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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Monday, 11 January 2016

Typing away I go...

I am currently copying a diary written by Harriet Beanland (1865 - 1922), over 100 years ago. Found by my parents - it's lucky to have survived! It is fascinating, but time-consuming.

Here is an excerpt! I love her description & the fact we get to meet a character her mother talks about in her letters.

She looks so stern in this photo for someone with such amazing descriptions!

I am hoping to put all these original letters in a book for publication once I am done! Might be a while...

Vanessa :)

I forget what month in 1875 our cousin Fred Saword arrived from London, but Mother one day told us that a cousin was coming to see us soon. We were greatly excited. We knew we had an Uncle Charles, Aunt Emma and lots of cousins in London, and we had two photos on the sitting room mantel piece showing a thin gentleman with whiskers, and a thin child with long thin legs on his knee; and the other showing a stout lady holding a baby on her lap; these we knew were Uncle Charles and Aunt Emma.

I pictured cousin Fred as a tall, rosy-cheeked boy and was greatly disappointed to find when he arrived that he was dark & pale and very little bigger than myself!

I remember we were called into the shop very early one morning (or else very late one night) for the door was closed and there was Mother welcoming our cousin, a pale solemn looking boy with a scotch cap, and black suit. It seemed so odd to hear him address Mother as “Aunt”. We shyly shook hands with him, he did not kiss us (as I thought he would) but was very quiet & civil, though his big dark eyes stared at us with some curiousity.

I unfortunately do not remember much about his stay with us except that he was a great tease & plagued us most of the time, though he was very quiet & civil to Mother and Uncle Emmett.
The person he most enjoyed teasing however was poor Mrs McKendry! They were hostile to each other from the first, and his pranks used to drive her to frenzy! Many were the complaints Mother had to listen to from one & all!

I forget whether he went to school, but I think he used to help in the shop. He used to chase Bessie Robinson and me if he saw us while on an errand. Once he chased us all over the castle ramps. If he happened to catch us, he pulled our hair unmercifully, tossed our hats into the road, and made himself agreeable in many other ways.

I don’t think anyone was sorry when he left, but in justice to the lad I think he was lonely and home-sick, he had no companion of his own age to associate with & no doubt hated the shop and mean dark little house we lived in, and at the same time was too young to appreciate the beauty and romantic history and associations of Gibraltar.


One night I was wakened out of sleep by Fred rushing in the say “Goodbye”, he was going back to England. I heard Mother (who was with him) say, “Don’t waken the other children,” as he scampered through the room gathering up his belongings. As he was going down-stairs I heard him exclaim, “Aunt! I haven’t got my nightshirt!” and rush upstairs again. Mother called out, “Make haste Fred, the cab is at the door!” He rummaged about the bedroom, grumbling loudly, and at last called out, “I’m coming!” I fell asleep & in the morning we were told that Fred had gone, he had gone on board the mail the night before. I don’t think we shed any tears!

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