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19361123 Heather to Betty, Part 2


19361123 2 01.jpg                                                                        PAX.

                                            23rd November, 1936         (Still in the drawingroom)

Dear Future Mother,

Here is the continuation of where I left off before tea when I had to stop to catch the Post.

Well, I will continue to answer your letter.     (I had a very awkward moment just now, because Mum and I were having tea together, and she was re-reading your letter, and I had the one you wrote to me sitting by me, ready to answer.     And she said May I see your letter?     So I said Yes, rather.   And then I gave it a sideway glance, and saw on the first page all the harangue about blast all these wedding presents, so I thought to myself, not on your life.     so I have auietly folded up the letter, and I think, as she is so busy reading her own, that she will forget about mine.)     -    Hope so anyway.

By the way, your letters ARE fun! Do you know, I almost hate reading them because I am afraid of getting to the end. when I feel I am coming to the last page I read very very slowly, so that it will last longer!     They really are fine letters.

Your Air Mail letters take 13 days to get to us. At least, that is if you put the right date on yours!     This last letter that I got from you you have dated 10th November (that was a Tuesday, and the day before Armistice Day   -   the day we should be at Aden on!   -   the day I was meant to go to Roger Leigh-Wood's wedding[1],[2]) and I got it this morning (Monday, 23rd November)     So that's not bad going, seeing as 'ow your letter has to go in a barge, and then on a train up to Broken Hill. The post-mark on the letter is Broken Hill, so I suppose that's where it took off from.

Talking about Roger Leigh Wood's wedding, and not going, it has rather a coincidence attached.     I was telling somebody in a loud voice (at your wedding reception) that I had been asked, but I didn't think I'd go, because I didn't know anybody that the Leigh Woods know.     Peggy Barne heard me saying this, and came along and said I'm going to that Wedding, come with me, because I don't know anybody going either.     so we planned to lunch together first (it was a London wedding) and then to step along to St Nargaret's together.     Well, later Peggy wrote to say sorry I must let you down about the wedding, I can't go because I have got bronchial Peneumona.     And I'm damned if I didn't go and get Bedridden with the same trouble!     Only Peggy went worse than me and got Pleurisy too.     So the Wedding was very incomplete.

That is a sweat about being so cluttered up with allthose wedding presents.     Can't you through all eight handbags into the Zambesi?     (When you next go down to Livingstone you could play

 

 

 

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Poohsticks with them off the Falls Bridge.     I suppose it's no good suggesting that you sent all the most unnecessary stuff back hone?     (More expense, I suppose, but cheaper in the long run than having to cart it ell around Rhodesia after you.)

I can quite imagine Mum's portmanteaux, though I don't ever see them before she sends them to you   -   any more than she sees what I write to you!    She STILL calls Weston WestonS   - so it's just as well Aunt Violet and Uncle Gerard are moving Houses! Though I forgot to ask Aunt Violet when she was here today what the new House is called.     It is very near Charterhouse, and is about the same size as Weston, and has 17 acres altogether, so it sounds bigger than Pax, but most of it is a FIELD.

Talking of being made to squirm, Rosalind made me squirm at the wedding.     After you had all gone off in a hooroosh I was rushing back into the house to go and change quickly because David was chivvying us round to go up to London for a binge. Rosalind apparently thought I was rushing in to Cry because you had gone.     She came in after me, caught hold of my hand and squeezed it and said "Never mind Heather, it'll be your turn next"!!!' Oooooo, ow wow wow!

Damn well hope it won't.     I'm enjoying my spinsterhood very much   -   or rather I would be if it wasn't for this illness.

Anyway, I'm now nearly better.     I haven't been allowed to do much yet.     I came downstairs to tea on Friday, for the first time.     On Saturday I came down for lunch and Tea, and on Sunday for Lunch. Tea and Dinner.     Also It was lovely and sunny at about lunch time, so I jumped into my Cad's Coat and rushed out-of-doors, and before anybody could stop me I nipped round to the stable and went and had a look at Gipsy Moth.   And there she was, Having Lunch, and she was simply furious that I should dare to cone in while she was having lunch.     Also I hardly recognised her at first, because the last time I had seen her I had recently had her clipped out and she was very smart.     But yesterday I saw a great Woolly Bear standing there having Lunch.     But it was Gipsy underneath,     Green took her out hunting last Saturday when the Meet was at the Hen and Chiokens,     Also he will take her to the Prince of Wales on Saturday, and to The Star Inn, Bentley, on the Saturday after that.     I am not considered fit enough to Hunt for another fortnight, and Annie has torn up   my Hunting Appointment Card (but I know it by heart already, so it doesn't make any difference)

