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19370221 from Risalpur


File0252.bmp                           2lst February, 1937,                               RISALPUR.

                                           (Nearly their birthday.).

Dearest little fat hag,

Thank you very much indeed for your letter of 25th Jan. which was waiting for me here.   It was a fine letter and I greatly enjoyed reading it, and as Dad was in my room at the time I read out some of the suitable bits to him, and he simply cackled with mirth, specially over the Little Grey Home in the Bush, atmosphere, etc. Also about arriving on the. shores of the Land of the Aga Khan, Taj Mahal, etc. -   which reminds me that I must send you a letter I had from Gay the other day, reporting on Jority, because she really has written a very amusing letter, about Pukka Chukkas, etc.

Mum at the-moment is at Nagpur with Rosalind, and they’re having a Guide Conference there.     Dad and I arrived here yesterday evening, and this morning I got up at 8. a.m. to go out Hunting with the Risalpur Hounds. – It was great fun, and Sidney has given me the entire use of one of his horses for the whole week that we are here, a black country bred, whose ears nearly meet at the tips.     He is very nice and jumps anything he sees, and is easy to manage and yet pully.     He has rather an uncomfy sort of leave-you-behind trot, but soon breaks into a canter.

It is now this afternoon, and Dad and I and Jane (sweeter than ever) and a girl staying here called Audrey Shaw (niece of Jane’s) are all reading for the Staff College.   I have lulled them ail to sleep by the strains of .this musical machine *.   (By the way, please excuse this blinding colour of writing [the original was in red ink], but I'm trying to save the black.     It's getting rather faint now, and I let Mum take all the new spare ribbons away with her.)     We are all sitting out in. the garden, in deck chairs, and it is all lovely and peaceful. It's quite  peculiar climate.     It's cold here   -   I mean I’ve got on a woolly vest, my polo jersey and I've just been in to get my coat, and I feel just nice and warm   -   and yet I'm having to wear a hat because the sun is so strong.      Daddoie has got on his "Bombay Bowler” (i.e. Topee) and as it's cold he has wrapped himself up in the lovely camp-fire blanket he was given by the Gilwell Lady Cubbers before we left home.     It really is a beautiful camp-fire blanket.     It's beige in colour, with tails all along the edge like the car rugs have, and on it are sewn various Signs.     For instance right across the back is a huge Feather or Plume.     That is the sign of an Author   -   the Author of Scouting in this case.     Then on the front right hand side is the crest of the 13th Hussars, and down on the right hand front corner is an Oak Tree and an Acorn, while all round the bottom Is a splendiferous row of all the Jamboree badges, including the latest one of India   -   an Elephant.

Talking of Elephants, Dad and I went on one the other day. But I'd better tell you about that later, when I write everything in sequence.

We've just got a letter now from Mrs Wade, saying all is well at home, etc. and then she puts “How very sad that Rosalind has lost her mother.   It is very bad luck that it should happen just now." Isn't that awful.     Poor Rosalind will be in a terrible flap becoz she is terribly devoted to her, or rather I should say she was, and is always quoting things that her mother has said or told her about various places, etc.     I don't know quite what is happening, if Rosalind will continue to stay out here with us or what. I should think it would be the best thing in the world for her to stay out

 

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here and sort of recover from the shock.     I don't know why her mother should have died.     All Rosalind's family had gone to Switzerland when we left England, and the day we were leaving (the same day as we got Peter's letter about his marriage and birth) Mum got a letter from Mr de R.M, saying that Mrs. had broken her leg ski-ing or skating or slipping or skidding, or something, but that she was quite all right and was very comfortable and happy in a clinic out there, and that her leg was in plaster of Paris, and that she would have to remain there for 7 weeks.     So perhaps she died of that! Anyway, I hope poor Rosalind won't be too gloomy.    I think it would be a good idea for her to stay out here for some time, say several months, because she's got two uncles out here anyway who would have her, and it would be much easier for her to get over it that way. (Probably all this time I am making ideas for her she is speeding home to England in an aeroplane!)

Now I will answer your letter first, and then proceed to recount to you the doings of us all in India - because I regret to say I have failed to write since we first landed and got to Delhi.

•  •  •

It must be funny for you to have a Flipping Bust.     I'm sure you feel full of sympathy for me now, don't you.     By the way, have you got some nice comfy b.b.'s, or don't you wear such things. Becoz I'll tell you who does make rather good ones, and that is JouJou on Baker Street. - I had some from there once (when I had my last baby you know!) and they were very good.    They cater for Maternity. I am very interested to hear that it is your guts and not Robin that sticks out.     I hope he will come out the right way up.     It is rather exciting to think that he is actually beginning to be something Visible!     I hope he doesn't start to wiggle about too soon, because that's not very pleasing for you is it.

I’m sorry the Sturt Paper was not quite right, and I quite see that you want to have very slim paper like what you have written on this time, so that you don't have to write on both sides, but go swishing straight on to the next pace.     Much better really.     Anyway, you seem to have plenty of suggestions of what use you can make of it. (Talking of paper, there is never any Bromo on the railways carriages in India, so we have to remember to snaffle some before embarking on a long journey.     I laid in a store of Vice Regal Bromo) Yes, the names of the books that Sturt says, and the names of the ones that I say don't exactly seem to coincide.     But the ones that I say are the right ones, because I'm always right (Perhaps you've forgotten that?)     But don't fuss, dear, I haven't exceeded the limit of pay by choosing those other ones   -   at least I hope to God I haven't. They said I hadn't, but if I have, duckie, mind you let me know, and I will refund you when you come back.     Mrs Wade says in this letter that we've just got that you are coming back in May.     Good, that is fine.

No, I think you're quite right about the Rey's pony. There would be absolutely no point at all in having it, in fact I can think of nothing in favour of such a move at all, except that it was such a duckie pony, -   but of course there are just as good horses in the sea as ever came out of it.     Apparently you are allowed to ride when you are going to have a baby.   I always thought it was absolutely the one thing you must never do, on pain of death.     But Joan Impey and Dinks Conran Smith both - while having coffee-in-the-drawing-room- after-dinner-chats said how they used to ride and go out hunting, etc. but of course not after the first three months,       But. you've done your three months now haven't you - yes, by Jove, and nearly four! Gosh, how exciting.

No, I don't think the parentage are thinking of dashing off on another tour just yet.     Of course they both want to go to America

 

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for different reasons, but neither will let the other go!     Mum wants to go and do a lecture tour, for which they are offering her vast sums; Dad wants to go to the Jamboree at Washington which is taking place this year, having been postponed as you may remember, on account of infantile paralysis scare, last year.  But I don't know if either of them will go.  They've got a date of course for the Holland Jam- boree, and Dad has, as you may remember, an invitation from the Government of Brazil to go there at any time suitable to him, at their expense, to see the Scouts.  That of course would be marvellous, as South America sounds a most exciting place to go to.  But of course Mum wouldn't go!   But she would have to stop off at the West Indies and have a rest there.  No, I think for the present at any rate, there is nothing looming.  I think I feel rather inclined to stay next winter in England, because otherwise there is no point in owning Jority.   I mean to say, if I go hiking off every winter to various far-flung Empires, what is my Hunter going to do, except waste her beauty on other people.

