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    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


      Bert dropped Zara off after breakfast at the start of the Yeperenye trail.  He suggested that she phone him when she wanted him to pick her up, and asked if she was sure she had enough water and reminded her, not for the first time, not to wander off the trail.   Of course not, she replied blithely, as if she’d never wandered off before.

      “It’s a beautiful gorge, you’ll like it,” he called through the open window, “You’ll need the bug spray when you get to the water holes.”  Zara smiled and waved as the car roared off in a cloud of dust.

      On the short drive to the start of the trail, Bert had told her that the trail was named after the Yeperenye dreamtime, also known as ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’  and that it was a significant dreamtime story in Aboriginal mythology. Be sure to look at the aboriginal rock art, he’d said.   He mentioned several varieties of birds but Zara quickly forgot the names of them.

      It felt good to be outside, completely alone in the vast landscape with the bone warming sun. To her surprise, she hadn’t seen the parrot again after the encounter at the bedroom window, although she had heard a squalky laugh coming from a room upstairs as she passed the staircase on her way to the dining room.

      But it was nice to be on her own. She walked slowly, appreciating the silence and the scenery. Acacia and eucalyptus trees were dotted about and long grasses whispered in the occasional gentle breezes.  Birds twittered and screeched and she heard a few rustlings in the undergrowth from time to time as she strolled along.

      After a while the rocky outcrops towered above her on each side of the path and the gorge narrowed, the trail winding through stands of trees and open grassland. Zara was glad of the shade as the sun rose higher.

      Zara water hole


      The first water hole she came to took Zara by surprise. She expected it to be pretty and scenic, like the photos she’d seen, but the spectacular beauty of the setting and shimmering light somehow seemed timeless and otherwordly.  It was a moment or two before she realized she wasn’t alone.

      It was time to stop for a drink and the sandwich that one of the twins had made for her, and this was the perfect spot, but she wondered if the man would find it intrusive of her to plonk herself down and picnic at the same place as him.  Had he come here for the solitude and would he resent her appearance?

      It is a public trail, she reminded herself not to be silly, but still, she felt uneasy.  The man hadn’t even glanced up as far as Zara could tell. Had he noticed her?

      She found a smooth rock to sit on under a tree and unwrapped her lunch, glancing up from time to time ready to give a cheery wave and shout hi, if he looked up from what he was doing.  But he didn’t look up, and what exactly was he doing? It was hard to say, he was pacing around on the opposite side of the pool, looking intently at the ground.

      When Zara finished her drink, she went behind a bush for a pee, making sure she would not be seen if the man glanced up. When she emerged, the man was gone.  Zara walked slowly around the water hole, taking photos, and keeping an eye out for the man, but he was nowhere to be seen.  When she reached the place where he’d been pacing looking at the ground, she paused and retraced his steps.  Something small and shiny glinted in the sun catching her eye. It was a compass, a gold compass, and quite an unusual one.

      Zara didn’t know what to do, had the man been looking for it?  Should she return it to him?  But who was he and where did he go?  She decided there was no point in leaving it here, so she put it in her pocket. Perhaps she could ask at the inn if there was a lost and found place or something.

      Refreshed from the break, Zara continued her walk. She took the compass out and looked at it, wondering not for the first time how on earth anyone used one to find their way.  She fiddled with it, and the needle kept pointing in the same direction.   What good is it knowing which way north is, if you don’t know where you are anyway? she wondered.

      With a squalk and a beating of wings, Pretty Girl appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.  “It’s not that kind of compass. You’re supposed to follow the pointer.”

      “Am I?  But it’s pointing off the trail, and Bert said don’t go off the trail.”

      “That’s because Bert doesn’t want you to find it,” replied the parrot.

      Intrigued, Zara set off in the direction the compass was pointing towards.


      In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


        Although not one to remember dreams very often, Zara awoke the next morning with vivid and colourful dream recall.  She wondered if it was something to do with the dreamtime mural on the wall of her room.  If this turned out to be the case, she considered painting some murals on her bedroom wall back at the Bungwalley Valley animal rescue centre when she got home.

        Zara and Idle had hit it off immediately, chatting and laughing on the verandah after supper.   Idle told her a bit about the local area and the mines.  Despite Bert’s warnings, she wanted to see them. They were only an hour away from the inn.

        When she retired to her room for the night, she looked on the internet for more information. The more she read online about the mines, the more intrigued she became.

        “Interestingly there are no actual houses left from the original township. The common explanation is that a rumour spread that there was gold hidden in the walls of the houses and consequently they were knocked down by people believing there was ‘gold in them there walls”. Of course it was only a rumour. No gold was found.”

        “Miners attracted to the area originally by the garnets, found alluvial and reef gold at Arltunga…”

        Garnets!  Zara recalled the story her friend had told her about finding a cursed garnet near a fort in St Augustine in Florida.  Apparently there were a number of mines that one could visit:

        “the MacDonnell Range Reef Mine, the Christmas Reef Mine, the Golden Chance Mine, the Joker Mine and the Great Western Mine all of which are worth a visit.”

        Zara imagined Xavier making a crack about the Joker Mine, and wondered why it had been named that.

        “The whole area is preserved as though the inhabitants simply walked away from it only yesterday. The curious visitor who walks just a little way off the paths will see signs of previous habitation. Old pieces of meat safes, pieces of rusted wire, rusted cans, and pieces of broken glass litter the ground. There is nothing of great importance but each little shard is reminder of the people who once lived and worked here.”

        I wonder if Bert will take me there, Zara wondered. If not, maybe one of the others can pick up a hire car when they arrive at Alice.   Might even be best not to tell anyone at the inn where they were going.  Funny coincidence the nearest town was called Alice ~ it was already beginning to seem like some kind of rabbit hole she was falling into.

        Undecided whether to play some more of the game which had ended abruptly upon encountering the blue robed vendor, Zara decided not to and picked up the book on Dreamtime that was on the bedside table.

        “Some of the ancestors or spirit beings inhabiting the Dreamtime become one with parts of the landscape, such as rocks or trees…”  Flicking through the book, she read random excerpts.   “A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land. Some emerged at their specific sites and stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else. Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories….”

        Thousands of characters. Zara smiled sleepily, recalling the many stories she and her friends had written together over the years.

        “People come and go but the Land, and stories about the Land, stay. This is a wisdom that takes lifetimes of listening, observing and experiencing … There is a deep understanding of human nature and the environment… sites hold ‘feelings’ which cannot be described in physical terms… subtle feelings that resonate through the bodies of these people… It is only when talking and being with these people that these ‘feelings’ can truly be appreciated. This is… the intangible reality of these people…..”

        With such strong ancestral connections to the land, Zara couldn’t help but wonder what the aboriginal people felt about all the mines.   If one of their ancestors had shape changed into rocks, and then some foreignors came along and hacked and blasted their way through, what would they think of that?

        “….many Aboriginal groups widely distributed across the Australian continent all appeared to share variations of a single (common) myth telling of an unusually powerful, often creative, often dangerous snake or serpent of sometimes enormous size closely associated with the rainbows, rain, rivers, and deep waterholes…..”

        She drifted off to sleep thinking of water holes in red rocky gorges, the book laying open in her hand.

        When she awoke the next morning with the slatted morning sun shining through the venetian blinds,  the dream image of the water hole was bright and clear in her minds eye.  But what was that strange character from the game doing in her dream?

        Osnas dreamtime waterhole


        She closed her eyes, remembering more of the strange dream.  Deeply orange red boulders and rocky outcrops, shivering gum trees, and green pools ~ it was coming back to her now, that creature in the blue robes had appeared more than once.  In one scene he appeared with a blue diamond lantern with what looked like a compass inside.

        Osnas lantern compass

        I’ll ask about the hiking trails today, Zara decided, and go for a walk in that gorge I read about yesterday. Bert said there were good hiking trails.   You came here early so you could play the game, she reminded herself.

        “It’s all a game,” she heard the parrot outside her window.

        “I’d forgotten about the bloody parrot!” Zara said under her breath. “Pretty Girl!” she said, opening the blinds. “We’re going out for a walk today.”


        In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


          “I’m going to have to jump in this pool, Pretty Girl, look at this one! It reminds me of something…”

          Zara came to a green pool that was different from the others, and walked into it.

          Zara Game 7She emerged into a new scene, with what appeared  to be a floating portal, but a square one this time.

          “May as well step onto it and see where it goes!” Zara told the parrot, who was taking a keen interest in the screen, somewhat strangely for a bird.  “I like having you here, Pretty Girl, it’s nice to have someone to talk to.”

          Zara stepped onto the floating tile portal.

