“Bridlington Quay
August 14/79

My Darling Janie,

   I think I left off in my last with our arrival at Bridlington. After tea we went where everybody else goes that is, to the Sea–wall Parade. I can’t describe the agony that I suffered in walking on that parade. Everybody walks so slow, without bending their backs, or knocking their arms about. It was dreadful!

   I was considerably startled when I had walked round several times – to find that two out of every three had a kind of overskirt something like a great pinafore they look like so many full-grown babies. I hope I shall not have the doubtful pleasure of seeing you in one or I shall certainly protest against it. I then turned my attention to the coal-scuttles which are very useful articles in doors but rather out of place outside. There are several shapes or they are worn differently, I don’t know which. It is rather amusing to see some of the wearers of these kitchen utensils, they seem to have an idea that by some unaccountable means they look so modest in them and so aid that impression by folding their hands one over the other and looking down as though they were ashamed of themselves. Another fashion in hats is the Zulu which is worn both by males and females. The males that wear them are the lower five, the females the upper ten. There is great scope for originality in the shape of them. (When you buy them there is no shape at all) some of them have turned them up in front, others at the back, others at the right side, others at the left, others again have them obliquely or cornerwise; everyone follows her own suit well; but in every case that turned up part is covered with cardinal and cardinal bow at the back. Just fancy yourself in a hat as big as Amy Johnson’s Gainsborough but composed of the coarsest straw (quite brown) and a cardinal bow as to trimming. Would it suit? Kelsey proposed that all four of us should speculate in one each to astonish the natives, but I objected on the ground that it was scarcely my style.

   Our fourth chum is a young fellow from Zion chapel Attercliffe, with a little more than the usual dissenters quantity of gas which he very beneficently illuminates us with, and for which we are truly grateful.

   – I don’t know whether these minute details bore you, if so, I hope you will not forget to tell me so, in your next. However I will give them about your own sex which must be more interesting than anything else, besides you suggested that I should take note of the fashions for you, so here goes.

   I have noticed that the Cardinal is muchly used. I had no idea that red would contrast well with this many colours. No matter what colour the dress is, that is sure to be some red about it. Dark blue and red seems to look best, when mixing judiciously, and the prevailing mixture is blue dress as foundation with a very broad kind of sash across the front of the skirt read, also red belt, and broad bands round the rest of the same colour, and some few with red colours of the fishwife (I think you call it) pattern.

   The next favourite is a skirt of red with a dress of any other colour cut the thus: Fred's skirt drawings
   This is very effective and looks remarkably well. The nicest kind of dress tho’ (in my idea) are the white ones which look so cool it does one rather good to see them, it refreshes one almost as much as a bottle of ginger ale, which by the way is 6d for a small bottle, rather a profitable investment! The lady is here have an absurd fashion of carrying a small walking sticks. Rather manly is it not? If you care to carry one I’ve bought one which has not a silver top to it, as some of them have.

   Now for myself if that would interest you. On Monday night we did nothing but promenade. Everyone promenades here, so I am compelled to follow suit though I cannot say that I enjoyed it. In fact I thought it was dreadfully slow.

   Tuesday, first thing I had a swim, then after breakfast we went out in a boat about 4 miles in fact we considered due to our honour to go farther than anybody else. The weather was grand, very hot, very clear. Not a cloud disturbed the calm serenity of the Italian sky. (Don’t you call that a bit of poetic writing).

   After dinner we went to Flamboro’, partly on the cliffs and partly through the woods. This is a beautiful walk but it lacked one thing and that was yourself. I should have enjoyed it more had I been with you, or rather you with me.

   We intended doing the Lighthouse but unfortunately for the Lighthouse we fell a-dry and turned into the Ship-In for tea. There was a bagatelle board here which occupied our attention until it was too late for the Lighthouse so we shall have to do that another day. When coming back we turned in at the Skating Rink where I had to go through the painful operation of learning afresh. I saw Dick Brook here.

   Wednesday. The sea was very rough so we were compelled to stay in the harbour with our boat. I have got three blisters on each hand which cause me much inconvenience. I have also been much put about over my shirt buttons which will persist in coming off, no doubt owing to the amount of uncounted strain put on them. In the afternoon it rained so we spent it in the George Inn, a thing I didn’t care for, but which was much mitigated by the daughter (who comes from Sheffield) playing me several of my favourite pieces on the piano. Are you jealous?

   In the evening it poured down with rain, so we got a stock of Sherry, lemonade, cigars, cards etc and invited Kelsey and the other and had a very enjoyable evening in our sitting room which is a very nice one.

   Thursday. I had a swim before breakfast towards the coast of Flanders but turned back before getting there. After breakfast I did nothing but read the paper on the parade. In the afternoon we had another row almost out of sight of land. In the evening we did nothing about smoke cigarettes on the parade.

  We have got most comfortable lodgings. The sitting room – well furnished – all to ourselves. They board us here and I have not the least idea what the figure will be. Something high considering the quantity of beef, mutton, puddings, pies etc consumed. On Tuesday I carved a leg of mutton for the first time. In fact I am in constant practice in the carving department, and shall soon be an expert.

   I think we are all remarkably good here, if you take the proverb about “a little leaven leavening the whole lump” for there is sufficient leaven in the shape of parsons to leaven three times the number. It is rather slow here. No theatre, no dancing, no anything. I should be perfectly happy if you were here, Janie my darling for I miss you very much and will do more I am afraid on Sunday. However you must write me a long letter then about yourself and anything else you think will interest me, in doing so you will be favouring your
   True Lover + your
   Dearest Fred.

PS I have numbered the pages to prevent misunderstanding. F.

Jane replied on August 17th.

Picture source: Blankenerge Beach, Belgium. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Belgium-blankenberge-beach-1900.jpg?uselang=en-gb


4 thoughts on “Still on holiday, Fred turns fashion commentator just for Jane.

  1. How wonderful: I had a swim before breakfast towards the coast of Flanders but turned back before getting there. So funny. I don’t understand much of the fashion but I’m guessing Janie does and I think despite my lack of understanding, Janie would have enjoyed his descriptions. Coal-scuttles for hats – tee hee hee


  2. Pingback: My Darling Janie

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