Deux Mondes in the Rue d'Antin. We did not stay long in Paris; we saw the Dicks there and got home on Aug. 29 to Balham. Nora went to see Papa and he came to see us and stayed a few days. He was charmed with Nora and thought me a very fortunate man. All my brothers and sisters and all our friends came to see us and all were so pleased, as it was natural they should be. The Rivieres removed from Keston to a little house on Bromley Common and Nora went there several times to see Alice, who was expecting a baby.
On Jan. 1, Hugh Riviere was born and Mrs Craik adopted a baby that was exposed on a heap of bricks at Beckenham in the night of Dec.31 and Jan.1. It was found by a dairyman who was out due to the illness of a cow and it was fortunate that he did, for the night was so intensely cold that the little thing would have been killed if she had not been taken care of by the policeman and taken the next day to the workhouse at Locks Bottom. She has grown up to be a very nice child and been a great comfort to Mr. and Mrs. Craik, but she was evidently some poor person's child; there is nothing 'aristocratic' in her appearance.
On Feb. 12 Papa died at Mary's, on Cathcart Hill, aged 83. He lived long enough to see all his 10 children that had grown up married and had seen or heard of grandchildren in every branch. He had no positive disease; it was simply the breaking up of old age after a life of much labour and anxiety, but he had enjoyed the quiet of the last 10 years, 6 with Mama. He was buried beside Mama and Kate in Norwood cemetery.
On the 8th May, Edmund was born, somewhat too soon and for many months he was but a poor specimen, very small and delicate. Nora could not nurse him and after trying some asses milk we had a wet nurse, Mrs Barrett. In August we took him to Detmore, where there were then three first grandchildren - Clarence's Brian and Cyrus's Maud. After staying a week we went to Ilfracombe - Fanny and Gertrude and Anne Wright with us. At Exeter we saw old Mrs. Coggin who seemed very pleased to see my son. It was very hot and living in a street on the 2nd floor, no garden, and the rocks not inviting, we were not sorry to get home again.
Early in the year Nora and the baby went for a month to Hastings, where the Dicks, who had to flee from Paris, were staying near, with Mrs. Rock. We also took the boy to Canterbury to see old Mrs. Goodban but the boy got ill and we hastened home. In August we went down to Scotland and took lodgings in Queen Street, and from there made excursions to Pitlochrie, etc., and the Trossachs, Loch Lomond and to Glasgow. From there we went to Liverpool, i.e. to Waterloo to Albert Mott's and we attended some of the meetings of the British Association - Huxley was the President that year. I saw Dr. Hodgson who had married a daughter of Sir Jos. Walmesley, a former mayor of Liverpool [and according to D.A.S.W., M.P. for Leicester 1852-7] - Bates came out to see Albert. We came home via Derbyshire and stopped at Leicester for a couple of days. I was away for 6 weeks, the longest holiday I have ever taken.
We were in March at Hastings, 50, Eversfield Pl., and on May 1 Geoff was born - he was a fine boy and only had a wet nurse for a few months. For our holiday we all went to Charlton Kings and took Coxhorne [Cyrus Dobell's house. D.A.S.W.] from Cy. while he had his holiday. It was rather a rainy month but we went to Tewkesbury and Malvern with the Clarences. We also in the summer went down to Chiselhurst and Bromley to see what the place was like, as we had some thoughts of moving there, and in November we went to Hastings again; 8, Eversfield Place.
Juliet was born on May 7. In the summer we went to Coxhorne again and visited Malvern and Gloucester.
We went to Littlehampton for our holiday and saw Arundel and its beautiful R.C. church, built by the Duke of Norfolk. We were looking at a number of houses, as our time was up early in '74. We had nearly taken a house near Pinner but the bigoted old Scotch landlord would not transfer the lease because of my 'anti-christian publications'! I had heard of Blackbrook, [a house at Bickley, Kent, ½ mile south of Bickley station. D.A.S.W.] but when I went to enquire, it had been let for 3 years to Geo. Lewes and George Elliott. However, it did not suit them, people would not visit them (what fools to expect it), and Mr Hamilton let them off with a year. Mr. Craik heard of it and told me and I went down, took it and, in a few days, all was settled. On Nov 30 Eric was born - began building Henrietta Street.
