12 Oct. 1918
The ‘Aussie’ and I went to explore the town after our breakfast of ‘hegg &’am’ and a glance at the paper which I secured at the only place where they were sold in town. I was allowed but one and the name of that I had never heard of before. At the gateway, which is built over the main street, we got to the top of the wall and had a lovely view by sea and land of strange old romantic places. The wall built in the days of Good Queen Bess surrounded the greater part of the town. Here and there were the barred doors of subterranean passages and rooms for the soldiery which had fallen in. Guns had been mounted on high points facing the sea. Between the wall and the sea to the East was a stretch of matchless green pasture land and an old shepherd speaking the Tweedmouth dialect which was a barbarous tongue to me. He was shouting orders to his boy and dog. It was a lovely day. To the West some two miles stretched the railroad bridge built high in the air over the river with great arches of pink tinted stone and far out into the sea along the pier stood a lighthouse. The town was on a high hill, the site had been chosen clearly because it was good for defence in the days of long ago. Near the station were the high ruins of part of the wall of King Edward. At 10:30 I found T. Wigston, a jeweller and had a short talk with him. He remembered that I was to have visited them on the pervious year and expressed regret that his wife was away but would be back that night and I must spend some time with them. Perhaps it was because of the temporary widowerhood that prevented him asking me to stay with them that day. Then too his wife had been attending the funeral of her sister.
Slightly after eleven I found No1 Summerhill Terrace and Miss K. Bishop at home. Sgt. Ironsides, a camp follower of the redoubtable Miss K. Bishop came in at the same time and three of us went down street to meet Mr. J. Bishop and his brother in their ‘Sweetie’ shop. Sgt. I. was on business bent and my hostess took me as far as the pier for a walk. We returned to their house and met the likewise redoubtable Miss T. Bishop and their wee brother. My host appeared for lunch and after we had tea in a shop down town and saw Miss T. Bishop depart on the train. A Miss Brigand arrived. A very quiet ‘school marm’ and stayed until the following day.
Miss K. Bishop was to give her paper on Red Cross work in the Presbyterian Church at a literary meeting on Monday night and half the people we met were looking forward to this lecture by Miss K. Bishop. R.R.C. and ex V.D who had already brought much honour to their town and this required nearly all her time. With Mr Bishop I had some great discussions and he showed me around his rooms where he kept all his geological, zoological and other scientific curios with as much delight as a child in a newly built play house or as a poet reading to you his favourite poems. A charming old man with his eye wide open to all in the world in spite of his keen delight in books. He was about fifty but scarcely a business man. He gives splendid lectures at literary meetings and is the head man over the museum.
My position was Eddie Arrol’s friend and a soldier of Canada. Their natural kindness took me in and gave me a taste of home that for which every soldier of the war in France longs. There were quiet evenings beside the glorious coal fire in the open grate, dainty meals and absolute comfort. Hot water bottle in my bed at night, shoes cleaned by the servant, great talks upon scientific subjects.
Miss K. Bishop I have described already long ago and Miss T. Bishop is rather a merry soul slightly younger than her sister who boasts of 29 years but is not so wise or efficient or venturesome. Didn’t see so much of her for she was away Saturday night and Sunday. The lad was a gentle little fellow of 16 already with a collection of rocks. Miss T. Bishop has an eye open to catch an officer but she hasn’t as yet been caught. The most sinful thing I saw them do was one evening when in the kitchen Miss T. Bishop started to smoke a cigarette but showing no great familiarity with it. When her father came in she slipped it into my hand though he must have known I did not indulge. The only thing I could do to save the situation was to take a puff and then throw it in the grate. He is a most gentle soul and though they speak of him playfully they love him intensely and have a great fear of his displeasure.
They are neither Scotch nor English but are a very gentle interesting folk. Glad I met them.