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 1857
July 1. Finished Egyptian stamp, read two tales, cut up wood and began ancient wood cut figures. Very wet and in morning was favoured with a sharp thunderstorm, perhaps a remnant of that one which astonished Liverpool yesterday. The Queen and family are gone to Manchester; they take up their abode at the Earl of Ellesmere's during their stay there. The enquiry into the causes of the accident on the North Kent Railway still goes on, and from it there appears to have been gross negligence of wilful carelessness on the part of the signalman at Blackheath (Griffiths) who reported having received a signal from Lewisham that the line was clear when none had been sent, and on the part of the stoker and engine driver of the train (9.30) who passed the guard of the 9.15 train holding up a red light and also drove past the distant signal post of the Lewisham station, which was at "danger." All three of them are in custody and have to take their trial for manslaughter.
2. Went on with wood-cut figures, etc. Dull and heavy sky. In afternoon I went to Royal Academy and was much pleased with Stanfield's sea pieces and landscapes and also with Halines and a few others, but with others, especially the Academicians, oh! - Millais' insanities, Maclise's crudities and cut out paper figures and some bad ones of Leslie, Redgrave (I think Ward also) Witherington, etc. I was horrified and disgusted. To finish up the afternoon I went to the Oval and saw part of a grand cricket match between the Gentlemen and the Players of England. The former will be beaten. (fn. 1)
3. Went on with woodcut figures, cut up wood etc. To cricket in evening at Archbishop's grounds. Last night in the House in the course of a debate on voting money to British Museum, Lord J. Russell casually mentioned something about its being opened on Sunday, another took it up, another, another, until at last it became quite a furious skirmish, but the whole matter soon afterwards subsided and was forgotten. But this shows how strong the parties are on each side of the subject.
4. Went to Cowderay's, [Corderoy] cut up wood, and on with ancient woodcut, found cuts places in Hannah Lavender etc. The Belgian band of the "Guides" has arrived in London and is showing off at the Surrey music hall, and is creating considerable sensation.
5. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. He does not draw, nor do I think that he will; his usual effect on me is to make me slumber sweetly, at least in regard to all that he is saying. Rainy, sky stormy.
6. Cut up wood, began a ship at sea and went to Mr W. Goodall's, Skelton's etc. Very rainy. Mr Beddome, senior deacon of our chapel finished the evening with us. In today's paper there was an account of a very bad accident, arising from the breaking down of a bridge of boats, which was built to connect an island with the river bank at Shrewsbury. It was on the occasion of a fête of Jullien's and the people rushing away broke it down and 10 are known to be drowned (some more are also thought to be so) and many have dangerous fractures of limbs! Alas!
7. Finished ship at sea and began a funeral scene, etc. Fine. To cricket at Archbishop's ground in evening.
8. Finished funeral scene and began drawing a death bed scene, cut up wood, to uncle's etc. Fine. My father went sketching in Richmond Park, my mother visiting in Clapham Park and environs, Fred went to Crystal Palace with Uncle John who came up for a holiday and I went to help to conclude a cricket match begun last Saturday week.
9. Went with Uncle John to Euston Square before breakfast, to cricket at A.G. in evening. Finished death bed scene, went errands etc. Fine. There has been lately tried at Glasgow a rather celebrated poisoning case. It was of a young lady poisoning her young man. But after 7 or 8 days' investigation, the jury have acquitted Miss Madeleine Smith. And rightly, too, for as far as I can understand there were no grounds for proceeding against her for murder.
10. Looked out coins, began 2 ditto, went twice to Bucks, Mr Ellis etc. Fine. In afternoon I went to the newly built Educational Museum at Brompton. It is a frightfully ugly place outside, but quite the reverse in. It contains the late gift of Mr Sheepshanks to the nation and many beautiful art objects, architectural casts, models of machinery and is altogether a most interesting place.
11. Went on with coin, met my father at Fenchurch St station, went to Oval etc. Fine. The Lambeth petition against the late election (wishing to set aside Mr Roupell) was brought before the election committee yesterday (first day). By his own admission he had spent 2700£ before the nomination day and Williams spent about 760£, but out of the admitted sum h/e cannot or says it is impossible to account for many large sums being spent in an honest manner. All the evidence as yet is against him and so are the majority of the committee, I think, from the tone of their proceedings. Another woman has died from the effects of the accident on the North Kent Railway (last Sunday week) making twelve in all. My father went to Southend to finish his sketch and Fred to Richmond. A beautiful day.
12. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. My father went in evening to Mr Brocks. Very fine. In Essex they have already commenced cutting corn.
13. Finished coin, went out errands, began a plan of a Greek temple, read 'Roughing it in the Bush' for places for cuts etc etc. Still very fine. What a season we have had, and it still looks as if we should have this year. Farmers ought to rejoice, but I suppose they will not.
14. Went to Mr Weir's at Peckham, on with plan of temple, cut up wood etc etc. Fine.
15. Went to Clowes, errands etc, cut up wood, finished plan of temple and went on with coins. Very fine. Played a match at Oval in afternoon.
16. Went to Miller's (Holloway), cut up wood, on with coins etc. Cloudy, looks like rain. The petition against the return of Mr Roupell for Lambeth has been declared frivolous and vexatious (which means that the petitioners are to pay all costs) and Mr Roupell is now fairly fixed in his place in the parliament of the land. In afternoon I went to the Oval, to see a match between my county (Surrey) and Sussex. The play was splendid, but two blunders all the time I was there, one being a caught ball dropped and the other an overthrow. The dashing way in which the Surrey fielded is deserving of the highest praise, Mr F. Miller came out especially brilliant, for besides his beautiful fielding (during which I saw him make a splendid catch at long leg) he in one innings obtained as many runs as the whole of the Sussex men did in two innings, excepting 2. The scores were Miller 64. Sussex, 1st innings 35; 2nd innings 31, total 66. Surrey 1st innings 166, beating Sussex in one innings and 100 runs.
17. Went to my uncle's, cut up lot of wood, went on with coin, began drawing a Hindoo God, which I most certainly shall be exceedingly glad when I have done.
18. Went on with Hindoo God, went to Mr Weir's etc. As fine as ever. Went to Oval to cricket in afternoon.
19. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond morning and evening. Mr Armstrong (an impudent, smeary-faced old ass) preached in the morning, and Mr Watts, an excited, affected young donkey in the evening. Fine, weather oppressive.
20. Went to stables twice, to uncle's etc, cut up wood and went on with Hindoo God. My brother Fred's birthday, 19 years old. He went down per Great Western Railway to see my mother at Burnham. By the bye on that line the other day, the parliamentary ran into the express, or vice versa, no one killed but plenty damaged. On Saturday night and Sunday morning there was a large fire burning in Suffolk St, Boro, some very large workshops and other property were destroyed but too soon.
21. Went to Mr Skelton's, Goodall's, Mudie's etc. Finished Hindoo God. Very heavy rain in evening which will do immense good.
22. Cut up lot of wood, marked out and arranged abundance of ditto, began a large diagram (mechanical) etc. Dull.
23. Went errands, cut up wood, finished large diagram etc. Very fine. In afternoon I went to the Oval to see the annual match between Surrey and Oxfordshire. I only saw their first innings. It was a very good match, but Surrey is too strong in either players or amateurs, to be defeated. This is proved by the fact that out of all the matches they have played this year (and they are numerous) they have in every case been victorious. In the present match, Lockyer made a capital catch from a tip of Hon. W. Fiennes and Mr F. Miller threw up a ball from an enormous distance so beautifully that Hon. C. Leigh had to have 'run out' inscribed after his short score of 9. Stephenson made a fine innings of 73 or just as many as the 10 others put together, their total score being 148 (with byes). Oxford 101.
24. Began some more diagrams, cut up lot of wood, went to Mrs Gould's and Miller's etc. Very fine. The Atlantic submarine telegraph cable is manufactured and coiled in the holds of the Agamemnon (British 91) and the America (U.S.S. frigate) and is quite ready to be laid down. Before the ships set sail however they will make an experiment of laying about 20 miles of it near Sheerness.
