28 July 1920

C/o Captain Callaghan

Keyham,

Leicestershire.

28.7.20

                My dear Mother,

Many thanks for the sugar, which arrived this morning.  We had enough to begin with, as Ethel got some extra in Leicester.  The letter was from the Moberly, very nice and cordial.  She is staying in High Savoy.

I don’t think I sent off the money for Parker’s bill.  If not, both bill and P.O. are on the mantelpiece.  Would you mind sending them off?

This is quite an interesting house.  It has endless attics, cellars, and lofts attached.  We have already decided that it would make an excellent haunt for Mary Rose1.  I hope you got to the latter, by the way.

The weather has been pretty unpleasant.  We got a lunch walk on Sunday, but on Monday it poured with rain, so we lighted the kitchen range, and did some cooking, at least the others did, the only thing I cooked was potatoes.  Ethel made some lemon cheese and a baked pudding, Phyllis some pastry, buns and cake.  Yesterday “Lil” came to see us.  We got caught in a slight thunder storm coming home from seeing her off, and spent the evening reading Milne’s2 plays out loud!  Today we are waiting for visitors who don’t appear to be coming, on account of the weather.  Phyllis is reading out “Mrs Beeton” 3 on social matters.  It’s fortunate “Jack’s” library is so large.

Much love to Daddie and Max.  I enclose stamps for the latter.  Your loving Margot.

(Set out like this for lack of space at the foot of the page.)

1Mary Rose:   possibly a reference to J M Barrie’s play which first appeared in 1920.

2Milne is A A Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh books, who wrote a number of drawing-room comedies.

‘Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management’.

Now comes the long vacation and the next letter will be posted n 10 October 2017.

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23 July 1920

C/o Mrs Salter

5 Morley Road

Leicester

23.7.20

                My dear Mother,

Phyllis and I arrived very comfortably yesterday.  We were only five in the carriage to being with, and two got out at Bedford.  Ethel and Lil met us at Leicester, and we had a taxi hither.

My address at Keyham, in case Daddie lost it, is C/o Captain Callaghan                                                                    Keyham                                                                                                  Leic.

Please add the things under the bed to my luggage – also a piece of sheeting.

Yours with love,

Margot.

The next letter to be posted on 28 July 2017.

20 June 1920

St Hilda’s Hall

Oxford.

20.6.20

                My dear Mother,

Many thanks for your letter and the cheque.  I am now endeavouring to clear up my belongings and my bills.

I arrive at Paddington at 3.50 p.m. on Monday, and should be charmed if Daddie can meet me.

My Viva is not until 9.30 a.m. on July 14th, so I am arranging to come up the day before.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

The next letter to be posted on 23 July 2017.

13 June 1920

                                St Hilda’s Hall

Oxford.

13.6.20

My dearest Mother,

Very many thanks for your letters and parcel.  The frock travelled beautifully and looks thoroughly nice.  It has been invaluable this term.  I forget whether I told you that the hat was a great success.

I missed the parcel post on Saturday because it was raining so hard after I got home from the Schools at 5.0. p.m. that I decided not to get drenched, but I will send you a parcel of washing sometime during the week in order to relieve my luggage.

Evelyn and I had a topping time at Ascott, thoroughly quiet and lazy.  The weather was glorious.  Mrs Ashby and her daughter were most kind.  They fed us scrumptiously – real butter all the time – asparagus two days running for dinner, and potatoes mashed with butter.  We did a little walking.  The Cotswolds make glorious walking country, and although we were above the wooded region, the lanes and meadows were very pretty.  We also borrowed a boat from the Mill, which was our nearest neighbour, and paddled about on the Evenlode, in which we bathed one afternoon.

So far our papers have been boring in the extreme, though quite fair and possible1.  I do not feel as though I have done a single a question!  Of course I felt very fuddle-headed on the morning of the Pol. Sci. Paper –  Saturday and a Thunder Storm in the afternoon did not improve matters.  However, I have spent most of today in bed, and am glad to be alright for the foreign and special papers this week.

We have been very carefully looked after.  Doris took us to tea on the river on Thursday, Joyce gave us tea with strawberries and cream, the former from Evelyn’s own garden, on Friday, and on Saturday Evelyn gave me tea as she had no afternoon paper.

My Viva does not begin until July 7, so I shall come down on Monday, June 21st, as usual, probably by an afternoon train, if that will suit you.  I shall have to come up again for a night for my Viva.

We have settled up with the lady in William Street for the room opposite Doris – 25/- per week for the rooms.  I have to find a bedroom out, as we decided we would rather sleep separately.  Doris has done all the negotiation for us.

My dearest love to Daddie and Max.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

1An enviable sang-froid about the exams!

The next letter will be posted on 20 June 2017.

5 June 1920

C/o Mrs Ashby,

Coldstones Farm,

Ascott under Wychwood,

Oxon.

5.6.20

                My dear Mother,

Very many thanks for the parcel.  The shortbread is delicious, and I was very grateful for the washing, likewise for the money.  By the way, I don’t know whether I ought to have the latter, as Daddie left me £1.  I will hold it over for the following week if you like.

