Charlotte Bridgeman's Journals

February 1846 - January 1857

Lady Charlotte Bridgeman's journals

Transcribed by Marianne van Dael - van Zelm Zwern

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Selected period: April 1848

London   1848, April 7

We are beginning to take alarm at the reports of the Chartist meeting on Monday. They say that 300.000 of them will meet on Kennington Common (or Islington, for they seem to fear the troops that would be stationed at the bridge to prevent them coming over) & will march in procession to the House of Commons to demand their rights, & when they are refused there to proceed through Belgrave Sq. to Lord John Russell's house. Vague ideas of broken windows in their dis- like to the aristocracy in general & riots of Lord John refusing which of course he will. & 300.000 unprincipled men with pistols & half the square being freshly mended & in ...(?) plenty of stones - sounds alarming, but no doubt the meeting & perhaps the whole thing is much exaggerated. (The pistol part is from very good authority). At all counts six of our servants headed by silent retiring little James the underbutler are joyning to be sworn special constables tomorrow. I own I am rather curious to see such a riot & of it really does take place. I shall be glad to have seen it from a safe place, (a top window) when I think of it in future, though I should be no doubt very frigtened. This at least sounds as if the minister thought very serious about it, as they are sending the Queen to the Isle of Wight today to be out of it all.

London   1848, April 8

Lady Yarde Buller came rushing in at 12 oclock this morning, to ask Papa's advice (Sir John being out of town) as to whether it would be prudent to insist on a request one of her servants being sworn special constable who had refused to do it without. & whether in consequence she must look on him as a chartist or a coward.

London   1848, April 9

I own I get rather more frightened every day about this meeting - not that I expect them in these parts so much as I did, but the preparations made against it shows how the government look on it. All the regiments within reach have been ordered to London & even the Yeomanry of the nearest counties are to be in readiness on an emergency. Windsor has been left without a soldier, & as detachment of the Bucks yeomanry is to do their duty at the Castle. People are being sworn special constables by thousands - some parties of the Chartists are to meet in Hyde Park & some in St. James' Park at 7 or 8 oclock, to start from there to the general meeting place, Kennington Common. those that meet in Hyde Park are to march down Grosvenor Place, which is rather too near. However, they will be very quiet & orderly till after they return from Kennington, for they will have nothing to irritate them before. There is a report that finding the troops know so well their intended line of march, they will alter it & come to Belgrave Sq. but I dont believe they will. Whether they do or not, it is our intention to take our walk in the morning, in the square garden, & not venture out in the afternoon. Artillery even has been ordered to London, & we hear that the Bank & Exchange have been privisioned in case of barricade. An order was sent round later this evening that the special constables of this district (General Doyle at their head) are to meet at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning at Davis's riding school in Motcombe St. I suppose to receive orders. The Duke of Wellington is to take the command of the troops in person. Poor old man, it must be melancholy for him that his last fighting (if it really comes to that) should be against his own country-men. Cattell is in a tremendous fidget & is always in & out again trying to get news.

London   1848, April 10

The first thing to be seen today was a troop of lancers in the square - a very unusual sight. They were there some time at 6 o'clock & again at 10. Some infantry too paraded the square. The parks which were to have been places of meeting, were all closed & a garrison of soldiers at every gate. It was a lovely morning & the square garden was as full as on Sundays - everybody seeming to think it the only safe place to walk. Parties of special constables walked about all day long. At 2 o'clock we heard of the succesful termination of the meeting. It had been dispersed - the procession was not to take place & the petition 7 miles long was carried to the House in a cab instead of its own triumphal cart. There was a report that Feargus O'Connor had been arrested, but it was not true. The whole day passed off very quietly, except one affray at Blackfriar's Bridge where there was a regular battle, but the police & constables beat the mob which was composed of the thieve & worst part of the Chartists raly. We also heard there had been a little disturbance in Fleet St. breaking of windows. Newport came up to town for a night to attend the house. We dined here. Johnny came home for the holydays. We are quite proud of John Bull. He has showed the French what we are, & taught them how to act in such cases.

London   1848, April 11

We made a good few calls & found Mrs. Dean & Lady Lewisham at home. The latter, Mary & I went to alone leaving Lucy at Mr. Lanzelle's. In the evening we Mary & I went with Papa to Lady Yarde Buller's ball. A good one & as crowded as if it had been the middle of the season.

London   1848, April 12

We three, Johnny, & Miss Baker went to an instru- mental concert at Mr. Holmes's, at which he played mostly himself & one or two of his pupils. It began about 3 ock. & ended 1/2 past 4. Lady Newry was there. When we came back Caroline & Georgiana Leigh paid us a a visit. In the evening Papa, Lucy & I went to a party at Lady Feversham's where there was some very good music performed by Mme Oury. & Lady Radstock & her daughter sang as trio "Va Pensiero" . Did not stay late.

London   1848, April 13

Lady Shaw Steward & Miss Catherine J.S.(?) called, & I did not dare congratulate her. I had to receive them alone, the others being with Mr. Holst.

