A letter from Charles Astry Octavius Baumgartner to his eldest brother John Percy Baumgartner
J Percy Baumgartner Esq.
Gorleston, Gt Yarmouth
My dear Percy
Thanks for your note of 9th inst. I wish you could have come while I was here.
The flood has been something to remember, – covering the road from the Vicarage to Bester’s shop & Church Lane, and running down past E. Maule’s to the road between the Bull Inn & what used to be Capt, Molyneux’s house.
The sailing on Port Holme on Saturday was absolute perfection. I feel, now, that I have not lived in vain. Life is not a hollow mockery. The gale, N.E. , was just as strong as the ”Iona” could stagger under without upsetting. The only other boat out (a Bevan’s canoe) was capsized at the first attempt to go about. and I had to keep my own weather eye considerably open, to avoid sharing the same fate. I wanted you much to share the perils of a cruise in the ”Yarra” with one. I would have been too much for a single hand. I sailed clean over the highest part o ‘Goose Island’, – not, however without scrapping the ground with my keel; the water having then subsided 3 inches. The wind being almost exactly against the stream, I could go to any part of the Holm at pleasure, – which a canoe cannot do with the wind in any other quarter. – My river gauge marked just 7 feet. The September flood, high enough in all conscience, was only 6ft 9in.
Cambridge St, & West Street, and others, were flooded also: but I did not explore those regions beyond the ‘Causeway”. The water came up as far as the cedar on our lawn, and was in all E. Maule’s gardens & yard, &even in the house, at the back. Even the September flood, I went in my canoe over his embankment & tennis lawn to call on Mrs Maule; but this flood has been far worse. There is also far more water to be seen from the Eastern windows of these houses than I ever saw before, – all over ”The Parks” and Mr Brawn’s and the Vicarage land. Another indication of the height of the flood is, that it is over the sill of the Island Boat-house windows.
The Locks were almost indistinguishable, save for the upper wood & iron work of the gates, & the footbridge leading from water to water only! The flood-gates were open; but scarce any stream was perceptible, the lower level nearly the same as the upper. The flood is lower now, but it is still what in other years would be called unusually high one.
I am arranging to leave Godmanchester on Thursday. I am much obliged for your invite. I have a prior one for Burys Court but I cannot accept even that (if at all) until I have been to Invermark first. There will be some carpenters’ work of alterations, &some painting & c., and a lot of carpets & cornices & things ordered in July, to be looked after; and I must be on the spot at the first at all events. I hope you will come & see the new place some day when it is properly ‘’fixed’’. Please give my love to Elsie with thanks for her letters. I am very sorry she is ill again. This intended to be almost as much for her as for you. I cannot write more, 4 ½ a.m. Love to all at home.
Your affectionate brother,