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.
Links in the text highlight images, publications, biographical information and other contextual material, including primary sources held by other archives, museums and libraries.
Suggested citation for this volume: Diary 2, Dec 1917-Mar 1918; Eileen Younghusband archive, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick (MSS.463/EY/J2)
Images of the original diary are available through Warwick Digital Collections.
Friday December 7th 1917
Here begineth Volume II of the diary of Eileen Louise Younghusband
"Let all the earth keep silence"
I went up to Wolfies this morning and did the geography exam. The paper was quite decent; here it is - I can find the paper now but will put it in when I do. Being in a desperate hurry to get it done I finished it in an hour and a half just half the time we are given so had to twiddle my thumbs for an hour - in other words do arithmetic. Peggy and Louise (her French governess) fetched me. I will put down full details of the fight with Bobs presently but will go on now to what else we did or I shall never get done. Shortie fetched me at about 3. and we walked down Oxford Street and Regents Street to Picadilly [ Piccadilly ] Circus and then to the Globe Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue where we got the tickets for Monday. There were a good many pictures of Renée but very few that I hadn't see already. From there we went to Frazer and Haws a jewellers in Regents Street and left a tea pot for Mummy. We wanted to go and see the tanks which were selling War Bonds in Trafalgar Square but it was so beastly wet and dark and late that we came home.
Renèe is selling War Savings Certificates from 12 to 1 all next week so I am going on Tuesday to buy some.
That wretched Bobs had written to Peggy to say she had got a music lesson so couldn't be at Upper Berkeley Street till 1.30. I suppose she wanted to escape fighting but she just jolly well didn't succeed because Mrs Leigh was out to luncheon and Shuttie being an angel had consented to do a bunk. We fought all through luncheon (and choaked in the process) and after till 2.30 when they had to go off to the play. First Peggy read Bobs our last letter as Bobs said she had forgotten it (which she consequently proved by a chance remark that she hadn't). It is a most odd feeling hearing someone reading a letter which you almost know by heart and helped compose and which contains some very personal remarks, aloud to the person it is written to. She only asked two questions about it, I have forgotten what they were but they werent the least important. Then I asked her why she denies that I helped compose our last letter, she said she hadn't, I then made it perfectly clear to her that she had and she said our last letter had crost her last letter which wasn't true as the last sentence of our letter was "Eileen thanks you for your letter which interested both of us" so we squashed her on that point. Then I enquired why she had broken her promise to Peggy. In the spring term of 1916 when Bobs was staying with her the latter had pretended to walk in her sleep and had made Bobs promise not to tell anyone what she had said (Bobs of course thought it was real); then last term Peggy told me all about it and told Bobs it was a hoax which she said she didn't believe. Bobs didn't know I knew so when we were at Minehead I asked Bobs in one of my letters what Peggy had said just to see if she would break her word which she promptly proceeded to do with as many lurid details as her very fertile imagination was capable of. When I asked her about it today she said we had broken our promise to her in such a countless number of things that she really didn't see why she shouldn't break hers to us (the number certainly is countless because as far as we know we never broke our promise to her). We said that wasn't plain enough and that we must have a definite instance so she quoted a sentence in our last letter which said "Eileen wishes me to say that she didn't show me your letters but she read them to me"; I had said that because Bobs had said when she said she would write to me at Minehead that I wasn't to show Peggy her letters but she had at the same time implied "but I will say lots of things which will annoy Peggy and you can tell her them". Well now she said this was just the same as her breaking her promise to Peggy because she hadn't told me what Peggy had said but had written it (I wonder if anyone ever invented such a feeble excuse for breaking their word?) I gently reminded her that she had hinted that I was to tell Peggy what she said, she didn't deny that but said she naturally hadn't meant everything. I then enquired why she had bust her word to tell me something which she says she knew I knew already; she said she thought it might amuse me, I asked if she thought it quite worth while to break her word of honour on the chance of amusing a person, she said "yes it was quite worth while"; so then being stumped I gently changed the subject and said she hadn't yet proved that we had broken our word (oh dear! I getting so sick of writing that expression) to which she replied in a voice of measureless scorn that she didn't think I had often broken mine to her (not that I ever promised her anything to my knowledge) but with a look bordering on admiration at Peggy "you have done it heaps of times" this statement was of course denied. I believe Bobs looks on the gentle art of breaking ones word and inventing more or less (usually the latter) plausible excuses for doing it as one of the chief virtues and gifts in life and she has certainly reduced it to a fine art. Peggy now expressed a pious and hearty hope that Bobs was not going to play unrequited love any more (she had acted this hard towards Peggy last term, but though it was very annoying it took in no one but herself) she said she most certainly wasn't and hadn't been doing it all this term and simply hated seeing Peggy to which we both enquired as one man why she did see her then? to which she replied that naturally she couldn't be so rude to Mrs Leigh as to refuse; Peggy said Mrs Leigh wouldn't be hurt the least if Bobs has engagements, Bobs said she couldn't always have engagements which was rather a feeble excuse because she has accepted every time Peggy has had to ask her while Peggy has always played up and refused to go and see her.
Saturday Dec: 18th 1917
I wasn't able to get a diary yesterday so I wrote down the foregoing conversation in an exercise book and have been copying it out; now I will endevour to finish this most loving conversation. Peggy next enquired why Bobs had suddenly developed such a wild affection for Mrs Leigh as she had never been very fond of her before. Bobs said she had always been very fond of Mrs Leigh and that her feelings had undergone no change I said that was very far from what she had given me to understand in some remarks that she had made to me, she said I really had got the most extraordinary imagination and would I repeat some of the remarks? I said I couldn't in front of Peggy so when we went upstairs Peggy departed and I told Bobs the only remark I could remember though she had made several. She said it proved nothing and she would make it of anyone she liked but it was not the sort of thing one would say of a person one was as fond of as Bobs pretends she is of Mrs Leigh. We agreed to differ on this point. Peggy then asked why she had played unrequited love to her last term, Bobs said she hadn't been sure of Peggy at the beginning and thought it was quite likely that they might be friends again, we then enquired if she wished to be friends with Peggy why she had consistently slanged at everything and everybody Peggy likes best, she said she had done it to annoy her, we enquired if that was a sign of love, and Bobs said that when Peggy was fond of her she had done many things which annoyed her intensely, we pointed out that they were things which Peggy did whether she was with Bobs or not. We next accused her of trying to make Peggy and I quarrell which she didn't deny trying to do but said she knew it was no good. I then enquired why she had sucked up to me so and she said she knew Peggy liked me so had done it to annoy her but she said she had never liked me (which fact I had discovered ages ago) and that if I didn't mind her saying so, she had never trusted me, I humbly begged to return the compliment. Really almost the prize incident occured when we accused her of being so desperately sentimental last term. She denied that she even knew the way to which really was a bit thick because she had said the most appalingly sloppily sentimental things about young men and things like that, really things that made one feel quite bad although we knew it was a pose she had acted it so hard that she almost made herself believe in it and now calmly denies all knowledge of it!
We also had differences of opinion about other subjects which I can't be bothered to put down. I have now not the least doubt left that I dislike Bobs more than I have ever disliked anyone before. I knew before that she was pretty bad but till yesterday I had no idea what a heartless, mean, dishonest, snobbish, caddish little wretch she was, please excuse strong language but no one who had seen Bobs in her true colours with all the varnish gone could help using strong language. Oh! what a bad time she's going to have to have in life poor thing!
"Funny Little Person" came this morning and made me sing till I nearly bust and afterwards we went into Wimbledon and I got this book and a song called "Have You Forgotten?" which is sung by Phyllis Monckman and Jack Hulbert in the revue "Bubbly!". I also got five more gramaphone records lists, I have now got somewhere around the direction of twenty record lists!
Daddie was home for luncheon today which is very unusual.
Sunday Dec: 9th 1917.
It simply poured and blew hurricanes this morning so I didn't go to Church but wrote reams to Nina and sent her the tune of "She'd a Hole in Her Stocking". I also wrote to Mrs Greville who had written a letter of sympathy to Mummy about Cousin Eddy and which Mummy had asked me to answer. I have never answered that kind of letter before and I had the most lovely time thinking up all the stock expressions I knew and stringing them together but the beauty of the whole was slightly marred by the fact that I wrote "It is a dreadful tragedy and it seems so hard there being no clue" in a way that made it sound as if the fact that poor Mrs Greville had written to Mummy was the dreadful tragedy!
We (Daddie and I) went up to the meeting this afternoon and in the tube we sat next to a person who I am almost sure was Madge Titheradge the actress. The speaker was Sir George Paish and he spoke quite well on "International Trade" in spite of the fact that he has not long ago been in a lunatic asylum! We went and got tea at a Slater's and then came back and went into "Winkfield Lodge" where we stayed nearly two hours. Great Aunt Aimèe was there and two gentlemen and I saw all the children and Cousin V. Sheila and Brian were very full of spirits and Oonah says they sing the most dreadfully vulgar songs to visitors!
I made the most truely joyful discovery yesterday which was the fact that I possessed £7.17s 8d with a year and a half interest due on it sitting in the savings bank doing nothing so I promptly got a form and have applied to have it all out and am going to put it into War Loan. As far (or as near) as I can work it out it ought to come to £8. 3s 6d the post office interest being 2½% which is just half the War Loan interest. I shall buy a £5 War Bond at Harrod's because if you buy it before the end of next week you have a chance of winning prizes ranging in value from £500 to £1. At the end of the week there will be a draw and all the people who have got lucky numbers will get a prize. The results will be published on Dec: 23rd. I shall also buy five 15/6 War Savings Certificates making up the extra amount (14/.) from my 25/- War Loan dividend. Daddie is going to lend me the money because it would be too late to buy in either of these things by the time I get it from the post office. I was awfully sorry not to see the tanks in Trafalgar Square; they were there a fortnight during which time they collected just on 3½ million pounds. One sat in Trafalgar Square while the other walked about London, and yesterday evening one went to Sheffield and the other to Liverpool. Oonah saw the Trafalgar Square one and she said there were huge crowds in the Square and it was almost impossible to get near it. Shortie also caught a glimpse of one from the top of a bus on Wednesday.
Oh dear! isn't it pipping to think I am going to see Renèe tomorrow and the next day!
I haven't played the piano much today but I copied out one song from "Chu Chin Chow".
Those silly old Russians have made an armistice with Germany and forced Roumania to join in too but she says nothing will induce her to make a separate peace.
The news from Mesapotamia [ Mesopotamia ] is good and General Allenby has taken Hebron nineteen miles from Jerusalem. Nothing very important has happened on the Cambrai front line but on the whole we have the advantage. Oh dear! this sounds just like an official communiquè.
Monday Dec: 10th 1917
I have seen Renèe and she is A1 splendid good egg; she really is just spiffing, she has got such a pretty voice and an awfully pretty laugh and she is very pretty and she acts just splendidly and she is so original and she makes funny remarks in such a nice way. I think I like her best when she looks very demure and good and you know all the time she is just brimming over with mischief and wickedness. She looks about twenty but I think she is somewhere around the direction of twenty six and I am sure she is a real sport and just full of bounce and go. How my fond family would faint if they read this page! but what overcomes me still more is the thought of my own nobility in enthusing about Renèe with my right hand which really is a very difficult task because it takes me ages to write each word.
Renèe absolutely makes the peice which isn't particularly good and not worth going to unless one wanted to see her. The hero was perfectly rotten and it annoyed me intensely that Renèe should have to make love to him. I wish we hadn't missed Owen Nares who did the hero and I believe is jolly good and who went out of it on Saturday. A.E. Matthews (one of the men and very good) made a little speech asking people to come and buy War Savings Certificates from Renèe and saying that she had been very successful today and that she had bought £1000 worth of War Bonds from the Tanks (go up one Renèe!).
The theatre was very empty and I shouldn't think "The Willow Tree" would stay on much longer anyhow I hope it won't both for Renèe's sake and mine for her because I want her to get a real good play which makes a great hit like "Daddy Long Legs" which was on for nearly a year did; and for my sake because I want to see her again soon. I am looking forward awfully to buying War Savings Certificates from her tomorrow and I am so glad I didn't do it before I saw this play because now I am much more mad about her as it is quite likely the intelligent reader may have gathered by this time. Daddie waxed quite enthusiastic about Renèe which which was very tactful of him; of course he doe'sent know she is my favourite actress which has its disadvantages because I think he wonders why on earth I chose "The Willow Tree" to go to.
Now I will try and tell shortly the story of the play. There is an Englishman in Japan named Ned Hamilton who has come out there because the young lady, Mary Temple who he is in love with has refused him (which any sane girl would have done) and in an old image-carvers shop he sees a beautiful statue of the Princess of the Willow Tree which the old carver consents to sell because he is hard up for money and at the same time tells him an old Japanese legend which says that if you place a mirror in the bosom of a statue of a woman she will sometimes come to life because a mirror is the soul of a woman but he almost makes Hamilton promise not to do this however he (Hamilton) can't resist the temptation and places a small travelling mirror in her bosom, nothing happens for some time but suddenly she comes to life and of course he falls violently in love with her and she with him (which is really very silly of her); she really is rather an angel quite apart from the fact that she is Renèe and she makes the most lovely remarks because of course she knows nothing of the world. A rift in the lute occurs when Mary Temple appears and confesses that she loves Hamilton and wishes to take him back to England and marry him and he has to explain that though he still loves her he loves someone else better so off goes poor Mary feeling excessively sorry she spoke. Then war breaks out but Hamilton refuses to go back because he says he can't leave his Princess but she overhears his conversation about this with a friend and she persuades one of the Japanese servants to cut down the Willow Tree because that will turn her back into an image again, so she dies that Hamilton may go and fight for "honourable England and George King", so he goes; and presumably marries Mary Temple. Renèe is both the Image and Mary Temple because they are each supposed to be part of each other. It is very much the story of Pygmalion and Galatea but I am quite sick of hearing it called that because every single paper had that on the headlines when they reviewed it.
I got a post-card from Aunt Kathleen this morning asking for a list of gramaphone records that I want because when she asked me what I would like for Christmas I said gramaphone records so I wrote this evening and sent her four names - selections from "Chu Chin Chow", vocal gems from "Cheep!", vocal gems and selections from "The Mikado" (one record) and selections from "Bubbly!" of course I don't expect her to send me all these because they cost five bob each but I gave her a good selection in case they are difficult to get. Laurie breaks up a week today so I hope to see him soon. He is at Clifton College.
I went up to Wolfie's this morning and got in for spelling but mercifully my spelling wasn't quite as groggy as usual though it was pretty bad.
A few days ago an ammunition ship collided with another ship in the harbour of Halifax Novo [ Nova ] Scotia and there was a dreadful explosion which killed 2,000 people, injured 3,000 and left 20,000 homeless and at the same time a great hurricane took place which killed many people of cold. A fund has been started in London to relieve the sufferers.
Tuesday Dec: 11th 1917
Oh! today has been so glorious! but I must try and be sane and put it down in some sort of order instead of my usual unintelligable jumble. I decided to take a very nice post card I have of Renée with me and to ask her to sign it if I got a chance but if not I had got it in an envelope stamped and addressed to myself and I was going to ask her to sign it sometime and post it to me. We started at 10.30 and in the 'bus from here to Putney was the actress Lilian Braithwaite with her boy; she is in "General Post" at present and I believe is very nice. I think her boy must be at school here because she said "good bye" to him once before at the corner of Windmill Road and got into 70 'bus. We went to Paddington first to see about a box which was sent to Bath and hasn't arrived. And then we took a 'bus to Picadilly [ Piccadilly ] Circus and at 12.20 (oh! joyous moment) our lovely forms might have been seen entering the Globe Theatre. Renée was selling at a table in the hall of the theatre with two other ladies to help her and Mr Matthews bouncing around and never being there when he was wanted with change; there was only one other lady there buying and she soon went away; Renée was dressed in a long black fur coat (I suppose it was musquash) and a darling little toque – dull gold covered with black and with a wreath of laural leves round it. I do not wish to imply that she was dressed in nothing but a fur coat and a toque but they were the only things visible to the naked eye. She was awfully pleased when I said I wanted five Certificates and proceeded to stick them into one of those nice little War Savings Certificate books which they always give with them and to write my name with her own fair hand on the cover. I produced the post-card which she grabbed in great excitment and wished to know where I got it as so many people wanted it and it is impossible to get; I told her I had got it at the Duke of York's Theatre after the proformance of "Daddy Long Legs" which I saw; she signed it for me - "With all good wishes sincerely yours Renée Kelly as "Judy"" Judy is the name of the heroine of "Daddy Long Legs". I think she always signs her photographs like that because it came out awfully fast and she only hesitated before she wrote "Judy". I told her I should be so glad to have it signed because she is my favourite actress, that I was awfully gone on her and had seen "The Willow Tree" yesterday and loved it (which wasn't strictly true) she said "yes I think its so pretty and I simply love it" upon which I being of a throughly cussed nature said that I loved her in it. She was awfully excited when I signed my name with my left hand and wanted to know how on earth I did it (people always regard one as a bit queer when one writes with ones left hand!). I said I was sorry I had only got a vulgar post-card for her to sign but that besides photos out of papers that was the only thing I had got then she said there was a picture of them selling in todays "Graphic" and she said that she thought that nearly everyone who had bought more than one certificate yesterday had seemed to get two stalls but that she "was so sorry there was one poor, wee mite - only so high (ocular demonstration at this point) who had bought just one certificate and she didn't get a prize - I really think I must write to her". I wished I was the poor wee mite as far as the letter went. I said I hoped I should be lucky but I never was in raffles and Renée said in a cheerful and confidential voice "neither am I"; then she gave me my numbers 13-18 and Mrs Short who bought one was nineteen. Renée said "oh! 13 thats a very lucky number" I said "I think its usually supposed to be unlucky isn't it?" so Renée said oh! no 13 is going to be a very lucky number", I expressed a pious hope that it might be so and enquired who was going to draw "I draw, I just put my hand in like this (more ocular demonstration) and pull them out" said Renée with the greatest of cheerfulness having just told me with equal cheerfulness that she was never lucky in raffles but I suppose she meant her own personal luck. Then we said we would come back at 1. when the draw took place to hear the result. We went to a big Lyons and had luncheon which I could scarcely sit through with impatience to hear the result of the draw and see Renée again. When we got back Renée welcomed us with the joyous news that she had drawn our number twice she had drawn Shortie's one number and one of mine so we each got two stalls; we waited till Renée had done drawing and I stood right beside her, my numbers didn't come again but I think we were most awfully lucky to get four stalls. One of the men - I am not sure whether it was Mr Allan (her husband, who was there) or Mr Matthews came with us to the box office and gave us four tickets for today week in row G. Then we said "good bye" to Renée and came away. The reason we stayed so long the first time was that a lovely creature was sticking reciepts into our Certificate books so I had altogether about a quarter of an hours talk with Renée; you know this is one of those extraordinary things that don't usually happen in real life but only in books. That out of all the actresses in London my favourite should have elected to sell Certificates, that I should have been able to go and buy them and that the place should be absolutely empty and that I should be able to talk to her for a quarter of an hour, that she should be jolly nice and that I should win two stalls and get a signed photograph of her and see her sign it and that she should write on my certificate book really does sound like a novel doesn't it? She is awfully pretty, just like she is on the stage when dressed as an English girl but she looks older than she does on the stage and (joy!) she doe'-sent paint. I think she is like what I expected she would be any way she is awfully nice but I should think frightfully nervous and highly strung. I think she is the first actress I have ever spoken to and if they were all like her my opinion of them would go up very considerably because I sure am gone on Renée now. It seems so funny to call her by her Christian name now I have spoken to her!