I don't know if Mum sends all your portmanteaus to all her girl friends, but even if she does, I don't think you need bother to be more careful, because they are lovely portamanteaux, (I remembered to put an x that time) and it would be very dull for us if you wrote Careful ones!  She sends them I believe to divers people like Aunt Julie, etc., all people you know and like anyway (though I don't know that you are particularly fond of Alice's Beard) and who of course, simply love hearing your news    (horrible phrase).

Yes, I think Y. simply loved being at Pax for that time. She was quite different from when she is in London.   Never bothered to make up, was in time for meals, loved cleaning saddlery and sweeping the stable yard, brushing the dogs and talking with the cook. She did smoke a good deal, but not annoyingly in the drawing room, if you know what I mean.  I felt positively scarlet about the lips beside her.

Yes, I had heard the 5 mates one about Edward and "Wally". Also I hear that Lord Nuffield has offered to buy Mrs Simpson for the Nation.

I like your Kate thing too.   Dick Mills once had a girl friend called Kate.  And then he had another girl friend called Kate too. So he called her Duplikate.

That is a tragedy about the loss of the ruby ring.   I can't think where it would be.  It must be somewhere, it can't be nowhere. It's probably addorning the finogder of a Thief's Wife.

I think I told you all about the Life on Board Ship.  My sweet boy friend called Jimmy Anson writes letters of patheticness, because he is working in Calcutta and it is so hot and foul down there and he gets very little exercise, which  is awful for one who was a Rugger Blue at Cambridge.  He drinks himself to sleep every night and says he is going back to England as soon as he can.  So I wrote him a fine letter for me, and said don't be a b.f. and pull your guts together and don't give in so weakly, and nobody has any respect for you if you're such a spoilt boy, etc.  And yesterday I got a very grateful letter and he's now settled down there more, and has probably made a lot of friends and has managed to get some tennis and hockey and riding and joined a Sports club, and seems quite happy.  I hope he will do well. He is supposed to be very clever as well as a good athlete, so he ought to be all right.

Yes, the Peter Habbit and Carrot occurrence is most staggering - isn't it.   Gosh, to think that Mum and Dad had been Grandparents since October without knowing it!  Their first grandchild, and a son at that!     And not telling them.  I think it was foul of him.

 

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She was rather sweet with Jimmy Anson on board, because he used to come up on deck to Read for the Staff College every afternoon, with me, and I used to go and lie on the deck by Mum in her deck chair and burnous, and Jimmy would come and lie on my rug too, and she was all nice and natural with him and me, and didn't say anything silly to him that would have made me squirm or anything.  At first I felt she might disapprove of him coming, but she didn’t a bit, and I felt much more confident in her. I’m going to try to be completely brazen and not mind what I say to her and tell her everything I think and do - and yes, that is a good idea about people and parties, and discussing things we do, and so on.

Our difficulty is that the people she is interested in are Guide people only, while my contrary nature is inclined to make me slide away from them.     That's where Dad is such fun, he has friends who aren't and don't think and talk of Scouts all the time, but are interesting in other ways.  And then Mum has this terrific passion for sightseeing and sitting and gazing at the Taj for Two hours, and; loving going in trains. My way of loving India is to be able to do everything in more of a party way, a whole crowd all dashing out in motor cars to see places, and then dashing back again.   Not to sit in a train to admire the country, but to be able to go and ride across some of it, and so on!  So there's always rather a feeling of pulling in different directions, if you know what I mean.  It's horrid to say so, but I can hardly bear going-sight-seeing with Mum, because she's so enthusiastic and verbose about everything, and so appreciative, that I positively sigh with agony! It's marvellous for her having Rosalind, because she is most awfully appreciative and goes poking about asking the Shower-round intelligent questions, and likes Gleaning Knowledge like Mum does for The Guide! But when we reunite again next week in Lahore, I'm going to try and be more confidential. Because I realise that once we can get going together it will be fine.   But every time Mum sort of says I wish I saw more of you Heather Penny, and that we could have talks together some times, I immediately feel myself sort of freeze, and think What is there to talk about?   What am I meant to say, etc.

Yes, I can confide in Rosalind all right  -  but then she's more my age, and of course we were jammed together on board ship, and Nothing came between us, as yer might say.   She didn't like Jimmy, and looked terribly shocked when she caught us necking in the alleyway outside our cabin the first time, but then it happened so many more times that she got quite used to it.     I still think she is disapproving of that, and yet she is funny herself, because she enjoys men's company and was quite a regular boat-decker, sentimentally looking at the stars, but Hands Off apparently!   Just old-fashioned I suppose.  But we are great friends, and call Sandy bows Sandy bows, etc., and have almost got to the "Coaches" stage!  I'm looking forward to seeing the old girl in Lahore again next week, as we will have the hell of a lot to talk about having been divided for so long.   Though actually I shall be rather wary at first, after this tragedy for her of the death of her mother.

At the moment, by the way, I’m back at the usual old trick again of Typing in the Train.  Feeling rather sad at going away from Risalpur after having had such a heavenly time there, and hating being in this filthy, bumpy dirty train.  My hate of trains grows daily more intense on these foul India trains - there are no corridors so that we can walk along to the Restaurant for lunch.  We have to wait till we get to a Station where the train will stop for quarter of an hour, and we rush ashore and have a horribly uncomfortable lunch, fearing every minute that the train will go on without us.   All the doors and windows rattle and get jammed open or jammed shut, and the doors get locked, and won’t unlock, and all the porters and stationmasters and people are so vague and never know which Platform the train is going from, or when!

 

 

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                                       - 4 -

Now,at last I will begin to relate some of our doings.

Well, Dad and I had from 31st January to 19th February in Delhi. On the whole I was quite happy but didn’t really enjoy it much because I was in a knot with older people than me, and the Conran Smiths who we were staying with knew very few people in Delhi because they have been in Madras for a long time and have only lately come here.  They were very nice and amusing themselves and terribly kind to us, but they only knew people of their own age, and I never got to know any of the younger set. Hum and Rosallnd went off as soon as the Jamboree was over, in fact the day before, to Agra, and then down to Madras, and so on their tour of South India.

