27 April 1919

27.4.19

                My dear Mother,

Thank you very much indeed for your letter, the note, and the ration book1, which came this morning.  We had a comfortable journey down yesterday, but there was a fearful scrum on the station.  We secured a hansom cab at length, about 3.30 p.m., and packed Joyce into it with all our luggage – we must have had quite a dozen packages between us – while Evelyn and I cycled home.  We arrived some time before the cab, which proceeded very gingerly along the road.  I expected to see the horse flop down with its legs out in all directions every moment.  However, it arrived quite safely in the end.

We have received the cheerful information that we have used all our coal, so can have no fires this term.  This is in direct conflict with the Bursar’s statement at the end of last term that we had not used our rations.  We therefore have a general feeling that we’ve been done.  Violet suggests that the coal was used up by the Jewish girls who, according to her, came here in the vac. to be converted!  Meanwhile it is pouring with reign [sic], as cold as January, and the third year are in occupation of our common room, because it is the most comfortable.  I am therefore sitting on a hassock before the anthracite stove in the library, for the 3rd year put my back up when they do those sort of things.  We shall all stay in bed on May morning unless the temperature rises!

Mr Cruttwell, with whom I am to coach in Foreign History, is not coming up until the end of next week, which as the B. remarked this morning, is rather funny under the circumstances!  I shall see Mr Gilbert tomorrow.

If the rain shows any signs of slackening this afternoon I shall go and have tea with Mrs Moore, but I don’t want to walk or ride over to North Oxford in the pouring rain.

Muriel is back again, and seems to have quite recovered.  According to all accounts, the operation was successful.  We have got a fresher named Greaves, who is going to do Classics.  The new don looks rather like a ballet-dancer.  Cole-Baker, who is deputising for the Levett, is quite possible!

Joan arrived up with six new hats, which she proudly exhibited to Jerry, Isabel, and me last night.  They all suit us, so when we want to look really swell we are going to borrow them.

Please give my love to Daddie and Max.  I hope he did not get wet on Saturday.  It simply pelted as we left Paddington.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1The German U-boat campaign had seriously disrupted UK food supplies from USA and Canada.  Despite increased agriculture, allotments and calls for restraint, shortages, in food and coal, were impacting the health of the poor.  The introduction of rationing reversed this trend, with sugar being rationed in January 1918, meat, butter, cheese and margarine in April.