25. Went on with diagrams, out errands etc. Fine but showery, the rain is everywhere very much needed, the grass especially is dreadfully parched. Last night I went to see, (although I did not put it down) a fire which broke out on the top floor of the left hand wing of Lambeth workhouse. There were a large number of engines speedily on the spot so that they were able (which is very seldom the case) to confine the fire to a small spot. The paupers were looking out of the windows near it, apparently not very much concerned.
26. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. A student preached in former and a West Indian missionary in the latter. Fine, and hot.
27. Went to Castle's and Hoddle's, errands, cut up wood, traced the rescue of a female at Shakespeare cliff, Dover, drew diagram etc. Fine but looks stormy.
28. Drew diagrams etc, went to Gosse's. Rainy early in day but very fine in latter part. In the afternoon I went to Lord's cricket ground and saw the first match that I have seen there viz. All England Eleven v. United All E. E. for the benefit of J. Dean. It is a very good match as the sides are the best that can be chosen, and are pretty even and is therefore exciting. All England kept in the whole day (today) for their second innings, getting the high score of 214, of which R. C. Tinley and A. Diver contributed 46 each and G. Parr 36. The U.A.E.E. have consequently to get 188 in their second innings to beat, as they beat A.E.E. in 1st innings by 27. I do not think they will get it, but they will from 150 to 160. The match is concluded tomorrow.
29. Went to Hoddle's, cut up lot of wood, drew diagrams etc. Fine. No news in particular. A report that the Emperor of the French is assassinated, but is not worthy of credit. By the by I have not mentioned the last conspiracy against his unfortunate life. It was discovered before it was attempted and perhaps before it was formed. But it was a favourable opportunity for him to arrest some 'mauvais sujets' of his among whom we find the names of Mazzini and Ledru Rollin. I almost wish that he would execute them for they have given the world more than their share of trouble already.
30. Went to Paddington to see my mother, sister and 7 brothers off to Burnham. A peaceful house may be anticipated now. Drew diagrams etc. Fine. In evening went to a sort of a spread (as it is beautifully and elegantly termed in these days) at Mr Probart. Music, singing and feeding and excellent.
31. Went to Leicester Square, drew diagrams etc. The United A.E.E. got beaten at Lords, as I expected but by a much larger number than I expected they would. It was somewhere about 130 runs. (fn. 2)
1. August. Went to Rowney's, and various other errands, drew diagrams, read tales etc. Fine, almost too fine, for this weather makes one feel so precious weak. It is that if this weather lasts out but a week longer (and there seems every chance of its doing so) that all the harvest, and that a plentiful one, will be gathered in. In afternoon I went to New Water Colour Society Exhibition with Mr Sandall. I was as usual exceedingly pleased with Louis Haghe's pictures, his Italian letter writer of the time is admirable. (fn. 3) Mole I also like very much this year and several other artists, but there are many atrocious (shall I call them) pictures which are too bad to be looked at for a moment.
2. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm again both times. Very fine. The latest accounts fix the number of men, women and children massacred at Delhi as 3,000. Alas! Alas! But it is almost deserved, so much has our power in India been abused.
3. Went to Castle's (tailors) and numerous errands, in fact was on my legs all day, helping my father to pack for his journey tomorrow. Was not in bed till past 12 o'clock.
4. My father and Fred went this morning (per North Western Railway) to Manchester, where they will stay a short time and then proceed to Scotland. I went today to Messrs White and Dalton's, Fred Gilbert's at Blackheath, Mr Corderoy's, Gibson's and Clowes. Packed up 6 parcels etc. In afternoon went to Oval to see the second day of Surrey and Sussex v. All England. My prepossessions were in favour of the counties, but when I got there I found they had only 150 in their first innings to All England's 203. Six wickets then fell of the counties (second innings) for about 57, until Lockyer and J. Lillywhite got in together and commenced pulling up the score and made 50 and 42 respectively, neither being out when time was called. This made the backers of the counties look up and restored the feeling in their favour. The game is continued tomorrow.
5. Got out wood for Skill, drew diagram, packed up blocks etc. Today we were favoured (I mean it) with some heavy showers, which after the preceding fine and dry weather, is a perfect Godsend. The rain stopped the match I spoke of yesterday, until 1 o'clock today, when Lockyer and J. Lillywhite again went in, their wickets falling for 62 and 46 respectively. The whole innings amounted to 221. England then went, played well, but Surrey and Sussex played better and got them all out for 59 runs, thus beating them by 110 runs. Hurrah for my native county and next door (although we could have done very well without them).
In India they are now hanging the sepoys in detachments of 12 or so. In Peshawar and other places, they have blown numbers from the barrels of the guns; at the former place they did 40 that way at once. Awful, but righteous. The thermometer is said to have been 110° in the shade last Monday.
I know that today, when looking at the match, I thought that my brain would have been dried up so fierce was the sun's heat.
6. Went to Morbey's, the frame makers, cut up wood, drew diagram etc. Today my father leaves Manchester for Lancaster.
7. To Mr Ellis, cut up wood, drew scissors etc. Dull day. To Burnham tomorrow if fine, which I expect it will not be.
8th to 11th inclusive. At Burnham, where through eating too many apples, was violently taken with diarrhoea and was kept abed 2 days. I am now in consequences rather weak in body, especially in the legs, which is the only part that it has disagreeably affected. While at Burnham of course I saw very little of the country, owing to the before mentioned causes and the heavy rains which have lately been refreshing the earth after the long continued drought. Going down I saw Windsor Castle for the first time, but was not delighted with it, which most likely was owing to the unfavourable weather. At Maidenhead I saw the beautiful railway bridge over the Thames, and a very fine specimen of engineering it is. I have not before seen such a fine one and scarcely expect to see a finer.
12. Wrote letters to father and mother (who are more than 400 miles apart), went errands, on with diagrams etc. Fine after a fashion, that is to say very hot but rather dull. Had letter from father, who is now at Edinburgh. He as usual has had wet weather, indeed I think 10 to 1 against his having fine weather would not be a bad bet. He has been to Tantallon Castle (the sight of which I envy him) and is going to Dalkeith, but has not according to himself done much in the sketching way yet.
13. Drew diagrams, cut up wood, attended to general business etc. Fine day but is now (9 o'clock) lightening badly in the west. My uncle in the business is just about as much use as no one, so that now, my father and Fred being away, all the care and responsibility of the business is thrown on me. And very disagreeable I find it, for though I have to act in many things at my own discretion, I do not act as I myself should, but rather as I think others would. If I were left to do entirely as I thought proper, I make but little doubt that I should get on with it both quicker and better. Despatched the engraving of my uncle's (Woods) proposed new chapel at Swaffham to him, and I hope I shall see it no more, for it was no pleasure or pay. (fn. 4)
14 to 22. Partly at Burnham near Maidenhead and partly at home, but in consequence being busy in the superlative degree, unable to make any entry. During this time there has been a very large fire in Edinburgh that has turned upwards of 160 persons out of doors. But what effects us more than anything that has happened for years is the death of Mr Cox of the Christian Knowledge Society, who was killed in consequence of getting out of a Great Northern train, while it was still in motion. The wheels passed over his neck and literally cut his head off, severing it entirely from the body. I afterwards found out more particulars, which were as follows. He was going down to Colney Hatch station by an evening train, which instead of stopping at the station as it should, the engine driver took through for the distance of several 100 feet. He then allowed the train to be at rest for a considerable time (long enough to allow several other people to alight safely) and then suddenly reversed the engine and sent the train back to the station. Mr Cox it is believed from being rather short sighted, did not know the train was through the station, or else he would not have got out, but was on the steps when the engine was reversed, and the sudden jerk threw him off the carriage under the wheels, which passed over his eyes, dividing his head. Death was of course instantaneous but it was horrible. What makes the matter worse is that the engine driver actually laughed when Mr Cox went under the wheels, and on being indignantly reproved by a bystander for his carelessness and brutality, I believe swore at him. An inquest was held on Mr Cox when it was found that the station master of Hatfield was, in defiance of the company's rules, riding on the engine and talking to the driver. The jury expressed themselves very strongly on this and on some other things connected with the accident, but the coroner (Mr Wakley) did not agree with them. The family is going to try and get damages out of the Company, but I am afraid it will be without success. If Mr Cox's successor happens to be a very different man to him, it will probably fare hard with us, as we depend mostly on the Christian Knowledge Society's work.
