June 20th 1917
My own dear Cyril
I was so pleased to find a letter from you this morning when I came down to breakfast. It is dated April 18th and tells of all the difficulties attached to getting leave. Of course since you wrote it the submarine attacks have increased considerably and although Marconi is said to have invented some way of detecting submarines, yet the losses in ships are not very much less.
Wilfred is still at Malta and is attached pro-tem to the Northumberland Fusiliers. On account of having measles he was not sent on to India in The Transylvania as his brother officers were; and, who as you know, were torpedoed for the second time. So he again mercifully escaped.
I wonder if my wire has reached you yet. I see by your letter that you were prepared to hear that I could not get a passport.
I arrived here last evening. Until next week we are in a tiny furnished house, before going into a house we are furnishing for ourselves. It is a river-side bungalow and perfectly charming – I wish you could see it. It is a dear little place - and so attractively situated with a pretty little garden and tennis court. We shall be very busy furnishing it this week. I hope I get a welfare job in London so then I could pretty often come down here for weekends. It is very nice coming to a place where we were known as children. It is surprising how well people remember you.
I heard from Kathleen yesterday. She tells me that Bernard Sladden has been badly gassed and is in hospital in France. I do hope it will not undermine his health. He is such a fine strong man, it would be such a shame if he became delicate. But perhaps being strong he’ll pull through all right.
I’ve not heard from Badsey for over a fortnight. I think they are very busy – May with furnishing her school and gardening in her school grounds - Ethel and Betty both do VAD work on different days, so I expect your Father has his hands full with the garden.
Barbara and I had such a sing-song last night. Wilfred is quite right in his judgement of Bar’s voice, it really is very lovely and she sings with expression and life too.
Having already written you this mail from Birkenhead, this is only just a note to tell of my arrival here.
As it is so late in the summer now I imagine your request for leave to England was not granted; if you came now you would not have time to get back by Sept 1st. So our dreams have been shattered for the time being and we can only submit to laws beyond our control, and wait until another opportunity presents itself. I don’t think the war will end for at least 2 more years, so unless you get leave home next year, we shall have a long time to wait. Still – I’ll wait for you, dear, until – any time.
All my love from
Your ever affectionate and devoted