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19370624 Heather to Betty

Only four pages, typed.  Heather congratulates her younger sister on the birth of Heather's niece, Gillian (Gill for short)

File0238.bmp           24th June 1937.                      PAX.

Dearest Duckie,

very many congratulations on your successful. Poor Jill being like Aunt Agnes in the nasal appendage. That made any (and us) laugh a lot; but I’m glad your daughter (Gosh that does sound old) isn’t as ugly as you expected to be. Do you want some mascara for the eyelashes? It’s a good thing to start cultivating them from an early age I believe, is then they learn to grow long and sweeping of their own accord!

Well, you certainly are pretty clever, must say. You didn’t sound as though it was difficult to produce, and was very quickly over. Do you feel all flat and slim again now.

Everybody seems to be out to Increase the Population as hard as they can go – what with Comar Wilson having one – and the Albus, while here in England Bobby Brittain has a daughter, Beatrice Knight a son, Sara Peel (Vanneck) a son, and Eileen Maclear (Bickford now) about to have one, likewise Biddy Bols.

Mum had a fine letter from Mrs Fitz-H. Telling how they brought good news, from Ghent to Aix, – or rather in this case from Jo’burg Mankoya, – via a shop in Lusaka where Mr Fitz-H was calling in before going on to meet G.

I sprang to the Rollocks and Jorrocks and we

I galloped, we galloped, you galloped, they galloped all three

Not a word to each other kept changing place

Ear to ear, back to front, neck to neck, face to face.

(I think that’s wrong, but still.)

     Now, to think where to begin to all the old news here.

Well, first of all, I expect you’ve heard Peter is now in the Native Department, which is definitely good news. I wish Mum hadn’t got quite such a “down” on Peter, because the poor boy has got an inferiority complex and it doesn’t help for him to have it pointed out the whole time. Anyway, it’s most pleasing that he has got into the Native Department of his own accord, and it just proves that he can look after himself all right when not bothered from home. I certainly think he managed his marriage very successfully, and I’m sure he will win through to success all of his own accord if left to his own devices – by the slow but sure method rather than quick Rise to Fame. I agree on this point. I’m afraid mum has had so much disappointment from him that she has really given up all






hope about him. She is only so that he is safely in the Native Department, and not B.O.F.H.

Now to brighter subjects (not that that isn’t quite right – for change!)

Well, the latest addition to the betrothed couples is Oliver Newton. (Do you remember him G.H., Salisbury?) I looked him up in my diary, and this is what I put about: “there are two in Belize on the hospital recuperating here, Col Giffard who has a farm at Bket, and Oliver Newton, who has a squint, a farm, a gold mine, an ancient car, a poison arm, and no money!” I saw the announcement in the paper (use in England now) wrote to congratulate him (he’s engaged to Rudolph losses sister, Isobelnecessaryonabicycle) and he wrote back – “of course I remember you and your naughty sister, whom I hear is married and living in Kenya” (slightly misinformed). I’ve just got an invitation to his cocktail party today, but I don’t think I shall go, as I’m meant to be playing tennis and having cocktails and cold supper with the Mathers. Gay, by the way, is still the other side of the Atlantic. The whole mother family went over to U.S.A.all bills wedding, and then they went on from there right across Canada and now she is doing a thing I should love to do – and hoped to be able to go and do after the U.S.A.jamboree if we’d gone! – That is, Trail Riding in the Rockies, in the Rockies, far away. Bill and Ealeanor (can’t spell that name, and anyway it begins with a capital E.) are back at home now, having honeymooned in Bermuda, and go off to Paris next week, where Bill has to work for you.

I went to the the other night, with Pamela Drew and William Bunbury, who she will probably marry ere long. We were in the Members part as the Bunbury is a member, and while we were standing gaping at the gorgeous array of horse flesh, a pretty young girl with a scar on her forehead came up and talked to me and said aunt aren’t you Heather. And it was Mary Cadman. She was so sweet. I asked her what she was doing by, she said very busy working. So I said, oh, secretary to Pa? No. Horse breaker. She passed her Institute of Horse Exam. a little time ago, and now she is making and breaking three horses for people who live near them in Hertfordshire. Doesn’t it sound a marvellous job. I give her full marks for doing it. She said she doesn’t like London, and we agreed on the artificial life, and muttered to ourselves Back to the Land, and reported on very good terms. (The scar on the forehead also motor car smash, but she did not have time to tell me all the gory details)

I had a letter from Mrs Booker the other day, congratulating me on my aunthood, and sending me some centre-court tickets for Wimbledon, and she said “my loved Betty when you are writing.” So herewith I deliver the goods.




File0240.bmp                 - 2 –

as mum not in any hopeful suggestions about visiting you this winter? I have told the parentage to go off to Africa again, while I stay behind and hunt. We can’t allow them to be off loose, running round the world without us to keep them in order, so I thought if I sent them off to you for the winter, that would be safe. The trouble is that wherever they decide to go they would be bound to be asked to see the Scouts and Guides. But what I suggested to them is that they have visited Africa so lately that if they got back there again quickly, they could say, “oh, no, Scouts and guides. We came out to see you only last year. This year we have come to see the grandchildren.”

