19361117 Heather to Betty
17th November (I think). My room at Pax.
I have just been reading your PORTMANTEAU with great delight, and feel I must make some instantaneous reply, strike while the iron is still luke warm, etc.
First I will tell you about me, (because I am so important) and then I will answer you. Well, to begin about me. I'M ILL!
VERY ILL. Nearly dead, in fact. Only unfortunately for every-body I'm getting better now, so better that I will be allowed to get out of bed for tea to-day.
Being ill, I must tell you all about it, because that is the privilege of ill people, TO Tell Somebody, it doesn't matter who, All About IT.
Well, on Saturday 31st October 1936 I went out Cubbing on
Jority. It was pouring with rain and frightfully cold, and the Meet was at The Prince of Wales Pub in Froyle. Of course we did absolutely nothing, and stood about getting colder and colder and Jority got more and more impatient and reared and bucked and snorted. Anyway, after we had killed a Cub we all went home at about lunch time. That was allright, and I groomed Jority and gave her some Hot Lunch, end then went in and gave myself ditto. Next day was sunny and lovely and I was quite well thankyou. On Monday I woke up with a Fierce headache, but I took no knotice and went out Hunting - to the Opening Meet of the Bordon Drag, and I thought God's fresh air would blow away the Headache. we had a very boring morning with no foxes afoot, and we hung about, and I felt awfully tired, but thought it was because Jority had been so bouncy. On every possible occasion I got off her, and leant up against her, and my head felt very heavy and I had to lean it against her withers. Then we had a very nice bit of a run and Jority jumped a gate Beautifully and we found several pieces of timber, and then we got away on to the sand at Bordon and had some lovely galloping, and jumping an occasional log, etc. I was quite cheered and hacked merrily home afterwards.
When I got in I was meant to motor up to London for a Committee meeting for a Ball of which I am a member. But I felt so tired that I couldn't be bothered to move away from the rug infront of the fire in the drawing room.
Next day was a Tuesday, and I still had a Headache and found it very difficult to get out of bed, but as I had to get Jority in to Farnham by 10 o'clock for her to be clipped by Mr Robins, I had to get up. Green and me rode Gipsy and Jority into Farnham, and it poured with cold rain on us all the time. When we got there we had to get Jority dry ready for the Clipping operation. But I felt such a corpse that I couldn't even bend down to pick up a bit of straw to help dry Jority with. Then the crowning dismalness was when the clippers WOULDN'T WORK, because they had got Quite Blunt after having clipped all Mr Robins fat-fetlocked creatures that week.
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So they sent in to Aldershot for new clippers, and they said that Jority wouldn't be ready till the afternoon. So I left Green there to bring back, and stepping on to dear little Gipsy Moth, I came roaring home, still in pouring cold rain. That afternoon Dad gave me a lot of typing to do, all about physical training. It was awful trying to do it. I could hardly some up enough energy to type each word, and there were 5 pages to do! At last I got to the end, and I thought to myself I can't go on any longer. So I said to Mum, who was just getting herself organised to go out for a walk (in the cold rain) "Mum, feel my forehead" which she did, and it felt Hot, so she said well, I'll take your temperature. So she did that. The temperature said 103. So Mum said Go to bed. So I did that. I was jolly glad to get there too, and just lay for hours feeling like a worn out corpse just waiting for the arrival of the coffin.
There were some people to dinner that night, so Dad had to do the working of the films, and did it Most efficiently. Annie had come up to help be Parlourmaid, and then she came straight on from that to be Nurse to me. She had to sleep in my room with me in case I tried to get out of the window, or got dead in the night. But I didn't do either, so I was a very uninteresting patient. Then Doctor Fussy came next day and tapped my back and made me say Ninety-Nine. I've never had to say Ninety Nine before, and I never knew why one had to say it. Apparently the vibration of one's voice saying Ninety nine gives the doctor a Clue as to What is wrong. And by the way I said Ninety-Nine (I didn't say Didety- Dide, because I hadn't got a cold) he diagnosed that I had a Touch of Bronchial Pneumonia. Doesn't it sound grand. I feel awfully proud of having had Newmonia, only unfortunately I am only allowed to call it a Touch, as the real thing takes about 3 months to get over apparently.
