Grindelwald May 31, 1908
We have gone back into summer again. It’s perfectly grilling to-day, rather a change from last Sunday when we had 27 inches of snow. It took several days to melt and though it stopped snowing on Sunday afternoon we were not able to do very much till Thursday, which seemed rather waste of time when there is so much to see and do.
We drove down to Interlaken on Tuesday. It took an hour and a half to go and two and a half to come back and seemed a very dull place when we got there. We drove down the hills at break-neck speed and as the roads were all stones and sharp corners and the carriage had no springs worth mentioning we did not enjoy it very much.
Last night we saw an enormous avalanche, which was a grand sight. An enormous mass of snow came down right from the top of the Wetterhorn. Of course it never struck me to take a photograph till it was over and that duffer Norah to whom it did occur couldn’t stop watching to get her Kodak and never suggested it to me. Several more people have turned up here during the week and our original friends the parson lot (who were really quite nice by the way, except Gertrude) and the two purpled-nosed women who never spoke and rarely ate anything have left. Among the new comers is a party of five “Yanks”, such a rowdy lot. The evening they arrived they got up some dancing with two other creatures who look like housemaids on the loose. One of the latter tried to get two men to join them but without success. We were terrified they would ask us, but I suppose there must be something forbidding in our appearance as we were the only ones they did not attack.
We have just come back from Church and for the first time in my life I really feel as though I should appreciate Mr. Sneyd! The parson, who only arrived last night, was a terrible old freak with a voice which came in loud jerks like someone hammering in nails. They had special hymns of their own and no choir, so everyone stopped when they weren’t quite sure how to go on. The organ was played by another parson who is staying here and it gave forth the most excruciating sounds. The latter’s friend, a weedy youth with a wobbly eye, took the plate round and looked as though he were competing in an egg and spoon race. Altogether it was almost too much for me. It’s a great misfortune to have a sense of humor! sometimes.
I hope you enjoyed your two dances better than you expected. [The references here and in succeeding paragraphs are to Robin — May 10, 1908.] They really don’t sound very thrilling though. Reggie wanted me to go to Woolwich for theirs but fortunately it is next Friday so we shan’t be back. I don’t want to go a bit. As far as I remember, you are not a great supper-eater at a dance! so I should think the coffee and cake would suit you well.
I wonder how Daphne has replied to your blank sheet. What a pity I can’t chaff her about it! I am sure I treat my brothers much better. I always write to them once a month or so when it isn’t too much bother.
I hope the puppy has spared you a shoe to go about in. It must be rather nice living in the tent in spite of these disasters.
I am afraid I am not good at riddles and yours sounds such a very deep one, but I suppose by writing this I am entering for the competition. How many shots may I have and when does it close? I will make no promises to return the prize (if I get it.)
Your sofa sounds quite a work of art. We shall be making our visitors admire the drawing-room chairs this summer, as we have just been re-covering them.
I really don’t know what questions to ask, there are so many things I want to know. Your last letter really told me quite a lot though, and I think in time I may begin to gather something about the country. I certainly shan’t allow the dust to sit inches thick on the top of your desk, even though that does prevent it being anywhere else.
I am sorry my fireplace is giving such trouble. Why is it being so awkward? I don’t see why it shouldn’t stick in anywhere. I certainly shan’t come out till I have seen a photo of it comfortably established so that I can be quite certain it is there, though as long as I have the hearthrug to sit on I believe that is all I want.
I hope you haven’t had our wintry weather to spoil the fruit. Here enormous branches broke off from the weight of the snow and in some places whole trees came down. There is a lovely gorge near here through which the river flows down from the glacier. I went to take photos of it yesterday but all the best views were the wrong way of the sun so I am afraid the result will not be much good. I believe we are going to stay here till we go home, it is such a lovely place I should like to stay here all the summer. I don’t a bit want to go home and play tennis. We have got a few extra days as Geoff is working for an exam and is not coming home after all before he goes for his military training. As far as I can make out, he is not coming home till next December but his letters are not very explicit. His chief grievance seems to be that he has got an exam on Derby day!
It has got almost too hot the last two days to take our long mountain walks. They are always fraught with terror for me too unless the paths are nice and wide, as I am perfectly convinced that Auntie will vanish down a precipice one day. I am afraid she has lost the activity of youth and she slithers about in a most remarkable way which gives me fits. I wish Miss Wiggin had come, as then Norah and I could have left them together in safety while we scaled the heights after wild flowers.
We are going up the Jungfrau tomorrow as far as the railway is finished. They say one can’t walk about much when one gets there as the air is so different one can’t breathe.
I hear from Marjorie that Peggy Fenwick is engaged to be married but she doesn’t say to whom, which is so like her.
I have got 42 large nails in each of my shoes now so I don’t think I shall take any more inadvertant toboggan slides! They do things very thoroughly here, although it takes about three times as many people to do them as in England. The other day I saw two men solemnly working away with a small hand plane, one holding each end!
The people in the shops are quite delightful. They all say “good-bye” when you go out and so does a porter when he settles you in the train.
I wish you were here to enjoy this delightful place, but I suppose you have got mountains of your own and you will say they are far nicer, but you couldn’t have anything better than this place whatever you may say! Its far and away nicer than the places we went to in Italy last year and I loved them.
Ever your loving