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      Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum

      William James Stokes


      William James Stokes was the first son of Thomas Stokes and Eliza Browning. Oddly, his birth was registered in Witham in Essex, on the 6th September 1841.

      Birth certificate of William James Stokes:

      birth William Stokes


      His father Thomas Stokes has not yet been found on the 1841 census, and his mother Eliza was staying with her uncle Thomas Lock in Cirencester in 1841. Eliza’s mother Mary Browning (nee Lock) was staying there too. Thomas and Eliza were married in September 1840 in Hempstead in Gloucestershire.

      It’s a mystery why William was born in Essex but one possibility is that his father Thomas, who later worked with the Chipperfields making circus wagons, was staying with the Chipperfields who were wheelwrights in Witham in 1841. Or perhaps even away with a traveling circus at the time of the census, learning the circus waggon wheelwright trade. But this is a guess and it’s far from clear why Eliza would make the journey to Witham to have the baby when she was staying in Cirencester a few months prior.

      In 1851 Thomas and Eliza, William and four younger siblings were living in Bledington in Oxfordshire.

      William was a 19 year old wheelwright living with his parents in Evesham in 1861. He married Elizabeth Meldrum in December 1867 in Hackney, London. He and his father are both wheelwrights on the marriage register.

      Marriage of William James Stokes and Elizabeth Meldrum in 1867:

      1867 William Stokes


      William and Elizabeth had a daughter, Elizabeth Emily Stokes, in 1868 in Shoreditch, London.

      On the 3rd of December 1870, William James Stokes was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. One week later on the 10th of December, he was dead.

      On his death certificate the cause of death was “general paralysis and exhaustion, certified. MD Edgar Sheppard in attendance.” William was just 29 years old.

      Death certificate William James Stokes:

      death William Stokes


      I asked on a genealogy forum what could possibly have caused this death at such a young age. A retired pathology professor replied that “in medicine the term General Paralysis is only used in one context – that of Tertiary Syphilis.”
      “Tertiary syphilis is the third and final stage of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease that unfolds in stages when the individual affected doesn’t receive appropriate treatment.”

      From the article “Looking back: This fascinating and fatal disease” by Jennifer Wallis:

      “……in asylums across Britain in the late 19th century, with hundreds of people receiving the diagnosis of general paralysis of the insane (GPI). The majority of these were men in their 30s and 40s, all exhibiting one or more of the disease’s telltale signs: grandiose delusions, a staggering gait, disturbed reflexes, asymmetrical pupils, tremulous voice, and muscular weakness. Their prognosis was bleak, most dying within months, weeks, or sometimes days of admission.

      The fatal nature of GPI made it of particular concern to asylum superintendents, who became worried that their institutions were full of incurable cases requiring constant care. The social effects of the disease were also significant, attacking men in the prime of life whose admission to the asylum frequently left a wife and children at home. Compounding the problem was the erratic behaviour of the general paralytic, who might get themselves into financial or legal difficulties. Delusions about their vast wealth led some to squander scarce family resources on extravagant purchases – one man’s wife reported he had bought ‘a quantity of hats’ despite their meagre income – and doctors pointed to the frequency of thefts by general paralytics who imagined that everything belonged to them.”


      The London Archives hold the records for Colney Hatch, but they informed me that the particular records for the dates that William was admitted and died were in too poor a condition to be accessed without causing further damage.

      Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum gained such notoriety that the name “Colney Hatch” appeared in various terms of abuse associated with the concept of madness. Infamous inmates that were institutionalized at Colney Hatch (later called Friern Hospital) include Jack the Ripper suspect Aaron Kosminski from 1891, and from 1911 the wife of occultist Aleister Crowley. In 1993 the hospital grounds were sold and the exclusive apartment complex called Princess Park Manor was built.

      Colney Hatch:

      Colney Hatch


      In 1873 Williams widow married William Hallam in Limehouse in London. Elizabeth died in 1930, apparently unaffected by her first husbands ailment.


        The Housley Letters 

        From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters.


        William Housley (1781-1848) and Ellen Carrington were married on May 30, 1814 at St. Oswald’s church in Ashbourne. William died in 1848 at the age of 67 of “disease of lungs and general debility”. Ellen died in 1872.

        Marriage of William Housley and Ellen Carrington in Ashbourne in 1814:

        William and Ellen Marriage


        Parish records show three children for William and his first wife, Mary, Ellens’ sister, who were married December 29, 1806: Mary Ann, christened in 1808 and mentioned frequently in the letters; Elizabeth, christened in 1810, but never mentioned in any letters; and William, born in 1812, probably referred to as Will in the letters. Mary died in 1813.

        William and Ellen had ten children: John, Samuel, Edward, Anne, Charles, George, Joseph, Robert, Emma, and Joseph. The first Joseph died at the age of four, and the last son was also named Joseph. Anne never married, Charles emigrated to Australia in 1851, and George to USA, also in 1851. The letters are to George, from his sisters and brothers in England.

        The following are excerpts of those letters, including excerpts of Barbara Housley’s “Narrative on Historic Letters”. They are grouped according to who they refer to, rather than chronological order.


        ELLEN HOUSLEY 1795-1872

        Joseph wrote that when Emma was married, Ellen “broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby didn’t agree with her so she left again leaving her things behind and came to live with John in the new house where she died.” Ellen was listed with John’s household in the 1871 census.
        In May 1872, the Ilkeston Pioneer carried this notice: “Mr. Hopkins will sell by auction on Saturday next the eleventh of May 1872 the whole of the useful furniture, sewing machine, etc. nearly new on the premises of the late Mrs. Housley at Smalley near Heanor in the county of Derby. Sale at one o’clock in the afternoon.”

        Ellen’s family was evidently rather prominant in Smalley. Two Carringtons (John and William) served on the Parish Council in 1794. Parish records are full of Carrington marriages and christenings; census records confirm many of the family groupings.

        In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “Mother looks as well as ever and was told by a lady the other day that she looked handsome.” Later she wrote: “Mother is as stout as ever although she sometimes complains of not being able to do as she used to.”


        Mary’s children:

        MARY ANN HOUSLEY  1808-1878

        There were hard feelings between Mary Ann and Ellen and her children. Anne wrote: “If you remember we were not very friendly when you left. They never came and nothing was too bad for Mary Ann to say of Mother and me, but when Robert died Mother sent for her to the funeral but she did not think well to come so we took no more notice. She would not allow her children to come either.”

        Mary Ann was unlucky in love! In Anne’s second letter she wrote: “William Carrington is paying Mary Ann great attention. He is living in London but they write to each other….We expect it will be a match.” Apparantly the courtship was stormy for in 1855, Emma wrote: “Mary Ann’s wedding with William Carrington has dropped through after she had prepared everything, dresses and all for the occassion.” Then in 1856, Emma wrote: “William Carrington and Mary Ann are separated. They wore him out with their nonsense.” Whether they ever married is unclear. Joseph wrote in 1872: “Mary Ann was married but her husband has left her. She is in very poor health. She has one daughter and they are living with their mother at Smalley.”

        Regarding William Carrington, Emma supplied this bit of news: “His sister, Mrs. Lily, has eloped with a married man. Is she not a nice person!”


        WILLIAM HOUSLEY JR. 1812-1890

        According to a letter from Anne, Will’s two sons and daughter were sent to learn dancing so they would be “fit for any society.” Will’s wife was Dorothy Palfry. They were married in Denby on October 20, 1836 when Will was 24. According to the 1851 census, Will and Dorothy had three sons: Alfred 14, Edwin 12, and William 10. All three boys were born in Denby.

        In his letter of May 30, 1872, after just bemoaning that all of his brothers and sisters are gone except Sam and John, Joseph added: “Will is living still.” In another 1872 letter Joseph wrote, “Will is living at Heanor yet and carrying on his cattle dealing.” The 1871 census listed Will, 59, and his son William, 30, of Lascoe Road, Heanor, as cattle dealers.


        Ellen’s children:

        JOHN HOUSLEY  1815-1893

        John married Sarah Baggally in Morely in 1838. They had at least six children. Elizabeth (born 2 May 1838) was “out service” in 1854. In her “third year out,Elizabeth was described by Anne as “a very nice steady girl but quite a woman in appearance.” One of her positions was with a Mrs. Frearson in Heanor. Emma wrote in 1856: Elizabeth is still at Mrs. Frearson. She is such a fine stout girl you would not know her.” Joseph wrote in 1872 that Elizabeth was in service with Mrs. Eliza Sitwell at Derby. (About 1850, Miss Eliza Wilmot-Sitwell provided for a small porch with a handsome Norman doorway at the west end of the St. John the Baptist parish church in Smalley.)

        According to Elizabeth’s birth certificate and the 1841 census, John was a butcher. By 1851, the household included a nurse and a servant, and John was listed as a “victular.” Anne wrote in February 1854, John has left the Public House a year and a half ago. He is living where Plumbs (Ann Plumb witnessed William’s death certificate with her mark) did and Thomas Allen has the land. He has been working at James Eley’s all winter.” In 1861, Ellen lived with John and Sarah and the three boys.

        John sold his share in the inheritance from their mother and disappeared after her death. (He died in Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1893.) At that time Charles, the youngest would have been 21. Indeed, Joseph wrote in July 1872: John’s children are all grown up”.

        In May 1872, Joseph wrote: “For what do you think, John has sold his share and he has acted very bad since his wife died and at the same time he sold all his furniture. You may guess I have never seen him but once since poor mother’s funeral and he is gone now no one knows where.”

        In February 1874 Joseph wrote: “You want to know what made John go away. Well, I will give you one reason. I think I told you that when his wife died he persuaded me to leave Derby and come to live with him. Well so we did and dear Harriet to keep his house. Well he insulted my wife and offered things to her that was not proper and my dear wife had the power to resist his unmanly conduct. I did not think he could of served me such a dirty trick so that is one thing dear brother. He could not look me in the face when we met. Then after we left him he got a woman in the house and I suppose they lived as man and wife. She caught the small pox and died and there he was by himself like some wild man. Well dear brother I could not go to him again after he had served me and mine as he had and I believe he was greatly in debt too so that he sold his share out of the property and when he received the money at Belper he went away and has never been seen by any of us since but I have heard of him being at Sheffield enquiring for Sam Caldwell. You will remember him. He worked in the Nag’s Head yard but I have heard nothing no more of him.”

        A mention of a John Housley of Heanor in the Nottinghma Journal 1875.  I don’t know for sure if the John mentioned here is the brother John who Joseph describes above as behaving improperly to his wife. John Housley had a son Joseph, born in 1840, and John’s wife Sarah died in 1870.

        John Housley


        In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


        SAMUEL HOUSLEY 1816-

        Sam married Elizabeth Brookes of Sutton Coldfield, and they had three daughters: Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Catherine.  Elizabeth his wife died in 1849, a few months after Samuel’s father William died in 1848. The particular circumstances relating to these individuals have been discussed in previous chapters; the following are letter excerpts relating to them.

        Death of William Housley 15 Dec 1848, and Elizabeth Housley 5 April 1849, Smalley:

        Housley Deaths


        Joseph wrote in December 1872: “I saw one of Sam’s daughters, the youngest Kate, you would remember her a baby I dare say. She is very comfortably married.”

        In the same letter (December 15, 1872), Joseph wrote:  “I think we have now found all out now that is concerned in the matter for there was only Sam that we did not know his whereabouts but I was informed a week ago that he is dead–died about three years ago in Birmingham Union. Poor Sam. He ought to have come to a better end than that….His daughter and her husband went to Brimingham and also to Sutton Coldfield that is where he married his wife from and found out his wife’s brother. It appears he has been there and at Birmingham ever since he went away but ever fond of drink.”

        (Sam, however, was still alive in 1871, living as a lodger at the George and Dragon Inn, Henley in Arden. And no trace of Sam has been found since. It would appear that Sam did not want to be found.)


        EDWARD HOUSLEY 1819-1843

        Edward died before George left for USA in 1851, and as such there is no mention of him in the letters.


        ANNE HOUSLEY 1821-1856

        Anne wrote two letters to her brother George between February 1854 and her death in 1856. Apparently she suffered from a lung disease for she wrote: “I can say you will be surprised I am still living and better but still cough and spit a deal. Can do nothing but sit and sew.” According to the 1851 census, Anne, then 29, was a seamstress. Their friend, Mrs. Davy, wrote in March 1856: “This I send in a box to my Brother….The pincushion cover and pen wiper are Anne’s work–are for thy wife. She would have made it up had she been able.” Anne was not living at home at the time of the 1841 census. She would have been 19 or 20 and perhaps was “out service.”

        In her second letter Anne wrote: “It is a great trouble now for me to write…as the body weakens so does the mind often. I have been very weak all summer. That I continue is a wonder to all and to spit so much although much better than when you left home.” She also wrote: “You know I had a desire for America years ago. Were I in health and strength, it would be the land of my adoption.”

        In November 1855, Emma wrote, “Anne has been very ill all summer and has not been able to write or do anything.” Their neighbor Mrs. Davy wrote on March 21, 1856: “I fear Anne will not be long without a change.” In a black-edged letter the following June, Emma wrote: “I need not tell you how happy she was and how calmly and peacefully she died. She only kept in bed two days.”

        Certainly Anne was a woman of deep faith and strong religious convictions. When she wrote that they were hoping to hear of Charles’ success on the gold fields she added: “But I would rather hear of him having sought and found the Pearl of great price than all the gold Australia can produce, (For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?).” Then she asked George: “I should like to learn how it was you were first led to seek pardon and a savior. I do feel truly rejoiced to hear you have been led to seek and find this Pearl through the workings of the Holy Spirit and I do pray that He who has begun this good work in each of us may fulfill it and carry it on even unto the end and I can never doubt the willingness of Jesus who laid down his life for us. He who said whoever that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”

        Anne’s will was probated October 14, 1856. Mr. William Davy of Kidsley Park appeared for the family. Her estate was valued at under £20. Emma was to receive fancy needlework, a four post bedstead, feather bed and bedding, a mahogany chest of drawers, plates, linen and china. Emma was also to receive Anne’s writing desk. There was a condition that Ellen would have use of these items until her death.

        The money that Anne was to receive from her grandfather, William Carrington, and her father, William Housley was to be distributed one third to Joseph, one third to Emma, and one third to be divided between her four neices: John’s daughter Elizabeth, 18, and Sam’s daughters Elizabeth, 10, Mary Ann, 9 and Catharine, age 7 to be paid by the trustees as they think “most useful and proper.” Emma Lyon and Elizabeth Davy were the witnesses.

        The Carrington Farm:

        Carringtons Farm


        CHARLES HOUSLEY 1823-1855

        Charles went to Australia in 1851, and was last heard from in January 1853. According to the solicitor, who wrote to George on June 3, 1874, Charles had received advances on the settlement of their parent’s estate. “Your promissory note with the two signed by your brother Charles for 20 pounds he received from his father and 20 pounds he received from his mother are now in the possession of the court.”

        Charles and George were probably quite close friends. Anne wrote in 1854: “Charles inquired very particularly in both his letters after you.”

        According to Anne, Charles and a friend married two sisters. He and his father-in-law had a farm where they had 130 cows and 60 pigs. Whatever the trade he learned in England, he never worked at it once he reached Australia. While it does not seem that Charles went to Australia because gold had been discovered there, he was soon caught up in “gold fever”. Anne wrote: “I dare say you have heard of the immense gold fields of Australia discovered about the time he went. Thousands have since then emigrated to Australia, both high and low. Such accounts we heard in the papers of people amassing fortunes we could not believe. I asked him when I wrote if it was true. He said this was no exaggeration for people were making their fortune daily and he intended going to the diggings in six weeks for he could stay away no longer so that we are hoping to hear of his success if he is alive.”

        In March 1856, Mrs. Davy wrote: “I am sorry to tell thee they have had a letter from Charles’s wife giving account of Charles’s death of 6 months consumption at the Victoria diggings. He has left 2 children a boy and a girl William and Ellen.” In June of the same year in a black edged letter, Emma wrote: “I think Mrs. Davy mentioned Charles’s death in her note. His wife wrote to us. They have two children Helen and William. Poor dear little things. How much I should like to see them all. She writes very affectionately.”

        In December 1872, Joseph wrote: “I’m told that Charles two daughters has wrote to Smalley post office making inquiries about his share….” In January 1876, the solicitor wrote: “Charles Housley’s children have claimed their father’s share.”


        GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

        George emigrated to the United states in 1851, arriving in July. The solicitor Abraham John Flint referred in a letter to a 15-pound advance which was made to George on June 9, 1851. This certainly was connected to his journey. George settled along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The letters from the solicitor were addressed to: Lahaska Post Office, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

        George married Sarah Ann Hill on May 6, 1854 in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In her first letter (February 1854), Anne wrote: “We want to know who and what is this Miss Hill you name in your letter. What age is she? Send us all the particulars but I would advise you not to get married until you have sufficient to make a comfortable home.”

        Upon learning of George’s marriage, Anne wrote: “I hope dear brother you may be happy with your wife….I hope you will be as a son to her parents. Mother unites with me in kind love to you both and to your father and mother with best wishes for your health and happiness.” In 1872 (December) Joseph wrote: “I am sorry to hear that sister’s father is so ill. It is what we must all come to some time and hope we shall meet where there is no more trouble.”

        Emma wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

        In September 1872, Joseph wrote, “I was very sorry to hear that John your oldest had met with such a sad accident but I hope he is got alright again by this time.” In the same letter, Joseph asked: “Now I want to know what sort of a town you are living in or village. How far is it from New York? Now send me all particulars if you please.”

        In March 1873 Harriet asked Sarah Ann: “And will you please send me all the news at the place and what it is like for it seems to me that it is a wild place but you must tell me what it is like….”.  The question of whether she was referring to Bucks County, Pennsylvania or some other place is raised in Joseph’s letter of the same week.
        On March 17, 1873, Joseph wrote: “I was surprised to hear that you had gone so far away west. Now dear brother what ever are you doing there so far away from home and family–looking out for something better I suppose.”

        The solicitor wrote on May 23, 1874: “Lately I have not written because I was not certain of your address and because I doubted I had much interesting news to tell you.” Later, Joseph wrote concerning the problems settling the estate, “You see dear brother there is only me here on our side and I cannot do much. I wish you were here to help me a bit and if you think of going for another summer trip this turn you might as well run over here.”

        Apparently, George had indicated he might return to England for a visit in 1856. Emma wrote concerning the portrait of their mother which had been sent to George: “I hope you like mother’s portrait. I did not see it but I suppose it was not quite perfect about the eyes….Joseph and I intend having ours taken for you when you come over….Do come over before very long.”

        In March 1873, Joseph wrote: “You ask me what I think of you coming to England. I think as you have given the trustee power to sign for you I think you could do no good but I should like to see you once again for all that. I can’t say whether there would be anything amiss if you did come as you say it would be throwing good money after bad.”

        On June 10, 1875, the solicitor wrote: “I have been expecting to hear from you for some time past. Please let me hear what you are doing and where you are living and how I must send you your money.” George’s big news at that time was that on May 3, 1875, he had become a naturalized citizen “renouncing and abjuring all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state and sovereignity whatsoever, and particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain of whom he was before a subject.”


        ROBERT HOUSLEY 1832-1851

        In 1854, Anne wrote: “Poor Robert. He died in August after you left he broke a blood vessel in the lung.”
        From Joseph’s first letter we learn that Robert was 19 when he died: “Dear brother there have been a great many changes in the family since you left us. All is gone except myself and John and Sam–we have heard nothing of him since he left. Robert died first when he was 19 years of age. Then Anne and Charles too died in Australia and then a number of years elapsed before anyone else. Then John lost his wife, then Emma, and last poor dear mother died last January on the 11th.”

        Anne described Robert’s death in this way: “He had thrown up blood many times before in the spring but the last attack weakened him that he only lived a fortnight after. He died at Derby. Mother was with him. Although he suffered much he never uttered a murmur or regret and always a smile on his face for everyone that saw him. He will be regretted by all that knew him”.

        Robert died a resident of St. Peter’s Parish, Derby, but was buried in Smalley on August 16, 1851.
        Apparently Robert was apprenticed to be a joiner for, according to Anne, Joseph took his place: “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after and is there still.”

        In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


        EMMA HOUSLEY 1836-1871

        Emma was not mentioned in Anne’s first letter. In the second, Anne wrote that Emma was living at Spondon with two ladies in her “third situation,” and added, “She is grown a bouncing woman.” Anne described her sister well. Emma wrote in her first letter (November 12, 1855): “I must tell you that I am just 21 and we had my pudding last Sunday. I wish I could send you a piece.”

        From Emma’s letters we learn that she was living in Derby from May until November 1855 with Mr. Haywood, an iron merchant. She explained, “He has failed and I have been obliged to leave,” adding, “I expect going to a new situation very soon. It is at Belper.” In 1851 records, William Haywood, age 22, was listed as an iron foundry worker. In the 1857 Derby Directory, James and George were listed as iron and brass founders and ironmongers with an address at 9 Market Place, Derby.

        In June 1856, Emma wrote from “The Cedars, Ashbourne Road” where she was working for Mr. Handysides.
        While she was working for Mr. Handysides, Emma wrote: “Mother is thinking of coming to live at Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I.”

        Friargate and Ashbourne Road were located in St. Werburgh’s Parish. (In fact, St. Werburgh’s vicarage was at 185 Surrey Street. This clue led to the discovery of the record of Emma’s marriage on May 6, 1858, to Edwin Welch Harvey, son of Samuel Harvey in St. Werburgh’s.)

        In 1872, Joseph wrote: “Our sister Emma, she died at Derby at her own home for she was married. She has left two young children behind. The husband was the son of the man that I went apprentice to and has caused a great deal of trouble to our family and I believe hastened poor Mother’s death….”.   Joseph added that he believed Emma’s “complaint” was consumption and that she was sick a good bit. Joseph wrote: “Mother was living with John when I came home (from Ascension Island around 1867? or to Smalley from Derby around 1870?) for when Emma was married she broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby did not agree with her so she had to leave it again but left all her things there.”

        Emma Housley and Edwin Welch Harvey wedding, 1858:

        Emma Housley wedding


        JOSEPH HOUSLEY 1838-1893

        We first hear of Joseph in a letter from Anne to George in 1854. “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after (probably 1851) and is there still. He is grown as tall as you I think quite a man.” Emma concurred in her first letter: “He is quite a man in his appearance and quite as tall as you.”

        From Emma we learn in 1855: “Joseph has left Mr. Harvey. He had not work to employ him. So mother thought he had better leave his indenture and be at liberty at once than wait for Harvey to be a bankrupt. He has got a very good place of work now and is very steady.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote “Joseph and I intend to have our portraits taken for you when you come over….Mother is thinking of coming to Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I. Joseph is very hearty I am happy to say.”

        According to Joseph’s letters, he was married to Harriet Ballard. Joseph described their miraculous reunion in this way: “I must tell you that I have been abroad myself to the Island of Ascension. (Elsewhere he wrote that he was on the island when the American civil war broke out). I went as a Royal Marine and worked at my trade and saved a bit of money–enough to buy my discharge and enough to get married with but while I was out on the island who should I meet with there but my dear wife’s sister. (On two occasions Joseph and Harriet sent George the name and address of Harriet’s sister, Mrs. Brooks, in Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, but it is not clear whether this was the same sister.) She was lady’s maid to the captain’s wife. Though I had never seen her before we got to know each other somehow so from that me and my wife recommenced our correspondence and you may be sure I wanted to get home to her. But as soon as I did get home that is to England I was not long before I was married and I have not regretted yet for we are very comfortable as well as circumstances will allow for I am only a journeyman joiner.”

        Proudly, Joseph wrote: “My little family consists of three nice children–John, Joseph and Susy Annie.” On her birth certificate, Susy Ann’s birthdate is listed as 1871. Parish records list a Lucy Annie christened in 1873. The boys were born in Derby, John in 1868 and Joseph in 1869. In his second letter, Joseph repeated: “I have got three nice children, a good wife and I often think is more than I have deserved.” On August 6, 1873, Joseph and Harriet wrote: “We both thank you dear sister for the pieces of money you sent for the children. I don’t know as I have ever see any before.” Joseph ended another letter: “Now I must close with our kindest love to you all and kisses from the children.”

        In Harriet’s letter to Sarah Ann (March 19, 1873), she promised: “I will send you myself and as soon as the weather gets warm as I can take the children to Derby, I will have them taken and send them, but it is too cold yet for we have had a very cold winter and a great deal of rain.” At this time, the children were all under 6 and the baby was not yet two.

        In March 1873 Joseph wrote: “I have been working down at Heanor gate there is a joiner shop there where Kings used to live I have been working there this winter and part of last summer but the wages is very low but it is near home that is one comfort.” (Heanor Gate is about 1/4 mile from Kidsley Grange. There was a school and industrial park there in 1988.) At this time Joseph and his family were living in “the big house–in Old Betty Hanson’s house.” The address in the 1871 census was Smalley Lane.

        A glimpse into Joseph’s personality is revealed by this remark to George in an 1872 letter: “Many thanks for your portrait and will send ours when we can get them taken for I never had but one taken and that was in my old clothes and dear Harriet is not willing to part with that. I tell her she ought to be satisfied with the original.”

        On one occasion Joseph and Harriet both sent seeds. (Marks are still visible on the paper.) Joseph sent “the best cow cabbage seed in the country–Robinson Champion,” and Harriet sent red cabbage–Shaw’s Improved Red. Possibly cow cabbage was also known as ox cabbage: “I hope you will have some good cabbages for the Ox cabbage takes all the prizes here. I suppose you will be taking the prizes out there with them.” Joseph wrote that he would put the name of the seeds by each “but I should think that will not matter. You will tell the difference when they come up.”

        George apparently would have liked Joseph to come to him as early as 1854. Anne wrote: “As to his coming to you that must be left for the present.” In 1872, Joseph wrote: “I have been thinking of making a move from here for some time before I heard from you for it is living from hand to mouth and never certain of a job long either.” Joseph then made plans to come to the United States in the spring of 1873. “For I intend all being well leaving England in the spring. Many thanks for your kind offer but I hope we shall be able to get a comfortable place before we have been out long.” Joseph promised to bring some things George wanted and asked: “What sort of things would be the best to bring out there for I don’t want to bring a lot that is useless.” Joseph’s plans are confirmed in a letter from the solicitor May 23, 1874: “I trust you are prospering and in good health. Joseph seems desirous of coming out to you when this is settled.”

        George must have been reminiscing about gooseberries (Heanor has an annual gooseberry show–one was held July 28, 1872) and Joseph promised to bring cuttings when they came: “Dear Brother, I could not get the gooseberries for they was all gathered when I received your letter but we shall be able to get some seed out the first chance and I shall try to bring some cuttings out along.” In the same letter that he sent the cabbage seeds Joseph wrote: “I have got some gooseberries drying this year for you. They are very fine ones but I have only four as yet but I was promised some more when they were ripe.” In another letter Joseph sent gooseberry seeds and wrote their names: Victoria, Gharibaldi and Globe.

        In September 1872 Joseph wrote; “My wife is anxious to come. I hope it will suit her health for she is not over strong.” Elsewhere Joseph wrote that Harriet was “middling sometimes. She is subject to sick headaches. It knocks her up completely when they come on.” In December 1872 Joseph wrote, “Now dear brother about us coming to America you know we shall have to wait until this affair is settled and if it is not settled and thrown into Chancery I’m afraid we shall have to stay in England for I shall never be able to save money enough to bring me out and my family but I hope of better things.”

        On July 19, 1875 Abraham Flint (the solicitor) wrote: “Joseph Housley has removed from Smalley and is working on some new foundry buildings at Little Chester near Derby. He lives at a village called Little Eaton near Derby. If you address your letter to him as Joseph Housley, carpenter, Little Eaton near Derby that will no doubt find him.”

        George did not save any letters from Joseph after 1874, hopefully he did reach him at Little Eaton. Joseph and his family are not listed in either Little Eaton or Derby on the 1881 census.

        In his last letter (February 11, 1874), Joseph sounded very discouraged and wrote that Harriet’s parents were very poorly and both had been “in bed for a long time.” In addition, Harriet and the children had been ill.
        The move to Little Eaton may indicate that Joseph received his settlement because in August, 1873, he wrote: “I think this is bad news enough and bad luck too, but I have had little else since I came to live at Kiddsley cottages but perhaps it is all for the best if one could only think so. I have begun to think there will be no chance for us coming over to you for I am afraid there will not be so much left as will bring us out without it is settled very shortly but I don’t intend leaving this house until it is settled either one way or the other. “

        Joseph Housley and the Kiddsley cottages:

        Joseph Housley


          From Tanganyika with Love

          continued part 9

          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

          Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

          Dearest Family.

          We had a novel Christmas this year. We decided to avoid the expense of
          entertaining and being entertained at Lyamungu, and went off to spend Christmas
          camping in a forest on the Western slopes of Kilimanjaro. George decided to combine
          business with pleasure and in this way we were able to use Government transport.
          We set out the day before Christmas day and drove along the road which skirts
          the slopes of Kilimanjaro and first visited a beautiful farm where Philip Teare, the ex
          Game Warden, and his wife Mary are staying. We had afternoon tea with them and then
          drove on in to the natural forest above the estate and pitched our tent beside a small
          clear mountain stream. We decorated the tent with paper streamers and a few small
          balloons and John found a small tree of the traditional shape which we decorated where
          it stood with tinsel and small ornaments.

          We put our beer, cool drinks for the children and bottles of fresh milk from Simba
          Estate, in the stream and on Christmas morning they were as cold as if they had been in
          the refrigerator all night. There were not many presents for the children, there never are,
          but they do not seem to mind and are well satisfied with a couple of balloons apiece,
          sweets, tin whistles and a book each.

          George entertain the children before breakfast. He can make a magical thing out
          of the most ordinary balloon. The children watched entranced as he drew on his pipe
          and then blew the smoke into the balloon. He then pinched the neck of the balloon
          between thumb and forefinger and released the smoke in little puffs. Occasionally the
          balloon ejected a perfect smoke ring and the forest rang with shouts of “Do it again
          Daddy.” Another trick was to blow up the balloon to maximum size and then twist the
          neck tightly before releasing. Before subsiding the balloon darted about in a crazy
          fashion causing great hilarity. Such fun, at the cost of a few pence.

          After breakfast George went off to fish for trout. John and Jim decided that they
          also wished to fish so we made rods out of sticks and string and bent pins and they
          fished happily, but of course quite unsuccessfully, for hours. Both of course fell into the
          stream and got soaked, but I was prepared for this, and the little stream was so shallow
          that they could not come to any harm. Henry played happily in the sand and I had a
          most peaceful morning.