I've now been in bed for a fortnight and day, and not allowed to get out of bed ever. Annie makes me sit on the BP (bed-pan) occasionally, and I live in abject terror of the damned thing, and
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But now at last I'm getting better,and have had a normal temperature for three days running, So the excitement is all over. with my fleet of Hunters. Jority is back at Downman's all this time, being told not to rear, and Gipsy is doing Nothing here, and Green takes her out riding every day. But it's most annoying watching each hunting day going past, and still not being able to do anything about it. Especially as there's only about 7 weeks left before we sail for India. As far as I can see, I will only get about 2 days' hunting before we're off!
There, I think I've grumbled all I can now I hope you've enjoyed it, but I don't expect you've got as far as reading to here. While I have been in bed stuffing all this time, Mum and Dad keep on doing Dashes off to different places. Dad chiefly does Dashes to London for Dinners. But Mum is absolutely Terrible. One minute she's in Glasgow, the next in Birmingham.
Then I hear that she is at Derby, then at Preston. Then at Hull, then at St James's with Miss Alice. She's been doing an absolutely Tremendous lot lately, in fact Dr Fussy gave her quite a Raspberry for over-working and looking tired. But she won't she can't - stop. And what's so pleasing is that the number of Guides in Britain has begun to go UP again.
As you have deserted your pest as Secretary to Mum, she has taken on Rosalind. Rosalind is jolly good at it, and Mum took her up to Birmingham with her the other day, on a sort of try-out, and she said that Rosalind was perfectly excellent. She milled around and mixed in with everybody marvellously, and then, the crowning thing on the way home was that NUM drove Juno while she Dictated
letters to Rosalind, who was sitting by her. 17 letters they did in Juno! And poor Rosalind when she got back here had the fun of
trying to read back her shorthand: Rosalin is coming to India too
We sail for India on January 8th. (Most annoying date, as Rosie Clay had asked me to a Ball in Dorking that night!) At the moment I'm not in the least enthusiastic about going. (Thoroughly
spoilt girl, aren't I.) But the point is that January 8th and after is just the time when all the Hunt Balls are coming on. And also the Hunting Season is much better after Xmas, and also I have just begun (at least I had before I got ill) to get to know a few
people who live around here. However, we're going!
As I said before, we sail on January 8th. We are going in
a nasty little tub called the Maloja, and we come back in her too. we get to Bombay on 27th January and then Proceed to Delhi (Del-Hi as Nigel Duncan insists on it being called!) for the All-India
Scout Jamboree. Also, I am most delighted to hear that the big Horse Show will be coming on then too, so there will be plenty
of Interest. Then Mum and Rosalind go off on a Guiding tour to Madras and divers places, while Dad and I go up north to Risalpur
where the 13th have just been moved off to. That is the part I dread most, going to stay with the Regiment and be thrown at wretched Cavlary Officers - who always give me an Inferiority
Complex anyway. Well, anyway, I hope we won't stay there long.
It's a pretty grim place anyway, I believe. Then after that, we
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go on up to beautiful Kashmir for a holiday, and there Mum and
Rosalind will join us. DO you remember how the Pophams' at Nottingham Road in Natal tried to persuade us to go to Kashmir, when we were staying with them, because that had found it such
Paradise. so it will be fun to be going there after all. And then we have to sail home again, leaving India on Larch 27th. We shall not get home till about the middle of April - so as usual we shall miss the Point-to-Point season, and get back just in time to turn the Hunters out
Oh I must tell you about the Dogs, while I have been in
bed. They have been perfectly sweet, Shawgm and Twm. They spend all the time practically with me (Chiefly because there's
a froom!) my room;) Twm has given up many valuable ratting hours to come and keep me company, and he really is too adorable. He lies close up alongside me, and never moves, except when he
gets hot, and rolls over, with all four hands in the air, and his little mouth a bit open with those funny little teeth showing, Shawgm sits in front of the fire by the hour. He sits so close to it that he would go blind if he wasn't blind already, and sometimes I can Smell his nose roasting - like a chestnut.
