6 March 1921

P.S. the black silkstockings in theparcel belong toPhyllis.

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

6. 3. 21.

 

 

My dearest Mother,

Very many thanks for the cake, your letter, and the note.  The cake is delicious.  I have sent you off a parcel of washing.  I would like the stockings back, please, but the blouses and undies I shall only want for school next Monday, 14th.

I shall come down on Saturday, probably by an afternoon train, and hope to go to S.H.H.S.1 on Monday.  I have written to Miss Roseveare, and Miss Talbot to the Head, but we have not yet received an answer.  However, I expect it will be all right.

I think Phyllis enjoyed her week-end.  We did not do anything very exciting, and it was too cold for the river, but it was nice to have her.

Joyce and I have got rooms for next term on the Iffley Road – very nice ones, though I have got to have a bedroom out again, which can’t very well be helped.  What is more to the point, the rooms have been passed by the Delegacy.

I have done quite a lot of rowing this week – stroked a four on Wednesday, gig pair on Friday, eight on Sat.  The eight was awfully good – the best oars we had.  The boat was made for giants.  Every slide had been lengthened by half as much again, and I was the only one who could get the whole of the soles of my feet firmly planted on the stretcher.  Everyone else could only just reach their stretchers with their toes, and had to have wood blocks to press against.

We sang the Beethoven Mass this afternoon.  It really is a topping thing.  I quite see why Allen called it the biggest piece of music ever written.

My best love to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1Streatham Hill High School, Margot’s old school where Miss Roseveare was on the staff.

Next letter to be posted on 20 April 2018.

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5 March 1921

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

5. 3. 21.

                My dear Daddie

I enclose a statement of a/cs for this term.  As you can see I have spent all my ready money, in fact, overspent it, the balance coming out of what Mother sent me last week end.

The reason for my only getting £5.0.0 from the government is that the Treasury, on revising the B. of Education a/cs, took exception to our being classed as resident students.  Hendy is at present fighting the case, but I fear very much that it will go against us, as the one passion of the Govt. at the moment is economy.  So I have for the present only received a day student’s grant.

I tried to borrow the balance from the Hall Loan Fund, but the bursar says that at the moment it is bankrupt.  She will however, see what she can do for me.  I hope you will anyway let me borrow the money from Uncle Jack, or someone else, if you can advance it to me in the mean time.

I have really tried hard to keep down the housekeeping bills, but cannot cut them any lower without cutting down necessities.  Miss Betnay charges me nearly 10/- per week in extras such as coal, lighting, kitchen fire, etc, and I can’t quite manage to live on 10/- alone.  When Joyce and I were together it didn’t come nearly so heavy on either of us.  Thank goodness we shall be together next term.  The rise in the last two weeks is mainly due to more fires, as I had a cold, so Miss B. insisted on my having a fire for breakfast.

I am so sorry to bother you after your late disappointment.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

Housekeeping A/C

Dr £. s. d. Cr. £ S d
To Cheque 8 By Housekeeping
 “   Govt. 5

1st Week

2 15 11
 “  Balance 1 2

2nd    “

2 2 8

3rd    “

2 3 7

4th     “

2 4

5th     “

2 8

6th     “

2 8

Total             £

14 2

Total         £

14 2
Still needed
Balance 1 2
Hall and ‘Varsity Fees 1 13 4
Housekeeping7th and 8th Weeks 4
Journey home 1

Next letter to be posted on 6 March 2018.

27 February 1921

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

27. 2. 21.

                My dearest Mother,

Very many thanks for your letter and the money, which came with the stockings.  I will be as careful as I can with the money.  Thank you very much also for the shortbread and gingerbreads which came with Phyllis.  Auntie Lucy sent me a cake this week, too, so I am well off, fortunately, as this is being a very sociable week-end.

I met Phyllis quite punctually yesterday and brought her home in triumph.  We are having a very nice time together.  Yesterday we went to Magdalen to evensong, and after supper Doris and Joyce came in.  Yesterday and this morning were gloriously fine, but this afternoon it has turned very cold, and the sun has gone in.  However we had a very nice stroll through Mesopotamia this morning, on the way home from which we met Arthur.

Toggers finished up well, Worcester having bumped Magdalen, to everybody’s great joy.  The House was never in danger of losing the first place, and New College rowed well for the second, while Worcester certainly deserved its third place.  Corpus and Merton were the other two heroes of the occasion, each doing about 5 bumps each, and both bridged the gap between the second and first divisions.

On Thursday Carnegie Simpson1 talked to an S.C.M. group at L.M.H. on Reunion – a very illuminating affair, for he has been on the commission of the Free Church Council that has prepared an answer to the Lambeth appeal on the question of Reunion.  For once among women there was quite a keen discussion afterwards.

On Friday I had an interesting woman to tea.  She is an old student of ours, who has come up to read and practise psycho-analysis.  She really proved extraordinarily interesting.  I read a seminar paper on children’s dreams on Thursday, and so was well up in the subject.

