A subject for quips and gibes

John Maxwell Image, at the age of 70, had suddenly got engaged to Miss Florence Spencer of Cookham, the 30 year old sister of Will, Percy, Stanley and Sydney. The age gap may have been significant – but this was a devoted relationship. The Master of Image’s college, Trinity, at this time was Montagu Butler (1833-1918), whose three sons were all in the army.

TCC [Trinity College, Cambridge]
Friday 24 Sept. ‘15
VDB and DOM [nicknames for Mr and Mrs Smith]

Wedlock at my age is such a subject for quips and gibes that I naturally felt shy and reticent. Needlessly; for the Fellows, many of them, have whispered (I like them for that) really affectionate good wishes – true spirit of camaraderie. I wrote news to the Master [of the College] in Scotland: and two hours after my letter was posted came the most warmhearted letter in his own name and Agnata’s …

[Butler’s son] Gordon’s wound is healing fast. He is nearly convalescent in Malta. Nevile [another son] stands once more on his native heath, after 14 months captivity. Agnata came down to receive him at the Camb. Station, and has whisked him off to Caledonia…

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday Oct. 12 (probably) – Tuesday is full of grace – at St George’s, Bloomsbury – chosen by us all as having been the scene of my brother’s wedding 14 years ago. The bride is to be given away by her father: my brother and sister will sustain my tottering steps. No other guests, I trust: unless one or two of her ecstatic girl friends thrust themselves in….

Yours ever

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/2)

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