          Zara Game 9


          “Hey, wasn’t my quest to find a wooden tile?” Zara suddenly remembered. She’d forgotten her quest while she was wandering around the enchanting castle.

          “Yes, but that doesn’t look like the tile you were supposed to find though,”  replied the parrot.

          “It might lead me to it,” snapped Zara who didn’t really want to leave the pretty castle scenes anyway.  It felt magical and somehow familiar, like she’d been there before, a long long time ago.

          After stepping onto the floating tile portal, Zara encountered another tile portal. This time it was upright, with a circular portal in the centre. By now it seemed clear that the thing to do was to walk through it.  She wandered around the scene first as if she was a tourist simply taking in the new sights before taking the plunge.

          Zara Game 9

          “Oh my god, look! It’s my tile!” Zara said excitedly to the parrot, just as the words flashed up on her screen:

          Congratulations!  You have reached the first goal of your first quest!

          Zara Game 10


          “Oh bugger!  Look at the time, it’s already starting to get light outside. I completely forgot about going to that church to see Isaac’s ghost, and now I haven’t had a wink of sleep all night.”

          “Time well spent,” said the parrot sagely, “You can go and see Isaac tomorrow night, and he may be all the more willing to talk since you kept him waiting.”


          In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


            “Look, Pretty Girl!  That must be the lost traveler walking up those steps!”

            Zara followed the mysterious man in red robes up the steps.  She lost sight of him and wondered which way he’d gone in the many side alleys. She wandered up a few of them but they all came to a dead end in a courtyard with closed doors.  Eventually she saw him disappearing into a manhole that looked like a labyrinth.

            Zara Game 5Zara followed him, and stepped onto the labyrinth manhole that the man in the red robes had disappeared into.  

            “That must be another portal,” Zara said to the parrot. “I wonder where we’ll end up now.”

            The labyrinth manhole led Zara to another portal, this time a round hole in the wall. She knew she should follow the man, who must be the lost traveler, but she couldn’t resist exploring the starlit night scene first. 

            Zara Game 6


            She found herself in a castle, its sand coloured walls glowing in the moonlight.  There was another round green pool inside the castle. Should she jump into the pool, or go back and follow the man in red through the hole in the wall?   Zara walked around the castle first, exploring the many courtyards and stairs and the enchanting views from the parapets.  She noticed that there were several green pools and wondered if they each led to different places. 

            Zara Game 7


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


              Zara decided she may as well spend the hour wandering around the game before going back to the church to see the ghost of Isaac when she was sure her host Bertie was asleep.  It was a warm night but a gentle breeze wafted through the open window and Zara was comfortable and content. Not just one but three new adventures had her tingling with delicious anticipation, even if she was a little anxious about not getting confused with the game.  Talking to ghosts in old churches wasn’t unfamiliar, nor was a holiday in a strange hotel off the beaten track, but the game was still a bit of a mystery to her.  Yeah, I know it’s just a game, she whispered to the parrot who made a soft clicking noise by way of response.

              Zara found her game character, also (somewhat confusingly) named Zara, standing in the woods.  Not entirely sure how it had happened, she was rather pleased to see that the cargo pants and tank top in red had changed to a more pleasing hippyish red skirt ensemble.   A bit less Tomb Looter, and a bit more fairy tale looking which was more to her taste.

              The woods were strangely silent and still.  Zara made a 360 degree turn on the spot to see in all directions. The scene looked the same whichever way she turned, and Zara didn’t know which way to go. Then a faint path appeared to the left, and she set off in that direction.  Before long she came to a round green pool.

              Zara Game 1She stopped to look but carried on walking past it, not sure what it signified.  She came upon another glowing green pool before long, which looked like an entrance to a tunnel.


              Zara game 2

              I bet those are portals or something, Zara realized. I wonder if I’m supposed to step into it?

              “Go for it”, said Pretty Girl, “It’s only a game.”

              “Ok, well here goes!” replied Zara, mentally bracing herself for a plunge into the unknown.

              Zara stepped into the circle of glowing green.

              “Like when Alice went down the rabbit hole!” Zara whispered to the parrot.  “I’m falling, falling…oh!”

              Zara emerged from the green pool onto a wide walled path.  She was now in some kind of inhabited area, or at least not in the deep woods with no sign of human occupation. 

              Zara Game 3

              “I guess that green pool is the portal back to the woods.”

              “By George, she’s getting it,” replied Pretty Girl.


              Zara walked along the path which led to an old deserted ancient looking village with alleyways and steps.

              “This is heaps more interesting than those woods, look how pretty it all is! I love this place.”

              “Weren’t you supposed to be looking for a hermit in the woods though,” said Pretty Girl.

              “Or a lost traveler, and the lost traveler may be here, after falling in one of those green pools in the woods,”  replied Zara tartly, not wanting to leave the enchanting scene she found her avatar in.

              Zara Game 4


                Wong Sang


                Wong Sang was born in China in 1884. In October 1916 he married Alice Stokes in Oxford.

                Alice was the granddaughter of William Stokes of Churchill, Oxfordshire and William was the brother of Thomas Stokes the wheelwright (who was my 3X great grandfather). In other words Alice was my second cousin, three times removed, on my fathers paternal side.

                Wong Sang was an interpreter, according to the baptism registers of his children and the Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital admission registers in 1930.  The hospital register also notes that he was employed by the Blue Funnel Line, and that his address was 11, Limehouse Causeway, E 14. (London)

                “The Blue Funnel Line offered regular First-Class Passenger and Cargo Services From the UK to South Africa, Malaya, China, Japan, Australia, Java, and America.  Blue Funnel Line was Owned and Operated by Alfred Holt & Co., Liverpool.
                The Blue Funnel Line, so-called because its ships have a blue funnel with a black top, is more appropriately known as the Ocean Steamship Company.”


                Wong Sang and Alice’s daughter, Frances Eileen Sang, was born on the 14th July, 1916 and baptised in 1920 at St Stephen in Poplar, Tower Hamlets, London.  The birth date is noted in the 1920 baptism register and would predate their marriage by a few months, although on the death register in 1921 her age at death is four years old and her year of birth is recorded as 1917.

                Charles Ronald Sang was baptised on the same day in May 1920, but his birth is recorded as April of that year.  The family were living on Morant Street, Poplar.

                James William Sang’s birth is recorded on the 1939 census and on the death register in 2000 as being the 8th March 1913.  This definitely would predate the 1916 marriage in Oxford.

                William Norman Sang was born on the 17th October 1922 in Poplar.

                Alice and the three sons were living at 11, Limehouse Causeway on the 1939 census, the same address that Wong Sang was living at when he was admitted to Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital on the 15th January 1930. Wong Sang died in the hospital on the 8th March of that year at the age of 46.

                Alice married John Patterson in 1933 in Stepney. John was living with Alice and her three sons on Limehouse Causeway on the 1939 census and his occupation was chef.

                Via Old London Photographs:

                “Limehouse Causeway is a street in east London that was the home to the original Chinatown of London. A combination of bomb damage during the Second World War and later redevelopment means that almost nothing is left of the original buildings of the street.”

                Limehouse Causeway in 1925:

                Limehouse Causeway


                From The Story of Limehouse’s Lost Chinatown, poplarlondon website:

                “Limehouse was London’s first Chinatown, home to a tightly-knit community who were demonised in popular culture and eventually erased from the cityscape.

                As recounted in the BBC’s ‘Our Greatest Generation’ series, Connie was born to a Chinese father and an English mother in early 1920s Limehouse, where she used to play in the street with other British and British-Chinese children before running inside for teatime at one of their houses. 

                Limehouse was London’s first Chinatown between the 1880s and the 1960s, before the current Chinatown off Shaftesbury Avenue was established in the 1970s by an influx of immigrants from Hong Kong. 

                Connie’s memories of London’s first Chinatown as an “urban village” paint a very different picture to the seedy area portrayed in early twentieth century novels. 

                The pyramid in St Anne’s church marked the entrance to the opium den of Dr Fu Manchu, a criminal mastermind who threatened Western society by plotting world domination in a series of novels by Sax Rohmer. 

                Thomas Burke’s Limehouse Nights cemented stereotypes about prostitution, gambling and violence within the Chinese community, and whipped up anxiety about sexual relationships between Chinese men and white women. 

                Though neither novelist was familiar with the Chinese community, their depictions made Limehouse one of the most notorious areas of London. 

                Travel agent Thomas Cook even organised tours of the area for daring visitors, despite the rector of Limehouse warning that “those who look for the Limehouse of Mr Thomas Burke simply will not find it.”

                All that remains is a handful of Chinese street names, such as Ming Street, Pekin Street, and Canton Street — but what was Limehouse’s chinatown really like, and why did it get swept away?