Oh but first I must begin at the beginning - or rather where I left off from my last letter.  We stayed for the 1st three days at Viceroy's House, a vast palatial place, with miles long corridors, - we needed roller skates (as bicycling is prohibited in there) to get along at all.   The Viceroy, Marquess Linlithgow is hugely tall, and very solemn looking with a big bulldog jaw which cones out at you in a most peculiar way.  He has a very sly sense of humour, and never smiles or laughs, and he takes his work so seriously, and worries a tremendous lot, which is very silly of him, because there are so many worrying problems in India, that he will die of worry and strain if he thinks about it too much.  He has barely been out here for a year, and already is feeling the strain of the weight upon his shoulders.  Lady L. is absolutely vast too, but very tall and with good carriage.  She is like a tree trunk, because she is very erect, but just thick and round the whole way up and down, with no variation in girth the whole way!  She is very striking and good-looking and makes up, and loves dogs, specially spaniels, and allows them all over the drawing room sofas.  Then there are three daughters called Lady Anne, Joan and Doreen Hope.  (The three graces)  Anne is like her mother, only a lesser tree.  Joan is plain, but much the nicest and friendliest and made one feel more at home there. The others certainly didn't.  Joan and Bunty (Doreen) are both very good performers on horses, and won things at the Horse Show.  Then there were millions of A.D.C.'s  -  5 to be exact.  Donald Ross was the nicest. He is in the Scots Guards I think, and is very thin, and has very deep-set sort of hollow eyes, and was quite pleasant.  Alan Noble, the Naval A.D.C. was quite nice too, with quite a good-looking face, but Too Red and with watery eyes.  He is some relation to your godfather. Squadron Leader Johnson was Positively too Plum and difficult to talk to for words.  I suppose he feels rather pathetic though, because he came out to India when the Willingdons were here, to act as their Pilot as they did most of their tours by aeroplane.  But now the Linlithgows have come, the aeroplane hasn't been used at all as they won't go in it. It's a lovely, huge plane too, called The Star of India, with 4 engines and was specially built for the Viceroy of India.  Then another A.D.C. was Willy Johnson, Major Johnson, and he was small and fair and with a Guards moustache, and was incredibly dull, and rather looked as though he was tight, though I think actually he was too dull to do such an exciting thing as Getting Tight.  The 5th was a very nice fellow in the Scotts Greys called Peter Borvick, a very good polo player, and with a Most peculiat sort of squashed-in nose, and a hair lip.

The Military Secretary was a an called Stable, and brother of the Chief Officer of the ship we came out to India in, the Maloja.

Well, we stayed at Government House, or rather Viceroy’s House, for three days, after which we were driven away, and went to stay -  all four or us - with the Conran Smiths.  But the Secretary happened to over-hear Joan saying that she couldn't get any rooms at the hotels in Delhi (because of Horse Show week coming on) and so they were asked to stay there during the whole time of the Jamboree.  According to outside people, it was a most incredibly rude thing that the Viceroy, or rather Viceroy's Staff, didn't ask Dad and Mum to stay there over Jamboree week.

 

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There was quite a gay week in Delhi during the Horse Show week an annual event.  A "Week" is a great thing out in India. All the towns and Places where soldiers are stationed (Cantonments) have "Weeks" at various times of the year.  All the men go round to these various weeks, to play in Polo Tournaments, and all the women go round, to Chase the men.  Well, anyway, we were there for Delhi Week. (Otherwise Delhi is a pretty  dedhili place, because being the Capital of India, it is full of Brains, and Brains are usually of the older generation.  Consequently, Delhi is really only young in Delhi Week.  And in the Hot Weather nobody is there at all, because the Brains can't work in the heat, so they all pack up and go up into the Hills, to keep cool.  In the middle of April the whole of Delhi goes to Simla.

Delhi Week consisted of Polo one day and Horse Show the next alternately throughout the week, and Dances every night, which is too much of a good thing, and it is very swanky to say you haven't been to a dance instead of you have!  Just to show how different you are. The Horse Show was absolutely lovely, and we wandered round all the rings, watching the various eliminating classes in the mornings.  In the afternoon The Viceroys  -  or rather The Viceroy and the Treetrunk, arrived in State in a Coach, and preceded by a whole Regiment of Bodyguard, all mounted on super bays.  The body-guard had lovely scarlet uniform (they are all Indians) and were terribly smart.  The Band played God Save the King, and all the ladies were dressed in their smartest apparel, and the sun shone, and the horses were lovely, and it was all a fine sight.

One night was the Viceroy's Ball, and that really was one of the most marvellous sights I have ever seen.  Mum and Rosalind had gone off on their tour, but Dad and I received invitations to attend, and it was incredible, the sight of over 2,000 people gathered in a most beautiful ballroom.  All the men were in their Uniforms, and the colours, and the amount of gold braid (and the smell of moth balls!) was amazing;.  Then the next night was the Delhi Hunt Club Ball, which I was in a terrible party for. But luckily I was picked up by a fellow called Walshe,(who bought Starlight from  Robins and then wanted to sell him to me, but we were in Kenya at the time) and so I completely walked out on my party,  because they were ail so Old and Dull.   Oh, and I must tell you, that before the Viceroy’s Ball, Dad and I were asked to go and dine with General and Lady an Rhys Pryce, and it was rather amazing, the coincidences there.  Because there was one woman there called Mrs Helmsley, who said she had met you last summer when you went over to Medstead to play tennis at the Bradfords. Mrs Helmsley is Lady Bradford’s sister.  Next coincidence, the man sitting next to me was called Col. Molesworth, and he said to me Where do you live.  And I said in Bentley.  And he said Oh. I live in Odiham. And the third coincidence (all at the same dinner party) was a young couple called Wilson, he is a Gunner I think.  Anyway, Mrs Wilson said "I had my appendix out with Betty at Eldon House."  So I said Oh.  Are you Miss Gunner then. And she said yes, I was one of them.

Oh, yes, and I forgot to tell you that in the crowd of 2,000 people at the Viceroy's Ball there was a represntation of no fewer than 5 people from. Bentley!  Dad and me, Nancy Joy and her mother (Micky by the way, has grown into quite a pansy looking young gentleman.  I saw him on Xmas day outside Bentley Church) and Dick Harrap, who was down in Delhi playing in the 13th Polo Team in the tournament.

The 13th sent down two Polo Teams, but unfortunately both

 

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were beaten, the 1st team in the 2nd round by the 17th Lancers, and the poor little 2nd (a subaltern's team)  in the 1st round, against a native state, Jaipur, who are terribly good, in fact about the crack Team in India.  It was jolly bad luck too, because the goals were 5 all, and it was getting so dark that they decided to cut the match short and whoever got the next goal would win.  Also they widened the goal posts so that they would get it quicker.  And as bad luck would have it, of course Jaipur just scored that winning goal.

I will just tell you who is in the 13th Polo Team, so that you know a bit about the Regiment.  It really is a very fine Regiment, - and gosh Peter is the biggest Mutt not to have got into the Army.  I would give my eyes to have been Dad's son instead of daughter, and have been able to have been in the Regiment.

Well, Boy Butler (recently made a Captain, and recently married Nancy Teacher) Dick Harrap (recently made a Captain and recently engaged to Betty Smyly, and about the least pleasant fellow in the Regiment in my estimation!) Ronnie Critchley (Adjutant and very tall and rather sought after I think) and John Cordy Simpson (George's brother, elder, shorter, and rather red-haired) are the 1st team.   The 2nd team are what Sydney calls the Baby Teem. They are jolly good though, I think just as good as the 1st team.  They consist of Ted Tinker (spectacles, but very nice, and just been seconded to some Regiment in Trans-Jordania) Pat Smyly (curly blonde and brother of Dick's fiasco) Derrick Wormald (“The Little Warrior" and quite pleasant) and Someone Cotter (who I didn't meet because he's gone away on some course somewhere).

