Sunday April 4th 1915
My dear May
Thanks awfully for your nice letter. I feel rather a little wretch not writing to you for Easter, but oh we have been so busy that I really hadn’t a minute. On Saturday morning about half past ten we got a wire from Boo to say that he and Mela were coming after all, Boo in time for lunch to stay till Tuesday night, and Mela in the evening to stay till Monday night. Of course we were delighted, but it meant rather a scramble nevertheless. You poor thing, I am sorry you have missed him especially as it seemed so certain on Thursday that he was not coming; I expect you feel about as sick as I did at not seeing Arthur – the fates were unkind! Well as you have so unfortunately missed him you may just as well stay over next Sunday as Aunt Lizzie suggested, and be sure I can get along quite easily – with only Father and me in the house there will be very little to do and Queenie gets along with me very well. Of course if I went and developed a bad cold or something equally silly I should have to send along and ask you to come back and rescue us, but I don’t think that is very likely. I have had a slight suppressed cold for the last two or three days, which I have kept off with oil of lavender and strength of will! I certainly don’t intend to have another cold yet.
Yes, Father did give Det your message about the cheque.
It is very jolly having Cyril and Mela here for Easter and we are spending quite a happy time. We four and Queenie went to the eight o’clock celebration this morning. Queenie got up of course before and did some of the work. We got breakfast at 9.15 which wasn’t bad considering, don’t you think? The locum is quite a nice man; he was very quick over the early services as he only reads half the sentences for most people and the whole sentence for the last person of the row: we were out by a quarter to nine. Ethel of course had Sunday school, so I had the housework to do. I took up Mother’s breakfast, cleared the table, made her bed and gave a lick to the bedrooms and the drawing room, and put out the table-cloth and dinner napkins for Queenie, and that was all I had time to do before church, so the lamps had to wait until after as usual! Poor lamps! Ethel has a theory that however much has to be done we can squeeze it all in somehow in the appointed time – except the lamps, and they always have “to be done afterwards”.
I quite agree with you – the daily round and common task do swamp everything else sometimes to an almost unbearable degree at home. I know that Cyril has felt it at times very strongly. And I don’t mind confessing that it was so bad last holidays that I was quite thankful to go back to school. We must quench it somehow; anyway it has been better this hols: and the last few days I haven’t noticed it at all. Probably the result of only one slavey – calm after tempest you know! And Queenie is rather pleased with herself at having the whole show to herself – it won’t last long but it is pleasant while it does. She needs similar spurs frequently to keep her at all up to the mark, doesn’t she?
Ypers is a great acquisition in the household, I think. He keeps us all lively.
Mela is looking a little tired and pale after her hard work; I think she is glad to get on to some new work. Isn’t it splendid the matron told her just as she came over here that if she chooses she can go on to the Bournbrooke Military Hospital. I think Mela has got on the right side of matron! She will get paid there, £20 a year, and the hours are shorter she thinks.
Strictly between you and me I shan’t be sorry when Thursday comes as I am looking forward to a quiet time then even though I shall have all the work to do alone with Queenie. Ethel is such a very strenuous person I find I can’t keep up with her perpetual motion system. I don’t mind working like a gallows slave in the morning and doing a few odd things afterwards, but she continually runs after me all the evening with, “Just come and help me for a minute, Betty, I wanted to do one or two little odd jobs, it won’t take more than a minute or two.” But it really takes an hour or two. After my accustomed work of sitting for some hours every day, I get a bit fed up with trotting round all the time. And I wouldn’t grumble if I thought it was really necessary but I don’t think it is personally!
Hope you will have a good rest at Eastbourne and come back quite refreshed. I must go and get ready for church now. (I don’t really want to go very much but Ethel wants me to come along with her, so I must leave my multitude of letters and the Swinburne poems I’m dying to read until another day, for the Bowdens are coming in to supper and you know how much reading and writing one does when Mrs Bowden is about! Besides, it is rude not to entertain.)
Love from your affectionate