                Chinese migration to Limehouse 

                Chinese sailors discharged from East India Company ships settled in the docklands from as early as the 1780s.

                By the late nineteenth century, men from Shanghai had settled around Pennyfields Lane, while a Cantonese community lived on Limehouse Causeway. 

                Chinese sailors were often paid less and discriminated against by dock hirers, and so began to diversify their incomes by setting up hand laundry services and restaurants. 

                Old photographs show shopfronts emblazoned with Chinese characters with horse-drawn carts idling outside or Chinese men in suits and hats standing proudly in the doorways. 

                In oral histories collected by Yat Ming Loo, Connie’s husband Leslie doesn’t recall seeing any Chinese women as a child, since male Chinese sailors settled in London alone and married working-class English women. 

                In the 1920s, newspapers fear-mongered about interracial marriages, crime and gambling, and described chinatown as an East End “colony.” 

                Ironically, Chinese opium-smoking was also demonised in the press, despite Britain waging war against China in the mid-nineteenth century for suppressing the opium trade to alleviate addiction amongst its people. 

                The number of Chinese people who settled in Limehouse was also greatly exaggerated, and in reality only totalled around 300. 

                The real Chinatown 

                Although the press sought to characterise Limehouse as a monolithic Chinese community in the East End, Connie remembers seeing people of all nationalities in the shops and community spaces in Limehouse.

                She doesn’t remember feeling discriminated against by other locals, though Connie does recall having her face measured and IQ tested by a member of the British Eugenics Society who was conducting research in the area. 

                Some of Connie’s happiest childhood memories were from her time at Chung-Hua Club, where she learned about Chinese culture and language.

                Why did Chinatown disappear? 

                The caricature of Limehouse’s Chinatown as a den of vice hastened its erasure. 

                Police raids and deportations fuelled by the alarmist media coverage threatened the Chinese population of Limehouse, and slum clearance schemes to redevelop low-income areas dispersed Chinese residents in the 1930s. 

                The Defence of the Realm Act imposed at the beginning of the First World War criminalised opium use, gave the authorities increased powers to deport Chinese people and restricted their ability to work on British ships.

                Dwindling maritime trade during World War II further stripped Chinese sailors of opportunities for employment, and any remnants of Chinatown were destroyed during the Blitz or erased by postwar development schemes.”


                Wong Sang 1884-1930

                The year 1918 was a troublesome one for Wong Sang, an interpreter and shipping agent for Blue Funnel Line.  The Sang family were living at 156, Chrisp Street.

                Chrisp Street, Poplar, in 1913 via Old London Photographs:

                Chrisp Street


                In February Wong Sang was discharged from a false accusation after defending his home from potential robbers.

                East End News and London Shipping Chronicle – Friday 15 February 1918:

                1918 Wong Sang


                In August of that year he was involved in an incident that left him unconscious.

                Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Saturday 31 August 1918:

                1918 Wong Sang 2


                Wong Sang is mentioned in an 1922 article about “Oriental London”.

                London and China Express – Thursday 09 February 1922:

                1922 Wong Sang

                A photograph of the Chee Kong Tong Chinese Freemason Society mentioned in the above article, via Old London Photographs:

                Chee Kong Tong


                Wong Sang was recommended by the London Metropolitan Police in 1928 to assist in a case in Wellingborough, Northampton.

                Difficulty of Getting an Interpreter: Northampton Mercury – Friday 16 March 1928:

                1928 Wong Sang1928 Wong Sang 2

                The difficulty was that “this man speaks the Cantonese language only…the Northeners and the Southerners in China have differing languages and the interpreter seemed to speak one that was in between these two.”


                In 1917, Alice Wong Sang was a witness at her sister Harriet Stokes marriage to James William Watts in Southwark, London.  Their father James Stokes occupation on the marriage register is foreman surveyor, but on the census he was a council roadman or labourer. (I initially rejected this as the correct marriage for Harriet because of the discrepancy with the occupations. Alice Wong Sang as a witness confirmed that it was indeed the correct one.)

                1917 Alice Wong Sang



                James William Sang 1913-2000 was a clock fitter and watch assembler (on the 1939 census). He married Ivy Laura Fenton in 1963 in Sidcup, Kent. James died in Southwark in 2000.

                Charles Ronald Sang 1920-1974  was a draughtsman (1939 census). He married Eileen Burgess in 1947 in Marylebone.  Charles and Eileen had two sons:  Keith born in 1951 and Roger born in 1952.  He died in 1974 in Hertfordshire.

                William Norman Sang 1922-2000 was a clerk and telephone operator (1939 census).  William enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1942. He married Lily Mullins in 1949 in Bethnal Green, and they had three daughters: Marion born in 1950, Christine in 1953, and Frances in 1959.  He died in Redbridge in 2000.


                I then found another two births registered in Poplar by Alice Sang, both daughters.  Doris Winifred Sang was born in 1925, and Patricia Margaret Sang was born in 1933 ~ three years after Wong Sang’s death.  Neither of the these daughters were on the 1939 census with Alice, John Patterson and the three sons.  Margaret had presumably been evacuated because of the war to a family in Taunton, Somerset. Doris would have been fourteen and I have been unable to find her in 1939 (possibly because she died in 2017 and has not had the redaction removed  yet on the 1939 census as only deceased people are viewable).

                Doris Winifred Sang 1925-2017 was a nursing sister. She didn’t marry, and spent a year in USA between 1954 and 1955. She stayed in London, and died at the age of ninety two in 2017.

                Patricia Margaret Sang 1933-1998 was also a nurse. She married Patrick L Nicely in Stepney in 1957.  Patricia and Patrick had five children in London: Sharon born 1959, Donald in 1960, Malcolm was born and died in 1966, Alison was born in 1969 and David in 1971.


                I was unable to find a birth registered for Alice’s first son, James William Sang (as he appeared on the 1939 census).  I found Alice Stokes on the 1911 census as a 17 year old live in servant at a tobacconist on Pekin Street, Limehouse, living with Mr Sui Fong from Hong Kong and his wife Sarah Sui Fong from Berlin.  I looked for a birth registered for James William Fong instead of Sang, and found it ~ mothers maiden name Stokes, and his date of birth matched the 1939 census: 8th March, 1913.

                On the 1921 census, Wong Sang is not listed as living with them but it is mentioned that Mr Wong Sang was the person returning the census.  Also living with Alice and her sons James and Charles in 1921 are two visitors:  (Florence) May Stokes, 17 years old, born in Woodstock, and Charles Stokes, aged 14, also born in Woodstock. May and Charles were Alice’s sister and brother.


                I found Sharon Nicely on social media and she kindly shared photos of Wong Sang and Alice Stokes:

                Wong Sang


                Alice Stokes


                  Looking for Robert Staley


                  William Warren (1835-1880) of Newhall (Stapenhill) married Elizabeth Staley (1836-1907) in 1858. Elizabeth was born in Newhall, the daughter of John Staley (1795-1876) and Jane Brothers. John was born in Newhall, and Jane was born in Armagh, Ireland, and they were married in Armagh in 1820. Elizabeths older brothers were born in Ireland: William in 1826 and Thomas in Dublin in 1830. Francis was born in Liverpool in 1834, and then Elizabeth in Newhall in 1836; thereafter the children were born in Newhall.

                  Marriage of John Staley and Jane Brothers in 1820:

                  1820 marriage Armagh



                  My grandmother related a story about an Elizabeth Staley who ran away from boarding school and eloped to Ireland, but later returned. The only Irish connection found so far is Jane Brothers, so perhaps she meant Elizabeth Staley’s mother. A boarding school seems unlikely, and it would seem that it was John Staley who went to Ireland.

                  The 1841 census states Jane’s age as 33, which would make her just 12 at the time of her marriage. The 1851 census states her age as 44, making her 13 at the time of her 1820 marriage, and the 1861 census estimates her birth year as a more likely 1804. Birth records in Ireland for her have not been found. It’s possible, perhaps, that she was in service in the Newhall area as a teenager (more likely than boarding school), and that John and Jane ran off to get married in Ireland, although I haven’t found any record of a child born to them early in their marriage. John was an agricultural labourer, and later a coal miner.

                  John Staley was the son of Joseph Staley (1756-1838) and Sarah Dumolo (1764-). Joseph and Sarah were married by licence in Newhall in 1782. Joseph was a carpenter on the marriage licence, but later a collier (although not necessarily a miner).

                  The Derbyshire Record Office holds records of  an “Estimate of Joseph Staley of Newhall for the cost of continuing to work Pisternhill Colliery” dated 1820 and addresssed to Mr Bloud at Calke Abbey (presumably the owner of the mine)

                  Josephs parents were Robert Staley and Elizabeth. I couldn’t find a baptism or birth record for Robert Staley. Other trees on an ancestry site had his birth in Elton, but with no supporting documents. Robert, as stated in his 1795 will, was a Yeoman.

