5 March 1919

St. Hilda’s Hall,



                My dear Mother,

Thank you ever so much for your parcel, which arrived this morning.  I am very glad to get the combs.  The shortbread and rolls are delicious, as was your last cake.  I have not yet been able to send off a parcel to you, as I have had a cold these last two days, and haven’t been out.  I will send it off tomorrow if I possibly can.

I am sorry that my week end letter was cut short so abruptly, but you cannot catch the Sunday post after the study circle, so I decided to continue during the week.  So far this has been a very eventful week.  We have heard who our new principal is to be – Miss Winifred Moberly.  She was at L.M.H. and took a 2nd in Honour Mods., but had to go down for family reasons before she could take Greats.  She is one of a family famous in Oxford.  A Miss Moberly was the first principal of St Hugh’s – another is general secretary of the S.C.M. – there is also a Canon Moberly.  Our Miss Moberly has been organising women’s hospital work in Russia, or Serbia, I forget which, so she has seen a bit of real life.  I think we are really rather lucky to have got an Oxford woman with some practical experience.  Of course she won’t be like the B. – but then who could be?

The Levett is of course making arrangements for next term.  She will come back in the sixth week.  We are to have a Miss Colebaker, who has only been down about a year, but who has been deputing for Miss Ady at St. Hugh’s this term, as deputy history tutor!  Miss Keith, our proper classics don, is to come back next term, while Miss Griffiths, who has been deputising for her, is to become a student reading for Greats, she having only got as far as Honour Mods before.  We are all highly amused at this, and are eager to “pop.” to her!

I am going on with my foreign next term – with whom Heaven only knows.  Miss Coate if possible.  English similarly on the knees of the gods.  There are now only second-rate people left to go to!  It really is very sad.  I think next term is going to be horrid!  I do hate all these changes!  It’s disgusting that there are only obscure clergymen left for us to coach with!  Still many of the men are in the same boat.  Mr Cohen has Stampa for everything, poor beggar!  I have decided to take International Relations for my special – the Levett quite approves!  It fits in very well with my foreign period, the part of my work in which I am most interested.

People are all making momentous decisions just now.  Quite half my year is going to have a Fourth Year – all the nicest people, too – Gerry, Joyce, Marjorie, and possibly Isabel and Bronwen.

I was going to try my hand at Mr Shaw’s1 orchestra tonight, but my cold and the vile weather have kept me in.  From last Wednesday to Sunday we had beautiful fine Spring weather.  I went two long byke rides into the country during the spell.  You can get quite swallowed up in the hills in a ride of under two hours.  On Sunday morning Gerry and I found some primroses in bud.  I mean to go primrosing2 before the end of term if the weather is fine enough.

Could you please send my Rousseau’s “Contrat Social” next time you send.  I think you will find it on my washstand – in the same edition as the Saint Simon3 you sent me.  Please give my dearest love to Daddie and Max.  I am so glad you are all well, and that Daddie is getting so much travelling on the South Coast.

Your loving daughter


1Mr Shaw might be Geoffrey, or more likely his brother, Martin Shaw, but I can find no reference has been found so far to either of them working with Oxford students, though they could always have commuted from London.

2Primrosing was a regular feature of Margot’s life.  Her nieces remember clearly when she would drive her mother, her nieces and their mother out into the country to pick primroses and picnic.  An empty cake tin would be lined with moss and the flowers put in this damp nest to travel home.  Nowadays it’s an ecological sin to pick wild flowers and we enjoy them in situ.

3Margot’s copy of  Rousseau’s “Contrat Social”, and her Saint Simon ‘Mémoires’ with ‘M. Collinson’ bracketed with ‘G Lilly’ as owners, ‘S. Hilda’s Hall, 1918‘ are on her niece’s bookshelf now.

The next letter will be posted on 9 March 2016.