Delhi Jan 13/17
Very many thanks for your letter last week, date 13 Dec. I have had a certain amount to do here this week- Last Sunday I went out with the Ricketts on a regular trippers’ trip, round some old tombs and forts and things, much the same as the trip we went on in Christmas week. I must say these old places are most awfully interesting even to one so un-archeological as I, but they are so redolent of the past & the magnificence of all these old oriental things, & they are now all ruins & fallen to decay. I must say it makes you think a bit when you look round and see nothing but ruins all round for miles & miles & you wonder if London & all the splendour of Modern Europe will one day be like this. I don’t see why it should’nt. I have no doubt these old Kings of 1300 and thereabouts never imagined for one moment that even in such a short time as 600 years all their palaces and cities would be ruined & deserted, a mere object in life for sightseers.
It’s awful nice meeting old friends like Rickett, & they are most awfully kind to me, & I have been round to several “pot luck” meals with them whenever I get rather bored with the mess, which is pretty often!
I dined out on Saturday with the Reids, some friends who live just down the road also very charming. He is on AHQ Staff & used to live in our mess when we first came down here, as his wife had’nt come down from Simla. Then I have played a certain amount of tennis & on Thursday played with Mrs Bingley & had lunch & tea there. She is awfully nice, and told me to remember her to you, if you should by any chance remember her at the hospital. Barbara Bingley the kid, age 14, is quite a nice kid & very pretty; she is learning to play tennis & Mrs B. thinks it’s awful nice of us to descend to her level, though I don’t think I’m much better myself. Anyhow old Bingley is a general & a coming man so there’s no harm in getting to know them as well as possible –
What about the news from Greece? Are’nt they trying, & I really think it is only sentiment for Greece’s antiquities that prevents us blowing the place out of the water with our fleet which we could no doubt do easily. Germany’s peace efforts don’t yet seem to be quite over, but the allies’ reply was splendidly definite & to the point was’nt it. I really do wonder if Austria is in such a bad way as they make out; I hope so, as if that is the case & she cannot hold out much longer she would let Germany down badly.
There was a concert here last week, in aid of officers’ widows & orphans etc, Lady Lansdowne’s fund I think. It was quite good, and one lady played the violin really beautifully, a thing I have’nt heard done for years. Also there was a girl who danced, amateur of course but really wonderful.
It’s been very warm & muggy these last few days, there is some rain about I think. The Viceroy comes back today, but his entry is private so there are to be no guards of honour etc, thank goodness. I am going out to lunch today with some people called Cruickshank, I knew her very well in Lansdowne as a Miss Ormsby, daughter of the C.O. of the 3rd Gurkhas; I have’nt seen her since I left Lansdowne in 1914. And tonight I am dining out and going to a dance; not very keen, but I accept these invitations so as to get to know a few people.
I have seen no notice in the papers about the arrival of this week’s mail, but I expect it will be in a day or two now.
I am sorry about Rosamond having pinched her thumb, she seems to have done it pretty badly. I must write to her. Certainly the soldiers seem to appreciate the reading & writing rooms you have given them, & I trust the 20 who turned up on Christmas day were duly grateful. I have’nt tackled the plum pudding yet, but must do so soon; we are just about the right size in the mess for it I fancy.
Yes rather Mr Britling has arrived but I have’nt really had time to read it yet. I’ve got ‘the first of Divisions’ ‘the great push’ (from old Fielding, both) ‘At the War’ by Northcliffe (from the Dudmans) & ‘Mr Britling’ on hand, & I have’nt looked inside one of them for a fortnight!
I do hope Wiggy’s things have been settled amicably by now, it seems strange that it can’t be done somehow & poor Ben must feel it frightfully. I’m much relieved to hear you say she is so much better, & she certainly writes in a cheerier strain herself.
Fancy old Walcott being with Britannia, lucky he got off. Yes of course I remember him awful well. Very many thanks for offering to send me a cardigan but I’m afraid by the time I got it, it would be past cardigan time! But on reading your letter again I see you are sending along one & not waiting to hear from me. Very many thanks, & on second thoughts in these days one might go to a cold climate any day, & in any case it will come in vastly useful in the future.
No news out here: we hear & read strange tales of travelling being difficult at home, but I fancy they are exaggerated as you have not specially referred to it in any of your letters. I suppose the food question is being scientifically organised in order to prevent waste, not so much because there is any lack. Submarines seem very active again, & ships & freightage must be hard to get.
Must have breakfast now, an early bird are’nt I, but my day’s work always begins early.
Lots of love
ever your loving son
New Delhi – Ancient Ruins:
The First Seven Divisions: being a detailed account of the fighting from Mons to Ypres by Lord Ernest Hamilton
The Great Push, an episode of The Great War by Patrick MacGill
At The War by Lord Alfred Northcliffe