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Reginald de Mornay Davies Diaries

August 1906 "Holiday at Bexhill-on-Sea"

Thursday August 16th

9.30 Breakfast in the garden. Finished packing. Went up to station and ordered them to come for the boxes. Left with Mother 12. To Victoria, got there 12.40 and waited till 1-5. I had a look at some of the alterations in progress and went into Victoria Street when we boarded the train which went out 1-25. Came through Clapham Junction so we need not have tone to Victoria and had all the expenses and trouble we did. Reached Bexhill about 3-45 but no luggage. I had tea at 4-30. Met a Miss Hodges, rather a jolly girl who I saw to the station with her friend Miss Meyers with whom she was staying at Aunties place. Our luggage came by 5-18. Smiled at a maiden coming back (and who) I saw going to the station in the Park Road.

Hung about outside the Egerton Park House till mother dearest tapped at the window or I might have gone and spoken as she came and walked about outside the house I saw her at. Changed into shorts and went out and came in at 7 after waiting in the shelter in the park while it rained. A Miss Dodd and her father at dinner, rather a fool he was. Went out after dinner and walked up and down the prom till I was tired and came in 9.15. (1/- to man for our luggage to E.P. 4d to porter at Victoria to main line and 2d to another porter there. 4d to porter Bexhill.)

Friday August 17th

8-5 Out with my dearest mother after breakfast and was a perfect brute to her in the way I grumbled. Came home and changed into shorts and walked along the cliff shore past the working boy’s came and back and down the prom and waited for the rain and then came out and went down the prom as far as the Kursaal (which I shall call as "the K" hereafter) coming back got soaked through. Had to have lunch and tea in my short sleeves. After tea I showed Miss Dodd the books of ridiculous things and she sat next to me. Dinner early and went to the follies with her and Miss Mayers and a friend of theirs Ramsdale. It was a very good show indeed. Coming back two girls passed us one of whom looked hard and I longed to speak and two more as got in . Went out again and took on a girl and walked down the prom with her and back to Linden Roa and arranged to meet her on Monday 8.15 or Tuesday if wet. Came back about 11.0 (1/- for The Kursaal).

Saturday August 18th

Cold bath. Played tennis with Miss D. fom 10.5 to 1-5. In the afternoon played tennis with her, Ramsdale and Miss M. and then croquet till 4.30. After tea another two sets of tennis with Miss D and then went with her to a shop and then P.O. After dinner sang and walked up and down with Miss M outside the park and came in about 9 and then went out and along prom and took on 3 maidens sitting on a seat and walked back with them and arranged to meet one of them tomorrow 8 and Wednesday. In about 10.

Sunday August 19th

8-45 Shaved after breakfast and went out with mother dearest. Decided to have a bathe after walking down the prom and came in for towel and dress and Miss Dodd came in then so we both bathed. A very pretty girl bathing just before I went into my machine she was out of the water when I came out. Felt very seedy after my bathe as I was moving about too much. Walked along prom with Miss D. and fell tremendously nervy. Saw the pretty girl again and I am almost sure it is the pretty girl I have seen get on at Victoria in the morning. Saw the I am to meet tonight twice on the prom this morning.

After lunch wrote A.D, Joe, H.K.R and Cathy. After tea about 6 with mother and Miss D to Chantry Lane and back about 7.10. At 8 met the girl but she was having supper then. Agreed to meet her at 9. Met her their after I had supper and took her up to the field we went into this evening and loved her though she would not yield as much as I wanted her to. Loved her on the stile for a bit and we got back about 10.20 and I shall meet her on Wednesday. (Bathing 6d.)

Monday August 20th

7.55 Went out about 8.5 on the proms and after breakfast got my locks shorn. Played tennis 10.45 to 12.45. Sat in the Park after lunch. A very pretty girl with a baby in a perambulator was coming to sit on my seat and would have done I believe if I had moved from the corner but she sat 2 seats away. A very pretty girl she is dressed in blue and a blue hat tied on half way with a pretty blue veil to match. After sometime she went towards the sea entrance and I went the other way to meet her but she disappeared walked round the Park and met mother dearest so we sat together on the same seat as the girl had come back again and was talking to two other ladies one of whom looked like her sister.