In February, we removed from Balham to Blackbrook, where we found much to do; there was no gas and I had to pay £60 to the Gas Co. to bring it to the door and it cost me just £60 more to put it into the house, and £20 more to the stables and coach-house. After about a year we had electric bells put up, the old bells being of little use. In this summer we went to Scotland but in August we heard of the dangerous illness of Sydney Dobell, and Nora went back at once to Detmore. He died on Aug. 22 and I went to the funeral, which took place at Painswick, near Stroud. He died at Barton End. This year my brother Alfred died in Calcutta, but we heard it only some years after. He had quite given up writing to any of us since Mama's death.
Amyas, the 4th boy, was born Aug.12. He was a very beautiful child. Early in Sept. we went to Folkestone for our holiday, but after a week's stay the baby got so ill that we hurried home, but there must have been some congenital defect, for he died on the 20 of Sept and he was buried at Norwood. I took Nora for a change to Holland, where we spent about a fortnight, visiting Antwerp, Rotterdam, the Hague and Amsterdam.
We went for our holiday to Germany, via Ostend, Ghent, Liege, Cologne, Frankfurt, Gottingen, visiting the Paulis and seeing Jootbeer and Otto Uhde (two old schoolfellows at Dr. Breunings), from there to Gotha, Weimar and Leipzig, where we were with the Tauchnitz's. From Leipzig to Berlin, but as it got very hot, we remained only 2 days seeing Potsdam, and in the night to Hamburg. Nora had drunk some water in Berlin which made her very ill and she was laid up for a few days at Hamburg. We saw Wandsbeck during the annual fair. I could not recognise our old home, it had been so changed We also went to Blankenese to see Helen Bauer (geb.Tesdorf), and lunched at Niensholm (Jacobsens) and saw our old house in the Elbestrasse in Altona, turned into a beershop, and we got home on Sept 1. From Leipzig we went to Dresden and the Saxon Switzerland, and we spent a day at Halle, before going to Leipzig. Got into the new house in Henrietta Street.
We went for our holiday to Littlehampton and, leaving the children there, went to Chichester, Salisbury and Stonehenge. After getting home, we drove to Sevenoaks, paying a visit to Mr. Holloway on the way, saw Knole Park and the house, as I met Geo. Scharf in the park, and he got us permission, as it is closed to the public. Fanny and Gertrude went to Norway, paying a visit to the Sorensens with the Brind girls. Brought Tommy from J.R.
Uncle William Williams, the Bishop of Waiapu, died on Febr. 9, in New Zealand. Mr. Dobell, Nora's father, died June 29. Marseille Holloway died at Oxted on October 25. We went for our holiday to Scotland - Edinb. to Blair Atholl and rail to Inverness, via Caledonian Canal to Oban to Staffa and Iona and via Crinan Canal to Glasgow and Edinburgh - fine weather and enjoyed it very much.
I went alone, as Nora was not well (Kitty was born Apr. 8), to meet John and his girls and Emma to the Hydropathic at Pitlochrie, and stayed with them for about 10 days, and then home in a sleeping car. Uncle Henry in N.Z. died Dec. 16. [presumably he is referring to Archdeacon Henry Williams, but his dates are all wrong; Henry Williams died on 16th July 1867. N.T.H.W.]