[23-27 not described, nor space left]
28. Drew two diagrams of micrometer article for Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Surrey Gardens Company has come to grief and is in the Bankruptcy Court, which is by the doings of the directors and against the will of the shareholders. It now appears that the concern has never paid (and consequently no dividend of 10 per cent ought to have been paid, that being only a trick to sell the remaining shares) the building (concert hall) is deeply mortgaged and that they are 29,000£s in debt. Of course the shares (no doubt the shareholders congratulate themselves on their being limited) are worth nothing. Mr Jullien is pretty well ruined, having never been paid his salary, in fact it is a difficult job to find out where the money has gone to.
29-31 inclusive at Burnham. On last day went to Stoke Poges, the resting place of the poet Gray.
1. September Drew large mechanical diagrams, cut up 10 pieces of wood, went errands etc. Fine but showery, which is an advantage. Macaulay is going to be made a peer; how will Lord Macaulay sound?
2. Went errands, cut up wood, on with diagrams, began Oxford Cathedral for Society Almanack. Very wet. We are threatened with locusts, that plague of the East. My brother Alfred found one of the first that have been seen over here and forwarded it to Dr Gray at the British Museum, who returned a polite note. Many others have been found in different parts, several being in London.
3. Went to Paddington station to fetch the family home from Burnham, on with diagrams, and on with Oxford cathedral. Very wet. The latest news from India seems anything but satisfactory. The Sepoys have all now mutinied almost without exception, and none of them can be reckoned on to fight against the others. The Hindus still massacre Europeans wherever they find them.
4. Finished Oxford Cathedral, drew diagrams, etc. The latter is the most abominably uninteresting job that can be imagined. They are for lecturers, and as they are to be seen at a distance, the lines have to be made a sixth of an inch in thickness, doing which on boxwood is very tedious and disagreeable.
5. Went to Clay's, on with diagrams etc.
6. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached flat sermons both times. The congregation sensibly (insensibly) diminishes, and I have no doubt that he will find his income do the same. Showery.
7. At the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, being the first shilling day on which the great fountains and the whole system of waterworks have played, I had determined that I would wait until such a day arrived, as I did not see the use of paying more for it. There were a great many people there, although not altogether of the choicest sort, but I was much pleased with what I saw, although it was so far windy that the fountains at no part of the time could be seen to much advantage. I admired the basket work surrounding them and some of the smaller ones most.
8. Drew diagrams, cut up wood etc. Very heavy rains.
9. Went errands, cut up wood, drew diagrams etc. Very wet. In this morning's 'Times' there was a very interesting account of a Mormon meeting on last Monday in Westminster (one of their conferences in fact) at which the proceedings were of an extraordinary and unprecedented kind. The elders made some peculiar statements, one of the favourites seemed to be that they (the elders) felt first rate. One from Reading told them that in his district, out of his parishioners 400 in number, over 250 were paupers!!
10. Drew diagrams, cut up wood etc Very wet. The North played the South at cricket at the Trent Bridge ground, Nottingham, on the first three days of the week. It was not finished, but the result if it had been played out, would probably have been the same as it usually is, viz. South victors, as they (the South) had only about 20 runs to get to beat and 2 wickets to fall, with Lockyer well in for 36 runs. (fn. 5)
[no entry for 11]
12. Drew diagrams, went to Mr Skelton's etc. Showery. The convict ship Nile has just left England for Australia; she takes with her a most valuable lot of articles, in the persons of Messrs Paul, Strahan, Bates, Agar, Saward, Robson and Redpath. Take care of them, cherish them by all means, if not nearly related by blood to each other, nobody can say that they are not in deeds. Seven greater robbers and general villains, it would be hard to find. There are large subscriptions being raised in different parts, for the aid of those who have suffered by the Indian rebellion. The Emperor of the French has just forwarded 1000£ from himself for it, while the names of the Queen and Prince Albert do not appear at all in the list.
13. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. Rainy.
14. Drew diagrams, cut up wood etc, read tales for cuts. Showery. On Saturday a large Dutch steamer was run down off Dungeness Point, drowning about 19 or 20 persons. The reason of the accident does not yet appear. I had intended to have gone to Folkestone today, but was prevented by my father, and I am not now particularly sorry that I did not go, for it has been the most miserably drizzly day that we have had for a long time. I should also have seen very likely what I have not any particular wish to see, viz. some bodies washed ashore from the before mentioned wreck.
15. Went to Charing Cross, cut up wood, read tales, drew diagrams etc. Fine. My father has received an invitation from Mr Hepburn to go down for a few days with him to the place where he is now shooting. It is accepted and he goes tomorrow.
16. Cut up wood, plugged blocks, drew diagrams etc. Went to Oval and Archbishop's in afternoon. My father gone to Limpsfield, Surrey. My mother went in afternoon to Leyland's at Wandsworth. An exceedingly fine day.
17. Cut up wood, plugged blocks, drew diagrams etc. Very fine. Today the contents of the Overland Mail appeared in the Times. The chief event seems to be another of those horrid, barbarous massacres by Nana Sahib of a 150 more women and children at Cawnpore. It is known now that that wretch Nana Sahib has murdered on different occasions and in different manner upwards of 1000 Europeans, most of them being women. General Havelock discovered this last massacre when he took Cawnpore. He found the great courtyard two inches deep in blood and that they had stripped the women naked then beheaded them, torn their flesh from their yet warm bodies, forced it into their children's mouths then thrown the bodies down a well and the living children on the top of them. That villain has a large account to settle with us.
18. Drew diagrams, joined wood etc. My father returned from Limpsfield much pleased with his visit. The last news from India is not particularly encouraging, 2 regiments that had previously been staunch have mutinied and one other besides them has done ditto and killed its officers. General Havelock appears to be a thorough stick, one who is an ornament to the army; thoroughly devoid of all nonsense and red tapeism, although by no means rash. Lord Elgin has landed at Calcutta with his numerous staff.
19. Drew diagrams, cut up lot of wood etc. Rainy and fine. Our apprentice Cheshire gave his treat to the rest of the apprentices, previous to his time being up. We went to Kew, played at cricket, went on river, fed immensely etc etc.
20. Sunday. Day of rest to weary limbs. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. He is expected to resign his office tomorrow evening.
21. Cut up lot of wood, drew diagrams, read tales etc. Fine. Mrs Hepburn brought us a brace of partridges. This evening Mr Malcolm resigned his office as Pastor of Maze Pond. I am glad of it. He is however to continue (unless he finds another place before) until Christmas. I am sorry for it. He complains of being badly used in the money department, but cannot prove it, in fact it is proved to the contrary. In price, he tried to act 'Scotch' and has made a mess of it.
22. Cut up wood. Drew diagrams, etc. Diagrams! Oh, sickening job. I have to draw lines frequently 1/6 of an inch thick and that for many weeks together. Oh, how I should rejoice to escape from this thraldom with scarcely any prospects of better times, to a seat in a civil engineer's office, where my head might be worked as well as my hands. I should not by any means object to getting into a bankers or a large warehouse if there were any decent prospects of rising after a time.
23. Named blocks of first canto of Childe Harold, altered a drawing board, cut up wood, drew diagrams etc. Fine, very fine and cool decidedly (with the spring) the pleasantest time of year. My father went today again down to Limpsfield, sketching. He admires the scenery of the neighbourhood, excessively.
24. Cut up wood. Drew diagrams, etc. etc. The same everlasting filthy round day after day. One day not varying at all from the other. Last night there was a large fire in Loughborough Road, Brixton.
25. Drew diagrams, cut up and joined wood etc. Showery. Yesterday there was a very bad accident on the Great Northern Railway. It happened to an express train from Manchester to London. When the train was near a viaduct over the Tuxford Road a snap was heard in the guard's break van, which was the last carriage. It immediately went off the line dragging 2 carriages off at the same time, which 3 of them separated from the train and rolled down the embankment. The rest of the train went on all right until it reached the viaduct, when the 2 remaining carriages then separated from the engine and tumbled over the viaduct turning a complete somersault in the air before reaching the ground. 4 people were killed, one gentleman (Hon Mr Clive) and 3 ladies. Almost all the others in the train were bruised, lacerated, had arms or legs broken etc, about 3 of which are not expected to recover. An axle breaking is thought to be the cause of the accident.
