The Apprenticeship of a Mountaineer: Edward Whymper's London Diary, 1855-1859. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2008.
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Whymper's London Diary, July-December 1855
1. July. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice morning and evening. No news. A very fine day. The Head Superintendent of the police has done today what he ought to have done last Sunday, viz, prevented, as far as possible, the riotous meetings such as were in Hyde Park last Sunday. Today it is computed that at least 150,000 people assembled in the park and 600 policemen to oppose them. Upwards of 100 arrests were made of the ringleaders. Some of the mob were very desperate and wished to show off. For instance, one man got to the edge of the Serpentine into the water and swam half-way across, and then began to sink. He was rescued by the Humane Society and given up.
2. July. Touched up 'Zodiac,' finished 'worsted' and went out. Today authentic intelligence arrived, that Lord Raglan was dead. A loss to his friends but a great benefit to the nation. It is said that the French Emperor again contemplates going to the Crimea. My father has now sold all his pictures but one.
3. Began drawing 'Smelling bottle'. No news. Some time last week the Allies in the Baltic fished up 4 infernal machines and were going to destroy them, but 2 of them exploded on the poop of a ship, severely wounding Admiral Seymour and some other officials. My father went to Richmond today with the Misses Hepburn.
4. Finished 'Smelling bottle' and cut up wood. No news. Fine day. My aunt at Moore Place goes to Ramsgate next Saturday. (fn. 1)
5. Altered 'Smelling bottle,' went out and began 'Work table.' No news. The movers of the Sunday Trading Prevention Bill have withdrawn, like asses as they are. (This is the bill which has excited so much attention lately.) What they have done (withdrawing it) of course only makes their opponents crow the more, with joy at it.
6. Went on with the 'work table,' cut up wood. No news. Very fine day. My father went to sketch at Richmond. Today we had an answer from Southend. Mr Madams said it was getting very full and was unable to procure us lodgings. We then thought of going to Eastbourne, but I don't think we shall go there.
7. Finished 'work table' and cut up wood. Business getting a little better, but rather slack still. There has been received a telegraphic despatch from the Baltic, to the effect that the fleet have been bombarding some place, the name of which I forget. A 1000£s has been voted for Lord Raglan's widow for life and 2000£ for the present Lord Raglan. Nothing of importance has been done at Sebastopol. A number of the Russian infernal machines that have been fished up in the Baltic, are on their way here. It is expected that there will be a more serious disturbance at Hyde Park tomorrow, as hints have been given out that the people will go armed.
8. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis both times. No news. Fine day. It appeared from what has been said in the papers and in the Houses of Parliament that the police used their staves rather too freely last Sunday; hitting indiscriminately. Today they were kept out of sight in Hyde Park but were in readiness. The mob finding nothing to be done there went down Piccadilly and in Belgrave Square breaking windows. This shows what kind of people they were. As Mr Peel said in the House 'they were mere canaille', and I quite agree with his suggestion that a few 6 pounders fired into them would do a deal of good.
9. Touched up 'work table,' cut up wood and went to Mr Smithers etc. Fine day but raining hard in the evening. This will do a great deal of good as it is much needed. I think it is most likely that we shall all go to Eastbourne as we are all in favour of it. Particulars have arrived of the attack on the 18th on Sebastopol, and it appears that it was agreed between Raglan and Pelissier that they should attack the Malakoff tower conjointly, as that commanded the Redan. The plan was afterwards altered that we should attack the Redan and the French the Malakoff. They attacked with 25,000 men, we took only 4000; what in the world we attacked such a formidable battery with such a small number of men I can't conceive. There was to have been an hour's severe bombardment before the attack, but Pelissier put it off and one of the French generals mistook a signal and began before the right time. Thus it was that a project well conceived was marked by mistakes and unaccountable alterations.
10. Drew diagrams for new apprentice, drew 'vent,' cut up wood and went to Mr Foster's. Fine day, raining hard in evening. Some despatches arrived tonight from the Baltic and also news that the Russians had made an attack on the allies before Sebastopol, but were defeated with great loss.
11. Went out, cut up wood and began the 'Ruins of Hougoumont.' No news. Raining hard all day. Where we shall go out of town is fluctuating between Eastbourne and Southend at present. Business very bad indeed.
12. Went on with Hougoumont etc. No news. Fine day.
13. Finished 'Hougoumont' and went out. A fine day. A telegraphic despatch arrived today, to the effect that we had silenced the Redan fort, it is not generally believed. Today Eastbourne is decidedly in the ascendant.
14. Began a 'Chinese merchant selling cats,' went to Mr Foster's etc. No news. A sharp thunderstorm at 6 o'clock this morning; after that a very fine day.
15. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening, heard Mr Davis of Portsea both times. It is whispered that the present government are trying to bring about a dishonourable peace, saying that the object of the war is accomplished, that we have prevented Russia from taking Turkey and have driven him back to his own ground. I do not think that this is stating the case fairly. It is true that we have prevented him taking Turkey etc but when the war began it was announced that it should not be ended without preventing the possibility of such an occurrence in future times. They have not done this. However I should not at all wonder if they did it. Such are the statesmen of England in these days. Tomorrow my father goes to Eastbourne to look lodgings for us.
16. Altered 'Spheroid,' went on with Chinese subject etc. A deserter from Sebastopol said that Admiral Nackimoff was killed by a cannon ball on the Great Bastion lately. A small place has been bombarded in the Baltic (near Helsingfors) with effect. Taganrog in the Sea of Azov has also been destroyed. A fire took place last night at the straw division of Hungerford market, from some boxes putting the lighted ashes from a tobacco pipe on one of the carts. It destroyed a great deal of straw but did not extend to the surrounding houses. Today my father went to Eastbourne and obtained us lodgings, paying however more than he had intended, which he only did from his unwillingness to come home a second time without obtaining us any. I am both glad and sorry at the same time. Glad that we are going to so good a place and sorry because it will cause so much expense. We go I believe next Saturday morning.
17. Drew 'Sum,' went out, cut up wood etc. No news. The days of old Smithfield are over. The new cattle market which seems to be a much superior sort of thing, has been opened in Islington. No news. The Russians have been receiving reinforcements at Sebastopol. Fine day.
18. Touched up 'Sum,' drew some diagrams and began a large locomotive engine. No news. Fine day. My father went to the book meeting at Mr Such's.
19. Went on with locomotive. No news. Fine, with the exception of a little storm in the afternoon. I hope the weather will not be as it is now, when we go to Eastbourne.
20. Went on with 'Locomotive' and went twice to Mr Prior's etc. Fred's (my eldest brother's) birthday. Very fine day. No news. All mess bustle and hurry to get the things packed up tonight, as we start at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning for Eastbourne.
