Allan Chaplin , Col

Allan Chaplin , Col

b: 20 JUN 1844
d: 19 AUG 1910
1881 Census:

19 New Steine, Brighton, Sussex, England


Maud E Chaplin Head Female 36 Brighton, Sussex, England Officer's wife
Wyndham Chaplin Son Male 8 Central Prov, India Scholar
Mabel F Chaplin Daur Female 5 Brighton, Sussex, England Scholar
Maud D Chaplin Daur Female 8 mths Scotland
Ann Ray Serv U Female 24 Scotland Nurse (Dom)
Annette E Lea Serv U Female 20 Lutterworth, Leicester, England Nurse (Dom)


1901 Census:

Bencomb, Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey (St Michael's Parish, near Epsom) [RG 13 Piece 623 Folio 109 Page 12]

Allan Chaplin Head Mar 56 Colonel in Army (retired) Born Sussex, Brighton (Paralytic)
Maud E Chaplin Wife Mar 56 Born Sussex, Brighton
Eliza Bowry Servant S 47 Cook domestic Born Surrey, Cheam
Lucy E Spencer Servant S 32 Housemaid Born Surrey, Brixton
William J Finch Servant S 36 Butler Born Surrey, Croydon


Allan Chaplin wrote to his mother from Ootacamund, Nov 1894:

"I was much interested in the report of the Tonbridge School improvements -- the speeches etc.. Welldon of Harrow did not make so much as he might have made of this occasion -- but I suppose he had to efface himself somewhat in presence of Cantuar? Young Welldon's speeches are always a little bumptious I think -- but of course that comes from self-confidence which is the gift to which successful men, for the most part, owe their success. The place seems as much a club as a school -- with all in its various institutions and branches and think of 28 Masters! "Chaplin" I once heard a master say, in allusion to me "Chaplin is one of those who look upon us as the common enemy" and and yet one or two of them were my very good friends!"
LETTERS FROM INDIA & BURMA by Col. Allan Chaplin
Most of the letters below were from India, in the years from 1868 to 1894

Generally speaking Allan was a liberal-minded person with advance opinions for his time and class, but our views on matters of race are so different nowadays that some of his opinions are almost bound to seem offensive. Of course the letters were not written for publication, so I hope they will be tolerated by readers purely as documents of historical interest. I should greatly appreciate any help in elucidating or correcting the names of people, places or dates, or explanations of references in them to events which may not mean much to me at present. Alan Ray-Jones


Hamp(?) or Kamp(?)

July 12, 1868

My dear mother I received your letter of the 12th June. You see that I have not yet left this place. I am not likely to leave before the end of August and I shall shake the dust from my feet when I depart. You seem lucky you (?), I hope the letters I have sent to the house will not miscarry.
The rain has been very heavy in Bengal and the East. Even to the (?) of tea crops: in this place it has only just begun to fall. People are making guesses as to who is to be G.G. The government must "look alive" if Sir Stafford Northcote is to have it. What a storm has been raised at home by the "girl of the period" article. I see that the article has been translated and published in a native paper and the Editors, on the strength of it, question the propriety of encouraging the(?) representations of their race.

Love to all
your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin


[January 1871? Letter from Allan Chaplin – an account of his journey from Strasbourg to Versailles, sent to his sister Louisa. The date includes no year and the month is indistinct, but it was during the siege of Paris by Bismarck, so 1871 – see the note at the end. As far as I can see he went to Versailles on a private visit to meet his brother-in-law John Hilary Skinner, who was already there as one of the first war correspondents, working for his paper, The Daily News. An account of Skinner after Sedan in 1870, and in Versailles, was published in The Daily News on the 2?th November, 1894, a few days after his death, and is also included in the Chaplin and Skinner family book.]

Versailles, January 23rd

My dear Louie,
As I expected, I have ‘fallen upon my legs’ and succeeded in reaching Hq 2nd and you may perhaps (as my success may be attributed to your energetic measures) be interested in hearing how I fared en route. To begin with - the arrangement with the guards of the train in which I left on the 17th fell through. I understood that one of the men with whom you spoke would go to Strasbourg; on arriving there I found that neither of our friends had come. On reaching Strasbourg I retained the services of a porter to carry my kit and wandered round the station. The platform was very muddy and slippery and I had not gone far before my foot slipped and down I went. I trembled for my coat but wonderful to relate there was but one spot of dirt on it and the overcoat was not soiled.

On looking about, I saw, as I told you, a bureau, the entrance to which was crowded with soldiers and others receiving ‘legitimations’. Having adjusted my dress in such a way as to show a little of the red tag and gold lace, I pushed forward and handed my pass through the grating. The official looked at it, and at once turned to the head of the office; that official, having read Major Schneider’s note, rose, came to the door and politely, in English, begged me to enter. I was then told to call for a pass at 5 pm, and was bowed out of the office. The rain was falling, the streets were muddy and slippery but I managed to make my way to an hotel which I reached in time for the table d'hote. When I entered the room all eyes were turned on me, attracted by the gorgeous coat, and a gentleman who spoke English told me he had met several officers but then, he added "they were not travelling officially as you are".

The weather being so bad, I put off seeing the town till my return, and contented myself with talking to the landlord, who showed several places on the premises where the shells had fallen, and was good enough to drag out a bomb, which he had received from the Germans which weighed 180 pounds. The man seemed quite proud of being the possessor of the largest shell which had fallen into the city. I returned in due time to the station for the legitimation; on receiving it I found to my surprise that I had to pay nothing - the pass was for ‘1 officer’ to Head Quarters. The officials said the train would leave at 5.30 "but," it was added, "please to come a little later as there is generally some delay!!" I began to be rather alarmed at so much courtesy, lest I might get into trouble for sailing under false colours. However, if they insist on making much of me it is not my fault and I thought I had better maintain a dignified reserve.

The train was crowded with soldiers and officers, and no luggage was allowed save a "hand gepack" (I think so-called); it was therefore with that I had only the portmanteau, but even that was rather too large as the carriages (second-class) were small and had no netting. We reached Nancy at 11.30, and I was told to wait until 5.30 am. Following the officers and others I turned into the restaurant at the station where we bivouacked till the morning. I longed to be able to speak the language that I might have joined in the conversation of the officers of which I could understand nothing save the frequent occurrence of the words "Paris" and Fransos(?). I was roused as the time for the train drew near by the bustle in the waiting room and the passing to and fro of big men with clanging sabres, and I succeeded with some difficulty in securing a seat in the carriage for Lagny.

Our journey to the latter place was without incident save that near Vitry some persons said to be the Francs tireurs had torn up one or two rails - as the train was moving slowly we escaped an accident and the rails were soon replaced. The villagers seem to be on quite friendly terms with the invaders, and at every station are to be seen women and children selling refreshments. At Epernay (Ebernay the Germans call it) there is a great demand for the vinter for which the place is famous, but which is thought but a poor substitute for the ‘bier’ of the Vaterland. On arrival at Lagny – at 10 - a sous-officier asked to see my papers. Having seen them he offered to show me a hotel; on reaching the hotel we found it full of Prussians - whose presence was evidently painful to the hostess who in answer to our inquiries (or orders) and declared with tears that she had no more room. We tried another restaurant but the proprietor shut the door in our faces - no violence however was used although several officers were also seeking accommodation. At length my conductor suggested going to the Commandant -- we went accordingly. It is explained that an English officer is en route for Hq 2nd and requires a lodging for the night and a carriage to take him to Versailles. The Commandant rises, bows politely and addresses me in German "Pardon me, I do not speak German, will you be good enough to address me in French.” I show my papers. "You will go to the Prince Royal." I bow an assent.

A few words to a subordinate, and I am conducted to the office of the adjutant, who explains that I must call in the morning at 7.30, when he will provide me with a "wagon"; and then sends me with an orderly to a place where officers of the service are accommodated when passing through Lagny. The lodging was not of the best but ‘a la guerre comme a la guerre’. I turned in after a bottle of vile French beer for which I rashly called, little thinking it would cost 1 Thaler, and slept till morning after a partial ablution (for one cannot wash very well with a shallow pie dish and a pocket handkerchief). I returned to the bureau where I waited till 10, and was then told that the "wagon" was ready, and that an officer, en route for Versailles, would share it was me. An orderly, with my baggage, conducted me to the "voiture", which proved to be what would be called at home, a private brougham. Again, I had fallen on my legs! The officer who travelled with me, a Hanoverian, talked English and was a perfect gentleman, having clean hands and carrying soap and nailbrush in his bag. "You are going to Bismarck?" said my companion after a few minutes. " No," I replied, " I am not going to Bismarck." The officials at Lagny had evidently been talking about me to my companion. I thought it better to let myself down gently, and it was not till we approached Versailles that I said my brother-in-law was a correspondent. Owing to the thaw the road was ankle deep in mud, but was quite fit for traffic. This road has indeed been a powerful weapon in the hands of the Germans, as a road less well metalled would long since have become impassable owing to the constant traffic. There was not very much to be seen en route. The road runs through deserted villages and past trampled and barren fields - a few of the bolder villagers have remained and some of the shops are open and doing a little business, but as a rule the houses are deserted.

The chateaux by the roadside were apparently untenanted, but so far as one could see en passant they were un-injured (I hear that they have now ? being sacked), and save for the board hanging on the gate of the "Schloss Sevrieres" one would not have known that that famous chateau had so lately been in the possession of the invaders. Our progress was not rapid owing to the traffic on the road, which was blocked now by countless wagons laden with shot and shell destined for the destruction of Paris, and now by immense droves of sheep which were driven by men in cloaks and long boots, with rifles slung over the shoulder, and followed by the shepherd’s dog, which had chosen to stand by the flock rather than follow the fortunes of his master. At times the carriage was drawn to the side of the road, to allow the passage of French prisoners - their long blue cloaks were torn and shabby and the red trousers were bespattered with mud; they toiled along patiently enough, their faces tanned and haggard but not, apparently, very unhappy. Many of them were eating their dinners as they marched, glad perhaps, poor souls, to make a good meal even at the cost of freedom. One is much struck by the superior physique of the French as compared with their enemies; the demoralisation of the troops is evident on looking at the prisoners; some are mere boys of 14 and 15, not a few wear the dress of the artisans and all have the appearance of untrained levies. At Chevy(?) (Between Corbeil and Lagny), we halted to rest the horse and were fortunate enough to meet the officer of the detachment in the village ‘Baron von Pfordlen’ of the Bavarian horse, who spoke English fluently, and was good enough to ask us to breakfast at his quarters. Having made an hour’s stay we bad farewell to our hospitable friend and started for Corbeil which we reached about 5pm. After going to the hotel and failing to find accommodation we went to the Office of the Commandant, where we received billets and passed the night in pretty comfortable quarters. We dined, by the way, at a table d'hote crowded with Prussian officers. The fare was unusually good but I could not but think of the great city starving close at hand. It is however only a raw campaigner who will allow such thoughts to spoil his appetite. After dinner we walked in the town crowded with the Prussian soldiers, who, however, appeared to conduct themselves in an orderly way. The room of our bedroom was windowless and over the mantelpiece the wall had been rent to the ceiling. This was the effect of the blowing up of the bridge over the river, which ran by the house.

We reached Versailles about 4 pm, and as we approached the town it suddenly occurred to me that I had stupidly omitted to ask for J’s address. Versailles is a large place, and Hq 2nd is rather a vague direction, but after visiting some half-dozen offices I discovered with the assistance of my good (?)ion the Hotel de Reservoir. Versailles is of course unchanged, save that one cannot but remark the scarcity of Frenchmen. The streets are full of Prussian officers and soldiers in uniforms of all kinds. Prussian officers promenade the gardens and lounge and play billiards in the restaurants; sometimes one sees a group of three or four or more Frenchmen conversing in the streets, to be soon dispersed by the green coated men in spiked helmets, the police of the Prussian army, who while idly sauntering, watch keenly the passers-by, and not without reason, for the position of the great Wilhelm is, as you can understand, not a little perilous – living as he is in the middle of thousands who would regard his assassination by a Frenchman as an act of patriotic devotion.

On arrival at Versailles I re-posted myself to the Commandant and was told that I must leave at once. This I did not wish to do, and through the able diplomacy of J succeeded the next day in obtaining permission from General von Bleu(?) to remain 14 days. Holroyd speaks of a paper "enclosed" for my signature; have you seen it? Went yesterday to Ville d’Avray?. I have a good view of Paris - but as J is going to "work" the subject, need not describe what we saw.

Your affectionate brother,
Allan Chaplin.


Milan, April 16, 1871

My dear Effie
Since I wrote last I have reached Milan about which I shall say something (perhaps) below. I saw all that was to be seen at Pisa and am glad I made a short stay there. The famous tower is well worth seeing. And the facade of the cathedral, not as well known, is very beautiful. The interior is handsome, in the usual Italian style, and rich in marble decorations. The large baptistry close to the church is also worth seeing, there being in it a fine pulpit and elaborately carved marble font. The three buildings of which I speak placed all together in one plot of ground and form a very effective coup d’oeil (is not that a horrid word to pronounce -- but you see I have only to write it).

I left Pisa for Florence where I spent the day in visiting the galleries and seeing Michelangelo’s works in the chapel of the Medicis and the Bargello towers (Day and Night, the dying Adonis etc). In the Bargello by the way is to be seen the flying Mercury of which you may have seen prints. It is charming in the gracefulness of its attitude.

Leaving Florence at five in the evening I reached Turin at 5 a.m., and after coffee proceeded to follow the advice of Baedeker and view the town from the hill rising on the South bank of the Po. The site commands a very fine view but I must have been there too early and before the sun's rays had chased away the morning mists. The town was under a haze and it was not till I had waited for half an hour that I obtained a good view. The view however was, even at first, very fine for high above the cloud which hung over the town, rose the snow-clad summits of the Alps, stretching across the sky, and seemingly as if suspended between heaven and earth. For a few moments the snow-covered peaks glistened as they caught the first rays of the rising sun, and then the mists which had enveloped the town rolled upwards and hid them from the view.

Turin though a large town has not many remarkable sights. There is a picture gallery having a miscellaneous collection. Some of the pictures very fine. Among those I noted are a Paulo Vero. The subject -- Mary M. washing the feet of the Saviour. The expressions on the faces of the lookers-on are well depicted and one hears them saying "Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for 200 pence and given to the poor". The Magdelene is pretty and has beautiful hair. She would look well in a ball room but is not the woman whom, in my mind’s eye, I have been accustomed to see "doing what she could".
There is a well-arranged armoury (in the Palace at Turin) which I saw -- but the description of it is not likely to interest you. On reaching Milan at 10 am I went to see the Ambrose Library, where are some interesting sketches of L. da Vinci and the carbon of "School of Letters" of Raphael. Then to a church at the other end of the town where is to be seen the great "The Last Supper". The picture is in very bad presentation but such as it is I need scarcely say repays a visit. Then to the Academy where are a few good pictures -- Tintoretto – Guercino -- Vandyck and others. The famous "Marriage of the Virgin" of Raphael I am not artistic enough to appreciate. Hence I walked to be Triumphal Arch and then back to the cathedral which last is of course the sight of Milan. This church is the finest I have seen. The interior though perhaps less delicate than that of the Church at Koln is very grand yet without being cumbrous. The effect of the vast aisles and towering columns (surmounted by statues in niches instead of capitals) is much enhanced by the gorgeously painted windows.
I went last evening to the Scala (a very large theatre of which you may have heard) and saw the Barber of Seville. I went again this morning (Sunday) to the cathedral and, mounting to the roof, examined the elaborate carvings of the multitude of pinnacles and innumerable statues which adorn the galleries of the building.

You must not be surprised if you do not hear from me for some days but I will let you know when I shall return. I hope the letters I have sent you have interested you. They were written with that object.
Love to Holroyd and yourself and believe me dear Effie to be

Ever your most affectionate brother
Allan Chaplin
I hope your health is pretty good. I am looking forward to a letter at Bale.


[March 1873, Rangoon? Allan Chaplin writes as ‘we’ but is in camp and makes no mention of Maud. But their son Wyndham was born in India in November 1872. On 19 February in her diary for 1873 his mother wrote: “Letter from Allan on the way from Hashungabad [Hoshingabad or Hoshangabad – which?] to Trichinopoli suffering every misery from severe changes of weather on the journey,” and on Wednesday 5 March, “Long letter from Maud to Mrs S. about the journey to Trichinopoli.” On 20 June she got for Allan in London a map of Chiva territory. In November 1873 she got news that Maud and the baby were both ill but the next mention is that in August 1874 she received a photo of the child from Allan – “ pretty”. By 1875 there was another baby on the way and on 28 June 1875 Allan’s mother wrote in her diary: “Maud arrived with little Wyndham from Madras via Southampton. Maud looked well -- full of suppressed emotion. The child very delicate like a little bird so gentle and light on his feet.” On Tuesday 15 June: “Mr Skinner called and shewed me cutting from paper of Allan having passed his examination for Staff.”]

[Arrival at Rangoon]

My dear Mother
You will be wondering what has become of us. We made a quick passage but were just too late to catch the English mail. It is always cooler afloat at this time and the voyage did us a world of good. The freshness of the air on board ship at daybreak can scarcely be realised by one who stays at home. We arrived at Rangoon - the headquarters of the Indian government in Burmah. A large and rapidly increasing port. The streets are thronged with Burmese and Chinese, many of them doing a good trade -- and immensely(?) able hackney coaches running up and down -- drawn by the hardy (?) pony, a sturdy animal of 12 hands who, for draft, surpasses any beast I know. So far as I have seen I do not dislike the climate and find it cooler than that of Trichinopoly [a city and district of British India, in the Madras presidency] until 9 a.m. but it is very warm at midday and there is not much protection from the sun in a house built entirely with boards. The bungalows here are rather pretty. The bronze wood is so pleasant to the eye long used to the glare of whitewash. They are all built on piles. This is owing to the heavy rainfall which makes it necessary to keep well above the ground for the sake of a free flow of the water and general health. In the dry weather the space below may be utilised for offices and for storage purposes.

You will hear that I am detained here for three weeks. This is not an economical arrangement however pleasant it may be to meet old friends and make new acquaintances. However it is useless to repine and so I'll take things quietly -- thankful that we suffer no greater inconvenience and having left a quantity of our personal luggage behind in India. People are very active here in dancing, dining, playing lawn tennis etc etc and already there have been two dances this week. I was not there to see.
The new Chief Commissioner British (?) came yesterday - Mr Aitchison - who was long the foreign sec(?) at Calcutta -- the man who keeps our native allies (as they like to be called -- although they are not allowed to break the peace without our permission) in order.

Love to all -- your affectionate son A Chaplin. I am in camp and my kit is rather at sixes and sevens. Mr ’73 [March 1873?]



[No date [1878?], no address except first word below]

My dear Mother

(?)ago at last! Not an inviting country at this time of the year but no doubt the rains will do wonders for it -- at least they will fill the huge river to its banks and cover the long stretches of sand which it make one's eyes ache to look upon -- not a pretty river -- here -- nothing like the Narbuddah Valley. Nothing to breach the outline but a few ranges of hillocks -- I may call them. The military station lies on a high part of the west bank and ought to be healthy. There has however been always greater mortality amongst horses -- no one knows why -- so I may expect my usual luck. For this reason nearly everyone rides a pony. Burmah has always been famous for its ponies which are sent to India in considerable number.
It is half past eight but already the warm part of the day has begun. The climate seems, from what I hear, to be like that of Hoshingabad [Could this be Hoshangabad?]. It is much to be desired that the houses should be as good a protection from the sun as were the terrible dour bungalows at that place.
Love to Julia, Louie, M, H & E, Edith, Ayrton & other

Yr affection………
A Chaplin
Sorry to hear Cleve is ill again. Hope better.


[June 1878? No address, date may be January or June 10]

Dear Mother
I am just recovering from the exhaustion contingent on standing about the whole night of a dance we gave, at which I consumed more cigars and stimulants than my methodical habits allow me to take frequently -- then I was engaged all day in beautifying the barn-like house which does duty for a ballroom, so that by the evening I felt quite gouty. Is it gout that makes one's boots feel so very tight sometimes and the feet like lead, or is it merely sluggish circulation and general debility? However the dance was a great success and that was all we cared about. Yesterday I went across the river to say goodbye to some friends there. We had a pleasant trip back in the moonlight lying under the tilt of the gondola-like boat rowed by a man and his wife.

Love to all
Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin.


[Might be same place name as the letter above, but probably not]

A city wherein the rulers of two kingdoms showed goodwill

Tagit(?)ago
Aug 17, ‘78

My dear Mother,

Nothing new! Even the Europe telegrams have not much of interest now that the Eastern difficulty has been ‘solved’. The other day I went across the River to see a friend for a few hour. The River being in flood I was more than an hour in crossing, even in a steam launch. We passed numbers of native boats, which move with wonderful rapidity across the strong current. Landing, I found that the weekly cattle market was being held at Allan (?), the cattle seemed to be in very good condition, better animals than those usually seen in India. This too is the place where ponies are to be bought. I have neither horse not pony at present but I must buy some animal presently unless I go on leave and there is little chance of that.
I see that the people here have a strange custom of pulling a rope, as boys do in ‘French & English,’ when they wish the rain to fall. The origin of the custom is this – Once on a time two kings with unpronounceable names swore an eternal friendship and to cement this alliance arranged for the intermarriage of their children. The question then arose as to the territory in which the marriages should take place; there being two children on each side. It was decided that it should be exactly on the border – next arose a friendly difference as to the place of residence of the married couples – at length it was decided that whichever party should pull the other over the border should claim the princes and princesses – and so they (?) and tugged and while they pulled the (?) in torrents forming a great lake on the shore of which it was resolved to found [remainder missing].


[No address, date at end of letter: Sep 25 1878]

My dear Mother
I returned the other day from Rangoon. I was three or four days en route, being delayed at (?), waiting for a steam engine. I had started as soon as I could on hearing the news that the king was dying and that we might be 'wanted'.
The captains of the river boats, who see more of the interior than most of us, report that society at Mandalay is in a ferment and that something unusual is occurring – (it) appears from the large numbers of people who are coming over the border and going to Rangoon and other places where life and property are respected.
However all may yet be well and I hope we shall be able to keep out of their politics.

Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
[PS] Much interested in your reports of the children.


[No address, date at end of letter: Sep 29th 1878]

My dear Mother,
A very "juicy" day -- a day for stropping one's razors and smoking cheroots. I hope it will clear up a little for a walk in the evening. Everything looks fresh and green, and the place is not the dreary wilderness it was when I first came here; and standing on the river bank and looking downstream to where the river takes a turn and the hills run down to the water, which gleams in the rays of the level sun, one might say the prospect was pretty.
One of the steamers of the Golden Fort has come here -- come to see what we are about perhaps.
By the way -- I am glad to see that my friends the P&O have secured the mail contract. There is no harm in a competition for carrying passengers but it is well that government should be able to secure the services in emergency of so large a fleet: how shocking are the accounts of the (?) in Turkey! Will these horrors never cease?
Love to Julia and Ayrton, H & E, JE and others

Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
[PS] Remember me to Mr & Mrs Pyne and family. What, by the way, has become of John Dixon -- is he doing well in the colonies – Does C(?) ever (?) himself.


[No address, date Oct 16, ‘78]

How fearful is the story of that accident on the river

My dear mother,
Long before this reaches you it will have been decided whether a Force is to be sent to bring the Amear to his senses. I trust that profiting by past experience arrangements will be so complete that the army will escape a false promenade. It is feared that it is too late in the year to admit of an early termination of hostilities, the winter being very severe in the those parts -- there often below zero on the high table lands - but it is a fair country -- I mean for the grand mountains rising with eternal snows one above another, with here and there a happy Valley abounding in fruit and pasture.
I know nothing of the people save from acquaintance with those who sometimes traverse India with strings of horses for sale and of camels bearing the dried fruits of their country. They are a fine stalwart race with a somewhat Jewish nose (feel that feature in them is more delicate) oval face high cheekbones -- black or sometimes reddish hair and very dirty persons.
There is a rumour that Neville Chamberlain is not to have the command and people are justly indignant. You see he said his embassy would be rebuffed and the man who can say "I told you so," is sometimes unpopular with those in place. It is pouring with rain.

Now I must say adieu. Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
Love to all. I hope you are having fairly good weather for Nov (?) and are well.


Madras, June 13/86

My dear Mother
Many thanks for yours May 21st. Yes I am here on duty and may remain for some months. I find the climate somewhat trying but the worst heat has passed and I am trying to ‘hold on’ because moving about is expensive and one can live here, in a hotel, at low rates without keeping an ‘establishment’. I am sorry to hear Uncle had so bad an attack. It was well that he called in his doctor in time.
So the Bill(?) has been defeated -- and the country is to be turned upside down for another election. How sad to read of these riots in Belfast. The firing on the mob may be a sad necessity but the memory of the punishment remains for centuries. Talking of that -- I see one or two of my acquaintance have ‘dropped’ in Burmah – Poor fellows! Very hard work they had and very little ‘glory’ and then to dig ‘in the ditch’ so to speak -- shot in a ‘bush fight’.
I am looking to see what will be done in the case of an officer who got into trouble for photographing executions and extorting evidence. If the extorting evidence was proved he ought to be punished but I think much false sentiment and needless fuss have been spent on the photograph question. As he was an officer concerned in the execution although not actually assisting in it, he showed bad taste in photographing the scene. But if such picture-taking is horrible and brutal what is to be said of ‘our special’ who sketches such scenes for the amusement of the British public?
Love to all. I am hoping to hear soon from Holroyd. I will send a line to Julia but know not whether she has any fixed address.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras, 6 Oc /86

Thank Ayrton for his letter from A [A might be Ayrton’s daughter Audrey, Allan’s niece, who would have been aged 14]. I’ll write him again ‘ere long.

My dear Mother,
Thank you for your last letter, which, for the moment, I have mislaid. I have been busy in the last few days and that, and having no news, have caused me to defer writing till the last minute -- very ungrateful -- because you always write so much -- but you have only to look out of the window -- if I may say so -- to make your letter interesting. If I look out of window I have the same sights (?). Just now the sounds are varied by the festivals of Mohurrmen? and Dusserah -- the great events of the year. The first for Mussalmans, the last for Hindus.
This year they happened to be concurrent, and the ‘Indian drum, never (?) and never dumb" is kept going all day, and there are parties of young people masquerading in the streets in a way that seems to amuse them and their countrymen, although to us the fun seems, naturally, tame. The great fun is for a boy to play ‘Tiger’ -- he is painted with stripes -- his face whitened -- by way of (?). He wears a long tail and is led about by a chain. His role is to "attitudinize” and growl and make believe that he is the Royal beast to the accompaniment of shouts, tom-toms etc.
I daresay Hilary would like the part -- but would not understand having to play it with little more clothing than a fig leaf.
The authorities have been busy embarking troops for Burma. Affairs there are going as well now as can be expected -- mistakes have been made as they always will be -- but on the whole we are coming out of the business not discreditably. It is exasperating to read in the home papers such misleading reports about the operations, our position in the country etc. Such magnifying of small mishaps and obscuring of good work -- such spreading of false reports, such ignoring or concealing of the contradictions thereof -- such persistent counting of the ‘misses’ and taking little note of the ‘hits’. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State in the House has set people right on some points and given no uncertain (?) -- but all this is to you ancient history and at no time very interesting. The mail will be here tomorrow, just too late to be acknowledged by this post!

Last evening for a turn on the beach – the haunt of fashion in the evening. They have of late much improved the road there - the parade you would call it in England. The marina is the modern word I believe. They have put down some grass and shrubs and dis-established, with proper compensation and giving other sites, a number of squalid huts in which for centuries the fishermen have lived. Some of the public buildings are on this road, one or two of them handsome, but the general effect produced by them is not nearly so fine as that of the public buildings seen as one approaches Bombay.
Love to all. I hope Uncle goes on as well as can be expected -- and that if he went to Hastings it has done him good [this must have been Acton Smee Ayrton, who died on 30 November in Bournemouth]. My love to Agnes, glad to hear the boy does so well [he was Frederick Cyril Nugent Hicks, future Bishop of Lincoln].

Your affectionate son,
A Chaplin


Jan 5/87 [Madras, 1887]

My dear Mother
Many thanks for your last -- it must have been sad work for you examining Uncle’s effects. I keep thinking about him -- there was a notice of him yesterday in a Calcutta paper -- not very favourable [I assume this is a reference to his mother’s brother Acton Smee Ayrton MP, a mininster in Gladstone’s government, who died on 30 November 1886 in Bournemouth].
It is not often that one family, one generation, produces men all so powerful in intellect as a your brothers. It is painful to think that they were by circumstances not allowed full scope for their powers. I can best express what I mean by the phrase ‘never gave themselves a fair chance’. My Uncle John has been to me only a tradition but as he belonged to ‘the service’ I have always been interested in him and cherished his memory, & often pictured him in the position he would have held, in my time, had he lived, & I thought how I would have gone to see him. [John Hyde Ayrton died in 1845 at Sawent Warree aged 27, as a Lieutenant in the service of the East India Company]
My (?) has not yet arrived but I think it probable I may have to go to Bangalore in a week or two.
Many thanks for yours of 17 ult. just to hand. No time to write more, as I am busy -- having double work just now

Love to all, ever your affectionate son,
A Chaplin


Madras, Jan 12/87

My dear Mother
I have moved house since I wrote. The hotel keeper has bought this house -- (?) of the way -- and has driven us into it. -- it is not so commodious although a larger building, and my rooms are not nearly so good as those I have left, but it may be for only a few days that I shall be here -- unless I am permitted to remain for a few weeks -- to oblige a friend who wishes to go to Bangalore instead of me. I may have to go to Bangalore two or three days hence. The uncertainty is inconvenient. H.G. the first(?) makes no sign and is of course as difficult of access as usually are such exalted persons. By the way he is going to Burmah in a few days -- mere inspection work I suppose.
The country is quiet now and if no time be lost in organising the new police force there will be no difficulty in holding it. As to our holding it being good for the country -- of that there can be no question -- although I always opposed the views of those who would have invaded merely because the government of the country was bad. We held our hands until there was no longer room for repentance and (?) had wronged us repeatedly and refused the fair terms offered him. Of course he would say they were unfair -- and perhaps we are not impartial observers. I met an Italian at (?) who was very indignant because of the behaviour, in this matter, of the Inglese. He spoke a little French. I spoke less and no Italian, so the conversation flagged, but from his tone and look when he said "mais pourquoi les Anglais” etc I knew what he felt -- in fact he talked of our conduct as we do of that of Russia in central Asia.
There is a view of a bit of water and palm trees from this window, which would make a pretty picture, but I cannot follow the arts unless I am quite free from business -- with absolutely nothing else to do. Many people find painting a pleasant occupation for spare moments -- but for a beginner the occupation is more laborious and there is no such thing as ‘clocking of’ a picture -- one has to scratch one's head and wonder what is the result, for instance, of combining blue and yellow on the palette.
I hope you keep well. I hear of dreadful winter weather. Love to all with you and in the country.

Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
A young officer has just come under my hands -- the foolish youth has mixed himself up in questionable transactions with a private soldier of his regiment and has told fibs about it, both unpardonable offences. However he is to be allowed to resign to escape treatment and disgrace. I’m sorry for him – I knew his father.


Jan 19/87 [Madras, 1887]
Card just arrived. I am glad you have children in the house: it will (?)

My dear Mother
Nothing to say unless your letter, which should be here presently, gives me a text.
I see that the Times (?) a long notice of Grant Duff’s governorship of Madras. He was unpopular with many people here I believe, but whether the Governor is or is not all that he should be matters little to us military folk – personally. At least I could always say of G.D. that his minutes and reports were much more interesting to the general reader than such documents usually are.
I daresay you saw in the paper the report of that dreadful fire. An investigation is being held. It was rumoured that incendiaries had been at work -- as yet there is no clue, and, so far as appears, the fire was accidental. Scarcely any Europeans were killed -- only one I think. The poor natives were like scared sheep who run into the corner of a field and will not be driven out. The picture drawn by a the witnesses is very dreadful -- bodies piled one upon another to height of four or five feet -- the people underneath suffocated or suffocating – the few Europeans who had their wits about them were…
[the lower half of this page has been torn off – perhaps too dreadful an account?? On the other side of this top half of the page is a bit more of the account of the fire]
was (?) consumed by the flames. The (?) booths were of material so inflammable that there was no time to stay the conflagration. I believe the only European among the dead was a soldier -- so they gathered from the shred of uniform, which was all that was left of him which could be identified.
[then a folded sheet which may be nothing to do with this letter (same type of paper)]
(?) was a less than 2/3 of what it would have been in an English settlement. Why is it that wherever we abide we have to pay much higher prices than "foreigners" would pay -- we suffer in this way all the world over -- once let the "Anglais" come and then goodbye to low prices.
I have been trying to draw the view from of the window of my new quarters -- but have made a sorry picture. Everything goes well until one puts in the background and then every object is in its wrong place -- and things far seem to be near and vice versa! They say you use blue for the distant trees. But the trees furthest from me do not look blue -- they are most certainly green! However I find it a little less difficult now to manage the paints -- although still very slow in the work.
I am interested in hearing of that prayer book you found at Courtfield Gardens. I hope it will be carefully kept. I am surprised that Uncle’s property was not larger -- seeing what was the amount which, as I learnt on very good authenticity, he brought from India and that he lived carefully although well. I think he must have lost the money in the mines or other ventures. By the way I suppose
[the top half of the next page (attached to the page above) has been cut out. The bottom half continues]
The birds have made a nest in a corner of the room and come very boldly to feed at the table -- that is a better way of domesticating them than keeping in a cage -- and the wall is quite clean -- so far as one can see.
Now I must say adieu. I hope you have not suffered much from the cold. Love to all with you and elsewhere.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
What an extraordinarily whim is of this of having double-barrelled names. I see that Evelyn Skinner
[He continues overleaf to the part of the page cut out, then the bottom half reads]
..cases a silly affectation -- when the "masses" begin to use it we shall see people writing to plain Jones or Brown -- who now are the Brown-Joneses. Of course when where land or property is involved the case is different -- perhaps Skinner has this good fortune.
Many thanks for yours of Jan 14 received this morning. Glad you are well. I can well understand how constantly you must miss Uncle A whom you so kindly nursed & cheered. How pretty the new stamps are.


February 8. '87 [Madras, probably]

My dear Mother
Not a word of news for you. I am still taking my daily airing by the sea. My evening relaxation is the club. The Enquiry about that fire disaster has been closed. The jury finds -- that the rumours of incendiarism are without foundation -- accident and panic account for the sad loss of life. There are some minor points -- (?) entered in the verdict. Well, I am glad to think that there has been no foul play.
We have had two or three tourists here lately -- this being the least interesting part of India – but a place ‘one ought to see.’ Travellers often make it their point of departure from India. There were two ladies living over my head the other day. They were travellers (globe-trotters as they are called) to these distant parts. Well-to-do people of course. Laying out money in samples of Indian work. All day long pedlars, jugglers and miscellaneous dealers, noseying about my rooms and trying to attract the notice of the ladies overhead.
How quickly these random ‘Indian curiosities’ and the other people whom travellers ‘ought’ to see find out their patrons. The rogues are in league with the servants who no doubt have a share of the spoil. And how they do bleed the happy P&O passenger who is ‘passing through’. And if any one of us -- the real Sahibs - should chance to come by while the ‘hawker’ is disposing of his goods to these innocents abroad the fellows will look both guilty and beseeching as one who would say “don't tell the proper price! Don't spoil the deal!"
I am hoping to hear from you tomorrow. (?). The post is just going so I must say goodbye

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
I hope you keep well.


Club Madras, Feb 16 ‘87

My dear Mother,
I have no excuse for writing to you save that I have this day received yours of 28th ult for which many thanks. Yes, I should have been much interested in those old letters you describe -- you will be reluctant to destroy them. We are Jubilee keeping here -- this evening I have to parade in full dress for a function at Government House -- a speech -- and address to her Majesty -- a salute for once in a way -- for the ‘Empress’ of 101 guns -- and illuminations -- fireworks -- a bore -- but I would rather go through it -- because it is a parade -- than go to any dinner party or even morning call. I see there have been changes in the government house of our provinces. When is Henvey's twin coming for a commissionership? [William Henvey, who was at school with the Chaplins, would have been 20 in 1887 – he joined the Indian Medical Service and married in India in 1895, but I can’t see that he had a twin. More likely this is a reference to his father, Frederick, who served in the Indian Civil Service from 1861 to 1891] Or has he dropped out of the race -- I see that Lyle is appointed L. G. of the Punjab -- he is brother to Sir A. Lyle of the N. W. P. -- it is not often that brothers succeed so well in the service -- there was talk of Sir L. Griffin going to Burmah, but I see he is to be otherwise provided for -- so they say.

You see how laboured is this letter -- what can you care about Lieutenant Governorships -- that good Uncle Acton would have said I might have had one if I had been more wide awake –‘industrious’ etc.. I have just begun the old "Promessi Spose" -- the book which every student of Italian goes through! I find it so much more difficult than the three musketeers -- that is all conversation -- this is all description. Affairs a little quieter in Burmah, but they should withdraw troops very cautiously. I see the death of another acquaintance in Burmah -- but from a fall from his horse. When I last saw him he was striving to obtain and obtained removal to another place -- forging, how little he knew it, one of the links in the chain of circumstances leading up to the accident which caused his death.
Please thank Holroyd for his letter of 28th. Love to Louie and Julia, Ayrton and all,

Your affectionate son
A. Chaplin


Madras Club, February 20/87 [Madras]

My dear Mother,
Sorry to hear that the mail wall will not be in until tomorrow, and I shall not have your letter as a text on which to hang mine.
Did I tell you last week that we had our Jubilee? It is all over and we are suffering (?) from the reaction. The occasion has been marked by the usual distribution of honours. Not many for Madras. Madras and Bombay people always declare that they are ‘kept in the cold’ and that Bengal has more than its fair share of the favours of Government. Of course the Bengal people laugh at this discontent. But there is ‘something in it’ and 'tis be expected that the merits of those who are near to the Vice-regal throne should be better known than those of men at a distance. You see that another ‘order’ has been created because (?) considers that the means of recording distinguished (?) and military services are limited. What a funny expression for a Royal Warrant. Three orders are now are so plentiful that they begin to lose their value -- but I must not sneer at these, as I am undecorated!
I met my old friend General Prendergast the other day -- who took the leading part in the final act of the Burmah war. He evidently was much hurt at not being again employed -- is living in this country on small means waiting for ‘something to turn up’ -- but he cannot hope for employment unless we have a great war.
By the way -- still gloomy telegrams from Ireland! I am glad to see that there is to be a bill brought in to make ‘boycotting’ an offence. I trust it will pass and work. It is incomprehensible that for so many years it should have been possible to commit ‘boycotting’ with impunity.
Troops are beginning to return from Burmah but are withdrawn continuously. Yes, I shall be here for a few weeks more and shall then have to go to Bangalore -- I do not expect it will suit me so well as Rangoon but I have reasons for going to Bangalore -- for a time at any rate. Basil(?) Westby, who is quartered here, goes on leave in a few days, preparatory to retiring from the service. [Ashley George Westby, a Captain in the 8th Kings Regiment, married Katherine Skinner in 1876 – Basil might have been related, but I have no record of this.]
Love to (?) Julia, Ayrton and all -- glad to hear Agnes’s boy does so well -- I hope Agnes is better.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras Club, March 1/87 [Madras]

Thanks many for yours of 4 Jan. I am hoping for a letter today also. Thanks for yours of 11 with interesting enclosure and for sending boxes to Whiteley - but are they secure and is there no fear of fire at Whiteleys?

My dear Mother,
Holroyd may have told you that he sent me a telegram reporting the safety of the Bordighera party -- but I fear that the nerves of all must have been much shaken and I look not without anxiety for details. [This is the first mention of the 1887 earthquake at Bussana Vecchia - 5 miles west of San Remo near Genoa: “A substantial 1887 earthquake killed thousands of its residents and destroyed many buildings”. Described as “Earthquake in Mentone and the Riviera of Italy”. Bussana Vecchia is not far from Bordighera on the Italian Riviera. Allan’s wife Maud and their children must have been living there.]
People -- English people - here took the news very calmly -- but that is human nature. The greater the distance in time or miles, we are from such a calamity, the more difficult it is to realise it. They seemed to think it very improbable that the earthquake had done more than wake up a few peasants and seemed unable to understand my anxiety. I only hope all may be well, but at the best one cannot but remember how much suffering springs from the sudden death of 1500 people.
Thursday the Begum etc (a long Asiatic name) gives an entertainment in honour of the Jubilee and ‘to meet H. E. the Governor’. We shall walk about and listen to the band, see blue lights and rockets and drink champagne cup, and maybe there will be a match. Fortunately her Highness lives almost next door to me so I can slip out whenever I please.
The weather rapidly grows warm etc. I hear nothing more of moving to Bangalore. I was much pleased to hear that A Skinner had been able to call at Bordighera -- they were looking forward to seeing him. He seems to have appreciated the beauties of the place and, as I hear from him, to have formed an opinion of the family not unfavourable. [This was Allan Maclean Skinner CMG, who was made Resident Councillor of Penang in 1887 – he returned from Singapore to England via Venice in 1875, - and must have made the same sort of journey early in 1887] A brother-in-law Shelford lives in this hotel -- a gentlemanly man -- in a mercantile house here. [Ellen Shelford married Allan Maclean Skinner in 1875.]
I expect letters from Europe. Those from Italy have lost much of their value. I can think only of those which should arrive two weeks hence. I hope all may be well, but whether they are still at Bondi / Brindisi ? or have hurriedly departed they must have suffered much painful expense and anxiety.
Love to Julia and thank (?) for thinking of me and sending ‘globe’.

Love to all, your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras Club, March 7 [Madras, 1887]

My Dear Mother
Nothing new. I am still waiting anxiously to hear how Bordighera fared in the earthquake but can have no news till next week.
How gloomy, judging from newspapers of all parties, is the outlook in Europe. Is war then inevitable? And when peace has been again proclaimed -- all the world will again begin to talk of war.
Two more regiments went hence to Burmah just yesterday. There is still work to be done there, but on the whole country is much quieter than it was, and we are rapidly bringing it into a condition in which life and property will be safe.
The last (?) moves are entertaining -- not the (?) that they deal with events within our recollections.
I see Browning has brought out a new book -- I doubt whether I shall be able to read it. Pity that one who has so much power should shroud himself in obscurity of language which cannot possibly be ‘understanded’. I will not say ‘is of the people’ but by the majority of educated folk. I do believe that in the years to come his books will never be opened save by scholars -- yet now and again his verses are magnificent and beautiful in spite of affectations.
Thank Julia and Nugent for their letters of last mail and newspapers.
I was much interested in the letter written to Uncle in /57. The writer was probably Lord Gay etc(?) -- known in later years as a judge of the High Court in Calcutta and Bombay and I think alive -- but of this not sure. Many thanks for yours of the 18th February and its interesting report on the Spencer correspondence. I hope the papers will be taken care of. Yes it is a pity that the money was not better taken care of.
I see that in Hastings Doyle’s reminiscences -- somewhat diffuse but amusing here and there, at Oxford his contemporary John D. Harding is mentioned as ‘clever executive but somewhat (?)’
We had the troopships here on Sunday. They took two regiments to Burmah. I am rejoiced to see that the troops are not being hurriedly removed in large bodies from Burmah. "All in good time" should be the mot d’[jour](?). I must say that the Government of India when left to itself shows always infinitely more wisdom band appears in the conduct of military affairs by the Home Govt.. Of course the Government of India has the immense advantage of having able men in office -- most of them experts liable to dismissal at the pleasure of the multitude.
I was thinking of some business while I wrote above! [an apology for crossings out on the page]
Love to all

Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras, Mar 16th '87

My dear Mother,

Many thanks for yours of the 25th Feb. Yes, I am glad to hear that the family has come so well out of the earthquake in which many must have suffered. I think Reuter must have grossly exaggerated -- he telegraphed – ‘earthquake in Riviera -- immense calamity -- at least 1500 lives -- numbers of villages destroyed’. Really there ought to be a penalty for sending telegrams in such cases without verifying the facts -- the difficulty would be to prove your charge and exact a penalty.
Glad to hear you were interested in the life of our ‘typical’ governor Sir T. Munro (or ‘Munlole’ as the natives say it) His opinions carry weight to this day. There is a fine equestrian statute to him -- in the midst of the ground on which there were so many struggles between French and English during the sieges of Madras.
It is disappointing to hear that ‘the house’ will not sell -- what with that and bad prices I fear that our ‘fortunes’ will dwindle considerably. The fewer the ‘shot in the locker’ the greater the difficulty in retiring from service, to say nothing of that great obstacle -- the want of occupation…..

You see I am still at Madras -- I ought to be at Bangalore but by private arrangement Shaw (Mr Mac(?)tine’s son-in-law) is taking my place there -- the climate suits him and his wife better than this (cela m’est egal!). If he goes on furlo' I shall migrate to Bangalore -- for a few months at any rate.
I see that Bernard(?) (from Burmah) is going to England for a year. He must need the change – I daresay that in time the public will think better of him -- much that is untrue has been said against him as to his management of this Burmah business -- I think he has done well on the whole -- the public are angry because they war has lasted so long and they must hang someone. The civil service has not a braver more



Mar 21/87 [Madras]

My dear Mother
Just a year since I left (?)! I suppose I shall have to ‘put in’ a few more before I can think of joining the ‘retired list’ -- unless someone will give me an office in Europe. But military life unfits one for other occupations save perhaps those of a jaoler or policeman -- and for those posts the number of military candidates is legion. There are not many who, like my friend (?), succeeded in ‘obtaining a jail’ and not many with such powerful friends as he has or at least had. To enjoy ‘elegant leisure’ for which I have sometimes flattered myself I was intended by nature (!!) one must have ample means. Military men at military duty in India never did save much. Now they save(?) nothing and are lucky to keep out of debt. What they might have saved goes into the sea as ‘exchange’.
But why trouble you with this -- I heard from Allan Skinner the other day. He seems to have enjoyed his short visit to Maud [Allan Chaplin’s wife] and reports very favourably on the children -- who on their side write that they had what Americans call ‘a good time’. That Maud was glad to see him goes without saying. I wonder (?) whether any suitable occupation will ever ‘turn up’ for Wyndham [Allan’s son]. One must hope for the best and be thankful that he is not the miserable cripple he certainly would have been but for his mother’s undaunted resolution in which you so kindly always supported her.

The ‘season’ is drawing to a close and people are beginning to take (?) to the hills. H. G.(?) the gov goes in a few days and the C. in C. will soon follow. By the way (?) is I see 60(?) years old. Governors do not often begin their reign in India so late -- I suppose he will take extra care of himself -- indeed one hopes so -- as he promises (?) satisfaction in his Office. He seems to be active enough now. So active that he fell from his horse a few days ago. The Chief Secretary(?) fell off his horse on the next day.
Thanks many who your kind letter of 4th Mar. I have today particulars of earthquake. Evidently they are all much shaken by the earthquake -- indeed it must have been terrible -- and the painful suspense afterwards almost intolerable -- quite enough to make them all very ill. Yes, I like the Greville memoirs. I read the early series some time ago and am now reading the latest -- it is especially interesting -- although not so full of special information -- because it relates to the events of my own time. I must say that all the details are much to the credit of those hereditary legislators at whom some are so fond of sneering -- and who I have long been persuaded are, considering how strong a light they live in and how jealously their conduct is scrutinized and the temptation to which they are exposed, the most worthy body of persons in the kingdom -- as perhaps they should be -- seeing that to whom much is given of him much is expected -- of course there are black sheep in all flocks and when there is a black sheep in that flock the country rings with it and it is right that he should be gibbetted - but in comparing the classes of society one must not forget the black sheep whose obscurity allows them to escape notice from the country at large.

The weather grows rapidly warmer. Many thanks for the penny book -- how well it is printed. I shall pass it on to the Burmah military hospitals. Goodbye -- love to Julia and all the others.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
...... hard-working or able, although somewhat too trustful and impulsive a public servant. His wife a dear woman - still beautiful - but always appearing to be quite unconscious of her good looks. The children used to be with B’s sisters at (?)ford -- where I went to see them.
Weather grows warm -- today the punkah has to be hard at work.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin
(PS) I hope you are well and take enough care of yourself. Love to all


No address, Mar 26 – 87 [Madras]

My dear mother -- the illustrated papers help one to realise the extent of the earthquake calamity and to be thankful for the narrow escape of so many from destruction as well as sympathetic to those who have suffered loss of friends. I suppose that the alarm will soon pass away and again the (?) in a year or two or three or four.
Nothing to tell you! We like you, are made uneasy by these constant rumours of war. If war must come it may have at least this good on our countrymen, that it will arouse them to look carefully to the joints in their harness. Few people in England realise the change which improved communications have made in the conditions under which our empire is held together. It is well of course that domestic legislation should be attended to, but such legislation is to little purpose unless the work of securing the safety of the empire as a whole keeps pace with it. It is difficult for Englishmen who live much abroad, whose see these hundreds and hundreds of miles of absolutely unprotected coast -- this almost undefended (?) to understand the folly – the mad infatuation -- of those of their countrymen who hesitate at expenditure of even borrowed money for such work as the defence of (?) stations, harbours etc.

I see that Sir G. Duff has written (?) very sensible papers in reply to the foolish articles of Samuel Smile of Manchester -- one of these ignorant but mischievous persons who, having spent a few weeks in India, are ready had once to inform the administration -- the less one has to do with the country the better one is qualified for the task because he has no ‘prejudices’!. It is a thousand pities that foolish people in England do not(?) fully trust their servants. I see that even Lord Derby “wants to know you know,” why the Viceroy released certain prisoners. The Viceroy, it was admitted, had acted within his powers -- surely in such case he might be left to use them unquestioned. There are people in England who would treat India as vestry men would govern a parish -- if ever they have their way it will be a bad time for India. By the way -- read E. Arnold’s ‘India revisited’ -- a pretty sketch -- a book that does more to draw India and England together than reams of rubbish written by ‘globe trotters’. E. A. writes (?) and (?) would like to forget the part he has played in helping to make Bhuddism (the ‘Light of Asia’ fashionable, investing (?) with a halo of false sentiment. There is a very wide Gulf between Buddhism and Christianity.

