My Love Letter Time Machine - Victorian History

"You both hurt and vex me!"

November 06, 2022 Ingrid Birchell Hughes Season 3 Episode 10
My Love Letter Time Machine - Victorian History
"You both hurt and vex me!"
Show Notes Transcript

Season 3, episode 10. 4th - 8th June 1882.  Janie seems to be back in Fred’s bad books - the pair of them have a proper bust up over the company that Janie has been keeping. We also catch up on Handsworth (Sheffield) village gossip and Janie's brother’s wedding preparations. 

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Welcome back to My Love Letter Time Machine, Hi, I’m Ingrid Birchell Hughes, and I’m serialising the love letters of my great great Grandparents, Fred Shepherd and Janie Warburton. Travel 140 years back in time with me now where we take a look at Victorian history through their eyes and today Janie seems to be back in Fred’s bad books - the pair of them have a proper bust up over the company that Janie has been keeping. 

["You both hurt and vex me!"]
Before we get into things, if you are enjoying Fred and Janie’s story there are a number of ways you can support the podcast. All the sharing, subscribing, clicking on the ratings and leaving reviews really does push the podcast up the listings and helps me out so so much, so if you have already done that, thank you - that’s brilliant, and if you haven’t yet please do go and do one or more of those - I’d be really grateful. And I want you to be able to enjoy the show for free but if you do want to send a tip my way, you can buy me a coffee or be a regular monthly supporter - a bit like patreon I guess - over on the Ko-fi page - that’s All my monthly supporters will receive  souvenir colour prints, of one of Fred’s and one of Janie’s letters. 

Back to the show - as you know I usually like to include a few little historical snippets in between some of the letters to help put everything in context, however, the following sequence of letters is so rich with village gossip, her brother’s wedding preparation and setting up home detail I think I should probably just get out of the way, and let Janie and Fred speak for themselves. For a change, we start with several of Janie’s letters that all turn up in a row. By the way, when Janie refers to ‘Our Fred’ she means her brother, Fred Warburton. Not our Fred in the podcast, Fred Shepherd. That doesn’t really help does it. I’ll do my best…

June 4th 1882

My own darling husband
I received your welcome + loving letter this morning. You do deserve several marks for the writing, it looks very nice, no Greek in it this time love.
We are expecting the cricketers from Woodhouse every minutes. It is now three o’clock, one eleven is playing at High Green. 
I am glad my letters to you do you good darling. I feel ever so much better for yours. I try to be hopeful + brave though it is hard sometimes. I want to be a kind + sympathetic loving little wife to you darling + make your life as happy as it is possible for me to do. We do feel lonely without each other love but it is better that we should feel it so, it does make me realise how much we are to each other we do love more than ever, my own husband.
I am glad the Se[i]dlitz powder did you good. I should only have been too pleased to rest my head on your shoulder darling, it was a great effort to take them to the fair.  
I did feel the parting very acutely love but it will not do to let my spirits get down. I am going to try to be cheerful, we shall soon be together again, + we shall just have as happy a time when you come at Darnall feast. I am sure this has been the happiest Whitsuntide in my life darling. They have all been happy that I have spent with you but I think this was the best don’t you love?
Darnall feast will be on July 9th darling I don’t want you to economise too severely but I do want you to come then. I wish the railway fares were not so much.
I had not the scent locked up I thought [Emma] would not touch it as it wasn’t opened. I was taking it out of that drawer to lock it up when I found out that half of it had gone.
I will not let it trouble me love. I shall not have to put up with it very long now. 
I cannot tell you love whether you were successful or no yet, there is no way of telling only, if I cease to be unwell: of course the time is not over yet so we shall have to wait until it is. If it does comes off, I should like to be married before our feast darling, because as you say they are not on their best behaviour. I know love neither of us would like them to notice any thing. I did mention it to Polly about taking apartments after marriage + she thought it a very good plan, shall have to do that if it does comes off love shan’t we? I almost think now it would be the best thing to do in any case. I told my mother too + she thought it a good plan. I don’t see why we should consider what other people think about it do you love?
I have not suffered anything from our intercourse my darling husband this time. I have felt better than ever.
I am sorry you will not be able to have your treat down to Redcar this afternoon love. I wish you could + I was going with you, the weather is dull + heavy this afternoon + a sight of the sea would do me a world of good. You will be able to take me love some day, you’ll take the missus out a little bit sometimes won’t you?
I wish I could get a letter on Sunday mornings, it would make the Sunday pass more pleasantly but I can’t love so I must make the best of my Saturday one.
I went down to Mrs Fleers last night + had the dress fitted one last time, so that is done with now. We are going to buy the furniture on Monday. I shall not give my opinion too strongly. I see it will not do, our Fred can’t get off very well on Monday so Polly Mother + I are going. I shall take note how the things run, I think they are intending making 30 £ do to furnish all through. I heard our Fred ask my mother if she thought that would be enough. 
I am just going to have tea now love so I will finish afterwards. I wish it was with you.
I shall not be able to give you much more now darling as there is a general meeting of the Club to night + Mother is wanting me to help her to wait now.
Arthur Hansom + his nephew have just called; Sarah is not very well I suppose she is near her confinement it was to come off in May, she told me, but she is going a little over the time it seems.
I haven’t time for more, only that I love you more than ever my darling husband.
+ remain always
Your loving true + faithful wife