Oh, before all the Horse Show and Polo Week began, and after Mum had gone,  Dad and I popped over to Agra for a night.  Agra is about 129 miles from Delhi, and we felt that while were in India, it was our bounden duty to go and see old Pal, the Aga Khan.  We oozed over there in a very slow train, and got there about midday, and strolled into the Hotel for lunch. And who should we bump into there, but our old friends, the Impeys, who we hadn't seen for 4 whole days!   (They had left Delhi and been up to Lucknow (I mean Nucklow) in the meantime.)  It was such a reunion, a very noisy one, and everyone in the dining room turned round and had a good stare, Well, then in  the afternoon the Impeys and Dad and I all climbed into a motor car and drove off to see the Taj.  The first glimpse I got of it was over the wall of some other buildings and it looked so pathetic and small, and I said oh, is that all it is.  (Determined to be disappointed, a la Pyramids)  But then when we got to the gateway end looked down through the long garden of cypresses and water reflecting them, to this glistening white erection at the end, it really was rather marvellous.   It has the most wonderful inlaid work of coloured flowers and delicate stalks all over it, and inside are the tombs of Shah Jehan, and his wife, Mrs Taj Mahal. But we saw it in a most original light.  Instead of moonlight or sunlight, it was just beginning to rain, and get cold and windy!

On our return from Agra the next day, we stopped off at Muttra (which is on the way) for breakfast as we arrived there at 9.30, and had lunch there too, before catching the afternoon train on to Delhi, and-getting back there in time to dine with the Viceroy.  But it was at Muttra that we rode the Elephant.  Oh, Dad did so enjoy being at Muttra, and it was jolly annoying that we only had such a very few hours there.   Everyone pressed us to stay, and said, they would put us up, and were terribly hospitable, but we had to get back really.   There are only Gunners stationed at Muttra. No other soldiers.  But in Daddie’s day, he of course was stationed there, and various other units were always moving round there.   Soldiers love it because the sport is so good.  Muttra and Meerut (which I always muddled together before) are about the two best places for pigsticking in India. Muttra is about 90 miles from Delhi on the Agra side, and Meerut about 40 in exactly the opposite direction.  It is Muttra, you may remember that Dad

 

 

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Dad says is the place where we will be able to find him whenever we want him in his after-life. He will be out on the jheel {sort of plain) where he used to go pigsticking.  Well, it was out on this plain that they took us on the back of an elephant.  But I will begin at the beginning.

When we got to Muttra we fell out of our carriage, and were met by two Officers, Col. Price, and Major Somebody, with a Ford V.8.  There was a Guard of Honour of Scouts at the station, and Dad had a look at them, and then we drove off to Col. Price's house for breakfast.  Then we were fetched by Captain Adye and Captain "Proggins" Price (no relation to the Col.) and they motored us (in another V8) out to the Jheel. We motored out along a fairly dusty road for quite a long way till we couldn't get any further, because there was a huge Elephant standing in the middle of the road. So they said, Yes, this Elephant is for you to ride out on to the Jheel on. So I looked down at my skirt which was rather tight, and said But how can I get on.  And they said Wait a minute.  And then the Elephant lay down. It had not got a Howdah on its back, but it was a Pad Elephant.  In other words, there was a huge great sort of heap of Padding, sort of mattresses tied on all over its back, with ropes.   But when the Elephant was lying down I still couldn't see how to get on.  So they said ‘By its tail.’ So I went round to the back end, and then I saw what they meant.  A fellow was holding the animal's tail round to the side, and I was to step on the tail (it made a very narrow step), and then from there upwards, I did a scrable up the elephant’s behind, and at last managed to reach a bit of the rope holding the pad, and hauled myself on to the top.  It was pretty terrifying up there, with such a fall to the ground.  I held on to that rope for all I was worth, and sat bolt upright behind the Mahout, and hung on. Daddie came up, followed by Proggins and Adye, and then off we went, after a colossal lurching fore and aft while the Elephant rose to her feet.  She went very slowly and carefully, and strode out across the jheel, while we spied about looking for Pig.  Actually they had asked us to come over to Muttra the day before, to go out to a Pigsticking Meet, which would have been the greatest fun, but alas, we could not make it.  Anyway, we shall see it later on at the Kadir. It was a heavenly day, and we just sat about on that Elephant like one sits about on deck, basking in the sunshine, and watching the grass swishing away below us.   Of course we saw not the faintest sign of a pig, but we had the most lovely peaceful morning up there!  And when we looked at our watches we found it was 1 o'clock.  So we had to make a dash back to the motor car, and tear back into Muttra, do go and have lunch with some people called Middleton, before catching the train on at 2.30.   The Middletons live in Bungalow Mo 13  (Pretty well all the houses in India are bungalows, with deep verandahs to keep them cool in the hot weather)  end Dad remembers Bungalow No. 13 when Col. Spilling, and Sir Baker Russell before him, lived in it.  It was always the Col's-house. While we were there, they got a silversmith to come along so that we could buy some more of those amusing little Muttra silver animals that we have on Pax Dining table.   We bought 3 or 4 more little Elephants.  After lunch all the Members of the Tent Club (Pigstickers) cane and sat on the step and had their photo taken with Dad in their midst, and crossed Hog Spears in front of them. {By the .way, I must tell you this tern for Pigsticking, before I forget  -  "Pork-prodding".   Isn't it rather choice!)

Then we got bock to Delhi in the evening and dined at Viceroy's house and went to the films afterwards. They have a private cinema all of their own there, down in the basement. We saw quite a good, but very American, lumber camp film, called Come and Get it.  It had some marvellous Logging photographs.

Then on 19th Feb. we left Delhi on the night train, the train called The Frontier Mail, for Risalpur, to stay with the 13th. Actually Risalpur isn't on the railway, but Nowshera, which is only 8 miles from it, ss the station. We arrived there at 6. the next evening - nearly a 24 hr run.

 

 

File0260.bmp                          13TH/I8TH ROYAL HUSSARS Q.M.O.

                                                          RISALPUR.

  • - 6 -                           N.W.F.P.

Sydney met us at the station, with his red Chev. And Tim Hearne for our luggage.  The Hearse is an ancient Austin shooting brake belonging to a fellow in the Regiment called “Beans” ffrench Blake (French beans) and it brought everything up from the station, including our faithful Bearer, Jummu.  Everyone always has a Bearer in India, and he follows wherever you go, without you noticing him.  He fends for himself, finds his own pew on the railway, where to sleep, etc., and if you get out of the train to go and talk to your friends, he goes and guards your luggage, etc. He gets the bath ready, unpacks, and irons dresses, and does everything.  They completely spoil us.  We will never be able to do anything for ourselves after having been looked after by Jummu for two months!  We just leave all the luggage to him, and it always arrives, and he lays out my Office, and puts the ink on the left hand side of desk for me, and everything.

 

We then had the most enjoyable week I have ever had in my life, staying with the Kennedys. I will try and tell you what we did each day, if you won’t be bored stiff!

The first night we did nothing, as we were pretty sleepy, the trains being none too restful. (My hate of trains still continues just as violently).  But it was just such fun being with the Kennedys and there was a laugh in everything they said, and they were so cheerful and young and amusing.  It really was such a lovely to meet Young people who said Lousy and Raspberry, etc. again!

