This transcript reproduces Eileen Younghusband's writing as accurately as possible, including errors of spelling and punctuation. When personal and place names are misspelt, we have attempted to include the correct versions of the names in square brackets [ ] after the misspelling.
The language and opinions found in the diaries reflect the ideas, attitudes and events of the period. Some of the terminology and language used at that time may cause offence today but the content has been made available unedited. We hope that the context of the material will be taken into account and apologise for any offence caused.
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Suggested citation for this volume: Diary 18, Jun-Dec 1925; Eileen Younghusband archive, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick (MSS.463/EY/J18)
Images of the original diary are available through Warwick Digital Collections.
1925. Sunday June 14th con:
A very nice master came to luncheon & he & I & Dolly had a great political argument because he & I saw eye to eye & Dolly was all on the side of the French; it was great fun.
Catherine Allington (who is beautiful) Cynthia Wedderburn & her husband and various other oddments of people came to tea. We sat in the garden all the evening.
Monday June 15th I left laden with flowers & eggs for the Club. Dolly is one of the most generous people I have ever known. I arrived very late & panting about 12.30 at the Club and in the afternoon went to see Beatrice Ayling & took her some eggs and then went & did some visits. We took the Peter Rabbits to the Park & had a fairly lurid time getting them there & back. I went swimming in the evening and then did the library.
Edith came & talked to me about her father after I’d gone to bed; she was very upset indeed about it. He has had to give up all work for good & will be able to do practically nothing for the rest of his life. It is very hard to think of any redeeming feature in the whole thing.
Tuesday June 16th. I visited in the morning. Anne came to luncheon suffering badly from hay fever. I made her lie on my bed & Edith & I talked to her. Mrs Beattie escorted us to Meggerson’s [ Meggeson's ] factory where Lizzie Burke works & we went over it with her (Mrs B). Anne’s hay fever got so bad that she had to leave. We saw all sorts of cachous & fruit drops & pastilles being made. I had a try at Lizzie’s cutting & did it very unevenly which of course pleased her. It is quite a small factory, very clean & light & although some of the conditions there are supposed to be bad we saw no sign of them. Edith & I did a few visits & then got back for tea.
We went swimming in the evening.
Edith & I did a bit of novel writing when we went to bed.
Wednesday June 17th. I went visiting in the morning & then helped with dinners. In the afternoon I distributed more eggs & did various oddments.
We had a very warm time with Peter Rabbits in the Park & lost two on the way back. Betty came down in the evening which was a great relief. I had a dull library & a very unruly painting class.
Edith went home for a couple of nights to see her father.
Thursday June 18th. I did all sorts of oddments in the morning. Barbara came down about 12 o’c & we started up west together. I went to luncheon with Miss Anthony & she took me to see the film of Conan Doyle’s book the 'Lost World'; it was very good, full of petrodactyls & other pre historic animals. We had tea at a shop in Regents St & then I took her back to her hotel & said good bye. She is a perfect dear. After supper at the Club I went to an open air Labour meeting by St James’s Church & Lizzie & Florrie came and joined me there. In the very first line of all was Rosie Tree & several other of the naughtiest of the Peter Rabbits! Dr Salter the member for Bermondsey spoke very well, one of the best political speeches I’ve ever heard with no ranting against other parties & no playing down to people’s lowest passions. He spoke about the conditions in the mining industry & then showed how conditions in China affected conditions in Bermondsey. L & F came back to the Club with me & I helped Lizzie to alter a frock.
Friday June 19th. Edith got back soon after breakfast & we were all very busy preparing for the Annual Conference of the Federation of Residential Settlements which was held at the Club this year. They came at 10.30 & I sat at a table by the door of the hall selling luncheon tickets. There were heads of settlements & others from London, the provinces & Scotland; Mr Eager [ Eagar ] was in the chair & Sir Wyndham Deedes the Secretary was also on the platform. They read reports and did more or less uninteresting items of business all the morning & then we gave them a very good luncheon for 1/6 a head. In the afternoon Mr Eager read a tremendously interesting paper on housing & there was a discussion afterwards. Then tea and Committee meetings. It was very interesting to see the people from all sorts of other settlements and they seemed an intelligent lot on the whole.
Edith came to the station with me & I caught the 6.34.
Saturday June 20th. I went up to the Cottage in the afternoon, helped Edith to cut out a frock, had tea with her & then we went & laid in the heather on the Chart & revelled in a most perfect evening.
Sunday June 21st. I went to Church at 10 o.c.
Daddie & I went to tea with the Lionel Liddells (Mummy was with Mrs Maguire for the week-end) & then I went up to the cottage afterwards, found Mrs Farnworth there & walked down the hill with her.
Monday June 22nd. I rushed to a medical inspection when I got up & took over from Edith.
In the afternoon I joined Mummy & Daddie at Paddington & we went down to Marlow for Uncle George’s 99th birthday party which I must say was very entertaining. Uncle Claude & Aunt Di were there & Cousin V, Oonah, Moyra, Brian, Terence, Cousin Nell, Cousin Gerty, Dolly & Mr Vaughan, Uncle Douglas, Uncle Vesey, Aunt Aimée, Uncle Oswald, Aunt Bobs & Anne, Uncle Barney & Aunt Clare, Mr Freddy Wallop & heaps of other vague people whom I knew. Uncle George looked extraordinarily well & was none the worse after it.
I caught a fairly early train back & arrived at the Club about 8 o’c. A nice friend of Edith’s called Rosalind Chambers who is doing C.O.S. work had arrived to live at the Club. I did the library as usual.
Edith & I had a very long talk about Anne whom I was most worried over. Edith was splendid & very helpful.
Thursday July 9th.
Tuesday June 23rd. I visited in the morning. Anne came to luncheon and we talked for some time in the afternoon.
Miss Brodigan took me to Grey Ladies College at Blackheath for tea. We went miles on the tops of buses & my conversation failed completely, it was terribly nerve racking. I sat uneasily balanced on the edge of a chair during tea while masses of Grey Ladies poured in and out, After tea Miss Douglas the warden took us over the house & garden & was very nice. I got back to the Club, had a bath & got into evening dress in 20 minutes & went to dine with Mr Hall-Walker & his mother at les Gobelins. We had a very good dinner & then went to see 'Hay Fever' one of the cleverest, funniest & most subtle plays I have ever seen. There was practically no plot & no “strong love interest” but it was quite desperately clever & amusing & Marie Tempest was perfect as the ex-actress mother. Mr Hall-Walker motored me back to the Club as it was on his way to Greenwich. I went and told Edith about it & Gray Ladies & we rocked with laughter & talked till past 1 o’c.
Wednesday June 28th. I visited during the morning. There was an After Care Conference in the girl’s department of the school in the afternoon – very interesting. Edith & I went to tea with Miss Davis of the Bermondsey settlement. It is a huge place built in red brick Victorian Gothic & is the united effort of the Wesleyan Church.
We had the Peter Rabbits & Red Squirrels combined because of Miss Dickinson being away & there being no Avery Hill Students; they behaved like little angels.
I did library in the evening & then there was a most interesting lecture by Mr Eagar on "old Bermondsey"; the girls were thrilled especially Florrie Page who begged him to go on every time he tried to stop!
Thursday June 25th. Mr Alec Patterson who is the head of the Borstal institutes came to breakfast bringing a boy called Wilfrid Hudson who was full of enthusiasm for social reform & one of the most unsophisticated people I’ve ever seen; he said everyone ought to read poetry for two hours a day & was really pained when we pointed out to him not everyone liked poetry. Mr Patterson was very interesting on the raising of the school age & what subjects should be included in the new curriculum.
I went to a horribly dull H.M.U.H [ Home Mission Union Helpers ] committee meeting & walked in the Park with Margaret Adam afterwards. I went to luncheon at St Martin’s Club & then went to see the Waldegraves & Anne, the W’s were in a great fussle of settling about their new house in London before they left for Scotland. I talked to Anne for a bit & then went back to the Club. Edith was there (she’d been home for the night) & Mrs Salter the wife of Dr Salter, came to tea. We picked her brains about all sorts of things both local & connected with the Labour Party in general & she was most interesting. Edith came to the station with me & I came here by the 6.34.
Saturday June 27th. Margaret Adam came down for the day. She was so nice – much nicer than I realized she was & I enjoyed having her.
Sunday June 28th. I went up to the Cottage & spent the morning sitting on the Chart with Edith.
I went up to London by the 5.25 to spend the night with Peggy. We talked hard till dinner time & again after church till about 10 o’c. Then we went to the Gargoyle ( a night club run by David Tennant) & met Charles Graves & his brother there & danced & sat on the roof and danced. Charles Graves is head over heels in love with Peggy; he is both amusing & interesting to talk to and I enjoyed it all tremendously. Peggy & I talked & joked till nearly 1 o’c.
Monday June 29th. Rowland was away for the week-end so I had his room but he got back early in the morning & came & sat on my bed & talked & we had great jokes.
Peggy went off to the hospital directly after breakfast & I returned to the Club. There was a medical inspection at the school. Edith had arranged with Miss Tennant to take the first half as she was going to be at home but when I got there at 11 o’c I found there was no one there! I explained what had happened to the doctor & she was very nice about it.
Edith got back in time for luncheon & went to an After Care Conference at East Lane School in the afternoon. I visited and then went to tea with Beatrice Ayling who was awfully nice & gave me a beautiful tea. The Peter Rabbits & Red Squirrels were desperately naughty & got completely out of hand several times.
I went swimming in the evening & did the library.
Edith went home for the night.
Tuesday June 30th Anne came at 11 o’c & I took her visiting which interested her very much. We went back to the Club for luncheon & found Edith there. All the afternoon we sat on the roof talking. Barbara came to tea; we had a most hilarious tea doubled up with laughter all the time.
I went swimming in the evening.
Edith went home for the night.
Wednesday July 1st I visited all the morning. Miss Dickinson had got back from Italy the day before & came in during the course of the morning. It was lovely to see her again & she & I had a long talk about Edith & her father’s illness. There was a meeting of us all in the afternoon to discuss what should be done in the Club next term, as usual in those discussions we didn’t get very far except that there is to be a Club for 14 year olds & Edith wants to take on three more Care Committees!
The Peter Rabbits came in the evening and were alternatively very good & very naughty.
I did library & painting class in the evening. Rosalind Chambers came in to criticize the work of the painting class which added a touch of local colour.
Edith & I talked till 12.30.
Thursday July 2nd. I did some visiting in the morning and Miss Dickinson took Edith & me to luncheon at a restaurant by London Bridge.
I left my luggage – or rather attaché case at Charing X [ Cross ] & then went to see Miss Wolff; she was in the middle of taking a class so I only saw her for a few minutes. Daddie had Barbara Liddell & me to tea at the Wellington Club & gave us a wonderful tea. I quite cured a violent attack of indigestion by eating strawberries & cream & drinking iced coffee & lemonade! We all came down by Oxted.
Tuesday July 21st.
Friday July 3rd. I did practically nothing all day. In the evening Daddie & I went to a party at the India Office given by Lord & Lady Birkenhead for Lord and Lady Reading. It was a beautiful sight in the great hall of the India Office looking down on the whole thing from the gallery above. There were of course a great many Indians there in all sorts of silks & satins. We saw heaps of people we knew & enjoyed it very much indeed. We came down here the same evening.
Sunday August 2nd.
Saturday July 4th. I did oddments all day & went up to the Cottage in the evening to see Edith but couldn’t find anyone in.
Sunday July 5th. Anna came down for the day. We talked hard about literature & intellectualism & kindred subjects & had a most good time. Mrs Farnworth came to tea & Anna left in the evening.
Monday July 6th. I went up to the Club in the morning. Edith had been home for the night & returned in time for luncheon. I did visits in the afternoon. Edith & I helped Miss Dickinson with the Red Squirrels after tea and they were closed down for the summer. I went swimming in the evening & then got back & did library.
Tuesday July 7th. I visited in the morning and the afternoon. I had supper early & went off to meet Barbara on the steps of St Martin’s to go to a cinema. We came all the way back to the Old Kent Road & saw a mass of perfectly pointless oddments & then 'Moon of Israel' a finely produced film of the Captivity in Egypt.
Edith and I talked for ages about the oppressiveness of the ages of history and all the vast masses of men & women who have lived & died and worked ourselves into a condition of misery with a sense of the overwhelmingness of numbers & our own utter unimportance.
Wednesday July 8th. I told Edith that Barbara was engaged to one Tony Smith. She swallowed it completely & was very excited, asking all sorts of questions. I visited in the morning. In the afternoon Edith & I went to see Florrie Large in a street off the Walworth Road. She is a girl of 15 who lived in the hostel & had a baby by a boy of 18. They are married now & very happy. Everyone was out when we got there so we dropped a bunch of flowers through the window and went along East Street where Edith said there was a birth control clinic she wanted to look at. All we could discover was an Infant Welfare Centre & that was shut. We walked along till we came to the District Organizer's office & went in to see Miss Tennant & Miss Jones & had an hilarious tea with them with terrific jokes & much laughter. I did library & then conducted the painting class for the last time for which I was, in some ways very thankful.
Thursday July 9th. Edith & I went visiting during the morning. When we got back we found Barbara had been waiting for us nearly an hour. She told Edith all about her engagement & Edith was very excited about it & asked all sorts of questions. In the end we told her it was a leg pull because we couldn't have done any more about it till we were all back in London in September.
I went to luncheon with Aunt Bobs. Uncle Oswald was in bed with shingles & had a night & day nurse. The doctor had told Aunt Bobs that what she wants is a complete change from all she has been doing because if she goes on much longer her nerves will get worse than Uncle Oswald’s. Shes had an awful time for several years now. I went shopping with her & she dropped me at Peggy’s for tea. Lillah Bagwell & Clive Halliday were there. I stayed on after they had left & came home by the 7.16.
Friday July 10th. I went over to Reigate on the 10.12 bus. Anne was very cheerful & had asked a young Serbian called Popavitch [ Popović ] to meet me. She had met him with the Waldegraves and said he was a mystic & was very much impressed by him. He arrived after luncheon having missed his train and we sat in the garden talking about religion all the afternoon. I was quite as much impressed by him as Anne was, he seemed to lift one up onto some totally different level of being where one saw the world though fresh eyes & had all one’s values changed. And heard The Mighty Waters rolling ever more.
He & I left together and walked the mile & a half into Reigate talking hard all the time. He asked if we could meet again & so I asked him to luncheon at the Club the following Thursday. Altogether a very remarkable day.
Saturday July 11th. I went to stay the week-end with Monica & Lionel Abel-Smith near Liphook. My train was late & I got into the other train at Waterloo as it was moving.
They have taken a most attractive place called Bramshott Court. There is a dear little Abel-Smith five months old – Christian [ illegible word ]. A nice Mr Somervell, first cousin of the man who went up Everest was staying there. We sat in the garden after tea & listened to the wireless in the evening.
Saturday August 8th.
Sunday July 12th. We sat about the garden all morning. I wrote letters & slept. Two American ladies came to luncheon & talked endlessly & stayed to tea. Monica, Mr Somervell & I went for a walk after they’d left & discussed what could be done for Lionel A-S who is still very blind & cannot get better & has very bad nerves. It really is terribly sad. We were all very cheerful at dinner. Mr Somervell left after dinner to go back to London.
Monday July 13th. I got back to the Club about 12 o’c. Edith was doing a week at the Cottage but I found Miss Dickinson there when I arrived very full of a visit from Miss Owen the District Organizer of Care Committee work. A girl was brought in who had come down from Bradford in search of work and had been wandering about since Friday with no food & sleeping in parks having spent all her money on the railway fare. Miss Dickinson took her to Sister Winifred’s shelter.
Sister & I had luncheon together then I did various oddments of writing & then Miss Dickinson & I went to tea with Beatrice & Ethel Ayling. I did visits & then went to see Miss Dickinson at her flat.
Directly after swimming Lizzie & Florrie, Annie Calrow & Florrie & Susey Ward & I went to see Addie’s Club which is attached to St John’s Hoxton. Addie & a friend met us at Shoreditch Church & conducted us there. A very nice young thing was in charge endeavouring to teach gym without anyone to play the piano so Florrie Ward stepped into the breach till the proper person came. It is a very strict old fashioned Club with no dancing allowed but Florrie W started playing jazz music and they all danced & said they’d never enjoyed themselves so much. The young thing was quite happy about it but said she hoped no one would come in & find them at it & that it was H.M.U.H. that forbad dancing & because of the grant we gave them they have to agree. All the girls were most nice & friendly & gave us tea & biscuits & begged us to come again. All my lot enjoyed themselves hugely & it was a great success. We didn’t get back till 10.30.
Tuesday July 14th. I tried to write letters in the morning but was interrupted continually to do various oddments. In the afternoon I went to see Florrie Large & took her some roses. I packed & sorted when I got back, Barbara came & stayed to tea & was charming & amusing. A very nice Miss Lethbridge who is a friend of Aunt Lil’s & works at Miss Taylor’s office also came to tea with me.
I went swimming & also did a visit on the way.
There was nothing for me to do in the Club so I escaped to bed early & read the Life of St Theresa till nearly midnight.
Wednesday July 15th. I had a medical inspection at Albion St in the morning. It was a very nice one. One mother came up with a small boy aged four, she looked at me & said “we call him Romeo because hes always roaming. He was found up London Bridge at 11.30 the other night”!!