26. Drew diagrams, cut up wood etc. Very fine. Today my father returned from Limpsfield. An inquest has been held on the bodies of three who were killed on the Great Northern the other day, and an enquiry is being proceeded with into the causes of the accident. From the evidence that as yet has been given, my own opinion is that there was nobody to blame in the matter, as it arose from a cause or causes beyond their control, the breaking of an axle or some equally important part. The line has been carefully gone over at the place where it occurred, and the rails have been gauged and found to be perfect excepting where they are torn up by the carriages going off.
27. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. Showery.
28. Drew diagrams, cut up wood, altered a shell etc. One person more has died from the effect of injuries received in the accident of Thursday last, on the Great Northern Railway, making the 5th who has died.
29. Drew diagrams, joined wood etc. Fine. Mr Thornton the auctioneer at Reigate, called today. He looked (on account of his dress and general countenance) more like the 'Putney Pet', or Nat Langham, than anything I have any idea of.
30. Drew diagrams, joined wood etc. Very fine. The news from India is by no means encouraging. By some it is thought much worse than any that we have had; it is however most certainly worse than the last previous mail to it. General Havelock, has been obliged to retreat to Cawnpore a second time, when he advanced to relieve Lucknow, which latter place, although well provisioned, is in a precarious and extremely dangerous situation.
1. October. Drew diagrams, cut up wood etc. Fine. Mr Cotsell junior came to tea and supper. The jury appointed to inquire into the cause of the Great Northern accident have in their verdict explained their opinion that sufficient control is not exercised over engine drivers in regard to the speeds they travel at. It was proved in the evidence that there had been everything favourable for the safety of the train; it was started by the superintendent, watch in hand, most punctually, it was driven by a most unexceptionable engineer, the carriages were in perfect order, as was also the line at the place where the accident occurred (as was testified by the Government inspector), in fact everything was all right and no one in blame. Therefore there was only one thing that could have caused it and that is the speed, upwards of 64 miles per hour.
2. Finished diagrams, planed blocks etc, began part of Horace Walpole's library at Strawberry Hill. Exceedingly fine. There has been a murder at Bramhall (in Staffordshire I think) under suspicious circumstances. It is of a farmer. The family were aroused in the middle of the night by the eldest son firing his gun off. His tale is as follows. He was, he says, woke by a noise in the house, getting up and going out on to the stairs he saw several men, at whom he fired, apparently without success. When he went to his father's room he saw him shot in his bed. This is his tale, but from the following circumstances I think the police authorities have been justified in taking him into custody on suspicion. 1. A dog called a 'collie' was kept which did not bark, and there are no foot marks found leading from the house. 2. The house was in no place broken in, but if anyone out of the house did the deed they must have been let in by some one secreted, which is not a likely thing. 3. The son had quarrelled frequently lately on the subject of the farm with the deceased. 4th And most damaging is that the wadding of the gun which caused the old man's death, some leaves had been torn out of a book in his room and exactly corresponded. Now it is not likely that men would come into the house without loading their guns and it is likely that the son should use paper from the house.
3. Went on with library, blocked down several of the large diagrams etc. Dull. Fred and my father went sketching in Richmond Park. In today's 'Times' there was a telegraphic dispatch announcing the loss of the 'Central America' mail steamer under most awful circumstances. The ship foundered in a whirlpool sucking everyone in it down to a tremendous depth, and they then rose with the pieces of the wreck. About 620 were in the ship, out of which more than 500 were drowned.
4. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times, sermons in which error was mixed with truth, being beautifully calculated to lead those astray whose opinions are not settled.
5. Oh ye mountains fall on me and cover me, for this (the 8th) is the fourth day I have not written in my diary. This day (the 5th) I left my keys at our house of business, and so could not get at it; the next day, the 6th, my uncle John came here and I had to sleep down stairs on the sofa so I could not get at it the second time. 7th The day appointed for humiliation and prayer on account of those suffering and who have suffered in India, but I did not see fit to keep the day so appointed, not recognizing the legality of the measure. I therefore took the early train down to Edenbridge (Kent) whence my road was through the village to Hever, where I halted to make a little sketch of the castle, thence to the quaint old village of Chiddingstone with its old gabled, carved wooden houses and capital old perpendicular church. From it I went to Penshurst, saw 'the Place' which I did not particularly admire (I thought it bald), and the church which I should have drawn if some people had not been going in to the morning service, then through Leigh to Watt's Cross, where the main road to Hastings is joined and on to Sevenoaks. There is a very long hill on the other side of Sevenoaks (near Tunbridge) which I had to go up, but the view from the top is very good, I might say fine, especially so as I saw it. From your feet downwards slopes a precipitous hill, with the road you ascended winding about it to break the ascent; at its feet is a most fertile plain, gently undulating, dotted over with villages and cottages, the thin blue smoke from them calmly ascending to the sky.
9. Mended blocks, went errands, cut up wood, went on with Walpole's library etc. 826 persons perished by the founding of the Russian 74 gun ship, which I have mentioned before. It heeled over in a gale of wind, as it was sailing from Revel to Cronstadt, and before any assistance could be rendered by the other ships which were close to it, it went down in about 30 fathoms water carrying every soul on board along with it
10. Mending blocks; positively morning, noon and night, no thanks or no pay for it either. Very fine. Last Wednesday was a disastrous one for shipping, on the southern coast more especially. Two were wrecked trying to get into Ramsgate Harbour, one on the Goodwins, two on the Isle of Wight, several at Portland, a large number on the Cornish coast, where it is said to have blown a hurricane, and one in Carmarthen Bay. When I was out walking on the seventh I found it quite windy enough, my straw hat would keep on blowing off much to my disgust.
Ugh! Is it enough to make one disgusted with humanity, (humanity?) to have to record such an event as is my lot today. But I suppose, alas, such things will happen almost to the end of the world. Yesterday morning about ½ past 5 o'clock, two youths, lightermen, were out on the search for any stray articles that especially are claimed by those of their craft. The scene is on the Thames, close by Waterloo Bridge. On one of the piers they perceive something – they draw near – it is a carpet bag. They take it, and perceive that there is a long piece of cord attached to the handles of the bag, it is very heavy so they put it in their boat and row to shore to open their prize and see what it contains. It is done in the presence of some other people, but when done what do they discover – why nothing but some bones with bits of flesh adhering to them, with a few articles of clothing stuffed in, on which are marks of blood. They do not know what to make of it, so by advice they take it to Bow Street police station, where when it is submitted to the surgeon, horror of horrors it is discovered to be the remains of a human body. On further investigation, it is decided to be a male, who has been stabbed and otherwise murdered and then salted, the body sawn up and here are some parts of it. The bag has no doubt been lowered over the side of the bridge by somebody with the cord, but instead of dropping into the water as intended, it stuck on the abutment. The head of the man is not found and the river is being dragged to discover it if possible. It is very much to be hoped that the authors (for there must have been more than one concerned in it) of this most infernal and diabolical murder will be brought to justice. (fn. 6)
11. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. In the evening, at the beginning of the service there were certainly fewer people present than I have ever seen before. They were not 30 in number, downstairs, where 600 can be accommodated.
12. General overlooking of the large diagrams etc etc. Fine, dull, that is to say it did not rain.
13. Finally (I hope) got rid of large diagrams. They are without doubt a great mistake. It is a filthy job to have to do them on boxwood. The bones found in the carpet bag under Waterloo Bridge have been examined by a jury, who as they did not know in the least how the deceased had come by his death, could give no verdict. Up to this morning no light had been thrown on and no clue obtained to the perpetrators of this abdominal atrocity. There has been a double murder and attempted suicide near Bath. Another Indian mail has arrived. It contains no news of great importance, one fortunate circumstance being that it contains no news of any fresh disaster. Therefore we may hope for the better, especially as Lucknow it is stated will (or has by this time) been relieved by the rascal Sir J. Outram. If he accomplishes this successfully we will forgive him some, at least, of his former delinquencies, though they be great. At Agra it appears that the imprisoned ones in the fort feel quite jolly for they have made two sorties in which they have captured several guns, done a great deal of damage to the insurgents, and been perfectly successful.
