H. Stanhope to Kathleen, Malta, September 16, [1897]

Add MSS 412
Box 6 File 3

H.M.S. “Melita”
16 Sept

Dear Miss O’Reilly

I arrived back here last Monday, and found your two letters for which many thanks and I’m glad the photo of the “Melita” has eventually turned up. When I say “arrived back” where do you think I’ve been? five weeks in England & Scotland seeing all my relatives and shooting and bicycling. The ship being virtually laid up. I suggested to the Admiral that they could get on without me and he saw it in the same light, so off I went to Tunis & Marseille. I had such a good time, but for too short. I joined my mother in London & went to Scotland to various houses of cousins, and I also found time to run down to Herefordshire to visit my married brother, the Chief Constable of the County. I had some grouse driving in Scotland, 102 and 122 brace a day and that sort of thing, and in between times did a four days bicycle tour with two cousins round the Rannoch district of Perthshire. At one place we stopped for lunch I met my youngest and most sedate brother Charlie, whom you know; my eldest brother I met one day, for lunch, in Edinburgh, and the South African brother In London the evening before I left on return to Malta. The next brother to me is still in Mexico struggling at his silver mines. All this took a certain amount of arranging, but I enjoyed it all very much, and feel now like the boy gone back to school but with a great deal more to do. I find my 1st Lieut. has been ill all the time I’ve been away, & things seem rather behind hand. The ship recommissions next month and I shall have a brand new lot I know nothing of, and who will want putting in to shape. I am fighting hard against being sent back to Constantinople. It is a vile place in the winter, all ice & snow, and one cannot do any drills, which the new lot will want, to say nothing of having to anchor in swishing currents, and constant collisions taking place. I must go on, I suppose, as I have only been some 18 months out, and one has to do 3 years, unless promotion comes, & I’m afraid they wont put those arrangements in your kind hands. I dined with the Admiral & after a talk with him he as good as promised not to send me to Constan. but, as Mr. Chapple said, one cannot expect that to be final. Mrs. Stanley was at dinner just arrived out on the day the “Illustrious” left for Crete. She was looking very well. I had a talk with her about B.C. and the Dunsmuir festivities. I’m afraid old Mrs. D. had to pay up pretty heavily for the new son-in-law to clear him. Mr. Chapple said £8000. The Fleet leaves again on Monday and does not return till 19th Nov. so I shant see them again. I shall have packed off before they return to do service[?] officer in the Red Sea I hope, with headquarters at Suez from whence I can run up to Cairo when I feel melancholy. If I find I am ordered to Constan.: I shall seriously think of chucking up the ship, let the consequences be what they may but the last winter there, was as hideous an experience as I ever want to go through. again. We have all been up to the Roman Catholic Cathedral this morning to attend a funeral service for the late Empress of Austria; queer woman. She was always on the wander. It was rather an interesting proceeding. Sir Robert Arbuthnot has arrived and his pony to join the “Royal Sovereign”. I found him on his back at the first cricket match he played he got a ball on one of his toes and broke it. I remember he generally had something the matter of that kind. I’m glad Jack has passed his law exam. Many thanks for the photo of you & him at tea. You look very comfortable but why did you let the handle of the tea kettle hide half your face. I should like to have seen the whole of it – the hat is very becoming and I’m sure you were looking very pretty. You always did in your white summer frocks. Please remember me to Mrs. Masters when you see her. I went over to their place (de Wintons that is) when I was on Herefordshire, and saw her people; 3 sisters were at home. When I’m promoted I will come out and pay you all a visit. I should like it more that I can tell. Now, Miss Kitty O’Reilly I must finish off or you’ll get tired. My mother was going very strong and said she had’nt heard anything of “the O’Reilly girl” lately. Kind remembrances to all your people. Ever yrs


Harry Stanhope


Back to 1897 Correspondence

This collection of letters has been digitized from an earlier transcription project and is for informational purposes only. This transcription has not been verified against the originals. Researchers interested in these letters should consult the original documents housed at the BC Archives.

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