There's an awful lot of wavering going on about Jority. I still think she's delightful and most exciting to ride, Green won't get on her back.     All the ladies in the H.H. are terrified of her   -   and yet they all think she is lovely to look at. And last Monday she went over a post-and-rails (with Tom Downman's groom up) that nearly the whole field were stuck at.   But. she has come down three times with me, and she does rear, which is

 

 

 

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DANGEROUS.     So I don't know whether I shall or shall not be able to keep her.   The parentage are both against it, and Green definitely dislikes her and says there are Just as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it.     In other words, Get something else.     I might, but still I have a great fondness for Jority. She is very ducky, and so smart with her plaited mane, and so sweet in the stable.     At the moment, as I think I told you, she is back at Tom Downman's.     I don't know what he'll say at the idea of me not keeping her.     But I suppose I'll be able to do a spot of exchanging.     Actually Ann has found a very good beast for me, a dark chestnut mare, aged 6, 16 hands, and an exceptionally fine jumper.     She sounds lovely, and I hope to go and see her one day soon.     But then, I don't know if Tom Dowmnan will give Dad the money back for Jority.     And anyway, I dont want a horse for most of January, and all February and March.     So it's all being very difficult and annoying, as I DO want to have a real horse of my own   -   I mean a real Big one.   But so far it looks a pretty dim prospect.

Ann, by the way, is going to the Hoyal Academy of Drmamatic Art next tern,    She is very sad at giving up the idea of hunting, but she has made up her mind to take the Plunge, as she thinks it is quite time she did something for a change, instead of loafing about with horses in Hereford.     (Just as well in a way, as there's a young farmer up there who lends her horses who is Jolly fond of her, and if she doesn’t look out he'll catch her and marry her!)

Oh, and talking of the stage, poor old Val Hulton Sams[3] has at last got a job, but only dancing in a Pantomime at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. There was a lovely photograph of Halph Reader in the paper the other day, with swarms of little girls crowding round him, all clamouring to be given parts as Fairies in the Pantomime he was putting on at Drury Lane this Xmas. Ralph was down here the other day with some of The Gang (including Jack Beet of course) to give a show at the Bentley ex-service Man’s Dinner.     Daddie made a lovely funny speech and made all the old men rock with laughter.       He told them a story about an inebriated gentleman in Farnham (a place near Bentley you know) who pushed his way in through a door, leant up against the counter, and said Give me a pint of beer.     So the gent on the serving side of the counter said You can't get beer here, this is a Bank.   But I must have a pint of beer, come on, give me some beer.     So the poor bank Clerk went on explaining that this was a Bank not a Bar.     So eventually the old gent shuffled out, and wandered up the street a little way, and presently he pushed his way in through another door, staggered up to the counter, and demanded his Pint of beer   -   but again he was told he was in a Bank, not a public Bar, and after the same episode had happened about three times, the poor man eventually gave up in despair and after being pushed out into the street still without his beer, he shouted out The whole bloody place is full of Banks! (whioh, of course, is quite true about Farnham)

 

 

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He also told them about what fine fellows the Scandinavians are, although they fought against us during the »ar.     Afterwards old Baigent cane up to Dad, and said he quite agreed with him what fine upstanding fellows they were, and then with a bloodthirsty tone he Joyfully said I cut one of their 'ands off, I did,

Ralph is coming down to Farnham again on Dec. 12th to give a performance there.     Foul Dick Mills has asked me to go with him, but I think I will carefully arrange to have David here then because he went with me to that show once before and all the Then Gang loved David, and we chased them half-way back to London in their 'bus in David's little M.G.     David, by the way, is now a Director of some dim Motor Company,   He is a go-ahead creature isn't he.     Why can't Peter do that sort of thing, instead of mucking about waffling with Myrtle and Carine.

