Wednesday, 28 November 1860

Very fine all day. Letter from J.B.E. to whom wrote.

Worked at the 2 Camapagnas, S. Sabbas, Ζαγώρι & Φιλάτες ― & improved all. “Mr. Jones” called ― to “take leave” ―― so I am really left alone in the Coffee room of this huge place.

At 2 I was seized with incapacity to work, ― & foolishness of high spirits. ― So off I walked ― all along to Hersham, & to Esher ― (how beautiful is the home on a hill with hanging woods close to the village!) ― & to Claremont, where I left cards on the 3 R.H.s ― Paris, Chartres & Joinville ― writing a mistake on each card ― half English ― half French. Walked all the way back, by 5 ― & dinner ― with Cockayne very loquacious.

Εἄν ἦτον ὁ καλός μου Γεώργιος! Ὦ καλε ανθρωπε — και φιλυπηρέτε*! στάθε καλά! ((“If [only] my good Giorgio [were here]! O dear man – and good servant! Be well!” Nina adds: “I couldn’t find φιλυπηρέτε in my dictionaries. It is a compound of the words φιλώ+υπηρετώ or υπηρέτης which probably means he who loves to serve, to help.”))

Near Hersham I heard a running behind me ― & turned round ― it was a small boy with a little sack over his head. I went on ― but he overtook me ― (I was walking slowly, having hurt my foot.) A rather impy child ― oldish ― but looking straight to ones face. Forthwith he spoke

“Boy” ― I say ― ain’t it been a nice day? E.L. Yes indeed.
(out of breath) “O! I’ve been a running so! E.L. Are you coming from school
“School! No I don’t go there now. I’ve been. ― Can you read & write then
Quite enough. Now I works. What do you work at
At Corn ――― (incomprehensible[)] What?
At frightening the birds from the corn. But there is no corn now, ――
No corn! What can you be thinking of! Why its all just a coming up! ―――― O! I fancied you meant ripe corn.
Ripe corn! ― (loftily.) ― it gets dark at 4 now. ― No. half past 4. What is the name of that River?
I don’t know. I only know he’s a river, & he runs into the Thames. ―

But you live near here don’t you?

O yes! by them poplars ― but I never heard the name of the river: only it can’t be the Thames, for that runs by Walton ― & Moulsey ((Molesey.)) ― & Kingston. ―

What do you earn a day?

6 pence. ― 3 shillings a week! & I buy all my own clothes! Look at these shoes! Well they are very good I think. & did you buy that red handkf too?
No ― that was given me.

How old are you?

I’m 8. But tomorrow I’m 9 because you see it’s my birthday

And what does your father do?

Father works out, he gets 13 shilling [in the next page:] a week he does. Mother don’t go out at all.

Then there’s my brother as is 16 . & 2 little sisters: & Aunt Sophy ― & Aunt Polly ― O! My! if there ain’t Bill & Jim trying to make the old pig go to the ―――

(Exit little boy suddenly ― just as the artist was going to give him 6d.)

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3.]

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1 Comment

Filed under 1860, Diary Entry

One response to “Wednesday, 28 November 1860

  1. Peter Byrne

    I was struck by the priceless euphemism for “pissed off”: “I was seized with incapacity to work.” That made me go to the full entry and discover a Lear gem: precision of language, drama and social history. Thanks again, Marco.

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