WEEK 135: (14th – 20th June 1920)

Brenda went, with her father. Nora was as I expected much nicer & more interesting without Charlie, & got quite friendly with me. She complained of Sheila’s rompish & too familiar behahavior to Charlie, saying that was why she didn’t want to have her as a bridesmaid.”

NLI Call Number: MS, 3582/37
NLI Catalogue Link can be found here
Date Range of Diary: January 27th 1920 – October 26th 1920

WEEK 135: 14th – 20th June 1920

Monday 14th. – Brenda went, with her father. Nora was as I expected much nicer & more interesting without Charlie, & got quite friendly with me. She complained of Sheila’s rompish & too familiar behahavior to Charlie, saying that was why she didn’t want to have her as a bridesmaid. If its like Dorothy & Ben it must be awful, considering Sheila’s size, but I expect she is more childish & innocent, she is very young for her age. Nora never reads, but can make clothes. She says Brenda is a good deal of a flirt in her own way. B. was reading about some of a story of hers to us about


a week before this, & there was a kind of a holy flirtation in it. She has great power of describing nature, most unusual, as if she never forgot a picture, & with an effect of really caring more about it than almost anything, and she can narrate, but her conversations aren’t natural – or else they are very English. She hasn’t much sense of the absurd.

Wednesday 16th. – I went to London by the 9.1 – it was a lovely morning ride – & to Waterloo or so (there was a wild & ferocious looking black bishop in the bus, I never saw such terrifying eyes with yellow whites) to Salisbury. It didn’t seem far & the country wasn’t interesting. Rebecca met me there with a French teacher from her school; a Basque, Mlle d’ Ithurbid & we boarded another train & ate lunch in it on the way to Amesbury. From there we had 2 miles to walk, mostly along a lovely road,


first wooded & then up over the plain. The plain was injured by rashes of red military camps, but the open rolling ground was lovely, and from the top of a long hill we saw a little dark spot beyond where 2 roads forked, which turned out to be Stonehenge.

Image from “Stonehenge: Today and Yesterday” by Frank Stevens. Project Gutenberg – Internet Archive Book Images

All round near it were little bumps which we afterwards found from a book to be barrows of the sort of people who built it, as graves surround a church, the book said. It itself was spoiled by being in the hands of workmen who were straightening & rearranging it, they had a crane for lifting up the fallen stones, & heaps of gravel to steady the crane, & a windlanes in the middle, & the look of the place was ruined. There were 3 crowds of people in it too, a scientific study from Bournemouth with motors waiting on the road. We waited till they were gone, & poked about for a good while, but we should have bought a


book going in rather than coming out, for we were very ignorant. The space inside was smaller than I expected, but the big trilithons were bigger – nothing can over express the majesty of them. The book (by F. Stevens) said the date assigned by astronomers was about 1700 B.C. & that the Druids had nothing to do with it – it was people in the end of the stone age who made it, for no metal has been discovered in investigations there, but lots of stone hammers & mauls have, & pick axes of deer’s horns. The stone called the slaughter stone was once standing up, so it can’t have been used for sacrificing. One of the 5 great trilithons fell in 1620, & one in 1798. I read the book all the way to Amesbury & it was most interesting. We had tea in Amesbury & went back in a bus to Salisbury, passing Old Sarum.

Old Sarum, Salisbury Plain by B.C. Gotch. A Literary Pilgrim in England by Philip Edward Thomas. 1917. Wikicommons.


Mlle d’Ithurbid was nice & spoke English admirably, she said she used to know Basque, & that her sister did, & that it was utterly unlike any European language, & impossible to learn. The house where some of the mistresses live seemed miles from the station, but we got there some time, and it was a nice place. There was a little house furnished as a bedroom in the garden where any mistress slept who had a visitor, & after supper, at 9. Rebecca went out there & made tea, & 4 other mistresses instantly came out to get some like moths to a candle. She told me afterwards that there’s a great monotony about them, they all seem mentally alike, & haven’t much in common with her.

Thursday 17th. – Lovely fine hot day. I went to visit the cathedral in the morning, and


found it standing in a great expanse of green velvet lawn with big trees here & there, & paths, & crows or jackdaws cawing about the roof, a perfect picture in its style. It was a more beautiful outside than in, but there were 2 interesting groves in it – William Longsword, quiet east of Salisbury & Sir John Chenice [sp.?] who was Henry VIII’s standard bearer at Bosworth & was overthrown there by Richard III. He that was so big – the guide book said the grave had been dug up once, & his thigh bone was 4 inches longer than the average. He was a very fine alabaster statue. There was a service going on in the cathedral with bits of heavenly music & a great deal of gabbling. On the way back I visited a little museum & saw a little model of Stone henge & some stone hammers etc that they found


there. The cathedral is a very poor second to it, fine as it as. Rebecca came with me to the train after dinner & I arrived at Chalfond without adventures. R. seems fairly comfortable without adventures. R. seems fairly comfortable in that school.

Image taken from page 127 of Cathedrals, abbeys and churches of England and Wales, descriptive, historical, pictorial (1896), Bonney, Thomas George. London, Cassell – Internet Archive Book Images

Friday Saturday & Sunday. – Maya was very busy and couldn’t go out with me. Nora was occupied making crochet to adorn trousseau nightgowns. She was fairly good company all the same, & asked a lot of questions, about human sort of subjects with an air of great earnestness & an interest in the answers. I read a lot of the Science of Power, which is very good if the language was less difficult.