Sunday, Oct 16th 1910
My dear Kathleen,
I put off writing to you till today so as to tell you about yesterday. It has all gone off so well & there has been a high tide of enthusiasm spreading over the village about the whole matter which naturally reached its climax yesterday.
In the first place the way people have been willing & anxious to give subscriptions during the last week or two is really extraordinary, some whom Ethel had not thought of asking she heard were only waiting for her to come round & she has spent hours each day lately finishing the collecting & making arrangements about the tea at the “Social Gathering”. Every subscriber was entitled to a ticket for the Social, but as there are over 400 subscribers we weren’t anxious for them all to turn up, or the walls of the school might have burst, so it was lucky that some were in America & other distant parts! As it was I think about 150 must have been there, & thanks to Ethel’s good arrangements & the liberality of a good many, there were provisions enough & to spare. It was the most sociable “Social” you could imagine, that was entirely due to the Hunts themselves – Captain Cecil & Capt. Charles were perfectly delightful in the way they went round recognising & talking to old friends & they both made a speech, more like a friendly chat to the whole assembly though than a speech. Capt. Cecil brought a lot of amusing reminiscences & enlivened the proceedings greatly especially after the somewhat set introductory speech of the Vicar, then followed Capt. Charles with a capital little speech, more orthodox in style but with some amusing touches e.g. talking of the Cross as likely to become more beautiful still when the years have mellowed it to the tint of the Church stones, he said that would not be in his own time – “perhaps in Bill Savage’s”! Great delight of course among the audience, especially in that corner where Bill Savage happened to be sitting.
The musical part of the programme (which was quite informal) followed next, all the Hunt’s sang, such nice voices they all have & they sang just the right songs, Mrs Chas. Hunt has a very pretty voice & delighted everyone. The Vicar sang too (he was in fine form throughout the proceedings & evidently enjoyed it thoroughly) & one or two parishioners, among them Elijah Crisp who after great pressure & finally a hoist up on the platform by Capt. Charles, gave his famous song “The Lord Mayor’s Coachman” with fine effect! Father said a few words very nicely towards the end & at a quarter to eleven he thought it best to warn the Vicar how the time was going, many there I think were enjoying themselves so much that they were quite oblivious of the lateness of the hour. We finally got home about eleven, all the Hunts said how much they had enjoyed themselves & I am sure every body else did.
Well I have not kept to chronological order, but must tell you of the rest of the day now. The service at 3 was very nicely done, the Church was nearly full, we had Evensong & an anthem, then the choir & congregation went out & stood round the Cross, the Archdeacon read the Dedicatory Prayers standing on the step of the Cross & the Hymn “When I survey” was sung as the procession went back into Church for the Archdeacon’s address which was given from the pulpit, the day being too cold to have it outside. He has an extremely nice face & a quietly impressive delivery & his address was well worth hearing. “Abide with Me” brought the service to a close & then we all went to tea at the Vicarage where there was a drawing-room full of clergy & others, the Archdeacon of course, Walkers, Shawcrosses, Wilkinsons, Ashwins, Swifts, Alcock, etc etc & poor old Henry Keen – asked as being Churchwarden – he looked rather out of place, but he sat by the tea table when Muriel Holmes was officiating & she left him happy with tea.
After everyone had gone the Hunts stayed on &, as they said, went into every nook & cranny of the house & garden. At 6.30 we had to have dinner as the evening affair was at 7.30. The servants managed quite well & Father & Mother were both quite at their best. Mother likes Mrs Hunt very much, indeed it has been a real pleasure to all of us to have them here for the weekend. It is so nice to have really well-bred folk for once as visitors!
Monday I wasn’t able to finish this yesterday, & now have a few minutes before post time so must scribble. Ethel has been clearing up at the school this afternoon & as all cups & saucers wanted washing she & I had to turn to. Capt. C. & Mrs Hunt are staying till tomorrow, they have so many people they wanted to see & had to take an extra day to do it in. Capt. Cecil left by the 3.12 this afternoon. The others have gone to tea at Mrs Ashwin’s this afternoon so we have been free to wash up!
Mother sends her love & will see about packing off your jam in a few days, she really had no time to think of it last week. She also sends love to George & will write to him very soon.
Mary Robinson wrote to say they will be pleased to have Mother at Richmond, I am glad, for a little change will do her good, she looks a little white, but this week-end tho’ a busy one has I think done her good. I am very glad to have been at home for this function & not to feel an outsider as I so often have felt.
Miss Slater is going to take the part of Marjory Seaton in the “Man from Blankley’s” which the Dramatic are going to do in Jan. Gwen Lindsell is to be the child, Mr Harold Smith & his wife, Mr & Mrs Tidmarsh & Mr Richards, Lord Strathpeffer. I hope it will come off before you go back.
I have moved with my pupils into another room for this week & next Monday Mr Frank Idiens is going to let us have the little room we wanted next the other, so at last we can breathe!
A new pupil – the Beach child only 5½ - comes tomorrow.
Much love to you all
your loving sister
May E Sladden
No more diary yet from Arthur.