14. Went errands, also to Brown and Co's, on with Walpole's library etc.
15. Went to Brown and Co's, twice to Truscott's etc, sized large diagrams, made out list of newspapers for a spec of my father (I think a very promising one) of which more anon. Went to a lecture at Old Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate Street by S.C. Hall (Humbug Hall as called by engravers) on the art of engraving, copper, steel and wood. I heard several things I did not know and what I think no one else knew, in fact things 'as never vas.' He, considering he has lived his life with engravers, ought to have given a better lecture.
Another railway accident, this time on the South Wales railway. Two persons have died. Happened thus. A breakdown on down line, so they shifted a down train which was kept waiting by the break down on to the up line, and in proceeding, the down train met, when going round a curve, the up train, which was going faster than usual, as it was overdue. A frightful collision was of course the result, several carriages being smashed and the occupants along with them. Only one child was however killed. 300£ is offered for the discovery of the authors of the infernal Waterloo Bridge murder.
16. Coloured large diagrams, improved a drawing of Prior's, began a chimney piece at Strawberry Hill etc. Dull, fine. My father went to McKewan's in evening. The Indian mails have arrived, of which telegraphic messages had been previously received. They contain nothing of much importance. Two persons have died from the effects of injuries received in the accident mentioned yesterday on the South Wales Railway.
17. Went on with Chimney piece, cut up wood etc. Rainy. My father and Fred sketching at Richmond.
18. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached in the morning and Mr Ward in the evening. Exceedingly wet, easterly wind, weather glass low and still falling, does not look as if we should have any more fine weather this year.
19. Went on with Chimney piece, cut up 9 pieces of wood, went to Gibson's etc. Rainy. My uncle has just returned from Ipswich; he proposed when there my father's spec to the first editor it has been to, but it was not favourably received. I myself am not so sanguine about it as I was; but still if we only get the editors to touch it, it will be a most capital idea.
In today's 'Times' there was an account of a drunken clergyman, who was found in a gutter, with yesterday's sermon in his pocket. The magistrate lectured and fined him, but he was impudent and unabashed withal, asked the magistrate to come and hear his sermon, as he was sure it would do him a great deal of good!
20. Cut up 10 pieces of wood, finished chimney piece, began a coin of Carausius etc. Dull, fine. In pursuance of his plan regarding us, my father sends my brother Alfred to Edinburgh next Friday to Clark's the printers. Thus, Fred engraver, Ted draughtsman, Alfred printer and so on; but shall we finally keep to them. I think, in fact I know we shall not. Then what is the use of pursuing the plan of making us all those different trades? None whatever, if we could have got anything else that we liked and should keep to. In such a case, all the present time is being wasted.
21. Finished coin and began the Castle of St Angelo, Rome, cut up wood, went to uncle's etc. Wet.
22. Cut up wood, went on with Castle of St Angelo, mended latch and blind etc.
The 10th of November is the day of Mr Murray's annual trade sale, on which day Livingstone's journal and travels will appear. Were it not that many thousands of copies (I believe 12 or 15,000) copies of it, have been subscribed for, the sale would be seriously injured by so great a delay in the appearance of the work.
23. Went to Truscott's etc, made out lists of newspapers, on with Castle of St Angelo. It is at last decided at the Society for P.C.K. who is to have their superintendency, vacant by the death of Mr Cox. It is Mr Burt of the Tract Society. They had more than 100 applicants for the place, the principal of whom were Mr Cotsell, who has been brought up in expectation of having the situation, (and who is rightly much disappointed at not having it) and Mr Sharpe, the proprietor of Sharpe's Magazine, who was backed by Mr Clay and his party, but opposed by a great many and disliked by more.
24. Went errands, cut and marked out wood, went on with Castle of St Angelo. Fine. Sent two letters, one to S.C. Hall and other to Dr Mackay, about the former ridiculous lecture on the 15th. I wonder if they will insert them in their papers. I should think most likely not. Mr Clark came to ours today from Edinburgh. My brother Alfred's departure is now delayed to the middle of next week.
25. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Malcolm preached both times. Very fine.
26. Went to Ramsgate by the South Eastern Railway. Soon after I arrived there, I had the unexpected pleasure of having the rain come down very heavily, which it continued to do almost the whole of the time that it was light, thereby lessening (I will not say stopping) my pleasure for the day. I followed the coast, sometimes on the shore, and the rest of the time on the cliffs to Broadstairs, Kingsgate and Margate, and there had my dinner, then taking the train back to Ramsgate. It rained incessantly (and by no means lightly) the whole of the time I was walking. At Kingsgate I saw the wreck of the Northern Belle, that is to say I saw one mast of her and four immense pontoons which they are going to try and raise the hull with at next spring tides, if it is fine weather.
27. Went on with St Angelo, out errands etc. I forgot to say yesterday that it was discovered (alas) on Saturday that Big Ben of Westminster is cracked, there is no help for it, it being a fact, and a stubborn thing, so that it will have to be melted and recast. (fn. 7) But in order to balance the sadness produced in the public's mind by the foregoing, today a telegraphic dispatch appeared in the Times announcing the FALL OF DELHI. We have lost in the assault upwards of 5 or 600 killed and wounded, so that it appears the mutineers did not let our people walk in. Hurrah, brighter prospects appear. Lucknow and Agra will be immediately relieved by Havelock and Outram, who has at last joined the former at Cawnpore, and we shall be able to pay back (although not possibly with interest) the debt we owe to the sepoys, the wretches. The General in chief has issued a proclamation in which he says that no quarter must be given, martial law must prevail. And he is quite right.
28. Went on with Angelo, cut up wood etc. It is great pity, but unfortunately is too true, that the so called king of Delhi has escaped for the present, with his sons, disguised as women. Fatalism it appears will not always answer. He does not covet death. In the evening saw my brother Alfred off from the Great Northern Station for Edinburgh. He is destined (fatal that) to be a printer, which I think I have said before. Showery.
29. Finished St Angelo, carried my father's bag to station, put figures in Taj Mahal etc. Showery. My father went sketching in Betchworth Park. The Great Eastern is rapidly progressing towards completion. She will be launched most likely, in the next month, or early in December. The launch will occupy 16 hours and will begin in the night time so that it may be completed in the day, before (no doubt) a great multitude. The electric light will be used during the launch in the night time.
30. Improved St Angelo, cut up wood, began basilica of Constantine. Fine, but cold. Tomorrow I go to Reading on business. We had a letter from my brother Alf this morning, announcing his safe arrival in Edinburgh. So far so good.
31. Went on with Basilica, cut up 5 pieces of wood and went to Reading to see the editor of Mercury, about my father's spec, namely the appearance periodically of good and large sized engravings in provincial journals. I did not however obtain an interview with Mr Cowslade until ¼ past 5 o'clock, and then at his private residence only. He gave no positive answer either way but will communicate with us. If pressed I think he will touch the scheme, but if not I think we shall hear no more about it from him. The amount of encouragement I received was about the same as I expected. Reading has several good churches, but although an ancient town does not show any old houses. I called on and took tea with Mr Aldis, there.
November 1. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. A student from Bradford preached, and pretty well, but his pronunciation was horrible. (fn. 8) General Cavaignac is dead. A telegraphic despatch was in the Times yesterday announcing the event. It occurred very suddenly. Louis Napoleon is not sorry very probably. I cannot say I am. The weather is still extraordinarily fine, although gradually getting colder. I have heard several people remark that it is more like May than November. And indeed the appearance of the country warrants the remark, for the leaves have scarcely fallen at all from most and not at all from some of the trees as yet.
2. Went on with Basilica, planed blocks etc. Dull, fine. General Cavaignac was buried on Saturday with great pomp, in Paris. The general was out shooting when he died, the cause being a heart complaint. He died almost instantaneously. After numerous conjectures and contradictions, it is discovered that tomorrow and the following day are fixed for the launch of the Great Eastern. This is annoying to us as we wished to have a large engraving prepared of it before that event took place, which we have not been able to do, owing to the inconvenience we have experienced from the artist, Weedon.
