The war will bring about theocracy

Lady Mary Glyn wrote a long letter to Ralph. She had strong, if eccentric, views about politics, and was almost as shocked by Australian soldiers’ democratic nature as she was by the Easter Rising.

April 26 1916
Peter[borough]

My darling own blessed Scraps

Easter Day makes me long for you, but all days make me long for you….

I distinguished myself at Windsor by getting bad with indigestion, but it was good to be with John & Maysie, & see them so happy in another Windsor spell of work, and yet being together. He heard when we were there that another operation will not be necessary, but as his Medical Board gave him 3 months they have taken a very good house, “Essex Lodge”, the present house being required by the owner, and this is a much better one with a garden & tennis ground. John is of course very busy, and up early, & at work till late. He looks well, and is in good spirits, evidently liking his work. We saw Cecily Hardy & her Giant, and Tony & Sylvia, & a new Coldstream acquisition – a very Highland McGregor who till lately was engineering in India – quite a new type in the Brigade!

The Political Crisis made those days full of excitement, but none of these soldier people seemed to care, or to look at the papers, and were sure the King would come whatever happened. And he did, but the Crisis was supposed to be over, and the Cabinet once more firmly (?) in the saddle of Compromise. Now the Secret Session, and the result whatever it may be of that settlement is to be made known to so many talkers & plotters and schemers that it will be impossible for all the cats to be in the bag long. Meantime there is a shaken confidence, a longing for a leader other than we have, for this strange growth of freedom to know its limitation, and to recognise its own dependence on laws not made by man, but inflexible because “just and true”, and belonging to the Kingdom that will endure throughout all ages. When we really will, that will come, and its obedience, and we shall learn what freedom is. It does not lie with Democracy, or in Kaiser rule, or in a Republic, but it does in a Theocracy – and my belief is that it is to be restored through this War and “tumult of the nations”….

France is surely ahead of us in the spirit of a new vision, & Russia is invincible because of that vision long accepted – and we wait for it, and you all are bringing it nearer.

But what of us here at home? There is the thing that hinders, and that is the “tarrying”. A GG’s letter to Lloyd George is evidently inspired by Haldane or his party, – it is powerful and cruel with the cruelty of cold truth or disillusionment of a liberal of other days. We are getting immeshed [sic] in disillusioned seers of a new world built after no heavenly pattern, and they are lost in the mirage of their own imaginations. If Lloyd George is carried away by a personal ambition it is fed by the swarms of detractors round every public man except himself and Carson. There is no evil not believed in “Society” of “a soif[?]” and sometimes one is reminded of the kitchen, or of the servants’ hall, or steward’s room – or a Court! Gossip, scandal, detraction, what can live in such miasma? But one knows that great men have emerged from out of just such conditions, & proved their ascendancy by rising through it and above it.

It will be so again….

The doctor has been here [to see Meg]. It is influenza & a relapse after a neglected attack at Portsmouth. Peach Hay has given a medicine which made her sleepy and more comfortable. Now dinner, chicken broth & “it hurts all the way down”, poor darling. It is a bad thing to neglect Flu, & she has a sharp attack of it. I do hope dad won’t get it. But “what maun be maun be”, and I don’t believe in fear of infection any more than in any other fear…

The Tall Verger is here on holiday. He has been in Egypt, & saw you one day in Cairo “but did not like to try & speak to you”. He gave Dad an awesome tale of his quarrelsome mess of Australian soldiers, & how they have “no discipline”, & “the officers” come from among themselves”!! So one understands how impressions are conveyed one to another at home!

I had Miss Ingram & Miss Erskine, the Precentor & Mrs Evans, in to tea, & Miss Ingram strafed England as usual for not saving Belgium & talked wonderful nonsense and I had to get her off it…

Dad is very anxious to go up to London for the Secret Session but I hardly know what to advise. London will be odious & crowded for the Anzac Memorial Service…

I have doubts now of sending books that would be an encumbrance? Meantime Rupert Brooke’s American Letters, Lord Granville’s Vision & Vesture by Gardner (on Blake) & various other books must wait for you, & are good reading…

The Rest Room is going strong and is very well spoken of and much used. The Red Cross Room is turning out a lot of work, but my Lady Superintendent is to add to the population, and I think it will be hard to carry on through the disruption of our going.
Those fatuous Peterborians have now been allowed by Sir Edward Ward to call themselves “the Peterborough Red Cross Society”, so they have all they wanted, erected on their foundation of lying and of fraud! With Sir Richard Winfrey smiling on top hand in hand with Lady Exeter, who he advertises in is paper as the “Milkmaid Marchioness”, she having been led to discourse at a public meeting on having milked a cow. So this will surely relieve for you the tedium of sandstorms & flies….

Peterborough is finding it harder to get their sons all commissioned as officers, and old Shaw has just been here to see Dad to swear to his son who he has only seen once! & cannot therefore feel sure of as a “properly qualified man in every way” & so he had to refuse. Young Gray writes home very time he sees you about in Cairo “looking remarkably well”….

Measles!! The doctor came at 7 pm [on the 24th], & I was on my way to send for him, & told him so. Why? Because I – I – wonder if it may not be Scarlet Fever. Why? Because of a rash. So he came in and said “There now, unmistakeable Measles” I some way a relief as if Flu it was so angry a Flu I dreaded complications. And this is plain & straightahead if only she will be careful….

The news of another setback on the Tigris & of the battle waist deep in floods reaches us today and I think Syb must often feel Ivar to be out of that storm of trial is a thought of peace….
Dad went to London yesterday for the Secret Session & came back 10.16 as fresh as possible… The Rebellion in Ireland is very serious and this brute of a Sir Roger Casement caught red handed is a mercy but if he gets his deserts there will be trouble. Surely this means the repeal of Home Rule. But it ought to mean the repeal of the Government that sanctioned it – and the King’s position will be more difficult than ever…

It must surely bring that Martial Law which ought to have been the only Law long ago, and a Military & Naval Dictatorship.

I am sorry now for Ulster & the method they employed for their gun running as evil comes home to roost. Ulster should have learned from the Mayflower and the Non-jurors. It is awful to think what kind of an Orange they were ready to treat with and let into their confidence, and the Fanny is a fact I wish had never been their invention. Two can play that game and each is to my mind wavering in the allegiance which grows out of loyalty and lealty. One bearing a strange fruit of apparent “faith” – the other growing into the most hideous fruit of Revenge and Hate – using the same method and strangely playing into the same hands of our Enemy….

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