In part one of this article, I gave an account of how the diary gives an insight into the everyday life of a daughter of the landed gentry. Among the events were balls, parties and parlour games. However, the diary also includes sections of human tragedy.
Linda, her younger sister Sybil, and her mother visited Lourdes and other places of interest, and the highlight of the visit was learning to play golf. Linda lists many golf tournaments and prizes offered (given by members of the English community) and laments fairly strongly when she does not win. Linda mentions that her mother had hired a carriage for their visit, but could only afford it for the first few weeks. Her maternal grandmother, who had recently arrived for a short visit, had then paid for the carriage for the rest of their stay. Linda and her grandmother’s friend/companion (I have not been able to find anything about this person) returned to England by steamer in April, though Sybil, who had been ill during their stay, and their mother travelled by train.
Entries from then on consisted of visiting family – her great aunt Emma in Wasperton and Uncle Berkeley and Aunt Laura Lucy in Wellesbourne – and many friends in Barford and Wellesbourne in particular. Also there were visits to Charlecote including the Lord and Lady Hertford, Lady Warwick, Lady Brooke and members of the Mordaunt family. By this time golf had been forgotten and lawn tennis was the favourite. There are many descriptions of lawn tennis parties and their guests, especially those from the Militia, some of whom were based at Budbrooke.
A sad event
In June Linda’s sister Sybil became ill with Scarlet Fever and was then also diagnosed with rheumatic fever. There were fervent hopes she would recover, but sadly she died on 26th June. There were no more entries until the 1st August, except for a newspaper cutting announcing Sybil’s death. Linda then gives a short description of the mourners (all male) at the funeral and where the coffin was buried. The family visited the grave every evening to lay flowers.
Towards the end of August Linda, Ada, Joyce and their mother travel to the west coast of Scotland to visit their maternal grandmother. There are more descriptions of visits and tea parties, but it seems as though Linda’s heart isn’t really in it. The diary ends in September when Linda finishes the little notebook. It is not known if there were any further instalments. The majority of the family members mentioned in the diary were very difficult to sort out as no surnames were given. People living near to Charlecote can be found in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, but those mentioned who lived in Pau and Scotland have been impossible to find.
The diary has been purchased for Warwickshire County Record Office by the Friends of the Record Office, and has been given the catalogue number CR 4647. This article was originally published in the Friends’ newsletter.