December 30, 1908
Moreton in Marsh
My dearest Robin,
We have begun our winter at last. It has been excruciatingly cold the last few days. There were 20° of frost at breakfast time this morning!! I suppose that’s a mere nothing to you but it is rather a shock to us, as we have not had more than about 4° since the end of October. Personally, I am not so heart-broken as I might be, as the worthy Hawker won’t provide me with anything to hunt and my own gee won’t come out again for at least another month, although he is going on as fast as possible. By the bye, I don’t believe I ever told you of the horrid accident I had the day after Stow ball. I remember writing about it but I think it was in the letter I never sent.
I was trotting down Chastleton lane amongst everybody else and ran into Dorothy Hoare’s cart, which was standing in the middle of the road, and the shaft went into Utility’s shoulder. It sounds an absurdly impossible thing to do, doesn’t it, but I never knew the cart was there until I was into it. I had just looked round to speak to Hereward and Utility apparently never saw it either. Billy Wynter who was just in front of me says he only saw it just in time to pull his horse out of the way and I suppose he swerved aside so suddenly that it didn’t give my horse time to see it.
The shaft went in about five inches and of course made a horrid gash. I got Miss Nichols’ groom to stuff his handkerchief in to stop the bleeding and then I brought him home. Fortunately we were not more than 1½ miles away. He walked home all right but after he had been in the box a few minutes he could not move at all and for several days he could neither walk nor lie down. The vet says it was very lucky it wasn’t a great deal worse, as it has only broken muscles which will mend up in time. If it had gone in two inches to the left it would have split the shoulder and he would have had to have been shot and two inches to the right would have penetrated the jugular vein and he would have died in three minutes. Things are never so bad but they might be worse, I suppose, and I hope to hunt him again in a month or so. It’s rather sickening though, he had just got into condition and was awfully fit that day.
Mr. J. Leigh damaged a horse rather badly too that day, but I believe it’s almost right now. It was one of Hawker’s which he had just hired for a month, which was rather bad luck for him. I am trying to get that bay mare you had last season. I was to have had it last week only it was lame. I hope it will be all right by next week. We have been trying to toboggan this afternoon, but not with much success the snow is too soft.
Jess seems to have had a miraculous escape! I am so glad she wasn’t hurt. [The reference is to Robin–December 4, 1908. Jess’s accident took place on December 2, Utility’s on December 9.]
My side was unfortunately defeated in the mixed hockey match. Freddie Grisewood threw me over because he wanted to shoot and I had to have Cicely Fenwick in his place; and Marjorie never turned up as the sun wasn’t exactly shining, so Miss E. Francis, who was looking on, played in her place.
I suppose you will be just about getting my letter now [Kathleen–December 14, 1908]. Do you know I have only a very vague idea of what I said in it. I remember sitting down and writing many pages with the fixed idea that something had to be written by that particular post but what I found to write about I don’t know so if I said more than I meant, please forgive. You really did make me horribly unhappy for a bit.
They seem to have really settled that we are to stay on at Kitebrook after keeping us in delightful uncertainty three months. Reggie and I were to have dined with Mrs. Godman last night but there was such a blizzard we wired to say we really couldn’t. We were so relieved at getting out of it. Geoff flatly declined to go at the start and we wanted to, only we couldn’t find any reasonable reason.
I was so interested in the explanations of the house and am looking forward to getting the plan. I don’t know how to advise about colors from this distance. I think the sitting room must be green (I love green rooms) and I rather like red dining-rooms and my own special room must stay white. Do you paper walls in your land or distemper them or what do you do? [The references in this paragraph are to Robin–December 10, 1908]
I have not seen Daphne for ages but I remember noticing she was very lame at Stow ball. I will recommend my electric treatment when I next see her, though I don’t know that it has done me very much good. I went up again the other day to have it done again and was told I mustn’t do anything violent, so I only play hockey in goal now. I find dancing not quite such a joy as it used to be, as if my partner gives me a jerk it’s very painful.
The Stow 6-60 is next Thursday and the Bourton one the following Tuesday. They are trying to get up the Ladies’ Ball on January 28th, but I think it’s rather doubtful if they manage it, as several of last year’s “Ladies” are not on the list this year. I can’t make up my mind if I want it to come off or not. I have not heard of any private dances this winter.
Thursday. Your necklace came this morning. I am simply delighted with it and how clever of you to hit off my favorite stone–I love amethysts. Thank you ever so much for it. I expect you may imagine me wearing it, though do you know I have not worn your brooch since your letter till last night and I used to wear it every day!
With my best love and again ever so many thanks for that lovely present.