I am sorry Daddie has had a check.  Still, we must hope for the best.  I hope Max’s cold is really better, and that you are not worrying too much about the pair of them.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1Carnegie Simpson and Reunion, at this stage the question of Anglicans and other reformed churches uniting.  High Anglicans demanded the re-ordination of nonconformist ministers – which the latter considered impossible as it would ‘bastardise’ their forefathers – and the denial of the chance for nonconformists to preach from Anglican pulpits.

Next letter to be posted on 5 March 2018.

22 February 1921

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

20. 2. 21.

                My dearest Mother,

Very many thanks for your letter and note, and the cake, which is delicious.  I am sure Mac will enjoy it.  Fancy him being 21.  I have sent you off a parcel of washing – lots of it.  I have heard from Phyllis, and written to say that next week-end will be all right.

The S.C.M. gives a Bazaar on March 2nd.  Could you possibly let me have some ginger biscuits for it?  Also if you could send me some net, I would try to run up a camisole for it.  Would you please give Phyllis my watch to bring with her?  It is in my little drawer in my chest of drawers.  Arthur can get it mended for me both quickly and cheaply, as he knows a watchmaker here who was an R.F.C. man.

What shall I do about the expenses of Phyllis’visit?  Miss Betnay ought to have at least 10/-, and I shall need a little extra for housekeeping.  Will you settle it up with Phyllis before she comes?

We have had quite an amusing week.  Toggers has been on the last three days.  Magdalen is coming down, at which every one rejoices.  I hope Worcester get them tomorrow.  Worcs. are doing very well, much to our delight, as Kenneth is rowing 6 in their first eight, which by making a bump every day has arrived at the 4th place in the 1st division, and ought to get Magdalen I tomorrow.  Merton and Corpus have each distinguished themselves by making two bumps on the same day, while rowing sandwich boat.  You remember little Marsden?  He is coxing Wadham I and has already two bumps to his credit.

Today I have been to hear Jo and Doris sing in the Eglesfield choir at Queen’s in the St. John Passion.  I don’t like it so well as the St Matthew, and Besly1 took it too loudly.

Please give my best love to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1Besly – Maurice Besly, at this time organist and director of Music at Queen’s College, and conductor of the Oxford Choral Society.  He was a composer and conductor and later a solicitor.

Next letter to be posted on 27 February 2018.

13 February 1921

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

13. 2. 21.

                My dearest Mother,

Very many thanks for your letter, the note, and the parcel.  I was so pleased to see some clean hankies again.  By the way, I did not have time to post you any dirty ones yesterday, so could you send me some from your reserve, as I have got just a slight cold?  The newspaper cutting of Grant Bobs was awfully good, exactly like him!

I saw him on Tuesday at the Prince’s degree giving.  It was quite by accident that I got  there.  Tickets were awfully scarce, and I was at school, so didn’t bother.  However, at 10.30 that morning Miss Thornton, the Hall Secretary, comes into Milham Ford and offers me a graduate’s ticket.  So after hasty interviews with the head mistress, the History mistress, and Miss Talbot, I extricate myself from Milham Ford, dash off to get into academic dress1, and tear up the High to borrow a hood from Adamsons.  At length I find myself one of about six women among a swarm of graduates, including all the celebrities – e.g. Grant Bobs, Dr Carlyle, Urquhart, Llewelyn Woodward, etc – in the area of the Shel.  Proceedings enlivened by running commentary from tall handsome B.A. doing education whom Doris and I call Leander, ‘cause he wears a pink tie – not addressed to me, but to a friend.  Dr Harris and two trumpeters in organ loft cause great amusement by rehearsing their “starts”.

At 12.0. the Prince arrived3, with two Regius Profs. and the Heads of Houses.  Poor boy, he was nervous.  He was as pink as his gown, looked nowhere, shifted his feet, didn’t know whether to sit or stand, bit his nails, and fidgeted with his hat and notes.  He didn’t cheer up until the first funny moment, which occurred when the Public Orator said to the Vice-Chancellor “Licet-ne Anglie loqui?” – V.C. “Si placet” (get Max to interpret – joke loses its point if translated) 2.  Cheers from audience.  The Prince’s own speech was excellent, he said all the right things, but he has a weird accent – almost a Cockney tinge to it.  He was quite at his ease on his own feet.

On Thursday night Evelyn came up for her degree.  On Friday night we three and Arthur and Gilbert went to see O.U.D.S. in “Anthony and Cleopatra”.  It was really very good, only Cleopatra insisted on wearing white half the time, which rather spoilt her allure.

Yesterday Mr Ellis came up for the day to see the degree-giving.  I took charge of him for part of the morning, while Evelyn was busy and we all had lunch with him at the George.  In the afternoon, we all went to the ceremony.  There were men as well as women.  Gwen Jones took hers with Evelyn, and there was one woman who took Mus. Bac. – gorgeous white satin damask gown, with pink sleeves, just like Dr Allen’s, who presented her.  There was one materfamilias among the M.A.’s, and it was sweet to see her boys and girls jumping round her after the ceremony4.