On Sunday morning I rose at screech of dawn (7:30) to go out Hunting.  The Meat was on the landing ground and Sydney mounted me, as I told you at the beginning of this letter (which I began on  February 21st and it is now 4th March) on Black Boy, who was so heavenly.  The Master is Jimmy Walker, small and round and twinkly, and devoted to his Hounds.  He is in the 13th and his wife is called Joyce, and she wears a Velvet Cap and helps hunt Hounds, and has three daughters, one of whom is called Heather.
 

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just went on going along till Hounds just put up a Jackal,  And then away we went, galloping for miles and miles, and now and then jumping a whole bunch of bushes, or water courses, or up and down banks or over tufts of grass, then on and on miles and miles, just galloping, until we checked in a whole lot of reads with water about and that place was known as the grass farm. We killed our Jack in there. Off we went again, wandering out across the plain, till hounds and another Jack, off we went again, galloping round in a huge circle (with dad standing in the middle by the car!) And back to the grass farm again, but we didn’t kill this time. I may say that the scenery all around us was too lovely. Hemmed in by a semicircle of nice, kind-looking mountains, underway behind the were snow mountains. Also glorious sunny weather. At first I felt very shy, going out without knowing anybody to talk to. Sydney told off “Tiny” Power (a big fat doctor man with a nice Bay Horse) to be my “squire” as he called him, and he and I rode along together some of the time, but he was trying to save his horse, as it had a nervous back. Mine was not wanting to be saved at all, liked to be there first. But everyone was so nice and friendly and talked and asked me if I liked my horse, and the hunt, everything.

Well then, in the afternoon we just lazed in the sun as I told you, and I began typing this letter. But that was about the last three time I had, till we got back on the train to leave again! So you must excuse the destructiveness of this letter!

I went for a walk with Jane and Audrey in the evening, and we went round by the Polo Ground and long the various roads such as Cavalry Rode, Staff Lines, etc. everybody has their names written on the gates outside their bungalows. All the Married Couples have bungalows to themselves, and all the Single fellows share – about four in each bungalow.

In the evening Tom Welstead (a captain in the 13th) and his wife, Hope (with a lovely smile and grey hair but quite young) came in to dinner, and also the subaltern, one of the newest ones, called Michael Bell, a very good rider, and, with a very mischievous face. And after dinner we played a game which is the Rage of Risapur, and now know one year plays bridge or any other game! I must show it to you when you come home. – Oh, no, you’re not coming home this time are you.

Next day, Monday, Mum and Dad’s Birthday. And oh! What a Mail! Right across the dining room floor in three rows were packets and packets of letters and postcards. And they all came from Denmark. The work, we reckon, 5,000 of them! But it really wasn’t funny. We could only swear! We think it must be a put up job, and that the Scouts in Denmark were told all to send Dad a message for his birthday. And the

 

 

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result was this lot! Of course plenty others besides, telegrams and letters, etc., and those we answered nicely Thank card with an elephant on it! I expect your copy is on its way to you now. At least, did I remember to send it. I hope I did. I will send off another just in case, as the are several cards left over.

Well, after that little shop was over, and the little shock of the death of Rosalind’s mother, Derek Keppel came along with Sydney’s car, and announced that it was time to start. Time to start for the Malakand Pass through the mountains, and into the Swat Valley which is a little native State all on its own. Derek came as our A.D.C. as Sydney was too busy in his office to come.

Malakand is about 40 miles from Risalpur, along a very good road tarmac, lined with trees. It goes along quite flat for a long way, passing through Indian villages, with people and animals all walking in and out of the same houses, and then we began to climb up a long winding road, and it exactly reminded me of the road in New Zealand, from Featherstone to Wellington. It was quite there, fierce rocks, and we looked back on the green and fertile playing we had just left. On various points we saw pickets, or outposts, which are manned in the water. Right at the top of the pass is the time of Malakand, everybody lives inside a wall for defence. There is a Gurkha regiment stationed there – tough, wiry hardy little men, they are, rather Chinese looking, terribly brave. We had lunch inside the wall, with major Robinson, and also went and had drinks that the Officers’ Mess (there were three white officers there – commonly known asB.O.s – British officers. Isn’t it unfortunate) and we looked out of the Mess over the Wall, and down on the barbed wire entanglements all round us. It really was very exciting, we felt frightfully far-flung outpost-ish. Then we went on down into the valley the other side, the Swat Valley, which is very narrow and very green. They grow masses of barley, and cut it before it becomes barley, if you know what I mean. We went quite a long way into Swat, along the banks of a huge river, the Swat River, and then we came to a rising mound, and a bridge over the river, and by the bridge was a stalwart looking for which is called Chakdare, which guards bridge – and hence way over the Malakand. We went into the port and the guard (more Gurkhas) turned out, and there was one B.O. there, and his labrador, very bouncy, and these two showed us all up and round for. This was even more F.F.O. of E.[1] because there was a Union Jack floating over it!

And then we went home again. On the way back we stopped at a place called Mardan, called in the Mess of the Guides Cavalry (one of the most famous of Indian army regiments) and they asked us in to T and they were very nice, especially the little kernel whose name was Walton). One of the fellows there was Miles Strover and they all called him George. He isg Strover’s brother, and I had met

 

 

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him at Sandhurst and staying with Sneeze in Scotland, and so on. He is just as shy as he was then, and puts his head right down when he talks. The Mess of the Guides Cavalry is like a museum which is so full of interesting things, like vast developments to, wearing so many more times than any other elephants tooth, etc.

Then when we got home that night, dad went and dined with the regiment, and came back full of the lovely time he had had, being back in the Regiment once again. It must have been a marvellous feeling to be back where he was so many years ago. He said it is really rather like a dream to him, all his past life. But that night when he went to the mess, and they showed him all the old regimental scrapbooks and he found so many sketches he had done, and pictures of fellows with whom he was in the regiment, that he really began to believe again that it was all true! Gosh, it is incredible to think that he joined the 13th out here 61 years ago! It is rather strange but often I feel I am not believing certain incidents that he tells us, but when you actually find and visit the place he has told you of and find the same names that he has mentioned, then I do begin to realise that these incidents really must have happened!

Well, as everyone in the 13th was dining in Mess that night, Jane and Audrey thought we three females won’t die alone, so they had asked a couple of blokes along from Skinner’s Horse (who are also stationed here) and another one called Bunny Searle in the Medical Profession. The matter was rather solemn and shy, but the other two Armstrong and Robinson-Glasgow (I don’t know if that’s how he really spells it) were most amusing and kept us in hoots of mirth the whole evening. AND we played Mrs Peabody’s again and Armstrong would keep cheating like Hell, but in such a way that we weren’t quite sure if he was or was not – and as he always pleaded guilty we didn’t know whether to believe him or not!

At the mess, they gave dad a lovely person of the silver thing for putting the after-dinner port in – a little silver fully on wheels, which you can push round on the table. I want to call it a Roller Coaster, because that is exactly what it is – only it sounds too like a switchback in Montréal! 