          Hamisi roasted a chicken in a pot over the camp fire and the jelly set beautifully in the
          stream. So we had grilled trout and chicken for our Christmas dinner. I had of course
          taken an iced cake for the occasion and, all in all, it was a very successful Christmas day.
          On Boxing day we drove down to the plains where George was to investigate a
          report of game poaching near the Ngassari Furrow. This is a very long ditch which has
          been dug by the Government for watering the Masai stock in the area. It is also used by
          game and we saw herds of zebra and wildebeest, and some Grant’s Gazelle and
          giraffe, all comparatively tame. At one point a small herd of zebra raced beside the lorry
          apparently enjoying the fun of a gallop. They were all sleek and fat and looked wild and
          beautiful in action.

          We camped a considerable distance from the water but this precaution did not
          save us from the mosquitoes which launched a vicious attack on us after sunset, so that
          we took to our beds unusually early. They were on the job again when we got up at
          sunrise so I was very glad when we were once more on our way home.

          “I like Christmas safari. Much nicer that silly old party,” said John. I agree but I think
          it is time that our children learned to play happily with others. There are no other young
          children at Lyamungu though there are two older boys and a girl who go to boarding
          school in Nairobi.

          On New Years Day two Army Officers from the military camp at Moshi, came for
          tea and to talk game hunting with George. I think they rather enjoy visiting a home and
          seeing children and pets around.


          Lyamungu 14 May 1945

          Dearest Family.

          So the war in Europe is over at last. It is such marvellous news that I can hardly
          believe it. To think that as soon as George can get leave we will go to England and
          bring Ann and George home with us to Tanganyika. When we know when this leave can
          be arranged we will want Kate to join us here as of course she must go with us to
          England to meet George’s family. She has become so much a part of your lives that I
          know it will be a wrench for you to give her up but I know that you will all be happy to
          think that soon our family will be reunited.

          The V.E. celebrations passed off quietly here. We all went to Moshi to see the
          Victory Parade of the King’s African Rifles and in the evening we went to a celebration
          dinner at the Game Warden’s house. Besides ourselves the Moores had invited the
          Commanding Officer from Moshi and a junior officer. We had a very good dinner and
          many toasts including one to Mrs Moore’s brother, Oliver Milton who is fighting in Burma
          and has recently been awarded the Military Cross.

          There was also a celebration party for the children in the grounds of the Moshi
          Club. Such a spread! I think John and Jim sampled everything. We mothers were
          having our tea separately and a friend laughingly told me to turn around and have a look.
          I did, and saw the long tea tables now deserted by all the children but my two sons who
          were still eating steadily, and finding the party more exciting than the game of Musical
          Bumps into which all the other children had entered with enthusiasm.

          There was also an extremely good puppet show put on by the Italian prisoners
          of war from the camp at Moshi. They had made all the puppets which included well
          loved characters like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Babes in the Wood as
          well as more sophisticated ones like an irritable pianist and a would be prima donna. The
          most popular puppets with the children were a native askari and his family – a very
          happy little scene. I have never before seen a puppet show and was as entranced as
          the children. It is amazing what clever manipulation and lighting can do. I believe that the
          Italians mean to take their puppets to Nairobi and am glad to think that there, they will
          have larger audiences to appreciate their art.

          George has just come in, and I paused in my writing to ask him for the hundredth
          time when he thinks we will get leave. He says I must be patient because it may be a
          year before our turn comes. Shipping will be disorganised for months to come and we
          cannot expect priority simply because we have been separated so long from our
          children. The same situation applies to scores of other Government Officials.
          I have decided to write the story of my childhood in South Africa and about our
          life together in Tanganyika up to the time Ann and George left the country. I know you
          will have told Kate these stories, but Ann and George were so very little when they left
          home that I fear that they cannot remember much.

          My Mother-in-law will have told them about their father but she can tell them little
          about me. I shall send them one chapter of my story each month in the hope that they
          may be interested and not feel that I am a stranger when at last we meet again.


          Lyamungu 19th September 1945

          Dearest Family.

          In a months time we will be saying good-bye to Lyamungu. George is to be
          transferred to Mbeya and I am delighted, not only as I look upon Mbeya as home, but
          because there is now a primary school there which John can attend. I feel he will make
          much better progress in his lessons when he realises that all children of his age attend
          school. At present he is putting up a strong resistance to learning to read and spell, but
          he writes very neatly, does his sums accurately and shows a real talent for drawing. If
          only he had the will to learn I feel he would do very well.

          Jim now just four, is too young for lessons but too intelligent to be interested in
          the ayah’s attempts at entertainment. Yes I’ve had to engage a native girl to look after
          Henry from 9 am to 12.30 when I supervise John’s Correspondence Course. She is
          clean and amiable, but like most African women she has no initiative at all when it comes
          to entertaining children. Most African men and youths are good at this.

          I don’t regret our stay at Lyamungu. It is a beautiful spot and the change to the
          cooler climate after the heat of Morogoro has been good for all the children. John is still
          tall for his age but not so thin as he was and much less pale. He is a handsome little lad
          with his large brown eyes in striking contrast to his fair hair. He is wary of strangers but
          very observant and quite uncanny in the way he sums up people. He seldom gets up
          to mischief but I have a feeling he eggs Jim on. Not that Jim needs egging.

          Jim has an absolute flair for mischief but it is all done in such an artless manner that
          it is not easy to punish him. He is a very sturdy child with a cap of almost black silky hair,
          eyes brown, like mine, and a large mouth which is quick to smile and show most beautiful
          white and even teeth. He is most popular with all the native servants and the Game
          Scouts. The servants call Jim, ‘Bwana Tembo’ (Mr Elephant) because of his sturdy

          Henry, now nearly two years old, is quite different from the other two in
          appearance. He is fair complexioned and fair haired like Ann and Kate, with large, black
          lashed, light grey eyes. He is a good child, not so merry as Jim was at his age, nor as
          shy as John was. He seldom cries, does not care to be cuddled and is independent and
          strong willed. The servants call Henry, ‘Bwana Ndizi’ (Mr Banana) because he has an
          inexhaustible appetite for this fruit. Fortunately they are very inexpensive here. We buy
          an entire bunch which hangs from a beam on the back verandah, and pluck off the
          bananas as they ripen. This way there is no waste and the fruit never gets bruised as it
          does in greengrocers shops in South Africa. Our three boys make a delightful and
          interesting trio and I do wish you could see them for yourselves.

          We are delighted with the really beautiful photograph of Kate. She is an
          extraordinarily pretty child and looks so happy and healthy and a great credit to you.
          Now that we will be living in Mbeya with a school on the doorstep I hope that we will
          soon be able to arrange for her return home.


          c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 30th October 1945

          Dearest Family.

          How nice to be able to write c/o Game Dept. Mbeya at the head of my letters.
          We arrived here safely after a rather tiresome journey and are installed in a tiny house on
          the edge of the township.

          We left Lyamungu early on the morning of the 22nd. Most of our goods had
          been packed on the big Ford lorry the previous evening, but there were the usual
          delays and farewells. Of our servants, only the cook, Hamisi, accompanied us to
          Mbeya. Japhet, Tovelo and the ayah had to be paid off and largesse handed out.
          Tovelo’s granny had come, bringing a gift of bananas, and she also brought her little
          granddaughter to present a bunch of flowers. The child’s little scolded behind is now
          completely healed. Gifts had to be found for them too.

          At last we were all aboard and what a squash it was! Our few pieces of furniture
          and packing cases and trunks, the cook, his wife, the driver and the turney boy, who
          were to take the truck back to Lyamungu, and all their bits and pieces, bunches of
          bananas and Fanny the dog were all crammed into the body of the lorry. George, the
          children and I were jammed together in the cab. Before we left George looked
          dubiously at the tyres which were very worn and said gloomily that he thought it most
          unlikely that we would make our destination, Dodoma.

          Too true! Shortly after midday, near Kwakachinja, we blew a back tyre and there
          was a tedious delay in the heat whilst the wheel was changed. We were now without a
          spare tyre and George said that he would not risk taking the Ford further than Babati,
          which is less than half way to Dodoma. He drove very slowly and cautiously to Babati
          where he arranged with Sher Mohammed, an Indian trader, for a lorry to take us to
          Dodoma the next morning.

          It had been our intention to spend the night at the furnished Government
          Resthouse at Babati but when we got there we found that it was already occupied by
          several District Officers who had assembled for a conference. So, feeling rather
          disgruntled, we all piled back into the lorry and drove on to a place called Bereku where
          we spent an uncomfortable night in a tumbledown hut.

          Before dawn next morning Sher Mohammed’s lorry drove up, and there was a
          scramble to dress by the light of a storm lamp. The lorry was a very dilapidated one and
          there was already a native woman passenger in the cab. I felt so tired after an almost
          sleepless night that I decided to sit between the driver and this woman with the sleeping
          Henry on my knee. It was as well I did, because I soon found myself dosing off and
          drooping over towards the woman. Had she not been there I might easily have fallen
          out as the battered cab had no door. However I was alert enough when daylight came
          and changed places with the woman to our mutual relief. She was now able to converse
          with the African driver and I was able to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air!
          George, John and Jim were less comfortable. They sat in the lorry behind the
          cab hemmed in by packing cases. As the lorry was an open one the sun beat down
          unmercifully upon them until George, ever resourceful, moved a table to the front of the
          truck. The two boys crouched under this and so got shelter from the sun but they still had
          to endure the dust. Fanny complicated things by getting car sick and with one thing and
          another we were all jolly glad to get to Dodoma.

          We spent the night at the Dodoma Hotel and after hot baths, a good meal and a
          good nights rest we cheerfully boarded a bus of the Tanganyika Bus Service next
          morning to continue our journey to Mbeya. The rest of the journey was uneventful. We slept two nights on the road, the first at Iringa Hotel and the second at Chimala. We
          reached Mbeya on the 27th.

          I was rather taken aback when I first saw the little house which has been allocated
          to us. I had become accustomed to the spacious houses we had in Morogoro and
          Lyamungu. However though the house is tiny it is secluded and has a long garden
          sloping down to the road in front and another long strip sloping up behind. The front
          garden is shaded by several large cypress and eucalyptus trees but the garden behind
          the house has no shade and consists mainly of humpy beds planted with hundreds of
          carnations sadly in need of debudding. I believe that the previous Game Ranger’s wife
          cultivated the carnations and, by selling them, raised money for War Funds.
          Like our own first home, this little house is built of sun dried brick. Its original
          owners were Germans. It is now rented to the Government by the Custodian of Enemy
          Property, and George has his office in another ex German house.

          This afternoon we drove to the school to arrange about enrolling John there. The
          school is about four miles out of town. It was built by the German settlers in the late
          1930’s and they were justifiably proud of it. It consists of a great assembly hall and
          classrooms in one block and there are several attractive single storied dormitories. This
          school was taken over by the Government when the Germans were interned on the
          outbreak of war and many improvements have been made to the original buildings. The
          school certainly looks very attractive now with its grassed playing fields and its lawns and
          bright flower beds.

          The Union Jack flies from a tall flagpole in front of the Hall and all traces of the
          schools German origin have been firmly erased. We met the Headmaster, Mr
          Wallington, and his wife and some members of the staff. The school is co-educational
          and caters for children from the age of seven to standard six. The leaving age is elastic
          owing to the fact that many Tanganyika children started school very late because of lack
          of educational facilities in this country.

          The married members of the staff have their own cottages in the grounds. The
          Matrons have quarters attached to the dormitories for which they are responsible. I felt
          most enthusiastic about the school until I discovered that the Headmaster is adamant
          upon one subject. He utterly refuses to take any day pupils at the school. So now our
          poor reserved Johnny will have to adjust himself to boarding school life.
          We have arranged that he will start school on November 5th and I shall be very
          busy trying to assemble his school uniform at short notice. The clothing list is sensible.
          Boys wear khaki shirts and shorts on weekdays with knitted scarlet jerseys when the
          weather is cold. On Sundays they wear grey flannel shorts and blazers with the silver
          and scarlet school tie.

          Mbeya looks dusty, brown and dry after the lush evergreen vegetation of
          Lyamungu, but I prefer this drier climate and there are still mountains to please the eye.
          In fact the lower slopes of Lolesa Mountain rise at the upper end of our garden.


          c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 21st November 1945

          Dearest Family.

          We’re quite settled in now and I have got the little house fixed up to my
          satisfaction. I have engaged a rather uncouth looking houseboy but he is strong and
          capable and now that I am not tied down in the mornings by John’s lessons I am able to
          go out occasionally in the mornings and take Jim and Henry to play with other children.
          They do not show any great enthusiasm but are not shy by nature as John is.
          I have had a good deal of heartache over putting John to boarding school. It
          would have been different had he been used to the company of children outside his
          own family, or if he had even known one child there. However he seems to be adjusting
          himself to the life, though slowly. At least he looks well and tidy and I am quite sure that
          he is well looked after.

          I must confess that when the time came for John to go to school I simply did not
          have the courage to take him and he went alone with George, looking so smart in his
          new uniform – but his little face so bleak. The next day, Sunday, was visiting day but the
          Headmaster suggested that we should give John time to settle down and not visit him
          until Wednesday.

          When we drove up to the school I spied John on the far side of the field walking
          all alone. Instead of running up with glad greetings, as I had expected, he came almost
          reluctently and had little to say. I asked him to show me his dormitory and classroom and
          he did so politely as though I were a stranger. At last he volunteered some information.
          “Mummy,” he said in an awed voice, Do you know on the night I came here they burnt a
          man! They had a big fire and they burnt him.” After a blank moment the penny dropped.
          Of course John had started school and November the fifth but it had never entered my
          head to tell him about that infamous character, Guy Fawkes!

          I asked John’s Matron how he had settled down. “Well”, she said thoughtfully,
          John is very good and has not cried as many of the juniors do when they first come
          here, but he seems to keep to himself all the time.” I went home very discouraged but
          on the Sunday John came running up with another lad of about his own age.” This is my
          friend Marks,” he announced proudly. I could have hugged Marks.

          Mbeya is very different from the small settlement we knew in the early 1930’s.
          Gone are all the colourful characters from the Lupa diggings for the alluvial claims are all
          worked out now, gone also are our old friends the Menzies from the Pub and also most
          of the Government Officials we used to know. Mbeya has lost its character of a frontier
          township and has become almost suburban.

          The social life revolves around two places, the Club and the school. The Club
          which started out as a little two roomed building, has been expanded and the golf
          course improved. There are also tennis courts and a good library considering the size of
          the community. There are frequent parties and dances, though most of the club revenue
          comes from Bar profits. The parties are relatively sober affairs compared with the parties
          of the 1930’s.

          The school provides entertainment of another kind. Both Mr and Mrs Wallington
          are good amateur actors and I am told that they run an Amateur Dramatic Society. Every
          Wednesday afternoon there is a hockey match at the school. Mbeya town versus a
          mixed team of staff and scholars. The match attracts almost the whole European
          population of Mbeya. Some go to play hockey, others to watch, and others to snatch
          the opportunity to visit their children. I shall have to try to arrange a lift to school when
          George is away on safari.

          I have now met most of the local women and gladly renewed an old friendship
          with Sheilagh Waring whom I knew two years ago at Morogoro. Sheilagh and I have
          much in common, the same disregard for the trappings of civilisation, the same sense of
          the ludicrous, and children. She has eight to our six and she has also been cut off by the
          war from two of her children. Sheilagh looks too young and pretty to be the mother of so
          large a family and is, in fact, several years younger than I am. her husband, Donald, is a
          large quiet man who, as far as I can judge takes life seriously.

          Our next door neighbours are the Bank Manager and his wife, a very pleasant
          couple though we seldom meet. I have however had correspondence with the Bank
          Manager. Early on Saturday afternoon their houseboy brought a note. It informed me
          that my son was disturbing his rest by precipitating a heart attack. Was I aware that my
          son was about 30 feet up in a tree and balanced on a twig? I ran out and,sure enough,
          there was Jim, right at the top of the tallest eucalyptus tree. It would be the one with the
          mound of stones at the bottom! You should have heard me fluting in my most
          wheedling voice. “Sweets, Jimmy, come down slowly dear, I’ve some nice sweets for

          I’ll bet that little story makes you smile. I remember how often you have told me
          how, as a child, I used to make your hearts turn over because I had no fear of heights
          and how I used to say, “But that is silly, I won’t fall.” I know now only too well, how you
          must have felt.


          c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 14th January 1946

          Dearest Family.

          I hope that by now you have my telegram to say that Kate got home safely
          yesterday. It was wonderful to have her back and what a beautiful child she is! Kate
          seems to have enjoyed the train journey with Miss Craig, in spite of the tears she tells
          me she shed when she said good-bye to you. She also seems to have felt quite at
          home with the Hopleys at Salisbury. She flew from Salisbury in a small Dove aircraft
          and they had a smooth passage though Kate was a little airsick.

          I was so excited about her home coming! This house is so tiny that I had to turn
          out the little store room to make a bedroom for her. With a fresh coat of whitewash and
          pretty sprigged curtains and matching bedspread, borrowed from Sheilagh Waring, the
          tiny room looks most attractive. I had also iced a cake, made ice-cream and jelly and
          bought crackers for the table so that Kate’s home coming tea could be a proper little

          I was pleased with my preparations and then, a few hours before the plane was
          due, my crowned front tooth dropped out, peg and all! When my houseboy wants to
          describe something very tatty, he calls it “Second-hand Kabisa.” Kabisa meaning
          absolutely. That is an apt description of how I looked and felt. I decided to try some
          emergency dentistry. I think you know our nearest dentist is at Dar es Salaam five
          hundred miles away.

          First I carefully dried the tooth and with a match stick covered the peg and base
          with Durofix. I then took the infants rubber bulb enema, sucked up some heat from a
          candle flame and pumped it into the cavity before filling that with Durofix. Then hopefully
          I stuck the tooth in its former position and held it in place for several minutes. No good. I
          sent the houseboy to a shop for Scotine and tried the whole process again. No good

          When George came home for lunch I appealed to him for advice. He jokingly
          suggested that a maize seed jammed into the space would probably work, but when
          he saw that I really was upset he produced some chewing gum and suggested that I
          should try that . I did and that worked long enough for my first smile anyway.
          George and the three boys went to meet Kate but I remained at home to
          welcome her there. I was afraid that after all this time away Kate might be reluctant to
          rejoin the family but she threw her arms around me and said “Oh Mummy,” We both
          shed a few tears and then we both felt fine.

          How gay Kate is, and what an infectious laugh she has! The boys follow her
          around in admiration. John in fact asked me, “Is Kate a Princess?” When I said
          “Goodness no, Johnny, she’s your sister,” he explained himself by saying, “Well, she
          has such golden hair.” Kate was less complementary. When I tucked her in bed last night
          she said, “Mummy, I didn’t expect my little brothers to be so yellow!” All three boys
          have been taking a course of Atebrin, an anti-malarial drug which tinges skin and eyeballs

          So now our tiny house is bursting at its seams and how good it feels to have one
          more child under our roof. We are booked to sail for England in May and when we return
          we will have Ann and George home too. Then I shall feel really content.


          c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 2nd March 1946

          Dearest Family.

          My life just now is uneventful but very busy. I am sewing hard and knitting fast to
          try to get together some warm clothes for our leave in England. This is not a simple
          matter because woollen materials are in short supply and very expensive, and now that
          we have boarding school fees to pay for both Kate and John we have to budget very
          carefully indeed.

          Kate seems happy at school. She makes friends easily and seems to enjoy
          communal life. John also seems reconciled to school now that Kate is there. He no
          longer feels that he is the only exile in the family. He seems to rub along with the other
          boys of his age and has a couple of close friends. Although Mbeya School is coeducational
          the smaller boys and girls keep strictly apart. It is considered extremely
          cissy to play with girls.

          The local children are allowed to go home on Sundays after church and may bring
          friends home with them for the day. Both John and Kate do this and Sunday is a very
          busy day for me. The children come home in their Sunday best but bring play clothes to
          change into. There is always a scramble to get them to bath and change again in time to
          deliver them to the school by 6 o’clock.

          When George is home we go out to the school for the morning service. This is
          taken by the Headmaster Mr Wallington, and is very enjoyable. There is an excellent
          school choir to lead the singing. The service is the Church of England one, but is
          attended by children of all denominations, except the Roman Catholics. I don’t think that
          more than half the children are British. A large proportion are Greeks, some as old as
          sixteen, and about the same number are Afrikaners. There are Poles and non-Nazi
          Germans, Swiss and a few American children.

          All instruction is through the medium of English and it is amazing how soon all the
          foreign children learn to chatter in English. George has been told that we will return to
          Mbeya after our leave and for that I am very thankful as it means that we will still be living
          near at hand when Jim and Henry start school. Because many of these children have to
          travel many hundreds of miles to come to school, – Mbeya is a two day journey from the
          railhead, – the school year is divided into two instead of the usual three terms. This
          means that many of these children do not see their parents for months at a time. I think
          this is a very sad state of affairs especially for the seven and eight year olds but the
          Matrons assure me , that many children who live on isolated farms and stations are quite
          reluctant to go home because they miss the companionship and the games and
          entertainment that the school offers.

          My only complaint about the life here is that I see far too little of George. He is
          kept extremely busy on this range and is hardly at home except for a few days at the
          months end when he has to be at his office to check up on the pay vouchers and the
          issue of ammunition to the Scouts. George’s Range takes in the whole of the Southern
          Province and the Southern half of the Western Province and extends to the border with
          Northern Rhodesia and right across to Lake Tanganyika. This vast area is patrolled by
          only 40 Game Scouts because the Department is at present badly under staffed, due
          partly to the still acute shortage of rifles, but even more so to the extraordinary reluctance
          which the Government shows to allocate adequate funds for the efficient running of the

          The Game Scouts must see that the Game Laws are enforced, protect native
          crops from raiding elephant, hippo and other game animals. Report disease amongst game and deal with stock raiding lions. By constantly going on safari and checking on
          their work, George makes sure the range is run to his satisfaction. Most of the Game
          Scouts are fine fellows but, considering they receive only meagre pay for dangerous
          and exacting work, it is not surprising that occasionally a Scout is tempted into accepting
          a bribe not to report a serious infringement of the Game Laws and there is, of course,
          always the temptation to sell ivory illicitly to unscrupulous Indian and Arab traders.
          Apart from supervising the running of the Range, George has two major jobs.
          One is to supervise the running of the Game Free Area along the Rhodesia –
          Tanganyika border, and the other to hunt down the man-eating lions which for years have
          terrorised the Njombe District killing hundreds of Africans. Yes I know ‘hundreds’ sounds
          fantastic, but this is perfectly true and one day, when the job is done and the official
          report published I shall send it to you to prove it!

          I hate to think of the Game Free Area and so does George. All the game from
          buffalo to tiny duiker has been shot out in a wide belt extending nearly two hundred
          miles along the Northern Rhodesia -Tanganyika border. There are three Europeans in
          widely spaced camps who supervise this slaughter by African Game Guards. This
          horrible measure is considered necessary by the Veterinary Departments of
          Tanganyika, Rhodesia and South Africa, to prevent the cattle disease of Rinderpest
          from spreading South.

          When George is home however, we do relax and have fun. On the Saturday
          before the school term started we took Kate and the boys up to the top fishing camp in
          the Mporoto Mountains for her first attempt at trout fishing. There are three of these
          camps built by the Mbeya Trout Association on the rivers which were first stocked with
          the trout hatched on our farm at Mchewe. Of the three, the top camp is our favourite. The
          scenery there is most glorious and reminds me strongly of the rivers of the Western
          Cape which I so loved in my childhood.

          The river, the Kawira, flows from the Rungwe Mountain through a narrow valley
          with hills rising steeply on either side. The water runs swiftly over smooth stones and
          sometimes only a foot or two below the level of the banks. It is sparkling and shallow,
          but in places the water is deep and dark and the banks high. I had a busy day keeping
          an eye on the boys, especially Jim, who twice climbed out on branches which overhung
          deep water. “Mummy, I was only looking for trout!”

          How those kids enjoyed the freedom of the camp after the comparative
          restrictions of town. So did Fanny, she raced about on the hills like a mad dog chasing
          imaginary rabbits and having the time of her life. To escape the noise and commotion
          George had gone far upstream to fish and returned in the late afternoon with three good
          sized trout and four smaller ones. Kate proudly showed George the two she had caught
          with the assistance or our cook Hamisi. I fear they were caught in a rather unorthodox
          manner but this I kept a secret from George who is a stickler for the orthodox in trout


          Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

          Dearest Family.

          Here we are all together at last in England. You cannot imagine how wonderful it
          feels to have the whole Rushby family reunited. I find myself counting heads. Ann,
          George, Kate, John, Jim, and Henry. All present and well. We had a very pleasant trip
          on the old British India Ship Mantola. She was crowded with East Africans going home
          for the first time since the war, many like us, eagerly looking forward to a reunion with their
          children whom they had not seen for years. There was a great air of anticipation and
          good humour but a little anxiety too.

          “I do hope our children will be glad to see us,” said one, and went on to tell me
          about a Doctor from Dar es Salaam who, after years of separation from his son had
          recently gone to visit him at his school. The Doctor had alighted at the railway station
          where he had arranged to meet his son. A tall youth approached him and said, very
          politely, “Excuse me sir. Are you my Father?” Others told me of children who had
          become so attached to their relatives in England that they gave their parents a very cool
          reception. I began to feel apprehensive about Ann and George but fortunately had no
          time to mope.

          Oh, that washing and ironing for six! I shall remember for ever that steamy little
          laundry in the heat of the Red Sea and queuing up for the ironing and the feeling of guilt
          at the size of my bundle. We met many old friends amongst the passengers, and made
          some new ones, so the voyage was a pleasant one, We did however have our
          anxious moments.

          John was the first to disappear and we had an anxious search for him. He was
          quite surprised that we had been concerned. “I was just talking to my friend Chinky
          Chinaman in his workshop.” Could John have called him that? Then, when I returned to
          the cabin from dinner one night I found Henry swigging Owbridge’s Lung Tonic. He had
          drunk half the bottle neat and the label said ‘five drops in water’. Luckily it did not harm

          Jim of course was forever risking his neck. George had forbidden him to climb on
          the railings but he was forever doing things which no one had thought of forbidding him
          to do, like hanging from the overhead pipes on the deck or standing on the sill of a
          window and looking down at the well deck far below. An Officer found him doing this and
          gave me the scolding.

          Another day he climbed up on a derrick used for hoisting cargo. George,
          oblivious to this was sitting on the hatch cover with other passengers reading a book. I
          was in the wash house aft on the same deck when Kate rushed in and said, “Mummy
          come and see Jim.” Before I had time to more than gape, the butcher noticed Jim and
          rushed out knife in hand. “Get down from there”, he bellowed. Jim got, and with such
          speed that he caught the leg or his shorts on a projecting piece of metal. The cotton
          ripped across the seam from leg to leg and Jim stood there for a humiliating moment in a
          sort of revealing little kilt enduring the smiles of the passengers who had looked up from
          their books at the butcher’s shout.

          That incident cured Jim of his urge to climb on the ship but he managed to give
          us one more fright. He was lost off Dover. People from whom we enquired said, “Yes
          we saw your little boy. He was by the railings watching that big aircraft carrier.” Now Jim,
          though mischievous , is very obedient. It was not until George and I had conducted an
          exhaustive search above and below decks that I really became anxious. Could he have
          fallen overboard? Jim was returned to us by an unamused Officer. He had been found
          in one of the lifeboats on the deck forbidden to children.

          Our ship passed Dover after dark and it was an unforgettable sight. Dover Castle
          and the cliffs were floodlit for the Victory Celebrations. One of the men passengers sat
          down at the piano and played ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’, and people sang and a few
          wept. The Mantola docked at Tilbury early next morning in a steady drizzle.
          There was a dockers strike on and it took literally hours for all the luggage to be
          put ashore. The ships stewards simply locked the public rooms and went off leaving the
          passengers shivering on the docks. Eventually damp and bedraggled, we arrived at St
          Pancras Station and were given a warm welcome by George’s sister Cath and her
          husband Reg Pears, who had come all the way from Nottingham to meet us.
          As we had to spend an hour in London before our train left for Nottingham,
          George suggested that Cath and I should take the children somewhere for a meal. So
          off we set in the cold drizzle, the boys and I without coats and laden with sundry
          packages, including a hand woven native basket full of shoes. We must have looked like
          a bunch of refugees as we stood in the hall of The Kings Cross Station Hotel because a
          supercilious waiter in tails looked us up and down and said, “I’m afraid not Madam”, in
          answer to my enquiry whether the hotel could provide lunch for six.
          Anyway who cares! We had lunch instead at an ABC tea room — horrible
          sausage and a mound or rather sloppy mashed potatoes, but very good ice-cream.
          After the train journey in a very grimy third class coach, through an incredibly green and
          beautiful countryside, we eventually reached Nottingham and took a bus to Jacksdale,
          where George’s mother and sisters live in large detached houses side by side.
          Ann and George were at the bus stop waiting for us, and thank God, submitted
          to my kiss as though we had been parted for weeks instead of eight years. Even now
          that we are together again my heart aches to think of all those missed years. They have
          not changed much and I would have picked them out of a crowd, but Ann, once thin and
          pale, is now very rosy and blooming. She still has her pretty soft plaits and her eyes are
          still a clear calm blue. Young George is very striking looking with sparkling brown eyes, a
          ready, slightly lopsided smile, and charming manners.

          Mother, and George’s elder sister, Lottie Giles, welcomed us at the door with the
          cheering news that our tea was ready. Ann showed us the way to mother’s lovely lilac
          tiled bathroom for a wash before tea. Before I had even turned the tap, Jim had hung
          form the glass towel rail and it lay in three pieces on the floor. There have since been
          similar tragedies. I can see that life in civilisation is not without snags.

          I am most grateful that Ann and George have accepted us so naturally and
          affectionately. Ann said candidly, “Mummy, it’s a good thing that you had Aunt Cath with
          you when you arrived because, honestly, I wouldn’t have known you.”


          Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

          Dearest Family.

          I am sorry that I have not written for some time but honestly, I don’t know whether
          I’m coming or going. Mother handed the top floor of her house to us and the
          arrangement was that I should tidy our rooms and do our laundry and Mother would
          prepare the meals except for breakfast. It looked easy at first. All the rooms have wall to
          wall carpeting and there was a large vacuum cleaner in the box room. I was told a
          window cleaner would do the windows.