I sent you off a parcel of washing just before we left Oxford, including my yellow and white frock which has got very dirty, as I have worn it a lot this term.  Could you let me have it back as soon as possible, as I may want it next week-end. May I also have back the silk pyjamas, as I don’t think the nightgown which I am wearing at present will last more than one week.

I enjoyed having Daddie in Oxford immensely, and I think he liked the sunset from my window, which he saw every evening.

5.6.20The crew and cox, Margot far left.5.6.20The crew and cox, Margot far left.

5.6.20The crew and cox, Margot far left.

We had a very nice eight this morning – the real eight.  Even Best was pleased with us!  We met the Kingston steamer on our way up, and it rather spoilt our time, but we came up from Iffley in 12 min. 45 sec.  Evelyn and I also had a very nice swim this morning.

I think we have got rooms for next year, just opposite Doris.  In fact it was Doris who got them for us.  We shall have either to share a bedroom or have one out.  There is quite a nice little sitting room.  We come to a final decision on Tuesday.

We had quite a jolly tennis party yesterday with our two friends from Worcester.  We were not outshone this time, in fact we played distinctly better than our partners, for Mr Ady is having to learn to play left handed, owing to a wound in his right elbow, while Mr Brand is really a rowing man.

This is a very quiet little village.  The farm house is old and rambling, with quaint old fire places.  Our bedroom has oak beams and latched doors, and the room where we have our meals has a round open hearth and two  chimney seats, all of which was accidently [sic] unearthed from behind a comparatively modern grate.

Mrs Ashby is well known to Miss Levett and Miss Coate.  She seems to have educated her children well, for one is an authority on agriculture at the school of rural Economy in Oxford, one daughter is teaching, and another was at Milham Ford School.

Gwen came to tea with us on Thursday.  She is only in Oxford for a week.  She looked very  well.

Much love to Daddie and Max.  I am glad we are fixed up all right for Buxton, but hope it will not prove a tiring holiday for you.

Your loving daughter,

Margot.

The next letter to be posted on 13 June 2017.

2 June 1920

St. Hilda’s Hall

Oxon.

2.6.20

                My dear Mother,

I am so sorry not to have written to you before this week.  I sent off a parcel of washing.  Very many thanks for your letters and the note.

Our address this weekend will be1

C/o Mrs Ashby

Coldstones Farm

Ascot under Wychwood

Oxon.

Last week was not very thrilling, but very hot and stuffy.  Eights occupied the first three days.  On the Thursday we had a very nice tea party, a friend of Evelyn’s from the House, do. of Joyce’s from Keble, and Gilbert.

On Saturday Evelyn and I went to tea with the B.  They have a wee little furnished house in a street behind the Wilberforce.  She and Mrs B. were most kind, and told us all about their travels.  They both looked much better than when we saw them first.

On Monday Joyce and I had a first-rate game of tennis with May Kingsley’s two brothers.  They were awfully hot stuff and we played very badly, but I do like playing with men!  You simply have got to play well!

We have been doing lots of swimming lately – as Joyce is entering for the Varsity race against Cambridge.  We have four of our people in and as one is in two races we fill five out of nine places for Oxon.  Not bad for the smallest College!

Much love to Max

Your loving daughter

Margot.

1The tradition was that you took a break just before your final exams, a ‘Schools Weekend’.

The next letter to be posted on 5 June 2017.

27 May 1920

St. Hilda’s Hall

Oxon.

27.5.20

My dearest Daddie,

Ever so many thanks for your letter and the cheque, which have just arrived.

I can tell you about the payment of the grant, as I asked Miss Talbot about it, but forgot to mention it in my letter.  I get 1/3 of the £28 at the beginning of each term – the increase comes by cheque at the end of the term.

I will see what we can do about rooms at once.  We shall have to take them provisionally anyway, as they may have to be subjected to the university delegation, so I could always withdraw if anything unforeseen occurred.

The course up here has not the reputation of Cambridge or London, because it has only just been organised.  It does not lay so much stress on the practical side, but it does the theoretical part better.  The latter is rather neglected both at Cambridge and London, but here we have McDougall1, the great psychology man.  The main point is that it is training, and counts the same for the pension, which if you remember is the main reason why I am training at all!  Other people are getting most attractive jobs offered them straight from here.

Schools2 begin on Thurs. June 10th and last till the following Wed.  The previous weekend I shall be at Ascot under Wychwood until Tuesday, June 8th.  Could you come up either on that Tuesday – I shall not do any work in between that and Schools – or this very week-end, May 29th which is the only free one I have?  Any time next week before Sat. would do as well, if you don’t particularly want the week-end.  What about Max?

Your loving daughter

Margot.

1McDougall – William McDougall, 1871 – 1938, who worked first in UK and then in USA.  He wrote a number of well known textbooks, and developed the theory of instinct and social psychology.

2Final degree exams.

The next letter to be posted on 2 June 2017.