A contrast from sunny Mombasa, we’re back in England with this postcard which has no hello, sunshine or wish you were here. It’s a sepia postcard taken in the early 1900s. In cursive writing, the text is brief, melancholic and reads like a riddle:
“Baby no better,
if anything just the same.
Many thanks for the kind card.
The postcard is a picture from the Frith’s Series by F. Frith & Co depicting Cobham, On the Mole in Surrey in which I can just make out the Cobham land mark, the water mill. It stands on the site of earlier mills dating back to the Middle Ages. The River Mole is a tributary of the Thames and has given its name to the surrey district, Mole Valley. Quite a few writers and poets were inspired by the River Mole.
I came across this one poem which seeemed quite haunting and made me think of the enigmatic woman who wrote the postcard.
The River Mole
Who may count back that forgotten time
When first the waters forced an outlet here:
When the foundations of these stedfast hills
Were shaken, and the long imprisoned stream
Flowed through the yawning chasm? That awful day
Yet leaves its trace. The waters find their way,
Now laughing in the sun - now swallowed up
In caverns pervious to their course alone,
They leave their channel dry, and hide awhile
Their silent flow; like bitter tears, unshed
From the dim eye, before a careless world
Unheeding of our grief; but swelling still
In the full heart, which leaves unsoothed, unseen,
And broods o’er ruined hopes, and days gone by.
- Mary Uniacke, 1839