My dear Mother,
Having reached once more this “haven of rest” – as it seems to us looked at in the light of our strenuous days at Paris – I must write you a really long letter. I am not sure that I don’t owe Father one but it seems a long time since I wrote to you & if he feels neglected he must consider this partly his.
I had better recount our doings starting backwards. We got here just after 7 this morning having seen Jack off in the London train somewhere about 3.30 a.m. & then sat in the Dover waiting room till 6.30 when the first train to Folkestone Central left. We were very sleepy “Polys” but the walk here woke us up, we found [?] quite ready to get us some tea & Aunt Lottie in bed, but awake & wanting to see us. After a wash & some breakfast we unpacked then had two hours rest & sleep, & Aunt Lottie gave us early dinner because we wanted to go down to the harbour to see our two “Poly” friends who were crossing by the 1.30 boat. We got there just as the boat was being moored along side & soon spotted them & had 20 mins talk before their train left. They were very jolly girls whom we had got to know at Interlaken & at Grindelwald, one of them is a private secretary to Mr Asquith. We had lots of experiences to relate since we parted from them at Bern & they had equally many to tell us, in fact it would have been hard for any fifth person to have got in a word edgeways during those 20 minutes.
Since then we have been darning stockings (first chance for a long time) & Miss Tyson also just returned from Switzerland, has been in to compare notes with us. Now I have told you of today’s doings I will begin at the beginning of our stay in Paris.
On Sunday morning we all went to the service at the Madeleine – the music of course being beautiful. Dolly had never been to a R.C. service before. Afterwards we took a bus along the Boulevards just to explore & came back to our hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we took steamer to St Cloud, the annual fair was on there & we walked right down the long avenue with booths on each side & then went higher up into the beautiful park. On our way back we called at Uncle Joe’s & heard that he was away but returning the next evening. Monday was the day for our drive round Paris & we were disappointed in the amount we saw. “Seeing Paris” meant in most cases only a passing glance at the exteriors & even where we got down we hadn’t often time to see all we wanted. At Notre Dame for instance we had to hurry away without seeing the Trésor, & they didn’t even attempt to show us the Sainte Chapelle, so we went again next day & saw both.
Jack & Dolly were both delighted with the Chapelle as I remember being when I saw it with you, & I enjoyed almost more seeing it again. Napoleon’s Tomb we saw properly, but on the whole we found we “saw Paris” better without the “Polys” than with them. Lunch was not included at our hotel & we always broke away from the Poly crowd & got ours independently at a really French restaurant where we usually paid about half what they had to pay at the restaurant where English was spoken to which they were conducted. The wonder is that they all so meekly followed where they were led, but very few of them can speak any French. One man who had been going about Paris for several days, asked Dolly suddenly what eglise meant!
On Tuesday morning we escaped the rest of the party going to the Louvre or rather couldn’t find them as they were late, so we went on our own & spent about two hours among the sculptures chiefly, then for a rest & change we went to the Sainte Chappelle, then lunch, then the Trésor at Notre Dame, then back then to the Arc de Triomphe where we climbed to the top, thence back to our hotel quite pleased with the days achievements. The day before Dolly had been feeling poorly with a very heavy cold & though better she was not over fit on Tuesday, I think she got cold through getting “wet-foot” at Grindelwald in the snow, it was rather on her chest, so we bought camphorated oil & I put her to bed on Monday directly after dinner & rubbed her & gave her hot brandy & water, this treatment did her good & she has been getting over it in quite normal fashion since, though she still has slight remains of cough.
On Tuesday evening Mrs Fisher, a former school mistress of Dolly’s who now lives in Paris came to see her, Jack & I meanwhile went to see Uncle Joe, we found him very well & had quite a chat, he sent his love to you & was anxious to hear how you are. Aunt Fanny Joe had been so busy unpacking that she had retired so was not visible.
Wednesday was a cold day for the drive to Versailles, but we wrapped up warmly & took Dolly’s rug which we have been glad of several times & enjoyed the drive in a big charabanc. By a little contriving we managed to see the Petit Trianon as well as the rest, this was omitted from the programme of the Polys, but none of them appeared to mind, they had all the more time for lunch & that they always appreciate. The whole day was most interesting, & on Thursday we enjoyed Fontainebleau if anything even more, perhaps partly because we had a much more interesting guide than at Versailles. The day was much warmed, so the drive through the forest was very nice.
On Friday we did the Pantheon & St Etienne, the Cluny & Luxembourg, two more hours at the Louvre pictures finishing up with some shopping, then dinner & off to the Nord station. All details & amusing anecdotes I must leave till I get home which will be on Wed. I think I will let you know the time later.
On Monday we are going to Deal for the day, that is Dolly & I. Auntie seems very well & glad to get us back, she hopes Ethel can come on 19th & stay a fortnight, after that she & Dolly will probably be going to Richmond. Ethel & I will be Box & Cox I am afraid, but we must have some Switzerland talks when she gets back.
I shall just see Judy I suppose. I hope your teeth are comfortable now.
Much love to all from your loving daughter
May E Sladden
Aunt Lottie sends love