I went yesterday to a Convocation of the Madras University. It was held in a fine hall -- one of many large public buildings erected during (?) on the seafront of the town (splendid targets for a bombardment). But as one often finds in architectural work that is otherwise pleasing -- sufficient attention had not been paid to acoustics. In due course a procession entered and the representatives of various degrees of learning in various universities, English and others, each wearing the ropes of his rank, led by the Chancellor -- the (?) filed on to the dais. The body of the hall was filled with students -- those in rows near to the dais being in blue gowns ready to receive the hoods of the degrees they had won. The headdress of the majority was a white (?) but the youths apparently have much latitude as to the head covering -- about which part of their dress (?) are sensitive. The Chancellor stood up and read some papers. He has a good voice -- but although I was but a few yards from him he was quite inaudible.

After that dozens and dozens of youths filed past him and received their diplomas -- and now that they are BA etc. no doubt they think it is the duty of the state which has so far encouraged them, to provide them with a livelihood -- a field in which to use their accomplishments. In India as in England the difficulty will arise of disposing of all these highly educated young people who will not follow handicrafts because they think they can "better" themselves. I offer no solution of the difficulty but there can be no doubt that the more highly educated people are the less they are inclined to handicrafts. You may preach up mechanical labour and tell people that to labour with the hands is most honourable and so forth -- the fact will remain that the tinker's son who has been "educated highly" will not like to do tinker's work. I send you a newspaper . (?) is the foremost representative of India (?) statesmen developed under our fostering care. Unfortunately I heard not a word of the speech -- it was delivered in English.

Love to all
your affectionate son
A Chaplin them in them


Madras Club, April 4 [Madras, 1887]

My dear Mother
Yours of 11 ult -- for which many thanks -- glad to know that you keep well spite of March winds.
I had full reports of the earthquake – a long and most interesting letter, also from the children. The youngest wrote as if she rather had enjoyed herself -- the excitement of' ‘camping out' ‘picnicing'. As she quaintly wrote, "it was as if we were journeying." But they must have been dreadfully frightened and the anxiety and suspense must have been most painful for Maud [Allan’s wife] who was better able to understand the dangers -- you will have heard of their going Northwards. They have done wisely in seeking an entire change of scene -- but I am sure they must have had heavy hearts in quitting their house on the Riviera.

Many thanks for the notes of Christmas dinner at Mangalore -- a most interesting relic of the past -- they made a gallon fight of it, as ‘every 4th form boy knows' and were allowed by Tippoo to march out leaving the fortress almost in ruins. There was very bad management in that the garrison were not succoured in time. In these days somebody should have been 'hanged' for it -- but in those days there were no newspapers and many blunders escaped notice -- those who cry that we of today ‘muddle through’ affairs forget this. I hope you will keep all scraps - I should look like to look over those papers some day.

There have been races here for one or two days in past week – Racing in
[the letter incomplete, ends there]



Madras, April 10 ‘87

My dear Mother
Your card of 11 ult with thanks -- also newspaper.
Glad to see that ‘affairs’ in Europe are looking a little brighter. Spencer Rawlinson dined with me last evening. He has just returned from the wars -- from Burmah. He usually talks "19 to the dozen". Last night he made 20. He seems none the worse for work and exposure.
The other day another Burmah campaigner came to see me. We had not met since' 64 -- he is some years my senior. When he saw Wyndham’s portrait he said it was "ridiculously like" what I was about 24 years ago!! I was surprised to hear this - think he is mistaken. [Then, scribbled diagonally: “Afraid I’ve mixed up my letter to you and my letter to ?”]

[Across the top of this page and following pages]: I see that some ? up country are in trouble. Their offence is the having set up an amateur court of justice for disposal of assault and similar offences by punishment or find – the court constituted like ours – ‘Crown Prosecutor’ etc names being retained. The fines divided amongst the ‘Officials’ – a lucrative business. Of course not a serious offence as the litigants were consenting parties – but of course the State Courts could not tolerate this amateur rivalry! Of course the Native (?) or ‘Punchayets’ fpr deciding ‘Caste’ questions are sanctioned by the State from time immemorial.]

(?) is good healthy sport. It is not entirely in the hands of professional "book men" (although these gentry are to be seen at Calcutta and other large places more often than formerly). Those who take part in it seem to enjoy the racing, for its own sake at least as much as the gambling. Racing is one of a few sports in which Europeans and Natives can both take part. The Burmese by the way dearly love such excitement and are never so happy as when assisting at foal or pony races (horses they have none).
But racing costs money, even in India, where one pays less for the keep of a horse, and therefore we find that with the depression of the rupee ‘sport’ declines -- a pity! By the way, the rupee is steadily ‘dropping’ again -- it will be at 1.5 in a day or two if it's not that today. That means that I am four hundred and fifty a year less well off than I should be were the rupee as it was 20 years ago. People in England hardly realise the effect on us foolish servants when they see the ‘quotations’ in the paper!

I am disgusted, horrified to see in the ‘Graphic’ (?) comic sketches about the earthquake – He who can cut capers in the presence of such an awful calamity would play practical jokes at a funeral and find endless store of ‘comic hits’ in such disasters as a shipwreck -- a colliery accident -- a famine or an inundation. I shall relieve my mind by sending a postcard to the Graphic saying what I think of them.
Did I thank you for that pencil sketch from (?) Club. The view’s very cleverly done -- I wish I could draw like that -- that ‘general effect’ is what plodding folk who are not to the manner born find the greatest difficulty in producing even with much labour at (?)ing offhand -- their labour is that of a man who gets ‘by heart’ his ‘impromptu’ speeches and the good things which set the table in a roar.
Love to all. I am very sorry to hear a bad report of Louisa's health and hope she may be better.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
I see that even the Spectator fears there will be war.
I hope Ed Feild flourishes. I wrote him a line many months ago – but he does not answer letters I think (that however scarcely called for a reply – about his father’s death). [Edward Field was the son of Allan’s Aunt Ann and her husband Rev Samuel Hands Field] I wrote to my other cousin, the professor, a year or two ago – he also too busy to acknowledge.


[Probably about mid-April 1887 - no address, nor any salutation]

Many thanks for yours of 25th March. I am indeed sorry to hear that Louisa is laid up -- I trust that by this time she is better and the weather will be kind to her.

Yes -- thanks for your mention of my family. It is most unfortunate that Maud has been laid up with a cold -- a cold in her case is no light matter. It generally brings with it rheumatism of the head, swelling of face and such like troubles, making it more difficult than easy to obtain sleep. The comparative freedom from cold was what made residence in Italy preferable. As to cold I should rather like a little of it just now. The heat here is unpleasant even with a punkah, but there is no pleasing people. Bangalore is, at times, too cold for my taste -- residence in tropics makes one sensitive to cold. I hope that I shall be able to ‘weather’ a few more summers. I should like to run to Europe for a few weeks some day -- but at present do not quite see the way. (?) that after (?) I am glad to hear that Ayrton flourishes. I hope his lecture on republicanism was not very “red”.

The Gov and all his satellites have fled to cooler regions. The Gov taking some districts, en route, for a "tour". We read that he was (?) with enthusiasm. The Irish (?) contrasts well with the Scotch dryness of his predecessor. Last night dined with that "rattle" Spencer Rawlinson, a genial fellow -- but such a talker. He is fairly well-to-do -- they are in easier circumstances than in the Tonbridge days. [Allan’s parents lived near Tonbridge from c.1851, at least until his father John Clarke Chaplin died there in 1856. His brother Holroyd was at Tonbridge School under Dr Welldon] His sister Jane still Miss R. He has two pretty children (?) with his mother.

I see that the Editor of the local journal is to take home the loyal Jubilee address. He has been striving for this honour -- hoping perhaps that he will be decorated, and no one grudges it to him. He has done his best to write up the celebration and the facts have lost nothing in the reporting.
The sun is gradually drying up the pond in front of my windows. We used to take our bath water from it -- at that time one had to keep a bright look-out to keep natives from paddling, washing their clothes in and watering cattle with the water. Now we go elsewhere as the water is not so good and Ramsammy is allowed to squat on the brink at his ease and stand in deep slapping his garments on the stones or (?) his glistening brown back or washing up his salt tacks.

Sorry to hear Henvey is troubled with deafness. I can feel for him having for some years been threatened with it -- having had slight difficulty in hearing with one of my ears. I hope yet that it may not grow worse -- I find that much depends on stage of general health, climate etc.. I do not believe in ‘treatment’ in most cases. I mean "messing about" (?) etc.

I had a line from young Willy. He says Natal is very like England only more dull -- a funny description -- such as Parkes W. might have given. [Rev. Parkes Willy was Maud’s brother-in-law, and ‘young Willy’ would be one of his sons, either Alexander or Bertie.] I was pleased at his remembering to write.
I am glad to hear the children wrote to you about the earthquake. Their letters to me on the subject were said by strangers to be "admirable" and they were creditable to them, though I say it.
Love to Julia. I hope Agnes’ health is somewhat better. Love to Ayrton and Edith, Louisa and others,

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin



Madras club, April 17 ' 87 [Madras]

My dear mother,

I am not living in the club although I use its paper so often. I find it a cooler and pleasant place than my own quarters and it is convenient to have books and papers at hand when I take my leisure.
I am sorry to read of (?) I K Cross’ death -- he was not a bad Under-Secretary of State for India, and I liked what I saw of him at (?) -- to which place he came in ' 85 for his health. A pleasant genial man whose manner bore no indication of the death he was to die.

I see that there has been a great earthquake in Sandwich Islands -- not great loss of life -- if any -- but continuous shocks, counted by hundreds extending over days. By the way would it not be well if in all earthquake countries wood could be used for building? In Burma wood is always used and although earthquakes occur, that country being rather ‘e q zone’ -- houses do not fall -- they are elastic. But against this must be set the ever present danger from fire -- especially among many houses adjoining each other. Although we lived in detached houses I always had a secret dread of fire, and when I left Burmah felt that I had gained something in leaving that danger behind me. Perhaps too, wood would be in many parts an expensive material.

I send you paper with a sensible article by that clever fellow (?) Griffin whose name you know.
Your letter 1st April just came in. I am indeed sorry to hear Louisa has such poor health.
It is disappointing to hear that the house is going for 2000 (or do you mean that that is the sum put on it). It cost 3300. But of course it is right to get rid of it. I think Agnes should have sold hers long ago. The sad thing is that none of us have so established ourselves in the world that (it) is worth our while to keep the property. I am sending you are very meagre scrap! I go to Bangalore in ten or so days hence. Adieu. I hope all well, love to all.

Ever your affectionate son
A. Chaplin


Bangalore, May 3, '87

My dear Mother

I arrived here a day or two ago. I shall doubtless grow used to the place but at present I miss Madras Club and the sea. I went to church Sunday evening. I had not been into it since I was an Ensign -- I could not but fill the pews with the congregation of those days.
The place has grown so much that I had some difficulty in finding the position of my old quarters. Still however the place is very military -- reeks of officialism! Yesterday called on the general who is a pleasant enough man and a good soldier, but I don't think I shall ever serve under a man I liked so much as Prendergast. The first time I called on a general at Bangalore was in the reign of the Hon Augustus Spencer -- one of the Churchills. He asked me about my passage etc. and then was about to dismiss me with his frigid bow whereupon I held out my hand -- he was shocked but accepted it. I never spoke to him again -- he seldom unbent himself.

Still nothing but rumours of war! I am glad the Germans have released Schnabell and that difficulty is over. Rumours of war would trouble me much less were the British Navy undoubtedly superior, as I think it should be, (?) more united (?) of other powers. What the army is would then matter little.
Sorry to hear John Skinner is (?). [He may have been ill by 1887 – he died in 1894]

I fear this is a dull scrap of writing -- but Bangalore is but a dull place -- as indeed all military cantonments always were and will be.
I am glad to hear Louisa is better -- my love to her (?)

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Bangalore, May 10 '87

My dear mother

They should arrive about 1 June why glorious? Ask (?). [The Glorious First of June 1794 was the first major naval engagement of the Great War with France (1793-1815)] May you see many firsts of June and may I see them with you!

Your card of (?) for which many thanks. I have made one or two acquaintances since I wrote but of course one leads here the same sort of life as at all up country (?) and it is (?) dull after Rangoon or even sleepy old Madras.

I am living in a good house (with one or two others at present) is in a good situation and can be (?) near to the general (a very good fellow -- a much better fellow, they say, when his wife is not with him! She is not with him at present).

In front is summer open ground on which I remember that in the early days [may have been 1861] I was thrown from my house. In the scuffle my uniform coat was ripped up the back to the neck. My horse went down alone and I had to follow -- humiliated -- on foot until the horse was brought back to me by a friend. Many a tumble I had in those days. I should not fall so lightly now -- indeed, through an accident of service, I have not ridden a horse since 81. In Burma we used ponies and at Madras I kept no subtle (?) horse.

I'm reading the dilemma (?). I forget (?) this you have rated. It gives a very good picture of Indian life -- so faithful in indeed that the description parts of the book are dull for me because I know all that the writer will say. It is by chest the ((?) of (?)) is it came out many years ago

I trust that Louisa has better health now. The other day I had a curious case of "free shooting" in barracks. A soldier thinking to murder his sergeant fired at night into the sergeant's room. The bullet struck just above the pillow of the bed and then the man reported that he had shot the sergeant -- at the same time giving himself up. But luckily for him the sergeant had left the room just before! Under such circumstances there could not be under English law (which alone is applied by the (?) to European soldiers) an attempt to murder. Under the Indian penal code a man would not have escaped so easily I think. By the way, that Indian penal code (for which we are indebted to Lord Macaulay among other able men) is an admirably simple and comprehensive code. It does seem a pity that there is no such code in England. It has been talked of for years but the crime lawyers don't like it, it is said -- and, it is added, are afraid it might spoil business. People would know too much! Doubtless they have better reasons.

Love to Louisa (?) Holroyd and all (?)

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Bangalore, May 26 /87

Many thanks for socks just arrived.

My dear Mother

I came back late last night from the Artillery Mess to find your letter of 6 May for which many thanks -- so that cook has left you at last. I never could understand how you could put up with her but perhaps she had "a good heart at bottom". I am still calling (?) -- it will, I hope, be over in a few weeks. The fact is there is no other re-source in such place -- a mere camp. Some think it a "most delightful place".

Sorry to hear that the sale of the house and effects has been so unsatisfactory but of course it could not be helped.

We have a bit of a library here. It is somewhat behind the day -- but there are many books there yet to read. I have been looking at (?) Johnson -- very entertaining but the homage and adulation of the Dr. is a little irritating although he was a G.O.M.. I am living with the commissariat man -- a Major Kennedy -- very good company -- I mean amicable although not brilliant. I have known him for some years past. Till last night I had not dined at the Artillery Mess since the days when I used often to be there are with my friend (?). The place seems to me now to be not so attractive and brilliant as it was but it may be that use and the lapse of years have robbed such entertainments of their splendour. How the years go by! Two or three of those I then dined with must have been at Addiscombe with Uncle Frederick. [Frederick studied military engineering at East India College, Addiscombe, Croydon, in 1823] I can remember they joked me about my "pretty new red jacket" I suppose I did not look very (?)

I see that Uncle Frederick’s son is promoted to captain? [Frederick Ayrton’s son was also called Frederick Ayrton] They have always got quicker promotion in the cavalry. So many moneyed men join it as a pastime until they succeed to their property.

I'm interested in “Parnellism and Crime”. I am very sorry the affair is not to go into (?) but I suspend my judgement and cannot go with those who say P. must be guilty(?) because he will not prosecute. At the same time I wish he would prosecute. Of one thing I am quite sure – it is before us all -- that Parnell and his powerful (?) did not use their great power to suppress agrarian crime. Did not heartily condemn and denounce unconstitutional means -- murder and cruelty -- at the same time that they (?) advised use of “constitutional means” -- that in fact (?) against them in ‘83 was justifiable.

Now I must say adieu. Hoping you have finer weather and are all keeping well. Thank Holroyd for his of May 6.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin

[NB: Paul Bew, writing in The Times on August 4, 2000 in relation to the then current Bloody Sunday enquiry, wrote 'The three-judge special commission of inquiry into "Parnellism and Crime" was established at the behest of the Salisbury Government in 1888 to sort out the truth of allegations made by The Times against the mainstream leaders of Irish nationalism. By 1888 Parnell, the then respectable leader of the Home Rule party, was in close alliance with Gladstonian Liberals, and any proof of a link between Parnellites and the violence of the 1879-82 period would have hurt not only Parnell but his new Liberal allies. In the end, the hearings constituted a victory for Parnell over this newspaper. For The Times had foolishly relied on a forged document attempting to show Parnell's complicity in the Phoenix Park murders of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke in May 1882 - the most infamous political assassinations of the era. But did the special commission get the whole truth? ……………… The Times had a near miss. In 1888 the newspaper almost persuaded Patrick J. Sheridan - an organiser of the "Invincible" conspiracy which had carried out the Phoenix Park murders - to return from Colorado and give evidence on its behalf. Sheridan later privately told an old friend and fellow physical force Republican, T J Quinn, that he had administered the oath of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood (the forerunner of the IRA) to Parnell in 1882 in, of all places, Trinity College library in Dublin. This was on the eve of the murders. Decades later T J Quinn wrote the story up for 'An Phoblacht,' the organ of the IRA, far too late for The Times to do anything about it"].



Bangalore, June 9 -- 87

My dear mother

It is bold to take this large sheet of paper and begin scribbling with no hope of making even the end of this page! Today I have been out calling -- (?) work it is -- yet it must be done because in this very military place, there is, of course, (?) "free masonry" of this service amongst us and you are half known even before (?) called and if you do not "call" the subsequent occasional inevitable meeting with the neglected ones, who had not been honoured with your attention, are embarassing, not to say unpleasant. The lady I saw today I have not met before -- a genial "body". Enough! From the way in which, before she appeared, the (?) drew down the blinds and the position which the lady took when she came in, I gathered that she was one of those who, as the song says, "might easily pass for 35 in the dark with the light behind her".

My friend Sir Barry Prendergast has come here. He is unemployed and not likely to find a vacancy -- being a full General -- for that rank there are very few appointments.

I see that the weary debate on the Crimes Bill still goes on. One liked always to believe in old Gladstone's honesty of purpose if not in his wisdom -- but after his Hampstead speech one cannot believe in his sincerity. I never wrote a speech so full of quibbling -- so bare-faced in its "(?)" of crime. I fear I must give the old man up -- doubtless he will survive the loss of my support!

Another of the (?) gone back to Her Majesty - Norman Maclean -- very few now remain of those belonging to the regiment when first I knew it.

So young Frederick Ayrton has married a French woman. Has money brought money, as it often does bring it?

This morning I went to see the Jubilee address and (?). The latter a handsome massive (?) box made to represent a (?) in the neighbourhood. What will Her Majesty do with all these boxes? There will be dozens -- perhaps hundreds from India alone. They will have an exhibition of Jubilee presents at South Kensington no doubt.

[No ending to this letter]


Bangalore, July 22/87

My dear Mother,
Yours of the 20 ult. for which many thanks. Very glad to hear you were well and able to play lawn tennis.

Yes -- I think it is the best game for young people and even for middle-aged folk -- but sometimes I think that girls too much tax their strength in (?). There is here a woman -- no "chicken" who skips about the court with wonderful agility. She is so good a player that she has to play in the men "sets” and this although she is the mother of a family and must be nearer 40 than 30.

The other evening to an "at home" at the "Residency" (not without a great effort -- so much do I dislike parties). I did my duty by making my bow and haunting doorways for an hour or two, and then made my escape. Most people seem to be enjoying themselves. H. H. the Maharajah was there -- with a very fine necklace -- his dress very (?). The Indians who see much of Europeans -- (H. H. was brought up by our government) seem to use a more sober dress than their fathers -- less barbaric gold.

By the way I feel quite sorry for a poor (?) who was upset. Think of it! That is the "making history" indeed. It will go down to his children's children that the Duke of Argyll was distinguished in the splendid crown of knight and noble by being thrown from his horse -- poor fellow!

I am glad to see that his children's fete in the park went off well -- of course all children could not go. Whatever Lawson’s motives may have been the children had a good time and that is sufficient.
Now I must send this off. Love to all.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
[PS] I should have liked to see the catalogue of the sale at Courtfield Gardens.


Bangalore, August 10/87

My dear Mother
As I do not hear from you I presume (?) on your travels and hopes that you enjoy the change.

So poor Whiteley has had another disaster. I am indeed sorry to hear it. How can he (all-day, if he has aristocratic backers) is support these repeated losses -- and uninsured to!

Last evening a little native boy begged of me in the road -- what for do you think? Not more charity but -- he was too poor to pay his fees at the mission school. His father's income was seven rupees a month and there was a family to be supported and if the fees were not paid he must leave. I think he told me truth. He was 13 and in (?) and other Western studies. I do believe the education (?) in England is overdone. I am very glad to hear we have come to a kind of settlement in Afghanistan. I hope it will last.

I have had another soldier shooting case here. This time among the native soldiers. A native officer went out one night about 9 -- taking with him his revolver -- meets another native officer with whom he is on bad terms -- shoots him dead and then returns to his own quarters -- (?) himself, up with his wives and other womenkind and children and, when the place is becoming too hot from the determination to arrest him -- he succeeds in dismissing, by a back door, the children and the women excepting his wife who begs to remain, shoots his wife dead, then seats himself in a dignified manner on a chair and shoots himself dead.

One is sorry for the victims but the scoundrel did not deserve to escape me and the gallows! However I am saved an unpleasant duty. The natives think the wife a heroine - indeed she showed great devotion -- and they look upon the murderer as a hero too in his way. The funeral of the couple was a great (?) they were laid on the bier in each other's arms and covered with flowers (?) thousands followed them to the grave -- and it is said that within a few hours the bodies were exhumed -- no one will say by whom -- perhaps that they might be deposited in some holy of holies.

I was to have gone to Madras but have had to postpone departure till next week. I fear my letters have been of late very short -- but life here is very monotonous. H. H. the Maharajah gave a ball the other day -- I did not go -- indeed I go nowhere .

Love to all. Is Julia still in London?

Every your affectionate son
A Chaplin


September 10/87

Thanks for French newspaper and thank you for a (?)..

My dear Mother
Many thanks for your last -- from France. I am glad to hear you are well and that Louisa is better for the change. Sorry I did not write by last mail but was much worried at the time.

I do not allow myself to be alarmed by Sir F. Roberts but I cannot be blind to what goes on under my own nose regarding which people in England are (?) ill informed. Cannot but see with what difficulty the duties - multifarious in these days of military training and education -- of the Army are carried on -- how terribly short handed regiments are -- how constantly officers have thrown upon them more work than they can properly do -- how things are done in a scramble -- nothing thoroughly -- and all this in almost peace time!

People in England do not know what strain even the small Burma campaign has been on the Army. It may be wrong but really one is tempted to wish that people might be roused by some overwhelming disaster

Love to all, your affectionate son, A Chaplin


October 4 [Possibly Bangalore in 1887]

My dear Mother
I'm treating you to an envelope -- though it is of little use as I'm sure I can't fill the sheet. I am jogging along rather (?) of the monotony of this place -- wondering whether, all being well, I can put up with a few more years of India.

Thank you for calling at Brussels and for your report upon the children. I am glad they pleased you and trust the report is not coloured. One who is not always with them can better judge whether they have progressed or otherwise. I am glad you are well and active. I do think that people on the average do not age so soon as they used to.

I have a married man -- or, rather, a widower -- with son and daughter in my house now. He lost a wife and daughter within last (?) months and has moved house. I have to "run the show" as Americans say -- that is, keep house for them -- rather a bother and young people are so dainty (I could always eat any dish if clean and well cooked since I began soldiering). It worries me, too, that I can't leave my rooms unless I'm dressed -- can't walk the verandah in pyjamas. But these are small matters indeed!

You will have seen the report of the Nejam’s(?) offer to help pay for military works etc. We are tho’ more surprised because not long ago he was a prince who did not (?) promise - He was “unamenable” -- had to be treated with care. But Lord Dufferin seems to have won his (?) as he has won the regard of so many like him.

I hope Louisa and family are (?)

Every your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Bangalore, Oc 25/87

My dear Mother

Thanks many for yours of sixth instant which came to hand quickly. Glad to hear that you have enjoyed your stay in the country. I am ashamed to send you such scraps of letters but -- my life is so monotonous that I can't help being dull -- indeed my letters do no more than serve to remind you of my existence!

The troops were out of this morning and as I pass the general he was "storming" because something had gone wrong -- But of course no parade goes right unless something does "go wrong" -- a (?) great part of the (?) occupation would be gone.

Mrs (?) came back the other day -- I called but not on her "day" so fear I must call again. I see that Prendergast -- Sir H. -- has assumed his new office as the (?) of Mysore (temporary) and that yesterday he heard a case (?). He promised to deliver judgement on a future day. As my dear old friend has been a soldier all his life and is rather out of his element on the bench of the "residents" court (analogous to our Consular Courts in Egypt and elsewhere) that means that he will get the Assistant Resident (a civilian) -- the Court Registrar and such like people to coach him. But no doubt he'll do well enough, having plenty of commonsense.

Yes, I think I have read Darwin's "Beagle". I have read many books and they run through me as water through a sieve.

Love to all,
Your affectionate son
A Chaplin


[This is the last letter I have from him to his mother for more than two and a half years]



[Rangoon, November 22/89]

Love to Ayrton and family and also to Mr Christie if you see him. I have a pleasant recollection of his jest about your presenting him with an Indian Colonel and a native oyster. I hope business goes well for you.

My dear Holroyd,

I forget whether I acknowledged yours of the 27th Sep reporting your return to duty ‘as we say’ and now it is so late in the mail week that I cannot hope to be able to fill even two pages of ‘stuff’.

We are as usual trade “fair” -- but there are no longer such pickings as there were years ago. Few of the traders (European -- natives are few) here are wealthy men as wealth is understood elsewhere. There are too many of them -- we are overrun by them. Lawyers, among other men of business, abound. Many of them living from hand to mouth in the hope that business will come in when the natives of Upper Burma have learnt how to litigate in a British court and have been inoculated with that love of "suits" which one finds so strong in the natives of India.

As yet no lawyers have been allowed to appear in the courts in the new territory (I believe they are just about to be admitted). A wise order -- when you are (?) it is not the time for arguing in a Court whether the dominant power is right or wrong. That seems to be a horrible thing to say, but those who can best judge will tell you that at such a time it is well for the people to feel themselves entirely in the hands of the "government" -- in direct communication with them - not with a right of questioning the action of the state. For example in a country governed like India -- a foreign country, an alien people -- it is essential that the Viceroy should be able to perform what is officially called an "Act of State" -- be able at any moment to order an arrest (lettre du cachet, don't you call it?). It is understood that such a power is to be used, and it is used, only in emergency.

I heard yesterday of an officer -- something civil -- one Tucker -- shooting elephants in (?). He "missed" -- an elephant charged. He, on foot, fled before the monster -- the course was downhill -- the elephant was fast gaining on him when, dreadful to relate, T. stumbled and fell. In a moment the elephant was upon him and passing (here the impetus made a halt impossible), put down its foot to crush him -- but T. had fallen beside a little grass hummock which received the elephant’s hasty tread, only the outer edge of the foot striking T’s person, which was but little injured.

This is true -- bedad! I suppose no man was ever before in such a situation and so little hurt.

Love to E and children
yr affectionate brother
A.C.

Do you see anything of (?) nowadays? I met his brother on voyage to India in ‘88 -- I think I told you -- he is interested in indigo etc.


[22 December 1889, Rangoon. This letter is to his wife, Maud, who was then living in Brussels (see below). Wyn is mentioned at the end - Allan’s eldest son Wyndham who would have been 17 at the time. Allan may have written short letters to his mother, but his wife did better if this is typical. I think Prince Albert was the eldest son of Edward VII, since he was “Mirror of the Heir Apparent, his royal father”. Edward’s second son, George, became King George V]

Rangoon, Dec 22. 89

Dearest Momie(?)

(This is the first day of the year -- I having landed at Madras on December 22nd). I snatched a moment, before going to the Prince’s dinner, for posting my last to you. Friday morning we were on duty at the wharf -- from 7 a.m.. There was the usual display of red turkey-cloth and white and blue stuff. Seats, tier above tier, had been constructed on each side of the shed covering the approach to the water and through which H.R.H. would pass to the street.

As nearly always occurs here, there was a mistake made as to the hour of arrival and, soon after 8, we were told that H.RH.’s ship had been sighted off the point at the river mouth and that therefore he could not arrive before mid-day. We were all in full-dress -- the time at our disposal was not enough to allow us to go home and return easily and yet too long to allow us to wait without tedium. Fortunately a police officer whom I met had provided himself with sandwiches and was good enough to take pity on my empty stomach.

Fortunately the day was cloudy and the month December. We whiled away the time by "wondering" about this and that -- listening to the band -- inspecting the handsome silver casket which contained the address and lay on its violet velvet cushion on a small table in the (?). We were also diverted by two groups of Burmese girls who had been "paraded" in order to sing the praises of H. R. H. and who gave us a few selections from their “repertoire” of posturing and singing*. Very graceful their movements are. They move their legs very little -- are seated most of the time -- the posturing being with the head body and arms. It is far better than anything of the kind in India and quite worth coming here to see. Some 16 or 20 girls perform, arranged thus [drawing] and their voices keep time with the movements of the limbs and all. Voices and gestures -- of the party are in perfect unison. Moreover there is not even a suggestion of immodesty in either dress or performance. To me the gracefulness is most fascinating and I am never weary of watching and listening to a "pooay” (pronounced like the French "jouer”). Yet there are people who think it most uninteresting "wonder what you can see in it", and would much rather see a London Danseuse.

The "danseuse” is graceful in a way -- but there is much in the performance that is not graceful e.g. [drawing]. I find that the people whom I should have selected as those with taste agree with me in finding pleasure in a pooay.

As the steamer came alongside the Chief (?) and the General went forward, each with his following, to receive H. R. H. as he stepped on to the wharf. He was in hussar undress -- with a solitary start on his breast -- on each side of him was one of his suite -- in one of these I recognised General Bradford (Sir Edward), the one armed man whom you saw at Bondi. The Prince has not an imposing presence. His countenance is commonplace. He looks more the "masher" than the Monarch. But doubtless his bearing and appearance will improve with years. But one cannot help remarking that the royal family in that generation is not so good-looking as the royal family of past years. Arrived at the casket, H.R.H. was addressed in the usual strain by a European and a Burmese representative of (?) subjects and they, in succession, told him how glad all were to see him etc. We of the staff were standing around, and I could see that the young man was nervous and was sorry for him.

The address finished he turned to his supporters who handed him a written reply (Bradford wrote it I suppose!) which H.R.H. read and a translation of which was then shouted out to the assembly by the "interpreter" -- and then the Prince moved on, we following, and the audience leaving their seats and coming behind us. At the gates of the approach was the C.C’s carriage with its red liveries and from either side of the gateway ran the "thin red line" of soldiers standing at intervals and forming an avenue thro’ the route which was to be followed by H.R.H.. There were about three carriages and a small mounted escort (the visit is as little official as it is possible for it to be).

In the town were here and there archways of curious structures erected by and characteristic of the communities of the various countries represented in the motley population of Rangoon -- Chinese, Burmese, (?), North Indian Hindoo merchants -- Bombay Parsees, Mahomedans, Europeans etc.. I think I told you that the Chinese and Burmese decorations were the best. One archway, erected by a wealthy Hindu contractor, was remarkable in that it was covered with devices formed with real current coins -- rupees and sovereigns -- representing many thousands of pounds. I suppose it was intended to indicate that the pax Britannica and just rule of H.M. had permitted the millionaire to accumulate this wealth. There was a large crowd in the street and my vehicle could for a long time go at only a foot pace but the largest crowds in the East are usually very docile, and a Rangoon crowd is especially well behaved and, although the barriers appeared to be all too slender, there was no rough pushing or fighting and the police had no difficulty in keeping order.

I reached home about 1 and was clad to shake off my "fine feathers" and have some breakfast -- but one had not much leisure. The Clerk was waiting for orders and no sooner had I done with him then I had to dress for a garden party at government house "to meet etc.". The Entertainment was agreeable. The grounds are naturally pretty. There is very little garden properly so-called -- I mean no elaborate “beds”, “walks” etc.. Trees – poor turf but well grown shrubs -- abundance of foliage everywhere. In the midst of which the many coloured garments of the Burmese who, arrived before us, had been disposed on the ground and on seats around, looked beautifully picturesque.

There was, of course, the military band from one of the regiments. Here and there in the grounds were groups of singing girls (no entertainment given in Burma is complete without a pooay) dressed in their curiously contrived garments of silk and muslin (the woollen lady I sent to England is correctly dressed as dancing girl) -- one of the groups was composed of little girls younger than Baba -- prettilly dressed with a flower decked hair and taking evident pains with their “devoirs” altho’ as yet their voices and movements had not the graceful precision, the perfect unison, which appeared in the performance of the old girls.

The Prince appeared in the course of the afternoon but he did not, I think, appear to advantage being dressed not in princely fashion but like a "travelling masher" -- quite a typical “globe trotter” with a white helmet (there was no need for a helmet) big stiff collars and loose garments. The Oriental don't understand our ways and I think that in these small matters they should be sometimes humoured -- that they should be no possibility of mistaking a prince for the "last (?) competition wallah".

There were the usual refreshments for all -- the Burmese ladies sat quietly where they had been deposited. H.R.H. inspected them and one or two of their aristocracy were presented and H.R.H. nodded and smiled on then and took notice of their jewels much to their delight. I took this opportunity to renew my acquaintance with Bradford -- who was very courteous (as he always it is to all). He told me that he should be very glad to reach England. He felt much the responsibility of his charge. It is perhaps well that the Prince is of very quiet habits and tractable.

(No letters from Brussels by today's mail but I hear of you from (?). I quite agree with you that the Brussels post office is a scandal. I think you had better petition for the removal of the Postmaster General!)..

After our garden party we had an hour’s interval and then prepared for the solemn dinner -- the dinner. After we – that is the principal persons in Rangoon (there were two dinners, I was in the "first flight") had all arrived and had waited some 10 minutes, in walked the Prince at whose coming all -- men and women -- rose. H.R.H. went round the room and each lady was presented to him and he unlaced his hand and shook hands. It was amusing to see the people "at court" -- the reverential curtsey -- the would-be (?)aristocratic bow. After the ladies we "militaires” were presented and shook the princely hand.

The young man is not a very engaging youth but one cannot help continually looking at him, remembering his great position -- that he will be "the King" and yet he looks as I said, so like the junior “competition wallah” that one's faith in the virtue of a (?) monarchy is somewhat shaken. I was altho’ young, one of those entitled to “take a lady” and fortunately there fell to my lot a young person whom I like. I talked more than usual. I can always talk better at these large parties - where the conversation cannot be "general". You address only your next neighbours. The dinner broke up early and I was glad to return home feeding very tired and glad that I had not subscribed to the big ball. Soon afterwards I heard the rattle of sabres and clatter of hoofs, and saw the lamps of three or four carriages flashing past my gate and I knew that the Prince had started for the ball. I hear that it went off "well enough". H.R.H. stayed three hours or more and honoured one or two ladies with his hand.

But all this stuff must be wearisome to you! But I think, at times, that your children may hearafter like to remember that the King? (of their day) was once at Rangoon with me and that we took several meals together. No! It is prettier to say we met and shook hands on several occasions. By the way, that scrap of Burmese song which I send to W. should be kept: it will have a special value years hence.

Next morning was fixed for the visit to the great pagoda -- but as the Prince rose late the visit was not till 12. I was resolved to be there and found, when I arrived, that there were scarcely any Europeans -- only four or five. So much the better! I joined the police officers who were standing, with the President of the municipality, at the foot of the flight of steps which leads, under a carved covered away, up of the ascent. Around them was a quiet but expectant crowd of Burmese. Few Indians were there -- All were seated -- to stand up were disrespectful. All men women and children were gaily clad and seemed to enjoy themselves. Presently the carriages, preceded by the escort, -- dashed up -- and the officials, of whom I, fpr the nonce, was one, saluted H.R.H. as he descended. There was scarcely any applause -- then never is much applause in an Asiatic crowd, it is not "their way" -- there is a hum of suppressed voices, betokening approval and relief from suspense. The Prince led the way upstairs escorted by the C.C. who, you may be sure, had “got up the subject” as to his (?) -- points, objects of interest etc. There was a group of about a dozen following - composed of the Prince’s suite and “Rangooners”. I was with Sir E. Bradford part of the time.

There were numbers of Burmese on the pagoda platform -- (?) and about the temples, but, as they were all seated in most sedate fashion and quite as if for inspection, H. R. H. did not see the pagoda as I see it -- the scene had less animation than that of which I have sometimes written. But nevertheless the general effect of the buildings and people in grouping and colouring was lovely. Sir E. Bradford seemed to me to appreciate better than anyone the beauty of the scene. He was in enchanted by one or two "bits of color" to which I drew his attention. The Prince nodded and smiled in his "jerky" way. I think he means very well but now and then one was annoyed that he had not a more dignified appearance (but that it is not his fault -- it will come).

At one point there was a group of yellow-robed monks. In the midst of them was their saintly chief -- an old old man with pinched face and shrivelled skin -- who must have known this shrine before it was trampled under the heel of the European. I know not what he thought as he sat there in the midst and a little in advance, of his followers -- his head closely shaven, his yellow rope hanging loosely on his withered limbs -- but he's smiled and made response in Burmese when the Prince asked after his welfare and, through the Interpreter, he gave the good wishes of the church to his Royal Highness.

In the entrance to each of the larger shrines, under the shadow of every pavilion, there was a blaze of colour coming from the groups of men and women seated there -- the women predominated and theirs was the gayest attire, and not one but had a flower in her head and most had necklaces and pendants - and these masses of color [note the spelling] set in ground of brown woodwork, at once lighted up by the glow of the glittering pinnacles around and toned by the foliage of the trees and deep shadows of the distant background, made a picture that one will not soon forget.

Of course there was a pooay -- it was such as I have described to you, and, while it was being performed, a little girl of 4 or 5, the daughter of the man who had erected this particular pavilion, came forward and presented the Prince with a huge cheroot and with flowers, and then a cheroot and a "buttonhole" were given to each one of us. Altogether I was not displeased with the Prince's bearing. I was close to him all the time and he had a kindly look -- but I did wish he had not worn that slouching "plain clothes" and I should have liked a little more enthusiasm -- warmth of expression etc. -- but perhaps he was nervous! And so we wandered around, not forgetting to examine the beautiful carving. By the way there was, all the time, a police officer – Argus-eyed -- just in front of us and another was close at our heels. They have orders to never lose sight of H.R.H. when out of his room, and have to be ever on the watch for an "attempt".

In the afternoon we had some sports on the "lakes" -- boat racing etc. in which the Burmese are expert. The Prince embarked at a point running out into the lakes -- in a state barge gilded and ornamented after the manner of the country and having for figurehead a wooden gilded monster, half bird and half griffin -- and the barge was towed across to the mainland by many country boats filled with their numerous crew of paddlers -- on the barge or rather roofed pavilion aft, there were girls dancing to the sound of native music and as the barge moved slowly across the sounds came floating before it. On all sides the banks were thronged by gay crowds and the whole scene was extremely pretty.

There! I am the weary of H.R.H.. There was one more function -- dinner at the General’s. No ladies were there. The dinner was excellent but dull except for the opportunity it gave of having a good look at H.R.H., who was much nearer to me than before. There were only military men present. Monday (?). There was a big breakfast on the occasion of the opening some drainage works by H.R.H.. Nothing at the ceremony [of] note and now he has gone to Mandalay -- and I'm not sorry!

By the way the portrait has come from Madams -- The "Souvenir de notre (?)" and now I don't know what to do with it -- cannot decide to whom to give it -- all the women in the place are clamouring for it and swear that I promised it to them. I have a number of Mandalay photographs -- what is to come of them? Wyn might like them. They are of some value and should be cared for properly, not "knocked about" -- your P.O. officials moreover would give trouble!

[the letter ends – no sign-off]

[Song of the children at Mandalay in honour of H R H Prince Albert, as reported in the Rangoon Times on Friday December 27, 1889]:

“Heir to the throne, hail!
Happy under thy protection, our hearts beat joyously, like the beating of victorious drums!
We little maids salute thee!
Grandson of her who reigns in London Palace, journeying from land to land to Mandalay, thou dost delight us!
Most honoured are we sweet little maidens in that a Prince has visited this land in our day, who is heir to the throne, before whom the whole world trembles, and whose glory is conter-minous with the earth!
The thundrous power and glory of the royal grandson is able to bring a hundred sovereigns into submission!
Undequalled is he with his moon like face, made for the worship of maidens from the four quarters of the earth!
Mirror of his grandmother and surrounded by his army, we maids reverence him in this assembly as our highest honor!
May the cold hurt him not in this month, when the royal flowers bloom and the heavy dews fall!

CHORUS

On the water they strike like lightning with torpedoes (tawpido)!
On land they reduce whole mountains with dynamite (dainnamaik)!
With rainbow-like head-dress of pure rubies he is a second Indra!
With breeches flashing like lightning and worth a hundred thousand pieces of gold, bright as the sun in his glory and supreme on the earth!
Mirror of the Heir Apparent, his royal father, like a diamond is he falling from the sky!
Fair of face, with shoes of gold set with gems!
Ruler of all the armies, at his coming the earth and seas tremble!
Wise as Indra, all Burma feels his power!
Searching for enemies and glorious as the sun, he subdues the whole world with bombs and drums!
Under his glory and power let us be happy and joyful!

CHORUS

Travelling over land and water for his amusement,
Gaining wondrous victories over many kinds of knowledge, respected by many monarchs, we little maids are happy as lotus flowers when water is sprinkled!
Though he is over twenty, he is as the rising sun and we worship his moonlike face!”]


Rangoon, January 2. 90

My dear Mother

At last I am able to write -- 90. Alas, for the years that are gone.

The other night when going to bed I left all together on my dressing table a clock, a waterbury watch, my keys, spectacles and nail scissors, and that box of razors which you gave me. In the morning when I went to dress I saw that all these things had vanished -- a search left no doubt that someone had entered while I slept and stolen them. The clock was the only thing I could find and that was standing underneath the table in another room -- why I know not. It is puzzling -- but I have a little doubt that some native on the premises is guilty. No thief from outside would steal keys, old spectacles and very old scissors etc. and leave intact the box in which I kept money.

Some blackguard servant has done it to get some other servant into trouble -- probably things have been hidden in the garden or thrown down the well. Had the fellow desired only to cause me inconvenience he could not have done better -- all these things are daily necessaries and must be made good at cost of three or four pounds in all. Especially am I sorry to have lost the razors -- always a pleasing souvenir of Uncle Ayrton and which I hoped would have lasted me for years to come. But what makes me angry is not so much the loss as the manner of the act, and the thought that I have such creatures about me. It is a common cause of procedures among natives of India and shows the worst side of their character. And I dare not discharge anyone lest I do exactly what the scoundrel who removed the things hoped I should do. I dare say it is some old grudge about half an oz of rice or something of equal value. Natives of India are for ever bickering and quarrelling about infinitesimally small matters and will frame a most complicated plot if only by it they can "pay off" someone who has injured them in a small point which seems scarcely worth of notice.

H.R.H. passed through the other day having visited Mandalay. We did not see him again. I hope he was not sea sick, they say he is "a bad sailor".

The mail day has overtaken me and I have only time to close this. I had one or two “remarks to offer” but they had escaped me. I attended the other (?) the service at the methodist episcopal chapel. The preaching was of course the great feature. I thought it vulgar but perhaps it suited the audience who were not of the "cantonment aristocracy". The man was of one of the numerous American missionaries. He contrived to drag in allusions to "(?) -- gas -- Washington – Jay Gould -- and the Eiffel Tower (a certain person was pre-eminent above other Christians just as the (?) towered above St Peters, Pyramids, St. Paul’s etc). It is still a little chilly in the early morning but at this 12.30 we perspire. Thank Ayrton for letter and card of 5 December ‘89. The card most elegant.

Your affectionate son, A C


Rangoon, January 9. 90

My dear Mother

Yours of the 15th December. Much interested in your news on various matters. You are as usual -- somewhat (?) to inconvenience because the hack-carriage drawers have struck work. "Striking" is "catching" and the "downtrodden nation" in these days of telegraph and the universal newspaper is beginning to propel by the example of (?) against authority, -- they have always well understood trade and financial combination and intrigue. At the time of the "dock strikes" our indispensable scavengers became somewhat restive -- however the difficulty was adjusted by the municipality.

I see that Stanley is said to have relieved (?) Pasha in spite of the pasha. That (?) wished to remain where he was. That seems rather hard on (?) unless we assume that his brain was affected and he was not fit to judge for himself.

I am reminded of an incident which illustrates the situation. A certain soldier was absent without leave. We searched for him in all directions and in vain, until, at length, he was discovered to be lying at the bottom of a dry well. We hailed him but he was speechless and we feared he had been hurt much by the fall. A rope was brought. A soldier was let down to assist and, if possible, bring up his comrade. After a while we called out "is he much hurt?" The reply came "no Sir, he’s drunk, Sir" "Can't you get him up? -- tell him to come up" "He says Sir he's …… if he'll come out", and therewith the two men fell to fisticuffs at the bottom of the well!

I send by this mail parcel post my picture, which I mentioned before. It is addressed to Maud to your care and I shall be glad if you will open and keep it for the present. I told M. I was sending it to you -- you will be interested in seeing Madame’s work -- very good for an amateur. The parcel will, I suppose, not arrive until six or seven weeks -- it goes via Gibraltar.

Love to all,
yr affectionate son
A Chaplin
I do hope the influenza will not come near you. I have been much interested in "Looking backward" - Is it is a most ingenious book and makes one "pause and reflect".


Rangoon, January 23/90

My dear Mother

Another great grey headed chieftain gone! As was written long ago of Colin Campbell -- Lord Clyde. Another distinguished Napier has left us. A fine old fellow they say he was -- I never saw him -- and the army in India has never had a better chief -- he reigned at (?) 70 to 76. To you he is interesting as the Addiscombe College contemporary of Uncle Frederick who renewed acquaintance, in Egypt, with Lord N. of Magdala when his Lordship passed through en route to India after the Abyssinia campaign.

I forget whether I reported that H.E.the C in C Madras had passed thro’ -- I met him at dinner. He is an amount of a very few words -- they "there are" in fact. They say a good fellow at bottom but the process of pushing one's way to the good fellow strata and is so very unpleasant that few attempt the task. He is a just man and no fool -- that character is enough for most of us. Last year he was inspecting troops in the station near to Rangoon. The chief civil officer gave a station dinner. H.E. was to be the guest of the evening. The (?) parade of troops was attended by the Ladies headed by the aforesaid (?)'s wife, a lady remarkable for great self possession not to say impudence. H.E. came onto parade, not, as was expected and as politeness to troops and spectators dictated, in the (?) but, in a work at day around campaigning suit such as you see in pictures of tropical welfare. In the evening H.E. presented himself at dinner and was greeted by the hostess who scarcely knew him -- with "well, Sir Charles, I am disappointed in you! We all came out to see you on parade and you appear in a shabby old coat like a (?)!" The old gentleman did not know what to say -- he was not used to be thus addressed -- his dignity was hurt -- there was a very awkward pause -- somebody " tittered" and gradually the laugh became general and at length. H.E. joined in it -- what else could he do having nothing telling to say at the moment!

The timing is rushing on and no letter ready for you. Last evening I went into society "a little music". I fear I was much bored and comforted myself with the reflection that this "appearance" would be "bien pour” a good many days to come. There is an "out of doors and " entertainment in the day or to but one has then more freedom -- smoke etc. if so disposed -- the ladies are not so much "in evidence" and years I have today been out visiting -- I do that most conscientiously. Things go well in the "Chindwin" save that the troops have (?) -- love to all.

Will write shortly to Holroyd. I hope their terms house suits him.

Ever yr affectionate son, A.C.


Rangoon, February 9. 90

My dear Mother

Many thanks your letter of the 17 ult. I am glad to hear that (?) is progressing. I am not at all surprised to hear that he is not going on leave. Few young men, who are in health, go on long leave so soon after entering the service -- eight or nine years should be allowed for obtaining a good footing. I did not see (?) name in the Gazette -- save on appointment to a charge at (?).

Last evening to amateur theatricals. That sort of entertainment (so different from going to the theatre in the real sense) is not much to my taste. I go sometimes to encourage soldiers who happen to be the performers -- sometimes under pressure from someone of the other sex it may be who thinks Colonel C. ought to be made to come -- he must come, it will do him good etc. But friends will not reform me. I have low tastes and am happier with pipe and pot and paper, or billiards!

I see that Mrs Fitzgeorge is dead. An unsatisfactory position she held -- in which it was necessary to have it always explained that she really was married to the Duke.
I am glad to hear that affairs continue to go well in the hill country and without bloodshed. This morning I “saw off" a man with fever from “Chin country” who was taking ship for London. He had already begun to improve in health.