And Tuesday. This was a wonderful day, because dad went on parade with his Regiment, presents to them the new drum banners which we brought out from England with us. The whole regiment was standing in three sides of a square – three squadrons, with the band mounted on greys, standing at the centre back, so to speak. Before we reached the parade ground, we came to Dad’s Horse. It was standing waiting by a mountian block made of Mud (everything in this country is made of Mud or Mati, and it takes no time to build all, but John, or amounting block, because you just scramble it together out of the ground!) Well, dad step onto his Horse, a beautiful bay, with flowing mane and tail, and with Col Miller

 

 

 

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On a beautiful black, they rode together on to the parade ground, preceded by a Sergeant carrying a Lance.  Then they rode all round the 3 squadrons inspecting them  -  after Sydney had galloped up to Dad, to welcome him,  Sydney was riding his adorable Blue Boy, a lovely dark grey, with White Tail,  Then the band played Auld Lang Syne too beautifully and- softly, and it really was most lump-in-the-throat-making.  All the horses were so lovely.  Gosh, dammit, why can't Ibe a Cavalry Officer! The Drum Banners were carried out, arid the Drum Horse came forward (a lovely fat skewbald) and the old drum banners were taken off, and the kettle drums did look so funny and naked without their banners on! And then the y fixed the new ones on, and gosh they did look clean and nice and white and gold, after the old and rather tarnished looking ones.

Then Dad came back to the saluting base sort of place Where we v/ere standing^ escorted by Col. Miller (Col Miller is successor to Sydney, whos* time is up this summer)  and then they had a March Past, to music, while the band stayed standing out in the middle.  It was a lovely -sight, all those Horses, two bay squadrons, and one chestnut; oo, it was amazing to see so many Joritys all walking along together. I wanted them all!  I took quite a- lot of film of it, til1 it had nearly run out, because I didn't realise what they were going to do next and that was a Gallop Past  -  a Gallop of a whole Cavalry Regiment at close quarters.   You can just imagine the thrilling noise of all those galloping hoofs.  It really was absolutely lovely, watching them coming along like a great wave, and as they came level, to look along the line and seeing a lovely row of horses faces all pulling like mad, and then all the floating tails out behind.   Gosh, it was absolutely marvellous! And the noise of thundering feet!  It made a sort of thrill go right through me, like when we used to hear those tremendous cheers that the Scouts at all those Rallies in Canada gave for Dad,

It was a lovely parade, and it was absolutely thrilling, I think specially sort o£ seeing Dad back ago in with his Regiment made it all the more marvellous.  And the Horses. Millions of heavenly Horses, I can't bear to stop and think that soon they won't have them any more. The thought is just too awful.

Dad, I may say, was dressed in semi-uniform.  You know that he never dreams of Scouts, but always dreams he is missing trains or going on parade in the wrong uniform.  Well, here his dream came quite true because he went on Parade in Jodhpurs!  But the top part was quite correct, because he borrowed Serjeant-Major Burder’s uniform topee, and after much fitting he was got into Jimmy Delius’ tunic, but the tunic was not quite broad enough to carry all Dad's medals, so we had to cut a few off!   So the top part of him was correctly dressed, with Sam Browne and all, and dear little Daddoie did look so smart!

Well, that was the most marvellous part of that day.  In the afternoon we went along and watched the Cricket Match, of Officers v. Sergeants, and during tea in a tent the Band played soft music, jazz music, but all soft so that you didn't sort of recognise it as jazz. And in the evening Dad and I went to dine with Colonel Miller.  He is an old 18th Hussar, and those others who were also there were also originally 18th Hussars. They were Joe and Clare Loftus (Hunt Sec. and long and thin, with a long and thin face) and Jimmy and Joyce Hawker, and Geoffrey Cooper (tall and fair and wavy and very keen on ski-ing, and looks typically the kind you see pictures of on skis in the snow, and Very sweet and amusing, specially about his sea-sick journey out to India in the beatly old troop ship Nevasa!)  And we played Mrs Pebody AGAIN!

Now Wednesday,  (I hope you are not getting terribly bored by all this.) But I must tell you about this day, because it was jolly interesting I think.  We went right into the Kyber Pass, which up till this week has been closed to visitors because of the fighting tribes on

 

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the border, and I hear has now been closed again only two days since we were up there.

We started off from Risalpur, with Derek as A.D.C. again, and Sydney and Jane, and Audrey too, and in another car Boy Butler and Joyce Hawker and Errick Wormald (Little Warrior), and motored along to Nowshera through the barbed wire gate (which we have to be back inside again before 5,30, because the tribes come down and shoot people in the night) and 40 miles on to Peshawar, along a lovely straight tarmac road with shady trees all along it.  But we could never get along very fast be- cause there were always bullock carts wandering about in the middle of the road.  Apparently these bullock cart drivers just go to sleep, and leave the bullocks to go on walking, and they do, and they find it nice and smooth for their feet to walk in the middle of the road, and just go solemnly plodding along there.  So if you are really feeling very peeved with a bullock cart, all you have to do, is to go and turn the bullocks round, add they will solemnly walk back along the middle of the road in the direction wncith they have just come from!)  Also there are millions of tongas  -  everywhere in India I think there are these - little two wheel carts drawn by ponies, and jolly thin, scraggy and lame ponies for the most part.  The Indians are phenomenally cruel, and will drive these animals even when they have huge sores and girth galls and can hardly move with lameness.

Well, anyway, we got to Peshawar, and went along to Brig. Moles- worth's house, out of which flowed a Host of Women,  in other words Molesworth*s pretty daughter Lindsay, and some woman and her daughter (both made up to the back teeth, and Out to Kill Army Officers, by their looks)  Here we all shuffled cars, and Dad and I eventually fetched up in Brig's ancient old car with Jane and Sydney, and off we all went, about four car loads of us.  After Peshawar and going through another Barbed Wire gate, we went across a flat plain where some aeroplanes were practising bombing, and machine gunning.  Then the mountains begin very suddenly, and the first thing we come to is a fort (as usual, built of Mud) called Jamrud, and after Jamrud the road begins to climb up into the Pass.  It is a beautiful road  -  there are two beautiful roads, right through the Kyber, and they have to be kept beautiful, so that Troops can be got along quickly when needs be.  Also there is a Railway, which dashes in and out of Tunnels right through the Pass. On every point and available strategic rock are pickets, sort of watch out towers, all within sight of one another, and commanding commanding positions.  After winding a long way up, we came up to a gigantic fort, and drove right up in to it.  Here the Guard (another Regiment of Gurkhas, the 5th this time) turned out, and all the B.0.s came out of their Mess, and escorted us up on to the Walls of the Fort and showed us all the different pickets and forts all round.  We could count about 8, and I learned off all their names, only unfortunately I can only remember Sam Browne, Observation, Karoman and All Musjid now.  Those are  British forts.  But away over on a far mountain we could see four Afridi posts, and they have been called by the fellows here Snowdon (because it is the topmost peak!) Roadhouse, and two close together, Cheek and Jowl.  At the moment they are being quite peaceable, but they are quite likely to break out at any time.  In the middle of this fort that we were in (which is called Shargai) they have a tennis court and Squash court, but apparently this is such a terribly windy place that they can rarely have a decent game.  The Officers took us into their Mess, and it was just like going into the cabin on a ship, because all the windows are little tiny squares, looking out of the wall of the fort.