I got back to the Club to find them all more or less in a frenzy about our annual concert which was that evening. Edith was there very cross at having been brought up from the Cottage to help with it. We sewed on badges & wrote notices & tidied up & got the hall ready all the afternoon & evening. The thing began at 8 o’c. Mummy & Daddie came & Mrs Philip Snowden gave away the badges; a tiresome, vulgar woman whom I’d been fully prepared to like both on account of her politics & on account of her writings before I saw her. She told me she’d heard what a splendid work I was doing which annoyed me very much.
The show really was awfully good, the junior & senior dramatic classes acted (the latter very well & the former very badly), the Brownies sang their song, the Brown Hares danced, the Guides guided, the Drill Class drilled & Amy Lloyd sang very well.
There was a sort of reception of the Upper Crust afterwards & they were given cakes & coffee. I escaped it as much as possible. We all talked it over after everyone had left for hours on end & Edith & I talked for still more hours in bed.
Sunday August 9th.
Thursday July 16th. Edith returned to Wrotham in the morning.
I went to the School of Economics to have an interview with Miss Eckhard one of the tutors with a view to going there in the autumn to start a two years course in Social Science. She was most helpful told me all about the hours etc: & gave me a list of books it would be helpful to read before going there.
Popavitch came to luncheon. There was no one else there except for Miss Godzoni the Italian girl who never utters: altogether a difficult meal. We went for a walk afterwards & sat in a boat in Southwark Park lake most of the afternoon. I discovered the feet of clay very clearly – sex. He was completely riddled by the idea of sex; it was a little difficult to rearrange one’s ideas of someone who had seemed to be a saint and took one’s breath away a bit. He said he felt he could say anything to me – and went on to say it. The odd thing was that the religious part was absolutely genuine & co-existent with the other. A most interesting psychological study and I wish I’d been able to write up both meetings with him fully at the time; they were both absorbing experiences. I was probably unduly hard on him not making allowances for a mass of things which probably make his point of view seem perfectly normal & right to him. We went back to tea at the Club and were plunged into a mass of females all talking shop. I felt a passion for ordinary things & ordinary people.
I left by the 6.34 taking all my possessions with me because that was the last day of the term and the Club closed till the 3rd week in September. Miss Dickinson saw me off & was most charming when we said good bye.
Friday July 17th. I went up to the Cottage in the afternoon & had tea with Edith & we went on the Chart after tea & I didn’t get back till 8 o’c which was excusable as I shan’t see her again till October.
Saturday July 18th. I went to Wrotham by the 8.40 to spend a fortnight there with Edith doing Club holidays at the Cottage. We had arranged to meet at the station & go off for an all day picnic but it was drizzling & gloomy & she wasn’t at the station.
The Bulley’s car took me up to the Cottage where I found Edith, Miss Bulley & Florrie Millar. I helped clean knives & silver & do other odd jobs. We went to luncheon with Miss Bulley & the gloomy “Miss Mary” who enjoys ill health. After luncheon we went to the village & bought buns & then went & lay on Golden Knob (it had cleared up) and talked and ate our tea. We got back in time to get supper ready for the girls who should have been there about 6.45. I felt gloomy & depressed & unpractical, longing to be away from it all.
The girls didn’t arrive till sometime around 9 o’c because a train had caught fire & made a block on the line which delayed things a great deal. The party consisted of Edie Fitzpatrick, Lizzie Burke, Ada Corby, Carrie Fenton, Iris Mann, Cissie Parmenter, Maisie Bailey and Florrie Thomas, all, with the exception of the first three, between the ages of 16 and 18. Miss Bulley welcomed them & gave them a short talk on the Cottage & what they were expected to do & they all went to bed fairly early.
Sunday July 19th. Ada, Florrie Millar & I went to church early. It was raining in sheets and there were streams about a couple of inches deep along parts of the roads. We were all absolutely soaked by the time we got there. It cleared up later & was lovely.
We all went to the Bulleys and were weighed in the morning.
Sister & Lily Shoult came down for the day and we all lay on Golden Knob all the afternoon and played guessing games & rolled each other down the hill. We had tea in the garden and after tea we all (except Sister & Lily who were going back to London) walked to Stanstead, a pretty little village about 1 ½ miles away, and went to Church there. It was a very nice service with a good sermon. It was the most gloriously lovely evening and we walked back by the fields.
Monday July 20th. Edith & I went for a short walk by ourselves in the morning and discussed the great difficulty of getting any ideas into the girl’s heads. Later we all went down to the village and had ices and fruit and sweets.
I left by a 3.30 train to come back here for Squerryes dance. The whole party came to see me off. I found Gus Blackburn who was going with me already here when I arrived. He & I & Daddie went up to Squerryes to watch the tennis & cricket & saw Miss Deane & various other people. Sir Howard D'Egville was also staying here, he went to London for the day but got back late. We all went to the dance & picked up Bee & Arthur too on the way. It was a most amusing dance with fairy lights all over the garden & bunches of balloons indoors. Gus was at his best & we had a most amusing time together shrieking with laughter & having huge jokes. Sir Howard was rather tiresome & not nearly so easy as when I met him in London; Gus nicknamed him “the gentleman guest”. At one point a man who was staying at Titsey did frightfully clever imitations & sang convulsing everyone with laughter. We stayed till the end & I enjoyed it hugely; it was most beautifully done & about the best country dance I’ve ever been to.
Monday August 10th.
Tuesday July 21st. Gus & Sir Howard left by morning trains. Mummy and I went up (Daddy had already gone) by the [ deleted: 12.44 and illegible insertion ] to go to the Royal Garden Party. We discovered at Dunton Green that we’d left the cards of admission behind, however we tore off to the Lord Chamberlin’s Office & they gave us fresh ones. I went to the sales and bought a jumper, a woolie & some stockings. Then I went to Wolfie’s & changed & Mummy met me & we went to the G.P & met Daddie there. We met the Inges, Mr Sheppard & masses of other people we knew. I left about 5.30 & went back to Wolfie’s & changed & went to Victoria to catch the 6.40 for Wrotham but unfortunately being tired I got it into my head that 6.40 was 10 to 7 and so I missed it quite unnecessarily. However there was another in ½ an hour. Carrie, Iris & Cissie met me (they’d been waiting at the station for nearly 3 hours) and were full of enthusiasm & quite charming. I felt very glad to be back.
Tuesday August 11th.
Wednesday July 22nd. We went over to Sevenoaks by bus in the morning; it was a very pretty drive through Ightham and Seal. Arrived at Sevenoaks we went into Knole Park and had a luncheon picnic there and lay about under the trees afterwards & Edith & I wrote letters. We went on in the afternoon to Walthamstow Hall School for Missionaries Daughters of which Edith’s eldest sister is headmistress. They gave us a wonderful tea & were tremendously nice to us and took us all over the school which is a splendid place especially the lovely children’s nurseries. We danced & sang after tea and had rides down the fire escape and finally as there was a heavy thunderstorm on when we should have been going for the bus they sent us all the way back in two taxis armed with huge bags of cakes. It was very interesting to see the effect on the girls, they appreciated the atmosphere of the school most thoroughly & said “oh how different I might have been if I’d gone to a school like that” but they thought the whole thing was produced by money.
There were a series of bad thunderstorms after we got home and poor Ada had convusions, fainted again & again and didn’t know where she was, kept calling for her mother & her eyes rolling back till only the whites showed. This went on till midnight. They were very fine thunderstorms and it was wonderful to watch the lightening play over the Weald of Kent.
Thursday July 23rd. We all went our own way in the village in the morning and in the afternoon went to tea with Miss Bulley and she played to us after tea extremely well. We played games in the evening.
Friday July 24th. Ada, Carrie, Iris and I went to Church at 8 o’c. The first time Carrie had ever been, she said in a loud whisper half way through “fine, ain’t it?”
I forgot to say that the evening before Edith had given them a lecture all round on much consistant bad behaviour, especially from Maisie, dear fat Florrie Thomas and Carrie; the result was floods of tears and much self-righteousness & it was past midnight by the time we – our own nerves completely shattered – had got them in the least degree calm again. Cissie was the only one of the young ones who was consistantly charming and gave no trouble.
We went for a walk and, I think, a pic-nic in the afternoon and in the evening Miss Bulley came to supper & we played games.
Saturday July 25st. They all (except Edie, Lizzie & Ada) left amidst loud lamentations at 9 o’c in the morning. Edith & I helped Florrie Millar & Miss Bulley do the usual Saturday bug hunt & disinfecting of beds & then Miss B (to our immense relief) turned us out with provisions for the day to go off to do what we liked. It was an absolute necessity to get away from the girls for a bit because however fond one is of them they wear one’s nerves to shreds if one has them for too long at very close quarters. I went straight on to Golden Knob & lay in the sunshine trying to sleep. Edith went to the village for something & then came & joined me there and we had a perfect day lying on the grass & reading & talking. It was the first time we have ever been free all day together & we talked about all sorts of nice ordinary things quite unconnected with Clubs & problems & I got a good many fresh side lights on Edith.
We got back in time for the arrival of the new party who consisted of Florrie Wheddon, Susey Ward, Emily Lowe & Billy & Florrie Page & a girl of Edith’s from Stepney called Hetty Somthing who was boarded out at a Cottage about a ¼ mile away.
Sunday July 26th. Edie, Florrie Wheddon and I went to Church early.
It poured most of the morning Edith & I wrote letters and left the girls more or less to their own devices apart from several of us going down to Miss Bulley’s to be weighed.
In the afternoon we all went for a walk. We were all to have gone to Church at Stanstead in the evening but Edie, Susey, Lizzie and Florrie P kicked up a great shindy & said they weren’t going so it ended in my going with Florrie Millar, Emily Lowe, Florrie Wheddon & Ada Corby. It was a nice service & a most glorious evening for the walk back. Ada (who is a Saint of the natural & unsophisticated variety), Florrie Millar & I had a long talk on religion all the way back.
There was an air of heaviness & gloom over the Cottage all the evening. We had strong suspicions that the four (Edie, Susey, Lizzie & Florrie P) had been to a pub in the morning & stood each other drinks to celebrate Florrie’s birthday. Several days later Edie confessed to me that this was what they had done; she was miserable about it. It sounds rather a small thing but it was clear contrary to the rules of the Cottage which they knew, & also going to a pub is not a small with them because there is so much drunkenness & Florrie Page in particular used a little time ago to be continually drunk.
Monday July 27th. We wrote letters & went to the village in the morning and went for walks & played games the rest of the day. Edith and I talked both late & long discussing leg pulls for Miss Brodigan & how we were going to manage the Four who were becoming quarrelsome amongst themselves.
Tuesday July 28th. Edith & I went to Church early, a rather beautiful high church service.
We all went to the village in driblets during the morning. It was a perfect afternoon & we all went over to Westerham in a char-a-banc. We went up to Hosey & had a picnic on the Chart; Rosalie joined us there and boiled kettles for our tea. Afterwards we drove round by Crockham Hill and Kent Hatch to Currant Hill, we came up here & Daddie showed them Indian & Tibetan things & I showed them things in my room & we gave them lemonade & biscuits and Edith and I had the greatest difficulty in getting them started home so that we weren’t back at Wrotham till 8 o’c instead of 7 o’c. Florrie Page was so overcome by the sight of Shortie & me that she wept!
Wednesday July 29th. As usual we went to the village in the morning. Two girls from Edith’s sister’s school came over to see us in the afternoon & Rosalind came down for the night. Edith Ada & I went to the Station to meet the latter and some of the girls met the former. After tea we played games and danced and then all the others went for a walk on Golden Knob while I stayed in to write letters. Rosalind was staying for the night, the Bulleys having very kindly offered to put her up.
After supper we did charades which had been very popular the week before & Edith & I had a howling success & reduced the audience to tears of laughter by being respectively a rowdy girl & Miss Brodigan. All was perfect joy & harmony with the introduction of new blood in the shape of Rosalind!
Thursday July 29th. Rosalind left by an 8 somthing train & Edith & I went to the Station to see her off.
In the afternoon we went for a picnic to Stanstead and had great fun there. Edith & I left before the rest to go & have supper with the Bunces (Miss Bulley’s sister & brother-in-law) & play tennis there. I’ve never played so badly in all my life! Miss Margaret Bulley was there; she has made a life-long study of aesthetics & has carried out tests in appreciation all over the world, one result is the discovery that the standard of taste is in almost exactly inverse ratio to the standard of civilisation. We all had a most interesting talk after supper and it was such a blessing to get amongst people who talked about ideas & who had low pitched voices & didn’t turn everything into the personal.
Miss Bulley was there when we got back & we all sang songs.
Friday July 30th. It poured dismally all day. We went to the village late in the morning and did nothing in particular in the afternoon till we went to tea with Miss Bulley & she played to us & we were weighed & then looked out clothes for a fancy dress party in the evening; they all dressed up very well particularly Lizzie as a Spanish dancer & Susey as a peasant with her hair in two thick plaits. Edith & I came as a cow, she being the head part & I the tail & we were a huge success. Afterwards we all danced & sang.
After they were all in bed when we went to say good night to the four we asked them about the pub episode. Florrie Page denied it (to shield the others) but Edie owned up & then of course they all did, we endeavoured to instil contrition which was already very much there in the case of Susey & Edie & (so she said) of Lizzie. We also spoke with some pain of all the quarrels and jealousies and fights there had been during the week but they were all full of moral rectitude & quite sure they were in the right.
Edith & I tried sleeping together but it wasn’t a great success owing to the bed being just too narrow.
I forgot to say that in the morning we were taken over the village school by the head master who showed us everything & made it very interesting. Unfortunately Edith got an attack of very loud hiccoughs in the middle which of course gave me a fit of giggles.
Saturday August 1st. We all left by a 9 somthing train & Edie, Susey & I came across here as they were staying the week-end at Mrs Jarrett’s. They became quite charming as soon as they were removed from the influence of Lizzie! I did a great many oddments of writing etc: in the afternoon & after tea took them for a walk & we met Mrs Farnworth & brought her back here.
Sunday August 2nd. I went to church at 10 o’c.
Rosalie, Edie & Susey came to tea and we walked up the hill with Rosalie & then lay on the Chart for a long time.
Monday August 3rd. Edie & Susey came in the morning and we went along the foot path to Brasted for a walk. They came again in the evening and were delightful. I saw them off regretfully by the 9.15 train.
Tuesday August 4th. I wrote letters & diary all the morning & a good deal of the afternoon. I went to supper with Miss Deane & Rosalie and we discussed poetry & the affairs of the world.
Wednesday August 5th. I went to London by the 10.40 & went to see Lizzie who was home for the dinner hour & very excited at seeing me. I went to the Club to get a couple of books and then went to luncheon with Aunt Mabel where I found Miss Violet Liddell, Barbara & Philip & Cousin Dick. Daddie picked me up after luncheon & we went to St Peters Eaton Square for the wedding of Lil & Tommy Troubridge. Papa Kleinwort went up the aisle in a thick overcoat & all the windows were well shut at the reception afterwards. Lil looked extremely pretty & very happy. There were a great many people there considering the time of year, but none of my particular friends. I had to go before she went away to catch a train to Etchingham where I was going to stay with the Leighs for a day or two.
Peggy met me at the station on the motor bike & whirled me off beyond Burwash where they were in a most attractive cottage called Keylands which belongs to the Kiplings who lend it to them every summer. It was built for Percival Landon & is full of his things. Peggy & I shared a bed-room & talked till the early hours of the morning.
Thursday August 6th. We went for a walk in the woods on Pook’s Hill in the morning and in the afternoon laid about in deck chairs & talked and wrote a letter or two
Rudyard Kipling, Mrs Kipling & another lady came after tea. He was very amusing telling us limericks he had composed and funny stories. I thought he was a little conceited but may have been wrong and anyway he was very entertaining.
We went to the village on the motor bike to fetch the letters.
Friday August 7th. We had luncheon early & Peggy, Mr Leigh & I motored about 20 miles to Lewes races. It was quite lovely up on the downs looking away over to the sea at Newhaven. Some of the races were very exciting.
We got back in time for a late tea and after tea walked up to the village.
The water supply of the cottage suddenly failed which was rather upsetting and we had to wash sparingly, however we had a great many jokes over it.
Saturday August 8th. I left at 12 somthing and got back here in the afternoon and wrote letters for the rest of the day.
Sunday August 9th. I went to Church at 8 o’c. Rosalie came to tea and we went for a walk after tea and talked about all sorts of things.
Monday August 10th. I got pages of misery from Lizzie Burke who had been severely dressed down by Miss Brodigan. I spent most of the morning answering that and dealt with masses of other letters for most of the rest of the day.
Tuesday August 11th. Reading & writing nearly all day. Two Mrs Sassoons whom Mummy met through the Inges came to tea & were young & nice. General Baden-Powell & his sister also came and Mrs Philip Bonham-Carter.
Wednesday August 12th. I left by the 10.37 to go & stay with Barbara at Corfe Castle. On the way I went to Bermondsey and saw Lizzie and soothed her into a comparatively calm frame of mind. I also went to see Carrie & Cissie in their restaurant for a minute and caused an uproar of excitement.
I went down by the 2.30 writing a letter to Edith most of the way. There were only two other people in the carriage and we tore along but unfortunately it was drizzy & grey so a good deal of the lovely country was hidden.
Barbara met me at the station. There was no one else staying there except Joan and her fat baby Joseph. After I had unpacked Barbara and I went for a muddy walk along a lane. After dinner we listened in but Barbara kept trying all the time to get her stations so we didn’t hear much.
Friday September 4th
Thursday August 13th. Joan, Barbara & I went into Swanage and bathed in a lovely clear blue sea very full of people. The first person we met in the streets of Swanage was Miss Violet Liddell! We got back 10 minutes late for luncheon and found Vie & Johnny Bond there, they were very nice & full of affability. Barbara and I motored about 15 miles to a house near Moreton to have tea with a great friend of the Bentincks called Louise Sotham. I thought her nice and she had the most attractive little girl.