How I am belated again!. The mail going out -- business demanding attention and no letter for you. I told you I think that the commander in chief is at Mandalay. He will be here again before long. A question came before me today as to the ownership of a large mirror which, having been in the Palace at Mandalay, had passed through the hands of several officers: had been "put up" in am more than one bungalow and so on. The question is whether it belongs to the Government or its present possessor. Of course the answer must be the Government. When we occupied Mandalay the government -- that is to say the representative of our government -- undertook to administer all the Palace and national property which fell into our hands, for the benefit of (?) and his people, as seemed best under [the] circumstances.

(?) was personally in debt. It was understood and indeed ordered that the property should not be plundered - but it was almost impossible to prevent soldiers and officers carrying of some of it and many things had, on the spot, but little intrinsic value but would be treasured as souvenirs. Of course officially speaking no one had a right to take anything -- the veriest trifle -- but in such circumstances one must allow some latitude -- and it is impossible to attach criminality to such an act of "removal" when those high in office helped in themselves to "curiosities". It is a matter of notoriety that Sir J. Roberts is carried away "cartloads" of things which doubtless will adorn a London drawing-room -- that (?) – the chief diplomatic officer made a "collection", that numbers of other officials followed suit -- paying nothing of course for such things. I don't mean to insinuate that these men would have plundered (?) or the ministerial cash safe -- but they winked at and assisted in the carrying away of "trifles" such as (?) -- Much of the woodwork, it is fair to say -- was really waste -- in course of demolition of buildings -- would have sold for little or nothing -- but, nevertheless, there was as we all know "laxity".

Love to all -- I hope you sleep well -- in haste
Ever yr affectionate son, A.C.


Rangoon, February 20/90

My Dear Mother

It is abominably hot, considering the date -- so my letter will not, I fear, be long -- are they much longer when it is cool? I have just been looking into Carroll’s (Dodson is his real name is it not -- or something like that) new book. It is really rather poor stuff and I am half through it without a good laugh -- but perhaps I was more easily moved to mirth when "Alice" was new than I am now! One or two quips are amusing "(?)", "and expensive school where they never box boys ears for nothing" etc.

Yesterday called on the Bishop -- our Bishop -- a long talk with him about "responsibility" a propos insanity as a defence in criminal trials -- to which a case had recently drawn our attention. He took the sentimental merciful and popular -- I may call it -- view and once you do that you find there is no halting-place short of the abolition of capital punishment. I confess that I would like to see that tried for a term in England. If capital crimes increased from that cause -- re-establishing the penalty. But I was at a disadvantage, as you can't argue with a general officer or tell him flatly you don't agree with him (it is bad form) so you shrink from encountering your spiritual father in God -- especially when he is an expert who when studying medicine took a medal for medical jurisprudence and when "Mrs Bishop" is sitting by, smiling blandly and pleased that the Bishop is "letting you have it"!

I must hurry up as I have to go into the town on business. I am worried about finding quarters for a family who have written from India that they will be here next month, and it is not easy to find rooms suitable for them in this place, in which there is so great demand for bungalows and the "good old times" when the General was supreme in the station, as regards who should and who should not live in military precincts, a Rangoon, March 21/90

My dear Mother

Thanks for your last about February 22nd. Glad, very glad to hear you keep your health. You will be able yet to nurse me when I retire from the service.

Affairs are going well on our N.W. frontier and tribes are submitting with little or no fighting -- but of course we shall have to leave a force in the hills during the rains -- the campaign is at any rate believed to be over -- if campaign it can be called -- and much credit is due to the man who so judiciously conducted the business as to bring the tribes in with so little harrying and bloodshed -- peaceful measures were tried with great patience -- liberal terms were offered -- violence used only when there was no other course open and there had been attacks from or break of faith by the (?).

Talking of this -- what "humbug" there is sometimes in these reports and telegrams. It may be in your recollection that some ten years ago Sir F. Roberts, having had a narrow escape from disaster, succeeded in entering Cabul -- that certain reprisals were then taken against the natives. A military commission sat and caused many men to be hanged. Questions were asked in the "house" about the doings of this commission. Lord Kimberley I think, was in office -- the Secretary of State, having of course inquired by telegram of Simla and Roberts, told the house that the greatest care and discrimination had been used, that no man had been executed without searching deliberate and fair trial and so forth -- and there are the matter ended.

I met the other day one whom I know intimately -- who was then commanding his regiment at Cabul and who was one of the commission. His story is -- and I believe it -- that the "trials" were in many cases a gross mockery of justice -- that so flagrant was the bias of the court, so evident the determination that men should not "get off" -- that my friend, having, in more than one case recorded his protest against the action of the court, at length refused to any longer take part in the proceedings -- and, as he was found to be an inconvenient person, the authorities (Roberts I suppose) sent him elsewhere. Most of the officers concerned were those who had been on the spot from the first. My friend’s regiment had come up later and therefore he was able to take a more dispassionate view -- the others had become naturally, embittered against the enemy.

That is a bit of secret history which you may believe if you please -- I do believe it. I may add that the officer I allude to lives with me and has been with me these two years. The mail goes today and the post has just brought some business so I had better say adieu.

Love to all. I am glad to hear you like the portrait. I gave your message to Mme Pelinski (de Belty is a mere affix not ordinarily used) and she gave a courteous rejoinder. I am glad to hear that Ayrton has a house to his liking.

Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin
re passing away.

A charity fair in the public gardens -- a few tense and flags and young people and (?) are playing at shop keeping. Being a subscriber to these tuition for whose benefit it was held I went and came away poorer by a half sovereign also -- and nothing to should avoid. They always so rubbish at such shops! I hope all with you and elsewhere are well and you have good reports from India.

Love to all, ever your affectionate son, A Chaplin
Ayrton is fortunate in finding a suitable house.


Rangoon, April 4. 90

My dear Mother,

Thanks for your letter of 7 ult. Glad to know that you are well in spite of your horrible climate. The weather grows horribly warm and after 11 am I am "good for nothing" so you must excuse my sending a short letter. Affairs are going well in the North and today there are 3 or 4 regiments in camp here on their way to other quarters in pursuance of arrangements made on the close of the little campaign, or, rather, negotiations among the hill people. As he who makes a good peace is greater than one who makes a great war -- so we expect that the man who conducted this expedition will have done much to advance his own fortunes. Meanwhile I am content with the dolce fa niente -- comparative -- of Rangoon in spite of its vile climate -- its heats and its damps -- and it's never ceasing (?) troubles!

I am glad to see that Tennyson is “mending”. I read the other day the “Demeter”. I thought “Spring” perfect -- as good as anything he ever wrote -- and one or two other pieces pleased me much. It is difficult for me to understand how people can, as many do, bracket Tennyson and Browning. Browning's great powers one admits but he is constantly writing stuff which it is mockery to call poetry or music -- and I hold that music is essential to good verse. In fact I don't believe in a poet whose verses cannot be easily “understanded (?) educated people” - who has a society to explain what he says - of course there is much to be admired but give me A.T. "In Memoriam". I regard [it] as one of the great poems of the century -- of any century!

There! you see that I have nothing to write about and fall back on "small talk". I see that Roberts is to have an extra year of office. It is a cruel shame, this extension of a man's term. Most unfair on the other "good fish in the sea" -- quite unjustified in the time of peace although one admits it may be right in time of war or approach of war -- so as not to “change horses when crossing the stream". These extensions often (?) favour -- very often a woman is at the bottom of it. Roberts has himself long been notorious for "jobs". "Lord Jobs" they called him. I am not denying that he has done his work well as C. in C. I say only, when his time is “up” he ought to make way for another.

Love to all
Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin


Rangoon, June 6. 90

My dear Mother -- Many thanks for yours of 9 May and for so kindly sending the book "Snow bound at Eagles" but alas! What has become of the "Academy notes" for 90? Not published yet? Or have the booksellers failed me, being "quite out of them" The worst of it is that the illustrated papers have begun publishing extracts from it and so have “taken bloom off” the "Notes", which are "nothing if not new"! However, I suppose I must be patient.

The weather is still rather warm although rain falls now and then. The monsoon has come in very mildly. Last evening it was fine so I paraded at the tennis party, "assisted" as the French say, as a spectator.

Tuesday evening we put the General on board ship with all the honours and the old man is now on his way to Europe and, I fear, a little disturbed by the rough sea. By the way, he was not many years my senior -- seeing these departing veterans makes me feel quite a “vieux moustache”. I have been (?) myself, having a cold in head, by reading the Queen Anne Essayists who have always been favourites of mine. One paper -- on the state of the country and its government - might have been written yesterday -- just such an article as might have been written by one wishing to glorify the England of today.

You should be enjoying summer weather when this reaches you -- surrounded by your children's children perhaps -- I forget whether their holidays will have begun. These rascally "Masters" make it all holiday now. I suppose they will be soon for reducing the " hours of employment" in the school day and striking for a "five hours day. Do you remember how at Bruce Castle the boys at beginning of each term had to declare how many hours a day they would work and with regard to that declaration their scheme of work was (?)? As a rule of the boys had to be checked -- they wished to work for a longer time than was good for health -- but I well remember one shameless boy who took Bruce Castle at its word (small blame to him!) and "declared" that he would work -- hours (say one or two) and no more. I believe it was decided that this was a special case and the boy’s friends were told that the "system" was not intended for such idle reprobates.

Love to all -- thank Julia and Louisa for letters. I am pressé -- I have to pay the household, always a most (?) duty. Thanking you for book
Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin
Many thanks for Eng Magazine



Rangoon, August 90

My dear Mother
Many thanks for your postcard. Why not a card? You write so closely that it holds as much as a letter.

I am glad to hear you went to see that exhibition of pictures at Guildhall. I took note of it in the papers and it seemed to be a good selection. But one of the best places for seeing pictures is Christie's auction room. I have seen many there which, otherwise, I could not have seen at all.

It is a famous place for dilettante" collectors" -- people who have nothing to do but “kill time” -- alas, what melancholy sport that is! The other evening in my sober black suit to the Playhouse, as Pepys says, where certain of the gentry were disporting themselves in the guise of play-actor. They had gotten their parts not ill and looked fine in their stage clothes but me-thought that the piece had been better represented in London, where I had seen it, by stage players who make their living by such foolery. I saw but one piece and so to bed.

I see that a man is lecturing here on the phonograph. I wonder what use it will be put to. It is not easy to see how it can be extensively used. This man is "pushing" the instrument for a company in England. The Bishop was "in the chain". The experiments were not very satisfactory and explanations were given as to why the model would not work quite as promised.

I see that the dispatches are out for the operations last spring on our N.W. hills. The undertaking seems to have been the well carried out -- little or no bloodshed -- and before long no doubt that country will be quite opened out -- and missionaries and liquor will have free access. However the drink (?) will not be at our door. These primitive folk are already very (?). They brew an intoxicating drink and delight in making themselves drunk -- never miss an opportunity. Every occasion of business rejoicing or mourning gives an excuse for an orgy.

Love to all. I am glad to hear (?) is better. I hope you enjoyed your travels and are well.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin


[At this point there is a gap in the letters, of almost four years]


Bangalore, June 18, 1894

My dear Mother

I have just run down on business -- for how long I know not -- but hope for a week only. Thank you much for your letter of 24. Yes, (?) is indeed fortunate in being again employed -- but I am not surprised seeing that he has an aptitude for such work. I am one of those who think that opium -- of which the effects, at large, are imperceptible had much better have been left alone -- it is one of those ‘inquiries’ of which our people are so fond and which Asiatics detest and which do so much to cause unrest. Bangalore ‘stands where it did’ when I left it in ‘88 -- but the hills have spoiled me, for Bangalore, though it has a cooler climate than other places, seems by comparison very hot and dusty, even in June.

I am grieved to hear that John continues to be so ill -- I trust that by now he is better -- somewhat. The summer will I hope favour him and I hope for much benefit for him from the boating and sea-- if he should be well enough to carry out his plans. I have not your letter at hand I am sorry to say -- so pardon if I forget to answer questions.

This place is of course full of memories -- scarcely one now in the service who was within me here in 61 -- and soon I too shall make my bow. I see the Spectator still has agitated articles and letters about India -- as I said before -- we are and always have been in the dark as native feeling and intention -- we can but do our best and take what comes. It is quite possible that either view is correct.

Thank Julia much for her letter, love to (?) her. I am so glad they engaged their travels. I had a line from young Nelson -- he was on the whole doing well -- but had had a little fever. Thank Ayrton for trouble about coin box etc.

Last two or near and far
Ever dear Mother your affectionate son
A Chaplin

I enclose a line to (?) which kindly forward. I have not written separately to Louisa -- I am grieved to think of the (?) she suffers (?) to the slowness of progress made by John. However his best hope lies in the fact that Louise is able to do what she can for him -- and the prosperity of the children goes far to keep up his (?) the very important matter in any illness -- especially in this one.

[On first page] I hope you have bright weather -- so good for you to go out -- that your eye has not been causing pain. Mrs (?) rapid recovery wonderful.


Ootacamund, July 23. 94 [Snooty Ooty]

My dear Mother

I hope all is well with you. Indeed, had it not been so I should have heard from others -- and I have no wish that you should be troubled to write every mail when I know that you have so many letters to write. Again our mail comes a day late, arriving a few hours after this note will have been posted -- but there has been boisterous weather in the Indian Ocean and I see that one or two unfortunate passengers were seriously injured, the other day, during the tossing and rolling of the ship. By the way -- the P&O have long been feeling sore because passengers "who ought to know better" have been travelling 2nd class. They are now – the P&O -- about to raise their 2nd class rates -- in hope, no doubt, of driving these people into 1st class berths.

The plan is to have an intermediate charge for those 2nd class cabins which have the good positions, with regard to air and light etc. -- and for these the charge will be nearly, if not quite, as much as for 1st class berths on other steamers such as "Anchor".

The children seem to have much enjoyed their visit to you and send a full report of visits to Earls Court [Courtfield Gardens?] and elsewhere. That is one of the advantages of living not in India -- that you are able to see and hear much that gives pleasure and is good for the mind. At Ootacamund there is no recreation of that kind -- one or two harmonic meetings in the "season" but that(?) and the quality of the performance is necessarily poor -- there being so few from whom to select and none being "stars". At Simla and one or two other stations they have exhibitions of amateur painting -- exhibitions very improving and useful in their way -- but still of a very "second-rate" order. Here we have none -- there is not enough talent to make a gallery.

The weather is still cloudy and there is now and again light rain as the charged clouds are swept across the plateau, but the planters in this neighbourhood want more rain and I hear reports that the fall in the central provinces is scanty. However, there is yet time for our usual allowance to be made up.

We have been much interested -- you may be sure -- in the bullet-proof coat trials -- will anything come of it? Will it lesson the chances of declaration of war? Will it make war less horrible? Will it drive men to the old-fashioned hand to hand fighting? Probably the gun makers will invent a rifle whose bullet will penetrate and then the coat makers will have to meet that change and so there will be a constant competition as on the sea between "big guns" and armour-plates.

It must have been pleasant, and yet sad, to meet Mr and Mrs Holroyd again after so many years. I think I never saw those members of the family. [I wonder which branch of the Holroyd family that was: Sir George Sowley Holroyd had many sons!] Willy H (the Major-General) is I presume still living at Bath. [William Rice Morland Holroyd, born 1835, was a Major in the Bengal Staff Corps and a Lt Colonel by 1880 – could he have reached the rank of Major General?] I see the name of a Captain Herbert on the staff of the Commander in Chief in India -- I wonder whether that is Holroyd's son-in-law -- one girl married a Captain Herbert in /90 or/91. I have been looking at Baines Census book -- an interesting and useful book of reference -- which will be the "authority" for at least ten years -- a limited life but much longer than that of most official reports.

Now I must put this in the post -- I should much like to see you and hope all goes well. Love to Julia and any who are near or to whom you will write. I hope poor Hicks is suffering less. Remember me to the Ellises when possible. [That must be Dr Charles Cyril Hicks, Physician, husband of Agnes, who was a niece of Allan’s mother: their son Frederick was the future Bishop of Lincoln] I am grieved to hear of his continued ill-health. By the way General Forster, commanding at Woolwich, is an old friend of mine.

The other day I went for a turn on the downs. It was one of those days on which you might almost believe yourself in Europe and these hilltops a gigantic Scotland (as someone has called it). A stiff breeze coming from seaward (the sea is but some 70 or 80 miles away) -- the sun gleaming now and again from out grey clouds -- in the distance the "stain of storm" -- and a deep blue -- almost black -- bank of clouds lying against the summits below which Ootacammund. These Downs make a very fair riding country -- a little monotonous but fresh and open -- no jumping -- here and there a bog of which riders must beware, lest they miss the "crossing" -- occasionally the ascent so steep that you have to lean well forward lest you slip off backwards.

Good-bye -- beware of chills -- I trust your eyes have not given you trouble of late and that rheumatism has not come near you.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


July 31/94 [Top of page missing, no address]

My dear Mother

I hope this paper, mottled, will not make my writing seem more indistinct than usual -- I fear that the writing of many (it cannot be said of you) becomes less legible as they grow older. The other day I sent a note on business - instead of an answer I received the request that I would kindly write again as what I had written could not be deciphered! -- and I used to think writing was my "strong point"!

I had two letters from you last mail -- one had missed the previous mail I think -- your best news is that John is better -- may he continue to recover! Yes, I know (?) Lodge -- outside -- one of the most comfortable-looking mansions in town -- I have often wished that I were master of it! The Pyne performer is probably one of the same family as the Pyne (Louisa) who used to sing concerts 30 years ago and was associated with "Harrison".

No, I have not read " E. Waters" -- or any of Mr Moore's books -- I have but "looked into" them -- to tell the truth -- the "modern novel" as it is called -- psychological nostalgical analytical or what not - does not attract me -- perhaps I shall like it some day -- one must be educated for it. When I see "E. Waters" I will try it -- but I have not much faith in novels written "with a purpose".

Yes, I believe it was true about "caste-mark" on Queen’s statue at Madras -- but it did not attract much notice -- and is regarded as a mere mischievous prank.

Thank you for the interesting P.M. [Pall Mall] Magazine. It is very kind of you to send them -- especially as postage is so heavy. I have been looking at a very amusing book -- which I can recommend -- if you have not read it. Le Fanu’s "Seventy years of Irish life" -- but I daresay you know it. NB. large print.

The post has come and so I must leave off. Yesterday was a bright day -- and this day also gives promise of sunshine -- but where is the rain? We have had very little. Yesterday evening went for a walk in the " Government garden" -- a beautiful retreat -- which is always a pleasure to visit.

Hard by it is a tiny settlement of hill-people -- some four or five of their little huts -- like cart tilts made of wood and leaves etc -- no window -- a little hole just large enough for the passage of a man on hands and knees -- a low wall of rough stone encloses the "village". The women and children emerged directly we appeared and began begging, as it is their wont when the Europeans come to stare at them -- The women have rather coarse, heavy features and large mouths -- the hair hangs straight & long over their shoulders; the dress is a sheet -- worn toga-fashion. The men were away with the cattle (buffaloes) of which they always have a small herd -- they live on and dispose of the milk and the care and preparation of the cream butter etc invested with some ceremonius observances.

Somewhat removed from the other huts was a hut surrounded by its own wall -- and we could hear a sound as of churning -- smoke was issuing through the roof and, by the light of the fire and the glimmer through the hole, someone was at work in the "dairy" -- presently the dairy-man, hearing our voices, came to the hole and begged for a present -- apparently his occupation required him to be in "a state of nature" -- he held out a hand covered with cream and begged and gesticulated. We would have passed the barrier and peeped in but the bearded, naked, guardian of the dairy waved us back with his creamy hands and gave us to understand that that was their church -- that we were intruding upon holy ground. Their funeral rites are curious -- when a buffalo is felled on each side of the corpse and the dead man's hand is made to hold the horn of the animal on each side of him -- signifying perhaps that the spirits of the animals accompany that of their master to "fresh fields of pasture". How long will these curious people remain in the land? There are but a few hundred of them -- already the missionary folk have got hold them and in time they will become "civilised" and be reduced to the "regulation pattern" and be able to pass "the -- test in the elementary school" -- and be dressed up quite nicely and have their hair made "slick" and "go to Sunday School regular” -- and will they be better and happier?

But I've told you all this before! I hope the weather still favours you, my dear -- that you are able to go out and see your friends. I am grieved to hear that Miss (?) is less strong that she was -- and that poor Agnes and her husband are in such trouble. It is well they have that promising son to look after them. Love to Julia and James(?). I suppose they are quartered at Ilchester Terrace.

I hope you had fine weather for your visit to Bassetts. My love to Ayrton Edith and all if you are there are.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Ootacamund, August 20. 94

My dear Mother

Thank you for your letter of 26 July -- you seem to be having a good time in the country. Your mention of Dunn’s school interests me -- that school was a "preparatory school" was it not? It was afterwards that my father came under the rule of Jackson.

We are "jogging on" here. I am still the only lodger in this "already popular hotel" as the house is described, on scarcely sufficient grounds, in the advertisement. The good woman who keeps it is worthy and industrious but they say she has a temper and I commiserate "poor Mr P”. Fortunately they live elsewhere so I do not see the domestic brawls. I fear your brief summer will be nearly over when this reaches you -- may you have a sunny autumn! We are interested, of course, in this China-Japan war. I hope that we may not be drawn into it -- though doubtless many of my young acquaintances would think it "fine fun".

I have been interested in correspondence in the papers about discipline at the university. Certainly the present system of "discipline" has always seemed to me to be no discipline and the rules and regulations are out of date -- the students are not under control as boys and yet are not held responsible has men -- they should be treated as either one or other -- but, better still, I would have a quasi-military discipline. It has been said, and I believe, with truth, that there is no better school for a youth -- for training in manners etc., than "Her Majesty's Service". Of course there will be found therein some intractable, black sheep who discredit their cloth. In the other callings the juniors herd together -- the young cubs lick each other -- they are not compelled to associate, except in professional matters, with the seniors -- and not compelled to conform to a certain standardisation in manners bearing and general conduct -- cannot be called to account for "conduct" which is held in society to be "unbecoming a gentleman" -- cannot be definitely punished for such behaviour when it doesn't affect their professional business.

For example an officer, whom I know, recently got into trouble about a matter having no connection with military affairs (it is almost needless to say there was a woman in the case). It is considered not expedient, in this case, to resort to a Court Martial -- so the culprit has been "told to go" and go he must. Had he not been in the service the matter would have "blown over". As it is he suffers a very severe punishment in being "made to go" -- his career is abruptly closed. It is not merely a "sending down" as at Oxford -- there is no returning.

It may be said that such measures are too severe for mere youths at college; -- then they should be treated as boys and whipped if need be -- there is no middle course when numbers have to be controlled and rules are to be enforced. But if our regulations are not too severe for young officers of 18 or 19 I think that greater stringency in the discipline of college -- in which students would be held responsible as men -- would be very wholesome.

The local Commander in Chief goes on tour in ‘Sep(?)’ and will be away till February. By the way, he is the "last of his race" -- the new arrangements provide for only one chief command -- that of Simla. Uncle Acton was of opinion that this "centralisation" was unwise and was for maintaining the separate, presidential system -- time will show which system is the better -- whether we are trusting too much to railways and telegraphs.

I trust that you keep well -- and have a book to your liking. Love to all

Ever your affectionate son
A. Chaplin

Love to Agnes. I hope her husband is no worse -- that the change may do him good.

[On first page] I will write Holroyd and Ayrton shortly. I am so glad to hear Edith is better -- love to her -- the "Professor" and family, and “regards” at discretion.


Ootacamund, September 4. 94

My dear Mother

As the mail is going I must send a line if only to report myself. We have a pause in the rain and last evening was bright and warm, but we have yet to feel the N.E. monsoon which strikes the east coast in September -- November.

Our Commander in Chief (soon to be only the "Lieutenant General Commanding" in the South) is going to Lahore to attend Lord Elgin's first grand reception.

I have just finished Wolseley’s paper on Napoleon -- very interesting, and it shows strongly what has been apparent of late, that we had a very narrow escape and that the victory was mainly due to the illness of Napoleon which made him less energetic and vigilant than in the old days. The Duke himself admitted that we narrowly escaped destruction.

I hope Cleve had an encouraging report from the doctors. That poor Charles Hicks is not worse. Please thank Julia for the globe and accept thanks for English Mag.

Love to all with you and elsewhere. I hope John continues to mend -- with love,
Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin.

I hope you keep well and that your stay in the country will have prepared you to contend with autumn damps and winter cold.


Ootacamund September 16. 94

My dear Mother

Your long letter of the 24th August gave me much pleasure and the enclosures also were interesting. It must have been very pleasant to be able to return to London in time to meet Cleve who, I trust, was favourably reported on by the doctor -- or was it the "change" that was to be his only treatment? [Cleve was John Allan Cleveland Skinner, John & Louisa’s son]

I am shocked to hear of the condition of Graham -- you had not before mentioned the nature of his illness. But if not wishing to see any people outside his family be his only "complaint" he may still live to old-age. Mr Greathead had that eccentricity but I never heard that he grew worse.

A grey day which promises to end in a wet night -- for the other monsoon from the N.E. is due.

The Governor "goes down" tomorrow morning and soon Ootacamund will be left in peace. Yesterday was one of the last of the entertainments -- at which I did not assist. A "point to point" race and a full luncheon. I hope all went off well, and that the horses also enjoyed themselves -- one of the competitors, practising a few days before the race, had the misfortune to lose two horses on each of two successive days. They dropped down and died then and there as within an hour or to -- it seemed as if they had been too much pressed -- but I am told it was really a disaster for which the rider -- a man not less humane than his neighbours -- was not to blame. By an almost incredible co-incidence both beasts had something the matter with them which was unknown before -- heart etc. out of order.

Now I must break off and take my tea -- for which I am the more ready in that I am not a luncheon-wallah and breakfast at 9.30 a.m. Moreover this is Sunday and on Sunday my landlady adds a piece of cake to the toast.

Thank you for your letter of 21st August just to hand. I am so glad you have been able to stay a few days longer at Bassett's -- I can picture the interest you take in the improvements, remembering how industrious you were at Tunbridge and Edgbaston.

Last evening to a ‘tea fight’ -- put in a good hour there! The weather brighter these two days. I went today to leave a last card at Government House. Found all shut up. I am glad to hear my letter was "amusing" for I am sorely put to it to fill half a sheet -- The season is over. I note that there are not so many young women with tennis bats etc. I am told there has been an unusually large number here this year but, dear me! I hardly know one from the other -- and as to talking to them! No! I am not so bad as the man who said no woman was worth speaking to till she had passed 40. The other day a lady mentioned "my daughter" -- had I seen her anywhere? I thought I knew the girl by sight and said so "the girl about twelve or so" -- the child is in her 17th year! I dare say Mama was pleased by the error -- but "missy", when she was told -- as she would have been -- must have felt slighted.

I see that our Commander in Chief, who is "touring" in the South has been shooting big game -- a high official hunts under favourable conditions -- the whole countryside is assisting him and rajahs, maharajahs, sirdars and chiefs make it their business to see that he has a good bag.

By the way his daughter is [text ends here]


Ootacamund, September 22. 94

My dear Mother

I hope you are keeping well -- but I picture you enveloped already in autumn fog in dear, dirty London. By the way this is an extraordinarily clean place -- no dust etc. and ladies kids, they say, last for a long time.

I am writing against time before I am grieved to say that I am again overtaken by the mail -- but really there is some excuse for the shortness of my letters -- for here no one comes and goes, as with you -- there is no "va et vient" -- nothing to break the routine save an occasional "at home" of a very mild description.

I suppose Cleve has long come and gone. Everyone reports him looking well so I wonder why he had to hurry to Europe -- some local malady I suppose. It seems a pity he did not take his family with him -- the children ought to be leaving India -- however, they -- the parents, settle that question! I am glad Ayrton still finds occupation on his estate. I dare say the life is healthier, for him, than that of Aubrey Road.

Just received a descriptive notice of a young gentleman who has deserted from 7th Fusiliers at Hyderabad, Sindh. It is not often that a commissioned officer commits that offence. The description does not flatter "a shifty, not straightforward look" -- a "husky voice" etc. He has some public money with him -- is said to have gone to Lahore -- poor boy! He is sure to be caught -- he should have made for the sea at once. He is not so old a hand as was "Alabama" Jones -- Jones was an army surgeon at Bangalore some years ago. He was known as "Alabama" J. because he had been a medical "prentice" on the Alabama before he joined the service. He was a sporting, card-playing doctor -- had seen much of the world -- a "viveur” -- and knew a thing or two. A respectable old officer at Bangalore was saying he wished to remit money to England -- he groaned about the loss on exchange and (it was then at about 1.10) -- Jones kindly offered to help -- said he himself wanted to draw from England -- so he would accommodate the Colonel -- with a check on the London bankers at par. The old man was delighted and grateful, and then and there bought Jones’s cheque -- and another officer, hearing of this, persuaded Jones to give him a cheque -- and then Jones disappeared, he owed money all round -- the cheques were believed to be worthless. A hue and cry was raised. “Alabama” had made for Bombay -- the head of the Bombay Police was at Poona -- he was put on alert -- orders were given to watch the ports. In due course a telegram came to Poona - "Jones is caught" - so they relaxed their vigil and and congratulated themselves. But "Alabama" himself had sent the telegram! And having thus blinded his pursuers, he embarked at Bombay and has never since been heard of.

Love to all -- I hope John goes on satisfactorily. Take care of yourself pray. Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Ootacamund, October 1. 94

My dear Mother

I hope all is well with you altho’ by now the "chill October" has nearly passed over you -- and after that you have foggy November and yet, after all, better a London fog than wandering alone about this mountain retreat -- for there is always something to see in the streets however dreary the weather -- but the poor are the chief sufferers among you -- how they must dread the cold season! Far more than our people "in the plains" fear the "hot weather – certainly”. No! the poor Indian is to be congratulated in that the wind is so very much tempered to him that he needs scarcely any "fleece" in these parts and even on the hills of the South, there is no great degree of cold -- a little frost at night -- a warm sun -- no snow -- and the house in the plains a mud structure tiled or with a thatch which can be renewed in a few hours at trifling cost. What more shelter does a poor man need in such a temperature. In fine weather he sits outside all day. The house is open day and night.

People who lecture in England and talk about the dreadful poverty of the Indian, because the average income per head is --, sometimes forget to explain that "poverty" is relative -- they harrow their hearers feelings -- and the audience picture the condition of one living in London on that scanty pittance.

You say you received my amusing letter -- I wonder what that letter could have been. I am not often "taken that way"! We have a few days of bright weather and the "jeunes personnes” are very much to the front -- with their badminton and tennis tournaments and their dreadful stick up collars and mens’ shirts and ties and caps and -- what not?

"Mon général” came back yesterday. He has been on tour in Travan(?) and (?) -- combining duty and pleasure -- everyone bowing to and feeding and making much of him -- that is the way to see India! By the way, (?) daughter is to be married on fifth (?). I wonder whether anyone is looking after that wedding present which we have subscribed for -- a silver bowl I believe it is to be -- fortunate young person! So many "friends" rally round when "papa" is a person of some influence!

I wonder what books you have been reading lately. I have heard much of the new style of novel -- of (?) -- but have read none -- is it because I am growing old? Or is it that our fiction needs to be "dipped again in the well of romance" -- I shall treat myself to a "Scott" presently -- that is always refreshing. By the way I saw not long ago a pretty book called "The Refugees" -- time of Louis XIV -- (?) France and America. Now I must say adieu -- good-bye my dear Mother -- above all wrap up well and preserve that health valuable to so many besides yourself. Ever your affectionate son, A. Chaplin. Please give my love á discretion -- I hope Edie [Edith, wife of Ayrton, Allan’s brother] is quite well again and that the professor and family are well -- also the “sqarson” of Bassetts and family.

Love to all, thank you for globe.

[and on the first page] Just time to thank you for yours of 13 September. Glad you are well. You did not sent the PM Mag with the closing chapter about Napoleon but I borrowed and read it so please don't trouble. It was most interesting.


Ootacamund, October 23rd 94.

My dear Mother

I think I was able to acknowledge by last mail yours of 28 Sep and no doubt I shall receive yet another letter before this starts. By the way the legibility of your writing shames me. Yes I am very glad to hear John was a little better - he sent a cheerful card from Boulogne.

I was interested in what you wrote about Waterloo and Napoleon. There is some fear that in these days people may go to the other extreme, and forget what great things were done by their forefathers for our country -- but there can be little doubt that we were much favoured by the blunder of the French General who missed his way, and by the illness which robbed Napoleon of some of his energy and made him sleep at a time when he should have seen that his army which had defeated Blucher properly followed up and destroyed that gallant commander. As it was the French did not pursue and the few hours gave Blucher time to re-form and join Wellington, and lost the battle for the French on the 18th.

I remember your saying that your grandfather Colonel Nugent occupied the house in which Lord G. Gordon lived when he was arrested -- what was the address? [Colonel Nugent lived at 64, Welbeck Street from c.1830 and at 9 Welbeck Street from 1835. Lord George Gordon (1751-1793). Agitator. Was said to be a bigoted protestant, had been partly responsible for the anti-catholic riots of 1780, for which he had been consigned to the Tower of London. He was, however, acquitted of treason in 1781. In later life he converted to Judaism. In 1788 he was imprisoned in Newgate for libel, but lived there very comfortably, entertaining lavishly, until his death.] -- and, by the way, could you kindly, some day, note down for me, what you remember of appearance, conversation, manner of Mme D’Arblay -- don't tire yourself -- a word or two now and then – “Little Burnay” has always interested me and I hope, if I ever return to Europe, to see the few relics of her at Camilla Lodge. [Frances Burney, dresser to Queen Charlotte, “a woman who remained single in an age where marriage was everything, then in her 40s turned round and married a Napoleonic general in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars. Wrote of her double-mastectomy without anaesthetic.”

I think I had better send this a day earlier as weather is wet and there might be interruption between (?) and Bombay. Just received your card of 5th instant. I am so glad Mr. Graham has recovered. I was much pleased by a certain simplicity of manner in him -- a very good man I think. Pray remember me to him and Mrs G.

I trust you keep well. Don’t catch cold!

I am so sorry to hear of poor Miss Warde's condition. Love to Agnes and her husband and Nugent. I hope there may have been some mitigation of poor Charles H’s illness and that Agnes is better now they have a nurse. Love to Ayrton and family, also to J E H S. I do hope M. and L. made a good journey.


Ootacamund, November 2, 94

My dear Mother

Your letter of October 12 arrived after all -- only a day or so late -- by reason that you had written "Madras" instead of Ootacamund. I am sorry to hear that Charles Ellis is still so ill -- how glad they will be when he has "served his time". -- it is something that he is better. I hope Ayrton's son is better -- he seemed to be strong and active though small. [Henry, who became a physician and died in Africa] It is very good of you to take trouble about Wyndham’s song. [Wyndham obtained a degree in music at Oxford in 1894, but in 1895 joined a theological college and became a clergyman]

I find that my present Commander in Chief Madras Army (from the 1st April that magnificent title will have disappeared -- he is the last local Commander in Chief -- he will from that date, be the Lieutenant-General commanding the Madras Army Corps) -- is heir to a baronetcy -- his father was Queen Adelaide's doctor and was made Sir Bart in the thirties – I daresay you know the name Clarke MD.

Here is a love story for you! Early in the sixties I knew a chaplain at Bangalore -- one Reverend Rogers. A few days ago I heard that Mr Rogers, who has long left India -- if even he be living -- had had his romance; he was in India and, before leaving England, had become engaged to a handsome lady -- name forgotten -- correspondence after a time languished; perhaps Rogers was ill -- I know not. Then happened as always happens -- another suitor appeared about 1854. The lady found him more ardent than the absent lover – at length she wrote to India and told Rogers how matters stood. The mail steamer was wrecked -- the letters were lost -- the lady, receiving no reply, threw herself into the arms of No. 2 and became Mrs Edward Welldon!

What has become of a certain florin which you once had -- of the issue coined in the forties and then withdrawn from circulation -- also, a small copper coin with a piece of silver let into the centre (a kind of penny was it not?). They used to be at Tonbridge, in the drawer of that big bureau with the Birmingham town hall medal and other curiosities.

I hope the weather allowed you to call on the Howards. I am just in time to thank you for your long letter of October 18th. I am much grieved by your report of our old friend Mrs Dardis. I fear that next mail will tell me that she has left us. I know how much you will feel the loss of one for so many years and so intimately associated with you and yours -- especially one who could recall with you the friends of your childhood -- poor Julia, too, will sadly miss her -- as will (?) and Nugent.

You may have heard that I am taking the cottage on a long lease -- including a bit of ground adjoining. We hope thus to be spared the pains of house hunting -- and if plans go contrary we can always let or sell. The Deepdane Estate being so much sought after. Maud and the children are much attached to the place.

Poor Charles Hicks, I am very glad he did not suffer much pain at the last. I knew but little of him -- but liked him -- a clever man – a simple manner and amiable disposition. I suppose Agnes will now be more than ever a "femme d’affaires” in her own peculiar away. She is indeed fortunate in having the support and companionship of such a son!

I am very glad to hear of Audrey's engagement -- I have no doubt they will be happy -- she is a sweet placid intelligent and, I am sure, good girl – Gregory I met at your house and much liked -- Science and the Arts together should make their lives go pleasantly. [Jack Gregory, Geologist and Explorer, who discovered the Rift Valley in Africa]

Love to all -- I often think of you in these November days and hope you are careful to keep the cold out. It was indeed good of you to receive the girls and to treat them in such princely fashion and very kind of Ayrton to escort them. I hope he was not wearied by the task of (?). They have been so little in London that it is a new world to them.

Ever yours affectionate son A. Chaplin. My love to all with you and elsewhere (?) Louie, Julia (?) and families

[On first page] if you have that little cutting about (?) -- keep it or send it to M. I should like to stick into my "Pickwick" -- if you send please tell M. to put it in the book. Thank Ayrton for his letter about poor Hicks. I'll write.


Ootacamund, Nov 10. 94


My dear Mother

For two days we have had bright sunshine and the nights remind us that we are nearing Christmas. Your last letter told of much that was interesting -- of Charles Hicks -- of Audrey's happy engagement -- and I much fear that the next mail will bring the sad news of the death of Miss Dardis -- who has for so many years been associated with us. She would have been gratified by knowing that Fred Nelson had been given an appointment.

Yesterday I called on the new Chaplain (the Chaplains are granted a two-year tour of duty at this station) one Reverend Durham D.D. They claimed me amongst their acquaintance on the ground of knowing my “sister-in-law” -- who turned out to be Anna Chaplin -- whom they had known in Ireland and who, with Renira, appeared to be much liked by these people. There is a "young person", Miss D, who is a bosom friend of Rene. Dr D. told me that Anna was much liked in Dublin -- indeed she makes herself so pleasant to everyone and has so good a presence I used to wonder she did not make a second marriage. A man might do worse! Not but that I think her quite right to remain single!

We have had one or two bright days -- on such days and at this season, when, towards evening, it is almost frosty – Ootacamund is at its best. Last evening -- or afternoon -- I took a book and wandered among the the slopes and rounded hilltop lying outside the basin in which we live -- beautiful "effects" of sunset clouds etc. contrast with moon nearly at the full, sailing in a sea of deep blue -- and so forth as Henry Slade used to say!

I think I told you that we were likely to take a long lease of the cottage ground and enlarge the cottage or build another. I like the prospect although, of course, were I single, I would live in London and take my "country" in small doses. But M. and the children love the place -- as indeed I do also in a way -- and we shall be so thankful not to be again "on the tramp". Moreover it will always be a pleasant house of call for you and others -- not quite out of reach!

The mail which arrives as this leaves brings further reports from the girls of their pleasant stay with you -- they write gratefully of your kindness to them and evidently had a most agreeable sojourn. I believe you keep well although it is November.
Pardon the dullness of this letter -- I am not in the writing vein -- and I am not like some gifted authors who can "do" so many words an hour whatever their mood may be.

We have been much interested in the news from Wa(?)istan but hope all will go well -- the desertion of some of our soldiers is ominous -- we hope that such defections may not be many but the troops of our N.W. and Punjab have so much in common with the border tribes that in using such troops although we use excellent soldiers, we at the same time play a somewhat hazardous game.

Love to Julia and (?) L & JE?S and others. Alas! Holroyd tells me that our poor old friend Miss Dardis has passed away. I know how much this loss will have been felt by you -- how you must needs dwell on the many occasions on which you and yours have been associated with Miss Dardis and her sisters -- who always were remembered by me as examples of refinement in tone and of high breeding such as one does not often meet with. To this day it is a pleasure to recall Miss Nelson's appearance and the sound of her melodious voice.

Ever your loving son, A Chaplin


Ootacamund, November 19. 94

My dear Mother

I hope all is well with you. I am glad that Ayrton was able to write instead of you, last mail, for I know you have many letters to write and writing fatigues you. Still dull gloomy weather -- the effect of the N.E. Monsoon -- (?) we enjoy (?) both the former and the latter rain -- that which the Bombay side receives in July and that due at Madras October -- December -- so that there is just a leettle too much for the ordinary mortal, although doubtless not too much for nature and those especially interested in crops.

Did I tell you that our Commander-in-Chief's daughter was married the other day at Bangalore? We hear that the entertainment -- the reception -- after the ceremony, was "of the dreariest". In fact the whole business has been mismanaged and offence has been given all round. None of us, of the staff, were invited until our wedding present actually came to hand, two days before the ceremony, and then not all who had joined in presenting it were bidden. We acquit the entourage -- the ADCs of the blundering -- we fear that the "women folk" are at the bottom of it -- of course few would have gone hence to Bangalore for the occasion but the form of a (?) invitation or even a card was at least expected, and incumbent on the family.

The children write amusing reports of their visit to (?) Kensington Museum, Garrick theatre and elsewhere and that granny was “very very kind”. I am hoping to hear from you today -- or of you -- and will keep this letter so that I may catch the return.

I see letters in the papers about "cheap passages". There has been for some years an agitation on this subject and proposals have been made to Anglo-Indians for organising a steamer service of their own -- buying or charterer steamers -- but for so grand an enterprise much money is needed and government servants have not the necessary time to attend to business so complicated even if they could raise the capital. They lack too the experience of that kind of business. The latest proposal is to "make an example" of one or two companies by "boycotting" them -- beginning with the P&O. It is said that if persons connected with India would only combine, if only for a few months, so that the P&O would have empty ships, the company would soon be on its knees and indeed the calculation seems not unsound. Take the average number of passengers in a year and multiply by the passage money -- that represents an enormous sum. The P&O could not long hold out against such a loss.

The great difficulty is want of unanimity among us. As the P&O carry the mails they are necessarily more punctual and more to be relied on in case of delay by accident: there is always an extra steamer at hand to pick you up. For this reason all the "short leave" people as a rule preferred to travel "with the mails". I myself have no sympathy with P&O -- they have always been grasping and insolent. We have reason to complain of want of consideration. The P&O, for example, have reduced rates for railway servants and missionaries. But this indulgence is not granted to the military -- to government servants -- why? Yet when the P&O were comparatively only a small company and a few visitors -- none -- came to India -- it was we who paid the old high passage rates and kept the company going in the forties and fifties. We in fact made the company. The ’Messageries Maritimes’ used to take English army officers at lower rates (as is the French custom with French officers) but that indulgence has been withdrawn thanks to P&O influence. However, this subject naturally interests one less the older one grows! I cannot have to make many, if any, voyages more! But the way in which we Indians are treated makes one angry.

Do you know that the passage money by P&O to Bombay is very nearly the same as to Melbourne although the voyage to Melbourne is two or three weeks longer in duration. And the prices are enormously high as compared with Atlantic rates.

I have kept to this till English mail came in but there is nothing from you. I daresay you omitted to write “Ootacamund” in which case of the letter would go to Madras and arrive by later post -- sent on.

Love to all. I trust all goes well. Ever your loving son, A Chaplin.

Did James Nugent benefit at all under Miss Dardis will? [James Nugent, from an old Irish family, was the husband of Allan’s sister Julia, whose nickname was ‘Dardy’. I don’t know where Miss Dardis fits in.] Please thank Holroyd much for "Studio". Will write next mail. Also, thank you for Spectator through Maud.



Ootacamund November 25th. 94

My dear Mother. Your letter of November 2nd arrived next post -- as I expected it would (you will find "Ootacamund India, without Madras, a better address and easy to remember). I have just come in after a solitary walk and am writing by lamp light so excuse large writing -- but I find that the sooner I begin to letter the better I progress -- the more probable that I shall fill the sheet and I always feel ashamed to send you a "scrap" because you write so much and so regularly.

I must not forget -- thank you very much for the St Paul’s magazine. How very well it is got up -- the etching -- frontispiece is always especially good. One of the editors is Sir Douglas Straight the barrister, who was many years a Judge at Allahabad. He must much enjoy his literary work and society. The other editor Lord G. Hamilton is I suspect, little more than a figurehead -- helps to make the magazine fashionable. I have not yet read Roberts "Rise of Wellington" -- the papers say it is not so attractive as Wolsey and Napoleon in style. It seemed a little mistake (to me) of the magazine -- the publishing two similar essays, one following on the other and inviting comparison -- much better they had waited a year or so!

Yes -- I feared -- I knew you would much feel the loss of our poor friend Miss Dardis. I am glad I saw her not long before I left. She was always very friendly and showed kindly interest in all connected with me -- an interest not the less for my having met Nelson's nephew of whom and whose brother, who died, she was fond.

There goes the hotel dinner bell. I am the only lodger -- so no one will be kept waiting at the table d'hote. Goodnight!

I see a very interesting article in "Contemporary" by Sir T. Wade -- the great authority on China. He appears to think the dismemberment of China by European Powers by no means improbable -- although he believes it would be a great mistake. He says if the dynasty falls there will be anarchy -- as in India when we conquered it -- so many rival claimants, so apathetic the masses of the people. However, all this is now ancient history to you.

I was much interested in the report of the Tonbridge School improvements -- the speeches etc.. Welldon of Harrow did not make so much as he might have made of this occasion -- but I suppose he had to efface himself somewhat in presence of Cantuar? Young Welldon's speeches are always a little bumptious I think -- but of course that comes from self-confidence which is the gift to which successful men, for the most part, owe their success. The place seems as much a club as a school -- with all in its various institutions and branches and think of 28 Masters! "Chaplin" I once heard a master say, in allusion to me "Chaplin is one of those who look upon us as the common enemy" and yet one or two of them were my very good friends!

Today is an official holiday -- but I went to office for a time -- because it is a pleasanter place in which to sit than my room in this house. There is a reading room to which I resort daily but, the newspaper etc. looked at, one naturally goes away -- and I usually find some business to do -- (?) on a holiday -- the fact is there are too many "office holidays" in India. In every office there are clerks of two or three creeds; each creed has its festivals and usually, for the chief festivals, the whole office is closed. If I were Viceroy, I would, if the constitution of the office allowed it, have granted leave to only those of the faith which kept the festival, and compel the remainder to do extra work -- in their turn they would have leave at the expense of their fellow clerks. Closing an office for a day has of course, as a result, accumulation of letters and double work the next day.

You kindly ask when I'm going to retire -- the answer is, as children say – “this year, next year, never” -- or I might go at any moment because, of course, the question constantly arises -- is it worthwhile to remain seeing how small is the gain -- with a 13-penny rupee -- even allowing for the compensation? Pickance withdrew three years ago, but he could claim a better pension (having joined the service under more favourable conditions, early in ‘59 -- and perhaps he succeeded to property. I have not seen him since ‘62. Moreover his appointment (in the police) was worth considerably less than mine is -- so probably he lost nothing by retirement. Meanwhile the months slip by and I should like to see more of you my dear Mother, and others and every month after one is 50 tells -- as one-day said to me, 30 years ago, a fine handsome powerful reckless fellow who, though he had lost his sword arm, would still have knocked down, with the other, anyone who had ventured to the "tread on the tail of his coat". "Do I sleep? Do I dream? Or is visions about, are things as they seem?" Or did I really hear a "young person" alluding to me as "that old Colonel"? I have a grave misgiving that by last mail enclosed to you I sent a letter for Julia which I had only begun to write -- I did not even address the cover.

The mail is just in -- your card or paper will be coming from Madras. Carry [Mrs Skinner’s daughter Caroline, who was Allan’s sister-in-law.] has just been to the Cottage. She was full of the iniquities of Kate [Katherine, another of Mrs Skinner’s daughters] and Westby [Kate’s husband] -- Mrs Skinner is never happy unless worrying about something and Westby seems to have succeeded to the place of Steward. [Walter Holden Steward, husband of Florance, another of Mrs Skinner’s daughters] He is unfortunate in not being able to live apart from his wife seeing that Mrs S. will interfere. If she is helping them why not pay down so much and no more and have done with it. Ashley is wanting in tact but I am sure I could never have lived in harmony with Mrs Skinner if circumstances had brought me near her!

Another drizzling day and December near -- but I am told it is seasonable and we have the comfort of knowing it is not cold as in Europe I can still use cold water and sit without fire.

Another victory for Japan -- well I hope it may end the war the sooner but I trust China will recover herself -- they have the great virtues of industry and peacefulness -- so to deserve to survive.

Please give love and thanks for letter Algiers 6.11 to J.E.H.S. and L. and say I wrote to Algiers last mail -- but I think I gave (?) address so they may not receive my letter yet. [Five days earlier, on 20 November, John Skinner had died, in Setif, Algeria.] I hope Julia and J. are well -- perhaps they are abroad -- love to Holroyd and Ayrton and families. I trust the Professor and Mrs A and Edith flourish.. Have you seen the “kinetoscope”? They say it is not entirely a new invention.

Ever your loving son
A Chaplin


Ootacamund, December 4. 94

My dear Mother

Thank you much for your letter of Lord Mayor’s day. I fear you had damp foggy weather. Our damp weather is nearly over for present I hope and today it is sunny and agreeably cold -- certainly December is till the rains begin again this place seems to have an agreeable climate. The only fault I have to find with it is the solitude. I don't mean the want of the regulation "society" but there is no town -- no life and movement as at Bombay and Rangoon, but one can't have everything and per contra, there is prettier country "mountain loch and glen" as the advertisement says.

