Now Wales has many "items of interest", but I decided to use a major news item of the time for my story.
In February 1895 the United Kingdom was in the grip of a vicious winter. After an unseasonably mild December(1894), the end of January into February was cold to the extreme(sounding familiar??). The cold spell that hit in February was cruel and deadly, with temperatures dropping to -20 and below. The river Thames was inaccessible as the estuary froze, and people could walk from one side to the other.
Further north, the ice was accompanied by heavy snowfalls. The canals, the main transport for industry, froze solid and people where put out of work. Pneumonia and chronic chest complaints ravaged the populous. The freezing conditions didn't relent until the last week of February, and this is the backdrop to my story today....
I hope this reaches you, and that you are safe and well. I can't believe I am so close to home yet unable to visit. We were supposed to dock in London and take the night train north, but the Thames was frozen solid, and the Captain took us around the southern route to WALES! Apparently this was the safest place to come ashore. I tried to get passage across the Pennines, but to no avail. I hear Yorkshire is one of the regions most affected by this horrendous weather.
It isn't quite so bad here in Wales. We went for a stroll along the new pier at Penarth. Not as grand as Brighton, but pretty all the same.
Last night Richard was quite short with me and called me an "ill-mannered snob"! I hadn't meant any offence, still not sure what I did. We had been listening to a magnificent concert given by the men of the local mining community. I only commented that I didn't understand why men with voices like angels would want to grub around in the dirt all day!
PLEASE tell me you did not say that to the choir themselves??! These men do not WANT to work in such a dangerous environment as a coal mine, but there is little other work to be had. I for one would be most grateful for a delivery of coal right now. I am fortunate to be living on your families estate, and that there is a plentiful supply of wood to burn. The people in the towns and cities are far less fortunate. Since this "Great Frost" began it has become impossible for the railways to deliver coal to fuel the factories, and the canals from Manchester are frozen solid. So many are out of work, starving and cold. So cold that they are dying in their beds for lack of coal to warm them.
I am not the least bit surprised Sir Richard was offended by your flippant remark. He is a wise and honourable man, and you should watch his demeanour when dealing with those less fortunate than yourself, young miss! He was right, you do still have much to learn.
Your disappointed, but ever-loving Governess
P.S. Nor am I enamoured with your constant habit of shortening two words into one by the use of the apostrophe"