23 February 1919

23.2.19

                My dear Mother,

Thank you very so much for the parcel on Saturday, and for your letter and the compasses this morning, and also for the note in the parcel.  The cake is delicious – we cut it today at tea.  I am glad Daddie is better, and that Max did so well at school.  The next thing will be another remove.  Marjorie Comins says D.C. is renowned among public schools for its hard work!  Mr Callaghan thinks it slack!  So there you have two opposite views – make your own choice!

H.A.L. Fisher1 was here yesterday. He spoke very well, but there is nothing at all exceptional about him.  It was his matter that was interesting, not his manner or personality.  He mentioned the W.E.A. once or twice.  The two points that most struck me was his idea of division of labour among the universities.  He said that it had, of course, been carried out to a certain extent already.  The other point was the training of municipal and county civil servants.  He pointed out the efficiency and high standard of qualification of the civil service, but said nothing was known about the qualifications of municipal and county servants.

Last night we had our S.C.M. 2 fancy dress dance.  It was great sport.  Eight people remained unguessed – Jacynth was topping as “the Anatomy of Melancholy” – a “greenery-yallery” poet with love-sonnet, poison bottle, etc.  We are just getting used to hopping about to 4 time music in what we call the foxtrot.  Everyone has a different idea of it, and it doesn’t really seem to matter what you do, as long as you both do the same thing!

I am not surprised to hear that Keith is one of Beryl’s devoted admirers.  Our susceptible Keith will leave his heart in England yet!

I went to the S.C.M. corporate communion in Mansfield Chapel this morning.  It is the S.C.M. special Sunday.

Grant Bob has been very severe lately on newspapers and journalists.  “I can’t think why the Press Bureau won’t let German newspapers through to the public!  One would think –

1) That a number of people could read them

2)     “    “      “       “    “       would   “   “  ”

Personally he thought about 1 in 10,000 could, and about 1 in 100,000 would, read them!!! – Also he said the other day that newspapers were bad for the mind, because they were written by third-class minds!  “We know them”, he said, “2/3 of the London journalists come from this university, we know all about them and the contents of their minds.”

What does Daddie think of the covenant of the League of Nations? 3  I have made a précis of the first draft, for future reference.  It is very interesting to compare it with the Holy Alliance of 1815.

I am reading Mrs Browning’s letters – on the advice of G. Bobs – also the Browning love letters – they are ripping!  Fortunately they chose to visit Italy during the war of independence, so of course it is necessary to read all about them!  This week C.G.R. has been lecturing on Karl Marx and Bakunin4.  They too are an essential part of Period VIII.  Before reading K. Marx it is necessary to understand the dialectical method of Hegel, who was a disciple of Kant.  So there you are!  Why not read all the books on everything at once!  It will come to the same thing in the end!  Such is the Oxford history school!

Please give my love to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

P.S. Take care of yourselves.  I have just effectually quashed a cold, so feel rather proud of myself.

1HAL Fisher – Minister of Education.

2S.C.M. The Student Christian Movement.

3The League of Nations came out of the horror at the slaughter in the Great War.  The idea was to prevent any future wars starting, but the USA would not join in order to preserve its isolationist policy, Germany was excluded and so was Russia.  France and Great Britain joined but were exhausted and impoverished by the war. There were some small successes but it was a political failure.  It did however start a number of projects, including the attempt to end diseases such as leprosy, and these projects were taken up and developed by the United Nations.

4Bakunin, 1814 – 76,is remembered as a major figure in the history of anarchism and an opponent of Marxism, especially of Marx’s idea of dictatorship of the proletariat. He continues to be an influence on modern-day anarchists.

The next letter will be posted on 2 March 2016.

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