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19361123 Heather to Betty, Part 1


                              23rd November, 1936                  (In the drawing room now)


Dearest Duckie,


OOSH!    How Exciting.

But How dare you, without my permission.     Think of me, with only 8 months of un-aunthood to go.     Oh well, Peter and Ralph will have to be Uncles.

I must Just toss this letter off to you straight away, with the First Impressions of what we all thought when we got your letters this morning.

Well, I was in bed and Annie brought me my letters, and espying one from Northern Rhodesia, I proceeded to open that first.     And by jove, I nearly let the coached egg I was balancing on a plate on my bed crash to the ground.     Gosh, I thought. How exciting,   how marvellous. How FUNNY, how unbelievable, incredible.     Then I thought. Bad Luck, beginning so soon, specially when you’re got to go and beat up those elephants. But maybe, by now, you are better, because It's only at first and At Last that you feel rather lousy, isn't it?   (I'll always have to say "Isn't it?" as I haven't tried myself yet, you see.) But actually it isn't really bad luck at all, it's just rather clever.     And mighty exciting.     Is G. very thrilled about it. I feel sure he must be.

Well, then the next thought was, where will she have it? I immediately thought, Oh, obviously come home and have it, as it is the first effort and it must be hatched safely and with good knowledgeable doctor around.     I thought to myself, why doesn't she fly as far as Cairo in April, and we, coming back from India then would pick you and yours up at Port Said in our ship and take you back to England with us.'

 And then at the time just step along to Eldon House, and have it there. However, in your letter I saw that you fully intended laying it out in Northern Rhodesia, and then when Mum came along to talk about it too, she thought Much better have it where you are, and there are obviously capable people at Livingstone.    {If you don't have to go to Mankoya, which I don't expect you will if Mr Poole has got any sense at all)

Personally I think you would be much better to have It there, just sort of quietly have it, instead of coming home to have It, and everybody here crowding round you to have a look to see how fat you are getting.

Shawgm's awfully excited about it, and is greatly looking forward to being an uncle instead of a Daddy-dog.     Twm is not at all Interested yet.

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Appratently Mum got your letter at breakfast time, and nearly started reading it all out to everybody who was there (5 people staying the weekend).     When she realised what it was, she hastily stopped.

Then later she went along to Dad's study and showed the letter to him.     And he BEAMED, and thought It was the finest piece of news he haa had for a long time, and he RUBBED HIS HANDS TOGEHTER. (You must teach your son to do that too)

Poor Daddoie has had to go to London today (in a November fog too) to see the Dentist. So I haven't heard his views on the subject yet, because he had gone by time I came tripping down-stairs.

But everybody thinks it's fine.     Annie is absolutely thrilled, and rushed out to Scofield to ask him if he'd allow her to go out to Northern Rhodesia.    (And he said yes, so he must be tired of her false teeth,)

I'm sorry to hear that Medical Science isn't all it professes to be.     Was that Mr Rendell's fault.    But stlll, you have to begin sometime, so why Waste Time.

I'm afraid you'll have Gipsy stone cold, as she hasn't even thought about a Husband yet.

Duckie I'm afraid there wouldn't be much point in my coming out, because a) It will be in July, just when the Holland Jamboree is on,   b) I know SUCH a lot about midwifery, etc., that all my knowledge would be wasted on such a dull case as you. c) Peter will be at home then, and I have been set the task of introducing him to DESIRABLE girls! So, you see, I'm torn between your life and Peter's.     And in this case 1 think you are more capable of looking after your future than Peter is of his   -   if you get my meaning.

Damn that Carine.     He still mentions her several times in all his letters.    He seemed to enjoy seeing you both very much when he went to Bullawayo, but thought G. looked rather ill. (Which I suppose would be the impression one gains of him when clapping eyes on him for the first time).

Of course I should like to be with you to keep you company when G. is away, to hold your head while you unhave, to chivvy Musonda round the kitchen table (if there is a kitchen table) and to Bath the Baby, etc., only I really think you would do much better to have a proper genuine Nurse, In fact that's what I think Mum intends getting for you. a real Nurse,  -   a real classy one, I mean, like Francie de Renzy Martin, only not her actually.     A body what would arrive about a month before The Happy Event, and would therefore be a companion and sympathiser for you, and also who would be able to look after the creature after it has made its appearance, and would really know her stuff from A to Z.

You see, Duckie, much as I should like to come come, and all that, I really would be about the most useless person you could have, to begin with, I can't Sow, sew or so, or is it spelt Knit, and

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also I know Knothing about Babies, and am absolutely Putrified of dropping then.     Also, although I am an expert cleaner of fish, I don't know how I would shape as a Keeper clean of Nappie.

Mum had rather a brilliant notion that if G. does have to go off on tour in the near future you might be able to get some girl- friend in South Africa to come and stay with you to keep you company.     I can't think who, but you do know what and who there is in the Cape, or Natal, or even Johannesburg, don't you. It's not a bad idea, actually.

Gosh, what a lot there is to say, and to think about. Though by the time you get these excited letters of ours, I suppose for you the novelty of it all will have cooled down a bit!

Well, it's very careless of you, and what a night you must have had in Capetown, and all that. But still I can't help thinking how exciting it is, and really to think of you trying to be a Mother really makes me chuckle slightly. It is funny - at least I suppose it isn't really. It's very serious, and we must never laugh over such important matters. Not forgetting who you are, where you are, what is the date, etc. (I've just been reading a new 1066 book - hence the strange dottiness suddenly)

Oh, yes, and then how the Clays received the news. Of course Aunt Violet telephoned straight away, and came over to lunch.     Uncle Gerard didn't come to lunch, because as soon as he heard the news he made one dash for the train, and has gone scooting up to Burton—on-Trent to see his lawyer at once, about buying a new house at Godalming, so that they will have it all as their own, in time for when you come rolling home plus aon. A house it ii, with a room that can be a nursery.

One of Annie's first words to me were   -   You'll have to give up your room and go back to your old one now. Bad luck, me.    such is Aunt-hood.

Well, anyway, the Clays got your letter while they were in bed in the morning, and Aunt Violet was Just going to begin to read it out to uncle Gerard when she noticed what it was about.     so she immediately had to stop because the housemaid was still in the room, poking about with early morning tea sets, wash stand sets, etc, et-set-ra.   However when the housemaid had gone she proceeded forthwith, and Uncle Gerard was terribly excited about it all.     Also Ralph was at home at the time too, and Aunt Violet took the letter down to breakfast, and handed him the letter without saying anything.     Yo have his approval too I believe.

HOORAY   -   thank goodness you are letting me (and the others, though they can speak for themselves) off the duties of God-parentage.     I thought of David straight away too. The point is, who of you and G. has most say in the matter.     I mean does your offspring have two of your friends and one of     G’s, or



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vice versa.     I should think Evie would be a fine godmother. Only if you have your foal out in the wilds of Afrida, surely it will have to be christened out there too, and therefore you will have to have wild African people to be the wild godparents.

Gosh, I've just realised we have to catch this afternoon's post as the Air Mail goes tomorrow.     I must hurry.     But I hate being hurried, because I can't think straight, and I forget to put half the things I meant to put.

So I think I will stop this letter here and now, and then go on with a continuation of it this evening, and it can jolly well wait till another aeroplane comes along to take it.

Well, so long for the Present.   CONGRATULATIONS, and all the best.

I hope you are feeling better, brighter and bigger now.





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