mum comes up and takes them out for walks, and as soon as they get back again, scrape scrape goes a great black claw on the door, and not being allowed out of bed, I ring my bell, and one of the wretched scivvies comes panting up from the servants' hall - just to let Shawgm in. No sooner has she done this and gone down again, than there comes two impatient scrabbles on the door, from TWM this time, with the little brown hand. Again I ring the bell Twm hears it and barks, because he thinks it is the postman at the front door, and then goes running down to see. By this time the maid has come up again, and then there's no twm to be let in. So he has tobe fished back from his investigations at the front door, and finally all is peace again. But they really are so sweet the way thcome!ways come:
I have the Radio as close to my bed as it can get, and it
plays me beautiful music all day AND all Night. It begins at 7 a.m. from Radio-Normandie, and goes right on till 1 a.m. with music from Henry Hall or somebody like that - a different band each night. At the moment it is a Cinema organ from
Cardiff or somehwere. This morning it gave a lovely selcetion
from The White Horse Inn. Two nights running it has been doing a Life of Johann Strauss, with a man telling all about his life, and then playing all his tunes. Last night they had the Grand Finale, which was absolutely gorgeous, and of course you can guess
the tune. The Blue Danube, with two Orchestras! It was just heavenly, and they went on playing it for alovely long time, with all sorts of extra variations thrown in, to make it an even more grand Finale. It sang a lovely song by a Cowboy this morning,
called "I'm an old Cow Hand". It went something like this: "I'm an old Cow hand From the Rio Grande. I'm not proper cowboy coz I've never seen a cow; I've never roped a steer coz I don't know how; and that's the truth that I'm tellin'Yip-i-I-a-o
Yipi-I-a-o Yippi-I-a-o. I'm an old Cow hand From the Rio
Grande. I'm goin' down town where all folks go; and I can tell you where the dingoes go; coz I've heard it all on the Radio
Yippi-i-ay-o, Yippi-i-ay-o. I'm an old cow-hand From the Rio Grande And when I have to go to the Golden Gate; I always know that I won't be late; Coz I shall be goin' in the Ford V 8; Yippi-
i-ay-o, Yippi-i-ay-o! It goes on for verse after verse like
that and is lovely.
Oh, before I forget, Annie sends her love. She has just
been interrupting me horribly by putting another plaster on my side - which meant hurling the typewriter off the bed, putting TWM down at the bottom of the bed, and pulling off all my clothes! However, we're straight again now. Annie is being allowed to read your letter, and she is sitting infront of the fire, playing velvet with Shawgm's Ear with one hand, and holding your letter in the other. She has just let out a terrific laugh about the man with a mauled leg who had tried to save his donkey from the Lion, but wouldn't have been such a hero if it had been his wife or his ma-in-law!
The latest news from the front here is three peopel are engaged:
Viola Molten°, who has apparently been unofficially engaged
since last January, to Peter MacMillan, son of the Bishop of Guild-ford.
Rachel Soames, to somebody called Goslee, in Essex. At
least I think his name is Goslee, and I think he lives in Essex. They are going to be married in January. Rachel asked me to be bridesmaid, but of course we will have gone to India by then.
Jane Thornewill, to Oliver Plunket, who I think is awful, but I've only met him twice, so it's a very unfair opinion; Apparently they were going to be married in two years' time when he gets home on leave from Egypt. But now he has just had to have his
appendix out, and so has got 4 weeks leave. So he wired to Jane
that he would come home, and what about getting married. So Jane
said Oke by me, Baby. So now he's on his way home, and they are going to have a quick quiet wedding as soon as he gets back. They have to be back in Egypt again by December 13th, so they haven't got
much time. Jane must be pretty rushed to get everything in time. I had a priceless letter from her, saying Come and stay with me in Egypt, and I'll have you on for Camel races across the desert, and Bending races in and out of the Pyramids!
I can't think of any more engagements at the moment - though I probably will just as soon as I've stuck down the envelope.
I must tell you an amusing little story I saw in the paper
the other day. A little boy was fishing in a Trespassers W. Pond. A fierce Policeman came along and asked him what he thought he was
doing there. "TEaching this worm to swim" said the boy (indicating the worm stuck on the end of the bent pin!)
I had a jolly nice invitation from the chinless Pauline the other day, to go to a Hunt Ball with them, and have a Hunt the next
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it just collides with the very date (Dec 4th) that George Carter had already asked me to go up to Northumberland for a Ball, and TWO hunts, with the Zetland.
Well, now, I must just hastily answer your letter before Annie takes it down to Mum.
I hope Mundosa, Chishimba, Shimeo and Peter (I've written those by heart, so I hope they're allright:) are still being kind to
you, and that you are getting on well with the language. Do you have to learn Sikololo as well?