Afterwards we went to the Times Book Club and then on to Peggy's to invite her to come with me to "The Willow Tree" next Tuesday. She is bright green with envy because I who was not before very crazy over Renée have had all this excitement with her while she who has been really mad over Teddie Gerard and Madge Titheradge for a year has never even see them off the stage; what made her equally furious was my sitting opposite to Madge for a quarter of an hour in the tube on Sunday. Mrs Leigh has asked me to spend the night with them on Tuesday and go to "The Boy" with them on Wednesday isn't it absolutely heavenly?
The news of the fall of Jerusalem was in the morning papers today which is perfectly splendid.
I had a letter from Mummy this evening.
Wednesday Dec: 12th 1917
I went up to Wolfie's this morning and had a deadly dull time doing arithmatic and listening (?) to a War Lecture on the German Colonies.
Peggy and Shuttie fetched me back to luncheon there. The French governess that Peggy is going to have has gone to France for the holidays so I shan't have the joy of her. Shortie appeared about 3.30 and she and Peggy and I went out to try and get a bead orniment for the front of my new serge dress, we got an awfully pretty one at Evan's and then we went back to tea at Upper Berkeley Street.
Daddie has just come back from Cousin V and they (the police) have got a very important clue to the mystery; they arrested a French ex-soldier at Streatham for theft and in his rooms they found Cousin Eddy's watch and the boys mackintosh which was missing. The next inquiry is next Saturday so perhaps we shall hear some more then. Of course it does'ent follow the least that it was this man.
The permit for me to go and draw my money out of the savings bank came this morning and with the interest I have got £8.6s.6d.
Daddie had the brilliant idea of our asking Laurie to come to "The Willow Tree" with us so I am going to write to Aunt Kathleen right now and do hope he will be able to come.
Pompey telephoned yesterday evening to say he would come for the night tomorrow. Cousin Margaret Magniac was coming tomorrow to stay but she has been with some boys who have had or got chicken pox so she thinks she'd better not come.
Mummy doe'sent show any signs of returning; I didn't think she would once she got to Bath.
There are no photographs of Renée in this weeks "Tatler" or "Sketch" which is very tactless of them. She was helping entertain wounded soldiers at a big cinematograph tea party at the Still Picture Theatre today.
What an awfully exciting week this has been! and what a large amount of diary I have written considering I only started it on Friday. You know even now I can't believe it was true about Renée; it seems so extraordinary that I must have dreamt it and I can't even quite believe the signed photograph.
Thursday Dec: 13th 1917.
Miss Medd-Hall gave me a lesson this morning and said it was very good for me Funny Little Person giving me singing lessons.
We went into Wimbledon this afternoon and Pompey appeared about 4.0.
Mummy came home by the train which is supposed to arrive at Paddington at 4.40 so she got here about six.
There is nothing more to put down I don't think.
Laurie can come on Tuesday which is very nice.
Friday Dec: 14th 1917.
"Funny Little Person" appeared at ten to eleven before Pompey had gone or I had done my prep for her which was very agitating.
Of course because I am going to "The Boy" with Peggy Pompey remembered that he had asked me and wanted to take me. It seems that two people always want to take one to the same thing; however I said with great firmness that I should love to go to another play with him and I hope he is going to take me to "Cheep!" which is a vulgar revue. Pompey is a great mimic and he is always mimicing a Frenchman so when he saw Funny Little Person he talked French to her the way he mimics a Frenchman and Funny Little Person said to me afterwards "le Monsieur parle trés bien le francais"! or words to the effect because I'm sure I have written it all wrong.
Mummy has been in London nearly all day today.
The man who has been arrested for the murder of Cousin Eddy is a corporal in the English army and has a French name.
I got a post-card from Aunt Kathleen this morning asking us all to go to tea there on Tuesday after the play but I am going to ask her if we can go on Thursday instead. We are going to luncheon with Pompey at a restraunt called the Goblins on Thursday.
I rang up Peggy after luncheon and she and Shuttie had both told Emmeline the history of my excitment with Renée because she was going to see Bobs after and we hoped she would tell her because Bobs disapproves violently of actresses and would be dreadfully shocked at my going on all now-hows like that with my favourite one. We shall never get a chance to tell Bobs ourselves so we had to chance to luck that Emmeline would be obliging and do it. It is a week today since our fight with Bobs and she goes up to Scotland tonight and I should think our ears will burn pretty hard with all the things she will tell the family about us!
Mummy has written to Uncle Holly about the gramaphone so I hope we shall hear soon. Oh dear! what joy it will be to have a gramaphone (loud groans from the family!)
It being exactly ten days tomorrow to Christmas I am beginning to think its about time I thought about getting Christmas preents. I am going to give very few presents this year but ones family is always quite hopeless to choose presents for especially Daddie who never appears to want anything which my habitual shortage of chink is able to buy.
There is very hard fighting still going on in France but we haven't taken Cambrai. The other day one of our big offensives failed because the cavalry was four hours late and if it hadn't been we should probably have taken Cambrai and the reason the cavalry was late was that one of the tanks went over and broke a bridge that the cavalry wanted to use afterwards so they had to find a way round and were late in consequence.
Pompey has got a brother who is a prisoner of war in a place in the middle of Turkey - in Asia called Kastamuni and some time ago four of the prisoners escaped and they went all they knew for forty eight days hiding in the day-time and running at night and eating the green corn growing in the fields until when they were one days march from the Black Sea and were pretty well done they ran plump! into a picket of Turkish soldiers which was searching for them and they were put in a cart and started to trundle back. When they were nearly back they heard firing very near so they poked their heads out of the cart and saw some of the escort tumbling off their horses so they jumped out of the cart and made a bolt down a steep bank where they laid low but presently some figures came tearing down at them and they thought everything was up, instead of which the figures greeted them with great effusion and embraced them and they turned out to be Turkish conscientious objects who had refused to fight in the Turkish army or be conscripted and had formed themselves into a band of brigands and hearing of the escape of these prisoners they thought it a good idea to rescue them when they were caught again, so that they might all escape from the Turks, so they managed to get to the Black Sea, where they found a rowing boat in which they rowed eight days till they came to Odessa. The prisoners are now in England I think, but history does not relate what happened to the Turks. They have heard since that the remaining prisoners have had a desperate bad time since the escape of the others.
Saturday Dec: 15th 1917.
Ten days to Christmas!
Funny Little Person came this morning and she had a talk with Mummy and I heard her say that I had a voice but very little ear which is most profoundly true! Emmeline informed me the other day that I had probably got quite a decent voice hidden away somewhere and that I was getting much more control over it and that I have got quite a pretty voice (loud cries of dissent from the unfortunate Shortie!) I do want to get some idea of tune and I think it is coming by slow degrees and I want awfully to learn to sing.
We took the dogs for a walk this afternoon and just as we were coming in four areoplanes all together flew over making a frightful noise but they looked very pretty. I don't think I have ever seen so many together before and if four make such a noise what must the twenty three huns who raided London on July 7th have sounded like?
We had a most rare and valueable present this morning – two pounds of lovely butter from Mrs Otley which really in these days is a gift whose value is far above rubies. Mrs Otley is coming down here tomorrow and bringing her eldest boy and a gentleman friend.
Mummy brought me simply piles of songs which she had unearthed at Bath; so they will keep both Emmeline and me going for a bit. She has also found a perfectly lovely great big manuscript music book bound in leather.
Daddie suddenly produced a ten bob note the other day to pay for "The Willow Tree" tickets, I said I had paid my share but Daddie no, he would pay but I could pay the tax. Wasn't it good egg of him?
I havn't heard the result of todays inquiry but it will be in the papers tomorrow.
A Mr and Mrs Hart who are friends of Daddie and live here called this afternoon.
The following parody of "Jerusalem the Golden" was published in "The Globe" a few days ago on the capture of Jerusalem. I like it very much and it goes very well to the tune of the original.
Jerusalem the olden,
A thousand years oppressed,
Shame of the East, and ever
The lode-star of the West:
The Handmaid of the Crescent,
The Mother of the Cross,
The Israel the Chosen,
The immemorial loss.
Over her shattered ramparts
The new Crusaders pour,
Her freedom to recover,
Her glory to restore,
Once more the Sacred Hill
Beholds the Cross Uplifted,
The Message to fulfil.
Jerusalem the olden,
Goal of the Lion-Heart,
Prize of the mighty Godfrey,
The City set apart.
From out the Place of Wailing
Ascends exultant song,
The Way of Sorrow echoes
With triumph loud and long."
Also I have discovered that "The naughty little cuss words" (see beginning of Vol I) go beautifully to the tune of "Now the day is over".
Cousin Maud has asked Mummy and I to a bloomin' party next Thursday and I don't want to go one bit, I would much rather go to tea with Laurie, besides which I want to do Christmas shopping on Thursday afternoon and it is impossible to go up from here first thing in the morning to Wolfies and be anywhere approaching decent for a party in the afternoon.
Uncle Holly hasn't answered about the gramaphone yet; I do hope he is going to play up.
Sunday Dec: 16th 1917.
We (Shortie and I) went to Church this morning.
An absolutely horrible day, icy cold, blowing a gale and snowing.
I read "The Three Miss Graemes" by Miss Macnaughton most of the afternoon and succeeded in finishing it this evening. Daddie is the hero and it is quite fairly like him except that he talks intelligible French for a whole evening, answers his letters promptly and is above the average height.
It is killing reading someone elses description of ones fond parent conducting a love affair but I don't think that part of the book is meant to be true because he does'ent marry the girl - whose name by the way is Helen - till he comes back from Tibet (of course it's not called Tibet).
The story is about three girls who have lived on a remote island of Scotland all their lives till when their father dies it is found they have no money so they have to let the island and go and live in London on the rent of it and two of them eventually marry.
Mrs Otley came for tea and brought a Captain Salisbury with her. Her boy does'sent come up till Tuesday so she couldn't bring him. She asked me to go with them to a thing at the Savoy Hotel on Tuesday but of course I can't because of "The Willow Tree".
There was a good deal about the inquiry in the paper but nothing much appears to have happened except that somthing or other is going to happen at some police court next Thursday and that the inquiry is adjourned for a fortnight. Daddie has been to see poor Cousin V this evening and he says she is looking worse than she has so far; she had to be at the inquiry a long time yesterday and give evidence. Great Aunt Aimée is going to stay with them on Wednesday and she was there this evening.
I wrote to Mary today.
Two British airships have been downed and a destroyer sunk by a collision.
In the Halifax disaster they have discovered that one of the pilots steering either the ammunition ship or the one which collided with it, I have forgotten which, is a German and has been feigning illness.
Daddie can't go to luncheon at the restraunt with Pompey next Thursday and Mummy says we can't go either so it will have to be put off till after Christmas which is a bore as it will probably never come off.
Monday Dec: 17th 1917.
I went up to Wolfies this morning and at luncheon she let me cook a chop on her electric cooker, I have never cook a chop before and it was great fun and the chop was quite the best I have ever tasted!
When Shortie fetched me we went to the Times Book Club and then walked down Oxford Street and I bought a very pretty sort of shot silvery grey tie for Daddie price two bob, I am sure he will never wear it but it is very pretty all the same. Then we went to a stationer known as Ryman in Great Portland Street and there I got sort of big blotter thing with an egagement tablet attached for Mummy to write in bed with. It cost two and six. Then we wandered down Oxford Street again and Shortie purchased an electric torch for three and three pence. When we reached the place where Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street meet we got a 'bus to South Kensington and then walked to Miss Clarke. She has got my new dark blue serge dress done. It has got the bead girdle and a bead orniment on it and it is very pretty and has got a long coat with a beaver collar to match.
Mummy has been in London all day.
The common is covered with snow and all the roads are covered with ice and it is almost impossible to walk; but in London it is quite easy and they havn't had any snow there.
I had a post-card from Aunt Kathleen this morning saying she would be very pleased to have us to tea on Thursday and Shortie met her and Laurie (Clifton only broke up today!) in the Stores this morning. Shortie couldn't get served in the grocery department of the Stores because there were such crowds there, so we have got to go up early tomorrow morning and go there.
Cousin Maud has written to Mummy to invite me to that party; it is a little party of twelve children for Margaret and Cousin Maud invites me to stay the night which is very kind of her. I haven't got the least objection to going to see Margaret and Co but you bet I'm going to try and squerm out of the party when the alternative is tea with Laurie and nice vulgar games of whist and heaps of fun.
I believe the Ancient and Noble Ceremony of the Stirring of the Plum Pudding has got to take place sometime this evening. We are jolly lucky to have got the things to make plum puddings this year. One food economy article gave a reciept for economical and war-time plum pudding in which one of the ingredients was carrot - some pudding, I don't think!
Renée tomorrow, hurrah! hurrah!
No very particular war news but General Allenby has advaned beyond Jerusalem and Russia has signed an armistice with the Huns and is arranging terms of peace.
Tuesday Dec: 18th 1917
We are just having an air-raid - at least the guns have ceased for a bit now. I am in London at Peggy's and we have been having a most exciting time, we havn't heard any bombs or Huns but the Hyde Park Corner gun has been going and some shrapnel hit this roof. The guns were frightfully loud, much worse than I have ever heard them. We were sitting up here quitely talking (or to be more exact argueing) when a gun went off at about 7.p.m. Peggy said it was a door slamming and of course we had never thought of a raid tonight because it is a new moon but it is quite light. We went downstairs to a little room on the ground floor as we went down we heard guns and people shrieking in the streets. The firing lasted about an hour with one interval during which we went out into the street but found no shrapnel, there were some men tearing round and one said he had found a shell cap. We copied out vulgar songs and knitted most of the time except when we had to have the light out. We had dinner in the kitchen and are now sitting upstairs. We thought we heard a gun once just now but I think the raid is over.
It is funny that they seem to have only sent two relays as there are usually three or four. There are a great many motors tearing about, I suppose they are ambulances. It was a most odd hour for them to come and there don't appear to have been many "take cover" warnings; the first we heard was a gun and apparently they fired three with intervals of about three minutes as a warning and the ordinary firing begun directly after. Mummy telephoned at the beginning and said she had had a warning and I think she must have known about it before we did.
10 minutes later.
The guns started again just as I put on a "Chu Chin Chow" gramaphone record so we came rushing downstairs and are sitting on beds. Mrs Leigh, Peggy and I are writing and Shuttie is reading. The firing is fairly loud but not so bad as before. It is now about 9.20.
We fetched Peggy and Laurie from here at about 2. to go to the play. Renée quite needless to say was just A.1. and awfully pretty but the hero is absolutely rotten and annoys me dreadfully when he hugs her. She has got two lovely new kimonos one yellow embroidered in yellow and one very pretty blue-grey. I am sure she is the nicest actress I have ever seen I mean when she acts she is so sort of original and she changes suddenly without any warning from being frightfully romantic to saying somthing very cussed in sweet and angelic tones; for instance her soul is a little mirror when she is the image and she tries to throw it away because she has heard about the hero being in love with Mary Temple (see page 16) and of course it would kill her if she threw it away; the hero struggles with her and she shrieks and howls and moans and sentimentatizes and says she will throw it away, but at last he forces her to put it back and she smiles a sweet smile and says in tones of mingled sweetness, cussedness and primness, "I never meant to throw it away!" of course she would have to say it anyway it being in her part but it is just the way she says it makes it utterly a Renéeism, she was just the same in "Daddy Long Legs"; I don't quite know how to describe it which is a pity because it is the most attractive part of her; it is just her charm but there is such piles of it and it is so original and she sort of makes you understand just what she thinks of things and she takes you into her confidence and makes you feel exactly what she feels and be happy and unhappy with her. Not being a novelist I can't describe all this properly but if I come across a novel with anyone like Renée in it I will copy it applying the descriptions to her.
The "all clear" signals have just gone and we are now going to bed it being 10 p.m.
Thursday Dec: 20th 1917.
I couldn't write my diary last night because I left my diary in my box at Mrs Leigh's. I had a perfectly lovely day yesterday. At about 9.15 we sallied forth to go to Waterloo to meet Rowland; we got to Waterloo at 9.50, so the luggage train having been supposed to arrive at 9.30 and Rowland's train at 10.18; the luggage train appeared at about 10.15 and Rowland's at 11.30. There were huge crowds at the station and in the tube. We went home and decided not to go out again before luncheon. After luncheon we went off to "The Boy", which is just A1 and one of the funniest things I have seen, the theatre was crammed and all the seats were taken for the evening proformense. Everyone roared with laughter and one song - the one which Nina sent me "I want to go to Bye-Bye" - was encored hard but Berry wouldn't sing it again, I suppose they're not allowed to. Nellie Taylor, the leading lady is very pretty, has got a lovely voice and is very graceful. The two best songs are; "Little Miss Melody" and "I want to go to Bye-Bye". I will write the story of the play later. Coming out of the theatre I bought "The Play Pictorial" of "The Boy" and the book of lyrics. Shortie met me and we came home by Charing Cross Underground which was so full that a good many people couldn't get into the train.
They say the Huns tried to come last night and we did hear distant guns but there was a perfectly dreadful fog yesterday and a still worse one today. It was almost impossible to see to the other side of the street when we went up this morning but it had lifted a wee bit by the afternoon.
We broke up at Wolfie's today and had the results of the exams. I can't ever recollect having been so low before! I was 21st in English History and 18th in Geography. It really is quite awful but it is a beastly new examaninee and Wolfie thinks it was probably handwriting, general untidyness, (I scribbled dreadfully and left words out all over the place) and spelling. They never used to count these little details before but now they do, worse luck!
When we left Wolfie's we went to Upper Berkeley Street to get my photos out of my box as I wanted to buy frames for them. Peggy & Co were at a matinèe but we saw Mrs Leigh. I got a frame price about one and three for my picture for Peggy and also a sort of card price the noble sum of twopence to put one in to send to the Ratcliffe's; I also got a very nice writing case for three and eleven for Mrs Idie. Then we fetched my box from the Leigh's and went to tea with Aunt Kathleen and Laurie and had a very good tea and a very good time. They have asked me to go to "The Private Secretary" with them next Thursday but I see there are no matinèes so thats off. Aunt Kathleen is giving me the gramaphone records of selections from "Chu Chin Chow" and ditto from "Bubbly!" which is good egg.
Daddie came to tea too and brought me home, we had a perfectly dreadful journey having to change at all sorts of weird places and when we got to Putney Bridge they said there were no buses running because of the fog so we started to walk home but when we got nearly to the end of the shop part of Putney a 70 'bus came along and passed before we saw the number so we simply tore after it to the stopping place and managed to catch it. We went into Cousin V for a minute on the way home.
Friday Dec: 21st 1917.
Funny Little Person came this morning and I told her with great firmness that it would be very nice to see her again next term but now the holidays had started; she said she wasn't sure if I expected her this morning.
Mummy went to London and we went into Wimbledon in the afternoon.
Poor Mrs Idie has managed to get ill so won't be able to get here for Christmas.
All our taps and pipes are frozen so we can't get any water.
I had a most effusive letter from Miss Medd-Hall this morning asking if I would like to have a lesson next Thursday or whether I would like to have the whole week free. I have written back to say I would like a lesson on Thursday because it will be a fortnight since I had one and I want to have two a week.
Shortie had an awful time in the raid on Tuesday night; she took Laurie home and stayed there to wait for Aunt Kathleen to come in; the porter telephoned up to say there was a raid on and they went downstairs and soon after Aunt Kathleen came in having run all the way from Park Lane to where their flat is at Manor House, Marylebone Road. Shortie stayed there till something after nine and then went to the underground and managed to get a very crowded train and when she changed at High Street the train was still more crowded and they sat in a tunnel for nearly two hours; she went to Wimbledon and as no 'bus came walked home with Fenn, the Common keeper, who she meet doing special constable duty. She got back at 11.30 p.m.
I have been sending off Christmas cards tonight to the following people - Aunt Di, Uncle Vernon, Uncle Holly, Aunt Bobs, Anne, Joan, Miss Wolff, Nina, Pompey, Helen St Maur, Mary, Mrs Idie, Mrs Leigh and Shuttie.
