My dear Kathleen
Wednesday and your letter still unwritten! I might have written last night but really forgot I hadn’t; I left it on Sunday thinking you would get news through Ethel. I am so glad you have Mary and Beryl both with you; do write and tell me about Mary and how she is next week. We have had “Betty pcs” from Det both today and yesterday, she went to Deal yesterday and was staying the night. Aunt Lizzie is evidently very weak and no longer able to collect her thoughts or speak connectedly. I expect you saw that Captain Tanner has been wounded, I don’t think they know yet whether it is serious or slight. Ethel said Uncle Fred had been round to Muritai and asked for Arthur’s address. Mother had a most interesting letter from Uncle Fred a few days ago telling how he got away from Brussels. I am afraid his financial outlook is pretty gloomy, he says the company may not be able to give him a pension at all, also he doesn’t know when he will see again the money he had in some Belgian banks. He says they are living cheaply in rooms at Hythe. Father suggested at once to Mother that they had better ask them here for a long stay, Ethelwyn and the baby too, so he wrote to Uncle Fred and Mother to Aunt Florence. I don’t know of course whether they will come, if they did I should probably move out of my room. They would be our Belgian refugees!
Malcolm Henderson has been wounded a second time, a bullet through the knee and is at a Wimbledon Hospital. I have just seen Muriel Holmes, she says he writes most cheerfully and makes light of it. He was mentioned in General French ’s list of honourable mentions. There must be very hard fighting going on just now to judge from the long casualty lists again. I do hope the Germans won’t be able to make such a prolonged stand as they did at the Aisne. Father read us General French despatches while we followed with a map. It is splendid the way our troops are doing, but so slow to our impatient eyes.
I have had a lot of children coming and asking for wool to make scarves, socks and belts since Ethel left. They have been making things in the village school it seems, but have now finished them, so they are coming now for materials which we buy with the Red Cross money we have collected. I have had to get a lot more wool, our stock was nearly exhausted. I must go out presently and do about half a dozen village errands. Mother does a good many each day, but that still leaves some for me. What with Red Cross, Soldiers’ Wives, Girls’ Friendly Society, old women and other sundries, there is no end to it.
Miss Pollard’s stay here was a great success, she so evidently was very happy to be here, and we all much enjoyed having her. She and Ethel got on splendidly I think. She is so easily pleased and takes everything as it comes. I had a letter from Bessie Sharood this morning, she has had her husband and little boy both ill, but they are better now. They are living she says a regular colonial life with a big garden and fowls, etc. Her youngest brother went with the Expeditionary Force to Samoa, they seem to be immensely pleased with themselves at planting the British flag there.
Mother seems to get on quite well all by herself in the mornings, she has plenty to do of course and is at present largely occupied in pulling the two servants up to the mark. Ivy would be just like Alice used to be if she were not pulled up, she is getting fearfully slack, and the other one of course is a muddler though not such a slacker; it will do them both good to be directly under Mother for a bit, and also left more to their own responsibility.
Give my love to Mary and to Beryl please. I hope Mary found her belongings in good order at the flat and not damaged by the tenants. I wonder if she will let it again. I am glad Jack has joined a volunteer Rifle Corps; they have formed one here, and are drilled at the old school once a week. Tonight we hear they are going to do a route march. Some of the older men, George Jones, Stanford, Blake and others are quite keen and I believe two or three younger men have joined. Last Thursday they all came to evening service after the drill.
Mela writes cheerfully and everything seems all right for her except that food is rather short. She suggests could we send her some Sladden pasties occasionally to eke it out, so we must send an occasional tuck box.
I must stop now and go out.
Much love from May
PS – I suppose if there is a Russian mystery it will be cleared up some day, certainly the stories are very persistent, but I wish I could hear one at first hand, they are all at third or fourth hand, though most seemingly reliable at that.