London   1848, April 14

We three, Johnny & Papa went to Drury Lane, where the company from the Cirque National at Paris, are performing wonders of horsemenship, gym- nastics,&c. some of the things we saw done were the most wonderful impossibilities. One woman (Coralie Ducos) among other wonders leapt through 35 hoops one after another without stopping & again over almost as many streamers. Palmire Anato was very wonderful too & though she twice failed, which seemed to disconsert her, I was very glad they clapped her immensely. But by far the prettiest thing was La petite Anato, as they call her. Her riding was as wonderful as any, & so "gentil". She personated different countries , & as a Spanish girl she played the castanets so prettily; as a highland girl she was very pretty, though she was not unfortunately dressed in a genuine plaid. The clowns were much too hilerious & I thought they & some men who danced as Chinese dance, by far the greatest "ninos" I had ever seen. They spoke half English, half French. A little boy did the most ex- traordinary twirls, balancing, & gymnastics possible. A monkey race was too cruel. It was over about 11. When the performance was over the band played God save the Queen, which was been done perpetually since the Monday events. A few people in the pit tried to get it up in chorus & there was a good deal of cheering.

London   1848, April 15

A very wet afternoon. Some of us drove with Papa to Knights nursery about the vases for the conservatory at Weston. And when we came back to fetch Mary to go with us to the private view of the Water Colour Exhibition we found she had been pro- missing the Drummonds to go & see them this afternoon. Accordingly we went there & feasted on their tea & bread & butter, & merry faces.

Weston   1848, April 18

Papa, Lucy, Mary, John & I came to Weston. Francey & the baby were still here. Georgey is at Drakelowe with Selina.

Weston   1848, April 19

A large party from Cotsbrook came to luncheon. Aunt Selina, Selina, Séphine, Francis & Orlando. When they went away Lucy, Mary & John rode halfway back with Orlando.

Weston   1848, April 20

Georgey came back from Drakelowe.

Weston   1848, April 21

Three of the Spanish geese off the Temple Pool were stolen in the night. One of her nest.

Weston   1848, April 22

Mary drove me in the old ponycarriage & Billy Warner to Cotsbrook & Johnny rode there. Lucy was not able to go & see her godchild because of a bad cold. We started soon after 11. We saw there Aunt S., Selina, Orlando, Francis & Sephine & this little girl, Lucy's godchild & namesake - a nice good tempered & easily amused little thing of 10 months old. We lunched there & walked about in the garden, & came away at 1/2 past 3, having promised to be home by 5 oclock. We came home by Shiffnal & found it took least time, for the short way, which we went was so dreadfully muddy & heavy with such deep ruts & such pools of water in there, that we were obliged to go a foots pace most of the way & run considerable danger of being stuck alltogether.

Landwell   1848, April 24

Papa, we three & Johnny went to Land- well. Johnny driving Papa in Newports dogcart (!) as far as W'hampton. We are the only people besides the family here. & they are all at home but the Lewishams. That is Lord & Lady D. & 14 children. A very merry party.

Landwell   1848, April 25

In the afternoon we went a lot of us to a flower show at the Handsworth & Loyells Institution. From there one carriage full went home & the other went on to shop at Birmingham. & bought a pair of red doll's shoes, & a whiskercomb for the carpet bag Mr. Bagot was to be teased with at night. Meanwhile the bags were being adorned with bits of tape with "special" written upon it, & walked up & down the approach to arrest Mr. Bagot for a chartist when he arrived. When he did come they seiged his horses reins & said "they were sorry to be obliged to do so, but they had received orders to arrest all suspicious looking persons about the grounds". In the evening the said carpet bag was opened & the contents of a little suit of clothes examined - which caused immense amusement.

Landwell   1848, April 26

We walked in the morning & after our drive in the afternoon, we drove through the park at Barr. Mr. Levett & Mr. Sydney Lane came. Sir Edward & Sir Francis Scott, Mrs. & Miss Robinson dined here. Music & Chartism the amusement of the evening.

Landwell   1848, April 27

Nearly the whole housefull went to a concert at Birmingham to hear Mendelsohn's Eliyah. They have dignified it with the name of the Mendelsohn's Memorial Festival & was given to put up a statue or some testimonial to Mendelsohn in the Town Hall. Lord Wrottesley was president. I liked it very much on the whole. I hade never heard it before. We parted company with the Dartmouths there & walked to Dee's Hotel where we found the Wrottesley party, & Selina & Orlando there before us. Papa & Johnny went to C. Bromwich by the railroad, & we three by the carriage. Selina & Orlando joined us soon after.

Castle Bromwich   1848, April 28

Johnny & Orlando went to Pype to fish. Mr. Bagot sent his men & carpetbag over, & never having yet turned him out when he has done so, we turned out his empty carpetbag into the north garden that he might see it when he came in. We made numerous visits - about the village & at Mr. Kampsons(?).

Castle Bromwich   1848, April 29

Mr. Bagot went away directly after breakfast taking Johnny with him & engaging us to come to luncheon. When it was time to go we found Selina & I were the only two able to go, & Orlando had gone unfortunately to Meriden (driving with Mr. Taverner in his cart as far as Coleshill). So we were obliged to take O 's servant for a chaperon, & trudged off. We talked, & walked & looked at snaps till luncheon time. Had a very luxurious one. & then three boys (Percivals) nephews of Mr. Bagots came. & we all walked a good way to light a bonfire which made a most beautiful blaze & a great heat. Identified our stolen geese (!), & after a short rest started again with a heavy load of flowers & wild duck's & swan's quills. Had some "scrape" when we came in.

Castle Bromwich   1848, April 30

Mr. Kempson for once in his life preached a sermon that did not last quite 1/2 an hour. The fact is he is not yet quite recovered from the influenza he had in the winter & was doing the two sermons for the first time since. We walked on the castle Hill in the morning & also took a long walk in the afternoon.