                  “Yeoman: A former class of small freeholders who farm their own land; a commoner of good standing.”
                  “Husbandman: The old word for a farmer below the rank of yeoman. A husbandman usually held his land by copyhold or leasehold tenure and may be regarded as the ‘average farmer in his locality’. The words ‘yeoman’ and ‘husbandman’ were gradually replaced in the later 18th and 19th centuries by ‘farmer’.”

                  He left a number of properties in Newhall and Hartshorne (near Newhall) including dwellings, enclosures, orchards, various yards, barns and acreages. It seemed to me more likely that he had inherited them, rather than moving into the village and buying them.

                  There is a mention of Robert Staley in a 1782 newpaper advertisement.

                  “Fire Engine To Be Sold.  An exceedingly good fire engine, with the boiler, cylinder, etc in good condition. For particulars apply to Mr Burslem at Burton-upon-Trent, or Robert Staley at Newhall near Burton, where the engine may be seen.”

                  fire engine


                  Was the fire engine perhaps connected with a foundry or a coal mine?

                  I noticed that Robert Staley was the witness at a 1755 marriage in Stapenhill between Barbara Burslem and Richard Daston the younger esquire. The other witness was signed Burslem Jnr.


                  Looking for Robert Staley


                  I assumed that once again, in the absence of the correct records, a similarly named and aged persons baptism had been added to the tree regardless of accuracy, so I looked through the Stapenhill/Newhall parish register images page by page. There were no Staleys in Newhall at all in the early 1700s, so it seemed that Robert did come from elsewhere and I expected to find the Staleys in a neighbouring parish. But I still didn’t find any Staleys.

                  I spoke to a couple of Staley descendants that I’d met during the family research. I met Carole via a DNA match some months previously and contacted her to ask about the Staleys in Elton. She also had Robert Staley born in Elton (indeed, there were many Staleys in Elton) but she didn’t have any documentation for his birth, and we decided to collaborate and try and find out more.

                  I couldn’t find the earlier Elton parish registers anywhere online, but eventually found the untranscribed microfiche images of the Bishops Transcripts for Elton.

                  via familysearch:
                  “In its most basic sense, a bishop’s transcript is a copy of a parish register. As bishop’s transcripts generally contain more or less the same information as parish registers, they are an invaluable resource when a parish register has been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise lost. Bishop’s transcripts are often of value even when parish registers exist, as priests often recorded either additional or different information in their transcripts than they did in the original registers.”


                  Unfortunately there was a gap in the Bishops Transcripts between 1704 and 1711 ~ exactly where I needed to look. I subsequently found out that the Elton registers were incomplete as they had been damaged by fire.

                  I estimated Robert Staleys date of birth between 1710 and 1715. He died in 1795, and his son Daniel died in 1805: both of these wills were found online. Daniel married Mary Moon in Stapenhill in 1762, making a likely birth date for Daniel around 1740.

                  The marriage of Robert Staley (assuming this was Robert’s father) and Alice Maceland (or Marsland or Marsden, depending on how the parish clerk chose to spell it presumably) was in the Bishops Transcripts for Elton in 1704. They were married in Elton on 26th February. There followed the missing parish register pages and in all likelihood the records of the baptisms of their first children. No doubt Robert was one of them, probably the first male child.

                  (Incidentally, my grandfather’s Marshalls also came from Elton, a small Derbyshire village near Matlock.  The Staley’s are on my grandmothers Warren side.)

                  The parish register pages resume in 1711. One of the first entries was the baptism of Robert Staley in 1711, parents Thomas and Ann. This was surely the one we were looking for, and Roberts parents weren’t Robert and Alice.

                  But then in 1735 a marriage was recorded between Robert son of Robert Staley (and this was unusual, the father of the groom isn’t usually recorded on the parish register) and Elizabeth Milner. They were married on the 9th March 1735. We know that the Robert we were looking for married an Elizabeth, as her name was on the Stapenhill baptisms of their later children, including Joseph Staleys.  The 1735 marriage also fit with the assumed birth date of Daniel, circa 1740. A baptism was found for a Robert Staley in 1738 in the Elton registers, parents Robert and Elizabeth, as well as the baptism in 1736 for Mary, presumably their first child. Her burial is recorded the following year.

                  The marriage of Robert Staley and Elizabeth Milner in 1735:

                  rbt staley marriage 1735


                  There were several other Staley couples of a similar age in Elton, perhaps brothers and cousins. It seemed that Thomas and Ann’s son Robert was a different Robert, and that the one we were looking for was prior to that and on the missing pages.

                  Even so, this doesn’t prove that it was Elizabeth Staleys great grandfather who was born in Elton, but no other birth or baptism for Robert Staley has been found. It doesn’t explain why the Staleys moved to Stapenhill either, although the Enclosures Act and the Industrial Revolution could have been factors.

                  The 18th century saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution and many renowned Derbyshire Industrialists emerged. They created the turning point from what was until then a largely rural economy, to the development of townships based on factory production methods.

                  The Marsden Connection

                  There are some possible clues in the records of the Marsden family.  Robert Staley married Alice Marsden (or Maceland or Marsland) in Elton in 1704.  Robert Staley is mentioned in the 1730 will of John Marsden senior,  of Baslow, Innkeeper (Peacock Inne & Whitlands Farm). He mentions his daughter Alice, wife of Robert Staley.

                  In a 1715 Marsden will there is an intriguing mention of an alias, which might explain the different spellings on various records for the name Marsden:  “MARSDEN alias MASLAND, Christopher – of Baslow, husbandman, 28 Dec 1714. son Robert MARSDEN alias MASLAND….” etc.

                  Some potential reasons for a move from one parish to another are explained in this history of the Marsden family, and indeed this could relate to Robert Staley as he married into the Marsden family and his wife was a beneficiary of a Marsden will.  The Chatsworth Estate, at various times, bought a number of farms in order to extend the park.

                  THE MARSDEN FAMILY
                  OXCLOSE AND PARKGATE
                  In the Parishes of
                  Baslow and Chatsworth

                  David Dalrymple-Smith

                  John Marsden (b1653) another son of Edmund (b1611) faired well. By the time he died in
                  1730 he was publican of the Peacock, the Inn on Church Lane now called the Cavendish
                  Hotel, and the farmer at “Whitlands”, almost certainly Bubnell Cliff Farm.”

                  “Coal mining was well known in the Chesterfield area. The coalfield extends as far as the
                  Gritstone edges, where thin seams outcrop especially in the Baslow area.”

                  “…the occupants were evicted from the farmland below Dobb Edge and
                  the ground carefully cleared of all traces of occupation and farming. Shelter belts were
                  planted especially along the Heathy Lea Brook. An imposing new drive was laid to the
                  Chatsworth House with the Lodges and “The Golden Gates” at its northern end….”

                  Although this particular event was later than any events relating to Robert Staley, it’s an indication of how farms and farmland disappeared, and a reason for families to move to another area:

                  “The Dukes of Devonshire (of Chatsworth)  were major figures in the aristocracy and the government of the
                  time. Such a position demanded a display of wealth and ostentation. The 6th Duke of
                  Devonshire, the Bachelor Duke, was not content with the Chatsworth he inherited in 1811,
                  and immediately started improvements. After major changes around Edensor, he turned his
                  attention at the north end of the Park. In 1820 plans were made extend the Park up to the
                  Baslow parish boundary. As this would involve the destruction of most of the Farm at
                  Oxclose, the farmer at the Higher House Samuel Marsden (b1755) was given the tenancy of
                  Ewe Close a large farm near Bakewell.
                  Plans were revised in 1824 when the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland “Exchanged Lands”,
                  reputedly during a game of dice. Over 3300 acres were involved in several local parishes, of
                  which 1000 acres were in Baslow. In the deal Devonshire acquired the southeast corner of
                  Baslow Parish.
                  Part of the deal was Gibbet Moor, which was developed for “Sport”. The shelf of land
                  between Parkgate and Robin Hood and a few extra fields was left untouched. The rest,
                  between Dobb Edge and Baslow, was agricultural land with farms, fields and houses. It was
                  this last part that gave the Duke the opportunity to improve the Park beyond his earlier


                  The 1795 will of Robert Staley.

                  Inriguingly, Robert included the children of his son Daniel Staley in his will, but omitted to leave anything to Daniel.  A perusal of Daniels 1808 will sheds some light on this:  Daniel left his property to his six reputed children with Elizabeth Moon, and his reputed daughter Mary Brearly. Daniels wife was Mary Moon, Elizabeths husband William Moons daughter.