Life is excessively joyful and good egg, I have got a gramaphone! Uncle Holly sent a cheque for £4. 5s. so I said I thought we had better get a second hand one so yesterday Daddie went to a place in the city for me but they only got one a No:1a "His Master's Voice" hornless model slightly soiled price £6; we weren't going to decide about having it till we found out the price of it new so when Mummy went to the stores today I asked her to enquire about it. Well they had got one No:1a left and that was all they had or were likely to have and the price was £7 and three or four people were trying to buy it so Mummy after consulting with Daddie bought it and Mrs Short is going up with a soldier early tomorrow morning to fetch it down because the stores said they would take at least three weeks to send it. I am not to open it till Christmas Day but isn't it just A.1 having one? and Daddie is going to give me some records too and the girl at the stores told Aunt Kathleen that somebody else had been ordering records for me; so I don't know who it can be but it is just possible it is Wolfie.
I got two books from the library in Wimbledon, "Peter and Jane" by Miss Macnaughton and "Five Children and It" by E. Nesbit.
Saturday Dec: 22nd 1917.
Shortie and a soldier went to the stores and fetched down the gramaphone wrapped in a holdall which Mummy has bought and given to me.
I had a parcel "not to be opened till Xmas" from Mary and a very pretty calender from Cousin Norah and a very nice card from Mrs Greville.
Lady Barrington and Mr Ward-Cooke called this afternoon and Mr Ward-Cooke has asked us to go to luncheon with him on Thursday and on to hear carols in Westminster Abbey.
I have finished "Five Children and It"; it is quite a children's story of some children who find a sand-fairy who grants them one wish every day and it tells of the odd adventures they have with their wishes. I read some of the stories a very long time ago in "The Strand" and I love all Mrs Nesbit's fairy-stories because they are odd things that happen to modern children, such for instance as their finding themselves in ancient Babylon which happens in "The Amulet" I think. I am going to try and get some more of her books from the library.
Mummy went to see poor Cousin V this evening and was there some time.
Daddie has developed a wild mania for smoking a pipe and having bought one and a large tin of tabacco proceeded to try it tonight but I don't think he likes it much and he says it keeps going out!
I don't know if I mentioned that I have had three parcels "not to be opened till Christmas Day" one from Cousin Nelly (registered and I think jewellery), one from Cousin Alys - a book and one from Mrs Leigh.
Here is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fatal lightening of His terrible swift sword;
His Truth is marching on
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an alter in the evening dews and damps;
I have read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
His Day is marching on.
I have read a fiery Gospel writ in of burnished rows of steel;
"As ye deal with My contemners so with you only Grace shall deal";
Let the Hero born of Woman crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.
He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His Judgment Seat;
O, be swift my soul to answer Him, be jubliant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave;
He is wisdom to the might, He is succour to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool and the soul of time His slave.
Our God is marching on."
Sunday Dec: 23rd 1917.
Mummy, Shortie, and I went to Church this morning and they had hymn number 776 from the supplementary hymn book which Mummy says is the setting she heard "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" played to at a memorial service so I am going to try and get the supplementary hymn-book with music tomorrow. Hymn No: 776 is perfectly beautiful, more beautiful than "The Battle Hymn".
Mummy and Daddie went to look at the outside of a house in Somerset Road near here which is to be let unfurnished and which they think might do for us when we leave here which we have got to do in May. Daddie says we can't have a house in London till the war is over because of raids.
Daddie went over to see Cousin V this evening.
There is no very exciting war news. There has been another revolution in Russia and there was a raid on Kent last night in which one raider was brought down. Two were brought down in the Tuesday night raid; have forgotten what the casualties were but think 10 people were killed. A bomb was dropped on the Russian Embassy in West Halkin Street.
We (Shortie & I) are going up to London tomorrow at the earliest possible opportunity to get some presents for Mummy and to get a present which she has got for me to give her to Wolfie. I am also going to have an orgy of gramaphone shops and have been studying catalogues hard today and have evolved a list out of which with any luck I ought to get quite a nice selection but I think it is very difficult to get them now and of course the chief difficulty is the price!
There is a great row being made about the queues for tea, margarine, butter, etc. and they are being stopped. I have seen several the biggest being in front of a grocer's at Putney at 9.15 a.m.
I am just longing to play the gramaphone!
Emmeline has sent in her bill and she is most beastly dear - half a guinea a lesson.
We have been having a dreadful time these last few days making out list of presents and we aren't much the wiser and we shan't get anything anywhere in time for Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve 1917.
Shortie and I have been doing a wild and frenzied rush all over London today. We started at 11.0 and first went to post some parcels and then to the Stores where we bought a very pretty tiny cup and sauser orniment for Shuttie, Shortie got a book for one of her nephews, I got the supplementary book of Hymns with music which includes piles of new tunes for old hymns and we went to the gramaphone department to see if the records which Aunt Kathleen ordered had come and to find out who had ordered the other records. The records hadn't come and they couldn't tell us who had ordered the others but thought they had been sent off, they havn't arrived here anyway. Then we went to the flat to get a china cow - which Mummy had got for me to give Wolfie and to leave Daddie's book "The Heart of a Continent" for Mr Jarman (the manager). We were lucky enough to be able to get a taxi because we had so many parcels we should never have been able to get into a 'bus, we went to Wolfie's in it and left the cow and an early morning tea service which Mummy is giving her. She gave us tea and awfully good scones, blackberry jam and gingercake. Then we went to the Times Book Club; then to the Aeolian Hall which needless to say was shut as far as gramaphone records went; then we went to Bruton Street to find out Anne and Joan's address; then we went into Regents Street needless to relate a gramaphone shop which I made a bee-line for was shut also Liberty where Mummy wanted us to get a brooch for Mrs Simpson. In Regents Street we met Miss Hammond who was going off to a canteen and wanted me to go with her which unfortunately I of course couldn't; she very kindly took us in her taxi and put us down at a gramaphone shop further down Regents Street which astounding thought it may seem was open; there was a frightful crowd all wildly entreating for records but I managed to get a very nice girl and with much difficulty managed to hear bits of the records I wanted played; I got selections from - "The Maid of the Mountains", "Cheep!" and "Zig - Zag", I also heard selections from "Theodore & Co" but didn't have it. They were five bob each. After this we went to Harrods where we got a very nice enamel butterfly brooch for Mrs Simpson and went to the gramaphone department, they had got every imaginable record but quite impossible to get served and having been there nearly ½ an hour we came away and having found the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops where we wanted to get toys shut came to Putney where we got toys for Brian and Sheila and tried to get some Columbia records without any success so we came home and got back at about 6.15: Mummy didn't get back till 8.45.
Christmas Day 1917.
First this morning I opened the gramaphone and Daddie gave me a lovely collection of records which he had bought yesterday; there are selections from "H.M.S. Pinafore" on the band of the Coldstream Guards, "The Lord High Executioner, "The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring", "Theres Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast", "Were you not to Koko Plighted", "The Criminal Cried", "Three Little Maids from School", and "Brightly dawns our Wedding Day", and "Heres a How do ye-do" all 10 inch records from "The Mikado", also a 12 inch record of Handels Largo played on the 'cello with organ, "Pinafore" is also 12 inch. The gramaphone is a No 1a hornless and plays awfully well and very clearly. We all went to Church.
Lady Barrington called this afternoon and when she had gone I opened my presents. I had a very nice photograph album and a photo of Cousin Romer from Cousin Alys and Cousin Romer; a beautiful long coral necklace with little chrystals between from Cousin Nell Farmer; a very nice drawn-thread work handkerchief which she had made herself from Mary; a box of sweets from Wolfie (this is not her real present); a white chrystal pen-holder from Mrs Leigh; a lovely butterfly-wing pendent from Uncle Claude and Aunt Di; a spiffing gold curb bracelet set with pearls and turquoises from Uncle Oswald and Aunt Bobs; a very pretty pair of blue butterfly hat pins from Peggy, a ripping Polish Wedding Chest painted green with other things on it from Lady Barrington, a spiffing green jade necklace from Mrs Idie; and two large and very good photographs of themselves from Anne & Joan. I think I did jolly well. Shortie gave me one of the records that we got yesterday and Mrs Simpson is going to give me a record too.
We went to tea at Winkfield Lodge; there was a large and excited crowd of people there and after tea we had fireworks which mostly refused to work but the star ones were quite good. Oonah is coming to tea tomorrow. We got home at 7.15 and needless to say I made a bee-line for the gramaphone.
I have got to write all my "thank you very much" letters tomorrow which prospect doesn't please me. I meant to do some this evening but only managed to do Cousin Nell.
Dec: 26th 1917.
Oh dear! I'm feeling so faint, I've written eight letters today and the awful part is I've still got four to write.
I had a Christmas card from Nina this morning and also from a friend of Mrs Short's and a lovely big box of chocolates from Mrs Otley.
Oonah couldn't come to tea but she came for a walk with us this afternoon and we went to the bombing field and found a few bits of bomb.
Aunt Kathleen telephoned this morning to ask me to go to "When Knights Were Bold" on Monday which is very good egg. She says Laurie isn't very well which she attributes to the fact that it is the day after Christmas Day!
Of course I have been playing the gramaphone at every possible moment and at last Mummy has gently intimated that her head is going round and she thinks we have had enough for one day.
I had Christmas cards from Cousin Ruth, Miss Buxton, Mrs Greville, Uncle Vernon, Hugolyne Gwynne-James (at Bath), Rosamund Luling, Mrs Idie and Peggy this year.
I had a photograph of Renée the other day from Rowland with the following rhyme.
"Wasn't it brainy
of me to find Renée?
Best wishes to thee
From R. H. G. Leigh"
I sent a post-card to Miss Medd-Hall which I am sure she won't get in time to say that unless she can come at a quarter to eleven tomorrow I'm afraid I can't have a lesson because of going to Mr Ward-Cook.
Two areoplanes have been buzzing round here a good part of the day and doing the most fierce and wonderful stunts; their object appeared to be to see how near they could come to this house without touching it and they also turned over and over in the air quite near the ground.
Those silly old Russians are going to make peace and the Huns claim 9,000 Italian prisoners and we have advanced five miles beyond Jaffa.
Wolfie wanted to know if I could go up to London for French elocution on Tuesdays next term but we have decided that I can't. I should of course make an effort to go if it was something nice but it would be difficult anyway because I always do my geography prep on Tuesday.
I forgot to say that the result of Harrod's War Bond draw was published on Monday of course I havn't won anything, that and Renèe too would be too much blessedness.
Thursday Dec: 27th 1917.
Mummy and I went to luncheon with Mr Ward-Cook today and on to the Choral service in the Abbey. We had very good seats in the choir right next door to the choir boys. The singing was beautiful.
I have at last polished off my "thank you very much" letters.
We are all going to the Drury Lane pantomime "Aladdin" one day next week if we can get good seats. I am rather sorry in a way we are going to that because Peggy's second favourite actress Madge Titheradge is in it and she was going to take me on her birthday but I want to see it awfully and I think it is very good and probably lasts for ages which is a great point; it only came on last night.
I had a letter from Wolfie and Miss Ratcliffe and a picture post-card from Shuttie this morning.
Sir John Jellicoe has retired from his post of First Lord of the Admiralty and has been made a peer. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss has succeeded him; his wife has lived in Germany a great deal and is very Pro-German and his daughter a funny little thing named Alice who has been to a Swiss school always goes to Wolfie. Lucy Jellicoe used to go to Wolfie's too; she was awfully nice and a great friend of mine and Peggy's.
We have bombed Mannheim and lost an areoplane in the process. I think it is a pity we have begun to bomb them because now we have no right to swear at them for bombing us which used to be one of the chief amusements of the British Nation in general and the newspapers in particular.
Mrs Idie is probably coming here in time for my birthday.
Dec: 28th 1917.
I have had a perfect orgy of gramaphone records today; I played the gramaphone all the morning and we had lunch[eon] early and went to London after, first we went to the Stores where we remained for two hours dashing wildly about and having awful difficulty in getting served, then we went to a place in New Oxford Street called the Gramaphone Exchange which I had seen advertised in the "Exchange and Mart" as selling second-hand records, they had about fifty second-hand records and thousands of new ones, I found four Harry Lauder records second-hand of which I bought two - "When I get back again to Bonnie Scotland" and "The Wedding of Sandy Macnab", all second-hand records are half-price so these were two and nine each, they are twelve inch "His Master's Voice" records. I also got -: vocal gems from "Cheep!" Columbia 12 inch double-sided record, price five bob; "Abide With Me" sung by Clara Butt, "Columbia" twelve inch record price six and six and "Naughty, Naughty One Gerrard" with "Glad to see your Back" on the other side a ten inch "His Master's Voice" record sung by Teddie Gerard, price three bob.
We got home at 6.30 but Mummy didn't get back till nearly eight because she had been to see Cousin Maud and Great Uncle George. Cousin Maud is giving a dance for Margaret on the 8th from 9 till 12 and wants Ian and I to go but as I have entirly forgotten how to do anything except walse [ waltz ] I am not going.
I had a letter from Aunt Kathleen this morning and she has taken tickets for "When Knights Were Bold" for next Wednesday because there isn't a matinèe on Monday. Ian has got eight days leave from next Sunday so we shall see him too.
Mr Childers' (see Vol:1.) boat is due in any time now so Daddie has asked him through his brother to come to luncheon next Sunday which is quite exceptionally good egg.
The record of "When I get back again to Bonnie Scotland", is rather - well not in the bloom of its first youth so we are going to change it on Monday.
I had a letter from Peggy today.
We got a toy sent off to Joan from the Stores today but didn't succeeded in finding anything for Anne; the Stores has got a frightfully bad selection of toys.
We are going to try and find something in Wimbledon tomorrow.
I forgot to say that I also bought a record album at that place; it holds five twelve inch records and two ten inch and it cost two and six.
Dec: 29th 1917.
Mummy went to luncheon with Cousin Nell and to the memorial service for Mrs Dudley Smith, Mrs Rupert Leigh's mother.
We went into Wimbledon this morning and sent off a book to Anne, got some calenders and New years cards, and a book called "Pixie O'Shaughnessey" by Mrs de Horne Vaizey.
I have been trying to make out the words of some of my gramophone records today, it is a dreadful job because you have to write down the words very fast and you have to play bits of a record over and over again which I am sure is very bad for it.
Mrs Otley sent us some eggs and butter, which arrived today with all the eggs except one broken but the butter is quite all right.
Mrs Idie is coming here on Monday and she is going to give me a record for my birthday.
A Mr Ramsey came to tea today. He is something to do with the Y.M.C.A and is American and has only been in England six months.
We are going to luncheon with Pompey at the Goblins Restraunt on Monday.
I have started a gramophone note book in which I put down various details about each record and wherever possible the words of the thing it is of.
The Huns have proposed terms of peace by which they will give up all their conquests such as Poland but we are to restore all German colonies, of course we have said not for Joseph but I don't know what Russia has done.
Daddie had to go to the Court again today for another inquiry about the murder of Cousin Eddy. They have returned a verdict of "wilful murder" on the man who will now be tried at the Old Bailey. He made a statement admitting that he had been in Cousin Eddy's room but saying he had been with another man who had done the murder.
An order has been issued that everyone must carry home their parcels from the shops, except in exceptional cases, if they are under 7 lbs in weight and the shops can refuse to take orders if people won't take the things with them.
My exchequer is now reduced to naught and I owe Mrs Short one penny!
Sunday Dec: 30th 1917.
It was a beastly day today so no one but Mrs Short went to Church. I read "Pixie O'Shaughnessy" all the morning and finished it; it is quite good about a little Irish girl who has never been away from home and is sent to school in England where on the whole she doesn't have a bad time.
Mr Childers arrived in England yesterday but he couldn't come to luncheon today, I suppose because of the cold. He is going to see Daddie at the India Office tomorrow.
Mummy and Daddie went to see Lady Barrington this afternoon and they also called on Miss Deacon at Grantham House and on the Josephs.
Emmeline is coming to give me a music lesson at 9 a.m tomorrow, and as soon as she is gone we sally forth to London and go to Leadenhall Market to see if we can get a turkey; then we go to the gramophone place to change that record and then to Drury Lane to try and get seats for "Aladdin"; then we go to meet Pompey and Daddie and Mummy for luncheon. After luncheon Shortie fetches me and we go to meet Mrs Idie who is supposed to arrive at Paddington at 3.2; then we return home. I have put down this programme because it will be so funny to contrast with what we really do as we never by any chance do anything in the order or way we intended.
I wrote unintelligable reams to Peggy this evening and sent almanacks to Mrs Fish, Cousin Ruth, Miss Buxton and Mrs Greville.
Those horrid Germans have sunk three of our destroyers and a hundred and ninety three men have been lost.
I played hymns the whole afternoon and Shortie sang with great gusto.
Nothing more to write down that I can think of; this diary gets duller and duller and the entries get shorter and shorter every day. I meant to put down the Bobs quarrell sometime but havn't had the energy so far and really there seems as much to do in the holidays as in the term.
Dec: 31st 1917.
Emmeline appeared on the scene of action just half an hour late and remained till a quarter to eleven. She has given me "A Batchelor Gay" to learn for next time.
I told her about Funny Little Person saying I had no ear for singing and she became awfully indigenent and said I had got quite a good deal; Emmeline really is rather comforting sometimes.
Just as we were going to start a telegram came from Mrs Idie to say she couldn't come which of course caused much agitation and resulted in our not starting till 11.45 so Mummy and I went straight to "Les Goeblins" where we met Pompey and Daddie and had a perfectly scrumptious luncheon. Pompey is giving me a fishing rod for a Christmas present and he wants to take me to "The Happy Family" and he is coming down here for tea on Saturday and he is coming with us to "Aladdin".
Shortie fetched me and we went to the New Oxford Street gramophone shop and they very kindly changed the Lauder record for another called "A Trip to Inverary" and I also bought selections of Christmas hymns played by the band of the Scots Guards on a ten inch Columbia record price three bob. From this shop we walked to Drury Lane Theatre in the hall of which we found a queue half way across the hall so we took our place and after waiting in varying degrees of patience for half an hour at the end of which period we managed to get to the booking office only to be told there weren't any available seats in the second row of the grand circle for next Saturday, Monday being the soonest date they have them and Daddie doesn't know if he can go on Monday so we must leave it till he knows.
From here we went to the Strand and got 15 'bus which took us to Leadenhall Market. On the way we saw a most enormous butter queue outside a Maypole Dairy in Ludgate Circus. At Leadenhall Market we bought a turkey weighing 11¾ lbs for two bob a pound. Then we went and had coffee and rolls in a Lyons, then we went to Mansion House Underground and thence to our happy home.
Daddie brought me a letter from Mr Wilton at Peking which had come in the Foreign Office bag and taken two months. He wrote me a very long and interesting letter describing his journey to China via the Cape of Good Hope and says they never saw a single submarine or raider and never had a rough sea the whole way. He also sent me some perfectly glorious stamps all values of China from 6 cents (except 10 cents which I have got) to 10 dollars, a Chinese dollar is two shillings and fourpence; isn't it lovely? They look awfully fine in my book and will make Marlie frightfully jealous!
I had a letter from Wolfie this morning saying that she can arrange for French elocution on Wednesdays from 11.30 till 12.30, isn't that the bally limit?? I also had a long and amusing letter from Marlie wholly taken up in describing the dullness and altogether and utter beastlyness of Brighton where they are staying. I also had a letter from Rosamund inviting me to go to tea there on Tuesday week.
New Years Day and my birthday 1918.
I am sixteen today and feeling most horribly old, it is a great leap from fiveteen to sixteen but it will be a still worse leap from sixteen to seventeen.
