From David to May April 15th 1918 Letter No 21
I have most of your letters up to March 1st. So you have been spending your money on me again – you naughty dear little girl. It is good of you to do it, but you shouldn’t really. I haven’t yet got “In the Twinkling of an Eye” or the other, but I expect they will come shortly. I am sorry you were queer with that cold, but I am awfully glad Mrs Muggridge would not let you go to the office. Of course the GM has climbed down, but he might have had the decency to apologise to you. Things here go on as usual. A small (but most select) number of us go out in the mornings and do Mullers jerks and other weird contortions much to the amusement and edification of the sentries. Then I go for a run round the enclosure. Truly life is strenuous – at all events for a quarter of an hour in the mornings. There is a physical jerks class, which usually contains three members, but like most other people I prefer to do my “ten minutes for health’s sake” on my own, as I can get through about twice as much as they do and take less time over it and this is an item, as breakfast is always crying out to be got through before roll call.
Have you settled which of those two houses you like or have you some better ideas? Since writing about them, I have altered the plan of the smaller one somewhat. I have knocked out the coal store and made it all larder. I did not like the coal store there, as it meant that the door to it would have to be in the front of the house. So I have now a coal store and general store in a lean-to addition outside the Kitchen and Dining Room fireplaces. Also upstairs I have reversed the positions of the Bathroom and cupboard with the Lavatory, so that now the Bathroom will have two small windows. The cupboard will also have a small window. I have added a Porch which should look rather well, I think, but it is rather difficult to sketch and I haven’t been able to do it decently yet. It has two steps up of red bricks and then on one side, it has a dwarf wall of about 3’6” high of red bricks built herringbone pattern on a stone curb. Between the top of this wall and the roof is a balustrade, with turned balusters and the whole capped with a red tile roof hipped back against the corner of the main building. By having this Porch we could have a solid outer door on the outside of the Porch which could be open during the day, with a glazed door inside opening into the Hall. Have you though of any scheme of interior decoration? How do you think this would look for the hall. The ceiling and cornice white. The walls and woodwork to the stairs painted a fairly deep cream, (or a faint dull grey blue) and the skirting, (a very small skirting) doors and handrail to the stairs finished in a glossy black enamel. The floor stained and wax polished, with some sort of rug. I am not quite certain how the black doors would look. What do you think?
Mrs Muggridge seems to have got better again. By the way you say, “Mrs Taylor and I had port for dinner, then during the evening we sat around the fire and drank port, later we had supper and drank port (in tumblers this time). After supper we had a final warm before retiring and drank port and all talked and laughed at once, goodness knows what about, and then I noticed soon afterwards and that I was getting drowsy and that the others were asleep” (strange, very strange). “We woke up about 12.30 and rolled into bed about 12.40 I woke up several times during the night, but having taken the precaution to have a bottle under the bed – drank more port.” Seems to me you must both have exceeded your ration slightly. Oh yes – and then “Got up in time to be 20 minutes late for chapel.” Which is again very very surprising.
The other evening we had a concert which was nothing very special, the best part being the preparation for it. Two of the men in my room were taking part and we assisted them to make up, a wonderful business. They had some grease paint and powder and we coated their faces with every colour in turn and once or twice decorated them in stripes and patches and we finally finished them off a charming terra cotta colour with the blackest of black eyes. They were gorgeous looking heather. There were several songs and one of two small sketches. Nothing very great, but still as good as one can expect here and the fellows who got it up went to a good deal of trouble to make it as good as possible. They painted some scenery etc but as the room is used as a dining room during the day and the stage is formed of the tables they are rather handicapped, but still they really turned the whole thing out surprisingly well. The other day we had another small exhibition of sketches by another many here but they weren’t nearly so good as the first exhibition, although they were much about the same style. There were one or two landscapes, but nothing really good, but then this man is not in the same class as the other fellow and has only done sketching for advertisements I believe. I haven’t the least objection to promising to be ill on all holidays in order than you can fuss me up, in fact I’ll be ill every day and all day with the same inducement. I have been longing for a long time to have a bad attack. Goodbye.
I enclose letters to Mum and Uncle Alfred