                  The will of Robert Staley, 1795:

                  1795 will 21795 Rbt Staley will


                  The 1805 will of Daniel Staley, Robert’s son:

                  This is the last will and testament of me Daniel Staley of the Township of Newhall in the parish of Stapenhill in the County of Derby, Farmer. I will and order all of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses to be fully paid and satisfied by my executors hereinafter named by and out of my personal estate as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.

                  I give, devise and bequeath to Humphrey Trafford Nadin of Church Gresely in the said County of Derby Esquire and John Wilkinson of Newhall aforesaid yeoman all my messuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments and real and personal estates to hold to them, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns until Richard Moon the youngest of my reputed sons by Elizabeth Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years upon trust that they, my said trustees, (or the survivor of them, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns), shall and do manage and carry on my farm at Newhall aforesaid and pay and apply the rents, issues and profits of all and every of my said real and personal estates in for and towards the support, maintenance and education of all my reputed children by the said Elizabeth Moon until the said Richard Moon my youngest reputed son shall attain his said age of twenty one years and equally share and share and share alike.

                  And it is my will and desire that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall recruit and keep up the stock upon my farm as they in their discretion shall see occasion or think proper and that the same shall not be diminished. And in case any of my said reputed children by the said Elizabeth Moon shall be married before my said reputed youngest son shall attain his age of twenty one years that then it is my will and desire that non of their husbands or wives shall come to my farm or be maintained there or have their abode there. That it is also my will and desire in case my reputed children or any of them shall not be steady to business but instead shall be wild and diminish the stock that then my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall have full power and authority in their discretion to sell and dispose of all or any part of my said personal estate and to put out the money arising from the sale thereof to interest and to pay and apply the interest thereof and also thereunto of the said real estate in for and towards the maintenance, education and support of all my said reputed children by the said
                  Elizabeth Moon as they my said trustees in their discretion that think proper until the said Richard Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years.

                  Then I give to my grandson Daniel Staley the sum of ten pounds and to each and every of my sons and daughters namely Daniel Staley, Benjamin Staley, John Staley, William Staley, Elizabeth Dent and Sarah Orme and to my niece Ann Brearly the sum of five pounds apiece.

                  I give to my youngest reputed son Richard Moon one share in the Ashby Canal Navigation and I direct that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall have full power and authority to pay and apply all or any part of the fortune or legacy hereby intended for my youngest reputed son Richard Moon in placing him out to any trade, business or profession as they in their discretion shall think proper.
                  And I direct that to my said sons and daughters by my late wife and my said niece shall by wholly paid by my said reputed son Richard Moon out of the fortune herby given him. And it is my will and desire that my said reputed children shall deliver into the hands of my executors all the monies that shall arise from the carrying on of my business that is not wanted to carry on the same unto my acting executor and shall keep a just and true account of all disbursements and receipts of the said business and deliver up the same to my acting executor in order that there may not be any embezzlement or defraud amongst them and from and immediately after my said reputed youngest son Richard Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years then I give, devise and bequeath all my real estate and all the residue and remainder of my personal estate of what nature and kind whatsoever and wheresoever unto and amongst all and every my said reputed sons and daughters namely William Moon, Thomas Moon, Joseph Moon, Richard Moon, Ann Moon, Margaret Moon and to my reputed daughter Mary Brearly to hold to them and their respective heirs, executors, administrator and assigns for ever according to the nature and tenure of the same estates respectively to take the same as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

                  And lastly I nominate and appoint the said Humphrey Trafford Nadin and John Wilkinson executors of this my last will and testament and guardians of all my reputed children who are under age during their respective minorities hereby revoking all former and other wills by me heretofore made and declaring this only to be my last will.

                  In witness whereof I the said Daniel Staley the testator have to this my last will and testament set my hand and seal the eleventh day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five.



                    To Australia


                    Charles Herbert Gretton 1876-1954

                    Charles Gretton, my great grandmothers youngest brother, arrived in Sydney Australia on 12 February 1912, having set sail on 5 January 1912 from London. His occupation on the passenger list was stockman, and he was traveling alone.  Later that year, in October, his wife and two sons sailed out to join him.

                    Gretton 1912 passenger


                    Charles was born in Swadlincote.  He married Mary Anne Illsley, a local girl from nearby Church Gresley, in 1898. Their first son, Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton, was born in 1900 in Church Gresley, and their second son, George Herbert Gretton, was born in 1910 in Swadlincote.  In 1901 Charles was a colliery worker, and on the 1911 census, his occupation was a sanitary ware packer.

                    Charles and Mary Anne had two more sons, both born in Footscray:  Frank Orgill Gretton in 1914, and Arthur Ernest Gretton in 1920.

                    On the Australian 1914 electoral rolls, Charles and Mary Ann were living at 72 Moreland Street, Footscray, and in 1919 at 134 Cowper Street, Footscray, and Charles was a labourer.  In 1924, Charles was a sub foreman, living at 3, Ryan Street E, Footscray, Australia.  On a later electoral register, Charles was a foreman.  Footscray is a suburb of Melbourne, and developed into an industrial zone in the second half of the nineteenth century.

                    Charles died in Victoria in 1954 at the age of 77. His wife Mary Ann died in 1958.

                    Gretton obit 1954


                    Charles and Mary Ann Gretton:

                    Charles and Mary Ann Gretton


                    Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton 1900-1955

                    Leslie was an electrician.   He married Ethel Christine Halliday, born in 1900 in Footscray, in 1927.  They had four children: Tom, Claire, Nancy and Frank. By 1943 they were living in Yallourn.  Yallourn, Victoria was a company town in Victoria, Australia built between the 1920s and 1950s to house employees of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, who operated the nearby Yallourn Power Station complex. However, expansion of the adjacent open-cut brown coal mine led to the closure and removal of the town in the 1980s.

                    On the 1954 electoral registers, daughter Claire Elizabeth Gretton, occupation teacher, was living at the same address as Leslie and Ethel.

                    Leslie died in Yallourn in 1955, and Ethel nine years later in 1964, also in Yallourn.


                    George Herbert Gretton 1910-1970

                    George married Florence May Hall in 1934 in Victoria, Australia.  In 1942 George was listed on the electoral roll as a grocer, likewise in 1949. In 1963 his occupation was a process worker, and in 1968 in Flinders, a horticultural advisor.

                    George died in Lang Lang, not far from Melbourne, in 1970.


                    Frank Orgill Gretton 1914-

                    Arthur Ernest Gretton 1920-



                    John Orgill 1835-1911

                    John Orgill was Charles Herbert Gretton’s uncle.  He emigrated to Australia in 1865, and married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone 1845-1926 in Victoria in 1870. Their first child was born in December that year, in Dandenong. They had seven children, and their three sons all have the middle name Gladstone.

                    John Orgill was a councillor for the Shire of Dandenong in 1873, and between 1876 and 1879.

                    John Orgill:

                    John Orgill


                    John Orgill obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 21 December 1911:

                    John Orgill obit



                    John’s wife Elizabeth Orgill, a teacher and a “a public spirited lady” according to newspaper articles, opened a hydropathic hospital in Dandenong called Gladstone House.

                    Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill:

                    Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill


                    On the Old Dandenong website:

                    Gladstone House hydropathic hospital on the corner of Langhorne and Foster streets (153 Foster Street) Dandenong opened in 1896, working on the theory of water therapy, no medicine or operations. Her husband passed away in 1911 at 77, around similar time Dr Barclay Thompson obtained control of the practice. Mrs Orgill remaining on in some capacity.

                    Elizabeth Mary Orgill (nee Gladstone) operated Gladstone House until at least 1911, along with another hydropathic hospital (Birthwood) on Cheltenham road. She was the daughter of William Gladstone (Nephew of William Ewart Gladstone, UK prime minister in 1874).

                    Around 1912 Dr A. E. Taylor took over the location from Dr. Barclay Thompson. Mrs Orgill was still working here but no longer controlled the practice, having given it up to Barclay. Taylor served as medical officer for the Shire for before his death in 1939. After Taylor’s death Dr. T. C. Reeves bought his practice in 1939, later that year being appointed medical officer,

                    Gladstone Road in Dandenong is named after her family, who owned and occupied a farming paddock in the area on former Police Paddock ground, the Police reserve having earlier been reduced back to Stud Road.

                    Hydropathy (now known as Hydrotherapy) and also called water cure, is a part of medicine and alternative medicine, in particular of naturopathy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment.

                    Gladstone House, Dandenong:

                    Gladstone House



                    John’s brother Robert Orgill 1830-1915 also emigrated to Australia. I met (online) his great great grand daughter Lidya Orgill via the Old Dandenong facebook group.