I should be sorry to see the Japanese appropriate China if that were possible. I would rather that circumstances compelled China to improve her methods. They are so industrious and law abiding that they deserve better than to be a subject race. At Rangoon, where there are many, I used often to look in vain for a sleeping Chinaman altho’ many an Indian might be seen taking a nap in the streets especially at midday, when the coolies "knock off" work.

I am glad Julia was able to lunch with you tho’ it was a “maigre” or "banyan" day. I was wondering what had become of that side of the house. When do they go to the continent? I am glad that Agnes has Miss Goddard with her -- I only hope it won't end in a quarrel -- but no doubt Miss G. knows by this time how to humour her friend. Now that Agnes has more time she will be able to see something of the relations on her own side -- I suppose the house is still "to let".

I have picked up Le Fanu’s "Uncle Silas" which is an interesting story -- more like Wilkie Collins than the “modern” novel -- the ethical -- metaphysical or whatever it is called -- and it reminds me too of Charlotte Bronte who told a plain tale in a plain way and yet is still as entertaining as in her own day. Le Fanu wrote Uncle Silas. His brother William, a bright clever man, died but the other day having, not long before, published his "Seventy years of Irish life" which you should see if you don't know it.

“a demain done”! -- the mail is to arrive today and takes this tomorrow. I am glad to receive today a line from John -- that was the most serious accident. He was in no condition to meet so severe a shock and I am thankful that he was able to put his hand to paper. I am much pleased by Wyndham having taken that degree. All things considered it does him great credit taking the two degrees in nearly the time allowed for one!

I am just in time to thank you for yours of November 16. It came just six hours after other letters although it had been to Madras -- that is good going! The envelope may interest you. Fort St. George is the Madras Fort where the officers are. I am glad to hear that Julia and J. and M. are well enough to brave the sea even in this season of year. Your enclosure from Ellen is interesting. I will send them a line. I need not say that you have my very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year -- your loving son A Chaplin. My love to all

[On inside page] Thanks for a news-cutting. I never knew that George Elliot had lived three years so near you at 16 Blandford Square. I remember Miss Ann Dardis well.


Ootacamund, December 11. 94

My dear Mother

Many thanks for your kind letter last received. I scarcely deserve it. My letters are but scraps. I am as when I last wrote -- the usual routine -- even though a trifle colder but still agreeable and, in the middle-day, even hot, out of doors.

I was glad to have a line from Algeria. I do hope both John and Louie will gain strength by the change -- that John will be no worse for that fall. He is sadly changed but wonderful in his vitality and cheerfulness. I had a line from Cleve who was anxious, naturally, and much shocked by the change in his father.

I am still plodding – no! - reading with pleasure through Froude’s "Ireland" and vary with a novel and a dash of poetry. I am still my landlady’s sole support in this "off season" time -- and it will be rather a blow to her if I some day give notice -- if I come to retire "par exemple”.

So you are to have India introduced to London by the great Kiralfy – you, I am sure, will find the show very interesting. Politics are interesting just now. I wish indeed we could come to a satisfactory understanding with Russia -- but judging from the past natural distrust there is not much hope of that. You see that we are on the verge of another inevitable little co-operation in Wa(?)istan. I am inclined to think that were our government more sparing of KCBs, KCJ(?), DSOs and various other decorations which of late years have been sown broadcast and have consequently lost something of their value – were these decorations fewer -- less easy to obtain -- were they almost entirely withheld -- I believe that we should have fewer "little expeditions". But of course I should be told that the grapes are sour, as I am undecorated. But the fact is well-known that many military men are medal-hunters -- on the lookout for decorations. Not an altogether ignoble quest for they are willing to accept hardship and risk -- but they, at any rate, would rather that a "difference" were not "amicably adjusted". I must say for Wolsey that, judging from his writings, he is not one of these.

I have this moment heard of poor Louie 's dreadful loss [John’s death in Algeria] -- of the dreadful loss to all of us -- but have no details. I know, dear Mother, how much distressed you will be. I pray that you may not suffer in health. How little I realised how near it was. A letter I had just written him lies before me -- now I must not post it, alas!

I had better write to Louie with this -- she will have left Algiers I suppose. Goodbye dear Mother -- I have no time or heart to write more.

Ever your loving son
A Chaplin

Kindly forward the enclosure. [on first page] This card is rather formal in the inscription! But I could not find one more suitable.


Ootacamund, December 14. 94

My dear Mother -- God bless you. It was indeed kind of you to take the trouble, in your heaviness of heart, to send your long letter of 23rd November. It arrived two or three hours after I had posted my letter to you. The death of poor John is a terrible blow to us all, For was he not everybody's friend? But especially must you feel the loss, not only because he has grown up and always lived under your eye but because of the grief of poor Louie and their children.

That the sad end should have come when they were so far from you and all alone makes it doubly sad but there is a grain of consolation in the remembrance that he passed in sleep -- it was perhaps better so. The more one thinks of him -- the nobler -- the brighter - appears his life! And poor Mr(?) Howard too! whom you have known for so very many years and who was so kind a friend. I look anxiously for the next mail knowing that all these recent losses of those dear to you must have much agitated and shocked you. I pray that all may be well -- that the recollection of what you have been and still are to all of us may strengthen you under these trials. Maud and the children are very sad -- not the less so that John so recently was under their roof -- although they are now glad that they were able to take him in. He took a special interest in the question about our continuing to live there and his very last letter -- the last word of the letter -- expressed the hope that we should be able to make the desired arrangement.

I am very glad indeed that Hilary was able to meet poor Louie and can well believe that he was a most tender and efficient escort. [Clifton Wyndham Hilary Skinner, second son of John and Louisa] The loss of another one of the members of our mess, as soldiers say, carries one back to those who have gone before in the past few years -- my father, uncles, Mr Skinner and poor Mattie. [Matilda Charlotte Chaplin, Allan’s younger sister, one of the first women doctors, wife of Professor Edward Ayrton, who died in 1883] Strange it is, as you too perhaps find, that as one grows older the remembrance becomes more clear of those who have gone from us -- the old days come back more vividly.

I have only just time to say the mail is in -- your letter will no doubt come this evening. I am so grieved you have had trouble about Mrs(?) D. and just at this time of family distress. I hope poor Louie arrived safely. Please thank Holroyd for his letter – tell him it is dated 9th November tho’ arriving by mail leaving London on 30 November. I enclose London postmark. I will answer next week

Goodbye, your loving son
A Chaplin

I hope you keep well. I wish you health in coming year and many of them


Ootacamund, December 21. 94

My dear Mother, your beautifully written card of November 30 received. Many thanks for same. I hope Louie and Hilary arrived safely the 1 Dec but it must nevertheless have been a painful meeting. I am sorry to say the Daily News you mention has not arrived. I hope it will not be lost as I much wish to see what it said about our dear friend. I saw a brief notice in another paper but it was not very accurate in statement.

I am as when I last wrote -- still alone in this small hostelry. Mrs (?) came to see me yesterday to consult my wishes about what I would like for my Christmas dinner "You see one has to get things ready some time beforehand otherwise the turkey etc. are all bought up". Of course I know that what the good lady really wanted to find out was whether I was likely to dine out on that day and so save her from preparing any dinner at all! I believe I am to go to a neighbour’s table but it was too soon to tell her so. I comforted her by saying that for myself I had no wish to have a special “feed” on Christmas Day -- that the occasion did not seem to me to call for any departure from the usual bill of fare, I being alone.

I see an interesting article in the "19th" by Stott the publisher -- on the decay of book selling -- not a new subject -- but in these days of universal reading and education one is struck by the want of thoroughness in the reading -- the enormous number of newspapers and quantity of ephemeral literature. I know many who never read any publication except a newspaper and newspaper-reading is like dram-drinking, you keep on taking the stuff and at last you care for nothing else. I am not at all sure that the (?) " expansion of the press" is an “unmixed good”. It is possible to have too many newspapers but of course it is better than having none.

I see that Lord Sandhurst is to be the new Governor of Bombay. I daresay he will do well enough. His father was a clever man and his mother has ability and courage. I knew the father when he was Sir William Mansfield. He came to Kamplee to inspect when I was there, he being Commander in Chief. He was remarkable in that his attention was given to civil matters as well as military, and in the Viceroy's Council his opinion always commanded respect even on abstruse subjects such as “Currency”. But it is a great pity that there is a growing tendency to give Indian appointments to “men of the party”. They ought to look around for the best man to be had be he Tory or "Home Ruler" and take the man belonging to the party in power only when "other things are equal".

I am very glad to learn of Cleve’s promotion [to Indian Central Provinces, Deputy Commissioner (officiating 3rd Class) in 1992] and especially glad that it came before his poor father's death -- for it gave him great pleasure. The "deputy commissioner" (or the "Dipty Sahib" or the Burra Sahib as called by the natives) is an important personnage in the "Non-regulation" provinces such as the C.P. In the "Regulation" districts the Revenue and Judicial work is not all under one officer – there are a Collector and a Judge -- and the judge is also a star of magnitude. Here we have a "Collector" (just as Josh Sedley was of Bagley Wallah). He is rather a clever young man named Rees whose name appears sometimes in the "19th century". He has travelled and is a good linguist and has a facile pen -- but he does not do his duty to society as the representative of Her Majesty -- he lives very quietly -- is very "close". His ambition is to save every penny and then retire and write M.P. after his name. His wife’s father was General the Hon. Sir James Dormer who was our local Commander in Chief and in ‘93 was killed by a tiger. The Hon. Jimmy he was called. Poor fellow! It was the old story -- want of caution -- going on foot too near a tiger which had been wounded and which was believed to be dead, so still did it lie, half-hidden in bushwood: then it leapt on him and tore his leg. He was doing well but, in a day or two, the doctors said that one foot must be taken off. The general refused to submit, tho’ told that death was the alternative, and that if the operation were performed he would almost certainly recover. He did die.

Not long before his death one of his daughters married the Collector. Someone said to the Hon. Jimmy when the engagement was announced "I wonder you let her marry him -- he's so stingy, so mean". The old man replied "Mean! Then he's got his match in Mary"! And so Mary and her husband now combine to save, and we see little of them! Lady Dormer the widow was still here when I arrived in February (she is now in Europe). I called on her. Did I tell you how she talked about her husband's dreadful accident? With the evident sadness and her love for poor Sir J. there were mingled a conscious pride in the manner of his death and proper respect for the beast which had had to the honour of causing it. "Would you like to see the head" she said -- "they say it is a fine specimen". I bowed and this old lady led the way into the next room and, with a gentle sigh, waved her hand to the wall where hung the "trophy". -- glaring eyes and snarling face looking down upon us. I almost shuddered at the thought that those monstrous fangs had been bedded in the poor old general’s flesh but the old lady was used to the sight and would not have parted, on any account, with the grim memento -- the hide, too, was spread out as part of the show. Poor Johnny! I might have amused him with this incident -- had I thought of it!

But how I "run on", and I daresay I told you all this gossip before. I am glad to see the long "notice" in the paper about poor John written by Forbes (formerly of Daily News) who (in spite of what occurred) seems to have had really a regard and respect for his rival -- as indeed he might well have had of a rival so honest and generous.

Please thank Edith for her letter of December 6 - dated from Bernard St Russell 29th -- a part of the town for which I have always had an affection -- perhaps because of old associations with the Edward Chaplins’ and also because the Sedleys and Osbornes lived there. The houses in that part of London seem so solid and comfortable -- I called on a friend -- a retired officer -- there last year. He was saying how good a house it was for the rent -- but he did find it isolated -- in these days -- and has now left it.

I am much pleased about Wyndham’s little scholarship -- £40 is not a large sum -- but the winning it will encourage him and his mother -- and his obtaining it and being offered another at Ely shows that what he has achieved at Oxford is already of some value to him -- and such appointments all help to make the reputation and if only he can make a living in this way we shall be very glad, for I am sure such kind of work would suit his health better than that in any of the regular professions -- the law, mercantile or other.

I am glad to see pictures of our old friend in the “Graphic” and “Black and White” -- but that in the "Graphic" might be anyone -- they have quite lost the likeness.

Your letter of 9th December came last evening (25th December). You say you received on the 3rd December my letter of 10 November -- that looks as if I had been late for post -- I hope not -- yet the usual journey is made in 18 or 19 days: perhaps I began letter early.

Thank you for the English Mag. Christmas No. and for a pretty memorial card of poor Johnny -- a very sad memento. The Daily News did arrive after all and I thank you much for it. It is most interesting. The difficulty is to persuade people to believe how richly John had been gifted – but nothing that has been said or written could do him full justice.

Love to all -- ever dear Mother your loving son, A Chaplin.

Very good of you to ask Maud to stay the night. Yes, I wish the house business were settled. It will be hard to be disappointed after all.
Goodbye










Other letters

J.W.C.C.S.
1853

My Dear Papa

I gave Mr Earle your note but before I read your letter so that I did not read it, and he said that he would let me go this time. If we had only been in the punishment book three times we get a monthly holiday and I had been in four times, but Mr Earle said that he would give it to me at this time on condition that I did my lessons better so as to deserve the next month.

I expect to see you, Aunt Sarah and Uncle James at the station. I have sent Ayrton's letter as I thought most likely you want it. My money is nearly all gone except 11d, chiefly in brown paper, steel pens (of which I am at present giving you a specimen) slate pencils, lead pencils, blotting paper. Tell Ayrton that I have not found a firm friend yet but I daresay I shall find one in the course of another month, also tell him that I hope he sang at the concert which he speaks of in his letter. There is plenty of singing here and I sing at the top of my voice. With love to Mattie and I hope her reefs and (?) are quite well which you may have seen in her spelling. I have lost my knife already I do not mean that I have sold it but lost it on a Saturday night whilst washing. Will you please when you have all read this to forward it to Sandgate and when you do (?) my dear papa into my dear Louy as I have not written to her yet. I have to come back again on Thursday evening by the eight o'clock train.

Believe me ever your affectionate son Allan Chaplin


Milan, April 16, 1871

My dear Effie

Since I wrote last I have reached Milan about which I shall say something (perhaps) below. I saw all that was to be seen at Pisa and am glad I made a short stay there. The famous tower is well worth seeing. And the facade of the cathedral, not as well known, is very beautiful. The interior is handsome, in the usual Italian style, and rich in marble decorations. The large baptistry close to the church is also worth seeing, there being in it a fine pulpit and elaborately carved marble font. The three buildings of which I speak placed all together in one plot of ground and form a very effective coup d’oeil (is not that a horrid word to pronounce -- but you see I have only to write it).

I left Pisa for Florence where I spent the day in visiting the galleries and seeing Michelangelo’s works in the chapel of the Medicis and the Bargello towers (Day and Night, the dying Adonis etc). In the Bargello by the way is to be seen the flying Mercury of which you may have seen prints. It is charming in the gracefulness of its attitude.

Leaving Florence at five in the evening I reached Turin at 5 a.m., and after coffee proceeded to follow the advice of Baedeker and view the town from the hill rising on the South bank of the Po. The site commands a very fine view but I must have been there too early and before the sun's rays had chased away the morning mists. The town was under a haze and it was not till I had waited for half an hour that I obtained a good view. The view however was, even at first, very fine for high above the cloud which hung over the town rose the snow-clad summits of the Alps, stretching across the sky, and seemingly as if suspended between heaven and earth. For a few moments the snow-covered peaks glistened as they caught the first rays of the rising sun, and then the mists which had enveloped the town rolled upwards and hid them from the view.

Turin though a large town has not many remarkable sights. There is a picture gallery having a miscellaneous collection. Some of the pictures very fine. Among those I noted are a Paulo Vero. The subject -- Mary M. washing the feet of the Saviour. The expressions on the faces of the lookers-on are well depicted and one hears them saying "Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for 200 pence and given to the poor". The Magdelene is pretty and has beautiful hair. She would look well in a ball room but is not the woman whom, in my mind’s eye, I have been accustomed to see "doing what she could".

There is a well-arranged armoury (in the Palace at Turin) which I saw -- but the description of it is not likely to interest you. On reaching Milan at 10 am I went to see the Ambrose Library, where are some interesting sketches of L. da Vinci and the carbon of "School of Letters" of Raphael. Then to a church at the other end of the town where is to be seen the great "The Last Supper". The picture is in very bad presentation but such as it is I need scarcely say repays a visit. Then to the Academy where are a few good pictures -- Tintoretto – Guersino(?) -- Vandyck and others. The famous "Marriage of the Virgin" of Raphael I am not artistic enough to appreciate. Hence I walked to be Triumphal Arch and then back to the cathedral which last is of course the sight of Milan. This church is the finest I have seen. The interior though perhaps less delicate than that of the Church at Koln is very grand yet without being cumbrous. The effect of the vast aisles and towering columns (surmounted by statues in niches instead of capitals) is much enhanced by the gorgeously painted windows.

I went last evening to the Scala (a very large theatre of which you may have heard) and saw the Barber of Seville. I went again this morning (Sunday) to the cathedral and, mounting to the roof, examined the elaborate carvings of the multitude of pinnacles and (?)eable statues which adorn the galleries of the building.

You must not be surprised if you do not hear from me for some days but I will let you know when I shall return. I hope the letters I have sent you have interested you. They were written with that object.

Love to Holroyd and yourself and believe me dear Effie to be

Ever your most affectionate brother

Allan Chaplin
I hope your health is pretty good. I am looking forward to a letter at Bale.



[Undated letter. The Albert Memorial was completed in 1871]

My dear Effie,

Many thanks for your note and the photo. I must say it is extremely bad as a likeness, deplorably bad: you look as if you had been drinking. The name on the back is damning evidence of your having been to Margate, which in the (?) of society is a crime of the first magnitude. I think £2 good enough for a second-hand cast. Ask H to place it to my credit or, better still, pay it to Maynard.

I see the Albert Mem has been opened. It seems to be a great picture when regarded as a whole. Tell the Colonel that his butter dish is much admired. Did you go to the School cricket match? Where you one of the visitors who go as (?) says "because they like to fancy they have a boy at Eton". At any rate you (?).

I saw in the paper the notice of Mr Bore’s(?) bankruptcy . I do not understand how he ever hoped to succeed seeing that his appearance and manners must inevitably have damaged his case. But I forget that I am not looking at it from his point of view. I enclose a history mag which will perhaps raise a smile in (?) you.

Yours affectionately

Allan Chaplin
Love to H and salaam all-round.



(?)
July 12, 1868

My dear mother I received your letter of the 12th June. You see that I have not yet left this place. I am not likely to leave before the end of August and I shall shake the dust from my feet when I depart. You seem lucky you (?), I hope the letters I have sent to the house will not miscarry.

The rain has been very heavy in Bengal and the East. Even to the (?) of tea crops: in this place it has only just begun to fall. People are making guesses as to who is to be G.G. The government must "look alive" if Sir Stafford Northcote is to have it. What a storm has been raised at home by the "girl of the period" article. I see that the article has been translated and published in a native paper and the Editors, on the strength of it, question the propriety of encouraging the(?) representations of (?) race.

Love to all
your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin




[A letter with a black edging]

Bencomb
Boxhill
Dorking

8 – 4 – 06 (?)

My dear Ayrton. Having discharged my conscience by a p.c. I felt I might take it easy in writing to thank you for your "esteemed favour" of 19th. I was touched by your kind thoughtful suggestion of my sending a parcel of photographs etc. -- to have been at hand chez vous.

No, thank you. I prefer, in raising an altar to my (?) while I am on the move, to trust to my "imaj” as the children say. I shall travel as light as I can, with due regard to the needs of the time, and carrying with me only current books, letters etc.

At this moment we are delighting in the sunshine and rejoice that the last few weeks of our sojourn are gilded so as to leave a beautiful and ever-delightful memory of this "eligible residence". Last Tuesday came Wyndham on house business (he had to go back on Saturday). He very kindly insists on escorting me to London, if not to Bassetts -- a gratifying filial service which must add to the pleasure of the excursion. You can understand that I look forward with pleasure to once again travelling like an ordinary mortal, when I tell you that on Sunday last I entered on the 12th year of my invalid seclusion!

The Bencombe detachment will consist of Radbourne, and self under command of W.
I believe Hatfield Peveril is the best station to make for. We can easily look up the trains and, all being well, will keep you duly informed as to the progress of the party.

On 31st we had a call from Henry (?) and wife. With them came their then guest "Ottie” from Galway, where he is in the enjoyment of the dignified ease of the Preventive service. I need hardly say it was a great pleasure to me again to see the dear boys together. Ottie has all the breeziness traditionally associated with the "handy man" and looks both robust and handsome while "Little Henny” remains, as of old, the more attractive of the pair (to me, at least) in looks and manner. They (especially Ottie) asked after you and all yours, each and severally, and were much concerned when they heard of the sad West African chapter of your family history.

The young folk have been very busy house hunting for many weeks and we now trust that that business is "fixed up". M & C have secured a little residence at Wimbledon -- and, not very far from them, W. and I have found a diggs, furnished/redone (with option of (?) and thereof) and Maud charges me to add that (?) of my books etc. will be sent thither: another reason for sending you a parcel as you kindly suggest.

With (?) love to Edith and all, your affectionate brother
A Chaplin.



W.G.

12 – 5 – 07

My dear Ayrton

(?). My PC had been better not writ, seeing that H. reported himself here that same p.m. nappointed(?) to meet me, in Park, Sat. Accordingly yesterday I paraded (?) at Round Pond and presently appeared H. C. going strong (though it was so warm) and wearing a white panama; looking as I told him, like hansom-cabby, on boat-race day! We had a delightful hour, basking in sun, amongst(?) ducks, dogs and children.

I have been dipping again into that terrible, yet beautiful, chapter of' /57 history, Trevelyan's "Cawnpore”. The narrative is, I believe, trustworthy, the language judicially temperate and calm, with here and there a glow which accords well with the lurid atmosphere. I presume your Edith read it long ago: if not, or it is forgotten, you should read it; but I warn you that I once tried to read the book aloud to my family, but shamefully broke down; for the story appeals to me! Not that I have a past in the campaign country but I know the mis en scene and arrived in India while there were yet visible vestigia praelic and I was associated with “arma virumque” of the time, the regiment with which I first (?), now Royal Dublin Fusiliers, then, first Madras Fusiliers, had been of the force which relieved Lucknow, in those (?) times. One of our number (disfigured by a horrible sabre-wound) had been on the staff of Havelock. Another youngster was a son of the "gallant Neil”, and the young man would, with pride, show us a bullet-riven helmet which his father had been wearing when he fell!

It is well too that the rising generation should realise what their near-forebears went through -- their unflagging devotion to duty and splendid staunchness in an awful trial. You may remember that I voyaged to India in company with one of the very few survivors of the "massacre at the boats". He was returning after sick-leave in England, and often told me how he took to the water and, diving and dodging, succeeded in escaping the "pop shots" from the banks and reaching, naked and utterly destitute, a point lower down the river whence after hairsbreadth escapes and perilous wanderings he came to a haven of safety with our countrymen. All this accounts for my interest in the book as (?).

W is again taking a duty in the country. He likes it in fine weather and guineas are "not to be sneezed at". But we could not forebear a smile when our parson -- instead of (?) sent a copy of his own sermon and with many thanks!

Love to all, (?),
A Chaplin


[No address, no date on the letters below]

My dear Mother

Out for a long ride this morning -- down the road past the piles and piles of rice bags which the coolies carried with marvellous ease -- past the (?) pads where the elephants were busy doing the work of many men shifting and piling huge logs. Ours has to stand at a distance for one's horse does not understand what is the moving mountain and refuses to approach. There are a number of logs lying in a swamp hard by. The elephant marches to the spot guided by the heels and goad of the "mahout". There is a chain fastened to the beast. This must be passed round the log so the unwieldy (?) stoops on bended knee, places the upper part of his trunk against the log and pulls it over. Then the chain is fast, the beast is turned about, and off he starts, dragging the log like a stick behind him -- sometimes throwing up his trunk and trumpeting loudly as if enraged at the thought of being made to do mere menial work -- but his work is not done yet, for he has to take his log to the pile, lift it, and push it until it has been laid to the satisfaction of his master.

I passed the Bishops Palace -- or bungalow. They have just started a Bishop here. I have not yet met him. I hear that already they want to build a Cathedral, and perhaps when it is not half completed they'll send round the hat and say they could not help running into debt.

So I wandered on, out of the suburbs, pass a village among the trees where the children were sleeping in the grateful shade hard by a picturesque old Temple or pagoda (for it is more Chinese than Indian) -- here and there a woman sits at her door smoking -- even the children smoke. Presently I came to the railway level crossing -- and a minute afterwards the mail train came by -- a "Europe" guard looking out of the brake at the end -- strongly out of keeping with the slow old bullocks (?) the coconut oil milk, with the staring dragon and griffins of the neighbouring temples, and the bullock cart lumbering along the road.

Love from your affectionate son A Chaplin. I hope no war.


[The only clues to the place are “the old rock,” the name Sir A Clerk, and the fact that it is within reach of Madras. There is no clue as to date.]

My dear Mother

Not many more letters for us here! And now that the time draws near I have some regrets at leaving the old rock in whose shadow I have lived so long. I was just beginning to know one or two people well (about time to begin!) and shall part with them with the more regret that the odds are against our meeting again. Last evening, I was dining with Sir A Clerk the Public Works Minister (late Gov(?) of Singapore). He has come here to look round with an eye to (?) and their cure. He is a quiet unassuming man without any brilliancy of conversation, so that one wonders why he should receive £8000 a year or so instead of oneself! He seems to be able to give an opinion on the (?) of a cigar! But no doubt he is a (?) man – or he would have been unfrocked surely ere this!

I have just returned from the Sessions Court where a friend of mine was on the Bench – they were trying a “dacoity” case (highway robbery). The ‘scene in Court’ has often been described and they dance all over India. At the end of the court stand the Prisoners, nine in all along the bar. Their clothing a cloth round the loins and hanging round the neck of each a number for easy reference – their names are inconveniently long and alike). On one side of the court sit the “assessors” – a compromise for a jury – a body of natives of the better class to see fair play and who are much in awe of the Europe judge. On the other side are spectators. In the middle a table on either side of which are ranged counsel for prosecution and defence – overlooking the whole is the bench – where the judge maintains his dignity in spite of the absence of robes. Just below him sits the interpreter – a dreadful wet blanket on the whole proceedings – whose imperturbably methodical manner would depress the most spirited counsel – even Ballantine suffered. The witness faces the interpreter – is talked to and at by him and the counsel thus [diagram consisting of three dots in a triangle] and such witnesses! There is a ‘Europe’ counsel from Madras on this occasion, but the presence even of this great man will not make Ramsawnny speak to the point, and as he grows nervous he wanders further and further from the point. It is well that the Court attendant who brought him in has (?) the witness’s arms behind his back, where he has to keep them folded, for otherwise he would gesticulate in a bewildering manner. Even now in his attempts to illustrate his words by screwing about his head and neck he goes thro’ the most (?) contortions. This witness is a shuffler and sorely tries the tempers of judge and counsel. I note that there is a difference in procedure which (?) people might adopt – after the prosecution the judge may question the prisoners should he think they can throw any light on points requiring an explanation.

Love to Louie, Julia M, H&E, Ayrton and all.

Your affect. son

A Chaplin
Thank Louie for her and Cleve’s letters.


19th June

Dear Effie,

Many very many thanks for your kind note – and wishes just arrived.

I am sensible of your kindness tho’ you know what I think about my birthday. Perhaps I shall see you tomorrow evening – it (?) rain in the morning and (?) am working till afternoon.

Your v affectionate
Allan Chaplin


From The Rangoon Times, Friday December 27, 1889 (this was an English language paper, printed in a style similar to The Times). It was the heyday of the British Empire, and Colonel Chaplin was in Burmah. The song was sung by Burmese schoolchildren to the Prince, the eldest grandson of Queen Victoria. See Family Tree Maker, Allan Chaplin.

Abstract of the children’s song, sung at Mandalay to H.R.H. Prince Albert Victor

“Heir to the throne, hail!
Happy under thy protection, our hearts beat joyously, like the beating of victorious drums!
We little maids salute thee.
Grandson of her who reigns in London Palace, journey from land to land to Mandalay thou dost delight us!
Most honoured are we sweet little maids, in that a Prince has visited this land in our day, who is heir to the throne, before whom the whole world trembles, and whose glory is conter-minous with the earth!
The thunderous power and glory of the royal grandson is able to bring a hundred sovereigns into submission!
Unequalled is he with his moon like face, made for the worship of maidens from the four quarters of the earth!
Mirror of his grandmother and surrounded by his army, we maids reverence him in this assembly as our highest honor!
May the cold hurt him not in this month, when the royal flowers bloom and the heavy dews fall!

Chorus

“On the water they strike like lightning with torpedoes (tawpido)!
On land they reduce whole mountains with dynamite (dainnamaik)!
With rainbow-like head-dress of pure rubies he is a second Indra!
With breeches flashing like lightning and worth a hundred thousand pieces of gold, bright as the sun is his glory and supreme on the earth!
Mirror of the Heir Apparent, his royal father, like a diamond is he falling from the sky!
Fair of face, with shoes of gold set with gems!
Ruler of all the armies, at his coming the earth and seas tremble!
Wise as Indra, all Burma feels his power!
Searching for enemies and glorious as the sun, he subdues the whole world with bombs and drums!
Under his glory and power let us be happy and joyful!

Chorus

“Travelling over land and water for his amusement,
Gaining wondrous victories over many kinds of knowledge, respected by many monarchs, we little maids are happy as lotus flowers when water is sprinkled!
Though he is over 20, he is as the rising sun and we worship his moon like face!”


Description of the Casket containing the address presented to His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales at Mandalay, on 24th December 1889.

This Casket is true representation of modern Burmese art and is constructed for its contents in the Burmese fashion. The contents are primarily an address in Burmese, painted on lacquered silk, specially prepared.... It is on this material that... sacred Buddhist texts of the Burmese, are written in this form and in this manner.

There are three copies of the address, made according to Burmese ideas of propriety. One is the original... and is painted in black characters on gold, relieved with red ornaments. The characters are called Square a Pali by Europeans and... tamarind seed characters by the Burmese. One is a copy in black Square Pali characters on silver. One is a copy in black Burmese characters on gold.

The whole is bound together by a cover, always made in this particular fashion.... and round this is wound a tape specially woven. The custom is to weave sacred text in Burmese into this tape, but for this occasion the titles in Burmese of his Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales have been woven into a tapestry… (?) recur three times over and are as follows:

"The royal book of the Lord, the (?) Prince Albert Victor, the royal grandson of the splendid Empress Queen, the great and most glorious." The method of winding the tape is that shown.

The red paint on the inside of the casket,... is put on in the Burmese style, and not in the European. The tray is also in the Burmese style and contains the English copy of the address. In the cover are written the following words "the master carver Maung Shwe Dain carved this at Mandalay in the year 1889."

The exterior of the casket represents Burmese mythological objects. On the top are carved two... serpents, such as are to be seen at the entrance to pagodas in Burma. The four large figures at the upper corners represent two demons.. and two... mythological monkeys. The four large figures below are… angels, who stand on … flying children. The central figures below are also … in the act of flying. The gilding is in gold leaf in Burmese style and according to Burmese ideas.

[The ….. above indicate the Burmese words written in Burmese characters not available on this computer]



Strasbourg to Versailles, 1871

[Letter from Allan Chaplin – an account of his journey from Strasbourg to Versailles, sent to his sister Louisa. The date includes no year and the month is indistinct, but it was during the siege of Paris by Bismarck, so 1871 – see the note at the end]

Versailles, January(?) 23rd

My dear Louie,

As I expected, I have ‘fallen upon my legs’ and succeeded in reaching Hq 2nd and you may perhaps (as my success may be attributed to your energetic measures) be interested in hearing how I fared en route. To begin with - the arrangement with the guards of the train in which I left on the 17th fell through. I understood that one of the men with whom you spoke would go to Strasbourg; on arriving there I found that neither of our friends had come. On reaching Strasbourg I retained the services of a porter to carry my kit and wandered round the station. The platform was very muddy and slippery and I had not gone far before my foot slipped and down I went. I trembled for my coat but wonderful to relate there was but one spot of dirt on it and the overcoat was not soiled.

On looking about, I saw, as I told you, a bureau, the entrance to which was crowded with soldiers and others receiving ‘legitimations’. Having adjusted my dress in such a way as to show a little of the red tag and gold lace, I pushed forward and handed my pass through the grating. The official looked at it, and at once turned to the head of the office; that official, having read Major Schneider’s note, rose, came to the door and politely, in English, begged me to enter. I was then told to call for a pass at 5 pm, and was bowed out of the office. The rain was falling, the streets were muddy and slippery but I managed to make my way to an hotel which I reached in time for the table d'hote. When I entered the room all eyes were turned on me, attracted by the gorgeous coat, and a gentleman who spoke English told me he had met several officers but then, he added "they were not travelling officially as you are".

The weather being so bad, I put off seeing the town till my return, and contented myself with talking to the landlord, who showed several places on the premises where the shells had fallen, and was good enough to drag out a bomb, which he had received from the Germans which weighed 180 pounds. The man seemed quite proud of being the possessor of the largest shell which had fallen into the city. I returned in due time to the station for the legitimation; on receiving it I found to my surprise that I had to pay nothing - the pass was for ‘1 officer’ to Head Quarters. The officials said the train would leave at 5.30 "but," it was added, "please to come a little later as there is generally some delay!!" I began to be rather alarmed at so much courtesy, lest I might get into trouble for sailing under false colours. However, if they insist on making much of me it is not my fault and I thought I had better maintain a dignified reserve. The train was crowded with soldiers and officers, and no luggage was allowed save a "hand gepack" (I think so-called); it was therefore with that I had only the part(?), but even that was rather too large as the carriages (second-class) were small and had no netting. We reached Nancy at 11.30, and I was told to wait until 5.30 am. Following the officers and others I turned into the restaurant at the station where we bivouacked till the morning. I longed to be able to speak the language that I might have joined in the conversation of the officers of which I could understand nothing save the frequent occurrence of the words "Paris" and Franso(?). I was roused as the time for the train drew near by the bustle in the waiting room and the passing to and fro of big men with clanging sabres, and I succeeded with some difficulty in securing a seat in the carriage for Lagny.

Our journey to the latter place was without incident save that near Vitry some persons said to be the Francs tireurs had torn up one or two rails - as the train was moving slowly we escaped an accident and the rails were soon replaced. The villagers seemed to be on quite friendly terms with the invaders, and at every station are to be seen women and children selling refreshments. At Epernay (Ebernay the Germans call it) there is a great demand for the (?) for which the place is famous, but which is thought but a poor substitute for the ‘bier’ of the Vaterland. On arrival at Lagny – at 10 - a sous-officier asked to see my papers. Having seen them he offered to show me a hotel; on reaching the hotel we found it full of Prussians - whose presence was evidently painful to the hostess who in answer to our inquiries (or orders) and declared with tears that she had no more room. We tried another restaurant but the proprietor shut the door in our faces - no violence however was used although several officers were also seeking accommodation. At length my conductor suggested going to the Commandant -- we went accordingly. It is explained that an English officer is en route for Hq 2nd and requires a lodging for the night and a carriage to take him to Versailles. The Commandant rises, bows politely and addresses me in German "Pardon me, I do not speak German, will you be good enough to address me in French.” I show my papers. "You will go to the Prince Royal." I bow an assent.

A few words to a subordinate, and I am conducted to the office of the adjutant, who explains that I must call in the morning at 7.30, when he will provide me with a "wagon"; and then sends me with an orderly to a place where officers of the service are accommodated when passing through Lagny. The lodging was not of the best but ‘a la guerre comme a la guerre’. I turned in after a bottle of vile French beer for which I rashly called, little thinking it would cost 1 Thaler, and slept till morning after a partial ablution (for one cannot wash very well with a shallow pie dish and a pocket handkerchief). I returned to the bureau where I waited till 10, and was then told that the "wagon" was ready, and that an officer, en route for Versailles, would share it was me. An orderly, with my baggage, conducted me to the "voiture", which proved to be what would be called at home, a private brougham. Again, I had fallen on my legs! The officer who travelled with me, a Hanoverian, talked English and was a perfect gentleman, having clean hands and carrying soap and nailbrush in his bag. "You are going to Bismarck?" said my companion after a few minutes. " No," I replied, " I am not going to Bismarck." The officials at Lagny had evidently been talking about me to my companion. I thought it better to let myself down gently, and it was not till we approached Versailles that I said my brother-in-law was a correspondent. Owing to the thaw the road was ankle deep in mud, but was quite fit for traffic. This road has indeed been a powerful weapon in the hands of the Germans, as a road less well metalled would long since have become impassable owing to the constant traffic. There was not very much to be seen en route. The road runs through deserted villages and past trampled and barren fields - a few of the bolder villagers have remained and some of the shops are open and doing a little business, but as a rule the houses are deserted.

The chateaux by the roadside were apparently untenanted, but so far as one could see en passant they were un-injured (I hear that they have now ? being sacked), and save for the board hanging on the gate of the "Schloss Sevrieres" one would not have known that that famous chateau had so lately been in the possession of the invaders. Our progress was not rapid owing to the traffic on the road, which was blocked now by countless wagons laden with shot and shell destined for the destruction of Paris, and now by immense droves of sheep which were driven by men in cloaks and long boots, with rifles slung over the shoulder, and followed by the shepherd’s dog, which had chosen to stand by the flock rather than follow the fortunes of his master. At times the carriage was drawn to the side of the road, to allow the passage of French prisoners - their long blue cloaks were torn and shabby and the red trousers were bespattered with mud; they toiled along patiently enough, their faces tanned and haggard but not, apparently, very unhappy. Many of them were eating their dinners as they marched, glad perhaps, poor souls, to make a good meal even at the cost of freedom. One is much struck by the superior physique of the French as compared with their enemies; the demoralisation of the troops is evident on looking at the prisoners; some are mere boys of 14 and 15, not a few wear the dress of the artisans and all have the appearance of untrained levies. At Chevy(?) (Between Corbeil and Lagny), we halted to rest the horse and were fortunate enough to meet the officer of the detachment in the village ‘Baron von Pfordlen’ of the Bavarian horse, who spoke English fluently, and was good enough to ask us to breakfast at his quarters. Having made an hour’s stay we bad farewell to our hospitable friend and started for Corbeil which we reached about 5pm. After going to the hotel and failing to find accommodation we went to the Office of the Commandant, where we received billets and passed the night in pretty comfortable quarters. We dined, by the way, at a table d'hote crowded with Prussian officers. The fare was unusually good but I could not but think of the great city starving close at hand. It is however only a raw campaigner who will allow such thoughts to spoil his appetite. After dinner we walked in the town crowded with the Prussian soldiers, who, however, appeared to conduct themselves in an orderly way. The room of our bedroom was windowless and over the mantelpiece the wall had been rent to the ceiling. This was the effect of the blowing up of the bridge over the river, which ran by the house.

We reached Versailles about 4 pm, and as we approached the town it suddenly occurred to me that I had stupidly omitted to ask for J’s address. Versailles is a large place, and Hq 2nd is rather a vague direction, but after visiting some half-dozen offices I discovered with the assistance of my good (?)ion the Hotel de Reservoir. Versailles is of course unchanged, save that one cannot but remark the scarcity of Frenchmen. The streets are full of Prussian officers and soldiers in uniforms of all kinds. Prussian officers promenade the gardens and lounge and play billiards in the restaurants; sometimes one sees a group of three or four or more Frenchmen conversing in the streets, to be soon dispersed by the green coated men in spiked helmets, the police of the Prussian army, who while idly sauntering, watch keenly the passers-by, and not without reason, for the position of the great Wilhelm is, as you can understand, not a little perilous – living as he is in the middle of thousands who would regard his assassination by a Frenchman as an act of patriotic devotion.

On arrival at Versailles I re-posted myself to the Commandant and was told that I must leave at once. This I did not wish to do, and through the able diplomacy of J succeeded the next day in obtaining permission from General von Bleu(?) to remain 14 days.

Holroyd speaks of a paper "enclosed" for my signature; have you seen it? Went yesterday to Ville d’Avray?. I have a good view of Paris - but as J is going to "work" the subject, need not describe what we saw.

Your affectionate brother,

Allan Chaplin.


[From the Encyclopaedia Britannica: Prussia's defeat of Austria in the Seven Weeks' War in 1866 had confirmed Prussian leadership of the German states and threatened France's position as the dominant power in Europe. The immediate cause of the Franco-German War, however, was the candidacy of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (who was related to the Prussian royal house) for the Spanish throne, which had been left vacant when Queen Isabella II had been deposed in 1868. The Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, and Spain's de facto leader, Juan Prim, persuaded the reluctant Leopold to accept the Spanish throne in June 1870. This move greatly alarmed France, who felt threatened by a possible combination of Prussia and Spain directed against it. Leopold's candidacy was withdrawn under French diplomatic pressure, but the Prussian king William I was unwilling to bow to the French ambassador's demands that he promise to never again allow Leopold to be a candidate for the Spanish throne. Bismarck edited William's telegraphed description of this interview, and on July 14 he published this provocative message (the C:\Users\Alan\Documents\R-J_family_archive2\3Families in the book\Chaplin\Allan Chaplin & Maud (nee Skinner)\Allan C\Program FilesBritannicaBCDcacheeb:\gatewayg?gtype=article_view&doc_name=core033136_1.html&terms=franco prussian Franco PrussianEms telegram;), which accomplished his purposes of infuriating the French government and provoking it into a declaration of war.
The French emperor, Napoleon III, declared war on Prussia on July 19, 1870, because his military advisers told him that the French army could defeat Prussia and that such a victory would restore his declining popularity in France. The French were convinced that the reorganization of their army in 1866 had made it superior to the German armies. They also had great faith in two recently introduced technical innovations: the breech-loading chassepot rifle, with which the entire army was now equipped; and the newly invented mitrailleuse, an early machine gun. The French generals, blinded by national pride, were confident of victory.
Bismarck, for his part, saw war with France as an opportunity to bring the South German states into unity with the Prussian-led North German Confederation and build a strong German Empire. The Germans had superiority of numbers, since, true to Bismarck's hopes, the South German states (Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Baden) regarded France as the aggressor in the conflict and had thus sided with Prussia. An equally important asset was the Prussian army's general staff, which planned the rapid, orderly movement of large numbers of troops to the battle zones. This superior organization and mobility enabled the chief of the general staff, General Helmuth von Moltke, to exploit German superiority in numbers in most of the war's battles.
The efficient German mobilization contrasted with confusion and delay on the French side. Germany was able to deliver 380,000 troops to the forward zone within 18 days of the start (July 14) of mobilization, while many French units reached the front either late or with inadequate supplies. The vast German and French armies that then confronted each other were each grouped into right and left wings. After suffering a check at the Battle of Wörth on Aug. 6, 1870, the commander of the French right (south) wing, Marshal Patrice Mac-Mahon, retreated westward. That same day, about 40 miles (65 km) to the northeast, the commander of the French left wing, Marshal Achille Bazaine, was dislodged from near Saarbrücken and fell back westward to the fortress of Metz. His further retreat was checked by the German right wing in two blundering battles on August 16 and 18, respectively (see C:\Users\Alan\Documents\R-J_family_archive2\3Families in the book\Chaplin\Allan Chaplin & Maud (nee Skinner)\Allan C\Program FilesBritannicaBCDcacheeb:\gatewayg?gtype=article_view&doc_name=core052343_1.html&terms=franco prussian Franco PrussianMars-la-Tour and Gravelotte, Battles of), and he then took refuge behind the defenses of Metz indefinitely.
The French right wing, commanded by Mac-Mahon and accompanied by Napoleon himself, attempted to relieve Bazaine but was itself surrounded and trapped by the Germans in a disastrous battle at Sedan (see C:\Users\Alan\Documents\R-J_family_archive2\3Families in the book\Chaplin\Allan Chaplin & Maud (nee Skinner)\Allan C\Program FilesBritannicaBCDcacheeb:\gatewayg?gtype=article_view&doc_name=core068260_1.html&terms=franco prussian Franco PrussianSedan, Battle of) on August 31. On September 2, 83,000 encircled French troops, with Napoleon and Mac-Mahon, surrendered. Since Bazaine's army was still bottled up in Metz, the result of the war was virtually decided by this surrender.
French resistance was carried on against desperate odds by a new government of national defense, which assumed power in Paris on Sept. 4, 1870, and proclaimed the deposition of the emperor and the establishment of the Third Republic. On September 19 the Germans began to besiege Paris. Jules Favre, foreign minister in the new government, went to negotiate with Bismarck, but the negotiations were broken off when he found that Germany demanded Alsace and Lorraine. Léon Gambetta, the leading figure in the provisional government, organized new French armies in the countryside after escaping from besieged Paris in a balloon. These engaged but could not defeat the German forces. Bazaine capitulated at Metz with his 140,000 troops intact on October 27, and Paris surrendered on Jan. 28, 1871.
The armistice of January 28 included a provision for the election of a French National Assembly, which would have the authority to conclude a definite peace. This settlement was finally negotiated by Adolphe Thiers and Favre and was signed February 26 and ratified March 1. Between then and the conclusion of the formal Treaty of Frankfurt on May 10, 1871, the republican government was threatened by an insurrection in Paris, in which radicals established their own short-lived government, the Paris Commune. The Commune was suppressed after two months, and the harsh provisions of the Treaty of Frankfurt were then implemented: Germany annexed Alsace and half of Lorraine, with Metz. Furthermore, France had to pay an indemnity of 5 billion francs and cover the costs of the German occupation of France's northern provinces until the indemnity was paid. The culminating triumph of Bismarck's plans came on Jan. 18, 1871, when King William I of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor at Versailles, the former palace of the kings of France.
The Franco-German War had far-reaching consequences. It established both the German Empire and the French Third Republic. With Napoleon III no longer in power to protect them, the Papal States were annexed by Italy (Sept. 20, 1870), thereby completing that nation's unification. The Germans' crushing victory over France in the war consolidated their faith in Prussian militarism, which would remain a dominant force in German society until 1945. (Additionally, the Prussian system of conscript armies controlled by a highly trained general staff was soon adopted by the other great powers.) Most importantly, Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine aroused a deep longing for revenge in the French people. The years from 1871 to 1914 were marked by an extremely unstable peace, since France's determination to recover Alsace-Lorraine and Germany's mounting imperialist ambitions kept the two nations constantly poised for conflict. Their mutual animosity proved to be the driving force behind the prolonged slaughter on the Western Front in World War I].

END

Biography
1881 Census:

19 New Steine, Brighton, Sussex, England


Maud E Chaplin Head Female 36 Brighton, Sussex, England Officer's wife
Wyndham Chaplin Son Male 8 Central Prov, India Scholar
Mabel F Chaplin Daur Female 5 Brighton, Sussex, England Scholar
Maud D Chaplin Daur Female 8 mths Scotland
Ann Ray Serv U Female 24 Scotland Nurse (Dom)
Annette E Lea Serv U Female 20 Lutterworth, Leicester, England Nurse (Dom)


1901 Census:

Bencomb, Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey (St Michael's Parish, near Epsom) [RG 13 Piece 623 Folio 109 Page 12]

Allan Chaplin Head Mar 56 Colonel in Army (retired) Born Sussex, Brighton (Paralytic)
Maud E Chaplin Wife Mar 56 Born Sussex, Brighton
Eliza Bowry Servant S 47 Cook domestic Born Surrey, Cheam
Lucy E Spencer Servant S 32 Housemaid Born Surrey, Brixton
William J Finch Servant S 36 Butler Born Surrey, Croydon


Allan Chaplin wrote to his mother from Ootacamund, Nov 1894:

"I was much interested in the report of the Tonbridge School improvements -- the speeches etc.. Welldon of Harrow did not make so much as he might have made of this occasion -- but I suppose he had to efface himself somewhat in presence of Cantuar? Young Welldon's speeches are always a little bumptious I think -- but of course that comes from self-confidence which is the gift to which successful men, for the most part, owe their success. The place seems as much a club as a school -- with all in its various institutions and branches and think of 28 Masters! "Chaplin" I once heard a master say, in allusion to me "Chaplin is one of those who look upon us as the common enemy" and and yet one or two of them were my very good friends!" LETTERS FROM INDIA & BURMA by Col. Allan Chaplin
Most of the letters below were from India, in the years from 1868 to 1894

Generally speaking Allan was a liberal-minded person with advance opinions for his time and class, but our views on matters of race are so different nowadays that some of his opinions are almost bound to seem offensive. Of course the letters were not written for publication, so I hope they will be tolerated by readers purely as documents of historical interest. I should greatly appreciate any help in elucidating or correcting the names of people, places or dates, or explanations of references in them to events which may not mean much to me at present. Alan Ray-Jones


Hamp(?) or Kamp(?)

July 12, 1868

My dear mother I received your letter of the 12th June. You see that I have not yet left this place. I am not likely to leave before the end of August and I shall shake the dust from my feet when I depart. You seem lucky you (?), I hope the letters I have sent to the house will not miscarry.
The rain has been very heavy in Bengal and the East. Even to the (?) of tea crops: in this place it has only just begun to fall. People are making guesses as to who is to be G.G. The government must "look alive" if Sir Stafford Northcote is to have it. What a storm has been raised at home by the "girl of the period" article. I see that the article has been translated and published in a native paper and the Editors, on the strength of it, question the propriety of encouraging the(?) representations of their race.

