I forgot to mention that on Thursday I saw in the paper that poor Pussie Gowans has lost her man, died of wounds, and a curious coincidence occurred for on that very morning I lost my cigarette case which she gave me 14 years ago.
We went up today to watch some driving near barracks which H was judging, and after lunch Capt Gore Browne, H’s Staff Captain, motored us over to East Holme to watch the regimental sports of the 78th Brigade who are out there in camp. It seemed so funny to see that crowd of Tommies doing exactly the same things as one has seen at dozens of other regimental sports, one could not realize that a few months ago all these men were clerks, labourers etc and their officers whatever may be their abilities or lack of them. They look as if they had been soldiers all their lives – even the Sports clown was there!
First of all the Early Service, and then at 9.45 Church Parade Service. Oh! what crowds and crowds of men and what a short and cheery service, they sang as if they really enjoyed it and we had a good and simple sermon. At about 12 H’s kind Staff Captain took us off in this motor and where we didn’t go I cant tell! for we only got back at 6.0 having lunched at Ringwood and tea’d of all places at the Kings Head, Wimborne in which I’ve never been since our wedding just on 14 years ago! It did seem funny being there. The country is looking its very best, wreathed in green tracery, bluebells and primroses, and I am now longing to settle in these parts for good and all! The hills are large and bare, being down land, but the valleys are full of woods and lanes and its all so friendly and homey.
May 10th, Monday
This day 20 years ago I was confirmed, Oh! what a century ago it seems since I drove with Father in the brougham, Mother and Eve following in the dog cart to Spettisbury Church!
This is Monday and I’m forgetting to mention that on Sat. all were horrified to hear that the Lusitania coming from New York was torpedoed off Kinsale Head with a loss of 1500 lives. What will America do now? Many eminent people were on board including Mr Vanderbilt, Charles Frohman, Elbert Hubbard the great American philanthropist preacher and Sir Hugh Lane etc…no warning and in 10 minutes she sank. Its too awful to think about even. We went to pick flowers this morning and retuned with armfuls of bluebells, cowslips and campion which I sent to the Mission in Town, but previous to this H came with us and we looked over such a charming old house called Newton Manor, once the home of a certain Sir J.C. Robinson, a great art critic and collector. He died about 2 years ago and his son too and so it is on the market but alas soldiers have been billeted there all the winter and the place smells of Tommies and is filthy inside but could be made so lovely and has been, and the garden is quite sweet. They want 6000 for it, absurd, they’ll never get it.
In the afternoon I had to have a tea party, so many of our people have called that I felt I ought to get to know them. It seemed so strange being at that old game again! There are some interesting people staying here, a Mr and Mrs Penrose, he was a great medical man and is now a scientist in general. Joy upon joys they’ve lent us their car for the next two days!
May 11th, Tuesday
I got my mail this morning. Ell sailed on the 25th and expects to arrive at Marseilles on the 15th. God protect him – this is an awful time. I don’t write very much of the War, it is all too frightful. The Germans are making desperate efforts on every side and using the most foul and abominable methods of attaining their end. They are not to be enjoyed, these people, with their high Kultur of gas poisoning, well poisoning, and torpedoing. It is all sickening. Zeps came over Southend yesterday and dropped 100 bombs killing only one person but destroying a good many houses. They are getting nearer and nearer London, these raids. Well this morning a most perfect car came round for us costing at least £100,000,000! and we went to a lovely place called Worbarrow Bay. Never shall I forget this most lovely drive. The country lying warm and still in its fresh Spring green and we passed through many little old world villages, the old grey stone slated cottages and their gardens aglow with brilliant May tulips making pictures of themselves. The very names: Grange Creech Knowle, having an old world sound. After an hours run we came to Worbarrow, a most beautiful secluded Bay, in which we found 2 bungalows and a few fisher cottages. We clambered about and paddled and fell in! and made an impromptu acquaintance of some children and a lady called Draper. Pinkie played with the former whilst the latter took me up to the little house they have built there and kindly gave me tea! Near by was a wood literally a carpet of bluebells and Star of Bethlehem, where nightingales sang loudly and I felt, Oh!, why Oh! why cant I live here instead of our most pogbaggish neighbourhood of which I am utterly sick.