                    John’s other brother Thomas Orgill 1833-1908 also emigrated to the same part of Australia.

                    Thomas Orgill:

                    Thomas Orgill


                    One of Thomas Orgills sons was George Albert Orgill 1880-1949:

                    George Albert Orgill


                    A letter was published in The South Bourke & Mornington Journal (Richmond, Victoria, Australia) on 17 Jun 1915, to Tom Orgill, Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) from hospital by his brother George Albert Orgill (4th Pioneers) describing landing of Covering Party prior to dawn invasion of Gallipoli:

                    George Albert Orgill letter


                    Another brother Henry Orgill 1837-1916 was born in Measham and died in Dandenong, Australia. Henry was a bricklayer living in Measham on the 1861 census. Also living with his widowed mother Elizabeth at that address was his sister Sarah and her husband Richard Gretton, the baker (my great great grandparents). In October of that year he sailed to Melbourne.  His occupation was bricklayer on his death records in 1916.

                    Two of Henry’s sons, Arthur Garfield Orgill born 1888 and Ernest Alfred Orgill born 1880 were killed in action in 1917 and buried in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Another son, Frederick Stanley Orgill, died in 1897 at the age of seven.

                    A fifth brother, William Orgill 1842-   sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1861, at 19 years of age. Four years later in 1865 he sailed from Victoria, Australia to New Zealand.


                    I assumed I had found all of the Orgill brothers who went to Australia, and resumed research on the Orgills in Measham, in England. A search in the British Newspaper Archives for Orgills in Measham revealed yet another Orgill brother who had gone to Australia.

                    Matthew Orgill 1828-1907 went to South Africa and to Australia, but returned to Measham.

                    The Orgill brothers had two sisters. One was my great great great grandmother Sarah, and the other was Hannah.  Hannah married Francis Hart in Measham. One of her sons, John Orgill Hart 1862-1909, was born in Measham.  On the 1881 census he was a 19 year old carpenters apprentice.  Two years later in 1883 he was listed as a joiner on the passenger list of the ship Illawarra, bound for Australia.   His occupation at the time of his death in Dandenong in 1909 was contractor.

                    An additional coincidental note about Dandenong: my step daughter Emily’s Australian partner is from Dandenong.




                    Charles Housley 1823-1856

                    Charles Housley emigrated to Australia in 1851, the same year that his brother George emigrated to USA.  Charles is mentioned in the Narrative on the Letters by Barbara Housley, and appears in the Housley Letters chapters.



                    George “Mike” Rushby 1933-

                    Mike moved to Australia from South Africa. His story is a separate chapter.


                      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


                            The Gladstone Connection

                            My grandmother had said that we were distantly related to Gladstone the prime minister. Apparently Grandma’s mothers aunt had a neice that was related to him, or some combination of aunts and nieces on the Gretton side. I had not yet explored all the potential great grandmothers aunt’s nieces looking for this Gladstone connection, but I accidentally found a Gladstone on the tree on the Gretton side.

                            I was wandering around randomly looking at the hints for other people that had my grandparents in their trees to see who they were and how they were connected, and noted a couple of photos of Orgills. Richard Gretton, grandma’s mother Florence Nightingale Gretton’s father,  married Sarah Orgill. Sarah’s brother John Orgill married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone. It was the photographs that caught my eye, but then I saw the Gladstone name, and that she was born in Liverpool. Her father was William Gladstone born 1809 in Liverpool, just like the prime minister. And his father was John Gladstone, just like the prime minister.

                            But the William Gladstone in our family tree was a millwright, who emigrated to Australia with his wife and two children rather late in life at the age of 54, in 1863. He died three years later when he was thrown out of a cart in 1866. This was clearly not William Gladstone the prime minister.

                            John Orgill emigrated to Australia in 1865, and married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone in Victoria in 1870. Their first child was born in December that year, in Dandenong. Their three sons all have the middle name Gladstone.

                            John Orgill 1835-1911 (Florence Nightingale Gretton’s mothers brother)

                            John OrgillElizabeth Mary Gladstone 1845-1926

                            Elizabeth Mary Gladstone


                            I did not think that the link to Gladstone the prime minister was true, until I found an article in the Australian newspapers while researching the family of John Orgill for the Australia chapter.

                            In the Letters to the Editor in The Argus, a Melbourne newspaper, dated 8 November 1921:



                            THE GLADSTONE FAMILY.
                            TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
                            Sir,—I notice to-day a reference to the
                            death of Mr. Robert Gladstone, late of
                            Wooltonvale. Liverpool, who, together
                            with estate in England valued at £143,079,
                            is reported to have left to his children
                            (five sons and seven daughters) estate
                            valued at £4,300 in Victoria. It may be
                            of interest to some of your readers to
                            know that this Robert Gladstone was a
                            son of the Gladstone family to which
                            the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, the
                            famous Prime Minister, belonged, some
                            members of which are now resident in Aus-
                            tralia. Robert Gladstone’s father (W. E.
                            Gladstone’s cousin), Stuart Gladstone, of
                            Liverpool, owned at one time the estates
                            of Noorat and Glenormiston, in Victoria,
                            to which he sent Neil Black as manager.
                            Mr. Black, who afterwards acquired the
                            property, called one of his sons “Stuart
                            Gladstone” after his employer. A nephew
                            of Stuart Gladstone (and cousin of
                            Robert Gladstone, of Wooltonvale), Robert
                            Cottingham, by name “Bobbie” came out
                            to Australia to farm at Noorat, but was
                            killed in a horse accident when only 21,
                            and was the first to be buried in the new
                            cemetery at Noorat. A brother, of “Bob-
                            bie,” “Fred” by name, was well known
                            in the early eighties as an overland
                            drover, taking stock for C. B. Fisher to
                            the far north. Later on he married and
                            settled in Melbourne, but left during the
                            depressing time following the bursting of
                            the boom, to return to Queensland, where,
                            in all probability, he still resides. A sister
                            of “Bobbie” and “Fred” still lives in the
                            neighbourhood of Melbourne. Their
                            father, Montgomery Gladstone, who was in
                            the diplomatic service, and travelled about
                            a great deal, was a brother of Stuart Glad-
                            stone, the owner of Noorat, and a full
                            cousin of William Ewart Gladstone, his
                            father, Robert, being a brother of W. E.
                            Gladstone’s father, Sir John, of Liverpool.
                            The wife of Robert Gladstone, of Woolton-
                            vale, Ella Gladstone by name, was also
                            his second cousin, being the daughter of
                            Robertson Gladstone, of Courthaize, near
                            Liverpool, W. E. Gladstone’s older
                            A cousin of Sir John Gladstone
                            (W. E. G.’s father), also called John, was
                            a foundry owner in Castledouglas, and the
                            inventor of the first suspension bridge, a
                            model of which was made use of in the
                            erection of the Menai Bridge connecting
                            Anglesea with the mainland, and was after-
                            wards presented to the Liverpool Stock
                            Exchange by the inventor’s cousin, Sir
                            John. One of the sons of this inventive
                            engineer, William by name, left England
                            in 1863 with his wife and son and daugh-
                            ter, intending to settle in New Zealand,
                            but owing to the unrest caused there by
                            the Maori war, he came instead to Vic-
                            toria, and bought land near Dandenong.
                            Three years later he was killed in a horse
                            accident, but his name is perpetuated in
                            the name “Gladstone road” in Dandenong.
                            His daughter afterwards married, and lived
                            for many years in Gladstone House, Dande-
                            nong, but is now widowed and settled in
                            Gippsland. Her three sons and four daugh-
                            ters are all married and perpetuating the
                            Gladstone family in different parts of Aus-
                            tralia. William’s son (also called Wil-
                            liam), who came out with his father,
                            mother, and sister in 1863 still lives in the
                            Fix this textneighbourhood of Melbourne, with his son
                            and grandson. An aunt of Sir John Glad-
                            stone (W. E. G.’s father), Christina Glad-
                            stone by name, married a Mr. Somerville,
                            of Biggar. One of her great-grandchildren
                            is Professor W. P. Paterson, of Edinburgh
                            University, another is a professor in the
                            West Australian University, and a third
                            resides in Melbourne. Yours. &c.

                            Melbourne, Nov.7, FAMILY TREE


                            According to the Old Dandenong website:

                            Elizabeth Mary Orgill (nee Gladstone) operated Gladstone House until at least 1911, along with another hydropathic hospital (Birthwood) on Cheltenham road. She was the daughter of William Gladstone (Nephew of William Ewart Gladstone, UK prime minister in 1874).”

                            The story of the Orgill’s continues in the chapter on Australia.