July 21 to August 9. I went to Eastbourne, which is a rather large country town on the south coast near Brighton. I did not like the place itself at all. I went from thence to Beachy Head, where I nearly broke my neck trying to climb the cliff, to Pevensey Castle, which belongs to the Earl of Burlington, to Hurstmonceux Castle, which is said to be the finest brick castle in England. (fn. 2) This latter belonged formerly to the celebrated Godwin, Earl of Kent, who farmed the land which is now swallowed up in the Godwin sands. I also went to Lewes Castle (while I was there, the Queen passed through the town), to Hailsham, Worthing, Seaford, Newhaven and Brighton. At Brighton I was in the pavilion and was disappointed with it (as everybody is). I liked the sea, and the sea front of the town much. The weather was rather rainy, but altogether I enjoyed myself very much. Lodgings and travelling are exceedingly dear in this part of England, as indeed is everything. During these 3 weeks there has been no news from the seat of war at all. It seems now that Austria leans towards Russia instead of the Western powers as before. Nothing or next to nothing has been done in Parliament because it is near the end of the season, and the Lords and gentlemen want to get away to their country seats, consequently when the most important things have been brought on, the house has frequently been counted out. The week before last my aunt at Moore Place was attacked with a fit, between paralysis and apoplexy. She lost the use of one of her arms several days, but is recovering it now. When I was at Lewes I went and saw the Russian prisoners. They have the appearance of worn out Frenchmen. I should not be able to tell the difference except by the language. Here endeth my holidays for this year.
From the 10th to the 17th I was very busy and was not able to attend to my diary. I must put down as well as I can remember the events. On Tuesday the 14th Parliament was prorogued till 23 of October next. The ministers were anxiously expecting some good news, which might gild this session a little, but it came too late as we shall see. On Wednesday morning news arrived, that the Baltic fleet, under Admiral Dundas, had bombarded Sveaborg, not like his namesake at Odessa, but had done the business completely. It is said, the shipping, forts, dockyard and town, are all a heap of ruins. The town was burning for 45 hours. This ought to have come a little earlier, to have cheered the hearts of the ministers.
On Friday evening news arrived that, on Friday morning, the Russians under General Liprandi, to the number of 50 or 60,000, had attacked the allies on the lines of the Tcherneya, before Sebastopol. They were totally repulsed, with the loss of 5 or 6000 men, killed and wounded, left on the field of battle. This is all very well, very good in its way, but, the great army that is before Sebastopol, is not there to defend itself, but to attack the others. All the delay that has occurred is very inexplicable to us. We suppose however that there is a reason for it.
18. Saturday. Went out and began 'Tea service.' The rest of family returned today from Eastbourne. A telegraphic despatch today, says that the English cavalry were pursuing the flying Russians, and that Generals Simpson and Pelissier, thinking that a fierce bombardment might do some good (help to finish up the effects of the battle) had agreed to begin this morning. Fine day, extremely hot.
19. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis both times. Mr Eastty, one of the deacons and a member of the Book society, is very dangerously ill, and is not expected to recover; if he does, it is expected he will lose his intellect. No news. Fine day. Appearance of rain in the evening. I suppose tomorrow we shall have news from Sebastopol.
20. Monday. The Queen has gone to France, and in the words of the Times 'set the seal upon' the memorable alliance. She is to be fêted in a way that will, it is said, make even the Parisians open their eyes. All the fashionable world is gone after her and the consequence is, that the prices of provisions in Paris are the same as in times of famine. Fine day.
21. Altered the 'Locomotive.' No fresh news. Full particulars came this evening, of the bombardment of Sveaborg, but I have not yet seen them. Extremely hot. Mr. Jones a workman of ours, died today of bilious fever. 22 and 23. Finished 'Tea service,' and went out, cut up wood etc. No news from the seat of war. On the 21st the express train ran off the rails, a little way past Berwick on Tweed. The engine was the one that they usually draw the Queen with and yet they knew it was defective. The company will catch it severely, I expect, for allowing such a thing. Fine days. I have patronized the Lambeth Baths lately. The baths and washhouses and shoeblacks are, in my opinion, the greatest steps forward that England has made for many years. (fn. 3)
24. Began 'Sugar basin,' cut up wood, went out etc. No news. Last night there was a little storm, plenty of lightning but little rain. Mr Leigh preaches both morning and evening at Maze Pond next Sunday.
25. Went out, read a book and picked places for cuts, and went out; went on with 'Sugar basin.' The Queen is being feted and lionized wherever she goes. When she entered Paris, as much as 40£s was paid for a single balcony and after all that they did not see her as she did not get to Paris until 8 in the evening, when it was getting quite dark. No news of the war.
26. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening heard Mr Leigh both times. No news. This is Prince Albert's 36th birthday. Very fine weather for the harvest.
27. Went out to Mr Wells' and saw Mr J. Gilbert at the Il. London News office, hard at work illustrating the Queen's visit to France. She returns today. No news. Rather warm.
28 - 29. No news. Fine days. On 29th my father went sketching at Cookham
30. Mrs Davies, next door neighbour, died this evening just as I was coming across the road from work, at ¼ past 9, My brother Fred went to a private exhibition of Mr Gordon Cumming's new entertainment of 'The hunter at home,' previous to his return to Africa. This extraordinary man (who is now not more than 35 years old) when he went to Africa was only 25, went in single handed to the interior of Africa to shoot lions etc. He killed 105 elephants and hundreds of giraffes etc which he considers very lame sport. The development of muscle in him is prodigious, his strength is enormous. It is said that he, every morning flourishes two large clubs about (one in each hand) before a large mirror, going with them as close as ever he can, in order to get his precision of arm as near as possible. These clubs are so heavy that one is as much as an ordinary man can lift. His exhibition will no doubt prove one of the most attractive that there are, as it is painted by Harrison Weir etc under his superintendence and described by himself.
31. Went on with 'Chinese cat merchant.' No news. My father went to Richmond Park and I went after him. We are very conveniently situated for getting to Richmond. Wind changed to due east. Fine day.
1. September. Finished 'cat merchants.' Fine day. When the Queen was in Paris, the Emperor it is said exercised a little piece of diplomatic art, on the future heir to the [throne] of England, in taking him out a drive by himself and instilling into his youthful mind such principles as will become useful to himself (the Emperor).
2. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis both times. No news. Fine day.
3. Began 'The preparation of tea in China.' No news. It appears that in the battle of the Tcherneya, the English took no part, except in pursuing the flying Russians with their cavalry. They attacked the French, under General Gortschakoff, instead of under General Liprandi, as at first supposed. They left 3000 dead. The French and Sardinians killed and wounded did not amount to above 1000. The French and English batteries are now within a few paces of the Malakoff and Redan forts; an immediate assault is now expected. The papers are full of the Queen's visit to France, since no English monarch has visited France since the time of Henry 8th and Francis the 1st.
4. Went on with preparation of tea and cut up wood. No news. Our business improving, but the book trade in general almost stopped. Partridge and Oakey the publishers in Paternoster Row have failed. Showery.
5. Went on with 'Preparation of tea.' No news. Bad weather for the northern crops which are not yet cut. Mrs Davies, next door to us, was buried today. Our friend Miss Brown of Clapham was turned today into a Mrs Hill. Poor girl? (of 38) unfortunate being.
