17th June 1913

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Tuesday 17th June 1913

London swelters in the heat as Arthur starts his Territorials machine gun course; an “intruder” on the lawn, and the Pater returns from Paris to a joyous reception from the family:

Arthur to Dollie

Leadenhall Street, E.C.

Thanks so much for your dear letter which greeted me this morning. I love to get them – but the interval between each goes so slowly – and there is such a length of time to be endured before we meet again – happy day, how I am longing for it to come.

Yesterday afternoon it simply sweltered. To-day if anything it is two or three degrees hotter. I left the office early yesterday, went up to the baths in Finchley Road and had a swim – the first this year! I had intended to get a new suit after, but it was a bit late as I wanted to get to the bank before it closed at four, so I gave Stubbs the go-by. When I got home after the bank, I cleaned my kit and packed it then down to [Mlle] Flury at half past four. I stopped French at a quarter past five and had some tea … Then to Chelsea – I got there in good time and changed. Two or three men there I knew one, who was up in March with me, has been given the guns of his battalion.

The Commandant said our (i.e. the machine gun) course was much “stiffer” than the ordinary one, and one in which he would be very strict. Our hours are 7 – 9.30 on weekdays, Saturday afternoons and practically all Sunday (about 9 – 3): exam not at the end of the course but one a week. Failure to pass in any one, failed one the course. So there is plenty of work to be done! ! It is quite a big school. We are only four officers and 10 sergeants, but there is a fair number in for the ordinary course. Our job makes us black with oil and grease and the accommodation is rotten and only one basin – you may imagine, heat and dirt. I changed there last night – I had rung up Jery the Serg. Major and he had advised me to wear service dress the first night. Tonight I shall wear the overalls I had made: rather fortunately, as the canvas suits they generally obtain for one at the School are not forthcoming this time.

I got home last night at about half past ten – it was very hot. I had some sandwiches and then jumped into a bath. In the middle of it, Alfred, who had wandered in in pyjamas, said he saw a dark shadow on the lawn. We thought it might be a man … unfortunately it was only a chair! So back into my bath. Then the telephone rang – it was the Pater from Charing Cross, where he had just arrived from Paris. We all sat and waited for him on the balcony over the front door, Alfred and I in pyjamas, Mater and the girls in night-gowns and dressing gowns, at any rate in lots of lace and billowy stuff. The dear old Pater finally turned up about twenty past eleven in great form and laden with presents for the children. The Mater was so pleased to see him again – she didn’t know what she was doing for joy – they are a priceless couple…