May 7, 1908
Ever so many thanks for the photographs. I am just delighted to have the one of you at last and it’s very like you too. I didn’t quite like the wobbly mouth at first but I am getting used to it now. It looks as though you had opened it to say something and then didn’t. And the rest of the face is you exactly so I am really quite pleased with it. Most photographs don’t look the least like the originals, do they? The house is quite sweet–even Auntie had to acknowledge that.
I started a letter to you directly I got them but there were so many interruptions I thought I would wait till I got home. We have been staying in Leamington since last Friday and came home last night till tomorrow when we go to London and to Paris on Monday. Grandfather has very nobly offered to stand us a few days there on our way to Switzerland. Norah is to join us in Paris on Thursday and on Friday night we start for Territet near Montreux where we shall arrive about 10 the next morning After that I don’t quite know what our plans are but we finish up with Interlaken and return to London on June 6th and here on the 8th. We should have liked to have stayed away a bit longer only Geoff comes home on the 8th for three days before going away for three months military training so we shall have to be here then. Eva Wiggin is unfortunately not able to come after all as her aunt, Mrs. Rice, is ill and she thinks she ought not to leave her. It’s rather a pity as we shall only be a party of three now.
I wish Mrs. Francis’ friend had told your fortune. It would have been interesting to compare it with your palmist’s version. Did Harry’s correspond? I am afraid I am almost more than a “leetle broad across the shoulders” (it’s a delightful way of putting it) but that description might apply to many people, amongst others the girl who told Marjorie she wasn’t quite sure whether you liked her (the broad girl) or me best. By-the-bye, you have never told me what grounds she had for making that statement? It’s quite useful to know you are going to live to be 75 isn’t it, because you needn’t worry about insuring your life till you get there. Also if you happen to be ill or break yourself I needn’t be the least anxious!
Johnny Leigh’s farm does sound a desolate spot. It must be dreary seeing hardly anyone for months at a time especially as I suppose he has not a great deal to do in the winter.
Our weather has been more irresponsible than usual lately. On the day of Mourton races April 23rd it began to snow and we had more than all the winter put together. By Saturday night it was a foot deep in the shallowest places. Then it cleared up and by Sunday afternoon it had nearly all gone and the roads were quite hard and dry except for a deep river down each gutter. Then last Saturday the thermometer was over 90° in the sun and the change was such a shock we could do nothing but sit and gasp. Since that it has done nothing but rain till today, which is glorious. The floods are very bad indeed–whole fields under water and the tennis clubs have not been able to open this week.
The concert at the Richardsons’ was a brilliant success. Freddie Grisewood sang some splendid songs in country dialect which brought down the house. Marjorie took to her bed at the last minute with the “flue” so her place as violinist had to be taken by Rosemary Richardson. I didn’t hear her performance but am told it was rather squeakly and out of tune; however I expect the village people enjoyed hearing her. She looked such a wee mite and kept assuring us she wasn’t a bit nervous! Mrs. Richardson really acted very well after all and our duologue went swimmingly.
It was a very snowy night but the room was packed in spite of the weather.
I really enjoyed myself at Leamington this time. My youngest aunt, who belongs there, was at home and she is a delightful person. She has all sorts of quaint ideas about life and believes a sort of doctrine of happiness of her own which we spent hours arguing about, and she always at any rate partly convinces me in the end, I suppose because she is such a wonderful example of the result of it. She certainly is one of the happiest people I know and I should think most women leading her life, tied to two cantankerous old people, would have had most of the life knocked out of them. She is very interested in you. It was rather funny, I had quite decided they none of them knew anything about the matter as I had been there three days and no one had said a word and Granny is the most curious old person on earth. She bounced it on me at last however. Apparently Auntie told her all there was to tell when she went there just after you left. Grandfather and Aunt Bo each took a turn after that. I listened dutifully to their arguments v. B. C. and answered all questions to the best of my ability. I think if you were to make a plan of the estate, it might be of use to me in the future, saying exactly what you grow on each square foot and on what spot each cow is in the habit of grazing etc. etc. I wasted much time trying to convince Grandfather that B. C. wasn’t a desert inhabited by cannibals! Aunt Bo wants to get round the house in the photograph to look at the other side, so please send me a photograph of each side when you have time to take them just to show it has four sides! She would also like to know why there are stacks of pea-sticks in front of the windows. I believe they are bushes, aren’t they? Do send me some of those snowy photographs too like the ones in your book, will you?
I showed the one of you to Aunt Bo, and she says you are very like your mother. I wish I had known her, Robin. Do you remember her well? There are such heaps of things I wanted to ask you but we never had time somehow, and they won’t be written.
Poor old Tom Thumb, my first pony, has been very ill lately. He won’t eat anything and looks so wretched and feeble. I am very much afraid he will have to be shot but we are going to wait till we come back from abroad to give him a chance to pull round but they say there isn’t much hope of it. He might go on as he is for years but I expect it would be kinder to shoot him, he doesn’t look as though he enjoyed living.
I heard from Marjorie the other day. She sent her love to you. I don’t know that she ought to but she did so I suppose I must send it on. Perhaps it doesn’t matter as long as she sends it through me, but if she takes to sending it direct mind you let me know at once so that I can make an excursion to Dayleford to scratch her eyes out. She hopes you are having her suite of rooms built onto the mansion, and would like a harmony in pink in her “salon”. I have a sort of feeling I am not going to get this letter finishd before Norah comes to make the final plans for our tour, and I know she won’t leave till after post-time.
I hope Harry’s garden will be a success. Norah told me he had sent to her for some sweet-pea seed. I seem to have got a good many relations in British Columbia which I didn’t know about. I wonder if you have ever come across any of them? The Montague Drake who died the other day was Granny’s first cousin and she says she thinks both he and his brother who also went out there had large families of sons and daughters, a good many of whom have settled there.
The new piano is a great success, so much nicer to play on than the old one. The man who came down about it gave me lots of useful hints and I really think I am improving at it.
There’s Norah! —
She’s quite gone, leaving me three minutes with luck, so I am going to stop now or else this won’t go till next week I believe my next letter will be from foreign lands
Ever your loving