Oh yes,and one thing I've been dying to ask you for a long time Did you have your Mane cut off?
Duckie, your house doesn't sound too plesant, with a ceilinge full of white Mice - or Ants. Do they fall through the ceiling on to your Head: I should be terrified t4ey would.
Oh, the Radio is playing Sehnsuchts, and I must stop and listen. It's so heavenly.
There, it's stopped.
I expect by this time all the wedding presents will have arrived in their thousands, and you will have had a terrible time unpacking each cup and saucer. I hope nothing much was broken, and that you have managed to stow most of it into your house alright. Of course plates and saucers are excellent things for making an Edge to the flower beds when necessary. Also Thermos Jugs could be turned into quite handy flower pots if need be. Has the saddlery arrived, and does it fit allright? Who looks after your steeds, or aren't they looked after. I mean who keeps them away from lions,
crocs, etc. They sound nice steeds, or do they have to be kicked along the whole time. A boy friend of mine called Raymond Brocklehurst was staying at a riding school place the other day, and he said he was given an ex race horse to ride, King Tudor, who beat that famous racehorse Jack, at Epsom last year, and he said he had to kick the brute along the whole time, and he felt just like a block
of woood to ride! So much for race-horses, but what about your Steeds of the African Bush? Did you ask Mrs Rey if she wanted to part with her Bay Basuto.
HOW awful, Mr Reilly having died. I can't actually remember what he looked like, can you. I can remember her quite well, though, and I remember going out to the golf links at Mafeking with her to fetch him. He was Col. Rey's junior wasn't he. Did you see Jackie Masterman, or has he gone bush with his new undesirable?
It must have been quite nice seeing Peter again, but from what I gather of your letter he sounded very Eyebrows Up and Fore-head wrinkled. Gosh, Carin has got him on toast. Isn't there a new attraction in the Guide Captain at Umtali? I don't think he'd dare to bring her home with him next year would he?
Anyway, she couldn't possibly afford to fly. I have told Mum that she simply mustn't send Peter any more money because he uses it all for buying Carin dresses and engagement rings! (And Rendells, I suppose, when he was at Rusapi!)
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By the way, it's nearly Christmas time, and so I suppose
I'd better ask what you want in the present line. You can see
by this time what you most seriously lack. sounds to me as
though you need a Calendar! Are you tired of your gramo- phone records yet?
Oh, Does the Radio work all right, or do you want Mr Brownjohn to send you any instructions on the subject of Plug-in Coils, etc. I hope it goes all right.
You enquire about Gipsy's Tail. It is lovely. Green
pulled it, from over the stable door, while I held her face, and
tried to keep her back with her behind against the door. he kept on trying to leap forward, and Green had to hang on to her tail for all he was worth to keep her back! He has pulled a lot of the superfluous fur out from the top of her tail, and now it
stands out away from her behind very nicely. Jority's tail is,
of course, unsurpassably beautiful. She is beautiful altogether, and I'm just longing to see her again. I haven't seen her since she's been clipped, as I rode Gipsy home before Jority was done, and when I got home I was popped into bed.
What is a Spring Hair (Anything to do with Rabbits in bummer?)
How do you manage to see the statue of Physical Energy from the main street of Cape Town when Physical Energy is at Groot Shhuur?
In answer to your questions, I don't think Aunt Ger has
died yet. I haven't noticed that Mum has been to any funerals
lately. Are you hoping there's something for you in the will?
(I shouldn't think it would be a very big Will somehow!)
I expect we shall breed from Gypsy Moth, only nothing can
or has been done yet. I'm afraid she will only be allowed to have a small husband on the occasion of her first marriage, as if she were to have a big one straight away, a big foal might make her Burst, and then she wouldn't be any good to anyone except God any more.
Dad caught 3 salmon altogether, but the one you heard
about, the 2Olber was the Prize. He had quite a bit of fun landing him I believe, although he was rather a Red fish (i.e. had been in the river for some time' and therefore was not quite so skittish as one fresh run from the sea).
