The Grove School
Sunday Sept 27th 1914
My darling Mother
I owe you a good long letter this week after last week’s scribble. I will begin properly at the beginning. I got to Paddington and found no one so my worst fears were realised and I felt sure I had put the wrong time on Miss Lacey’s postcard, so I made my way to the bus, and inside was Freda Cameron who comes from Twickenham. We got up to school about 6.50, and there I found that Miss Grierson had just left to go down and meet me about half an hour ago. Just my luck! I wouldn’t have minded half so much if it had been Miss Jorgensen or somebody dull like that, but I did feel annoyed with myself for having sent Miss Grierson on a fruitless chase like that. Luckily she took a book with her and arrived back here quite unperturbed though she had waited for the 7.20 on the chance of my coming by that. On Saturday, off I went for the weekend, and as Kathleen was going to write you a long letter about George, I need not enlarge upon that. On Monday morning Kathleen and I went up together to London Bridge and then I went on by the City and South London tube as far as Euston and changed there on to our old friend the Hampstead and Highgate.
All this week I have been very busy; Miss Michael expects me to do tons of preparation for her classes and I have many other things that require a good deal of time. Miss Lacey saw me about my timetable yesterday, but has not finished with me as a visitor came in the middle. She said that she had heard from Father, and she discussed my plans with me and began to arrange may work once more so that I am learning practically nothing beyond exam subjects except French, Music and Drill. She seemed quite anxious to take something off – I don’t know whether she thought I was overworking! It doesn’t make any difference to the amount I do though because every spare second I have goes to my Latin – my Awful Bugbear!
I am so sorry I haven’t had time to finish the White Paper yet; I will send it along as soon as I can get it read. Will it do in a week or so?
You will let me have Boo’s new address when he goes to Tidworth, won’t you? I wonder if Arthur is moving and if so where. I heard that they were forming new base hospitals at Boulogne and Dieppe, so perhaps he will be transferred to one of those. They will have a dreadful lot of wounded after this battle ends. It seems as if news cannot be very long coming now. Miss Lacey says that if we win the battle it will be a splendid advantage to the Allies, but that if the Germans win it, it will leave things much as they are. She heard a thrilling story the other day which rather excited her, I don’t know if it is true but she thinks it is quite plausible. She heard that the French filled the trenches round Paris with that new stuff called turpenite, and that the Germans got to hear of it and were so terrified of it that they dared not go on and so turned away. Miss Lacey thinks that if the French could only make enough turpenite it would end the war soon. It is sent in a shell and when it explodes it kills everyone within a range of 400 yards I think she said; kills them absolutely painlessly and petrifies them so that they stand in exactly the same position as they were when the fumes met them. She says they are working hard at making it, but that men can only work at it 6 hours at a time or it would kill them, and have to live on milk the whole time that they are working at it.
Madge Heath is captain of the 15ers and 16ers study and I am vice-captain. We always seem to get together. I am so longing to be 17, I wish my birthday would buck up and come.
Officers’ dinner is next Saturday. We are going to sing the National Anthems of England, France, Russia and Belgium at it and we are having a practice this evening.
The cat had a kitten and Miss Lacey called it Liège, and when Liège fell she had it drowned because of its name; I think it was jolly hard luck on the kitten. I will write all other news in Det’s letter and she can read it to you.
Much love from