Love to all
your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin


[January 1871? Letter from Allan Chaplin – an account of his journey from Strasbourg to Versailles, sent to his sister Louisa. The date includes no year and the month is indistinct, but it was during the siege of Paris by Bismarck, so 1871 – see the note at the end. As far as I can see he went to Versailles on a private visit to meet his brother-in-law John Hilary Skinner, who was already there as one of the first war correspondents, working for his paper, The Daily News. An account of Skinner after Sedan in 1870, and in Versailles, was published in The Daily News on the 2?th November, 1894, a few days after his death, and is also included in the Chaplin and Skinner family book.]

Versailles, January 23rd

My dear Louie,
As I expected, I have ‘fallen upon my legs’ and succeeded in reaching Hq 2nd and you may perhaps (as my success may be attributed to your energetic measures) be interested in hearing how I fared en route. To begin with - the arrangement with the guards of the train in which I left on the 17th fell through. I understood that one of the men with whom you spoke would go to Strasbourg; on arriving there I found that neither of our friends had come. On reaching Strasbourg I retained the services of a porter to carry my kit and wandered round the station. The platform was very muddy and slippery and I had not gone far before my foot slipped and down I went. I trembled for my coat but wonderful to relate there was but one spot of dirt on it and the overcoat was not soiled.

On looking about, I saw, as I told you, a bureau, the entrance to which was crowded with soldiers and others receiving ‘legitimations’. Having adjusted my dress in such a way as to show a little of the red tag and gold lace, I pushed forward and handed my pass through the grating. The official looked at it, and at once turned to the head of the office; that official, having read Major Schneider’s note, rose, came to the door and politely, in English, begged me to enter. I was then told to call for a pass at 5 pm, and was bowed out of the office. The rain was falling, the streets were muddy and slippery but I managed to make my way to an hotel which I reached in time for the table d'hote. When I entered the room all eyes were turned on me, attracted by the gorgeous coat, and a gentleman who spoke English told me he had met several officers but then, he added "they were not travelling officially as you are".

The weather being so bad, I put off seeing the town till my return, and contented myself with talking to the landlord, who showed several places on the premises where the shells had fallen, and was good enough to drag out a bomb, which he had received from the Germans which weighed 180 pounds. The man seemed quite proud of being the possessor of the largest shell which had fallen into the city. I returned in due time to the station for the legitimation; on receiving it I found to my surprise that I had to pay nothing - the pass was for ‘1 officer’ to Head Quarters. The officials said the train would leave at 5.30 "but," it was added, "please to come a little later as there is generally some delay!!" I began to be rather alarmed at so much courtesy, lest I might get into trouble for sailing under false colours. However, if they insist on making much of me it is not my fault and I thought I had better maintain a dignified reserve.

The train was crowded with soldiers and officers, and no luggage was allowed save a "hand gepack" (I think so-called); it was therefore with that I had only the portmanteau, but even that was rather too large as the carriages (second-class) were small and had no netting. We reached Nancy at 11.30, and I was told to wait until 5.30 am. Following the officers and others I turned into the restaurant at the station where we bivouacked till the morning. I longed to be able to speak the language that I might have joined in the conversation of the officers of which I could understand nothing save the frequent occurrence of the words "Paris" and Fransos(?). I was roused as the time for the train drew near by the bustle in the waiting room and the passing to and fro of big men with clanging sabres, and I succeeded with some difficulty in securing a seat in the carriage for Lagny.

Our journey to the latter place was without incident save that near Vitry some persons said to be the Francs tireurs had torn up one or two rails - as the train was moving slowly we escaped an accident and the rails were soon replaced. The villagers seem to be on quite friendly terms with the invaders, and at every station are to be seen women and children selling refreshments. At Epernay (Ebernay the Germans call it) there is a great demand for the vinter for which the place is famous, but which is thought but a poor substitute for the ‘bier’ of the Vaterland. On arrival at Lagny – at 10 - a sous-officier asked to see my papers. Having seen them he offered to show me a hotel; on reaching the hotel we found it full of Prussians - whose presence was evidently painful to the hostess who in answer to our inquiries (or orders) and declared with tears that she had no more room. We tried another restaurant but the proprietor shut the door in our faces - no violence however was used although several officers were also seeking accommodation. At length my conductor suggested going to the Commandant -- we went accordingly. It is explained that an English officer is en route for Hq 2nd and requires a lodging for the night and a carriage to take him to Versailles. The Commandant rises, bows politely and addresses me in German "Pardon me, I do not speak German, will you be good enough to address me in French.” I show my papers. "You will go to the Prince Royal." I bow an assent.

A few words to a subordinate, and I am conducted to the office of the adjutant, who explains that I must call in the morning at 7.30, when he will provide me with a "wagon"; and then sends me with an orderly to a place where officers of the service are accommodated when passing through Lagny. The lodging was not of the best but ‘a la guerre comme a la guerre’. I turned in after a bottle of vile French beer for which I rashly called, little thinking it would cost 1 Thaler, and slept till morning after a partial ablution (for one cannot wash very well with a shallow pie dish and a pocket handkerchief). I returned to the bureau where I waited till 10, and was then told that the "wagon" was ready, and that an officer, en route for Versailles, would share it was me. An orderly, with my baggage, conducted me to the "voiture", which proved to be what would be called at home, a private brougham. Again, I had fallen on my legs! The officer who travelled with me, a Hanoverian, talked English and was a perfect gentleman, having clean hands and carrying soap and nailbrush in his bag. "You are going to Bismarck?" said my companion after a few minutes. " No," I replied, " I am not going to Bismarck." The officials at Lagny had evidently been talking about me to my companion. I thought it better to let myself down gently, and it was not till we approached Versailles that I said my brother-in-law was a correspondent. Owing to the thaw the road was ankle deep in mud, but was quite fit for traffic. This road has indeed been a powerful weapon in the hands of the Germans, as a road less well metalled would long since have become impassable owing to the constant traffic. There was not very much to be seen en route. The road runs through deserted villages and past trampled and barren fields - a few of the bolder villagers have remained and some of the shops are open and doing a little business, but as a rule the houses are deserted.

The chateaux by the roadside were apparently untenanted, but so far as one could see en passant they were un-injured (I hear that they have now ? being sacked), and save for the board hanging on the gate of the "Schloss Sevrieres" one would not have known that that famous chateau had so lately been in the possession of the invaders. Our progress was not rapid owing to the traffic on the road, which was blocked now by countless wagons laden with shot and shell destined for the destruction of Paris, and now by immense droves of sheep which were driven by men in cloaks and long boots, with rifles slung over the shoulder, and followed by the shepherd’s dog, which had chosen to stand by the flock rather than follow the fortunes of his master. At times the carriage was drawn to the side of the road, to allow the passage of French prisoners - their long blue cloaks were torn and shabby and the red trousers were bespattered with mud; they toiled along patiently enough, their faces tanned and haggard but not, apparently, very unhappy. Many of them were eating their dinners as they marched, glad perhaps, poor souls, to make a good meal even at the cost of freedom. One is much struck by the superior physique of the French as compared with their enemies; the demoralisation of the troops is evident on looking at the prisoners; some are mere boys of 14 and 15, not a few wear the dress of the artisans and all have the appearance of untrained levies. At Chevy(?) (Between Corbeil and Lagny), we halted to rest the horse and were fortunate enough to meet the officer of the detachment in the village ‘Baron von Pfordlen’ of the Bavarian horse, who spoke English fluently, and was good enough to ask us to breakfast at his quarters. Having made an hour’s stay we bad farewell to our hospitable friend and started for Corbeil which we reached about 5pm. After going to the hotel and failing to find accommodation we went to the Office of the Commandant, where we received billets and passed the night in pretty comfortable quarters. We dined, by the way, at a table d'hote crowded with Prussian officers. The fare was unusually good but I could not but think of the great city starving close at hand. It is however only a raw campaigner who will allow such thoughts to spoil his appetite. After dinner we walked in the town crowded with the Prussian soldiers, who, however, appeared to conduct themselves in an orderly way. The room of our bedroom was windowless and over the mantelpiece the wall had been rent to the ceiling. This was the effect of the blowing up of the bridge over the river, which ran by the house.

We reached Versailles about 4 pm, and as we approached the town it suddenly occurred to me that I had stupidly omitted to ask for J’s address. Versailles is a large place, and Hq 2nd is rather a vague direction, but after visiting some half-dozen offices I discovered with the assistance of my good (?)ion the Hotel de Reservoir. Versailles is of course unchanged, save that one cannot but remark the scarcity of Frenchmen. The streets are full of Prussian officers and soldiers in uniforms of all kinds. Prussian officers promenade the gardens and lounge and play billiards in the restaurants; sometimes one sees a group of three or four or more Frenchmen conversing in the streets, to be soon dispersed by the green coated men in spiked helmets, the police of the Prussian army, who while idly sauntering, watch keenly the passers-by, and not without reason, for the position of the great Wilhelm is, as you can understand, not a little perilous – living as he is in the middle of thousands who would regard his assassination by a Frenchman as an act of patriotic devotion.

On arrival at Versailles I re-posted myself to the Commandant and was told that I must leave at once. This I did not wish to do, and through the able diplomacy of J succeeded the next day in obtaining permission from General von Bleu(?) to remain 14 days. Holroyd speaks of a paper "enclosed" for my signature; have you seen it? Went yesterday to Ville d’Avray?. I have a good view of Paris - but as J is going to "work" the subject, need not describe what we saw.

Your affectionate brother,
Allan Chaplin.


Milan, April 16, 1871

My dear Effie
Since I wrote last I have reached Milan about which I shall say something (perhaps) below. I saw all that was to be seen at Pisa and am glad I made a short stay there. The famous tower is well worth seeing. And the facade of the cathedral, not as well known, is very beautiful. The interior is handsome, in the usual Italian style, and rich in marble decorations. The large baptistry close to the church is also worth seeing, there being in it a fine pulpit and elaborately carved marble font. The three buildings of which I speak placed all together in one plot of ground and form a very effective coup d’oeil (is not that a horrid word to pronounce -- but you see I have only to write it).

I left Pisa for Florence where I spent the day in visiting the galleries and seeing Michelangelo’s works in the chapel of the Medicis and the Bargello towers (Day and Night, the dying Adonis etc). In the Bargello by the way is to be seen the flying Mercury of which you may have seen prints. It is charming in the gracefulness of its attitude.

Leaving Florence at five in the evening I reached Turin at 5 a.m., and after coffee proceeded to follow the advice of Baedeker and view the town from the hill rising on the South bank of the Po. The site commands a very fine view but I must have been there too early and before the sun's rays had chased away the morning mists. The town was under a haze and it was not till I had waited for half an hour that I obtained a good view. The view however was, even at first, very fine for high above the cloud which hung over the town, rose the snow-clad summits of the Alps, stretching across the sky, and seemingly as if suspended between heaven and earth. For a few moments the snow-covered peaks glistened as they caught the first rays of the rising sun, and then the mists which had enveloped the town rolled upwards and hid them from the view.

Turin though a large town has not many remarkable sights. There is a picture gallery having a miscellaneous collection. Some of the pictures very fine. Among those I noted are a Paulo Vero. The subject -- Mary M. washing the feet of the Saviour. The expressions on the faces of the lookers-on are well depicted and one hears them saying "Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for 200 pence and given to the poor". The Magdelene is pretty and has beautiful hair. She would look well in a ball room but is not the woman whom, in my mind’s eye, I have been accustomed to see "doing what she could".
There is a well-arranged armoury (in the Palace at Turin) which I saw -- but the description of it is not likely to interest you. On reaching Milan at 10 am I went to see the Ambrose Library, where are some interesting sketches of L. da Vinci and the carbon of "School of Letters" of Raphael. Then to a church at the other end of the town where is to be seen the great "The Last Supper". The picture is in very bad presentation but such as it is I need scarcely say repays a visit. Then to the Academy where are a few good pictures -- Tintoretto – Guercino -- Vandyck and others. The famous "Marriage of the Virgin" of Raphael I am not artistic enough to appreciate. Hence I walked to be Triumphal Arch and then back to the cathedral which last is of course the sight of Milan. This church is the finest I have seen. The interior though perhaps less delicate than that of the Church at Koln is very grand yet without being cumbrous. The effect of the vast aisles and towering columns (surmounted by statues in niches instead of capitals) is much enhanced by the gorgeously painted windows.
I went last evening to the Scala (a very large theatre of which you may have heard) and saw the Barber of Seville. I went again this morning (Sunday) to the cathedral and, mounting to the roof, examined the elaborate carvings of the multitude of pinnacles and innumerable statues which adorn the galleries of the building.

You must not be surprised if you do not hear from me for some days but I will let you know when I shall return. I hope the letters I have sent you have interested you. They were written with that object.
Love to Holroyd and yourself and believe me dear Effie to be

Ever your most affectionate brother
Allan Chaplin
I hope your health is pretty good. I am looking forward to a letter at Bale.


[March 1873, Rangoon? Allan Chaplin writes as ‘we’ but is in camp and makes no mention of Maud. But their son Wyndham was born in India in November 1872. On 19 February in her diary for 1873 his mother wrote: “Letter from Allan on the way from Hashungabad [Hoshingabad or Hoshangabad – which?] to Trichinopoli suffering every misery from severe changes of weather on the journey,” and on Wednesday 5 March, “Long letter from Maud to Mrs S. about the journey to Trichinopoli.” On 20 June she got for Allan in London a map of Chiva territory. In November 1873 she got news that Maud and the baby were both ill but the next mention is that in August 1874 she received a photo of the child from Allan – “ pretty”. By 1875 there was another baby on the way and on 28 June 1875 Allan’s mother wrote in her diary: “Maud arrived with little Wyndham from Madras via Southampton. Maud looked well -- full of suppressed emotion. The child very delicate like a little bird so gentle and light on his feet.” On Tuesday 15 June: “Mr Skinner called and shewed me cutting from paper of Allan having passed his examination for Staff.”]

[Arrival at Rangoon]

My dear Mother
You will be wondering what has become of us. We made a quick passage but were just too late to catch the English mail. It is always cooler afloat at this time and the voyage did us a world of good. The freshness of the air on board ship at daybreak can scarcely be realised by one who stays at home. We arrived at Rangoon - the headquarters of the Indian government in Burmah. A large and rapidly increasing port. The streets are thronged with Burmese and Chinese, many of them doing a good trade -- and immensely(?) able hackney coaches running up and down -- drawn by the hardy (?) pony, a sturdy animal of 12 hands who, for draft, surpasses any beast I know. So far as I have seen I do not dislike the climate and find it cooler than that of Trichinopoly [a city and district of British India, in the Madras presidency] until 9 a.m. but it is very warm at midday and there is not much protection from the sun in a house built entirely with boards. The bungalows here are rather pretty. The bronze wood is so pleasant to the eye long used to the glare of whitewash. They are all built on piles. This is owing to the heavy rainfall which makes it necessary to keep well above the ground for the sake of a free flow of the water and general health. In the dry weather the space below may be utilised for offices and for storage purposes.

You will hear that I am detained here for three weeks. This is not an economical arrangement however pleasant it may be to meet old friends and make new acquaintances. However it is useless to repine and so I'll take things quietly -- thankful that we suffer no greater inconvenience and having left a quantity of our personal luggage behind in India. People are very active here in dancing, dining, playing lawn tennis etc etc and already there have been two dances this week. I was not there to see.
The new Chief Commissioner British (?) came yesterday - Mr Aitchison - who was long the foreign sec(?) at Calcutta -- the man who keeps our native allies (as they like to be called -- although they are not allowed to break the peace without our permission) in order.

Love to all -- your affectionate son A Chaplin. I am in camp and my kit is rather at sixes and sevens. Mr ’73 [March 1873?]



[No date [1878?], no address except first word below]

My dear Mother

(?)ago at last! Not an inviting country at this time of the year but no doubt the rains will do wonders for it -- at least they will fill the huge river to its banks and cover the long stretches of sand which it make one's eyes ache to look upon -- not a pretty river -- here -- nothing like the Narbuddah Valley. Nothing to breach the outline but a few ranges of hillocks -- I may call them. The military station lies on a high part of the west bank and ought to be healthy. There has however been always greater mortality amongst horses -- no one knows why -- so I may expect my usual luck. For this reason nearly everyone rides a pony. Burmah has always been famous for its ponies which are sent to India in considerable number.
It is half past eight but already the warm part of the day has begun. The climate seems, from what I hear, to be like that of Hoshingabad [Could this be Hoshangabad?]. It is much to be desired that the houses should be as good a protection from the sun as were the terrible dour bungalows at that place.
Love to Julia, Louie, M, H & E, Edith, Ayrton & other

Yr affection………
A Chaplin
Sorry to hear Cleve is ill again. Hope better.


[June 1878? No address, date may be January or June 10]

Dear Mother
I am just recovering from the exhaustion contingent on standing about the whole night of a dance we gave, at which I consumed more cigars and stimulants than my methodical habits allow me to take frequently -- then I was engaged all day in beautifying the barn-like house which does duty for a ballroom, so that by the evening I felt quite gouty. Is it gout that makes one's boots feel so very tight sometimes and the feet like lead, or is it merely sluggish circulation and general debility? However the dance was a great success and that was all we cared about. Yesterday I went across the river to say goodbye to some friends there. We had a pleasant trip back in the moonlight lying under the tilt of the gondola-like boat rowed by a man and his wife.

Love to all
Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin.


[Might be same place name as the letter above, but probably not]

A city wherein the rulers of two kingdoms showed goodwill

Tagit(?)ago
Aug 17, ‘78

My dear Mother,

Nothing new! Even the Europe telegrams have not much of interest now that the Eastern difficulty has been ‘solved’. The other day I went across the River to see a friend for a few hour. The River being in flood I was more than an hour in crossing, even in a steam launch. We passed numbers of native boats, which move with wonderful rapidity across the strong current. Landing, I found that the weekly cattle market was being held at Allan (?), the cattle seemed to be in very good condition, better animals than those usually seen in India. This too is the place where ponies are to be bought. I have neither horse not pony at present but I must buy some animal presently unless I go on leave and there is little chance of that.
I see that the people here have a strange custom of pulling a rope, as boys do in ‘French & English,’ when they wish the rain to fall. The origin of the custom is this – Once on a time two kings with unpronounceable names swore an eternal friendship and to cement this alliance arranged for the intermarriage of their children. The question then arose as to the territory in which the marriages should take place; there being two children on each side. It was decided that it should be exactly on the border – next arose a friendly difference as to the place of residence of the married couples – at length it was decided that whichever party should pull the other over the border should claim the princes and princesses – and so they (?) and tugged and while they pulled the (?) in torrents forming a great lake on the shore of which it was resolved to found [remainder missing].


[No address, date at end of letter: Sep 25 1878]

My dear Mother
I returned the other day from Rangoon. I was three or four days en route, being delayed at (?), waiting for a steam engine. I had started as soon as I could on hearing the news that the king was dying and that we might be 'wanted'.
The captains of the river boats, who see more of the interior than most of us, report that society at Mandalay is in a ferment and that something unusual is occurring – (it) appears from the large numbers of people who are coming over the border and going to Rangoon and other places where life and property are respected.
However all may yet be well and I hope we shall be able to keep out of their politics.

Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
[PS] Much interested in your reports of the children.


[No address, date at end of letter: Sep 29th 1878]

My dear Mother,
A very "juicy" day -- a day for stropping one's razors and smoking cheroots. I hope it will clear up a little for a walk in the evening. Everything looks fresh and green, and the place is not the dreary wilderness it was when I first came here; and standing on the river bank and looking downstream to where the river takes a turn and the hills run down to the water, which gleams in the rays of the level sun, one might say the prospect was pretty.
One of the steamers of the Golden Fort has come here -- come to see what we are about perhaps.
By the way -- I am glad to see that my friends the P&O have secured the mail contract. There is no harm in a competition for carrying passengers but it is well that government should be able to secure the services in emergency of so large a fleet: how shocking are the accounts of the (?) in Turkey! Will these horrors never cease?
Love to Julia and Ayrton, H & E, JE and others

Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
[PS] Remember me to Mr & Mrs Pyne and family. What, by the way, has become of John Dixon -- is he doing well in the colonies – Does C(?) ever (?) himself.


[No address, date Oct 16, ‘78]

How fearful is the story of that accident on the river

My dear mother,
Long before this reaches you it will have been decided whether a Force is to be sent to bring the Amear to his senses. I trust that profiting by past experience arrangements will be so complete that the army will escape a false promenade. It is feared that it is too late in the year to admit of an early termination of hostilities, the winter being very severe in the those parts -- there often below zero on the high table lands - but it is a fair country -- I mean for the grand mountains rising with eternal snows one above another, with here and there a happy Valley abounding in fruit and pasture.
I know nothing of the people save from acquaintance with those who sometimes traverse India with strings of horses for sale and of camels bearing the dried fruits of their country. They are a fine stalwart race with a somewhat Jewish nose (feel that feature in them is more delicate) oval face high cheekbones -- black or sometimes reddish hair and very dirty persons.
There is a rumour that Neville Chamberlain is not to have the command and people are justly indignant. You see he said his embassy would be rebuffed and the man who can say "I told you so," is sometimes unpopular with those in place. It is pouring with rain.

Now I must say adieu. Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
Love to all. I hope you are having fairly good weather for Nov (?) and are well.


Madras, June 13/86

My dear Mother
Many thanks for yours May 21st. Yes I am here on duty and may remain for some months. I find the climate somewhat trying but the worst heat has passed and I am trying to ‘hold on’ because moving about is expensive and one can live here, in a hotel, at low rates without keeping an ‘establishment’. I am sorry to hear Uncle had so bad an attack. It was well that he called in his doctor in time.
So the Bill(?) has been defeated -- and the country is to be turned upside down for another election. How sad to read of these riots in Belfast. The firing on the mob may be a sad necessity but the memory of the punishment remains for centuries. Talking of that -- I see one or two of my acquaintance have ‘dropped’ in Burmah – Poor fellows! Very hard work they had and very little ‘glory’ and then to dig ‘in the ditch’ so to speak -- shot in a ‘bush fight’.
I am looking to see what will be done in the case of an officer who got into trouble for photographing executions and extorting evidence. If the extorting evidence was proved he ought to be punished but I think much false sentiment and needless fuss have been spent on the photograph question. As he was an officer concerned in the execution although not actually assisting in it, he showed bad taste in photographing the scene. But if such picture-taking is horrible and brutal what is to be said of ‘our special’ who sketches such scenes for the amusement of the British public?
Love to all. I am hoping to hear soon from Holroyd. I will send a line to Julia but know not whether she has any fixed address.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras, 6 Oc /86

Thank Ayrton for his letter from A [A might be Ayrton’s daughter Audrey, Allan’s niece, who would have been aged 14]. I’ll write him again ‘ere long.

My dear Mother,
Thank you for your last letter, which, for the moment, I have mislaid. I have been busy in the last few days and that, and having no news, have caused me to defer writing till the last minute -- very ungrateful -- because you always write so much -- but you have only to look out of the window -- if I may say so -- to make your letter interesting. If I look out of window I have the same sights (?). Just now the sounds are varied by the festivals of Mohurrmen? and Dusserah -- the great events of the year. The first for Mussalmans, the last for Hindus.
This year they happened to be concurrent, and the ‘Indian drum, never (?) and never dumb" is kept going all day, and there are parties of young people masquerading in the streets in a way that seems to amuse them and their countrymen, although to us the fun seems, naturally, tame. The great fun is for a boy to play ‘Tiger’ -- he is painted with stripes -- his face whitened -- by way of (?). He wears a long tail and is led about by a chain. His role is to "attitudinize” and growl and make believe that he is the Royal beast to the accompaniment of shouts, tom-toms etc.
I daresay Hilary would like the part -- but would not understand having to play it with little more clothing than a fig leaf.
The authorities have been busy embarking troops for Burma. Affairs there are going as well now as can be expected -- mistakes have been made as they always will be -- but on the whole we are coming out of the business not discreditably. It is exasperating to read in the home papers such misleading reports about the operations, our position in the country etc. Such magnifying of small mishaps and obscuring of good work -- such spreading of false reports, such ignoring or concealing of the contradictions thereof -- such persistent counting of the ‘misses’ and taking little note of the ‘hits’. I am glad to see that the Secretary of State in the House has set people right on some points and given no uncertain (?) -- but all this is to you ancient history and at no time very interesting. The mail will be here tomorrow, just too late to be acknowledged by this post!

Last evening for a turn on the beach – the haunt of fashion in the evening. They have of late much improved the road there - the parade you would call it in England. The marina is the modern word I believe. They have put down some grass and shrubs and dis-established, with proper compensation and giving other sites, a number of squalid huts in which for centuries the fishermen have lived. Some of the public buildings are on this road, one or two of them handsome, but the general effect produced by them is not nearly so fine as that of the public buildings seen as one approaches Bombay.
Love to all. I hope Uncle goes on as well as can be expected -- and that if he went to Hastings it has done him good [this must have been Acton Smee Ayrton, who died on 30 November in Bournemouth]. My love to Agnes, glad to hear the boy does so well [he was Frederick Cyril Nugent Hicks, future Bishop of Lincoln].

Your affectionate son,
A Chaplin


Jan 5/87 [Madras, 1887]

My dear Mother
Many thanks for your last -- it must have been sad work for you examining Uncle’s effects. I keep thinking about him -- there was a notice of him yesterday in a Calcutta paper -- not very favourable [I assume this is a reference to his mother’s brother Acton Smee Ayrton MP, a mininster in Gladstone’s government, who died on 30 November 1886 in Bournemouth].
It is not often that one family, one generation, produces men all so powerful in intellect as a your brothers. It is painful to think that they were by circumstances not allowed full scope for their powers. I can best express what I mean by the phrase ‘never gave themselves a fair chance’. My Uncle John has been to me only a tradition but as he belonged to ‘the service’ I have always been interested in him and cherished his memory, & often pictured him in the position he would have held, in my time, had he lived, & I thought how I would have gone to see him. [John Hyde Ayrton died in 1845 at Sawent Warree aged 27, as a Lieutenant in the service of the East India Company]
My (?) has not yet arrived but I think it probable I may have to go to Bangalore in a week or two.
Many thanks for yours of 17 ult. just to hand. No time to write more, as I am busy -- having double work just now

Love to all, ever your affectionate son,
A Chaplin


Madras, Jan 12/87

My dear Mother
I have moved house since I wrote. The hotel keeper has bought this house -- (?) of the way -- and has driven us into it. -- it is not so commodious although a larger building, and my rooms are not nearly so good as those I have left, but it may be for only a few days that I shall be here -- unless I am permitted to remain for a few weeks -- to oblige a friend who wishes to go to Bangalore instead of me. I may have to go to Bangalore two or three days hence. The uncertainty is inconvenient. H.G. the first(?) makes no sign and is of course as difficult of access as usually are such exalted persons. By the way he is going to Burmah in a few days -- mere inspection work I suppose.
The country is quiet now and if no time be lost in organising the new police force there will be no difficulty in holding it. As to our holding it being good for the country -- of that there can be no question -- although I always opposed the views of those who would have invaded merely because the government of the country was bad. We held our hands until there was no longer room for repentance and (?) had wronged us repeatedly and refused the fair terms offered him. Of course he would say they were unfair -- and perhaps we are not impartial observers. I met an Italian at (?) who was very indignant because of the behaviour, in this matter, of the Inglese. He spoke a little French. I spoke less and no Italian, so the conversation flagged, but from his tone and look when he said "mais pourquoi les Anglais” etc I knew what he felt -- in fact he talked of our conduct as we do of that of Russia in central Asia.
There is a view of a bit of water and palm trees from this window, which would make a pretty picture, but I cannot follow the arts unless I am quite free from business -- with absolutely nothing else to do. Many people find painting a pleasant occupation for spare moments -- but for a beginner the occupation is more laborious and there is no such thing as ‘clocking of’ a picture -- one has to scratch one's head and wonder what is the result, for instance, of combining blue and yellow on the palette.
I hope you keep well. I hear of dreadful winter weather. Love to all with you and in the country.

Your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin
A young officer has just come under my hands -- the foolish youth has mixed himself up in questionable transactions with a private soldier of his regiment and has told fibs about it, both unpardonable offences. However he is to be allowed to resign to escape treatment and disgrace. I’m sorry for him – I knew his father.


Jan 19/87 [Madras, 1887]
Card just arrived. I am glad you have children in the house: it will (?)

My dear Mother
Nothing to say unless your letter, which should be here presently, gives me a text.
I see that the Times (?) a long notice of Grant Duff’s governorship of Madras. He was unpopular with many people here I believe, but whether the Governor is or is not all that he should be matters little to us military folk – personally. At least I could always say of G.D. that his minutes and reports were much more interesting to the general reader than such documents usually are.
I daresay you saw in the paper the report of that dreadful fire. An investigation is being held. It was rumoured that incendiaries had been at work -- as yet there is no clue, and, so far as appears, the fire was accidental. Scarcely any Europeans were killed -- only one I think. The poor natives were like scared sheep who run into the corner of a field and will not be driven out. The picture drawn by a the witnesses is very dreadful -- bodies piled one upon another to height of four or five feet -- the people underneath suffocated or suffocating – the few Europeans who had their wits about them were…
[the lower half of this page has been torn off – perhaps too dreadful an account?? On the other side of this top half of the page is a bit more of the account of the fire]
was (?) consumed by the flames. The (?) booths were of material so inflammable that there was no time to stay the conflagration. I believe the only European among the dead was a soldier -- so they gathered from the shred of uniform, which was all that was left of him which could be identified.
[then a folded sheet which may be nothing to do with this letter (same type of paper)]
(?) was a less than 2/3 of what it would have been in an English settlement. Why is it that wherever we abide we have to pay much higher prices than "foreigners" would pay -- we suffer in this way all the world over -- once let the "Anglais" come and then goodbye to low prices.
I have been trying to draw the view from of the window of my new quarters -- but have made a sorry picture. Everything goes well until one puts in the background and then every object is in its wrong place -- and things far seem to be near and vice versa! They say you use blue for the distant trees. But the trees furthest from me do not look blue -- they are most certainly green! However I find it a little less difficult now to manage the paints -- although still very slow in the work.
I am interested in hearing of that prayer book you found at Courtfield Gardens. I hope it will be carefully kept. I am surprised that Uncle’s property was not larger -- seeing what was the amount which, as I learnt on very good authenticity, he brought from India and that he lived carefully although well. I think he must have lost the money in the mines or other ventures. By the way I suppose
[the top half of the next page (attached to the page above) has been cut out. The bottom half continues]
The birds have made a nest in a corner of the room and come very boldly to feed at the table -- that is a better way of domesticating them than keeping in a cage -- and the wall is quite clean -- so far as one can see.
Now I must say adieu. I hope you have not suffered much from the cold. Love to all with you and elsewhere.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
What an extraordinarily whim is of this of having double-barrelled names. I see that Evelyn Skinner
[He continues overleaf to the part of the page cut out, then the bottom half reads]
..cases a silly affectation -- when the "masses" begin to use it we shall see people writing to plain Jones or Brown -- who now are the Brown-Joneses. Of course when where land or property is involved the case is different -- perhaps Skinner has this good fortune.
Many thanks for yours of Jan 14 received this morning. Glad you are well. I can well understand how constantly you must miss Uncle A whom you so kindly nursed & cheered. How pretty the new stamps are.


February 8. '87 [Madras, probably]

My dear Mother
Not a word of news for you. I am still taking my daily airing by the sea. My evening relaxation is the club. The Enquiry about that fire disaster has been closed. The jury finds -- that the rumours of incendiarism are without foundation -- accident and panic account for the sad loss of life. There are some minor points -- (?) entered in the verdict. Well, I am glad to think that there has been no foul play.
We have had two or three tourists here lately -- this being the least interesting part of India – but a place ‘one ought to see.’ Travellers often make it their point of departure from India. There were two ladies living over my head the other day. They were travellers (globe-trotters as they are called) to these distant parts. Well-to-do people of course. Laying out money in samples of Indian work. All day long pedlars, jugglers and miscellaneous dealers, noseying about my rooms and trying to attract the notice of the ladies overhead.
How quickly these random ‘Indian curiosities’ and the other people whom travellers ‘ought’ to see find out their patrons. The rogues are in league with the servants who no doubt have a share of the spoil. And how they do bleed the happy P&O passenger who is ‘passing through’. And if any one of us -- the real Sahibs - should chance to come by while the ‘hawker’ is disposing of his goods to these innocents abroad the fellows will look both guilty and beseeching as one who would say “don't tell the proper price! Don't spoil the deal!"
I am hoping to hear from you tomorrow. (?). The post is just going so I must say goodbye

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
I hope you keep well.


Club Madras, Feb 16 ‘87

My dear Mother,
I have no excuse for writing to you save that I have this day received yours of 28th ult for which many thanks. Yes, I should have been much interested in those old letters you describe -- you will be reluctant to destroy them. We are Jubilee keeping here -- this evening I have to parade in full dress for a function at Government House -- a speech -- and address to her Majesty -- a salute for once in a way -- for the ‘Empress’ of 101 guns -- and illuminations -- fireworks -- a bore -- but I would rather go through it -- because it is a parade -- than go to any dinner party or even morning call. I see there have been changes in the government house of our provinces. When is Henvey's twin coming for a commissionership? [William Henvey, who was at school with the Chaplins, would have been 20 in 1887 – he joined the Indian Medical Service and married in India in 1895, but I can’t see that he had a twin. More likely this is a reference to his father, Frederick, who served in the Indian Civil Service from 1861 to 1891] Or has he dropped out of the race -- I see that Lyle is appointed L. G. of the Punjab -- he is brother to Sir A. Lyle of the N. W. P. -- it is not often that brothers succeed so well in the service -- there was talk of Sir L. Griffin going to Burmah, but I see he is to be otherwise provided for -- so they say.

You see how laboured is this letter -- what can you care about Lieutenant Governorships -- that good Uncle Acton would have said I might have had one if I had been more wide awake –‘industrious’ etc.. I have just begun the old "Promessi Spose" -- the book which every student of Italian goes through! I find it so much more difficult than the three musketeers -- that is all conversation -- this is all description. Affairs a little quieter in Burmah, but they should withdraw troops very cautiously. I see the death of another acquaintance in Burmah -- but from a fall from his horse. When I last saw him he was striving to obtain and obtained removal to another place -- forging, how little he knew it, one of the links in the chain of circumstances leading up to the accident which caused his death.
Please thank Holroyd for his letter of 28th. Love to Louie and Julia, Ayrton and all,

Your affectionate son
A. Chaplin


Madras Club, February 20/87 [Madras]

My dear Mother,
Sorry to hear that the mail wall will not be in until tomorrow, and I shall not have your letter as a text on which to hang mine.
Did I tell you last week that we had our Jubilee? It is all over and we are suffering (?) from the reaction. The occasion has been marked by the usual distribution of honours. Not many for Madras. Madras and Bombay people always declare that they are ‘kept in the cold’ and that Bengal has more than its fair share of the favours of Government. Of course the Bengal people laugh at this discontent. But there is ‘something in it’ and 'tis be expected that the merits of those who are near to the Vice-regal throne should be better known than those of men at a distance. You see that another ‘order’ has been created because (?) considers that the means of recording distinguished (?) and military services are limited. What a funny expression for a Royal Warrant. Three orders are now are so plentiful that they begin to lose their value -- but I must not sneer at these, as I am undecorated!
I met my old friend General Prendergast the other day -- who took the leading part in the final act of the Burmah war. He evidently was much hurt at not being again employed -- is living in this country on small means waiting for ‘something to turn up’ -- but he cannot hope for employment unless we have a great war.
By the way -- still gloomy telegrams from Ireland! I am glad to see that there is to be a bill brought in to make ‘boycotting’ an offence. I trust it will pass and work. It is incomprehensible that for so many years it should have been possible to commit ‘boycotting’ with impunity.
Troops are beginning to return from Burmah but are withdrawn continuously. Yes, I shall be here for a few weeks more and shall then have to go to Bangalore -- I do not expect it will suit me so well as Rangoon but I have reasons for going to Bangalore -- for a time at any rate. Basil(?) Westby, who is quartered here, goes on leave in a few days, preparatory to retiring from the service. [Ashley George Westby, a Captain in the 8th Kings Regiment, married Katherine Skinner in 1876 – Basil might have been related, but I have no record of this.]
Love to (?) Julia, Ayrton and all -- glad to hear Agnes’s boy does so well -- I hope Agnes is better.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras Club, March 1/87 [Madras]

Thanks many for yours of 4 Jan. I am hoping for a letter today also. Thanks for yours of 11 with interesting enclosure and for sending boxes to Whiteley - but are they secure and is there no fear of fire at Whiteleys?

My dear Mother,
Holroyd may have told you that he sent me a telegram reporting the safety of the Bordighera party -- but I fear that the nerves of all must have been much shaken and I look not without anxiety for details. [This is the first mention of the 1887 earthquake at Bussana Vecchia - 5 miles west of San Remo near Genoa: “A substantial 1887 earthquake killed thousands of its residents and destroyed many buildings”. Described as “Earthquake in Mentone and the Riviera of Italy”. Bussana Vecchia is not far from Bordighera on the Italian Riviera. Allan’s wife Maud and their children must have been living there.]
People -- English people - here took the news very calmly -- but that is human nature. The greater the distance in time or miles, we are from such a calamity, the more difficult it is to realise it. They seemed to think it very improbable that the earthquake had done more than wake up a few peasants and seemed unable to understand my anxiety. I only hope all may be well, but at the best one cannot but remember how much suffering springs from the sudden death of 1500 people.
Thursday the Begum etc (a long Asiatic name) gives an entertainment in honour of the Jubilee and ‘to meet H. E. the Governor’. We shall walk about and listen to the band, see blue lights and rockets and drink champagne cup, and maybe there will be a match. Fortunately her Highness lives almost next door to me so I can slip out whenever I please.
The weather rapidly grows warm etc. I hear nothing more of moving to Bangalore. I was much pleased to hear that A Skinner had been able to call at Bordighera -- they were looking forward to seeing him. He seems to have appreciated the beauties of the place and, as I hear from him, to have formed an opinion of the family not unfavourable. [This was Allan Maclean Skinner CMG, who was made Resident Councillor of Penang in 1887 – he returned from Singapore to England via Venice in 1875, - and must have made the same sort of journey early in 1887] A brother-in-law Shelford lives in this hotel -- a gentlemanly man -- in a mercantile house here. [Ellen Shelford married Allan Maclean Skinner in 1875.]
I expect letters from Europe. Those from Italy have lost much of their value. I can think only of those which should arrive two weeks hence. I hope all may be well, but whether they are still at Bondi / Brindisi ? or have hurriedly departed they must have suffered much painful expense and anxiety.
Love to Julia and thank (?) for thinking of me and sending ‘globe’.

Love to all, your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras Club, March 7 [Madras, 1887]

My Dear Mother
Nothing new. I am still waiting anxiously to hear how Bordighera fared in the earthquake but can have no news till next week.
How gloomy, judging from newspapers of all parties, is the outlook in Europe. Is war then inevitable? And when peace has been again proclaimed -- all the world will again begin to talk of war.
Two more regiments went hence to Burmah just yesterday. There is still work to be done there, but on the whole country is much quieter than it was, and we are rapidly bringing it into a condition in which life and property will be safe.
The last (?) moves are entertaining -- not the (?) that they deal with events within our recollections.
I see Browning has brought out a new book -- I doubt whether I shall be able to read it. Pity that one who has so much power should shroud himself in obscurity of language which cannot possibly be ‘understanded’. I will not say ‘is of the people’ but by the majority of educated folk. I do believe that in the years to come his books will never be opened save by scholars -- yet now and again his verses are magnificent and beautiful in spite of affectations.
Thank Julia and Nugent for their letters of last mail and newspapers.
I was much interested in the letter written to Uncle in /57. The writer was probably Lord Gay etc(?) -- known in later years as a judge of the High Court in Calcutta and Bombay and I think alive -- but of this not sure. Many thanks for yours of the 18th February and its interesting report on the Spencer correspondence. I hope the papers will be taken care of. Yes it is a pity that the money was not better taken care of.
I see that in Hastings Doyle’s reminiscences -- somewhat diffuse but amusing here and there, at Oxford his contemporary John D. Harding is mentioned as ‘clever executive but somewhat (?)’
We had the troopships here on Sunday. They took two regiments to Burmah. I am rejoiced to see that the troops are not being hurriedly removed in large bodies from Burmah. "All in good time" should be the mot d’[jour](?). I must say that the Government of India when left to itself shows always infinitely more wisdom band appears in the conduct of military affairs by the Home Govt.. Of course the Government of India has the immense advantage of having able men in office -- most of them experts liable to dismissal at the pleasure of the multitude.
I was thinking of some business while I wrote above! [an apology for crossings out on the page]
Love to all

Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin


Madras, Mar 16th '87

My dear Mother,

Many thanks for yours of the 25th Feb. Yes, I am glad to hear that the family has come so well out of the earthquake in which many must have suffered. I think Reuter must have grossly exaggerated -- he telegraphed – ‘earthquake in Riviera -- immense calamity -- at least 1500 lives -- numbers of villages destroyed’. Really there ought to be a penalty for sending telegrams in such cases without verifying the facts -- the difficulty would be to prove your charge and exact a penalty.
Glad to hear you were interested in the life of our ‘typical’ governor Sir T. Munro (or ‘Munlole’ as the natives say it) His opinions carry weight to this day. There is a fine equestrian statute to him -- in the midst of the ground on which there were so many struggles between French and English during the sieges of Madras.
It is disappointing to hear that ‘the house’ will not sell -- what with that and bad prices I fear that our ‘fortunes’ will dwindle considerably. The fewer the ‘shot in the locker’ the greater the difficulty in retiring from service, to say nothing of that great obstacle -- the want of occupation…..

You see I am still at Madras -- I ought to be at Bangalore but by private arrangement Shaw (Mr Mac(?)tine’s son-in-law) is taking my place there -- the climate suits him and his wife better than this (cela m’est egal!). If he goes on furlo' I shall migrate to Bangalore -- for a few months at any rate.
I see that Bernard(?) (from Burmah) is going to England for a year. He must need the change – I daresay that in time the public will think better of him -- much that is untrue has been said against him as to his management of this Burmah business -- I think he has done well on the whole -- the public are angry because they war has lasted so long and they must hang someone. The civil service has not a braver more



Mar 21/87 [Madras]

My dear Mother
Just a year since I left (?)! I suppose I shall have to ‘put in’ a few more before I can think of joining the ‘retired list’ -- unless someone will give me an office in Europe. But military life unfits one for other occupations save perhaps those of a jaoler or policeman -- and for those posts the number of military candidates is legion. There are not many who, like my friend (?), succeeded in ‘obtaining a jail’ and not many with such powerful friends as he has or at least had. To enjoy ‘elegant leisure’ for which I have sometimes flattered myself I was intended by nature (!!) one must have ample means. Military men at military duty in India never did save much. Now they save(?) nothing and are lucky to keep out of debt. What they might have saved goes into the sea as ‘exchange’.
But why trouble you with this -- I heard from Allan Skinner the other day. He seems to have enjoyed his short visit to Maud [Allan Chaplin’s wife] and reports very favourably on the children -- who on their side write that they had what Americans call ‘a good time’. That Maud was glad to see him goes without saying. I wonder (?) whether any suitable occupation will ever ‘turn up’ for Wyndham [Allan’s son]. One must hope for the best and be thankful that he is not the miserable cripple he certainly would have been but for his mother’s undaunted resolution in which you so kindly always supported her.

The ‘season’ is drawing to a close and people are beginning to take (?) to the hills. H. G.(?) the gov goes in a few days and the C. in C. will soon follow. By the way (?) is I see 60(?) years old. Governors do not often begin their reign in India so late -- I suppose he will take extra care of himself -- indeed one hopes so -- as he promises (?) satisfaction in his Office. He seems to be active enough now. So active that he fell from his horse a few days ago. The Chief Secretary(?) fell off his horse on the next day.
Thanks many who your kind letter of 4th Mar. I have today particulars of earthquake. Evidently they are all much shaken by the earthquake -- indeed it must have been terrible -- and the painful suspense afterwards almost intolerable -- quite enough to make them all very ill. Yes, I like the Greville memoirs. I read the early series some time ago and am now reading the latest -- it is especially interesting -- although not so full of special information -- because it relates to the events of my own time. I must say that all the details are much to the credit of those hereditary legislators at whom some are so fond of sneering -- and who I have long been persuaded are, considering how strong a light they live in and how jealously their conduct is scrutinized and the temptation to which they are exposed, the most worthy body of persons in the kingdom -- as perhaps they should be -- seeing that to whom much is given of him much is expected -- of course there are black sheep in all flocks and when there is a black sheep in that flock the country rings with it and it is right that he should be gibbetted - but in comparing the classes of society one must not forget the black sheep whose obscurity allows them to escape notice from the country at large.

The weather grows rapidly warmer. Many thanks for the penny book -- how well it is printed. I shall pass it on to the Burmah military hospitals. Goodbye -- love to Julia and all the others.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
...... hard-working or able, although somewhat too trustful and impulsive a public servant. His wife a dear woman - still beautiful - but always appearing to be quite unconscious of her good looks. The children used to be with B’s sisters at (?)ford -- where I went to see them.
Weather grows warm -- today the punkah has to be hard at work.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin
(PS) I hope you are well and take enough care of yourself. Love to all


No address, Mar 26 – 87 [Madras]

My dear mother -- the illustrated papers help one to realise the extent of the earthquake calamity and to be thankful for the narrow escape of so many from destruction as well as sympathetic to those who have suffered loss of friends. I suppose that the alarm will soon pass away and again the (?) in a year or two or three or four.
Nothing to tell you! We like you, are made uneasy by these constant rumours of war. If war must come it may have at least this good on our countrymen, that it will arouse them to look carefully to the joints in their harness. Few people in England realise the change which improved communications have made in the conditions under which our empire is held together. It is well of course that domestic legislation should be attended to, but such legislation is to little purpose unless the work of securing the safety of the empire as a whole keeps pace with it. It is difficult for Englishmen who live much abroad, whose see these hundreds and hundreds of miles of absolutely unprotected coast -- this almost undefended (?) to understand the folly – the mad infatuation -- of those of their countrymen who hesitate at expenditure of even borrowed money for such work as the defence of (?) stations, harbours etc.

I see that Sir G. Duff has written (?) very sensible papers in reply to the foolish articles of Samuel Smile of Manchester -- one of these ignorant but mischievous persons who, having spent a few weeks in India, are ready had once to inform the administration -- the less one has to do with the country the better one is qualified for the task because he has no ‘prejudices’!. It is a thousand pities that foolish people in England do not(?) fully trust their servants. I see that even Lord Derby “wants to know you know,” why the Viceroy released certain prisoners. The Viceroy, it was admitted, had acted within his powers -- surely in such case he might be left to use them unquestioned. There are people in England who would treat India as vestry men would govern a parish -- if ever they have their way it will be a bad time for India. By the way -- read E. Arnold’s ‘India revisited’ -- a pretty sketch -- a book that does more to draw India and England together than reams of rubbish written by ‘globe trotters’. E. A. writes (?) and (?) would like to forget the part he has played in helping to make Bhuddism (the ‘Light of Asia’ fashionable, investing (?) with a halo of false sentiment. There is a very wide Gulf between Buddhism and Christianity.

I went yesterday to a Convocation of the Madras University. It was held in a fine hall -- one of many large public buildings erected during (?) on the seafront of the town (splendid targets for a bombardment). But as one often finds in architectural work that is otherwise pleasing -- sufficient attention had not been paid to acoustics. In due course a procession entered and the representatives of various degrees of learning in various universities, English and others, each wearing the ropes of his rank, led by the Chancellor -- the (?) filed on to the dais. The body of the hall was filled with students -- those in rows near to the dais being in blue gowns ready to receive the hoods of the degrees they had won. The headdress of the majority was a white (?) but the youths apparently have much latitude as to the head covering -- about which part of their dress (?) are sensitive. The Chancellor stood up and read some papers. He has a good voice -- but although I was but a few yards from him he was quite inaudible.

After that dozens and dozens of youths filed past him and received their diplomas -- and now that they are BA etc. no doubt they think it is the duty of the state which has so far encouraged them, to provide them with a livelihood -- a field in which to use their accomplishments. In India as in England the difficulty will arise of disposing of all these highly educated young people who will not follow handicrafts because they think they can "better" themselves. I offer no solution of the difficulty but there can be no doubt that the more highly educated people are the less they are inclined to handicrafts. You may preach up mechanical labour and tell people that to labour with the hands is most honourable and so forth -- the fact will remain that the tinker's son who has been "educated highly" will not like to do tinker's work. I send you a newspaper . (?) is the foremost representative of India (?) statesmen developed under our fostering care. Unfortunately I heard not a word of the speech -- it was delivered in English.

Love to all
your affectionate son
A Chaplin them in them


Madras Club, April 4 [Madras, 1887]

My dear Mother
Yours of 11 ult -- for which many thanks -- glad to know that you keep well spite of March winds.
I had full reports of the earthquake – a long and most interesting letter, also from the children. The youngest wrote as if she rather had enjoyed herself -- the excitement of' ‘camping out' ‘picnicing'. As she quaintly wrote, "it was as if we were journeying." But they must have been dreadfully frightened and the anxiety and suspense must have been most painful for Maud [Allan’s wife] who was better able to understand the dangers -- you will have heard of their going Northwards. They have done wisely in seeking an entire change of scene -- but I am sure they must have had heavy hearts in quitting their house on the Riviera.

Many thanks for the notes of Christmas dinner at Mangalore -- a most interesting relic of the past -- they made a gallon fight of it, as ‘every 4th form boy knows' and were allowed by Tippoo to march out leaving the fortress almost in ruins. There was very bad management in that the garrison were not succoured in time. In these days somebody should have been 'hanged' for it -- but in those days there were no newspapers and many blunders escaped notice -- those who cry that we of today ‘muddle through’ affairs forget this. I hope you will keep all scraps - I should look like to look over those papers some day.