June 5th 1882

My own darling husband
I was very pleased to receive your long loving letter this morning for which I thank you. It was a treat! I would kiss you for it love if you were here.
It was very showery all day yesterday. I went to school in the morning, there were only two female teachers at school last Sunday. I shall go every Sunday until you come again love, just fancy only yours, won’t it be nice to be together again so soon.
I stopped to Sacrament, I thought they would not be busy at home so I might stay.
I expected Emma Gill up to tea in the afternoon but she must have be afraid to venture as we had a heavy thunderstorm about one oclock + it looked cloudy all afternoon. I went down the street about three to meet her as it was fair then, she did not come, I called in Roe’s + they would have me stop to tea, Polly + I went to Church, our Fred stopped with Mr Roe + Mrs + George, after Church our Fred + Polly went for a walk down the lanes + I went down the street as far as Laycocks Farm with Fanny Makin, then when I got back into Handsworth I met Mary Beardshaw + Polly Smith another of our teachers + went back again as far as the bridge with them, as we three came back we met George Spreckley + John Wilson + they turned back with us, I left the four standing at the top of the park lane + came home it was about half past nine. I met John Merril + Fred Hunt as I went down first time he said they were all very well at your house, our John sent the coombs on Friday.
I know you will love me just as much darling if any happens I shall want it more then + I know I can depend on it my own husband.
It is so nice to think that we can trust each other fully, it must be hard for anyone to be parted if they feel afraid, but I think there is not much love where they cannot trust each other.
I think I shall be all right love + that we need not be afraid but of course I can’t tell yet, I know you would spare me all the care + trouble you can darling, but if I have to bear it I will bear it bravely, I know you will take me as soon as possible. I wish there was some means of telling, don’t trouble about it love, I shall never think that you do not really love me, I know you love me, as I love you + shall do through everything “till death us do part.”

Father was tired out of old Clegg. 

I am glad you liked the tie love. I will buy you another for our wedding, my old careful darling, you shall be great, but not in a green one, you shall have the nicest I can get for you, I know you would do anything for your wife, the kisses are very cold on paper love, not like ours at all they have just a little warmth in them, especially when that something in your trousers gets rubbing against my understandings + bursting buttons off, because my naughtiness husband. You did work late on Saturday love, it is wicked to work on Sunday but I expect you could not help it. I wish I could have sat with you. I would have been so quiet + not disturbed you a bit my darling, it is such a pleasure to be near you, I shall be near you soon + then I will be your Secretary if my services can be of any use to you, I like to feel that I shall be of some service. If it is only to put you right love when you get cantankerous, I do love you my darling Fred.
I am very sorry Alvey + Jarvis have made such a mistake, it is annoying for you darling it gives you a lot of extra work to have always to go over theirs  it is tiresome you will have to blow them up if they are not more careful. You will be obliged to tell Mr Cooper about it. I don’t see how you can help it, it was not your fault love although it is not nice to say that their[sic] has been a mistake because of course Mr Cooper might think you ought to have looked it over but he is a reasonable man + I think he will not say much if you tell him how it was done.
I wish you could have given me a loving good night like last Saturday, but as you say love we shall be able to wish each other good night every night soon so we will not repine.
We did not go to Sheffield to buy the furniture to day it has been so very wet we are going on Wednesday. I have not time to write more now love. I will give you another for Thursday Wednesday.
I remain always
Your loving true + faithful

June 5th 1882.

