Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
This account differs substantially from Dum's. As a reminder, here is the passage from his ‘Annual’ entry in 1937;
Saturday 18th December. By 1 p.m. had finally handed over to Lady Bomanji and afterwards W.P. and self had lunch at The Willows. Dr Bisset also was there. At 3 p.m. took our departure Lady B. giving W.P. a bunch of flowers & a pendant watch, and myself a box of 6 gold studs. Lady B. was upset at final leave taking at the door, and said always to remember we had a friend in her. Pretty scurvey reward for all the assistance I gave her after death of D. right up to moment of leaving apart from my long association of over 21 years service. The moral "Put not thy faith in Princes" is very well illustrated here, and now of course too late. Returned to Crown Hotel.
From the little I know of Lady Bomanji [which is not much; only hearsay and a couple of letters apart from the one quoted above] she strikes me as an impossibly complacent and patronising person and it comes as no surprise to me that Dum ran more than a mile rather than live beholden to her for anything. Would that he had been so averse to Dhunjibhoy. In a letter dated 23 May 1943, during WW II during "Britain's darkest hour", written to Dum - or rather "My dear Capt Linklater" she wrote; Marie Sutton is being called away & leaves my service after 13 years. She is very sad & so are we. I kept her on, facing panels since October so must consider myself lucky as there are some homes here [Harrogate] without a single servant. Last year I accepted a girl of 15 from an orphanage. She has fuzzy hair and is dark - but so dirty in her ways that Miss Rushton is on the point of dismissing her and says her room will be needed to be scrubbed out with carbolic for 4 days when she goes - I took her in when no other lady would accept her as she is a half caste, but proved hopeless - so we are without house-maids from to-morrow. However I have Miss R., Mrs Crockford and Marie Percival [?] so I cannot grumble. Yet that is what the whole letter is; one long ‘grumble’, a stream-of-consciousness complaint if not about her staff then about the imposition of having some of her many properties requisitioned for war use. In the only other letter of hers to Dum, dated 22 Feb 1944, she wrote This house [Pineheath, Harrogate] is very comfortable (even if I say so) and the food very good (considering war times)...Amongst the staff - only 2 indoor old servants. Mrs Crockford & Marie - the rest new hands...three of them.
I can't imagine how she managed - with only five ‘indoor’ servants! I will leave the last word to Dum. This is from a letter to "My dear Peggy and Dicko" dated 30 April 1947. The "small man" referred to is Dum's first grandson, Robin! and the birthday alluded to his second.
We greatly appreciate your regular weekly letter, and you make them long and very interesting, [I don't have any of them] and it is jolly good of you after all these years never to fail in keeping us up to date in your affairs. The snaps from time to time which you send are most welcome, and we greatly enjoy seeing them. The small man appears to be making great headway, and that reminds me his birthday is about due and I wish him all of the best, and would not mind being back at his age so that I could set a different course for a second run through life. Its a pity we don't get two chances, and sort of start all over again with all our accumulated experience, and if we did by George I would see that I kept in deep water next time. It takes the biscuit the way I sailed through life without a care in first class jobs and with plenty of money and lots of nice things, and then ended by piling myself on the rocks with the engines so worn out that I did not have sufficient power to pull myself into deep water again, and now I have become a total constructive wreck with all the nice things "gone with the wind" or better still gone by the board, and I suppose when things go by the wind there is just a possibility the wind might change and the things more or less blow back again, but when they have gone by the board, which is overboard, well that is the end of that.
The bulk of what is on this website comes from the following material in my possession.
The grey page headings are all from ULYSSES by Alfred, Lord Tennyson - although I think Dum and I come more from Prufrock's end of the scale than Ulysses'. Their inclusion is not entirely spurious as there is a connection between Tennyson and Orkney. In the autumn of 1883 Tennyson went travelling with Gladstone including a cruise aboard Pembroke Castle from Barrow to Copenhagen, during the course of which, on 13th September, they called at Kirkwall where a ‘delegation of worthies’ conferred the freedom of the burgh on both Tennyson and Gladstone. Gladstone gave a speech of thanks, speaking not only for himself but also on behalf of Tennyson who was diffident when it came to addressing a crowd of people he did not know.