3. Went to Miller's, Sunters', on with Basilica. Wet. One of the most prominent books of the day is Tom Brown's Schooldays. I am now reading it, and am very glad I am. It enlightens me as to the character of Dr Arnold of Rugby school. I previously, ignorantly hated his name, I shall now revere it. More I shall not say, but advise everyone to do as I am, read this book – and remember it.
4. Went to Miller's and Sunters', cut up wood, finished Basilica, began the baths of Caracalla. The attempted launch of the Great Eastern is what stares everyone in the face this morning. John Bull has to add this to his list of public failures this year, viz, the Atlantic telegraph, Big Ben, and the failures of our model Indian army. Quite enough, I think, for one year. The cause of the failure this time seems to be the insufficiency of the powers employed to drag it down to the water. By some means or other a capstan was whirled round with prodigious force, wounding and maiming a considerable number of workmen, one it is feared, mortally. The iron bars of it, 1½ inch thick, were doubled up by the force with which they struck the men. The launch will have now most certainly to be delayed for a month more, to get the next spring tides.
5. Went to Buck's and Sunter's, on with Baths of Caracalla, read book for cuts etc. Dull fine. Guy Fawkes day, on which account all the blackguards of the neighbourhood turn out and demand money in the day, hooting and yelling if they do not get it and hurrahing if they do, which money if got is spent in buying little machines which when let off make (as Mr Spurgeon says, 'a most unholy noise') but as I say a most infernal ditto.
6. Went errands, cut up 4 pieces of wood, finished Baths (no. 1), began Baths (no. 2). Foggy. Morrison the millionaire died last week, worth nearer 4 than 3,000,000£. Much good it did him, and much good he did with it, did he not, oh yes.
The Bank of England has again raised discounts. It is now 9 per cent. In consequence of the financial disturbances in America, most of our manufacturers, (in the Midland counties especially) are discharging their hands, or else employing them but 2 or 3 days a week. This morning a suspension of payment by a Sheffield house was announced, liabilities estimated between 6 and 7 hundred thousand pounds. It is however happily expected only to be a temporary suspension.
7. Cut up wood and went on with Baths of Caracalla (no. 2) etc. Fine. Cold. In afternoon I walked down to Richmond, on to Twickenham to see my father sketching, and from thence to Ham Common, (Mr Warner's) where I had my tea and then walked direct up again, doing 25 miles between ½ past 2 and ½ past 9.1 today walked the quickest that I have done yet, doing my first 5¾ miles in an hour and doing Richmond, 10 miles, in 1 hour and 50 minutes; which considering I am out of practice, had the roads bad, and had new shoes on, is good for me. The longest distance I have walked yet in one day is 35 miles (on the fast day), and the longest distance without a halt is 27 miles (down to Burnham, Bucks, when the family was there in the summer time.)
8. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr - - preached in morning very quietly but kept my attention fixed very well, and a student in the evening, who did not do that.
9. Went on with Baths of Caracalla (no. 2), cut up lot of wood, and began a large diagram on mahogany. Lord Mayor's day, Sir R.W. Carden being mayor. The show is this year shorn of some of its beauties? viz. the water procession and the usual attendance of soldiers. The latter it is said is owing to the great drain on them for the East. Mr. Murray's trade sale came off last Tuesday, and an unprecedented one it was. 13,500 copies of Livingstone's Travels were disposed of, with 1,500 copies of Lord Dufferin's yacht voyage (in addition to 2 editions previously sold), 1400 copies of Smile's life of Stephenson (in addition to 6 or 7000 previously sold), 6900 copies of Mrs Markham history of England of which about 70,000 copies have been got rid of before, and numerous other books. It has (wonderful event) actually made Mr Murray in good humour and tolerably amiable. Cold.
10. Finished mahogany block, and drew it over again, cut up wood etc. Fine and cold. Several large English firms have stopped payment, entirely owing to their American remittances being stopped. A Glasgow bank has also stopped which has 100 branches, whose liabilities range from 5 to 6,000,000£. This although the depositors' money is perfectly safe, owing to the great wealth of the shareholders, will cause the greatest trouble to all who are connected with it. The Bank of England has again raised its discount from 9 to 10 per cent and it is not improbable that they will even raise it higher.
11. Cut up wood, went to Mr Murray's, on with Baths of Caracalla (no.2) etc. Very fine and sunny. We had Mrs Baxter and daughter to tea and supper. I tried today and was unsuccessful, to get 6 copies of Livingstone's travels. The whole 15,000 copies although only published three days are disposed of, and they have orders to the tune of 4050 more, at least so I heard Mr. Cooke (Murray's partner) say. They go to press with it again for 5 or 6,000 copies which will doubtless be sold immediately. Murray's face today when I saw him was beaming with joy, although he never expresses it by word. The price of the copyright, Dr Livingstone left entirely with Mr Murray and although such an act would have been safer with the senior Murray, I have no doubt the junior will liberally recompense him.
News from India in this evening's papers. Lucknow is relieved by Havelock, and Generals Neill and Nicholson are killed, the King of Delhi, his sons and entire zenana taken, sons hanged but spared the King on account of his age (90). Poor old puppet.
12. Finished Baths of Caracalla (no.2), which is I think the only drawing which I have yet executed that my father has not complained of (no doubt generally justly) in some particular. Improved St Angelo, and Basilica of Constantine etc. Went in evening to Mr Pinches, my school master, showed him some of my drawings on wood with which he appeared to be pleased. We have November at last and no mistake, if it is not freezing it is pretty close on it.
Another large Scotch bank has failed to meet the run on it and has stopped, which accelerated the fate of Sanderson Sandeman & Co, the second discount house in London. They after having received a telegraphic despatch almost immediately followed the example. Their liabilities were believed to be about 4,000,000£. This will infallibly cause a number of smaller failures as they have bills lodged with them for discounting which they are unable to discount and must not return.
13. Touched up St Angelo, went errands, cut up wood and began some ruins at Palmyra. As sure as a gun, in this mornings 'Times' are a list of failures (resulting from Sanderson and Co) amounting to about 100,000£s. This evening I also heard that Messrs Fitch and Co, the large bacon merchants, were under the necessity of suspending payment, on the same account. The Bank Charter Act is abrogated by the Government. This will allow the Bank of England to issue notes until the pressure on the money market is relieved. Many it is said who were no safer than those who have failed are now perfectly so, and they are now jumping for joy in consequence. Parliament is expected to be specially convened in order to consider the best means of averting a panic and lessening the consequences of this commercial crisis, which is almost unparalleled.
14. Went on with Ruins at Palmyra, out errands etc. Imminent danger of a panic seems over. No fresh stoppages of any large houses are recorded, which is a fact we should be thankful for. A large French American house has however stopped, liabilities to the tune of 300,000£. Last week there were given away with the Illustrated London News four large coloured engravings of the Great Eastern (which is however now christened the 'Leviathan'). They were well-executed, and the number sold immensely. It is believed however that every copy of them sold was a loss to Mr Ingram. The number which is published at 5d. is already, selling for 2s6d and is expected to fetch 5s, or 12 times the price it was published at!!!
15. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. One of the editors of the 'Freeman' preached both times, and both very good sermons. Very fine, rather cold.
16. Went to Fred Gilbert's at Blackheath, to Mr Jones, cut up wood, on with ruins of Palmyra, began a Hindoo dhoolie etc. Fine, cold. This morning I caught a North Kent train very conveniently coming up from Blackheath owing to an accident on the line which delayed it 35 minutes. I believe it took place between the Dockyard and Arsenal stations at Woolwich. A train ran off the line. I heard no particulars and very likely we shall hear nothing about it for they try to hush up their accidents as much as they can. There is a reported run on the London and Westminster Bank. I hope if true they may be able to stand it, for although I do not fall in love with joint stock banks, yet I think that is an honest one.
17. Went on with dhoolie, ruins at Palmyra etc. Cold. We are going to make an addition to our menagerie in the shape of a terrier dog, in order to persecute the rats, which at present persecute us.
18. Finished dhoolie, went to Truscott's and Jones' etc, cut up wood drew large diagrams etc. Fine and cold. Today the stoppage of the Wolverhampton Banking Company was announced, liabilities from 400,000 to 500,000£. It is they say principally owing to the stoppage of Messrs Sanderson, Sandeman and Co.
