St. Hilda’s Hall,
My dear Mother,
Thank you very much indeed for your two parcels and letters, and also for the money, which was, as usual, urgently needed. I am sorry I did not mention the hotel in my last letter. I quite thought I did. I have had lengthy negotiations with the “Wilberforce” all this week, owing to the fact that every time I went the lady was out, and I only saw a vague young thing, who declined to commit herself, though she took a note of my application. However yesterday I got through to the lady proprietress herself, and got the arrangement confirmed, so if you let them know when you are coming – I mean the hour – the date I fixed according to Daddie’s letter – it will be all right. By the way that is the only letter I have had from Daddie, the one about the hotel, since he was here.
That last week is going to be some scrum. To begin with we are giving the B. a “bump” supper on Saturday night, which is a curse, as I wanted to have you to dinner. This is of course strictly a Hall affair. However I might be able to wangle you in for the garden fête afterwards. On the Friday the B. is pic-nicking the 3rd and 2nd year. On the Thursday is the Bach Choir Concert. We shall all be dead by the end of term. We’ve got to get a Sharp Practice Debate and a General Meeting into that last week as well. By the way, there are to be more eights in Commem. Week so you ought to be able to see something of them.
Hall is packed with visitors this week-end. All Miss Coate’s and Tommy’s year are up, Gwen, Gibbie and Edith are up, also the Bursar’s family, and Gerry’s mother and sister, whom I am to meet tonight. Miss Coate and Tommy came to tea with Isabel and me on the river on Friday. By the way the shortbread biscuits were delicious and much appreciated, likewise the cake. We had a killing time! Dorothea set out to “amuse the young” as Miss Coate put it. She was so funny that Miss Coate was positively in hysterics. Miss Coate has been perfectly angelic this term.
Last Thursday I went to the union; the motion was “that hereditary titles should be abolished” . The hon. proposer was a little man in uniform from Balliol, with a talent for comedy, who made a very frivolous speech, and was occasionally witty. Most of the time however he made atrocious puns, such as Beerage for Peerage, and interpretation of lord as loafer. The Hon. Opposer was Marjoribanks of House, a regular aristocrat, long and thin – so tall that he stooped, and looking as though he had been born in his evening clothes. He was a living example to either side being brother of Lord Bentinck. The third speaker was Gray. Jones, a rabid socialist from S. Wales – he had more matter in his speech than there was in the rest of the debate. The 4th speaker was Ivamy of Wadham, the personification of sweet reasonableness. But the fun began with the discussion. Chevallier, a big, clumsy, fair-haired, serious-minded and humourless person wished to prove that hereditary titles were un-eugenic. You can imagine the mess he got into! He produced statistics about heiresses – remarking incidentally that most heiresses came from entirely feminine families – that set the house off. At every step he put his foot into it deeper and deeper! Till finally the house rocked with laughter and drowned his figures. The Union is truly a great institution!
Yesterday I went for my first swim this season. It was a broiling afternoon, and the water
was most gratefully cool. I don’t seem to have forgotten how to swim, I am pleased to say. I wish we could swim in the open river – it would be glorious. Is Max swimming this term with his usual enthusiasm?
I must dry up now if I want to catch the 9.30 post. Tom is just tolling. Have not done anything exciting today. Practised a little in the morning – tackled Handel with Matthias. Christine and I went to tea at the Selbies, and met all the freak undergrads in Oxford. I talked to one from Golder’s Green. We had quite an interesting conversation which embraced the Union, Hampstead Heath, and Ashdown Forest. I like these freak entertainments.
Best love to Daddie and Max,
Your loving daughter,
The next letter to be posted on 14 June 2016.