He Only Ever Went To Sea Pt.5

James’ next letter was written at The Strand Hotel in London, it was 15th February 1902:

I left the steamer at Plymouth and went up the river to Landulph after an absence of 26 years. I was very much surprised to see that there was no headstone of any kind over dear mother’s grave and that father’s grave had got very seedy looking although the moss rose tree was growing around it nicely…I ordered a nice granite cross, stone and curbing for mother’s grave. It has cost me 18 pounds and I have ordered a man out to renovate father’s stone. I am going to Dumbarton on Monday to look after my new ship, she will be called the ‘Aparima’.”

It was March 1902 before he wrote again and he was at sea on the SS Aparima:

I just scraped across to Brownhall for two days, they made the world of us both. I would have liked to have stayed longer but was recalled by urgent wire so could not call at St Ernan’s which annoyed me so much…..Uncle Jimmie helped me a lot with the expenses (of the graves) so tell the others (presumably Helen and John) I cannot accept anything from them.”

In many letters there were references to money which was supposed to come from Ireland to James and his brother and sister. This appears to have been an inheritance. Once more it was mentioned:

The business of St Ernan’s seems to be slowly coming to a head. Foster pleads poverty but it is generally believed that he has a bag somewhere. Anyhow, his doctor sons are reported to be doing well….I never got any of the things from Brownhall although I have written asking for them several times. It is very queer, I think they must be lost.

( Foster – Arthur Foster – was a judge who had married James’ aunt Arabella Hamilton. On the death of his grandfather, John Hamilton in 1884, Brownhall had passed to son James Hamilton whilst St Ernans had passed to Arabella, Mary Hamilton’s sister. )

Eventually some silver was sent to James in Australia.

Mary (Morrissey) Courbarron always remembered her visit to Brownhall. When they arrived the servants were lined up outside to meet them and as she was introduced all the men “pulled their forelocks“. She was very impressed. At the dinner table that evening the subject of religion was brought up. Uncle ‘Jimmie’, well aware that Mary was a Catholic sitting at an all Protestant table quickly said “a gentleman never discussed religion or politics at the table. ” The subject was dropped immediately.

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