I must give you full news of our Mama.     She is being Terribly naughty about India.     As far as I can see there isn't a single town, village or hamlet in the whole of that vast country that she isn't going to visit.     Dad and I, as you know will only be official at Delhi, for the Scout Jamboree at the beginning of Feb.     Well, when that’s over Mum and Rosalind go off on a guiding tour.     They dash accross to Calcutta, they dash down to Madrss, the ooze along to Hyderabad, they dash across to Bombay, to Poona, to Agra, and to every conceivable place you can think of   -   and in the south of India it will be jolly hot then too.     And I believe the trains are simply foul out there   - even worse than the African ones, and what's more, we have to take our own Bedding!     Apparently we have, rather like we did in Kenya, a servant (called a Bearer instead of a Boy) who goes round every place with us, and when we get to our destination he unpacks everything, and irons our frocks most beautifully, and lays out all the clothes, and you never see him, because he goes away and gets all his own food and stuff with the other servants at the place you are staying at   -   like dear Migwe did when we took him up to the Hunting place from the 0utspan.     We are going to have two Bearers between the four of us, and they have already been ordered to meet us at the boat at Bombay.     I think I told you, didn't I, that we are going cut in a foul little row-boat called the Maloja[4], who I think is a B.I. and closely realted (related, that word was meant to be) to the Mantola[5].     I'm still not very keen on the idea of going to India, because I'm still putrified of fierce smart soldiers.     But one thing I look forward to is the Delhi Horse show, and another is that Colonel Lumley has asked Dad (and I hope his secretary-luggage will be included too) to stay with him at Meerut where he is in command of the Brigade. Meerut, as you may know, is the absolute Melton Mowbray of Pig-sticking, so I hope we may be able to ride out on elephants and see some pig-sticking.     If we're frightfully lucky we might Just manage to be there at the time when they are competing for the Kadir Cup, though I fear that is too good to be true. And after Meerut we go up to the N.W.F.[6] to Risalpur where we stay with the Kennedy's, and after that we hope to go on up to Kashmir, though I'm afraid it will be terribly early in the year, and we may not be able to get up there on account of the deep

 

 

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snow blocking the passes.     Anyway, we hope to get Mum to Join us somewhere up there, and at any rate to make her come up to the hills, because it will be getting very hot in the plains about then.

Yes, we are having the usual terrible arguments, and Dad is almost defenceless against her, because she is so firm about what Guides are going to be visited, etc.

Although Mum vows she is never tired, she really is terribly overworked at the moment.     I think I told you in my last letter written from my deathbed, how I never knew from one day to the next where she was.     Well, apparently she has been simply flying round England, doing a whole lot of good, but doing a whole lot of unnecessary things which could easily have been done by ordinary commissioners.     And then when she gets home she gives herself such a terrible lot of work by writing so many - and such unnecessary   -   letters.     She really is very tired, without realising it herself.     She is sort of all on edge, and does and says everything in a terrific hurry, dashing to the telephone to send long unnecessary telegrams, and gosh! what a complex she has about the Radio.     The other day I was playing it very softly, beautiful solemn violin music, and she came storming in and said Oh, noise, noise noise, can't you live without that awful wow-wow-wow going on all the time.    Do, do switch it off.     And then, when I was allowed down here on Sat. I went into the barn with Elizabeth Agnew, to let her hear my Tauber record of Night and Day, because she adores Night and Day. We played it very softly, with the gramophone all  shut. But Mum’s nerves are so on edge that she hears the least noise, which aggravates her.     She came along, and simply slammed the barn door shut, with such a bang that I thought the whole of the wing would fall down!       She is so busy typing, typing, typing, all day that she only has time to rush out for short walks with Rusty, and never has time to attend to the household, and the result is they are all getting as slack as hell.     Ivy never does any dusting, and all the lights in the drawing room are covered with cobwebs, Hilda, the P.M.[7] never bothers to look and see if there are any letters in the letter-box to be posted.   That damned little kitchen maid never stokes up the fire properly so that we can have hot water for baths in the morning.     The cook serves out the most revolting and tough food   -   in fact the only maid who is any good is little Muriel, the under-housemaid, and she always puts my waste-paper basket so far away from my desk that I always have to hurl all the waste paper at it   -   and nearly always miss!

Annie has been marvellous at looking after me while I was ill.    She bathed me in bed, put plaster on my side, fed me, peeled grapes for me, flung medicine down my throat, fetched me papers and books, turned the Radio on and off for me, brought the dogs up, and did absoultely everything.

It is a fortnight    -I mean three weeks tomorrow since I went to bed.     But I am up again allright now.     At least I have not got to the Getting-up-for-breakfast stage yet.     But I had a bath by myself for the first time today.     I am staying here till

 

 

 

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Thursday, and then Cyril and B. are very kindly having me to stay for a week, to convalesce by the sea, in the sunny(?) South. And then I shall dash home for one night, collect my hunting and Ball-going gear together, and then make a dash to Newcastle to stay with the George Carters for a spot of gaiety.

