15 March 1918

S. Hilda’s Hall,

Oxford.

15.3.18

                My dear Mother,

I am coming home by a train arriving at Paddington at 12.10 p.m. on Monday.  Could you please meet me there, so that you can help me with my baggage?  I dare say we could manage without a porter in that case.  I am going to leave my box, containing books and oddments, here to come on when it can, and shall just bring home my clothes in the bag.

I have just finished my last coaching and depart for my last lecture in 5 minutes time.  No more work this term!  That sounds like an enormous amount of free time, but between my duties as  cab agent, packing, and the river , there won’t be much time to spare.  I have existed in a punt lately, and shall continue to do so, for Anker says Joyce and I ought to get our halves early next term, so now we feel justified in bullying all and sundry into taking us out.  It will be ripping if we can get them, for we will then make together the first 1st yr punt captain.  I only wish we could do it before May morning, but am afraid that is impossible.

Later.

We find there is a chance of punting on Monday morning, so I shall come home by the 2.40 train – will send you a p.c. to say what time it arrives.  Monday is the vac. So we may punt without captains with the permission of our parents.  Please send permission by return of post, as it is the last chance we’ll get this term

Your loving daughter

Margot.

Next letter to be posted on 28 April 2015

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12 March 1918

S. Hilda’s Hall

Oxford

12.3.18

                My dear Mother,

Very many thanks for your letter and Daddie’s and also for the parcel.  Are you sure you didn’t send me Lucy’s cake as well as mine?  They will be invaluable this week, as we have a polite cocoa every night!  We shall have about exhausted our small joint stock of politeness by the time we have done.  We, by the way, is Joyce and myself.

Last week was on the whole very exciting.  We began on Monday with the hockey cupper, played against St Hugh’s – absolutely the best match I ever saw in my life.  We lost 2-6, but it was such a good game that nobody minded.  The game went at a terrific pace, up and down the field the whole time.  You should have seen our S.S. take the ball right up the field – she runs miles faster than any won [sic] else, once she’s away, no one can catch her up – it was most thrilling.

On Tuesday I spent the first half of the afternoon going down the side of the Hall on ropes out of various windows.  I went three times from the second floor, and once from the third.  It was rather fun, but left me breathless and I was stiff for the rest of the week.  However I was really quite pleased with myself, for I wasn’t scared, while our best hockey player has had to retire from the Fire Brigade because the ropes give her fits.

Last Saturday was a truly strenuous day.  To begin with, I have lectures all morning.  At 2.0 was a hockey match between the 1st Eleven, reversed (i.e. backs playing forward, and forwards back) and the 2nd Eleven.  It was great fun.  I never enjoyed anything so much in all my life.  For once we 2nd XI defence got a real good game.  I did enjoy knocking about the shooting of the 1st XI backs.  Muriel, our revered centre half, played left wing and we did our best to slay each other.  The game was all down our end, as the 2nd XI forwards are rotten.  The 1st XI centre forward and right wing, who defended their goal, spent most of their time sitting on the grass and chatting.

After that there was a Bach Choir practice from 5-7 p.m. and after dinner the Hist Soc. at which I opened the discussion on Tudor Women.  It was great fun to get up.  I burrowed in all sorts of interesting books.

Sunday was a very lively day.  I had a Saint Simon paper to finish and was nearly driven to distraction by the other events.  In the afternoon was the Bach Choir concert – Haydn’s “Creation” – “Dirge for 2 Veterans” – Charles Wood.  Symphony by Cesar Franck.  Our orchestra was augmented by wind and percussion from London.  A really good baritone was also imported, to sing the solo of the Dirge and the bass part in the oratorio.  It was quite a nice concert.  After we had got home and had tea, about 6.0. pm. I discovered I could not turn my light on over my paper, descended to Joyce’s room, with the same result.  Same in all 1st year rooms, also Darnell’s and Muriel’s – so finally had to take refuge in a 3rd yr room

I finished my paper, and departed for L.M.H. with it, and got shut in the park on the way.  Had to enter the lodge by the back entrance, the keeper’s wife informed me I should make a good burglar.  Finally I got back to supper, and found an indignation meeting at the bursar’s table in re the lights, headed by Muriel.  Nothing to be said – let the joke fall quite flat.  After supper, the said lights were discovered in the letter pigeon holes in the hall.  Great confusion in restoring them – mirabile dictu only one had fused.  This last event, however, embittered the Bursar, who had hitherto taken the affair as a joke, and next morning a little note appeared on the notice board requesting an interview with the perpetrators of the act.  But the whole thing came out on Sunday night.  Joyce came up to tell me after I had gone to bed that that precious pair, Darnell and Rags were the culprits!  I never saw a better piece of acting – it was superb in its way.