Then we went on right through the Kyber, and Brig. Miloesworth was going to take us up to the top of a place from where we could get a marvellous view right over into Afgahnistan.  But unfortunately this day it was raining, and the clouds were down all round us.  So instead he took us down the other side of the Pass, and that was very exciting, getting nearer and nearer towards Afghanistan.  We passed Landi Kotal and went right on down to Landi Kana,- and there there is the barrier saying

 

 

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Indian Territory ends here  -  or words to that effect.  {Anyway, I took a movie of it)  And there was a great barrier across the road, and two very fierce looking sentries on guard, with bayonets fixed, and tin hats on.   And so we did look into Afghanistan, and the Sentries did look cross when I pointed the black box at them,  Then they turned their backs on us, so Derek whistled to them, like to a dog, and they simply spun round again, and gave us a very dirty look.  So we stepped dignifiedly back into our cars and drove back up into India again!   Then we went and had a huge lunch in the Officers’ Mess of the Dorset Regiment, who are stationed at Landi Kotal.  Although it seems a miles-from-anywhere sort of place, everybody who has ever been at Landi Kotal seems to love it.  Apparently they get all the sport they want to, added to that is an element of Active Service, and they all love it although there is nothing but pretty bare rock all round them.

That certainly was a lovely day  -  as far as interest goes - as far as weather goes, just about on a level with England! In the evening three of the 15th fellows came in to dinner  - Ronnie Critchley the Adjutant, "Beans” ffrench Blake (who is rather like Charles Herbert only more smily) and Toto.  I will tell you about Toto. He is really Anthony Akers Douglas (a very good squash player, in fact a Champion.  Quite small, but very amusing and fair and good value.) But he is not called Anthony in the Regiment, because there are already two others, Anthony Rugge Price (who is away on a musketry course at the moment) and Anthony Stocker (also away on leave and getting married). He is called George.  So at dinner I said haven't you any other name than George or Anthony.  And quite without thinking he said that when he was small he was called Toto.  At this, Beans pricked up his ears (because he edits the Regimental Magaazine and is always poking about looking for tit-bits!) and said Toto.  You, Toto.  And poor little Toto said  Gosh, I forgot Beans was here.  And now poor Toto will never be able to live down that name!

Then Thursday was another Hunting Day.  Oh, but pouring with rain.  But  that didn't matter.  We stepped into our macintoshes and went along to the Meet at 8.15 (they have to hunt in the early morning like we did in Kenya, because the scent dries up later) at the Officers’ Mess.  It was just like a Meet in England, with Hounds standing on the lawn in fronf of the House, and flunkeys dashing about offering Ginger Biscuits and Stirrup Cups (at that hour of the morning!) We went up by the aerodrome again, and spent a long time smelling about for a Jack, and it was a long time before we found.  But gosh, when we did find we went away at a tremendous and killing pace. Hounds simply roared away , but for the Horses it was not too good, because the rain made the ground all terribly soft, and it was just like galloping across very sticky plough, and when we got into the barley it was worse than ever, and we had to reduce to a trot.  We had a terrific gallop, and then the jack's drag was crossed by a pie-dog, and naughty old Sydney hollered the pie dog away, and was soundly cursed by the Master!

I came home from hunting with Jimmy Delius, and Geoffrey Cooper and Michael Bell.  Jimmy was teasing me the whole time about Jummy, and it was he who had been there on that famous occasion outside Pax gate when somebody, I think it was Peter,  stopped dead and didn't turn in, and several cars, coming up behind him all had to stop dead too, and banged into one another!

(Talking of Jummy, I went to dine with General Geoffrey Brooke one night when we were in Delhi, and he has a Spaniel called Jummy. The only other Jummy I have ever met.)

 

 

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On Thursday night (exactly a week ago, as it is Thursday night now, only in a much duller place!), there was a Sergeant's Dance.  Nobody of lower rank than Sergeant can come to it.  I thought it would be absolutely bloody, because you are expected to be completely un high hat, and leap round with Sergeant Majors   But it was really the greatest fun, and I didn't want to go when it was time for us to at all!   We danced with a few of the Officers at the beginning (and, as you hear the stories of . .in India and never believe, there were about 3 men to choose from for every dance, which I fund embarrass de richesse as you might say and did not like it a bit as they were all nice and I should have liked to have danced with them all.)  They do look so nice in their Mess Kit! Well, the Sergeants were great fun too, and most marvellous dancers, most of them.  The Band was terribly good at jazz, too, and they get up the party spirit most marvellously, the Band members getting up and going round the dance floor playing their instruments, and so on.

Friday was a good day too.  All these days, if you had been there would most certainly have gone down in your diary as YES days. They certainly are the most wonderfully enjoyable succession of days I have ever had.

We began Friday by going up to see the Air Force Ground  -  as there are Air Force (2 Bomber Squadrons, Nos. 11 and 39 here) Skinners Horse, and a Brigade of Field Artillery here as well as the l3th, so it is quite a large community.

We watched a flight of planes take off, and lots more were coming and going all the time.  Also they kept on making us think they were just going off, by revving up their engines terrifically, and flicking their tails, and swishing the grass out behind them with their exhaust, and making a great noise, and then only calming down again.  These planes were quite small, little Hawker Harts, with 12 cylinder Rolls engines. While we were there, one came over from Kohat and just dropped in to pass the time of day on his way through on some navigation Act or some- thing.  I have a feeling that your boy-friend Jimmy Green was at Kohat wasn't he.  I seem to remember laughing about the name with you. But now we call it Ko-hart, because we are in India.  I can't remember what Regiment Jimmy was in,  I think the only people stationed there now are Probyn's Horse, but I don't know if that is him.  Kohat is only 40 miles from Peshawar, near another Pass into Afghanistan, but unfortunately we didn't have time to go there.

On Friday afternoon I went riding with Sydney, and he took me down to show me where the Point-to-Point course is going to be laid out. (With a faint murmur that they could give me a ride in the Point-to-point, but alas, we will be on the High Seas by then  -  Unless I cut the Apron String, and go back to Riselpur, which is what I should love to do.)  I was riding Black Boy who was full of mischief, and would not be smooth.  At one moment we were trotting along very cheerily, I was a little bit inf ront of Sydney, and I saw a water buffalo ahead, lying down behind a bush, chewing.  So I turned round slightly and was just in the middle of saying I'm not going to let Black Boy shy at this Buffalo  -  when he did  -  a huge shy, and I fell straight off, and nearly landed in the lap of the buffalo!  It was so funny, and I hung on to the reins, and Sydney just sat and bellowed with laughter!

In the evening there was a boxing match between the 13th and the H.L.I, who are stationed at Peshawar, and it took place in one of the hangars where they had rigged up a ring.   Dad thought he had better go along, just so as to show that he takes an interest in all that goes on in the Regiment. So I went along too, with him and Sydney. We arrived in time for the last round, and I'm jolly glad we didn’t get there any sooner!  It is a most sickening thing, to watch!  I had listened in on the Radio to some of the big fights at Wembley and such places, and been absolutely thrilled, but to sit there and watch it in cold blood, was absolutely horrible!..Apparently there had been a lot

 

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of knock-out blows in previous rounds, and those I know would have made me sick!  It is revolting to see two fellows trying to stun each other!  And luckily it didn’t last long, and we won.  By one round. 

