December 3, 1908
My dearest Robin,
Here begins the hunting chronicle, rather an unusual one this week and one for which you won’t need your maps. I took my first day with the Warwickshire on Tuesday. It was a thick fog and no sport, a truly awful day in more ways than one. The following little duologue took place between Mr. Chappell and me. He rushed up to me tearing off his glove and saying something which I didn’t catch (you know how difficult he is to understand). I shook him warmly by the hand with my sweetest smile and said good morning, although I had said it about half an hour before. Then I heard what he was trying to say and found he was congratulating me. Imagine my horror!
Mr. C: When is it coming off?
Me: (agonised silence–petrified smile)
Mr. C: When is it coming off?
Me (huge effort): What?
Mr. C: When are you going to be married?
Me (terrific effort with immense surprise): Me!!!??
Mr. C. Oh, I beg your pardon. I apologise most humbly. I mistook you for someone else. I thought you were Miss Freer.
(Little collapse and hasty retreat before I could collect my wits to decide what course to pursue.)
I suppose you will just roar with laughter when you read this, but I assure you it was no laughing matter at the time, although I have discovered a rather funny side to it since. I told Eva Wiggins when I got in and she rolled about with laughter in the most heartless manner and Norah was as bad. She got so helpless she nearly fell off her horse when I told her yesterday. I thought I was very ill-used!!
I wonder what will happen when I meet Mr. Chappell again. I am sure he didn’t really think I was somebody else, or if he did he’ll soon find out I’m not.
Yesterday’s excitements were of a somewhat different kind. In the first field, Sloe II (Geoff’s old hunter) ran away with an Oxford undergraduate. Fortunately he pulled up in the crowd in a gateway without doing any damage and Hawker put him on another horse. Quite at the end of the day another undergraduate’s horse took charge in the field just our side of the Merrimouth. I was walking slowly down the road and just saw him coming over the hedge in time to catch Pedlar a good whack, which so startled him that he jumped out of the way and the runaway just whisked by his tail, slewed round the corner, and made off towards Burford. The boy threw himself off into the road, from sheer fright I suppose. He didn’t seem hurt though. I can’t think how he escaped, as the horse was going as hard as he could.
Friday. I have just got a letter [probably Robin–November 13, 1908] from you. I began to think I wasn’t going to get one this week, as it generally comes before now. You will probably be thinking the same about this when you get it, as I generally write earlier in the week.
I have had a invitation to stay at Castle Waddingham to hunt at Farmington Grove next Friday, but I have unfortunately been forced to refuse, as I shall have nothing to ride, no means of getting my belongings there, and a friend staying here. Three excellent reasons! Such a pity they should be wasted on getting me out of something which I really want to do.
The worthy counsels or whatever they call themselves are discussing our case about now, so I hope next time I write I shall be able to tell you something is settled. We have still not raised our party for Stow Ball. My baronet was otherwise engaged.
I am trying to get up a mixed hockey team to play against the Chesthams, Prichards, and Wittses on December 19th. I am already getting into awful hot water over it, as I have asked Marjorie and Freddy after sternly refusing to play in their mixed hockey games. I try to explain that I hate mixed hockey but have put up this particular match for years (except last year); but it is no good and the chief offence seems to be that I have not asked “Mummie” too, and I really don’t want “Mummie”!
I hope the waxworks went off well.
Well I must stop and get me to Moreton to join the chase.
Heaps of love,
Oh why can’t you be spirited over for Tuesday night? I shall want you so.