My grandmother’s notes on her husband, my grandfather William Henry Whyte (1880-1949). She describes what she remembers being told of his early life, his career as a soldier and rubber planter, and the early months of their life together. There is a second half of this which is frankly less interesting, but I will get around to it sooner or later.
Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of my husband’s death; he collapsed at Mass in the church at Rostrevor and was carried out; by the time I got there he was dead. It was the Epiphany, and the gospel was being read when he was taken ill. He had gone to Mass with John [my father, then 20] and Ursula [my aunt, two weeks short of her 10th birthday]; our maid was away at the time and I had gone to early Mass so that I would be able to get on with cooking luncheon while they were out. It was a very mild day; as they were leaving I asked Billy if he would be warm enough, as he had only a light raincoat, and he said that it would be, as it was quite warm. Those were the last words I ever heard him speak. John came for me at once, but it was too late.
If I don’t put down something of his life no one will ever know it, once I am gone, and Caroline MacDermot, his only surviving sister. [In fact Caroline MacDermot died in November 1969, ten months after this was written. My grandmother lived another ten years.]
His father, John Joseph, married twice; his first wife, a Miss Kelly, died at the time of – or soon after – her daughter Mary’s birth. Mary was taken by her mother’s parents and made her home with them, only coming on visits to her father’s house. John Joseph was very well off – I have been told that at that time he had an income of £10 000 a year, which was well worth having in those days with a nominal income tax. He wished to marry again, and all his friends were eager to help him to find a suitable wife. His Aunt Catherine had married a Ryan of Inch, and their son and his wife – the son being JJ’s first cousin – had what they thought was just the right person – I think she was a cousin of the wife’s. So they invited John Joseph to stay, but instead of being attracted by the suitable young woman, he fell in love with his cousin’s daughter, who was, of course, his first cousin once removed. I suppose a dispensation was necessary, but in any case they were duly married; I believe Caroline Ryan was only seventeen at the time.
The above is not very accurate. Catherine Whyte, who married George Ryan of Inch, was John Joseph Whyte’s first cousin, not his aunt. Caroline was their daughter. My grandmother has inserted a fictitious extra generation, “their son and his wife” into the narrative. And Caroline was nineteen, not seventeen, when she married John Joseph Whyte in 1862 (he was 36).
I wonder, however, if a potential alternative bride might have been her aunt, Catherine’s sister Ellen Whyte, who was about the same age as her first cousin John Joseph Whyte and seems to have been living with her sister at Inch at the time? She ultimately married Edward O’Gorman in 1865, aged 39, and died in childbirth in 1867, aged 41.
In all they had thirteen children, nine of them sons, and of all those sons only three married, and my son John Henry is the only male descendant.
The eldest was John, always known as Jack; he broke his back hunting but lived for some years, I understand. He was under the care of a London specialist, and had got to the point where he was able to walk in a kind of frame. But he was persuaded to give up the orthodox treatment and go into a Christian Science home, where, after a brief amelioration, he grew rapidly worse and died. He was told to wrote to his mother to tell her that she must not pray for him, as her prayers were preventing his recovery. It was a great blow to the family, who were all practising Catholics. I believe that after his death there had to be an inquest and his mother had to give evidence.
It was worse than that. George Robert Adcock, a Christian Scientist practitioner who had been advising Jack Whyte before his death in 1906, was put on trial for alleged manslaughter by denying him the use of antiseptics. He was acquitted, but my great-grandmother had to testify at both the inquest and the subsequent trial.
The second son, Charles, was his mother’s favourite. He suffered from asthma and was sent to Austalia, which was supposed to be an excellent place for asthmatics, but he came back to Ireland and died at Loughbrickland, I think of pneumonia.
The next two were Henry and George, but I am not sure which was the elder. [It was George.] In any case Henry died very young, as a child in the nursery, of either typhoid or scarlet fever. George however grew up and became a doctor. His father bought him a share in a practice in Australia and sent him off with his passage paid and the lordly sum of ten pounds to spend. After the deaths of Henry, Charles, and Jack, George became the eldest son, and later married Magda Grehan, and had one daughter, Bunty – Esther is her real name, but the nickname Bunty has always stuck.
After so many boys the family ware overjoyed when Caroline was born, and she was always her father’s favourite child, as Charles was his mother’s. Next came Letitia, always known as Lyla – though as children they were all called Jack, Charlie, Harry, Georgie, Carrie, Lillie, Annie and so on.