I practised and played the gramophone and read this morning. Daddie got back for luncheon and after luncheon I had my presents. First I undid the ones which had come by post there was a perfectly lovely big edition of "The Vicar of Wakefield" with heaps and heaps of pictures in colour and black and white from Uncle Vernon; three very pretty "Lissue" handkerchiefs, two with coloured borders from Alice Blyth, I think it was very nice of her to send me a present. I also had a grey suede handbag from Aunt Bobs. Daddie gave me three twelve inch His Masters Voice records - "Intermezzo" from "Cavalleria Rusticana", "Didn't Know the Way To" from "Arlette" sung by Winifred Barnes and Joseph Coyne and "I'm on the Staff" also from "Arlette" sung by Stanley Lupino; these two "Arlette" ones are not announced till this months list is published so it was very clever of Daddie to get them. The Intermezzo is played by the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra.
Mummy gave me lovely presents, a red and white striped silk sports coat, a most beautiful dog collar made of seed pearls, pale blue turqoises and white sapphires, it is a most beautiful thing that she got in India. Also a lovely half hunter gold watch with a gold face with the figures on it which I like so much better; my grannie had left it to be given to me when I was old enough to want and have a watch; I have been wanting one for a long time and this is a most beautiful one. Mummy also gave me a long Indian chain, gold with lumps of turquise at intervals, which my grannie had given her. Didn't Mummy gave me a lovely lot of presents? and oh! there were so many I forgot to mention a beautiful golden otter stole, which is as soft as can be and so warm.
Daddie went over to Winkfield Lodge this afternoon and Great Aunt Aimèe sent me by him a waistband and a £1 note wasn't it good egg of her? I shall have great fun deciding how to spend it and have almost made up my mind that half shall be spent on the gramophone.
I have got all my Birthday "thank you very much" letters done.
Wednesday Jan: 2nd 1917.
I had two parcels this morning, one from Sir David Prain, a book called "The Chemistry of the Garden" and the other a book with awfully nice pictures called "The Old Country" from Peggy. I also had a letter from her.
We started for Aunt Kathleen's at 12.15 and marvellous to say got there at one. Ian and Laurie were both there; Ian got home at 12.30 midnight on Sunday and goes back to Portsmouth to his patrol boat on Sunday morning; he is over six feet and I think he is getting bigger - I mean in width he was most desperately thin; he had been to three dances with Frank on Monday night! We had luncheon in the restraunt place there and soon after the two boys and I sallied forth for the theatre. It was at the Kingsway Theatre where I saw "The Starlight Express" and "L'Enfant Prodige". This thing was perfectly killing and we were all quite weak from laughing at the end; it is about a funny little man who finds himself in his own modern clothes and feeling excessively modern in the year 1196 and has to fight a huge knight in armour however he wins and in the next scene he is back in the 20th Century again but he pretends to think he is still in the year 1196 because the lady he wants to marry is always contrasting him with the knights of olden times and saying what men they were and how good for nothing he is, but he frightens everyone so by going after them with a sword and talking old English that they are only too glad when he having taught them a lesson pretends to come back to his senses again. A man called Bromley Challenger was the man who went back to the olden days and he was killingly funny. We eat chocolates all through the proformance and then went back to a large tea; Mummy and Daddie also came to tea there and we didn't get home till 8.
Laurie and Aunt Kathleen are coming down on Sunday for tea and Laurie is going to stay till Tuesday. He goes back to Clifton on Friday the 11th.
Thursday Jan: 3rd 1918.
Emmeline came this morning at 9.30 and brought me a new book; it is the Elementry Division Examination book for 1917 and she has given me an awfully pretty thing, Rondo in G by a man whos name sounds like devil in French. She played it for me jolly well. I am also doing a perfectly deadly study C by Cerny in the old book. I broke it gently to her that I couldn't have another lesson till next Thursday.
Mummy went to London today.
Shortie and I went into Wimbledon this afternoon and I made noble and fruitless efforts to buy records but the bloomin' Shop hadn't got any that I asked for out of three.
I have written to Rosamund, Mrs Idie, Aunt Kathleen and Sir David Prain today and reams and reams to Peggy. Am I not noble O, reader??
Daddie is going to lecture to the Southern Army next week; at Canterbury on Tuesday Ramsgate on Wednesday and Ashford on Thursday. He is going to give lectures now and giving up the India Office.
There is no chance of getting to "Aladdin" till Monday week. I am wondering if we made a great effort and pushed hard if we could manage to get to next years pantomime or whether we shall only be in time for the year after?
We are going to the wedding of Sir Evan James' neice on Saturday week at the Church on Kew Green and there is also a reception afterwards.
No news whatsoever of Renée.
Will I ever put down anything interesting in this diary?? to tell the quite honest and unromantic truth I am getting deadly bored with writing it (restrain your shouts of joy O, reader) but still I go nobly plodding onward wasting good paper and ink in war-time but you know one really can't get up much burning enthusiasm and writing glowing thingimegigs when one invariably writes ones diary after having partaken of ones full share of the last meal of the day and with one of ones eyes doing gymnastics in a vain effort to see the face of a clock which does not strictly speaking come within ones direct line of vision and knowing that an irate Shortie is doing a war-dance somewhere in the rear; while ones other eye is peacefully slumbering and ones nose is slowly getting in nearer and nearer proximity to the paper while ones pen automatically scratches sugary platitudes to the paper.
Friday Jan 4th 1918
We had luncheon early today and started for London about one. First we went to Miss Clarks, then to the Times Book Club, then to Evans where we got two lengths of very pretty red velveteen to make me a dress; we also looked at large quantities of coats in Evans and John Lewis but they were all very dear and not quite what we wanted. After Lewis we left Mummy and went to the Stores. Shortie had been there on Wednesday to see if they had got selections from "Chu-Chin-Chow" and "Bubbly" which Aunt Kathleen had ordered for me; they gave her "Chu-Chin-Chow" all right but instead of selections from "Bubbly!" they sent "A Maid of Japan" (a song from "Bubbly") so I took that record back, the girl said they weren't supposed to change records and that that one must have been ordered but considering it is a different make and price to the one ordered I don't see how it could have been. Anyhow she was very good-natured and said she would change it and say nothing about it but she has got to get it. It now being 5 p.m. we returned home.
I am writing this in bed having retired to that haven of rest before dinner, and am now sitting up in a most uncomfortable position in the aforesaid haven of rest with the eiderdown strewn with record lists, the gramophone on one side of me and a large pile of records on the other.
I had a letter from Shuttie this evening and so did Shortie, they are thanking us for a tiny cup and sauser orniment which we sent her. She leaves Peggy on the 18th.
Saturday Jan: 5th 1918.
This day has been mostly taken up as far as I am conserned with playing the piano and gramophone and reading, with a very little sewing thrown in.
Daddie got back to luncheon and after luncheon they went off with the air of myt[--]s to pay calls. Pompey appear about four and brought me a perfectly spiffing fishing rod and also brought us a fine fat pheasant. I played the gramophone to him. We have asked him to come to "Aladdin" with us on Monday week but Shortie telephoned a little time ago and they can't give us seats so Daddie thinks we had better go to something else.
Mummy saw Sir Eric this evening and says she is afraid he is very ill.
There is no very exciting war news. Russia and Germany seems to be getting rather annoyed with one another.
Our pipes refused to work again so the plumber has been but they don't seem much better.
Great Uncle George is very ill. Uncle Jack has just telephoned to say that Uncle Len has died, he was Daddie's sister's (Aunt Ethel's) husband. Two of her boys have been killed in the war, they were in the Navy. There is one other boy - Robin. They live near Norwich and I used to stay there quite a good deal when I was small, before we went to India the second time; but I don't remember any of them. Mummy is thinking of asking her and Robin to come here and she is going to try to go and see her but it is very difficult because she probably couldn't put Mummy up and the place which is called Walsham-le-Willows is seven miles from Norwich which is the only railway station and now-a-days with no petrol it would be almost impossible to get a conveyance. It is very sad because it will mean she will have to leave her home and everything but Uncle Len had been ill for a long time. He was a clergyman.
Sunday Jan: 6th 1918.
We went to Church this morning and a proclamation by the King was read out and after that there were prayers about the war. Today is to be a day of intercession in all Churches in the Empire.
I am reading a quite extraordinarily good book of which I will set down details when I have finished it.
The Childers' didn't appear for luncheon nor have they shown any signs of life.
I am writing my diary at 3 p.m. because I know there will be precious little chance to write when Laurie comes!
It is very lucky we couldn't get seats for "Aladdin" because Madge Titheradge has got appendicitis and had to go out of it.
Doris Keane who has made such a wonderful success in "Romance" has just married Basil Sydney who is the hero in the play. Poor Doris Keane! she has had a desperate hard time; there was a letter from her in the "Sunday Times" this morning in which she said that everything she acted in had failed, she acted mostly in America, she was almost starving, had to work frightfully hard and was terrified of her health failing. Of course now she is famous and everyone goes in rapshodies about her and "Romance" has been on for two years and three months but even now she is very much afraid her health may fail. Being an actress must be a desperate hard life until one becomes famous and successful and even then I suppose life is far from a bed of roses because one failure and they may go - phut! They are a much abused class of people but can one wonder that when they attain success they sometimes go rather off their heads? when one thinks of the upbringing of a great many of them, of the struggle before success is reached and then the way they are praised and lauded in whatever they do when they do become famous?
I think "The Willow Tree" is coming off soon because Marie Löhr takes over the Globe Theatre on the 22nd and is going to produce a play called "Love in a Cottage" there.
Monday Jan: 7th 1918.
Laurie arrived at about 4 yesterday and life has been strenous and frought with unknown dangers ever since! but we are having a very good time and he is great fun. This morning we took the toy motor in the woods & also walked all over the big pond which is frozen but the ice is not over and above secure. I sat down backwards with great violence once but happily and strangely the ice stood the great strain. We went into Wimbledon this afternoon and played whist etc: for approaching three hours with an interval for dinners
Tuesday Jan: 8th 1918.
Have frozen all day except for interval of three hours during which we stewed and gazed at blood & thunder pictures in a movie show.
Wednesday Jan: 9th 1918.
I had great fun with Laurie, we made a horrid row and bear fought a good deal and nearly drove the unfortunate Shortie out of her senses!
We had luncheon early and went to London; Laurie got out of our bus at Hyde Park Corner, we went on to Lloyds Bank in St. James's Street and then tore wildly to the Stores etc. and finally landed at Harvey Nichols where we bought four pairs of lisle thread stockings for Mummy, four pairs of wool ones for me price four and two-pence a pair reduced from four and six! We also got a pair of black leather gloves for Mummy price five and eleven and I got a very nice pair of brown leather ones which pull on without beastly fastenings price six and eleven. In Harvey's we met Lilac Porteus who is a neice of Aunt Di; twenty and very nice; and on the way to Harrods we met Aunt Kathleen and Laurie! I went into a Keith Prowse just before Harrods to get a gramophone record and took a header down the stairs there and broke two lamp glasses which Shortie had procured with great difficulty and entrusted me to carry. She was furious and accused me of star-gazing and falling down out of sheer clumbsyness, I replied with some warmth that I hadn't done it for my own amusment and it subsequently transpired that there was a rod loose on the stairs.
I bought a Columbia double-sided record, price five and six of two songs from "Bubbly!" called "She'd a Hole in Her Stocking" and "Raggin' Thro' the Rye" both sung by Teddie Gerard. We next went into Harrods where we did nothing in particular except to continually get lost. Then we got on top of a 'bus - there being no room inside - and came home.
Daddie went off yesterday to lecture to the Southern Army, he lectured at Canterbury yesterday, at Ashford today and tomorrow he lectures at Ramsgate where vide the "Globe" the foam of the the sea turned to ice through the excessive cold. Daddie gets back here about 9.30 tomorrow.
Emmeline is coming about 11.30 tomorrow.
Thursday Jan: 10th 1918.
Fierce and awful excitement this morning ! a pipe in the scullary burst about 7.0 a.m and large streams of water flowed over the kitchen and into the hall. Fenn came in and bounced round after taps and things and a plumber was telephoned for and soon appeared and he and Shortie tore wildly round the house looking for tanks etc. in the most weird places. The tank is inside a trap door over Shortie's bed! I was peacefully reposing in bed all this time and I am ashamed to say didn't get up till 10.
Emmeline was only half an hour late. I have finished my harmony book and she has taken it away and is going to bring me the second book as soon as she can get it. I have caught up Peggy in harmony now because she finished book I last term and begins book II next term. I have got to do a bit of a thing called "Revolution" from "Arlette" for sight-reading.
I had a letter from Shuttie the other day in which she said Majorie [ Marjorie ] Forbes was engaged to Mr Foster who is in the Navy. I also had a letter from Peggy on Monday in which she asked me to go to "Pamela" a musical play now on at the Palace Theatre, with them on Wednesday 23rd which is the day Wolfie's starts. Mummy says I can go and it will be great fun. Rowland goes back to Winchester that evening and the next day is Peggy's birthday and her French Governess arrives. I wrote her a long letter today and sent her some cuttings about Madge Titheradge in "Aladdin."
Mummy went to London today and we went into Wimbledon and Shortie bought two £5 War Bonds and four 15/6 War Savings Certificates.
I wrote to Marlie this evening; it is nearly a fortnight since she wrote to me.
Daddie got back at eight. He seems to have had a very good time, motored from Canterbury to Ashford; all expenses paid; a bed room and sitting-room in the hotel and 1st class tickets. He had come up from Ramsgate where he said it was quite nice and sunny but Canterbury was bitterly cold.
Those beastly Huns have torpedoed a hospital ship the "Rewa" in the Bristol Channel which is one of the areas in which they said they would not torpedo hospital ships. All the wounded were saved and I think only two lives were lost at all.
Laurie is furious with the American Navy which he says is perfectly rotton and they sank one of our submarines and engaged a squadron of our destroyers but their firing was so bad that no damage was done. Ian tells him all this so it may be true.
The officers who Daddie has been with say there will be a great many raids in the spring and summer and Daddie says it is wonderful the defences they have got against the Huns there.
Friday Jan: 11th 1918.
Mummy has had a jolly little agitation this morning. She had applied for a Y.M.C.A. enquiry hut which she wished to run; they gave her one in Victoria Street which she did not like and had not taken over but she wanted one in Canning Square. This morning they telephoned to say that the Canning Square one had fallen vacant and would she like to take it over tomorrow? She accepted and went up to see about it this afternoon. The hours are from 9.30 a.m till 9.0 p.m; so Mummy has got to be up there at 9.30 tomorrow. She will have an awful time at first because she hasn't definitely got any one to help yet.
Shortie went up to the Stores today to get our sugar allowance.
This evening we telephoned to the Gaiety Theatre about seats for "The Beauty Spot" they said they might have seats in four weeks but it would probably be five!
Uncle Vesey has played up gloriously; he has written and offered us two stalls for a Charity Matinée at the Garrick Theatre on Thursday. I don't know whether it will be the play that is on there - "The Saving Grace" - or a variety thing.
I had a letter from Anne this morning thanking us for the presents which we sent her and Joan.
The trial of the murderer of Cousin Eddy took place at the Old Bailey yesterday and he has been sentenced to death.
I wrote a long letter to Mr Wilton in China.
I have been reading a very interesting book called "Leaves from a Family Journey 1888-1915". It is mostly the lives of Julian and Billy Grenfell and is compiled by their mother Lady Desborough. It is privately printed; Lady Barrington lent Daddie a copy some months ago and he wrote to Lady Desborough and asked if she would lend him it when he had to return the one which Lady Barrington lent him; she sent him a brand new copy and we hope she will let him keep it. She had five children
Monica born 1893.
Ivor born 1898.
Imogen born 1905.
Julian who was one of those perfect people who one never expects to meet in real life. He went to Eaton [ Eton ] and Oxford and entered the Royals who were sent out to India on the "Rewa" (the ship which has just been sunk) soon after; he loved India and his letters from there are very amusing. After a little time they were moved to South Africa which he hated at first but got to like better in the end. He came home on leave once from there and was coming home again a month or two after war broke out but of course the war stopped all that and the regiment was sent home to England and after a few days to France. He simply loved the war but hated it when he wasn't in the actual fighting line. He was awarded the D.S.O for creeping right up to the German trenches and discovering where they were going to deliver an attack. He had short leave several times. In May 1915 he was wounded in the head and taken to the hospital near Boulogne where his sister was nursing. The wound was thought not to be serious at first but his father and mother and Billy went to him and in spite of all that could be done he died on May 30th. He was wonderful with horses and won many prizes in South Africa for steeple-chasing etc: A first-rate boxer; drew well and wrote very good poetry; a poem of his called "Into Battle" written in France 1915 is supposed to be the finest peice of poetry that the war has produced.
Billy went to Eaton [ Eton ] and Oxford at both he did brilliantly and won many scholarships. He was sent down from Oxford for throwing a dead goose at a Dean or somthing like that. He studied hard in Paris and was working very hard there in some big examination when war broke out. He threw up everything because his exam wasn't till October; he had been working for it for months but he got a 2nd Lieutenants commission in the Coldstreams as soon as he possibly could and after some months training in England went out to France. He was extraordinarily brave and did very well and was killed leading a charge near Hooge in July 1915. The machine-gun fire was terrific and our attack withered up altogether. Julian is really much the stronger and finer character of the two but I think I like Billy best or rather should have if I had known him personally.
The book which is 655 pages long is mainly composed of Julian and Billy's letters to their mother of whom they were passionately fond - I think Julian most. I have never read a memoir before; this one is extraordinarily interesting. Ivo who is now twenty is going out to the front soon. Monica used to go to Wolfie's.
Saturday Jan: 12th 1918.
I had a letter from Peggy this morning and we are going to "Bluebell in Fairyland" at the Alhambra on Monday the 21st instead of "Pamela" on Wednesday the 23rd. I wrote to her and forgot to post it till we got back here again having carried it round with me all day!
Mummy went up early this morning to go to her hut. She says it was dreadfully cold and no one came but it isn't properly opened yet. The Y.M.C.A sent someone to relieve her at 1.30 because of coming to the wedding.
Shortie and I started at about 1.15 and gaily got into the wrong train at Putney; however we got out at Richmond and got a 'bus to the Church on Kew Green. Mummy and Daddie came down from London together. Sir David and Lady Prain were there and we sat with them. The bride, Miss James, neice of Sir Evan James my godfather is about two inches high and very pretty; she married a Captain Bright who is a New Zealander.
After the service there were a large crowd of conveyances to drive people to the reception at "Glenshee" Twickenham, Sir Evan's house. There were piles and piles of eatables and a jolly good wedding-cake with white paper outside instead of icing! also lashions of champagne of which I partook. I do hate champagne. There were a great many New Zealand officers there and they sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and the Maori translation of it. When the bride was going away she called me upstairs and gave me her bouquet, wasn't it nice of her? it is made of Lilies of the Vally and a fern which was cut from a plant grown from a cutting of a plant which supplied the fern for her great, great, great (or was it great, great, great, great?) grandmother in 1812. We got home at Six. They were going to London for the night and to Lynton tomorrow; near our dear Minehead!
We telephoned to the Vaudeville this morning for seats for "Cheep!" and have got five in the 2nd row of the dress-circle for next Saturday.
Sunday Jan 13th 1918.
Mummy went off to her hut before 9. This morning and she won't be back till 8.
Uncle Vesey telephoned to know if he could come to luncheon and of course the Childer's' were coming too.
Shortie and I went to Church.
The Childers' arrived a little after 1. and Uncle Vesey at about 1.30. Mr Mischief hasn't changed a bit except he is thinner, he is most awfully nice and just the same. I showed him photographs of India and ones I had taken here and my stamps and played the gramophone to him. Mrs Childers is quite nice; she was in Kashmir before he married her but I don't remember her.
