21 February 1918

S. Hilda’s Hall,

Oxford.

21.2.18

                My dear Maxted

Very many thanks for your letter.  I was very interested to hear what you had been doing with yourself while you were away from school.  You seem to have increased somewhat the takings of the local tramways.  I hear you had the Faulkners last week and I hope there was not too much row at night in your top room.

Now I am going to tell you the true tale of a bust.  In the ordinary way there stands in our dining hall on a pedestal in one corner a white bust of our noble foundress, Miss Beale.  When we came up this term, Miss Beale had most unaccountably disappeared from her accustomed position, and no track whatever could be discovered of her whereabouts.  Tender enquiries were made, and speculation was busy over a certain small heap of white fragments found in the shrubbery, but nothing could be proved, and suspicion settled on no one.  Then one day last week the Senior Student found the missing lady, seated, with all the assurance in the world, on her bed, nor had she any account to give of what she had been doing in the meanwhile.  The whole Hall was immensely intrigued, and very eager to try its hand at amateur detection.  A resolution was passed at general meeting that this matter be enquired into, as affecting the interests and reputation of the Hall.

The following day, the said Miss Beale appeared at breakfast time all bedizened with blue and yellow – painted and placarded with domestic salutations “Welcome home, Mother!” – “What is home without a Mother” – Great efforts on the part of both students and dons to look unconcerned.  Divided opinion later as to the taste of the perpetrators of this outrage.  The ground floor bathroom discovered to have been the scene of the outrage, being decorated with stripes of blue and yellow paint and the legend – “Good-morning, have you used Pears’ Soap?” – greatly to the distress of the History don, who generally uses that bathroom.  The authorities incline to take the matter seriously, and call upon the culprits for confession.  The deed finally brought home to our respected 4th year, two in number, who tried to look fittingly abashed.  Results of the sad business – The whole Hall receives an address from the B. on the merits and virtues of Miss Beale, the upper corridor made hideous for three nights running by the horrid noise issuing from the bathroom, where the culprits aided by many and various members of the first and second years, are endeavouring to remove the effects of their handiwork.  This affair, by the way, is quite distinct from the removal of Miss Beale, which still remains an unsolved mystery.

The night on which the outrage was perpetrated we had a fire alarm at 11.30 p.m.  I was asleep, and was only awakened by the valiant efforts of the fire-lieutenant (Muriel), who performed on the gong outside my door for my especial benefit, having previously, the beggar! – put me to sleep herself.  Three maids and one oblivious student slept happily all through the proceedings. Muriel, Joyce and I ragged for about an hour afterwards in Joyce’s room – result – innocent enquiry of student who sleeps below – “Were you moving all your furniture last night, Joyce?”  Answer – “No, it was only Muriel!”  We wound up the evening by an attempt on the part of Rags to stand on her head  on the landing!  Much more fun than an air-raid!

It’s curious how such things always happen, wherever Rags may be.  The other night Rags, Darnell, Joyce, Jacynth, Violet and I were all in Muriel’s room kicking up such a fiendish din – at least the others were.  I had neuralgia – that we never heard the Chapel bell, which was unfortunate, as Jacynth was due to read the lesson.  However the presence of mind of a certain member of the first year in chapel waved the situation.

Please ask Mother to send by return of post a portrait of me as a baby, for a competition we are holding for the benefit of Finance Week,

Yours with love,

Margot.

Next letter to be posted on 25 February 2015

Advertisements