6. Finished 'Preparation of tea' and cut up wood. No news. Fine day.
7. Began drawing a 'Choultry at Madeira'. No news. My uncle Ebenezer is I believe going to move from his house in Moore Place to a house opposite the new Vestry Hall, which house my father has bought, out of the produce of some railway shares which he has sold out. (fn. 4) The new gun which Nasmyth invented; which was to have done such wonders, has turned out a failure. It was to have thrown large masses of welded iron, which they have just found out, will not keep together when it leaves the mouth of the cannon.
8. Saturday. Went on with 'Choultry,' cut up wood, made a dabber etc. The bombardment of Sebastopol has commenced. The allies have sunk a Russian 74 gun ship at Sebastopol, of the enemies. Professor Anderson alias the Wizard of the North alias etc etc has taken the Lyceum Theatre and is exhibiting his tricks in conjuring, explaining table turning and spirit happenings etc etc. He exhibits (gratis) on the top of the portico, the electric light, and when I saw it, threw it on the government offices at Somerset House. It is a new extremely powerful light, but they cannot make it quite steady; it flickers a little.
9. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening, heard Mr Aldis both times. No news. Very fine day. Bad headache, I think from too much blood in the head.
10. Went on with 'Choultry' in the morning and in the afternoon went to Mr Clay at Muswell Hill (the printers). He has a pleasant son and daughter and a cross deaf wife. A good deal of ground surrounding the house with plenty of animals on it. Yesterday news came that the Malakoff tower was taken by the French on Saturday, also an attack on the Redan Fort by us has not succeeded. Alas, how have the mighty fallen! Nothing that we do seems to prosper and all this seems strange after the sieges of Lille, the storming of Badajoz and the battle of Blenheim. They also attacked the little Redan and another fort but were driven out. Our loss is stated as 2000. No general officer was killed, they having all kept out of the way.
In the evening as I was coming home from Mr Clays, it was placarded to the effect that Sebastopol was captured, but I consider the report as very doubtful, as I did not see that there was any official despatch. They consider the occupation of the Malakoff Tower as a great thing, as that will enable them to enfilade the Redan and other forts. The Russians have been building a bridge from the north to the south side of the town, and have used it a good deal. (fn. 5)
11. Went on with 'Choultry,' cut up wood and went out. Fine day. The harvest being gathered in finely. But notwithstanding this the price of corn is actually rising, the reason offered by the farmers being that though the harvest is very good the corn in the ears is thin. Did ever anyone hear of such rascals? When one thing is good they say another is bad; for instance, they say that there is now not enough rain for the turnips so they will make them dear!
A large fire broke out at 2 o'clock this morning at the works of Mr Baker, timber merchant and saw mills, near the Archbishop's Palace. It was burning 6 hours. A good deal of damage done, but they were insured. Prince Napoleon yesterday visited Plymouth and saw the dock yards and a new frigate that is to be launched soon. Today all London was astonished by the announcement that Sebastopol (that is the southern side) had been blown up by the Russians and they had retreated by the raft bridge to the north side of the town. Of course there are many reasons for this, viz. the French having possession of the Malakoff they could sweep all the other batteries in possession of the Russians; they have also been running short of provisions for some time past, so that it appears they have done the wisest thing that they possibly could, in order to prevent a general capitulation. They have also burnt their fleet. We have destroyed their raft bridge. Prince Gortschakoff has demanded an armistice but I do not think it was granted. We did not at first dare to enter the town on account of the numerous mines that were continually being sprung, but another despatch came in the evening saying that we had done so, and that all the batteries were in our possession. Our unsuccessful attack on the Redan cost us upwards of 2000 men, that of the French on the Malakoff nearly 20,000. I hope that our generals will anticipate the routes the Russians must retreat by, and be prepared for them. I say must because they cannot get away by the sea because they have no fleet and we have, so that there are not above 2 ways for them to go by, either through Perekop, or throw themselves into Simpheropol, which is not expected they will, as they are not in a condition to stand another siege. If they try the former, we can, I think, stop them at Eupatoria and other places on that road.
Petropaulauski, the Russian capital in Kamschatka, was found to be deserted when our men of war steamers approached it. The Times comments very severely and to my mind justly on this. These steamers were sent out last year, to prevent the Russians escaping; they cruised about but the Russians escaped by some steamers up the River Amour, from which they will get into China and we shall not most likely take them.
12. Went on with 'Choultry' and went to Mr Murray's etc. My father is talking about going to Paris, with my uncle, in order to get up some book. This is a great undertaking for him, as he cannot speak French. Fine day. No further news.
13. Went on with 'Choultry,' went out, cut up wood. No news. It is believed nothing more will be done in the Baltic this year. Showery day, good for the parsnips.
14. Went on with 'Choultry,' went to Mr Murray's, cut up wood etc. In the last despatch from General Simpson, dated Sebastopol Sept 12 he says that the Russians have burnt their 3 remaining steamers which they might have preserved, therefore he thinks there will be a final evacuation of the northern as well as the southern side of the place. He thinks that they will retreat by way of Perekop, therefore they have done what I wished they would, and sent a division to occupy the road they must retreat by. They should strengthen this, perhaps when the bear is brought to bay it may become desperate. A railway accident took place the other day near Reading on account of a mad engine driver, driving his engine on a line (when he knew a train was coming) in the night and without any lights. He ran into it, killed himself and 4 or 5 others. General Pelissier has been made a Marshall of the French empire. My father goes to Paris on Monday most likely. Very showery day.
15. Went on with 'Choultry,' went to Euston Square etc. No news. My father has fixed upon going to Paris on Monday via Folkestone and Boulogne. Fine day. He went today to see my uncle John at Watford and Mr Johns at Kings Langley near there. More troops left today for the seat of war.
16. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening; heard Mr Aldis both times. No news. Dull day.
17. Went on with 'Choultry,' drew some letters, put in some figures in another block and went to Mr Dare's and Kearney's and saw my father and uncle go from the London Bridge railway station of the South Eastern Railway, through Folkestone and Boulogne to Paris. He will get there about 10 tonight. Mr Fenton, a photographist, has returned from the Crimea, where he has been taking photographs of the most interesting scenes that have been taking place. He has made an exhibition of them and has sent us a ticket. Dull day.
