Mary Bernadette came in to tea tonight. She had just returned from town, where she had said goodbye to Hugh Storr-Best and returned him his ring and “all the doings.” She told me he had said she had broken with him because of Fred Thompson (Artie). She denied it. I think Hugh guesses right. I think Mary does want Artie, but whether Artie wants her, that’s another story. I don’t think Artie wants to be serious with any girl.
Mrs. Jude was here today. To lunch, remaining until four o’clock, and then back again this evening, to telephone Mary. She has received a letter from Mr. Jude, written in pencil, from Malta. Malta! Of all places in the world, she thinks he has been torpedoed again, and picked up and put ashore at Malta.
It is my birthday. I am fifty-eight today. I can’t believe it! Ted gave me three boxes of Turkish cigarettes. These are now extremely hard to come by. Amongst my letters was one from my cousin Will Searle. This pleased me more than any. They were blitzed out of Whitehall Place, and now are living in South Harrow. Young Will, now married, is in the police and stationed at Dorking. “We’ve lost our home,” writes Willie, “but are thankful to have our lives. You can always get another home.”
I found Mother in the back garden when I returned from High Mass bringing Mary Bernadette with me. Mother came loaded with goodies, of her own making. She brought me a fruitcake, (war recipe of course) a mince pie, (the last of Christmas) a jar of yellow plum jam, and a jar of chutney. She also brought a half-pound box of Fuller’s Candies, which she must have been hoarding for some time. She also brought me a great surprise. She handed me a little jewel box containing Auntie Lizzie Hext’s black pearl earrings. Minnie sent them to me. Will Hext gave them to Minnie when Auntie died, but it seems Minnie considers them “too old” for her to wear, so Mother asked her to give them to me. So Minnie wrote to Will and got his permission to part with them and here they are. I am so pleased. They are beautiful pearls in themselves, and I like them also because they were Aunties. I loved Auntie Lizzie. Several callers including Dorrie Stanford, Mrs. White and Daisy and this evening Mrs. Jude came over. I am tired now after a very nice day.
All this week my thoughts have been dwelling in the memories of my girlhood. I expect Auntie Lizzie’s earrings thrust them there. Particularly I have been remembering my life in Head’s, my walks up Sloane Street, the Boer War and the dance at Blankheim House, Pall Mall. I ought to write this out. I don’t but I should. When am I going to do my writing? Oh when?
The war is getting worse and worse. There were heavy raids on Bath last night.
A hurricane is blowing. Our garden fence blew down today. This is the windiest day in years. If fires are started tonight then heaven help us! There was a heavy raid on Norwich last night, many fires, many casualties. An alert was given here this afternoon, about three o’clock, but the all clear sounded about twenty minutes afterwards. Just as the sirens went, Isabel Robbins called, with Jan. She brought me a half-pound of tea, most acceptable.