Later the two men (gentlemen they were) whom mother had noticed playing tennis came up to them and chatted for a time. One of them was very nice looking and the other very gentlemanly there an old man with them very upright. After tea went out with mother dearest. Came in and changed into shorts and went out again notwithstanding I had found out my stockings were odd ones. After dinner met the other girl who I took up Chantry Lane way but she would not come into the dark lane so went to the prom but she no good for a cuddle. Came home about 10. Tennis 8d.

Tuesday August 21st

Went out and sat on the stones with mother dearest. Came in about 11 and got my bathing things and came out with Miss D and after waiting on the beach for about of an hour we got a double box and had a lovely bathe. After lunch we trammed to Cooden and took pot shots. Then tea which came to for us 4 which was a swindle. I thought it meant 6d a head for as much as you liked to eat! Then Jessie and I diverted a few streams? and walked back to Bexhill as mother and Miss M. came by tram. After dinner I took mother dearest to listen to the band in the Park and when bringing her back though I passed Miss Foxley so followed her up but could not see it was her till I got close to her and she turned round. Then we greeted each other and walked round and sat down till the band stopped. Took her back. Went to bed about 1.15 and soon to sleep. Tram 6d.

Wednesday August 22nd

Going on the beach this morning met the girl I smiled at the first day and another who looked hard and round when I passed so I bowed and she waved and I went after them but they had gone too far and got in. Coming back I caught up mother dearest coming out so went on to the beach with her and went and looked for Miss M. and Jess. Hunted for them for sometime and watched the pretty girl bathing and wished I would have been bathing too. While waiting for a bathing box a married woman began talking to me commencing "Weary work waiting isn’t it?" So I spoke to her for a bit and also when she came out into the water. She seemed to be a good swimmer, watched her sitting on the beach after. While I was in the water saw the pretty girl coming in to shore in a boat and If had only seen her before I might have swum up to the boat.

After lunch began tennis with Jessie and played 4 games but it was too hot for her so we left off and sat under the trees and watched other players. I having no coat on merely a show hat! After tea played with her then with Ramsdale and was introduced to some girl with whom we played one or two games till her friend came when they played singles. As there was a girl sitting next court Ramsdale asked her if she would like a game so she joined us. I noticed her before as she had looked at me once or twice. After our hour was up we joined the two girls and then one went and Jess joined us and we played till about 7 when we all had to clear for the fire display.

Changed into shorts after dinner and watched part of the fire display and at about 8.5 met Miss F and took her to end of prom and on the grass Coodenway and loved her. She spotted some fellow skulking but when I looked at him he cleared off. Loved her after we got up and when we got to the prom we sat on a seat at the end of it and loved for a bit. Got home about 10.30. Had two drinks of Eiffel Tower lemonade. To bed about 10.50.

Thursday August 23rd

Cold bath. Went on the beach with Jess after breakfast and knocked about and when had a bathe. After our bathe two girls sitting on the next box smiled and laughed. Spoke to one of them (a Miss McCulloch a d..?.. daughter I think) and I told her the water was very nice this morning and she said "is it?". Took their dog away from them as he would go into their box. Saw her go into the water. Wandered about till 12.55 when they played "The King".

Then wandered on and sat down till 1.15 when we came in for lunch. After lunch went with Jessie Coodenway. Mother and Miss Meyers following. Messed about their till 3.55 when all returned to tea. Played tennis after tea with Jessie singles in Court 2 and then doubles with Miss M. and Ramsdale and then into another Court, till just before dinner. Dressed after dinner and met Miss F. and walked along prom. Towards Cooden and finding last seat taken walked off the prom and found a haystack and sat and loved behind it. At 9.30 about we moved to the prom where we sat on a seat till 10.10 when I took her home. Wandered about outside and met Miss M. and Jessie coming in.

