Letter to Kenneth Fathers from Avice, dated 3 May 1915

This charming, chatty letter was written by Avice to her brother while he was fighting during WW1. It is lovely to read about the goings on of daily life in 1915; the food they ate and the people they socialised with. Her good friend F.C.W Hiley who wrote poetry to Avice, that you can read here, is mentioned once again.

Transcript to follow after the images.

Letter 3 May 1915 (1) Letter 3 May 1915 (2) Letter 3 May 1915 (3) Letter 3 May 1915 (4)

3rd May 1915

My darling Ken,

I was so bowled at getting your letter on Saturday. Thank you so much for fagging to write to me. I am glad you like my letters. I will write as often as I can. I had meant to answer you yesterday but walked to Chipstead and back and was so tired I couldn’t do anything but lie in two chairs and read “The Newcomes”.

It was simply lovely yesterday. The cuckoos and the larks were simply shouting and it was so warm and everything smelt so lovely. I took the dog and after 7 o’ sharp walking I got to where you turn up to go to the little wood and I was so tired I just lay down full length in the turf and jammed my hat over my eyes and listened to the birds; it was heavenly. Then I went in to the wood and picked primroses and bluebells. They are very late and only just coming out now. The dog was fearfully bucked and rushed round madly. The house is so full up with flowers there isn’t anymore room anywhere. I got home jolly tired and drank a glass of water and three cups of tea and feel much refreshed.

On Saturday I lunched with May, Zoë, and Gladys Williams-Thomas, Zoë’s friend. She is an awfully nice girl. We went to the new corner-house and wandered round in search of a table, going first to the top of the building and then right down to the basement. However we at last managed to establish ourselves and then we all ordered our lunches at once so that mine didn’t arrive at all and I had to share Zoë’s. We had our lunch on the au pair system. I shared her meat, she my sweets. Anyway it was a horrid lunch. We had some very sickly marron glacé and I had to rush back to finish off some work. I worked hard till nearly eight and then had to taxi to the station to catch my train, which struck me as a horrible waste of a shilling. But I had promised to go and call on the Miss Troughtons with Mother. They came from Norwich and are so nice and as they had a heavenly plum cake with almond icing inches thick I was glad I went. Also I wore my new hat which is rather nice.

I had a letter from the Hiley bird this morning. He wishes you god-speed and a safe return. He is going to meet me the next time he is in town. He has been to Wrotham with the regiment and thinks it is charming.

Tonight is the Pirbright concert and I am to go down to Woking by the 5.45 and then motor over there. I think I shall sing “Little Grey Home”, “Fairings”, and “Supposin’”. Mrs Kingdom is putting me up for the night. It is rather amusing going to stay with people I don’t know in the least. Since writing I have had a cheque for a guinea from the Woking Musical Society. It was a delightful surprise as I didn’t expect it. That is in addition to my expenses. And now I have got these other engagements. Isn’t it ripping! They are not remuneration ones though, but I expect I shall have a jolly time. On Wednesday I am going down again to sing at the S. F. S concert for a friend of Mrs Howlett’s.

Mrs Barnes has been so awfully nice to us and last Saturday he brought us two of his mother’s songs. They are quite pretty and I think I shall sing them at the Sale of Work on the 26th. May is coming up to recite for that. Zoë was going to meet Roy, who had come up for weekend leave. She had told him to be sure to try and hear me at Pirbright and as she told him Friday night, she supposed the poor man was rushing around trying to find me. I shouldn’t think he smiled! I told her it was tonight but I don’t suppose I shall see him.

You haven’t come across the Worcester and York I suppose? No, I’m afraid I don’t know at all where you are in the trenches – I wish I did.

Am so glad you have been seeing something of dear old Fred. Do give him my love when you see him again. Also remember me to Joey. Mother is sending you some hankies and a knife. I am sending you the belated book.  So sorry I have been such ages. Dear old Gordon sent me a box of bluebells and primroses on Saturday. Mother’s girls have started giving her flowers also so that we are well supplied.

I shall write shortly and tell you all about the concert.

Best of love, dear,
From Avice

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