20 October 1918 – Richard to Gertrude

20 Oct



My dear Mother. Very many thanks for your letters, the referees & D. Sketch with Jane’s photograph in it & the Barts Journal. Fancy finding these papers at last, but there are 2 more like it somewhere. Anyhow I can claim some part of the money with these. The letters no 3 & 4 both arrived here by the same mail. You see I am using the block & pencil, both most welcome. I sent you a cable today saying “Quite Well” & I hope you’ve got my letter telling you what it means, otherwise you’ll be wondering.

Goodness knows when I shall be off, soon I hope. But after all winter at home won’t be so bad now that the war seems more or less “finish” & I expect there’ll be plenty of coal & light about.

I wonder if Topher has arrived in the country yet. I expect he was stopped when all our successes were known & there won’t be much doing out here now. Anyhow I suppose he will write me directly he arrives. I remember so well about Turner’s ponds seeming so small, but I should have thought Rosamond would have had a fairly accurate idea of the size of the drawing room at the Vicarage. Yet really I suppose she was quite a kid when we left.

I hope you went and saw “Seven days leave”, most exciting play I expect. I always meant to see it in London. How soon Topher got in the Gazette. I hope you find some more eyeglasses. I have now got a big pair of tortoiseshell spectacles like you. Lovely are’nt they? So light. We don’t give 6/- a gallon, but they say that’s what it costs to bring it up all that way in a pipe.

Wish I could have been there that week end when everyone was at home. I am so glad Evelyn came over. So glad your nose is alright. I expect Murray has been home by this time. You will be lucky if you are allowed 7 tons of coal won’t you, but if the war ends you won’t have to bother, we shall get it for nothing shan’t we?

I wangled a day’s leave the other day & went down to Jerusalem. No good being out here without going there is it? Most interesting, but it seems such a pity to build over all those sacred spots like cavalry & the Manger. I quite long to go to church again some Christmas time at home & sing “Hark the herald angels”, and “there’s a Greenhill”, & “while shepherds watch their sheep”.

The hill is’nt green, & there are a lot of houses built in the field where the shepherds were, but I’ll be able to think to myself I’ve seen them. There’s the place where Solomon’s Temple was originally built, & the only thing remaining there is a huge rock with a hole in it where the sacrifices were offered, & the blood & ashes all used to run through this hole into a tank beneath & so out. There’s a lovely view from the mount of Olives.

I went there about 7 in the morning, so as to get out to Bethlehem & back in time. It’s curious too, that the Holy sepulchre & the place where the Cross was, are only about 20 yards apart. Both quite close in the same church. I always imagined the sepulchre was a long way away.

I have sent to you a little mother of pearl cross & a Star of Bethlehem and a book marker from Bethlehem. Goodness knows when they will arrive. It is difficult to get anything useful. Anyhow you can wear the Cross sometimes & use the book marker, & look at the Star. The mother of pearl comes from the Red Sea & the people in Bethlehem make all these things. I wish you could see it all. Mr Kirwan has been out here has’nt he?

I got a letter from Jane & one from Dreda which I will answer soon. Please thank them. I expect you are all most awfully relieved that the news is so  good. I am sending some little napkin rings made out of olive wood from Jerusalem, & you can use them, also some beads made out of Mecca fruit, they call it, & olive wood. You have a bead necklace for a muff chain which you’ll promptly break on your bicycle handle! & the girls can have the others. I’ll try & say who is to have them when I write again.

I hope I shall meet old Topher. I can borrow some money perhaps.

Best love to all

yr loving son


There is a green hill far away

Vegetable ivory – erstwhile “Mecca fruit”

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Posted by on 20 October, '18 in About


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