18. Went on with 'Choultry,' cut out overlays and paper up etc. Last Sunday and yesterday there were 5 or 6 fires in different parts of the metropolis, none of them large ones. The firm of Strahan, Paul and Bates are now going to take their trial for making away with securities confided to them. The Recorder said in his charge to the Grand Jury, that this offence did not come under the head of felony, so I expect they will get off far more leniently than they ought. The 'Times' in their leader today reviewed the condition of the Russian army in the Crimea, and said that there were only two courses for them to pursue, either to throw themselves into Simpheropol and stand another siege or to retreat through Perekop and abandon the Crimea. It is rumoured that they are ordered from Sebastopol to the latter, and they are to take their arms and baggage along with them. But I do not think that they can do this, as we have wisely posted divisions on their road. It is all very well to say 'do this' but how are they? I do not think there is any truth in the rumour. This reminds me of an anecdote of Marshall Pelissier. The Emperor of the French ordered Pelissier through the telegraph to do a certain thing. Pelissier said it was impossible. But said the minister of war, 'The Emperor says it is to be done, so it must.' Pelissier replied, 'Then let him come and do it himself.' This shows what stuff their general is made of.
19. Went on with 'Choultry.' It is said, and confirmed through electric telegraph, that the Russians are leaving Simpheropol in large numbers and retreating through Perekop, thus giving some truth to the rumour of yesterday. We have sent some troops to watch Simpheropol. Today I went to the private view of the photographs taken by R. Fenton Esq in the spring and summer of this year in the Crimea. There were a great many portraits, including Generals, Raglan, Pelissier, Bosquet, Estcourt, Jones, Campbell, Brown etc, in fact of all the officers of any note out there. There were also many interesting groups, one especially so, of a council of war between Lord Raglan, Omer Pacha and General Pelissier on the morning of the successful attack on the Mamelon Tower. He had a good many pictures of Balaclava, and a series of 11 views of the plateau before Sebastopol, arranged panoramically. Altogether it is a most interesting exhibition and well worth seeing. They are to be published after the exhibition in parts, £2 2s each. Fine day.
20. Went on with 'Choultry.' We have been doing some damage at Riga with rockets, have dismounted a good many guns etc. This morning Mrs Davies junior died after a long and painful illness, both to herself and relations. We had a letter from my father yesterday at Paris. He gave us no details of his visit, but described Paris as the gayest, noisiest and finest city in the world. He said it was very hot and crowded. Fine day.
21. Finished 'Choultry' and drew some letters. Today the papers said we had taken at Sebastopol, 4000 cannons, 25,000 cannon balls, an immense quantity of powder, 250 anchors, 2 steam engines etc etc, which were not destroyed. This is something worth having. They also give a summary of what their fleet was in the Black Sea, and what it is now. It consisted of 17 sail of the line and a great number of steamers besides, corvettes, brigs etc, in all mounting more than 14000 guns, and now it is - - - nothing. We have also received the Russian account of the affair. It is pretty correct, excepting of course, Prince Gortschakoff says that all that he retreated to the north side for, was to prevent the needless effusion of blood etc etc. This is quite in their usual style, it is stereotyped in fact, ready for the occasion. Very fine day. The funds, which have been very depressed lately, have risen a little.
22. Drew some letters and began tea service. No news. Fine day. My father came unexpectedly home early this morning (6 o'clock). He having been disgusted by the meannesses of my uncle (I thought that he would be), had some words with him which hastened their arrival at home. This journey home was very unpleasant. When he started from Dieppe the Customs House officers took 3 hours examining the luggage. He then went on board the steamer, a French iron one very low and narrow, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. After having steamed 12 miles from Dieppe they perceived to their intense annoyance a dense fog a little way ahead of them. On they went, not being able to see a dozen yards ahead of them. So they kept up all night a constant ringing of bells and firing of guns. They of course went on slowly (and once came across a great steamer doing the same as themselves) sounding constantly and looking out for the shore. At last they hailed a little boat and found that they were on the wrong side of Brighton for them, about a mile from the shore. They accordingly went back and kept on sounding. At last the man cried out 3 fathoms and immediately afterwards 2 ½. The captain was very excited and had the engines backed immediately as he knew they were close in shore. He then found he had overshot the mark on the other side and was very near Newhaven; at last to the infinite pleasure of all they got out of the fog and the scene was beautiful. The moon very bright, shining on the smooth sea, with fine cliffs and they steaming quickly into the harbour. When however he got to the railway station, he found that as they were 6 hours behind their time, that the railway officials had gone to sleep, not expecting them; and in consequence there was no train ready. My father went up to one of the sleepy guards and said, 'Is there going to be no train, if so, what are all these people to do (there were about 300 of them) for beds, there being but one hotel in Newhaven?' He replied: 'There will be none and as for the people, I don't know what they're to do,' adding, 'but I would advise you to go and secure a bed for yourself.' However, just at this moment, a gentleman came (who appeared to be a person of authority and known to them) and ordered them to make a train. They said it was impossible, etc., but they did make one after they had been about 2 hours over it. At last they started for London, but there was a fog on the line, so they proceeded but slowly, and once the pointsman mistaking the train, turned them on the down line instead of the up one. At last after dawdling through the streets home, he reached us at 6 o'clock in the morning, having been more than 7 hours on the journey more than he ought to have been. When in Paris, he went to the Louvre, Madeline, Nôtre Dame etc, and the Exhibition, paying of course most attention to the pictures. If we may judge by what are exhibited, English artists are by far the best. He liked the arrangement of the Exhibition very much, thought it was superior to ours. He however did not like Paris much, it did not agree with him; he thinks it like Bunyan's Vanity Fair, more than anything else. Coming home he went to Rouen, which he admired in all parts very much and would have staid longer if he could. He did not have a favourable idea of les Francais, as they always (almost) tried to cheat 'les étrangers.' He liked many things in their country, most especially their strong coffee and their architecture.
23. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis both times. No news. Fine day. A bad cold and cough I have caught, extremely disagreeable.
24. Went on with 'Tea service,' altered 'Choultry,' went out, cut up paper etc. No news. Fine day.
25. Went to Mr Murray's, went on with 'tea service.' No news. General Simpson's despatches have arrived containing the fall of Sebastopol, but they contain very little but what we have heard before, excepting we have taken upwards of 100,000 projectiles. Fine day. Although there is such a plentiful harvest, bread is rising in price. Which circumstance excites strong remarks and great discontent and if I am not mistaken there will be unmistakable proofs of this on the part of the populace soon, in the shape of brickbats being sent through windows etc and other demonstrations of a like nature. They have put an extra duty upon sugar, cheese, candles etc and there is talk of salt becoming the old price again.
26. Drew a 'Silver shekel' and went to Mr Murray's. A very fine day. No news. My father went to Mr Gilbert's new estate at Dartford to sketch.
27. Touched up 'Shekel,' went out and drew an ancient parapet. No news. Very fine day, but raining in evening. My father went to Cashbury Park, near Watford, to sketch. Coming home he was startled by the whistle of the engine giving 3 shrieks, and then suddenly stopping, although it was an express train. After they had stopped some time (not at any station) all the people not being able to learn any information as to the why and wherefore of the stopping, got out of the train as they rather expected another train which ought to come soon after this, to run into them behind. After they had waited ½ hour, they found out that the guards of their train had perceived a body laying across the rails and had immediately acquainted the engineer of it. Then they went back and found that it was a young woman, lying across the down rails, quite dead but yet warm. They conjectured she must have been killed by a train which passed them just before they saw her. They brought her to their train and proceeded up to London, where it will wait most probably, until they get information about her friends. My mother went to the Crystal Palace and was charmed with the fountains, which now play in and outside the building. The Alhambra Court is now very magnificent. My brother Fred went to Mr Leigh's at Peckham.
