Mr Hatherwick and I have been to Clacton!
A day or two ago he came to me after breakfast and said
“Effie, now the Girl is no longer with us I cannot help but notice you are more tired. Until we engage the services of another Girl, perhaps an older one this time, I do not wish you to become worn out.”
I am such a lucky wife. We took an open carriage and were on the beach by mid-day. Oh, it was glorious, Boo. So wide, so open and so so blue. We walked up and down the front and stopped for a cup of tea and some cake. The people of Clacton are very jolly, on the whole, and we were approached more than once in the afternoon by men wanting us to buy eels and the like. We said no.
Mr Hatherwick then walked me up to quite the grandest hotel, straight across from the seafront and said “Say hello to our lodgings, Effie.” I have never seen such a place! You might think that someone used to the grandeur of Blindingham would not care for white stucco and swirls, but I thought it was delightful.
We spent an hour or so in our room before dinner. Mr Hatherwick took a nap and I read a little. Then we ate the loveliest local food – those eels again, I expect – and I drank a glass or two of brandy I don’t mind admitting it.
Clacton by night is a very different place!
After dinner we went for another stroll along the Front. There were no families or nurses with their charges. They were all safely tucked in their rooms by then. So the people we met were much more lively. We saw men singing and rolling along, laughing at the slightest joke and calling out to their friends. They must know each other very well in a small town, I suppose, to be able to shout across the street like that.
And Boo, the women were a sight to behold. So colourful and gay, I felt positively dowdy amongst them. They wandered about in twos or threes, smiling at us as we passed. Mr Hatherwick is a sociable man when at play and he took his hat off to any woman who caught his eye. Most of the women seemed very happy to be out after dark, although I did wonder where their husbands were at such an hour. I am sure I would not want to walk the streets of Clacton in a red dress without Mr Hatherwick beside me.
The rest of our night was quiet and we were back in Brunswick Square by 11 o’clock the next morning. What memories I have!
Mr Hatherwick declared himself to be so taken with Clacton that he will take me again next year. He said he will go there alone beforehand to settle upon the very best Hotel. I shall be treated like a Queen, I can tell.
Mrs Cooper asked me to pass on her best wishes for your imminent event. May I call soon and see you – it may be the last time I see you without an infant on your knee!