26 January 1919

St Hilda’s Hall,



My dear Mother,

Thank you very much indeed for your parcel, which arrived on Friday, and also for your letter of this morning.  Thank you also for forwarding Marguerite’s post-card and Auntie Lucy’s letter.  I will write to Marguerite and to Jean.  I read the E. W. Wilcox1 article.  It made me howl!  What a fool the woman is!

To-day I have been to tea with Mrs Moore, and quite enjoyed myself.  I like Mr Moore very much, and Mrs Moore also.  There was a very pretty woman there, a Miss Scott, evidently a habituée, and a charming young married woman with a little girl of about two who was perfectly sweet!  Joan Ackland2 is stopping here for the week-end.  She was the girl who was up with me for Schol. and then went down in about the third week of our first term.  She spent the first part of the afternoon in my room and we had a jolly chat.

Last night we had our first dancing night – great fun.  We all tried to fox-trot, hesitation3, etc. but as none of us really knew anything about it you can imagine the effect!  However I succeeded in reversing with Isabel, which is quite a triumph.

Joyce Tomlin has got engaged, and is going down at the end of the year.  Ella Hallam has  also got engaged – to a Mr Hogge ! – and is making frantic efforts to get married before the arrival of her people, who are on the way home!  This is not the man she was engaged to before, so all sorts of things are being said, and the B., through whom the information comes, is much distressed.  I would really like to know the rights of it.

On Friday evening the C.U. had a freshers’ social.  We ate and drank and played mad games.  We played Oranges and Lemons, with Joan Curzon and me as the bridge!

My best love to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter


1E W Wilcox – Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850 – 1919, writer of highly sentimental poetry and novels.

2Joan Ackland:  there were all sorts of reasons in the early days for women students at Oxford to leave and later return, sometimes for health, but often for domestic or financial reasons; a daughter would need to bow out of her academic course to care for sick parents or allow sufficient finance for a brother to continue with his academic career.

3‘Hesitation’ would refer to the hesitation waltz.

The next letter will be posted on 2 February 2016.


24 January 1919


                My dear Daddie,

Thank you very much indeed for your letter and the cheque, which I duly paid in to the B. this morning, and for which I enclose the receipt.  I also had to pay the Delegacy Fee of 10/-, which is extra to that, from my own money.

My box arrived on Thursday afternoon – after taking exactly a week to the journey.  It was only 2/2.  Please thank Mother for her parcel which I received this morning.  I will write to her at the week-end.

I am glad to hear that you are having such a giddy time.  Oxford is almost in its normal state.  There are about 1300 undergrads up.  At lectures the sheep are all carefully separated from the goats.  This morning at Balliol all the Women Students were ushered up on to the platform right under the Master’s nose, while rows and rows of men sat in the body of the hall.  Needless to say this arrangement gets rather upset at the second lecture of the series, when the “sidesman” usually disappears.  N.B. We haven’t yet quite decided which are sheep and which are goats.

I am going to two sets of Grant Bobs’ lectures – one on Foreign, and the other on English History.  He was charming at the first lecture of all, and shook hands with all his former pupils.

Dr Allen has been appointed Head of the Royal College of Music, and now only appears here at the week-ends.  However the Bach Choir still flourishes.  This term we are singing Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony1 and Hubert Parry’s “Blest Pair of Sirens” 2.  Dr Allen is greatly pleased at the increase in numbers of the tenors and basses.  We are to have a big concert here next term to celebrate peace.

I have been sculling once only as yet.  On Wednesday Silvia took a boat out.  The river was halfway up the landing platform, so we had to embark from the diving board.  A most exciting process as the planks were rather rotten and as slippery as ice.  Then we had to climb over the seat into the stern of the boat to put the rudder on.  Pulling against stream was rather stiff and we had great fun going under the ferry rope, which was only about a foot above the water in mid-stream.  You had to cox to the side, where it was higher, and then all lie flat in the bottom of the boat while it went under.  It has now been decided that no boat is to go out without a captain and a half while the floods are on.

Please give my dearest love to Mother and Max.

Your loving daughter,


1The Sea Symphony was only written in 1910, very new music to have to learn.

2Sir Hubert Parry’s ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ was written in 1897, commissioned by Stanford, and established Parry’s reputation.  He was Dr Allen’s predecessor as Professor of Music at Oxford.

The next letter will be posted on 26 January 2016.