Caroline married the MacDermot of Coolavin, Lyla married Stephen Lamb of West Denton in Cumberland.
Of the next two I am not sure whether Tim or Nancy came first, but Nancy wasn’t much younger than Lyla, so it was probably she, not Tim who was next. [Yes it was.] He never married; like his brother Jack he went into the army. Nancy married Willy Corbally. [Actually Louis Corbally, killed in the first world war.]
Then there was Eddie, Edward, who had a bad football accident at school and came home to die of creeping paralysis, whatever that really is. Caroline helped to nurse him and was left in charge when he could hardly stand and often fell.
After Edward, the seventh son was William Henry, whom I was to marry forty-seven years later. I will finish with the rest of the family, though, before telling about him. He was born on March 10th, 1880.
Marcus came next; he went into the army and died of fever in India. Oddly enough the Colonel’s wife of his regiment, who wrote to my mother-in-law, was the mother of one of my great friends, Peggy Nugent.
Then there was another girl, Kathleen, who went deaf at an early age, who was rather backward, and who had what seems rather a pitiful life, though she once said to me that she knew that people were sorry for her, but they needn’t be, as she thought she had been a very happy woman. I pray that that was so, poor Kate.
Finally, six years later, there was another boy, Maurice, who married Ethel Fitzgerald; they had no children.
William Henry was the only child not bom at Loughbrickland. At the time his brother Charles, always their mother’s favourite, was at home, having come back from Australia. Some of the younger children were ill, and it was thought advisable for the mother to go to Dublin for her confinement. She was desolate at leaving Charlie, who had not much longer to live, and she was unable to nurse her new baby; the only one she didn’t nurse herself. A wet nurse was got for him, and he adored her; that annoyed his mother very much later, when Willy would leave her to run to his nurse; his sisters could remember that, and how cross their mother was. Once after we were married Billy was reading a novel in which a man was very much devoted to his mother. He put down the book and sat lost in thought till I asked him what he was thinking about.
“This man in the book seemed to adore his mother,” he said. “I wonder if many men feel like that. I hadn’t much affection for mine, and I can’t remember that she showed much for me. Only once, when I was stung by a wasp in the garden – I was very small, only four or five – I cried and my mother came out of the house and picked me up in her arms and carried me in; that is the only time I remember her taking notice of me except to find fault.”
It seemed sad to me then, and still does, that a child should only once have been made much of by his mother; she was quite different with the older ones. Billy used to say that after the first six she never quite got the others straight, and would call from the window:
“Tommy, Eddie, Markie, Willie – child, whatever your name is, come nere.”
Lyla was devoted to her mother, and felt that she, Cora, had had rather a hard time. John Joseph was seldom there when babies were arriving; he had many occupations, hunting and shooting and yachting, staying with friends and relations, and so on. Cora was fond of music and flowers, and longed for a greenhouse, which he promised her. He forgot about it for a long time and when at last he had one built for her it was very small and stood in a cold shady spot outside the garden wall! She had a piano, but as he disliked music she could only play when he was out of the house. But she dearly loved her daughters as they grew old enough to be real companions to her; I think probably Lyla was the one she loved hest, as she was gentle and affectionate, as well as being very intelligent. In fact, of all that large family, she and Willy were the only two with much in the way of brains.
The girls all went to the Sacred Heart School at Roehampton; the older boys all went to Stonyhurst. Billy started at Hodder, the prep school for Stonyhurst, and got on very well, especially at games; he was on both the cricket and the rugger teams. He said that no one at home was in the least interested in that. he would have liked to stay there, but one day his father met a monsignore who was interested in St. Edmund’s, Ware, and asked John Joseph to send some of his sons there. So Tim and Willy and also Marcus, I think, were transferred to St.Edmund’s.
There was some hope at that time of Billy’s becoming a priest; his mother hoped that one of her numerous sons would do so. But it wasn’t to be. Billy left school longing to go into the Army, out his father had other plans for him; he was to go into the Indian Police – or was it the Indian Civil Service? One or the other. He started working for the necessary examinations with a tutor in Dublin, as his work at school had not included the study of Hindostanee.
But then the Boer War began. Some friend of his father’s, who took an interest in Billy, knew how much he wanted to go into the Army, and talked his father over. So, to his joy, he was allowed to join the 4th (Militia) Battalion of the Dublin Fusiliers, and after what I believe was a very short training, he was sent out. His father provided his uniform and made him an allowance of £80 a year. As he was still growing, his father told the tailor to make the uniform loose so that he would grown into it, but he was never allowed to wear it and had to get another, and his father had to pay for that one too.
