My dear Kathleen,
I am sitting out in the sun on the lawn, it is a lovely day & the autumn colours are glorious. Mother & Norah sat out for a short time after dinner but they have now gone in to rest in their rooms. Mother has been troubled the last few days with swollen veins in one of her legs. I am afraid it is a tendency to varicose veins & she must be careful. It is better when she does not walk or stand about, & she ought to put it up as much as she can, so she has been using my chair with the foot-rest, or the sofa, & she is giving up walks for a few days. While these sunny days last I want her to sit in the garden a little during the best part of the day, she needs the air, & with plenty of wraps it will do her good. I daresay Mrs Byrd will take her for a drive again soon. I think she is really better in herself than when you went away, she still is paler than she should be & has gone down rather in weight, so she is having hot milk at bed time.
We shall be quite a tiny party again soon, I think that will be rather good for her for a bit – the restfulness of it I mean. Norah leaves on Friday & Cyril the same day. Ethel has got as far as talking vaguely about the end of this week for her own going away. I believe she told Mrs Bowden she could come to her then, but she has not heard from her yet & I think is waiting till she hears to fit other visits in. Annie has been given a month’s notice. Mother consulted Ethel & me as to whether she had better go, & we both thought it would be best. Ethel believed that she was thinking of giving Mother notice before Xmas & for that reason I think voted for her dismissal. I did not think so much of that – it being only hearsay at the best – but I am sure it is best for her to go. Mother could never make her do her work properly – nor could Ethel, E also does not like her or trust her, & Alice & she do not really work together well, though they play together merrily enough. Mother thought of asking Alice if she would change & take the laundry & kitchen maid’s place, but Ethel doesn’t think she will, & I expect she knows. Still Mother may ask her all the same. She will have to advertise this week. I think she will try that Shropshire paper & the Church Times. I hope she will get a reliable girl, not too young, who will be capable of being “head servant” when Alice leaves.
It is Harvest Festival today here, so Ethel was busy decorating yesterday morning & I did a good part of the cooking, Mother helping with what she could do sitting down.
Ethel & Boo & I cycled to Meon Hill on Monday & picked blackberries to send to Kilburn. There were crowds there & we sent off a small sieveful that same evening Boo & I carrying it down to the station between us in time for the 7.20 train. On Wed. Ethel had the rummage sale by which they made over £5 for the cottages & three sacks have since been sent to B’ham. We have adopted the Carter Patterson plan of putting up a card in a front window to say “G.W.R. Dray wanted”, we tried it yesterday for the first time & it proved quite successful!
Last Friday was Evesham mop. Boo went all by himself & spent between tea & supper there, in his characteristic way he wanted to see what it was like! As measles is a good deal about in Evesham Marjory & I sent notes round to all the parents asking that the children should not be taken to the mop. On the whole I think our actions was quite approved of by the mothers. I had grateful notes from one or two saying they were glad of the excuse not to let them go.
School goes on as usual, we all feel happier in our new premises. The agreement with Mr Horsfield is not quite done with, but I hope will be signed in a day or two. We have put it into the hands of Mr Sharp, a young solicitor who is in Mr Tom Cox’s office. The others laugh at me “interviewing my solicitor”.
I am glad you like “David Deronda” I have just got it out of the library for Mother, she has read it, but years ago. I thought it splendid, & must dip into it again. Last Sunday I read “the Conventionalists” all through – a strange book – or rather still more, a strange man who wrote it. Mother thought it clever but of course strange. Norah has had quite a lot of books out of the library here, she enjoys time for reading.
Muriel Holmes is rather upset about her brother, the clergyman in Warwickshire who is very ill with pneumonia, he motored over here with a bad cold one of those cold days & developed it afterwards. Marian Watson was to have an operation today at a nursing home in Southsea, so both Mrs Ashwin & Muriel were feeling anxious when I went in to see them after church today.
George seems to have had an excellent time in Scotland, Boo threatened to get a hand book on golf & learn up the terms so as to be even with George in golf talk.
It is past four & I am still not cold sitting out here. We really have had & are having a lovely summer & autumn.
Very much love
your affect: sister
May E Sladden