Then I'm jolly well coining hone to get a bit of hunting here   -   though I’11 only have about 3 weeks before we start for India.     And I've got to buy some MORE clothes for going there.

I am going to a Ball in Malvern on 22nd Dec, and there's one at Charterhouse on 21st, which I don't know if I will go to. The H.H.[8] Ball is on Dec. 10th, and we shall make up a party for it I expect.     Ann is coming, because she and me must celebrate, as it was this time FOUR years ago that we both made our first appearance at a Hunt Ball.     FOUR years, isn't it terrible. Also Bill Worrall and Michael Jardine are coming, but I haven't asked anyone else yet.

Now let me think what other news I can regale you with. Oh, one or two Deaths to report.

Mr Ray, who you remember used to live at the Quinta, has died.

I don't know why, or how, but he's just drifted out.

Sir Fitzroy Maclean[9], the 100 year old, who was in the 13th, and

lived at Duart Castle, on the Isle of Mull.

Major Crombie, Nina King's [step]father.[10]

Sir Murray Anderson[11], who you may remember was Governor of Newfoundland when we were there, and then went on to be Governor of New 3outh Wales.     He's passed out, which I think is very sad. Think of poor Lady Anderson coming home all alone. That's all I can think of.

A small item is just who was staying over this last week-end.    (Nothing but women of course.)     Well, first of all, I had a long-lost girl friend called Elizabeth Agnew staying.    She is very sweet, and rahter pretty, and awfully duckie.   Not horsey, but Just decorative, and you don't have to entertain her at all as she Just knits and reads and talks cheerily when you want her to, and loves going out in the motor car or airing the dogs, or arranging flowers.     she was engaged to the brother of a girl called Rosamund Collins who I was at school with, but she broke it off after 3 months   -   and only a month before the wedding, after all the invitations had been sent out and everything, she had got over 200 presents, all of which she had to send back! Including one lovely diamond bracelet watch,    she is aged 22, and I think I will keep her up my sleeve as being one of the DESIRABLES for Peter!     Wretched girls!

Then Lettice also was staying, and did some champion high cackle laughs, and also a lot of effected talk with her eyelids closed. But I really found her very useful as she gave ne a lot of first- hand hints as to what clothes one needs for India. Apparently I shall have to have warm as well as cool ones as Kashmir is freezing.

Also "Auntie Maye" Mackie, who was very sweet, and on Sunday she fetched Alistair over from Charterhouse.     She read me some letters she had got from William who is out in Palestine sniping

 

 

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at Arabs.     Apparently he went out there feeling fully in sympathy with the wretched Arabs who he thought were being foully treated by the pushing great Jews who come barging in on them..     out when he got there, he entirely changed his opinion.     He says its is marvellous what the Jews have done for the land.     They have cultivated it and made it productive, and they have cleaned up all the towns, especially Jerusalem, so marvellously, that everybody there has the greatest admiration for the Jews.     He says that the Old Testament really seems to come to life when you are in Palestine, and no longer seems a fairy tale.  Anyway, he said, the bus- driver who drove his platoon out from Jerusalem to the place where they were posted on the Jaffa road to guard it from the Arabs, was defintiely a Direct Descendant from Jehu!

Also staying was Rosalie Hacon (spinster) a Guider who has done a lot of training in India, and is going back there for the fifith time this Christmas.     she loved Twn because she has a welsh Terrier too, and Twm reminded her so much of him. Also one solitary man called Mr Gore   -   very rich, and had been in the 13th before the war, and then joined the R.A.F. during the war.     He is now very rich, having made his money growing sugar beet in Norfolk, and also done a spot of stock exchanging on Wall Street, and says he knows America like the back of his hand. He knows what's good in the American car line, I must say, for he arrived down here in a most heavenly and huge long grey slinky Packard.

Jamroll is going to be "done Up" as Mum calls it, when we go to India.   In other words, he will look and be just the same as he is now!     Only maybe his doors won't rattle quite so deafeningly.     Little Juno is as sweet as ever, though I haven't been in him for ages.     I have been very tempted to swap him for a Ford V8 that Jack Feathers offered me, only I just don't think I quite dare, because I'm sure Mum wouldn't approve.     But I do adore V8s still so much.     Alas, how they can drink petrol though.