By this time John Joseph was not the rich man he had been. Under various Land Acts he had had to sell a great deal of his property to the sitting tenants, at 20 years’ purchase – that is, for an acre let at £5 a year he would get £100, but that would have to be invested in trustee securities, as the estate was entailed, and they paid only about 3%, I believe. Then in other ways he had lost money – and of course there were a great many children to be educated, and the daughters had to have dowries when they married, which all except Kate did.
However Billy was blissfully happy. He arrived in South Africa, the youngest of the subalterns – Major Rutherfoord, of the 4th Dublins used to call him Master Whyte. His company sergeant took a great and protective interest in him. The Militia were mounted, and the first time they were in action the sergeant pulled Billy off his horse and threw him on the ground; he was very indignant until he found that he had been under fire without being aware of it. The sergeant was near at hand when he was drilling, but stood back, satisfied, when he found that Billy was quite competent. In fact Billy took to soldiering as a duck takes to water; he was in his element. Being a woman, I can’t really understand that; he was the kindest and gentlest of men and I can’t think why the Army appealed to him so much. But it did, and in South Africa he was happy.
Once he saw Lord Kitchener. He had been on a night patrol, and had got very wet and muddy, so that he was sitting in his shirt sleeves while his tunic dried, when Kitchener’s train pulled up beside him and stopped – they were camped just by the railway line. Kitchener himself called out to him to know why he wasn’t in uniform, but was quite satisfied when he explained.
When the war was over he was able to transfer into the First Battalion of the Dublins, and for the next few years he had a glorious time. He played Polo, cricket and football for the Battalion; he got a lot of riding and sailing; he was popular and enjoyed every minute. In 1906 they were stationed in Malta, where everything in the garden was perfect. He met, about this time, Gladys Wakeman, who came out to Malta to be near her fiancé, Hugh Colville; they made friends and kept it up always.
Gladys Louisa Wakeman (1883-1959) married Hugh Davenport Colville (1882-1962) in 1906. He was a naval captain who retired in 1922. Her family lived at Coton Hall in Shropshire, the ancestral home of American Civil War-era general Robert E. Lee; Gladys and Hugh changed their surname to Wakeman-Colville in 1927 in order to inherit the property, but appear to have sold it not long after. They had two sons and four daughters, all of whom lived to adulthood.
From Malta the 1st Dublins went on to Cairo, and there a great many of them were taken ill. The illness, which was Mediterranean fever got from drinking unboiled goat’s milk, was wrongly diagnosed as malaria, and they were given large doses of quinine, which had, of course, no effect. Billy was very ill indeed, and was anointed. A subaltern who had been to see how he was came back to the colonel with the news that he was dying. However, the colonel sent again, and heard. that he was indeed very weak, and his chances were by no means good, but he wasn’t actually at the point of death. And, indeed, he recovered but found himself quite deaf, whether from the fever or the quinine one doesn’t know.
He was given leave and went to London where he was treated by the best ear man in London. His hearing improved but only up to a point, then it stayed just the same. The specialist could do no more. He was given two years’ furlough – I think on half-pay – in the hope that there would be an improvement, and went home to Loughbrickland. By this time his father was getting old and didn’t care for Loughbrickland in the winter; later they were to go to the South of France, but at this time I think they just wintered in Dublin, leaving George, who was the heir, to look after the place. Billy was devoted to George and loved being with him, st that winter wasn’t too bad. He had hoped to get a lot of hunting, but had a bad go of flu and didn’t get much after all. His father was annoyed that he hadn’t found work, and talked of “that useless fellow eating his head off” but indeed it wasn’t Billy’s fault. He wasn’t trained for anything, and he was still hoping that his hearing would improve and that he could go back to the Dublins.
However, at some point Percy MacDermot, the half-brother of Caroline’s husband, came back from Malaya where he had been rubber-planting, and suggested that Billy should go back there with him and learn rubber-planting himself. And so he did. He learned to speak Malay, though not Tamil, but I think they had Malay workers on Percy’s estate – was it Jebong? It was quite near Penang.