                              Ellen (Nellie) Purdy

                              My grandfathers aunt Nellie Purdy 1872-1947 grew up with his mother Mary Ann at the Gilmans in Buxton.  We knew she was a nurse or a matron, and that she made a number of trips to USA.

                              I started looking for passenger lists and immigration lists (we had already found some of them, and my cousin Linda Marshall in Boston found some of them), and found one in 1904 with details of the “relatives address while in US”.

                              October 31st, 1904, Ellen Purdy sailed from Liverpool to Baltimore on the Friesland. She was a 32 year old nurse and she paid for her own ticket. The address of relatives in USA was Druid Hill and Lafayette Ave, Baltimore, Maryland.

                              I wondered if she stayed with relatives, perhaps they were the Housley descendants. It was her great uncle George Housley who emigrated in 1851, not so far away in Pennsylvania. I wanted to check the Baltimore census to find out the names at that address, in case they were Housley’s. So I joined a Baltimore History group on facebook, and asked how I might find out.  The people were so enormously helpful!  The address was the Home of the Friendless, an orphanage. (a historic landmark of some note I think), and someone even found Ellen Purdy listed in the Baltimore directory as a nurse there.

                              She sailed back to England in 1913.   Ellen sailed in 1900 and 1920 as well but I haven’t unraveled those trips yet.

                              THE HOME OF THE FRIENDLESS, is situated at the corner of Lafayette and Druid Hill avenues, Baltimore. It is a large brick building, which was erected at a cost of $62,000. It was organized in 1854.The chief aim of the founders of this institution was to respond to a need for providing a home for the friendless and homeless children, orphans, and half-orphans, or the offspring of vagrants. It has been managed since its organization by a board of ladies, who, by close attention and efficient management, have made the institution one of the most prominent charitable institutions in the State. From its opening to the present time there have been received 5,000 children, and homes have been secured for nearly one thousand of this number. The institution has a capacity of about 200 inmates. The present number of beneficiaries is 165. A kindergarten and other educational facilities are successfully conducted. The home knows no demonimational creed, being non-sectarian. Its principal source of revenue is derived from private contributions. For many years the State has appropriated different sums towards it maintenance, and the General Assembly of 1892 contributed the sum of $3,000 per annum.

                              A later trip:   The ship’s manifest from May 1920 the Baltic lists Ellen on board arriving in Ellis Island heading to Baltimore age 48. The next of kin is listed as George Purdy (her father) of 2 Gregory Blvd Forest Side, Nottingham. She’s listed as a nurse, and sailed from Liverpool May 8 1920.

                              Ellen Purdy


                              Ellen eventually retired in England and married Frank Garbett, a tax collector,  at the age of 51 in Herefordshire.  Judging from the number of newspaper articles I found about her, she was an active member of the community and was involved in many fundraising activities for the local cottage hospital.

                              Her obituary in THE KINGTON TIMES, NOVEMBER 8, 1947:
                              Mrs. Ellen Garbett wife of Mr. F. Garbett, of Brook Cottage, Kingsland, whose funeral took place at St. Michael’s Church, Kingsland, on October 30th, was a familiar figure in the district, and by her genial manner and kindly ways had endeared herself to many.
                              Mrs Garbett had had a wide experience in the nursing profession. Beginning her training in this country, she went to the Italian Riviera and there continued her work, later going to the United States. In 1916 she gained the Q.A.I.M.N.S. and returned to England and was appointed sister at the Lord Derby Military Hospital, an appointment she held for four years.

                              We didn’t know that Ellen had worked on the Italian Riviera, and hope in due course to find out more about it.

                              Mike Rushby, Ellen’s sister Kate’s grandson in Australia, spoke to his sister in USA recently about Nellie Purdy. She replied:   I told you I remembered Auntie Nellie coming to Jacksdale. She gave me a small green leatherette covered bible which I still have ( though in a very battered condition). Here is a picture of it.

                              Ellen Purdy bible


                                The Liverpool Fires

                                Catherine Housley had two older sisters, Elizabeth 1845-1883 and Mary Anne 1846-1935.  Both Elizabeth and Mary Anne grew up in the Belper workhouse after their mother died, and their father was jailed for failing to maintain his three children.  Mary Anne married Samuel Gilman and they had a grocers shop in Buxton.  Elizabeth married in Liverpool in 1873.

                                What was she doing in Liverpool? How did she meet William George Stafford?

                                According to the census, Elizabeth Housley was in Belper workhouse in 1851. In 1861, aged 16,  she was a servant in the household of Peter Lyon, a baker in Derby St Peters.  We noticed that the Lyon’s were friends of the family and were mentioned in the letters to George in Pennsylvania.

                                No record of Elizabeth can be found on the 1871 census, but in 1872 the birth and death was registered of Elizabeth and William’s child, Elizabeth Jane Stafford. The parents are registered as William and Elizabeth Stafford, although they were not yet married. William’s occupation is a “refiner”.

                                In April, 1873, a Fatal Fire is reported in the Liverpool Mercury. Fearful Termination of a Saturday Night Debauch. Seven Persons Burnt To Death.  Interesting to note in the article that “the middle room being let off to a coloured man named William Stafford and his wife”.

                                Fatal Fire Liverpool


                                We had noted on the census that William Stafford place of birth was “Africa, British subject” but it had not occurred to us that he was “coloured”.  A register of birth has not yet been found for William and it is not known where in Africa he was born.

                                Liverpool fire


                                Elizabeth and William survived the fire on Gay Street, and were still living on Gay Street in October 1873 when they got married.

                                William’s occupation on the marriage register is sugar refiner, and his father is Peter Stafford, farmer. Elizabeth’s father is Samuel Housley, plumber. It does not say Samuel Housley deceased, so perhaps we can assume that Samuel is still alive in 1873.

                                Eliza Florence Stafford, their second daughter, was born in 1876.

                                William’s occupation on the 1881 census is “fireman”, in his case, a fire stoker at the sugar refinery, an unpleasant and dangerous job for which they were paid slightly more. William, Elizabeth and Eliza were living in Byrom Terrace.

                                Byrom Terrace, Liverpool, in 1933

                                Byrom Terrace


                                Elizabeth died of heart problems in 1883, when Eliza was six years old, and in 1891 her father died, scalded to death in a tragic accident at the sugar refinery.

                                Scalded to Death


                                Eliza, aged 15, was living as an inmate at the Walton on the Hill Institution in 1891. It’s not clear when she was admitted to the workhouse, perhaps after her mother died in 1883.

                                In 1901 Eliza Florence Stafford is a 24 year old live in laundrymaid, according to the census, living in West Derby  (a part of Liverpool, and not actually in Derby).  On the 1911 census there is a Florence Stafford listed  as an unnmarried laundress, with a daughter called Florence.  In 1901 census she was a laundrymaid in West Derby, Liverpool, and the daughter Florence Stafford was born in 1904 West Derby.  It’s likely that this is Eliza Florence, but nothing further has been found so far.


                                The questions remaining are the location of William’s birth, the name of his mother and his family background, what happened to Eliza and her daughter after 1911, and how did Elizabeth meet William in the first place.

                                William Stafford was a seaman prior to working in the sugar refinery, and he appears on several ship’s crew lists.  Nothing so far has indicated where he might have been born, or where his father came from.

                                Some months after finding the newspaper article about the fire on Gay Street, I saw an unusual request for information on the Liverpool genealogy group. Someone asked if anyone knew of a fire in Liverpool in the 1870’s.  She had watched a programme about children recalling past lives, in this case a memory of a fire. The child recalled pushing her sister into a burning straw mattress by accident, as she attempted to save her from a falling beam.  I watched the episode in question hoping for more information to confirm if this was the same fire, but details were scant and it’s impossible to say for sure.


                                  “Well, I wish you would stop interrupting me while I fill in the empty pages of my pink notebook with gripping stories, I keep losing my thread. Most annoying!” Liz sighed.  She wrote Liz snapped at first and then erased it and changed it to Liz sighed. Then she added Liz sighed with the very mildest slight irritation and then became exasperated with the whole thing and told herself to just leave it and try to move on!

                                  But really, Finnley’s timing, as usual! Just as Liz had worked out the direct line to the characters fathers mothers fathers fathers mothers fathers mothers fathers father and mother, Finnley wafts through the scene, making herself conspicuous, and scattering Liz’s tenuous concentration like feathers in the wind.

                                  “And I don’t want to hear a word about apostrophes either,” she added, mentally noting the one in don’t.

                                  “Oh, now I see what you’re doing, Liz!” Gordon appeared, smoking a pipe. “Very clever!”

                                  “Good God, Gordon, you’re smoking a pipe!” It was an astonishing sight. “What an astonishing sight! Where are your nuts?”

                                  “Well, it’s like this,” Gordon grinned, “I’ve been eating nuts in every scene for, how long? I just can’t face another nut.”