It was a glorious drive back over miles of moorland with a translucent evening light over everything.
Friday August 14th. Barbara, Mr Bentinck & I started off in the morning and motored to Portland. We went through Weymouth (a huge ugly place full of people) and along Chesle [ Chesil ] Beach and right to the very edge of Portland Bill by the lighthouse. We saw in the distance what used to be the prison and is now a Borstal institution. it looked very grim. We climbed about on the rocks for a bit, then ate our luncheon and went & explored a bit on the queer grass terraces which were made when that land was turned into cornfields at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. We could see a beautiful blue sea far below us and a long coast line going miles away into Devonshire. The whole island is a bleak, grey, strangely attractive place.
We stopped in Weymouth on the way back & Barbara and I bought some very vulgar post-cards to send to Edith & the Bevans & also some squibs. In the evening we went onto the main road, hid behind a hedge and threw squibs under the wheels of oncoming motorists, unfortunately none of them went off quite at the right moment but one of the most nearly successful was under a car containing Miss Liddell!
We spent a very profitable evening terrifying Joan by making ghostly noises in her bedroom. We put a reel of cotton in a box under her bed & got the end of the cotton under the door & pulled it so that the reel rattled in the box, she screamed & was quite terrified. Then Barbara dressed up as a dummy & got into her bed & when Joan went up to the dummy it moved!
Saturday August 15th. We all motored into Swanage in the morning. Barbara & I bathed & she did oddments of shopping & we spent hours brozing in a book shop & went back to Corfe by train.
Two men came to stay for the week-end. Barbara & I were acutely miserable at their coming & at the thought of having to make conversation to them & that our freedom would be over. We met them at the station, one was a very shy young thing called Bassett and the other a man between 40 & 50 called Lee. We walked Bassett about the garden & conversation hung very heavy till tea time.
After tea we motored to Swyre Head, a headland from which there is a wonderful view all along that wild coast. It was inconceivably lovely with the brilliant evening sunshine casting a haze of glory over everything. I longed to stay there for hours alone.
We drove on through Kingston & Langton Matravers to Swanage and Studland and then back by the Rempstone Road looking for miles & miles over downs and Poole Harbour. It was all unrealizably lovely.
After dinner we played various guessing games.
Joan was let off comparatively lightly but we tapped on the outside of her window with a fishing rod which frightened her at first & brought down a jug of water on our heads afterwards.
We went into the village at nearly midnight & stuck up a notice saying that Sir William Joynson Hicks the Home Secretary would speak in the Market Square next day at 2.15 on “Socialism Exposed”.
Sunday August 16th. Barbara & I strolled through the village and watched with glee all the people who were reading our notice. We hoped very much that Mrs Bentinck would hear of it and go tearing down in a fury but unfortunately she didn’t. We & the two men went into Studland to bathe but all the huts were booked up so we went on to Swanage and bathed there.
At 2.15 we went to the Market Square to see the crowd collect but not one single soul was there. All of us except Mrs Bentinck motored to a spot beyond Lulworth where we got out and walked about a mile over the downs to a most beautiful bay called Durdle Door. The sea was so clear that we could look down from the top of the cliff and see to the bottom: there were people swimming about in the water looking terribly small and insignificant; I watched one woman walking alone and thought what a tiny speck she was and how probably she could only see the whole vast universe as it affected herself. We went down to the beach and some of the others bathed. I lay on the sands watching the sea and the rocks and contracted violent rheumatism.
We stopped in Lulworth for a few minutes on the way back, it was filled with char-à-bancs & trippers. We dropped Bassett at Wareham to catch a train for London because he had to be at work early in the morning.
Barbara & I went for a walk along the railway line and discussed art and were late for dinner.
Mrs Bentinck and Lee did card tricks after dinner & the rest of us talked. Joan told my fortune very badly with cards.
Sunday Sept: 6th.
Monday August 17th. Lee left by the early train. Barbara and I went into Swanage to bathe.
In the afternoon Mrs Bentinck, Joan, Barbara & I went in the car as far as it could go onto Goat beck which is the moor stretching away to Poole Harbour behind Rempstone
We got out and walked a long way over the heather, it was a perfect day, very fresh & clean.
Barbara & I spent most of the evening trying to find a ladder long enough to reach up to Joan’s window so that we could put in our heads & frighten her. Unfortunately there wasn’t one.
After dinner we went into a room they call the guild hall and found a dummy figure Mrs Bentinck had made & hung in a doorway to frighten us. It had a huge white face & one bleary red eye. We cut it down with great joy & hoisted it by a pulley up to Joan’s window and then stood underneath waiting for her to go in & see it. We weren’t disappointed when she did, she went to the window & saw it & gave a piercing yell. Later on we crept up into the spare room next door to her’s & blew a klaxon horn against her wall but most unfortunately she only thought it was the W.C. plug being pulled!
Tuesday August 18th. Barbara went into Wareham in the morning to do some shopping. I sat in the garden & read & wrote letters.
In the afternoon Joan, Barbara & I motored to Studland & bathed for hours in a perfect sea, then we walked for nearly three miles along the most lovely firm sands to Sandbanks where we joined Mrs Bentinck and had tea with some people called Watkins. It was a glorious evening and a heavenly drive back though Poole. Mrs Bentinck & I discussed the possibility of preventing war, and reincarnation.
Mr Bentinck went up to London for the night which was a blessing although he was very affable.
Mrs Bentinck asked me to come back for the week-end when I left Vie Bond’s which made me very happy because I enjoyed being there tremendously. She also asked Daddie to come too when she heard he was going to the Bonds.
We talked after dinner and Mrs Bentinck and I did card tricks.
Joan was left in peace because our powers of invention had temporally given way.
Wednesday August 19th. Barbara & I went to Swanage in the car and bathed & came back and I finished my packing. We both went over to Vie Bond’s in time for luncheon (Barbara was staying the night). Daddie was there and a Mrs Oldfield & a youth and another man who had all mercifully only come to luncheon. Barbara & I sat in the garden when they had gone & wrote letters. Some nice people called Beaumont with three delightful children came to tea and the children fished after tea. Barbara & I went for a walk and discussed the uselessness of the aristocracy. After dinner we played Fan Tan. Barbara & I talked till 1 o’c & she spent ½ an hour trying to find her bedroom afterwards and nearly gave it up and slept in the passage!
Thursday August 20th. The rest of the party went to have luncheon with the Hornbys who live at Chantmarle beyond Dorchester but Barbara & I to our own relief were left behind. We talked and read and she imitated Edith & Betty playing the piano. They sent over to fetch her soon after luncheon and when she had gone I climbed to the top of Creech Barrow & fell asleep there. I went back & had tea & read & the others got back about 6 o’c. I went round the gardens with Cousin Vie & after dinner we played Fan Tan.
Friday August 21st. Daddie & I went for a walk in the morning.
In the afternoon we went to Arne to look for gentians & for the particular kind of heather called siliaris [ ciliaris ] that grows there. It started to rain & poured & poured till we were so wet that it made no difference how much wetter we got, however we found a good many gentians and of course any amount of heather including some white. Just as we were leaving it cleared up & became lovely and remained so for the rest of the day.
After tea we all went for a long walk, past Creech Barrow, along the line of downs and back down the road.
Saturday August 22nd. It poured all the morning, I wrote letters & read. In the afternoon we motored over to Heryne [ Hurn ] Court near Christchurch to have tea with the Malmesburys. no one was in when we arrived but after a bit a charming Malmesbury boy who is at Eton appeared & took us all over the gardens which were very uninteresting except for the trees. The house is Victorian Gothic & quite hideous but they have some very good pictures. The rest of the party came back by degrees: Lady Malmesbury who is nice, her sister Lady Walter Harvey who is nicer still, Lord M, a queer creature, Lady Gwendoline Cecil, Mrs Charlie White and the Malmesbury girl. Vie & Johnny very kindly took Daddie & me on to Corfe & left us there. Mr Ralph Alderson who is a great amateur actor was staying there. We did card tricks & played various games after dinner it was very nice to be back.
Tuesday Sept: 8th.
Sunday August 23rd. Barbara & I spent most of the morning in stealing a turnip from a distant field and hollowing it out to make a turnip head ghost for Joan.
After luncheon Joan, Barbara, Mr Alderson, Daddie & I motored to Worbarrow Bay & bathed there (all except Daddie) in a freezing but very delicious sea. There was a cold white light over everything & a view miles away to Portland Bill.
Barbara & I spent hours after we got back in trying to find a key to fit Joan’s bedroom door which she usually wisely locked in the evening. After dinner we played various foolish games & Mr Alderson recited some of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales quite delightfully.
Barbara & I got the turnip fixed on the window sill with great difficulty, it rolled off three times & broke in half & had to be stuck together with pins the third time but in the end it looked very beautiful with a candle inside & tomato skin eyes & melon peel teeth. We waited for nearly ½ an hour in the rain for Joan to come in & see it & alas! when she did come in Mrs Bentinck was with her & so she wasn’t really frightened; as soon as she came to the window we left off a syringeful of cold water in her face & after that retired to bed much pleased & talked about Greek art & symbolism on the stage till nearly 1 am.
Monday August 24th. Mrs Bentinck, Daddie & I left for London by the 9 something train. Mrs B & I had a long talk on the way up on socialism (she is a very violent socialist) and kindred subjects & we discussed the characters of Joan and Barbara pretty thoroughly too. I’m very fond of Mrs Bentinck and she interests me quite enormously as far her character is concerned.
Daddie & I had some luncheon at Waterloo, then I went & had my hair cut & came down here by what should have been a 3.30 train actually they were doing tricks with the line between Charing X [ Cross ] & London Bridge, the latter (and probably the former) was a seething mass of distracted people & it took me 3 hours to get down here.
Tuesday August 25th. I wrote letters and diary hard all day and tried to get all the things that wanted doing straightened out a bit.
The two Mrs Sassoons came to tea and brought with them Sir Wyndham Deedes & his mother. Sir Wyndham is sub-warden of Oxford House & hon: sec: of the Federation of Settlements so I had met him at that conference at the Club in the summer.
Wednesday August 26th. I went to London by the 10.40. Daddie gave a luncheon at the Wellington Club for dear Miss Williams of Boston who had been here for a few weeks & was sailing on Saturday. Mummy was there of course & also Cousin Florrie & Philip. Miss Williams was as charming as ever. I went down to Wrotham by a 4.10 train to spend the night with the Bulleys & see Edith who was down there doing a children’s week. Louie Bulley met me at the station in the car & took me up to their house for tea. Edith & Naomi Brown & the children were out on a picnic We went up to the Cottage after tea and saw Florrie Millar & in the course of time the others came back. We saw the children have their supper & then Edith came down to the Bulleys for dinner. Naomi Brown came down after dinner & Louie played to us & then we had on the gramophone. They have got the most lovely records of classical music & I sank right into the music & got away into a wonderful world where one’s separate entity was gone & all was deep & invigorating joy and all beauty was one & eternal but in a sort of darkness with neither form nor sound, & I was dissolved in it & free of the limitations of self but yet most profoundly alive & active. And there was neither time nor space.
There were two beds in my bed room and Louie very kindly let Edith sleep in the other one because we had a mass of things to to talk about. We decided I should not go to the School of Economics next term but return to the Club. Edith told me a great deal about her relations with Miss Dickinson (who has treated her awfully badly in many ways though of course she didn’t say that) and we talked till 4.30.
Thursday August 27th. Edith went back to the Cottage for breakfast. Louie & I went up after breakfast & then Edith & I were shot off for the morning by ourselves, we did a good many commissions in the village & then walked to Boro’ Green & back by slow degrees to the Cottage where I stayed for luncheon. After luncheon we started out for a walk & Florrie, three of the children & I walked down past the Bruces & back by Miss Lasky’s farm. Mrs Bulley had the children to tea & there was a treasure hunt after tea. I left in the middle of it, they very kindly sent me down to the station in their car & Florrie & Mary Lee came to see me off.
Wednesday Sept: 9th.
Friday August 28th. Daddie & I went up by the 12.45 to go and stay the week end with the Herbert Smiths at Didlington in Norfolk. I was rather alarmed because it is a huge house & I know none of them except Mrs Smith whom I’d seen for a few minutes at the Waldegraves a year ago.
Ruby Smith met us at Brandon station & Colonel Smith was on our train too and also a Mr & Mrs Van de Weyer and their boy and girl aged 8 and 13. Didlington is about 10 miles from Bleardon [ Brandon ], a very pretty park & a large comfortable red brick 18th century house. We had tea when we arrived and then Ruby took Mrs Van de Weyer & the children and me in the punt on the lakes of which there are three full of wooded islands & very pretty.
It turned out the Van de Weyers lived in Dorset & knew Cousin Vie very well. We met Daddie walking with Lady Percy St Maur who was staying there too. Dinner was a most queer meal, you do not dress for it; it begins at 7.30 & is cold so you come down when you like, sit where you like, talk if you feel inclined and get up and go when you’ve finished.
Roger Crewdson (who used to be a great friend of Kathleen’s) was staying there with his wife and most attractive baby boy Richard; there was also a boy of 19 called Spenser [ Spencer ] Holland and a dull Captain Bagnall who was made all the duller by being in love with an attractive girl Phyllis Taylor also staying there. After dinner some of us walked to one of the islands & sat there in the moonlight and it was quite lovely.
Saturday August 29th. The Van de Weyer children & I fished for roach a good part of the morning and then went in a punt on the lakes and landed on one of the islands.
Most of us spent the afternoon watching a village cricket match and after tea wandered about the gardens and did oddments.
After dinner Mrs Smith, Ruby, Gwen Crewdson, Spencer Holland, Daddie & I played racing demon and got very excited over it & then we played Rummy which isn’t nearly so good. I had long since given up all idea of being terrified at staying there.
Sunday August 30th. All the visitors were turned into the rose garden after breakfast to cut off dead rose heads.
Daddie & I, Colonel Smith, Lady Percy, Mrs Van de Weyer & the children went to the Church which was just opposite the house; there was no choir & we all sat in the choir stalls and made a very uncertain noise.
I sat in the garden with Lady Percy after Church, and then Ruby came & we discussed the School of Economics and the Conservative Philip Stott College. Some people called Hewitt came to luncheon; he is a big wig in the R.A.F. After luncheon Ruby, Spencer Holland, Daddie & I went for a walk across the heath. Spencer Holland was nice but he is an aimless boy not knowing what he wants to be. Ruby & I walked together coming back and she told me more clearly than I knew them myself what my feelings had been about coming to Didlington, how I’d been shy when I first arrived but that had soon gone & I’d walled myself in with indifference. We talked about visiting, and people and then got onto books and it turned out she loved modern poetry like I do & when we got back she took me up to her sitting room and showed me her books.
The Duke of Grafton, Lady Ipswich & a Mr & Mrs Somthing Smith came to tea.
Ruby & I had a long talk after tea on politics (she is an Imperialist and an anti-foreigner) and we disagreed with much enthusiasm, then we talked about ladies & I said they were tiresome unnecessary things & she disagreed violently & I accused her of being a lady & we laughed a great deal over that.
After dinner Mrs Van de Weyer, Gwen Crewdson & I sat talking on such a comfortable sofa that we nearly went to sleep.
Monday August 31st. Everyone left in the morning except the Van de Weyers.
Ruby & I rode for two hours over the heath, it was quite heavenly, & glorious to ride again. We talked about people we both knew and about travelling which she hates because it always makes her feel ill.
In the afternoon she motored Daddie & me over to Croxton to see the Meades; Aunt Venetia looked well & Patsy seemed much the same as usual; it was funny to plunge from Didlington into an atmosphere I knew so well. We had a wonderful drive back over the heath in the evening light.
A very nice boy & girl somewhere between 15 & 17 & called St Quentin had arrived to stay.
After dinner when the others were all playing bridge or talking Ruby and I went out to look at the moon which was full; we went and sat in a summer house by the lake for some time and then walked round the lakes in complete & deliberate silence the whole time. It was all overpoweringly lovely & I got the same feeling as before listening to the music. Ruby was a perfect person to do it with because I could feel all the time how tremendously she appreciated it & what a great deal it meant to her. We decided we couldn’t sleep tamely in our beds so we dragged matresses & sleeping bags out onto a bit of roof outside her bedroom & slept there. We talked for a long time; we discussed each other & she told me just what I’d thought of her all through and I said I’d liked her very much till I discovered she was a lady & she said I couldn’t know what a lady really was and we howled with laughter. Then we talked about poetry & whether beauty could only be apprehended through the senses & after that we fell asleep & I anyhow was horribly cold & uncomfortable all night & enjoyed it all immensely.
Tuesday Sept: 1st. We left Didlington in the morning. I was very sorry to say good bye to Ruby whom I was quite enormously interested in. We got to Liverpool Street at about 12.45 and I went across to London Bridge and caught a train down to Cowden to go & spend the night with the Talbots at Friendly Green. Joan was in when I got there (Anne is in Venice) & we talked and “did” the flowers, then Mrs Talbot & Dick, & Mary Lyttleton who was staying there came in and we had tea & after tea Joan and I both fell asleep.
Mr Talbot came back in time for dinner & we had a great discussion all through dinner as to whether the possession of riches was an advantage or not. After dinner we played racing demon & everyone accused everyone else of cheating.
Wednesday Sept: 2nd. Joan & Mary Lyttleton left by the 8 o’c train to go to Stratford-on-Avon. Mrs Talbot & Dick came to see me off at 11 o’c.
