18 May 1920

St. Hilda’s Hall

Oxon.

18.5.20

My dear Mother,

I am so sorry not to have written to you for so long.  Last week was exactly like a whirlwind – one ­– thing after another!  Very nice and exciting, but rather tiring.

I think we gave Phyllis a good time.  I tried to make it as restful for her as possible, because I knew she would be tired.  So we kept to the river as much as we could.  She took the fine weather away with her.

23.5.20

Auntie and Uncle1 did not have such luck.  They had a break-down on the way and arrived here an hour late – just in time to give me supper and take me home.  Next morning I took Auntie shopping and round Oxford while Uncle Cyril sold his car.  I had lunch with them at “the Roebuck”, and they came to tea with me before they departed for Leamington.  Maisie Nicoll refused to believe that Uncle Cyril was my uncle, as he looked too young from behind!

On the following Friday I got let in for a nice surprise – namely a twenty-first birthday party – Maisie Nicoll asked me to dinner with her people at “the George”.  We had a topping time – eight of us.

This week has been equally trying.  The Fête occupied all our energies up to Wednesday.  The Folk-dancing, Wax-works and Ferry quarrelled over my body – which to improve matters was not very fit at the time!  However, we survived, and made, I think, almost enough to pay up our quota to the New Women’s Hospital.

On Thursday the Eights began.  We were on Balliol barge on Thursday and Saturday, and on the river in a punt on Friday.  Tomorrow we go again on Balliol barge – to tea with Gilbert.

Yesterday we had a great time.  Evelyn’s friends at Worcester asked her and me to their Eights’ Week performance of “Pompey the Great” by Masefield2, with Doris as chaperone.  The show was given in their playing field at 9.0. p.m. the pavilion being used as the stage.  It was a perfect evening, and after it was over we came back in the dark along the lake, the path being outlined in fairy lights.  We had to skirt two sides of the lake, and in the distance the people on the farther side looked like ghosts crossing a bridge, as all you could see was feet and a faint blur of colour if their dresses were light – reflected in the lake.  Mr Brand and Mr Ady strolled home with us, and we arrived in Hall about 11.45 p.m., having forgotten to ask for late leave!

Today Evelyn and I had a picnic lunch on the river, and then with Joyce and Gilbert, who had been joy-riding on Gilbert’s motor byke, we had tea with Doris in Milham Ford School tennis-court.  Doris’ mother is here, and two Merton men and one Balliol man made up the party.

The weather is now glorious.  Many thanks for the washing – the jumper has not run so much as Joyce’s – and also for your letter this morning.  My best love to Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1Auntie and Uncle are Ethel and Cyril, Margot’s mother’s sister and brother-in-law, the tea planter from Sri Lanka/Ceylon. No mention is made in the letters to the youngest of her mother’s family, Freddy.  He was very deaf and had no special help at school.  He worked in the gas works, had a thumb blown off, went nearly blind, but was a delightful old man, much loved by Margot and her brother.  He was very happily married to Emily.

2Masefield, the future poet laureate.

The next letter will be posted on 22 May 2017.

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