Sept 20th /14
My dear Kathleen
How nice for you George being able to spend Sunday with you, just as Cyril has done with us. I hope he was well and in good spirits. Cyril was splendid, so bronzed and altogether the picture of health, very cheerful, too, and keen on his work. Mela is quite pleased with him (!) and does not at all object to his budding moustache, but she warns him to train the ends downwards in case he should look like the Kaiser! He arrived by the 4.17 yesterday. Mela had been to Birmingham to see the Matron of the General in the morning, she got back early in the afternoon and waited in Evesham for his train so they arrived together when we were at tea in the drawing-room, the Rylands being here. They had a nice long evening together, and have seen a lot of each other today. They walked with Mother to Wickhamford and left her at church while they went for a walk having been to the early service. This afternoon we left the drawing-room to them most of the time, then all had a talk together over tea. Cyril had to go by the 6.28 and Mela drove to Evesham with him. She said there were quite a lot of soldiers going up by his train, also some about Evesham, and he had quite a lot of salutes. Mela slipped into church late on her return, the rest of us had all gone. Father read the Sennacherib lesson very well, really the whole story might refer to the Kaiser and the Germans’ approach to Paris – and retreat.
I am so glad Betty could go to you to see George and she wrote a pc to say she was nearly off her head with delight! Now we shall want to have your account of him and his doings. Cyril will be going on to Tidworth in a week’s time, possibly before, but it is just possible he may come home again next Sunday if they haven’t got to be at Tidworth till Monday. The Churn Camp breaks up on Saturday. I had a letter from Arthur on Monday afternoon just after you went, as you have heard too from him I won’t send on the letter, there wasn’t much news in it, he told you I think that he was quartered in the stand of a sports club. I do hope we shall hear soon that the Germans are driven back from the Aisne, there evidently has been a big fight going on there and one longs to hear it is over, and the result successful.
I have had a very busy week, Monday and Wednesday afternoon I spent with Marjory doing timetables etc and Thursday and Friday were both very full days. Our classes are so completely altered this term, it means a general rearrangement all round. We number 23, and 6 of these are new. We are seriously thinking of having to provide dinners at school for those who live at some distance and who ought to stay for afternoon school. We have got as far as having a man to see about the possibility of putting a gas stove at the end of the entrance passage, it would not be a great matte and he is going to send us an estimate. Mrs Farmer’s eldest girl who is just leaving school would we think be able to do the necessary cooking. Of course it would mean a little outlay in crockery and utensils, and it remains to be seen whether there would be enough children to make it worthwhile. I rather doubt whether we start it this term, but we may. Gladys White has not come back after all, I had a note from Mr White to say that as things were looking brighter now they were able to send her away after all. I am glad, for having her would have made things much more difficult for me. As it is I have Betty Openshaw aged 12, and the five others in my biggest class only 9, except a new boy of 10. That means Betty must do some extra work alone. The five in my lower class are in two divisions of 3 and 2 for most things, and when they are amalgamated with the five transition children, as they have to be sometimes, things are rather complicated! I feel a little time is needed before we shake down to the work. Marjory said she felt in mid ocean, I said I felt in mid air! So your work is somewhat interrupted, I hope you won’t have to go to Chelsea Town Hall.
Mela had to be medically examined again at the Hospital yesterday, much more thoroughly she said than by Dr Leslie, she passed all right and settled with the Matron that she was go to, but they cannot have her for a few weeks as the new wing where she and other new nurses will be lodged is not quite ready for them. So we shall have her here for a little longer. She had a nice letter from her Mother the other day with a present of £1. I should think Cecil’s influence has produced a good result. You have heard I expect that Cecil has already gone abroad, he didn’t have long training and must have been pretty efficient. Mela doesn’t of course know where he is, very likely on the lines of communication. I do wonder whether George will be going to France. Mrs Ashwin’s grandson, Malcolm Henderson, has been wounded but is doing well. His people heard yesterday. He is in the Royal Scots.
Mother heard this morning from Aunt Edith, she said Aunt Lizzie was pretty comfortable except that the sickness from the chloroform had not quite gone. The wound is healing wonderfully she said and it is evidently hard to realize that she cannot get well again. Aunt Lottie wrote after she had been to see her, quite a good coherent letter, she said Mr Ted Potter had been to see Aunt Lizzie and she asked him point blank whether she would live till Xmas, he told her it was very doubtful. It does seem so very sad, especially for Aunt Edith and Marian.
Well, goodnight. Much love to you and Jack. I hope you don’t feel a very dull little party only the two of you.
Your loving sister
May E Sladden