Captain Childers hasn't been in England for 10 years and he was frightfully pleased with this because it was the first English country he had seen as it was dark when he came from Avonmouth. He had only thin Indian Kharki when he got back but now he has got the ordinary kind. They have taken a flat in London and I am going to see them there soon. They are going to Dorset for a fortnight next week. When they come back they are going to take me to "Romance". The Postmaster General of Mauritius gave him some frightfully rare stamps printed in the wrong colours and he is going to give them to me. He has got three months leave and he hopes to get out to France; the docter has passed him for service anywhere but in the tropics. Their flat is at High St. Kensington.
The thing Uncle Vesey has asked us to is a special matinée of "The Saving Grace" for some school. It is on Tuesday and he has given us spiffing seats in the 3rd row of the stalls. Daddie and I are going.
Monday Jan: 14th 1918.
Mummy went off to her hut at the streek of dawn.
Emmeline appeared a little after 9.30 and has brought me Book II of my harmony book which looks quite awful.
We had luncheon early and then went to London; we called at the Stores about my record which of course hadn't come. Then we went to the Vaudeville and paid for the seats for Saturday; they were two pounds, two and six.
We walked down the Strand and passing a Kodak shop what did I see but a huge enlargement of "Miss Renée Kelly entertaining conveilesant Soldiers"! I promptly marched into the shop and asked if they had got any for sale. I saw a very nice person who said she didn't know who the negative belonged to but if it belonged to them I might have it, I gave my address and she is going to let me know about it. Won't it be topping if I get the negative?
From there we went to Mummy's hut arriving there at 2.30. It is one fairly big room and most awfully pretty; all painted white with oak beams and pretty pink curtains and two or three tables and an oak dresser and heaps of nice easy chairs and a sofa and very pretty red and white china and an electric cooker and two electric heaters and an oil stove; and some "Punchs" and an A.B.C. and all sorts of guides to London and writing paper and things like that and a sink. About 3.0 Cousin Nelly Farmer arrived and soon after a padre with ten Canadian soldiers who he was just going to take round the Abbey and said he would bring back to tea. Shortie and I went out and got some milk, a tea pot and a kettle. The kettle takes three quarters of an hour to boil on the electric thing, so it is rather a job giving them tea but we managed all right and we also gave them biscuits and cigarettes. Three very nice Australians also came in. The Canadians were all awfully nice and they stayed till nearly six. They say they have frightful difficulty in understanding our money. A nice Miss Adams appeared to take over when we left and she was going to stay till 9.30.
The train was packed coming home. We were in a smoker with scarcely standing room and still less air. Cousin V was in 70 bus with us.
My War Bond which I bought at Harrods has at last arrived; it is one of the new easy-to-buy kind which you don't have to fill up forms for. At least I think it is.
Pompey telephoned to say he has got seats at Les Gobelins restraunt for Saturday.
"The Willow Tree" comes off on Saturday. It will have been on just on three months.
"The Saving Grace" which we are going to tomorrow is the currant number of "The Play Pictorial" so I bought it today and I think it is quite good. The P.P of "The Boy" has gone up to a bob already, mercifully I bought it at the theatre for the published price of 7d after "The Boy".
Tuesday Jan: 15th 1918.
We had luncheon early and went up to London and met Daddie at the Garrick. Uncle Vesey was bouncing around very relieved because Princess Pat and the Duke of Connaught couldn't come. "The Saving Grace" is awfully good and jolly amusing. Charles Hawtrey, Mary Jerrold, Ellis Jeffreys and Emily Brooke. Emily Brooke gave a perfectly huge wink at the box in which Uncle Vesey and some other old gentlemen were reposing and it afterwards turned out that she is the neice of one of the old gentlemen. I haven't got the energy to write down the story of the play.
There was a huge queue at Leicester Square tube and Daddie and I thought we would be very brilliant and walk through a lift to another booking office which we thought we saw. Daddie managed to get into the lift but just as I was getting in the sliding doors started to close on me so I hastily stepped back; of course Daddie couldn't get out so he had to go down and come up again and had an altercation with the ticket collectress because he hadn't got a ticket and in the end we had to join the queue so we weren't any better off! We met Shortie at Putney and Daddie went to see Cousin V.
Mummy left her hut at 3.0 today because a lady came to take over. She went to tea with the Barringtons. Sir William Barrington and Mr Synge were at the play.
Cousin Eddy's murderer who has been sentenced to death turns out to be a perfectly awful man. When he was fiveteen he stole all his mothers jewels value £450 and went off to America; when he came back his parents forgive him but he has done such dreadful things since that they have cut him off altogether. His father has something to do with a cinematograph.
I have played the gramophone an enormous lot today.
I had a very long letter from Peggy today. They came up to London on Friday on which day the Shuttiebugs departs. I am going to luncheon there on Monday, on to "Bluebell in Fairyland" and back to them to tea. Poor Christian Guthrie's father has died.
Wednesday Jan: 16th 1918.
Daddie went off this morning to go to speak to the Southern Army; he is lecturing to the Cyclist Division at Sevenoaks today and Bishops Stortford tomorrow.
Mummy got back from her hut about 6.15. Cousin Nelly had been there helping her.
I have been most dreadfully lazy today.
Shortie went to Merton this afternoon about a servent she had heard about there but she had got a place.
I wrote to Peggy today.
Alack! and alas! I had a very nice letter from the Kodak people today in which they said that the negative of the photograph of Renée didn't belong to them. Isn't it a beastly bore?
I got Mrs Simpson to get me selections from "Cheep!" in Wimbledon so I have been thumping the piano with that for a large part of the afternoon.
The Huns bombarded Yarmouth from the sea for about five minutes the day before yesterday. 6 people were killed and 10 injured. It is the third time that they have bombarded Yarmouth but the first time I think that they have done any real damage.
It says in the papers today that we are to have butter tickets next month; each person is to be allowed a ¼ lb a week and there are to be spaces left on the card which will probably be used to ration us in meat and cheese soon. Everyone has their sugar ticket now and each person is allowed ½ lb a week; Laurie brought his own sugar when he came here! There is a great shortage of meat everywhere and most butchers shops are closed. Shortie couldn't get any cheese at the Stores on Tuesday and they hadn't got any bacon and of course no butter or margarine or butter or tea. Eggs are sixpence each here and fish is a frightful price, kippers are tenpence a pair and salt haddocks three bob each.
We had to telephone to Cousin Tottie to ask her to come down here and bring her boys this afternoon but it was such a dreadful day that she thought it was safer not to but wants to come on Sunday. I only know one of the boys who rejoices in the name of Dormut, he is about nine and a perfect little terror.
I am looking forward to Saturday most awfully.
Thursday Jan: 17th 1918.
I stayed in bed till ten this morning and enjoyed it thoroughly!
Mummy went up to her hut for a bit today and about seven one of the ladies at the hut telephoned to say that another lady had knocked over one of the electric heaters and a wire had fused so they have turned off the light at the main and shut up the hut.
Emmeline came about 11.45 and brought me both the last numbers of "Youth and Music" which Frost had never sent yet. She can't come early on Monday so I can't have another lesson till next Thursday which is a bore. I wish I could have two lessons a week but it is practically impossible because the only other day that Emmeline comes to Wimbledon is Monday and that day I am in London.
I have been playing all the pieces I know very well as fast as ever I can today; it is great fun but desperately bad I am sure.
Daddie suddenly appeared about eight; we hadn't expected him back till tomorrow evening so it was a great surprise. He had had a very good time and enjoyed it so much especially last night when he stayed at Sir John Barker's house at Bishops Storford with a large and excited crowd of officers.
I had a letter from Uncle Vernon today in which he says that Aunt Violet has started side curls which look exactly like ornimental whiskers!
It says in the evening paper that there has been a mutiny in the German Navy. I wonder if it is like the last "Mutiny" which was all a plot got up by the Huns to decieve us.
Friday Jan: 18th 1918.
I had a post-card from Captain Childers this morning asking me to go to a matinée of "Romance" next Wednesday and back to tea there; isn't it glorious?
I also had a letter from Peggy to say they are going to stay with Christian for the week-end so won't be in London till Monday.
Shortie got the address of a girl who wanted a place living in Lauriston Road, this morning so as we had got to go into Wimbledon Shortie went in to see her while I waited outside; she took best part of an hour and then came out to say that another lady has been after the girl and wanted her as a nursery maid and had gone to see her mother about it. The mother hangs out at South Wimbledon so off we went to see her and Shortie and she (mostly Shortie) talked for hours the net result being that the mother was going to see "Rosy" that afternoon and they would decide together and let us know, so our fate hangs in the balance. We got home at a quarter to three having sallied forth at a quarter to twelve!
Mummy got back from her hut at about three. An electrician has been and put the electric thing right. She had six soldiers with enquiries today; one wanted the nearest swimming bath!
We went to Mouldsley Lodge (late Winkfield Lodge) to ask Oonah and Brian to tea today or Tuesday. They have accepted for Tuesday.
Mrs Guest telephoned while we were out to ask me to go over there and go for a walk with her children; mercifully Mrs Simpson had the presence of mind to say I was engaged.
I wrote to Aunt Kathleen today and sent her two photographs of Uncle Leslie in Mespot or the Persian Gulf or somewhere which were in an Indian paper which Daddie gets every week from the India Office.
It says in the "Daily Mirror" that Renée is going to be in a play called "Nothing But the Truth" which is coming on at the Savoy soon. There was also a mildly good photograph of her.
I have just started to read "The Vicar of Wakefield"; it seems very good.
Two British destroyers have run aground on the coast of Scotland and all hands except one lost.
Lenin has ordered the arrest of the King of Roumania.
Saturday Jan: 19th 1918.
We started about ten to twelve today and met Mummy, Daddie and Major Dunlop at Les Gobelins Restraunt; Shortie left us there and we met her again at the theatre. We had a spiffing luncheon - lark pie among other things. Then we went off to the Vaudeville where Shortie was waiting for us. "Cheep!" is awfully good and very funny. Teddie Gerard (Peggy's favourite actress) is ripping; I thought she would be rather vulgar but she wasn't at all and she acts very well. There was a man called Alfred Austin in it who was jolly good. Beatrice Lillie was also in it; I don't like her at all. There was also a man called Guy Le Feuvre who composes quite good revue music but isn't very much catch as an actor. There was another man called Walter Williams who acts with Teddie. There was also (all right I've nearly finished) a wonderful child called Betty Bolton, she is only ten but acts quite extraordinarily well, of course there is no story because it is a revue, there was also practically no scenery. The songs were very good and there were two acts with six scenes in each and it lasted till just after five.
Pompey wanted us to go and have tea with him but we thought we should be too many so we came home vîa Charing Cross Underground.
I had a letter from Mary this morning.
We have asked Cousin Tottie and the boys down to-morrow if it is fine. I suppose this will be the last time I shall write this diary!
Sunday Jan: 20th 1918.
Mummy had to go to London this morning but got back at 1.0. A Mrs Peters took over from her and when we were in the middle of luncheon she telephoned to say that she had shut the door of the hut and left the key inside and it is a spring lock so of course there was frightful agitation but she telephoned again later in the day to say they have managed to get the door open.
Uncle Vernon rang up at 10. to say he was coming down after breakfast (which I suppose he hadn't had then) but it is now 8.45 p.m and we have almost given up hope of his appearing today though he is very unpunctual!
Shortie and I went to Church.
Cousin Tottie, Bengy, Val, and Dormy appeared at three and we took them for a walk in the woods and then Daddie and they and I went to tea at Moulsford Lodge and played hunt the slipper and everyone let out some of the most piercing, blood curdling and ear-splitting yells I have ever heard. Bengy and Dermut [ Dermot ] aged respectively 11 and 9 are the most wild infants I have ever seen; their one idea in life is to fight everybody; but Bengy is very placid and quite nice.
That girl we went to see about the other day has taken the other place and Shortie went today to engage a person who had called on the postmans reccoomendation but she took another place at 8 last night; isn't it maddening?
I wrote to Mary today.
"Nothing but the Truth" comes on at the Savoy on Feb: 5th and is to have a trial in Eastbourne.
A tank has been at Glascow [ Glasgow ] selling War Bonds and it has sold over £14,000,000 worth which of course beats all other cities records. I think that is in a week but it may have been a fortnight.
Daddie had a letter from Aunt Kathleen last night to say Ian is in a hospital at Portsmouth. She didn't know what was wrong with him but was going to see.
It is exactly four months today since I started to keep a diary.
Monday Jan: 21st 1918.
We started for London about 12 and got to Peggy's at 1. As we were on the way to the house Rowland came tearing round the corner and said he was off to the Aeolian Hall to buy a gramophone; they hadn't been home five minutes! Peggy had got her hair up and looked most desperately old and alarming. "Bluebell in Fairyland" was jolly good; it was at the Alhambra which is a perfectly huge theatre. The story is about a flower-girl who falls asleep and dreams she is in fairyland. Ellaine Terris [ Ellaline Terriss ] is Bluebell. It is a sort of mixture between musical comedy and pantomime. We got home at about 5.30 and found both Shortie and the gramophone waiting. After tea we undid (having previously carried upstairs at frightful risk to life and limb) and tried the gramophone; it is the most magnificent erection - very dark oak and with a shut down top and an arrangement by which you can regulate the speed away from the gramophone and an automatic stopper which doesn't work and a few dozen other things. It is a Vocolian [ Vocalion ] and plays jolly well. I bought two 10 inch records from Rowland for eightpence each; "How I want to Marry all the little Candy Girls" and "What a Duke should be" both from "Theodore and Co" and a musical one which I have forgotten the name of.
As we were passing just by Manor House on our way home we went to enquire after Ian. Aunt Kathleen says it is the frightful weather at sea which has made him bad and he will have to have and operation and be in hospital three weeks or a month and then he will probably get two or three weeks sick leave. Aunt Kathleen had been to see him on Saturday and is going on Friday for the week-end. We didn't get home till nearly 8.0.
I am going to have French lessons with Peggy this term on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting next Monday. I hope to goodness she knows as little French as I do.
Rowland is mad on Beatrice Lillie and I have discovered that it was she who sang a song called "Julia" perfectly rippingly but in all the rest of the thing she was dressed up as a man so looked quite different.
Tuesday Jan: 22nd 1918.
The last day of the holidays!
I have been in a perfectly vile temper all day because I have got a headache; a bad cold, a sore throat, a stiff neck and the most awful hurting bruises on the higher portions of my legs (Heaven knows how they got there!). With any luck and a little tact I ought to be able to get out of French elocution tomorrow. I have to go to Wolfies because if I didn't I couldn't go to the play but I shall do (quite unsuccessfully) the martyr who won't let anything interfear with her studies but at the last moment (in other words at 11.30) I shall be forced to succumb and reluctantly retire to the drawing-room to rest or at most sit in the class-room and watch others doing French elocution. Compare foregoing with tomorrows entry.
The postman has found us a servant, she called this afternoon and Shortie has taken her. She is twenty, her wages are £21 and she is coming on Feb: 1st.
Oonah and Brian came to tea. We played the gramophone for them and had some crackers for Brian; he was very disgusted because they all had bonnets in them, however he took them all home, the ones he didn't like in a separate packet for Sheila!
Moira is going to Putney High School again this term and Sheila is going too.
Mummy went to London at 11.30 today and got back at 7.0.
I telephoned Peggy at luncheon time to if she had managed to discover what she wants for a birthday present, needless to say she had not. They were just going off to "Aladdin".
Wednesday Jan: 23rd 1918.
I developed a sore throat this morning, so instead of going up early with Daddie, Shortie took me up in time for French elocution but the French mistress never arrived so I have escaped for one more week.
Shortie took me to the Lyric where I met the Childers'. We had a great disappointment Doris Keane was ill and so wasn't acting in "Romance" but Dorothy Rundell who took her part was extraordinarily good and will be famous one day I should think except that she is not at all pretty. The play was very good it is the story of a young man who asks his grandfather's permission to marry an actress and accuses him of not knowing what it is to be young; he then tells the boy the story of his romance with an Italian opera singer in the sixties and the play is his story.
I am writing in bed but must stop now and will put down the rest tomorrow.
Thursday Jan: 24th 1918.
After the play yesterday the Childers' took me back to tea with them at their flat. Shortie didn't appear to fetch me till 7.0 and we thought she was lost. We didn't get home till nearly 8.30.
I had a letter from Nina yesterday; she went off to school with Patsy on Tuesday. She has never been away to school before and seems rather doleful about going.
Kathleen Tighe is engaged to a young officer of twenty who is the son of a great shipbuilder but I have forgotten his name. They are not going to be married just yet. They are coming here on Sunday.
I wrote to Helen yesterday.
Emmeline appeared at 12.0. She wants to know if I will have my lesson at 2.0 on Thursdays instead of whatever time she is supposed to come now because Rosamund is doing V.A.D work and can't fit in Emmeline unless she has her earlier.
Poor Mummy came home from the hut about 5.0; she had got dreadful earache and had to shut up the hut and leave. She had ear ache a great deal last year too.
I had breakfast in bed this morning which was very lazy of me.
It is Peggy's birthday today and I have just telephoned to her to wish her "many happy returns of the day" and to say Mummy is sending her a present. I sent her a song called "A Very Little Kiss" which is sung by Teddie Gerard in "Cheep!". They had a Winchester boy staying with them at Stoneleigh and he has now developed measles so Rowland has got an extra week of holiday. The French governess has arrived and is very nice.
Mrs Idie is coming here on Monday or Tuesday.
Saturday Jan: 26th 1918.
I got up with a jolly old headache yesterday morning so the Powers that Be made me retire to bed where to tell the truth I enjoyed myself very much reading and playing the gramophone. Mummy brought me back two books - "Henry Esmond" and Nicholas Nickelby". Mrs Simpson got me two books from the library - "The Flower Patch Among the Hills" by Flora Klickmann; and "Tomina in Retreat" by Amy le Feuvre. The first is about the authors cottage on the hills by Tintern Abbey and is very amusing and nice and made my mouth water with the description of the beautiful country. The second book is about a young society lady who is ordered by her docter to go to a quiet country village for a year and it tells how she goes and becomes very interested in the villagers and of course gets married in the end.
I had a letter from Alice Blyth yesterday thanking me for a handkerchief sachet and a photograph of me which I had sent her. I also had a letter from Helen this afternoon in which she says they are coming up to London on Monday and will be at 16, Chapel Street so I suppose they have taken that house. It will be very nice to see Helen again as I havn't seen her since last spring when they had a house in Gloucester Place.
The Powers that Be didn't permit me to arise till about 3.0 but I'm afraid I didn't make very violent efforts to get up.
Mr Ward-Cook brought down three blind soldiers from St Dunstan's and a nurse, for tea. One of the soldiers was a Russian and talks seven languages which he has learnt since the war started; he speaks very good and fluent English with an accent. Mr Synge also came to tea.
Mummy brought down a little stray fox terrier yesterday. She had found it laying on the steps of the hut two or three days ago and Cousin Nell took charge of it for a few days. One of the soldiers in the Mill is going to have it as a watch-dog for his wife.
Sunday Jan: 27th 1918.
It was a glorious day and we were in the garden most of the morning and I read "Henry Esmond".
Kathleen and Mr Wellsford (her young man) and Mrs Hudson and Violet came to tea. Mr Wellsford is awfully nice and Kathleen is rather pretty. Mrs Hudson has some very odd ideas and Violet who is twenty one has got her hair down.
The Powers that Be have decided that I am not to go up to London tomorrow which is most annoying as I have very little cold left and feel excessively well and full of spirits.
Colonel Pottinger came to see Daddie a little after six. He was in the Cambrai fighting.
I have written to Wolfie to tell her I'm not coming up tomorrow; to Peggy with the same object; to Emmeline to ask her if she can give me a lesson any time tomorrow (I'm sure she will appear with great cheerfulness at 8.p.m) and also two long letters to Nina and Miss Ratcliffe. How I do hate writing letters! Nina Melville in India wrote to me before Christmas and I've never answered yet.