Although I have firmly said that I shall stay behind and hunt this winter, they make the Tour sound so exciting and such fun, that it is being very tantalising, and I will probably be so jealous of them that I shall not enjoy my hunting bit!

Another letter I have here (I keep special little drawer labelled Bet, and anything that I think might be of interest to you, or any time I think of something to tell you, I note down, throw into the drawer) is from Mrs Nanny Winn (you know, sort of stepped in and cleared up all the Spillings things) who said as a p.s. to a lot of trash which I couldn’t read: – “Long John, whose Hoof Betty had, was K.’s favourite hunter. She was was it his charger.” (K.  being Col Kinder Spilling.) (There, that’s that letter torn up at last!)

Now, here’s another one, which dad said I might tell you. A letter from old Warrington smile, who lives down in Cornwall, and is very yachty, and has several sons called such names as Bevil and Rodney. (Brother of Sir Neville’s my who we stay with at Kongbool) he says: –

“You would have been thrilled last week when out in my boat “Africa” we met a big basking-shop. He was in a friendly mood stayed with us for half-hour. We measured him carefully, and he was just 2 feet shorter than “Africa’s” water-line length, which made him 26 feet. In width he was actually more brainy than we are – viz. 9 feet. His enormous solid dorsal fin, more like a rhino’s hump, was over 3 feet high. We sailed round him, over him, alongside him, as he quietly circled round with his rather small mouth opening and shutting, no doubt in silent laughter enjoying the sun and the splash of the Seas on his broad back. When he did give a swirl with his tail, whole ocean moved as if the submarine had blown up. As his conversation didn’t very much, we got tired of his company went up on our way.”

Oh yes, and here’s another letter which is quite 





entertaining, from Ronnie Holman (I’ve just put a lovely new ribbon on!) Who I expect to remember on one of the cruises. Anyway, here’s a schoolmaster to little boys at Colwell now, and he wrote and asked me to stay with him and his wife – and this is what he put: – “I have consulted my worse, she suggested that we didn’t wait to you happened along this way, but we came over all Social in a large way, and gave you a puck invitation. Do you feel you can place it?...... come by road at your own convenience. If you could pinch the Jam Roll it would enhance our Social Prestige vastly, and we would leave it outside the front door all day. We can offer you a tennis court and a bathing pool, horses for a question exercise and hills for pedestrian ditto. We have gilded picture palaces, and Stratford if you come over all highbrow and Shakespearean. Give my love to Betty when you next write, if you think suitable, permissible, and so on. Tell her but I hope it’s a come.” (This written on a date previous to the great arrival.

By the way, can you remember those gramophone records of The Gang Show, etc., ever got to you. Also the Panties which I told to go by our mail. I hope so. The records were ages ago I believe, really – before we went to India I mean.

These other enclosures are just oddments you to tower up, but just for you to have a look at. I love “with many Greets from a Rober Scout.”! (That was on the O.M.) the letter about Gypsy[1] is from Rachel. I went and stayed with her and Mike last weekend. They have the duckiest itny beamy farm house, and ponies in the fields all round them.  G.M.[2] was too lovely, very fat, and well stop I rode her and she was lovely, and jumped ditches beautifully. She just won’t get herself into foal! Her husband comes every week, she thoroughly enjoys herself, apparently believes in Marie Stopes.

I must stop, as I’ve got to go along to the Mathers now. But I will write again soon, until you all my adventures, accidents, behaviour (very pure of late) etc. I’m going to stay with the Rowan-Hamilton’s this weekend, Impeys next, Duke of Rutland (said with nose in air) with Dad next[3], Peggy Barne next, – I can’t remember any further than that! Life is very gay. I have about five invitations for every day!

Miles of love. We’ve just got your fine cable segment Julian is to utterly at. As long as she’s not utterly udder, I suppose that’s a good state to be in.



[1] Gipsy Moth, Heather’s pony that she had passed on to Rachel.

[2] Gipsy Moth, see earlier footnote.

[3] Her father’s diary reads:-

Saturday, 10-Jul-37

Rainy, cold, overcast, windy. 

Took picnic lunch in the car and drove to Leicester Rally on the Agricultural Show Ground. Received at Scout HQ by President, Duke of Rutland and Duchess, ACC for cubs. Among those present were Goodacre CC.  Bemrose, Pewn, Towles, Copeland  (Frampton, Reeves absent) Lord Londesborough, Cromwell, Sir F Oliver, Bishop of Leicester, Sir J North etc. At Rally Sir Arthur Curtis  new and V.g. ?CC. Adams in charge of Rally 8000 Scouts and Cubs. Miss Wiltshire AL. very well devised and carried out. I showed OM (Order of Merit) to 156 King Scouts  and Ist Cl. Addressed respectively these , Cubs, Scouts, Scouters. Motored to Belvoir, put up  by the Duke and Duchess. Most kind and friendly. Curtis to dinner            


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