That night we went to dine with Brigadier McDonald, who commands all the various units here.  Also there was a Peculiar girl of 23 called Margot Piggott who appeared to be about 17, and said everything she thought about everybody!  Really very amusing in her way. Also Brig. Alexander, the youngest Brigadier in the British Army, and his wife, Lady Margaret (whose sister, Lady Barbara Bevan, had travelled out from England in the Maloja with us) and Lady Ross, mother of Mrs McDonald, and Pat Smyly, who besides being blonde and curly, is keen on racing. In fact he won the Grand Military at Sandown one year, and the Grand Military of India another year.

I think that's all for that day,

Saturday morning was lovely and interesting, as we rode out to watch the training of Remounts going ,on  -  though Sydney says it gives him rather a pang to watch this, when he knows that half these horses will never really be needed by the Regimgnt.  They have got over 100 Remounts being trained at the moment.  We watched two of them having harness put on them  -  they were the newest-joined horses.  All the others were pretty well advanced, and I couldn't tell them from any other old horse.   But one of the baby horses having harness put on him is Dad's son.  In other words his Sire is called Baden-Powell! This little fellow, a very well made little bay, is called The Little Colonel.  So it is quite appropriate.  It was very interesting to see how they put harness on them.  Every bit of strapping and every-thing was first passed over the horse's head, and all the time he was being hand fed with oats.  They tied sacks on their backs, on their tails, strapped up a foreleg, then a hindleg, and those horses just stood  there, quietly feeding, and not minding being mauled about at all. We went round watching all the various "Rides" doing their exercises, some going down jumping lanes, others trotting round in circles, figures of eight, etc.  It was all lovely, and so many beauteous horses.

Then at 10.30 we set out for Peshawar, with Ted Tinker (specs.) as our A.D.C. this time, and at 5 of the funny little villages on the way, Scouts were turned out to see Dad, and in Peshawar itself were 3 huge groups of them. .  We had lunch with another Brigadier, called Dashwood Strettel (Dashwood was his Christian name,  Isn't it silly) He was big and fat and rather pork butcher looking, and he spat when he talked, which was most putting off.  Then we just rushed up to Government House for Dad to go and call on Griffith, the Governor of the North West Frontier.  I didn't go in, but Ted and I and the A.D.C. of Government House, called Paddy Keen in the Hampshire Regiment, wandered round the garden till they came out again.  Then Dad and I and Ted and some man in the Intelligence Department or something, went for a drive through the native quarter, the usual form of closely jammed together houses, and picturesque side-streets, filth, people, etc.  And then home again.

Then in the evening Audrey and I went to Jimmy Delius' cocktail party, and there were there several Officers in the H.L.I. and they all came and talked to me and they were so amusing and introduced themselves, all with Mac prefixed to their names and two of them had been at Sandhurst with Peter, and knew Ian Hope Johnston and all that crowd, and of course Geordie, because he was in the H.L.I., and they all loved him although they thought him mad, and we talked about him so cheerily, and they were really rather like him themselves, saying most dotty things, and two of them were tall and dark and moustachioed and very like him.

 

 

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That evening there was a dinner party with the Kennedys, consisting of Col. and Mrs Grey (he commands the Skinners’ Horse) “Tiny” Power, my fat Squire, Derek Keppel and Derrick Wormald, and then we all went along to a Concert given by the 13th, which was very amusing with funny sketches, songs, etc., and rather Harry Lauder form.  Also the Band played some jazz and I squirmed for Dad)  After the Concert, and while I was swishing out of the door after Sydney, I was seized by all the H.L.I, cads and they said Come on, you're coming back to this party.  So I did, in a car load of 5 of them, and gosh it was uncomfortable!  We went back to Jimmy Delius’s cocktail party, and continued well into the night!

The next day again another Hunt, and it was marvellous, not a good day from a Hunting point of view, but nice and sunny, and heavenly country, and every now and then we had a burst of galloping round a cane plantation, and then back again, and hunting up and down the banks of the Kabul River.

Then I went back to the Nowshera Club with 2 H.L.I. blokes called John Royale and “Digger" MacAffrey, both very Geordie-like to look at, but wait till MacAffrey spoke,  -  Oi sy, do Oi come from Austrilia. And how!  He is with the H.L.I. for a year, and apparently he is very popular with them.  Chiefly because he can lower more Scotch than most of them! Well, they were very amusing and we had drinks on the lawn at the Club while a Band played soft music under the trees, and it was lovely sitting dreaming in the sun (still in riding gear)  And then I said I must get home, because I must pack, as we are going away tonight. So they said all right.  But their car had gone.  Qf course one of the other cads had taken it. -  So we had to wait there (Nowshera is 8 miles from Risalpur) until they came back, three of them, called “Cornet" Blunt (great friend of Geordie's) Pat Haarn, and Mark Hollis  - the latter defintitely mosf amusing, son of Hollis who was Governor of Zanzibar before Rankine) and he walked about with a bunch of pansies behind his ear.   He and John have made a pact that while they are in India they refuse to become Indian speaking, and won't say Tiffin of Chota Peg or any other of these technical terms.  If they do, they have to stand the other a drink!  But it really is a very good pact, because people do become so frightfully Poona! By the time they came, it was Lunch Time, so we had that and I've never had quite such an entertaining lunch party before.   They got the poor waiter completely foxed.  And after lunch we all went back to Risalpur and ended up at Jimmy’s bungalow and it was very sad to say goodbye to them, and they have all given me their addresses and made me vow to come back to Peshawar to go and beat up the Club there! Oh, they were fun, and they do make a break after the boring crowd we usually have to go about with!

I packed after they had gone, and then we had tea, all of us on the lawn, and a few fellows came in to say goodbye, and in the evening Audrey and I went round to have a ouiet cocktail with Jimmy Delius again, and also there was a terribly good-looking but rather pansy-looking boy called Tom Jameson in the Air Force, and he is a great friend of Jimmy Begg, who is a great friend of Dick Mills.  Jimmy Begg is at Lahore, and so I hope to see him this week, as Tom has warned him of my approach! Instead of going back to the Kennedys, Audrey and I went on with Jimmy and Tom, where they gave us a very swanky dinner at the Air Force Mess.

And then after that we had to rush home, and collect our goods and catch the night mail train down.   And so all the lovely week came to a very sad end. And  now I must stop, or I'll never get this letter away at all!

Mum and Rosalind get to Lahore on March 9th, and so do we, and then our journey will be continued together, to Jaipur to see a native State, to Meerut for the Kadir, And back to Delhi before going down to Bombay to sail home.  (But I still don’t know whether I shall cut the Apron Strings or not.  Actually I would like to go home in the Maloja as we know several people going in her already.  Bottom of the page. Must Stop.

                  Miles of love, HEATHER.

 

[1] Far Flung Outpost of Empire

 


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