I don’t know how much he enjoyed it at first, but he made many friends and learned the work quickly. Of course those early days of rubber estates we re very different from the present time; people just planted seed from the best trees they had and trusted to luck; since then a great deal of research has gone into it and seed has been produced which will give trees with a high yield of rubber and a good resistance to disease. However, Billy learned all there was to know then, and had the idea of opening up an estate of his own. He had just £800 capital, which was the portion of the younger sons in the family, but he interested a number of friends in the scheme, including Sir Robert Woods, a big Dublin ear nose and throat man, who put up more than half the capital required and so was the majority share-holder. Billy chose the land and opened up the estate himself, with Malay labour; Malays are sensitive people and won’t work for anyone they don’t like, but they worked well for him and never let him down – if a coolie was ill or unable to work for some reason he would send a
friend or relation to take his place.
The new estate was called Hibernia. By the time I saw it the trees were very large; they had been planted in avenues and were very beautiful – that, however, is quite out of date now, and trees are never in avenues, as it takes up too much space; I believe they are always planted in quincunx – though some other way may have come in by now.
The Hibernia Estate still exists in Perak, about 80 km by road from Penang, 35 km from Taiping and 12 km from Selama. It is now owned by Riverview Rubber Estates, which despite the name produces exclusively palm oil.
It was a hard life, and conditions on the estates were very primitive. There was of course no running water, no electric light, and of course no refrigerator – only an old-fashioned ice-box, only of use if one could get ice! Of course there were no electric fans, and air-conditioning was in the far future; punkahs were the only way of stirring the hot damp air. The humidity is very high always in Malaya, and it must have been very exhausting working so hard with nw chance ever of getting cool. Billy got malaria, and had it several times in Malaya, but was quite free of it later.
There were some amusing things that happened. One concerned an elephant who used to wander over the place uprooting the young trees. The Malays explained to Billy that the elephant owned part of the estate, and would have to be placated with prayers and offerings before he would allow the work to go on without interruption. So Billy told them to do whatever was necessary, and they got some sort of holy man and went through some sort of ritual – Billy didn’t know exactly what it was – and sure enough the elephant then moved to another place and left Hibernia undisturbed.
All was going well when in August 1914 the first World War broke out. Billy was on the Reserve of Officers, and was told to report back to Ireland, where the Dublins were training on the Curragh. But he knew that the First Battalion was going to be in France and he planned to get to them and join them. The ship that was bringing all the men who were coming back to fight stopped at Port Said, and they all went ashore. Billy got talking to a man who seemed sympathetic and also knowledgeable, and confided to him his plan of getting direct to France. Unfortunately for his plan, the man turned out to have something to do with Military transport, I think it was; anyway he had enough authority to prevent Billy leaving the ship there and he had to go all the weary way to Dublin. Had he not done so, we should probably never have met, as the casualties of the first Battalion were very high indeed.
On his way from the estate to Penang, where he was to take ship, he had had an adventure. As he was driving along the road he saw a small carriage with two weeping Malay women in it, and a frightened young boy who had been driving. He stopped to ask what was the matter and the women told him that they had been held up and robbed by a Chinese, who had run off into the rubber. Billy knew that there was a camp of Chinese coolies not far away, so he took the women there in his car. The coolies were all in a bunk house, resting, as it was the middle of the day. One man lay with his face turned to the wall. When the women failed to recognise the robber among the other men, Billy made the man who was turned away look round, and the women said it was the robber. So Billy took him, and the women, to the nearest police station, where he had to leave them to catch his ship. He said the other Chinese never attempted to stop him from taking the man. He never heard the result, as he couldn’t wait for fear of missing his ship.
Once at the Curragh he was made a captain and put to work training the many recruits who were pouring in. He didn’t get abroad until the Gallipoli expedition; by that time he was a major, and later he was to command the 6th Dublins. He was wounded at Gallipoli through the shoulder, and was sent back to hospital. Before he was pronounced fit he managed to get into a party that was being sent back to the lines and reported to the CO who later heard from the hospital that Major Whyte had deserted; the CO was able to report back that Major Whyte had rejoined the regiment.
I haven’t his military diaries here, so I have no idea of exact dates and so on, but after Gallipoli there was the Serbian campaign, where a mixed force of French and British got as far as Lake Doiran, but then had to fall back. The Dublins had the honour of forming the rearguard. While they had been at Lake Doiran they had been on one hill with the Bulgarians across the valley on another. In the valley between there were some ruined cottage. Each night a few of the Dublins would quietly work their way down to the cottages and light fires there, and each succeeding morning the Bulgarians would solemnly shell the cottages for some time – of course by then the Dublins were safe back on their hill, well out of range; no living thing was near the cottages.
When the time came to withdraw, Billy arranged it so that his men went diagonally down the hill. When the Bulgarians realised that they had gone, they raced up the hill and fired straight ahead down it; as the Dublins had gone off to the side there were no casualties among them.
