Miss D’s big New Year Celebrations

You might remember that I’ve snaffled myself a copy of Miss D and Miss N, edited by Bev Roberts.- and yes, you’re still waiting for a blogpost that reviews it.  So, how did Anne Drysdale see in the New Year?  Well, definitely her New Year celebrations on the ship out were the feistiest she wrote about!

January 3rd 1840- New Year celebrations

I feel very thankful that all the rejoicing days are over.  Monday the 30th December was the 6th anniversary of Mr and Mrs Gibson’s marriage.  On that account the Capt ordered a better dinner than usual & the gentlemen had an extra quantity of wine & grog.  The consequence was they all got tipsy.  Mr Baird very drunk.  There was a great deal of fighting.  Mr Clark &  the Dr. revived the subject of their duel, which they still intend shall take place when they get on shore.  The drinking this day was a beginning of what was so soon to follow on New Year’s morning, & such a scene that was!! The ship was running right before the wind at 7 1/2 knots.  Whenever 8 bells rung, intermediate & steerage passengers rushed into the cabin with bottles of spirits & all who were in their beds were roused out, then such a noise & drinking went on.  Passengers of all ranks & sailors fighting & flying about. It was fearful.

The 2nd mate was I believe the only sober man on board, mercifully the wind was aft & [the ship] drove before the wind as there was none to manage it. While it was yet dark one of the steerage passengers discovered a ship close to us.  The 2nd mate got a light put up & we escaped & have great reason to be thankful that all passed over without any serious accident.  Nearly all are cut and bruised more or less & their cloathes in tatters, but it might have been worse.  (p. 50)

Her partying days over,  and it’s God, church and work from here on:

1843 [January] Monday 2nd- strong resolutions

Yesterday wind variable, thunder & a little rain.  All went to church except myself. Made strong resolutions, with the grace of God, of amendment for the future.  This day fine, wind S. Men finished reaping wheat & oats.  Armstrong worked with pegs for hurdles & lounged Betty. Dr & Mrs Thomson & Jane came to dinner.  Capt. P… (p. 154)

Made strong resolutions, eh? Hah! don’t we all?

1844- Monday January 1st

Yesterday all went to the chapel, Mr Smith preached.  In the evening, Dr B gave us a beautiful & most impressive address on the necessity of being regenerated.  All the men & the shearers attended.  This day fine. Shearing lambs began. Robert gone to look for horses…  (p. 179)

1846 January 1st Thursday- An unfortunate day

Storm of thunder & lightning all day with heavy rain.  Ned kept holy day but rode to Corio to know if Mr Cunningham’s cattle had come.  Mr Sproat came to dinner.  Robert came up from the marsh & announced that Di was killed by the lightning.  Colin also died & 18 young turkeys & chickens were drowned in the pen. An unfortunate day… (p207)

No, I don’t know who Di and Colin are either.

1846 Thursday 31st [December]- All things richly to enjoy

Gloomy, hot & a little rain. Again we have come to the close of another year & by the blessing of God, are still surrounded with comforts & have all things richly to enjoy.  We have indeed much cause for gratitude.  May we continue to grow in grace & in love to God & our neighbours.  Ned & Robert jobbed, Moylan went. Henry remains. (p. 215)

And so say all of us.

4 responses to “Miss D’s big New Year Celebrations

  1. Apart from Di and Colin reaching sudden ends at the whims of the weather it sounds like she’d fit right in with us here today.

    • Yes- until I saw these, I hadn’t realised (but was fully reminded last night) how wet and thundery our weather can be in early January.

  2. Thanks to the Resident Judge for buying Miss D & Miss N and for commenting on it. (Are more lengthy quotes planned?) I’m certainly looking forward to the promised review – though doubtful about your expectations of Miss D’s diary from the disparaging sheep-sheep comment. Quoting our glorious PM, guess what? Sheep are what she did/why she came to PP/why she took up the Geelong run/how she made her living.
    By the way, the ill-fated Di and Colin were horses. Tricky stuff in the diary sometimes when critters and friends or acquaintances have the same names, especially later when the stud business was operating…

    • Hello Bev. No more lengthy quotes planned- do not fear! I’ve just been keeping my eyes open for how 1840s folk celebrated Christmas and the New Year and having your book on my shelf, I looked in there. LOL at the stud business! I wonder if she laughed at the incongruity of it too.

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