Stevens 1894-07-30

Text, letter

Sultry. Visited School this morning. Frank’s birthday. Wrote to my brother.

Mrs Bishop wrote polite note asking me what time she could bring her daughter Nelsie to see me and Mr and Mrs Langley. I replied 4.30 in the School-room. So we met there. She was very voluble and excited and declared that Nelsie was innocent, but that almost all the children, including Mr Langley’s, were very bad. Nelsie denied the charge put to her in an indefinite way by her mother, by a sulky “No, I didn’t.” Mr Langley said he asked two of the most intelligent children in infants’ class this morning quite privately whether they had ever heard N.G. say anything she ought not. The children were Edward (son of Oliver) Harris and Dorothy Sewell. They both replied that they heard her tell Leak to put his hand up a girl’s clothes. Nelsie G. said that she had told Mrs Langley of the boys exposing their persons to the girls and that Mrs L had taken no notice of this complaint. Mrs L was indignant and told the girl that it was a “vile falsehood,” and that if she would tell one falsehood like that she would tell another. To this the girl made no reply. The girl also stated that one day last week, feeling unwell, she had gone out to the yard, leaving Jane Dale in charge of the infants’ class, and that on her return, Dale told her that Leak(?) had been rude to Polly Webb(?). Mr Langley fired up with indignation at this and asked her why she had not done her duty and told him at once of it? To this she made no reply. I was careful to tell Mrs Bishop that neither Mr nor Mrs L nor I made any charge in this matter against Nelsie but that we were bound to take notice of the complaints made by the parents of the children. Mrs Bishop, who was greatly excited, said a great deal against Leak (the father) and that she had been down to Leak’s and Haynes’s this morning and had heard that Mr Stevens had been down to Sibford Ferris on Saturday night and was “raving” up and down the village. I stopped her at once and asked her who told her such a falsehood. She refused to name anyone, but begged my pardon for saying “raving”, for she did not mean that. Only that people listened at the windows of Leak and Haynes’s homes and heard me talking. The fact is that Mrs Leak is very deaf and speaks very loudly herself. Mr Leak had to speak rather loudly to make her hear, and so had I. Asking Mrs Bishop who they were who listened at people’s windows at night, she would not tell me, but said everyone knew it was done. I told Mrs. B. that Alice Haynes’s mother, had accused her on Thursday of her bad behaviour, that she had said nothing in reply, but made use of an extremely rude and insulting gesture (osculare fundamentum meum) and walked away. The girl did not reply to this charge.

osculare fundamentum meum: kiss my bottom