The Grove School
Sun July 12th 1914
My dear Father
Here is a programme of the play for you, and also a copy of the Annual Report which I expect you will be interested to see. Well we can’t be too thankful to the weather for we had two beautiful days on Thursday and Friday. It was a pity Mela could not come, and I really do think it was truly noble of Boo to face the Garden Party all by himself. He came about 3.20, and went directly after the play which ended about 6.45. I am so glad he came, and he really seemed to enjoy it too, I think he thought the play was quite a success, and it did go well certainly; people were very pleased with it. I must try and give you a coherent account of the two days’ festivities beginning at the beginning. Thursday morning at breakfast it was fine but cloudy, and as it had poured on Wednesday night up to tea-time we felt a bit nervous; however by the time we had had breakfast and prayers the sun came out and it began to look quite settled. Everyone volunteered to do some work and really people were splendid this time, and all the work the festivities always entail was got through amazingly quickly and very well too. I took charge of some of the little ones who were putting up fairy lights, and assisted them for a bit; then five of us started to clean the silver, that took ages, two plate baskets larger than our big one crammed with forks and spoons. Then I put the much harassed Miss Vickers into a good temper by sweeping out the garden room and No 2 Hall, for she shares Ethel’s and my objection to walking about with grit under our feet. Then I cleaned the dessert knives and forks – by myself at first and assisted by Miss Hamilton afterwards. The nicest job really is helping to lay the lunch tables in the garden, but I daren’t do that because it means a lot of running about, and Miss Grierson was doing it with several others, and kept a stern eye on my ankle when she saw me running about on it, so I had to hide! Lunch was at one; there were from 35 to 40 OGs present; after lunch there were speeches and school song and cheering and that sort of thing, and then the school and OG groups were taken. Then the OGs have a meeting of the OG Association in the common-room while the girls clear away, lunch and help wash up and get tea. I helped get the bread and butter ready; Miss Paarderope chopped bread with the bread cutter and I spread it with butter. About 3.30 I had to go and dress for the play, and the actors had tea in the green room while the OGs had it in the garden. Then followed the play which was quite a success, though not so good as the next day. It was getting on for supper time when it was over, and then we had prayers after supper, and dancing until ten. I couldn’t dance of course, but I played valses for them and sat out in the garden. At ten we wound up with Auld Lang Syne and more cheering, and went off to bed. The next morning is much the same busy story, but as I was rather tired and had used my ankle a good deal the day before (and it wouldn’t have done to have been lame for the play), Miss Yorke made me lie down all the morning, so I was quite fresh and lively for the afternoon. Miss Lacey gave us awful frights just after lunch by ringing the fire-rattle to get us all together for carrying out chairs and tables into the garden; we thought it was a fire for a minute or two! We made a bucket line from the house to the garden and passed chairs along for all we were worth, it is a very quick way. However Miss Lacey came along and ordered all who were in the play to go away, and wouldn’t let us help; it was about two then and we were requested to be dressed by 2.30 or soon after, so I went up to put on my glory rags. We were all dressed by 2.45 and were out in the garden awaiting the first arrival – thrilling moment! It was a good opportunity for criticizing people’s dresses. Miss Lacey had a very nice dress; I think the stuff was black silk veiled with black ninon; it was quite plain with just a little white ninon let in at the top over the shoulders, and down the front into a point, so that it had a sort of pichu effect. Her hat was black with black ribbon and white flowers, not bad for her. The mistresses were a credit to the school, they had all turned out so nicely. Miss Ramsden was in white with a sweet white muslin hat with pink roses in it. Miss Yorke looked charming in white and blue with a blue hat. Miss Crump was in pale green with hat to match and she didn’t look so tall and thin as usual, and she looked quite good-looking. Miss Grierson really looked pretty; she had a sweet white muslin dress, with a big lace frill over each shoulder and down to a point in front, and a sash of perfectly gorgeous deep, deep ink, and a big leghorn hat with the deep pink silk same as the sash round it. I pointed them all out to Cyril; you remember the amusing story about Miss Yorke who wanted the door left open? He thought Miss Grierson distinctly better looking than her photos. Directly Cyril came I got hold of some tea and we found a shady corner on the lawn and sat and chatted over tea till about 4. Then I trotted him round the school and up on to Grove Bank roof; by that time it was about 4.30 and time for me to go and dress for the play. So I found Margaret who hadn’t got any visitors of her own, and passed him over to her tender mercies. At 4.45 just as I had got into my things and was busy browning my face and darkening my eyebrows, along came the viginti on duty and said there was a Mrs Bowden wanted to see me. I nearly jumped out of my skin, for I had almost forgotten I had invited her, and I never dreamed she was in Hampstead, much less would come up! I was stuck up in the green room and couldn’t possibly move to go and see here, so I sent frantic messages to Cyril, and thanked my lucky stars he was there to entertain her. As it happened she couldn’t stay longer than to have some tea and see the 1st Act of the play as she had some dinner on, so I never saw here at all; however she seemed very pleased I had asked her as I had a most polite note form her next morning so I think I did the right thing in inviting her. As I said before the play was very good, everyone acted her best I think, and one or two people’s best were very good indeed. We knew the play perfectly and didn’t once need the prompter. I enjoyed my part thoroughly and it went very well; the part between Deirdre and me went excellently and I had a little clap all to myself when I went off which was quite exciting! Deirdre was really wonderful, I wonder how many people who saw the play realised that she is only just fourteen – not many! The minute the play was over all the actors went on to No 2 lawn and about half a dozen people took our photos in a group, and Deirdre and Naisi together. Then I went and found Cyril and he said he must be off; I lent him my copy of the play as he said he was rather too far away to hear properly during the 1st Act until he moved, and besides it is a difficult play to understand well at first sight, and he said he hadn’t quite gathered why Owen went mad! Directly he was gone I went and washed off my moustache, and then went and had strawberries and claret-cup. They had a scratch supper at eight, then prayers, and dancing afterwards till 9.30, but I was tired out and retired to bed at seven. Yesterday Miss Lacey gave us a whole holiday to recover in. I had a thoroughly lazy day, not getting up till lunch and lying out on a rug on the lawn for the rest of the day. Most people were more or less limp. On the afternoon was the OG v present girls’ tennis match; the OGs won as they have an excellent player who we couldn’t hope to beat, although Miss Yorke was playing for us. Today it has rained hard again, but has cleared up now (4.30) and the sun is shining. Several OGs are still here staying over the weekend, Helen Black among them; the cricket match is tomorrow, I hope it will be fine.
Poor Hester has got jaundice and looks the colour of butter. Miss Grierson is contemplating the possibility of having to stay here in the holidays and nurse her, which will be just sickening for her if she has to, as otherwise they are both going to Switzerland with Miss Lunnis and some others of her college friends. I should think she ought to be well though by then, as they are not going for about a week after the holidays begin.
Thank you very much for the postal order. I am relieved to feel now that I have more than 2d in the world!
Miss Grierson gave me a great mend today, I only had a button loose, an eye off and a bit of torn lace to mend, so I did them straight off and finished it in about ten minutes. She was in rather a hurry when she did it and if you ask me she didn’t look properly! I know I hadn’t much, but I think I had a bit more than that.
What fun you must be having this weekend with the Phillips’ and Arthur and Mary. I feel quite jealous of you. Please tell Det I can’t remember if it is my week or not but anyway I have written such a long epistle to you it must do for the family at large, as I haven’t time to write any more.
Much love to all from