19. Cut up wood, priced blocks, drew large diagrams and on with Ruins of Palmyra etc. Colder. Today several minor stoppages are announced, generally on account of yesterday's failure. The worst seems now past. Large firms are getting more steady, which of course influences smaller ones in like manner.
20. Went errands, cut up wood, altered a drawing of Mr Skelton's, on with Ruins of Palmyra etc. The Great Eastern has been again attempted to be moved, some say it is moved, and others say it is not. I do not know which to believe.
21. Went on with Ruins of Palmyra, cut up wood and in doing so planed off the end of my left hand thumb to my great discomfort etc. Went in afternoon to Mrs Sowerby at Peckham, where I had tea and staid the evening. I looked over for the first time 'Hakewill's Italy' with Turner's plates in it. I admire the whole work very much. (fn. 9) Fine.
22. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Walker (the quiet preacher who we had a few Sundays ago) preached both times. Fine, but rain threatened.
23. Went to Gibson's, cut up 8 pieces of wood, plugged diagrams, drew ditto etc etc. Very windy and rainy. The barometer has fallen more than an inch since yesterday.
24. Cut up wood, began a hut at Bangkok, Siam etc. Rain, fog etc in abundance.
25. Cut up wood, out errands, on with Siamese hut, etc. Rainy. The world at present is very dull and will be so I suppose until the meeting of parliament, which takes place very shortly.
26. Went to Truscott's, altered and improved French blocks, made a list of ditto. Getting very cold, and my brother Alfred writes that it is getting awfully cold at Edinburgh, there being plenty of ice already.
27. To Truscott's again, improved French blocks, out errands etc. The mails are announced by telegraphic despatches but they contain no news of much importance. Rainy.
28. Improved French blocks etc. We have just got lent to us from one of my brothers schoolfellows, a small working model of a locomotive, about 18 inches long and 6 inches gauge. It acted very well at first but afterwards would not. The cause of it was I think a leak leading from the boiler, which when the steam got up with any force, allowed the water to pour out very quickly, and also I am afraid pour water in the cylinders. I hope I may not have to pay dearly for my amusement.
29. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr [space] of Arlington preached both times. My father officiated as clerk tonight at chapel, for the first time, the deacons who usually fulfil that office being away. Mr Clark of Bradford will commence his ministry among us for the space of one month. I hope it will not be preparatory to his settlement with us.
30. Went on with Siamese hut, out errands etc. Fine but very cold. The Great Eastern has been moved at last and although only 24 feet, yet it must be satisfactory to the Company to know that it will move at all. It appears that on Saturday they broke several immense iron cables, the links of which were the thickness of a man's arm and also several other pieces of machinery before they got it to move an inch. But when it did move, it went at about the rate of 1 inch per minute. On Saturday they moved it altogether about 9 feet, and Mr Brunel seeing plainly that if it was not moved yesterday it would probably not be moved at all, gave orders that the work was to be resumed on Sunday morning. So when the morning came, at it again they went, but without the least success, indeed for a long time it seemed as if they would not move it again. The ship groaned and creaked, but there were no signs of its moving. After using all their strength for nought, Mr Brunel has several large battering rams rigged up and appointed I think about 30 men to each, but when these were tried with the usual powers still there was no success. They then collected all the screw jacks and hydraulic machines from the neighbouring yards, and applied them in addition to all the others, but it was not until the very last ounce of pressure had been got out of them and they thought that they would have burst or broke, that the ship condescended to move. The whole movement is now about 24 feet 6 inches since the commencement of the launch.
December 1. Cut up wood, went errands, began a careful drawing (from a photograph) for a specimen of Peterboro' Cathedral, altered French blocks etc.
2. Went to Gibson's, cut up wood, made list of Indian subjects for blocks, on with Peterboro. Fine. We have lately had some beautiful moonlights, too good for us.
3. Went to uncle's and other errands, improved a drawing of forum by Read, put figures in blocks etc. Very heavy rains and very windy from the S.S.W.
4. Went to Truscott's, Brown and Standfast's, cut up wood, improving Madeline etc. (fn. 10) Dull.
The Leviathan has again been moved. Yesterday it was about 14 feet, making the whole distance it has yet been, about 48 feet. It has however 250 more to go, so that if it continues only at the present rate of moving, it will be launched at the beginning of June next year.
5. Improved French blocks, cut up wood etc. Fine but colder. Went with my sister and brother Jo, to the Educational Museum at Brompton. It was very crowded, at least in the Sheepshank's collection rooms, but not in other parts. (fn. 11) I hear that the Great Eastern has been moved about 10 feet more today.
6. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr C Clarke preached both times. His pronunciation is vile, and yet he has just passed his Bachelor of Arts examination at the University of London. Drizzly, thoroughly English weather, streets very muddy.
7. Altered French blocks etc. Dull. The Leviathan has only been moved 6ft 8in instead of 10 feet, as I stated on Saturday, and that was only accomplished with the very greatest difficulty.
8. Altered French blocks, out errands, began Black Gate at Treves. Very foggy, the only day we have had so, this season. Telegraphic despatches have been received announcing that Lucknow is again in danger, and Generals Havelock and Outram are surrounded by rebels. The danger is thought to be great. General C. Campbell has left Calcutta on account of it, to direct the operations in person.
9. Went to Truscott's, cut up wood, on with Porta Nigra, Treves.
10. Went to Truscott's, cut up wood, coloured large diagrams again, on with Porta Nigra etc. Young Mr Glennie came this evening. He is a clever caricaturist and is probably going to try to turn his talent to some purpose by drawing on wood. There are silly reports flying about the town to the effect that Havelock is defeated, wounded or killed. Now much as I should lament such an event, yet I do not feel in the slightest degree uneasy about these reports, because the mails have just been telegraphed to London and it is not likely fresh mail should arrive 3 days after the others.
11. Went errands, cut up wood, named stories of the Beatitudes, on with Porta Nigra etc. Fine.
12. Cut up wood, on with Porta Nigra. Failure of large firms still continue about the rate of 2 millions per week. They do not seem to excite much alarm or even distrust, but on the contrary confidence is being restored in the money market. It is said on good authority that the 100 feet which the Great Eastern has been moved has cost to the company 70 thousand pounds sterling. If I were a shareholder, I think I should do anything rather than bless Brunel. Between the Great Eastern and Western this genius? has wasted no small sum of money.
James Henderson has been acquitted of the murder of his father, at Bramhall. I have fully read the details, but cannot see how the jury can get over the facts alleged on the coroner's inquest. (fn. 12)
Lucknow is the great topic of the day. Yesterday afternoon telegraphic despatches were received announcing that it was in the greatest danger, being surrounded by 50,000 sepoys, against whom there were only 2 or 3000 men with Havelock. Still later in the day, further despatches were received, telegraphed from a vessel which had nearly caught up with the previous mail, and announced that General Sir Colin Campbell had already arrived at Cawnpore, collected 7000 men and had marched to the relief of Lucknow. We are now of course on tiptoe to hear the result. There is scarcely any doubt but that when Havelock and Campbell unite, they will if not destroy, at least decisively rout any force that could be brought against them.
13. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr C. Clarke B.A. preached both times. Hoh! The h's. It is perfectly orrible to ear, eaven, ope, eart, etc. etc. etc. for they are legion. Without this, to say the least, Mr Clark may be a very clever young man; but with it ----- I think no man should attempt to speak in public.