          Well the first time I used the Hoover I nearly died of fright. I pressed the switch
          and immediately there was a roar and the bag filled with air to bursting point, or so I
          thought. I screamed for Ann and she came at the run. I pointed to the bag and shouted
          above the din, “What must I do? It’s going to burst!” Ann looked at me in astonishment
          and said, “But Mummy that’s the way it works.” I couldn’t have her thinking me a
          complete fool so I switched the current off and explained to Ann how it was that I had
          never seen this type of equipment in action. How, in Tanganyika , I had never had a
          house with electricity and that, anyway, electric equipment would be superfluous
          because floors are of cement which the houseboy polishes by hand, one only has a
          few rugs or grass mats on the floor. “But what about Granny’s house in South Africa?’”
          she asked, so I explained about your Josephine who threatened to leave if you
          bought a Hoover because that would mean that you did not think she kept the house
          clean. The sad fact remains that, at fourteen, Ann knows far more about housework than I
          do, or rather did! I’m learning fast.

          The older children all go to school at different times in the morning. Ann leaves first
          by bus to go to her Grammar School at Sutton-in-Ashfield. Shortly afterwards George
          catches a bus for Nottingham where he attends the High School. So they have
          breakfast in relays, usually scrambled egg made from a revolting dried egg mixture.
          Then there are beds to make and washing and ironing to do, so I have little time for
          sightseeing, though on a few afternoons George has looked after the younger children
          and I have gone on bus tours in Derbyshire. Life is difficult here with all the restrictions on
          foodstuffs. We all have ration books so get our fair share but meat, fats and eggs are
          scarce and expensive. The weather is very wet. At first I used to hang out the washing
          and then rush to bring it in when a shower came. Now I just let it hang.

          We have left our imprint upon my Mother-in-law’s house for ever. Henry upset a
          bottle of Milk of Magnesia in the middle of the pale fawn bedroom carpet. John, trying to
          be helpful and doing some dusting, broke one of the delicate Dresden china candlesticks
          which adorn our bedroom mantelpiece.Jim and Henry have wrecked the once
          professionally landscaped garden and all the boys together bored a large hole through
          Mother’s prized cherry tree. So now Mother has given up and gone off to Bournemouth
          for a much needed holiday. Once a week I have the capable help of a cleaning woman,
          called for some reason, ‘Mrs Two’, but I have now got all the cooking to do for eight. Mrs
          Two is a godsend. She wears, of all things, a print mob cap with a hole in it. Says it
          belonged to her Grandmother. Her price is far beyond Rubies to me, not so much
          because she does, in a couple of hours, what it takes me all day to do, but because she
          sells me boxes of fifty cigarettes. Some non-smoking relative, who works in Players
          tobacco factory, passes on his ration to her. Until Mrs Two came to my rescue I had
          been starved of cigarettes. Each time I asked for them at the shop the grocer would say,
          “Are you registered with us?” Only very rarely would some kindly soul sell me a little
          packet of five Woodbines.

          England is very beautiful but the sooner we go home to Tanganyika, the better.
          On this, George and I and the children agree.


          Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

          Dearest Family.

          Our return passages have now been booked on the Winchester Castle and we
          sail from Southampton on October the sixth. I look forward to returning to Tanganyika but
          hope to visit England again in a few years time when our children are older and when
          rationing is a thing of the past.

          I have grown fond of my Sisters-in-law and admire my Mother-in-law very much.
          She has a great sense of humour and has entertained me with stories of her very
          eventful life, and told me lots of little stories of the children which did not figure in her
          letters. One which amused me was about young George. During one of the air raids
          early in the war when the sirens were screaming and bombers roaring overhead Mother
          made the two children get into the cloak cupboard under the stairs. Young George
          seemed quite unconcerned about the planes and the bombs but soon an anxious voice
          asked in the dark, “Gran, what will I do if a spider falls on me?” I am afraid that Mother is
          going to miss Ann and George very much.

          I had a holiday last weekend when Lottie and I went up to London on a spree. It
          was a most enjoyable weekend, though very rushed. We placed ourselves in the
          hands of Thos. Cook and Sons and saw most of the sights of London and were run off
          our feet in the process. As you all know London I shall not describe what I saw but just
          to say that, best of all, I enjoyed walking along the Thames embankment in the evening
          and the changing of the Guard at Whitehall. On Sunday morning Lottie and I went to
          Kew Gardens and in the afternoon walked in Kensington Gardens.

          We went to only one show, ‘The Skin of our Teeth’ starring Vivienne Leigh.
          Neither of us enjoyed the performance at all and regretted having spent so much on
          circle seats. The show was far too highbrow for my taste, a sort of satire on the survival
          of the human race. Miss Leigh was unrecognisable in a blond wig and her voice strident.
          However the night was not a dead loss as far as entertainment was concerned as we
          were later caught up in a tragicomedy at our hotel.

          We had booked communicating rooms at the enormous Imperial Hotel in Russell
          Square. These rooms were comfortably furnished but very high up, and we had a rather
          terrifying and dreary view from the windows of the enclosed courtyard far below. We
          had some snacks and a chat in Lottie’s room and then I moved to mine and went to bed.
          I had noted earlier that there was a special lock on the outer door of my room so that
          when the door was closed from the inside it automatically locked itself.
          I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard a hammering which seemed to
          come from my wardrobe. I got up, rather fearfully, and opened the wardrobe door and
          noted for the first time that the wardrobe was set in an opening in the wall and that the
          back of the wardrobe also served as the back of the wardrobe in the room next door. I
          quickly shut it again and went to confer with Lottie.

          Suddenly a male voice was raised next door in supplication, “Mary Mother of
          God, Help me! They’ve locked me in!” and the hammering resumed again, sometimes
          on the door, and then again on the back of the wardrobe of the room next door. Lottie
          had by this time joined me and together we listened to the prayers and to the
          hammering. Then the voice began to threaten, “If you don’t let me out I’ll jump out of the
          window.” Great consternation on our side of the wall. I went out into the passage and
          called through the door, “You’re not locked in. Come to your door and I’ll tell you how to
          open it.” Silence for a moment and then again the prayers followed by a threat. All the
          other doors in the corridor remained shut.

          Luckily just then a young man and a woman came walking down the corridor and I
          explained the situation. The young man hurried off for the night porter who went into the
          next door room. In a matter of minutes there was peace next door. When the night
          porter came out into the corridor again I asked for an explanation. He said quite casually,
          “It’s all right Madam. He’s an Irish Gentleman in Show Business. He gets like this on a
          Saturday night when he has had a drop too much. He won’t give any more trouble
          now.” And he didn’t. Next morning at breakfast Lottie and I tried to spot the gentleman in
          the Show Business, but saw no one who looked like the owner of that charming Irish

          George had to go to London on business last Monday and took the older
          children with him for a few hours of sight seeing. They returned quite unimpressed.
          Everything was too old and dirty and there were far too many people about, but they
          had enjoyed riding on the escalators at the tube stations, and all agreed that the highlight
          of the trip was, “Dad took us to lunch at the Chicken Inn.”

          Now that it is almost time to leave England I am finding the housework less of a
          drudgery, Also, as it is school holiday time, Jim and Henry are able to go on walks with
          the older children and so use up some of their surplus energy. Cath and I took the
          children (except young George who went rabbit shooting with his uncle Reg, and
          Henry, who stayed at home with his dad) to the Wakes at Selston, the neighbouring
          village. There were the roundabouts and similar contraptions but the side shows had
          more appeal for the children. Ann and Kate found a stall where assorted prizes were
          spread out on a sloping table. Anyone who could land a penny squarely on one of
          these objects was given a similar one as a prize.

          I was touched to see that both girls ignored all the targets except a box of fifty
          cigarettes which they were determined to win for me. After numerous attempts, Kate
          landed her penny successfully and you would have loved to have seen her radiant little


          Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

          Dearest Family.

          Back in Tanganyika at last, but not together. We have to stay in Dar es Salaam
          until tomorrow when the train leaves for Dodoma. We arrived yesterday morning to find
          all the hotels filled with people waiting to board ships for England. Fortunately some
          friends came to the rescue and Ann, Kate and John have gone to stay with them. Jim,
          Henry and I are sleeping in a screened corner of the lounge of the New Africa Hotel, and
          George and young George have beds in the Palm Court of the same hotel.

          We travelled out from England in the Winchester Castle under troopship
          conditions. We joined her at Southampton after a rather slow train journey from
          Nottingham. We arrived after dark and from the station we could see a large ship in the
          docks with a floodlit red funnel. “Our ship,” yelled the children in delight, but it was not the
          Winchester Castle but the Queen Elizabeth, newly reconditioned.

          We had hoped to board our ship that evening but George made enquiries and
          found that we would not be allowed on board until noon next day. Without much hope,
          we went off to try to get accommodation for eight at a small hotel recommended by the
          taxi driver. Luckily for us there was a very motherly woman at the reception desk. She
          looked in amusement at the six children and said to me, “Goodness are all these yours,
          ducks? Then she called over her shoulder, “Wilf, come and see this lady with lots of
          children. We must try to help.” They settled the problem most satisfactorily by turning
          two rooms into a dormitory.

          In the morning we had time to inspect bomb damage in the dock area of
          Southampton. Most of the rubble had been cleared away but there are still numbers of
          damaged buildings awaiting demolition. A depressing sight. We saw the Queen Mary
          at anchor, still in her drab war time paint, but magnificent nevertheless.
          The Winchester Castle was crammed with passengers and many travelled in
          acute discomfort. We were luckier than most because the two girls, the three small boys
          and I had a stateroom to ourselves and though it was stripped of peacetime comforts,
          we had a private bathroom and toilet. The two Georges had bunks in a huge men-only
          dormitory somewhere in the bowls of the ship where they had to share communal troop
          ship facilities. The food was plentiful but unexciting and one had to queue for afternoon
          tea. During the day the decks were crowded and there was squatting room only. The
          many children on board got bored.

          Port Said provided a break and we were all entertained by the ‘Gully Gully’ man
          and his conjuring tricks, and though we had no money to spend at Simon Artz, we did at
          least have a chance to stretch our legs. Next day scores of passengers took ill with
          sever stomach upsets, whether from food poisoning, or as was rumoured, from bad
          water taken on at the Egyptian port, I don’t know. Only the two Georges in our family
          were affected and their attacks were comparatively mild.

          As we neared the Kenya port of Mombassa, the passengers for Dar es Salaam
          were told that they would have to disembark at Mombassa and continue their journey in
          a small coaster, the Al Said. The Winchester Castle is too big for the narrow channel
          which leads to Dar es Salaam harbour.

          From the wharf the Al Said looked beautiful. She was once the private yacht of
          the Sultan of Zanzibar and has lovely lines. Our admiration lasted only until we were
          shown our cabins. With one voice our children exclaimed, “Gosh they stink!” They did, of
          a mixture of rancid oil and sweat and stale urine. The beds were not yet made and the
          thin mattresses had ominous stains on them. John, ever fastidious, lifted his mattress and two enormous cockroaches scuttled for cover.

          We had a good homely lunch served by two smiling African stewards and
          afterwards we sat on deck and that was fine too, though behind ones enjoyment there
          was the thought of those stuffy and dirty cabins. That first night nearly everyone,
          including George and our older children, slept on deck. Women occupied deck chairs
          and men and children slept on the bare decks. Horrifying though the idea was, I decided
          that, as Jim had a bad cough, he, Henry and I would sleep in our cabin.

          When I announced my intention of sleeping in the cabin one of the passengers
          gave me some insecticide spray which I used lavishly, but without avail. The children
          slept but I sat up all night with the light on, determined to keep at least their pillows clear
          of the cockroaches which scurried about boldly regardless of the light. All the next day
          and night we avoided the cabins. The Al Said stopped for some hours at Zanzibar to
          offload her deck cargo of live cattle and packing cases from the hold. George and the
          elder children went ashore for a walk but I felt too lazy and there was plenty to watch
          from deck.

          That night I too occupied a deck chair and slept quite comfortably, and next
          morning we entered the palm fringed harbour of Dar es Salaam and were home.


          Mbeya 1st November 1946

          Dearest Family.

          Home at last! We are all most happily installed in a real family house about three
          miles out of Mbeya and near the school. This house belongs to an elderly German and
          has been taken over by the Custodian of Enemy Property and leased to the

          The owner, whose name is Shenkel, was not interned but is allowed to occupy a
          smaller house on the Estate. I found him in the garden this morning lecturing the children
          on what they may do and may not do. I tried to make it quite clear to him that he was not
          our landlord, though he clearly thinks otherwise. After he had gone I had to take two
          aspirin and lie down to recover my composure! I had been warned that he has this effect
          on people.

          Mr Shenkel is a short and ugly man, his clothes are stained with food and he
          wears steel rimmed glasses tied round his head with a piece of dirty elastic because
          one earpiece is missing. He speaks with a thick German accent but his English is fluent
          and I believe he is a cultured and clever man. But he is maddening. The children were
          more amused than impressed by his exhortations and have happily Christened our
          home, ‘Old Shenks’.

          The house has very large grounds as the place is really a derelict farm. It suits us
          down to the ground. We had no sooner unpacked than George went off on safari after
          those maneating lions in the Njombe District. he accounted for one, and a further two
          jointly with a Game Scout, before we left for England. But none was shot during the five
          months we were away as George’s relief is quite inexperienced in such work. George
          thinks that there are still about a dozen maneaters at large. His theory is that a female
          maneater moved into the area in 1938 when maneating first started, and brought up her
          cubs to be maneaters, and those cubs in turn did the same. The three maneating lions
          that have been shot were all in very good condition and not old and maimed as
          maneaters usually are.

          George anticipates that it will be months before all these lions are accounted for
          because they are constantly on the move and cover a very large area. The lions have to
          be hunted on foot because they range over broken country covered by bush and fairly
          dense thicket.

          I did a bit of shooting myself yesterday and impressed our African servants and
          the children and myself. What a fluke! Our houseboy came to say that there was a snake
          in the garden, the biggest he had ever seen. He said it was too big to kill with a stick and
          would I shoot it. I had no gun but a heavy .450 Webley revolver and I took this and
          hurried out with the children at my heels.

          The snake turned out to be an unusually large puff adder which had just shed its
          skin. It looked beautiful in a repulsive way. So flanked by servants and children I took
          aim and shot, not hitting the head as I had planned, but breaking the snake’s back with
          the heavy bullet. The two native boys then rushed up with sticks and flattened the head.
          “Ma you’re a crack shot,” cried the kids in delighted surprise. I hope to rest on my laurels
          for a long, long while.

          Although there are only a few weeks of school term left the four older children will
          start school on Monday. Not only am I pleased with our new home here but also with
          the staff I have engaged. Our new houseboy, Reuben, (but renamed Robin by our
          children) is not only cheerful and willing but intelligent too, and Jumbe, the wood and
          garden boy, is a born clown and a source of great entertainment to the children.

          I feel sure that we are all going to be very happy here at ‘Old Shenks!.



            From Tanganyika with Love

            continued part 8

            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

            Morogoro 20th January 1941

            Dearest Family,

            It is all arranged for us to go on three months leave to Cape Town next month so
            get out your flags. How I shall love showing off Kate and John to you and this time
            George will be with us and you’ll be able to get to know him properly. You can’t think
            what a comfort it will be to leave all the worries of baggage and tipping to him. We will all
            be travelling by ship to Durban and from there to Cape Town by train. I rather dread the
            journey because there is a fifth little Rushby on the way and, as always, I am very

            Kate has become such a little companion to me that I dread the thought of leaving
            her behind with you to start schooling. I miss Ann and George so much now and must
            face separation from Kate as well. There does not seem to be any alternative though.
            There is a boarding school in Arusha and another has recently been started in Mbeya,
            but both places are so far away and I know she would be very unhappy as a boarder at
            this stage. Living happily with you and attending a day school might wean her of her
            dependance upon me. As soon as this wretched war ends we mean to get Ann and
            George back home and Kate too and they can then all go to boarding school together.
            If I were a more methodical person I would try to teach Kate myself, but being a
            muddler I will have my hands full with Johnny and the new baby. Life passes pleasantly
            but quietly here. Much of my time is taken up with entertaining the children and sewing
            for them and just waiting for George to come home.

            George works so hard on these safaris and this endless elephant hunting to
            protect native crops entails so much foot safari, that he has lost a good deal of weight. it
            is more than ten years since he had a holiday so he is greatly looking forward to this one.
            Four whole months together!

            I should like to keep the ayah, Janet, for the new baby, but she says she wants
            to return to her home in the Southern Highlands Province and take a job there. She is
            unusually efficient and so clean, and the houseboy and cook are quite scared of her. She
            bawls at them if the children’s meals are served a few minutes late but she is always
            respectful towards me and practically creeps around on tiptoe when George is home.
            She has a room next to the outside kitchen. One night thieves broke into the kitchen and
            stole a few things, also a canvas chair and mat from the verandah. Ayah heard them, and
            grabbing a bit of firewood, she gave chase. Her shouts so alarmed the thieves that they
            ran off up the hill jettisoning their loot as they ran. She is a great character.


            Morogoro 30th July 1941

            Dearest Family,

            Safely back in Morogoro after a rather grim voyage from Durban. Our ship was
            completely blacked out at night and we had to sleep with warm clothing and life belts
            handy and had so many tedious boat drills. It was a nuisance being held up for a whole
            month in Durban, because I was so very pregnant when we did embark. In fact George
            suggested that I had better hide in the ‘Ladies’ until the ship sailed for fear the Captain
            might refuse to take me. It seems that the ship, on which we were originally booked to
            travel, was torpedoed somewhere off the Cape.

            We have been given a very large house this tour with a mosquito netted
            sleeping porch which will be fine for the new baby. The only disadvantage is that the
            house is on the very edge of the residential part of Morogoro and Johnny will have to
            go quite a distance to find playmates.

            I still miss Kate terribly. She is a loving little person. I had prepared for a scene
            when we said good-bye but I never expected that she would be the comforter. It
            nearly broke my heart when she put her arms around me and said, “I’m so sorry
            Mummy, please don’t cry. I’ll be good. Please don’t cry.” I’m afraid it was all very
            harrowing for you also. It is a great comfort to hear that she has settled down so happily.
            I try not to think consciously of my absent children and remind myself that there are
            thousands of mothers in the same boat, but they are always there at the back of my

            Mother writes that Ann and George are perfectly happy and well, and that though
            German bombers do fly over fairly frequently, they are unlikely to drop their bombs on
            a small place like Jacksdale.

            George has already left on safari to the Rufiji. There was no replacement for his
            job while he was away so he is anxious to get things moving again. Johnny and I are
            going to move in with friends until he returns, just in case all the travelling around brings
            the new baby on earlier than expected.


            Morogoro 26th August 1941

            Dearest Family,

            Our new son, James Caleb. was born at 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon, with a
            minimum of fuss, in the hospital here. The Doctor was out so my friend, Sister Murray,
            delivered the baby. The Sister is a Scots girl, very efficient and calm and encouraging,
            and an ideal person to have around at such a time.

            Everything, this time, went without a hitch and I feel fine and proud of my
            bouncing son. He weighs nine pounds and ten ounces and is a big boned fellow with
            dark hair and unusually strongly marked eyebrows. His eyes are strong too and already
            seem to focus. George is delighted with him and brought Hugh Nelson to see him this
            morning. Hugh took one look, and, astonished I suppose by the baby’s apparent
            awareness, said, “Gosh, this one has been here before.” The baby’s cot is beside my
            bed so I can admire him as much as I please. He has large strong hands and George
            reckons he’ll make a good boxer some day.

            Another of my early visitors was Mabemba, George’s orderly. He is a very big
            African and looks impressive in his Game Scouts uniform. George met him years ago at
            Mahenge when he was a young elephant hunter and Mabemba was an Askari in the
            Police. Mabemba takes quite a proprietary interest in the family.


            Morogoro 25th December 1941

            Dearest Family,

            Christmas Day today, but not a gay one. I have Johnny in bed with a poisoned
            leg so he missed the children’s party at the Club. To make things a little festive I have
            put up a little Christmas tree in the children’s room and have hung up streamers and
            balloons above the beds. Johnny demands a lot of attention so it is fortunate that little
            James is such a very good baby. He sleeps all night until 6 am when his feed is due.
            One morning last week I got up as usual to feed him but I felt so dopey that I
            thought I’d better have a cold wash first. I went into the bathroom and had a hurried
            splash and then grabbed a towel to dry my face. Immediately I felt an agonising pain in
            my nose. Reason? There was a scorpion in the towel! In no time at all my nose looked
            like a pear and felt burning hot. The baby screamed with frustration whilst I feverishly
            bathed my nose and applied this and that in an effort to cool it.

            For three days my nose was very red and tender,”A real boozer nose”, said
            George. But now, thank goodness, it is back to normal.

            Some of the younger marrieds and a couple of bachelors came around,
            complete with portable harmonium, to sing carols in the early hours. No sooner had we
            settled down again to woo sleep when we were disturbed by shouts and screams from
            our nearest neighbour’s house. “Just celebrating Christmas”, grunted George, but we
            heard this morning that the neighbour had fallen down his verandah steps and broken his


            Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

            Dearest Family,

            Well now we are eight! Our new son, Henry, was born on the night of the 28th.
            He is a beautiful baby, weighing ten pounds three and a half ounces. This baby is very
            well developed, handsome, and rather superior looking, and not at all amusing to look at
            as the other boys were.George was born with a moustache, John had a large nose and
            looked like a little old man, and Jim, bless his heart, looked rather like a baby
            chimpanzee. Henry is different. One of my visitors said, “Heaven he’ll have to be a
            Bishop!” I expect the lawn sleeves of his nightie really gave her that idea, but the baby
            does look like ‘Someone’. He is very good and George, John, and Jim are delighted
            with him, so is Mabemba.

            We have a dear little nurse looking after us. She is very petite and childish
            looking. When the baby was born and she brought him for me to see, the nurse asked
            his name. I said jokingly, “His name is Benjamin – the last of the family.” She is now very
            peeved to discover that his real name is Henry William and persists in calling him
            ‘Benjie’.I am longing to get home and into my pleasant rut. I have been away for two
            whole weeks and George is managing so well that I shall feel quite expendable if I don’t
            get home soon. As our home is a couple of miles from the hospital, I arranged to move
            in and stay with the nursing sister on the day the baby was due. There I remained for ten
            whole days before the baby was born. Each afternoon George came and took me for a
            ride in the bumpy Bedford lorry and the Doctor tried this and that but the baby refused
            to be hurried.

            On the tenth day I had the offer of a lift and decided to go home for tea and
            surprise George. It was a surprise too, because George was entertaining a young
            Game Ranger for tea and my arrival, looking like a perambulating big top, must have
            been rather embarrassing.Henry was born at the exact moment that celebrations started
            in the Township for the end of the Muslim religious festival of Ramadan. As the Doctor
            held him up by his ankles, there was the sound of hooters and firecrackers from the town.
            The baby has a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon above his left eyebrow.


            Morogoro 26th January 1944

            Dearest Family,

            We have just heard that we are to be transferred to the Headquarters of the
            Game Department at a place called Lyamungu in the Northern Province. George is not
            at all pleased because he feels that the new job will entail a good deal of office work and
            that his beloved but endless elephant hunting will be considerably curtailed. I am glad of
            that and I am looking forward to seeing a new part of Tanganyika and particularly
            Kilimanjaro which dominates Lyamungu.

            Thank goodness our menagerie is now much smaller. We found a home for the
            guinea pigs last December and Susie, our mischievous guinea-fowl, has flown off to find
            a mate.Last week I went down to Dar es Salaam for a check up by Doctor John, a
            woman doctor, leaving George to cope with the three boys. I was away two nights and
            a day and returned early in the morning just as George was giving Henry his six o’clock
            bottle. It always amazes me that so very masculine a man can do my chores with no
            effort and I have a horrible suspicion that he does them better than I do. I enjoyed the
            short break at the coast very much. I stayed with friends and we bathed in the warm sea
            and saw a good film.

            Now I suppose there will be a round of farewell parties. People in this country
            are most kind and hospitable.


            Lyamungu 20th March 1944

            Dearest Family,

            We left Morogoro after the round of farewell parties I had anticipated. The final
            one was at the Club on Saturday night. George made a most amusing speech and the
            party was a very pleasant occasion though I was rather tired after all the packing.
            Several friends gathered to wave us off on Monday morning. We had two lorries
            loaded with our goods. I rode in the cab of the first one with Henry on my knee. George
            with John and Jim rode in the second one. As there was no room for them in the cab,
            they sat on our couch which was placed across the width of the lorry behind the cab. This
            seat was not as comfortable as it sounds, because the space behind the couch was
            taken up with packing cases which were not lashed in place and these kept moving
            forward as the lorry bumped its way over the bad road.

            Soon there was hardly any leg room and George had constantly to stand up and
            push the second layer of packing cases back to prevent them from toppling over onto
            the children and himself. As it is now the rainy season the road was very muddy and
            treacherous and the lorries travelled so slowly it was dark by the time we reached
            Karogwe from where we were booked to take the train next morning to Moshi.
            Next morning we heard that there had been a washaway on the line and that the
            train would be delayed for at least twelve hours. I was not feeling well and certainly did
            not enjoy my day. Early in the afternoon Jimmy ran into a wall and blackened both his
            eyes. What a child! As the day wore on I felt worse and worse and when at last the train
            did arrive I simply crawled into my bunk whilst George coped nobly with the luggage
            and the children.

            We arrived at Moshi at breakfast time and went straight to the Lion Cub Hotel
            where I took to my bed with a high temperature. It was, of course, malaria. I always have
            my attacks at the most inopportune times. Fortunately George ran into some friends
            called Eccles and the wife Mollie came to my room and bathed Henry and prepared his
            bottle and fed him. George looked after John and Jim. Next day I felt much better and
            we drove out to Lyamungu the day after. There we had tea with the Game Warden and
            his wife before moving into our new home nearby.

            The Game Warden is Captain Monty Moore VC. He came out to Africa
            originally as an Officer in the King’s African Rifles and liked the country so much he left the
            Army and joined the Game Department. He was stationed at Banagi in the Serengetti
            Game Reserve and is well known for his work with the lions there. He particularly tamed
            some of the lions by feeding them so that they would come out into the open and could
            readily be photographed by tourists. His wife Audrey, has written a book about their
            experiences at Banagi. It is called “Serengetti”

            Our cook, Hamisi, soon had a meal ready for us and we all went to bed early.
            This is a very pleasant house and I know we will be happy here. I still feel a little shaky
            but that is the result of all the quinine I have taken. I expect I shall feel fine in a day or two.


            Lyamungu 15th May 1944

            Dearest Family,

            Well, here we are settled comfortably in our very nice house. The house is
            modern and roomy, and there is a large enclosed verandah, which will be a Godsend in
            the wet weather as a playroom for the children. The only drawback is that there are so
            many windows to be curtained and cleaned. The grounds consist of a very large lawn
            and a few beds of roses and shrubs. It is an ideal garden for children, unlike our steeply
            terraced garden at Morogoro.

            Lyamungu is really the Government Coffee Research Station. It is about sixteen
            miles from the town of Moshi which is the centre of the Tanganyika coffee growing
            industry. Lyamungu, which means ‘place of God’ is in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro and
            we have a beautiful view of Kilimanjaro. Kibo, the more spectacular of the two mountain
            peaks, towers above us, looking from this angle, like a giant frosted plum pudding. Often the mountain is veiled by cloud and mist which sometimes comes down to
            our level so that visibility is practically nil. George dislikes both mist and mountain but I
            like both and so does John. He in fact saw Kibo before I did. On our first day here, the
            peak was completely hidden by cloud. In the late afternoon when the children were
            playing on the lawn outside I was indoors hanging curtains. I heard John call out, “Oh
            Mummy, isn’t it beautiful!” I ran outside and there, above a scarf of cloud, I saw the
            showy dome of Kibo with the setting sun shining on it tingeing the snow pink. It was an
            unforgettable experience.

            As this is the rainy season, the surrounding country side is very lush and green.
            Everywhere one sees the rich green of the coffee plantations and the lighter green of
            the banana groves. Unfortunately our walks are rather circumscribed. Except for the main road to Moshi, there is nowhere to walk except through the Government coffee
            plantation. Paddy, our dog, thinks life is pretty boring as there is no bush here and
            nothing to hunt. There are only half a dozen European families here and half of those are
            on very distant terms with the other half which makes the station a rather uncomfortable

            The coffee expert who runs this station is annoyed because his European staff
            has been cut down owing to the war, and three of the vacant houses and some office
            buildings have been taken over temporarily by the Game Department. Another house
            has been taken over by the head of the Labour Department. However I don’t suppose
            the ill feeling will effect us much. We are so used to living in the bush that we are not
            socially inclined any way.

            Our cook, Hamisi, came with us from Morogoro but I had to engage a new
            houseboy and kitchenboy. I first engaged a houseboy who produced a wonderful ‘chit’
            in which his previous employer describes him as his “friend and confidant”. I felt rather
            dubious about engaging him and how right I was. On his second day with us I produced
            some of Henry’s napkins, previously rinsed by me, and asked this boy to wash them.
            He looked most offended and told me that it was beneath his dignity to do women’s
            work. We parted immediately with mutual relief.

            Now I have a good natured fellow named Japhet who, though hard on crockery,
            is prepared to do anything and loves playing with the children. He is a local boy, a
            member of the Chagga tribe. These Chagga are most intelligent and, on the whole, well
            to do as they all have their own small coffee shambas. Japhet tells me that his son is at
            the Uganda University College studying medicine.The kitchen boy is a tall youth called
            Tovelo, who helps both Hamisi, the cook, and the houseboy and also keeps an eye on
            Henry when I am sewing. I still make all the children’s clothes and my own. Life is
            pleasant but dull. George promises that he will take the whole family on safari when
            Henry is a little older.


