18 William Street ,
My dearest Mother,
Thank you very much indeed for the cake and the washing on Friday, and for the stockings which arrived this morning. I am so sorry to have missed writing to you yesterday, but the Bach Choir concert and the state of my inside kept me pretty well occupied, not to mention the fact that Arthur came to tea and did not depart until about 8.15 p.m. The Concert was not quite as good as it might have been, for something happened to the Tenors, and they missed one lead altogether, and were rather faltering all through. The Basses started well by putting one of their elbows through a window with a loud crash just as we stood up to begin. Moreover most of the soloists had colds, while the Tenor had a bad habit of jumping half bars when he felt inclined. It must have been the weather, I think. It was a horribly muggy day.
We have had rather an interesting week. On Tuesday the Second Year gave a jolly good show in Hall – a One act Irish play by Yeats and a ballet. The play was a first-rate piece of acting – really dramatic. The ballet was screamingly funny. Oxford life à la Russian ballet. First the heroine rose from bed to slow music, danced round the room in pyjamas – admired herself in the mirror, and so forth. Next a perfectly beautiful Matriculation scene, with chorus in caps and gowns, with short white ballet skirts, white blouses with short sleeves and little black bows. They looked perfectly sweet. The Principal did a sort of minuet with each candidate up to the Vice chancellor. Enter the heroine – dance – the V. Ch. is struck – they dance, embrace and part for ever. The next scene was a hockey match, the next the Cadena, the next dinner, the last a Cocoa, at which the heroine stabs all her friends and then commits suicide. The surprise of the evening was the leading lady, who is normally a very young, rather awkward gamesy young woman, but who proved actually graceful and alluring, in true ballet fashion, with real abandon, without ever being either vulgar or futile.
On Thursday Mr Weir came to tea, and proved most extraordinary interesting, as he is a psycho-analyst among his other accomplishments, besides being an extraordinarily sound man. The upshot of this was that Joyce and Doris received invitations to his dance on Friday.
By the way, could I have my party undies for Friday? – i.e. one pair of knickers with lace, one petticoat, and a clean pair of combs.
Saturday is rather awkward. I have a class at 10.0 which is never over till 11.30, and am rowing in the Eight at 9.0. I want to get a bath sometime that morning. The earliest train I could catch would be the 1.5, arriving Paddington 3.30, but there is a better one at 2.25 arriving 3.50. Now if I sent my box off from here on Friday, and booked my byke at Paddington, could I go straight to Leytonstone with a suitcase, my own attaché case and violin, if somebody met me? My evening clothes being in the suit-case. I could take the Tube from Paddington to Liverpool Street.
I have at last got some money out of the Govt – only £7 so far, but enough to pay my way with, and come home on. I enquire about the rest later.
Goodbye till Saturday – I am much entangled with Heredity at the moment – Mendel’s Laws2, and so forth – most fascinating. Much love to Daddie and Max. I will bring his socks with me. I am to put in a fortnight’s teaching from Monday next, but Miss Talbot has not fixed on the school yet.
Your loving daughter,
In pencil added after her signing off: ? Notes for a telegram? –
18 William St
Will meet three fifty
1The Cadena, in the Cornmarket – one of a chain of coffee houses.
2Mendel’s Laws – the theories of a Nineteenth Century monk, largely ignored at the time but taken up later and forming the early basis of an understanding of heredity.
Next letter to be posted on 20 January 2018.