Friday August 24th

Letter from Cathy which I read on the prom on a seat. Went out on the beach for a bit when it began to drizzle came in. Met Jess just coming in. After breakfast went out on the beach to look for Jess and she found me later. Must have passed the pretty girl sitting on the beach without seeing her as suddenly as Jess and I were waiting by 9 and 10 box. I saw her sitting by a boat with another girl who I had noticed when I was coming down the beach. Looked at her and saw her looking my way and when I was in the water, came out and Miss M. (gave) me 2 buns and I think the pretty girl was looking at me once or twice then Jess and I passed close to them and walked to the bandstand and back when they had gone. Looked for them again but without avail.

Went into the Park and saw the band practising for tomorrow night. After lunch wandered on the beach with J. I sat on the prom with Mother an Miss M. whom we saw coming out of the Park just as we came out of the house. Played tennis with J. for an hour (5-6) and then she sat on a seat with Mother and Mrs Benson and I played with 3 tennis balls. Met Miss F 8.15 and went and sat on the east prom will 1- when I took her back.

Saturday August 25th

Sat under the shelter of a boat with J. it was so windy. Then we came to look for Mother and after waiting sometime went back to find the boat token. Then to another and later Mother joined us at 11 went in after Miss M. had been with us sometime. A very rough bathe but the water was nice and warm. Jess and I got some gingerbread Bexhill rock and bulls eyes and then Mother came along with 1/2d buns and Miss M. gave us grapes. Came in about 1.15 poor mother very faint all of a sudden and had to sit down and reset as she got in. Very shaky in the afternoon so rested. I mended a puncture in Jess’s bike tyre and put it on when she and Miss M were at the K. changed into shorts, went out about 13.40.

Walked along the East prom near the K. rather a pretty girl dressed in light blue dress (I think it was housemaids check)(It was not however) who looked so I followed and then she turned as she passed me I saw she was a lady, followed her in the road and as she went up Devonshire Road she looked round repeatedly so I followed and when she went into a library I passed her on the corner. I bowed to her and she half turned and as I turned and came up said "for goodness sake go away my people are somewhere about" and then she explained she had lost them and they had gone to some library so we walked down some road and towards the Parade for her to go to "Hurst Dene" near the hydro. Chatted to her for sometime on the corner. She lives at Crouch End and is a lady undoubtedly. Arranged to meet her at 5-30 at the end of the prom. Told me her name is Winifreda but would not tell me her surname. Ten minutes late for tea. A friend of Miss Coulsons there a lady and a widow. I rather liked her my mother dearest better.

As Winifreda did not come along at 5-30 went towards East Parade and met her just by the metropole. We walked to a seat past the Coronation Clock passing or overtaking Jessie on the way and sat down and chatted till 6.20. Her name is Winifred Green but she would not give me her London address. I gave her mine and my full name. Her age I should say is about 18 perhaps 20. She would not believe my age was 26 and doesn’t now. Took her back as far as the De La Warr Estate Gates. Arranged to meet her tomorrow same time and place and that said she might see me outside the K. tonight. Came back and got 10/- from Mother dear. To Devonshire Road where I met J. who came to post office with me. Got two p.o’s for 5/- as they had not got one for 10/-. Coming back we met Cecil Ramsdale who inspected the photographs of J and Mis M. to metropole bar for 1/- of brandy and only got a very little two liquors which was a frightful swindle. After dinner watched for a little while the band display in the Park and then to the K. and waited outside till 10 but did not see Winifred. Went to bed about 11.15 eating a bulls eye before I did so!!

Sunday August 26th

Cold bath. Out for a little while before breakfast. Rather a rough day again. Wrote Angus in answer to his letter and sent it to Helmsdale. Went down for a bathe about 11-45. Walked down the prom after our bathe to look for Mother and Miss M. but could not find them. After lunch we three sat on the Parade and I read part of Verdant Green to them and then we went on the cliffs and sat down and I read some more. After tea met Winifred and passed her as she was dressed differently and I did not recognise her nor she me as I was dressed differently. Turned round and followed her not being certain it was her and then as she passed she turned round and I found it was her. Walked up the road at the end of the Parade.