There have been races here for one or two days in past week – Racing in
[the letter incomplete, ends there]



Madras, April 10 ‘87

My dear Mother
Your card of 11 ult with thanks -- also newspaper.
Glad to see that ‘affairs’ in Europe are looking a little brighter. Spencer Rawlinson dined with me last evening. He has just returned from the wars -- from Burmah. He usually talks "19 to the dozen". Last night he made 20. He seems none the worse for work and exposure.
The other day another Burmah campaigner came to see me. We had not met since' 64 -- he is some years my senior. When he saw Wyndham’s portrait he said it was "ridiculously like" what I was about 24 years ago!! I was surprised to hear this - think he is mistaken. [Then, scribbled diagonally: “Afraid I’ve mixed up my letter to you and my letter to ?”]

[Across the top of this page and following pages]: I see that some ? up country are in trouble. Their offence is the having set up an amateur court of justice for disposal of assault and similar offences by punishment or find – the court constituted like ours – ‘Crown Prosecutor’ etc names being retained. The fines divided amongst the ‘Officials’ – a lucrative business. Of course not a serious offence as the litigants were consenting parties – but of course the State Courts could not tolerate this amateur rivalry! Of course the Native (?) or ‘Punchayets’ fpr deciding ‘Caste’ questions are sanctioned by the State from time immemorial.]

(?) is good healthy sport. It is not entirely in the hands of professional "book men" (although these gentry are to be seen at Calcutta and other large places more often than formerly). Those who take part in it seem to enjoy the racing, for its own sake at least as much as the gambling. Racing is one of a few sports in which Europeans and Natives can both take part. The Burmese by the way dearly love such excitement and are never so happy as when assisting at foal or pony races (horses they have none).
But racing costs money, even in India, where one pays less for the keep of a horse, and therefore we find that with the depression of the rupee ‘sport’ declines -- a pity! By the way, the rupee is steadily ‘dropping’ again -- it will be at 1.5 in a day or two if it's not that today. That means that I am four hundred and fifty a year less well off than I should be were the rupee as it was 20 years ago. People in England hardly realise the effect on us foolish servants when they see the ‘quotations’ in the paper!

I am disgusted, horrified to see in the ‘Graphic’ (?) comic sketches about the earthquake – He who can cut capers in the presence of such an awful calamity would play practical jokes at a funeral and find endless store of ‘comic hits’ in such disasters as a shipwreck -- a colliery accident -- a famine or an inundation. I shall relieve my mind by sending a postcard to the Graphic saying what I think of them.
Did I thank you for that pencil sketch from (?) Club. The view’s very cleverly done -- I wish I could draw like that -- that ‘general effect’ is what plodding folk who are not to the manner born find the greatest difficulty in producing even with much labour at (?)ing offhand -- their labour is that of a man who gets ‘by heart’ his ‘impromptu’ speeches and the good things which set the table in a roar.
Love to all. I am very sorry to hear a bad report of Louisa's health and hope she may be better.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
I see that even the Spectator fears there will be war.
I hope Ed Feild flourishes. I wrote him a line many months ago – but he does not answer letters I think (that however scarcely called for a reply – about his father’s death). [Edward Field was the son of Allan’s Aunt Ann and her husband Rev Samuel Hands Field] I wrote to my other cousin, the professor, a year or two ago – he also too busy to acknowledge.


[Probably about mid-April 1887 - no address, nor any salutation]

Many thanks for yours of 25th March. I am indeed sorry to hear that Louisa is laid up -- I trust that by this time she is better and the weather will be kind to her.

Yes -- thanks for your mention of my family. It is most unfortunate that Maud has been laid up with a cold -- a cold in her case is no light matter. It generally brings with it rheumatism of the head, swelling of face and such like troubles, making it more difficult than easy to obtain sleep. The comparative freedom from cold was what made residence in Italy preferable. As to cold I should rather like a little of it just now. The heat here is unpleasant even with a punkah, but there is no pleasing people. Bangalore is, at times, too cold for my taste -- residence in tropics makes one sensitive to cold. I hope that I shall be able to ‘weather’ a few more summers. I should like to run to Europe for a few weeks some day -- but at present do not quite see the way. (?) that after (?) I am glad to hear that Ayrton flourishes. I hope his lecture on republicanism was not very “red”.

The Gov and all his satellites have fled to cooler regions. The Gov taking some districts, en route, for a "tour". We read that he was (?) with enthusiasm. The Irish (?) contrasts well with the Scotch dryness of his predecessor. Last night dined with that "rattle" Spencer Rawlinson, a genial fellow -- but such a talker. He is fairly well-to-do -- they are in easier circumstances than in the Tonbridge days. [Allan’s parents lived near Tonbridge from c.1851, at least until his father John Clarke Chaplin died there in 1856. His brother Holroyd was at Tonbridge School under Dr Welldon] His sister Jane still Miss R. He has two pretty children (?) with his mother.

I see that the Editor of the local journal is to take home the loyal Jubilee address. He has been striving for this honour -- hoping perhaps that he will be decorated, and no one grudges it to him. He has done his best to write up the celebration and the facts have lost nothing in the reporting.
The sun is gradually drying up the pond in front of my windows. We used to take our bath water from it -- at that time one had to keep a bright look-out to keep natives from paddling, washing their clothes in and watering cattle with the water. Now we go elsewhere as the water is not so good and Ramsammy is allowed to squat on the brink at his ease and stand in deep slapping his garments on the stones or (?) his glistening brown back or washing up his salt tacks.

Sorry to hear Henvey is troubled with deafness. I can feel for him having for some years been threatened with it -- having had slight difficulty in hearing with one of my ears. I hope yet that it may not grow worse -- I find that much depends on stage of general health, climate etc.. I do not believe in ‘treatment’ in most cases. I mean "messing about" (?) etc.

I had a line from young Willy. He says Natal is very like England only more dull -- a funny description -- such as Parkes W. might have given. [Rev. Parkes Willy was Maud’s brother-in-law, and ‘young Willy’ would be one of his sons, either Alexander or Bertie.] I was pleased at his remembering to write.
I am glad to hear the children wrote to you about the earthquake. Their letters to me on the subject were said by strangers to be "admirable" and they were creditable to them, though I say it.
Love to Julia. I hope Agnes’ health is somewhat better. Love to Ayrton and Edith, Louisa and others,

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin



Madras club, April 17 ' 87 [Madras]

My dear mother,

I am not living in the club although I use its paper so often. I find it a cooler and pleasant place than my own quarters and it is convenient to have books and papers at hand when I take my leisure.
I am sorry to read of (?) I K Cross’ death -- he was not a bad Under-Secretary of State for India, and I liked what I saw of him at (?) -- to which place he came in ' 85 for his health. A pleasant genial man whose manner bore no indication of the death he was to die.

I see that there has been a great earthquake in Sandwich Islands -- not great loss of life -- if any -- but continuous shocks, counted by hundreds extending over days. By the way would it not be well if in all earthquake countries wood could be used for building? In Burma wood is always used and although earthquakes occur, that country being rather ‘e q zone’ -- houses do not fall -- they are elastic. But against this must be set the ever present danger from fire -- especially among many houses adjoining each other. Although we lived in detached houses I always had a secret dread of fire, and when I left Burmah felt that I had gained something in leaving that danger behind me. Perhaps too, wood would be in many parts an expensive material.

I send you paper with a sensible article by that clever fellow (?) Griffin whose name you know.
Your letter 1st April just came in. I am indeed sorry to hear Louisa has such poor health.
It is disappointing to hear that the house is going for 2000 (or do you mean that that is the sum put on it). It cost 3300. But of course it is right to get rid of it. I think Agnes should have sold hers long ago. The sad thing is that none of us have so established ourselves in the world that (it) is worth our while to keep the property. I am sending you are very meagre scrap! I go to Bangalore in ten or so days hence. Adieu. I hope all well, love to all.

Ever your affectionate son
A. Chaplin


Bangalore, May 3, '87

My dear Mother

I arrived here a day or two ago. I shall doubtless grow used to the place but at present I miss Madras Club and the sea. I went to church Sunday evening. I had not been into it since I was an Ensign -- I could not but fill the pews with the congregation of those days.
The place has grown so much that I had some difficulty in finding the position of my old quarters. Still however the place is very military -- reeks of officialism! Yesterday called on the general who is a pleasant enough man and a good soldier, but I don't think I shall ever serve under a man I liked so much as Prendergast. The first time I called on a general at Bangalore was in the reign of the Hon Augustus Spencer -- one of the Churchills. He asked me about my passage etc. and then was about to dismiss me with his frigid bow whereupon I held out my hand -- he was shocked but accepted it. I never spoke to him again -- he seldom unbent himself.

Still nothing but rumours of war! I am glad the Germans have released Schnabell and that difficulty is over. Rumours of war would trouble me much less were the British Navy undoubtedly superior, as I think it should be, (?) more united (?) of other powers. What the army is would then matter little.
Sorry to hear John Skinner is (?). [He may have been ill by 1887 – he died in 1894]

I fear this is a dull scrap of writing -- but Bangalore is but a dull place -- as indeed all military cantonments always were and will be.
I am glad to hear Louisa is better -- my love to her (?)

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Bangalore, May 10 '87

My dear mother

They should arrive about 1 June why glorious? Ask (?). [The Glorious First of June 1794 was the first major naval engagement of the Great War with France (1793-1815)] May you see many firsts of June and may I see them with you!

Your card of (?) for which many thanks. I have made one or two acquaintances since I wrote but of course one leads here the same sort of life as at all up country (?) and it is (?) dull after Rangoon or even sleepy old Madras.

I am living in a good house (with one or two others at present) is in a good situation and can be (?) near to the general (a very good fellow -- a much better fellow, they say, when his wife is not with him! She is not with him at present).

In front is summer open ground on which I remember that in the early days [may have been 1861] I was thrown from my house. In the scuffle my uniform coat was ripped up the back to the neck. My horse went down alone and I had to follow -- humiliated -- on foot until the horse was brought back to me by a friend. Many a tumble I had in those days. I should not fall so lightly now -- indeed, through an accident of service, I have not ridden a horse since 81. In Burma we used ponies and at Madras I kept no subtle (?) horse.

I'm reading the dilemma (?). I forget (?) this you have rated. It gives a very good picture of Indian life -- so faithful in indeed that the description parts of the book are dull for me because I know all that the writer will say. It is by chest the ((?) of (?)) is it came out many years ago

I trust that Louisa has better health now. The other day I had a curious case of "free shooting" in barracks. A soldier thinking to murder his sergeant fired at night into the sergeant's room. The bullet struck just above the pillow of the bed and then the man reported that he had shot the sergeant -- at the same time giving himself up. But luckily for him the sergeant had left the room just before! Under such circumstances there could not be under English law (which alone is applied by the (?) to European soldiers) an attempt to murder. Under the Indian penal code a man would not have escaped so easily I think. By the way, that Indian penal code (for which we are indebted to Lord Macaulay among other able men) is an admirably simple and comprehensive code. It does seem a pity that there is no such code in England. It has been talked of for years but the crime lawyers don't like it, it is said -- and, it is added, are afraid it might spoil business. People would know too much! Doubtless they have better reasons.

Love to Louisa (?) Holroyd and all (?)

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Bangalore, May 26 /87

Many thanks for socks just arrived.

My dear Mother

I came back late last night from the Artillery Mess to find your letter of 6 May for which many thanks -- so that cook has left you at last. I never could understand how you could put up with her but perhaps she had "a good heart at bottom". I am still calling (?) -- it will, I hope, be over in a few weeks. The fact is there is no other re-source in such place -- a mere camp. Some think it a "most delightful place".

Sorry to hear that the sale of the house and effects has been so unsatisfactory but of course it could not be helped.

We have a bit of a library here. It is somewhat behind the day -- but there are many books there yet to read. I have been looking at (?) Johnson -- very entertaining but the homage and adulation of the Dr. is a little irritating although he was a G.O.M.. I am living with the commissariat man -- a Major Kennedy -- very good company -- I mean amicable although not brilliant. I have known him for some years past. Till last night I had not dined at the Artillery Mess since the days when I used often to be there are with my friend (?). The place seems to me now to be not so attractive and brilliant as it was but it may be that use and the lapse of years have robbed such entertainments of their splendour. How the years go by! Two or three of those I then dined with must have been at Addiscombe with Uncle Frederick. [Frederick studied military engineering at East India College, Addiscombe, Croydon, in 1823] I can remember they joked me about my "pretty new red jacket" I suppose I did not look very (?)

I see that Uncle Frederick’s son is promoted to captain? [Frederick Ayrton’s son was also called Frederick Ayrton] They have always got quicker promotion in the cavalry. So many moneyed men join it as a pastime until they succeed to their property.

I'm interested in “Parnellism and Crime”. I am very sorry the affair is not to go into (?) but I suspend my judgement and cannot go with those who say P. must be guilty(?) because he will not prosecute. At the same time I wish he would prosecute. Of one thing I am quite sure – it is before us all -- that Parnell and his powerful (?) did not use their great power to suppress agrarian crime. Did not heartily condemn and denounce unconstitutional means -- murder and cruelty -- at the same time that they (?) advised use of “constitutional means” -- that in fact (?) against them in ‘83 was justifiable.

Now I must say adieu. Hoping you have finer weather and are all keeping well. Thank Holroyd for his of May 6.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin

[NB: Paul Bew, writing in The Times on August 4, 2000 in relation to the then current Bloody Sunday enquiry, wrote 'The three-judge special commission of inquiry into "Parnellism and Crime" was established at the behest of the Salisbury Government in 1888 to sort out the truth of allegations made by The Times against the mainstream leaders of Irish nationalism. By 1888 Parnell, the then respectable leader of the Home Rule party, was in close alliance with Gladstonian Liberals, and any proof of a link between Parnellites and the violence of the 1879-82 period would have hurt not only Parnell but his new Liberal allies. In the end, the hearings constituted a victory for Parnell over this newspaper. For The Times had foolishly relied on a forged document attempting to show Parnell's complicity in the Phoenix Park murders of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke in May 1882 - the most infamous political assassinations of the era. But did the special commission get the whole truth? ……………… The Times had a near miss. In 1888 the newspaper almost persuaded Patrick J. Sheridan - an organiser of the "Invincible" conspiracy which had carried out the Phoenix Park murders - to return from Colorado and give evidence on its behalf. Sheridan later privately told an old friend and fellow physical force Republican, T J Quinn, that he had administered the oath of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood (the forerunner of the IRA) to Parnell in 1882 in, of all places, Trinity College library in Dublin. This was on the eve of the murders. Decades later T J Quinn wrote the story up for 'An Phoblacht,' the organ of the IRA, far too late for The Times to do anything about it"].



Bangalore, June 9 -- 87

My dear mother

It is bold to take this large sheet of paper and begin scribbling with no hope of making even the end of this page! Today I have been out calling -- (?) work it is -- yet it must be done because in this very military place, there is, of course, (?) "free masonry" of this service amongst us and you are half known even before (?) called and if you do not "call" the subsequent occasional inevitable meeting with the neglected ones, who had not been honoured with your attention, are embarassing, not to say unpleasant. The lady I saw today I have not met before -- a genial "body". Enough! From the way in which, before she appeared, the (?) drew down the blinds and the position which the lady took when she came in, I gathered that she was one of those who, as the song says, "might easily pass for 35 in the dark with the light behind her".

My friend Sir Barry Prendergast has come here. He is unemployed and not likely to find a vacancy -- being a full General -- for that rank there are very few appointments.

I see that the weary debate on the Crimes Bill still goes on. One liked always to believe in old Gladstone's honesty of purpose if not in his wisdom -- but after his Hampstead speech one cannot believe in his sincerity. I never wrote a speech so full of quibbling -- so bare-faced in its "(?)" of crime. I fear I must give the old man up -- doubtless he will survive the loss of my support!

Another of the (?) gone back to Her Majesty - Norman Maclean -- very few now remain of those belonging to the regiment when first I knew it.

So young Frederick Ayrton has married a French woman. Has money brought money, as it often does bring it?

This morning I went to see the Jubilee address and (?). The latter a handsome massive (?) box made to represent a (?) in the neighbourhood. What will Her Majesty do with all these boxes? There will be dozens -- perhaps hundreds from India alone. They will have an exhibition of Jubilee presents at South Kensington no doubt.

[No ending to this letter]


Bangalore, July 22/87

My dear Mother,
Yours of the 20 ult. for which many thanks. Very glad to hear you were well and able to play lawn tennis.

Yes -- I think it is the best game for young people and even for middle-aged folk -- but sometimes I think that girls too much tax their strength in (?). There is here a woman -- no "chicken" who skips about the court with wonderful agility. She is so good a player that she has to play in the men "sets” and this although she is the mother of a family and must be nearer 40 than 30.

The other evening to an "at home" at the "Residency" (not without a great effort -- so much do I dislike parties). I did my duty by making my bow and haunting doorways for an hour or two, and then made my escape. Most people seem to be enjoying themselves. H. H. the Maharajah was there -- with a very fine necklace -- his dress very (?). The Indians who see much of Europeans -- (H. H. was brought up by our government) seem to use a more sober dress than their fathers -- less barbaric gold.

By the way I feel quite sorry for a poor (?) who was upset. Think of it! That is the "making history" indeed. It will go down to his children's children that the Duke of Argyll was distinguished in the splendid crown of knight and noble by being thrown from his horse -- poor fellow!

I am glad to see that his children's fete in the park went off well -- of course all children could not go. Whatever Lawson’s motives may have been the children had a good time and that is sufficient.
Now I must send this off. Love to all.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin
[PS] I should have liked to see the catalogue of the sale at Courtfield Gardens.


Bangalore, August 10/87

My dear Mother
As I do not hear from you I presume (?) on your travels and hopes that you enjoy the change.

So poor Whiteley has had another disaster. I am indeed sorry to hear it. How can he (all-day, if he has aristocratic backers) is support these repeated losses -- and uninsured to!

Last evening a little native boy begged of me in the road -- what for do you think? Not more charity but -- he was too poor to pay his fees at the mission school. His father's income was seven rupees a month and there was a family to be supported and if the fees were not paid he must leave. I think he told me truth. He was 13 and in (?) and other Western studies. I do believe the education (?) in England is overdone. I am very glad to hear we have come to a kind of settlement in Afghanistan. I hope it will last.

I have had another soldier shooting case here. This time among the native soldiers. A native officer went out one night about 9 -- taking with him his revolver -- meets another native officer with whom he is on bad terms -- shoots him dead and then returns to his own quarters -- (?) himself, up with his wives and other womenkind and children and, when the place is becoming too hot from the determination to arrest him -- he succeeds in dismissing, by a back door, the children and the women excepting his wife who begs to remain, shoots his wife dead, then seats himself in a dignified manner on a chair and shoots himself dead.

One is sorry for the victims but the scoundrel did not deserve to escape me and the gallows! However I am saved an unpleasant duty. The natives think the wife a heroine - indeed she showed great devotion -- and they look upon the murderer as a hero too in his way. The funeral of the couple was a great (?) they were laid on the bier in each other's arms and covered with flowers (?) thousands followed them to the grave -- and it is said that within a few hours the bodies were exhumed -- no one will say by whom -- perhaps that they might be deposited in some holy of holies.

I was to have gone to Madras but have had to postpone departure till next week. I fear my letters have been of late very short -- but life here is very monotonous. H. H. the Maharajah gave a ball the other day -- I did not go -- indeed I go nowhere .

Love to all. Is Julia still in London?

Every your affectionate son
A Chaplin


September 10/87

Thanks for French newspaper and thank you for a (?)..

My dear Mother
Many thanks for your last -- from France. I am glad to hear you are well and that Louisa is better for the change. Sorry I did not write by last mail but was much worried at the time.

I do not allow myself to be alarmed by Sir F. Roberts but I cannot be blind to what goes on under my own nose regarding which people in England are (?) ill informed. Cannot but see with what difficulty the duties - multifarious in these days of military training and education -- of the Army are carried on -- how terribly short handed regiments are -- how constantly officers have thrown upon them more work than they can properly do -- how things are done in a scramble -- nothing thoroughly -- and all this in almost peace time!

People in England do not know what strain even the small Burma campaign has been on the Army. It may be wrong but really one is tempted to wish that people might be roused by some overwhelming disaster

Love to all, your affectionate son, A Chaplin


October 4 [Possibly Bangalore in 1887]

My dear Mother
I'm treating you to an envelope -- though it is of little use as I'm sure I can't fill the sheet. I am jogging along rather (?) of the monotony of this place -- wondering whether, all being well, I can put up with a few more years of India.

Thank you for calling at Brussels and for your report upon the children. I am glad they pleased you and trust the report is not coloured. One who is not always with them can better judge whether they have progressed or otherwise. I am glad you are well and active. I do think that people on the average do not age so soon as they used to.

I have a married man -- or, rather, a widower -- with son and daughter in my house now. He lost a wife and daughter within last (?) months and has moved house. I have to "run the show" as Americans say -- that is, keep house for them -- rather a bother and young people are so dainty (I could always eat any dish if clean and well cooked since I began soldiering). It worries me, too, that I can't leave my rooms unless I'm dressed -- can't walk the verandah in pyjamas. But these are small matters indeed!

You will have seen the report of the Nejam’s(?) offer to help pay for military works etc. We are tho’ more surprised because not long ago he was a prince who did not (?) promise - He was “unamenable” -- had to be treated with care. But Lord Dufferin seems to have won his (?) as he has won the regard of so many like him.

I hope Louisa and family are (?)

Every your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Bangalore, Oc 25/87

My dear Mother

Thanks many for yours of sixth instant which came to hand quickly. Glad to hear that you have enjoyed your stay in the country. I am ashamed to send you such scraps of letters but -- my life is so monotonous that I can't help being dull -- indeed my letters do no more than serve to remind you of my existence!

The troops were out of this morning and as I pass the general he was "storming" because something had gone wrong -- But of course no parade goes right unless something does "go wrong" -- a (?) great part of the (?) occupation would be gone.

Mrs (?) came back the other day -- I called but not on her "day" so fear I must call again. I see that Prendergast -- Sir H. -- has assumed his new office as the (?) of Mysore (temporary) and that yesterday he heard a case (?). He promised to deliver judgement on a future day. As my dear old friend has been a soldier all his life and is rather out of his element on the bench of the "residents" court (analogous to our Consular Courts in Egypt and elsewhere) that means that he will get the Assistant Resident (a civilian) -- the Court Registrar and such like people to coach him. But no doubt he'll do well enough, having plenty of commonsense.

Yes, I think I have read Darwin's "Beagle". I have read many books and they run through me as water through a sieve.

Love to all,
Your affectionate son
A Chaplin


[This is the last letter I have from him to his mother for more than two and a half years]



[Rangoon, November 22/89]

Love to Ayrton and family and also to Mr Christie if you see him. I have a pleasant recollection of his jest about your presenting him with an Indian Colonel and a native oyster. I hope business goes well for you.

My dear Holroyd,

I forget whether I acknowledged yours of the 27th Sep reporting your return to duty ‘as we say’ and now it is so late in the mail week that I cannot hope to be able to fill even two pages of ‘stuff’.

We are as usual trade “fair” -- but there are no longer such pickings as there were years ago. Few of the traders (European -- natives are few) here are wealthy men as wealth is understood elsewhere. There are too many of them -- we are overrun by them. Lawyers, among other men of business, abound. Many of them living from hand to mouth in the hope that business will come in when the natives of Upper Burma have learnt how to litigate in a British court and have been inoculated with that love of "suits" which one finds so strong in the natives of India.

As yet no lawyers have been allowed to appear in the courts in the new territory (I believe they are just about to be admitted). A wise order -- when you are (?) it is not the time for arguing in a Court whether the dominant power is right or wrong. That seems to be a horrible thing to say, but those who can best judge will tell you that at such a time it is well for the people to feel themselves entirely in the hands of the "government" -- in direct communication with them - not with a right of questioning the action of the state. For example in a country governed like India -- a foreign country, an alien people -- it is essential that the Viceroy should be able to perform what is officially called an "Act of State" -- be able at any moment to order an arrest (lettre du cachet, don't you call it?). It is understood that such a power is to be used, and it is used, only in emergency.

I heard yesterday of an officer -- something civil -- one Tucker -- shooting elephants in (?). He "missed" -- an elephant charged. He, on foot, fled before the monster -- the course was downhill -- the elephant was fast gaining on him when, dreadful to relate, T. stumbled and fell. In a moment the elephant was upon him and passing (here the impetus made a halt impossible), put down its foot to crush him -- but T. had fallen beside a little grass hummock which received the elephant’s hasty tread, only the outer edge of the foot striking T’s person, which was but little injured.

This is true -- bedad! I suppose no man was ever before in such a situation and so little hurt.

Love to E and children
yr affectionate brother
A.C.

Do you see anything of (?) nowadays? I met his brother on voyage to India in ‘88 -- I think I told you -- he is interested in indigo etc.


[22 December 1889, Rangoon. This letter is to his wife, Maud, who was then living in Brussels (see below). Wyn is mentioned at the end - Allan’s eldest son Wyndham who would have been 17 at the time. Allan may have written short letters to his mother, but his wife did better if this is typical. I think Prince Albert was the eldest son of Edward VII, since he was “Mirror of the Heir Apparent, his royal father”. Edward’s second son, George, became King George V]

Rangoon, Dec 22. 89

Dearest Momie(?)

(This is the first day of the year -- I having landed at Madras on December 22nd). I snatched a moment, before going to the Prince’s dinner, for posting my last to you. Friday morning we were on duty at the wharf -- from 7 a.m.. There was the usual display of red turkey-cloth and white and blue stuff. Seats, tier above tier, had been constructed on each side of the shed covering the approach to the water and through which H.R.H. would pass to the street.

As nearly always occurs here, there was a mistake made as to the hour of arrival and, soon after 8, we were told that H.RH.’s ship had been sighted off the point at the river mouth and that therefore he could not arrive before mid-day. We were all in full-dress -- the time at our disposal was not enough to allow us to go home and return easily and yet too long to allow us to wait without tedium. Fortunately a police officer whom I met had provided himself with sandwiches and was good enough to take pity on my empty stomach.

Fortunately the day was cloudy and the month December. We whiled away the time by "wondering" about this and that -- listening to the band -- inspecting the handsome silver casket which contained the address and lay on its violet velvet cushion on a small table in the (?). We were also diverted by two groups of Burmese girls who had been "paraded" in order to sing the praises of H. R. H. and who gave us a few selections from their “repertoire” of posturing and singing*. Very graceful their movements are. They move their legs very little -- are seated most of the time -- the posturing being with the head body and arms. It is far better than anything of the kind in India and quite worth coming here to see. Some 16 or 20 girls perform, arranged thus [drawing] and their voices keep time with the movements of the limbs and all. Voices and gestures -- of the party are in perfect unison. Moreover there is not even a suggestion of immodesty in either dress or performance. To me the gracefulness is most fascinating and I am never weary of watching and listening to a "pooay” (pronounced like the French "jouer”). Yet there are people who think it most uninteresting "wonder what you can see in it", and would much rather see a London Danseuse.

The "danseuse” is graceful in a way -- but there is much in the performance that is not graceful e.g. [drawing]. I find that the people whom I should have selected as those with taste agree with me in finding pleasure in a pooay.

As the steamer came alongside the Chief (?) and the General went forward, each with his following, to receive H. R. H. as he stepped on to the wharf. He was in hussar undress -- with a solitary start on his breast -- on each side of him was one of his suite -- in one of these I recognised General Bradford (Sir Edward), the one armed man whom you saw at Bondi. The Prince has not an imposing presence. His countenance is commonplace. He looks more the "masher" than the Monarch. But doubtless his bearing and appearance will improve with years. But one cannot help remarking that the royal family in that generation is not so good-looking as the royal family of past years. Arrived at the casket, H.R.H. was addressed in the usual strain by a European and a Burmese representative of (?) subjects and they, in succession, told him how glad all were to see him etc. We of the staff were standing around, and I could see that the young man was nervous and was sorry for him.

The address finished he turned to his supporters who handed him a written reply (Bradford wrote it I suppose!) which H.R.H. read and a translation of which was then shouted out to the assembly by the "interpreter" -- and then the Prince moved on, we following, and the audience leaving their seats and coming behind us. At the gates of the approach was the C.C’s carriage with its red liveries and from either side of the gateway ran the "thin red line" of soldiers standing at intervals and forming an avenue thro’ the route which was to be followed by H.R.H.. There were about three carriages and a small mounted escort (the visit is as little official as it is possible for it to be).

In the town were here and there archways of curious structures erected by and characteristic of the communities of the various countries represented in the motley population of Rangoon -- Chinese, Burmese, (?), North Indian Hindoo merchants -- Bombay Parsees, Mahomedans, Europeans etc.. I think I told you that the Chinese and Burmese decorations were the best. One archway, erected by a wealthy Hindu contractor, was remarkable in that it was covered with devices formed with real current coins -- rupees and sovereigns -- representing many thousands of pounds. I suppose it was intended to indicate that the pax Britannica and just rule of H.M. had permitted the millionaire to accumulate this wealth. There was a large crowd in the street and my vehicle could for a long time go at only a foot pace but the largest crowds in the East are usually very docile, and a Rangoon crowd is especially well behaved and, although the barriers appeared to be all too slender, there was no rough pushing or fighting and the police had no difficulty in keeping order.

I reached home about 1 and was clad to shake off my "fine feathers" and have some breakfast -- but one had not much leisure. The Clerk was waiting for orders and no sooner had I done with him then I had to dress for a garden party at government house "to meet etc.". The Entertainment was agreeable. The grounds are naturally pretty. There is very little garden properly so-called -- I mean no elaborate “beds”, “walks” etc.. Trees – poor turf but well grown shrubs -- abundance of foliage everywhere. In the midst of which the many coloured garments of the Burmese who, arrived before us, had been disposed on the ground and on seats around, looked beautifully picturesque.

There was, of course, the military band from one of the regiments. Here and there in the grounds were groups of singing girls (no entertainment given in Burma is complete without a pooay) dressed in their curiously contrived garments of silk and muslin (the woollen lady I sent to England is correctly dressed as dancing girl) -- one of the groups was composed of little girls younger than Baba -- prettilly dressed with a flower decked hair and taking evident pains with their “devoirs” altho’ as yet their voices and movements had not the graceful precision, the perfect unison, which appeared in the performance of the old girls.

The Prince appeared in the course of the afternoon but he did not, I think, appear to advantage being dressed not in princely fashion but like a "travelling masher" -- quite a typical “globe trotter” with a white helmet (there was no need for a helmet) big stiff collars and loose garments. The Oriental don't understand our ways and I think that in these small matters they should be sometimes humoured -- that they should be no possibility of mistaking a prince for the "last (?) competition wallah".

There were the usual refreshments for all -- the Burmese ladies sat quietly where they had been deposited. H.R.H. inspected them and one or two of their aristocracy were presented and H.R.H. nodded and smiled on then and took notice of their jewels much to their delight. I took this opportunity to renew my acquaintance with Bradford -- who was very courteous (as he always it is to all). He told me that he should be very glad to reach England. He felt much the responsibility of his charge. It is perhaps well that the Prince is of very quiet habits and tractable.

(No letters from Brussels by today's mail but I hear of you from (?). I quite agree with you that the Brussels post office is a scandal. I think you had better petition for the removal of the Postmaster General!)..

After our garden party we had an hour’s interval and then prepared for the solemn dinner -- the dinner. After we – that is the principal persons in Rangoon (there were two dinners, I was in the "first flight") had all arrived and had waited some 10 minutes, in walked the Prince at whose coming all -- men and women -- rose. H.R.H. went round the room and each lady was presented to him and he unlaced his hand and shook hands. It was amusing to see the people "at court" -- the reverential curtsey -- the would-be (?)aristocratic bow. After the ladies we "militaires” were presented and shook the princely hand.

The young man is not a very engaging youth but one cannot help continually looking at him, remembering his great position -- that he will be "the King" and yet he looks as I said, so like the junior “competition wallah” that one's faith in the virtue of a (?) monarchy is somewhat shaken. I was altho’ young, one of those entitled to “take a lady” and fortunately there fell to my lot a young person whom I like. I talked more than usual. I can always talk better at these large parties - where the conversation cannot be "general". You address only your next neighbours. The dinner broke up early and I was glad to return home feeding very tired and glad that I had not subscribed to the big ball. Soon afterwards I heard the rattle of sabres and clatter of hoofs, and saw the lamps of three or four carriages flashing past my gate and I knew that the Prince had started for the ball. I hear that it went off "well enough". H.R.H. stayed three hours or more and honoured one or two ladies with his hand.

But all this stuff must be wearisome to you! But I think, at times, that your children may hearafter like to remember that the King? (of their day) was once at Rangoon with me and that we took several meals together. No! It is prettier to say we met and shook hands on several occasions. By the way, that scrap of Burmese song which I send to W. should be kept: it will have a special value years hence.

Next morning was fixed for the visit to the great pagoda -- but as the Prince rose late the visit was not till 12. I was resolved to be there and found, when I arrived, that there were scarcely any Europeans -- only four or five. So much the better! I joined the police officers who were standing, with the President of the municipality, at the foot of the flight of steps which leads, under a carved covered away, up of the ascent. Around them was a quiet but expectant crowd of Burmese. Few Indians were there -- All were seated -- to stand up were disrespectful. All men women and children were gaily clad and seemed to enjoy themselves. Presently the carriages, preceded by the escort, -- dashed up -- and the officials, of whom I, fpr the nonce, was one, saluted H.R.H. as he descended. There was scarcely any applause -- then never is much applause in an Asiatic crowd, it is not "their way" -- there is a hum of suppressed voices, betokening approval and relief from suspense. The Prince led the way upstairs escorted by the C.C. who, you may be sure, had “got up the subject” as to his (?) -- points, objects of interest etc. There was a group of about a dozen following - composed of the Prince’s suite and “Rangooners”. I was with Sir E. Bradford part of the time.

There were numbers of Burmese on the pagoda platform -- (?) and about the temples, but, as they were all seated in most sedate fashion and quite as if for inspection, H. R. H. did not see the pagoda as I see it -- the scene had less animation than that of which I have sometimes written. But nevertheless the general effect of the buildings and people in grouping and colouring was lovely. Sir E. Bradford seemed to me to appreciate better than anyone the beauty of the scene. He was in enchanted by one or two "bits of color" to which I drew his attention. The Prince nodded and smiled in his "jerky" way. I think he means very well but now and then one was annoyed that he had not a more dignified appearance (but that it is not his fault -- it will come).

At one point there was a group of yellow-robed monks. In the midst of them was their saintly chief -- an old old man with pinched face and shrivelled skin -- who must have known this shrine before it was trampled under the heel of the European. I know not what he thought as he sat there in the midst and a little in advance, of his followers -- his head closely shaven, his yellow rope hanging loosely on his withered limbs -- but he's smiled and made response in Burmese when the Prince asked after his welfare and, through the Interpreter, he gave the good wishes of the church to his Royal Highness.

In the entrance to each of the larger shrines, under the shadow of every pavilion, there was a blaze of colour coming from the groups of men and women seated there -- the women predominated and theirs was the gayest attire, and not one but had a flower in her head and most had necklaces and pendants - and these masses of color [note the spelling] set in ground of brown woodwork, at once lighted up by the glow of the glittering pinnacles around and toned by the foliage of the trees and deep shadows of the distant background, made a picture that one will not soon forget.

Of course there was a pooay -- it was such as I have described to you, and, while it was being performed, a little girl of 4 or 5, the daughter of the man who had erected this particular pavilion, came forward and presented the Prince with a huge cheroot and with flowers, and then a cheroot and a "buttonhole" were given to each one of us. Altogether I was not displeased with the Prince's bearing. I was close to him all the time and he had a kindly look -- but I did wish he had not worn that slouching "plain clothes" and I should have liked a little more enthusiasm -- warmth of expression etc. -- but perhaps he was nervous! And so we wandered around, not forgetting to examine the beautiful carving. By the way there was, all the time, a police officer – Argus-eyed -- just in front of us and another was close at our heels. They have orders to never lose sight of H.R.H. when out of his room, and have to be ever on the watch for an "attempt".

In the afternoon we had some sports on the "lakes" -- boat racing etc. in which the Burmese are expert. The Prince embarked at a point running out into the lakes -- in a state barge gilded and ornamented after the manner of the country and having for figurehead a wooden gilded monster, half bird and half griffin -- and the barge was towed across to the mainland by many country boats filled with their numerous crew of paddlers -- on the barge or rather roofed pavilion aft, there were girls dancing to the sound of native music and as the barge moved slowly across the sounds came floating before it. On all sides the banks were thronged by gay crowds and the whole scene was extremely pretty.

There! I am the weary of H.R.H.. There was one more function -- dinner at the General’s. No ladies were there. The dinner was excellent but dull except for the opportunity it gave of having a good look at H.R.H., who was much nearer to me than before. There were only military men present. Monday (?). There was a big breakfast on the occasion of the opening some drainage works by H.R.H.. Nothing at the ceremony [of] note and now he has gone to Mandalay -- and I'm not sorry!

By the way the portrait has come from Madams -- The "Souvenir de notre (?)" and now I don't know what to do with it -- cannot decide to whom to give it -- all the women in the place are clamouring for it and swear that I promised it to them. I have a number of Mandalay photographs -- what is to come of them? Wyn might like them. They are of some value and should be cared for properly, not "knocked about" -- your P.O. officials moreover would give trouble!

[the letter ends – no sign-off]

[Song of the children at Mandalay in honour of H R H Prince Albert, as reported in the Rangoon Times on Friday December 27, 1889]:

“Heir to the throne, hail!
Happy under thy protection, our hearts beat joyously, like the beating of victorious drums!
We little maids salute thee!
Grandson of her who reigns in London Palace, journeying from land to land to Mandalay, thou dost delight us!
Most honoured are we sweet little maidens in that a Prince has visited this land in our day, who is heir to the throne, before whom the whole world trembles, and whose glory is conter-minous with the earth!
The thundrous power and glory of the royal grandson is able to bring a hundred sovereigns into submission!
Undequalled is he with his moon like face, made for the worship of maidens from the four quarters of the earth!
Mirror of his grandmother and surrounded by his army, we maids reverence him in this assembly as our highest honor!
May the cold hurt him not in this month, when the royal flowers bloom and the heavy dews fall!

CHORUS

On the water they strike like lightning with torpedoes (tawpido)!
On land they reduce whole mountains with dynamite (dainnamaik)!
With rainbow-like head-dress of pure rubies he is a second Indra!
With breeches flashing like lightning and worth a hundred thousand pieces of gold, bright as the sun in his glory and supreme on the earth!
Mirror of the Heir Apparent, his royal father, like a diamond is he falling from the sky!
Fair of face, with shoes of gold set with gems!
Ruler of all the armies, at his coming the earth and seas tremble!
Wise as Indra, all Burma feels his power!
Searching for enemies and glorious as the sun, he subdues the whole world with bombs and drums!
Under his glory and power let us be happy and joyful!

CHORUS

Travelling over land and water for his amusement,
Gaining wondrous victories over many kinds of knowledge, respected by many monarchs, we little maids are happy as lotus flowers when water is sprinkled!
Though he is over twenty, he is as the rising sun and we worship his moonlike face!”]


Rangoon, January 2. 90

My dear Mother

At last I am able to write -- 90. Alas, for the years that are gone.

The other night when going to bed I left all together on my dressing table a clock, a waterbury watch, my keys, spectacles and nail scissors, and that box of razors which you gave me. In the morning when I went to dress I saw that all these things had vanished -- a search left no doubt that someone had entered while I slept and stolen them. The clock was the only thing I could find and that was standing underneath the table in another room -- why I know not. It is puzzling -- but I have a little doubt that some native on the premises is guilty. No thief from outside would steal keys, old spectacles and very old scissors etc. and leave intact the box in which I kept money.

Some blackguard servant has done it to get some other servant into trouble -- probably things have been hidden in the garden or thrown down the well. Had the fellow desired only to cause me inconvenience he could not have done better -- all these things are daily necessaries and must be made good at cost of three or four pounds in all. Especially am I sorry to have lost the razors -- always a pleasing souvenir of Uncle Ayrton and which I hoped would have lasted me for years to come. But what makes me angry is not so much the loss as the manner of the act, and the thought that I have such creatures about me. It is a common cause of procedures among natives of India and shows the worst side of their character. And I dare not discharge anyone lest I do exactly what the scoundrel who removed the things hoped I should do. I dare say it is some old grudge about half an oz of rice or something of equal value. Natives of India are for ever bickering and quarrelling about infinitesimally small matters and will frame a most complicated plot if only by it they can "pay off" someone who has injured them in a small point which seems scarcely worth of notice.

H.R.H. passed through the other day having visited Mandalay. We did not see him again. I hope he was not sea sick, they say he is "a bad sailor".

The mail day has overtaken me and I have only time to close this. I had one or two “remarks to offer” but they had escaped me. I attended the other (?) the service at the methodist episcopal chapel. The preaching was of course the great feature. I thought it vulgar but perhaps it suited the audience who were not of the "cantonment aristocracy". The man was of one of the numerous American missionaries. He contrived to drag in allusions to "(?) -- gas -- Washington – Jay Gould -- and the Eiffel Tower (a certain person was pre-eminent above other Christians just as the (?) towered above St Peters, Pyramids, St. Paul’s etc). It is still a little chilly in the early morning but at this 12.30 we perspire. Thank Ayrton for letter and card of 5 December ‘89. The card most elegant.

Your affectionate son, A C


Rangoon, January 9. 90

My dear Mother

Yours of the 15th December. Much interested in your news on various matters. You are as usual -- somewhat (?) to inconvenience because the hack-carriage drawers have struck work. "Striking" is "catching" and the "downtrodden nation" in these days of telegraph and the universal newspaper is beginning to propel by the example of (?) against authority, -- they have always well understood trade and financial combination and intrigue. At the time of the "dock strikes" our indispensable scavengers became somewhat restive -- however the difficulty was adjusted by the municipality.

I see that Stanley is said to have relieved (?) Pasha in spite of the pasha. That (?) wished to remain where he was. That seems rather hard on (?) unless we assume that his brain was affected and he was not fit to judge for himself.

I am reminded of an incident which illustrates the situation. A certain soldier was absent without leave. We searched for him in all directions and in vain, until, at length, he was discovered to be lying at the bottom of a dry well. We hailed him but he was speechless and we feared he had been hurt much by the fall. A rope was brought. A soldier was let down to assist and, if possible, bring up his comrade. After a while we called out "is he much hurt?" The reply came "no Sir, he’s drunk, Sir" "Can't you get him up? -- tell him to come up" "He says Sir he's …… if he'll come out", and therewith the two men fell to fisticuffs at the bottom of the well!

I send by this mail parcel post my picture, which I mentioned before. It is addressed to Maud to your care and I shall be glad if you will open and keep it for the present. I told M. I was sending it to you -- you will be interested in seeing Madame’s work -- very good for an amateur. The parcel will, I suppose, not arrive until six or seven weeks -- it goes via Gibraltar.

Love to all,
yr affectionate son
A Chaplin
I do hope the influenza will not come near you. I have been much interested in "Looking backward" - Is it is a most ingenious book and makes one "pause and reflect".


Rangoon, January 23/90

My dear Mother

Another great grey headed chieftain gone! As was written long ago of Colin Campbell -- Lord Clyde. Another distinguished Napier has left us. A fine old fellow they say he was -- I never saw him -- and the army in India has never had a better chief -- he reigned at (?) 70 to 76. To you he is interesting as the Addiscombe College contemporary of Uncle Frederick who renewed acquaintance, in Egypt, with Lord N. of Magdala when his Lordship passed through en route to India after the Abyssinia campaign.

I forget whether I reported that H.E.the C in C Madras had passed thro’ -- I met him at dinner. He is an amount of a very few words -- they "there are" in fact. They say a good fellow at bottom but the process of pushing one's way to the good fellow strata and is so very unpleasant that few attempt the task. He is a just man and no fool -- that character is enough for most of us. Last year he was inspecting troops in the station near to Rangoon. The chief civil officer gave a station dinner. H.E. was to be the guest of the evening. The (?) parade of troops was attended by the Ladies headed by the aforesaid (?)'s wife, a lady remarkable for great self possession not to say impudence. H.E. came onto parade, not, as was expected and as politeness to troops and spectators dictated, in the (?) but, in a work at day around campaigning suit such as you see in pictures of tropical welfare. In the evening H.E. presented himself at dinner and was greeted by the hostess who scarcely knew him -- with "well, Sir Charles, I am disappointed in you! We all came out to see you on parade and you appear in a shabby old coat like a (?)!" The old gentleman did not know what to say -- he was not used to be thus addressed -- his dignity was hurt -- there was a very awkward pause -- somebody " tittered" and gradually the laugh became general and at length. H.E. joined in it -- what else could he do having nothing telling to say at the moment!

The timing is rushing on and no letter ready for you. Last evening I went into society "a little music". I fear I was much bored and comforted myself with the reflection that this "appearance" would be "bien pour” a good many days to come. There is an "out of doors and " entertainment in the day or to but one has then more freedom -- smoke etc. if so disposed -- the ladies are not so much "in evidence" and years I have today been out visiting -- I do that most conscientiously. Things go well in the "Chindwin" save that the troops have (?) -- love to all.

Will write shortly to Holroyd. I hope their terms house suits him.

Ever yr affectionate son, A.C.


Rangoon, February 9. 90

My dear Mother

Many thanks your letter of the 17 ult. I am glad to hear that (?) is progressing. I am not at all surprised to hear that he is not going on leave. Few young men, who are in health, go on long leave so soon after entering the service -- eight or nine years should be allowed for obtaining a good footing. I did not see (?) name in the Gazette -- save on appointment to a charge at (?).

Last evening to amateur theatricals. That sort of entertainment (so different from going to the theatre in the real sense) is not much to my taste. I go sometimes to encourage soldiers who happen to be the performers -- sometimes under pressure from someone of the other sex it may be who thinks Colonel C. ought to be made to come -- he must come, it will do him good etc. But friends will not reform me. I have low tastes and am happier with pipe and pot and paper, or billiards!

I see that Mrs Fitzgeorge is dead. An unsatisfactory position she held -- in which it was necessary to have it always explained that she really was married to the Duke.
I am glad to hear that affairs continue to go well in the hill country and without bloodshed. This morning I “saw off" a man with fever from “Chin country” who was taking ship for London. He had already begun to improve in health.

How I am belated again!. The mail going out -- business demanding attention and no letter for you. I told you I think that the commander in chief is at Mandalay. He will be here again before long. A question came before me today as to the ownership of a large mirror which, having been in the Palace at Mandalay, had passed through the hands of several officers: had been "put up" in am more than one bungalow and so on. The question is whether it belongs to the Government or its present possessor. Of course the answer must be the Government. When we occupied Mandalay the government -- that is to say the representative of our government -- undertook to administer all the Palace and national property which fell into our hands, for the benefit of (?) and his people, as seemed best under [the] circumstances.

(?) was personally in debt. It was understood and indeed ordered that the property should not be plundered - but it was almost impossible to prevent soldiers and officers carrying of some of it and many things had, on the spot, but little intrinsic value but would be treasured as souvenirs. Of course officially speaking no one had a right to take anything -- the veriest trifle -- but in such circumstances one must allow some latitude -- and it is impossible to attach criminality to such an act of "removal" when those high in office helped in themselves to "curiosities". It is a matter of notoriety that Sir J. Roberts is carried away "cartloads" of things which doubtless will adorn a London drawing-room -- that (?) – the chief diplomatic officer made a "collection", that numbers of other officials followed suit -- paying nothing of course for such things. I don't mean to insinuate that these men would have plundered (?) or the ministerial cash safe -- but they winked at and assisted in the carrying away of "trifles" such as (?) -- Much of the woodwork, it is fair to say -- was really waste -- in course of demolition of buildings -- would have sold for little or nothing -- but, nevertheless, there was as we all know "laxity".

Love to all -- I hope you sleep well -- in haste
Ever yr affectionate son, A.C.


Rangoon, February 20/90

My Dear Mother

It is abominably hot, considering the date -- so my letter will not, I fear, be long -- are they much longer when it is cool? I have just been looking into Carroll’s (Dodson is his real name is it not -- or something like that) new book. It is really rather poor stuff and I am half through it without a good laugh -- but perhaps I was more easily moved to mirth when "Alice" was new than I am now! One or two quips are amusing "(?)", "and expensive school where they never box boys ears for nothing" etc.

Yesterday called on the Bishop -- our Bishop -- a long talk with him about "responsibility" a propos insanity as a defence in criminal trials -- to which a case had recently drawn our attention. He took the sentimental merciful and popular -- I may call it -- view and once you do that you find there is no halting-place short of the abolition of capital punishment. I confess that I would like to see that tried for a term in England. If capital crimes increased from that cause -- re-establishing the penalty. But I was at a disadvantage, as you can't argue with a general officer or tell him flatly you don't agree with him (it is bad form) so you shrink from encountering your spiritual father in God -- especially when he is an expert who when studying medicine took a medal for medical jurisprudence and when "Mrs Bishop" is sitting by, smiling blandly and pleased that the Bishop is "letting you have it"!

I must hurry up as I have to go into the town on business. I am worried about finding quarters for a family who have written from India that they will be here next month, and it is not easy to find rooms suitable for them in this place, in which there is so great demand for bungalows and the "good old times" when the General was supreme in the station, as regards who should and who should not live in military precincts, a Rangoon, March 21/90

My dear Mother

Thanks for your last about February 22nd. Glad, very glad to hear you keep your health. You will be able yet to nurse me when I retire from the service.

Affairs are going well on our N.W. frontier and tribes are submitting with little or no fighting -- but of course we shall have to leave a force in the hills during the rains -- the campaign is at any rate believed to be over -- if campaign it can be called -- and much credit is due to the man who so judiciously conducted the business as to bring the tribes in with so little harrying and bloodshed -- peaceful measures were tried with great patience -- liberal terms were offered -- violence used only when there was no other course open and there had been attacks from or break of faith by the (?).