Louie Bulley & her nice sister Margaret Bulley motored over for luncheon and I showed them Tibetan things all the afternoon. I think I have said before that Miss Margaret B had studied aesthetics for 20 years & knows all sorts of interesting people so she talked very interestingly. They stayed for tea and Mummy liked them both very much, altogether a most successful visit.
Thursday Sept: 3rd. Mrs Sassoon rung me up in the morning & said did I know Jock Whiteford so I said I did & she said Sheila Graham who he is engaged to was staying there & wanted to see me & would I go over to luncheon. It turned out also that Jock had been the greatest friend of Mrs Dulcie Sassoon’s (the eldest of the two) husband & so of course she knew him very well. Margaret Sassoon (the younger one) came & fetched me. Sheila Graham is only 20 & has been on her own since she was 17 learning singing. She is very self possessed & I liked her on the whole but I think she has got a tinge of commonness. We talked & laughed a good deal about Jock. Mrs Dulcie & I had a talk when Sheila wasn’t there and she said she thinks Sheila is a great deal fonder of Jock than he is of her & that she doesn’t think it will be a happy marriage and at first she approved of it but now shes very much against it. They dropped me at the station in time to catch a bus home.
Friday Sept: 4th. I wrote & gardened all the morning & in the afternoon walked up the Kent Hatch Road on to Crockham Hill and back through Squerryes.
Sunday Sept: 5th. I went over to Reigate for the day only Anne & Daisy & Baroness Myendorff [ Meyendorff ] were there. Anne has had fearful complications and rows with the family and I’m afraid it must have been a desperate summer for her & given her bad attacks of nerves. The family have behaved quite desperately badly (not that she said that) & been extraordinarily blind & ununderstanding, however I think they have had it out & things are better now. I got back in time for dinner.
Sunday Sept: 6th. I went to Church at 10 o’c and read, wrote and gardened for the rest of the day.
Monday Sept 7th. I went over to Sevenoaks by the 8.40 and Mrs Dulcie Sassoon & her sister motored me up to London to go to & see the new children’s library they are starting at Oxford House. They dropped me at Marble Arch while they went home to do various things; I went to see Wolfie but she wasn’t there so then I telephoned to Edith about coming down on Wednesday and she said she couldn’t come till Thursday; then I walked along Oxford Street & looked at the shops & bought a book & met the Sassoon’s at the Times Book Club and started off for Bethnal Green. “Dulcie’s” driving is more than uncertain because she has absolutely no sense of direction, however we reached Oxford House in the end, a huge dreary stone passaged place. We had luncheon with the Matron & then went to see Sir Wyndham Deedes. He explained his idea of the children’s library to me and said he hoped I would come & help there, I said I would try to get off from the Club & up to it one evening a week. Mrs Deedes came in and we all went to the book shop which is a little way down Bethnal Green Road from Oxford House. They have put in a very pretty shop window & the shop itself has been taken over by the Challenge Book Shop & is quite separate. There are three rooms downstairs in which the children are to read, the walls have been painted golden yellow & they have very good modern colour prints on the walls. At present there are only about 100 books but he has got a grant of £100 from the Carnegie Trust to buy books with and also the Public Library is lending books.
We spent the afternoon in sorting & arranging the books & deciding how they were to be catalogued. After leaving there we went to buy some fruit, then to Mrs Sassoon’s house in Westbourne Terrace to pick up her cook, then to the other Mrs Sassoon’s house at Hammersmith to pick her up. We came back by Putney, Streatham & Keston & they brought me right back into Westerham.
We met Mrs Farnworth in the road & she came up here for dinner.
Tuesday Sept: 8th. I gardened a great deal & wrote and read. The Tennisons came to tea.
Wednesday Sept 9th. I went to the W.I monthly meeting in the afternoon. Mrs Streatfeild spoke most enthrallingly on Rome under Julius Caesar which was intended to fire the enthusiasm of the W.I before an attempt to produce Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”. Miss Deane was there being in Westerham for one night on her way to France.
Thursday Sept: 10th. I had a letter from Edith in the morning saying she could only come for one night. She arrived at 11.11 & we went for a walk up through the fields to Hosey & down through Squerryes. She told me about France & how Miss Brodigan was quite out of touch with the girls. We went for another walk after luncheon, up the Edenbridge road to where the Four Elms road joins in and then down through Squerryes.
Mummy & Daddie went to tea with the Sassoons & young Miss Sassoon & her husband brought them back.
Edith and I slept together but we didn’t talk very late.
Monday Sept: 14th.
Friday Sept: 11th We sat in the garden all the morning working on the novel – the first time for 3 months but our ideas flowed much the same as usual.
Uncle Claude & Aunt Di came to luncheon on their way motoring to Barham near Canterbury. Aunt Di didn’t seem at all well.
When they had gone Edith & I went to the village and bought some cakes and went & sat on a fallen tree in the Tower Woods & had a picnic and discussed people and friendship in the abstract at some length.
It started to pour so we came back here and she left by the 7.6.
Saturday Sep: 12th. Miss Fitzroy came down for luncheon and tea & Sir Herbert and Lady Cohen came to tea. They were a strange mixture but they all got on all right.
I did a good deal of gardening during the course of the day and took masses of cuttings.
Sunday Sept: 13th. I went to Church at 8 o’c. Gardened & wrote letters all the morning and part of the afternoon and then went to tea with Mrs Farnworth; we picked blackberries on Farley Common after tea but they weren’t very good there.
Monday Sept: 14th. I went for a walk on Hosey in the morning in the most perfect sunshine.
Cousin Oswald Younghusband came down for the day and reduced me to such helpless fits of giggles by talking exactly like Daddie’s imitation of him that I had to go away.
I went to the library in the evening. It was very nice to help there again although it will only be for once.
I had a letter from Kathleen in which she says they have moved from Lucknow to Lahore.
Thank goodness this infernal diary is up to date at last!
Thursday Sept: 17th
Tuesday Sept: 15th. Mrs Farnworth & I went blackberrying in the afternoon. It was a most glorious day & we went into Squerryes & found masses of blackberries & had our tea there sitting on a tree stump.
Wednesday Sept: 16th. Shortie, Daddie & I went to London by the 10.40. We went first to Hoare’s Bank & cashed a cheque & saw Rennie Hoare who is just going to America. Then Shortie & I went to the Stores & did various households things there & then I left her & walked up Regents Street looking at the shops & trying to get seats for the Wembley Torchlight Tattoo which I was taking her to that evening. There is a huge run on the seats & several places had none but finally I got them at Adams in the Aeolian Hall. Then I went to Marshall to try & buy a frock & spent ages trying on but found nothing really satisfactory so then I went to Debenham, Harvey, Galeries Lafayette, Dickins & Jones & Peter Robinson all without success. It poured with rain most of the while & I had no umbrella. By this time it was nearly 4.30 & I had to dash off & meet Shortie at St Martin’s. We went down to Wembley by Marylebone & luckily found it fine when we got there. We went & had somthing to eat first & took ages getting it. Then we looked at India & Housing & Transport and Industry, then I gave Shortie beer & buns & we walked through Australia & took our seat in the Stadium. The Tattoo really was a very beautiful sight in parts. There were bands marching, & hundreds of recruits doing physical exercises, & musical rides all under the light of very strong searchlights which made the moving forms cast the most wonderful shadows. Then there were bands marching to the light of flaming torches, and 400 men each carrying a red or white lantern over their heads forming all sorts of designs in the darkness so that you only saw the light of the lanterns & not the men. There does not seem any limit to the possibilities of beauty to be got from turning strong search lights onto moving objects on a dark night. It ended about 10 & we walked about for a bit & then went to Charing X & caught the 11.45 train which was very full.
Thursday Sept: 17th. I wrote letters most of the morning; in the afternoon I went to leave a book for Mrs Wilkins & tried unsuccessfully of course to get some silk in the village.
After tea I got a message to say a Yorkshire guide wanted to see me & found a little thing about four feet high in guide uniform who said she’d been told I was the Captain of the Guides. I told her I wasn’t & gave her the names of the people who did Guides. She stayed & talked for ages telling me her whole family history & was the most amusing little thing. She has come from Harrogate, has a strong Yorkshire accent & is at Pilgrims School as a kitchen maid; her eldest brother has won two scholarships & so will go to secondary school till he is 18; she was a very attractive looking little thing aged 19 and means to become a missionary when she is 25.
I go to-morrow with Peggy to stay the week-end at Stoneleigh & begin work again on Monday.
Friday Sept: 25th.
Friday Sept: 18th. I went to London by the 10.30 and having left my luggage at Upper Berkeley Street went to have my shingle trimmed and had to wait nearly ¾ of an hour to get it done so that I was late for luncheon at U.B. St. After luncheon Peggy changed & got ready & Gus joined us & we went to Paddington where we were met by Charles Graves & went down to Leamington by a 4 o’c train. We had tea on the train & played animal grab & a gambling game.
At Leamington we discovered Lady Leigh who had also been on the train & we all drove out to Stoneleigh. There was no one else there except Lord Leigh & Mr Leigh who was in tremendous form & most amusing. We four went all over the gardens after we’d had tea; they are a gloomy sight because they’ve all just been let go & are a mass of weeds. Then we went over the house, there is a beautiful old pannelled part which was a monastery & then there is a huge & very incongruous 18th century wing added on most of this is shut up now, the carpets are rolled up & the furniture stacked in the middle of the rooms; the old part is uninhabited except for the servants quarters but it is all kept up because it is shown to the public. There is a great deal of beautiful furniture but a large part of the new wing is very Victorian. We went up on the roof & saw the parapet Peggy & Rowly used to walk along when they were children.
After dinner we danced to a gramaphone till about 11 o’c. Peggy & I talked in bed (we had ajoining rooms) till about midnight discussing words & sentences we couldn’t bear & roaring with laughter over them.
Saturday Sept: 19th. We all had breakfast very late & then Peggy & Charles went off to order the car & I wrote letters while Gus talked all the time & said I wasn’t amusing him. The car came at 11 o’c and as there was no sign of Peggy and Charles at 11.30 we took the car & went off to Leamington in it & did a few oddments. When we got back we found Mr Leigh in fits of laughter saying Peggy & Charles had come along three minutes after we left. Gus & I played Ping Pong for the rest of the morning.
After luncheon we four & Lord Leigh went over Warwick Castle which is huge & quite lovely, beautiful pannelling & the most wonderful collection of pictures & furniture. There is an extraordinary view from the hall looking sheer down some hundred feet to the river running along below.
We got back in time for a late tea & after tea played croquet till it was time for dinner. Gus was a very fierce player & I had him on my side but we were beaten all the same.
Charles told me a good deal about his brother Robert Graves the poet during dinner.
After dinner we started gambling at poker and didn’t notice how the time was going we got so excited till finally it was 2.30 by the time we stopped. Peggy played very well & had extraordinary luck although she said she hadn’t played since she was a child & had never gambled on it before, she won 30/-, I won 5/- & Charles won some small amount while the other three lost, Lord & Lady Leigh rather heavily.
Sunday Sept: 20th. Peggy & Charles went for a walk before breakfast. I had breakfast late & then sat in the garden. Later on we all met and all four of us went on the motor bicycle to the deer park which was part of the Forest of Arden & is beautiful with huge old oak & beech trees & the river Avon running through it. We walked for about a mile & then all got onto the motorbike & went back just as it started to pelt.
We played very bad billiards till luncheon time. Charles had to leave directly after luncheon & Peggy went with him to the station. When she got back she & I & Gus played Ping Pong then we got onto the motor bike and went all round the outside of the Park. Miss Cordelia Leigh came for tea & when she’d gone we three & Mr Leigh played croquet till it was time for us to leave to catch a 7 o’c train for London because Peggy had to go to work the next morning. There was a glorious angry orange sunset as we left Leamington but it soon got dark & utterly depressing as a railway journey in the dark on a cold evening always is. We got up at 9 o’c & all went to Upper Berkeley St for dinner. Gus left directly after & Peggy & I had baths & changed into evening dress, picked up Charles & went to the Berkeley where we were joined after a time by Gus. Charles did nothing but tell us how hungry he was because he'd had nothing to eat since luncheon & we had great jokes about it till his hunger was assuaged by a mixed grill. Gus & I danced & then Charles & I started composing Collinses to Lady Leigh & we all laughed a great deal over it. As it got near 12 we decided to go on to the Embassy but when we got there we found it was shut, so we went to the Gargoyle which was also shut, however we got in at the Golden Square a low little place in Golden Square Soho. There was one or two aimless looking people there when we arrived but they soon dwindled away till we had the place to ourselves. Charles poured out to me all his woes about Peggy & Mrs Leigh’s opposition to their having any sort of an understanding and how much he felt how rotten all the mix up was on her (Peggy) in which I agreed with him very enthusiastically. It was difficult to talk because we were all sitting in a row & Peggy was next to him & when we danced Peggy & Gus always seemed to be just by us. We stayed till about 1 o’c. Charles came back to Upper Berkeley St & he & I had a long discussion till after 2 o’c on physical & moral courage while Peggy sat on the dining room table swaying with sleepiness. I like Charles very much but I don’t think he & Peggy are perfect for each other even if there were not all sorts of complications in the way.
Monday Sept: 21st. Peggy left for the hospital directly after breakfast. Mrs Leigh & I started out together & I went with her to the Times Book Club. Then I walked along Oxford St, New Oxford St, Wardour St & Shaftesbury Avenue looking at frocks but found nothing resembling what I wanted so I went back to Marshall & ordered a very pretty frock with a pleated apron in front to be copied in powder blue repp for 7 gns. Then I went to St Martin’s & had some luncheon in the crypt & then got onto a bus & went to Oxford House where I joined the two Mrs Sassoons & we went to the library & did the card index catalogue of the books solidly till nearly 6 o’c. They took me in the car as far as Liverpool St & I got out of the car and into a 47 bus in a block.
I went to see Miss Brodigan as soon as I arrived at the Club, we hovered about for some time & finally kissed with great awkwardness to my secret extreme amusement. I unpacked & had just started to write letters when Edith came, I helped her get straight & then we had supper at which the new boarder Miss Marris, who is middle aged & deaf & hung over with watch chains, appeared.
Edith & I went up to the hostel & then she had to take a training class; I wrote letters & posted them & then went up to the hostel again and spent a long time with Sister, Ada Walcroft, Florrie Potter & some others looking at the snapshots they had taken in France. Edith & I have been given a room to ourselves as an office for our Care Committee work which made a huge difference as formerly we had to clear up everything each time we’d finished it which meant a huge waste of time & the prepetual mislaying of things. Anne Dickinson came in earlier in the evening.
Tuesday Sept: 22nd. Edith & I went to Mass at the Catholic Church at Dockhead which we intend to do every Tuesday & Thursday morning (there is a H.C service in the Chapel on Wednesdays) partly because we like it & partly because it gets us off those awful long drawn out breakfasts. We indexed frantically for a bit and then there was a staff conference to decide what should be done during the term it lasted for an hour & a half but was slightly more intellogable than they usually are. We had luncheon early & then returned to indexing till soon after 3 o’c when we went to Edith’s home in Finchley to have tea. Her mother & father & sister were there & also Ada Tennant’s mother. It interested me enormously to see Edith’s people, they were all awfully nice & full of enthusiasm for discussing things, we had a long discussion on pacifism & the war. Mrs Tennant was quite delightful & most amusing. We came all the way back on the tops of buses and arrived ¾ of an hour late for supper. Afterwards we did more tidying & indexing.
Wednesday Sept: 23rd. Edith & I dashed off to a Medical at Albion St having frenziedly got the indexing complete, only to discover we’d mistaken the date & it wasn’t till the next day, however we did school enquiries & found heaps more visiting to do as the result of a dental inspection which had taken place about the middle of the month. We did dinners on our own because Miss North had gone “up west”. We went out directly after and did 20 visits apiece, I had a very happy afternoon and saw heaps of old friends.
We went for tea at Anne D’s flat & directly after tea went back to the Club for a conference with Miss Brodigan on the Mixed Club which it was decided to shift from Friday to Tuesday if it is possible.
The Club opened in the evening and masses of girls flooded in, heaps of the old ones full of hilarity & a great many new ones. Cissie came with words falling over each other with excitement & Florrie Page was at her very nicest. Miss Brodigan had her up in her room & talked to her about the pub episode at the Cottage; Florrie came down to me afterwards with perfectly undampened spirits saying “poor old Brod she do take things to heart don’t she?” Edie & Susie were much more gloomy as a result of their talk saying they knew someone had split & nothing would induce them to apologize to Miss Bulley.
Thursday Sept: 24th. Edith and & I went to Mass, came back, ate our breakfast in five minutes & dashed off, she to the Relieving Officer & I the Medical, the doctor was ½ an hour late so I needn’t have hurried at all as it turned out. It was a good Medical, one boy whose eyes were bad said he had got glasses at home & when asked where they had been prescribed said his mother had bought them for him at Woolworth’s! Edith joined me at the school & we did about 6 visits each on our way back to the Club. I changed had a hasty luncheon & then Edith, Anne D & I all started out together. I told Anne D that I couldn’t call her Anne because of all the complications with all the other Annes & I couldn’t call her by her second name – Margaret because I already knew three Margarets & Peggy was equally out of the question so I had decided to call her Maggie, this delighted Edith but didn’t please Maggie herself quite so much so we compromised by saying she should be Anne to her face & Maggie to other people. We parted at Liverpool Street & I went to the Oxford House Book Club where I was joined by the two Mrs Sassoons & we catalogued hectically all the afternoon and I think got every book on the card index by the time I left.