The Serbian government sent a number of decorations, the White Eagle, to be distributed among the British and French; three British officers were named specially to receive them, and Billy was one of those three. It is a most attractive decoration.
From Serbia they went to Salonika and later to Palestine. Then at last Billy got some home leave and was actually in France when the war ended.
After the war, as always happens, the Army was reduced, and after 1921 the Dublin Fusiliers ceased to exist. Bill could have stayed on in the Army as a captain, soon to be retired, in one of the few remaining Irish regiments – Northern Irish ones, or the Irish Guards; or he could retire then with the confirmed rank of Lt.Colonel, but with only the disability pension of £120 (I think that is right) a year which he had been given as a subaltern. They told him that if he would refund all the disability pension he had received since 1906, or whenever it was, he would then be given the proper pension for his rank; but that was no use to him, as he simply hadn’t got the money at the time. They would quite likely have expected him to pay interest on it too – though I don’t know if they really would. At any rate he went out of the army still with that pathetic little pension.
There was a military job going in Penang, running the Penang and Province Wellesley Volunteers, made up of four companies, one European, one Chinese, one Malay, one Eurasian. He put in for the job and got it, and went back to Malaya. In the meanwhile his brother Maurice, who had been gassed in the war, had gone out to Malaya and was in charge at Hibernia, without much love for the place, though, while Billy loved it. However, Billy was glad to be back and he had a good time in Penang. He could keep two ponies, and play polo, and race the ponies – he had one, called Herbert Arthur John, which won a lot of races. The story of that pony is interesting. Once Billy was driving through the rubber on the mainland and he saw a miserable pony, nothing but skin and bones, grazing on very poor grass. He felt sorry for the poor beast, and stopped to ask who it belonged to. It was owned by a man who had gone home and who had left it with friends who knew nothing at all about horses and had no idea that there was anything wrong with the animal. They knew that the owner wanted to sell, so when Billy offered to buy it they accepted at once. Billy sent his sais [groom] from Penang for it; the pony was so weak and feeble that it took two days to make the journey to Penang, the sais leading it all the way. Billy thought it was probable that the pony was so far gone that he would never recover and would have to be put down, but it made such steady improvement with good food and care that one day Billy tried riding it. He realised at once that it had been raced, and so he entered it later on, when it had quite recovered, and at his own weight Herbert Arthur John never lost; when they put up the weight he couldn’t get the same speed. Billy was devoted to that pony but I never saw him; he developed a painful bone disease and had to be shot before I went to the East.
There were two other ponies, Angsenna and the “Baby Pony” whose real name was Coolnacran; they were both good and Billy did well with them. [Angsenna is the tree also known as narra or amboyna; Coolnacran is the name of the townland in which Loughbrickland House is situated.] There was a Hunt Club, which didn’t hunt, but rode over the country round Penang – which is of course on an island.
Alter his time there was up Billy was in hopes that he would be given the same sort of post in Singapore. He was hoping to be appointed without having to go back to England; people who had worked with him knew how good he was in spite of his deafness, and everyone hoped that he would be appointed. But he had to go back to England for a board, and he told me later that as soon as he knew that he knew he had no chance of the job. Because of his deafness he was turned down. He went back all the same for a time to Penang to hold the fort till his replacement came out.
Sometime before this, when Rubber was booming, he had gone on a trip to Australia. As he didn’t want to sell his rubber shares – he had others as well as the Hibernia ones – he put up the others as security for a bank overdraft; at the time the income from the shares would soon have paid off the overdraft. But rubber slumped and the Bank sold the shares, and he lost most of his savings. He put a good face on it; he always did that, but by now he was over forty, he had worked hard for the money to buy those shares, and he felt it was late to begin again.
In 1927 I arrived in Penang, never having heard of any of the Whytes. But somehow we met, in June, and in August we married, and again he raised money – this time at 10%, but at least the shares wouldn’t be sold – and we went on eastward round the world, spending a few days in Hongkong, going on to Shanghai for one day, then – all this by a Japanese ship – on to Japan, where we stayed at Myanoshita near Lake Hakone, and saw Fujiyama once; the rest of the time it was hidden in cloud. We had to go to Nagasaki, still just a pitiful collection of wooden shacks with corrugated iron roofs; little had been done since the earthquake of 1925.