I don't know what I should do without the raids as subjects of conversation for people like Nina who I only write to once a year. Talking of raids Mr Milne says they have taken away our big gun which rather bears out Wolfie's story that they have taken practically all the guns out of London and are going to form the barrage in a wide circle in the country round London.
Cousin V sent us two rabbits yesterday which will be useful. We thought we should'nt be able to get any meat for Sunday but the butcher managed to send us up a bit of beef late last night. We have got no butter. There are queues outside all the butchers shops if there is the least chance of their opening and having any meat. The people are becoming very discontented and there are policemen regulating all the queues. A queue at Wandsworth handled a policeman very roughly and rumour (in the form of the post-man) says he died. We are all going to have meat, butter, margarine and cheese cards by Feb: 25th.
Monday Jan: 28th 1918.
There is an air-raid in progress but at the present moment nothing is happening. It started at 8.p.m. Mummy and I were going to have our dinners in bed because Daddie is out to dinner and I was sitting in the bath when the guns started, and was so anxious to get out and see if there was anything to see that I forgot to wash my face. The guns only fired about half a dozen times at first and then there was a long interval but now there is a good deal of firing going on but although it is quite loud we can't see the shells bursting; the Kingston gun started all of a sudden just now and we could see great flashes of light at the mouth of it as the shell left it and we heard the swish of the shells most frightfully loudly, I have never heard them nearly as loud before. The Coombe gun also fired but although it is very loud we can see nothing. They stopped when they had fired about a dozen shells. In the middle of their firing Mummy suddenly evinced a wild desire for me to go into the golf club cellars but mercifully Shortie said she thought it was too dangerous to venture out of doors. I had enough of those beastly cellars when Nina was here. It is the most glorious moonlight night and not a cloud to be seen.
Mummy and I are sitting in my room in the most wonderful collection and assortment of garments; mine are the most glorious mixture I do wish I could describe them but am afraid I can't!
Daddie is at a dinner at the Geographical Club. I hope he won't have great difficulty in getting home. I told him before he went away this morning to lie face downwards in a ditch if there was a raid.
Emmeline came at 12.0 and gave me a lesson. Very luckily another pupil had put her off so she was able to come to me. She has given me "Somebodys Coming to Tea" from "Cheep!" for sight-reading.
Mummy went to her Enquiry bureau early this morning and didn't get home till nearly seven.
I had a letter from Mary today.
My time today has been almost entirely occupied in sitting reading in the garden, and playing the piano and gramophone.
Tuesday Jan: 29th 1918.
When I had finished writing the diary last night Mummy decided I had better get into bed as the firing was so distant but suddenly crash! bang! off went two guns with a most deafening row. We hastily descended the stairs in the pitch dark and went into the kitchen. I went and looked out of the window but except the great flashes of light from a gun and a few search-lights there was nothing to see. The whole house shook when the near-by gun was firing and the noise of the firing sounded rather like a huge cracker being pulled while the far-away guns sound like thuds. The swish of the shells was frightfully loud - so loud that Mrs Simpson thought it was Joffie whining. I think the firing at this time was quite local because when our guns stopped which they did quite frequently for short intervals, there were no other guns firing. At 10.30 they stopped altogether and we went to bed. The firing started again at about midnight (I was asleep so didn't hear it) and we heard that the "all-clear" didn't go till 1.30; a good long raid from 8.p.m till 1.30 a.m! Daddie got home at 11.30; he didn't have much difficulty with the underground but had to walk from Putney Bridge because of course no buses were running. The postman had heard that they dropped bombs on Covent Garden, that "John Bull's" offices have been smashed and that there were bombs on Peckham; and that there were twenty five raiders.
In the paper this morning it says that one raider was brought down in Essex. In the evening papers it says forty seven people were killed and a hundred and sixty nine injured. There were fiveteen raiders.
Mummy came home with an awful story she had heard, that sixty people were buried in the ruin of the "John Bull" offices and a person came to the hut and wanted to know the way to Culford Gardens as she had heard it had been hit by a bomb and was still burning and she wanted to go and see it. Aunt Mabel lives there!
I have played the piano a good deal today.
There is a thing in my harmony book labelled Scotch air which we all know the tune of but can't remember the name of; it is a most ripping thing and I have discovered that "Hark! Hark my soul!" will go to it; Mummy thinks it is a reel and ought to be played very fast so I now expand all my energies with no result except a most horrid noise in trying to play it fast.
Mummy went up to the enquiry bureau about eleven and got home at five.
Helen rang up this afternoon. She doesn't seem to have enjoyed the raid much and she says that Hyde Park Corner gun made a frightful noise and so did the machine guns, this is the first time they have used machine guns in a raid. She wanted me to go to luncheon with her some day this week; I said I couldn't but could go to tea with her on Friday, she isn't quite sure whether she can have me but she is going to try and come to the hut in the afternoon and take me back to tea. It will be nice to see her again but I hope she won't be very grown-up; she is eighteen almost exactly the same age as Bobs!
Poor dear Joffie isn't at all well, he hasn't eaten anything since Saturday and he seems to have no energy at all except when he sees a cat in the garden. We shall have to try and get him to a vet but the Wimbledon one is very bad and it would be almost impossible to get him to London because of the buses.
Daddie went to see Cousin V this evening. She is going to send us two rabbits a week.
Great Aunt has gone back to Vine Lodge.
Wednesday Jan: 30th 1918
Another raid last night. The warning guns went off at 10.0 and of course I promptly hopped out of bed, put on a dressing gown, a big over-coat and a pair of slippers and went to the window; nothing happened after the warning so I laid down on my bed in this choice assortment of clothes but was soon made to remove them and get into bed properly by the strong-minded Shortie. I had no sooner got to sleep than the guns started; I laid and listened to them for some time but when our two guns started I thought it was time to get up so up I hopped and went to the window; it was a very foggy night and there was nothing to see except one searchlight and our old gun spouting out shells. It wasn't nearly as bad as Monday night because I think our guns were turned in a different direction.
After a bit the firing stopped and I went and laid on my bed with my coat etc: etc: still on and promptly went to sleep and woke at 1.30 a.m. to discover myself in this weird position so I disrobed and got properly into bed where I remained till the latest possible moment this morning. Mummy prowled about downstairs during the raid, but Daddie remained in his bed, he always does.
I am getting tired of raids; although I love the sound of the guns it is too much of a good thing to be up a large part of the night two nights running, although strictly speaking there is no necessity to get up but I never can resist the temptation to go and look out of the window.
There was a frightfully thick fog this morning but it has lifted now.
Daddie took me up to Wolfie's this morning and let me walk there all alone from Downing Street tube. The French elocution wasn't so bad; we had to take a big breath and then say the vowels in French through our nasal organs; the object being to teach us not to talk down in our boots. For next time we have got to learn a bit of a bloomin' peice of French poetry and to say Ah! in a suprised, joyful and disappointed way which sounds very odd.
Peggy took me back to luncheon there and we went to fetch two ripping photographs of Teddie and Madge on the way home which she had ordered at Foulsham & Banfields. Rowland had gone off to Winchester in the morning but at luncheon time Mrs Leigh appeared back with him in a great state of agitation; when she got him into the train she suddenly discovered that he had got such a frightful cold that she didn't think it was safe for him to go so she yanked him out of the train and back home again and interned him in the sitting-room. The new French governess is very nice; her name is Denise and she talks English quite well. The French lessons are very easy & quite nice. We stayed to tea at Peggy's and had a dreadful job to get home because there were such crowds everywhere.
Daddie is at Guilford [ Guildford ] for the night where he is lecturing.
Friday Feb: 1st 1918.
We went to see a house at Bishops Storford [ Stortford ] yesterday in which Daddie had stayed with some officers while he was lecturing there; it is for sale and we thought it might do for us. We were to meet Daddie at 12.0 at Liverpool Street Station so we started about a quarter to eleven; there was a very dense fog and we just missed a 'bus at Windmill Road and had to wait half an hour for another and of course it had to crawl all the way to Putney. We arrived at Liverpool Street at 12.50 instead of 12.0 and found a train was just going for Bishops Storford so we tore wildly about the platform looking for Daddie but he wasn't there and the train went. So then Mummy and I went to the booking office and soon Daddie came tearing up; he had only just arrived having taken three hours to get up from Guilford [ Guildford ] because of the fog. The next train didn't go till 2.35 so we had some some beer (I had ginger pop) and we bought some vulgar papers and dawdled about till the train went. The officers were very nice and took us all over the house and gardens which were also very nice but there is an enormous lot of glass and I think the gardens would be more than we could keep up - there are thirteen acres. The house is called "The Grange". Our train home left at 5.26 and we got to Liverpool Street at about 6.15 and we then went to get an inner circle train for which we had to wait about twenty minutes, there was a huge crowd but we just managed to get into the train when it did come. We changed at the Mansion House where they told us that they couldn't say when there would be a train for Wimbledon so after waiting for a bit we took an Ealing train for Earls Court; it was absolutely packed (we got seats) and did nothing but stick for ages between stations for no appearent reason and we didn't get to Earls Court till 9. There was such a crowd there that one could scarcely stand. A ticket collector told us that there had been an accident on the Wimbledon line but that the trains would be running in half an hour. Daddie said he thought it was too long to wait because we knew we should have to walk home from the station, so we came out of the station and found an hotel called the Barkston Gardens Hotel, with the aid of a nice man. They gave us a very good cold supper there and three single bed-rooms. Mummy was in a great fuss when she found my room was two floors away from hers and wanted us to have a double bed-room but I flatly declined. Of course we had no night things, except Daddie who had got his things which he had brought from Guilford. My hair was in the most glorious rats taily tangle you ever saw by morning. Shortie came a little after 10.0 (we had telephoned to her the night before) and brought up a much needed brush and comb. Mummy went off to her hut and we went to Upper Berkeley Street. Peggy wasn't in but Rowland was and he and I gassed about actresses for nearly an hour till Peggy came in and we had our French lesson. I stayed there to luncheon and Shortie fetched me almost directly after and we came straight home because we were afraid of the fog and Helen had telephoned to say she couldn't have me to tea.
The head waiter at the hotel who lives at Parsons Green told us that one person had got pushed under a train at West Brompton in the rush to get into it and two more at Walham Green and thats why the Wimbledon trains weren't running.
Our new girl arrived this afternoon and seems very nice; her name is Ellen.
I have practised the piano and done French prep. this afternoon and evening.
Saturday Feb: 2nd 1918.
Mummy didn't go up to London today.
I practised the piano and did prep. today.
We went to have a look at a house called "Brown Beechs" in Somerset Road which we thought might do for us when we leave here but it is very small and the walls are covered with damp and altogether it isn't much catch. Next we went to look at the outside of a house called "The Firs" in Inner Park Road which the old postman thinks will be to let; it seemed quite nice.
Shortie telephoned to the butcher to know if he could let us have any meat, he said he could let us have a very little but we must send down for it as he daren't send it so Mrs Simpson went down to get it. A policeman was standing at the door who asked if she was a regular customer, she said "yes" and then he let her in; the meat was in the office, cut in very small peices, she got her peice and came away. The butcher said he had to have a policeman outside because if people saw other people going in and getting meat the place would be raided. I saw the biggest food queue I have seen yet, outside a butchers shop in Putney. There must have been over a hundred people in it.
There was a very bad raid on Paris on Wednesday night. Fourteen tons of bombs were dropped and they think as many as sixty areoplanes came over the city in relays of ten for two hours. The casualities were over thirty killed and over a hundred injured; and two hospitals were hit.
Two hospital ships and a destroyer were torpedoed in the Mediterannian [ Mediterranean ] a few days ago and over eight hundred lives were lost.
Daddie wrote an article about India with a good deal about Julian Grenfell in it which appeared in this month's "Nineteenth Century". The part about Julian Grenfell is very good but I haven't read the other part yet. He got fiveteen guineas for it. Lady Desborough was awfully pleased with the part about Julian Grenfell and she sent Daddie a ripping telegram and letter about it.
Daddie took Cousin V, Kathleen and Mr Wellsford over the India Office today. He says he keeps impressing on Kathleen how very lucky she is to be going to marry Mr Wellsford who is awfully good egg. I wonder why he is going to marry her?
Sunday Feb: 3rd 1918.
We went to Church this morning and Daddie went to call on Lady Barrington.
Cousin V and Mr Wellsford called just before luncheon and Mummy and Daddie went over there in the afternoon. Cousin Nell was there.
I played hymns to Shortie this afternoon and in the middle an old gentleman who I didn't know was announced and turned out to be a Mr Horner, a friend of Sir Thomas Jackson; after some time Mummy came in with Miss Tyrell Giles who we had asked to tea; she is very nice and very like a fair edition of Mrs Fish to look at. Oonah also came to tea. She goes to Putney High School now and dislikes it thoroughly. Moira is going to school at Newton Abbot on Tuesday; she is going with Daddie as far as Exeter because he is going there to speak.
I have finished "Henry Esmond" and liked it awfully but what a way they did go on in those days!
A letter came for me from America yesterday; it was a girl scout paper called "The Rally" from Mrs Lowe, Peggy's aunt who has a great deal to do with the girl scouts in the U.S.A.
"Nothing But the Truth" has had a very successful trial at Eastbourne. I do hope it will be good; there is no need to hope that Renée will be good!
Mrs Idie is supposed to be coming next Tuesday but she has been coming ever since before Christmas so I don't place much reliance on that report!
Ten people were killed and ten injured in the last raid and fivety eight killed and a hundred and sixty somthing injured in the Monday night raid.
There are reports of very bad strikes in Germany, especially in Berlin but of course we can't say if they are true or not.
We have filled in and sent off our application for a butter, margarine, meat and cheese ticket and there is now frightful contraversy going on about who we shall register with.
It was nine months yesterday since I first saw Renée and I fell in love upon the spot, Bow Wow!
Awful ink blots due to volcanic eruption in fountain pen through (unintentional) violent jerking of same.
Monday Feb: 4th 1918.
Daddie took me up to Wolfies this morning where the usual things happened. I stayed to luncheon with Miss Wolff and she got us a little butter from her dairy. Peggy and Denise called for me about a quarter to three. We did French till 4.15 when we had tea because Peggy was going off to a choral class. I went upstairs and played the piano and gramophone when they had gone and read "Daddy Long Legs" which reminded me very much of Renée.
Shortie didn't fetch me till past 5.30 and then we proceeded homewards and took ages to get there and I with my usual brilliance left my gamp on a 'bus.
Wolfie gave me that beastly poem which I have got to learn for the French elocution mistress; it is a perfectly devilish thing; one of those things you can't translate into English; I asked Denise to tell me the meaning in English and she couldn't translate it, at least not so that it made sense and I have got to recite the bloomin' thing in front of the juniors!!!
Moira is not going to school on Tuesday after all.
Rowland went back to Winchester on Saturday afternoon.
Ian called at the India Office today and took Daddie out to luncheon.
Joffie fully recovered his health and spirits and appetite a few days ago.
Tuesday Feb: 5th 1918.
Daddie went off this morning and won't be back till next Monday because he is going to lecture at Exeter and Plymouth.
I had a post-card from Captain Childers. He has got out of hospital and Mrs Childers hasn't been well and he wants us to go to tea there soon.
Mummy went up to her enquiry bureau and got back at 4.30.
Mrs Idie didn't let us know if she was coming or not but Mrs Short went up to meet her by the 3.0 train on chance and she did come by it. I have been playing the gramophone to her this evening because of course she hadn't heard it. They have been having meat and butter tickets at Bath.
Lady Barrington called this afternoon and left a note for Mummy which contained a cheque for five guineas for her hut. Mummy went to see them this evening and says Lady Barrington has quite given up hope of Sir Eric recovering his speech; he had a stroke some time ago. Mummy also went to see Cousin V.
Mummy has heard from Aunt Kathleen and Ian has got bad pains inside and they fear he has got appendicitis. Poor Aunt Kathleen is always having some worry.
I have been struggling with that French poem and I know it most achociously badly which is a bore as I shall probably invent somthing that doesn't make sense at the crucial moment.
Poor Renée, I expect she is thinking life is not all beer and skittles at the present moment, first nights must be the most dreadful things, but perhaps the having had a trial trip will make it better, anyway I hope so!
Joffie was wild with joy when he saw Mrs Idie and he won't leave her and insists on sitting on her lap all the time which as he weighs about 10 stones is an attention she doesn't much appreciate! It is wonderful how he remembers people because it is ten months since he has seen her.
Wednesday Feb: 6th 1918.
I went up to Wolfie's in fear and trembling because of the French elocution this morning but Wolfie announced that the current events lecture was going to be on Greek Literature in the time of Pericles so at 11.30 I put on the most angelic face and said might I stay down for the lecture as it was on Greece because it would be such a help with my Greek History; at first Wolfie hummed and harred but then said I might do 10 minutes elocution and then come down and finally she let me off altogether saying I could have half an hour all to myself next time. I will see about that when next time comes! I was so pleased I nearly got up and danced a jig.
Peggy took me back to luncheon with her and we did French after luncheon and invented various nefarious schemes for getting to "Cheep!" again of which more hereafter if anything comes of them. Peggy has got to have Bobs to tea which doesn't exactly please her.
Shortie fetched me at about half past three and we walked with Peggy to the Wigmore Studios where she has a singing lesson. Then we went to the hut because Aunt Valley and Aunt Mabel were coming there and Aunt Valley is going to France so I wanted to see her before she goes.
Mummy, Mrs Rooke and Mrs Lucas were at the hut and two awfully nice American naval officers came in; they only got to London from Liverpool late last night and they were going to Paris early tomorrow morning. They were seeing the sights and I offered to take them round on condition that they brought me back to the hut but Mummy nearly fainted at the bare suggestion so that was no go. The train was so full coming home that there really was barely standing room. We got home about 7.15 and I did a little practising before dinner.
The notices about "Nothing but the Truth" are in the papers today and apparently it is extraordinarily funny and a great success but what annoys me intensely is the fact that although they say a great deal about A.E. Matthews who is the leading actor, the papers scarcely mention Renée who after all is the leading lady. I have great hopes of getting to it on Saturday week if it is possible to get seats which it probably won't be.
Aunt Valley and Aunt Mabel never appeared at the hut after all. They had been once and said they were coming back later.
Thursday Feb: 7th 1918.
I had breakfast in bed and did practising and prep all the morning when I got up. Emmeline came at two and has given me "Don't Blame Me" from "Cheep!" for sight-reading and the ripping Scotch tune to transpose into the key of G. Some tune by the time I've done with it! Mummy went out to pay calls and went to see the Rev. Bailey amost others. Funny Little Person came to tea at 4.30 and Mummy didn't get in till 5. so I had the joy of talking French to her for half an hour. Her sister in Paris said the raid there was terrible.
Shortie went into Wimbledon and got me some exercise books for my French. Miss Frost is going to look out for pictures of Renée and send me up any paper she finds any in.
We rang up the box office of the Savoy Theatre today and they can't give us seats for "Nothing but the Truth" for a month, which made me very cross.
Mummy has heard from Daddie and he seems to be having a very good time.
Ian is much better, Mummy saw him yesterday.
I am getting a most alarming mania for Renée, it never worried me much before but now I think about her a great deal whether I want to or not and I am just long to see her again. I went into the kitchen just now and saw an old bit of "Daily Mirror" laying on the table so I picked it up just for fun to see if there was a picture of Renée in it and there sure enough was an awfully nice one of "Miss Renée Kelly who celebrates her 500th appearance in Daddy Long Legs" tomorrow" June 7th 1917, wasn't it extraordinary?
Friday Feb: 8th 1918.