Last night (Monday) the first year gave an entertainment to the rest of the Hall.  The programme was varied.  The Wild West Cinema Play, enacted for the benefit of the 1st yr. only in Finance Week was repeated, much to the delight of the Hall.  The theological student sang “Father’s got the sack from the Waterworks” with great comic effect, and also acted the sleep walking  Scene from Macbeth to the light of a candle with much dramatic effect.  I sang a kind of “cautionary tale”, only more in the  nursery rime [sic] style, concerning a cat who taught kittens “how to spit and sware”[sic], with much appropriateness as far as the S.C.R. were concerned, so everyone seemed to think.  But the great event of the evening was a mock debate, conducted on the lines of a parody of Hall Debate – announced on the programme as “10 minutes with the 1st year”.  It was awfully well written by two of our year and the great difficulty was to rehearse without the knowledge of the other years.

I must really stop now.  Much love to Daddie and the kid,

Your loving daughter

Margot.

Next letter to be posted on 15 March 2015

 

3 March 1918

S. Hilda’s Hall,

Oxford.

3.3.18

                My dear Mother,

Ever so many thanks for the parcel, and also for your letter and the enclosure, both of which were very welcome.  I was most awfully pleased with the jam, as Hall stocks are running low and we have lately been  presented with horrid treacly stuff for tea.  The shortbread will be invaluable.  The cake you sent last week was most delicious, what did you put in it?  It was much liked at a cocoa I gave to three of the nicest of the first year on Thursday, when we broached my box of chocolates, with much joy.

There was no need for you to be anxious about my three days in bed.  Nothing at all unusual happened, and it was nearly all laziness and the coaxing of Joyce and Muriel.  The real facts of the case were as follows.  I worked till 12.0 on Tuesday night in order to finish an essay, so determined not to be wakened next morning, but to have my breakfast in bed.  I got up for a 9.0 coaching.  That evening I was ill, and went to bed directly after dinner.  I decided to have breakfast in bed again the following morning.  When Rags came up after breakfast, which she did each morning, she persuaded me, much against my will, to stay in bed till lunch.  I went to bed early again that night, not for any particular reason, and when Joyce came up to say good night she insisted on pinning a “breakfast” notice on my door again.  I got up at 10 the following morning.  The whole thing was really due to laziness and weak surrender to the wheedling of my friends.

I have been sculling twice this week.  It is a most amusing game, I like it immensely.  The whole affair is very business-like. You must do everything to order, and just so!  The exercise is most exhilarating, particularly in a cold wind.  On Saturday I went punting, and was vigorously coached by a whole and a half-captain which was very nice, as I want to try for my half next term.  I have also begun to coach in punting, which is great fun, much easier than doing it yourself!

Will you please ask Daddie to find out how you become a member of the Guildhall Library?  I complained to Stampa that I couldn’t get all the books I wanted, and he suggested that, as he had a pupil who used it for Schools, and got all she wanted there.  I want to know as soon as possible, for I have heaps of work to do this vac.

Last Wednesday the B. took us over All Souls and New College, and afterwards Muriel took us into Univ (University Coll.) to see the Shelley Memorial.  It is a perfectly beautiful thing!  Just a recumbent nude white figure on a block of marble in the midst of a sunken basin of green marble;  the light all comes from the top of the dome shaped roof, painted with stars and some verses from “Adonais”.

Oxford is just beginning to blossom into flowering shrubs and trees and bulbs.  I hope this sudden cold spell won’t nip everything in the bud.  I believe we are going to have some snow.  I hope it isn’t going to be a repetition of last spring.  It is sure to snow just as I have found out what an exhilarating game sculling is!  I want to live on the river these next two weeks.

I am furious with Jack for having leave during term time.  I did want to see him.  Please give my love to Mrs Faulkner and the children, and tell her I practised  2 hrs on a wet afternoon, and 2 ½ hrs this evening, also wet.  I have had a strenuous day.  I spent all this morning practising, and then from a quarter to 3 until six I went to a soldiers’ club to help them with tea, etc.  The result is I am so tired that I have cut all the rest of this evening’s entertainments, choir-practice, chapel, study-circle, etc, and am now in bed, feeling very sleepy, which accounts for my caligraphy [sic] and general incoherence.

My dearest love to Daddie and the kid.  No thanks, I shall not want the holdall, as I am going to send my box home.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

Next letter to be posted on 12 March 2015