19th March 1916
My dear Eugénie
Thank you for your letter telling me about George and Cyril. What a good thing the former was absent when that bomb burst in his section. I expect you have heard again by this time. Of course you must all have been very disappointed not to see Cyril after all and also to feel he has gone so far away but when he does get home I expect he and Mela will be married, that will be very nice. I heard from Anna that poor Norah was seriously ill, how kind of Ethel to go and help nurse her and I am glad Mela is still with you for as you have only lately been ill, the whole care of your big house would be too much for you and of course May must attend to her school. I hope you have a nice maid. Florence has been coming down now for several days after breakfast, the smoking room is warmed up well for her and towards evening when the drawing room is warm she joins us there, she is much better, but not yet well and requires care in feeding as she suffers from indigestion, she has not yet been out. Today it is not cold but very damp as I write the sun is out but it looks rather watery. Archie is now at East Sheen doing some work for the Vicar there, he is in lodgings with the Curate and they are very comfortable. He is better but has to be near his Doctor and masseur, so a return to Camberley at present would not do and his Vicar is ready to spare him. On Thursday, Ethelwyn’s baby is to be baptised. Fred will go to the baptism, Mary is to be one of the Godmothers and will come if she can, coming here on Wednesday and going with her uncle to the baptism. Florence and I were also invited but the weather is not settled enough for her and also it is a tiresome journey and so much changing about and waiting in stations. I shall not go either for that day I want to have the sweep in the spare room, there has been so much fire and I am afraid it might become dangerous, and I must help with it for my present housemaid is far too sketchy – quick in her work, certainly not the treasure her sister was, still she is obliging and her sister is a treasure as Cook – even one amongst the 3 is a great thing. Harry had 4 weeks’ leave and went back to Newcastle much better for the rest and doctoring. I have heard 3 times from him since he got back and the last note was to tell me to hold all letters for the present as they were going to move shortly coming south he thought. I hope it will be somewhere not too far so that I could visit him as I did at Tunbridge Wells.
I am having a large meeting for the Bible Society on Tuesday afternoon and expect to be more than 80 counting ourselves and coffee afterwards, bread, butter and cakes, no dainties. I will not give them this war time. I am having it all done by the Pastry Cook, it would be too much for me now to look out everything and put all away again and as it all at home. Fanny told me she had seen Mabel Butler the other day and she told her Fanny Butler was ill in bed. Florence wrote to May yesterday to enquire after her. I hope she is not very ill, but no doubt she must be very anxious with all her sons serving and also May’s husband, you can so well realise it as you are in the same position. It is a long time since we have had any news from Gus. I fear they are both ill. Fred had sent money and has never heard whether it arrived. News from Brussels is almost nil. I enclose postal orders for schooling fund. I hope Juliet is well, will she be returning to school after Easter or going to College or what?
Edwin is very happy at Mayfield. He is with kind people and will have to come home once a month to have his blood tested. I think he will get interested in the farm work and there will be plenty to do for Mr Longhurst has no son to help him at present. Lance is getting on well at Oundle but at present has German Measles. Yes, I am deeply interested in Verdun. I liked Mr Hughes’ speech on Australia very much, he strikes one as being a very honest as well as a patriotic man. Fred works regularly at the office of his company in London, he is getting into the work of a man who may be called up to serve soon. Courtney Tanner is still very busy training officers, they don’t seem to want him to go abroad yet, it will be nice for Ethelwyn if they can spend the summer where they are now for the house is large and the garden also, so it will be healthy for the children. With much love to you all.
Your loving sister
Mary Anna Robinson