            Lyamungu 18th July 1944

            Dearest Family,

            Life drifts quietly by at Lyamungu with each day much like the one before – or
            they would be, except that the children provide the sort of excitement that prohibits
            boredom. Of the three boys our Jim is the best at this. Last week Jim wandered into the
            coffee plantation beside our house and chewed some newly spayed berries. Result?
            A high temperature and nasty, bloody diarrhoea, so we had to rush him to the hospital at
            Moshi for treatment. however he was well again next day and George went off on safari.
            That night there was another crisis. As the nights are now very cold, at this high
            altitude, we have a large fire lit in the living room and the boy leaves a pile of logs
            beside the hearth so that I can replenish the fire when necessary. Well that night I took
            Henry off to bed, leaving John and Jim playing in the living room. When their bedtime
            came, I called them without leaving the bedroom. When I had tucked John and Jim into
            bed, I sat reading a bedtime story as I always do. Suddenly I saw smoke drifting
            through the door, and heard a frightening rumbling noise. Japhet rushed in to say that the
            lounge chimney was on fire! Picture me, panic on the inside and sweet smile on the
            outside, as I picked Henry up and said to the other two, “There’s nothing to be
            frightened about chaps, but get up and come outside for a bit.” Stupid of me to be so
            heroic because John and Jim were not at all scared but only too delighted at the chance
            of rushing about outside in the dark. The fire to them was just a bit of extra fun.

            We hurried out to find one boy already on the roof and the other passing up a
            brimming bucket of water. Other boys appeared from nowhere and soon cascades of
            water were pouring down the chimney. The result was a mountain of smouldering soot
            on the hearth and a pool of black water on the living room floor. However the fire was out
            and no serious harm done because all the floors here are cement and another stain on
            the old rug will hardly be noticed. As the children reluctantly returned to bed John
            remarked smugly, “I told Jim not to put all the wood on the fire at once but he wouldn’t
            listen.” I might have guessed!

            However it was not Jim but John who gave me the worst turn of all this week. As
            a treat I decided to take the boys to the river for a picnic tea. The river is not far from our
            house but we had never been there before so I took the kitchen boy, Tovelo, to show
            us the way. The path is on the level until one is in sight of the river when the bank slopes
            steeply down. I decided that it was too steep for the pram so I stopped to lift Henry out
            and carry him. When I looked around I saw John running down the slope towards the
            river. The stream is not wide but flows swiftly and I had no idea how deep it was. All I
            knew was that it was a trout stream. I called for John, “Stop, wait for me!” but he ran on
            and made for a rude pole bridge which spanned the river. He started to cross and then,
            to my horror, I saw John slip. There was a splash and he disappeared under the water. I
            just dumped the baby on the ground, screamed to the boy to mind him and ran madly
            down the slope to the river. Suddenly I saw John’s tight fitting felt hat emerge, then his
            eyes and nose. I dashed into the water and found, to my intense relief, that it only
            reached up to my shoulders but, thank heaven no further. John’s steady eyes watched
            me trustingly as I approached him and carried him safely to the bank. He had been
            standing on a rock and had not panicked at all though he had to stand up very straight
            and tall to keep his nose out of water. I was too proud of him to scold him for
            disobedience and too wet anyway.

            I made John undress and put on two spare pullovers and wrapped Henry’s
            baby blanket round his waist like a sarong. We made a small fire over which I crouched
            with literally chattering teeth whilst Tovelo ran home to fetch a coat for me and dry clothes
            for John.


            Lyamungu 16th August 1944

            Dearest Family,

            We have a new bull terrier bitch pup whom we have named Fanny III . So once
            more we have a menagerie , the two dogs, two cats Susie and Winnie, and
            some pet hens who live in the garage and are a real nuisance.

            As John is nearly six I thought it time that he started lessons and wrote off to Dar
            es Salaam for the correspondence course. We have had one week of lessons and I am
            already in a state of physical and mental exhaustion. John is a most reluctant scholar.
            “Why should I learn to read, when you can read to me?” he asks, and “Anyway why
            should I read such stupid stuff, ‘Run Rover Run’, and ‘Mother play with baby’ . Who
            wants to read about things like that? I don’t.”

            He rather likes sums, but the only subject about which he is enthusiastic is
            prehistoric history. He laps up information about ‘The Tree Dwellers’, though he is very
            sceptical about the existence of such people. “God couldn’t be so silly to make people
            so stupid. Fancy living in trees when it is easy to make huts like the natives.” ‘The Tree
            Dwellers is a highly imaginative story about a revolting female called Sharptooth and her
            offspring called Bodo. I have a very clear mental image of Sharptooth, so it came as a
            shock to me and highly amused George when John looked at me reflectively across the
            tea table and said, “Mummy I expect Sharptooth looked like you. You have a sharp
            tooth too!” I have, my eye teeth are rather sharp, but I hope the resemblance stops

            John has an uncomfortably logical mind for a small boy. The other day he was
            lying on the lawn staring up at the clouds when he suddenly muttered “I don’t believe it.”
            “Believe what?” I asked. “That Jesus is coming on a cloud one day. How can he? The
            thick ones always stay high up. What’s he going to do, jump down with a parachute?”
            Tovelo, my kitchen boy, announced one evening that his grandmother was in the
            kitchen and wished to see me. She was a handsome and sensible Chagga woman who
            brought sad news. Her little granddaughter had stumbled backwards into a large cooking
            pot of almost boiling maize meal porridge and was ‘ngongwa sana’ (very ill). I grabbed
            a large bottle of Picric Acid and a packet of gauze which we keep for these emergencies
            and went with her, through coffee shambas and banana groves to her daughter’s house.
            Inside the very neat thatched hut the mother sat with the naked child lying face
            downwards on her knee. The child’s buttocks and the back of her legs were covered in
            huge burst blisters from which a watery pus dripped. It appeared that the accident had
            happened on the previous day.

            I could see that it was absolutely necessary to clean up the damaged area, and I
            suddenly remembered that there was a trained African hospital dresser on the station. I
            sent the father to fetch him and whilst the dresser cleaned off the sloughed skin with
            forceps and swabs saturated in Picric Acid, I cut the gauze into small squares which I
            soaked in the lotion and laid on the cleaned area. I thought the small pieces would be
            easier to change especially as the whole of the most tender parts, front and back, were
            badly scalded. The child seemed dazed and neither the dresser nor I thought she would
            live. I gave her half an aspirin and left three more half tablets to be given four hourly.
            Next day she seemed much brighter. I poured more lotion on the gauze
            disturbing as few pieces as possible and again the next day and the next. After a week
            the skin was healing well and the child eating normally. I am sure she will be all right now.
            The new skin is a brilliant red and very shiny but it is pale round the edges of the burnt
            area and will I hope later turn brown. The mother never uttered a word of thanks, but the
            granny is grateful and today brought the children a bunch of bananas.


            c/o Game Dept. P.O.Moshi. 29th September 1944

            Dearest Mummy,

            I am so glad that you so enjoyed my last letter with the description of our very
            interesting and enjoyable safari through Masailand. You said you would like an even
            fuller description of it to pass around amongst the relations, so, to please you, I have
            written it out in detail and enclose the result.

            We have spent a quiet week after our exertions and all are well here.

            Very much love,

            Safari in Masailand

            George and I were at tea with our three little boys on the front lawn of our house
            in Lyamungu, Northern Tanganyika. It was John’s sixth birthday and he and Jim, a
            happy sturdy three year old, and Henry, aged eleven months, were munching the
            squares of plain chocolate which rounded off the party, when George said casually
            across the table to me, “Could you be ready by the day after tomorrow to go on
            safari?” “Me too?” enquired John anxiously, before I had time to reply, and “Me too?”
            echoed Jim. “yes, of course I can”, said I to George and “of course you’re coming too”,
            to the children who rate a day spent in the bush higher than any other pleasure.
            So in the early morning two days later, we started out happily for Masailand in a
            three ton Ford lorry loaded to capacity with the five Rushbys, the safari paraphernalia,
            drums of petrol and quite a retinue of servants and Game Scouts. George travelling
            alone on his monthly safaris, takes only the cook and a couple of Game Scouts, but this was to be a safari de luxe.

            Henry and I shared the cab with George who was driving, whilst John and Jim
            with the faithful orderly Mabemba beside them to point out the game animals, were
            installed upon rolls of bedding in the body of the lorry. The lorry lumbered along, first
            through coffee shambas, and then along the main road between Moshi and Arusha.
            After half an hour or so, we turned South off the road into a track which crossed the
            Sanya Plains and is the beginning of this part of Masailand. Though the dry season was
            at its height, and the pasture dry and course, we were soon passing small groups of
            game. This area is a Game Sanctuary and the antelope grazed quietly quite undisturbed
            by the passing lorry. Here and there zebra stood bunched by the road, a few wild
            ostriches stalked jerkily by, and in the distance some wildebeest cavorted around in their
            crazy way.

            Soon the grasslands gave way to thorn bush, and we saw six fantastically tall
            giraffe standing motionless with their heads turned enquiringly towards us. George
            stopped the lorry so the children could have a good view of them. John was enchanted
            but Jim, alas, was asleep.

            At mid day we reached the Kikoletwa River and turned aside to camp. Beside
            the river, under huge leafy trees, there was a beautiful camping spot, but the river was
            deep and reputed to be full of crocodiles so we passed it by and made our camp
            some distance from the river under a tall thorn tree with a flat lacy canopy. All around the
            camp lay uprooted trees of similar size that had been pushed over by elephants. As
            soon as the lorry stopped a camp chair was set up for me and the Game Scouts quickly
            slashed down grass and cleared the camp site of thorns. The same boys then pitched the tent whilst George himself set up the three camp beds and the folding cot for Henry,
            and set up the safari table and the canvas wash bowl and bath.

            The cook in the meantime had cleared a cool spot for the kitchen , opened up the
            chop boxes and started a fire. The cook’s boy and the dhobi (laundry boy) brought
            water from the rather muddy river and tea was served followed shortly afterward by an
            excellent lunch. In a very short time the camp had a suprisingly homely look. Nappies
            fluttered from a clothes line, Henry slept peacefully in his cot, John and Jim sprawled on
            one bed looking at comics, and I dozed comfortably on another.

            George, with the Game Scouts, drove off in the lorry about his work. As a Game
            Ranger it is his business to be on a constant look out for poachers, both African and
            European, and for disease in game which might infect the valuable herds of Masai cattle.
            The lorry did not return until dusk by which time the children had bathed enthusiastically in
            the canvas bath and were ready for supper and bed. George backed the lorry at right
            angles to the tent, Henry’s cot and two camp beds were set up in the lorry, the tarpaulin
            was lashed down and the children put to bed in their novel nursery.

            When darkness fell a large fire was lit in front of the camp, the exited children at
            last fell asleep and George and I sat on by the fire enjoying the cool and quiet night.
            When the fire subsided into a bed of glowing coals, it was time for our bed. During the
            night I was awakened by the sound of breaking branches and strange indescribable
            noises.” Just elephant”, said George comfortably and instantly fell asleep once more. I
            didn’t! We rose with the birds next morning, but breakfast was ready and in a
            remarkably short time the lorry had been reloaded and we were once more on our way.
            For about half a mile we made our own track across the plain and then we turned
            into the earth road once more. Soon we had reached the river and were looking with
            dismay at the suspension bridge which we had to cross. At the far side, one steel
            hawser was missing and there the bridge tilted dangerously. There was no handrail but
            only heavy wooden posts which marked the extremities of the bridge. WhenGeorge
            measured the distance between the posts he found that there could be barely two
            inches to spare on either side of the cumbersome lorry.

            He decided to risk crossing, but the children and I and all the servants were told to
            cross the bridge and go down the track out of sight. The Game Scouts remained on the
            river bank on the far side of the bridge and stood ready for emergencies. As I walked
            along anxiously listening, I was horrified to hear the lorry come to a stop on the bridge.
            There was a loud creaking noise and I instantly visualised the lorry slowly toppling over
            into the deep crocodile infested river. The engine restarted, the lorry crossed the bridge
            and came slowly into sight around the bend. My heart slid back into its normal position.
            George was as imperturbable as ever and simply remarked that it had been a near
            thing and that we would return to Lyamungu by another route.

            Beyond the green river belt the very rutted track ran through very uninteresting
            thorn bush country. Henry was bored and tiresome, jumping up and down on my knee
            and yelling furiously. “Teeth”, said I apologetically to George, rashly handing a match
            box to Henry to keep him quiet. No use at all! With a fat finger he poked out the tray
            spilling the matches all over me and the floor. Within seconds Henry had torn the
            matchbox to pieces with his teeth and flung the battered remains through the window.
            An empty cigarette box met with the same fate as the match box and the yells
            continued unabated until Henry slept from sheer exhaustion. George gave me a smile,
            half sympathetic and half sardonic, “Enjoying the safari, my love?” he enquired. On these
            trying occasions George has the inestimable advantage of being able to go into a Yogilike
            trance, whereas I become irritated to screaming point.

            In an effort to prolong Henry’s slumber I braced my feet against the floor boards
            and tried to turn myself into a human shock absorber as we lurched along the eroded
            track. Several times my head made contact with the bolt of a rifle in the rack above, and
            once I felt I had shattered my knee cap against the fire extinguisher in a bracket under the
            dash board.

            Strange as it may seem, I really was enjoying the trip in spite of these
            discomforts. At last after three years I was once more on safari with George. This type of
            country was new to me and there was so much to see We passed a family of giraffe
            standing in complete immobility only a few yards from the track. Little dick-dick. one of the smallest of the antelope, scuttled in pairs across the road and that afternoon I had my first view of Gerenuk, curious red brown antelope with extremely elongated legs and giraffe-like necks.

            Most interesting of all was my first sight of Masai at home. We could hear a tuneful
            jangle of cattle bells and suddenly came across herds of humped cattle browsing upon
            the thorn bushes. The herds were guarded by athletic,striking looking Masai youths and men.
            Each had a calabash of water slung over his shoulder and a tall, highly polished spear in his
            hand. These herdsmen were quite unselfconscious though they wore no clothing except for one carelessly draped blanket. Very few gave us any greeting but glanced indifferently at us from under fringes of clay-daubed plaited hair . The rest of their hair was drawn back behind the ears to display split earlobes stretched into slender loops by the weight of heavy brass or copper tribal ear rings.

            Most of the villages were set well back in the bush out of sight of the road but we did pass one
            typical village which looked most primitive indeed. It consisted simply of a few mound like mud huts which were entirely covered with a plaster of mud and cattle dung and the whole clutch of huts were surrounded by a ‘boma’ of thorn to keep the cattle in at night and the lions out. There was a gathering of women and children on the road at this point. The children of both sexes were naked and unadorned, but the women looked very fine indeed. This is not surprising for they have little to do but adorn themselves, unlike their counterparts of other tribes who have to work hard cultivating the fields. The Masai women, and others I saw on safari, were far more amiable and cheerful looking than the men and were well proportioned.

            They wore skirts of dressed goat skin, knee length in front but ankle length behind. Their arms
            from elbow to wrist, and legs from knee to ankle, were encased in tight coils of copper and
            galvanised wire. All had their heads shaved and in some cases bound by a leather band
            embroidered in red white and blue beads. Circular ear rings hung from slit earlobes and their
            handsome throats were encircled by stiff wire necklaces strung with brightly coloured beads. These
            necklaces were carefully graded in size and formed deep collars almost covering their breasts.
            About a quarter of a mile further along the road we met eleven young braves in gala attire, obviously on their way to call on the girls. They formed a line across the road and danced up and down until the lorry was dangerously near when they parted and grinned cheerfully at us. These were the only cheerful
            looking male Masai that I saw. Like the herdsmen these youths wore only a blanket, but their
            blankets were ochre colour, and elegantly draped over their backs. Their naked bodies gleamed with oil. Several had painted white stripes on their faces, and two had whitewashed their faces entirely which I
            thought a pity. All had their long hair elaborately dressed and some carried not only one,
            but two gleaming spears.

            By mid day George decided that we had driven far enough for that day. He
            stopped the lorry and consulted a rather unreliable map. “Somewhere near here is a
            place called Lolbeni,” he said. “The name means Sweet Water, I hear that the
            government have piped spring water down from the mountain into a small dam at which
            the Masai water their cattle.” Lolbeni sounded pleasant to me. Henry was dusty and
            cross, the rubber sheet had long slipped from my lap to the floor and I was conscious of
            a very damp lap. ‘Sweet Waters’ I felt, would put all that right. A few hundred yards
            away a small herd of cattle was grazing, so George lit his pipe and relaxed at last, whilst
            a Game Scout went off to find the herdsman. The scout soon returned with an ancient
            and emaciated Masai who was thrilled at the prospect of his first ride in a lorry and
            offered to direct us to Lolbeni which was off the main track and about four miles away.

            Once Lolbeni had been a small administrative post and a good track had
            led to it, but now the Post had been abandoned and the road is dotted with vigourous
            thorn bushes and the branches of larger thorn trees encroach on the track The road had
            deteriorated to a mere cattle track, deeply rutted and eroded by heavy rains over a
            period of years. The great Ford truck, however, could take it. It lurched victoriously along,
            mowing down the obstructions, tearing off branches from encroaching thorn trees with its
            high railed sides, spanning gorges in the track, and climbing in and out of those too wide
            to span. I felt an army tank could not have done better.

            I had expected Lolbeni to be a green oasis in a desert of grey thorns, but I was
            quickly disillusioned. To be sure the thorn trees were larger and more widely spaced and
            provided welcome shade, but the ground under the trees had been trampled by thousands of cattle into a dreary expanse of dirty grey sand liberally dotted with cattle droppings and made still more uninviting by the bleached bones of dead beasts.

            To the right of this waste rose a high green hill which gave the place its name and from which
            the precious water was piped, but its slopes were too steep to provide a camping site.
            Flies swarmed everywhere and I was most relieved when George said that we would
            stay only long enough to fill our cans with water. Even the water was a disappointment!
            The water in the small dam was low and covered by a revolting green scum, and though
            the water in the feeding pipe was sweet, it trickled so feebly that it took simply ages to
            fill a four gallon can.

            However all these disappointments were soon forgotten for we drove away
            from the flies and dirt and trampled sand and soon, with their quiet efficiency, George
            and his men set up a comfortable camp. John and Jim immediately started digging
            operations in the sandy soil whilst Henry and I rested. After tea George took his shot
            gun and went off to shoot guinea fowl and partridges for the pot. The children and I went
            walking, keeping well in site of camp, and soon we saw a very large flock of Vulturine
            Guineafowl, running aimlessly about and looking as tame as barnyard fowls, but melting
            away as soon as we moved in their direction.

            We had our second quiet and lovely evening by the camp fire, followed by a
            peaceful night.

            We left Lolbeni very early next morning, which was a good thing, for as we left
            camp the herds of thirsty cattle moved in from all directions. They were accompanied by
            Masai herdsmen, their naked bodies and blankets now covered by volcanic dust which
            was being stirred in rising clouds of stifling ash by the milling cattle, and also by grey
            donkeys laden with panniers filled with corked calabashes for water.

            Our next stop was Nabarera, a Masai cattle market and trading centre, where we
            reluctantly stayed for two days in a pokey Goverment Resthouse because George had
            a job to do in that area. The rest was good for Henry who promptly produced a tooth
            and was consequently much better behaved for the rest of the trip. George was away in the bush most of the day but he returned for afternoon tea and later took the children out
            walking. We had noticed curious white dumps about a quarter mile from the resthouse
            and on the second afternoon we set out to investigate them. Behind the dumps we
            found passages about six foot wide, cut through solid limestone. We explored two of
            these and found that both passages led steeply down to circular wells about two and a
            half feet in diameter.

            At the very foot of each passage, beside each well, rough drinking troughs had
            been cut in the stone. The herdsmen haul the water out of the well in home made hide
            buckets, the troughs are filled and the cattle driven down the ramps to drink at the trough.
            It was obvious that the wells were ancient and the sloping passages new. George tells
            me that no one knows what ancient race dug the original wells. It seems incredible that
            these deep and narrow shafts could have been sunk without machinery. I craned my
            neck and looked above one well and could see an immensely long shaft reaching up to
            ground level. Small footholds were cut in the solid rock as far as I could see.
            It seems that the Masai are as ignorant as ourselves about the origin of these
            wells. They do say however that when their forebears first occupied what is now known
            as Masailand, they not only found the Wanderobo tribe in the area but also a light
            skinned people and they think it possible that these light skinned people dug the wells.
            These people disappeared. They may have been absorbed or, more likely, they were

            The Masai had found the well impractical in their original form and had hired
            labourers from neighbouring tribes to cut the passages to water level. Certainly the Masai are not responsible for the wells. They are a purely pastoral people and consider manual labour extremely degrading.

            They live chiefly on milk from their herd which they allow to go sour, and mix with blood that has been skilfully tapped from the necks of living cattle. They do not eat game meat, nor do they cultivate any
            land. They hunt with spears, but hunt only lions, to protect their herds, and to test the skill
            and bravery of their young warriors. What little grain they do eat is transported into
            Masailand by traders. The next stage of our journey took us to Ngassamet where
            George was to pick up some elephant tusks. I had looked forward particularly to this
            stretch of road for I had heard that there was a shallow lake at which game congregates,
            and at which I had great hopes of seeing elephants. We had come too late in the
            season though, the lake was dry and there were only piles of elephant droppings to
            prove that elephant had recently been there in numbers. Ngassamet, though no beauty
            spot, was interesting. We saw more elaborate editions of the wells already described, and as this area
            is rich in cattle we saw the aristocrats of the Masai. You cannot conceive of a more arrogant looking male than a young Masai brave striding by on sandalled feet, unselfconscious in all his glory. All the young men wore the casually draped traditional ochre blanket and carried one or more spears. But here belts and long knife sheaths of scarlet leather seem to be the fashion. Here fringes do not seem to be the thing. Most of these young Masai had their hair drawn smoothly back and twisted in a pointed queue, the whole plastered with a smooth coating of red clay. Some tied their horn shaped queues over their heads
            so that the tip formed a deep Satanic peak on the brow. All these young men wore the traditional
            copper earrings and I saw one or two with copper bracelets and one with a necklace of brightly coloured

            It so happened that, on the day of our visit to Ngassamet, there had been a
            baraza (meeting) which was attended by all the local headmen and elders. These old
            men came to pay their respects to George and a more shrewd and rascally looking
            company I have never seen, George told me that some of these men own up to three
            thousand head of cattle and more. The chief was as fat and Rabelasian as his second in
            command was emaciated, bucktoothed and prim. The Chief shook hands with George
            and greeted me and settled himself on the wall of the resthouse porch opposite
            George. The lesser headmen, after politely greeting us, grouped themselves in a
            semi circle below the steps with their ‘aides’ respectfully standing behind them. I
            remained sitting in the only chair and watched the proceedings with interest and

            These old Masai, I noticed, cared nothing for adornment. They had proved
            themselves as warriors in the past and were known to be wealthy and influential so did
            not need to make any display. Most of them had their heads comfortably shaved and
            wore only a drab blanket or goatskin cloak. Their only ornaments were earrings whose
            effect was somewhat marred by the serviceable and homely large safety pin that
            dangled from the lobe of one ear. All carried staves instead of spears and all, except for
            Buckteeth and one blind old skeleton of a man, appeared to have a keenly developed
            sense of humour.

            “Mummy?” asked John in an urgent whisper, “Is that old blind man nearly dead?”
            “Yes dear”, said I, “I expect he’ll soon die.” “What here?” breathed John in a tone of
            keen anticipation and, until the meeting broke up and the old man left, he had John’s
            undivided attention.

            After local news and the game situation had been discussed, the talk turned to the
            war. “When will the war end?” moaned the fat Chief. “We have made great gifts of cattle
            to the War Funds, we are taxed out of existence.” George replied with the Ki-Swahili
            equivalent of ‘Sez you!’. This sally was received with laughter and the old fellows rose to
            go. They made their farewells and dignified exits, pausing on their way to stare at our
            pink and white Henry, who sat undismayed in his push chair giving them stare for stare
            from his striking grey eyes.

            Towards evening some Masai, prompted no doubt by our native servants,
            brought a sheep for sale. It was the last night of the fast of Ramadan and our
            Mohammedan boys hoped to feast next day at our expense. Their faces fell when
            George refused to buy the animal. “Why should I pay fifteen shillings for a sheep?” he
            asked, “Am I not the Bwana Nyama and is not the bush full of my sheep?” (Bwana
            Nyama is the native name for a Game Ranger, but means literally, ‘Master of the meat’)
            George meant that he would shoot a buck for the men next day, but this incident was to
            have a strange sequel. Ngassamet resthouse consists of one room so small we could
            not put up all our camp beds and George and I slept on the cement floor which was
            unkind to my curves. The night was bitterly cold and all night long hyaenas screeched
            hideously outside. So we rose at dawn without reluctance and were on our way before it
            was properly light.

            George had decided that it would be foolhardy to return home by our outward
            route as he did not care to risk another crossing of the suspension bridge. So we
            returned to Nabarera and there turned onto a little used track which would eventually take
            us to the Great North Road a few miles South of Arusha. There was not much game
            about but I saw Oryx which I had not previously seen. Soon it grew intolerably hot and I
            think all of us but George were dozing when he suddenly stopped the lorry and pointed
            to the right. “Mpishi”, he called to the cook, “There’s your sheep!” True enough, on that
            dreary thorn covered plain,with not another living thing in sight, stood a fat black sheep.

            There was an incredulous babbling from the back of the lorry. Every native
            jumped to the ground and in no time at all the wretched sheep was caught and
            slaughtered. I felt sick. “Oh George”, I wailed, “The poor lost sheep! I shan’t eat a scrap
            of it.” George said nothing but went and had a look at the sheep and called out to me,
            “Come and look at it. It was kindness to kill the poor thing, the vultures have been at it
            already and the hyaenas would have got it tonight.” I went reluctantly and saw one eye
            horribly torn out, and small deep wounds on the sheep’s back where the beaks of the
            vultures had cut through the heavy fleece. Poor thing! I went back to the lorry more
            determined than ever not to eat mutton on that trip. The Scouts and servants had no
            such scruples. The fine fat sheep had been sent by Allah for their feast day and that was
            the end of it.

            “ ‘Mpishi’ is more convinced than ever that I am a wizard”, said George in
            amusement as he started the lorry. I knew what he meant. Several times before George
            had foretold something which had later happened. Pure coincidence, but strange enough
            to give rise to a legend that George had the power to arrange things. “What happened
            of course”, explained George, “Is that a flock of Masai sheep was driven to market along
            this track yesterday or the day before. This one strayed and was not missed.”

            The day grew hotter and hotter and for long miles we looked out for a camping
            spot but could find little shade and no trace of water anywhere. At last, in the early
            afternoon we reached another pokey little rest house and asked for water. “There is no
            water here,” said the native caretaker. “Early in the morning there is water in a well nearby
            but we are allowed only one kerosene tin full and by ten o’clock the well is dry.” I looked
            at George in dismay for we were all so tired and dusty. “Where do the Masai from the
            village water their cattle then?” asked George. “About two miles away through the bush.
            If you take me with you I shall show you”, replied the native.

            So we turned off into the bush and followed a cattle track even more tortuous than
            the one to Lolbeni. Two Scouts walked ahead to warn us of hazards and I stretched my
            arm across the open window to fend off thorns. Henry screamed with fright and hunger.
            But George’s efforts to reach water went unrewarded as we were brought to a stop by
            a deep donga. The native from the resthouse was apologetic. He had mistaken the
            path, perhaps if we turned back we might find it. George was beyond speech. We
            lurched back the way we had come and made our camp under the first large tree we
            could find. Then off went our camp boys on foot to return just before dark with the water.
            However they were cheerful for there was an unlimited quantity of dry wood for their fires
            and meat in plenty for their feast. Long after George and I left our campfire and had gone
            to bed, we could see the cheerful fires of the boys and hear their chatter and laughter.
            I woke in the small hours to hear the insane cackling of hyaenas gloating over a
            find. Later I heard scuffling around the camp table, I peered over the tailboard of the lorry
            and saw George come out of his tent. What are you doing?” I whispered. “Looking for
            something to throw at those bloody hyaenas,” answered George for all the world as
            though those big brutes were tomcats on the prowl. Though the hyaenas kept up their
            concert all night the children never stirred, nor did any of them wake at night throughout
            the safari.

            Early next morning I walked across to the camp kitchen to enquire into the loud
            lamentations coming from that quarter. “Oh Memsahib”, moaned the cook, “We could
            not sleep last night for the bad hyaenas round our tents. They have taken every scrap of
            meat we had left over from the feast., even the meat we had left to smoke over the fire.”
            Jim, who of our three young sons is the cook’s favourite commiserated with him. He said
            in Ki-Swahili, which he speaks with great fluency, “Truly those hyaenas are very bad
            creatures. They also robbed us. They have taken my hat from the table and eaten the
            new soap from the washbowl.

            Our last day in the bush was a pleasantly lazy one. We drove through country
            that grew more open and less dry as we approached Arusha. We pitched our camp
            near a large dam, and the water was a blessed sight after a week of scorched country.
            On the plains to the right of our camp was a vast herd of native cattle enjoying a brief
            rest after their long day trek through Masailand. They were destined to walk many more
            weary miles before reaching their destination, a meat canning factory in Kenya.
            The ground to the left of the camp rose gently to form a long low hill and on the
            grassy slopes we could see wild ostriches and herds of wildebeest, zebra and
            antelope grazing amicably side by side. In the late afternoon I watched the groups of
            zebra and wildebeest merge into one. Then with a wildebeest leading, they walked
            down the slope in single file to drink at the vlei . When they were satisfied, a wildebeest
            once more led the herd up the trail. The others followed in a long and orderly file, and
            vanished over the hill to their evening pasture.

            When they had gone, George took up his shotgun and invited John to
            accompany him to the dam to shoot duck. This was the first time John had acted as
            retriever but he did very well and proudly helped to carry a mixed bag of sand grouse
            and duck back to camp.

            Next morning we turned into the Great North Road and passed first through
            carefully tended coffee shambas and then through the township of Arusha, nestling at
            the foot of towering Mount Meru. Beyond Arusha we drove through the Usa River
            settlement where again coffee shambas and European homesteads line the road, and
            saw before us the magnificent spectacle of Kilimanjaro unveiled, its white snow cap
            gleaming in the sunlight. Before mid day we were home. “Well was it worth it?” enquired
            George at lunch. “Lovely,” I replied. ”Let’s go again soon.” Then thinking regretfully of
            our absent children I sighed, “If only Ann, George, and Kate could have gone with us

            Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

            Dearest Family.

