April 12th, Tuesday
This morning when the postman arrived he brought the extraordinary report that France had declared war on Germany! We thought it very odd and sudden!! Tonight’s paper explained it. It seems that there is a regular scare propaganda going about to put up panic, people going to attest are stopped and asked if they are aware that they will be liable for overseas service, reports of Allied troops having been driven across the frontier and last night the DT office were bombarded with wires asking if the wounded were already arriving in England! Its all part of a D*** scheme to put fear into the populace but they say its done good rather than harm to the recruiting which goes on faster almost than they can cope with it. Conferences are still going on and so there is a little more breathing time but I fear it all is pretty hopeless.
I went this evening over the hills with Pink and Babs to see my people. It was a perfect evening and the country looked just glorious with great masses of blossom like drifts of snow and the blue sky and the hills every possible shade of green and pinky brown. It is a glorious time of year.
April 14th, Thursday
The blow has fallen and in today’s paper we read our fate. The Triple Alliance has decided to come out on strike tomorrow night. It’s dreadful and tragic. What will happen? All reserves, Army and navy, have been called up and hundreds are enlisting in the 90 Day Army. One good sign is that the country at large has such confidence in the Govt. that there has been no rush for food and no hoarding.
Still the grim prospect hangs over us and tonight at 10.30 all are to come out. What will be the result? One cannot imagine but one thing is certain, that so far as it is possible the country is fully prepared, far more so than they ever were for the War.
April 16th, Saturday
Waking with a heavy heart this morning I was much surprised to see a train running. I called to H and we couldn’t make it out. When the postman arrived he gave us the almost unbelievable news that the conference last night has apparently had the result of a breakdown between the number of the Triple Alliance resulting in the Railwaymen and Transport workers leaving the Miners to fight it out alone. Thank God. That at any rate this horror is averted for the time and we can breath a little freer. The miners must now settle their own hash. I read Lloyd George’s speech to the representatives last night, he is a most wonderful buckstick (sic) certainly.
April 17th, Sunday
I insert here another letter from Hamster. He writes wonderfully, his English is far better than most English people and it is galling to think I cannot write a sentence in almost any foreign language. Any education I have comes to me since I left school and my early struggles stick in my head somewhere I suppose but they must be very much buried as I couldn’t even do a money sum now, much less parse a sentence. Yet how well one seems to get along without all these ‘trifles”, what is a husband for or children from up to date colleges (where by the way they too learn nothing!). Our English system of education is indeed futile!
April 21st, Thursday
Many million years ago I got engaged so I slipped out early and got a forget-me-not buttonhole for my dear man. A day of blessed memories and I have been more happy always than anyone knows. We had the VHs to tea today. Tomorrow we are bicycling over to St Briavels to see Mrs Wilkinson and Miss Male and so I got Mrs VH to make out a paper of directions. This she did most minutely. It is a long way and by the time we return we shall have gone 18 miles! I believe it is uphill nearly the whole way!
I was reminded today of Rossetti’s lines “does the road wind uphill all the way? Yes, to the very end.” We went by train to Lydney and immediately the hill began after leaving the town, up and up for 7 miles. We walked nearly all the way!. We had a most refreshing tea and then they took us to St Briavels Castle where lives Mrs Campbell who kindly showed us all over it. It now belongs to the Crown and she rents it. We started back by a shorter route giving ourselves very little time and half way back Pink had a puncture. We were in despair but he rode Babs’ machine carrying her behind and Noots wheeled his and tearing along we just caught our train.