Little Rsuty hasn't made any messes in the house because he's not given the opportunity very much, as he only comes in on
special occasions. He is so DASHY, he nips through from one room to another, and you never know what he is doing in that room and you have to follow him to see, and when you get there you can't find him, as he's already skimmed off somewhere else by that time! He's a terror for going and scavenging on the
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rubbish heap! When he is coming back from a walk, as soon as he gets to the lawn he makes a headlong dash straight for the rubbish heap, and then has to be fished off it, and carried upside-down to his kennel. Also Dad has given him one or two spankings for such
terrible behaviour. He is getting marvellously obedient, and fully understands Steady and Heel, by watching and doing what the
Big Dogs do. But he is finding it awfully hard to learn Hi On, because Bong can't Hi On (because ne never has enough energy to run on infront of Mum and Dad) so Rusty doesn't think he ought to go on ahead either. Poor little Rusty had an attack of Hysteria the other day, and rushed round and round in circles with his
tail tucked down, yowling at the top of his voice. I told Mum to tell the vet, as he can probably give him an injection, but I don't think she has done anything about it.
I have told Annie that while we are away in India she must house-train Rusty, so that when we get back and when it is summer time and there aren't Muddy paws, little Rusty will be able to become one of the Elite, who live in big houses.
Talking of big houses, I expect Mum told you all about the house that the King offered Mum and Dad to live in at Walton-on-
Thames. It sounded a lovely house, with Radios in every room, INCLUDING the Bathroom. Did she tell you that when they were deciding who the house should be offered to at Buckingham Palace, the King, on his own initiative said, "I think we should offer it to the most notable man of to-day - B-P. Wasn't that nice. The King's Secretary told Dad that when he went to say No Thanks. It's a pity it's a small house, and also it's in a place rather
too near to London, and there are NO stables! So I'm glad they didn't accept it.
I told you didn't I that I've now Moved house - or rather
Room. I have the schoolroom now, and it makes a splendid big
bedroom. I've got the Drawing Room Carpet, with holes cut in it
where the mothy places were, and it doesn't look too bad. Also I've still got the foul thin curtains of Annie's choosing, but I've got quite used to them too, and they aren't too bad on better
acquaintance. Then I have lovely pale blue wall paper (of my own choosing for a change) and all white furniture. Your old furniture chiefly -- bed, 2 wardrobes, chairs and dressing table and
wash stand. I have kept the two white cupboards which used to contain saddlery and toys, and have imported my own shelves which hold all the little drawers and two rows of shoes. Also the big white cup-board is crammed with all sorts of goods like bowlers and bootjacks, drawing boards and skeleton horses for modelling on, etc. Oh yes, and I've kept in here the white bookshelf, but have taken out all the books it had in it, and filled it with only the ones I
like - chiefly of course, all my horse books. Also of the pictures, I only have a select few in here - a fine row of Lionel Edwards ones in a line along the wall above the fireplace (I can look straight
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across to them from my bed) and over my bed are 3 Cecil Alins, and in a corner are 3 Gilbert Holiday, and then where that high cupboard which had a lot of your wedding presents
used to be, in the left hand corner of the room, so to speak, is the lovely big "Forward the Guns" picture by Lucy Kemp Welch. 14 in all.
Did I tell you that I have made out an address book with all the names and addresses and the present given, of the people
who sent you gifts for your wedding. The book is ready too late I'm afraid to be of any assistance to you in writing to thank fo presents, but it is right up to date with all the latest things received here, and I will send it out to you in case you ever want to look up anybody's address, or if you are writing to them you can look and see what present they gave you and mention it in your letter, telling them the sad news of how it got broken in transit and hoping they will send two more to replace it, etc:
Well, as I'm now going to get up (for the first time for a fortnight and a day, so I expect I'll fall over as soon as I try and stand up!) I'd better pack up.
Goodbye for the present, and hoping your chilblains aren't too bad, and may I advocate the wearing of 2 pairs of WOOLLY bedsox as being an excellent remedy - living under the conditions that you do.
LOVE from HEATHER - me.
P.S. Does Mum spell Sesheke right now? I gave her a Rasp.
about it the other day.
It isn't necessary to put Barotseland as well as Northern Rhodesia is it?
Though of course I suppose really just Betty, Sesheke, Darkest Africa would be enough.
2 more things:-
Bobby Britain wrote to say he had seen the film of your wedding on the
cinema in CAIRO !
Dad went to a Mercers' Dinner
& took as his guest Mr ECCLES
Do you remember him at Livingstone?
Mum has just said "We'd better not tell Bet about Rusty's hysteria as it might worry her." . - So please cross out what I've put!
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