August 10, 1908 KITEBROOK,
My dearest Robin,
My hair is going rapidly grey over the “hen” tournament. I knew it would! I thought I had collected twenty-four but now they are beginning to back out. One is going to Scotland, another to a dance that night, etc., etc. As I have already asked nearly everyone it’s almost impossible to fill up the gaps. I can’t put more than eight couples in a division or they will think they have to play too much; or less than six or they won’t get enough to keep them quiet. It’s really more trouble than it’s worth!
I made a noble effort to win Mrs. Sammy’s “cup” at the Junction but was beaten in the final by Mrs. Warden. I started by playing Hilda Spencer who owed me 15.3 and gave me 3/6. It took me three setts and nearly two hours to beat her! They couldn’t arrange for me to play any more that day, so of course I was kept pretty hard at it the next. I defeated Miss R. Bryant and Miss Dillon, but Mrs. Warden proved too much for me. I had to give her 3/6 and though I was playing about 15 above my usual form she was playing at least 30 above hers! She and I played together in the ladies’ doubles and were beaten in the first round (semi-final!) by the sisters Spencer who were the winners. We ought to have beaten them, as we won a love sett to begin with, they got the next 6.3, and in the third we got to 5 all. Then my little partner lost her head and began to chatter, which made me cross, and we lost the next two games. Although they won the match, we got one more game than they did, which seems to me most unfair!!
Mr. Evered won the men’s cup, and the Whitaker cousins the doubles.
Cicely Spencer and a Mr. Cheatle from Burford won the mixed and Mrs. Warden and Mr. Tremblett were second. [On September 19, 1914, Mabel Batten, companion of the novelist Radcliffe Hall, was treated by a Dr. Cheatle of Burford for injuries sustained in a car accident. See Michael Baker, Our Three Selves, Hamish Hamilton, 1985, pp. 55-56.]
I am only playing in the ladies’ doubles at Stow, and shall probably be out of that in the first round as my partner is a trifle wild to say the least of it. Six balls out of every seven go over the stop-netting!
Enough of tennis. I will try and think of something else for a change, though as I do nothing but play tennis and nobody else does either there do not seem many other subjects about. The Bryants and Marjorie are trying to get up a dance at Stow tomorrow night as a finish to the tennis tournament. It only struck them yesterday and they started showering telegrams and postcards over the land. By evening they thought they had about fifty people, so they didn’t waste time, did they!
I suppose we shall go. Betty Whitehead who is staying here seems keen. Do you remember her? She was with us for a long time last winter and used to drive after the hounds with Auntie. I have wired to Hereward Dawkins to come and take us. I don’t think we shall go if he doesn’t, as two unprotected maidens are not much use in a ball-room! I wonder how it will feel to be wandering round that room again to the sound of all the old waltzes!
According to Geoff, Miss Lawrence and Mr. Eustace were seen strolling in the park a few Sundays ago.
I have had an invitation to stay in Yorkshire in September with the Whiteheads. Betty and I are going up to their house on the moors for a week by ourselves to try our hands at cooking. It will be good practice for me, won’t it! She has done it before and volunteers to teach me to make porridge and junket, the only things she can manage! I shall give lessons in gingerbreads and toffy. I expect we shall have to go down to their other house (about six miles) pretty often for a more substantial meal, or we shall be rather thin by the end of the week.
Mrs. Sammy had a strange accident at the Junction tournament. She was just starting a single and at almost the first stroke she trod on her skirt and fell on her front tooth (it was after lunch) and was supported off the ground with the tears streaming down her beautiful complexion. She was stroked down for some time by all her friends and relations, but as she still continued to weep Sammy took her off to the dentist to see if the tooth could be tied in again, as it seemed very wobbly. He came back later and said she had broken two teeth which had been taken out, and also chipped a piece off her jaw! Think of the dangers of tennis! There I am back at tennis again! I think I had better stop. It seems a very dull letter but Betty does nothing but chatter and thinking of polite answers for her rather interferes with my letter writing.
The Witts have got an American tournament next week, mixed doubles only, which will reduce the numbers somewhat. I expect most of us will have to go to the garden party part of the entertainment in our best clothes!
I wonder if you are camping out down by the lake now and I wonder if we will be next year. Oh I wish you could come back for tomorrow night just to dance the Merry Widow with me and just for me to look at you instead of that eternal photograph which just stares back and says nothing.
Ever your loving