            Mummy wants to know how I fill in my time with George away on safari for weeks
            on end. I do believe that you all picture me idling away my days, waited on hand and
            foot by efficient servants! On the contrary, life is one rush and the days never long

            To begin with, our servants are anything but efficient, apart from our cook, Hamisi
            Issa, who really is competent. He suffers from frustration because our budget will not run
            to elaborate dishes so there is little scope for his culinary art. There is one masterpiece
            which is much appreciated by John and Jim. Hamisi makes a most realistic crocodile out
            of pastry and stuffs its innards with minced meat. This revolting reptile is served on a
            bed of parsley on my largest meat dish. The cook is a strict Mohammedan and
            observes all the fasts and daily prayers and, like all Mohammedans he is very clean in
            his person and, thank goodness, in the kitchen.

            His wife is his pride and joy but not his helpmate. She does absolutely nothing
            but sit in a chair in the sun all day, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes – a more
            expensive brand than mine! It is Hamisi who sweeps out their quarters, cooks
            delectable curries for her, and spends more than he can afford on clothing and trinkets for
            his wife. She just sits there with her ‘Mona Lisa’ smile and her painted finger and toe
            nails, doing absolutely nothing.

            The thing is that natives despise women who do work and this applies especially
            to their white employers. House servants much prefer a Memsahib who leaves
            everything to them and is careless about locking up her pantry. When we first came to
            Lyamungu I had great difficulty in employing a houseboy. A couple of rather efficient
            ones did approach me but when they heard the wages I was prepared to pay and that
            there was no number 2 boy, they simply were not interested. Eventually I took on a
            local boy called Japhet who suits me very well except that his sight is not good and he
            is extremely hard on the crockery. He tells me that he has lost face by working here
            because his friends say that he works for a family that is too mean to employ a second
            boy. I explained that with our large family we simply cannot afford to pay more, but this
            didn’t register at all. Japhet says “But Wazungu (Europeans) all have money. They just
            have to get it from the Bank.”

            The third member of our staff is a strapping youth named Tovelo who helps both
            cook and boy, and consequently works harder than either. What do I do? I chivvy the
            servants, look after the children, supervise John’s lessons, and make all my clothing and
            the children’s on that blessed old hand sewing machine.

            The folk on this station entertain a good deal but we usually decline invitations
            because we simply cannot afford to reciprocate. However, last Saturday night I invited
            two couples to drinks and dinner. This was such an unusual event that the servants and I
            were thrown into a flurry. In the end the dinner went off well though it ended in disaster. In
            spite of my entreaties and exhortations to Japhet not to pile everything onto the tray at
            once when clearing the table, he did just that. We were starting our desert and I was
            congratulating myself that all had gone well when there was a frightful crash of breaking
            china on the back verandah. I excused myself and got up to investigate. A large meat
            dish, six dinner plates and four vegetable dishes lay shattered on the cement floor! I
            controlled my tongue but what my eyes said to Japhet is another matter. What he said
            was, “It is not my fault Memsahib. The handle of the tray came off.”

            It is a curious thing about native servants that they never accept responsibility for
            a mishap. If they cannot pin their misdeeds onto one of their fellow servants then the responsibility rests with God. ‘Shauri ya Mungu’, (an act of God) is a familiar cry. Fatalists
            can be very exasperating employees.

            The loss of my dinner service is a real tragedy because, being war time, one can
            buy only china of the poorest quality made for the native trade. Nor was that the final
            disaster of the evening. When we moved to the lounge for coffee I noticed that the
            coffee had been served in the battered old safari coffee pot instead of the charming little
            antique coffee pot which my Mother-in-law had sent for our tenth wedding anniversary.
            As there had already been a disturbance I made no comment but resolved to give the
            cook a piece of my mind in the morning. My instructions to the cook had been to warm
            the coffee pot with hot water immediately before serving. On no account was he to put
            the pewter pot on the hot iron stove. He did and the result was a small hole in the base
            of the pot – or so he says. When I saw the pot next morning there was a two inch hole in

            Hamisi explained placidly how this had come about. He said he knew I would be
            mad when I saw the little hole so he thought he would have it mended and I might not
            notice it. Early in the morning he had taken the pewter pot to the mechanic who looks
            after the Game Department vehicles and had asked him to repair it. The bright individual
            got busy with the soldering iron with the most devastating result. “It’s his fault,” said
            Hamisi, “He is a mechanic, he should have known what would happen.”
            One thing is certain, there will be no more dinner parties in this house until the war
            is ended.

            The children are well and so am I, and so was George when he left on his safari
            last Monday.

            Much love,



              From Tanganyika with Love

              continued part 7

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

              Dearest Family,

              George arrived today to take us home to Mbulu but Sister Marianne will not allow
              me to travel for another week as I had a bit of a set back after baby’s birth. At first I was
              very fit and on the third day Sister stripped the bed and, dictionary in hand, started me
              off on ante natal exercises. “Now make a bridge Mrs Rushby. So. Up down, up down,’
              whilst I obediently hoisted myself aloft on heels and head. By the sixth day she
              considered it was time for me to be up and about but alas, I soon had to return to bed
              with a temperature and a haemorrhage. I got up and walked outside for the first time this

              I have had lots of visitors because the local German settlers seem keen to see
              the first British baby born in the hospital. They have been most kind, sending flowers
              and little German cards of congratulations festooned with cherubs and rather sweet. Most
              of the women, besides being pleasant, are very smart indeed, shattering my illusion that
              German matrons are invariably fat and dowdy. They are all much concerned about the
              Czecko-Slovakian situation, especially Sister Marianne whose home is right on the
              border and has several relations who are Sudentan Germans. She is ant-Nazi and
              keeps on asking me whether I think England will declare war if Hitler invades Czecko-
              Slovakia, as though I had inside information.

              George tells me that he has had a grass ‘banda’ put up for us at Mbulu as we are
              both determined not to return to those prison-like quarters in the Fort. Sister Marianne is
              horrified at the idea of taking a new baby to live in a grass hut. She told George,
              “No,No,Mr Rushby. I find that is not to be allowed!” She is an excellent Sister but rather
              prim and George enjoys teasing her. This morning he asked with mock seriousness,
              “Sister, why has my wife not received her medal?” Sister fluttered her dictionary before
              asking. “What medal Mr Rushby”. “Why,” said George, “The medal that Hitler gives to
              women who have borne four children.” Sister started a long and involved explanation
              about the medal being only for German mothers whilst George looked at me and

              Later. Great Jubilation here. By the noise in Sister Marianne’s sitting room last night it
              sounded as though the whole German population had gathered to listen to the wireless
              news. I heard loud exclamations of joy and then my bedroom door burst open and
              several women rushed in. “Thank God “, they cried, “for Neville Chamberlain. Now there
              will be no war.” They pumped me by the hand as though I were personally responsible
              for the whole thing.

              George on the other hand is disgusted by Chamberlain’s lack of guts. Doesn’t
              know what England is coming to these days. I feel too content to concern myself with
              world affairs. I have a fine husband and four wonderful children and am happy, happy,


              Mbulu. 30th September 1938

              Dearest Family,

              Here we are, comfortably installed in our little green house made of poles and
              rushes from a nearby swamp. The house has of course, no doors or windows, but
              there are rush blinds which roll up in the day time. There are two rooms and a little porch
              and out at the back there is a small grass kitchen.

              Here we have the privacy which we prize so highly as we are screened on one
              side by a Forest Department plantation and on the other three sides there is nothing but
              the rolling countryside cropped bare by the far too large herds of cattle and goats of the
              Wambulu. I have a lovely lazy time. I still have Kesho-Kutwa and the cook we brought
              with us from the farm. They are both faithful and willing souls though not very good at
              their respective jobs. As one of these Mbeya boys goes on safari with George whose
              job takes him from home for three weeks out of four, I have taken on a local boy to cut
              firewood and heat my bath water and generally make himself useful. His name is Saa,
              which means ‘Clock’

              We had an uneventful but very dusty trip from Oldeani. Johnny Jo travelled in his
              pram in the back of the boxbody and got covered in dust but seems none the worst for
              it. As the baby now takes up much of my time and Kate was showing signs of
              boredom, I have engaged a little African girl to come and play with Kate every morning.
              She is the daughter of the head police Askari and a very attractive and dignified little
              person she is. Her name is Kajyah. She is scrupulously clean, as all Mohammedan
              Africans seem to be. Alas, Kajyah, though beautiful, is a bore. She simply does not
              know how to play, so they just wander around hand in hand.

              There are only two drawbacks to this little house. Mbulu is a very windy spot so
              our little reed house is very draughty. I have made a little tent of sheets in one corner of
              the ‘bedroom’ into which I can retire with Johnny when I wish to bathe or sponge him.
              The other drawback is that many insects are attracted at night by the lamp and make it
              almost impossible to read or sew and they have a revolting habit of falling into the soup.
              There are no dangerous wild animals in this area so I am not at all nervous in this
              flimsy little house when George is on safari. Most nights hyaenas come around looking
              for scraps but our dogs, Fanny and Paddy, soon see them off.


              Mbulu. 25th October 1938

              Dearest Family,

              Great news! a vacancy has occurred in the Game Department. George is to
              transfer to it next month. There will be an increase in salary and a brighter prospect for
              the future. It will mean a change of scene and I shall be glad of that. We like Mbulu and
              the people here but the rains have started and our little reed hut is anything but water

              Before the rain came we had very unpleasant dust storms. I think I told you that
              this is a treeless area and the grass which normally covers the veldt has been cropped
              to the roots by the hungry native cattle and goats. When the wind blows the dust
              collects in tall black columns which sweep across the country in a most spectacular
              fashion. One such dust devil struck our hut one day whilst we were at lunch. George
              swept Kate up in a second and held her face against his chest whilst I rushed to Johnny
              Jo who was asleep in his pram, and stooped over the pram to protect him. The hut
              groaned and creaked and clouds of dust blew in through the windows and walls covering
              our persons, food, and belongings in a black pall. The dogs food bowls and an empty
              petrol tin outside the hut were whirled up and away. It was all over in a moment but you
              should have seen what a family of sweeps we looked. George looked at our blackened
              Johnny and mimicked in Sister Marianne’s primmest tones, “I find that this is not to be

              The first rain storm caught me unprepared when George was away on safari. It
              was a terrific thunderstorm. The quite violent thunder and lightening were followed by a
              real tropical downpour. As the hut is on a slight slope, the storm water poured through
              the hut like a river, covering the entire floor, and the roof leaked like a lawn sprinkler.
              Johnny Jo was snug enough in the pram with the hood raised, but Kate and I had a
              damp miserable night. Next morning I had deep drains dug around the hut and when
              George returned from safari he managed to borrow an enormous tarpaulin which is now
              lashed down over the roof.

              It did not rain during the next few days George was home but the very next night
              we were in trouble again. I was awakened by screams from Kate and hurriedly turned up
              the lamp to see that we were in the midst of an invasion of siafu ants. Kate’s bed was
              covered in them. Others appeared to be raining down from the thatch. I quickly stripped
              Kate and carried her across to my bed, whilst I rushed to the pram to see whether
              Johnny Jo was all right. He was fast asleep, bless him, and slept on through all the
              commotion, whilst I struggled to pick all the ants out of Kate’s hair, stopping now and
              again to attend to my own discomfort. These ants have a painful bite and seem to
              choose all the most tender spots. Kate fell asleep eventually but I sat up for the rest of
              the night to make sure that the siafu kept clear of the children. Next morning the servants
              dispersed them by laying hot ash.

              In spite of the dampness of the hut both children are blooming. Kate has rosy
              cheeks and Johnny Jo now has a fuzz of fair hair and has lost his ‘old man’ look. He
              reminds me of Ann at his age.


              Iringa. 30th November 1938

              Dearest Family,

              Here we are back in the Southern Highlands and installed on the second floor of
              another German Fort. This one has been modernised however and though not so
              romantic as the Mbulu Fort from the outside, it is much more comfortable.We are all well
              and I am really proud of our two safari babies who stood up splendidly to a most trying
              journey North from Mbulu to Arusha and then South down the Great North Road to
              Iringa where we expect to stay for a month.

              At Arusha George reported to the headquarters of the Game Department and
              was instructed to come on down here on Rinderpest Control. There is a great flap on in
              case the rinderpest spread to Northern Rhodesia and possibly onwards to Southern
              Rhodesia and South Africa. Extra veterinary officers have been sent to this area to
              inoculate all the cattle against the disease whilst George and his African game Scouts will
              comb the bush looking for and destroying diseased game. If the rinderpest spreads,
              George says it may be necessary to shoot out all the game in a wide belt along the
              border between the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika and Northern Rhodesia, to
              prevent the disease spreading South. The very idea of all this destruction sickens us

              George left on a foot safari the day after our arrival and I expect I shall be lucky if I
              see him occasionally at weekends until this job is over. When rinderpest is under control
              George is to be stationed at a place called Nzassa in the Eastern Province about 18
              miles from Dar es Salaam. George’s orderly, who is a tall, cheerful Game Scout called
              Juma, tells me that he has been stationed at Nzassa and it is a frightful place! However I
              refuse to be depressed. I now have the cheering prospect of leave to England in thirty
              months time when we will be able to fetch Ann and George and be a proper family
              again. Both Ann and George look happy in the snapshots which mother-in-law sends
              frequently. Ann is doing very well at school and loves it.

              To get back to our journey from Mbulu. It really was quite an experience. It
              poured with rain most of the way and the road was very slippery and treacherous the
              120 miles between Mbulu and Arusha. This is a little used earth road and the drains are
              so blocked with silt as to be practically non existent. As usual we started our move with
              the V8 loaded to capacity. I held Johnny on my knee and Kate squeezed in between
              George and me. All our goods and chattels were in wooden boxes stowed in the back
              and the two houseboys and the two dogs had to adjust themselves to the space that
              remained. We soon ran into trouble and it took us all day to travel 47 miles. We stuck
              several times in deep mud and had some most nasty skids. I simply clutched Kate in
              one hand and Johnny Jo in the other and put my trust in George who never, under any
              circumstances, loses his head. Poor Johnny only got his meals when circumstances
              permitted. Unfortunately I had put him on a bottle only a few days before we left Mbulu
              and, as I was unable to buy either a primus stove or Thermos flask there we had to
              make a fire and boil water for each meal. Twice George sat out in the drizzle with a rain
              coat rapped over his head to protect a miserable little fire of wet sticks drenched with
              paraffin. Whilst we waited for the water to boil I pacified John by letting him suck a cube
              of Tate and Lyles sugar held between my rather grubby fingers. Not at all according to
              the book.

              That night George, the children and I slept in the car having dumped our boxes
              and the two servants in a deserted native hut. The rain poured down relentlessly all night
              and by morning the road was more of a morass than ever. We swerved and skidded
              alarmingly till eventually one of the wheel chains broke and had to be tied together with
              string which constantly needed replacing. George was so patient though he was wet
              and muddy and tired and both children were very good. Shortly before reaching the Great North Road we came upon Jack Gowan, the Stock Inspector from Mbulu. His car
              was bogged down to its axles in black mud. He refused George’s offer of help saying
              that he had sent his messenger to a nearby village for help.

              I hoped that conditions would be better on the Great North Road but how over
              optimistic I was. For miles the road runs through a belt of ‘black cotton soil’. which was
              churned up into the consistency of chocolate blancmange by the heavy lorry traffic which
              runs between Dodoma and Arusha. Soon the car was skidding more fantastically than
              ever. Once it skidded around in a complete semi circle so George decided that it would
              be safer for us all to walk whilst he negotiated the very bad patches. You should have
              seen me plodding along in the mud and drizzle with the baby in one arm and Kate
              clinging to the other. I was terrified of slipping with Johnny. Each time George reached
              firm ground he would return on foot to carry Kate and in this way we covered many bad
              patches.We were more fortunate than many other travellers. We passed several lorries
              ditched on the side of the road and one car load of German men, all elegantly dressed in
              lounge suits. One was busy with his camera so will have a record of their plight to laugh
              over in the years to come. We spent another night camping on the road and next day
              set out on the last lap of the journey. That also was tiresome but much better than the
              previous day and we made the haven of the Arusha Hotel before dark. What a picture
              we made as we walked through the hall in our mud splattered clothes! Even Johnny was
              well splashed with mud but no harm was done and both he and Kate are blooming.
              We rested for two days at Arusha and then came South to Iringa. Luckily the sun
              came out and though for the first day the road was muddy it was no longer so slippery
              and the second day found us driving through parched country and along badly
              corrugated roads. The further South we came, the warmer the sun which at times blazed
              through the windscreen and made us all uncomfortably hot. I have described the country
              between Arusha and Dodoma before so I shan’t do it again. We reached Iringa without
              mishap and after a good nights rest all felt full of beans.


              Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

              Dearest Family,

              You will be surprised to note that we are back on the farm! At least the children
              and I are here. George is away near the Rhodesian border somewhere, still on
              Rinderpest control.

              I had a pleasant time at Iringa, lots of invitations to morning tea and Kate had a
              wonderful time enjoying the novelty of playing with children of her own age. She is not
              shy but nevertheless likes me to be within call if not within sight. It was all very suburban
              but pleasant enough. A few days before Christmas George turned up at Iringa and
              suggested that, as he would be working in the Mbeya area, it might be a good idea for
              the children and me to move to the farm. I agreed enthusiastically, completely forgetting
              that after my previous trouble with the leopard I had vowed to myself that I would never
              again live alone on the farm.

              Alas no sooner had we arrived when Thomas, our farm headman, brought the
              news that there were now two leopards terrorising the neighbourhood, and taking dogs,
              goats and sheep and chickens. Traps and poisoned bait had been tried in vain and he
              was sure that the female was the same leopard which had besieged our home before.
              Other leopards said Thomas, came by stealth but this one advertised her whereabouts
              in the most brazen manner.

              George stayed with us on the farm over Christmas and all was quiet at night so I
              cheered up and took the children for walks along the overgrown farm paths. However on
              New Years Eve that darned leopard advertised her presence again with the most blood
              chilling grunts and snarls. Horrible! Fanny and Paddy barked and growled and woke up
              both children. Kate wept and kept saying, “Send it away mummy. I don’t like it.” Johnny
              Jo howled in sympathy. What a picnic. So now the whole performance of bodyguards
              has started again and ‘till George returns we confine our exercise to the garden.
              Our little house is still cosy and sweet but the coffee plantation looks very
              neglected. I wish to goodness we could sell it.


              Nzassa 14th February 1939.

              Dearest Family,

              After three months of moving around with two small children it is heavenly to be
              settled in our own home, even though Nzassa is an isolated spot and has the reputation
              of being unhealthy.

              We travelled by car from Mbeya to Dodoma by now a very familiar stretch of
              country, but from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam by train which made a nice change. We
              spent two nights and a day in the Splendid Hotel in Dar es Salaam, George had some
              official visits to make and I did some shopping and we took the children to the beach.
              The bay is so sheltered that the sea is as calm as a pond and the water warm. It is
              wonderful to see the sea once more and to hear tugs hooting and to watch the Arab
              dhows putting out to sea with their oddly shaped sails billowing. I do love the bush, but
              I love the sea best of all, as you know.

              We made an early start for Nzassa on the 3rd. For about four miles we bowled
              along a good road. This brought us to a place called Temeke where George called on
              the District Officer. His house appears to be the only European type house there. The
              road between Temeke and the turn off to Nzassa is quite good, but the six mile stretch
              from the turn off to Nzassa is a very neglected bush road. There is nothing to be seen
              but the impenetrable bush on both sides with here and there a patch of swampy
              ground where rice is planted in the wet season.

              After about six miles of bumpy road we reached Nzassa which is nothing more
              than a sandy clearing in the bush. Our house however is a fine one. It was originally built
              for the District Officer and there is a small court house which is now George’s office. The
              District Officer died of blackwater fever so Nzassa was abandoned as an administrative
              station being considered too unhealthy for Administrative Officers but suitable as
              Headquarters for a Game Ranger. Later a bachelor Game Ranger was stationed here
              but his health also broke down and he has been invalided to England. So now the
              healthy Rushbys are here and we don’t mean to let the place get us down. So don’t

              The house consists of three very large and airy rooms with their doors opening
              on to a wide front verandah which we shall use as a living room. There is also a wide
              back verandah with a store room at one end and a bathroom at the other. Both
              verandahs and the end windows of the house are screened my mosquito gauze wire
              and further protected by a trellis work of heavy expanded metal. Hasmani, the Game
              Scout, who has been acting as caretaker, tells me that the expanded metal is very
              necessary because lions often come out of the bush at night and roam around the
              house. Such a comforting thought!

              On our very first evening we discovered how necessary the mosquito gauze is.
              After sunset the air outside is thick with mosquitos from the swamps. About an acre of
              land has been cleared around the house. This is a sandy waste because there is no
              water laid on here and absolutely nothing grows here except a rather revolting milky
              desert bush called ‘Manyara’, and a few acacia trees. A little way from the house there is
              a patch of citrus trees, grape fruit, I think, but whether they ever bear fruit I don’t know.
              The clearing is bordered on three sides by dense dusty thorn bush which is
              ‘lousy with buffalo’ according to George. The open side is the road which leads down to
              George’s office and the huts for the Game Scouts. Only Hasmani and George’s orderly
              Juma and their wives and families live there, and the other huts provide shelter for the
              Game Scouts from the bush who come to Nzassa to collect their pay and for a short
              rest. I can see that my daily walk will always be the same, down the road to the huts and
              back! However I don’t mind because it is far too hot to take much exercise.

              The climate here is really tropical and worse than on the coast because the thick
              bush cuts us off from any sea breeze. George says it will be cooler when the rains start
              but just now we literally drip all day. Kate wears nothing but a cotton sun suit, and Johnny
              a napkin only, but still their little bodies are always moist. I have shorn off all Kate’s lovely
              shoulder length curls and got George to cut my hair very short too.

              We simply must buy a refrigerator. The butter, and even the cheese we bought
              in Dar. simply melted into pools of oil overnight, and all our meat went bad, so we are
              living out of tins. However once we get organised I shall be quite happy here. I like this
              spacious house and I have good servants. The cook, Hamisi Issa, is a Swahili from Lindi
              whom we engaged in Dar es Salaam. He is a very dignified person, and like most
              devout Mohammedan Cooks, keeps both his person and the kitchen spotless. I
              engaged the house boy here. He is rather a timid little body but is very willing and quite
              capable. He has an excessively plain but cheerful wife whom I have taken on as ayah. I
              do not really need help with the children but feel I must have a woman around just in
              case I go down with malaria when George is away on safari.


              Nzassa 28th February 1939.

              Dearest Family,

              George’s birthday and we had a special tea party this afternoon which the
              children much enjoyed. We have our frig now so I am able to make jellies and provide
              them with really cool drinks.

              Our very first visitor left this morning after spending only one night here. He is Mr
              Ionides, the Game Ranger from the Southern Province. He acted as stand in here for a
              short while after George’s predecessor left for England on sick leave, and where he has
              since died. Mr Ionides returned here to hand over the range and office formally to
              George. He seems a strange man and is from all accounts a bit of a hermit. He was at
              one time an Officer in the Regular Army but does not look like a soldier, he wears the
              most extraordinary clothes but nevertheless contrives to look top-drawer. He was
              educated at Rugby and Sandhurst and is, I should say, well read. Ionides told us that he
              hated Nzassa, particularly the house which he thinks sinister and says he always slept
              down in the office.

              The house, or at least one bedroom, seems to have the same effect on Kate.
              She has been very nervous at night ever since we arrived. At first the children occupied
              the bedroom which is now George’s. One night, soon after our arrival, Kate woke up
              screaming to say that ‘something’ had looked at her through the mosquito net. She was
              in such a hysterical state that inspite of the heat and discomfort I was obliged to crawl into
              her little bed with her and remained there for the rest of the night.

              Next night I left a night lamp burning but even so I had to sit by her bed until she
              dropped off to sleep. Again I was awakened by ear-splitting screams and this time
              found Kate standing rigid on her bed. I lifted her out and carried her to a chair meaning to
              comfort her but she screeched louder than ever, “Look Mummy it’s under the bed. It’s
              looking at us.” In vain I pointed out that there was nothing at all there. By this time
              George had joined us and he carried Kate off to his bed in the other room whilst I got into
              Kate’s bed thinking she might have been frightened by a rat which might also disturb

              Next morning our houseboy remarked that he had heard Kate screaming in the
              night from his room behind the kitchen. I explained what had happened and he must
              have told the old Scout Hasmani who waylaid me that afternoon and informed me quite
              seriously that that particular room was haunted by a ‘sheitani’ (devil) who hates children.
              He told me that whilst he was acting as caretaker before our arrival he one night had his
              wife and small daughter in the room to keep him company. He said that his small
              daughter woke up and screamed exactly as Kate had done! Silly coincidence I
              suppose, but such strange things happen in Africa that I decided to move the children
              into our room and George sleeps in solitary state in the haunted room! Kate now sleeps
              peacefully once she goes to sleep but I have to stay with her until she does.

              I like this house and it does not seem at all sinister to me. As I mentioned before,
              the rooms are high ceilinged and airy, and have cool cement floors. We have made one
              end of the enclosed verandah into the living room and the other end is the playroom for
              the children. The space in between is a sort of no-mans land taken over by the dogs as
              their special territory.


              Nzassa 25th March 1939.

              Dearest Family,

              George is on safari down in the Rufigi River area. He is away for about three
              weeks in the month on this job. I do hate to see him go and just manage to tick over until
              he comes back. But what fun and excitement when he does come home.
              Usually he returns after dark by which time the children are in bed and I have
              settled down on the verandah with a book. The first warning is usually given by the
              dogs, Fanny and her son Paddy. They stir, sit up, look at each other and then go and sit
              side by side by the door with their noses practically pressed to the mosquito gauze and
              ears pricked. Soon I can hear the hum of the car, and so can Hasmani, the old Game
              Scout who sleeps on the back verandah with rifle and ammunition by his side when
              George is away. When he hears the car he turns up his lamp and hurries out to rouse
              Juma, the houseboy. Juma pokes up the fire and prepares tea which George always
              drinks whist a hot meal is being prepared. In the meantime I hurriedly comb my hair and
              powder my nose so that when the car stops I am ready to rush out and welcome
              George home. The boy and Hasmani and the garden boy appear to help with the
              luggage and to greet George and the cook, who always accompanies George on
              Safari. The home coming is always a lively time with much shouting of greetings.
              ‘Jambo’, and ‘Habari ya safari’, whilst the dogs, beside themselves with excitement,
              rush around like lunatics.

              As though his return were not happiness enough, George usually collects the
              mail on his way home so there is news of Ann and young George and letters from you
              and bundles of newspapers and magazines. On the day following his return home,
              George has to deal with official mail in the office but if the following day is a weekday we
              all, the house servants as well as ourselves, pile into the boxbody and go to Dar es
              Salaam. To us this means a mornings shopping followed by an afternoon on the beach.
              It is a bit cooler now that the rains are on but still very humid. Kate keeps chubby
              and rosy in spite of the climate but Johnny is too pale though sturdy enough. He is such
              a good baby which is just as well because Kate is a very demanding little girl though
              sunny tempered and sweet. I appreciate her company very much when George is
              away because we are so far off the beaten track that no one ever calls.


              Nzassa 28th April 1939.

              Dearest Family,

              You all seem to wonder how I can stand the loneliness and monotony of living at
              Nzassa when George is on safari, but really and truly I do not mind. Hamisi the cook
              always goes on safari with George and then the houseboy Juma takes over the cooking
              and I do the lighter housework. the children are great company during the day, and when
              they are settled for the night I sit on the verandah and read or write letters or I just dream.
              The verandah is entirely enclosed with both wire mosquito gauze and a trellis
              work of heavy expanded metal, so I am safe from all intruders be they human, animal, or
              insect. Outside the air is alive with mosquitos and the cicadas keep up their monotonous
              singing all night long. My only companions on the verandah are the pale ghecco lizards
              on the wall and the two dogs. Fanny the white bull terrier, lies always near my feet
              dozing happily, but her son Paddy, who is half Airedale has a less phlegmatic
              disposition. He sits alert and on guard by the metal trellis work door. Often a lion grunts
              from the surrounding bush and then his hackles rise and he stands up stiffly with his nose
              pressed to the door. Old Hasmani from his bedroll on the back verandah, gives a little
              cough just to show he is awake. Sometimes the lions are very close and then I hear the
              click of a rifle bolt as Hasmani loads his rifle – but this is usually much later at night when
              the lights are out. One morning I saw large pug marks between the wall of my bedroom
              and the garage but I do not fear lions like I did that beastly leopard on the farm.
              A great deal of witchcraft is still practiced in the bush villages in the
              neighbourhood. I must tell you about old Hasmani’s baby in connection with this. Last
              week Hasmani came to me in great distress to say that his baby was ‘Ngongwa sana ‘
              (very ill) and he thought it would die. I hurried down to the Game Scouts quarters to see
              whether I could do anything for the child and found the mother squatting in the sun
              outside her hut with the baby on her lap. The mother was a young woman but not an
              attractive one. She appeared sullen and indifferent compared with old Hasmani who
              was very distressed. The child was very feverish and breathing with difficulty and
              seemed to me to be suffering from bronchitis if not pneumonia. I rubbed his back and
              chest with camphorated oil and dosed him with aspirin and liquid quinine. I repeated the
              treatment every four hours, but next day there was no apparent improvement.
              In the afternoon Hasmani begged me to give him that night off duty and asked for
              a loan of ten shillings. He explained to me that it seemed to him that the white man’s
              medicine had failed to cure his child and now he wished to take the child to the local witch
              doctor. “For ten shillings” said Hasmani, “the Maganga will drive the devil out of my
              child.” “How?” asked I. “With drums”, said Hasmani confidently. I did not know what to
              do. I thought the child was too ill to be exposed to the night air, yet I knew that if I
              refused his request and the child were to die, Hasmani and all the other locals would hold
              me responsible. I very reluctantly granted his request. I was so troubled by the matter
              that I sent for George’s office clerk. Daniel, and asked him to accompany Hasmani to the
              ceremony and to report to me the next morning. It started to rain after dark and all night
              long I lay awake in bed listening to the drums and the light rain. Next morning when I
              went out to the kitchen to order breakfast I found a beaming Hasmani awaiting me.
              “Memsahib”, he said. “My child is well, the fever is now quite gone, the Maganga drove
              out the devil just as I told you.” Believe it or not, when I hurried to his quarters after
              breakfast I found the mother suckling a perfectly healthy child! It may be my imagination
              but I thought the mother looked pretty smug.The clerk Daniel told me that after Hasmani
              had presented gifts of money and food to the ‘Maganga’, the naked baby was placed
              on a goat skin near the drums. Most of the time he just lay there but sometimes the witch
              doctor picked him up and danced with the child in his arms. Daniel seemed reluctant to
              talk about it. Whatever mumbo jumbo was used all this happened a week ago and the
              baby has never looked back.


              Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

              Dearest Family,

              Did I tell you that one of George’s Game Scouts was murdered last month in the
              Maneromango area towards the Rufigi border. He was on routine patrol, with a porter
              carrying his bedding and food, when they suddenly came across a group of African
              hunters who were busy cutting up a giraffe which they had just killed. These hunters were
              all armed with muzzle loaders, spears and pangas, but as it is illegal to kill giraffe without
              a permit, the Scout went up to the group to take their names. Some argument ensued
              and the Scout was stabbed.

              The District Officer went to the area to investigate and decided to call in the Police
              from Dar es Salaam. A party of police went out to search for the murderers but after
              some days returned without making any arrests. George was on an elephant control
              safari in the Bagamoyo District and on his return through Dar es Salaam he heard of the
              murder. George was furious and distressed to hear the news and called in here for an
              hour on his way to Maneromango to search for the murderers himself.

              After a great deal of strenuous investigation he arrested three poachers, put them
              in jail for the night at Maneromango and then brought them to Dar es Salaam where they
              are all now behind bars. George will now have to prosecute in the Magistrate’s Court
              and try and ‘make a case’ so that the prisoners may be committed to the High Court to
              be tried for murder. George is convinced of their guilt and justifiably proud to have
              succeeded where the police failed.

              George had to borrow handcuffs for the prisoners from the Chief at
              Maneromango and these he brought back to Nzassa after delivering the prisoners to
              Dar es Salaam so that he may return them to the Chief when he revisits the area next

              I had not seen handcuffs before and picked up a pair to examine them. I said to
              George, engrossed in ‘The Times’, “I bet if you were arrested they’d never get
              handcuffs on your wrist. Not these anyway, they look too small.” “Standard pattern,”
              said George still concentrating on the newspaper, but extending an enormous relaxed
              left wrist. So, my dears, I put a bracelet round his wrist and as there was a wide gap I
              gave a hard squeeze with both hands. There was a sharp click as the handcuff engaged
              in the first notch. George dropped the paper and said, “Now you’ve done it, my love,
              one set of keys are in the Dar es Salaam Police Station, and the others with the Chief at
              Maneromango.” You can imagine how utterly silly I felt but George was an angel about it
              and said as he would have to go to Dar es Salaam we might as well all go.

              So we all piled into the car, George, the children and I in the front, and the cook
              and houseboy, immaculate in snowy khanzus and embroidered white caps, a Game
              Scout and the ayah in the back. George never once complain of the discomfort of the
              handcuff but I was uncomfortably aware that it was much too tight because his arm
              above the cuff looked red and swollen and the hand unnaturally pale. As the road is so
              bad George had to use both hands on the wheel and all the time the dangling handcuff
              clanked against the dashboard in an accusing way.

              We drove straight to the Police Station and I could hear the roars of laughter as
              George explained his predicament. Later I had to put up with a good deal of chaffing
              and congratulations upon putting the handcuffs on George.


              Nzassa 5th August 1939

              Dearest Family,

              George made a point of being here for Kate’s fourth birthday last week. Just
              because our children have no playmates George and I always do all we can to make
              birthdays very special occasions. We went to Dar es Salaam the day before the
              birthday and bought Kate a very sturdy tricycle with which she is absolutely delighted.
              You will be glad to know that your parcels arrived just in time and Kate loved all your
              gifts especially the little shop from Dad with all the miniature tins and packets of
              groceries. The tea set was also a great success and is much in use.

              We had a lively party which ended with George and me singing ‘Happy
              Birthday to you’, and ended with a wild game with balloons. Kate wore her frilly white net
              party frock and looked so pretty that it seemed a shame that there was no one but us to
              see her. Anyway it was a good party. I wish so much that you could see the children.
              Kate keeps rosy and has not yet had malaria. Johnny Jo is sturdy but pale. He
              runs a temperature now and again but I am not sure whether this is due to teething or
              malaria. Both children of course take quinine every day as George and I do. George
              quite frequently has malaria in spite of prophylactic quinine but this is not surprising as he
              got the germ thoroughly established in his system in his early elephant hunting days. I
              get it too occasionally but have not been really ill since that first time a month after my
              arrival in the country.

              Johnny is such a good baby. His chief claim to beauty is his head of soft golden
              curls but these are due to come off on his first birthday as George considers them too
              girlish. George left on safari the day after the party and the very next morning our wood
              boy had a most unfortunate accident. He was chopping a rather tough log when a chip
              flew up and split his upper lip clean through from mouth to nostril exposing teeth and
              gums. A truly horrible sight and very bloody. I cleaned up the wound as best I could
              and sent him off to the hospital at Dar es Salaam on the office bicycle. He wobbled
              away wretchedly down the road with a white cloth tied over his mouth to keep off the
              dust. He returned next day with his lip stitched and very swollen and bearing a
              resemblance to my lip that time I used the hair remover.


              Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

              Dearest Family,

              So now another war has started and it has disrupted even our lives. We have left
              Nzassa for good. George is now a Lieutenant in the King’s African Rifles and the children
              and I are to go to a place called Morogoro to await further developments.
              I was glad to read in today’s paper that South Africa has declared war on
              Germany. I would have felt pretty small otherwise in this hotel which is crammed full of
              men who have been called up for service in the Army. George seems exhilarated by
              the prospect of active service. He is bursting out of his uniform ( at the shoulders only!)
              and all too ready for the fray.

              The war came as a complete surprise to me stuck out in the bush as I was without
              wireless or mail. George had been away for a fortnight so you can imagine how
              surprised I was when a messenger arrived on a bicycle with a note from George. The
              note informed me that war had been declared and that George, as a Reserve Officer in
              the KAR had been called up. I was to start packing immediately and be ready by noon
              next day when George would arrive with a lorry for our goods and chattels. I started to
              pack immediately with the help of the houseboy and by the time George arrived with
              the lorry only the frig remained to be packed and this was soon done.

              Throughout the morning Game Scouts had been arriving from outlying parts of
              the District. I don’t think they had the least idea where they were supposed to go or
              whom they were to fight but were ready to fight anybody, anywhere, with George.
              They all looked very smart in well pressed uniforms hung about with water bottles and
              ammunition pouches. The large buffalo badge on their round pill box hats absolutely
              glittered with polish. All of course carried rifles and when George arrived they all lined up
              and they looked most impressive. I took some snaps but unfortunately it was drizzling
              and they may not come out well.

              We left Nzassa without a backward glance. We were pretty fed up with it by
              then. The children and I are spending a few days here with George but our luggage, the
              dogs, and the houseboys have already left by train for Morogoro where a small house
              has been found for the children and me.

              George tells me that all the German males in this Territory were interned without a
              hitch. The whole affair must have been very well organised. In every town and
              settlement special constables were sworn in to do the job. It must have been a rather
              unpleasant one but seems to have gone without incident. There is a big transit camp
              here at Dar for the German men. Later they are to be sent out of the country, possibly to

              The Indian tailors in the town are all terribly busy making Army uniforms, shorts
              and tunics in khaki drill. George swears that they have muddled their orders and he has
              been given the wrong things. Certainly the tunic is far too tight. His hat, a khaki slouch hat
              like you saw the Australians wearing in the last war, is also too small though it is the
              largest they have in stock. We had a laugh over his other equipment which includes a
              small canvas haversack and a whistle on a black cord. George says he feels like he is
              back in his Boy Scouting boyhood.

              George has just come in to say the we will be leaving for Morogoro tomorrow


              Morogoro 14th September 1939

              Dearest Family,

              Morogoro is a complete change from Nzassa. This is a large and sprawling
              township. The native town and all the shops are down on the flat land by the railway but
              all the European houses are away up the slope of the high Uluguru Mountains.
              Morogoro was a flourishing town in the German days and all the streets are lined with
              trees for coolness as is the case in other German towns. These trees are the flamboyant
              acacia which has an umbrella top and throws a wide but light shade.

              Most of the houses have large gardens so they cover a considerable area and it
              is quite a safari for me to visit friends on foot as our house is on the edge of this area and
              the furthest away from the town. Here ones house is in accordance with ones seniority in
              Government service. Ours is a simple affair, just three lofty square rooms opening on to
              a wide enclosed verandah. Mosquitoes are bad here so all doors and windows are
              screened and we will have to carry on with our daily doses of quinine.

              George came up to Morogoro with us on the train. This was fortunate because I
              went down with a sharp attack of malaria at the hotel on the afternoon of our departure
              from Dar es Salaam. George’s drastic cure of vast doses of quinine, a pillow over my
              head, and the bed heaped with blankets soon brought down the temperature so I was
              fit enough to board the train but felt pretty poorly on the trip. However next day I felt
              much better which was a good thing as George had to return to Dar es Salaam after two
              days. His train left late at night so I did not see him off but said good-bye at home
              feeling dreadful but trying to keep the traditional stiff upper lip of the wife seeing her
              husband off to the wars. He hopes to go off to Abyssinia but wrote from Dar es Salaam
              to say that he is being sent down to Rhodesia by road via Mbeya to escort the first
              detachment of Rhodesian white troops.

              First he will have to select suitable camping sites for night stops and arrange for
              supplies of food. I am very pleased as it means he will be safe for a while anyway. We
              are both worried about Ann and George in England and wonder if it would be safer to
              have them sent out.


              Morogoro 4th November 1939

              Dearest Family,

              My big news is that George has been released from the Army. He is very
              indignant and disappointed because he hoped to go to Abyssinia but I am terribly,
              terribly glad. The Chief Secretary wrote a very nice letter to George pointing out that he
              would be doing a greater service to his country by his work of elephant control, giving
              crop protection during the war years when foodstuffs are such a vital necessity, than by
              doing a soldiers job. The Government plan to start a huge rice scheme in the Rufiji area,
              and want George to control the elephant and hippo there. First of all though. he must go
              to the Southern Highlands Province where there is another outbreak of Rinderpest, to
              shoot out diseased game especially buffalo, which might spread the disease.

              So off we go again on our travels but this time we are leaving the two dogs
              behind in the care of Daniel, the Game Clerk. Fanny is very pregnant and I hate leaving
              her behind but the clerk has promised to look after her well. We are taking Hamisi, our
              dignified Swahili cook and the houseboy Juma and his wife whom we brought with us
              from Nzassa. The boy is not very good but his wife makes a cheerful and placid ayah
              and adores Johnny.


              Iringa 8th December 1939

              Dearest Family,

              The children and I are staying in a small German house leased from the
              Custodian of Enemy Property. I can’t help feeling sorry for the owners who must be in
              concentration camps somewhere.George is away in the bush dealing with the
              Rinderpest emergency and the cook has gone with him. Now I have sent the houseboy
              and the ayah away too. Two days ago my houseboy came and told me that he felt
              very ill and asked me to write a ‘chit’ to the Indian Doctor. In the note I asked the Doctor
              to let me know the nature of his complaint and to my horror I got a note from him to say
              that the houseboy had a bad case of Venereal Disease. Was I horrified! I took it for
              granted that his wife must be infected too and told them both that they would have to
              return to their home in Nzassa. The boy shouted and the ayah wept but I paid them in
              lieu of notice and gave them money for the journey home. So there I was left servant
              less with firewood to chop, a smokey wood burning stove to control, and of course, the
              two children.

              To add to my troubles Johnny had a temperature so I sent for the European
              Doctor. He diagnosed malaria and was astonished at the size of Johnny’s spleen. He
              said that he must have had suppressed malaria over a long period and the poor child
              must now be fed maximum doses of quinine for a long time. The Doctor is a fatherly
              soul, he has been recalled from retirement to do this job as so many of the young
              doctors have been called up for service with the army.

              I told him about my houseboy’s complaint and the way I had sent him off
              immediately, and he was very amused at my haste, saying that it is most unlikely that
              they would have passed the disease onto their employers. Anyway I hated the idea. I
              mean to engage a houseboy locally, but will do without an ayah until we return to
              Morogoro in February.

              Something happened today to cheer me up. A telegram came from Daniel which
              read, “FLANNEL HAS FIVE CUBS.”


              Morogoro 10th March 1940

              Dearest Family,

              We are having very heavy rain and the countryside is a most beautiful green. In
              spite of the weather George is away on safari though it must be very wet and
              unpleasant. He does work so hard at his elephant hunting job and has got very thin. I
              suppose this is partly due to those stomach pains he gets and the doctors don’t seem
              to diagnose the trouble.

              Living in Morogoro is much like living in a country town in South Africa, particularly
              as there are several South African women here. I go out quite often to morning teas. We
              all take our war effort knitting, and natter, and are completely suburban.
              I sometimes go and see an elderly couple who have been interred here. They
              are cold shouldered by almost everyone else but I cannot help feeling sorry for them.
              Usually I go by invitation because I know Mrs Ruppel prefers to be prepared and
              always has sandwiches and cake. They both speak English but not fluently and
              conversation is confined to talking about my children and theirs. Their two sons were
              students in Germany when war broke out but are now of course in the German Army.
              Such nice looking chaps from their photographs but I suppose thorough Nazis. As our
              conversation is limited I usually ask to hear a gramophone record or two. They have a
              large collection.

              Janet, the ayah whom I engaged at Mbeya, is proving a great treasure. She is a
              trained hospital ayah and is most dependable and capable. She is, perhaps, a little strict
              but the great thing is that I can trust her with the children out of my sight.
              Last week I went out at night for the first time without George. The occasion was
              a farewell sundowner given by the Commissioner of Prisoners and his wife. I was driven
              home by the District Officer and he stopped his car by the back door in a large puddle.
              Ayah came to the back door, storm lamp in hand, to greet me. My escort prepared to
              drive off but the car stuck. I thought a push from me might help, so without informing the
              driver, I pushed as hard as I could on the back of the car. Unfortunately the driver
              decided on other tactics. He put the engine in reverse and I was knocked flat on my back
              in the puddle. The car drove forward and away without the driver having the least idea of
              what happened. The ayah was in quite a state, lifting me up and scolding me for my
              stupidity as though I were Kate. I was a bit shaken but non the worse and will know
              better next time.


              Morogoro 14th July 1940

              Dearest Family,

              How good it was of Dad to send that cable to Mother offering to have Ann and
              George to live with you if they are accepted for inclusion in the list of children to be
              evacuated to South Africa. It would be wonderful to know that they are safely out of the
              war zone and so much nearer to us but I do dread the thought of the long sea voyage
              particularly since we heard the news of the sinking of that liner carrying child evacuees to
              Canada. I worry about them so much particularly as George is so often away on safari.
              He is so comforting and calm and I feel brave and confident when he is home.
              We have had no news from England for five weeks but, when she last wrote,
              mother said the children were very well and that she was sure they would be safe in the
              country with her.

              Kate and John are growing fast. Kate is such a pretty little girl, rosy in spite of the
              rather trying climate. I have allowed her hair to grow again and it hangs on her shoulders
              in shiny waves. John is a more slightly built little boy than young George was, and quite
              different in looks. He has Dad’s high forehead and cleft chin, widely spaced brown eyes
              that are not so dark as mine and hair that is still fair and curly though ayah likes to smooth it
              down with water every time she dresses him. He is a shy child, and although he plays
              happily with Kate, he does not care to play with other children who go in the late
              afternoons to a lawn by the old German ‘boma’.

              Kate has playmates of her own age but still rather clings to me. Whilst she loves
              to have friends here to play with her, she will not go to play at their houses unless I go
              too and stay. She always insists on accompanying me when I go out to morning tea
              and always calls JanetJohn’s ayah”. One morning I went to a knitting session at a
              neighbours house. We are all knitting madly for the troops. As there were several other
              women in the lounge and no other children, I installed Kate in the dining room with a
              colouring book and crayons. My hostess’ black dog was chained to the dining room
              table leg, but as he and Kate are on friendly terms I was not bothered by this.
              Some time afterwards, during a lull in conversation, I heard a strange drumming
              noise coming from the dining room. I went quickly to investigate and, to my horror, found
              Kate lying on her back with the dog chain looped around her neck. The frightened dog
              was straining away from her as far as he could get and the chain was pulled so tightly
              around her throat that she could not scream. The drumming noise came from her heels
              kicking in a panic on the carpet.

              Even now I do not know how Kate got herself into this predicament. Luckily no
              great harm was done but I think I shall do my knitting at home in future.


              Morogoro 16th November 1940

              Dearest Family,

              I much prefer our little house on the hillside to the larger one we had down below.
              The only disadvantage is that the garden is on three levels and both children have had
              some tumbles down the steps on the tricycle. John is an extremely stoical child. He
              never cries when he hurts himself.

              I think I have mentioned ‘Morningside’ before. It is a kind of Resthouse high up in
              the Uluguru Mountains above Morogoro. Jess Howe-Browne, who runs the large
              house as a Guest House, is a wonderful woman. Besides running the boarding house
              she also grows vegetables, flowers and fruit for sale in Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.
              Her guests are usually women and children from Dar es Salaam who come in the hot
              season to escape the humidity on the coast. Often the mothers leave their children for
              long periods in Jess Howe-Browne’s care. There is a road of sorts up the mountain side
              to Morningside, but this is so bad that cars do not attempt it and guests are carried up
              the mountain in wicker chairs lashed to poles. Four men carry an adult, and two a child,
              and there are of course always spare bearers and they work in shifts.

              Last week the children and I went to Morningside for the day as guests. John
              rode on my lap in one chair and Kate in a small chair on her own. This did not please
              Kate at all. The poles are carried on the bearers shoulders and one is perched quite high.
              The motion is a peculiar rocking one. The bearers chant as they go and do not seem
              worried by shortness of breath! They are all hillmen of course and are, I suppose, used
              to trotting up and down to the town.

              Morningside is well worth visiting and we spent a delightful day there. The fresh
              cool air is a great change from the heavy air of the valley. A river rushes down the
              mountain in a series of cascades, and the gardens are shady and beautiful. Behind the
              property is a thick indigenous forest which stretches from Morningside to the top of the
              mountain. The house is an old German one, rather in need of repair, but Jess has made
              it comfortable and attractive, with some of her old family treasures including a fine old
              Grandfather clock. We had a wonderful lunch which included large fresh strawberries and
              cream. We made the return journey again in the basket chairs and got home before dark.
              George returned home at the weekend with a baby elephant whom we have
              called Winnie. She was rescued from a mud hole by some African villagers and, as her
              mother had abandoned her, they took her home and George was informed. He went in
              the truck to fetch her having first made arrangements to have her housed in a shed on the
              Agriculture Department Experimental Farm here. He has written to the Game Dept
              Headquarters to inform the Game Warden and I do not know what her future will be, but
              in the meantime she is our pet. George is afraid she will not survive because she has
              had a very trying time. She stands about waist high and is a delightful creature and quite
              docile. Asian and African children as well as Europeans gather to watch her and George
              encourages them to bring fruit for her – especially pawpaws which she loves.
              Whilst we were there yesterday one of the local ladies came, very smartly
              dressed in a linen frock, silk stockings, and high heeled shoes. She watched fascinated
              whilst Winnie neatly split a pawpaw and removed the seeds with her trunk, before
              scooping out the pulp and putting it in her mouth. It was a particularly nice ripe pawpaw
              and Winnie enjoyed it so much that she stretched out her trunk for more. The lady took
              fright and started to run with Winnie after her, sticky trunk outstretched. Quite an
              entertaining sight. George managed to stop Winnie but not before she had left a gooey
              smear down the back of the immaculate frock.




                From Tanganyika with Love


                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                Dearest Family,

                You say that you would like to know more about our neighbours. Well there is
                not much to tell. Kath Wood is very good about coming over to see me. I admire her
                very much because she is so capable as well as being attractive. She speaks very
                fluent Ki-Swahili and I envy her the way she can carry on a long conversation with the
                natives. I am very slow in learning the language possibly because Lamek and the
                houseboy both speak basic English.

                I have very little to do with the Africans apart from the house servants, but I do
                run a sort of clinic for the wives and children of our employees. The children suffer chiefly
                from sore eyes and worms, and the older ones often have bad ulcers on their legs. All
                farmers keep a stock of drugs and bandages.

                George also does a bit of surgery and last month sewed up the sole of the foot
                of a boy who had trodden on the blade of a panga, a sort of sword the Africans use for
                hacking down bush. He made an excellent job of it. George tells me that the Africans
                have wonderful powers of recuperation. Once in his bachelor days, one of his men was
                disembowelled by an elephant. George washed his “guts” in a weak solution of
                pot.permang, put them back in the cavity and sewed up the torn flesh and he

                But to get back to the neighbours. We see less of Hicky Wood than of Kath.
                Hicky can be charming but is often moody as I believe Irishmen often are.
                Major Jones is now at home on his shamba, which he leaves from time to time
                for temporary jobs on the district roads. He walks across fairly regularly and we are
                always glad to see him for he is a great bearer of news. In this part of Africa there is no
                knocking or ringing of doorbells. Front doors are always left open and visitors always
                welcome. When a visitor approaches a house he shouts “Hodi”, and the owner of the
                house yells “Karibu”, which I believe means “Come near” or approach, and tea is
                produced in a matter of minutes no matter what hour of the day it is.
                The road that passes all our farms is the only road to the Gold Diggings and
                diggers often drop in on the Woods and Major Jones and bring news of the Goldfields.
                This news is sometimes about gold but quite often about whose wife is living with
                whom. This is a great country for gossip.

                Major Jones now has his brother Llewyllen living with him. I drove across with
                George to be introduced to him. Llewyllen’s health is poor and he looks much older than
                his years and very like the portrait of Trader Horn. He has the same emaciated features,
                burning eyes and long beard. He is proud of his Welsh tenor voice and often bursts into

                Both brothers are excellent conversationalists and George enjoys walking over
                sometimes on a Sunday for a bit of masculine company. The other day when George
                walked across to visit the Joneses, he found both brothers in the shamba and Llew in a
                great rage. They had been stooping to inspect a water furrow when Llew backed into a
                hornets nest. One furious hornet stung him on the seat and another on the back of his
                neck. Llew leapt forward and somehow his false teeth shot out into the furrow and were
                carried along by the water. When George arrived Llew had retrieved his teeth but
                George swears that, in the commotion, the heavy leather leggings, which Llew always
                wears, had swivelled around on his thin legs and were calves to the front.
                George has heard that Major Jones is to sell pert of his land to his Swedish brother-in-law, Max Coster, so we will soon have another couple in the neighbourhood.

                I’ve had a bit of a pantomime here on the farm. On the day we went to Tukuyu,
                all our washing was stolen from the clothes line and also our new charcoal iron. George
                reported the matter to the police and they sent out a plain clothes policeman. He wears
                the long white Arab gown called a Kanzu much in vogue here amongst the African elite
                but, alas for secrecy, huge black police boots protrude from beneath the Kanzu and, to
                add to this revealing clue, the askari springs to attention and salutes each time I pass by.
                Not much hope of finding out the identity of the thief I fear.

                George’s furrow was entirely successful and we now have water running behind
                the kitchen. Our drinking water we get from a lovely little spring on the farm. We boil and
                filter it for safety’s sake. I don’t think that is necessary. The furrow water is used for
                washing pots and pans and for bath water.

                Lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                Dearest Family,

                I think it is about time I told you that we are going to have a baby. We are both
                thrilled about it. I have not seen a Doctor but feel very well and you are not to worry. I
                looked it up in my handbook for wives and reckon that the baby is due about February
                8th. next year.

                The announcement came from George, not me! I had been feeling queasy for
                days and was waiting for the right moment to tell George. You know. Soft lights and
                music etc. However when I was listlessly poking my food around one lunch time
                George enquired calmly, “When are you going to tell me about the baby?” Not at all
                according to the book! The problem is where to have the baby. February is a very wet
                month and the nearest Doctor is over 50 miles away at Tukuyu. I cannot go to stay at
                Tukuyu because there is no European accommodation at the hospital, no hotel and no
                friend with whom I could stay.

                George thinks I should go South to you but Capetown is so very far away and I
                love my little home here. Also George says he could not come all the way down with
                me as he simply must stay here and get the farm on its feet. He would drive me as far
                as the railway in Northern Rhodesia. It is a difficult decision to take. Write and tell me what
                you think.

                The days tick by quietly here. The servants are very willing but have to be
                supervised and even then a crisis can occur. Last Saturday I was feeling squeamish and
                decided not to have lunch. I lay reading on the couch whilst George sat down to a
                solitary curry lunch. Suddenly he gave an exclamation and pushed back his chair. I
                jumped up to see what was wrong and there, on his plate, gleaming in the curry gravy
                were small bits of broken glass. I hurried to the kitchen to confront Lamek with the plate.
                He explained that he had dropped the new and expensive bottle of curry powder on
                the brick floor of the kitchen. He did not tell me as he thought I would make a “shauri” so
                he simply scooped up the curry powder, removed the larger pieces of glass and used
                part of the powder for seasoning the lunch.

                The weather is getting warmer now. It was very cold in June and July and we had
                fires in the daytime as well as at night. Now that much of the land has been cleared we
                are able to go for pleasant walks in the weekends. My favourite spot is a waterfall on the
                Mchewe River just on the boundary of our land. There is a delightful little pool below the
                waterfall and one day George intends to stock it with trout.

                Now that there are more Europeans around to buy meat the natives find it worth
                their while to kill an occasional beast. Every now and again a native arrives with a large
                bowl of freshly killed beef for sale. One has no way of knowing whether the animal was
                healthy and the meat is often still warm and very bloody. I hated handling it at first but am
                becoming accustomed to it now and have even started a brine tub. There is no other
                way of keeping meat here and it can only be kept in its raw state for a few hours before
                going bad. One of the delicacies is the hump which all African cattle have. When corned
                it is like the best brisket.

                See what a housewife I am becoming.
                With much love,

                Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                Dearest Family,

                I have grown to love the life here and am sad to think I shall be leaving
                Tanganyika soon for several months. Yes I am coming down to have the baby in the
                bosom of the family. George thinks it best and so does the doctor. I didn’t mention it
                before but I have never recovered fully from the effects of that bad bout of malaria and
                so I have been persuaded to leave George and our home and go to the Cape, in the
                hope that I shall come back here as fit as when I first arrived in the country plus a really
                healthy and bouncing baby. I am torn two ways, I long to see you all – but how I would
                love to stay on here.

                George will drive me down to Northern Rhodesia in early October to catch a
                South bound train. I’ll telegraph the date of departure when I know it myself. The road is
                very, very bad and the car has been giving a good deal of trouble so, though the baby
                is not due until early February, George thinks it best to get the journey over soon as
                possible, for the rains break in November and the the roads will then be impassable. It
                may take us five or six days to reach Broken Hill as we will take it slowly. I am looking
                forward to the drive through new country and to camping out at night.
                Our days pass quietly by. George is out on the shamba most of the day. He
                goes out before breakfast on weekdays and spends most of the day working with the
                men – not only supervising but actually working with his hands and beating the labourers
                at their own jobs. He comes to the house for meals and tea breaks. I potter around the
                house and garden, sew, mend and read. Lamek continues to be a treasure. he turns out
                some surprising dishes. One of his specialities is stuffed chicken. He carefully skins the
                chicken removing all bones. He then minces all the chicken meat and adds minced onion
                and potatoes. He then stuffs the chicken skin with the minced meat and carefully sews it
                together again. The resulting dish is very filling because the boned chicken is twice the
                size of a normal one. It lies on its back as round as a football with bloated legs in the air.
                Rather repulsive to look at but Lamek is most proud of his accomplishment.
                The other day he produced another of his masterpieces – a cooked tortoise. It
                was served on a dish covered with parsley and crouched there sans shell but, only too
                obviously, a tortoise. I took one look and fled with heaving diaphragm, but George said
                it tasted quite good. He tells me that he has had queerer dishes produced by former
                cooks. He says that once in his hunting days his cook served up a skinned baby
                monkey with its hands folded on its breast. He says it would take a cannibal to eat that

                And now for something sad. Poor old Llew died quite suddenly and it was a sad
                shock to this tiny community. We went across to the funeral and it was a very simple and
                dignified affair. Llew was buried on Joni’s farm in a grave dug by the farm boys. The
                body was wrapped in a blanket and bound to some boards and lowered into the
                ground. There was no service. The men just said “Good-bye Llew.” and “Sleep well
                Llew”, and things like that. Then Joni and his brother-in-law Max, and George shovelled
                soil over the body after which the grave was filled in by Joni’s shamba boys. It was a
                lovely bright afternoon and I thought how simple and sensible a funeral it was.
                I hope you will be glad to have me home. I bet Dad will be holding thumbs that
                the baby will be a girl.

                Very much love,

                “There are no letters to my family during the period of Sept. 1931 to June 1932
                because during these months I was living with my parents and sister in a suburb of
                Cape Town. I had hoped to return to Tanganyika by air with my baby soon after her
                birth in Feb.1932 but the doctor would not permit this.

                A month before my baby was born, a company called Imperial Airways, had
                started the first passenger service between South Africa and England. One of the night
                stops was at Mbeya near my husband’s coffee farm, and it was my intention to take the
                train to Broken Hill in Northern Rhodesia and to fly from there to Mbeya with my month
                old baby. In those days however, commercial flying was still a novelty and the doctor
                was not sure that flying at a high altitude might not have an adverse effect upon a young

                He strongly advised me to wait until the baby was four months old and I did this
                though the long wait was very trying to my husband alone on our farm in Tanganyika,
                and to me, cherished though I was in my old home.

                My story, covering those nine long months is soon told. My husband drove me
                down from Mbeya to Broken Hill in NorthernRhodesia. The journey was tedious as the
                weather was very hot and dry and the road sandy and rutted, very different from the
                Great North road as it is today. The wooden wheel spokes of the car became so dry
                that they rattled and George had to bind wet rags around them. We had several
                punctures and with one thing and another I was lucky to catch the train.
                My parents were at Cape Town station to welcome me and I stayed
                comfortably with them, living very quietly, until my baby was born. She arrived exactly
                on the appointed day, Feb.8th.