Shortie took me up to Peggy's this morning and we did French and then took Wriggles for a walk in Park; then we had luncheon and after luncheon we went to the "Tatler" offices right down by Fetter Lane; we found one or two of Teddie and I got a ripping one of Renée rowing in a boat. We got into a very full 'bus coming back and having got on top found there was only room for one so Denise took that seat and we went downstairs to get inside but when we got there it was full up so we had to get off and off went the 'bus with Denise sitting quite happily on the top. Mercifully another 'bus came up almost directly so we hopped into that, then we didn't know where to get out because we had said we were going to Gunter's in Bond Street but were not sure whether Denise had heard, anyway we got there but there was no sign of her so we took a taxi and went to the corner of Upper Berkeley Street, when we got there we saw Denise coming down Great Cumberland Place, Peggy advanced to meet her in fear and trembling, while I stayed behind to pay the taxi (with her money). Denise said nothing at all about our getting behind but was frightfully irate with Peggy because the latter had left a letter to Rowland laying about in which she said that Denise had got a vile temper (which is true) the wind had blown it on the floor and Denise had picked it up and seeing her name had read the sentence. It seems rather funny to tell a person when you have read their letter but anyway she is not unaturally very angry but frightfully sweet to me for some unknown reason. Shortie fetched me a little after five and we came straight home. She had been at the hut where a drunken soldier had come in and promptly gone to sleep. Mummy didn't get home till 8.30.
I had a letter from Aunt Valley this morning asking me to tea on Wednesday next but Mummy had the brilliant inspiration of asking her for the week-end; she can't come for the weekend but is coming down tomorrow for the night. Mrs Leigh and Peggy are coming down to tea on Sunday and Peggy is going to stay the night.
I did a little practising this evening.
The awful and numerous blots on the last two pages and on both covers are due to most undue leakages in the top and bottom stories of my fountain pen.
Mummy went to luncheon with Sir Harry and Lady Emma Crighton.
A transport ship the Tuscania has been torpedoed in the Irish Channel with over 2,000 American soldiers on board; the morning papers said that 210 lives had been lost but the evening papers say that a good many more have turned up and the casualties now 100.
Cousin Eddy's murderer is to be executed next Tuesday it was a Tuesday on which he commited the murder.
Saturday Feb: 9th 1918.
I played the piano and did prep with great ardour this morning.
Moyra Tighe came and brought me an awfully nice book called "The Romance of the Round Table" or somthing like that anyway it is about King Arthur's Knights which I love, it is a ripping edition illustrated by Arthur Rackham and appearently is a belated Christmas present.
Aunt Valley came about 1. She is going out to France on Monday week to help in a canteen in a French hospital near the firing line.
Uncle Vernon appeared at about 5 o'clock without any warning. He is very full of a cocker spaniel puppy which they have bought and which Aunt Violet wants to call "Judy" and Uncle Vernon wants to call "Maria"; neither of which names appears to me singularly appropriate for a black spaniel! We played the gramophone to Uncle Vernon, he heard one or two things quite well. We lent him two books by Reginald James.
I have been trying to whistle tunes today; there was a certain simularity about them all, which was unfortunate.
Sunday Feb: 10th 1918.
I am perfectly furious with "The Sunday Pictorial" because it doesn't mention Renée at all in its notice of "Nothing but the Truth" but only puts in some other part that she carrys handbags to match her dresses. However "The Sunday Times" calls her "the ever fascinating Miss Renée Kelly" which pleased me very much.
Aunt Valley went about 12.30. She was killing last night, we were discussing all the languages which she had put down as able to speak on the form about getting this job, she had put down Italian and Spanish and appearently all the Italian she knows is "the pen is on the table"; "where is my pencil?" and "the pencil is longer than the pen" and all the Spanish "boy call me at 7.30 and bring me some water and some coffee and some beer"! But she says that the great thing is to reel off those sentences very quickly a great number of times and then the person who is examining you gets so muddled if they don't know much of the language that you get on quite happily. She says she was travelling in Denmark once and got taken to some station she had never heard of so she begun to address a long oration to the station-master and was suprised at the beauty of her Danish under the stress of strong emotion, however he stared at her open-mouthed and she suddenly discovered that she was speaking Hindustani far more fluently than ever she had in India!
A Captain and Mrs Salisbury are coming to tea. He came here once with Mrs Otley. I suppose Mrs Leigh and Peggy will appear about three thirty.
Monday Feb: 11th 1918.
The Salisburys came at about 4 o'clock and were both very nice; they have got a lurid story that Sir Herbert Tree the actor, who died in the summer and was a German was also a German spy and that all his productions which were usually run at a loss were staged with German money.
Mrs Leigh and Peggy didn't get here till about 4.15 having taken an hour and a half to get down. Peggy and I jaw-wagged a great deal. Denise has quite got over her bad temper and is now awfully nice, apparently she quite collapsed after Peggy got angry with her.
We started up about 9.30 this morning and took Chi Chi to Batts the vet, because he didn't seem well. Batt thinks he has got rheumatism in his spine and he is going to stay there till Wednesday. From there Peggy and I walked on to Wolfies and then Peggy came back to meet Shortie who took her home.
Esther and Betty Waldegrave stayed to luncheon with me at Miss Wolff's they are both very nice; Esther is seventeen and has got her hair up and Betty is about fiveteen and they have never been to a theatre and they are simply dying to. I think it is a great mistake not letting them because they will probably get the most violent stage mania when they are allowed to. I am going to luncheon with them next Monday. Peggy fetched me a little before three and we went to Selfridge and then back to Upper Berkeley Street where we did French. Denise has given us a sort of exam paper which we have got to answer for Wednesday and she also gave us talking questions with marks; Peggy got 32¼ marks and I got 34¾. Shortie got there in time for tea and after we went as far as Brompton Oratory with Peggy because that is where she goes for a choral singing class. The buses were so full that we had to take a taxi; from the Oratory we walked to Miss Clarkes and when we left there we got a bus to South Kensington Station and came home by underground.
Daddie got home at 4.30. He seems to have had a very good time in Devonshire and there are notices about his lectures in a good many papers. He says butter is just as scarce there as it is here so he couldn't get us any. He went by G.W.R and came back by L.S.W.R.
I had a letter from Miss Ratcliffe this evening. She says she ran the whole way from Birchington to West Gate in a raid. She is in the Post Office and I asked her to try and filch me some stamps but she says it is impossible because they are so particular about their not being taken away.
There was a rather (or very) bad photograph of Renée in todays "Daily Sketch" and a sketch of one of her dresses in "Nothing but the Truth" in the "Globe" and a perfectly horrid remark about her in the "Observer" the nasty, mean pig!
Everyone is saying there will be very bad raids in about another week.
Helen telephoned last night and asked me to luncheon today, of course I couldn't go but I am going to luncheon with her on Friday and going to bring her down here after. I have also suggested that we should got a theatre together and she jumped at the idea so that is good egg if it comes off.
Tuesday Feb: 12th 1918.
Mummy went to her hut today and she and Daddie got back at about four o'clock. Mummy telephoned when she got up to London to know if I would like to go up to see the opening of Parliament which was today; I said "no" because I didn't want to see it much and I had prep to do. Mummy says the crowd scarcely cheered the King and Queen at all and that there were much more people to see the wedding of one of Mr Asquith's sons which took place today; I think at St Margarets Westminster.
I have done Denise' exam paper and some prep of Wolfie's and practised the piano, but for the best part of the day I have been making frantic efforts to learn the "Robbers March" from "Chu-Chin-Chow" by heart; I knew one line already and I have now learnt another. Of course it is quite easy to learn it by heart but I want to know it so well that I can play it automatically without thinking about the notes.
An airship came over here this morning, it was one of those aluminium ones which looks like this -
P.S. this is meant to be an airship not a nature study of a leaf neither is it a shell whizzing through mid-air.
Cousin Eddy's murderer was executed today.
Russia has made peace with Germany and has got a small bit of Poland.
Majorie [ Marjorie ] Forbes is to be married on March 11th at St. Georges, Hanover Square if they can get it. Peggy has got to go which annoys her intensely. I wonder if dear Bobs will be a bridesmaid ?????
Wednesday Feb: 13th 1918.
I went up to Wolfie's this morning and did French elocution; I told the mistress that I didn't understand the poem and she has given me a much easier one and I escaped reciting today into the bargain. Esther Waldegrave being a sport says she will ask her mother if she can come and have French elocution, I hope to goodness she will be able to, it is dreadful being the only senior (Joan Laking has got out of it) you feel so enormous somehow. I have lent Esther and Betty "The Elusive Pimpernel" and "Ayesha" which is the sequel to "She" by Rider Haggard.
I got a post-card from Captain Childers this morning saying they can't come down here next Sunday. I told Daddie and he said we must take them to somthing in London. So I promptly said a theatre, Daddie said - "right-ho" and I could fix up something for Saturday-week.
Going back to Upper Berkeley Street today Peggy went into the Aeolian Hall theatre ticket office so I asked about seats for Nothing but the Truth" and he is going to get the best seats he can in the dress-circle and I am going to telephone and let him know about them for certain on Friday, by which time I ought to have heard from Captain Childers who I have written to. The prospect of seeing Renée in a little over a week is a very joyful one.
Peggy is going to "Cheep!" for the third time tomorrow. Denise corrected our exam papers today; Peggy got thirty four and three quarter marks and I got fivety four and a quarter. We have set Denise an exam paper on English slang, vulgar songs and theatrical knowledge. Shortie called for me at 3.30 and I went to Miss Hammond to have my wig scrubbed. Miss Hammond knows Doris Keane quite well and had seen her last Saturday; I told her I had heard she has got consumption, Miss Hammond says she hasn't a bit and that she has never been weller in her life. The 1000th performance of "Romance" is on March 11th and everyone is going to be given a book of the play with photographs of the actresses and actors in it. Some lady had told Miss Hammond that there was a rumour going about that her office was closed and that she had been shot as a spy! There was great agitation because a lady had been there with a pair of very large pearl ear-rings and had kept them on while she had her hair washed and one had got washed down the waste.
We got home bringing Chi Chi at about 6.30 and Mummy got back about 7.o'clock. Daddie was in when we got here.
I have been practising "The Robbers March" this evening.
Sir Arthur Yapp and some other Big Whigs came to see Mummy's hut without any warning today.
There are quite a good few crocuses out is the garden and there have been some blue hepaticas out for a long time.
Thursday Feb: 14th 1918.
We went into Wimbledon this morning and I went into Frost's and looked at the "Tatler" the "Sketch" and the "Bystander" but there was nothing of Renée in any of them, however the very nice girl there is going to send up any paper she finds her in.
Mummy didn't got up to her enquiry bureau today.
Emmeline came this afternoon. She is very pleased with my singing, she hadn't heard me squawk for a few weeks and she was agreeably suprised today, I don't know why it is better because I have done very little practising. I now know the whole of "The Robbers March" by heart and can nearly play it automatically, what Emmeline calls having it in ones fingers.
Mummy and I have been having a long discussing about what is to become of us when we leave here; it certainly is a most vexed problem and except for a vague idea about going to "The Glen" (Major Dunlop's cottage in Devonshire) on April 20th for a month we don't much nearer solving the problem.
Mummy has gone to see Cousin V and Daddie came in at 7.30 and has gone over there to bring her back.
Rumania [ Romania ] has refused to make peace with Germany and the French have carried out a big raid in Champagne and penetrated to the third line of enemy trenches and taken over a hundred prisoners.
Our meat and butter cards came today. There are separate cards for meat and butter and they are about the seize of this page. The meat card is covered with numbers and is perferated so they tear off in little squares like this -
each ticket is worth five ounces of butchers meat and there are four for each week; the line across is for tearing the ticket in half, each half, of course being worth 2½ oz. I suppose we shall have to give half a ticket to our hostess when we go out to luncheon but how they will ever manage to keep them I don't know because each ticket is very little if any bigger than I have drawn it. Each card has got a big square in the centre with the holders name and address on it, the name and address of the butcher and the stamp of the local food control office. I think each card lasts ten weeks. The butter cards are very uninteresting they have got numbers in little, tiny squares on them, but whether the numbers are ounces or weeks I don't know; they have also got endless spaces for putting ones signature and address and address of ones shopkeeper etc: etc: ad infinitum.
Poor Ian has got to have an operation.
Friday Feb: 15th 1918.
Daddie took me up straight to Peggy's this morning; we got there about 11 o'clock. Peggy of course is perfectly wild about Teddie having been to "Cheep!" yesterday, her one aim and object in life at present is to see Teddie to speak to. We did our French lesson and then Denise was going to a chiropidist so we went with her. While we were going down Oxford Street a huge airship suddenly appeared sailing very low down and of course caused a great deal excitment. It was a most enormous thing but I suppose would look very small beside a Zepp.
Shortie and Mrs Idie called me at 3 o'clock and we went to Evans where I got some awfully pretty embroidery and a ripping net and filee-lace fichu for my new red velveteen dress. From there we went to the Aeolian Hall to get the seats for "Nothing but the Truth"; the fiveth row of the dress circle is the best they can give me and they say it is a frightful success and one of the best selling things they have had for a long time.
We then went to the Childers'; they were very nice and Captain Childers gave me some Mauritius stamps. They are coming down here on Sunday-week. Mummy came there soon after us and we all came home together.
Mrs Leigh has written to ask Mummy if we will have Peggy for the weekend the one after this one as both she and Mr Leigh will be away.
We can manage to put her up because Shortie is going to be an angel and go and sleep downstairs and give Peggy her room. It will be very good egg, I always seem to see Peggy just after I have seen Renée which is rather a comfort in a way because I can let off steam on her.
Denise has invented a most novel way of learning French, for next time we have got to draw a lady and name all the things about her that we possibly can.
There is a caricature of Renée and Matthews in this weeks "Punch" but it was so excessively unlike her that I didn't get it.
I am getting sick of "The Robbers March".
Saturday Feb: 16th 1918.
Mummy had to go up to London today but Daddie didn't go up at all; it was a glorious day and he sat in the garden.
I have written to Helen to ask her to come down here with us for tea next Friday and to stay the night if she can.
We thought Aunt Valley was coming down this afternoon but she never appeared.
I have played the piano a good deal and done prep. I have also discovered that the Scotch tune in my harmony book which I mentioned some way back is an altered version of "Bonnie Highland Laddie" I thought it was at first but Shortie said it wasn't, I suppose she didn't recognize it because it is a good deal altered.
Mummy saw Uncle Oswald and Aunt Bobs in London.
I have been trying various ways of doing my hair up this afternoon; it is great fun but unfortunately the back view (or what I can see of it) is very much better than the front one which no matter how I do it always looks as if I hadn't brushed my hair for a month.
Uncle Vernon came to tea this afternoon.
Lord Leverhulme (sunlight soap) has bought Lewis Island.
Mummy has got hold of a story that the big German offensive must take place before March because the German government won't be able to control the strikes in Germany any longer than that.
The Huns made a sudden raid on our patrol boats in the Channel the other day and sunk several.
Mr Leigh telephoned last night to say that he wasn't sure whether it would be safe for Peggy to come here next Saturday because that will be an air raid time but Daddie pointed out that the Kaiser treats Wimbledon with great coldness and so they will probably let her come. If there are raids this moon I hope it will be while Peggy is here. People are always upbraiding me for saying I like raids and saying how terrible it is to think of all the poor people being killed; it is terrible and Heaven knows I don't want them to be killed but what I do love is the sound of the guns and the excitment of the whole thing and after all we can do no good by being miserable and harrowing and nervous in raids or in anything else that I can think of for the matter of that.
Just think that this time next Saturday I shall have seen Renée again. It will be over two months since I last saw her.
Sunday Feb: 17th 1918.
There was a raid last night; it started at 10.o'clock just when I had got into bed all the firing was pretty distant and in about half an hour I went to sleep. Mummy went and sat in the dining - room and I believe didn't got to bed till midnight. In the evening paper it says that there were six raiders of whom one got through the London defences and only dropped one bomb on London itself which bomb fell on a house and buried a wounded officer and his wife and child. We heard that a bomb was dropped on Chelsea Hospital too.
The number of casualties have not been published yet. One Hun machine was brought down.
Sir William Robertson has resigned, at least the government announces that he has and he denies it. Sir Henry Wilson has become Chief of the Staff.
We went to Church this morning.
Mummy and Daddie went to call on the Longstaffs in the afternoon and I sat in the garden and read "Romance" the book of the play, which Miss Frost sent up this morning. It is very good and quite like the play though Miss Hammond said it wasn't.
Mrs Hudson rang up and wanted to know if Mummy and Daddie would be at home at tea time, I with great diplomacy said they were going out to tea in Putney which was quite true in a way because the Josephs had asked them to tea and Daddie had said they would come if they could but I well knew they had no intention of going.
An airship came over about 3 o'clock. Airships have been patronizing this region of the world quite a good deal lately.
Daddie is going to give three lectures on the Himalayas to some society or institute (I think it is the Royal Society) in May, and he has been choosing out photographs of Kashmir to have made into lantern slides. It is rather good egg because he is allowed to spend £6 on the slides and to keep them after the lectures.
One very bad photograph of Renée in "The Sunday Pictorial".
Shortie went to see some friends in Southfields this afternoon.
Monday Feb: 18th 1918.
There was another raid last night, the warnings went at 10 o'clock just after I got into bed. Mummy and Mrs Idie went into the dining room where apparently they remained till midnight. Daddie retired to bed and Shortie prowled round and I remained in bed and the interval between the warnings and the beginning of the raid was so long that I went to sleep and slept through it all but I don't think I missed much because our near guns never fired.
I had a letter from Helen this morning saying she will be very pleased to come down here with us on Friday afternoon and she has just telephoned to ask me to luncheon with her that day and I have accepted. She says the raids weren't bad by them.
Daddie took me up this morning and we went to see if we could see Ian at a nursing home in John Street where Daddie said he was; he wasn't there but Mummy has heard from Aunt Kathleen tonight and he is going there soon.
Everything was the same as usual at Wolfies and everyone very full of the raids and where bombs were dropped. I went back to luncheon with Esther and Betty Waldegrave. They live in Park Square and are very nice and have lent me "On the Face of the Waters" by Flora Annie Steele.
Shortie fetched me at 2.30 and took me to Peggy's where we did French. Peggy got 115 marks in the competition and I got 132.
Peggy is absolutely stark, staring mad on Teddie Gerard and much annoyed by the news which I imparted to her having gleaned it from a poster in the tube that Madge Titheradge is going back to "General Post". Shortie came back for tea there and we all went in 30 'bus as far as Brompton Oratory near which Peggy goes for a singing class; we came on in it to Putney and home. Peggy is going to meet us at the Savoy Theatre after the performance on Saturday and coming down here for the week-end.
Mummy got home at 6.15. There were 100 men at the enquiry bureau yesterday and 47 this morning. An Australian who had been a prisoner in Germany and very ill-treated came in and he said if he saw a German walking in the street he was going to kill him without any warning whether he was good or bad.
It is quite true about the bomb on Chelsea Hospital; Shortie went to see a friend in Sloane Street today and she said the sound of the bomb was terrible and her bed rocked with the shock when it fell. The Waldegraves have got a friend living at Chelsea and she happened to look out of the window just as it fell. There were six areoplanes last night too and only one got through.
The casualties on Saturday night were eleven killed and four injured and sixteen killed and thirty seven injured last night.
Daddie is having dinner at Claridges with Mrs Schuster and Mrs Hart; they are the sisters of Lieutenant Trevor Parker whose wedding we went to a few months ago. I hope he won't get caught in the raid, I should think there is pretty sure to be one tonight. As I wrote these lines the warning guns started to go off; it is exactly 9 o'clock, an hour earlier than the last two nights.
Our electric light was suddenly cut off in the middle of dinner which did not facilitate eating or subsequently the writing of this diary it has come on again now all right.
Must go and look at raid now.
Feb: 19th 1918.
