Sept 24th /16
My dear Kathleen
I was glad to have your letter and must send you some home chat. But first I must send congratulations to Mrs Horsman on her coming marriage. It certainly was a surprise, but it sounds very nice and suitable and I hope will turn out well. I am sorry to hear that there is something wrong with her mouth though, and I do hope it is nothing really serious. I suppose she must go to hospital as soon as possible. How will you manage I wonder!
I wonder if Rosie is with you and staying the night. We are only four (five with Baby), still as Arthur and Mary are still away, they haven't mentioned coming back yet, but I expect they will come about Tuesday. They like themselves very much at The King's Head, Cirencester, so are making that their headquarters and doing circle trips from there. I had a pc from Arthur of the Roman Villa, Chedworth, which they had been to see. I think you and I could do another tour in the Cotswolds quite profitably. You knew that they didn't start till Wednesday as they were a little alarmed about Baby on Monday; she seemed rather weak in one leg all of a sudden and Arthur said that was just how infantile paralysis started, and they felt anxious until it passed off and proved to be nothing serious, merely a result of teething I should say. She is very well now, her aunties are quite pleased at having supreme control for a bit, though we are glad of Eva as she takes up more time than we can give her, even collectively. Today, Sunday, we have had her entirely, I have just put her to bed and am sitting in her room now. Betty was in charge this morning and has gone to Evensong with Father.
It has been an extremely busy week. Monday of course I started school and was busy that afternoon with school work. Tuesday I went to Marjory's to tea and we did school bills afterwards. Wednesday Ethel had two meetings in Evesham morning and afternoon so lunched up there so Judy had to do the cooking of which there was a a lot; then Arthur and Mary wanted early lunch before going off, so I got home to find Betty very much a Martha having had no time for any study. After tea I started going round houses in Aldington delivering armlets and at the same time asking for subs for the Belgians. It was difficult to get on very fast as people like Mrs Heath and old Mrs Ballard were so pleased to see me and wanted such a long talk. It will take me at least three evenings to get all round; I must go again tomorrow. Most people were quite ready to give a small sum for Belgians. We need more money so I must get what I can as soon as possible. I wonder how your Belgian meeting went off. Thursday was Sunday School treat. Ethel thought she would be glad of my help so when I got back at 4.30 from school I went straight to the Old School and found plenty of filling of mugs and some bread and butter cutting etc to be done and after the helpers' tea, we went up to the Johns' field on the high road and helped to organize games. Ethel and I got back home about 7.30 after clearing up at the school and bringing with us the children's contributions for prisoners' parcels. This was Ethel's idea, band it was well taken up by the other teachers and the children themselves that each child should bring some gift suitable to send to a prisoner. After the children were told about it last Sunday, Ethel said she heard murmurs of "Cocoa", "Tinned Salmon", "Chocolates" etc from various small people and all these things and many more figured in the regular grocer's shop which was the result. Ethel thinks there will be enough for 12 parcels. She has written to Worcester for names of some Worcestershire men who would be glad of a parcel.
To return to Thursday evening. Betty was very glad to see us as she didn't quite know about supper. It was Ada's birthday and she was having a half day off to go with Rose Nightingale to Fladbury and to a cinema in the evening. On Friday after tea, Ethel and Judy both besought me to go and see old Mrs Roberts - no one had been able to go for about a week. So I went, the poor old thing is still in bed and very tired of being dependent upon Jane for everything. Yesterday Ethel made damson jam while I did most of the rest of the cooking and in the afternoon I cleaned silver which had missed its do this fortnight on account of Ada's outing (I wish outings didn't interfere quite so much with work, what with the day itself and being tired after it!) while Ethel and Betty wrote notices for a War Savings' Meeting next Tuesday evening. They want to start and Association here in connection with one at Evesham about which Ethel went to a meeting last Tuesday. She of course will be prime mover and she has Blake as a willing supporter. Mr Binyon came in to supper this evening and she and Father are now talking the scheme over with him (as you see supper has been sandwiched in between the sheets of this letter) while Betty is reading "The Octopus" up here with me. She is delighted with it and says I must read it. I have finished "The Problem of the Commonwealth" and am very glad I read it. How I do hope and trust that the British nation and all the Dominions will keep together and be the greatest force for freedom that the world has ever seen. It seems such a tremendous opportunity, how dreadfully sad if it were thrown away.
I had a letter from Cyril on Friday, he was at Basra and I did not know how long he might be there or whether he might soon be sent up river with a draft. Conditions were fairly good he said, mad day temperature 102 degrees, night 72 degrees. But I may as well send you his letter to see if you will return it when writing. I heard from Mela this morning, she says convoys of wounded pour in and they are very busy. It was very nice that she could come last week and she seemed well and pretty bright, very glad of a day off. It was fine and warm so she could sit and snooze in the garden in the afternoon.
I am so glad your neuralgia has gone. Betty says she will probably go to you before Oct 7th if convenient, so she can bring up anything we want to send with her, the coat for Mrs Horsman for one. I am glad she would like it. Aunt Edith writes that she would like that new dress of Mother's which we offered her so we will send it. I expect you enjoyed having Marian. Norah wrote as if she was very pleased with the shawl. I shan't want to borrow from you thanks as Father says he can lend me what I want for a short time and I shall be able to pay up quite soon. I can't see your black scarf anywhere in our room but will ask Ethel if she has seen it, and will send it at once if it turns up.
The address for the bacon is The Northern Stores, 62-63 Looe Lane, Liverpool. Your piece was not quite 2 lbs, wasn't it? I think you weighed it. As you know it is 1/- per lb. Ethel will enclose a bill for eggs.
We are wondering whether you saw or heard anything of the raid. I hope if so it wasn't too alarming. We have just seen an Evening Despatch which Mustoe brought. The postman brought the first news this morning. He had heard it reported that two Zepps had been brought down. I am very glad was true. I am afraid the casualties must be rather heavy this time.
This is likely to be a pretty busy term with me. I shall have to stay three afternoons every week at school, we find it necessary to to have two of us there on some afternoons, so Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will now be my days and Monday, Wednesday and Thursday Marjory's, and May White helps me on Tuesday and Marjory's on Wednesday.
I am going to sleep with Baby tonight so must soon be off to bed. Betty is a splendid nurse and does a lot for Babs when Eva is not here. The early morning, late evening and night work with her has to be done by one of us. Eva comes at 9.30 and stays till she is in bed.
With much love to you and Jack.
Your affectionate sister
May E Sladden