My dear Kathleen,
I have one or two of your letters to answer I treated you badly last week, but I wasn’t sure if you would be back at Sydenham before Tuesday night so didn’t write on Sunday, & that meant it got put off till today. I enclose little bill for eggs, the carriage was rather a lot, but I hope the things were worth it. Thanks for your note received this morning I quite agree that it is best in every way to give up the Norway trip this year, the Cotswold plan might work in very well, we shall have time to discuss it thoroughly when you come home. Ford would be quite a good place to stay at for a few days & we could go on elsewhere from there.
I don’t know where Aunt Lottie’s idea is that Dolly & I should go to Paris, but that also I can wait to talk over with Dolly when she comes. Aunt Lottie wrote that she would come to Badsey later on – but of course you will know their plans as you have seen them both.
Mother seems to be getting on slowly but steadily, I hope she will soon suffer less from flatulence, Ethel says she has it a good deal, and no doubt that makes her feel poorly and may cause the breathlessness. From what Ethel says I should imagine it will be some time before she really gets over the nervousness, & for that reason I suggest it would be best if Arthur could manage it, for him to go down & bring her home, don’t you think she would be far happier, even though Dr Paul might say it was not necessary? Of course we can see what Ethel thinks. Ethel is splendid about writing & tells us just what we want to hear.
I must tell you about our adventure on Thursday. Mrs Byrd went out for the day & offered Muriel the use of her pony & carriage for the afternoon, so she invited Judy & me to drive with her & take our tea. We went a little way up Willersey Hill, coming back Muriel got in to drive gently down while we walked, but we had made a mistake in one of the straps in putting the pony into the shafts (we had just taken him out while we had tea) & the consequence was he bolted directly Muriel took the reins, by almost a miracle she & the pony both got safely to the bottom, but the pony fell down at the end in trying to turn that bad corner, & he got rather badly grazed. You can imagine Judy’s & my fright, rushing down the hill after them, seeing all the contents of the carriage, rugs, picnic baskets, everything scattered all over the road. It was a wonderful escape for Muriel, & the pony might have been much more hurt. Of course a fair crowd collected & one man volunteered to see us safely home, he looked like a tramp, but seemed thoroughly to understand about the horse, said he could quite well take us home, & everybody said his cuts were only skin cuts & not serious, so after having gone up the hill again to hunt for Muriel’s purse which contained £3 & had been thrown out with the rest of the things & returned without finding it, we got in & let him drive us back, I was glad to have a man who managed the horse splendidly, I was rather nervous as to what he might do after his fright, however he went along quite steadily & at Bowers Hill we met Chamberlain, Mrs Ashwin’s man, so we dismissed our “tramp” with a tip, & Chamberlain took us on. A boy then came bicycling up behind us with Muriel’s purse & the £3 all safe, he had found it in a ditch, so we began to feel almost happy again, but poor Muriel was not at all happy at having to explain all to Mrs Byrd, we were afraid she would be pretty much upset, but she was worse than we anticipated & was not at all nice at first to Muriel, however they made it up more satisfactorily later. Muriel of course undertook at once to pay all damages, & sent for the vet., Dick is at present at Marshall’s, everybody seems to say he will be all right in a week or so, but Mrs Byrd will only say “he is very seriously hurt.” She doesn’t seem to realise at all that Muriel was most plucky, & if she hadn’t kept her head & hung on with all her might to the reins, the horse might easily have been killed – not to speak of Muriel. Of course Muriel blames herself for not harnessing him right, but we really were most careful in taking him out to notice how everything went, but there was a kicking strap hole in the shaft as well as the breeching strap hole, & we had not noticed this & put the breeching strap into the wrong hole, then when we felt a little doubtful we asked a man driving down the hill to see if it was all right, & he got out & looked & said it was all right, & we rather naturally took his word for it. Our “tramp” turned out to be quite a well-to-do man, he told us he had driven a cab in London for four years, & now was going about the country sheep-shearing, & we have heard since that he owns a hotel at Pershore which he lets his brother run as he prefers a wandering life. Altogether the adventure had its funny side & we can afford to laugh at the funny parts of it now, but it really was an escape for which we felt most thankful. The worst part of it is Mrs Byrd’s attitude, somehow one wouldn’t mind how angry & amazed she was if she could show it differently.
Clara is still away, I rather wonder what she will say when she comes back. Father was very nice, thought that it was one of those accidents that will happen at times, & that Muriel was very plucky. Mrs Ashwin was also very nice Muriel said & did not fuss.
Father & Judy & I had a more successful expedition on Whit Monday, you know what a glorious day it was & Judy will have told you how we rode to Ford, going by Snowshill & coming back down the hill to Stanway. We all went quite wild over the view from there, & agreed that you could scarcely find a more lovely spot anywhere. Father’s tyre burst near Broadway station on the way home, & he had to walk home, I walked about two miles with him, then went on & saw that supper was ready when he got in – not very tired, only rather footsore, at 8 o’clock.
Altogether I quite enjoyed my Bank Holiday, I did some gardening with Father in the morning, then had tennis with Muriel & Judy.
You know that the Manor is let to a Mr Lopez, a clergyman belonging to some brotherhood in Birmingham, some young men are going to live there with him & learn market gardening, Father hears that they come from a Hostel in Birmingham started by Bishop Gore for young men working in the city, & I suppose these will be some who prefer a country life. Mr Lopez came again to Badsey on Tuesday & looked at the Tudor House which he thought would do for a convalescent home that Father Adderley wanted, when he came again on Friday he told Mr Allsebrook that he had bought the house from Mr Lord, so there are the two big houses both going to be occupied. There will be quite an excitement in the village when the people really arrive.
Have you heard that the Fountain is to be ready for its opening ceremony on Sat: June 22nd when Mrs Eyres Monsell is coming to press the button – or whatever it is she will have to do. There is to be a village tea on our lawn or in the barn, there has been a meeting to arrange it all, & the tea committee will manage the tea. Of course we shall have to keep Mother from being worried or tired in any way about it, there will have to be one or two subscribers invited to meet Mrs Eyres Monsell, but Father & Ethel or I can entertain them & Mother need not see any one unless she would like to. I am sure it is a good thing we have put off the Aunt & Dolly, but I hope by the end of June Mother will like to have Dolly.
Aunt Lizzie Fellows sent Mother a cheque for £20 the other day, people really have been awfully good.
Miss Lacey wrote the other day hoping that Juliet would soon be able to go back, she hasn’t yet been more than one day without coughing, I hope in about a week she will not have coughed for several days.
I am so glad you had such a jolly week-end in Surrey. I must go to bed now.
Much love from
your loving sister
May E Sladden
Father sends his love, he will not write for a few days as I am writing.
I must add a line before getting to bed. You would be amused at Judy as “dairy-maid”. Alice went on Friday for her young man’s sister’s wedding & is staying till Wednesday, so Judy has constituted herself dairy maid, & is most particular about her pans & slab. Brailsford was severely reprimanded today for making a mess on the clean slab. “My word, won’t he catch it if he does it again” she says. Tomorrow she is going to try butter making in the bottle churn, & has great hopes of success. We can send you more eggs any time you want them, only we have no more egg-boxes, perhaps I had better buy another & you could bring them home when you come.
Marjorie Slater is delighted at having an invitation to go to Switzerland for a month in August with a friend, she has never been abroad. Mrs Slater is to go for a month in July.