Then on to Honolulu, where I had a cousin, Gertrude Campbell, and also some friends; we lunched with Gertrude and her husband, and she drove us to the beach at Waikiki. [Gertrude was the daughter of Dorothy’s first cousin Walter Seaver. In 2022, 95 years after my grandparents’ honeymoon, I met up with Gertrude’s grandson, Whit Campbell, who lives near Seattle; most of the family is still in Hawaii.] We dined, I think, with the friends; at both meals we had fried banana and Hawaiian pineapple, which, though it was a far large and handsomer looking fruit than the little ones we had in Malaya, seemed to me to have much less flavour than the Malay ones; the bananas also were large but not nearly as good as the little “pisang Mas” (gold fish) that the smallest and best of the Malay bananas were called.
But I am going on much too fast. Just after we became engaged in June there was a meeting of the Hunt Club, and Billy and I went to it. We were to have a big tea after it, and Sir Hugh Clifford, the governor, was to be there, and we were to announce our engagement then I was thrilled with it all – in spite of being so far away, and all on my own, I was quite happy about it. The ride went very well at first, though the Baby Pony, which I was riding, played up a bit and bucked; I never had much grip astride and I was horrified for fear I’d come off, but I didn’t, and I got her to go quietly, and we cantered on through the rubber, Billy riding Angsenna beside me. Then Angsenna put her foot in a hole and down she came, and Billy hit his shoulder. Angsenna got up very carefully not to tread on him, and he got up more slowly, with his left arm looking rather odd. However, he managed to mount again, but tnere was no question of continuing the ride. He wanted me to go on by myself, but of course I wouldn’t, and we rode back very slowly, at a walk, to the place where we were to have tea – I think it was the Hunt Club House.
As we got near we could hear shouts of laughter, and when we were nearer still we saw that the Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford, was sitting on the running-board of his car, with a lot of Malays round him. He spoke fluent Malay and could make those Pantuns – sort of improvised verses – that the Malays love so much; he was doing it then, and they were roaring with laughter.
He was very charming to us both, and I was excited and thrilled with it all. Billy said his arm didn’t hurt him, and he sat smiling and joining in occasionally, but mostly just watching me. When at last the party was over he drove me back – he had a driver, a Malay sais; I doubt if he could have driven the car that evening with his arm as it was. But I had no idea that it was anything serious, and he dropped me at the hotel and went back to change, and then he was to call for me. At that time he shared a bungalow with two other men, one of them named De Buriatte. [Ernest Arthur De Buriatte (1887-1953), later succeeded my grandfather as commander of the 3rd Battalion, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force, the former Penang & Province Wellesley Volunteer Corps; he was also a lawyer and served on the Straits Legislative Council] I was all ready and waiting, when, instead of Billy, De Buriatte appeared and told me that Billy’s shoulder had been so painful that they had got him to go to the hospital where the X-ray showed that his shoulder was badly dislocated and even after his shoulder had been set it was still so painful that they kept him in hospital for several days. Of course I went to see him every day and bought things he needed and found a more comfortable way of arranging his sling – for he had to keep his arm in a sling for quite a long time, several weeks. He must have been in agony that day when we announced our engagement at tea; when I said so he smiled and said that I had been enjoying it so much that he couldn’t spoil it for me. I think he was the most unselfish man I have ever known.
Although the shoulder was supposed to have been properly set, it never looked exactly like the other one; however it ceased to hurt him, and didn’t trouble him at all in any way, so it can’t have been too badly done.
From Honolulu we went to to San Francisco, where Walter Seaver, son of my Aunt Sue Hibbard, my father’s elder sister, and his wife lived; Gertrude Campbell was their daughter. Incidentally I blotted my copy-book with Gertrude; I never wrote from the ship to thank her for the day we had with her in Honolulu. I can’t think why I didn’t, it was rude of me and really I don’t often show such bad manners. She noticed it, too, and spoke of it to Papa. Walter I hardly knew, or his wife – I doubt if I’d seen her before. I wasn’t feeling too well [she would have been in the early stages of her pregnancy with my father] and I don’t think I enjoyed the excellent lunch they gave us. But I did very much enjoy seeing some dear old friends from Plainfield, the Legares, and Billy enjoyed seeing them too.
But I wonder how much he really enjoyed of that American trip. He was always so considerate, and had such perfect manners, that one couldn’t tell – or I couldn’t, then; later I knew better what things he really enjoyed and what ones he didn’t care for.
The rest of our life together is in my own memoirs, so I won’t go into it now; I just wanted to put down a few things for my children and grandchildren.