Very many thanks indeed for a belated mail last week. It appears the mail boat had to be put back to Marseilles, having been mined or torpedoed just outside; at least that’s the yarn, but I don’t know if there’s any truth in it. Also I got a gorgeous calendar from you -”when the boys come home” which looks ripping on the mantlepiece, & thanks most awfully for it, & the Daily Sketch all bound. There is another mail in tomorrow, it was in here today, but my letters going to Cox always roll up a day late.
Not much news here. They still continue to fill us up with officers, & 5 have joined in the last 2 days! They seem a nice lot of fellows, & 2 or 3 of them have had war experience in France, which is a good thing, & preferable to those beardless babes from Sandhurst. We have now got 16 British officers, & our complement is only 12! So I wonder what they’re playing at. 1 Colonel, 2 Captains, & 13 Subalterns!
I have been fairly gay this week, & have dined out once or twice. I have also been to watch the Delhi tennis tournament, which is very good indeed & we have seen some fine games. I lunched last Sunday with the Ricketts and had a very pleasant day. I also had some ‘flapper’ tennis with Barbara Bingley & a small friend staying with her. I think they had a day out & seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Nell will be getting jealous! but I don’t think she need worry her pretty head much.
What a terrible explosion that was in town last week, & somehow one feels they have not published the whole of the story. It sounds dangerously near Woolwich, & I expect we shall begin to hear all sorts of rumours before long. It makes one quite ill to read about it, so ghastly to think of a thing like that happening somehow and all those poor munition workers being killed. Still I think it’s wonderful a thing like that has’nt happened before considering the enormous number of factories there must be in England now. Otherwise the news in general seems good I think, but I can’t quite fathom this concentration on the Swiss frontier, except that it proves Germany must be in desperate straits I think. The Roumanian news is decidedly more cheering, & we seem to have caught their torpedo boats nicely when they tried to escape from Zeebrugge. But how bitterly cold it sounds does’nt it.
There have been 2 gorgeous concerts this week, a Russian pianist & violinist who both played divinely. I don’t quite know why they are’nt in the army! But I’m glad they are’nt because it really was a treat to listen to them. They were only there two nights, and I went each time & thoroughly enjoyed myself, even though I know so little about music. Old Montague of Beaulieu is here, you remember I expect he was on the Persia; he is giving a lecture on ‘Aviation’ tonight; I really don’t remember him on board, & I don’t think I should recognise him if I saw him. Metcalfe is dining with me tonight, & I am dining with Miles one day next week; Cordwalles F.F’s I foresee!
From your letter I gather Jim is now definitely going to Hong Kong & is presumably well on his way there now. I wonder if he’s pleased or not or if he’d rather go to France. He enlisted so early in the war, that it seems curious he should go so far away from it when he does go anywhere. I’m most awfully sorry to hear about poor old Rosamond’s thumb; you told me a letter or two ago she had crushed it badly & it sounds very nasty, & I do hope the dear person is much better now.
The writing room for soldiers in Delaford is indeed a success, but you must have your hands pretty full what with getting them tea an’ all. I expect they thoroughly enjoyed their Christmas dinner; tomorrow’s letters ought to be the ones you wrote about Christmas time. You might mention to Mrs Hunt when you write about me & Metcalfe & Sir Charles Miles all being here together. Miles was wounded in Mesopotamia (he is with the 1st 4th Somersets) & Metcalfe is Asst Private Sec: to the Viceroy. I expect I told you all this before! Very sad about Mr Goughlin’s 2 sons. Yes rather Mr Britling arrived safe, but I have’nt had a minute to read him yet!
Best love to all Yr loving son
When the boys come home – song by Oley Speaks
Swiss tensions prior to the February Revolution in Russia