Talking of this -- what "humbug" there is sometimes in these reports and telegrams. It may be in your recollection that some ten years ago Sir F. Roberts, having had a narrow escape from disaster, succeeded in entering Cabul -- that certain reprisals were then taken against the natives. A military commission sat and caused many men to be hanged. Questions were asked in the "house" about the doings of this commission. Lord Kimberley I think, was in office -- the Secretary of State, having of course inquired by telegram of Simla and Roberts, told the house that the greatest care and discrimination had been used, that no man had been executed without searching deliberate and fair trial and so forth -- and there are the matter ended.

I met the other day one whom I know intimately -- who was then commanding his regiment at Cabul and who was one of the commission. His story is -- and I believe it -- that the "trials" were in many cases a gross mockery of justice -- that so flagrant was the bias of the court, so evident the determination that men should not "get off" -- that my friend, having, in more than one case recorded his protest against the action of the court, at length refused to any longer take part in the proceedings -- and, as he was found to be an inconvenient person, the authorities (Roberts I suppose) sent him elsewhere. Most of the officers concerned were those who had been on the spot from the first. My friend’s regiment had come up later and therefore he was able to take a more dispassionate view -- the others had become naturally, embittered against the enemy.

That is a bit of secret history which you may believe if you please -- I do believe it. I may add that the officer I allude to lives with me and has been with me these two years. The mail goes today and the post has just brought some business so I had better say adieu.

Love to all. I am glad to hear you like the portrait. I gave your message to Mme Pelinski (de Belty is a mere affix not ordinarily used) and she gave a courteous rejoinder. I am glad to hear that Ayrton has a house to his liking.

Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin
re passing away.

A charity fair in the public gardens -- a few tense and flags and young people and (?) are playing at shop keeping. Being a subscriber to these tuition for whose benefit it was held I went and came away poorer by a half sovereign also -- and nothing to should avoid. They always so rubbish at such shops! I hope all with you and elsewhere are well and you have good reports from India.

Love to all, ever your affectionate son, A Chaplin
Ayrton is fortunate in finding a suitable house.


Rangoon, April 4. 90

My dear Mother,

Thanks for your letter of 7 ult. Glad to know that you are well in spite of your horrible climate. The weather grows horribly warm and after 11 am I am "good for nothing" so you must excuse my sending a short letter. Affairs are going well in the North and today there are 3 or 4 regiments in camp here on their way to other quarters in pursuance of arrangements made on the close of the little campaign, or, rather, negotiations among the hill people. As he who makes a good peace is greater than one who makes a great war -- so we expect that the man who conducted this expedition will have done much to advance his own fortunes. Meanwhile I am content with the dolce fa niente -- comparative -- of Rangoon in spite of its vile climate -- its heats and its damps -- and it's never ceasing (?) troubles!

I am glad to see that Tennyson is “mending”. I read the other day the “Demeter”. I thought “Spring” perfect -- as good as anything he ever wrote -- and one or two other pieces pleased me much. It is difficult for me to understand how people can, as many do, bracket Tennyson and Browning. Browning's great powers one admits but he is constantly writing stuff which it is mockery to call poetry or music -- and I hold that music is essential to good verse. In fact I don't believe in a poet whose verses cannot be easily “understanded (?) educated people” - who has a society to explain what he says - of course there is much to be admired but give me A.T. "In Memoriam". I regard [it] as one of the great poems of the century -- of any century!

There! you see that I have nothing to write about and fall back on "small talk". I see that Roberts is to have an extra year of office. It is a cruel shame, this extension of a man's term. Most unfair on the other "good fish in the sea" -- quite unjustified in the time of peace although one admits it may be right in time of war or approach of war -- so as not to “change horses when crossing the stream". These extensions often (?) favour -- very often a woman is at the bottom of it. Roberts has himself long been notorious for "jobs". "Lord Jobs" they called him. I am not denying that he has done his work well as C. in C. I say only, when his time is “up” he ought to make way for another.

Love to all
Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin


Rangoon, June 6. 90

My dear Mother -- Many thanks for yours of 9 May and for so kindly sending the book "Snow bound at Eagles" but alas! What has become of the "Academy notes" for 90? Not published yet? Or have the booksellers failed me, being "quite out of them" The worst of it is that the illustrated papers have begun publishing extracts from it and so have “taken bloom off” the "Notes", which are "nothing if not new"! However, I suppose I must be patient.

The weather is still rather warm although rain falls now and then. The monsoon has come in very mildly. Last evening it was fine so I paraded at the tennis party, "assisted" as the French say, as a spectator.

Tuesday evening we put the General on board ship with all the honours and the old man is now on his way to Europe and, I fear, a little disturbed by the rough sea. By the way, he was not many years my senior -- seeing these departing veterans makes me feel quite a “vieux moustache”. I have been (?) myself, having a cold in head, by reading the Queen Anne Essayists who have always been favourites of mine. One paper -- on the state of the country and its government - might have been written yesterday -- just such an article as might have been written by one wishing to glorify the England of today.

You should be enjoying summer weather when this reaches you -- surrounded by your children's children perhaps -- I forget whether their holidays will have begun. These rascally "Masters" make it all holiday now. I suppose they will be soon for reducing the " hours of employment" in the school day and striking for a "five hours day. Do you remember how at Bruce Castle the boys at beginning of each term had to declare how many hours a day they would work and with regard to that declaration their scheme of work was (?)? As a rule of the boys had to be checked -- they wished to work for a longer time than was good for health -- but I well remember one shameless boy who took Bruce Castle at its word (small blame to him!) and "declared" that he would work -- hours (say one or two) and no more. I believe it was decided that this was a special case and the boy’s friends were told that the "system" was not intended for such idle reprobates.

Love to all -- thank Julia and Louisa for letters. I am pressé -- I have to pay the household, always a most (?) duty. Thanking you for book
Ever yr affectionate son
A Chaplin
Many thanks for Eng Magazine



Rangoon, August 90

My dear Mother
Many thanks for your postcard. Why not a card? You write so closely that it holds as much as a letter.

I am glad to hear you went to see that exhibition of pictures at Guildhall. I took note of it in the papers and it seemed to be a good selection. But one of the best places for seeing pictures is Christie's auction room. I have seen many there which, otherwise, I could not have seen at all.

It is a famous place for dilettante" collectors" -- people who have nothing to do but “kill time” -- alas, what melancholy sport that is! The other evening in my sober black suit to the Playhouse, as Pepys says, where certain of the gentry were disporting themselves in the guise of play-actor. They had gotten their parts not ill and looked fine in their stage clothes but me-thought that the piece had been better represented in London, where I had seen it, by stage players who make their living by such foolery. I saw but one piece and so to bed.

I see that a man is lecturing here on the phonograph. I wonder what use it will be put to. It is not easy to see how it can be extensively used. This man is "pushing" the instrument for a company in England. The Bishop was "in the chain". The experiments were not very satisfactory and explanations were given as to why the model would not work quite as promised.

I see that the dispatches are out for the operations last spring on our N.W. hills. The undertaking seems to have been the well carried out -- little or no bloodshed -- and before long no doubt that country will be quite opened out -- and missionaries and liquor will have free access. However the drink (?) will not be at our door. These primitive folk are already very (?). They brew an intoxicating drink and delight in making themselves drunk -- never miss an opportunity. Every occasion of business rejoicing or mourning gives an excuse for an orgy.

Love to all. I am glad to hear (?) is better. I hope you enjoyed your travels and are well.

Your affectionate son
A Chaplin


[At this point there is a gap in the letters, of almost four years]


Bangalore, June 18, 1894

My dear Mother

I have just run down on business -- for how long I know not -- but hope for a week only. Thank you much for your letter of 24. Yes, (?) is indeed fortunate in being again employed -- but I am not surprised seeing that he has an aptitude for such work. I am one of those who think that opium -- of which the effects, at large, are imperceptible had much better have been left alone -- it is one of those ‘inquiries’ of which our people are so fond and which Asiatics detest and which do so much to cause unrest. Bangalore ‘stands where it did’ when I left it in ‘88 -- but the hills have spoiled me, for Bangalore, though it has a cooler climate than other places, seems by comparison very hot and dusty, even in June.

I am grieved to hear that John continues to be so ill -- I trust that by now he is better -- somewhat. The summer will I hope favour him and I hope for much benefit for him from the boating and sea-- if he should be well enough to carry out his plans. I have not your letter at hand I am sorry to say -- so pardon if I forget to answer questions.

This place is of course full of memories -- scarcely one now in the service who was within me here in 61 -- and soon I too shall make my bow. I see the Spectator still has agitated articles and letters about India -- as I said before -- we are and always have been in the dark as native feeling and intention -- we can but do our best and take what comes. It is quite possible that either view is correct.

Thank Julia much for her letter, love to (?) her. I am so glad they engaged their travels. I had a line from young Nelson -- he was on the whole doing well -- but had had a little fever. Thank Ayrton for trouble about coin box etc.

Last two or near and far
Ever dear Mother your affectionate son
A Chaplin

I enclose a line to (?) which kindly forward. I have not written separately to Louisa -- I am grieved to think of the (?) she suffers (?) to the slowness of progress made by John. However his best hope lies in the fact that Louise is able to do what she can for him -- and the prosperity of the children goes far to keep up his (?) the very important matter in any illness -- especially in this one.

[On first page] I hope you have bright weather -- so good for you to go out -- that your eye has not been causing pain. Mrs (?) rapid recovery wonderful.


Ootacamund, July 23. 94 [Snooty Ooty]

My dear Mother

I hope all is well with you. Indeed, had it not been so I should have heard from others -- and I have no wish that you should be troubled to write every mail when I know that you have so many letters to write. Again our mail comes a day late, arriving a few hours after this note will have been posted -- but there has been boisterous weather in the Indian Ocean and I see that one or two unfortunate passengers were seriously injured, the other day, during the tossing and rolling of the ship. By the way -- the P&O have long been feeling sore because passengers "who ought to know better" have been travelling 2nd class. They are now – the P&O -- about to raise their 2nd class rates -- in hope, no doubt, of driving these people into 1st class berths.

The plan is to have an intermediate charge for those 2nd class cabins which have the good positions, with regard to air and light etc. -- and for these the charge will be nearly, if not quite, as much as for 1st class berths on other steamers such as "Anchor".

The children seem to have much enjoyed their visit to you and send a full report of visits to Earls Court [Courtfield Gardens?] and elsewhere. That is one of the advantages of living not in India -- that you are able to see and hear much that gives pleasure and is good for the mind. At Ootacamund there is no recreation of that kind -- one or two harmonic meetings in the "season" but that(?) and the quality of the performance is necessarily poor -- there being so few from whom to select and none being "stars". At Simla and one or two other stations they have exhibitions of amateur painting -- exhibitions very improving and useful in their way -- but still of a very "second-rate" order. Here we have none -- there is not enough talent to make a gallery.

The weather is still cloudy and there is now and again light rain as the charged clouds are swept across the plateau, but the planters in this neighbourhood want more rain and I hear reports that the fall in the central provinces is scanty. However, there is yet time for our usual allowance to be made up.

We have been much interested -- you may be sure -- in the bullet-proof coat trials -- will anything come of it? Will it lesson the chances of declaration of war? Will it make war less horrible? Will it drive men to the old-fashioned hand to hand fighting? Probably the gun makers will invent a rifle whose bullet will penetrate and then the coat makers will have to meet that change and so there will be a constant competition as on the sea between "big guns" and armour-plates.

It must have been pleasant, and yet sad, to meet Mr and Mrs Holroyd again after so many years. I think I never saw those members of the family. [I wonder which branch of the Holroyd family that was: Sir George Sowley Holroyd had many sons!] Willy H (the Major-General) is I presume still living at Bath. [William Rice Morland Holroyd, born 1835, was a Major in the Bengal Staff Corps and a Lt Colonel by 1880 – could he have reached the rank of Major General?] I see the name of a Captain Herbert on the staff of the Commander in Chief in India -- I wonder whether that is Holroyd's son-in-law -- one girl married a Captain Herbert in /90 or/91. I have been looking at Baines Census book -- an interesting and useful book of reference -- which will be the "authority" for at least ten years -- a limited life but much longer than that of most official reports.

Now I must put this in the post -- I should much like to see you and hope all goes well. Love to Julia and any who are near or to whom you will write. I hope poor Hicks is suffering less. Remember me to the Ellises when possible. [That must be Dr Charles Cyril Hicks, Physician, husband of Agnes, who was a niece of Allan’s mother: their son Frederick was the future Bishop of Lincoln] I am grieved to hear of his continued ill-health. By the way General Forster, commanding at Woolwich, is an old friend of mine.

The other day I went for a turn on the downs. It was one of those days on which you might almost believe yourself in Europe and these hilltops a gigantic Scotland (as someone has called it). A stiff breeze coming from seaward (the sea is but some 70 or 80 miles away) -- the sun gleaming now and again from out grey clouds -- in the distance the "stain of storm" -- and a deep blue -- almost black -- bank of clouds lying against the summits below which Ootacammund. These Downs make a very fair riding country -- a little monotonous but fresh and open -- no jumping -- here and there a bog of which riders must beware, lest they miss the "crossing" -- occasionally the ascent so steep that you have to lean well forward lest you slip off backwards.

Good-bye -- beware of chills -- I trust your eyes have not given you trouble of late and that rheumatism has not come near you.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


July 31/94 [Top of page missing, no address]

My dear Mother

I hope this paper, mottled, will not make my writing seem more indistinct than usual -- I fear that the writing of many (it cannot be said of you) becomes less legible as they grow older. The other day I sent a note on business - instead of an answer I received the request that I would kindly write again as what I had written could not be deciphered! -- and I used to think writing was my "strong point"!

I had two letters from you last mail -- one had missed the previous mail I think -- your best news is that John is better -- may he continue to recover! Yes, I know (?) Lodge -- outside -- one of the most comfortable-looking mansions in town -- I have often wished that I were master of it! The Pyne performer is probably one of the same family as the Pyne (Louisa) who used to sing concerts 30 years ago and was associated with "Harrison".

No, I have not read " E. Waters" -- or any of Mr Moore's books -- I have but "looked into" them -- to tell the truth -- the "modern novel" as it is called -- psychological nostalgical analytical or what not - does not attract me -- perhaps I shall like it some day -- one must be educated for it. When I see "E. Waters" I will try it -- but I have not much faith in novels written "with a purpose".

Yes, I believe it was true about "caste-mark" on Queen’s statue at Madras -- but it did not attract much notice -- and is regarded as a mere mischievous prank.

Thank you for the interesting P.M. [Pall Mall] Magazine. It is very kind of you to send them -- especially as postage is so heavy. I have been looking at a very amusing book -- which I can recommend -- if you have not read it. Le Fanu’s "Seventy years of Irish life" -- but I daresay you know it. NB. large print.

The post has come and so I must leave off. Yesterday was a bright day -- and this day also gives promise of sunshine -- but where is the rain? We have had very little. Yesterday evening went for a walk in the " Government garden" -- a beautiful retreat -- which is always a pleasure to visit.

Hard by it is a tiny settlement of hill-people -- some four or five of their little huts -- like cart tilts made of wood and leaves etc -- no window -- a little hole just large enough for the passage of a man on hands and knees -- a low wall of rough stone encloses the "village". The women and children emerged directly we appeared and began begging, as it is their wont when the Europeans come to stare at them -- The women have rather coarse, heavy features and large mouths -- the hair hangs straight & long over their shoulders; the dress is a sheet -- worn toga-fashion. The men were away with the cattle (buffaloes) of which they always have a small herd -- they live on and dispose of the milk and the care and preparation of the cream butter etc invested with some ceremonius observances.

Somewhat removed from the other huts was a hut surrounded by its own wall -- and we could hear a sound as of churning -- smoke was issuing through the roof and, by the light of the fire and the glimmer through the hole, someone was at work in the "dairy" -- presently the dairy-man, hearing our voices, came to the hole and begged for a present -- apparently his occupation required him to be in "a state of nature" -- he held out a hand covered with cream and begged and gesticulated. We would have passed the barrier and peeped in but the bearded, naked, guardian of the dairy waved us back with his creamy hands and gave us to understand that that was their church -- that we were intruding upon holy ground. Their funeral rites are curious -- when a buffalo is felled on each side of the corpse and the dead man's hand is made to hold the horn of the animal on each side of him -- signifying perhaps that the spirits of the animals accompany that of their master to "fresh fields of pasture". How long will these curious people remain in the land? There are but a few hundred of them -- already the missionary folk have got hold them and in time they will become "civilised" and be reduced to the "regulation pattern" and be able to pass "the -- test in the elementary school" -- and be dressed up quite nicely and have their hair made "slick" and "go to Sunday School regular” -- and will they be better and happier?

But I've told you all this before! I hope the weather still favours you, my dear -- that you are able to go out and see your friends. I am grieved to hear that Miss (?) is less strong that she was -- and that poor Agnes and her husband are in such trouble. It is well they have that promising son to look after them. Love to Julia and James(?). I suppose they are quartered at Ilchester Terrace.

I hope you had fine weather for your visit to Bassetts. My love to Ayrton Edith and all if you are there are.

Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Ootacamund, August 20. 94

My dear Mother

Thank you for your letter of 26 July -- you seem to be having a good time in the country. Your mention of Dunn’s school interests me -- that school was a "preparatory school" was it not? It was afterwards that my father came under the rule of Jackson.

We are "jogging on" here. I am still the only lodger in this "already popular hotel" as the house is described, on scarcely sufficient grounds, in the advertisement. The good woman who keeps it is worthy and industrious but they say she has a temper and I commiserate "poor Mr P”. Fortunately they live elsewhere so I do not see the domestic brawls. I fear your brief summer will be nearly over when this reaches you -- may you have a sunny autumn! We are interested, of course, in this China-Japan war. I hope that we may not be drawn into it -- though doubtless many of my young acquaintances would think it "fine fun".

I have been interested in correspondence in the papers about discipline at the university. Certainly the present system of "discipline" has always seemed to me to be no discipline and the rules and regulations are out of date -- the students are not under control as boys and yet are not held responsible has men -- they should be treated as either one or other -- but, better still, I would have a quasi-military discipline. It has been said, and I believe, with truth, that there is no better school for a youth -- for training in manners etc., than "Her Majesty's Service". Of course there will be found therein some intractable, black sheep who discredit their cloth. In the other callings the juniors herd together -- the young cubs lick each other -- they are not compelled to associate, except in professional matters, with the seniors -- and not compelled to conform to a certain standardisation in manners bearing and general conduct -- cannot be called to account for "conduct" which is held in society to be "unbecoming a gentleman" -- cannot be definitely punished for such behaviour when it doesn't affect their professional business.

For example an officer, whom I know, recently got into trouble about a matter having no connection with military affairs (it is almost needless to say there was a woman in the case). It is considered not expedient, in this case, to resort to a Court Martial -- so the culprit has been "told to go" and go he must. Had he not been in the service the matter would have "blown over". As it is he suffers a very severe punishment in being "made to go" -- his career is abruptly closed. It is not merely a "sending down" as at Oxford -- there is no returning.

It may be said that such measures are too severe for mere youths at college; -- then they should be treated as boys and whipped if need be -- there is no middle course when numbers have to be controlled and rules are to be enforced. But if our regulations are not too severe for young officers of 18 or 19 I think that greater stringency in the discipline of college -- in which students would be held responsible as men -- would be very wholesome.

The local Commander in Chief goes on tour in ‘Sep(?)’ and will be away till February. By the way, he is the "last of his race" -- the new arrangements provide for only one chief command -- that of Simla. Uncle Acton was of opinion that this "centralisation" was unwise and was for maintaining the separate, presidential system -- time will show which system is the better -- whether we are trusting too much to railways and telegraphs.

I trust that you keep well -- and have a book to your liking. Love to all

Ever your affectionate son
A. Chaplin

Love to Agnes. I hope her husband is no worse -- that the change may do him good.

[On first page] I will write Holroyd and Ayrton shortly. I am so glad to hear Edith is better -- love to her -- the "Professor" and family, and “regards” at discretion.


Ootacamund, September 4. 94

My dear Mother

As the mail is going I must send a line if only to report myself. We have a pause in the rain and last evening was bright and warm, but we have yet to feel the N.E. monsoon which strikes the east coast in September -- November.

Our Commander in Chief (soon to be only the "Lieutenant General Commanding" in the South) is going to Lahore to attend Lord Elgin's first grand reception.

I have just finished Wolseley’s paper on Napoleon -- very interesting, and it shows strongly what has been apparent of late, that we had a very narrow escape and that the victory was mainly due to the illness of Napoleon which made him less energetic and vigilant than in the old days. The Duke himself admitted that we narrowly escaped destruction.

I hope Cleve had an encouraging report from the doctors. That poor Charles Hicks is not worse. Please thank Julia for the globe and accept thanks for English Mag.

Love to all with you and elsewhere. I hope John continues to mend -- with love,
Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin.

I hope you keep well and that your stay in the country will have prepared you to contend with autumn damps and winter cold.


Ootacamund September 16. 94

My dear Mother

Your long letter of the 24th August gave me much pleasure and the enclosures also were interesting. It must have been very pleasant to be able to return to London in time to meet Cleve who, I trust, was favourably reported on by the doctor -- or was it the "change" that was to be his only treatment? [Cleve was John Allan Cleveland Skinner, John & Louisa’s son]

I am shocked to hear of the condition of Graham -- you had not before mentioned the nature of his illness. But if not wishing to see any people outside his family be his only "complaint" he may still live to old-age. Mr Greathead had that eccentricity but I never heard that he grew worse.

A grey day which promises to end in a wet night -- for the other monsoon from the N.E. is due.

The Governor "goes down" tomorrow morning and soon Ootacamund will be left in peace. Yesterday was one of the last of the entertainments -- at which I did not assist. A "point to point" race and a full luncheon. I hope all went off well, and that the horses also enjoyed themselves -- one of the competitors, practising a few days before the race, had the misfortune to lose two horses on each of two successive days. They dropped down and died then and there as within an hour or to -- it seemed as if they had been too much pressed -- but I am told it was really a disaster for which the rider -- a man not less humane than his neighbours -- was not to blame. By an almost incredible co-incidence both beasts had something the matter with them which was unknown before -- heart etc. out of order.

Now I must break off and take my tea -- for which I am the more ready in that I am not a luncheon-wallah and breakfast at 9.30 a.m. Moreover this is Sunday and on Sunday my landlady adds a piece of cake to the toast.

Thank you for your letter of 21st August just to hand. I am so glad you have been able to stay a few days longer at Bassett's -- I can picture the interest you take in the improvements, remembering how industrious you were at Tunbridge and Edgbaston.

Last evening to a ‘tea fight’ -- put in a good hour there! The weather brighter these two days. I went today to leave a last card at Government House. Found all shut up. I am glad to hear my letter was "amusing" for I am sorely put to it to fill half a sheet -- The season is over. I note that there are not so many young women with tennis bats etc. I am told there has been an unusually large number here this year but, dear me! I hardly know one from the other -- and as to talking to them! No! I am not so bad as the man who said no woman was worth speaking to till she had passed 40. The other day a lady mentioned "my daughter" -- had I seen her anywhere? I thought I knew the girl by sight and said so "the girl about twelve or so" -- the child is in her 17th year! I dare say Mama was pleased by the error -- but "missy", when she was told -- as she would have been -- must have felt slighted.

I see that our Commander in Chief, who is "touring" in the South has been shooting big game -- a high official hunts under favourable conditions -- the whole countryside is assisting him and rajahs, maharajahs, sirdars and chiefs make it their business to see that he has a good bag.

By the way his daughter is [text ends here]


Ootacamund, September 22. 94

My dear Mother

I hope you are keeping well -- but I picture you enveloped already in autumn fog in dear, dirty London. By the way this is an extraordinarily clean place -- no dust etc. and ladies kids, they say, last for a long time.

I am writing against time before I am grieved to say that I am again overtaken by the mail -- but really there is some excuse for the shortness of my letters -- for here no one comes and goes, as with you -- there is no "va et vient" -- nothing to break the routine save an occasional "at home" of a very mild description.

I suppose Cleve has long come and gone. Everyone reports him looking well so I wonder why he had to hurry to Europe -- some local malady I suppose. It seems a pity he did not take his family with him -- the children ought to be leaving India -- however, they -- the parents, settle that question! I am glad Ayrton still finds occupation on his estate. I dare say the life is healthier, for him, than that of Aubrey Road.

Just received a descriptive notice of a young gentleman who has deserted from 7th Fusiliers at Hyderabad, Sindh. It is not often that a commissioned officer commits that offence. The description does not flatter "a shifty, not straightforward look" -- a "husky voice" etc. He has some public money with him -- is said to have gone to Lahore -- poor boy! He is sure to be caught -- he should have made for the sea at once. He is not so old a hand as was "Alabama" Jones -- Jones was an army surgeon at Bangalore some years ago. He was known as "Alabama" J. because he had been a medical "prentice" on the Alabama before he joined the service. He was a sporting, card-playing doctor -- had seen much of the world -- a "viveur” -- and knew a thing or two. A respectable old officer at Bangalore was saying he wished to remit money to England -- he groaned about the loss on exchange and (it was then at about 1.10) -- Jones kindly offered to help -- said he himself wanted to draw from England -- so he would accommodate the Colonel -- with a check on the London bankers at par. The old man was delighted and grateful, and then and there bought Jones’s cheque -- and another officer, hearing of this, persuaded Jones to give him a cheque -- and then Jones disappeared, he owed money all round -- the cheques were believed to be worthless. A hue and cry was raised. “Alabama” had made for Bombay -- the head of the Bombay Police was at Poona -- he was put on alert -- orders were given to watch the ports. In due course a telegram came to Poona - "Jones is caught" - so they relaxed their vigil and and congratulated themselves. But "Alabama" himself had sent the telegram! And having thus blinded his pursuers, he embarked at Bombay and has never since been heard of.

Love to all -- I hope John goes on satisfactorily. Take care of yourself pray. Ever your affectionate son
A Chaplin


Ootacamund, October 1. 94

My dear Mother

I hope all is well with you altho’ by now the "chill October" has nearly passed over you -- and after that you have foggy November and yet, after all, better a London fog than wandering alone about this mountain retreat -- for there is always something to see in the streets however dreary the weather -- but the poor are the chief sufferers among you -- how they must dread the cold season! Far more than our people "in the plains" fear the "hot weather – certainly”. No! the poor Indian is to be congratulated in that the wind is so very much tempered to him that he needs scarcely any "fleece" in these parts and even on the hills of the South, there is no great degree of cold -- a little frost at night -- a warm sun -- no snow -- and the house in the plains a mud structure tiled or with a thatch which can be renewed in a few hours at trifling cost. What more shelter does a poor man need in such a temperature. In fine weather he sits outside all day. The house is open day and night.

People who lecture in England and talk about the dreadful poverty of the Indian, because the average income per head is --, sometimes forget to explain that "poverty" is relative -- they harrow their hearers feelings -- and the audience picture the condition of one living in London on that scanty pittance.

You say you received my amusing letter -- I wonder what that letter could have been. I am not often "taken that way"! We have a few days of bright weather and the "jeunes personnes” are very much to the front -- with their badminton and tennis tournaments and their dreadful stick up collars and mens’ shirts and ties and caps and -- what not?

"Mon général” came back yesterday. He has been on tour in Travan(?) and (?) -- combining duty and pleasure -- everyone bowing to and feeding and making much of him -- that is the way to see India! By the way, (?) daughter is to be married on fifth (?). I wonder whether anyone is looking after that wedding present which we have subscribed for -- a silver bowl I believe it is to be -- fortunate young person! So many "friends" rally round when "papa" is a person of some influence!

I wonder what books you have been reading lately. I have heard much of the new style of novel -- of (?) -- but have read none -- is it because I am growing old? Or is it that our fiction needs to be "dipped again in the well of romance" -- I shall treat myself to a "Scott" presently -- that is always refreshing. By the way I saw not long ago a pretty book called "The Refugees" -- time of Louis XIV -- (?) France and America. Now I must say adieu -- good-bye my dear Mother -- above all wrap up well and preserve that health valuable to so many besides yourself. Ever your affectionate son, A. Chaplin. Please give my love á discretion -- I hope Edie [Edith, wife of Ayrton, Allan’s brother] is quite well again and that the professor and family are well -- also the “sqarson” of Bassetts and family.

Love to all, thank you for globe.

[and on the first page] Just time to thank you for yours of 13 September. Glad you are well. You did not sent the PM Mag with the closing chapter about Napoleon but I borrowed and read it so please don't trouble. It was most interesting.


Ootacamund, October 23rd 94.

My dear Mother

I think I was able to acknowledge by last mail yours of 28 Sep and no doubt I shall receive yet another letter before this starts. By the way the legibility of your writing shames me. Yes I am very glad to hear John was a little better - he sent a cheerful card from Boulogne.

I was interested in what you wrote about Waterloo and Napoleon. There is some fear that in these days people may go to the other extreme, and forget what great things were done by their forefathers for our country -- but there can be little doubt that we were much favoured by the blunder of the French General who missed his way, and by the illness which robbed Napoleon of some of his energy and made him sleep at a time when he should have seen that his army which had defeated Blucher properly followed up and destroyed that gallant commander. As it was the French did not pursue and the few hours gave Blucher time to re-form and join Wellington, and lost the battle for the French on the 18th.

I remember your saying that your grandfather Colonel Nugent occupied the house in which Lord G. Gordon lived when he was arrested -- what was the address? [Colonel Nugent lived at 64, Welbeck Street from c.1830 and at 9 Welbeck Street from 1835. Lord George Gordon (1751-1793). Agitator. Was said to be a bigoted protestant, had been partly responsible for the anti-catholic riots of 1780, for which he had been consigned to the Tower of London. He was, however, acquitted of treason in 1781. In later life he converted to Judaism. In 1788 he was imprisoned in Newgate for libel, but lived there very comfortably, entertaining lavishly, until his death.] -- and, by the way, could you kindly, some day, note down for me, what you remember of appearance, conversation, manner of Mme D’Arblay -- don't tire yourself -- a word or two now and then – “Little Burnay” has always interested me and I hope, if I ever return to Europe, to see the few relics of her at Camilla Lodge. [Frances Burney, dresser to Queen Charlotte, “a woman who remained single in an age where marriage was everything, then in her 40s turned round and married a Napoleonic general in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars. Wrote of her double-mastectomy without anaesthetic.”

I think I had better send this a day earlier as weather is wet and there might be interruption between (?) and Bombay. Just received your card of 5th instant. I am so glad Mr. Graham has recovered. I was much pleased by a certain simplicity of manner in him -- a very good man I think. Pray remember me to him and Mrs G.

I trust you keep well. Don’t catch cold!

I am so sorry to hear of poor Miss Warde's condition. Love to Agnes and her husband and Nugent. I hope there may have been some mitigation of poor Charles H’s illness and that Agnes is better now they have a nurse. Love to Ayrton and family, also to J E H S. I do hope M. and L. made a good journey.


Ootacamund, November 2, 94

My dear Mother

Your letter of October 12 arrived after all -- only a day or so late -- by reason that you had written "Madras" instead of Ootacamund. I am sorry to hear that Charles Ellis is still so ill -- how glad they will be when he has "served his time". -- it is something that he is better. I hope Ayrton's son is better -- he seemed to be strong and active though small. [Henry, who became a physician and died in Africa] It is very good of you to take trouble about Wyndham’s song. [Wyndham obtained a degree in music at Oxford in 1894, but in 1895 joined a theological college and became a clergyman]

I find that my present Commander in Chief Madras Army (from the 1st April that magnificent title will have disappeared -- he is the last local Commander in Chief -- he will from that date, be the Lieutenant-General commanding the Madras Army Corps) -- is heir to a baronetcy -- his father was Queen Adelaide's doctor and was made Sir Bart in the thirties – I daresay you know the name Clarke MD.

Here is a love story for you! Early in the sixties I knew a chaplain at Bangalore -- one Reverend Rogers. A few days ago I heard that Mr Rogers, who has long left India -- if even he be living -- had had his romance; he was in India and, before leaving England, had become engaged to a handsome lady -- name forgotten -- correspondence after a time languished; perhaps Rogers was ill -- I know not. Then happened as always happens -- another suitor appeared about 1854. The lady found him more ardent than the absent lover – at length she wrote to India and told Rogers how matters stood. The mail steamer was wrecked -- the letters were lost -- the lady, receiving no reply, threw herself into the arms of No. 2 and became Mrs Edward Welldon!

What has become of a certain florin which you once had -- of the issue coined in the forties and then withdrawn from circulation -- also, a small copper coin with a piece of silver let into the centre (a kind of penny was it not?). They used to be at Tonbridge, in the drawer of that big bureau with the Birmingham town hall medal and other curiosities.

I hope the weather allowed you to call on the Howards. I am just in time to thank you for your long letter of October 18th. I am much grieved by your report of our old friend Mrs Dardis. I fear that next mail will tell me that she has left us. I know how much you will feel the loss of one for so many years and so intimately associated with you and yours -- especially one who could recall with you the friends of your childhood -- poor Julia, too, will sadly miss her -- as will (?) and Nugent.

You may have heard that I am taking the cottage on a long lease -- including a bit of ground adjoining. We hope thus to be spared the pains of house hunting -- and if plans go contrary we can always let or sell. The Deepdane Estate being so much sought after. Maud and the children are much attached to the place.

Poor Charles Hicks, I am very glad he did not suffer much pain at the last. I knew but little of him -- but liked him -- a clever man – a simple manner and amiable disposition. I suppose Agnes will now be more than ever a "femme d’affaires” in her own peculiar away. She is indeed fortunate in having the support and companionship of such a son!

I am very glad to hear of Audrey's engagement -- I have no doubt they will be happy -- she is a sweet placid intelligent and, I am sure, good girl – Gregory I met at your house and much liked -- Science and the Arts together should make their lives go pleasantly. [Jack Gregory, Geologist and Explorer, who discovered the Rift Valley in Africa]

Love to all -- I often think of you in these November days and hope you are careful to keep the cold out. It was indeed good of you to receive the girls and to treat them in such princely fashion and very kind of Ayrton to escort them. I hope he was not wearied by the task of (?). They have been so little in London that it is a new world to them.

Ever yours affectionate son A. Chaplin. My love to all with you and elsewhere (?) Louie, Julia (?) and families

[On first page] if you have that little cutting about (?) -- keep it or send it to M. I should like to stick into my "Pickwick" -- if you send please tell M. to put it in the book. Thank Ayrton for his letter about poor Hicks. I'll write.


Ootacamund, Nov 10. 94


My dear Mother

For two days we have had bright sunshine and the nights remind us that we are nearing Christmas. Your last letter told of much that was interesting -- of Charles Hicks -- of Audrey's happy engagement -- and I much fear that the next mail will bring the sad news of the death of Miss Dardis -- who has for so many years been associated with us. She would have been gratified by knowing that Fred Nelson had been given an appointment.

Yesterday I called on the new Chaplain (the Chaplains are granted a two-year tour of duty at this station) one Reverend Durham D.D. They claimed me amongst their acquaintance on the ground of knowing my “sister-in-law” -- who turned out to be Anna Chaplin -- whom they had known in Ireland and who, with Renira, appeared to be much liked by these people. There is a "young person", Miss D, who is a bosom friend of Rene. Dr D. told me that Anna was much liked in Dublin -- indeed she makes herself so pleasant to everyone and has so good a presence I used to wonder she did not make a second marriage. A man might do worse! Not but that I think her quite right to remain single!

We have had one or two bright days -- on such days and at this season, when, towards evening, it is almost frosty – Ootacamund is at its best. Last evening -- or afternoon -- I took a book and wandered among the the slopes and rounded hilltop lying outside the basin in which we live -- beautiful "effects" of sunset clouds etc. contrast with moon nearly at the full, sailing in a sea of deep blue -- and so forth as Henry Slade used to say!

I think I told you that we were likely to take a long lease of the cottage ground and enlarge the cottage or build another. I like the prospect although, of course, were I single, I would live in London and take my "country" in small doses. But M. and the children love the place -- as indeed I do also in a way -- and we shall be so thankful not to be again "on the tramp". Moreover it will always be a pleasant house of call for you and others -- not quite out of reach!

The mail which arrives as this leaves brings further reports from the girls of their pleasant stay with you -- they write gratefully of your kindness to them and evidently had a most agreeable sojourn. I believe you keep well although it is November.
Pardon the dullness of this letter -- I am not in the writing vein -- and I am not like some gifted authors who can "do" so many words an hour whatever their mood may be.

We have been much interested in the news from Wa(?)istan but hope all will go well -- the desertion of some of our soldiers is ominous -- we hope that such defections may not be many but the troops of our N.W. and Punjab have so much in common with the border tribes that in using such troops although we use excellent soldiers, we at the same time play a somewhat hazardous game.

Love to Julia and (?) L & JE?S and others. Alas! Holroyd tells me that our poor old friend Miss Dardis has passed away. I know how much this loss will have been felt by you -- how you must needs dwell on the many occasions on which you and yours have been associated with Miss Dardis and her sisters -- who always were remembered by me as examples of refinement in tone and of high breeding such as one does not often meet with. To this day it is a pleasure to recall Miss Nelson's appearance and the sound of her melodious voice.

Ever your loving son, A Chaplin


Ootacamund, November 19. 94

My dear Mother

I hope all is well with you. I am glad that Ayrton was able to write instead of you, last mail, for I know you have many letters to write and writing fatigues you. Still dull gloomy weather -- the effect of the N.E. Monsoon -- (?) we enjoy (?) both the former and the latter rain -- that which the Bombay side receives in July and that due at Madras October -- December -- so that there is just a leettle too much for the ordinary mortal, although doubtless not too much for nature and those especially interested in crops.

Did I tell you that our Commander-in-Chief's daughter was married the other day at Bangalore? We hear that the entertainment -- the reception -- after the ceremony, was "of the dreariest". In fact the whole business has been mismanaged and offence has been given all round. None of us, of the staff, were invited until our wedding present actually came to hand, two days before the ceremony, and then not all who had joined in presenting it were bidden. We acquit the entourage -- the ADCs of the blundering -- we fear that the "women folk" are at the bottom of it -- of course few would have gone hence to Bangalore for the occasion but the form of a (?) invitation or even a card was at least expected, and incumbent on the family.

The children write amusing reports of their visit to (?) Kensington Museum, Garrick theatre and elsewhere and that granny was “very very kind”. I am hoping to hear from you today -- or of you -- and will keep this letter so that I may catch the return.

I see letters in the papers about "cheap passages". There has been for some years an agitation on this subject and proposals have been made to Anglo-Indians for organising a steamer service of their own -- buying or charterer steamers -- but for so grand an enterprise much money is needed and government servants have not the necessary time to attend to business so complicated even if they could raise the capital. They lack too the experience of that kind of business. The latest proposal is to "make an example" of one or two companies by "boycotting" them -- beginning with the P&O. It is said that if persons connected with India would only combine, if only for a few months, so that the P&O would have empty ships, the company would soon be on its knees and indeed the calculation seems not unsound. Take the average number of passengers in a year and multiply by the passage money -- that represents an enormous sum. The P&O could not long hold out against such a loss.

The great difficulty is want of unanimity among us. As the P&O carry the mails they are necessarily more punctual and more to be relied on in case of delay by accident: there is always an extra steamer at hand to pick you up. For this reason all the "short leave" people as a rule preferred to travel "with the mails". I myself have no sympathy with P&O -- they have always been grasping and insolent. We have reason to complain of want of consideration. The P&O, for example, have reduced rates for railway servants and missionaries. But this indulgence is not granted to the military -- to government servants -- why? Yet when the P&O were comparatively only a small company and a few visitors -- none -- came to India -- it was we who paid the old high passage rates and kept the company going in the forties and fifties. We in fact made the company. The ’Messageries Maritimes’ used to take English army officers at lower rates (as is the French custom with French officers) but that indulgence has been withdrawn thanks to P&O influence. However, this subject naturally interests one less the older one grows! I cannot have to make many, if any, voyages more! But the way in which we Indians are treated makes one angry.

Do you know that the passage money by P&O to Bombay is very nearly the same as to Melbourne although the voyage to Melbourne is two or three weeks longer in duration. And the prices are enormously high as compared with Atlantic rates.

I have kept to this till English mail came in but there is nothing from you. I daresay you omitted to write “Ootacamund” in which case of the letter would go to Madras and arrive by later post -- sent on.

Love to all. I trust all goes well. Ever your loving son, A Chaplin.

Did James Nugent benefit at all under Miss Dardis will? [James Nugent, from an old Irish family, was the husband of Allan’s sister Julia, whose nickname was ‘Dardy’. I don’t know where Miss Dardis fits in.] Please thank Holroyd much for "Studio". Will write next mail. Also, thank you for Spectator through Maud.



Ootacamund November 25th. 94

My dear Mother. Your letter of November 2nd arrived next post -- as I expected it would (you will find "Ootacamund India, without Madras, a better address and easy to remember). I have just come in after a solitary walk and am writing by lamp light so excuse large writing -- but I find that the sooner I begin to letter the better I progress -- the more probable that I shall fill the sheet and I always feel ashamed to send you a "scrap" because you write so much and so regularly.

I must not forget -- thank you very much for the St Paul’s magazine. How very well it is got up -- the etching -- frontispiece is always especially good. One of the editors is Sir Douglas Straight the barrister, who was many years a Judge at Allahabad. He must much enjoy his literary work and society. The other editor Lord G. Hamilton is I suspect, little more than a figurehead -- helps to make the magazine fashionable. I have not yet read Roberts "Rise of Wellington" -- the papers say it is not so attractive as Wolsey and Napoleon in style. It seemed a little mistake (to me) of the magazine -- the publishing two similar essays, one following on the other and inviting comparison -- much better they had waited a year or so!

Yes -- I feared -- I knew you would much feel the loss of our poor friend Miss Dardis. I am glad I saw her not long before I left. She was always very friendly and showed kindly interest in all connected with me -- an interest not the less for my having met Nelson's nephew of whom and whose brother, who died, she was fond.

There goes the hotel dinner bell. I am the only lodger -- so no one will be kept waiting at the table d'hote. Goodnight!

I see a very interesting article in "Contemporary" by Sir T. Wade -- the great authority on China. He appears to think the dismemberment of China by European Powers by no means improbable -- although he believes it would be a great mistake. He says if the dynasty falls there will be anarchy -- as in India when we conquered it -- so many rival claimants, so apathetic the masses of the people. However, all this is now ancient history to you.

I was much interested in the report of the Tonbridge School improvements -- the speeches etc.. Welldon of Harrow did not make so much as he might have made of this occasion -- but I suppose he had to efface himself somewhat in presence of Cantuar? Young Welldon's speeches are always a little bumptious I think -- but of course that comes from self-confidence which is the gift to which successful men, for the most part, owe their success. The place seems as much a club as a school -- with all in its various institutions and branches and think of 28 Masters! "Chaplin" I once heard a master say, in allusion to me "Chaplin is one of those who look upon us as the common enemy" and yet one or two of them were my very good friends!

Today is an official holiday -- but I went to office for a time -- because it is a pleasanter place in which to sit than my room in this house. There is a reading room to which I resort daily but, the newspaper etc. looked at, one naturally goes away -- and I usually find some business to do -- (?) on a holiday -- the fact is there are too many "office holidays" in India. In every office there are clerks of two or three creeds; each creed has its festivals and usually, for the chief festivals, the whole office is closed. If I were Viceroy, I would, if the constitution of the office allowed it, have granted leave to only those of the faith which kept the festival, and compel the remainder to do extra work -- in their turn they would have leave at the expense of their fellow clerks. Closing an office for a day has of course, as a result, accumulation of letters and double work the next day.

You kindly ask when I'm going to retire -- the answer is, as children say – “this year, next year, never” -- or I might go at any moment because, of course, the question constantly arises -- is it worthwhile to remain seeing how small is the gain -- with a 13-penny rupee -- even allowing for the compensation? Pickance withdrew three years ago, but he could claim a better pension (having joined the service under more favourable conditions, early in ‘59 -- and perhaps he succeeded to property. I have not seen him since ‘62. Moreover his appointment (in the police) was worth considerably less than mine is -- so probably he lost nothing by retirement. Meanwhile the months slip by and I should like to see more of you my dear Mother, and others and every month after one is 50 tells -- as one-day said to me, 30 years ago, a fine handsome powerful reckless fellow who, though he had lost his sword arm, would still have knocked down, with the other, anyone who had ventured to the "tread on the tail of his coat". "Do I sleep? Do I dream? Or is visions about, are things as they seem?" Or did I really hear a "young person" alluding to me as "that old Colonel"? I have a grave misgiving that by last mail enclosed to you I sent a letter for Julia which I had only begun to write -- I did not even address the cover.

The mail is just in -- your card or paper will be coming from Madras. Carry [Mrs Skinner’s daughter Caroline, who was Allan’s sister-in-law.] has just been to the Cottage. She was full of the iniquities of Kate [Katherine, another of Mrs Skinner’s daughters] and Westby [Kate’s husband] -- Mrs Skinner is never happy unless worrying about something and Westby seems to have succeeded to the place of Steward. [Walter Holden Steward, husband of Florance, another of Mrs Skinner’s daughters] He is unfortunate in not being able to live apart from his wife seeing that Mrs S. will interfere. If she is helping them why not pay down so much and no more and have done with it. Ashley is wanting in tact but I am sure I could never have lived in harmony with Mrs Skinner if circumstances had brought me near her!

Another drizzling day and December near -- but I am told it is seasonable and we have the comfort of knowing it is not cold as in Europe I can still use cold water and sit without fire.

Another victory for Japan -- well I hope it may end the war the sooner but I trust China will recover herself -- they have the great virtues of industry and peacefulness -- so to deserve to survive.

Please give love and thanks for letter Algiers 6.11 to J.E.H.S. and L. and say I wrote to Algiers last mail -- but I think I gave (?) address so they may not receive my letter yet. [Five days earlier, on 20 November, John Skinner had died, in Setif, Algeria.] I hope Julia and J. are well -- perhaps they are abroad -- love to Holroyd and Ayrton and families. I trust the Professor and Mrs A and Edith flourish.. Have you seen the “kinetoscope”? They say it is not entirely a new invention.

Ever your loving son
A Chaplin


Ootacamund, December 4. 94

My dear Mother

Thank you much for your letter of Lord Mayor’s day. I fear you had damp foggy weather. Our damp weather is nearly over for present I hope and today it is sunny and agreeably cold -- certainly December is till the rains begin again this place seems to have an agreeable climate. The only fault I have to find with it is the solitude. I don't mean the want of the regulation "society" but there is no town -- no life and movement as at Bombay and Rangoon, but one can't have everything and per contra, there is prettier country "mountain loch and glen" as the advertisement says.

I should be sorry to see the Japanese appropriate China if that were possible. I would rather that circumstances compelled China to improve her methods. They are so industrious and law abiding that they deserve better than to be a subject race. At Rangoon, where there are many, I used often to look in vain for a sleeping Chinaman altho’ many an Indian might be seen taking a nap in the streets especially at midday, when the coolies "knock off" work.

I am glad Julia was able to lunch with you tho’ it was a “maigre” or "banyan" day. I was wondering what had become of that side of the house. When do they go to the continent? I am glad that Agnes has Miss Goddard with her -- I only hope it won't end in a quarrel -- but no doubt Miss G. knows by this time how to humour her friend. Now that Agnes has more time she will be able to see something of the relations on her own side -- I suppose the house is still "to let".

I have picked up Le Fanu’s "Uncle Silas" which is an interesting story -- more like Wilkie Collins than the “modern” novel -- the ethical -- metaphysical or whatever it is called -- and it reminds me too of Charlotte Bronte who told a plain tale in a plain way and yet is still as entertaining as in her own day. Le Fanu wrote Uncle Silas. His brother William, a bright clever man, died but the other day having, not long before, published his "Seventy years of Irish life" which you should see if you don't know it.

“a demain done”! -- the mail is to arrive today and takes this tomorrow. I am glad to receive today a line from John -- that was the most serious accident. He was in no condition to meet so severe a shock and I am thankful that he was able to put his hand to paper. I am much pleased by Wyndham having taken that degree. All things considered it does him great credit taking the two degrees in nearly the time allowed for one!

I am just in time to thank you for yours of November 16. It came just six hours after other letters although it had been to Madras -- that is good going! The envelope may interest you. Fort St. George is the Madras Fort where the officers are. I am glad to hear that Julia and J. and M. are well enough to brave the sea even in this season of year. Your enclosure from Ellen is interesting. I will send them a line. I need not say that you have my very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year -- your loving son A Chaplin. My love to all

[On inside page] Thanks for a news-cutting. I never knew that George Elliot had lived three years so near you at 16 Blandford Square. I remember Miss Ann Dardis well.


Ootacamund, December 11. 94

My dear Mother

Many thanks for your kind letter last received. I scarcely deserve it. My letters are but scraps. I am as when I last wrote -- the usual routine -- even though a trifle colder but still agreeable and, in the middle-day, even hot, out of doors.

I was glad to have a line from Algeria. I do hope both John and Louie will gain strength by the change -- that John will be no worse for that fall. He is sadly changed but wonderful in his vitality and cheerfulness. I had a line from Cleve who was anxious, naturally, and much shocked by the change in his father.

I am still plodding – no! - reading with pleasure through Froude’s "Ireland" and vary with a novel and a dash of poetry. I am still my landlady’s sole support in this "off season" time -- and it will be rather a blow to her if I some day give notice -- if I come to retire "par exemple”.