Mummy sat in the drawing-room through the raid last night. I went upstairs and got ready for bed then I put on a great-coat and went and by a window but I couldn't see anything but a solitary searchlight though the guns were fairly loud. Shortie and I sat in my bed-room for some time but about 10.30 I went to bed because the guns had stopped for a bit; there was a little firing about a quarter of an hour later but that was the last.
Daddie didn't get home till 12.20; he said there were crowds of people sitting all along the passages in the tubes and apparently they stay there all night. None of the raiders got through the defences of London though they tried for three hours.
Daddie didn't go to London today but Mummy had to go to her hut.
Mrs Lucas and her sister who is a Red X [ Cross ] nurse and has just come back from France came to tea. She (the sister) says one of the reasons why the Cambrai business failed was that the Germans attacked us in a snow storm and we never saw them coming.
They are expecting a big German offensive to start any day now.
I have practised and done prep today.
Captain Salisbury sent me some gramophone needles made of wood and we tried them today; they give a very much softer tone than the steel needles and there is practically no surface noise. On the whole I think the steel ones are best for singing but these may be better for instrumental music which I haven't tried with them yet.
There was a very nice sort of interview with Renée in this evening's "Star" in which she says she has never acted in a farce before and she likes it very much but finds it very hard work not to giggle in some of the funny parts. I am looking forward most awfully to seeing her on Saturday; it is two months yesterday since I last saw her.
Oh dear! French elocution tomorrow!
Wednesday Feb: 20th 1918.
Strange to say there wasn't an air-raid last night, which was very odd because it was a lovely night; there certainly won't be one tonight as it is perfectly beastly.
Daddie didn't go to London today so Shortie took me to Wolfies. French elocution was no worse than usual but the seniors got out before we did and that wretched Peggy was sent up to hear me reciting French poetry. I went home to luncheon with her and we did French in the afternoon.
Our prep for Denise was to draw three skies, one stormy, one at night and one in the day-time and to make three sentences with each. Peggy got forty eight and a half marks and I got forty eight and three quarters. For next time she has given us some questions to answer. Shortie called for me at 3.30 and we walked with Peggy to the Wigmore Studios where she goes for singing. Then we went to the Times Book Club where I bought a box of ripping paper and envelopes price five bob which was desperately extravagent of me but it will last a good long time. I also bought another book to write my diary in as I don't want to be left without a book like I was when Vol:I came to an end. Even these books have gone up from one and three to one and six.
I had put off Miss Hammond so after the Times Book Club we came home.
I have played the piano and the gramophone this evening and tried various ways of doing my hair up including bobbing it; it is the most frightful job to bob it but not a bad effect when it's done.
Colonel O'Connor is coming to luncheon tomorrow.
Mummy says she had a very nice American in her enquiry bureau today who was very much struck by the good manners of the English people and especially of the policemen; he says the American ones are awful.
Thursday Feb: 21st 1918.
Colonel O'Connor came to luncheon today and Daddie is going to have luncheon with him at the Savoy tomorrow to meet someone or other.
Emmeline came at 2 o.clock; she has given me "Good Bye Madame Fashion" from "Cheep!" for sight-reading, it is beastly difficult and rather long. I am doing nos 5 and 6 in the harmony book.
This afternoon we went to see a drawing mistress named Miss de Lisle who Emmeline had reccomended; she is awfully nice but she can't give me lessons till April 1st when the holidays start because she is so frightfully full up.
I also went into Frosts and got the "Tatler" which has got some ripping photographs of Renée in it.
Great Aunt Aimée is again staying at Mousford Lodge and Mummy went to see her this evening. Cousin V is away.
I have practised and done prep today.
Daddie has just read out a notice which says "Food will win the War - don't waste it" so Mummy says "Food will win the War - don't eat it"! Don't you think it would do very well for one of those food economy posters?
Friday Feb: 22nd 1918.
Daddie took me to Upper Berkeley Street this morning and Peggy and I did French. Shortie called me at 1.15 and took me to Helen's. Helen is 18 next month and has grown a good deal. They are at 16, Chapel Street and Doris Keane is at 34, which is right opposite them so Helen sees a good deal of her. Shortie stayed and had luncheon with Lady Percy's maid and Helen and I had luncheon together, I didn't see Lady Percy. Helen went to a dance the other day which the Prince of Wales was at; she says he is very good looking but dreadfully shy and he danced with the youngest girl in the room. After luncheon we slipped out and got some jolly good chocolate at Savory and Moore's then we came back for Shortie and went by 'bus to Putney; we walked up Putney High Street and went into a music shop where Helen bought three books of vulgar songs and I bought a book of Harry Lauder's songs. Then we came home where we played the piano and the gramophone and had tea and talked. We have decided that we will go to a play together next Saturday week and we want to go to "The Bing Boys on Broadway" at the Alhambra or "The Beauty Spot" at the Gaiety so Helen is going to ask Lady Percy about it and then try and get seats and telephone and let me know the result tomorrow morning. She is also going to see if she can come down here for the night next Friday; all of which if it comes off will be great fun. Lady Percy's maid came down for her and they went back about 6.30. Helen is not at all good looking but an awfully good sort and very amusing and not the least affected or grown-up. I hadn't told her about Renée but she began to talk about her and said wasn't she in "Chu-Chin-Chow"?" and when I said "no" she said "oh of course she's in "The Beauty Spot" isn't she?" I can't imagine the mild Renée in either of those things which are both rather mindless musical comedies!
I did a drawing of Renée yesterday from the big photograph of her in the "Play Pictorial" of "Daddy Long Legs" and strange to say it bares quite a mild resemblance to the original.
Peggy is going to have the joy of sleeping with me when she comes tomorrow for the week-end.
Daddie went to enquire about Ian at 9, Johns Street today; the operation was yesterday morning and it went off quite well and he will be in the Nursing Home for three weeks. Daddie couldn't see him because he was sleeping. It is very good about the operation going off well and I expect it will do him good to have a rest for a bit.
General Allenby has taken Jericho; he has done the fiveteen miles between Jerusalem and Jericho in three days. The Germans have broken the peace with Russia and started to invade it and the jolly old Russians having calmly looked on for some time have now decided to fight. All their fleet is sitting ice-bound at Reval and nothing but the submarines can be moved.
The money-box has been stolen from Mummy's enquiry bureau which is very dreadful. She is very amused because the Australians call the French "froggie" to their faces and of course the Germans are always "Fritz" and the correct name for the Italians is organ-grinders.
Helen stopped lessons altogether when she was seventeen and a half. She is now going to Red X classes and she is going to be a nurse in her Mother's hospital at Littlehampton when she goes back in the summer.
Daddie took some of our Indian photographs to be made into lantern slides for his lecture in May and he brought back four today including one of the Residency in Srinagar they have all done very well and it will be very nice having them to keep. He has also bought some ripping ones of the Taj Mahal.
Mummy had a letter from Captain Childers this morning and they are coming to tea instead of luncheon on Sunday.
Hip! hip! hip! hurrah! for tomorrow afternoon!
Feb: 23rd 1918.
Renée perfectly, gorgeously good egg; play ripping. Have get a violent mania for her and am dying to see her again which I have every intention of doing very soon.
Peggy won't let me write any more now.
Sunday 24th 1918.
Went to Church. Captain Childers and Uncle Vernon came to tea. Peggy worrying so, can't write any more. Such is life.
Monday Feb: 25th 1918.
Peggy and I had a lovely time together and we talked till past midnight both nights. Shortie took us up this morning and I stayed to luncheon at Miss Wolff's. Shortie fetched me after luncheon and took me to Peggy's where of course I had French with Peggy. Kitty and Veronica Forbes are in London and Peggy is going to have them to tea so she rang up from here yesterday but Kitty was out; however we tried this afternoon and she was in and Peggy asked to speak to her and someone came who said she was Kitty but it was Bobs pretending to be Kitty and mercifully we recognized her voice. Peggy had to ask Bobs too but luckily she can't come. So Kitty and Veronica are going to tea with Peggy on Wednesday and I am going back to tea there too because we want to have some fun with Kitty; of course we are going to be very nice to her but we want to tell her our point of view about us and Bobs and also we are going to be very flippant to shock her. I have never seen Kitty who is fiveteen but Peggy says she is quite nice. She hasn't been to London for nearly a year and a half and she never sees anyone but her own family in Scotland.
I got a post-card from Miss Medd-Hall this morning saying that she would give me a lesson at Upper Berkeley Street at 4.30. It was quite impossible for me to see her because we were going to Miss Clarke on our way home; besides which I couldn't have a music lesson at Upper Berkeley Street without asking Mrs Leigh's permission. Of course there was no way of letting her know I couldn't have a lesson so I wrote a note and left it for her. She came just as Mrs Leigh, Shortie and I were going out after tea so we hid till she had gone and then went out.
I happened to look round once and there she was just behind us, but I hope she didn't recognize our back views. I am sorry to have let her come round for nothing but if she doesn't let me know till the last moment I really can't help it.
Peggy and Denise went on before us because Shortie didn't get there till rather late; we walked a little way down Oxford Street with Mrs Leigh and got into 30 'bus in which we went to Miss Clarke where Mrs Idie was waiting for us. I did some trying on and then we came home in a frightfully crowded train.
It is a glorious moon-light night and the flares are lighted on the Common so I suppose there will be a raid.
Daddie went off to Sheffield this morning and he will be away till Tuesday week.
We heard this morning that Sir Eric Barrington died at midnight last night they said he could never have recovered his speech if he had lived. It is very sad for poor Lady Barrington.
The meat and butter and margarine cards came into force today.
Wolfie is coming down for the night next Saturday. She has given me an awfully pretty black net collar with embroidery worked on it.
We all think we heard guns a long way off last night between 10.30 and 11 o'clock.
Tuesday Feb: 26th 1918.
Mummy left her attaché case in a train yesterday evening, so she has been tearing wildly round London after it today with no luck but a post-card came from Wimbledon Park station this evening to say it is there.
I have been doing French and Geography prep hard today. We have got to fill in a blank map of the whole of South America tomorrow.
Shortie had a long letter from Shuttie the other day in which she says she misses Peggy very much. I think Peggy misses her too, Denise is rather like a volcanoe which may go off at any moment - in more ways than one.
Odd though it may appear there was no air raid last night. I suppose they failed to get through our defences, if they came.
Now I must try and write down in a more or less (probably the latter) intelligable fashion the story of "Nothing but the Truth", well to begin with there is a clergyman whose name I have forgotten but who we will call the Rev. Snookes for the sake of arguement and he is collection (or trying to collect) money for a seaside home for children. There is also a firm of rather shady stockbrokers in New York the head of which Mr Raston [ Ralston ] (Charles Glenny) has some shares he wishes to get rid of in a mine which doesn't exist. Another partner in the firm is Robert Bennett, otherwise Bob, who is in love with Gwendolyne Ralston ( Renée ). Gwen as we will call her in future, there been a shortage of paper and ink, is very keen about collecting for the seaside home so she goes to her father for a subscription and he not having the least intention of giving one says that if she can collect $20,000 in the five days that still remain to that month he will double it or whatever over that she gets. She has already collected $10,000 and this she takes to Bennett and says he has got to double it by speculation by the end of the month which needless to say gives poor Bennett rather a shock. He and Mr Ralston and another partner and a customer get talking about telling the truth and the others say it is absolutely impossible not to keep telling lies but Bennett says it isn't and bets them $10,000 (that 10,000 of course) that he will tell "the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth" for twenty four hours from 4 o'clock that afternoon; they greet the proposal with joy because they think they are sure to win and so they agree to it but are not quite so happy when Bennett is appealed to, down the telephone to say what the mine shares are like and says they are worthless.
This is the end of Act I which takes place in the stockbrokers office in a skyscraper. The next act is in the drawing room of the Ralstons' country house and a lovely creature a friend of Gwens whose name has escaped my memory but shall be renamed Susie, is singing and Bennett is asked how he likes her singing he says what he thinks and the result is dire and becomes even direr when he is given another chance in the form of admiring her hat and dress; again - he has to say what he thinks. Sometime later he proposes to Gwen and she of course asks if he has ever loved anyone before; he has to confess that he has but she was a girl in a circus so Gwen is soon pacified. He keeps having to say dreadful things but occasionally gives his partners a bad time as for instance when they are driving and fall into a police trap, they have just squared the policeman when he asks Robert how fast they were going and he promptly says "forty five miles an hour"! Gwen gives him almost the worst time when she will insist on knowing what has become of the money but he manages to put her off by talking very fast till a clock strikes four and he has won the bet and can explain everything to Gwen who had become so annoyed that she broke off their engagement however everything is all right when she hears his explanation.
As soon as he is released from telling the truth he fires off the most brazen lies all round.
Wednesday Feb: 27th 1918.
Shortie took me up this morning and I got to Wolfie's in time for geography; we have now started to do India. We were given half an hour for the blank map of South America. The lecture was on Greece again so I asked sweetly if I might stay down for part of it; I think Wolfie was quite well aware of the fact that I only wanted to stay to get out of French elocution anyhow she said I might stay if I went upstairs for a bit at the end. Marlie and Peggy and I sat near one another so I'm afraid I didn't hear much of the lecture. I went up at the tail end but the lesson was practically over so Mademoiselle gave me a bit by myself which was much nicer. Peggy took me back to luncheon with her and after we did French and at 3.30 Peggy went off to her singing and Shortie called for me and took me to Miss Hammond's where I had my hair brushed for three quarters of an hour. Then we went back to Upper Berkeley Street for tea. Kitty and Veronica had already arrived. Kitty is very like Bobs and her voice and laugh are just like Bobs but Veronica isn't the least like either of them. After tea we got Kitty alone and we spoke about the Minehead correspondence with Bobs which apparently Kitty didn't know about. Kitty said Bobs was very grieved with our behaviour (I know Bobs when shes grieved) I said "is she still playing at unrequited love?" and Kitty said "oh no, shes quite given up that game" which was rather a give-away for Bobs. We went upstairs and played the gramophone till they went at 6 o'clock, then when Peggy and I had discussed them we came home which we didn't reach till 7.30.
Mrs Short went to enquire about Ian and they said he was getting on well but Mummy has had a letter from Aunt Kathleen and she doesn't seem to think he is getting on so well I hope he will get well soon. Shortie took him a small bunch of violets; flowers are a most appaling price, those violets were tenpence, freesias were two bob and Lilies of the Vally five bob a bunch and quite small bunches too.
The flares are lighted on the Common so I suppose they expect a raid.
There was a large airship over London this morning.
Mummy had a letter from Daddie this morning and he seems to be having a very good time.
Thursday Feb: 28th 1918.
I practised with great deligence this morning and we went into Wimbledon taking Joffie; because I wanted to get a "Sketch" which Peggy says has got some photographs of Renée in it this week, but that sausage Frost hadn't got one left and we tried the other papers shops in vain so I came home in a thoroughly bad temper, chanting vulgar songs all the way across the Common.
Emmeline appeared at two o'clock and brought me the two last numbers of "Youth and Music". I am going to learn Paderewski's Minuet in G which is most awfully pretty but I expect I shall drive Mummy wild when I am practising it because she has heard Paderewski play it.
Mummy has had a letter from Aunt Kathleen this evening and she says Ian is getting on better which is a good thing.
My poor head is going round and round like a Catherine wheel because I have been trying to master the verbs avoir, etre, alles and venir for Denise' edification.
I am going to try and buy a photograph of Renée at Foulsham and Banfield in Bond Street tomorrow and the burning question is how to get Renée to sign it, I can either send it to her and ask her to sign it or take it round to the stage door of the Savoy and ask to see her and get her to sign it that way or wait till I go to "Nothing but the Truth" again and write and ask her to see me in her dressing-room and do it that way. Of course much the easiest way would be to send it to her but I want to see her to talk to again and that would be an excuse. I have confided all these nefarious plans in Shortie and she doesn't seem at all shocked and is quite ready to help me. Brilliant idea! why not write to Renée and ask if she will see me one Wednesday? because that means I get a letter from her besides (I hope) seeing her.
Those sausagey Russians have made peace with Germany and have given up I think it is forty five thousand square miles of practically the whole of Russia in Europe and fivety five million people to Germany.
An air raid is just starting at least some guns fairly near are going off, I suppose they are the warning. One has been going off every now and then all the time I have been writing but we weren't sure if they were guns or a door slamming.
The Germans sunk another hospital ship the other day but mercifully there were no wounded on it.
It has been very cold today and it snowed this afternoon.
The raid doesn't seem to be making much progress; it was probably the soldiers doing some stunt or other and not a raid at all.
I have at last found out what the Scotch tune is, I believe I said a few pages back that it was "Bonnie Hieland [ Highland ] Laddie" but I have now found that it is very like one of Harry Lauder's songs - "Bonnie Leezie Lindsay" and Mummy thinks he must have adapted the tune from some reel; any how they are very much alike.
I don't believe I ever really said how ripping Renée was in "Nothing but the Truth", there isn't nearly so much of her as in "Daddy Long Legs" or "The Willow Tree" but what there is is very good and very pretty. I have now decided that what I like best about her is her voice which is utterly unlike anybody else's ditto her laugh. Now I really must stop talking nonsense and go to bed.
Friday March 1st 1918
Shortie took me up to Peggy's for French this morning. After French Denise had to go to the chiropidist so Peggy and I went with her.
Shortie called for me about 2.30 and we went to Wolfies to see about bring down some marmalade, cheese and biscuits which she has got for us but they weren't ready so we couldn't bring them; she will be down about 11.30 tomorrow. From there we went to Foulsham and Banfield but the sausages hadn't got any photographs of Renée but they could get any one if they knew which one I want and I suppose take a month in the process.
We then walked down Picadilly [ Piccadilly ] to the Circus where we got into a 'bus and went to the Enquiry Bureau where we found Mummy, Miss Hillier one of the helpers, and Mr Goebel who is the gentleman attached to the hut and does things like showing the men the way and taking them to theatres and things like that. About a dozen men came in while we were there mostly Australians. Mummy went off just before four to meet Cousin V at Cousin Maude's she said she would be back at a quarter to five but she wasn't back at five so we having had tea at the bureau went to the stores and got our allowance of margarine and then came home. Mummy didn't get back till 7.15; she had come down with Cousin V.
Needless to say the "raid" last night was only the soldiers letting off smoke shells etc;
I got the "Sketch" this morning; it has got a very nice photograph of Renée which I had already got out of the "Sporting and Dramatic" and one of her looking at Matthews (who is Robert Bennett) round a grandfather clock.
We passed a butchers shop in Fulham today on the window of which was chalked "no joints today, don't blame us".
Peggy and I concocted a nefarious scheme for getting to "Cheep!" again, today. I was to get my family to let me ask Peggy to go to a play with me Saturday week and Shortie was to take us but instead of getting seats for whatever I asked her for Peggy was to get seats for "Cheep!" and we were to go off to that having given out to our respective family's (including Denise) that we were going to something quite different because Peggy's family wouldn't let her go to "Cheep!" again. However all this has fallen through because Shortie although she was quite game at first has been thinking the matter over and has come to the conclusion that it would be too much waste of money to let Peggy take us all three (36 bob). I suggested that Peggy should go alone we dropping her at the Vaudeville and fetching her away; Shortie did sort of half-heartedly consent to that but she is terrified that someone should be there who would recognize Peggy and of course if Mrs Leigh found out that we had let Peggy go to a play by herself or even taken her to one thing when we said we were going to another we should never be forgiven. I wrote to Peggy telling her Shortie would let her go alone and telling her to telephone to me about it, but I have stopped the letter because Shortie doesn't want to do it and although she would if I pressed her the risk really is too great and it isn't fair to her.
Well here endeth Volume II of my diary and except for the excitement about Renée at the beginning and a few dozen air-raids it is just about as dull as Volume I. Let us hope I shall see Renée to speak to again in Volume III which although its meself that sez it is quite likely if things turn out as I have planned they should.
Now So Long Everybody and goodnight for I'm very sleepy.
P.S. Does one sign ones diary ????