                I wrote to my husband “Our Charmian Ann is a darling baby. She is very fair and
                rather pale and has the most exquisite hands, with long tapering fingers. Daddy
                absolutely dotes on her and so would you, if you were here. I can’t bear to think that you
                are so terribly far away. Although Ann was born exactly on the day, I was taken quite by
                surprise. It was awfully hot on the night before, and before going to bed I had a fancy for
                some water melon. The result was that when I woke in the early morning with labour
                pains and vomiting I thought it was just an attack of indigestion due to eating too much
                melon. The result was that I did not wake Marjorie until the pains were pretty frequent.
                She called our next door neighbour who, in his pyjamas, drove me to the nursing home
                at breakneck speed. The Matron was very peeved that I had left things so late but all
                went well and by nine o’clock, Mother, positively twittering with delight, was allowed to
                see me and her first granddaughter . She told me that poor Dad was in such a state of
                nerves that he was sick amongst the grapevines. He says that he could not bear to go
                through such an anxious time again, — so we will have to have our next eleven in

                The next four months passed rapidly as my time was taken up by the demands
                of my new baby. Dr. Trudy King’s method of rearing babies was then the vogue and I
                stuck fanatically to all the rules he laid down, to the intense exasperation of my parents
                who longed to cuddle the child.

                As the time of departure drew near my parents became more and more reluctant
                to allow me to face the journey alone with their adored grandchild, so my brother,
                Graham, very generously offered to escort us on the train to Broken Hill where he could
                put us on the plane for Mbeya.

                Eleanor Rushby


                Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                Dearest Family,

                You’ll be glad to know that we arrived quite safe and sound and very, very
                happy to be home.The train Journey was uneventful. Ann slept nearly all the way.
                Graham was very kind and saw to everything. He even sat with the baby whilst I went
                to meals in the dining car.

                We were met at Broken Hill by the Thoms who had arranged accommodation for
                us at the hotel for the night. They also drove us to the aerodrome in the morning where
                the Airways agent told us that Ann is the first baby to travel by air on this section of the
                Cape to England route. The plane trip was very bumpy indeed especially between
                Broken Hill and Mpika. Everyone was ill including poor little Ann who sicked up her milk
                all over the front of my new coat. I arrived at Mbeya looking a sorry caricature of Radiant
                Motherhood. I must have been pale green and the baby was snow white. Under the
                circumstances it was a good thing that George did not meet us. We were met instead
                by Ken Menzies, the owner of the Mbeya Hotel where we spent the night. Ken was
                most fatherly and kind and a good nights rest restored Ann and me to our usual robust

                Mbeya has greatly changed. The hotel is now finished and can accommodate
                fifty guests. It consists of a large main building housing a large bar and dining room and
                offices and a number of small cottage bedrooms. It even has electric light. There are
                several buildings out at the aerodrome and private houses going up in Mbeya.
                After breakfast Ken Menzies drove us out to the farm where we had a warm
                welcome from George, who looks well but rather thin. The house was spotless and the
                new cook, Abel, had made light scones for tea. George had prepared all sorts of lovely
                surprises. There is a new reed ceiling in the living room and a new dresser gay with
                willow pattern plates which he had ordered from England. There is also a writing table
                and a square table by the door for visitors hats. More personal is a lovely model ship
                which George assembled from one of those Hobbie’s kits. It puts the finishing touch to
                the rather old world air of our living room.

                In the bedroom there is a large double bed which George made himself. It has
                strips of old car tyres nailed to a frame which makes a fine springy mattress and on top
                of this is a thick mattress of kapok.In the kitchen there is a good wood stove which
                George salvaged from a Mission dump. It looks a bit battered but works very well. The
                new cook is excellent. The only blight is that he will wear rubber soled tennis shoes and
                they smell awful. I daren’t hurt his feelings by pointing this out though. Opposite the
                kitchen is a new laundry building containing a forty gallon hot water drum and a sink for
                washing up. Lovely!

                George has been working very hard. He now has forty acres of coffee seedlings
                planted out and has also found time to plant a rose garden and fruit trees. There are
                orange and peach trees, tree tomatoes, paw paws, guavas and berries. He absolutely
                adores Ann who has been very good and does not seem at all unsettled by the long

                It is absolutely heavenly to be back and I shall be happier than ever now that I
                have a baby to play with during the long hours when George is busy on the farm,
                Thank you for all your love and care during the many months I was with you. Ann
                sends a special bubble for granddad.

                Your very loving,

                Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                Dearest Family,

                Ann at five months is enchanting. She is a very good baby, smiles readily and is
                gaining weight steadily. She doesn’t sleep much during the day but that does not
                matter, because, apart from washing her little things, I have nothing to do but attend to
                her. She sleeps very well at night which is a blessing as George has to get up very
                early to start work on the shamba and needs a good nights rest.
                My nights are not so good, because we are having a plague of rats which frisk
                around in the bedroom at night. Great big ones that come up out of the long grass in the
                gorge beside the house and make cosy homes on our reed ceiling and in the thatch of
                the roof.

                We always have a night light burning so that, if necessary, I can attend to Ann
                with a minimum of fuss, and the things I see in that dim light! There are gaps between
                the reeds and one night I heard, plop! and there, before my horrified gaze, lay a newly
                born hairless baby rat on the floor by the bed, plop, plop! and there lay two more.
                Quite dead, poor things – but what a careless mother.

                I have also seen rats scampering around on the tops of the mosquito nets and
                sometimes we have them on our bed. They have a lovely game. They swarm down
                the cord from which the mosquito net is suspended, leap onto the bed and onto the
                floor. We do not have our net down now the cold season is here and there are few

                Last week a rat crept under Ann’s net which hung to the floor and bit her little
                finger, so now I tuck the net in under the mattress though it makes it difficult for me to
                attend to her at night. We shall have to get a cat somewhere. Ann’s pram has not yet
                arrived so George carries her when we go walking – to her great content.
                The native women around here are most interested in Ann. They come to see
                her, bearing small gifts, and usually bring a child or two with them. They admire my child
                and I admire theirs and there is an exchange of gifts. They produce a couple of eggs or
                a few bananas or perhaps a skinny fowl and I hand over sugar, salt or soap as they
                value these commodities. The most lavish gift went to the wife of Thomas our headman,
                who produced twin daughters in the same week as I had Ann.

                Our neighbours have all been across to welcome me back and to admire the
                baby. These include Marion Coster who came out to join her husband whilst I was in
                South Africa. The two Hickson-Wood children came over on a fat old white donkey.
                They made a pretty picture sitting astride, one behind the other – Maureen with her arms
                around small Michael’s waist. A native toto led the donkey and the children’ s ayah
                walked beside it.

                It is quite cold here now but the sun is bright and the air dry. The whole
                countryside is beautifully green and we are a very happy little family.

                Lots and lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                Dearest Family,

                George has been very unwell for the past week. He had a nasty gash on his
                knee which went septic. He had a swelling in the groin and a high temperature and could
                not sleep at night for the pain in his leg. Ann was very wakeful too during the same
                period, I think she is teething. I luckily have kept fit though rather harassed. Yesterday the
                leg looked so inflamed that George decided to open up the wound himself. he made
                quite a big cut in exactly the right place. You should have seen the blackish puss
                pouring out.

                After he had thoroughly cleaned the wound George sewed it up himself. he has
                the proper surgical needles and gut. He held the cut together with his left hand and
                pushed the needle through the flesh with his right. I pulled the needle out and passed it
                to George for the next stitch. I doubt whether a surgeon could have made a neater job
                of it. He is still confined to the couch but today his temperature is normal. Some

                The previous week was hectic in another way. We had a visit from lions! George
                and I were having supper about 8.30 on Tuesday night when the back verandah was
                suddenly invaded by women and children from the servants quarters behind the kitchen.
                They were all yelling “Simba, Simba.” – simba means lions. The door opened suddenly
                and the houseboy rushed in to say that there were lions at the huts. George got up
                swiftly, fetched gun and ammunition from the bedroom and with the houseboy carrying
                the lamp, went off to investigate. I remained at the table, carrying on with my supper as I
                felt a pioneer’s wife should! Suddenly something big leapt through the open window
                behind me. You can imagine what I thought! I know now that it is quite true to say one’s
                hair rises when one is scared. However it was only Kelly, our huge Irish wolfhound,
                taking cover.

                George returned quite soon to say that apparently the commotion made by the
                women and children had frightened the lions off. He found their tracks in the soft earth
                round the huts and a bag of maize that had been playfully torn open but the lions had
                moved on.

                Next day we heard that they had moved to Hickson-Wood’s shamba. Hicky
                came across to say that the lions had jumped over the wall of his cattle boma and killed
                both his white Muskat riding donkeys.
                He and a friend sat up all next night over the remains but the lions did not return to
                the kill.

                Apart from the little set back last week, Ann is blooming. She has a cap of very
                fine fair hair and clear blue eyes under straight brow. She also has lovely dimples in both
                cheeks. We are very proud of her.

                Our neighbours are picking coffee but the crops are small and the price is low. I
                am amazed that they are so optimistic about the future. No one in these parts ever
                seems to grouse though all are living on capital. They all say “Well if the worst happens
                we can always go up to the Lupa Diggings.”

                Don’t worry about us, we have enough to tide us over for some time yet.

                Much love to all,

                Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                Dearest Family,

                News! News! I’m going to have another baby. George and I are delighted and I
                hope it will be a boy this time. I shall be able to have him at Mbeya because things are
                rapidly changing here. Several German families have moved to Mbeya including a
                German doctor who means to build a hospital there. I expect he will make a very good
                living because there must now be some hundreds of Europeans within a hundred miles
                radius of Mbeya. The Europeans are mostly British or German but there are also
                Greeks and, I believe, several other nationalities are represented on the Lupa Diggings.
                Ann is blooming and developing according to the Book except that she has no
                teeth yet! Kath Hickson-Wood has given her a very nice high chair and now she has
                breakfast and lunch at the table with us. Everything within reach goes on the floor to her
                amusement and my exasperation!

                You ask whether we have any Church of England missionaries in our part. No we
                haven’t though there are Lutheran and Roman Catholic Missions. I have never even
                heard of a visiting Church of England Clergyman to these parts though there are babies
                in plenty who have not been baptised. Jolly good thing I had Ann Christened down

                The R.C. priests in this area are called White Fathers. They all have beards and
                wear white cassocks and sun helmets. One, called Father Keiling, calls around frequently.
                Though none of us in this area is Catholic we take it in turn to put him up for the night. The
                Catholic Fathers in their turn are most hospitable to travellers regardless of their beliefs.
                Rather a sad thing has happened. Lucas our old chicken-boy is dead. I shall miss
                his toothy smile. George went to the funeral and fired two farewell shots from his rifle
                over the grave – a gesture much appreciated by the locals. Lucas in his day was a good

                Several of the locals own muzzle loading guns but the majority hunt with dogs
                and spears. The dogs wear bells which make an attractive jingle but I cannot bear the
                idea of small antelope being run down until they are exhausted before being clubbed of
                stabbed to death. We seldom eat venison as George does not care to shoot buck.
                Recently though, he shot an eland and Abel rendered down the fat which is excellent for
                cooking and very like beef fat.

                Much love to all,

                Mchewe Estate. P.O.Mbeya 21st November 1932

                Dearest Family,

                George has gone off to the Lupa for a week with John Molteno. John came up
                here with the idea of buying a coffee farm but he has changed his mind and now thinks of
                staking some claims on the diggings and also setting up as a gold buyer.

                Did I tell you about his arrival here? John and George did some elephant hunting
                together in French Equatorial Africa and when John heard that George had married and
                settled in Tanganyika, he also decided to come up here. He drove up from Cape Town
                in a Baby Austin and arrived just as our labourers were going home for the day. The little
                car stopped half way up our hill and John got out to investigate. You should have heard
                the astonished exclamations when John got out – all 6 ft 5 ins. of him! He towered over
                the little car and even to me it seemed impossible for him to have made the long
                journey in so tiny a car.

                Kath Wood has been over several times lately. She is slim and looks so right in
                the shirt and corduroy slacks she almost always wears. She was here yesterday when
                the shamba boy, digging in the front garden, unearthed a large earthenware cooking pot,
                sealed at the top. I was greatly excited and had an instant mental image of fabulous
                wealth. We made the boy bring the pot carefully on to the verandah and opened it in
                happy anticipation. What do you think was inside? Nothing but a grinning skull! Such a
                treat for a pregnant female.

                We have a tree growing here that had lovely straight branches covered by a
                smooth bark. I got the garden boy to cut several of these branches of a uniform size,
                peeled off the bark and have made Ann a playpen with the poles which are much like
                broom sticks. Now I can leave her unattended when I do my chores. The other morning
                after breakfast I put Ann in her playpen on the verandah and gave her a piece of toast
                and honey to keep her quiet whilst I laundered a few of her things. When I looked out a
                little later I was horrified to see a number of bees buzzing around her head whilst she
                placidly concentrated on her toast. I made a rapid foray and rescued her but I still don’t
                know whether that was the thing to do.

                We all send our love,

                Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                Dearest Family,

                Here I am, installed at the very new hospital, built by Dr Eckhardt, awaiting the
                arrival of the new baby. George has gone back to the farm on foot but will walk in again
                to spend the weekend with us. Ann is with me and enjoys the novelty of playing with
                other children. The Eckhardts have two, a pretty little girl of two and a half and a very fair
                roly poly boy of Ann’s age. Ann at fourteen months is very active. She is quite a little girl
                now with lovely dimples. She walks well but is backward in teething.

                George, Ann and I had a couple of days together at the hotel before I moved in
                here and several of the local women visited me and have promised to visit me in
                hospital. The trip from farm to town was very entertaining if not very comfortable. There
                is ten miles of very rough road between our farm and Utengule Mission and beyond the
                Mission there is a fair thirteen or fourteen mile road to Mbeya.

                As we have no car now the doctor’s wife offered to drive us from the Mission to
                Mbeya but she would not risk her car on the road between the Mission and our farm.
                The upshot was that I rode in the Hickson-Woods machila for that ten mile stretch. The
                machila is a canopied hammock, slung from a bamboo pole, in which I reclined, not too
                comfortably in my unwieldy state, with Ann beside me or sometime straddling me. Four
                of our farm boys carried the machila on their shoulders, two fore and two aft. The relief
                bearers walked on either side. There must have been a dozen in all and they sang a sort
                of sea shanty song as they walked. One man would sing a verse and the others took up
                the chorus. They often improvise as they go. They moaned about my weight (at least
                George said so! I don’t follow Ki-Swahili well yet) and expressed the hope that I would
                have a son and that George would reward them handsomely.

                George and Kelly, the dog, followed close behind the machila and behind
                George came Abel our cook and his wife and small daughter Annalie, all in their best
                attire. The cook wore a palm beach suit, large Terai hat and sunglasses and two colour
                shoes and quite lent a tone to the proceedings! Right at the back came the rag tag and
                bobtail who joined the procession just for fun.

                Mrs Eckhardt was already awaiting us at the Mission when we arrived and we had
                an uneventful trip to the Mbeya Hotel.

                During my last week at the farm I felt very tired and engaged the cook’s small
                daughter, Annalie, to amuse Ann for an hour after lunch so that I could have a rest. They
                played in the small verandah room which adjoins our bedroom and where I keep all my
                sewing materials. One afternoon I was startled by a scream from Ann. I rushed to the
                room and found Ann with blood steaming from her cheek. Annalie knelt beside her,
                looking startled and frightened, with my embroidery scissors in her hand. She had cut off
                half of the long curling golden lashes on one of Ann’s eyelids and, in trying to finish the
                job, had cut off a triangular flap of skin off Ann’s cheek bone.

                I called Abel, the cook, and demanded that he should chastise his daughter there and
                then and I soon heard loud shrieks from behind the kitchen. He spanked her with a
                bamboo switch but I am sure not as well as she deserved. Africans are very tolerant
                towards their children though I have seen husbands and wives fighting furiously.
                I feel very well but long to have the confinement over.

                Very much love,

                Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                Dearest Family,

                Little George arrived at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening 29 th. April. George was
                with me at the time as he had walked in from the farm for news, and what a wonderful bit
                of luck that was. The doctor was away on a case on the Diggings and I was bathing Ann
                with George looking on, when the pains started. George dried Ann and gave her
                supper and put her to bed. Afterwards he sat on the steps outside my room and a
                great comfort it was to know that he was there.

                The confinement was short but pretty hectic. The Doctor returned to the Hospital
                just in time to deliver the baby. He is a grand little boy, beautifully proportioned. The
                doctor says he has never seen a better formed baby. He is however rather funny
                looking just now as his head is, very temporarily, egg shaped. He has a shock of black
                silky hair like a gollywog and believe it or not, he has a slight black moustache.
                George came in, looked at the baby, looked at me, and we both burst out
                laughing. The doctor was shocked and said so. He has no sense of humour and couldn’t
                understand that we, though bursting with pride in our son, could never the less laugh at

                Friends in Mbeya have sent me the most gorgeous flowers and my room is
                transformed with delphiniums, roses and carnations. The room would be very austere
                without the flowers. Curtains, bedspread and enamelware, walls and ceiling are all
                snowy white.

                George hired a car and took Ann home next day. I have little George for
                company during the day but he is removed at night. I am longing to get him home and
                away from the German nurse who feeds him on black tea when he cries. She insists that
                tea is a medicine and good for him.

                Much love from a proud mother of two.

                Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                Dearest Family,

                We are all together at home again and how lovely it feels. Even the house
                servants seem pleased. The boy had decorated the lounge with sprays of
                bougainvillaea and Abel had backed one of his good sponge cakes.

                Ann looked fat and rosy but at first was only moderately interested in me and the
                new baby but she soon thawed. George is good with her and will continue to dress Ann
                in the mornings and put her to bed until I am satisfied with Georgie.

                He, poor mite, has a nasty rash on face and neck. I am sure it is just due to that
                tea the nurse used to give him at night. He has lost his moustache and is fast loosing his
                wild black hair and emerging as quite a handsome babe. He is a very masculine looking
                infant with much more strongly marked eyebrows and a larger nose that Ann had. He is
                very good and lies quietly in his basket even when awake.

                George has been making a hatching box for brown trout ova and has set it up in
                a small clear stream fed by a spring in readiness for the ova which is expected from
                South Africa by next weeks plane. Some keen fishermen from Mbeya and the District
                have clubbed together to buy the ova. The fingerlings are later to be transferred to
                streams in Mbeya and Tukuyu Districts.

                I shall now have my hands full with the two babies and will not have much time for the
                garden, or I fear, for writing very long letters. Remember though, that no matter how
                large my family becomes, I shall always love you as much as ever.

                Your affectionate,

                Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                Dearest Family,

                The four of us are all well but alas we have lost our dear Kelly. He was rather a
                silly dog really, although he grew so big he retained all his puppy ways but we were all
                very fond of him, especially George because Kelly attached himself to George whilst I
                was away having Ann and from that time on he was George’s shadow. I think he had
                some form of biliary fever. He died stretched out on the living room couch late last night,
                with George sitting beside him so that he would not feel alone.

                The children are growing fast. Georgie is a darling. He now has a fluff of pale
                brown hair and his eyes are large and dark brown. Ann is very plump and fair.
                We have had several visitors lately. Apart from neighbours, a car load of diggers
                arrived one night and John Molteno and his bride were here. She is a very attractive girl
                but, I should say, more suited to life in civilisation than in this back of beyond. She has
                gone out to the diggings with her husband and will have to walk a good stretch of the fifty
                or so miles.

                The diggers had to sleep in the living room on the couch and on hastily erected
                camp beds. They arrived late at night and left after breakfast next day. One had half a
                beard, the other side of his face had been forcibly shaved in the bar the night before.

                your affectionate,

                Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                Dearest Family,

                George is away on safari with two Indian Army officers. The money he will get for
                his services will be very welcome because this coffee growing is a slow business, and
                our capitol is rapidly melting away. The job of acting as White Hunter was unexpected
                or George would not have taken on the job of hatching the ova which duly arrived from
                South Africa.

                George and the District Commissioner, David Pollock, went to meet the plane
                by which the ova had been consigned but the pilot knew nothing about the package. It
                came to light in the mail bag with the parcels! However the ova came to no harm. David
                Pollock and George brought the parcel to the farm and carefully transferred the ova to
                the hatching box. It was interesting to watch the tiny fry hatch out – a process which took
                several days. Many died in the process and George removed the dead by sucking
                them up in a glass tube.

                When hatched, the tiny fry were fed on ant eggs collected by the boys. I had to
                take over the job of feeding and removing the dead when George left on safari. The fry
                have to be fed every four hours, like the baby, so each time I have fed Georgie. I hurry
                down to feed the trout.

                The children are very good but keep me busy. Ann can now say several words
                and understands more. She adores Georgie. I long to show them off to you.

                Very much love

                Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                Dear Family,

                All just over flu. George and Ann were very poorly. I did not fare so badly and
                Georgie came off best. He is on a bottle now.

                There was some excitement here last Wednesday morning. At 6.30 am. I called
                for boiling water to make Georgie’s food. No water arrived but muffled shouting and the
                sound of blows came from the kitchen. I went to investigate and found a fierce fight in
                progress between the house boy and the kitchen boy. In my efforts to make them stop
                fighting I went too close and got a sharp bang on the mouth with the edge of an
                enamelled plate the kitchen boy was using as a weapon. My teeth cut my lip inside and
                the plate cut it outside and blood flowed from mouth to chin. The boys were petrified.
                By the time I had fed Georgie the lip was stiff and swollen. George went in wrath
                to the kitchen and by breakfast time both house boy and kitchen boy had swollen faces
                too. Since then I have a kettle of boiling water to hand almost before the words are out
                of my mouth. I must say that the fight was because the house boy had clouted the
                kitchen boy for keeping me waiting! In this land of piece work it is the job of the kitchen
                boy to light the fire and boil the kettle but the houseboy’s job to carry the kettle to me.
                I have seen little of Kath Wood or Marion Coster for the past two months. Major
                Jones is the neighbour who calls most regularly. He has a wireless set and calls on all of
                us to keep us up to date with world as well as local news. He often brings oranges for
                Ann who adores him. He is a very nice person but no oil painting and makes no effort to
                entertain Ann but she thinks he is fine. Perhaps his monocle appeals to her.

                George has bought a six foot long galvanised bath which is a great improvement
                on the smaller oval one we have used until now. The smaller one had grown battered
                from much use and leaks like a sieve. Fortunately our bathroom has a cement floor,
                because one had to fill the bath to the brim and then bath extremely quickly to avoid
                being left high and dry.

                Lots and lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 1st December 1933

                Dearest Family,

                Ann has not been well. We think she has had malaria. She has grown a good
                deal lately and looks much thinner and rather pale. Georgie is thriving and has such
                sparkling brown eyes and a ready smile. He and Ann make a charming pair, one so fair
                and the other dark.

                The Moltenos’ spent a few days here and took Georgie and me to Mbeya so
                that Georgie could be vaccinated. However it was an unsatisfactory trip because the
                doctor had no vaccine.

                George went to the Lupa with the Moltenos and returned to the farm in their Baby
                Austin which they have lent to us for a week. This was to enable me to go to Mbeya to
                have a couple of teeth filled by a visiting dentist.

                We went to Mbeya in the car on Saturday. It was quite a squash with the four of
                us on the front seat of the tiny car. Once George grabbed the babies foot instead of the
                gear knob! We had Georgie vaccinated at the hospital and then went to the hotel where
                the dentist was installed. Mr Dare, the dentist, had few instruments and they were very
                tarnished. I sat uncomfortably on a kitchen chair whilst he tinkered with my teeth. He filled
                three but two of the fillings came out that night. This meant another trip to Mbeya in the
                Baby Austin but this time they seem all right.

                The weather is very hot and dry and the garden a mess. We are having trouble
                with the young coffee trees too. Cut worms are killing off seedlings in the nursery and
                there is a borer beetle in the planted out coffee.

                George bought a large grey donkey from some wandering Masai and we hope
                the children will enjoy riding it later on.

                Very much love,

                Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                Dearest Family,

                You will be sorry to hear that little Ann has been very ill, indeed we were terribly
                afraid that we were going to lose her. She enjoyed her birthday on the 8th. All the toys
                you, and her English granny, sent were unwrapped with such delight. However next
                day she seemed listless and a bit feverish so I tucked her up in bed after lunch. I dosed
                her with quinine and aspirin and she slept fitfully. At about eleven o’clock I was
                awakened by a strange little cry. I turned up the night light and was horrified to see that
                Ann was in a convulsion. I awakened George who, as always in an emergency, was
                perfectly calm and practical. He filled the small bath with very warm water and emersed
                Ann in it, placing a cold wet cloth on her head. We then wrapped her in blankets and
                gave her an enema and she settled down to sleep. A few hours later we had the same
                thing over again.

                At first light we sent a runner to Mbeya to fetch the doctor but waited all day in
                vain and in the evening the runner returned to say that the doctor had gone to a case on
                the diggings. Ann had been feverish all day with two or three convulsions. Neither
                George or I wished to leave the bedroom, but there was Georgie to consider, and in
                the afternoon I took him out in the garden for a while whilst George sat with Ann.
                That night we both sat up all night and again Ann had those wretched attacks of
                convulsions. George and I were worn out with anxiety by the time the doctor arrived the
                next afternoon. Ann had not been able to keep down any quinine and had had only
                small sips of water since the onset of the attack.

                The doctor at once diagnosed the trouble as malaria aggravated by teething.
                George held Ann whilst the Doctor gave her an injection. At the first attempt the needle
                bent into a bow, George was furious! The second attempt worked and after a few hours
                Ann’s temperature dropped and though she was ill for two days afterwards she is now
                up and about. She has also cut the last of her baby teeth, thank God. She looks thin and
                white, but should soon pick up. It has all been a great strain to both of us. Georgie
                behaved like an angel throughout. He played happily in his cot and did not seem to
                sense any tension as people say, babies do. Our baby was cheerful and not at all

                This is the rainy season and it is a good thing that some work has been done on
                our road or the doctor might not have got through.

                Much love to all,

                Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                Dearest Family,

                We are all well now, thank goodness, but last week Georgie gave us such a
                fright. I was sitting on the verandah, busy with some sewing and not watching Ann and
                Georgie, who were trying to reach a bunch of bananas which hung on a rope from a
                beam of the verandah. Suddenly I heard a crash, Georgie had fallen backward over the
                edge of the verandah and hit the back of his head on the edge of the brick furrow which
                carries away the rainwater. He lay flat on his back with his arms spread out and did not
                move or cry. When I picked him up he gave a little whimper, I carried him to his cot and
                bathed his face and soon he began sitting up and appeared quite normal. The trouble
                began after he had vomited up his lunch. He began to whimper and bang his head
                against the cot.

                George and I were very worried because we have no transport so we could not
                take Georgie to the doctor and we could not bear to go through again what we had gone
                through with Ann earlier in the year. Then, in the late afternoon, a miracle happened. Two
                men George hardly knew, and complete strangers to me, called in on their way from the
                diggings to Mbeya and they kindly drove Georgie and me to the hospital. The Doctor
                allowed me to stay with Georgie and we spent five days there. Luckily he responded to
                treatment and is now as alive as ever. Children do put years on one!

                There is nothing much else to report. We have a new vegetable garden which is
                doing well but the earth here is strange. Gardens seem to do well for two years but by
                that time the soil is exhausted and one must move the garden somewhere else. The
                coffee looks well but it will be another year before we can expect even a few bags of
                coffee and prices are still low. Anyway by next year George should have some good
                return for all his hard work.

                Lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                Dearest Family,

                George is home from his White Hunting safari looking very sunburnt and well.
                The elderly American, who was his client this time, called in here at the farm to meet me
                and the children. It is amazing what spirit these old lads have! This one looked as though
                he should be thinking in terms of slippers and an armchair but no, he thinks in terms of
                high powered rifles with telescopic sights.

                It is lovely being together again and the children are delighted to have their Dad
                home. Things are always exciting when George is around. The day after his return
                George said at breakfast, “We can’t go on like this. You and the kids never get off the
                shamba. We’ll simply have to get a car.” You should have heard the excitement. “Get a
                car Daddy?’” cried Ann jumping in her chair so that her plaits bounced. “Get a car
                Daddy?” echoed Georgie his brown eyes sparkling. “A car,” said I startled, “However
                can we afford one?”

                “Well,” said George, “on my way back from Safari I heard that a car is to be sold
                this week at the Tukuyu Court, diseased estate or bankruptcy or something, I might get it
                cheap and it is an A.C.” The name meant nothing to me, but George explained that an
                A.C. is first cousin to a Rolls Royce.

                So off he went to the sale and next day the children and I listened all afternoon for
                the sound of an approaching car. We had many false alarms but, towards evening we
                heard what appeared to be the roar of an aeroplane engine. It was the A.C. roaring her
                way up our steep hill with a long plume of steam waving gaily above her radiator.
                Out jumped my beaming husband and in no time at all, he was showing off her
                points to an admiring family. Her lines are faultless and seats though worn are most
                comfortable. She has a most elegant air so what does it matter that the radiator leaks like
                a sieve, her exhaust pipe has broken off, her tyres are worn almost to the canvas and
                she has no windscreen. She goes, and she cost only five pounds.

                Next afternoon George, the kids and I piled into the car and drove along the road
                on lookout for guinea fowl. All went well on the outward journey but on the homeward
                one the poor A.C. simply gasped and died. So I carried the shot gun and George
                carried both children and we trailed sadly home. This morning George went with a bunch
                of farmhands and brought her home. Truly temperamental, she came home literally
                under her own steam.

                George now plans to get a second hand engine and radiator for her but it won’t
                be an A.C. engine. I think she is the only one of her kind in the country.
                I am delighted to hear, dad, that you are sending a bridle for Joseph for
                Christmas. I am busy making a saddle out of an old piece of tent canvas stuffed with
                kapok, some webbing and some old rug straps. A car and a riding donkey! We’re
                definitely carriage folk now.

                Lots of love to all,

                Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                Dearest Family,

                Thank you for the wonderful Christmas parcel. My frock is a splendid fit. George
                declares that no one can knit socks like Mummy and the children love their toys and new

                Joseph, the donkey, took his bit with an air of bored resignation and Ann now
                rides proudly on his back. Joseph is a big strong animal with the looks and disposition of
                a mule. he will not go at all unless a native ‘toto’ walks before him and when he does go
                he wears a pained expression as though he were carrying fourteen stone instead of
                Ann’s fly weight. I walk beside the donkey carrying Georgie and our cat, ‘Skinny Winnie’,
                follows behind. Quite a cavalcade. The other day I got so exasperated with Joseph that
                I took Ann off and I got on. Joseph tottered a few paces and sat down! to the huge
                delight of our farm labourers who were going home from work. Anyway, one good thing,
                the donkey is so lazy that there is little chance of him bolting with Ann.