My own darling Fred
I feel great pleasure in tormenting you with a little more. I do wish you were here to take me for a walk down the lane, it is a nice night after the wet day, never mind you will be able to take me again soon love, won’t you?
Have you found anywhere to practise yet, or time to practise as that will be the difficulty darling, now you are so busy, you will have to win a few more of their prizes.
We have had a drunken party in all day + they are rather noisy now. Old Johnny Rhodes is drinking again + he generally has a few respectable mates.
I shall owe you a debt of gratitude all my life, for taking me out of this business love. 
I was mistaken about the cricket match taking place at High Green last Saturday, it  is not played until next Monday. Woodhouse beat them last Saturday 41 – to 19 I think. 
Our Fred’s house painting + one room papering is not included in [smudge unreadable] £30 nor the carpets + oil cloth. I think we could manage very nicely on that love for a time.
I think it would be a good plan to take Mr Philips advice + to get the furniture from the makers I would get more information from him about it, we shall not do at all badly if we can get a suite from there at the same price as you would get a second rate one at Middlesbro; get to know all particulars + we will have a long talk about it at Darnall feast. Mother did not offer any objections to our taking apartments she seemed to think it a good plan only she didn’t seem to like the look of it. Going. I have been thinking to day love that we would not do that but you should take the house + get it cleaned, + get one that does not want require much papering + painting if you can. Mother would very likely want to buy me a wedding present so I thought I would suggest a bed-stead + mattress as she bought our William one, + it  could be sent to Middlesbrough + you could set it up with the bed your mother will give us, + buy the dining room suite + then I could see about all the other things when I get there + take the cooking utensils with me it would be almost like having a picnic, only a little more work attending it. I would not mind the trouble + work darling. It would be rather uncomfortable for you love, but I would try to have things settled very soon + in ship shape form, we will talk it over when I see you. I am getting sleepy now. I wish I could give you such a nice loving good night; on your nice ginger moustache, its yours love + I like it though it is ginger, no it isn’t it is auburn + the best in the world + I love you my darling more than ever, + you know I am never tired of hearing you say you love me, good night husband, my darling Fred good night. (x)

[Continued] Tuesday 6th June
We are going to Sheffield to day instead of tomorrow haven’t time to write more.
I remain, as always
Your loving true + faithful
Wife Janie

Albert Terrace
Linthorpe Road
21 Church Street
June 6th 1882

My own darling wife
I received your welcome letter this morning, + as the postman was early I got it before leaving for the Exchange.
I was very pleased to hear that you stopped to Sacrament last Sunday darling, for I feel that I need a good wife to keep me straight + enable me to do my duty.
The part of your letter about your going down the street several times after church is very interesting love, especially the part which refers to the meeting of yourself + friends with Messrs Spreckley + Wilson, + the subsequent walk home.
Of course I am well aware that the object of Misses Makin, Beardshaw + Smith is for nothing else but to meet these fellows, but surely you have not that object in view, unless you feel that it is necessary to have a substitute for your longsuffering lover during his unavoidable absence – which so far I have not felt the necessity here.
Mr Spreckley seemingly divides his favours between yourself, Annie Laverack, + others – which fact I think marks him as a very agreeable + interesting partner for a Sunday evening’s walk, quite a pleasant change no doubt from the previous Sunday evening’s enjoyment.
There is one important fact I wish you always to bear in mind, + that is, that you belong to me – absolutely, which means a good deal to me + my peace of mind.
You must not be surprised if you see me some Sunday night before long, + then if anybody is walking you out, there will be a funeral.

I shall be very pleased to have you as my secretary love when you come here, + in that capacity you may be useful – but I don’t feel that (just now) that you will be particularly useful in the capacity you mention – I very rarely think of that when I am away from you.
No doubt feeling that way does put a little more warmth into our kisses, but I think you will agree with me that the warmth is mutual, + is especially warm when very mutual, when not only my mouth but all I have is as near as possible to you.
I am sorry that you could not go to Sheffield on Monday wifie, as I am very desirous to know whether our estimate was about right. I am afraid it was under the mark especially in the bedroom, unless we had what I suggested for a start, + then had a better one for the front bedroom afterwards – how does that suit your ideas love, I do wish I had about £200 + then we could furnish throughout without any trouble - + in a style that I should like – but unfortunately I haven’t.
I shall await your letter tomorrow darling, with pleasure – it is very good of you to give me another one so soon – love. I will give you a good warm kiss for it when I come over. Good night love. (x)