28. Finished 'Tea service' etc etc. The list of killed and wounded in the unsuccessful attack on the Redan occupy a full page of the Times paper, closely printed. It is said that the places for the Russians to retreat into when our fire became too hot for them at Sebastopol, are very ingenious and very numerous, showing they must have felt our fire severely. Another thing that tells is that we found in their hospitals upwards of 1000 dead and many others still living, who they had abandoned to their fate, without anyone to attend to them, or without leaving them any provisions to keep them alive. Today there was a report accredited that the Russians had been defeated in a battle in the field near Eupatoria. No particulars. Very wet day. Price of bread rising. Talk of an extra income tax. Next Sunday is appointed as a thanksgiving day for the success of our arms before Sebastopol.
29. Quarter day. Alas one of my uncle's tenants runs away, but however he being of a polite turn of mind, sent the keys round with a note (not with the rent though). Went to Mr Prior's, drew some letters and began a 'Toledo sword' No news.
30. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis both times. Raining very hard in afternoon and evening. Good for the turnips. No news. The Times of yesterday comments very severely on the conduct of General Simpson, who it is said mismanaged the unsuccessful attack on the Redan almost wilfully and when it was going on, instead of looking about him to see what was doing, he was squatted in a ditch almost smothered in a cloak. This is most abominable, at least The Times says so, so it must be. The Times says he must be recalled; of course he will.
1. October. Monday. Finished 'Toledo blade' and drew some different kinds of lenses. No news. The German papers are full of a rumour of the evacuation of the Crimea, but I do not see the probability of it. The allied fleets have left Sebastopol but it is not known where they are gone. The Emperor of Russia has gone to Odessa, along with the 3 grand dukes. I hope he will like what he will see, for according to many accounts it is a ruined place. It is said that the Russian people are much enraged at the taking of Sebastopol. "Well let them be, it serves them right." There is going to be a general exchange of prisoners; those that we saw at Lewes they say are very glad, that they are going, though I really cannot see why, as it is said that they have nearly all been able to buy watches with the money they have by the making of the toys.
2. Began a 'Stereoscope' and a 'Tail of a horse.' No news. Dull day. Business not so good again.
3. Finished 'Tail' and drew it over again. No news. Wet day.
4. Went to Mr Clay's, cut up wood, paper etc, drew 'tail' a third time, which had to be altered. Very wet day. The Russians are fortifying the north side of Sebastopol and we, to our shame be it said, are, as I expected, not molesting them at all. We shall allow them to make it a pretty strong place (which indeed it is already, for they have some formidable forts there); we shall give them time to collect another army and threaten our rear; there will be probably another battle, and we shall have another barren victory and finally we shall make the assault of the place and will most likely lose six or eight times the number of men we should if we were to give it a vigorous bombardment and assault it now.
5. Finished stereoscope and drew an Archimedean screw. No particular news. Wet day.
6. Began drawing 'Farmer.' In the afternoon I went to Richmond. Fine day. Mr C. A. Johns came to dinner and Mr C. Smith (the painter) to tea; who by the by has nearly lost his sight. It is said that 6 English steamers have bombarded Riga, but it is not positive. 6 steamers indeed! It ought to have been 16, (if it is so), are we always to have things done by halves. It is known that the Russians are fortifying a place called Nicolaieff very much (it is situated between Odessa and Cherson, on the sea coast), indeed the Emperor himself has been superintending the works there himself. As we know this, our fleets ought to go and interrupt them, if there is sufficient depth of water to allow them, if not the gun boats can do it. I suppose however they will not do it and there will be another long bloody siege after we have turned them out of the Crimea. It was in the papers today that, after the French had taken the Malakoff (called by the Russians the Korniloff bastion) and we had entered the Redan, a sapper discovered a thick rope, leading into the Redan, which he cut in half with his axe and then showed it to his officer, who upon examination found that it was an electric wire communicating with a large mine, immediately under the Redan. This was a most providential discovery, as, a number of mines were being fired by them, and undoubtedly, they would have fired that one very soon had it not been discovered. This was what I expected they would have done, when we attacked the Redan, and indeed this was very much feared among the men, as being blown up in the air is not one of the most comfortable things in the world. It is said that the allied generals at Sebastopol have formed some expedition, somewhere, but where, how, why or wherefore is not known. There have been 3 Field Marshals created, Viscount Hardinge, Viscount Combermere and the Earl of Strafford. The heir apparent to the throne of Prussia, Prince Frederick William, of the honourable! house of Hohenzollern (oh! oh!), brother of the present king, is now on a visit to the court at Balmoral; for what? to improve!! his acquaintance with the princess royal!!! It is said that at the time of the G/?/ Exhibition, the fool had some nonsense with her and now he wants to put the finishing touch to it. The people are against the alliance, we wish to have nothing to do with German politics. The best thing he can do is to go back to Germany pretty quickly, and say what Punch says, 'That we have doubts if he can keep her and we don't like her relations.'
7. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis and Mr George preach. No news. Fine day.
8. Monday. Finished 'Farmer,' went out, named blocks etc. No news. Fine day.
9. Tuesday. Went out, began Daniell's constant battery and began sugar beet. No news. My father went to Watford, and made a very pretty sketch. Fine day.
10. Drew 'tenterhooks,' cut up wood etc. It is reported our fleets are at Odessa and a bombardment is expected. I hope it may be so, and a better one than last time. If we were now to bombard Riga and Odessa (their 2 greatest ports), well, it would be a good finish to this year's operations. Fine day.
11. Went on with 'Sugar beet,' went out etc etc. No news. It is confirmed that the allied fleets are before Odessa. Showery and cold.
12. Outlined a view of Cawnpore etc etc. No news. Wet day. Mr Russell the Times correspondent at the seat of war, has had all his letters collected and made into a book, and a very interesting book it is; his powers of description being very great. It is a complete history of the fighting part of the war in the Black Sea. It is at present the book.
13. Finished 'Sugar beet,' went to Mr Clay's, Dare's and to Mr F. Gilbert's at Blackheath. No news. Charming day.
14. Sunday. Went to chapel twice, morning and evening. Heard a minister from Leeds both times. (fn. 6) No news. Very foggy day.
15. Monday. Cut up wood and paper, went on with Daniell's battery. No news. Muggy day. Prince Gortschakoff says that we are concentrating large masses of men in the valley of the Balbek (a little stream about 8 miles north of Sebastopol) which looks like cutting them off from supplies. It is said also we are threatening Perekop. The Russians have been again defeated by the Turks in Asia, at Kars (a fortified place the Russians have been long attempting to take). This is gratifying, as the Turks have not done much lately to help themselves. It is reported in Russia that the disgraced Prince Menschikoff (who was said to be dead) has entered a convent, turned monk.
