Sept 10th 1911
My dear Kathleen,
I had better begin my narration of the family doings in chronological order, à la Ethel. Mother made her call on Mrs New after seeing you off, had tea there, was driven by Peggy to the station for the 5.20 train & Jack & Betty & I walked to meet her nearly to Badsey station.
Arthur & Mary had a cycle ride & got in to a late tea. I saw Marjory, settled that the Whites could come if they wanted to (but we have not yet heard their decision, they may find the fees too high) we went up to the school together, saw Mr Cooper there & spoke about one or two necessary things, having the cloak room window made to open, for one, it had only got a wire lattice in two panes & he thought that sufficient ventilation, but we insisted on having it made to open, then we saw Mrs Farmer & was quite satisfied with her appearance, she is to try the cleaning for a month. After tea I had quite a good single set of tennis with Jack till it got too dark.
On Thursday morning I went up & met Marjory & we got all the things necessary for cleaning – in all amounting to 17/4 worth, & still there are five irons etc to get. She decided to join us on the river in the afternoon & suggested using the boat they have for the summer, so we asked the Byrds to come, & so were a party of 12, Mother drove up with the Byrds & they took the tea, Father joined us at Spraggs & Marjory was waiting there, we had three boats & went up the river. Going we divided up thus, 1st boat Arthur, Mary, Clara, Ethel; 2nd boat Jack, Marjory, Mother, Juliet; 3rd boat Cyril, Mary, Father, Mrs Byrd. Ethel rowed with Arthur & they seemed to get on all right, but E. got a little tired, Jack got on quite well rowing with Marjory who is used to it, & I sculled for the first time my life I think with Cyril & under his directions. We rowed for about an hour in great heat, the perspiration was dripping into my eyes part of the time, we landed a little this side of Morton Corner & had tea in a shady spot, after tea the lovers wandered off together, Father & Marjorie made another couple, Mother, Mrs Byrd & Clara sat with cushions propped against a bank & were so comfortable they didn’t want to move. Most of the rest of us picked blackberries & Betty & Boo & I arranged how people should divide up going back.
This was our decision after much careful thought. 1st boat Arthur, Mary, Marjorie, Mother. 2nd boat Jack, May, Mrs Byrd, Ethel. 3rd boat Cyril, Juliet, Father, Clara. Judy rowed on the way back being very anxious for Boo’s tuition, & Ethel had a rest. I got a little tired towards the end & had a bad blister, but it was lovely coming back in the cool. Clara was a little tired but I think enjoyed it very much. The cakes held out nobly, & are in fact (Sunday) still going on. We got home just about lighting up time.
Father had some supper in Evesham & went to a meeting about the starting of Boy Scouts in Evesham at 8 o’clock. We sat out in the garden till about ten, but without the lamp for we were all not energetic enough to do more than sit & talk.
Friday was very hot again. Arthur went by the 9.52 a.m. train from Badsey, Mary saw him off, then sat quietly in the garden the rest of the day till evening. I think she was glad of a rest day after so many bicycle rides. Judy & I were the only energetic ones, we started at 3 with our towels & bathing dresses for Cleeve, arrived there in a great state of heat, it was such a relief to undress & air one clothes. We had a delicious bathe & Betty made great strides with swimming, began trying the overhand stroke, found out how to turn round (& incidentally taught me too) & ended by swimming out from the landing stage, turning round & swimming back in 24 strokes. You can imagine our excitement & delight at all this.
Friday evening we played bridge out in the garden it was a perfect evening.
Saturday was much cooler I was busy upstairs & in the kitchen all the morning. After lunch, Jack & Cyril & Mary & I started off on our bicycles for the Lenches, taking tea in the thermos & buns etc. We had quite a good afternoon, saw the churches at Church Lench & Rous Lench, sat on the way side & enjoyed our tea, picked some blackberries for a tart & just got back before dark.
George arrived during our absence, also Enid who has come to stay till Tuesday, so now we are a houseful. Ethel is sleeping with me, Enid & Judy upstairs & Jack in Ethel’s room. Today has been a very usual sort of Sunday. I had a walk with Jack during church time this evening & bravely got on to the subject of manners at table & shaving, & I told him he must try not to let himself get round shouldered, the way he holds himself distresses me as well as the other things. I told him I thought it best to speak straight out, as people so often get into bad habits without knowing it. I even was bold enough to suggest that some day he would find a nice girl, & I wanted him to make the best of himself! He really didn’t mind I think, though of course no one could expect to enjoy being talked to like that. He said that he didn’t know that he had got into bad habits, but I am sure now I have mentioned a few he will be rather more particular. I had to rather poke the shaving question in, it was a little outside our subject, but I thought while I was about it I must do all I could. I certainly never want to have to screw myself up to the same sort of thing again, though really he took it very well.
Tomorrow I have suggested to George that he might help me make an inventory of our school furniture & dust it before Mr King sends his cart for it on Wed, he wants to see the new school premises so I can take him up there & see how the women are getting on with the cleaning. The others are to inspect on Wed. when it is all clean & the furniture will be moved in. Mary will I think stay till Thurs so as to see it in its glory! She & I are to go to tea at Mrs Ashwin’s tomorrow. Enid & Juliet intend I think to go & have a bathe at Cleeve, they could go alone quite safely, I know Juliet would not go out of her depth.
Mrs Adkins is very ill indeed, I am afraid there is very little hope of her recovery, they had a London specialist yesterday, but he could give no better report.
Father seems much better for his holiday, brighter & less ready to worry. Mother is glad of the slight fall in temperature & looks better for it, she had a stiffness in her leg today, which rather bothered her but she says it is better this evening.
Mary heard today that Hubert’s wedding may be in Nov. after all, she asks for suggestions for bridesmaids' dresses, she & Hubert’s sister of 18 are to be bridesmaids, if you have any ideas you might send her them. They had blue at Olive’s wedding so don’t want quite the same this time, though I know of no colour that suits Mary quite as well as blue. You will be pleased to hear that she has brought out Arthur’s photo since he left, it stands boldly in a frame on her dressing-table! We see more of her now of course & I think she takes more at meals etc when Arthur is not there.
The little Betty is very sweet & sensible & helpful, very happy now with Enid. She & I looked over her underclothes the other day & did various necessary mendings I must set to work next on the blouse & knickers.
I hope you had a nice weekend at Richmond & found Aunt Pollie better, Mother is a little worried about her, she had a letter the other day from her & is sorry she is not able to go to the South of France.
I hope you haven’t had a very busy time these first few days & are feeling more braced up.
I must go to bed now.
Very much love from your loving sister
May E. Sladden
I can’t find your latch-key, it is not in your dressing-table drawer nor in your wardrobe drawer, can you suggest anywhere else where it may be? Have you looked in the pockets of your hand bag?