3 December 1918


My dear Daddie,

Many happy return of your birthday tomorrow.  It will be the first birthday in the family to fall in peace time.  I wish I were at home to celebrate it.  Never mind, I soon shall be now.

Please thank Mother very much for her parcel, enclosing your cheque.  I was very glad of both, for I had run out of food, and have several Christmas presents to buy.

Tomorrow is Divvers!  To-day we are flinging miracles and Passover, parables and the journeys of St Paul at each other, in the vague hope that we may know a thing or two when we are confronted with the paper tomorrow.  I have two essays to write this week in addition.  Would you like to hear Grant Bob’s latest?  Even he has never set this before.  It is a new piece of frightfulness for our especial benefit – “What have you learned of European History from 1789 to 1815, and what ought you to have learnt?”  Of course, as Miss Rennie says, anything is better than the Congress of Vienna, on which we ought to have been writing.

What do you thing of the Wandsworth candidates?  The Compston man must be the father of our Compstons at school, I think.  I have been discussing the Oxford candidates with the Levett, who of course has a vote.  They are, so far as I know, Gilbert Murray1, Hugh Cecil2, Prothero3, and an unknown Labour candidate.

I have an exciting piece of news for you.  Ethel is engaged.  She wrote to tell me so yesterday.  Of course I have known all about it since July.  Edgar MacWilliam is an “old contemptible” 1, and was for a long time in the Indian army before the war.  So far as I could tell from 5 minutes conversation with him he is quite nice.  Much love to Mother and Max.

Your loving daughter, Margot.


1Gilbert Murray – (1866-1957) was Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.

2Hugh Cecil – Lord Hugh Cecil, 1869 – 1956, was MP for Oxford University from 1910 – 1937.

3Prothero : Sir George Walter Prothero, 1858–1922, whose special interests were Tudor and Stuart history, and had been the first Professor of Modern History in the University of Edinburgh.

4An ‘old contemptible’ – The “Old Contemptibles” was the title proudly applied to and adopted by the men of the British Expeditionary Force who saw service before or on 22nd November 1914. They were the originals, and most were regular soldiers or reservists. They derive their title from the famous “Order of the Day” given by Kaiser Wilhelm II at his headquarters on the 19th August, 1914:- “It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present upon one single purpose, and that is that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English; walk over General French’s contemptible little Army.”

The next letter will be posted on 19 January 2016.