16 February 1919

St Hilda’s Hall,

Oxford.

16.2.19

                My dear Mother,

Many thanks for your parcel and letter.  I am very relieved to hear that Daddie is quite well again, and is off to Eastbourne.  I am sure it will do him good.  Thank you also for the note – very welcome – for Finance Week has nearly done for me, plus the D’Oyly Carte1.  They have been here this week.  Bronwen and I went to see “Trial by Jury” and “the Pirates” on Friday evening, with Doris Coleman2 as chaperone.  We stood for the Balcony – otherwise the front part of the gallery, and had an excellent view of both stage and house.  I rejoiced when the B. said Doris Coleman would do for a chaperone – it was much jollier than having a don.  The Company was in splendid form, owing to the appreciativeness of a real undergrad audience.  I have never seen them play so well.  Lytton got an ovation for every  word.  But the Pirate King was not a patch on the one we saw at Hammersmith – there was nothing at all lurid about him.  He was a drawing-room pirate compared with long-legged “Eric”.

I liked the picture of the Isis in the “Daily Sketch”.  Of course they would call the college barges “houseboats”!  We had to give up all boating but rowing because of the frost.  The Upper Char. was frozen right over.  Last Tuesday we went out in the sculler – with the Levett – and had great fun ice-breaking.  We could only go a few yards up, and two or three hundred yards down stream, for beyond we were stopped by the ice, and nowhere was there room for the oars on both sides, so we used them rather like paddles or punt-poles and propelled ourselves along thus.  We felt qualified for Arctic exploration by the time we had got back to the boat-house.

The frost held for about a week here.  The University Skating Club flooded Long Meadow, and let it freeze, and while it held all the world went skating.  I could not get there until the end of the week.  I spent about an hour one afternoon falling about on Marjorie’s skates.  Then just as I had arranged with Doris Coleman to borrow her skates during the afternoon, as she could not ever use them till after four, of course the thaw came!  She had a gorgeous time that week.  She and her colleagues and their friends, some of them male, used to have moonlight supper parties on the ice!

Thank you for sending on Aunt Ethel’s letter.  I wrote to her myself again at the beginning of this term, about the ring, and said I would prefer rubies, so she ought to get some of our letters.  Thanks also for the p.c. from school.  They seem to be going to have a gay time on the 22nd 3. I suppose you would not like to have me home next weekend.  I believe the B. would let me go!  Doris wrote me on Friday, imploring me to come home for the occasion.  However there is a C.U. dance here that night, and H. A. L. Fisher is coming to speak to us in the afternoon.

Yesterday we went to our first W.E.A Study Circle.  We are studying the Report of the Ministry of Munitions on industrial fatigue.  The circle was led by a very nice little man fra’ Lancashire – who evidently knew munition factories inside out.  He could tell you all about every type of work therein;  we had some fun about the Lancashire education authorities.  I remembered Auntie Lucy’s opinion of them.  I think that study circle is going to be rather fun.  I think the little man’s name was Hoell or Coel, I can‘t remember which.  Anyway it rhymed with Noel.

I am sorry to hear about Keith.  Poor boy, he is having a bad time.  The D’Oyly Carte tenor was exactly like him, transatlantic accent and all, but without the twinkle.  Phyllis tells me that Billy and Tom are both at home, in jobs.  Billy more beautiful than ever.  I suppose you have not  heard from Reggie.  I have heard from Ethel – four pages!  Talk about “20 love-sick maidens”!

I have recovered the scissors from Babe.  The shawl is not here, as I thought.  Padwick and I had the B. to cocoa on Tuesday.  She was awfully jolly.  Love and kisses to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter, Margot.

1D’Oyly Carte is the opera company that performs the comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan.

2Doris Coleman is a friend from schooldays and is teaching in Oxford.

322nd February was Streatham Hill High School’s birthday.

The next letter will be posted on 20 February 2016

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