John Rivington, Cary and the 3 girls and Miss Mary Bott went to Switzerland for a month and on June 26 in going over the Tete Noir, the drunken coachman threw the carriage with John, Cary and Amy over a precipitous side of a good road. Cary was killed on the spot and John had both his arms broken, and was unconscious for 4 days. They telegraphed to me and I set off at once, travelled straight to Geneva and the next morning to Matigny and then to Chatellard, where they all were in a little Inn. I did not know of Cary's death till I got there. They had telegraphed to Alfred, who was in the Mediterranean, near Naples, and he arrived in about a week and, after a few days rest, he took the coffin with Cary to Torquay, via Cherbourg, Amy accompanying him. I remained with John until he was sufficiently recovered to be transported to Chamonix. Dr.Martin from Cham. came every day to see him and, about a fortnight after the accident, he was carried on a litter with 8 men (4 changing) to Chamonix. There I left him and came home via Geneva and Paris. We went for a few days to Windsor and the neighbourhood and, in November, spent a fortnight at Bournemouth (Alegria) and then Mrs. Dobell came and spent another fortnight with Nora. J. Fisher died 20/8, and Mr Bridges succeeded him in Henrietta Street.
Emma van Loseke died Jan 14. I had not seen her for about 50 years - she chose to take offence at something and we never had any correspondence. Her son Stanley used to come and see us sometimes but he was not a desirable acquaintance for my boys, and I was not sorry to have an occasion to break off the intimacy. Alfred Rivington married on October 18 at Vienna; Emmy van Nadhering - a very nice girl who soon became intimate with Nora. Aunt Kate Heathcote died July 11 at Southwell. She did not leave us the picture of Sir J.S.York, as promised. [In Catherine's Will, she bequeathes 'to Sarah Gaster now residing with me and assisting in my School all my household furniture plate and plated articles linen (except body linen) china books pictures prints and all other my household goods and effects whatsoever.' So the picture of Sir Joseph seems to have gone to Sarah Gaster. N.T.H.W.] We went for our holiday to Detmore and from thence via Exeter to Babbacombe, to see John Rivington, Margaret and Bertha, and we went over to Bovey Tracey to see Amy at the 'House of Mercy'. We went via Dartmouth, up the Dart to Totnes, a delightful journey, and then on to Plymouth and then back home. Ursula Anne was born November 29.
I was very unwell early in the year; my liver was enlarged and Dr. Bruton wanted me to go to Carlsbad, but it seemed too late for this year and so he sent me to the 'spa' at Tunbridge Wells, where I was packed and had numerous baths and douches and strong medicine, which did very well for the time. It was a pleasant month there. We had Fanny and Gertrude there for a fortnight, and Edmund and Geoff came for the 2nd fortnight. There were many pleasant people there and, as the weather was fine, we were much out of doors in the Park, and had excursions to Bayham, Penshurst, Tonbridge, and saw Kate Roper and Mr. and Mrs. Compton Jones; she is a cousin of Nora's (a Fearson). John Rivington married his cousin, Harriet, Apr. 27. John Marsh died suddenly, Dec. 14.
The bathing etc. at Tunbridge Wells did me much good, but Dr. Bruton urged me to go to Carlsbad, and I made arrangements so that I was able to leave with Nora in May of this year. We went to Dover and next day to Liege, then on to Cologne and the same evening to Bonn and by steamer to Mayence and Frankfurt, where we saw the Lepsius's - the son of R. Lepsius had married Pauli's daughter - and then to Eisnach, Weimar and Leipzig, where we stayed 2 days with the Tauchnitzs. We went from there in the evening and slept at Plauen, and the next day to Carlsbad via Eger. It had been very hot so far but it suddenly turned very cold, and I got a chill which made me very ill for several days. We arrived on May 29 and stayed till June 6. I drank first Schlossbrunn and then Marktbrunn. We were at the Victoria and had a room on the first floor from the Garden, and were roused at 5 by the bands beginning to play and the row of patients filing below our windows. I got to my first glass by about ½ past 6 and, after the 3 glasses and a walk of 20 minutes between each, got to breakfast at about 8; then letters and rest till about 11, when we walked or drove out. The woods on the hills were delightful and the town amusing. The Alte Wiese is the best place for the shops and many Coffee-gardens round about, all filled with visitors. Many came here to drink down their fat and weighing machines are put up along the walks. We dined at different hotels. Pupps was a good place for supper or coffee. I had just changed a £20 order, when I had my pocket picked of all the proceeds. We bought a lot of little things, boxes, etc., of the mineral which hardens out of the springs, and is very pretty. I also bought a lot of Bohemian glass which, however, was almost all broken when it arrived in London, from careless packing. I saw Dietrich Reimer, who had come here for 3 years - but he was the only person I knew of all the visitors. My doctor was a Dr. Abeles, a Vienna man, who comes to Carlbad for 3 months - he was a fellow student of Dr. Brunton's. At the end of the 'kur' we went to Nurnberg the first day - a beautiful old town - and the next day to Wurzburg, which we enjoyed very much - the Palace of the Prince Bishops and its garden is very fine, quite royal in its dimensions, (June 10) - then we went via Darmstadt to Mayence - Cologne and home, via Flushing. In November, we went down to Bournemouth for a month, as Nachkur.
