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A   S H I P B O A R D   D I A R Y
b y   A N N I E   a n d   H A R O L D   B E A U C H A M P


Edited with an Introduction by Ian A. Gordon. 1997

On 19 March 1898 Katherine Mansfield's parents sailed from Wellington to London via Buenos Aires on a business trip. Harold Beauchamp booked the best available 1st Saloon cabin on the steamship S.S. Ruahine, and he and Annie found their living quarters for the six-week voyager not only luxurious but, in Annie's sometimes individual spelling, "comfe". Leaving the children in New ZealandKatherine was ten years old and waiting for her first story to appear in the Wellington Girls College Reporter—Annie Beauchamp began a diary expressly for the children, in which she kept a daily account of the voyage. When the weather occasionally laid her low, Harold took over in a measured descriptive prose rather different from Annie's lively notations, her quick accounts of her condition, shipboard events and her sharp observations on her travelling companions.

Together these parental writings provide a view of the Beauchamps that editor Emeritus Professor Ian Gordon maintains is out of step with "the Linda and Stanley Burnell of their daughter's stories "Prelude" and "At the Bay" .... The Beauchamps emerge from this shipboard diary in a different light, a devoted couple, each attentive to the other's welfare". The diary was mailed back to 75 Tinakori Road, Wellington, shortly after they arrived in London. The diary then remained with the Beauchamp family until a few years ago, when it was given by Katherine Mansfield's youngest sister, the late Mrs Jeanne Renshaw, to her friend Lady Carnwath, who in turn generously presented it to the editor. After publication of this book, the diary was deposited in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
 

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Holloway Press