The Grove School
Sunday February 14th 1915
My dear Father
There is quite a lot of news for once this week to tell you. To begin with we are safely out of quarantine and no one else has got measles, which is a great blessing. I hope all your colds are better, and that Mother’s is not a bad one.
Nearly all the school went out to the theatre on Friday evening, I among them. The D’Oyly Carte Company are at the Marlborough Theatre for three weeks, and various school parties are going to the best things. It was Patience on Friday and over 20 of us went. I did enjoy it, it was very well done indeed, and the songs are sweet and very catchy, and the play is so funny and very clever. It is a take-off of the aesthetic craze you know that London had once years ago. Miss Lacey went and they say that she was just rolling with laughter all the time; because of course she can remember that time and appreciated the jokes more than we could. She and Mrs Fletcher and Miss Fletcher went together – very superior they were, went to the Dress Circle! Gallery price 1/- for us! I am going again very likely one day. If possible I want to go to the Yeoman of the Guard; but I can’t go this week as it is on Tuesday and I have a late French class, but perhaps it will be on a convenient day in the third week; if not I think I shall go to the Mikado next Friday instead. It seems a pity not to go twice when the things are so good, and I’ve got the chance, and it is so cheap. Getting there only costs 1d; it is a tram ride that my mercenary spirit rejoices in, as it is just within the 1d!!
We had a fire here yesterday; it was just found in time to prevent it spreading, and was soon put out with some buckets. It was in Miss Blott’s room; her bed it was that was burnt and the wall was all blistered. It is a most uncomfortable mystery, for we haven’t the faintest idea how it started. There was no fire in the grate, it couldn’t have been the electric light fusing because that is away in a far corner from the bed; there were no matches in the room. The only thing thought of is that Miss Blott had an iron under her bed with methylated spirit, but it had no spirit in it so it couldn’t have been that. Miss Lacey thinks it must have been a piece of burning paper blown in at the window – at least says she thinks so, but to begin with where could it have come from; there are no chimneys for miles away, and from the nearest chimney if a piece of burning paper had been blown it must have blown out. The bed was burnt in such an extraordinary way. The eiderdown was all burnt and part of the blankets and Miss Blott’s nightdress but not the sheets, and half the mattress – the bottom part of it and one end of the wooden part of the bedstead. It is burnt in three distinct places so that one burning paper couldn’t have done it. Miss Blott left her room at 8.45. She is an OG and she is boarding here and goes to a studio in London all the day. The fire was discovered at 9.15 so that it had obviously not had time to make much way. The room is at the top of Grove Bank, the one thoroughly unsafe place in all our buildings if it did catch fire, as there is practically no means of escape. The 14ers’ study is next door to Miss Blott’s room and the kids smelt burning, but the silly children never went to see if it was anything. It was Miss Anzoumanian who found it. It strikes me one of those fat Dutch women must be a German spy! Miss Blott doesn’t smoke so it couldn’t have been that. I don’t know, it is a mystery. I hope it won’t happen again.
You will let me know Arthur’s address when you have it, won’t you? Will you tell Mother I was delighted with her letter. What on earth is the school going to do without Mr Amos?
I am getting so sick of rain; we have had nothing but that lately.
With love from your affectionate daughter
Juliet E Sladden