Friday, February 17, 2006

02Jan1857, Echoing With Children

HAGLEY, January 2nd, 3rd, 1857.
—Willy and Stephy turned up. The dear old house is choked, overflowing, echoing with children. The meals are the fun. Break­fasts are composed of two tables, a loaf and a half or two loaves, a plate of bread and butter, three or four good-sized pats of butter, two teapots, a dish of meat, a dish of bacon, and a toast-rack full. They are attended by Miss Smith presiding at the top of one of the tables, dispensing drinkables, me at the bottom, dispensing meat, bacon, and butter, and cutting hunches of bread like a machine ; at the top of the other table, Meriel presiding. Round the two tables are little Mademoiselle, Albert, Nevy, Spencer, Winny, May, Agnes, Stephy, Mary and Lena. The four little girls are at Meriel's table, the rest at ours. The noise pervading the room, as much from scolders as scolded, from bellowers as bellowed at, from children, boys, women, girls, may be imagined, mingled with clatter of crockery, pouring of tea, hewing of bread, and scrumping of jaws.

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