I went to tea with Peggy and we discussed the week-end & I was very amused to discover she hadn’t noticed Gus’s & my attempts to leave them alone. We discussed the whole question of the complication of her & Charles and could see no way out. She is in love with him but not enough to marry him as there are so many things against it but he is desperately in love with her so the situation is full of complications. I came down here from there.
Friday Sept: 25th. I went blackberrying with Mrs Farnworth in the afternoon taking tea. We didn’t find nearly so many as last time and it came on to rain soon after we’d had tea.
Saturday Sept: 26th
Cousin Florrie, Cousin Lionel & Barbara suddenly appeared unexpectedly in the morning. Barbara was going to see Dr Warde at Brasted but the other two stayed for luncheon.
In the evening I went to a meeting of Liberal Association. A working man from Knockholt gave a speech full of inaccuracies & bad arguements & then Mr Shawyer the draper spoke very well. It was an extremely interesting meeting but more for the people themselves than for what they said.
Sunday Sept: 27th. We went to Church in the morning & the Canon preached a really very good sermon.
Mr & Mrs Whitting – who have got the Cottage for September came to tea.
Monday Sept: 28th. I got to the Club about 11, changed & went and did a few visits. Edith & I had luncheon early & then started out visiting. I went to see Mrs Taylor & stayed with her so long that I only got through about four other visits. The Peter Rabbits came in the evening and behaved very well on the whole. I did library after dinner; Miss Marris the new boarder who is old & deaf & lonely & a fearful bore & horribly pathetic came & talked to us and asked questions till I didn’t know if I stood on my head or my heels. Florrie Millar & Ada Johnston dusted the books for me.
Tuesday Sept: 29th. Edith & I went to Mass in Dockhead Catholic Church. She dashed over to Whitechapel after breakfast & I went to the Public Library to change a book. We had another staff conference lasting from 10.30 till 1 o'c at which we discussed election of officers, mixed club, special speakers & classes & one or two other things till we were all reduced to a state of complete inertia. The one bright spot was at the end when Edith & I got Maggie down on the sofa & tickled her nearly to death and then tried to carry her round the room.
After luncheon we arranged the stage properties & scenes for some charades which we were organizing in the evening at a holiday reunion. In the afternoon we went over to Bow to a fascinating place called the Children's House which was built a couple of years ago, is most attractive & pretty inside & has every imaginable new device for children. A Miss Barnard whom Edith knows conducts a play hour for small children there & we went to see how it was done because she is a professional & we wanted to get hints for the Peter Rabbits. The children (with one exception) all behaved like little angels but there was a helper to every six children, excluding the one on the piano, which does make a great difference. Miss Barnard was quite excellent, she went on the lines of sweet reasonableness, never shouted & never got angry & all the children were bursting with happiness & as good as gold. We came away full of ideas & full of enthusiasm for trying experiments on the Peter Rabbits.
The holiday reunion started at 8 o’c and for the first hour we all talked and showed our various holiday snapshots & had tea and then the charades began with Lizzie Burke taking off Maggie to her face which caused such roars of laughter that not a word could be heard that was said on the stage. Florrie Page was at the top of her form & Edith was as usual very, very good. We acted for an hour amidst huge enthusiasm from the audience & great gusto on the part of the audience. Edith and I were delighted because it was in the nature of an experiment (her idea) ordinarily they would have danced during that hour & we wanted to see whether it was possible to hold them with any other form of amusement or whether they would be bored & disgruntled & clamour for dancing. Actually they all shrieked for more charades when we came to the end of the first word. There was a perfectly different sort of feel in the air the whole evening, they were all friendly & jolly & everyone went away saying how much they had enjoyed themselves which opens up vistas of what Mrs Waldegrave would call vast possibilities.
Wednesday Sept: 30th. Louie Bulley arrived back at the Club the evening before & appeared at breakfast bursting with energy.
I spent an hilarious morning visiting. Everyone was at home & everyone was charming. I went to see Mrs Callaghan & found her with such desperate rheumatism that she could scarcely move, while Florrie aged six was doing all the sweeping & tidying up & buying the dinner and finally begging to be allowed to “peel the taters”.
As I was walking along another street I met one of our most untidy & filthy mothers whose boy who has now left school was always reported as being dirty & neglected. I asked how he was getting on & she said with a beaming smile that he had had work for a month but that was now at an end & he did eat somthing awful “but I thank the Lord Gawd Almighty I don’t mind getting into debt to feed him”. I walked along the street shaking with laughter & blowing my nose & coughing to hide it.
We had another conference after I got back but mercifully it only lasted a quarter of an hour. I had a raging headache in the afternoon & Edith made me go & rest while she instructed a couple of students from Avery Hill who had come to do Care Committee visiting.
We tried the new methods on the Peter Rabbits with quite amazing success. They were quiet & as good as gold without toys till almost the last five minutes of the time when they suddenly went wild but we managed to get them together again. We were both in fits of inward laughter over the brisk patience & good humour of our voices which came out exact copies of Miss Barnards.
I did library for the first half of the evening. Florrie Page came down & did imitations of musical hall songs with a toy guitar & was frightfully funny. I had the painting class later & Carrie & Cissie got the devil in them & only ceased to have it when the class was over.
Sunday Oct 4th.
Thursday Oct: 1st. Edith & I went to Mass.
A very nice young thing has come to live at the Club collected by Miss Macey. She is only 19 & her name is Budgett. I took her to a Medical Inspection in the morning & she was most intelligent & enthusiastic & seemed to enjoy it very much. I heard one rather awful story from a woman in Renforth St of how her six children ranging in age from 21 to 4 are sleeping in two beds in one room, while she & her husband sleep in the living room, there is a kitchen used as a living room & the fourth room is let to another woman & her boy, the woman is at work all day & the boy – John - aged 6 is left to look after himself all day & play about the streets when he is not at school; he is given 3d for his dinner which he usually spends on toys or sweets. His mother refuses to give up the room & go & live with the stepfather although of course she knows how much the other family have need of it. She has V.D contracted through her husband (now dead) & passed on to John. A nice story altogether and there is nothing we can do to get her out and very little to be done for John except try to get him on to school dinners at 4d! Needless to say I didn’t tell Budgett this story.
I went back to the Club, changed, had a hasty luncheon & went to the Library. The younger Mrs Sassoon was there & we catalogued & sorted wildly. I had to leave before it was half done and go off to Marshall to have a fitting for my new frock which is turning out very well & then I went to tea with Peggy & had a very nice time with her & then came down here.
Friday Oct: 2nd. Mummy & Shortie went to Newstead for a few days and Daddie went to London for the day so I was left on my own but was very happy writing & reading.
Saturday Oct: 3rd. Daddie & I went to London by Oxted for Rowly Lawrence’s wedding. I went to the Club to take various things there & to find my fountain pen which I’d left behind, however it had disappeared. I saw Edith & Maggie. Daddie & I had luncheon with Sybil Buxton who was very nice but didn’t look at all well. The wedding was at the Guards Chapel & the music was beautiful. We went afterwards to the reception at Sir Charles Addis' house – a very ugly one – on Primrose Hill. Mrs Corry was there, & Mrs Gwynne James & the Judge & various other people. We had tea at the Wellington & then came down here & I wrote a long account of the wedding to Kathleen.
Sunday Oct: 4th. I went to Church at 10 o’c. It was a horrid day & I had a fresh cold so I stayed in for the rest of the day.
Friday Oct: 9th.
Monday Oct: 5th. I went up by the 9.44, did various oddments when I got to the Club & then tore round visiting till luncheon time. After luncheon I visited again & felt mildly depressed for no particular reason. Everyone was out & I got through 14 visits in just over ½ an hour so then I went to see Ethel Ayling who was very nice indeed as she always is.
We had 46 children to Peter Rabbits and were quite unable to grapple with them so that they got very out of hand & naughty.
I went over to the Oxford House Library directly after supper. Miss Warburton who is running it was there & very nice & friendly; they had three other helpers & only about eight boys there as they haven’t really got to hear of it yet. I was really quite unnecessary so I left early and returned to the Club on top of a bus in the star light & went down to our own library & talked to Carrie & Cissie & Ada Samuels & poor Miss Marris.
Edith & I had our first night of sleeping in the same room. All the bed rooms are full up so we are sharing a room.
Tuesday Oct: 6th. Edith & I went to Mass.
Ada Corby’s mother died on Sunday. I went along in the morning to see if I could see Ada who was staying with her sister. She was out but I had a long talk with the sister about Ada & her future.
Edith, little Budgett & I went over to Whitechapel to show little B how the wheels go round. We went through Toynbee Hall to the I.C.A.A where we saw Miss Crockford who used to alarm me so much when I worked at Osborn Place; she was very amusing & told us oddments about the I.C.A.A. From there we went to a feeding centre in Osborn Place & then to luncheon at Osborn Place office. Miss Moses was there & Miss Samuels and a charming Miss Friend whom I met there once, and Olive Sloane-Stanley and about half a dozen other people; it was as usual rather petrifying. After luncheon I looked up old friends in the Tower Hill School C.C index box and did a bit of indexing on it then we went to a P.D and M.D school next door: the P.D part was not particularly enthralling but the M.D part was most interesting, they looked quite normal till one looked at them a bit & noticed the movements of their faces & their hands. We saw the work they were doing & they sang & danced & recited for us really extremely well but I believe the effort of teaching them is enormous.
From there we went to a cleansing station and saw machines for baking clothes, & large vividly coloured pictures of bugs, and children having their hair washed & cut off. Then we went to Whitechapel Treatment Centre but it wasn’t open at that hour so there was nothing to see.
Then we went to a Jewish Maternity Home & Infant Welfare Centre in Underwood St and met Miss Moses & Miss Samuel and one or two other people & were shown all over it. It is most beautifully done with white & grey tiles all up the staircase & yellow & white paint in the rooms. Records are kept of each child who comes to the Infant Welfare Centre & the whole thing is run with great efficiency. All the mothers & children in the Maternity Wards have pink bows if the baby is a boy & blue if it is a girl. We saw one baby 1 ½ hours old. They gave us tea there and took a great pride in showing us everything, the whole place is built, equipped & run by voluntary contributions mostly collected locally and it is a model centre. As perfect an example in its way as the Children’s House at Bow is in another way. We went to College Buildings to leave something for Solly & then went back to the Club.
Edith & I went up to the Hostel at 6 o’c to give them their tea. Eva Barnet helped us & I had a talk with her about her forthcoming marriage & the inefficiency & sins of the Welfare Worker at Lipton’s.
The Mixed Club has been transferred from Fridays to Tuesday & so they all poured in in the evening; everything is more or less aimless till 9 o’c, a few playing games but most sitting about talking, there are short prayers in Chapel & then dancing with a jazz band from 9 till 10.30. I must say I enjoyed it enormously & thought it very good fun but everyone said they were behaving particularly well that evening. Rosalind (who is back from France & in very good form) and I went and made the hostel it’s cocoa at 9.45; it looked horrid & they all said it was very nasty.
I forgot to say that Miss Brodigan has started a class on St Paul primarily for the edification of Budgett & myself, it took place for ½ an hour in the morning, Miss Macey was there too & Louie & Edith are clamouring for admission. And really is very good.
Wednesday Oct: 7th. There was a dental inspection in the morning, I took little Budgett along to it to see how it worked, it only lasted ¾ of an hour & after it was over we did about 20 more or less unsuccessful visits.
Edith went with Maggie to the dentist so Sister & I had luncheon together & then I went to see Mrs Callaghan who is in danger of being summonsed for not sending Florrie to school for no more adequate reason than that she has got a sore spot on her face! She promised to send her back on Monday. I had a pleasant chat with Mrs Ruddell & visited two people who were out & then returned to the Club. Miss Akin & Miss Willis came to do visits & I shot them off & then went to Strakers in the Borough to get more card index cards. Edith & I were to have gone to tea with Miss Davis at Bermondsey Settlement but Edith was looking after Maggie who was very much the worse & the students returned nearly ½ an hour late so I had to take the result of their visits & look after them so neither of us were able to go.
Ada Corby came in about luncheontime, quite altered, very tearful and looking desperately broken down & ill. She has had no sleep for a fortnight and can’t get over the shock of her mother’s death. She says she has given up everything & now she is left alone at the end.
I was given the amusing of the Peter Rabbits (Edith, Sister & I are going to take it in turns) luckily there were comparatively few there and they behaved remarkably well.
Edith was very keen I should go to a discussion on birth control at Limehouse Town Hall and as Miss Brodigan said I might go off I went. The hall was simply packed with enthusiastic socialists (I sat next to an earnest damsel reading “The Vocation of the Soul” & very anti B.C). Miss Moses & Miss Samuel who are both Guardians were on the platform. Dr Sutherland who is a Catholic spoke against birth control & a Neo-Malthusian whose name I forget spoke for. They were given 10 minutes to answer each other & then questions were handed up. Dr Sutherland was by far the most attractive personality & the best spoken of the two & the feeling of the meeting seemed to be about equally divided. It was great fun & I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Rosalind, Edith, Miss Brodigan & I had long & very hilarious discussions on birth control & temperance.
Thursday Oct: 8th. Edith & I talked from between 5 & 6 onwards on religion & morality & whether Catholicism separated the two. We went to Mass at Paradise St (we are not contemplating becoming Catholics).
I did some indexing, tidied the office & we discussed carols for the Mystery Play with Louie; then Edith went off & I went to the school to deliver vouchers, paid a visit, went back to the Club & saw Lily Ridley in the hostel who was in bed with a sore throat, collected my things and went to luncheon with Maggie at Park Buildings. We had a long talk & she was charming. She took me to see her warehouse in Rotherhithe St which she is turning into a house, it is bang on the river with lovely views & will be most attractive when it is finished. I tore off to Selfridge from there & arrived ½ an hour late for a shingle trim appointment, however they did it all right; then I want to Figaro & bought some shampoo powder, then left a parcel at Hans Mansions for Mrs Corry & then went to see Miss Wolff, there was someone else there so I didn’t see much of her but she seemed fairly well. From there I went to Peter Robinson & bought a very nice biscuit coloured felt hat to go with my new frock for 12/9. I came done by the 6.34 & found Mummy & Shortie are still at Newstead & don’t return until Monday.
Friday Oct: 9th. Di & Lil motored over for luncheon and were in very good form & very interested in seeing everything. I went up to the Cottage to see Miss Deane after they left but she was out. Mrs Farnworth came to tea and brought me some raspberry jam for the Club.
Saturday Oct: 10th. I had a cold so I lay low most of the day writing letters & reading.
Sunday Oct: 11th. We went to the Harvest Festival Service in the morning and Aunt Mabel who is staying down here for a few days came to see us in the afternoon & stayed to an early tea and we walked up the hill with her.
Friday Oct: 16th.
Monday Oct: 12th. I went straight up to the Club in the morning, found no sign of Edith and suddenly realized there was a Medical on so I dashed off to the school & found her & Budgett there. I did one or two visits on the way back. Mummy & Shortie suddenly appeared at the Club in the afternoon on their way back from Newstead, they say poor Aunt Augusta is quite blind & it is very sad to see her. I went visiting for an After Care Conference on Wednesday after they had left. Alice Penney came to tea and helped us with the Peter Rabbits; Maggie was away and the students arrived very late so we combined them with the Red Squirrels till the students arrived. We have divided the Peter Rabbits into two different ages the 3 to 5s and the 5s to 7s which we think will be more satisfactory & easy to manage.
After supper I met Lizzie & Florrie & we went to the pictures at the Old Kent Road, they insisted on paying for me. It was great fun, we saw some very good films & ate peanuts, walnuts & fruit all the time. I didn’t get back till 11.10.
Tuesday Oct: 13th. We stayed in all the morning doing indexing and writing C.C letters. Edith, Budgett & I met a great friend of Edith’s – Violet Waterhouse – at Gamages at 12.45 and had luncheon there. Violet Waterhouse lived in some rooms attached to Toynbee Hall for some time, then went to the School of Economics, then to Oxford & now she’s at the Royal School [ Academy ] of Dramatic Art & is a most charming person. She had to leave directly after luncheon & then we went to the offices of the Jewish Board of Guardians in Middlesex Street & had the various things they do explained to us by the heads of departments. It is a wonderful & very highly organized system for dealing with the Jewish poor & is supported entirely by voluntary contributions. From there we walked through to Osborn Place passing Duval Street & the Catholic Shelter. We met Miss Moses at Osborn Place & she took us all over Whitechapel Infirmary, it was tremendously interesting going over with her because she is there prepetually & knows it all inside out and being one of the Guardians has done a great deal for it. We saw the men’s & women’s wards, the children’s ward & the Maternity Ward & the Women’s mental ward with its padded cell – a terribly depressing sight. The Relieving officer is in the same building & we went there for a few minutes & then Miss Moses left us & we went on to the Children’s House at Bow & assisted Miss Barnard in doing the children’s play hour & took notes very hard all the time. We left before the end & went back to the Club & got chairs & things ready for the Mixed Club. I went in for the first hour of the Mixed Club & talked to a large & noisy group of my friends.