I'm glad to hear that you have managed to erect the wireless and I hope that by this time it is going full blast, and that it will be a comfort to you in your lonely hours.

Did I tell you that unfortunately we can't get the Waltons to come to India with us   -   they say because of the difficulty of the children's holidays   -   but I don't know that it might not be that Joan wants another foal.     But instead of them Mr and Mrs Impey (she is a sister of Doris Mason) are coming with us.   He is (I think) H.Q. Commissioner for Scouts.

By the way, I don't know if it was Young Mr Spencer himself who flew you up to Sesheke, but if it was, did you realise that he knows Roy very well?     Roy, I may say, has completely disappeared off the face of the globe.     We last saw him at your wedding, and he then announced that he was going off to Russia, and he said when he came back, him and ne would go on a binge in London together before he started back for Africa.     I have stored up 2 letters for him here, but still there's no sign of him returning!

 

 

 

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Now I must just answer your sheaf of questions, Everyone is fully in favour of your having your foal out in Africa,   Then, of course, Mum and Dad will have an excuse to go out to Africa next winter to have a look at it.

I don't think they will allow you to have Annie out, because

a) She's never dealt with native servants

b) She's got an 'usband and son to feed and fend for here

c) It would be better to have a qualified and trained nurse come out to you, who could stay on indefinitely,

None of us think we we’ll be able to come at the actual time of the Hatching, we fear, but we might all come out in the winter and have a squint at you.     At least the Parentage will, but if I have a real genuine Horse by then, I think I will stay here for a bit, and perhaps come out at some separate time. It would be fun.   I think anyway it would be better if I came at a different time from the parentage, because I don't expect you'd have room for us all at the same time.     I might come out with P. after his leave, next November, and then be with you for a month or so, and then go home in time for the after-Christmas Hunting.

They don't really know what they want him called, chiefly David and Robert I think   -   but not Hugh.

They haven't said much about godparents yet, either. Hut Mum says Evie is a bad idea, as she is an Aunt of the brat already and relations is a Bad Thing.     You might do better off friends.

No, we haven't told anybody except Annie, and Annie told Scofield, because she had to ask his persmission to go out to Africa,     Also Lattice "twigged" when Mum started to read the letter out in front of everybody!

How priceless, Phibbs being so embezzled.     But he's a married man, himself isn't he.     He ought to be able to bear up better than that, oughtn't he.

I will come if I possibly can, I'd love to, and to see your own home and all.     But at the moment it's rahter a distant prospect, especially as I haven't any cash at all   -   not even a sixpence to put in the Christmas pudding!

Now I must cease, as there is much typing to do for Dad - including your description of the cloud of Locusts to put into The Scout.

So goodbye, and take care of yourself.     Are you really allowed to ride?     I would have thought that to be a bit precarious.     Anyway, I hope the saddle is nice.

Lots of love from me (unpregnant spinster)

 

 

[1] Search for Marriages        Surname: Wood  First name(s): Roger   County: London

Q4, 1936  

Surname                First name(s)        Spouse                   District   Vol          Page

Holroyde               Norah E                 Leigh-Wood          Westminster        1a           1141        

Leigh-Wood          Roger                     Holroyde              Westminster        1a           1141

 

[2] See https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/?name=Roger_Leigh-Wood&count=50&location=3257.3250&name_x=psi_1&priority=english

[3]      Valerie Beauclerk Hulton-Sams was born circa 1916.1 She was the daughter of Captain Cecil Henry Hulton-Sams and Cyrene Maria Beauclerk Maude. She married, firstly, Duncan McClure . She married, secondly, Sir Godfrey William Style, son of Lt.-Col. Rodney Charles Style and Helène Pauline Kleinwort, in 1986. She died on 24 April 2018.

 

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Maloja

[5] SS Mantola (1921) was a passenger steamer of the British-India Steam Navigation Company, launched in 1921 and scrapped in 1953.

[6] North West Frontier

[7] Parlour-maid

[8] Hampshire Hunt

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Fitzroy_Maclean,_10th_Baronet

[10] Thomas de Burgh Miller, married (16.10.1937, Church of St Thomas-on-the-Bourne, Farnham, Surrey) Nina Margaret King, only daughter of Maj. A.B. King, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and Mrs King (later Mrs J.F. Crombie), of Gorshanger, Farnham;.

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Murray_Anderson



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