June 7th 1882
My darling

I received your letter this morning as I expected for which I thank you.
I wish I could have taken you for a walk down the lane love – nothing would have been more pleasurable.
I have not had any running practice yet, as I am working until 8 every night, + that does not give me much time for running. I expect I shall not be able to run in the sports – besides I have not your celebrated sherry to train on this year love, which will no doubt make a great difference to my speed. I hope you will not be disappointed darling if I am not successful this time. I think I have not done so badly in running even if I have [to] give up now - of course my fame as a runner will be very much diminished if I lose.
I am sorry that you had such a noisy company in your house love, but when we are married it will be very quiet I expect – unless you like to “kick up a row” when you will get stopped quick. 
I hope you will be grateful love for my taking you away from such uncongenial surroundings – I am sure I shall be quite as grateful to you my darling for leaving everything to lessen my loneliness here.
I don’t quite understand your letter love, about the house, do you mean that you will be willing to come here with only a bed + the dining room furniture in the house.
You also say you will bring the cooking utensils with you – you will come back with me love won’t you? Do you mean that you will bring them from Sheffield?
I think your plan of suggesting a bedstead to your mother a very good one love – when would the sheets etc come, for I suppose we should require even more than love to keep us warm tho’ that warms us very considerably sometimes.
I have been thinking, love, that if we could keep the cost of everything we spend for the house it would be very interesting information when we had finished furnishing (+ doubly interesting to me, being a Cost Clerk by profession).
Would it give you much trouble darling to put down all the things you have bought, + the probable cost of others you will have without paying for, keeping these two separate of course.
I wish all the trouble + bother was over wifie, it makes me feel white at the thought of it.
I should try to get the house painted + papering if necessary love before you come.
Do you mean that you would come here after our marriage, for the first time love? + not before.
I wish you could have given me the loving good night you speak of darling, but not on my ginger moustache – I don’t think it has a trace of ginger in its composition – but if you don’t like it I will have it dyed – for I want to please you even in this matter.
You will be able to tell me about the furniture in your next love, won’t you?
We should not be the first to be inconvenienced with [fittings] love, as Mr Cooper’s were without a table two or three days - + Mr Marshio’s had to borrow a table until they got the things squared a bit.
How should we go on about leaving the house while I was away doing the deed, for unfortunately I cannot marry you without coming over to do it which is a lot of trouble to no purpose.
I wish it was Darnall feast love, for notwithstanding the expense I should very much like to see you. Just fancy only a week gone since I left you it seems an age. Four weeks next Sunday love isn’t it? The monthly should be a week next Friday shouldn’t it darling? I wish it was over darling then we should know.
If we have to get married before your feast we should be compelled to take Apartments shouldn’t we love?
I have not time for any more love, so will close. I wish it was Friday + then I should get another from you.
I love you my darling wife – as ever
+ will always remain
Your loving true + faithful

June 8th 1882

My own darling husband
I received your letter this morning.
You both hurt + vex me when you talk about my having the same object in view as Fanny Makin. I thought I would have a walk down the street + Fanny was going in the same direction so we walked down together. When I went down with the other two I asked them if they were going to meet anybody + she said No.  I have not felt the necessity of having a substitute here even for my longsuffering lover during his unavoidable absence. I should like to shake you if I could for saying that. George Spreckley lodges at Mr Smiths + as Wilson took Mary Beardshaw he walked with Miss Smith + I walked with them just as far as I was obliged + then I left them. I thought you had learnt to know that I really love you + that I am yours absolutely. I feel rather inclined to be nasty love but I won’t because I really did not go with any wrong intention + I think nor because it would be wrong to do anything of kind. I mean to walk out with anybody else + it is what I have never thought of doing, being your wife I am as much to you darling as if I was really married to you.
You may come any Sunday night I am not afraid of you causing a funeral. I shall only be too pleased to have you but don’t be such a cross old boy again or I shan’t love you, if I can help it, my own husband.
We did not go to Sheffield on Tuesday it turned out very wet again so we had to wait until yesterday we went by the ten minutes to eleven train + had a full day, they are very good things which Polly has got. We went places in Fargate  not to the London Furnishing Company they are all London made furniture + very flimsy. If we have what you suggested love in the bedroom for a start, I think we can still manage on £30
I wish you had the two hundred but you haven’t love so we will make the best of the little you have. I see I did not express myself very clearly about the house love. I mean that I will am willing to go to Middlesbro after we are married with only a bed + the dining room furniture in the house + straighten afterwards instead of going beforehand + take the cooking utensils with me from Handsworth so that I should have something to cook with when I got there + not hope to go out + buy them. It is the general rule that the ladies find all household linen, sheets etc. I have two pairs now + shall get all we want by the time love, we have a good long talk about everything when you come at Darnall feast. I have not time to say more about anything this afternoon Polly wants me to help her to straighten the furniture + I am late now.
I love my darling more than ever
+ will always remain 
Your loving true + faithful
P.S. Will give you a long one for Sunday

Oh gosh that all really got under Janie’s skin didn’t it. Understandably she hates to be thought of in bad faith. I’m a bit vexed by Fred too! In the next podcast we’ll discover Fred does his best to smooth things over, and Janie is in the thick of the last week of preparations in the run up for her bother Fred’s and Polly Roe’s wedding.

Thank you so much for listening to My Love Letter Time Machine. I’d very much like to share Fred and Janie’s story with more people, so If you haven’t already - can I ask to share this podcast with someone you think might enjoy it? You can also find excerpts of Fred and Janie’s letters on instagram at my love letter time machine all one word and you can write to me at my love letter time machine at gmail dot com.

Until next time, take care.
© Ingrid Birchell Hughes 2022