We took Edmund to Jena. We went via Ostend and Cologne - Bonn to Frankfurt, and to Heidelberg, and thence to by Frankfurt - Eisenach to Gotha. B. Perthes took us to Friedrichsroda Schnepfenthal, to Tabatz, and back to Gotha. Then we went to Leipzig and Dresden and back to Jena (Sept. 13-16), where we left Edm. at Stoys. Then, losing the train at Weimar, we went on to Erfurt, and saw the place, and took a later train to Frankfurt, and got back late at night to Mayence, and came on the next day to Bonn and, via Flushing, home. We built the basement in Henrietta Street, giving a roomy warehouse. In Nov., we spent 2 weeks at Eastbourne, where we met the Brinds. Mrs Dobell died Dec. 3rd. She had been very ill all the year and Nora saw her a few weeks before her death.
Mr. Wheatley came to Henrietta Str. His wife, who anticipated her removal to London, died suddenly before they came up - Sydney W. Wheatley also came to us in November. Edmund came home in the summer holidays, and in Oct. went to Dr. Henkel's, and to the gymnasium. Stoys was too much of a boys school, and unpleasant for him. In the autumn, Nov., we went to Hastings.
In May, I took Geoff to Schnepfenthal. We went by Ostende - missed the train and went to Bruxelles, and the next day to Bonn, then on to Frankfurt, where we visited the Dicks - went to the theatre with them; Geoff's first appearance at a theatre - then on to Schnepfenthal, where I left Geoff, and went on to Leipzig and stayed there during the fair. Then the foundation of the Booksellers House was laid and great feastings, but I caught cold at the Inn in Waltershausen and was quite unwell at Leipzig, and after a week hurried home, sleeping a night at Hanover and Flushing, and was in bed for a week. In Sept., Edmund came home from Jena and went into business. John Rivington died at Babbacombe, Oct. 30. Aunt Betsy died Nov. 13. In April and May, we were for a fortnight at Worthing.
Alfred Rivington's son, born in Jan'y. died on Apr. 8. Blake Jolly, having lost his first wife, married in March, Maude Lester, a Scotch lady. In April, Mr. and Mrs. Holloway came to us for a week, and she seemed pretty well and left us to go to Southsea, but she was taken ill the day after her return, and died on 14th April - much to the regret of all who knew her. To me, she had been more of a sister than a friend, from the year 1839 when I first made her acquaintance in 14, Henrietta Street, where thet lived. When they lived in Bedford Street, and I and Norgate in their old home, I was continually with them, and there made many friends; there also I first saw Kate, who was acting as governess to little Mary, and there we became engaged. When we moved to Inverness Terrace, they moved to Notting Hill, and we saw them continually. When we moved to Balham, they moved to Putney and, when Kate died, she and Marseille came and lived with me for a year, and she was a great help to me with the girls. When I married Nora, they bought the house at Streatham and Uncle William [Heath] went to live with them there. Since we have lived here, at Blackbrook, they have always spent some time with us every year, as they both admired and loved Nora. In the spring of this year, Gertrude engaged herself to marry Herbert Fordham, but after everything was setlled and they had been asked in church, she broke off the engagement - ostensibly because she was not satisfied with the settlements - in fact, however, upon the advice of Sydney John's son, who has for some time been a pernicious influence on her and who wrote most impudent letters to Mr. Fordham and Cyrus - letters that no gentleman, if sober, would have written. So she went away to visit some of her fiends and, eventually, I agreed to make her and Fanny an allowance which should enable them, with what they have, to live away from here, and they have settled at Pangbourne. Fanny comes to see us sometimes, but Gertrude has not been here since. Hilda Miall married, July 28, George Smith, an old fellow student, who took his B.A. the same time that she did.