17. Began 'Tap,' went to Murray's, Clowes etc, cut out overlays and wood up etc. Nasty day. It is said on good authority that Marshal Pelissier is with 35,000 men in the valley of Baider, that Marmora has gone with 15000 to Simpheropol. These movements seem to indicate operations to the effect of cutting off the retreat of the Russians.
18. Began another Beet root, and finished a plan began by Mr Gibson. A place of the name of Kinburn has been destroyed in the Black Sea; nothing of importance, however, has been done. Mr Gilbert to tea with us.
19. Went to Mr Prior's and Penton's, altered plan, finished Tap etc. No news. Fine day. Business rather bad.
20. Went out, traced map, cut up wood and began diagram of stove. No news. Fine day.
21. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard strangers both times, both young men (boys). My uncle came up from Watford to see us today. Fred goes next Saturday in return. No news.
22. Finished diagram etc. It seems that what I had put down as a slight affair is something worth noting. Kinburn is situated at the mouth of the river Dnieper, and commanded the passage to Nicolaieff (which is the Russians principal arsenal now). We attacked it on the 17th and compelled the garrison of 2000 men to capitulate with 70 pieces of cannon and stores. This I suppose comes before an attempt on Nicolaieff. I hope that they may be quick and not lose valuable time in deliberations, allow the enemy time to fortify themselves and ourselves to be repulsed.
23. Began diagram map, went out etc. No news.
24. Went to London Bridge station, along with my father, who went to Mr Gilbert's, and finished map. The other fort on the opposite side of the Dnieper to Kinburn, has been evacuated. It was called Otchakov. It is said that the river is not deep enough for our men of war to go up to Nicolaieff, so we shall be obliged to content ourselves with sending our gun boats up there. Sir W. Molesworth died lately, suddenly. The seat in Parliament for the borough of Southwark is consequently vacant. Sir C. Napier has put up for it (in opposition to Messrs Scovell and Conyngham); his address is clear and simple. I sincerely hope he may get returned, for he is an honest old fellow whatever his other faults may be. He has been shamefully treated by Sir. J. Graham, who he has in consequence exposed most thoroughly as he deserved.
25. Cut up wood, went to Gibson's, and began 'beet root.' No news. Wind very high indeed. Strong gusts constantly blowing. According to the description of the Crimean winds, I should think that the wind blowing now, is about 1/10 of their ordinary ones. Colder. An eclipse of the moon took place today, partly visible.
26. Went on with beet root, finished map etc. No news. Yesterday was the first anniversary of the battle of Balaclava. Windy day. Strahan and co were tried today, but I have not heard the result. The 2 new volumes of Macaulay's history have already upwards of 20,000 subscribers, although they have not yet appeared. A terrible railway accident occurred in the south of France, a little while ago, when an express train overtook and ran into a cattle train, killing 16 drovers besides wounding many others. Yesterday an engine ran off the Mitcham line; the engineer was killed on the spot, the stoker escaped unhurt. This is remarkable as the same stoker had escaped when his engine had tumbled over some arches near London Bridge into Bermondsey Street.
27. Went to Mr Clay's and went on with 'sugar beet,' etc. My brother Fred has gone to Watford to see my uncle John. No news from the seat of war. At last the commission for superseding Gen. Simpson in command of the army in the Crimea, has been issued. The only thing that can be said for him, is that he did not seek the appointment; he did not even wish for it. It is not officially announced who will take the command, but it is believed Gen. Codrington stands a good chance. The celebrated plate of the Waterloo banquet has been destroyed along with 11 other celebrated ones, in consequence of the publisher, Mr Boys retiring from business, and wishes to render some service to printsellers in general, by raising the price of impressions that they have, and also to hasten the sale of his stock. It is said that we now have 180,000 effective men in the Crimea. The Russians ought indeed to be powerful to stand against such numbers as those.
28. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening and heard both times curiously enough a Mr Hull from Watford, where Fred has gone. Yesterday the trial of Straham, Paul and Co came off (2nd day) and it really is quite refreshing to hear the sentence, which is 14 years transportation. I doubt whether any two ever deserved it so much as Messrs Strahan and Paul. As for Mr Bates, I don't think he was quite so guilty. Fine day.
29. Drew some letters, went to Mr Smithers and finished beet root. No news. Very wet day. Mrs Strahan has large property of her own, so ruin will not come on all of the family.
30. Began a Smee's battery, and began a coin, altered letters etc. No news. Raining hard. Several railway accidents have occurred from the rain, viz. a tunnel fell in, the lines got loosened etc.
31. Finished Smee's battery, went out and went on with coins. Major General Codrington is appointed to the command of the army in the Crimea. He has as yet shown himself a brave man, his division (the light) has always been first and most forward in the fight. Dr Blomfield, Lord Bishop of London, is now dying of paralysis. He is said to be rich. Very wet and very windy. Lord Dundonald's scheme for destroying fortresses is reported by Admiral Napier, to whom he showed it, to be quite practicable in his opinion. It will not however be tried.
1. A regular November day; piercing winds, dreary sky, uncomfortable. Finished one coin and began another. No news. Yesterday my aunt Bradlaugh fell down from giddiness and struck her head, bruising that and her arm badly. She is getting on all right.
2. Finished coin, cut up a lot of wood and began a Peruvian woman. No news. Particular account of the taking of Kinburn came today; this seems to think (as I suppose it must be) that the possession of it is a great point; for even if they build the ships at Nicolaieff, they must keep them there unless they can pass it. Cold day. The mortality and illness generally of London has, for the last few months, been much under the average, insomuch that the doctors are complaining that they have nothing to do. Illness, however, is not scarce in our house.
3. Finished Peruvian woman and went to S.P.C.K. No news. The contest for the election of member of Parliament for the Boro of Southwark, goes on very smartly between Napier and Scovell. Charles Dickens' new work is to be called 'Little Dorrit.' Cold, wet day.
4. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond, morning and evening. Mr Aldis both times. No news. Cold day.
5. Nov. The anniversary of the battle of Inkerman, Guy Fawkes day etc etc. The usual nonsense and waste of money took place today. No news. Altered Peruvian woman etc. Cold day, raining a little. Business improving, but not good.
6. Began Chinese soldier etc. No news. Cold day. My aunt Bradlaugh went to Watford today.
7. Drew a Vent peg and some nails, altered several blocks. No news. Cold day.
8. Began a 'Teal,' cut up wood etc. No news. Mr Scovell has retired from contesting the election of Southwark with Sir C. Napier, feeling that he had no chance. Fine day but cold.
