January 15, 1909
Moreton in Marsh
My dearest Robin,
We had a very poor day at Chipping Camden yesterday. I might just as well have stayed at home to write to you! We started with a gallop of some fifteen minutes ere we ate our bagged fox–they have descended to that now in part of the North Cotswold country! After that we wandered out to Meon Hill where we found again, but the fox got to ground after we had spent about five minutes on the top of Meon Hill waiting for Sir John, who was at the bottom, to bring his hounds up. We then meditated for half an hour in an icy Clart while a vain effort was made to get the fox out. I wandered with them for another hour with no result and then came home. The only people out whom I knew were Mr. Barnsley and Roderic, Mr. Prichard, and Mr. Murray, so the day became slightly monotonous, except for arguments with Mr. Murray and they began to bore me after first one or two. I hate that man and always make a point of disagreeing with everything he says! He thought yesterday’s run quite the best thing he had seen–he thinks that every day he goes out if hounds happen to run for more than two fields.
We had a capital run from Barton Grove on Tuesday, chiefly in the Heythrop country. I didn’t see the end of it as I had to come home early on account of Bourton’s silly dance. It was a silly dance too, only sixty-six people there and no one the least bit interesting, hopeless music, and a floor with knots in it. We all came home rather fretty. The only topic of conversation was Guelina Cheetham’s engagement, which was announced that day. They have known each other for more than ten years as he (Mr. Fawnthorpe) was at school with Jack Cheetham and has stayed there a good bit for shooting. All the family seem hugely delighted though somewhat surprised. He is a schoolmaster and has just got a post in India for two years. He goes out today and Guelina will probably follow in the autumn and be married out there. They seem to have got engaged at the Hunt Ball and I, of course, discovered it at once–I always do and it’s quite unintentional, for I am really not the least an observant person. I just happened to see them look at each other and, if you have been looked at that way yourself, you can’t help knowing! I wisely refrained from giving them away and managed to express due surprise when I heard from Marjorie after the children’s dance asking if I had noticed a possible engagement there! And also when Auntie told me Mrs. Johnson had asked her if she knew anything about it.
I have at last managed to hire a hunter, not a bad sort of beast but very ugly. I am going to begin to ride Utility next week but not to hunt him for two or three weeks yet.
This afternoon I am to be taken to call on Mrs. Dugdale. I hope she will be taking her daily drive, as she always paralyses me.
The Ladies’ Ball has fallen through or, as the committee prefer to express it, been put off till Easter week; though I see no reason why the ladies should be any more enthusiastic about it then than now. I suppose there is no chance of your being back if they have it then? April 16th it would probably be. It would be so nice to have another dance with you at Stow.
I don’t think the Heythrop Ball is at all a good substitute for the Ladies’ one, though most people seem to. There is always such a squash one can’t dance.
Saturday. More disaster in the stables! The boys went over to Bourton on Thursday to hunt at New Barn yesterday. They seem to have had a tremendous run in the afternoon from Clapton to B___ [indecipherable] or somewhere there, but neither of the boys got beyond Gawcombe where Reggie and Pedlar found a resting-place in a bog and Geoff and his mare on an iron railing. It seems to have taken four men half an hour to extract Pedlar with the aid of spades and ropes. He and Reggie crawled home about 7:00 very weary but undamaged. Geoff’s mare is a more serious matter. She was apparently pretty done-up and never rose at a gap which had an iron hurdle among the brambles which Geoff never saw. He took her to Sawcombe and left her there and has just gone over this morning to see how she is, as the vet hadn’t been when he left last night. The spike seems to have just missed her heart. We seem rather unfortunate just now, don’t we! Geoff’s other horse has just been blistered and turned out as it has a tendon gone.
I have not got very far with answering your letter [Robin–December 29, 1908], but I think I have said before about all there is to say. I am sorry I said you had told me you had never kissed anyone but me, for now that I think about it I have no real recollection of it and I expect I just took it for granted. I didn’t mean to worry you about it. I believe girls attach a great deal more importance to that sort of thing than men do. I expect Byron was right when he said, “Man’s love is of a man’s life a thing apart/T’is woman’s whole existence” [Don Juan, lines 1545-1546]–only we don’t any of us remember that.
Norah told me some time ago that you and Harry had been having a heated discussion about something or other, house-work she thought. Harry told her she was to ask me about it as I should have heard from you. What do they mean? I haven’t the least idea.
Norah is coming to lunch today so perhaps she will be able to throw more light on the subject. I went over to see the Grisewoods the other day. “Mummie” was about three times as mad as usual!