In Aug., Geoff came home for the holidays, grown a very tall boy, and returned within the month. Then Nora and I went to Matlock for a week, where Chas. and Mary Miall and their girls were staying, and then we went on to Buxton, where we enjoyed a very pleasant week; the weather was fine and bracing. We went from Matlock to Haddon Hall and Chatsworth. On Oct. 12, Mrs. Craik died very suddenly - she had fainting fits from some affection of the heart, but no one expected her sudden decease. M. C. had gone to town and did not return till after her death. She had been a lifelong friend of Nora's and of all her family, and while they lived at Tooting we used to see them often at Balham, and once they brought Nora and Alice Dobell to dine with us, and Kate was quite charmed with Nora, and afterwards alluded to her. At the time I was courting Nora, she was my great friend. She wrote to the Dobells when I went down to Cheltenham in Oct. '87 (should be '67. G.S.W.?) and it was there I again saw Nora and at once determined to marry her, and when I was in too great a hurry, and was refused, it was Mrs. Craik who invited her up to Beckenham, and there I had the opportunity of making amends for my too graet hurry and, when I eventually succeeded in securing her, I owe a great deal to Mrs. Craik's kindness on my behalf. Two great friends of mine, she and Mrs. Holloway, have both gone this year. In 1868, Mrs Craik adopted a little foundling, Dorothy - she was engaged to be married to a Mr. Pilkington, a second cousin of Mrs. Craik's, living in Ireland, and Mrs C. had wished that nothing should interfere with their marriage, and they were quietly married in Nov.
See also 2 pp. on - Cambridge and Odsey. [I have moved it back to here. N.T.H.W.]
In May (24th), Nora and I went to Cambridge to see the W. Wrights. We saw a good deal of Cambridge. Went with them to a garden party at Jesus College, where so many of the New Zealand cousins were, and the Wrights gave a garden party at Queens Coll. which, as the day was wet, was held in the Hall. I went to dine with Aldis Wright in the Hall at Trinity College, with W.W., and afterwards smoked in his rooms - he is now bursar of Trinity. He also dined with us at W.W. Coming home, we stopped at Odsey; the guests of Herbert Fordham, who was to have been my son in law, and saw all the other Fordhams, at Odsey and Ashwell.
Geoff came home from Schnepfenthal in April and entered in Henrietta Street. He has grown again, and is 6 ft. 3 in. Apr 20; Nora and I and Eric left for Germany, to take him to Schnepfenthal. We left in the afternoon and slept at (Lord Warden) Dover, where we met Charley Wood. Apr.21; we crossed to Calais and went via Lille, Bruxelles to Liege, (Hotel de Suede). It rained on the journey but was a fine evening at Liege. Apr. 22; Sunday, fine day, saw the Bishop's Palace, and at 12 left for Cologne, where we only stayed an hour and went on to Elberfield, (Weidenhof). The place was full of mostly business men - one of them could not keep his eyes off Nora - poor fellow. Apr. 23rd; at 8.55 we left for Cassel, where we arrived at 3, (Hotel Royal) and walked about the town and Park - Apr. 24th; to Frostedt and Waltershausen. Carriage to Schnepfenthal and on to Reinhardsbrunn - walked in the park, and in the evening had young F. Brockhaus, Hardi Tauchnitz to supper - Apr. 25th; drove to Schnepfenthal and saw Dr. and Mrs. Ausfeld, and in the evening I took Eric to the house - Apr. 26th; we started from Reinhardsbrunn at 12 and got to Leipzig at 6 and went to the Kaiserhof, a new, very good hotel - we had a beautiful room with good beds on ground floor - we found an invitation from Tauchnitz - Friday 27; went to see the Tauchnitzs and called on Mrs. Dolmke, whose husband is very ill, dying in fact - saw young Ross, dined at Tauchnitzs, walked and saw the shops - china - and in the evening to the theatre - the Fliegende Hollander. Apr. 28; dined at young T's, went through the fair and, in the evng., to a grand concert in the Gewandhaus, in honour of of the Booksellers - saw Edw. Brockhaus, Alfred Ackermann, Oldenburg. Called on the way on Carus, Ackermann and Brockhaus. Apr. 29; Grand day at 'Buchhandlerhaus'. King of Saxony present at the opening - lots of speeches - Pfrof. Carus and his wife called - at 4 a grand dinner at the Buch.haus. I left at 6, but it lasted till very late. In the evg., we went to the theatre. Apr.30, Monday; - Called on Hirzel, Lampe, Brockhaus - dined at the Rud. Brockhaus - Hemuth, Prof. Zirkel - Mrs R.B. and her daughter speak English very well - went to show N. the booksellers house - then to Tauchnitzs and to the theatre; 'The 3 Pintos'.
