September 1st, Friday
Ever since I wrote in this last we have been more than usually gay. I don’t think there has been 5 days on which there wasn’t something going on. We have had a jolly house party which breaks up today. I do hate people going away, one always feels so lonesome afterwards. Our tennis tournament went off with many frills. All the players on the second day stayed to dinner and we danced afterwards. We were about 30 and half had dinner in the hall and half in the smoking room. Another jolly day we had was a huge picnic at Studland. We were about 18. We sailed from Poole to Studland, we started from home at 9.30 and got back at 8.30. This afternoon we all are going to Chettle and I am going to play in a tennis tournament. I think it ought to be rather fun as none of us can play a bit.
Sept 8th, Friday
I won the tournament! I got a little silver moveable calendar which is sweet and my partner a gold heart pin. This last week I haven’t been doing much. We have lately decided that sometime or other we shall have to let the house, much as we loath the idea, but in the case of my getting married it would be absurd for Mother to think of living here alone. We have heard of a nice little house in Lewes so Mother and I go down on Monday to see it.
Yesterday we went to tea at Charborough with Mrs Drax, what a funny old girl she is. To think that as a young girl she ran away with her first husband and her father was so angry that he never would speak of her and had her picture cut out of the frame on the wall, and that now she lives there again and gives her second husband £1000 a year to live away! I think she is a most sporting old girl. She has a mania for dressing in white and I cant say I have ever seen her lady companion in anything else either. There they live those two from one year end to another without hardly ever seeing a soul. We were ushered into the drawing room where we waited for hours till at last she came dressed in white silk and her companion in white serge! We had some weird tea after which we were shown all round. She has some ripping horses and 1600 head of deer. Every room and passage is strewn with skins till it gives one the jim jams to look anywhere. The chapel has some beautiful carved oak. It is a dear quaint old place but gives one rather a weird feeling of desertion directly one gets inside the gates, as the long drive is so damp and overgrown.
“Slack” is the word for me where my diary is concerned. I daresay the craze will come back some day. This week we have had a blackberrrying craze and have 48 lbs which has been made into jam and jelly. I went up to Mailins lane to get some and sat for some time above the chalk pit. The conies have made such a burrow and were playing about as I arrived. It was a lovely day with that unmistakeable feeling of crispness in the air that one knows so well in autumn, and I sat for a long time listening to all the different sounds in the valley below: the blacksmith’s forge, the shout of the ploughmen, cock and hens etc. Everywhere there was a slight autumn mist and one had the feeling that it was indeed good to be alive.
I get such nice letters from my dearest, every mail he writes and such yards. What is disturbing is that he hears nothing of his exchange except that his “request is noted” but I am hoping that November may see him home.