                                  Liz barked out a loud cackle.  “You think that’s bad, have you seen what they keep dressing me in? Anyway, ” she asked, “What do you mean clever and you see what I’m doing? What am I doing?”

                                  “The code, of course!  I spotted it right away,” Gordon replied smugly.

                                  Finnley heaved herself out of the pool and walked over to Liz and Gordon. (is it Gordon or Godfrey? Liz felt the cold tendrils of dread that she had somehow gone off the track and would have to retrace her steps and get in a  fearful muddle Oh no!  )

                                  A splat of blue algae across her face, as Finnley flicked the sodden strands of dyed debris off that clung to her hair and body, halted the train of thought that Liz had embarked on, and came to an abrupt collision with a harmless wet fish, you could say, as it’s shorter than saying  an abrupt collision with a bit of dyed blue algae. 

                                  Liz yawned.  Finnley was already asleep.

                                  “What was in that blue dye?”


                                    Finnley walked in front of Liz in a designer full body bathing suit and a mask on, poured some powder in the pool which turned the green into blue instantaneously and dived head first in the goo.

                                    ‘What are you doing?’ asked Liz, horrified.

                                    ‘Don’t you know the price of  a session at the Blue Algae Therapy Health Center?’ Finnley asked, her voice muffled by the mask.

                                    ‘Why the full bathing suit then?’

                                    ‘It’s a permanent blue dye for leather.’


                                      Today the planets are aligned, thought Liz as she looked at the blue sky out the French door. The frills of her glitter pink Charnel bathing suit wiggled with excitement.

                                      It was one of those rare days of this summer where rain wasn’t pouring somewhere in the garden. Every single day: clouds, clouds, clouds. If they weren’t above the mansion, they were above the pool. If they weren’t above the pool, they were flooding the lawn in between the mansion and the pool.

                                      But today, the sun had risen in a sky free of clouds and Liz was determined to have that dip in the newly repaired swimming pool with a watermelon mojito served by Roberto in his shiny leather speedo. The pool had been half frozen half boiling for so long that they had forgotten the swimming part. Once fixed, the summer had turned into a mid season rainy weather.

                                      ‘I don’t want to get wet before I get into the pool’, Liz had said to Finnley.

                                      Liz looked at her pink notebook lying on the coffee table. Resisting the temptation to fill in the empty pages with gripping stories, she hopped on the patio, flounces bouncing and her goocci flip-flops clacking. With a sparkling foot, Liz tested the grass. It was dry enough, which meant she would not inadvertently walk on a slug or a snail. She particularly hated the cracking noise and the wetness afterward under her feet.

                                      Roberto was bent forward. Liz frowned. He was not wearing his leather speedo. And his hands and pants were covered in green goo.

                                      ‘What happened?’ she asked in front of the disaster.

                                      Roberto shrugged, obviously overwhelmed by the goo.

                                      ‘Green algae’, said Godfrey popping up out of nowhere with a handful of cashews. ‘The ice and fire had kept it at bay for some time. But once it was back to normal the pool was a perfect environment for their development. I already called the maintenance company. They come next week.’

                                      ‘What? Next week?’

                                      ‘Yes. That’s sad. It’s the season. We are not the only ones to have that problem.’

                                      That said he threw a cashew in his mouth and popped back to nowhere he came from.


                                        Ay, the framework knittin’ were ‘ard work, but it were our own, and better by a mile than what come next. We ‘ad the frame in our home and all the family helped, the girls’d be the seamers and the spool threaders and many a fine stocking we made in our cottages, until those industrialists and capitalists came to our fair dales with their factories and such and took our livelihoods from under our noses.

                                        We ‘ad a needle maker in our village, a miller and a baker, and a dressmaker. We ‘ad farms and a dairy and a butcher, and all the old families in our parish ‘ad their place. There’s always those that find work hard, and those that find it rewarding, but even them as found the framework knittin’ ‘ard soon changed their tune about the framework knittin’ being hard when they was doubled over under gods green earth all the day long in the coal mines.

                                        Ay, the changes wrought upon our fair parish wreaked an unholy disruption upon the face of village life.  It were the inclosures act what started our downfall, when our common land was took from us, that were indeed the beginning of the end of our fine community of largely honest souls, and even the good nature of the gent from the hall and the Parish poor fund couldn’t halt the downfall.

                                        Ay and I’ve traveled to the future and seen the ungoldy sight of it now. The old farm on the turnpike road surrounded now by house upon house and not an onion nor a carrot to be seen growing in their gardens, and the fronts all hardened floors for those contraptions they move around in, and empty all day long with not a sign of life until nightfall when they all come home and go inside and shut the doors, and never a one passing the time of day with their neighbours over the garden fence, and not a chicken or a cow in sight.

                                        There’s no needlemaker now, and the mill’s been knocked down, and there are painted lines on all the hard roads, although I will say that ugly as they are they don’t get near so rutted and muddy when the weather’s bad.

                                        I can’t stay long when I visit the future with that woman who comes to call upon us asking questions. I can’t stay long at all.


                                          Shawn Paul looked suspiciously at the pictures of the dolls in the Michigan forest on Maeve’s phone. He had heard about the Cottingley Fairies pictures, supposedly taken a long time ago by two little girls. The two little girls came out long after confessing they had staged the whole thing. Some said they had been coerced into it to keep the world from knowing the truth. It could well be the same thing with the whole dollmania, and Shawn Paul thought one was never dubious enough.

                                          He noded politely to Maeve and decided to hide his doubts for now. They were resting on sunbeds near the hotel swimming pool.

                                          “Do you want another cocktail?” asked a waitress dressed up in the local costume. Not much really, and so close-fitting. She was presenting them with a tray of colourful drinks and a candid smile. Her bosom was on the brink of spilling over the band of cloth she had around her chest. It was decorated with a pair of parrots stretched in such a way their lubricious eyes threatening to pop out at any moment.

                                          Shawn Paul, who had the talent to see the odd and misplaced, forced himself to look at the tray and spotted the strangest one. He pushed his glasses back up on his nose and asked without looking at the waitress.

                                          “What’s that strange bluish blob under the layers of alcohol and fruits?”

                                          Maeve raised one eyebrow and looked at her companion with disapproval, but the waitress answered as if she heard that all the time.

                                          “That’s a spoonful of honey from the blue bees. We feed them a special treat and they make us honey with remarkable properties that we have learned to use for the treatments we offer.”

                                          “Oh,” said Shawn Paul who did not dare ask more about the treatments.

                                          They had arrived to Tikfidjikoo just before the confinement had been declared all over the world, and they had a moment of hesitation to take the last plane with the other tourists and go back safely to Canada. But after the inconclusive adventure in Australia, Maeve had convinced him they had to stay to find out more about the dolls.

                                          They had met those three old ladies and one of them had one of the dolls. Sharon, Mavis and Gloria, they were called and they were going to a smaller island of the archipelago, one that was not even on the maps apparently. That should have given them suspicions, but it seemed so important to Maeve that Shawn Paul hadn’t had the heart to leave her alone.

                                          “I have a plan,” had said Maeve, “We’re going to follow them, befriend them and learn more about how they came to have the doll and try and get the key that’s inside of it.”

                                          “You’re here for the beauty treatment?” had asked the girl at the counter. “You’re lucky, with the confinement a lot of our reservations have been canceled. We have plenty of vacancy and some fantastic deals.”

                                          Maeve had enrolled them for a free week treatment before Shawn Paul could say anything. They hadn’t seen the ladies much since they had arrived on the island, and now there were no way in or out of the island. They had been assured they had plenty of food and alcohol and a lot of activities that could be fitted to everyone’s taste.


                                            “Don’t you want to stay a little longer here?” Vincentius said to Arona after his bath in the hot springs of the Doline. Arona’s attention was caught by the dripping drops of water on the chiseled muscles, and took a while to answer.

                                            She stretched lazily on the deck chair, slightly disturbing Mandrake who was napping by her side. He rolled on his side and resumed his nap.

                                            “I don’t know, the place is nice enough. To speak true, it lacks a bit in decor and natural light; still… you wouldn’t find a nicer place to rest. Look at this white sandy beach… And to think that this pool connects to virtually anywhere, anywhen. Endless opportunities of explorations and travels are drawing you towards an adventure, don’t you think.”

                                            “I think I only live to please you, just say the word, and I’ll follow you anywhere.”

                                            “Aw, you’ve always been good at sweet-talking me. Don’t get me wrong, I like our occasional flings… for lack of a better word, but I like my independence. I have to keep exploring myself.”

                                            Seeing a sadness fleeting in his eyes, she added “if only to meet you again and again.”

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