So you are to have India introduced to London by the great Kiralfy – you, I am sure, will find the show very interesting. Politics are interesting just now. I wish indeed we could come to a satisfactory understanding with Russia -- but judging from the past natural distrust there is not much hope of that. You see that we are on the verge of another inevitable little co-operation in Wa(?)istan. I am inclined to think that were our government more sparing of KCBs, KCJ(?), DSOs and various other decorations which of late years have been sown broadcast and have consequently lost something of their value – were these decorations fewer -- less easy to obtain -- were they almost entirely withheld -- I believe that we should have fewer "little expeditions". But of course I should be told that the grapes are sour, as I am undecorated. But the fact is well-known that many military men are medal-hunters -- on the lookout for decorations. Not an altogether ignoble quest for they are willing to accept hardship and risk -- but they, at any rate, would rather that a "difference" were not "amicably adjusted". I must say for Wolsey that, judging from his writings, he is not one of these.

I have this moment heard of poor Louie 's dreadful loss [John’s death in Algeria] -- of the dreadful loss to all of us -- but have no details. I know, dear Mother, how much distressed you will be. I pray that you may not suffer in health. How little I realised how near it was. A letter I had just written him lies before me -- now I must not post it, alas!

I had better write to Louie with this -- she will have left Algiers I suppose. Goodbye dear Mother -- I have no time or heart to write more.

Ever your loving son
A Chaplin

Kindly forward the enclosure. [on first page] This card is rather formal in the inscription! But I could not find one more suitable.


Ootacamund, December 14. 94

My dear Mother -- God bless you. It was indeed kind of you to take the trouble, in your heaviness of heart, to send your long letter of 23rd November. It arrived two or three hours after I had posted my letter to you. The death of poor John is a terrible blow to us all, For was he not everybody's friend? But especially must you feel the loss, not only because he has grown up and always lived under your eye but because of the grief of poor Louie and their children.

That the sad end should have come when they were so far from you and all alone makes it doubly sad but there is a grain of consolation in the remembrance that he passed in sleep -- it was perhaps better so. The more one thinks of him -- the nobler -- the brighter - appears his life! And poor Mr(?) Howard too! whom you have known for so very many years and who was so kind a friend. I look anxiously for the next mail knowing that all these recent losses of those dear to you must have much agitated and shocked you. I pray that all may be well -- that the recollection of what you have been and still are to all of us may strengthen you under these trials. Maud and the children are very sad -- not the less so that John so recently was under their roof -- although they are now glad that they were able to take him in. He took a special interest in the question about our continuing to live there and his very last letter -- the last word of the letter -- expressed the hope that we should be able to make the desired arrangement.

I am very glad indeed that Hilary was able to meet poor Louie and can well believe that he was a most tender and efficient escort. [Clifton Wyndham Hilary Skinner, second son of John and Louisa] The loss of another one of the members of our mess, as soldiers say, carries one back to those who have gone before in the past few years -- my father, uncles, Mr Skinner and poor Mattie. [Matilda Charlotte Chaplin, Allan’s younger sister, one of the first women doctors, wife of Professor Edward Ayrton, who died in 1883] Strange it is, as you too perhaps find, that as one grows older the remembrance becomes more clear of those who have gone from us -- the old days come back more vividly.

I have only just time to say the mail is in -- your letter will no doubt come this evening. I am so grieved you have had trouble about Mrs(?) D. and just at this time of family distress. I hope poor Louie arrived safely. Please thank Holroyd for his letter – tell him it is dated 9th November tho’ arriving by mail leaving London on 30 November. I enclose London postmark. I will answer next week

Goodbye, your loving son
A Chaplin

I hope you keep well. I wish you health in coming year and many of them


Ootacamund, December 21. 94

My dear Mother, your beautifully written card of November 30 received. Many thanks for same. I hope Louie and Hilary arrived safely the 1 Dec but it must nevertheless have been a painful meeting. I am sorry to say the Daily News you mention has not arrived. I hope it will not be lost as I much wish to see what it said about our dear friend. I saw a brief notice in another paper but it was not very accurate in statement.

I am as when I last wrote -- still alone in this small hostelry. Mrs (?) came to see me yesterday to consult my wishes about what I would like for my Christmas dinner "You see one has to get things ready some time beforehand otherwise the turkey etc. are all bought up". Of course I know that what the good lady really wanted to find out was whether I was likely to dine out on that day and so save her from preparing any dinner at all! I believe I am to go to a neighbour’s table but it was too soon to tell her so. I comforted her by saying that for myself I had no wish to have a special “feed” on Christmas Day -- that the occasion did not seem to me to call for any departure from the usual bill of fare, I being alone.

I see an interesting article in the "19th" by Stott the publisher -- on the decay of book selling -- not a new subject -- but in these days of universal reading and education one is struck by the want of thoroughness in the reading -- the enormous number of newspapers and quantity of ephemeral literature. I know many who never read any publication except a newspaper and newspaper-reading is like dram-drinking, you keep on taking the stuff and at last you care for nothing else. I am not at all sure that the (?) " expansion of the press" is an “unmixed good”. It is possible to have too many newspapers but of course it is better than having none.

I see that Lord Sandhurst is to be the new Governor of Bombay. I daresay he will do well enough. His father was a clever man and his mother has ability and courage. I knew the father when he was Sir William Mansfield. He came to Kamplee to inspect when I was there, he being Commander in Chief. He was remarkable in that his attention was given to civil matters as well as military, and in the Viceroy's Council his opinion always commanded respect even on abstruse subjects such as “Currency”. But it is a great pity that there is a growing tendency to give Indian appointments to “men of the party”. They ought to look around for the best man to be had be he Tory or "Home Ruler" and take the man belonging to the party in power only when "other things are equal".

I am very glad to learn of Cleve’s promotion [to Indian Central Provinces, Deputy Commissioner (officiating 3rd Class) in 1992] and especially glad that it came before his poor father's death -- for it gave him great pleasure. The "deputy commissioner" (or the "Dipty Sahib" or the Burra Sahib as called by the natives) is an important personnage in the "Non-regulation" provinces such as the C.P. In the "Regulation" districts the Revenue and Judicial work is not all under one officer – there are a Collector and a Judge -- and the judge is also a star of magnitude. Here we have a "Collector" (just as Josh Sedley was of Bagley Wallah). He is rather a clever young man named Rees whose name appears sometimes in the "19th century". He has travelled and is a good linguist and has a facile pen -- but he does not do his duty to society as the representative of Her Majesty -- he lives very quietly -- is very "close". His ambition is to save every penny and then retire and write M.P. after his name. His wife’s father was General the Hon. Sir James Dormer who was our local Commander in Chief and in ‘93 was killed by a tiger. The Hon. Jimmy he was called. Poor fellow! It was the old story -- want of caution -- going on foot too near a tiger which had been wounded and which was believed to be dead, so still did it lie, half-hidden in bushwood: then it leapt on him and tore his leg. He was doing well but, in a day or two, the doctors said that one foot must be taken off. The general refused to submit, tho’ told that death was the alternative, and that if the operation were performed he would almost certainly recover. He did die.

Not long before his death one of his daughters married the Collector. Someone said to the Hon. Jimmy when the engagement was announced "I wonder you let her marry him -- he's so stingy, so mean". The old man replied "Mean! Then he's got his match in Mary"! And so Mary and her husband now combine to save, and we see little of them! Lady Dormer the widow was still here when I arrived in February (she is now in Europe). I called on her. Did I tell you how she talked about her husband's dreadful accident? With the evident sadness and her love for poor Sir J. there were mingled a conscious pride in the manner of his death and proper respect for the beast which had had to the honour of causing it. "Would you like to see the head" she said -- "they say it is a fine specimen". I bowed and this old lady led the way into the next room and, with a gentle sigh, waved her hand to the wall where hung the "trophy". -- glaring eyes and snarling face looking down upon us. I almost shuddered at the thought that those monstrous fangs had been bedded in the poor old general’s flesh but the old lady was used to the sight and would not have parted, on any account, with the grim memento -- the hide, too, was spread out as part of the show. Poor Johnny! I might have amused him with this incident -- had I thought of it!

But how I "run on", and I daresay I told you all this gossip before. I am glad to see the long "notice" in the paper about poor John written by Forbes (formerly of Daily News) who (in spite of what occurred) seems to have had really a regard and respect for his rival -- as indeed he might well have had of a rival so honest and generous.

Please thank Edith for her letter of December 6 - dated from Bernard St Russell 29th -- a part of the town for which I have always had an affection -- perhaps because of old associations with the Edward Chaplins’ and also because the Sedleys and Osbornes lived there. The houses in that part of London seem so solid and comfortable -- I called on a friend -- a retired officer -- there last year. He was saying how good a house it was for the rent -- but he did find it isolated -- in these days -- and has now left it.

I am much pleased about Wyndham’s little scholarship -- £40 is not a large sum -- but the winning it will encourage him and his mother -- and his obtaining it and being offered another at Ely shows that what he has achieved at Oxford is already of some value to him -- and such appointments all help to make the reputation and if only he can make a living in this way we shall be very glad, for I am sure such kind of work would suit his health better than that in any of the regular professions -- the law, mercantile or other.

I am glad to see pictures of our old friend in the “Graphic” and “Black and White” -- but that in the "Graphic" might be anyone -- they have quite lost the likeness.

Your letter of 9th December came last evening (25th December). You say you received on the 3rd December my letter of 10 November -- that looks as if I had been late for post -- I hope not -- yet the usual journey is made in 18 or 19 days: perhaps I began letter early.

Thank you for the English Mag. Christmas No. and for a pretty memorial card of poor Johnny -- a very sad memento. The Daily News did arrive after all and I thank you much for it. It is most interesting. The difficulty is to persuade people to believe how richly John had been gifted – but nothing that has been said or written could do him full justice.

Love to all -- ever dear Mother your loving son, A Chaplin.

Very good of you to ask Maud to stay the night. Yes, I wish the house business were settled. It will be hard to be disappointed after all.
Goodbye









Other letters

J.W.C.C.S.
1853

My Dear Papa

I gave Mr Earle your note but before I read your letter so that I did not read it, and he said that he would let me go this time. If we had only been in the punishment book three times we get a monthly holiday and I had been in four times, but Mr Earle said that he would give it to me at this time on condition that I did my lessons better so as to deserve the next month.

I expect to see you, Aunt Sarah and Uncle James at the station. I have sent Ayrton's letter as I thought most likely you want it. My money is nearly all gone except 11d, chiefly in brown paper, steel pens (of which I am at present giving you a specimen) slate pencils, lead pencils, blotting paper. Tell Ayrton that I have not found a firm friend yet but I daresay I shall find one in the course of another month, also tell him that I hope he sang at the concert which he speaks of in his letter. There is plenty of singing here and I sing at the top of my voice. With love to Mattie and I hope her reefs and (?) are quite well which you may have seen in her spelling. I have lost my knife already I do not mean that I have sold it but lost it on a Saturday night whilst washing. Will you please when you have all read this to forward it to Sandgate and when you do (?) my dear papa into my dear Louy as I have not written to her yet. I have to come back again on Thursday evening by the eight o'clock train.

Believe me ever your affectionate son Allan Chaplin


Milan, April 16, 1871

My dear Effie

Since I wrote last I have reached Milan about which I shall say something (perhaps) below. I saw all that was to be seen at Pisa and am glad I made a short stay there. The famous tower is well worth seeing. And the facade of the cathedral, not as well known, is very beautiful. The interior is handsome, in the usual Italian style, and rich in marble decorations. The large baptistry close to the church is also worth seeing, there being in it a fine pulpit and elaborately carved marble font. The three buildings of which I speak placed all together in one plot of ground and form a very effective coup d’oeil (is not that a horrid word to pronounce -- but you see I have only to write it).

I left Pisa for Florence where I spent the day in visiting the galleries and seeing Michelangelo’s works in the chapel of the Medicis and the Bargello towers (Day and Night, the dying Adonis etc). In the Bargello by the way is to be seen the flying Mercury of which you may have seen prints. It is charming in the gracefulness of its attitude.

Leaving Florence at five in the evening I reached Turin at 5 a.m., and after coffee proceeded to follow the advice of Baedeker and view the town from the hill rising on the South bank of the Po. The site commands a very fine view but I must have been there too early and before the sun's rays had chased away the morning mists. The town was under a haze and it was not till I had waited for half an hour that I obtained a good view. The view however was, even at first, very fine for high above the cloud which hung over the town rose the snow-clad summits of the Alps, stretching across the sky, and seemingly as if suspended between heaven and earth. For a few moments the snow-covered peaks glistened as they caught the first rays of the rising sun, and then the mists which had enveloped the town rolled upwards and hid them from the view.

Turin though a large town has not many remarkable sights. There is a picture gallery having a miscellaneous collection. Some of the pictures very fine. Among those I noted are a Paulo Vero. The subject -- Mary M. washing the feet of the Saviour. The expressions on the faces of the lookers-on are well depicted and one hears them saying "Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for 200 pence and given to the poor". The Magdelene is pretty and has beautiful hair. She would look well in a ball room but is not the woman whom, in my mind’s eye, I have been accustomed to see "doing what she could".

There is a well-arranged armoury (in the Palace at Turin) which I saw -- but the description of it is not likely to interest you. On reaching Milan at 10 am I went to see the Ambrose Library, where are some interesting sketches of L. da Vinci and the carbon of "School of Letters" of Raphael. Then to a church at the other end of the town where is to be seen the great "The Last Supper". The picture is in very bad presentation but such as it is I need scarcely say repays a visit. Then to the Academy where are a few good pictures -- Tintoretto – Guersino(?) -- Vandyck and others. The famous "Marriage of the Virgin" of Raphael I am not artistic enough to appreciate. Hence I walked to be Triumphal Arch and then back to the cathedral which last is of course the sight of Milan. This church is the finest I have seen. The interior though perhaps less delicate than that of the Church at Koln is very grand yet without being cumbrous. The effect of the vast aisles and towering columns (surmounted by statues in niches instead of capitals) is much enhanced by the gorgeously painted windows.

I went last evening to the Scala (a very large theatre of which you may have heard) and saw the Barber of Seville. I went again this morning (Sunday) to the cathedral and, mounting to the roof, examined the elaborate carvings of the multitude of pinnacles and (?)eable statues which adorn the galleries of the building.

You must not be surprised if you do not hear from me for some days but I will let you know when I shall return. I hope the letters I have sent you have interested you. They were written with that object.

Love to Holroyd and yourself and believe me dear Effie to be

Ever your most affectionate brother

Allan Chaplin
I hope your health is pretty good. I am looking forward to a letter at Bale.



[Undated letter. The Albert Memorial was completed in 1871]

My dear Effie,

Many thanks for your note and the photo. I must say it is extremely bad as a likeness, deplorably bad: you look as if you had been drinking. The name on the back is damning evidence of your having been to Margate, which in the (?) of society is a crime of the first magnitude. I think £2 good enough for a second-hand cast. Ask H to place it to my credit or, better still, pay it to Maynard.

I see the Albert Mem has been opened. It seems to be a great picture when regarded as a whole. Tell the Colonel that his butter dish is much admired. Did you go to the School cricket match? Where you one of the visitors who go as (?) says "because they like to fancy they have a boy at Eton". At any rate you (?).

I saw in the paper the notice of Mr Bore’s(?) bankruptcy . I do not understand how he ever hoped to succeed seeing that his appearance and manners must inevitably have damaged his case. But I forget that I am not looking at it from his point of view. I enclose a history mag which will perhaps raise a smile in (?) you.

Yours affectionately

Allan Chaplin
Love to H and salaam all-round.



(?)
July 12, 1868

My dear mother I received your letter of the 12th June. You see that I have not yet left this place. I am not likely to leave before the end of August and I shall shake the dust from my feet when I depart. You seem lucky you (?), I hope the letters I have sent to the house will not miscarry.

The rain has been very heavy in Bengal and the East. Even to the (?) of tea crops: in this place it has only just begun to fall. People are making guesses as to who is to be G.G. The government must "look alive" if Sir Stafford Northcote is to have it. What a storm has been raised at home by the "girl of the period" article. I see that the article has been translated and published in a native paper and the Editors, on the strength of it, question the propriety of encouraging the(?) representations of (?) race.

Love to all
your affectionate son
Allan Chaplin




[A letter with a black edging]

Bencomb
Boxhill
Dorking

8 – 4 – 06 (?)

My dear Ayrton. Having discharged my conscience by a p.c. I felt I might take it easy in writing to thank you for your "esteemed favour" of 19th. I was touched by your kind thoughtful suggestion of my sending a parcel of photographs etc. -- to have been at hand chez vous.

No, thank you. I prefer, in raising an altar to my (?) while I am on the move, to trust to my "imaj” as the children say. I shall travel as light as I can, with due regard to the needs of the time, and carrying with me only current books, letters etc.

At this moment we are delighting in the sunshine and rejoice that the last few weeks of our sojourn are gilded so as to leave a beautiful and ever-delightful memory of this "eligible residence". Last Tuesday came Wyndham on house business (he had to go back on Saturday). He very kindly insists on escorting me to London, if not to Bassetts -- a gratifying filial service which must add to the pleasure of the excursion. You can understand that I look forward with pleasure to once again travelling like an ordinary mortal, when I tell you that on Sunday last I entered on the 12th year of my invalid seclusion!

The Bencombe detachment will consist of Radbourne, and self under command of W.
I believe Hatfield Peveril is the best station to make for. We can easily look up the trains and, all being well, will keep you duly informed as to the progress of the party.

On 31st we had a call from Henry (?) and wife. With them came their then guest "Ottie” from Galway, where he is in the enjoyment of the dignified ease of the Preventive service. I need hardly say it was a great pleasure to me again to see the dear boys together. Ottie has all the breeziness traditionally associated with the "handy man" and looks both robust and handsome while "Little Henny” remains, as of old, the more attractive of the pair (to me, at least) in looks and manner. They (especially Ottie) asked after you and all yours, each and severally, and were much concerned when they heard of the sad West African chapter of your family history.

The young folk have been very busy house hunting for many weeks and we now trust that that business is "fixed up". M & C have secured a little residence at Wimbledon -- and, not very far from them, W. and I have found a diggs, furnished/redone (with option of (?) and thereof) and Maud charges me to add that (?) of my books etc. will be sent thither: another reason for sending you a parcel as you kindly suggest.

With (?) love to Edith and all, your affectionate brother
A Chaplin.



W.G.

12 – 5 – 07

My dear Ayrton

(?). My PC had been better not writ, seeing that H. reported himself here that same p.m. nappointed(?) to meet me, in Park, Sat. Accordingly yesterday I paraded (?) at Round Pond and presently appeared H. C. going strong (though it was so warm) and wearing a white panama; looking as I told him, like hansom-cabby, on boat-race day! We had a delightful hour, basking in sun, amongst(?) ducks, dogs and children.

I have been dipping again into that terrible, yet beautiful, chapter of' /57 history, Trevelyan's "Cawnpore”. The narrative is, I believe, trustworthy, the language judicially temperate and calm, with here and there a glow which accords well with the lurid atmosphere. I presume your Edith read it long ago: if not, or it is forgotten, you should read it; but I warn you that I once tried to read the book aloud to my family, but shamefully broke down; for the story appeals to me! Not that I have a past in the campaign country but I know the mis en scene and arrived in India while there were yet visible vestigia praelic and I was associated with “arma virumque” of the time, the regiment with which I first (?), now Royal Dublin Fusiliers, then, first Madras Fusiliers, had been of the force which relieved Lucknow, in those (?) times. One of our number (disfigured by a horrible sabre-wound) had been on the staff of Havelock. Another youngster was a son of the "gallant Neil”, and the young man would, with pride, show us a bullet-riven helmet which his father had been wearing when he fell!

It is well too that the rising generation should realise what their near-forebears went through -- their unflagging devotion to duty and splendid staunchness in an awful trial. You may remember that I voyaged to India in company with one of the very few survivors of the "massacre at the boats". He was returning after sick-leave in England, and often told me how he took to the water and, diving and dodging, succeeded in escaping the "pop shots" from the banks and reaching, naked and utterly destitute, a point lower down the river whence after hairsbreadth escapes and perilous wanderings he came to a haven of safety with our countrymen. All this accounts for my interest in the book as (?).

W is again taking a duty in the country. He likes it in fine weather and guineas are "not to be sneezed at". But we could not forebear a smile when our parson -- instead of (?) sent a copy of his own sermon and with many thanks!

Love to all, (?),
A Chaplin


[No address, no date on the letters below]

My dear Mother

Out for a long ride this morning -- down the road past the piles and piles of rice bags which the coolies carried with marvellous ease -- past the (?) pads where the elephants were busy doing the work of many men shifting and piling huge logs. Ours has to stand at a distance for one's horse does not understand what is the moving mountain and refuses to approach. There are a number of logs lying in a swamp hard by. The elephant marches to the spot guided by the heels and goad of the "mahout". There is a chain fastened to the beast. This must be passed round the log so the unwieldy (?) stoops on bended knee, places the upper part of his trunk against the log and pulls it over. Then the chain is fast, the beast is turned about, and off he starts, dragging the log like a stick behind him -- sometimes throwing up his trunk and trumpeting loudly as if enraged at the thought of being made to do mere menial work -- but his work is not done yet, for he has to take his log to the pile, lift it, and push it until it has been laid to the satisfaction of his master.

I passed the Bishops Palace -- or bungalow. They have just started a Bishop here. I have not yet met him. I hear that already they want to build a Cathedral, and perhaps when it is not half completed they'll send round the hat and say they could not help running into debt.

So I wandered on, out of the suburbs, pass a village among the trees where the children were sleeping in the grateful shade hard by a picturesque old Temple or pagoda (for it is more Chinese than Indian) -- here and there a woman sits at her door smoking -- even the children smoke. Presently I came to the railway level crossing -- and a minute afterwards the mail train came by -- a "Europe" guard looking out of the brake at the end -- strongly out of keeping with the slow old bullocks (?) the coconut oil milk, with the staring dragon and griffins of the neighbouring temples, and the bullock cart lumbering along the road.

Love from your affectionate son A Chaplin. I hope no war.


[The only clues to the place are “the old rock,” the name Sir A Clerk, and the fact that it is within reach of Madras. There is no clue as to date.]

My dear Mother

Not many more letters for us here! And now that the time draws near I have some regrets at leaving the old rock in whose shadow I have lived so long. I was just beginning to know one or two people well (about time to begin!) and shall part with them with the more regret that the odds are against our meeting again. Last evening, I was dining with Sir A Clerk the Public Works Minister (late Gov(?) of Singapore). He has come here to look round with an eye to (?) and their cure. He is a quiet unassuming man without any brilliancy of conversation, so that one wonders why he should receive £8000 a year or so instead of oneself! He seems to be able to give an opinion on the (?) of a cigar! But no doubt he is a (?) man – or he would have been unfrocked surely ere this!

I have just returned from the Sessions Court where a friend of mine was on the Bench – they were trying a “dacoity” case (highway robbery). The ‘scene in Court’ has often been described and they dance all over India. At the end of the court stand the Prisoners, nine in all along the bar. Their clothing a cloth round the loins and hanging round the neck of each a number for easy reference – their names are inconveniently long and alike). On one side of the court sit the “assessors” – a compromise for a jury – a body of natives of the better class to see fair play and who are much in awe of the Europe judge. On the other side are spectators. In the middle a table on either side of which are ranged counsel for prosecution and defence – overlooking the whole is the bench – where the judge maintains his dignity in spite of the absence of robes. Just below him sits the interpreter – a dreadful wet blanket on the whole proceedings – whose imperturbably methodical manner would depress the most spirited counsel – even Ballantine suffered. The witness faces the interpreter – is talked to and at by him and the counsel thus [diagram consisting of three dots in a triangle] and such witnesses! There is a ‘Europe’ counsel from Madras on this occasion, but the presence even of this great man will not make Ramsawnny speak to the point, and as he grows nervous he wanders further and further from the point. It is well that the Court attendant who brought him in has (?) the witness’s arms behind his back, where he has to keep them folded, for otherwise he would gesticulate in a bewildering manner. Even now in his attempts to illustrate his words by screwing about his head and neck he goes thro’ the most (?) contortions. This witness is a shuffler and sorely tries the tempers of judge and counsel. I note that there is a difference in procedure which (?) people might adopt – after the prosecution the judge may question the prisoners should he think they can throw any light on points requiring an explanation.

Love to Louie, Julia M, H&E, Ayrton and all.

Your affect. son

A Chaplin
Thank Louie for her and Cleve’s letters.


19th June

Dear Effie,

Many very many thanks for your kind note – and wishes just arrived.

I am sensible of your kindness tho’ you know what I think about my birthday. Perhaps I shall see you tomorrow evening – it (?) rain in the morning and (?) am working till afternoon.

Your v affectionate
Allan Chaplin

From The Rangoon Times, Friday December 27, 1889 (this was an English language paper, printed in a style similar to The Times). It was the heyday of the British Empire, and Colonel Chaplin was in Burmah. The song was sung by Burmese schoolchildren to the Prince, the eldest grandson of Queen Victoria. See Family Tree Maker, Allan Chaplin.

Abstract of the children’s song, sung at Mandalay to H.R.H. Prince Albert Victor

“Heir to the throne, hail!
Happy under thy protection, our hearts beat joyously, like the beating of victorious drums!
We little maids salute thee.
Grandson of her who reigns in London Palace, journey from land to land to Mandalay thou dost delight us!
Most honoured are we sweet little maids, in that a Prince has visited this land in our day, who is heir to the throne, before whom the whole world trembles, and whose glory is conter-minous with the earth!
The thunderous power and glory of the royal grandson is able to bring a hundred sovereigns into submission!
Unequalled is he with his moon like face, made for the worship of maidens from the four quarters of the earth!
Mirror of his grandmother and surrounded by his army, we maids reverence him in this assembly as our highest honor!
May the cold hurt him not in this month, when the royal flowers bloom and the heavy dews fall!

Chorus

“On the water they strike like lightning with torpedoes (tawpido)!
On land they reduce whole mountains with dynamite (dainnamaik)!
With rainbow-like head-dress of pure rubies he is a second Indra!
With breeches flashing like lightning and worth a hundred thousand pieces of gold, bright as the sun is his glory and supreme on the earth!
Mirror of the Heir Apparent, his royal father, like a diamond is he falling from the sky!
Fair of face, with shoes of gold set with gems!
Ruler of all the armies, at his coming the earth and seas tremble!
Wise as Indra, all Burma feels his power!
Searching for enemies and glorious as the sun, he subdues the whole world with bombs and drums!
Under his glory and power let us be happy and joyful!

Chorus

“Travelling over land and water for his amusement,
Gaining wondrous victories over many kinds of knowledge, respected by many monarchs, we little maids are happy as lotus flowers when water is sprinkled!
Though he is over 20, he is as the rising sun and we worship his moon like face!”


Description of the Casket containing the address presented to His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales at Mandalay, on 24th December 1889.

This Casket is true representation of modern Burmese art and is constructed for its contents in the Burmese fashion. The contents are primarily an address in Burmese, painted on lacquered silk, specially prepared.... It is on this material that... sacred Buddhist texts of the Burmese, are written in this form and in this manner.

There are three copies of the address, made according to Burmese ideas of propriety. One is the original... and is painted in black characters on gold, relieved with red ornaments. The characters are called Square a Pali by Europeans and... tamarind seed characters by the Burmese. One is a copy in black Square Pali characters on silver. One is a copy in black Burmese characters on gold.

The whole is bound together by a cover, always made in this particular fashion.... and round this is wound a tape specially woven. The custom is to weave sacred text in Burmese into this tape, but for this occasion the titles in Burmese of his Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales have been woven into a tapestry… (?) recur three times over and are as follows:

"The royal book of the Lord, the (?) Prince Albert Victor, the royal grandson of the splendid Empress Queen, the great and most glorious." The method of winding the tape is that shown.

The red paint on the inside of the casket,... is put on in the Burmese style, and not in the European. The tray is also in the Burmese style and contains the English copy of the address. In the cover are written the following words "the master carver Maung Shwe Dain carved this at Mandalay in the year 1889."

The exterior of the casket represents Burmese mythological objects. On the top are carved two... serpents, such as are to be seen at the entrance to pagodas in Burma. The four large figures at the upper corners represent two demons.. and two... mythological monkeys. The four large figures below are… angels, who stand on … flying children. The central figures below are also … in the act of flying. The gilding is in gold leaf in Burmese style and according to Burmese ideas.

[The ….. above indicate the Burmese words written in Burmese characters not available on this computer]


Strasbourg to Versailles, 1871

[Letter from Allan Chaplin – an account of his journey from Strasbourg to Versailles, sent to his sister Louisa. The date includes no year and the month is indistinct, but it was during the siege of Paris by Bismarck, so 1871 – see the note at the end]

Versailles, January(?) 23rd

My dear Louie,

As I expected, I have ‘fallen upon my legs’ and succeeded in reaching Hq 2nd and you may perhaps (as my success may be attributed to your energetic measures) be interested in hearing how I fared en route. To begin with - the arrangement with the guards of the train in which I left on the 17th fell through. I understood that one of the men with whom you spoke would go to Strasbourg; on arriving there I found that neither of our friends had come. On reaching Strasbourg I retained the services of a porter to carry my kit and wandered round the station. The platform was very muddy and slippery and I had not gone far before my foot slipped and down I went. I trembled for my coat but wonderful to relate there was but one spot of dirt on it and the overcoat was not soiled.

On looking about, I saw, as I told you, a bureau, the entrance to which was crowded with soldiers and others receiving ‘legitimations’. Having adjusted my dress in such a way as to show a little of the red tag and gold lace, I pushed forward and handed my pass through the grating. The official looked at it, and at once turned to the head of the office; that official, having read Major Schneider’s note, rose, came to the door and politely, in English, begged me to enter. I was then told to call for a pass at 5 pm, and was bowed out of the office. The rain was falling, the streets were muddy and slippery but I managed to make my way to an hotel which I reached in time for the table d'hote. When I entered the room all eyes were turned on me, attracted by the gorgeous coat, and a gentleman who spoke English told me he had met several officers but then, he added "they were not travelling officially as you are".

The weather being so bad, I put off seeing the town till my return, and contented myself with talking to the landlord, who showed several places on the premises where the shells had fallen, and was good enough to drag out a bomb, which he had received from the Germans which weighed 180 pounds. The man seemed quite proud of being the possessor of the largest shell which had fallen into the city. I returned in due time to the station for the legitimation; on receiving it I found to my surprise that I had to pay nothing - the pass was for ‘1 officer’ to Head Quarters. The officials said the train would leave at 5.30 "but," it was added, "please to come a little later as there is generally some delay!!" I began to be rather alarmed at so much courtesy, lest I might get into trouble for sailing under false colours. However, if they insist on making much of me it is not my fault and I thought I had better maintain a dignified reserve. The train was crowded with soldiers and officers, and no luggage was allowed save a "hand gepack" (I think so-called); it was therefore with that I had only the part(?), but even that was rather too large as the carriages (second-class) were small and had no netting. We reached Nancy at 11.30, and I was told to wait until 5.30 am. Following the officers and others I turned into the restaurant at the station where we bivouacked till the morning. I longed to be able to speak the language that I might have joined in the conversation of the officers of which I could understand nothing save the frequent occurrence of the words "Paris" and Franso(?). I was roused as the time for the train drew near by the bustle in the waiting room and the passing to and fro of big men with clanging sabres, and I succeeded with some difficulty in securing a seat in the carriage for Lagny.

Our journey to the latter place was without incident save that near Vitry some persons said to be the Francs tireurs had torn up one or two rails - as the train was moving slowly we escaped an accident and the rails were soon replaced. The villagers seemed to be on quite friendly terms with the invaders, and at every station are to be seen women and children selling refreshments. At Epernay (Ebernay the Germans call it) there is a great demand for the (?) for which the place is famous, but which is thought but a poor substitute for the ‘bier’ of the Vaterland. On arrival at Lagny – at 10 - a sous-officier asked to see my papers. Having seen them he offered to show me a hotel; on reaching the hotel we found it full of Prussians - whose presence was evidently painful to the hostess who in answer to our inquiries (or orders) and declared with tears that she had no more room. We tried another restaurant but the proprietor shut the door in our faces - no violence however was used although several officers were also seeking accommodation. At length my conductor suggested going to the Commandant -- we went accordingly. It is explained that an English officer is en route for Hq 2nd and requires a lodging for the night and a carriage to take him to Versailles. The Commandant rises, bows politely and addresses me in German "Pardon me, I do not speak German, will you be good enough to address me in French.” I show my papers. "You will go to the Prince Royal." I bow an assent.

A few words to a subordinate, and I am conducted to the office of the adjutant, who explains that I must call in the morning at 7.30, when he will provide me with a "wagon"; and then sends me with an orderly to a place where officers of the service are accommodated when passing through Lagny. The lodging was not of the best but ‘a la guerre comme a la guerre’. I turned in after a bottle of vile French beer for which I rashly called, little thinking it would cost 1 Thaler, and slept till morning after a partial ablution (for one cannot wash very well with a shallow pie dish and a pocket handkerchief). I returned to the bureau where I waited till 10, and was then told that the "wagon" was ready, and that an officer, en route for Versailles, would share it was me. An orderly, with my baggage, conducted me to the "voiture", which proved to be what would be called at home, a private brougham. Again, I had fallen on my legs! The officer who travelled with me, a Hanoverian, talked English and was a perfect gentleman, having clean hands and carrying soap and nailbrush in his bag. "You are going to Bismarck?" said my companion after a few minutes. " No," I replied, " I am not going to Bismarck." The officials at Lagny had evidently been talking about me to my companion. I thought it better to let myself down gently, and it was not till we approached Versailles that I said my brother-in-law was a correspondent. Owing to the thaw the road was ankle deep in mud, but was quite fit for traffic. This road has indeed been a powerful weapon in the hands of the Germans, as a road less well metalled would long since have become impassable owing to the constant traffic. There was not very much to be seen en route. The road runs through deserted villages and past trampled and barren fields - a few of the bolder villagers have remained and some of the shops are open and doing a little business, but as a rule the houses are deserted.

The chateaux by the roadside were apparently untenanted, but so far as one could see en passant they were un-injured (I hear that they have now ? being sacked), and save for the board hanging on the gate of the "Schloss Sevrieres" one would not have known that that famous chateau had so lately been in the possession of the invaders. Our progress was not rapid owing to the traffic on the road, which was blocked now by countless wagons laden with shot and shell destined for the destruction of Paris, and now by immense droves of sheep which were driven by men in cloaks and long boots, with rifles slung over the shoulder, and followed by the shepherd’s dog, which had chosen to stand by the flock rather than follow the fortunes of his master. At times the carriage was drawn to the side of the road, to allow the passage of French prisoners - their long blue cloaks were torn and shabby and the red trousers were bespattered with mud; they toiled along patiently enough, their faces tanned and haggard but not, apparently, very unhappy. Many of them were eating their dinners as they marched, glad perhaps, poor souls, to make a good meal even at the cost of freedom. One is much struck by the superior physique of the French as compared with their enemies; the demoralisation of the troops is evident on looking at the prisoners; some are mere boys of 14 and 15, not a few wear the dress of the artisans and all have the appearance of untrained levies. At Chevy(?) (Between Corbeil and Lagny), we halted to rest the horse and were fortunate enough to meet the officer of the detachment in the village ‘Baron von Pfordlen’ of the Bavarian horse, who spoke English fluently, and was good enough to ask us to breakfast at his quarters. Having made an hour’s stay we bad farewell to our hospitable friend and started for Corbeil which we reached about 5pm. After going to the hotel and failing to find accommodation we went to the Office of the Commandant, where we received billets and passed the night in pretty comfortable quarters. We dined, by the way, at a table d'hote crowded with Prussian officers. The fare was unusually good but I could not but think of the great city starving close at hand. It is however only a raw campaigner who will allow such thoughts to spoil his appetite. After dinner we walked in the town crowded with the Prussian soldiers, who, however, appeared to conduct themselves in an orderly way. The room of our bedroom was windowless and over the mantelpiece the wall had been rent to the ceiling. This was the effect of the blowing up of the bridge over the river, which ran by the house.

We reached Versailles about 4 pm, and as we approached the town it suddenly occurred to me that I had stupidly omitted to ask for J’s address. Versailles is a large place, and Hq 2nd is rather a vague direction, but after visiting some half-dozen offices I discovered with the assistance of my good (?)ion the Hotel de Reservoir. Versailles is of course unchanged, save that one cannot but remark the scarcity of Frenchmen. The streets are full of Prussian officers and soldiers in uniforms of all kinds. Prussian officers promenade the gardens and lounge and play billiards in the restaurants; sometimes one sees a group of three or four or more Frenchmen conversing in the streets, to be soon dispersed by the green coated men in spiked helmets, the police of the Prussian army, who while idly sauntering, watch keenly the passers-by, and not without reason, for the position of the great Wilhelm is, as you can understand, not a little perilous – living as he is in the middle of thousands who would regard his assassination by a Frenchman as an act of patriotic devotion.

On arrival at Versailles I re-posted myself to the Commandant and was told that I must leave at once. This I did not wish to do, and through the able diplomacy of J succeeded the next day in obtaining permission from General von Bleu(?) to remain 14 days.

Holroyd speaks of a paper "enclosed" for my signature; have you seen it? Went yesterday to Ville d’Avray?. I have a good view of Paris - but as J is going to "work" the subject, need not describe what we saw.

Your affectionate brother,

Allan Chaplin.


[From the Encyclopaedia Britannica: Prussia's defeat of Austria in the Seven Weeks' War in 1866 had confirmed Prussian leadership of the German states and threatened France's position as the dominant power in Europe. The immediate cause of the Franco-German War, however, was the candidacy of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (who was related to the Prussian royal house) for the Spanish throne, which had been left vacant when Queen Isabella II had been deposed in 1868. The Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, and Spain's de facto leader, Juan Prim, persuaded the reluctant Leopold to accept the Spanish throne in June 1870. This move greatly alarmed France, who felt threatened by a possible combination of Prussia and Spain directed against it. Leopold's candidacy was withdrawn under French diplomatic pressure, but the Prussian king William I was unwilling to bow to the French ambassador's demands that he promise to never again allow Leopold to be a candidate for the Spanish throne. Bismarck edited William's telegraphed description of this interview, and on July 14 he published this provocative message (the C:\Users\Alan\Documents\R-J_family_archive2\3Families in the book\Chaplin\Allan Chaplin & Maud (nee Skinner)\Allan C\Program FilesBritannicaBCDcacheeb:\gatewayg?gtype=article_view&doc_name=core033136_1.html&terms=franco prussian Franco PrussianEms telegram;), which accomplished his purposes of infuriating the French government and provoking it into a declaration of war.
The French emperor, Napoleon III, declared war on Prussia on July 19, 1870, because his military advisers told him that the French army could defeat Prussia and that such a victory would restore his declining popularity in France. The French were convinced that the reorganization of their army in 1866 had made it superior to the German armies. They also had great faith in two recently introduced technical innovations: the breech-loading chassepot rifle, with which the entire army was now equipped; and the newly invented mitrailleuse, an early machine gun. The French generals, blinded by national pride, were confident of victory.
Bismarck, for his part, saw war with France as an opportunity to bring the South German states into unity with the Prussian-led North German Confederation and build a strong German Empire. The Germans had superiority of numbers, since, true to Bismarck's hopes, the South German states (Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Baden) regarded France as the aggressor in the conflict and had thus sided with Prussia. An equally important asset was the Prussian army's general staff, which planned the rapid, orderly movement of large numbers of troops to the battle zones. This superior organization and mobility enabled the chief of the general staff, General Helmuth von Moltke, to exploit German superiority in numbers in most of the war's battles.
The efficient German mobilization contrasted with confusion and delay on the French side. Germany was able to deliver 380,000 troops to the forward zone within 18 days of the start (July 14) of mobilization, while many French units reached the front either late or with inadequate supplies. The vast German and French armies that then confronted each other were each grouped into right and left wings. After suffering a check at the Battle of Wörth on Aug. 6, 1870, the commander of the French right (south) wing, Marshal Patrice Mac-Mahon, retreated westward. That same day, about 40 miles (65 km) to the northeast, the commander of the French left wing, Marshal Achille Bazaine, was dislodged from near Saarbrücken and fell back westward to the fortress of Metz. His further retreat was checked by the German right wing in two blundering battles on August 16 and 18, respectively (see C:\Users\Alan\Documents\R-J_family_archive2\3Families in the book\Chaplin\Allan Chaplin & Maud (nee Skinner)\Allan C\Program FilesBritannicaBCDcacheeb:\gatewayg?gtype=article_view&doc_name=core052343_1.html&terms=franco prussian Franco PrussianMars-la-Tour and Gravelotte, Battles of), and he then took refuge behind the defenses of Metz indefinitely.
The French right wing, commanded by Mac-Mahon and accompanied by Napoleon himself, attempted to relieve Bazaine but was itself surrounded and trapped by the Germans in a disastrous battle at Sedan (see C:\Users\Alan\Documents\R-J_family_archive2\3Families in the book\Chaplin\Allan Chaplin & Maud (nee Skinner)\Allan C\Program FilesBritannicaBCDcacheeb:\gatewayg?gtype=article_view&doc_name=core068260_1.html&terms=franco prussian Franco PrussianSedan, Battle of) on August 31. On September 2, 83,000 encircled French troops, with Napoleon and Mac-Mahon, surrendered. Since Bazaine's army was still bottled up in Metz, the result of the war was virtually decided by this surrender.
French resistance was carried on against desperate odds by a new government of national defense, which assumed power in Paris on Sept. 4, 1870, and proclaimed the deposition of the emperor and the establishment of the Third Republic. On September 19 the Germans began to besiege Paris. Jules Favre, foreign minister in the new government, went to negotiate with Bismarck, but the negotiations were broken off when he found that Germany demanded Alsace and Lorraine. Léon Gambetta, the leading figure in the provisional government, organized new French armies in the countryside after escaping from besieged Paris in a balloon. These engaged but could not defeat the German forces. Bazaine capitulated at Metz with his 140,000 troops intact on October 27, and Paris surrendered on Jan. 28, 1871.
The armistice of January 28 included a provision for the election of a French National Assembly, which would have the authority to conclude a definite peace. This settlement was finally negotiated by Adolphe Thiers and Favre and was signed February 26 and ratified March 1. Between then and the conclusion of the formal Treaty of Frankfurt on May 10, 1871, the republican government was threatened by an insurrection in Paris, in which radicals established their own short-lived government, the Paris Commune. The Commune was suppressed after two months, and the harsh provisions of the Treaty of Frankfurt were then implemented: Germany annexed Alsace and half of Lorraine, with Metz. Furthermore, France had to pay an indemnity of 5 billion francs and cover the costs of the German occupation of France's northern provinces until the indemnity was paid. The culminating triumph of Bismarck's plans came on Jan. 18, 1871, when King William I of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor at Versailles, the former palace of the kings of France.
The Franco-German War had far-reaching consequences. It established both the German Empire and the French Third Republic. With Napoleon III no longer in power to protect them, the Papal States were annexed by Italy (Sept. 20, 1870), thereby completing that nation's unification. The Germans' crushing victory over France in the war consolidated their faith in Prussian militarism, which would remain a dominant force in German society until 1945. (Additionally, the Prussian system of conscript armies controlled by a highly trained general staff was soon adopted by the other great powers.) Most importantly, Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine aroused a deep longing for revenge in the French people. The years from 1871 to 1914 were marked by an extremely unstable peace, since France's determination to recover Alsace-Lorraine and Germany's mounting imperialist ambitions kept the two nations constantly poised for conflict. Their mutual animosity proved to be the driving force behind the prolonged slaughter on the Western Front in World War I].

END

Facts
  • 20 JUN 1844 - Birth - ; Christened St Peter, Brighton, Sussex on 18 Sept 1844 - IGI
  • 19 AUG 1910 - Death -
  • 10 NOV 1860 - Fact -
  • 1861 - Fact -
  • 12 JUL 1868 - Fact -
  • 19 MAY 1870 - Fact -
  • 23 JAN 1871 - Fact -
  • 13 MAR 1872 - Fact -
  • 1872 - Fact -
  • MAR 1873 - Fact -
  • 28 JUN 1875 - Fact -
  • 1878 - Fact -
  • BET 1886 AND 1888 - Fact -
  • BET 1889 AND 1890 - Fact -
  • BET 1891 AND 1893 - Fact -
  • 1894 - Fact 14 -
  • 1 APR 1895 - Fact 15 -
  • 1897 - Fact 16 -
  • Nobility Title - Col
Ancestors
   
Edward Chaplin , MA, Rev.
7 JUL 1771 - 14 NOV 1858
 
 
John Clarke Chaplin
25 AUG 1806 - 2 JUN 1856
  
  
  
Margaret Clarke Theodorick
4 JAN 1771 - 29 NOV 1827
 
Allan Chaplin , Col
20 JUN 1844 - 19 AUG 1910
  
 
  
Frederick Ayrton
1780 - 24 NOV 1824
 
 
Matilda Adriana Ayrton
1 JUN 1813 - 26 JAN 1899
  
  
  
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) John Clarke Chaplin
Birth25 AUG 1806Watlington, Norfolk about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, privately baptized 26th by his father and recd into church by Rev
Death2 JUN 1856 Tonbridge, Kent, England
Marriage6 APR 1835to Matilda Adriana Ayrton at Marylebone, London (New Church)
FatherEdward Chaplin , MA, Rev.
MotherMargaret Clarke Theodorick
PARENT (F) Matilda Adriana Ayrton
Birth1 JUN 1813Chelsea, London (baptised Richmond according to Andi Smith)
Death26 JAN 1899 98 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington, London.
Marriage6 APR 1835to John Clarke Chaplin at Marylebone, London (New Church)
FatherFrederick Ayrton
MotherJuliana Caroline Rebecca Adriana Nugent
CHILDREN
MHolroyd Chaplin
Birth17 MAR 1840Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England (1881 Census) on St Patrick's Day
Death23 DEC 191772 Edith Road, West Kensington, Middlesex
Marriage16 AUG 1870to Euphemia Isabella Skinner at Bickington or Newton Abbott? in South Devon, see Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary for Tuesday 16 August 1870.
MAllan Chaplin , Col
Birth20 JUN 1844Christened St Peter, Brighton, Sussex on 18 Sept 1844 - IGI
Death19 AUG 1910
Marriage20 DEC 1871to Maud Elizabeth Skinner at Bridgend, Glamorgan
FLouisa Sarah Chaplin
Birth23 APR 1838Baptized St Thomas in Birmingham 1838 according to Andi Smith)
Death9 JUL 1897Allevard-Les-Bains, Isere, France
Marriage30 APR 1864to John Edwin Hilary Skinner at Christ Church, Marylebone, London
MAyrton Chaplin , Rev
Birth19 OCT 1842Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England (1881 Census)
Death1930
Marriage2 JAN 1868to Edith Elizabeth Pyne
FMatilda Charlotte Chaplin , M.D.
Birth20 JUN 1846Honfleur, Normandy, France (Baptized Sprowston Norfolk in 1847 according to Andi Smith)
Death19 JUL 1883her residence, 68 Sloane Street, London
Marriage21 DEC 1871to William Edward Ayrton , F.R.S. F.R.S. at Saint Matthew, Bayswater, Kensington.
FJulia Margaret Nugent Chaplin
Birth23 JAN 1837Baptized St Thomas in Birmingham 1837 according to Andi Smith)
Death
Marriage2 MAR 1886to James Edward Nugent
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Allan Chaplin , Col
Birth20 JUN 1844Christened St Peter, Brighton, Sussex on 18 Sept 1844 - IGI
Death19 AUG 1910
Marriage20 DEC 1871to Maud Elizabeth Skinner at Bridgend, Glamorgan
FatherJohn Clarke Chaplin
MotherMatilda Adriana Ayrton
PARENT (F) Maud Elizabeth Skinner
Birth25 OCT 1844Brighton, Sussex
Death24 JUN 1904
Marriage20 DEC 1871to Allan Chaplin , Col at Bridgend, Glamorgan
FatherAllan Maclean Skinner , Q.C.
MotherCaroline Emily Harding
CHILDREN
MWyndham Allan Chaplin , Mus. Bac. Oxon., Rev
Birth12 NOV 1872India (Central Province, India, in 1873, according to Brian Townsley)
Death29 AUG 1914
Marriage7 MAY 1914to Dorothea Williamson
FMabel Florance Ida Chaplin
Birth7 OCT 1875London, christened on Monday 6 December at St. Michael's, Brighton
Death1970
Marriage12 JAN 1904to Charles Nugent Hope-Wallace
FMaud Dorothea Fanny Chaplin
Birth23 JUL 1880Scotland, in 1880 according to Brian Townsley's CD
Death6 NOV 1899
Picture Gallery
 
 
 
 
 
 
Evidence
[S12758] Ann Gregory (Mendell)'s copy of 'A short account of the Families of Chaplin and Skinner........' with annotations by Ayrton Chaplin & others
[S6265] Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary, 1870
[S24748] Allan Chaplin's letters
[S6271] Matilda Adriana Chaplin's diary, 1872
Descendancy Chart
Allan Chaplin , Col b: 20 JUN 1844 d: 19 AUG 1910
Maud Elizabeth Skinner b: 25 OCT 1844 d: 24 JUN 1904
Wyndham Allan Chaplin , Mus. Bac. Oxon., Rev b: 12 NOV 1872 d: 29 AUG 1914
Mabel Florance Ida Chaplin b: 7 OCT 1875 d: 1970
Charles Nugent Hope-Wallace b: 3 FEB 1877 d: 15 OCT 1953
Philip Hope-Wallace b: NOV 1911 d: 1979
Nina Mary Hope-Wallace b: 14 DEC 1905 d: 1995
Edward O'Bryen Hoare , Sir b: 29 APR 1898 d: 1969
Maud Dorothea Fanny Chaplin b: 23 JUL 1880 d: 6 NOV 1899