                The Moltenos spent Christmas with us and left for the Lupa Diggings yesterday.
                They arrived on the 22nd. with gifts for the children and chocolates and beer. That very
                afternoon George and John Molteno left for Ivuna, near Lake Ruckwa, to shoot some
                guinea fowl and perhaps a goose for our Christmas dinner. We expected the menfolk
                back on Christmas Eve and Anne and I spent a busy day making mince pies and
                sausage rolls. Why I don’t know, because I am sure Abel could have made them better.
                We decorated the Christmas tree and sat up very late but no husbands turned up.
                Christmas day passed but still no husbands came. Anne, like me, is expecting a baby
                and we both felt pretty forlorn and cross. Anne was certain that they had been caught up
                in a party somewhere and had forgotten all about us and I must say when Boxing Day
                went by and still George and John did not show up I felt ready to agree with her.
                They turned up towards evening and explained that on the homeward trip the car
                had bogged down in the mud and that they had spent a miserable Christmas. Anne
                refused to believe their story so George, to prove their case, got the game bag and
                tipped the contents on to the dining room table. Out fell several guinea fowl, long past
                being edible, followed by a large goose so high that it was green and blue where all the
                feathers had rotted off.

                The stench was too much for two pregnant girls. I shot out of the front door
                closely followed by Anne and we were both sick in the garden.

                I could not face food that evening but Anne is made of stronger stuff and ate her
                belated Christmas dinner with relish.

                I am looking forward enormously to having Marjorie here with us. She will be able
                to carry back to you an eyewitness account of our home and way of life.

                Much love to you all,

                Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                Dearest Family,

                You cannot imagine how lovely it is to have Marjorie here. She came just in time
                because I have had pernicious vomiting and have lost a great deal of weight and she
                took charge of the children and made me spend three days in hospital having treatment.
                George took me to the hospital on the afternoon of New Years Eve and decided
                to spend the night at the hotel and join in the New Years Eve celebrations. I had several
                visitors at the hospital that evening and George actually managed to get some imported
                grapes for me. He returned to the farm next morning and fetched me from the hospital
                four days later. Of course the old A.C. just had to play up. About half way home the
                back axle gave in and we had to send a passing native some miles back to a place
                called Mbalizi to hire a lorry from a Greek trader to tow us home to the farm.
                The children looked well and were full of beans. I think Marjorie was thankful to
                hand them over to me. She is delighted with Ann’s motherly little ways but Georgie she
                calls “a really wild child”. He isn’t, just has such an astonishing amount of energy and is
                always up to mischief. Marjorie brought us all lovely presents. I am so thrilled with my
                sewing machine. It may be an old model but it sews marvellously. We now have an
                Alsatian pup as well as Joseph the donkey and the two cats.

                Marjorie had a midnight encounter with Joseph which gave her quite a shock but
                we had a good laugh about it next day. Some months ago George replaced our wattle
                and daub outside pit lavatory by a substantial brick one, so large that Joseph is being
                temporarily stabled in it at night. We neglected to warn Marj about this and one night,
                storm lamp in hand, she opened the door and Joseph walked out braying his thanks.
                I am afraid Marjorie is having a quiet time, a shame when the journey from Cape
                Town is so expensive. The doctor has told me to rest as much as I can, so it is
                impossible for us to take Marj on sight seeing trips.

                I hate to think that she will be leaving in ten days time.

                Much love,

                Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                Dearest Family,

                You must be able to visualise our life here quite well now that Marj is back and
                has no doubt filled in all the details I forget to mention in my letters. What a journey we
                had in the A.C. when we took her to the plane. George, the children and I sat in front and
                Marj sat behind with numerous four gallon tins of water for the insatiable radiator. It was
                raining and the canvas hood was up but part of the side flaps are missing and as there is
                no glass in the windscreen the rain blew in on us. George got fed up with constantly
                removing the hot radiator cap so simply stuffed a bit of rag in instead. When enough
                steam had built up in the radiator behind the rag it blew out and we started all over again.
                The car still roars like an aeroplane engine and yet has little power so that George sent
                gangs of boys to the steep hills between the farm and the Mission to give us a push if
                necessary. Fortunately this time it was not, and the boys cheered us on our way. We
                needed their help on the homeward journey however.

                George has now bought an old Chev engine which he means to install before I
                have to go to hospital to have my new baby. It will be quite an engineering feet as
                George has few tools.

                I am sorry to say that I am still not well, something to do with kidneys or bladder.
                George bought me some pills from one of the several small shops which have opened
                in Mbeya and Ann is most interested in the result. She said seriously to Kath Wood,
                “Oh my Mummy is a very clever Mummy. She can do blue wee and green wee as well
                as yellow wee.” I simply can no longer manage the children without help and have
                engaged the cook’s wife, Janey, to help. The children are by no means thrilled. I plead in
                vain that I am not well enough to go for walks. Ann says firmly, “Ann doesn’t want to go
                for a walk. Ann will look after you.” Funny, though she speaks well for a three year old,
                she never uses the first person. Georgie say he would much rather walk with
                Keshokutwa, the kitchen boy. His name by the way, means day-after-tomorrow and it
                suits him down to the ground, Kath Wood walks over sometimes with offers of help and Ann will gladly go walking with her but Georgie won’t. He on the other hand will walk with Anne Molteno
                and Ann won’t. They are obstinate kids. Ann has developed a very fertile imagination.
                She has probably been looking at too many of those nice women’s magazines you
                sent. A few days ago she said, “You are sick Mummy, but Ann’s got another Mummy.
                She’s not sick, and my other mummy (very smugly) has lovely golden hair”. This
                morning’ not ten minutes after I had dressed her, she came in with her frock wet and
                muddy. I said in exasperation, “Oh Ann, you are naughty.” To which she instantly
                returned, “My other Mummy doesn’t think I am naughty. She thinks I am very nice.” It
                strikes me I shall have to get better soon so that I can be gay once more and compete
                with that phantom golden haired paragon.

                We had a very heavy storm over the farm last week. There was heavy rain with
                hail which stripped some of the coffee trees and the Mchewe River flooded and the
                water swept through the lower part of the shamba. After the water had receded George
                picked up a fine young trout which had been stranded. This was one of some he had
                put into the river when Georgie was a few months old.

                The trials of a coffee farmer are legion. We now have a plague of snails. They
                ring bark the young trees and leave trails of slime on the glossy leaves. All the ring
                barked trees will have to be cut right back and this is heartbreaking as they are bearing
                berries for the first time. The snails are collected by native children, piled upon the
                ground and bashed to a pulp which gives off a sickening stench. I am sorry for the local
                Africans. Locusts ate up their maize and now they are losing their bean crop to the snails.

                Lots of love, Eleanor


                  Bakewell Not Eyam

                  The Elton Marshalls

                  Some years ago I read a book about Eyam, the Derbyshire village devastated by the plague in 1665, and about how the villagers quarantined themselves to prevent further spread. It was quite a story. Each year on ‘Plague Sunday’, at the end of August, residents of Eyam mark the bubonic plague epidemic that devastated their small rural community in the years 1665–6. They wear the traditional costume of the day and attend a memorial service to remember how half the village sacrificed themselves to avoid spreading the disease further.

                  My 4X great grandfather James Marshall married Ann Newton in 1792 in Elton. On a number of other people’s trees on an online ancestry site, Ann Newton was from Eyam.  Wouldn’t that have been interesting, to find ancestors from Eyam, perhaps going back to the days of the plague. Perhaps that is what the people who put Ann Newton’s birthplace as Eyam thought, without a proper look at the records.

                  But I didn’t think Ann Newton was from Eyam. I found she was from Over Haddon, near Bakewell ~ much closer to Elton than Eyam. On the marriage register, it says that James was from Elton parish, and she was from Darley parish. Her birth in 1770 says Bakewell, which was the registration district for the villages of Over Haddon and Darley. Her parents were George Newton and Dorothy Wipperley of Over Haddon,which is incidentally very near to Nether Haddon, and Haddon Hall. I visited Haddon Hall many years ago, as well as Chatsworth (and much preferred Haddon Hall).

                  I looked in the Eyam registers for Ann Newton, and found a couple of them around the time frame, but the men they married were not James Marshall.

                  Ann died in 1806 in Elton (a small village just outside Matlock) at the age of 36 within days of her newborn twins, Ann and James.  James and Ann had two sets of twins.  John and Mary were twins as well, but Mary died in 1799 at the age of three.

                  1796 baptism of twins John and Mary of James and Ann Marshall

                  Marshall baptism


                  Ann’s husband James died 42 years later at the age of eighty,  in Elton in 1848. It was noted in the parish register that he was for years parish clerk.

                  James Marshall


                  On the 1851 census John Marshall born in 1796, the son of James Marshall the parish clerk, was a lead miner occupying six acres in Elton, Derbyshire.

                  His son, also John, was registered on the census as a lead miner at just eight years old.


                  The mining of lead was the most important industry in the Peak district of Derbyshire from Roman times until the 19th century – with only agriculture being more important for the livelihood of local people. The height of lead mining in Derbyshire came in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the evidence is still visible today – most obviously in the form of lines of hillocks from the more than 25,000 mineshafts which once existed.

                  Peak District Mines Historical Society

                  Smelting, or extracting the lead from the ore by melting it, was carried out in a small open hearth. Lead was cast in layers as each batch of ore was smelted; the blocks of lead thus produced were referred to as “pigs”. Examples of early smelting-hearths found within the county were stone lined, with one side open facing the prevailing wind to create the draught needed. The hilltops of the Matlocks would have provided very suitable conditions.

                  The miner used a tool called a mattock or a pick, and hammers and iron wedges in harder veins, to loosen the ore. They threw the ore onto ridges on each side of the vein, going deeper where the ore proved richer.

                  Many mines were very shallow and, once opened, proved too poor to develop. Benjamin Bryan cited the example of “Ember Hill, on the shoulder of Masson, above Matlock Bath” where there are hollows in the surface showing where there had been fruitless searches for lead.

                  There were small buildings, called “coes”, near each mine shaft which were used for tool storage, to provide shelter and as places for changing into working clothes. It was here that the lead was smelted and stored until ready for sale.

                  Lead is, of course, very poisonous. As miners washed lead-bearing material, great care was taken with the washing vats, which had to be covered. If cattle accidentally drank the poisoned water they would die from something called “belland”.

                  Cornish and Welsh miners introduced the practice of buddling for ore into Derbyshire about 1747.  Buddling involved washing the heaps of rubbish in the slag heaps,  the process of separating the very small particles from the dirt and spar with which they are mixed, by means of a small stream of water. This method of extraction was a major pollutant, affecting farmers and their animals (poisoned by Belland from drinking the waste water), the brooks and streams and even the River Derwent.

                  Women also worked in the mines. An unattributed account from 1829, says: “The head is much enwrapped, and the features nearly hidden in a muffling of handkerchiefs, over which is put a man’s hat, in the manner of the paysannes of Wales”. He also describes their gowns, usually red, as being “tucked up round the waist in a sort of bag, and set off by a bright green petticoat”. They also wore a man’s grey or dark blue coat and shoes with 3″ thick soles that were tied round with cords. The 1829 writer called them “complete harridans!”

                  Lead Mining in Matlock & Matlock Bath, The Andrews Pages

                  John’s wife Margaret died at the age of 42 in 1847.  I don’t know the cause of death, but perhaps it was lead poisoning.  John’s son John, despite a very early start in the lead mine, became a carter and lived to the ripe old age of 88.

                  The Pig of Lead pub, 1904:

                  The Pig of Lead 1904


                  The earliest Marshall I’ve found so far is Charles, born in 1742. Charles married Rebecca Knowles, 1775-1823.  I don’t know what his occupation was but when he died in 1819 he left a not inconsiderable sum to his wife.

                  1819 Charles Marshall probate:

                  Charles Marshall Probate



                  There are still Marshall’s living in Elton and Matlock, not our immediate known family, but probably distantly related.  I asked a Matlock group on facebook:

                  “…there are Marshall’s still in the village. There are certainly families who live here who have done generation after generation & have many memories & stories to tell. Visit The Duke on a Friday night…”

                  The Duke, Elton:

                  Duke Elton


                    Florence Nightingale Gretton


                    Florence’s father was Richard Gretton, a baker in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. When Richard married Sarah Orgill in 1861, they lived with her mother, a widow, in Measham, Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire. On the 1861 census Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, is a farmer of two acres.

                    (Swadlincote and Ashby de la Zouch are on the Derbyshire Leicestershire border and not far from each other. Swadlincote is near to Burton upon Trent which is sometimes in Staffordshire, sometimes in Derbyshire. Newhall, Church Gresley, and Swadlincote are all very close to each other or districts in the same town.)

                    Ten years later in 1871 Richard and Sarah have their own place in Swadlincote, he is a baker, and they have four children. A fourteen year old apprentice or servant is living with them.

                    In the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Gazette on 28 February 1880, it was reported that Richard Gretton, baker, of Swadlincote, was charged by Captain Bandys with carrying bread in a cart for sale, the said cart not being provided with scales and weights, according to the requirements of the Act, on the 17th January last.—Defendant pleaded guilty, but urged in extenuation of the offence that in the hurry he had forgotten to put the scales in the cart before his son started.—The Bench took this view of the case, regarding it as an oversight, and fined him one shilling only and costs.  This was not his only offence.

                    In 1883, he was fined twenty shillings, and ten shillings and sixpence costs.

                    Richard Gretton

                    By 1881 they have 4 more children, and Florence Nightingale is the youngest at four months. Richard is 48 by now, and Sarah is 44. Florence’s older brother William is a blacksmith.

                    Interestingly on the same census page, two doors down Thomas and Selina Warren live at the Stanhope Arms.  Richards son John Gretton lives at the pub, a 13 year old servant. Incidentally, I noticed on Thomas and Selena’s marriage register that Richard and Sarah Gretton were the witnesses at the wedding.

                    Ten years later in 1891, Florence Nightingale and her sister Clara are living with Selina Warren, widow, retired innkeeper, one door down from the Stanhope Arms. Florence is ten, Clara twelve and they are scholars.
                    Richard and Sarah are still living three doors up on the other side of the Stanhope Arms, with three of their sons. But the two girls lived up the road with the Warren widow!

                    The Stanhope Arms, Swadlincote: it’s possible that the shop with the awning was Richard Gretton’s bakers shop (although not at the time of this later photo).

                    Stanhope Arms


                    Richard died in 1898, a year before Florence married Samuel Warren.

                    Sarah is a widowed 60 year old baker on the 1901 census. Her son 26 year old son Alf, also a baker,  lives at the same address, as does her 22 year old daughter Clara who is a district nurse.

                    Clara Gretton and family, photo found online:

                    Clara Gretton


                    In 1901 Florence Nightingale (who we don’t have a photograph of!) is now married and is Florrie Warren on the census, and she, her husband Samuel, and their one year old daughter Hildred are visitors at the address of  Elizabeth (Staley)Warren, 60 year old widow and Samuel’s mother, and Samuel’s 36 year old brother William. Samuel and William are engineers.

                    Samuel and Florrie had ten children between 1900 and 1925 (and all but two of them used their middle name and not first name: my mother and I had no idea until I found all the records.  My grandmother Florence Noreen was known as Nora, which we knew of course, uncle Jack was actually Douglas John, and so on).

                    Hildred, Clara, Billy, and Nora were born in Swadlincote. Sometime between my grandmother’s birth in 1907 and Kay’s birth in 1911, the family moved to Oldswinford, in Stourbridge. Later they moved to Market Street.

                    1911 census, Oldswinford, Stourbridge:

                    Oldswinford 1911


                    Oddly, nobody knew when Florrie Warren died. My mothers cousin Ian Warren researched the Warren family some years ago, while my grandmother was still alive. She contributed family stories and information, but couldn’t remember if her mother died in 1929 or 1927.  A recent search of records confirmed that it was the 12th November 1927.

                    She was 46 years old. We were curious to know how she died, so my mother ordered a paper copy of her death certificate. It said she died at 31 Market Street, Stourbridge at the age of 47. Clara May Warren, her daughter, was in attendance. Her husband Samuel Warren was a motor mechanic. The Post mortem was by Percival Evans, coroner for Worcestershire, who clarified the cause of death as vascular disease of the heart. There was no inquest. The death was registered on 15 Nov 1927.

                    I looked for a photo of 31 Market Street in Stourbridge, and was astonished to see that it was the house next door to one I lived in breifly in the 1980s.  We didn’t know that the Warren’s lived in Market Street until we started searching the records.

                    Market Street, Stourbridge. I lived in the one on the corner on the far right, my great grandmother died in the one next door.

                    Market Street


                    I found some hitherto unknown emigrants in the family. Florence Nightingale Grettons eldest brother William 1861-1940 stayed in Swadlincote. John Orgill Gretton born in 1868 moved to Trenton New Jersey USA in 1888, married in 1892 and died in 1949 in USA. Michael Thomas born in 1870 married in New York in 1893 and died in Trenton in 1940. Alfred born 1875 stayed in Swadlincote. Charles Herbert born 1876 married locally and then moved to Australia in 1912, and died in Victoria in 1954. Clara Elizabeth was a district nurse, married locally and died at the age of 99.


                      Bugger them all then, Lucinda said to herself, I’ll carry on here without them.

                      For a time she had been despondent at being abandoned, sinking into an aching overcast gloom to match the weather. Waiting for it to rain, and then waiting for it to stop.

                      On impulse, in an attempt to snap out of the doldrums, she signed up for a Creative Writing and Rambling course at the local Psychic Self Institute. Institutionalizing psychic matters had been the brainchild of the latest political party to gain power, and hitherto under the radar prophets, healers and remote viewers had flocked to sign up. The institute has promised pension and public health credits to all members who could prove their mental prowess, and needless to say it had attracted many potential scammers: useless nobodies who wanted to heal their diseases, or lazy decrepit old scroungers who wanted to retire.

                      Much to everyone’s surprise, not least their own, the majority of them had passed the tests, simply by winging it: making it up and hoping for the best. Astonishingly the results were more impressive than the results from the already established professional P.H.A.R.T.s ~ (otherwise known as Prophets, Healers and Remote Technicians).

                      This raised questions about the premise of the scheme, and how increasingly difficult it was to establish a criteria for deservingness of pensions and health care, particularly if any untrained and unregistered Tom, Dick or Harry was in possession of superior skills, as appeared to be the case. The debate continues to this day.

                      Nothwithstanding, the Institute continued to offer courses, outings and educational and inspiring talks. The original plan had been to offer qualifications, but the entrance exams had provoked such a quandary about the value and meaning (if any) of qualifications, that the current modus operandi was to simply offer each member, regardless of merit or experience, a simple membership card with a number on it. It was gold coloured and had classical scrolls and lettering on it in an attempt to bestow worth and meaning. Nobody was fooled, but everyone loved it.

                      And everyone loved the tea room at the Institute. It was thought that some cake aficionado’s had even joined the Institute merely for the desserts, but nobody objected. There was a welcome collective energy of pleasure, appreciation and conviviality in the tea room, and it’s magnetic appeal ~ and exceptional cakes ~ ensured it’s popularity and acclaim.

                      A small group had started a campaign to get it placed on the Institutes Energetic Cake Connector mapping programme. As Lucinda had said in a moment of clarity, “A back street bar can be just as much of an energy magnet as an old stone relic”, casting doubt over the M.O.S.S group’s (Mysterious Old Stone Sites) relevance to anything potentially useful.

                      “In fact,” Lucinda continued, surprising herself, ““I’ve only just realized that the energy magnets aren’t going to be secret, hidden and derelict. They’re going to be busy. Like cities.”

                      Several members of the M.O.S.S group had glared at her.

                      Lucinda hadn’t really thought much about what to expect in the creative writing classes.


                      In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                        Mother Shirley had realized the truth.

                        How could she have missed it before, with the discontinuity, and impossible timelines. There was only one explanation at Lizette’s reappearances, and the Aurora’s strange incidents.

                        There was no Mars, no space travel, much less any artificial intelligence, all was an elaborate simulation, designed to make them stay in the illusion — an illusion that was showing at the seams. Lizette was probably a distracted agent of the Orchestrators.

                        In all likelihood, they were all in some secret base in a desert, maybe under a large dome and had never left Earth.
                        She’d laughed before about the nuts who believed that there had been no moon landing, that satellites didn’t exist, that oceans couldn’t stay stuck on a spinning ball, and that humans never managed to actually go into space…

                        Well, creating a vast space comedy was a better way to make everyone believe we’re the only sentient creatures in the universe; a vast and well-known, if not almost and reassuringly empty, Universe.
                        All that was better than knowing you are a being in a farm-ant, with Flove knows what peering at it from outside…

                        That or she was completely mad. She couldn’t tell, or they would lock her up, blame it on space travel disease. But she had to tell, had to convince them the comedy was over, they could all go home, and build a new world.
                        But who could she tell, when all had been seeing a cave’s shadows all their lives?

                        Good old organized religion and metaphors maybe could help, after all… The wave wasn’t over for a reason. She just had to repurpose the tool.


                        In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves


                          In the corner of a nearby street, Todd reverted back to his prefered form. That of a brown dwarf. His dream was to be a star, so he liked the irony of it.
                          “Finally done with this irritating ex-pron star and her antics” he said chewing on a bone leftover while heading for his ride, a red convertible, gift of the Sh’elves. “She had it coming after all, she should have libned quietly like she was supposed to.”

                          Next on his plans was to liaise back with Neb, but he feared his friend had not in him to complete his mission. Hopping in the car, he wished he wouldn’t be too late on his way to the ranch, with all those cracks and holes in the road.

                          Wiping his mouth still full of blood, an insidious concern crept into his mind. What if he too had been affected by the bloody fwicking kraken disease. But that was too early to say.


                          In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves


                            Todd the poodle was in fact a shapeshifter in hiding, monitoring the spread of the Tourette virus the Sh’elves had unleashed upon the marinade.

                            Sadly he’d noticed the Elves had dispatched a covert squad of Hot Cross Bums, an old alliance of homeless monks, probably to uncover the source of the disease. He’d had to be extremely cautious.
                            But then, the mass of flesh surrounding his collar started to squeeze horribly.


                            In reply to: Snowflakes of Tens


                              The leaves were dry. They’d started to change to a brownish hue at the tip, then rapidly withered. They’d hoped it wouldn’t affect the whole crop, and when the first tea bush went down, they quickly uprooted it, for fear it would spread to the whole hill.
                              But despite their best efforts, the tea bushes went down, one by one, as though engulfed by a deadly plague. He and she were worried for their next year income, as their tea field was their main source of revenue. The highlands had always been favourable to them, and it seemed such an unlikely and truly unfair event given that the beginning of the year had brought an unexpected bounty of huge tea leaves.
                              What had happened? He was quite the pragmatic about it: disease, pests, too much sun, over-watering, over-pruning… nothing extending outside the visible, the measurable. She was the mystical: core beliefs, did she worry too much about that sudden wealth and made it disappear, the evil eye, greed and covetousness, celestial punishment.

                              It never occurred to her she could reverse it as easily once she understood what it was all about.
                              Well, she almost started to get an inkling of that thinking about warts. How efficiently she got those growths when she was so troubled about them, and how they all disappeared when she forgot about them. How not to think about something that’s already in your head? In that case, distraction never worked; it was a rubber band that would be stretched then snapped back at the initial core issue.
                              Snap back at yourself.
                              >STOP< – She stopped. Time to read that telegram delivered to oneself.
                              Everything still, for a moment. Dashed.
                              She started to look around.
                              The air was still, hot and full of expectation.
                              Almost twinkling in potentials.
                              Like a providential blank page, in the middle of a heap of administrative papers full of uninteresting chatty figures.
                              The pages are put aside, only the blank page is here.
                              She can start to populate it with colours, sounds and life, anytime. Lavender maybe. Soon.
                              But not yet now.
                              She wants to breathe in the calmness, the comfort of the silence. Even the crickets seem to be far away.
                              She was alone, and impoverished…
                              She is alone, and empowered, … in power.



                              In reply to: Strings of Nines


                                Yoland felt tired and deflated somehow. Weary, perhaps that was it, weary of the way she always felt when the animals were sick or dying. It was all very well to look at it logically, that with so many animals with such relatively short natural life spans that there would always be some coming, some going, but it was the way it made her feel that was so tiring. Responsible, as if she could have done more, or guilty that they were reflecting her energy somehow. It was all very well to say that the animals were creating their own reality, that would be easy enough to accept in some cases such as old age and diseases, but Yoland almost wished she’d never learned that they reflect her own energy, that always made her feel even more responsible than she already did.

                                The black cat was dying. Yoland had made up her mind to take her to the vets that morning. That was another dilemma she’d faced often enough, too ~ would the animal prefer to die naturally at home? Or was it in too much pain, and would it prefer to end it quickly? How could she know? Yoland supposed she did always know, in the end, which was to be the choice, but there was always the agonizing period of time beforehand when she wondered which decision to make. But the black cat had disappeared and she couldn’t find her to take her to the vets after all.

                                When she’d made the decision to take the black cat to the vet that morning, Dean accidentally knocked a photograph of her first dog, Joe, off the wall. He was the first of her dogs to go, and a good age for a big dog, fourteen years old, and Yoland had known all along that he would die at home, and sure enough, he had. One day Yoland knew he was close to the end, and less than 24 hours later, he lay on his bed, and just gradually stopped breathing. Yoland hadn’t even been quite sure of the moment in which he went, as she held his head, she asked Dean, Do you think he’s dead? Dean replied, If he’s not breathing he is. It was a silly question, really, of course Yoland knew that if you weren’t breathing you were dead. As deaths go, it was peaceful and easy. They took him in the car to a place in the woods and buried him, somewhere where the ground was soft enough to dig; it was high summer and the ground was hard and dry. It wasn’t until Joe was covered with earth that Yoland cried.

                                Yoland cried again as she remembered Joe, and then she wondered if perhaps his photograph falling off the wall that morning was a message ~ perhaps a message that the black cat was choosing to die at home too, her own little niche somewhere, wherever that might be, wherever the roof cats slept. Maybe Joe was reassuring her that he’d be there when the black cat got there, in that field of flowers where the animals played while they waited for us to join them.

                                It was a comforting thought. Yoland reached for the tissues.



                                  New Venice, February 2034

                                  Al had finally completed his body experiments. The results were encouraging, and would probably help understand more of some bodily processes.
                                  Obviously he’d had some fun with them, these past few years —it was a nice way to learn more about himself, and to bring some of that knowledge to other people. Essentially, it was mostly to show them that what centuries of so-called “modern medicine” had done was to make them defiant of their own bodies. The mass creations of all these diseases not so long ago was still very much embedded into people’s imaginations. How ironic was that most of these diseases were coming from the body itself.
                                  So, what Albert was doing in his experiments was to push the limits to show how greatly adaptive the body structure was. It was nothing different than what scientists of the last decennia were doing on laboratory rats with many uncouth cocktails of injections —except that the trigger was for the most part an internal projection, no needing great amounts of artificial adjuncts.
                                  Becky’s sudden and impressive illnesses, shortly before her wedding had not worried him too much, because he knew that at times the body needed to adapt to new settings and environments, albeit not always physical ones.
                                  Another thing he knew well enough for having experienced it was that distrust was the most difficult part during this adjustment process. Distrust of the body, of self and of course of others. It was a delicate subject and most of their ancestors way of tackling the subject had been to reinforce the distrust in one’s own body. Pills and antibiotics could do wonders, but they were not that innocuous when they were used as ways to tell one’s own body it was not behaving the way it was supposed to be. As far as the symptoms were sometimes elusive, their physical effects could be quite unpredictable, depending on the patient’s state of mind.

                                  That reality play they were all writing to record their various connections has always been great fun. They had been toying with the idea of great changes, new frontiers of the mind and spirit and expansion of their consciousnesses.
                                  It had started during Becky’s infancy, were she was inspired by her step-mother and a bunch of her friends who were doing all kind of meditations and strange “imaginary” stuff. And two years ago, she had found old digital archives and had been amazed at some of the changes that had occurred during so few of the past years of her own existence, much of them mirroring these “imagined” changes.
                                  So, she had enlisted Sam, and Al and Tina to join in that reality play, to continue the projection into that “Shift” of the mind and see how farther it would take them.

                                  But there was something that Albert had always found a bit far-fetched was Becky’s confidence in such strides in their expansion of the mind. Doubtlessly he was acknowledging that things were changing —the last discoveries in how magnetic fields affected DNA and thus the bodies had been even compelling enough to have scientists reassess their stance on how DNA and evolution of species worked. But he doubted that everything would be a perfect utopia. And pain was such an inherent and useful part of their human experience that he was not conceiving how any consciousness expansion would get rid of it.

                                  So, back to Becky’s illnesses which were mirroring his owns, a great deal of them was also about accepting that pain not as a flaw in the way they were creating their reality, but as something real, useful as a mechanism of feed-back. Accepting it didn’t meant cherishing it and holding dearly to it, it merely meant they had to recognize it as a way of the body to bring back the diverted awareness into the body. Well, Al wasn’t sure it would always be necessary to have it, but for the moment, the species was not entirely accustomed to being present into the body. Perhaps when it learns that, pain wouldn’t be necessary…
                                  To reassure Becky, he had reminded her of how as a child she had grown teeth, and that had been perhaps one of the weirdest most disturbing and painful experience children experience in relation to their bodies, but her parents had been telling her all along it was just growing. She just had to trust her body knew better. Or like Krustis the clown was saying, it sure won’t help a man if he notices a thumping sound in his chest to have it stop…

                                  Well, in a few days time, it would be Chinese New Year. The large Chinese population of New Venice made it a very loved holiday, and Becky and Sean had decided to wed on that day, February 19 th where they would all step into the year of the Tiger.

                                  How funny, Al was thinking, leaning over the railing of the balcony, looking at the sunset reflecting over the waters… These funny people that Becky had known in her infancy, the original FGF, they had seen New York under waters in their meditations… And that yellow car…
                                  They had discussed a lot about this event, and some had been disquieted by that fact, fearing some impeding catastrophe. But all in all it had been a smooth occurrence. Authorities had been aware of the issue, and though they did not yet know all the mechanisms at play, they had been preparing some measures to avoid the city being flooded.
                                  There had been lots of debates, as most politicians were advocating of building of dams to prevent the rising sea levels to enter the city.
                                  But the studies of Dutch experts had been the most convincing, and New York City official soon decided to follow the example of the implementation in Netherlands of moving and adapting structures, constructions of buildings and plains liable to be flooded, and even buildings and roads construction on stilts structures, which Dutch had come over time to prefer to the dams, no matter how technically efficient…
                                  Another imagery of adapting structures with the flow…

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