There was going to be a temperance speaker on Wednesday & the beginning of a temperance campaign. Edith & I decided it was absurd our talking to the girls about temperance when we’d never been inside a pub so as soon as the dancing had started we got permission to go off (not of course saying what we meant to do) and went over to Whitechapel – it wasn’t safe to do it in Bermondsey. We got off at Tower Hill and walked along Royal Mint St till we came to a small pub with a jazz band playing outside, we plunged in & ordered ginger beer there were only three or four people there who looked on us with deep suspicion &as there was obviously nothing to be got out of it we soon left and walked down to Upper East Smithfields and then went up Leman St to Whitechapel High St. We found a large pub called the Essex Arms by Aldgate East station; it was full of people so in we plunged & ordered dry gingers. I have never seen a mass of more degraded people, all the girls & women were thickly painted, smoking, drinking & singing songs and quite obviously prostitutes; the older men were all thoroughly hardened looking & the younger soft & desperate. One felt they were all completely animal & that it would be well nigh impossible to find in them any spark on which one could build the beginnings of self-control & self respect. We stayed there for about ½ an hour till closing time at 10.30 when a stentorian voice called “Time!”. A young man going out took my hand and looked at me. Very few of the people there seemed to be badly drunk. We walked along Wentworth Street into Duval St where there were about ½ a dozen old women sleeping on doorsteps, done up in bundles of rags. We got back to the Club soon after 11 o’c & dear innocent “Ina” took it into her head that we’d been to an I.L.P meeting so we didn’t disillusion her.
Sunday Oct: 18th.
Wednesday Oct: 14th. There was a dental inspection at the school to which I took Budgett. We did several visits afterwards and met Edith and went to Herold's Institute the local Day Continuation School to ask for literature & saw rather an interesting man who is the head of all the D.C.S’s in the district. We dashed back to the Club for a Conference to decide what was to be done at the Temperance meeting in the evening; it was decided that Louie was to make an emotional appeal (regrettable but unavoidable) after the speaker & the girls were to be persuaded to take the pledge for 4 months.
There was an After Care Conference in the girls department of the school in the afternoon. Miss Marris came & gave the Labour Exchange man a good deal of good advice about finding employment for the girls! It was a good conference on the whole. Esther met me there at 3.30 and I took her visiting because she is going to do C.C for someone in Battersea & wanted to see how it was done. We went back to the Club for tea & then she came & helped with the Peter Rabbits which were easy because there were only a few of them. We went up to do hostel teas & Esther left at about 6.30. After supper I segregated Carrie & Cissie in the office & made them write out the pledge forms. Florrie Millar did the Library for me.
The temperance speaker was young & quite good, there was a few minutes allowed for discussion after she had spoken and then Louie made an excellent little appeal, after that the meeting broke up into small groups arguing hotly. Twenty girls signed the pledge which was really very good considering how comparatively few there had been at the meeting.
I went & described it all to Rosalind & she came down & talked to Edith & me in the sitting room for some time and then we went to bed.
Thursday Oct: 15th. Edith & I went to Mass & were late.
Miss Brodigan gave Budgett & me a lesson on St Paul rapidly followed by a conference on an officer’s meeting the next Wednesday at which they asked me to make a temperance appeal. I consented after many refusals & much beating about the bush. I did indexing and tidied up the office and then went to have luncheon with Esther at their new house in Eaton Place. Mrs Waldegrave was there as charming as ever & we talked about that knotty problem of temperance. I went to the Guard’s Chapel & retrieved an umbrella I'd left there after Roly Lawrence’s wedding; then I went to have tea with Anne at her new hostel in Queensbury Place South Kensington – a very nice place indeed. She had been feeling a wreck with ‘flue all last week & still looked very ill. We talked about her work & whether she was strong enough to keep on with it, I told her what I had been and was doing & about the temperance question which looms large at the moment; she immediately decided that my life work was to be a temperance speaker! however she was very encouraging & helpful. I came down by the 6.34.
Friday Oct: 16th. Daisy motored over from Wierton for luncheon. She was so nice & so full of common sense. She said it annoyed her very much when people kept on saying how much she would miss Lil because Lil had wanted to be married & now she was very happily married & why should she (Daisy) sit & mope. We talked a lot about all the family & I began to realize how much Daisy sees & takes in & lies low & says nothing. She left soon after 3 o’c & I read & wrote for the rest of the day.
Saturday Oct: 17th. Anna arrived for the day at 11.11. We read Kathleen’s letters & bits of each other’s diarys before luncheon & after luncheon went up onto the Chart and sat in the sunshine and she read me her diary of all the time she was in Venice this summer & also of a visit to the Goldmans. After tea she made me a list of all the places we ought to see in Rome & Florence when we go there next year & we discussed architecture rather learnedly although we knew nothing about it. She left by the 7.50. A nice day.
Sunday Oct: 18th. Mummy went up to London to see Margaret Magniac’s mother.
I went to Church at 10 o’c.
Julian who was at Hosey Rigge for the week-end came to see me in the afternoon & we walked up the hill together. I went for tea with Miss Deane and showed her Rosalie’s letters; it is very nice that she is back. She says Edith’s mother is very ill indeed. I met Julian going down the hill and he came back to see Mummy.
Friday Oct: 23rd.
Monday Oct: 19th. I went up by the 8.40, dashed along to a Medical and took over from Edith; then Maggie came along & took over from me and I went & did some visits, then I went back to the school & took over from Maggie. There was another conference at the Club at 12.15 (we are all sick of conferences) to decide who should deliver harvest festival notices in what streets.
Edith and I were reduced to impotant fury by (a) the idea of a Club harvest festival and (b) the idea of going to the girl’s houses & giving notices to their parents instead of letting the girls take them home themselves.
I visited all the afternoon & left a certain number of harvest festival notices. I was in charge of the Peter Rabbits and as there was an adequate number of helpers I kept them playing games quite successfully the whole time.
Edith had decided in the morning that she must start the 14 year old Club shes been talking about for ages that evening, so she dashed round to East Lane School & various other places in the afternoon and I went to Albion St and 20 girls came in the evening, some did drill and Edith suddenly sprung on me that I’d got to organize games for the rest. Ada Walcroft came & helped me, they were all perfectly delightful and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Alice Penny came at 8.45 to start her doll dressing class for them.
Edith was very tired & all on edge so Maggie & I (who were also both very edgy) shoved her off to bed early.
Tuesday Oct: 20th. Edith & I went to Mass.
Miss Brodigan gave Budgett & me our St Paul lesson. I’m sure there is some great ulterior motive in all this enthusiasm for St Paul.
Edith & I spent the whole morning tidying the office and trying to make our own case papers a bit up to date. We & Budgett stated out about 1.30 & went first to Miss Taylor’s office. We had an interview with Miss Taylor who gave us a long talk on the iniquity of Care Committees who expected the District Organizer to provide them with stations; then we saw Miss Tennant, told her several things we wanted done, stole a good deal of stationary & left. We went to County Hall where Maggie met us and Mr Johnstone a friend of Edith’s who is one of the progressive members of the L.C.C took us into the Sturges Gallery to hear a sitting of the L.C.C. Miss Ellen Wilkinson was there & Mrs Salter & Emil Davies and it was all most interesting. The new Medical Officer of Health for London (Menzies) was appointed & there was a discussion on weights & measures besides various other business. The Council room is circular, most of the walls are done in black marble & dull gilding, the carpet and curtains were blue and the seats are all a subdued scarlet leather of exactly the right colour to go with the carpet. Mr Johnstone came for us and took us over the building which is extraordinarily fine, far finer inside than out. All the floors at any important point are done in different coloured marbles; the fine mantelpieces in the ante-rooms to the Council room are of black marble with slabs of lapis lazuli let in. There are very long straight passages with mildly Gothic fan shaped ceilings painted white & all the walls are panelled in white oak. We saw the library and a collection of prints of old London and various committee rooms, and the terrace. We had tea in a big room overlooking the river and a nice youth who is standing as a Liberal in the Borough Council election joined us for tea. It was all great fun & little Budgett enjoyed herself enormously.
I practised my temperance speech on Louie after dinner & then went into the Mixed Club which I must say I enjoy very much.
Wednesday Oct: 21st. I went to a dental inspection in the morning in the girl’s department of the school. Out of 114 children inspected only 48 required treatment which was a great triumph. I did some visiting afterwards & then went back to the Club and picked up Edith and she and I went to luncheon with Louie’s sister (the “arty” one) in Taviton St Bloomsbury. Louie was there of course and they had asked Rosalind too. It is a kind of communal house with 10 other people living in it. A man called Hope Johnstone who lives there came to luncheon too because he hadn’t got any of his own. He had been Editor of the Burlington and had walked from Calais to Baghdad otherwise he didn’t seem to have any settled occupation. We had fried eggs for luncheon, and Bath Oliver biscuits, cheese, coffee cake, figs, nuts & coffee. All on a polished table with very pretty china & glass and embroidered table mats. It was a large comfortable room with very modern (and Louie and I decided hideous) pictures. Hope Johnstone & Miss Margaret Bulley carried on a most entertaining conversation after luncheon with the rest of us just chipping in every now and then and mostly convulsed with laughter. We discussed Freud & the new psychology, dreams, love, suggestion, the pleasures of getting drunk, France, Einstein, and Catholic morality. It was all very amusing and served temporally to restore us to good temper. Louie, Edith & I went back to the Club together.
The Peter Rabbits went off well with Sister in charge. We addressed harvest festival notices afterwards.
I did library in the evening. Susey, Edie & Lizzie had a fight & then Florrie & Lizzie. Everyone’s temper seemed to be all on edge for some undiscoverable reason. The officer’s meeting was at 9 o’c; we did oddments of fixing dates of parties & then I had to give my temperance talk; I forgot altogether what I’d meant to say & stuttered & stammered and was smitten to complete silence, however they were all very good tempered and perfectly willing to discuss the question reasonably and to try to help us. I had a talk with some of them afterwards and Susey & Lizzie signed the pledge.
Florrie Page was up in my room till 11 o’c discussing it all & was most interesting & very illuminating about boozing clubs which apparently exist in most factories, in the better class ones it merely means that a glass of port is handed round every now & then but in the rougher ones like Southwells where Florrie is a good many of the girls are working on their own & can’t all meet in the factory so at Christmas time for example a Club is started & the girls make weekly payments, then at Christmas they all go to a pub and drink & drink the secretary handing out their money as they ask for it so that there isn’t the faintest chance of any girl not getting drunk. Florrie is secretary of the Southwell one but shes going to try to get out of it. I asked her if she thought they went to the pubs for the sake of society because when they all come out of the factory in a mass they want somewhere to go & there isn’t anywhere much except the pubs; she said no she didn’t think so, it was really for the sake of the drink that they went (this does not coincide with what other girls have said but probably does apply to the particularly rough type at Southwell’s). She says there is nothing like the heavy drinking there used to be partly because people can’t afford it (I should doubt that really being a reason) and that the small pubs are almost empty in the evening while the big ones in the main streets have only a very floating population going in for a drink on their way to or from somewhere else.
“Ina”, Maggie, Louie & Edith were all very nice to me about the meeting & congratulated me on it.
Thursday Oct: 22nd. Edith & I went to Mass but there wasn’t a service.
We & Louie, and later Maggie, spent the whole morning sitting in front of the fire talking. We discussed first the eternal temperance, then got off that & went on to plans for reviving the Companionship (a thing rather like the St Martin’s Guild of Fellowship), then we got on to different forms of religion, the Catholic attitude to life, Liberalism & Science, Transustantion, Reincarnation, Eternal Life, Sacraments, more plans for reviving the Companionship, a little tite-vating with the ultimate reason of things, more discussion on Transubstantion & the Real Presence, & finally I had to go & get changed & dash off. I was lunching with the Henrys (who used to be at Wolfie’s) at the Connaught Hotel at 1.15 but as they had not appeared at 1.45 I left & had an insubstantial luncheon of sardines on toast & coffee at an A.B.C. Then I went to Esther & had a long talk with Mrs Waldegrave & then Esther & I tried to fix up to do a play. I went from there to Wolfie who was very nice & gave me tea. I came down by the 5.40 meeting Daddie at the Station by pure fluke.
Friday Oct: 23rd. I did the usual things all day. A Mr Fleming who is the L.N.U secretary for this district came to tea & he & Daddie went to a local committee meeting after tea. They want me to be secretary & treasurer for this branch of the League of Nations Union but I couldn’t do it being in London so much.
Mummy is staying at Ashtead.
I had a post-card from Miss Deane the other day saying Edith’s mother had died. She had been ill for a long time & unable to move or speak.
Saturday Oct: 24th. I wrote & read all day & in the evening went to dine with Mrs Dalglish; she had a niece of the name of Silvertop staying there & two brothers & a sister called French came over from Bletchingly [ Bletchingley ]; one of them said he had met me with the Ecksteins a long time ago but I didn’t remember him. We danced Strip the Willow after dinner; only one of us knew it & it was great fun & we laughed so much we couldn’t do anything
Friday Oct: 30th
Sunday Oct: 25th. It was a most beautiful day & I sat in the garden in the sunshine all the morning. Daddie & I both went up to London by the 1.20, he was speaking at the Indian Students Hostel & wouldn’t be back till late in the evening so I thought I might as well go up to London too.
I went & saw Margaret & helped her get the canteen ready then I went to the Service for the People at St Martin’s, Mr Sheppard was away unfortunately but Mr Ritchie gave a most excellent address & it was very nice to be there again. I got onto the top of a bus afterwards & went to the Club where I found a note from Edith telling me to go to tea with Maggie so I went along there & found Maggie & Edith and Alice Elwes. Edith & I went over to Stepney afterwards to John Knox Presbyterian church for their three monthly Communion service which was one of the most tremendously impressive things I’ve ever been to; the bread & wine was passed along the pews from hand to hand and there was an almost awe inspiring feeling of the Presence of God & the oneness of man such as I have felt in no Anglican Church. Mr Little spoke as though he was inspired and the whole service was one of those things from which one returns to earth with a dizzy thud.
We hurried back to the Club for the Harvest Festival Service. The whole of the lower hall had been taken into the chapel & was decorated with fruit & vegetables. About 100 people came & the Bishop of Woolwich spoke. Edith & I hated his address but Maggie thought it was very good so perhaps we were wrong. It was perhaps difficult to get adjusted to all the lukewarm atmosphere after the burning realism of Stepney.
Edith & I slept in Rosalind’s room so as to avoid the fearful noise of the traffic in our room.
Monday Oct: 26th. I helped to clean up the chapel and put it all back straight and then did indexing for the rest of the morning. In the afternoon I felt so extremely ill that I remained stretched on my bed unable to do anything. The Peter Rabbits were good on the whole & there were plenty of people to help with them.
The 14 year olds appeared at 8 o’c and had their doll dressing class taught by Alice Penny, I dashed about between that and 101 other oddments. Lizzie Burke gave them a lesson in folk dancing at 9 o’c. I talked to Florrie Page for a bit and then cleared things up. Then a tap in the kitchen went wrong & refused to turn off & Edith & I & the servants spent ages grappling with it.
Thursday Oct: 27th. Edith & I went to Mass.
I did a good deal of visiting in the morning as soon as Miss Brodigan’s class on St Paul was over & then went over to Fenchurch St, met Edie Fitzpatrick at her works & went out to luncheon with her.
Budgett & I ment Edith at the Infirmary at 3 o’c and a sister took us all over it which was most interesting. It is a huge place with 600 beds. We saw several of the men’s & women’s wards, the maternity ward, the consumptive wards & the children’s wards, also the enormous kitchens. The wards are much bigger than Whitechapel and there did not seem to be anything like the friendly cheerful feeling there was there; also the food seemed very bad, only a piece of bread with some margarine scraped on it for tea. We went across to the mental ward which was smaller than Whitechapel & not quite so depressing. There was a much bigger & better padded cell into which the sister of the ward locked us all there! I did an unsuccessful visit afterwards & then went back to the Club. After that I laid flat with neuralgia & feeling rotten. Maggie came & sat on my bed for some time trying to persuade me to go to bed.
The mixed club was very good fun & I danced a good deal but went to bed at 10 o’c.
Anne rang up during the course of the evening & said she simply must see me as soon as possible so I arranged to go to luncheon with her on Thursday. A suspicion of what she might have to say suddenly struck me.
Wednesday Oct: 28th. Budgett & I went to a dental inspection at the school; my nice friend from the D.T.O’s office wasn’t there which was sad. I talked to Miss Williams about various children afterwards and then went visiting and came across the first really disagreeable parent (male) I’ve ever had to deal with.
We had a conference after luncheon on how to revive the Companionship, it was very dull. I did more visiting in the afternoon.
Edith made me miss the Peter Rabbits and lie down till dinner time of which I was most thankful.
Esther came for dinner & stayed the evening. Daddie came at 9 o’c and gave the girls a lecture with slides on his adventures exploring in the Himalayas; they were thrilled and behaved perfectly. Edith said it showed that if you got an expert in their own subject who didn’t try to talk down to them they would be interested & listen. Esther & I worked the lantern very successfully.
Edith gave me a lecture in bed about doing too much & was very charming about it.
Thursday Oct: 29th. Edith left directly after breakfast to go and stay with a friend at Bognor.
Miss Brodigan, Miss North, Miss Marris & I went to a quiet morning organized by the National Organization of Girls Clubs at Chelsea Old Parish Church. It was conducted by Canon Woodward who was quite excellent and I do not think anyone could have spoken better on the subject.
I went to luncheon with Anne at her hostel, she made me bolt my luncheon in three minutes & then tore me up to her bed-room and said “I’m going to give up a political career because I’m going to be married”, I said “yes, to Charlie Saunders”. She was extremely surprised & asked how I’d guessed & I said I’d seen various straws that showed which way the wind blew; she said none of their respective families had the least idea of it & were dumbfounded when told. He lives not far from Reigate & they have seen a great deal of each other during the summer; he is a cousin both of them & of Kathleen and he proposed to Anne last Friday, it was broken to the families on Sunday & I am the only person outside who knows with the exception of an aunt of his. She was wildly happy & excited & I was overjoyed to hear of it because she has gone through so much & the outlook for the future was far from rosy with no one to look after her. They can’t be married just yet because of money so it is to be kept secret for the present. The extraordinary thing was that she’d met Philip for the first time that morning, he had been quite friendly & it all went off well.
