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A Diary of Innocence: Hares And Wood Anenomes

"I went to Jackson's wood for some anenomes and I got a besketful. They are so sweet and modest...'' That same description could also have applied to Mary Hutchinson, a seriously-ill 13-year-old who started this diary in 1927.

Tuesday, April 5th. Arose 7.30 a.m. It is a very windy but fine day. This morning I was busy with the plants. I went for a walk. The wind almost blew me away, and I did enjoy fighting against it. I just went to the top of Nelson Lane. After tea Miss Hildyard called to see me. I promised to take her some violets to “Winestead”, her home. She is so nice. I really cannot say what she is like. But she is a perfect example of perfection.

On November 30th, 1926 I went into the hospital again. I had two operations this time. I hope they are the last. This time I became very intimate with the nurses. I did love them. I really was very happy with them. Nurse Proctor, I think, was my favourite. I will not describe her here. The poem on page two is her description.

Wednesday, April 6th. Arose 9.30 a.m. It was a very nice day but rather windy. I went for a short walk. Mother went to Mrs. Clayden’s to her tea. I went after tea and had a very nice time there. As I passed Jackson’s wood, I gathered some wood anemones to take to Mrs. Clayden’s. She liked them very much. She does like flowers. We came home just before it was dark. Dr. Mitchell came while we were out. Retired 9 p.m.

I was in hospital for Christmas. There never had been such a Christmas for me before. The nurses did try to make us happy, and not in vain. All my friends remembered me as never before. The gifts would make too long a list to write here. I shall never forget that Christmas.

Thursday, April 7th. Arose 7.30 a.m. It is a fine but windy day typical of April. With a pleasant April shower. In the morning I went out gathering violets. I did get a lot. They do look pretty. After dinner Mother went to Thirsk. I went to Jackson’s wood for some anemones and I got a basketful. They are so sweet and modest. It would be nice to be likened to a violet or a rose or a lily, but for me none of those. I am not like them at all. They are the common flowers in prose and poetry, but for me, wood anemones. They are so cool and fragrant and pure and stainless and modest. In other words, a gentlewoman. May I be an anemone. Father brought me a song thrush’s nest with four eggs in. It was on the elevation of the potato riddle and they wished to use it. So it could not be saved. Retired 9 p.m.

Friday, April 8th. Arose 8 a.m. It is a very wet day. Nellie went to Thirsk. In the morning I cleaned an antique inkpot of Father’s. I think that inkpot had never been cleaned in its life, which might be anything over a hundred years. Oh it did take some cleaning. Mother did all she could to prepare for tomorrow, when she would not be here, as she was going to York to have her spectacles changed. I helped her clean the brasses. At night I read. Retired 9 p.m.

On January 29th I came home. Ah! It was good to be at home again. On January 14th Harold went to Cliff College. He had preached in this circuit for a while. He is coming home on Tuesday. I am looking forward to his homecoming.

Saturday, April 9th. Arose 8.30 a.m. Mother has gone to York. It is a rather wet and dismal day. All things went smoothly here. I did do a lot, for me. I rubbed the windows, cleaned my shoes and, wonder of wonders, I did the potatoes, and I did them quick. I was going to Thirsk, but it was too wet. Mother came home with the eight train; Father went to meet her. Retired 10 p.m.

I wish I could record those days in hospital fully. Those dark days when the light shone rarely, but when it did, shone with untold brilliance which was worth all the darkness. Those wrestlings with homesickness. Those visiting days. I never let anyone know how homesick I was.

Sunday, April 10th. Arose 11 a.m. The summer time commenced last night so I was up very late indeed, which caused me to have a bad headache most of the day. At night my headache mended, and I went for a walk at 7.40 p.m. Alice came to sign her certificate. But she did not stay long. I enjoyed my walk very much. Retired 9 p.m.

Monday, April 11th. Arose 7 a.m. I arose really wonderfully early. I had my breakfast and went for a walk by 7.30 a.m. It had been a severe frost during the night and every grass and leaf and twig was clothed in Nature’s own pure crystal. Two hares were frisking and gambolling in the field by the road. Oh they were pretty with sandy coats and black ears and tail partly black. I did enjoy the walk. I went right to Topcliffe. It was half past nine when I got back. Alice is scandalised. In the afternoon I went to Thirsk with Mother. Mrs. Pick bought Nellie and me an eggcup with an Easter egg in each. I took some violet roots and some violets to Hildyard’s. I had a very happy half hour there. They have a parrot. It is grey with a red tail. It is a beauty. At night I made some cream salad. Retired 9 p.m.

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