14. Went various errands, cut up wood, began a diagram on pear wood, on with Porta Nigra etc. Fine, but cold and windy.
15. Went errands, cut up and whitened wood for Mr Glennie, finished Porta Nigra and on with large diagrams. Beyond my daily work list, I seldom say anything about myself, but today I shall. I, when I first came to business (drawing on wood), did not like it at all, and wished myself, to go to sea. This wish wore off in course of time and I settled down to my fate (after a fashion) but very discontentedly. I had ideas floating in my head that I should one day turn out some great person, be the person of my day, perhaps Prime Minister, or at least a millionaire. Who has not had them? They have not left me yet: time will show if they be true or false. But I can now settle down to whatever my lot in life is to be, much more contentedly than I thought I should then. I then went on misanthropically, not much caring about anything and not thought at all about by anybody, until my father went to Paris in 1855. When he returned from thence, he brought with him a very nicely illustrated guide to Paris, which he showed to our work people as containing examples of the way they should cut, but bemoaning however that no one in England could draw architecture like they were. I instantly thought, this should not (if true) be so, so I will try myself, and I did. The first block I did, I copied from the book and it was thought well of, but I did not particularly persevere, so I was forgotten, and was again neglected for a considerable time, until the 21st October, 1857, when I began the Castle of St Angelo, and the 6 of November, when I began Baths of Caracalla (no.2) for Mr Brown's history of Rome, when a new era began, I began to draw architecture decently, and was again brought into notice. I hope I may not fall into neglect again, for there now seems a lead opening which I will follow as hard as I can, and with God's help, not only draw well, but will draw better and better and, if possible, better than all!
16. Out errands, cut up wood, finished no.1 diagram. Very fine for an English December.
17. Cut up wood, drew no.2 large diagram. Another case of strictly illegal torturing in the Times. The case was of a prisoner at Dartmoor prison, on whom the jailers fitted a kind of belt with handcuffs, the effect of which is supposed to be to make the prisoner very uncomfortable, to say the least. The prisoner was naturally very indignant at such treatment and after a time became savage, managed to partly set himself free and assaulted the jailer. The trial was brought on by the prison authorities to decide whether the assault was with intent to murder or do bodily harm or not. It was heard before Mr Justice Willes, who seems to have acted very fairly and impartially in the matter. He, before he would have anything to do with the matter, wished to know if this belt (that is the application of it) was legal. They said it was permitted by the Secretary of State and was generally ordered to be applied by the Visiting Justices. Justice Willes said that he knew of no statute permitting the use of it and that therefore it must be illegal. (They could not get over this.) The judge was of course obliged to submit the case to a jury, who took a different view of the matter to what I do, and found the prisoner guilty. The judge then sentenced him to be transported, I forget how long. The prisoner implored mercy, urging that great violence had been used towards him. The judge said that if he were assured such was the case, he would most certainly not sentence him, but he said that he now thought it was not and therefore, etc. I think however that he should find out if the belt is illegal and if it were used, for that was not denied. (fn. 13)
18. Cut up wood, drew no.3 large diagram etc. This evening Mr Pinches' (our school) annual recitations etc came off at the Southwark Literary Institution, Boro Road. It was about as good a show as usual, but they have never come up to what I should like to see them. I should try to impart a higher tone to the acting and make the boys feel what they say. It has always appeared ridiculous to me for them to act in white waistcoats and kid gloves, and I wonder as Pinches is so fond of imitating the public school customs that he does not approximate more to Westminster School, which at Christmas has a whole play acted in costume.
19. Went to Miller's etc, cut up wood, and began no.4 large diagram etc. Nice day. Blue sky seen and sun shining pretty brightly.
20. Went to Boro Road Chapel in morning, Mr Harcourt preached and in evening to Maze Pond, Mr C Clarke preaching, who we had to dinner and tea. Rainy.
21. Finished no.4 diagram, cut up wood, out errands, and began Diocletian's Palace at Spalatro .
This evening about ½ past 10, we were disturbed by being informed that a couple of men were promenading on the top of our business house, but although ours and the adjacent premises on both sides were thoroughly searched by us and several policemen, we failed to discover anything, and came to the conclusion that it was a cock and bull story. Shortest day. Drizzly and dull.
22. Went on with Diocletian's Palace, out errands etc. Another accident to the Great Eastern is posted up tonight. We do not have much to interest us at this time of the year, in the way of news, so that any occurrence of this sort is quite a blessing. My brother Alfred seems comfortably settled at Edinburgh, but whether for any good, remains to be proved. His letters to us came at first at the rate of 1 a morning, but they have dwindled down already to about 1 every 4 or 5 days. It will after a few weeks certainly be unreasonable to expect him to write more than once a fortnight.
23. Went on with Diocletian's Palace etc. In afternoon I went to Marlborough House to see some of the sketches and pictures which Turner left to the nation. Many of the sketches I like, some of them exceedingly, especially those in the 'Liber Studiorum' series, which are wonderful. They are finished with a delicacy and carefulness that I did not expect to find, so much so, that I feel quite disgusted with the copies of them which I am taking in. The same I cannot say for his pictures, that is to say, those which are exhibited there, for with the exception of 'Crossing the brook' there is I think not one which I can as a whole, say that I like. They are misty, foggy, foolish, glaring, hideous, unnatural and senseless. But, there is a fine specimen of his genius at the Brompton Museum; its title is I think a 'Vessel in distress off Yarmouth pier,' that is fine, the sea being splendidly painted, painted as I have never seen it before, dashing, roaring on the beach, animated lifelike. Undoubtedly he was a great genius who lived too long, as his later work testify.
24. Went on with Diocletian's Palace, cut up lot of wood etc. Very fine and quite warm, we are able to do without fires quite comfortably. Christmas Eve. Some people think and say a great deal about this time of the year; we do not. For my own part I think no more of it, and see no difference in it, from any other time. There was a large fire in some part of London tonight, I heard it was in Shadwell.
25. Xmas day. Staid at home all day. We managed to enjoy ourselves pretty well, in the quiet way, and I daresay that our recollection of the day will be more pleasurable than those of such as have enjoyed themselves in a noisy or riotous way. Remarkably fine and mild. Such a Christmas day has not been seen in England for many a year. The sky is a summer one and the feel of the air, as if it was spring.
26. Finished Diocletian's Palace, cut up wood, went to Mr Ellis' etc. In evening I went to the South Kensington Museum, and enjoyed myself very much, although there were a great number of people there as it is free today and next week.
27. Sunday. Went to Maze Pond in morning and evening. Mr Clarke preached both times. Fine, but much colder. I have not I think mentioned before that Dr Ashwell the well known physician, (who was at Mr Beddome's this day week) died last Monday morning suddenly of disease of the heart, and was buried yesterday. Only six days between being out visiting and burial. Quick work and solemn. He is doubtlessly supposed by many to be a wealthy man, but the reverse is the case; he is in fact insolvent. Several years ago he put in a claim to some property, value 20,000£, after a hard struggle he was victorious, at least he got 13,000£, but had out of that to pay 6000£ costs; so that he only actually netted 7000£. He then discovered that by a previous career of extravagance he had accumulated private debts to the amount of 20,000£, so now he thinks that he will reform and commences paying them off, but finds that to get into is easier than to get out. He at his death still had debts to the amount of several thousands. People who know nothing of him very likely thought that he was a very happy, jolly man, but could he have been happy under such circumstances. Other of our friends and acquaintances have died under different circumstances to what we should have expected, for instance Mr Cox, S.P.C.K., and Mr Watson of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum (from whom we had the splendid job of the 'Vocabulary'). The former has actually died insolvent, the creditors accepting 15s in the £ in order to allow the widow to retain a little house property for a subsistence; and the latter who on good authority it is stated ought to be worth 50,000£, has died comparatively poor. Such is life. My father has gone to supper at Mr Beddomes' and has not yet returned.
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29. On with Peterboro Cathedral, cut up wood, drew large diagram on boxwood etc. The direction of the Crystal Palace Company, is exciting the disgust of the more respectable and sober part of the community by their absurd and (for such a place) indecent proceedings. They advertise as the present attractions of the Palace, Punch and Judy, a dancing Bear, Dog Toby, a Ballet, a Twelfth cake, and dances, roundabouts, etc. The proceedings in the dances and under the mistletoe have been of the most riotous character.
30. Went to Mr Cowie's twice, began some Assyrian thrones, cut up wood etc. My mother and Fred went this evening to hear the renowned Christy's minstrels, who have now performed in London 150 times.
31. Improved pear wood diagrams, cut up wood, finished 'thrones,' on with Peterboro' Cathedral etc. In evening went to Mr Sandall. In the Kingdom of Naples there have been some most tremendous and awful earthquakes. It is estimated that at least 13,000 people have perished in them (some think a much greater number), several large towns being wholly destroyed. It is far preferable to have England's climate and England's advantages than Italy's sky with its calamities.