9. Went on with 'teal,' cut up a lot of wood, altered a drawing etc. No news. Lord Mayor Salomons came into office today (on a Friday). I don't know how he will manage about the dinner, as it properly breaks into his Sabbath. Victor Hugo and his 2 sons have been making themselves obnoxious to the good people of Jersey, by sticking placards everywhere, about Louis Napoleon, of course very severe and violent, insomuch that the governor of Jersey gave notice to them to quit the island before the 2nd of December. This notice has given rise to an amusing squabble between the deputy and Victor, but go he must in spite of his protestations, if he insults the ally of our Queen although he may be a bad man, which he decidedly is. Public opinion is rather in favour of Hugo than otherwise, because they think that he has placed himself under our protection and we must give it him. So we must, or ought if he behaves himself, but not unless.
10. Finished 'Teal' and went out etc, drew diagrams. No news, as the campaign is really at an end. A fine day for November. Our cruisers in the Black Sea have captured 2 rafts of wood, proceeding to Nicolaieff, with 20,000£. They were upwards of 250 feet wide and 6 feet thick. There is to be another row at Hyde Park tomorrow. It is really a shame that the authorities allow such proceedings, but when they do go about stopping them/, they do it in such a clumsy manner, that it makes the sovereign people cry out. There were some fine speeches made last night over the Lord Mayor's dinner it is said. O, that all these fine things were not all said, but some of them turned into deeds instead.
11. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond chapel twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis both times. I believe that he wishes to leave Maze Pond. There is going to be a special church meeting on the subject. No news. Very fine day.
12. Went out, cut up wood and drew 'Lapstone.' No news. Mr Aldis has determined to leave to go to Reading. I am rather glad, as there are other places I should like to go to better than Maze Pond. There was a letter today in the 'Times,' from a person in Russia, who says that we have no idea of the ideas (only) that enter their heads. One entertained seriously, and that they would do if they could, is, that the Grand Duke Constantine at the head of 20000 men, shall be embarked for England and sail for it direct if they can escape our cruisers in the Baltic. They are then to come to the mouth of the Thames, destroy our arsenals, come up the river, land the soldiers, who are to sack, plunder and burn London, and then to sail away. Such a mad idea is hardly possible to be conceived, but yet we are told that they really intend to try it when their fleet can get out.
13. Went on with Chinese soldier and cut out overlays, cut up wood etc. No news. Fine day.
14. Went to Drury Lane and went on with Chinese soldier. No news. Fine day.
15. Finished Chinese soldier, cut up wood and went out. No news. Very dark foggy day.
16. Drew 'Vent Peg,' 'Wristband,' went out etc. A telegraphic despatch came today announcing a victory that the Turks have gained by themselves over 20,000 of the Russians. Well done, Turks, help yourselves. Foggy day.
17. Cut out overlays and drew Whetstone. It appears that this victory was not gained over so many as was said, but that they were entrenched and defended by a river 5 feet deep. I have not learnt where it was fought. Mr Beddome the senior deacon came this evening and had a good deal of talk about Mr Aldis leaving us. This evening about 20 minutes to 8, a fire broke out in a linen drapers in Lambeth Walk and after burning with great violence for ¾ of an hour, was put out, when it had completely destroyed the shop and house and damaged several others. No lives lost I believe. Fine day.
18. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. No news. Mr Aldis will preach his farewell sermon next Sunday. He is not thought by the people to have treated them well, leaving them in such a hurry, after he had been with them 18 years. Fine day. Cold.
19. Went to Mr Murray's and cut up, stacked and picked out wood. No news. Wet day. There has been a large meeting at Newcastle, to condemn the proceedings of the government, in turning Victor Hugo and the French refugees out of Jersey, and arguments used at the meeting were both sensible and true.
20. Drew 'work table' etc. Fine day. My father went to Mr Gilbert's. No news. Sugar, has from the scarcity of ships to bring it over, from monopolists buying it up and keeping it out of the market, got to a price which has been unknown for more than 30 years.
21. Touched up 'work table,' cut up wood and went to Peckham. No news. My father went to his book society meeting at Mr Burroughs. Rained a little. Colder.
22. Began 'Saint Roch' at Paris. No news. Fine day.
23. Went on with St Roch, translated French, in afternoon went to Mr Leyland's reformatory at Wandsworth. No news. A rumour of a Swedish alliance being got up, General Canrobert has gone on an embassy. Fine day.
24. Went on with St. Roch and went out etc. No news. I heard that Sweden has joined, but I think that it must only be rumour. Drizzly day. The Home Friend will stop in Midsummer I hear.
25. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond twice, morning and evening. Heard Mr Aldis for the last time. The evening service was very crowded. No news. Fine day.
26. Went to Gibson's etc, cut out overlays etc etc. No news. Fine day. Mr Aldis came to bid us good bye. It is a good riddance.
27. Went on with St. Roch, cut up paper etc. No news. Fine day. Have been reading Huc's Travels in China (fn. 7), which are very amusing and interesting as we know so little about the interior of that vast country; and the Earl of Carlisle's diary, which is not bad, but after one has read it, you can not remember what it was all about. (fn. 8) This day next 4 weeks is Christmas day.
28. Went to Cox's, Clay's, Eastty's and Clowes, cut up wood etc. No news. Fine day.
29. Picked subjects for Home Friend, went out etc etc. No news. Fine day. Mr Dundas from Mr Murray's took tea and supper with us. This afternoon at 4 o'clock Cottons the firework place was set on fire and in 2 hours completely burnt to the ground. This makes the 4th or 5th time it has been destroyed. Mrs Cotton has had 2 husbands burnt and she has escaped every time. This is so remarkable that I think she must have something to do with their destruction, from interested motives most likely. If this is the case it is sure to be noticed by somebody.
30. Went out and on with St. Roch. No news. The King of Sardinia arrived today in England and in the afternoon at London, going through on his way to Windsor. He is going to be fêted in much the same way as the Emperor of the French was. A very fine day.
1. December. Saturday. Went to Clay's and Dare's. The King of Sardinia went to Woolwich today. Went to Gibson's and Taylor's etc etc. No news. The Emperor of Russia is supposed to be flitting about the Crimea, moving rapidly from one place to another. The fares of the Greenwich branch railway are now reduced, so that persons can go now from London Bridge to Greenwich for 2d. General Canrobert is on his way home from Sweden; the issue of the visit is not yet known. A fine day.
2. Dec. Sunday. Mr Trestrail of Baptist Missionary Soc. preached both times. No news. Fine day. Very cold.
3. Finished St Roch, made a dabber etc etc. No news. General J. Simpson has arrived in London, from the Crimea. The King of Sardinia visits the city tomorrow. Alexander Dumas the novelist has been, for simply saying that "although his body was in Paris his heart was in Jersey with Victor Hugo etc" imprisoned by the Emperor. If he does things like that at all frequently he will be turned out of Paris by another man as bad as himself in a very few years. Snow appeared this evening.
4. Went out, looked over trade blocks, touched up St. Roch etc. No news. The King of Sardinia went to the city today in a closed carriage, much to the disappointment of the sightseers who expected that he would have gone in an open one. When the aldermen were presented to him, he let them do the bowing etc, and did the king. He wears moustaches which come out about 1 foot on each side of his face. He looks much older than he is, supposed on account of the afflictions he has had, viz. losing mother and wife at the same time. Fine day.
