Apr 23 1916
My dear May
I feel you have been treated rather shabbily in the matter of letters. Father sent you just a short line yesterday morning with all our Easter wishes. I should have written on Good Friday evening but after supper (rather late on account of church), then helping a little with a big stack of washing up, tea and supper things (Ada was out until 9 so E and I felt we must do a bit), then getting Mother’s fire to go again with some trouble, putting her to bed, while E & J washed their hair and making her gruel, it was past eleven so what could one do! But you know all about that. It was very nice to see your long letter this morning and hear what a lovely place you are in and what a nice restful holiday you are having. You must not worry about us being busy here; we are very cheerful with it all and the best thing in the world is for you now to be laying in a good store of health and cheeriness which will be invaluable during the summer. I think you will have plenty of opportunity then to make use of them in looking after Mother. Dr Leslie came on Saturday morning. We were glad to have him again as we had been feeling rather worried about the swelling of Mother’s feet and legs. It was worse on Thursday and she was getting quite distressed about it, but it was a trifle better on Friday and since then. Another symptom which was disquieting was the unnatural red colour in her cheeks and hands, her feet too; Father came down to breakfast on Saturday feeling quite unhappy about this. In some other ways Mother has been rather better I think since you went, breathlessness if anything a little better, appetite quite good and spirits very fair provided she has enough cheerful companionship. When the doctor came we told him about the things I have mentioned. He attributes it all to the heart and considers the immediate cause of this attack to be a recurrence of the influenza poison in her system. Her heart was much the same as last week and he wants her to rest even more and not to attempt to walk upstairs at all. As a concession to her dislike of being carried she may walk down, with rests by the way. If the weather were bad he would say stay entirely in bed, I think, but fresh air does so much good to her health and spirits that he will allow her to come down although she will not come in the morning unless she is going out. Jack took up the front wheel of the old chair yesterday and got Coulters to put a new tyre on as it kept coming to pieces, and we are very glad to have it in order as there is still no news of the other one. Dr Leslie thought it quite out of the question for Mother to go to church today, so Mr Allsebrook kindly came on after the second service and had a short service here for her, bringing the consecrated bread and wine with him. I went at 8 o’clock with Ethel, Judy and Jack but did not communicate and Father and I did so with her later. Ethel stayed at home to look after her this morning and this evening I am sitting with her in the dining-room. Jack and I took her out for nearly an hour in her chair after tea, we got as far as the Red House and she did enjoy it so. It has been a fine day but rather chilly, especially at intervals when it clouded over, but just for a time then the sun came out and it was very pleasant; the blossom was so pretty too and the smell of that and the wallflowers very sweet; the Evesham bells were ringing so sweetly too. You must not think this report too depressing of Mother; her heart was not worse, only Dr Leslie says she is not responding to the treatment yet quite so well as he would wish and that is why she is to keep more quiet. I think he really believes that in time, with care, her heart will become much stronger again, though not perhaps quite what it was before. Ethel heard from Clemmie Johns that her mother had the Schott exercises for a year or more and they did her a lot of good; her heart came down from 112 to about 85 and she is now doing much more and can walk up to church.
We had another wire from the War Office yesterday afternoon to say that Cyril embarked for Bombay on 17th, so he ought to be there by now. They have not had any further news of Harold at the Vicarage. We were so very sorry to hear about Geoffrey Lambert. Aunt Polly told Mother in a letter. It is dreadfully sad for his mother. It has been nice having Jack for a good long weekend. He seems quite well, though glad of a little holiday. He has done quite a nice lot of pruning, came out twice with Mother in her chair and see a good deal of her altogether. He went to Evesham yesterday morning, did a few jobs for me and went to the office in his capacity as director. Mela wrote a nice letter to “Everybody” for Easter. She has cabled to Cyril at Bombay, “Sorry wounded, Captaincy gazetted”. She said in his last letter he was so despondent about his promotion that she was most anxious to let him know.
Now I must go and put Mother to bed and then write another short letter if time.
Love to Mary and yourself.