January 17th, Friday
A perfect day, bright clear and windless almost and in the morning the whole family turned out and went ferreting, we got 2 rabbits and ended by losing the ferret, of this I am awfully sad. I only gave it to Pink at Xmas and it was such a beauty, that’s the fourth that has come to grief! After lunch we all went sawing and cleaving wood, a splendid occupation for a frosty day, and we achieved a large quantity. We burn nothing but wood and coke in the drawing room, leaving the coal for the kitchen, and we seldom light a fire at all until after tea. Imagine one existing in former times in winter without a fire all day.
Win’s passage may come to hand any day now owing to Mr Lyall’s kind effort and I am so envying her and long to go too (to India). She is very busy doing all sorts of jobs and we’ve been packing up a huge case which is to go to Calcutta. We had news today of a house at Long Marston in Worcs which I intend to view from Malvern when I go up with the children on Thursday.
Went to 7.0 Service and it was so dark that it felt like going out in the middle of the night. The cold has permeated into all my bones and only now at 6.0 when we sit with curtains drawn and a huge wood fire am I warm at last. I’ve just finished “Adam Bede”, the first of G. Eliot’s books I’ve read. I’m ashamed never to have read any of hers before.
Today my dear Win left us and the chances are I may not see her again because if by any evil fate she should sail on Thursday I shall be at Malvern seeing the children to school. We shall all miss her more than I can say after so many years of having her as our own child but I feel glad too that the time has come when her long period of waiting and that of her people is nearly over for one realises how very much they must be dying to have her.
Jan 21st, Tuesday
Everyone is moaning and groaning about the weather which is persistently wet. The roads are appalling, as I know to my cost having had to ride to Lopen today and to Crewkerne. I got mud all over my dress, even my coat, and it is an exertion, almost like riding over plough. I had a letter today from P.G. (Lyster). He is stationed at a place called Colinton in Midlothian, in a Reserve Battery, and he and his wife are in their first home, how strange it must be to him to be in harness again after four years imprisonment.
I need to look at this picture today, it is a suitable tonic for Pink returned to Wellington and tomorrow I have to take the girls to Malvern so our very jolly Xmas holidays are really over. I often wonder if children can realise how horrible parents feel on these occasions, poor dear ones, they naturally feel that it’s worse for them and they’ll not see differently until they’ve tried being parents!