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.

(more…)

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The air is full of rumours

Lady Mary Glyn informed her son Ralph of the latest news at home.

March 8th [1916]

I did calls yesterday. Volck is the name of the new manager at Sage’s. Wife very Brightonian. Decollee at 5 pm and they have taken the Canes’ house in Precincts. They tell me of an RNS Lieutenant called Meynell with his wife at the Peterborough Hotel and a flying man called Gordon England has taken the Archdeacon’s house where the Cooks were. I winder if you know him. I understand there is a great concentration of flying men and inventors & machines to tempt the Zepps here now, and a wireless station at Dogsthorpe & guard of 40 men. Peterborough is becoming quite as central as it can ever hope to be….

The air is full of rumours of sea action, of liveliness in the North Sea. And Churchill has just made one more limelight dramatic speech demanding Fisher’s recall. Hedworth has made his debut as a speaker and hopes Churchill will go back to duty in the trenches.

Lady Exeter says Lord Exeter has been in hospital nearly all his time at Alexandria – influenza, and very seedy in hospital there….

Own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

Highland bonnets on their way to the Tree of Life

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her son Ralph with details of the family’s response to the death of his cousin Ivar Campbell, alongside her squabbles with a rival group of Red Cross workers.

Peter[borough] Jan. 14th

My own darling darling own son

I know how you will grieve for Aunt Syb and for the torture of that faraway uncertainty even in the certainty – 6th or 8th as date, and not having been able to see him before he left – and his not being with the Argyll & Sutherland Aunt Em thinks has added to the sore trouble, “the sore blow” as Aunt Syb calls it. She sees Aunt Far, and all his special friends – and I am sure Eustace Percy will be a comfort to her now.

I saw Aunt Syb & Joan the week before. She had been made so glad by letters on Xmas Day amd New Year’s Day. Aunt Far wrote to Aunt Eve that Mrs McDiarmuid (Tiree) had written to her, “I am thinking of the Highland bonnets on their way to where the Tree of Life grew”.

The Rest Room at the G.E. is a great success, and I have troops of helpers…. The Red X Room (Arthur Knight’s Chamber) has been most shamefully attacked by the Winfrey lot who appealed to Lord Spencer – and he has been ass enough to go in with them, and so the matter referred to Headquarters – and I keep silence knowing they are cutting their own throats.

I have had a letter from beloved old Jack asking me not to go on with the “crusade”! “That he and Lord Spencer are there.” I tell him I have made no crusade, but that registration now enforced has shown up these people as I knew it would, and their attack on me – & it must take its own course.

The answer from Headquarters is to wipe out all Peterborough organization & say only Lord Spencer & his representative can be corresponded with. So much for Winfrey & his tools – and they are in a very bad position. So I have been to see Sir George Pragnell, Chairman of Work Room Section, & told him I will do what he advises. Meantime we have a delightful brigade at work in the Knights Chamber on Tuesday evenings, registered in the name of a very clever lady doctor, and they are all splendidly keen. I knew if I did anything it would at once produce a cost, but I never dreamed that Lady Exeter would go in with Winfrey, or that committee against me! I am afraid she is quite without brains, & is making a great hash of everything she has to do with.

I keep quite cool and go quietly on, & make no reply to their attacks, and ask the workers also to keep quiet – & as many as can are encouraged to go to the Rooms they have now at last registered as a rival to mine. Supported with any amount of LSD collected in the name of the “Red X”… It is all a most disgraceful story & one day when they have me to fight no longer they will all be ashamed of themselves….

Letter from Lady Mary to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/3)

The press is evil and needs to be slayed like a dragon

Lady Mary Glyn, wife of the Bishop of Peterborough, wrote to her soldier son Ralph Glyn with news of a contretemps over Red Cross work in their home town. She was also scathing about the press, particularly the empire of press baron Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, which included the Times, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

Peter[borough]
Dec 2, 1915
My own darling Scrappits

Like Jim [her son in law, naval officer Jim Meade] I can scarcely bear to read the papers, and I read the Harmondsworth [sic] Press, & believe they are part of the Evil Thing which we have to slay like the Dragon. One has to think of that patron saint St George very often, for we are now to fight in the country of the dragon, and we have a host of St Georges and if only we women could be worthier, and help to keep England what it may be, waiting and ready for the regeneration that must surely come for your reward, when you all come back! But there is something strange the matter as one reads society paper paragraphs, even in the good old Observer, and find the same “vanity” and the same obsession of dress and extravagance, even when they talk Economy and Thrift, and “Mince” like women of old. Punch is good this week. I want to send Punch out to you…

Long ago we sent the things from Fortnum & Mason, trusting more to Expert Packers, but I long to send you a home packed, and now Jim is going away – going to sea again today, and I shall get Meg to make enquiries for me….

Lady Exeter writes “that they are within sound of the guns”. I think this was meant to tell her that the Battery is being moved up….
A real burlesque is going on over the registration of this “Red Cross” business here, and at last the town knows, and the town talks, and the remarks to me are amusing! They, however (the Committee) have no idea of climbing down, and I have got Sir Edward Ward to register them as they are, & they are to have two committees, but have not even yet decided if they will have a “Hospital Depot”, so I am moving at once, & so has Lilah Buller, and so has Miss Cartwright, & so has Lady Knightley, & when we are in full swing they will not be able to avoid our getting grants of money from them, or direct from Headquarters. And it is the finance part that has kept me waiting. Northampton refuses to help Miss Cartwright, though there at Brackley she is the only Depot for sick & wounded at the front, & Lilah Buller says they “approve” her but I gather she too can get no funds. This is all so monstrous. And when the truth is known support will come. We are not yet in possession of a house – I wish we were – but it will come at the right moment, & in the right way. The great thing is done and it is all miracle of mercy, for Dad is looking forward now too…

Today is so lovely. I have to run round soldiers & sailors’ wives & mothers, and shall have the lift of the motor today….

I long to know more of what you are going through. All accounts differ in the papers of the climate. Poor Meg. I am glad Jim goes in fair weather. Maysie hopes that at Captain “D” there may be more chances of their meeting,, but the goodbye must be hard, hard work….

Own own own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/2)