Monday August 27th

7.0 Cold bath. Began copying "The little Silver wing" at 7.15 and went on until 9.15 went on after breakfast from about 10 till 11.55. Then to station and caught mother and Jess up and saw Mrs Benson off to Town. Coming back in station Square we met Miss M. and Mrs Ramsdale going off to Winchelsea. Came back and got bathing things and bathed with Jess about 12.30 to 1. The water was lovely and it is a lovely day and a jolly one. Mother came down just before I went in and brought us some buns the dear old thing.

A very pretty girl in a pink dress and her sister (presumably) sitting outside my box when I came out. Went on with the song for about 20mins: After lunch changed into shorts and I met Winifreda at 12.40 at the K. Passed the pretty girl. Walked to the cliffs and sat down for about half an hour. Then on to Cooden where we had tea (1/6 though 1/5) then to my little woods close by and sat in a cosy unobserved place where I kissed and loved Fraeda and put my head on her lap. Tied her tie for her just before we went and then put her hair straight. Walked back to the K. with her which we reached about 5.50 having arranged to meet the there at 5-15 tomorrow. Came back and made up yesterday’s diary and today’s up to this point on my bed where I am now writing this. This was the shorthand note. 6.30 finished. Miss F and took her to the haystack again and loved her more than ever. Listened to someone playing "Brandy’s Eyes" in the metropole as we came back. Said good bye to her.

Tuesday 28th August

Put in the words to the song. Got some hair pins with Jess and after that to get some canvas shoes and cro____ ____ for mother. On to the beach with Jess and saw the pretty girl and another girl with her. Sat down some little way off. She was talking to one of the Jews? that play tennis and is some relation of the girl that played with us one day. Bathed about 12.3. I went and chatted to the girl aforesaid for a while and then went to look for something for Jess’s shoe but did not bother as I met her and she brought me and mother and Miss M., who were sitting on the beach in chairs and seats, gingerbread nuts.

After lunch put on shirt and collar and walked down to the K. and beyond a little way and coming back met Fraeda and her sister, the former made terrific eyes as I met and I passed and only glanced at her and after I had passed looked round and so did she so I took off my hat went on to the beach by the K. and walked along towards the way they went on the beach but did not see them. Got on the the prom and walked back to the K. when again passing back through the chairs saw her with her sister and mother.

Walked and sat on a seat in a kiosk and after a bit they all came towards it and went down some steps just before they got to it, Fraeda going down last and waving to me as she did so. Went into the Park then I found Jess and Miss M. there, sat down for a bit and then came on the front to again look for the pretty girl but not seeing her come back to the Park at 4-5 I sat on a seat next to the pretty blue girl, after talking to Curtis who is still very seedy she looked at me as I cam to sit down and looked at me when I was coming out of the Park at tea time.

Walked down to the K. at 5 I saw Fraeda and her sister standing on their door step; she saw me and coming back as I passed along the prom as she was by herself I pretended to doff my hat and waved at the same time. After waiting till 5-25 she came along and said she had come to the gates and had not seen me. We sat on a seat near the Coronation Clock and she seemed out of sorts with herself. They are moving on Friday to Glynne Hall. At 6 we walked along the tram track towards Cooden and turned to go along by the Park but as we should have had to pass this place (Egerton Park House) we had to turn and come right round to where we started and go along the prom road. Took her back to the K. and arranged to meet at 5 tomorrow.

Coming back a smart girl on a bike overtook me and as she passed back again she smiled but without looking at me so I walked back and passed as she stood with friends beyond the K. as I came back close to her she laughed turning away as she did so and whether the smile meant for me (or the laugh at me). I do not know. Went with Jess after dinner to photograph shop; came back with her and then to the K. and pottered about outside up and down then came home changed into shorts and walked up to the end of the West prom and back to the K. where I sat on the corner of the rail at the end of the K. garden. The pretty girl came by with another and turned back to speak to two fellows not far from me. She at me on my way once or twice and then she left them. I followed but too late, they had disappeared into the K. I suppose. Walked past Hurst Dene and found Glynee Hall and then back to my seat till 10.15 when I came home.