We were both so pleased we just sat & laughed & giggled & made silly jokes.
I got back to the afternoon N.O.G.C Conference at Cheyne Walk ½ an hour late. I sat with Maggie who had kept a seat for me & we giggled the whole time. Various people read reports on such things as holidays, temperance, and club visits, then Miss Swayne gave a talk (good) on club leadership as a vocation and then we had tea & I was introduced to various shining lights.
I went on to Upper Berkeley St & saw Peggy for a short time and then went to the Great Central Hotel where Rosalie was staying for a couple of nights having come to London to buy books. I had a first class dinner with her & we discussed things in general & then went to see "The Man with a Load of Mischief" which was moderately good but we were both so tired that we fell asleep at intervals. We walked from the Haymarket to Marble Arch afterwards discussing things like socialism & Rosalie enquiring whether life was worth living. I’m very sorry for her, shes quite on her own & has a very pessemistic outlook on life.
I went back to U.B. St where I was staying the night. Peggy was out dancing so I went to bed as quickly as possible & sunk into a hog-like sleep on a gloriously comfortable bed.
Friday Oct: 30th. Peggy went off to work & I caught the 11.24 from Cannon St back to Westerham. It was a beautiful afternoon. I slept on the lawn for a bit & then went up to the Cottage to see Edith who is back but she was out.
Mummy got back after tea.
Saturday Oct: 31st. Daddie & I went to London by the 12.45 for the closing of Wembley. There were huge crowds both on the way & when we got there. We had excellent seats in the Stadium just above the Royal Box. There were all the usual things, massed bands, A bishop, “Land of Hope & Glory”, the Duke of York shouting platitudes through amplifiers, “Auld Lang Syne” & God Save the King. It was a grey drizzly day & all the stucco buildings were beginning to look a little the worse for wear.
I was sorry to see the last of Wembley; it was an amazing place, more like somthing in a Wells novel than anything in real life. We met Anne & Charlie Saunders as we were coming away. He is tall & moderately fair & I thought seemed very nice. We came down by the 5.23.
Sunday Nov: 1st. We went to Church this morning. Wolfie came down for the day & was very cheerful.
Monday Nov: 2nd. I went up by the 9.44 and went straight to the school for a Medical Inspection. Edith & Budgett were there but the former left when I arrived. I visited in the afternoon but didn’t do much because I met Maggie in the street & went back with her to her flat & sat there for some time. Peter Rabbits were quite fun.
There was the usual hectic Monday evening with the 14 year olds & everyone dashing about looking for things. I had a long talk with Alice Penney
Tuesday Nov: 3rd. Edith went home for the day. I did some visiting in the morning then went to luncheon with Maggie & spent the afternoon lying on her bed.
Sister had a very nice young thing from the Presbyterian Women’s Settlement called Miss Elliott to tea in the hostel & I went and had tea up there and then came down & had another tea in the sitting-room where I found the new curate, a church worker & the new rescue worker.
Ethel the house parlour maid was ill with what turned out to be ‘flue so I sat with her for a bit.
The Mixed Club was as usual very amusing. I went to bed before the end.
Wednesday Nov: 4th. I went to breakfast with Maggie and sat with her talking for some time afterwards then I went back to the Club & in the afternoon feeling perfectly rotten with an oncoming cold and a sick headache I lay down & went to sleep.
Louie was in command of the Peter Rabbits; we had them in small groups & played with toys & told them stories. I did library for a short time & then there was a meeting in Louie’s sitting room to tell new people about the Companionship very well conducted by Louie herself. After Chapel there was another meeting for people who were already members at which Miss Brodigan & Louie spoke. Edith was left in charge of the Club while this was going on & the evening apparently ended with all the girls gathered round the piano enthusiastically singing the “Red Flag”!
Thursday Nov: 5th My cold continued to be bad & I spent the morning in an arm chair in front of the fire in Louie’s sitting room.
Edith & I went to luncheon with the Waldegraves. Conversation hung very heavy at times. Edith was thoroughly bored and very amusing about it afterwards.
We went to have tea with Mrs Tennant whom I met at Edith’s home. She received us as though we were the one lot of people she had always wanted to see, gave us a wonderful tea and was perfectly charming & most amusing. Our tempers were completely restored by the time we left (they had been unreliable all the week), my cold had vanished and we went back simply bursting with good humour & pleasantness.
There was a parents social in the evening to which every girl who came had to bring at least one parent or elderly relation. Margaret Adam came to dinner & sang at the social most beautifully & was so nice with the girls. First they had tea at small tables in the lower hall & then all went upstairs & there were drill displays and recitations and a sketch & singing by Margaret & Miss Macey ending with Florrie Page coming to the front in a large pair of horn rimmed spectacles and conducting the audience in singing choruses then throwing both arms round Miss Brodigan’s neck & calling for three cheers for “our Miss Brodigan”. Altogether it was a tearing success and I personally enjoyed it hugely. Margaret was enthusiastically conducted to the bus by all the rowdiest element in the Club. Polly Carden asked her where she lived so I said off Oxford St (Manchester Square) so Polly asked her with bated breath whether she got all her clothes there & if there were many good dance halls in Oxford St!
Edith & I talked for some time after we went to bed.
Friday Nov: 6th. We both lay in bed till long after the gong had gone.
I did a few oddments of indexing.
We tried to tidy our desperately untidy room & I came down here by the 11.24.
It was a beautiful day & I slept on the lawn most of the afternoon.
My cold had alas! not been permanently cured by a visit to Mrs Tennant & as it grew worse I went to bed soon after 7.
Saturday Nov: 7th.
I stayed in bed till after luncheon and spent the whole morning in sorting & tearing up old letters which is always a queer & sometimes a depressing business.
Mr Coldstream & Mrs Anson came over from Sevenoaks for tea & Margaret Maguire came down from London; she was very nice & amusing & very full of a hostel they are thinking of starting in connection with the Club. She stayed for an early dinner & left at 7.50.
Sunday Nov: 8th. I stayed indoors with my cold all day & saw no one.
Monday Nov: 9th. Feeling considerably recovered I returned to the Club by the usual train. I did visiting in the morning and again in the afternoon.
I was in charge of the Peter Rabbits because owing to there being no students Edith had to go & help Maggie with the Brown Hares.
After supper I went & played games with the 14 year olds till Alice Penney came to give then their doll dressing lesson; then I went & pulled Maggie’s leg with some success telling her that Budgett was in love with Wilfrid Hudson who comes to help with the Mixed Club & I was the only person who knew about it & didn’t know what to do. Maggie was all agog & went off & told Miss Brodigan who had already been primed to receive it. In the interval I did library & watched Lizzie Burke teaching the 14 year olds to dance.
Tuesday Nov: 10th. There was a thick overhead fog in the earlier part of the morning & it was as black as night. Edith & I went to Mass at Paradise St & walked back by the River. We visited as soon as Miss Brodigan’s St Paul class was over and reached the pleasant stage of temporally having no visits to do. At luncheon time I went to do a visit for Miss Hyslop on Riley St School & in the afternoon went to see Mrs Taylor & spent some time talking to her & then went to see Beatrice & Ethel Ayling & was there for a long time talking about life in buildings, & politics & enjoyed it very much.
After tea Edith & I both worked on the C.C office.
Esther came down in the evening which was nice of her. The Mixed Club was put off to Wednesday being Armistice Day. I did library for ½ an hour & then we went up to Louie’s Companionship Class, the Chapel & then the painting class at which Carrie & Cissie got very out of hand – or rather were never in hand.
Wednesday Nov: 11th. We got up soon after 6 o’c because there was a service in the Chapel at 7 o’c for any girls who cared to come, & breakfast afterwards.
Miss Brodigan, Edith & I went to St Martin’s which was packed. The service was most perfectly done & there was a short address by Mr Sheppard before the silence. Edith & I stayed on for the Communion service afterwards. She went to luncheon with Mrs Beckett & I went back to the Club, had something to eat & slept on my bed most of the afternoon. All the evening we spent in getting ready for the dance in the evening. It was an open dance with a sit down supper, admittance (including supper) 1/-. There were long tables in Faith decorated with artificial flowers, & the supper was served from Faith Class Room; it consisted of tinned salmon with beetroot & cress, & pine apple & custard, tea & biscuits. The entertainment began at 7.30 & went with a swing till 11.15. There was an interval at 9.15 for Chapel & a Sargeant from the Stansfield Club gave an address. Everyone was very smart in their party frocks & everything went with a swing except that so many extra people came that the supper gave out & we had to dash out for more.
Thursday Nov: 12th. Edith went off home directly after breakfast. I went along to see Maggie who wasn’t in so I returned to the Club & took a message to Florrie Millar for Louie & met Maggie on the way back; we went as far as the Elephant together & I told her how I’d pulled her leg which didn’t amuse her at all.
I went to Bush House & had my shingle trimmed very well for 1/6, then I went to Mudies which Edith, Rosalind & I have all joined sharing a subscription between us. Then I walked along New Oxford St & down Charing X Road to Charing X where I got into a bus & went to luncheon with Anna who was in very good form. An amusing luncheon with Mrs Talbot, a cousin and Joan. Anna, Joan & I went to a movie called "Monte Carlo" at Marble Arch Pavilion. It was “high life” & quite good but I had to leave at the most thrilling murder & entanglement part to go & have tea with Peggy who was excessively nice & rather depressed; she is thinking of going to Cairo for a couple of months in January. Rosemary Cohen came in as I was leaving: a tiresome girl. I went back to the Club & had a hasty meal with Miss Brodigan & Budgett & then we went to an Annual Educational Conference of various organizations in the district (we were there as C.C members) at the Town Hall. Edith met us there. Mrs Lowe who is on the L.C.C & a great light in the district made a most excellent chairwoman. There were some most interesting discussions and in particular a great arguement over the advisability of raising the school age to 15, one man made a speech saying that 14 was quite old enough to leave school, whereupon everyone became very excited & nearly came to blows with him and Mrs Salter made a very good speech indeed in favour of raising the school age. It was altogether tremendously interesting & quite different to what I thought it would be, I had been going home by the 9.20 but they telephoned from Westerham to say I’d better come the next morning which I was very glad of. Edith & Miss Keble had a long talk on official organizations when we got back to the Club.
Friday Nov: 13th. I came down by the 9.38 a ghastly train. I slept all the afternoon.
Mr & Mrs Dalton, Mrs Lambard, Mrs Rooke came to tea and at about 6.30 Edith H suddenly appeared & was charming; it was so nice to see her again after all these months. She did not look at all well.
Saturday Nov: 14th. I went up to the cottage in the morning and spent the whole morning sitting with Edith and helping her mark handkerchieves.
In the afternoon I went to see Mrs Farnworth. Mrs Bullough whose little girl died of appendicitis not long ago came to tea.
Sunday Nov: 15th. I went to Church at 10 o’c & then went up to the Cottage & went for a walk on the Chart with Edith
In the afternoon I went through Squerryes onto Crockham Hill to meet Rosalind Chambers whose people are now living at Crockham Hill and we went for a walk.
Monday Nov: 16th. I got to the Club just before 11 o’c. Edith came in and said Miss Brodigan had told her something no one else knew and it was dreadful & more than she could bear.
I did a few visits in the morning and some more in the afternoon.
Edith & I went to tea with Miss Davis & Mrs Scott Lidgett at Bermondsey Settlement. I could only stay about ½ an hour because I had to go & meet Mummy at the Colonial Institute for a reception to the Begum of Bhopal. It was almost over by the time we got there & was a most pointless affair. The 14 year olds were as good as gold, we played games with them and they are the nicest people to play with because they get wildly enthusiastic over everything. Maggie was in bed with ‘flue.
In the morning as I was coming back from visiting I met Edith who said she had discovered a little girl of 11 was dead in Neston St & the funeral was at 12.45 & the parents were very hurt that no one had been from the school. We went along taking flowers & saw her in a darkened room with candles burning, people in black standing about & the coffin not yet nailed down. We went to Park Buildings & borrowed black clothes from Maggie & then went to the funeral service at St Mary’s. It was the most pathetic thing with that hard incomprehensible missing the point Burial Service. We came away raging against it.
Tuesday Nov: 17th. Miss Brodigan gave us a long discourse on St Paul. When it was over we did indexing & then a visit or two.
Anne came to luncheon & we sat in my bed-room afterwards and she told me a lot more about her engagement. Charlie’s family are being thoroughly tiresome & difficult over it, not because they dislike Anne but because they don’t seem to care in the least what happens to Charlie. Edith came in and Anne told her about it & she refused for a long time to believe it because of the way I’d pulled her leg over Barbara. Anne stayed till nearly tea-time; it was such a joy to have had her there.
Edith & I started off about 6.30 to go to a temperance meeting at the Presbyterian Church in George St where a Dr Macadam [ McAdam ] Eccles who is coming to speak for us was supposed to be speaking; however when we got there we found he’d mistaken the date & it wasn’t till Jan: 17th so we turned round & went back to the Club again!
The Mixed Club was as usual very amusing & I danced a good deal.
Wednesday Nov: 18th. Budgett & I dashed enthusiastically off to a Medical Inspection after breakfast only to discover that there had been a muddle in the dates & the inspection was held the day before. We did a few visits & then went back to the Club & did indexing.
Mrs Beckett who used to be in Whitechapel is coming to do Care Committee work at the Club every Wednesday. She went back with us to an After Care Conference in the girls dept. after luncheon & was very useful. She told Edith that I looked like an Indian!
We had masses of people to help with Peter Rabbits and all went well. Betty came just as they were ending and as we were sitting talking in the sitting-room suddenly & surprisingly in walked Anne & Charlie! Anne’s face when she caught sight of Betty was one of the funniest things I have ever seen, of course Betty had to be told but she was sworn to the deepest secrecy. There was no room for us all in the dining room so Louie very kindly said we might have dinner in her sitting-room, she & I went over & laid it & then Edith & I carried the things over. We had a most hilarious time, Anne, Charlie, Betty, Edith & me shrieking with laughter & making jokes all the time. Afterwards we sat in a row on Louie’s bed & smoked & then Anne & Charlie left & Betty & I cleared up. I like Charlie so much & he evidently adores Anne & thinks her quite wonderful.
I did library for a bit & then there was a companionship address by Louie in the sitting room – completely transformed from what it had been an hour before! Then Chapel at which Betty sang “Jerusalem”, and then the painting class.
Edith & I discussed Anne’s engagement in bed.
Thursday Nov: 19th. Rosalind, Edith & I went to Southwark Cathedral. The service was in the Harvard Chapel, austere white stone walls, red altar hangings & a very beautiful stained glass window. Afterwards we went to look at the Lady Chapel which has almost blindly beautiful blue altar hangings. The whole place reminded me vaguely of the atmosphere of the "Miracle" except that it was more restrained & disembodied.
I went to the school & did a visit & then came back & wrote some letters and pacified Miss North who had been in a fury about supper the night before. Edith & I had luncheon & left together; she came with me to Mudies & we parted at Tottenham Court Road. I went to Bourne & Hollingsworth & bought a pair of stays & then walked back to Baker St & took a bus to Harrods & went to call on Mrs Corry who was not at home so I went & had a look at Brompton Oratory to fill in time & then went to tea with Peggy. Shortie was there exactly the same as ever, making the same remarks in the same voice with the same mannerisms. Peggy & I had a very good talk. I came down by the 6.34. There was a nice Frenchman, a Monsieur Pelion [ Pelliot ], a friend of Daddie’s & the greatest living authority on Tibetan & Chinese art & literature staying here. Dr Thomas the librarian of the India Office came to dinner.
Friday Nov: 20th. The Frenchman & Daddie went to London at 10.30.
Mr Bowen the son of Sir Albert Bowen who has bought Colworth from Lady Bowen (Sir Albert died the other day) came down to see Mummy to hear what Colworth was like before the Watson altered it so much. She showed him masses of pictures & photographs & he was very interested. He was young & very shy, married to a Russian & awfully nice. He talks French, German, Russian, Persian & Arabic.
Edith & Mrs Farnworth came to tea.
Queen Alexandra died rather suddenly from heart attacks. She had been out of her mind for some time. She had a great desire to drive round London again and so they drove her round Kings Lynn and she was delighted thinking it had been London.
Saturday Nov: 21st. Edith rang me up to say that Miss Brodigan wanted a report on Princess Club for the Grey Ladies annual report so I had to write it, type it out & send it off by the morning post.
In the afternoon Daddie & I went to see Mrs Dalglish who has shingled her hair.
Sunday Nov: 22nd. We went to Church. Nearly everyone was in black & the funeral march was played.
Miss Deane caught me afterwards & said Edith was alone for luncheon & would I go & have it with her which I did. She was charming & we sat talking all the afternoon.
Monday Nov: 23rd. I met Anne at Cannon St at 9.45 and we went to the School of Economics for the first of a series of lectures on Social Insurance arranged by the League of Nations Union. Budgett met us there & Edith came to say she was feeling too rotten to stay & then left. The discussion was on the new Widow’s & Orphan’s pensions scheme. Sir William Beveridge, Sir Kingsley Wood, Miss Ellen Wilkinson & one or two other people were the speakers and there was a general discussion afterwards. It was all perfectly thrilling & Miss Ellen Wilkinson was most attractive & spoke beautifully; she is only 26. Budgett went back to the Club & Anne & I went & had luncheon at a nice little pot house & she did nothing but tell me how dull I was becoming. I walked along to Cannon St with her & she gave me an impassioned speech on how every loyal citizen of the Empire mourned the loss of our dear departed Queen Alexandra.
