“Our generation has learnt to think of settling down to end one’s days together in safety seems all one asks of life”

Ralph Glyn’s sister Maysie was amused by their aristocratic mother’s depression at the thought of living on a reduced income now her husband was retiring, and had had a royal encounter in Windsor.

April 24/16
Elgin Lodge
Windsor

My dear darling R.

I wonder what for an Easter you spent [sic]. Very many happy returns of it anyhow. I got yours of 14th today. I hope you have seen Frank by now. How splendid of him to spend his leave in that way. Your weather sounds vile, still you are warm & here one never is. I hear from Pum [Lady Mary] today that Meg is in bed with Flu & temp 102. I am so worried, & hope she will not be bad. I must wait till John comes in, but feel I must offer to go to them, but how John is to move house alone I do not know! We move Thurs. My only feeling is that it may distract the parents somewhat during this trying week….

[Mother] takes the gloomiest view of household economies etc, & is determined it will all be “hugga mugga”, “She was not brought up like that & you see darling I have no idea how to live like that” etc etc. I tried humbly to suggest that one could be happy from experience & was heavily sat on, “it’s different for you young people”. Of course it is, & I wasn’t brought up in a ducal regime, still one can have some idea – also possible if Pum had ever had Dad fighting in a war she’d find more that nothing mattered. I think our generation has learnt that, & to think of settling down to end one’s days together in safety seems all one asks of life perhaps! You can well imagine tho’ nothing is said, how this attitude of martyrdom reacts on Dad. In fact he spoke to John about it. One does long to help, but one feels helpless against a barrier of sheer depression in dear Pum…

There seems little news to tell you. The King came Thurs, & has been riding in the Park. We ran into all the children, 3 princes & Princess M pushing bikes in the streets of Windsor on Friday. It was most surprising. They have got two 75s here as anti-aircraft, one on Eton playing fields & one Datchet way. They say if they ever fire the only certainty must be the destruction of the Castle & barracks!!

You know all leave was suddenly stopped on the 18th & everyone over here recalled. We all thought “the Push” but Billy writes the yarn in France is, it was simply that the Staff and RTs wished to have leave themselves – but then one can hardly believe, it’s too monstrous to be true. However John Ponsonby has written about coming on leave the end of the month so there can’t be so much doing yet. The news from Mesopotamia is black enough, one more muddle to our credit & more glory through disaster to the British Army.

I wonder what you think of the recent political events. Pum nearly or rather quite made herself ill over it!…

Billy has I fancy been pretty bad. The bed 10 days at some base hospital, bad bronchitis & cough….

Bless you darling
Your ever loving
Maysie

Ralph’s father the Bishop also wrote to him:

April 24 [1916]
The Palace
Peterborough
My darling Ralph
We got your letter of April 13th today, & were so glad to hear of your doings, & that you have a sort of hope that possibly you may get to us for a little bit of leave in June. We shall hope for it – & say nothing.

Today we had a new excitement. Meg came down with us on Saturday – very seedy – & grew no better – & this morning a rash appeared, & the doctor pronounced it German measles – so she will be here laid up for about a week….

I saw the Archbishop about my resignation. He quite agreed that I am right to give up to a younger man. Mary thought him rather cool in his sympathy! But I think it is the “nature of the beast”. I have now written him a formal letter, which he will act upon with Asquith, & I am going this week to write to Asquith myself, & I am also writing to announce my resignation to the Queen, as she has always been so kind & interested in my affairs….

I am going up to London tomorrow to attend the “secret session” in the Lords, & hear (if I can!) what Creeve has to tell us….
Meanwhile the war fills all our minds – & as you say, will help to let us get away from here without any fuss. People have more important things to think about….

Sybil Campbell wrote to Lady Mary Glyn. She had met one of John Wynne-Finch’s men, home on leave

Ap. 24/16
Easter Monday
Edinburgh

My dear M.

We had a really exciting return [from Tiree]. I wished as I was lying awake the morning we left that one line would not run in my head, “God save us all from a death like that, on the reef of Merman’s woe”. The Hebridean reported for certain a submarine off Coll on the Saturday. I should have thought little of it, but the patrols were very busy, & far to the south we could [see] a big ship escorted by them. The wind was high & a choppy sea, but it was behind, so it was not rough in the sea sick form. Off Coll two patrols were at anchor, the larger with a 5 inch gun, all with wireless. As we left Coll, we could see our Tiree patrol flying after us to join them. Then, when hey had communicated, one followed us. Such weather, sweeping rain & hail, snow, & these small trawler steamers, for it’s all they are, & the men so exposed. We knew the patrols had been searching for oil in possible, but more often impossible, places. Also, a mysterious man, taken by the Island to be a detective, had landed in Tiree. Rather to our indignation. If he was, he ought to have been accredited to MacD., who was merely on the defensive with his knowing nothing. Just as I was preparing for Ardnamurchan, the mate came to me & said, “I think there is a prize in sight”. That meant a really fine sight. A huge American sailing vessel, four masts, painted white “Dirigo”, & the star & stripes large & clear on her sides. Two tugs were pulling her into the Sound of Mull. The officers on the Dirk decided she had contraband. The route she was taking south confirmed what we had heard, that traffic was now by the Sound of Mull. She passed outside as we turned into what after our experiences was indeed the Fair haven, of dull Tobermory!

The Captain told me many things. The Dirk was held up coming to Tiree by a patrol, & megaphoned as to destination – All right. Have you seen anything? Report at once if you do. I asked him what he would do, if attacked. He said make for the nearest shore. His boats & rafts all ready. I should not have liked to have got into them on the sea we were in. He says the submarine will fire at a range of 4 miles, & always on the bridge. Still, the Dirk has never missed an mail day, & the captain has never seen anything.

Buffy was to have crossed to Dublin that night we had the ship sunk off Tiree. The mail did not cross. When the traffic was released she crossed (the children with her) in daylight, escorted by 5 destroyers. She is back now after an interesting visit…

A blustering but bright Easter Day. Huge congregations in St Giles, & the minister preaching a great message. He spoke of the Russian soldiers & their greeting “Christ is risen”…

Frank might have got a short leave home but has taken a WO job in Cairo, not thinking it right to come home. He has a new district on the Abyssinian frontier…

On Friday as I came back to lunch I saw an obvious Coldstream Officer approaching the dog. I found he was a son of a minister in Dundee. One of the soft speaking slow Scots, with the Guardy manner superimposed! I made a shot & asked if he knew Captain W F [Wynne-Finch]? A look of awe crossed his face & he said “He is an Adjutant”. Is he, I replied, I am his aunt! Again a look. “Do you know what you are saying?” he gently developed, that John was awfully strict, & he had gone to get his leave from him with fear & trembling. The former Adjutant was very slack. His fiancée was here, & Mrs MacG. Full of their affairs…

Ever
S

Glyn family letters (D/EGL/C2/4)

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