May 1; Ackermann and wife, Lampe and Mrs. L., Ruprecht, Mrs. Dolmke called - dined at Tauchnitzs with Alex Dunker, and packed up. May 2; At 1, via Halle to Cassel and Frankfurt. Tauchnitz and Clara saw us off, with a splendid bouquet. Passed Eisleben and Nordhausen - got to Fr. at 9; Swan. May 3; went to see Lepsius's and shopping; at 2 to Bingen (Weisses Ross, a very poor Inn). May 4; at 11 in the 'Hansa' to Cologne (Hotel de l'Europe), saw shops and streets. May 5; up at 6.30, and at 8.30, to Bruxelles, (at 2) Hotel du Saxe - had a drive about the town and a nice dinner - very comfortable beds and room - Sunday (6th); at 10.30 from the Gare du Midi to Calais - rough passage - found our luggage, had tea at Lord Warden, and on to Folkestone at 8.40. West Cliffe hotel - the children and Miss Short were at Miss Moores, and we went to see them before bed. Monday 7; called on the Goodbans, saw the chicks on the Lees, and home at 2. The winter began very early and we had frost and much cold in October. This year there was a break in our lease and as J. Hamilton intimated that he should break it unless we offered a higher rent, I looked at a number of houses and would have moved, but J.H. came and wished me to stay, so then I agreed, if he would add the yard to the lease, and make a proper fence towards the road, which he agreed to, and so we stay on for 7 years or more. By that time, perhaps, a smaller house may suit us better. In November, we went for a fortnight to Hastings and saw Elisabeth Gardiner and Lydia Williams, [daughter of his uncle, John Williams? D.A.S.W.] and a grandson of E.G.'s Charley G.
The winter continued till the end of April, and Nora was unable to go out of doors. We went nowhere at Easter; I had an attack of my liver, and we did not feel inclined to go away from home. Kitty, who has been at the High School for two terms, is very successful in her work, and is a great favourite with mistresses and pupils - she is likely to turn out as well as Juliet, who is 2nd in the school - Eric came home for his holiday in July, and returns to Schnepfenthal in August. He has grown somewhat and appears to have got on very well. Prof. W. Wright died in Cambridge very suddenly at last - I hear from Dr. Brunton that his case was hopeless from the first - some fatal disease of the bladder. Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Logie have gone to live at Chiswick.
The above was transcribed in 2002 by Nevil Harvey-Williams from a typescript copy made by Denis A.S. (Peter) Williams in 1967, from a copy he had borrowed from Betty Fenton (formerly the wife of Sydney George Williams), said to have been made earlier by William Henry (Binkie) Williams from the original. Some (but not all) of the explanatory notes originally made separately by Peter Williams have been included in this transcript, [indicated by the initials D.A.S.W.] and a few more have been added by Nevil, from the 'History of the Williams Family in the 18th and 19th centuries', which have been indicated by adding the initials [N.T.H.W]. The punctuation has also been adjusted to some extent.
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