Budgett met me at the S of E & we listened for an hour to Unification of Social Insurance. A man called Broad outlined his scheme & then someone else got up and picked it to bits.
I got back to find Edith stretched on the sofa in Louie’s sitting room but very cheerful & obviously much better.
I was in charge of the Peter Rabbits & had Budgett, sister, a student & Florrie Millar to help me. They were almost unbelievably good till they were going when they became desperately naughty.
After supper I played with the 14 year olds till Alice Penney came to teach them doll dressing & then helped her & did various other oddments for the remainder of the evening.
Tuesday Nov: 24th. Edith & I went to Mass at Dockhead.
Budgett & I went to the S of E for health Insurance. Various people spoke (mostly against Approved Societies) and there was a great discussion afterwards; it was all frightfully interesting. Edith & Barbara met us afterwards & we all went & lunched at the same pot house. Barbara was in very good form & most amusing, in the intervals of telling us dreadful stories she would keep on saying she was a beef eating Briton of the bull dog breed! We all (exception Barbara) went back to the S of E for Workmen’s Compensation; Sir Henry Slesser spoke amongst others & it was very good but we had to leave about 3.35 to go & have tea at the Presbyterian Women's Settlement in Poplar. Sister was there (she is a leading light) and various women belonging to it who showed us over and seemed very efficient. It is a very nice house but they have only got one small hall.
I did the hostel teas when we got back.
Alice Penney & Hetty Cooper came for me after supper & we went to see Hamlet given by the Oxford & Bermondsey Shakespeare Society at a hall in Tooley St; Budgett joined us there later. The hall was packed and the whole thing was very well done all things considered.
Wednesday Nov: 25th. There was a staff conference directly after breakfast & then Budgett & I dashed off to the S of E for Unemployment Insurance a man from the Ministry of Labour explained the working of the present act; then Sir Alfred Mond outlined his scheme of subsidizing industry for the relief of unemployment and then a young woman clearly & lucidly picked it to bits. We left about 12.30 because we’d got to get back to the Club but when we got out we discovered we were both so thrilled that we decided to risk getting no luncheon & go back & hear more so we went back for nearly another ½ hour.
Miss Hood who is deaf & a member of the Committee came to luncheon and afterwards took Miss Brodigan, Miss North, Budgett, Sister & me to see old Bermondsey. There was a biting cold wind & we stood about examining the site of Bermondsey Abbey & went to see one or two beautiful old Georgian houses by Southwell’s factory. It was very interesting but I regretted horribly having to miss the discussion on International Insurance. Afterwards Sister, Budgett & I went to the Infirmary to see Leonard Nash.
There were masses of people to help with Peter Rabbits.
The two Miss MacLarens whom we met years ago at Minehead & who are vague cousins of Louie’s came to supper and after supper played the piano & violin and sang most charmingly to the girls for nearly an hour. It was a general meeting of the Companionship & there was a service to admit new members (of whom there were 30). Mr Little came over from Stepney to conduct the service which he did most beautifully and gave a very fine and well thought-out address. The Chapel was packed & although the service lasted ¾ of an hour against the usual 5-10 minutes there was perfect order the whole time which is a very high tribute.
Edith went to sleep with Maggie who is still bad with ‘flue.
Thursday Nov: 26th. I went to Mass at Paradise St but found there was no service.
There was a Medical Inspection in the infants and as soon as that was over I dashed back changed and put things straight & went to luncheon with Margaret Adam. Mrs Adam was there and quite a nice girl called Audrey Critchley. I raised a fearful storm by saying I thought it was awful that those Communists had been sentenced for their political opinions in the recent trial; they all said they thought it was splendid & the girl said she was a Fascist. Mrs Adam looked on me with horror and was convinced I was a Communist, an Anarchist & a Socialist all in one not knowing the meaning of any of those words.
I went to the Times Book Club & bought a book for a Christmas present for Kathleen and sent it off but unfortunately missed the mail.
I went to tea with Peggy, had a good talk with her, then changed into evening dress and went to meet Cecil at her shop and she and I, little Hill-Walker and a nice retired Colonel went to dine at a new little French restaurant in Leicester Square where they had the most unimaginably good food and almost the best omelette I’ve ever tasted. We went to see "Tell me More" a revue with Leslie Henson in it. It was desperately funny and we all rolled round with laughter. Cecil was in huge form & most amusing. Little Hill Walker has to actually pass by the Club on his way back to Greenwich so we went thus far together. Some intelligent person had locked me out so I had to hammer & ring; Rosalind came to let me in and we sat and talked till past midnight.
Friday Nov: 27th. I came down by the 9.38 in a snow storm and slept most of the afternoon. Daddie came back at tea time having been up to take Mrs Douglas to see Queen Alexandra's funeral procession.
Saturday Nov: 28th. Daddie & I went for a walk up the Kent Hatch Road to Crockham Hill and down through Squerryes. It was a lovely cold, clear day with the sunshine glistening on the snow. I read and wrote for the rest of the day.
Sunday Nov: 29th. We went to Church in the morning.
Mrs Farnworth & I went to tea with Edith, she was alone & at her very nicest.
Monday Nov: 30th. I went up by the 9.44 and was going along the Jamaica Road in a bus straight to a Medical Inspection at the school when I saw Edith dashing along so I got out & went after her & said I supposed Budgett was doing the M.I, she asked in horror what M.I & it turned out she’d never properly read the note I left for her telling her there was one which meant it had been on for 1 ½ hours with no one from the C.C there. She tore back to the Club for the card index & I went on to the school, the doctor was very nice about it & all was well. When it was over I went along to Rotherhithe St to see Maggie in her new house there; she was moved over on Saturday and was up but still had a very bad cough. I went back to the Club & did some indexing, then Edith came in and we both went back to Rotherhithe St and hung pictures all the afternoon. They have made the house very pretty and it is most attractive being right on the river.
I was in charge of the Peter Rabbits & also conducted Chapel. Crowds of 14 year olds came in the evening & were very full of spirits.
Budgett, Rosalind & Miss Keble came & sat in our room till just about 11.45 when, much though I like them, I was very glad to see them go.
Tuesday Dec: 1st. We had nearly an hour of St Paul and then I went visiting all the morning.
Louie, Budgett, Sister, Edith & I discussed the Peter Rabbit party on Saturday and decided to act Cinderella making up the words as we go along, we had a rehearsal with Louie as the Fairy Godmother, Budgett as Cinderella, Sister as the Prince & Edith & me as the ugly sisters. Edith & I spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up the office in preparation for an At Home that afternoon. It lasted uninterruptedly for 2 hours & was deadly boring; people stood about aimlessly eating & drinking & making remarks & were taken in little parties over the Club. Otherwise there was nothing for them to do. Miss James, Miss Tennant, Miss Williams and Miss Harford (the new head of T & T) were among the few bright spots. I did hostel teas. The Mixed Club was fun and I danced a good deal.
Wednesday Dec: 2nd. I visited all the morning and Edith & I spent the entire afternoon sitting in the office indexing, writing letters, ruling, smoking and gossiping.
There were masses of people to help with the Peter Rabbits but the children were not altogether in a good mood.
Betty came down about 7.30 & says she hopes to be able to go to Rome with us in April which is very pleasant.
I did the library & then there was a temperance lecture with chemical demonstrations by a Dr Macadam Eccles whom Edith had got hold of hearing he was a very good speaker; he held the girls absolutely but his lecture was very disjointed because he kept on going off on side tracks and Edith simply hated him!
Edith and I went at about 10.15 to the tail end of an At Home at the Bermondsey Settlement; it was full of girls in taffeta frocks & with ribbons round their hair and beneign old gentlemen in spectacles, however I sat next to Mrs Salter for a few minutes and she was very interesting telling me about Ramsay Macdonald whom she knows well. We walked home by the river.
Thursday Dec: 3rd. Edith & I went to Mass at Paradise St.
Soon after breakfast Louie, Edith, Ada Corby, Florrie Millar, Carrie & I set out for Houndsditch to buy toys & crackers in the wholesale shops there. It was a most amusing place & the things were about ½ to ¾ the prices they are in the ordinary shops but of course only sold by the dozen or half dozen. We had a great hunt for crackers for the price we wanted but finally got them at 4/6 dozen boxes and returned to the Club with 30 dozen crackers, several dozen toys & other presents besides Christmas tree decorations.
Mummy, Daddie & I had luncheon with the Bowens. They have a very attractive little house in Spanish Place & they were both charming. She has asked me to go down to Colworth for the Hunt Ball on Jan: 6th.
I went to an H.M.U.H [ Home Mission Union Helpers ] bazaar in Great Cumberland Place & bought a few oddments for Christmas presents. I came down by the 5.8 there was a slight fog & I took 2 ½ hours to get here in an unheated carriage so that I was completely frozen by the time I arrived. Mummy & Daddie who came by the 7.10 didn’t get here till past 10.
Friday Dec: 4th. I wrote & got ready Christmas cards to send to America.
I went to tea at the Cottage. Miss Deane & Mrs Streatfeild were there. Edith seemed very depressed.
Saturday Dec: 5th. I went up to the Club by the 9.44 for the Peter Rabbit's Christmas Party and found Louie, Edith and Budgett busy decorating the Christmas tree in an atmosphere of faint bad temper and what-have-you-done-with-the-scissorsishness. We got up tables, then had luncheon & during the afternoon decorated the room and prepared and put out the food. The Peter Rabbits came at 4 o’c, there were about 150 of them and about six of the girls came to help with the tea and washing up. They ate very large teas and drank a great deal of washy very sweet tea, then they were all taken upstairs and we acted Cinderella, a few burst into tears but the majority were thrilled by it. After this we played games and then went downstairs again for the Christmas tree. The new Curate from Old Bermondsey Church came in as Father Christmas & gave each child their present off the tree and then they went home. It was a most successful party.
After supper Budgett & I went over to Whitechapel to see what it looked like on a Saturday night. We walked down Commercial St, along Duval St and past the Catholic Shelter, then back to Whitechapel High St where we went into the pub Edith & I had been in before, it was a good deal emptier and quite a different class of people, middle aged women & elderly men selling things. We met Edith at Aldgate Station and went to another pub which was even duller than the first; then we went to the Salvation Army Shelter in Hamburg St & made an enquiry about a bogus person to try & see inside but they wouldn’t allow us beyond the door. We got back soon after 10 o’c.
Sunday Dec: 6th. There was a Communicant’s Breakfast about 8 o’c at which we fried & ate unsavoury looking rashers of bacon. Edith and I went up to the Hostel afterwards and had a second breakfast there.
I went to Church at St John’s Tooley St and meeting Lizzie Burke on the way took her along too. It was an excessively high service & very nice.
We all went up to the hostel for a bit after luncheon. Edith & I started out together & I went to stay the night with Peggy. Gus came to tea & was very hilarious and full of jokes. A girl called - goodness knows what she was called – came in after tea and Derek Murphy came to dinner & we went to the New Gallery & saw a very amusing film called "College Days". Peggy and I made an attempt to talk when we got back but I was so desperately sleepy that there was nothing for it but bed.
Monday Dec: 7th. Peggy went off to work & I started out with Mrs Leigh and found a very happy hunting ground for Christmas presents at Selfridge which combined cheapness with attractiveness, a blessing as I’ve got to give 30 presents this year. I went to luncheon at Tilney St. Uncle Oswald looked a great deal better. Anne has grown quite enormous and Aunt Bobs can’t get any children’s clothes large enough for her.
I had to leave directly after luncheon to dash back to the Club. I found Edith & Budgett frantically writing tickets. Edith told me with great hilarity that Miss Brodigan could come to us for Christmas; she had been very unkindly thrown over by her sister in Ireland and had nowhere to go so Edith engineered this invitation from us with great tact think Miss Brodigan would smell a rat but she had swallowed it quite whole & thinks it is perfectly genuine.
Peter Rabbits were perfectly easy although one or two manifested a regretable reluctance to go into chapel. Edith somehow put out a bone in the ball of her thumb catching a Peter Rabbit as it fell; she had to go and have it set and this made her feel so sick that we pushed her off to bed. I played games with the 14 year olds most of the evening.
Tuesday Dec: 8th. Edith & I had breakfast in bed for no reason whatsoever except that we were bored with the thought of getting up.
St Paul lasted interminably and then there was a staff meeting which was a good deal more interminable so that the whole morning was gone by the end. I did some indexing before luncheon and after luncheon went visiting.
After tea we went to a most interesting discussion on After Care at Miss Taylor’s office. Edith was to have made a speech but as only two other people turned up it wasn’t worth it. However we had a very good talk with them & Miss Taylor, Miss James & Miss Tennant. We got back late and had a great rush to get the hall ready for the Mixed Club.
I spent the earlier part of the evening in writing tickets & most of the later part in distributing them.
Wednesday Dec: 9th. I did a couple of Bushey visits in the morning, then met Edith & Budgett at the Labour Exchange and Mr Howard let us go all through his records to see how many Albion St girls who left in the last year had been placed by the Exchange and what sort of jobs they had got.
We had a glorious luncheon in the office of corn beef, bread & cheese, apple pasty & coffee.
I went to the school in the afternoon to meet two of the Avery Hill students and send them off visiting. Edith met me there, we did several school enquiries and one or two visits and then went back to the club.
I was in charge of Peter Rabbits and found hunt the slipper a most fearfully successful game.
I did library in the evening and then there was a rowdy & amusing Officer’s Meeting
Thursday Dec: 10th. Edith & I went to Mass at Dockhead.
We went to the school in the morning and spent some time in the sub normal class in the girl’s dept: where there is a most charming teacher called Miss Mack who is doing wonderful things with the children. We were very interested to find about ½ the class composed of our poorest, and most difficult medically, children and we want to take up the question of the sub-normal children thoroughly next term & see if we can discover what is making each separate case backward and what can be done to help it.
We went to luncheon at Time & Talents Settlement, they are all very young and enthusiastic there & we had a most cheerful luncheon. We went on to Miss Taylor’s office but Miss Tennant & Miss James were both out so we left cutting little notes for them and went on to the Divisional Office where we interviewed Colonel Eton & put our scheme (formulated one minute previously) for working in with the Attendance Officer before him, he received it with enthusiasm & sent us off with our Attendance Officer Mr Marlowe who has been in the district for years & years We discussed various families with him and then left full of plans and greatly elated.
I parted from Edith at Aldgate and went to Mudie’s to change my book & then came down here by the 4.5.
Friday Dec: 11th. I read & wrote all the morning & in the afternoon went up to the cottage and brought Edith back here to tea; it was the last time I shall see her here before she goes to Alassis [ Alissos ] for the winter The Dowswells also came to tea.
Saturday Dec: 12th. I had been going up for the night for a children’s party at the Club & Edith was going to take me to sleep at the Salvation Army Shelter in Whitechapel but she backed out of the Shelter on the score of my age & the risk of catching things & it wasn’t worth going up for the party because they weren’t children I knew.
It was a perfect morning & I walked through the woods onto Limpsfield Chart. Sunshine & mist from fields, tree trunks, brilliant green moss & decaying bracken – all quite lovely. On the Chart I met an old man with a barrow who said good morning, I said good morning too, then he said “hows mother keeping?” so I told him she was keeping well, then he said “And hows the old dog?” I said the old dog was as old as ever – bless him! and fled.
Mummy & Daddie dined with the Dalglishs.
Sunday Dec: 13th. We went to Church.
Betty Nissen came to tea. I am trying to persuade her to come & live at the Club for a bit she is very enthusiastic about it although she really wants a paid job instead of having to pay herself.
We have just heard of the death of Aunt Augusta & are very upset about it. She was quite blind latterly & not at all well. She was one of the most charming & lovely (in the American sense) people I have ever known. Phyllis & Violet are both in East Africa but were coming here in April to be with her. I wish I had seen her again & I am so sorry that she never knew how fond I was of her.
Thursday Dec: 31st.
Monday Dec: 14th. I went up to the Club by the 9.44. I did some visiting in the morning and Edith & I both went visiting in the afternoon & went into the school. We had the last of the Peter Rabbits after tea & the last of the 14 year olds in the evening. No, I’ve got the first part all wrong! Anne came to the Club in the morning and stayed for luncheon; we talked hard she telling me all the fresh complications that had arisen with Charlie’s family. Edith came in and Anne argued with her as to why she had changed her mind and advised me not to go to the School of Economics last October.
Louie’s friend Naomi Brown was at the Club having come for the last fortnight’s rush. She is an amusing person full of life.
Tuesday Dec: 15th. I did some visiting in the morning. Edith & I went to luncheon at Osborn Place; one of the people there had just got engaged & there was great excitement & a most amusing luncheon. Edith is completely in her element there, far more so than at the Club.
I did some more visiting in the afternoon. Margaret Sassoon came to tea & was more disjointed & disconnected than ever.
Naomi, Edith & I all did Hostel teas.
I spent a nice peaceful evening watching the dress rehearsal of the Mystery Play & singing carols out of tune. Part of the play were very good especially a frieze of angels with flat gold halos & different coloured robes against a neutral background.
Wednesday Dec: 16th. We did various oddments in the morning and in the afternoon we had our first Care Committee meeting at Albion St, Maggie was in the chair & Miss Williams, Miss Hodgson, Mr Lytton and a good lady with no roof to her mouth were there besides of course Edith & me. It was most interesting and bucked us up no end.
After tea we had a fearful time getting the big hall ready for the Mystery Play and carting up and placing 200 chairs.
I helped dressed people for the Mystery Play. The performance itself Edith & I decided was poor & we criticised it hard in bed.
After it was over we had to get most of the chairs downstairs again.