5. Began the 'Catacombs of Paris.' A very cheerful subject. No news. The King goes away tomorrow. Fine day. Very cold. Freezing.
6. Went out, picked subjects for H. Friend etc. The King of Sardinia breakfasted with the Queen at ½ past 4 this morning and then left for Boulogne via Folkestone. Small fall of snow today.
7. Went on with 'Catacombs' etc. No news. Freezing. A bank at Odessa has failed and it is said that numerous patrols are required to keep the people in order. Parliament will not meet till the middle of January. There is some talk of the Sultan coming over here next spring. We are come in for visits with a vengeance.
8. Went to Mr Soper's, cut up wood, went on with Catacombs etc. No news. A rumour that the Russians had taken Kars. I should think it is too late for that. An accident on that fruitful (for them) line the North Kent. A number of people damaged. The other day there was a most stormy scene at a meeting of the shareholders of the Eastern Counties Railway at which they voted that the chairman was a rogue and that they should stop his salary, and I believe they are going to commence law proceedings against the directors for cheating and wilful mismanagement. A little snow. Very cold.
9. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Hull of Watford preached again. A dreadful heavy hand at it. Very cold. No news.
10. Finished 'Catacombs,' went out etc. No news. Very cold. The Russians are fortifying St. Petersburg and Moscow. I suppose they apprehend danger. If we do not get on quicker than we did this year we shall not be at either of the above mentioned places for many years. Prices of all things rising.
11. Began the Cornmarket at Paris. Went to Mr Kearney and Mrs Gould's, cut up wood and cut out the overlay of a most ridiculous mythological outline drawn by Charles Kingsley. No news. Very cold. People are lying outside Whitechapel workhouse, huddled together, unable to get in.
12. Went to Mr Miller's, cut up paper and wood, went on with Corn Market etc. No news. Very cold.
13. Went to Prof. Bell, V.P.L.S. etc etc etc and went on with Corn Market. Alas! It is even so; a stupid government although warned 4 months ago that it would be so, (ample time to have sent supplies) have allowed the noble defenders of Kars to be starved into capitulation. What is to be said of this. It is treason and nothing else, to allow an ancient ally who is bound to us by many treaties to be defeated and trampled upon by an ancient enemy. Here is the ground to be gone over all again; more work to be done that might have been easily spared; but bribes and influence I suppose find their way to the great! men of this country as well as to those of our enemy Russia. Very cold day.
14. Went out and on with Corn Market; cut up paper and wood etc. No news. Rather warm; a great change in the weather. Fine day.
15. Went out etc. No news. The Crystal Palace Company are in a great rage as it is not succeeding, and they had a stupid, stormy meeting last night in which nobody could be heard, so it was adjourned for 3 weeks. They ought to have seen the difference between a temporary exhibition during the summer months and a permanent one, winter months as well. Warm.
16. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. A Mr Peters (a very clever young man) from Rayleigh in Essex, preached. No news. Rather warm.
17. Cut up wood, went to Mr Dares etc, went on with Corn Market. No news. Very cold. Fine day.
18. Went to Clowes', made a dabber, mended a chair etc etc. No news. I hear that the roads in the Crimea are in a very wretched state. That is bad enough, but not so bad as last winter, when everything was in a wretched state. Mr Rogers the poet is dead. It is said that a young man prepared a life of him in expectation of the death of him, but the young man died first!! After all the fuss that has been made about them the 2 next volumes (3rd and 4th) of Macaulay's History of England have appeared. The public are in a rare way to get any new books and when they get them, they are generally disappointed. We shall see if it will be so in this case. A splendid edition of Longfellow's poems has just been published, illustrated by Gilbert, in a most magnificent style for woodcuts. (fn. 9) Madame Rachel is reported to be dead. Very cold. Strong north east wind.
19. Went out, drew a beetle etc. No news. Very cold.
20. Went out and on with Corn Market. The Turks have gained another victory under Omer Pacha, where I cannot say, beyond that it is in Asia somewhere. That is all the telegraph tells us, as if the continent of Asia was only one small province. Rogers the poet died at the advanced age of 93. The Queen's master in water-colour painting, Mr Corbould, was requested the other day by the Prince of Wales to allow his moustaches to grow. He pleaded that he could not as his wife did not like them. But at last his wife went into the country for a fortnight and he let them grow to the delight of the prince. The princess royal saw him so she requested him to cut off his whiskers, which he good naturedly did. What a pleasure it must be to him to be the royal doll.
21. Drew 'Twist,' cut up wood etc. No news. The shortest day. Fine day, weather very cold. Our school's annual recitations came off this night rather better than usual. The boys presented Mr Pinches with a handsome silver epergne.
22. Went to Blackheath, cut up wood etc and began 'Twelfth cake.' An appropriate time to draw it. This is the first anniversary of our midnight visit through the back window. We are safe from him for at least 3 months more. Very cold, but hardly as severe as it has been. The river is covered with blocks of ice. We are I see, at last in treaty with Sweden; the outlines of the treaty are in the papers.
23. Sunday. Mr Willey of Oxford preached. No news. Warm and very wet. Mr Green the potter, who is one of our few friends, is, I am afraid going to leave this neighbourhood. Went to Maze Pond morning and evening.
24. Went out, cut up wood etc etc. No news. Wet day. Christmas eve.
25. Christmas Day. I call this our grand feeding day; because we get up late and there is hardly an hour in the day but what we are eating something. Dull day. No news. Staid at home all day.
26. Went on with 'Twelfth cake', went out etc. No news. Showery.
27. Went on with Twelfth cake and drew a balance. Went to Gibson's etc, and cut up wood. Showery. I have been reading lately William Howitt's 2 years in Victoria. He went out there, I suppose, to observe and the result of his observations is this book which certainly would not draw anybody out there from a favourable description of the place. He says it is not a fit place for any decent person to go to. I wonder he went.
28. Finished 'Twelfth cake', drew 'stick,' cut out overlays etc. No news. Warm day. Here is a sudden change. A week ago it was below freezing point in the bedroom, and it is so warm now that we could do without fires.
29. Went out, cut up wood and began the interior of the Pantheon at Paris. No news. Fine day.
30. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond, morning and evening. Heard Mr Jones of Folkestone. In the evening it was a most admirable impressive sermon from the text, 'All souls are mine, saith the Lord'; and as Mr Jones said, it would be a great blessing if that text should be ringing constantly in the ears of all those despots who persecute for conscience sake to let them know, that though they can persecute the body, which they have some power over, they cannot alter or destroy the soul which is the peculiar property of the Lord. No news. Warm in the morning, rather cold in the evening.
31. December. Went to Gibson's, drew letters etc, went on with Pantheon. No news. Another accident occurred the day before Christmas, on the North Kent line, from the switch man neglecting his duty. He has been taken into custody.
The last day of the old year! How many thoughts come into one's head.