I enclose some snaps that Doris took of me while I had my hood on Tuesday.  Please keep them safe for me.  I am getting some more copies to send to Aunt Ethel and Edie.

Please give Daddie and Max my dearest love.  I am glad there is a chance of our getting help for him.  He could probably get a University one too.  The more you take from the L.C.C. the more you get!

Your own daughter,

Margot.

1Black and white, worn for all official university occasions including exams.

2V-C ‘May I speak in English?’;  ‘Yes, you may’.

3Presumably Edward, Prince of Wales, who abdicated to marry the US divorcée, Wallace Simpson?

4A lovely picture of the women at last able to attend a degree ceremony, though they may have completed their studies some time ago.

Next letter to be posted on 22 February 2018.

6 February 1921

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

6. 2. 21.

                My dearest Mother,

Many thanks for your letter and parcel, and the note.  I was very pleased to receive some clean hankies, as up to then I had been living on what I brought up. I have sent you a big parcel of washing including the underclothes I took off on Saturday, after my weekly bath!

We have had quite an exciting week.  On Tuesday we had an awfully jolly theatre party.  Doris was the chaperone, and besides Joyce and I there was Arthur and two clerical friends of his, one already a padre, the other on the way to that goal.  Really I never saw two men behave so badly!  We went in the Balcony, where undergrads are technically not allowed, so Arthur and Mr Gay had to dress up as ordinary civilians, homburg hats, etc.  We came home down the High singing and dancing, the pukka padre leading the chorus.  He, by the way, was rather pleased with us and has asked us all to tea.  His name is Denter, Arthur calls him Father Denter, and teased him throughout the performance by addressing him as Holy Father in a loud voice.

Yesterday was our dance.  Gilbert and Kenneth have much improved during the vac., especially the latter.  Kenneth is now a delightful partner.  Mr Weir was there, having come up to Oxford specially for this week-end.  He and I had the first dance, and sat out one later on.  Joyce and I are invited to tea with him tomorrow at Manchester College.

Last Sunday night while we were coming home from the Religion and Life meeting in the Schools1, Doris, Joyce, Arthur and I were all walking across Magdalen Bridge in full academic regalia – that is, except Doris – and ran full tilt into the Prog and Bullers2.  The only proggable point about us was that Arthur was smoking a cigarette, but he just got it squashed under his heel in time.

Please give my love to Daddie and Max;  how is the footer going on this term?  Please give my love to Phyllis, and tell her that I am considering how to approach my landlady on the subject of visitors, and will make definite arrangements as soon as this next week is over, as then I shall be free of school practice, and have time to turn round.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

P.S.  Is Lily still impossible?

1The examination and lecture halls in the High Street.

2Prog and Bullers: Proctors oversee university (as distinct from college) student discipline, complaints about University matters, and the running of University examinations; they also carry out certain ceremonial duties. Bulldogs  are the familiar name for their assistants in disciplinary matters.

Next letter to be posted on 13 February 2018.

30 January 1921

19 Boulter Street,

St. Clement’s

Oxford.

30. 1. 21.

                My dearest Mother,

Many thanks for your letter and parcel and the money, which arrived quite safely on Friday, and was waiting for me when I came in from school.

My days are still very strenuous.  Miss Pocock is most awfully nice to work under, and has made Milham Ford quite a different place for me.  She is most efficient – interesting to observe teaching, insists on my preparing my lessons properly, and criticises most helpfully after each one.  So I really feel I am finding my way about the gentle art of teaching.  Still I shall be quite glad when the month is over, and I can get a little time to myself.  I have been frightfully tired until the end of this week, when I began to get out a bit, and so feel and look better.

Yesterday I rowed for the first time this term.  Quite a nice gig, in spite of the wind and an irregular stroke.

The D’Oyley Carte have been here this week.  On Wednesday we went to “Patience” – awfully nice party, including Arthur and little Dr Cooke, your friend, with Doris as chaperone.

Last night we had another jolly party for the “Gondoliers” – queue this time – we three, Arthur and Dr Cooke, the latter’s cousin, and another Queen’s man named Bradbrooke, whom Arthur knew in the R.F.C1.   This morning Joyce, Arthur and I and the said Mr Bradbrooke had a topping byke ride in the rain, and found some primroses.

Last Sunday I went to tea with the Moores, after writing to you.  Miss Moore was at home.  She is an awfully nice woman, and we had a very interesting talk.  She is at present in command of a school for convalescent cripple children in Worcs., run by the Birmingham authorities.  They live in the open air, as they are mainly tuberculosis cases, but the staff have a lovely house, well fitted up and well furnished.  Altogether an interesting evening!  Hugh, by the way, has got married!

My dearest love to Daddie and Max – tell him to buck up with Thucydides and all his works.  We have lately been considering the merits and demerits of a Classical education.  Take care of your dear self,

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1RFC: Rugby Football Club.

Next letter to be posted on 6 February 2018.