“It fills one with awe and an almost anguish of anxiety that the peoples to whom sovereignty is passing will be restrained by some clear vision”

Ralph Glyn had ambitions to go into politics. He was elected Unionist MP for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire in 1918, holding the seat until 1922. He then became MP for Abingdon in 1924.

Nov. 5, 1918
My own darling

As letters are so provokingly slow in getting to you I shall write every day. Do give me telegraph address for you & also tell me if there is any quicker way for addressing letters as now your armies are in full hue & cry. The news every day is so immense – one feels no brain or heart can compass it but it fills one with awe and an almost anguish of anxiety that the peoples to whom sovereignty is passing will be restrained by some clear vision and faith of the powers of the world to come and of the Everlasting Dominion that is to endure.

Aunt Alice is wonderful – no repining over the sacrifice – a great radiant spirit which is all one with those who fight here and there where they are still leading and know the triumph, but how thankful one is to be here to see this more than dawning break into a glorious dazzling light of a new day.

I have been thinking so much about you and Clackmannan and E Stirling. It is a great temptation and if only the Engine works I should wish it for you. It is so near home and you have friends all about there, and if it is a reasonably safe seat I think your future lies in reconstruction, but you may have to make your pot boil to win the independence you need to have of Party machine so sedulously being put together by that dreadful Asquith – I hope his scheme will meet with the failure it deserves though he does stand for Free Trade, I dread it now with him it means a free hand to deal with Germany. He is a terrible snake in the grass. And she is worse!…

Jim has been keeping his first birthday at home since the 1912 year after his marriage. So his first with the children….

Very own
Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“This most wonderful news of Turkey is all so exciting”

There was yet more good news for the Allies, as the Ottoman Empire ended its involvement in the war.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex

My own darling own

This most wonderful news of Turkey and of Austrian debacle is all so exciting and I long to hear from you after the news has reached you and the further news you already know most probably….

I have read the papers inside and out & do so long to hear all sorts of things no papers can tell.

Your very own
Mur

All Saints Day [1 November] 1918

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)

“It was 60 to 100 at Lloyd’s yesterday there would be peace before Xmas”

Everyone could see the war coming to an end – even the German PoWs.

St Marys, Oct 31 [1918] Hallows Eve

My own darling own

Yesterday… a man called Savage with his wife quite intend on taking this place and if possible buying it. Evidently a very rich man in war profits having to do with all insurance societies, Lloyd’s included, & he told me it was 60 to 100 at Lloyd’s yesterday there would be peace before Xmas….

Meantime the papers are an hourly unrolling of great scrolls of prophecy fulfilled, and to be having a part in it must be a wonderful feeling, and how I long to talk to you, and how I long for the evening papers with news, if any, from Paris. I dread Bolshevik risings, and spread of that disease with Prussianism a fallen God? It is a tremendous thing to think what is in the hands of those few brains at Paris, and I cling to the knowledge that two at least there are with belief in the Eternal Righteousness revealed as Divine Love to those who follow Christ and company with him in sacrifice for the sake of that Righteousness? It must be hard to go on fighting with the world all crumbling that has opposed that righteousness, and it seems as if it – the victory – was already decided.

The news from Italy is glorious, and then Hungary & Austria & Turkey, and with the little bits of news coming in from the Danube – these waterways and tributaries in silence or in spate determining the way of victory. Well – here I watch our little road and the village passers by, and the trees getting bare, but still some golden glow slimes in at the window, and the only thing in touch with the war are the German prisoners no longer bursting with spirits & laughter and talk, but they look grim….

There is a great deal of mild flu about, and some measles, but I have heard of no bad cases so far. I have no sign of flu, only a very little cold of which I take quite abnormal care, & eat formamint lozenges without end….

Archdeacon Moore has resigned – and I am sorry – one of the few gentlemen left in that changing diocese where everything is going on socialistic lines, and I am so unhappy about poor dear Norman Lang, & cannot imagine what his future is to be when the 6 months at the front are over – & will he be needed there 6 months.

Do take care of yourself – send for formamint lozenges & have eucalyptus & a good tonic?

I suppose John will be all right. Maysie is moving to 6 Hill Street, Knightsbridge…

All my love, darling
Own Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)

“A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed”

Ralph Glyn’s sister and mother wrote to him. Meg’s circle of acquaintances in London included many army officers, and she reported some disappointment that talks of peace had not yet come to anything. Lady Mary was engaging in a private battle with the vicar of Bamber, where she and the Bishop were living, who thought the National Anthem inappropriately jingoistic for church.

Hardwicke House
Ham Common
Richmond
Surrey

27.10.18

My darling Ralph

Thank you so much for you letter & I am so sorry to hear you have got this beastly flu, it is sickening for you but by the time this letter reaches you I hope you will be quite fit again. No – flying doesn’t sound the best cure certainly, but I suppose you had to do it.

I was much interested to see the photographs you enclosed. They are copies of negatives taken by Addie of Royalist up with the Grand Fleet. If you have got the negatives it would be good of you to send them here to me, tho I cannot imagine how they got among your negatives, as I keep those ship photographs most carefully. But do send me all 3 negatives if you have them.

Jim & I stayed last night at Belgrave Square & dined with the Connaughts, a small dinner which was great fun. The Arthur Connaughts were there, she is a stick; Mr Spring Rice who was in Washington with Eustace & Ivar, & Mrs Ward who was Muriel Wilson. An A1 dinner too! The old Duke was in great form & full of funny stories of soldiers’ remarks in Palestine:

One soldier asked another, “Which is the way to the Mount of Olives?” & the other replied, “If that’s a public house I’ve never heard of it.” An Arab writing to the Governor concluded his letter with, “I write in the name of J. Christ, esq, who is well known to you & who your Excellency so much resembles”. An Australian wantonly killed a Jew & was remonstrated with, “Why did you do it?” “Well”, he said, “they are the people who killed Christ”. “Yes, but a long time ago”. “Well”, said the Australian, “I only heard of it yesterday”….

John went off to GHQ on Wednesday, & on Friday Maysie & I went over 2 houses she had the offer of in London. The larger one (both being tiny) was in Regents Park, & had lovely Chinese furniture, & nicely done up, the second in Hill Street, Knightsbridge, & very nicely done, but tiny. I strongly advised her to plump on the 2nd & she’s got it for 6 months, & I think it will do for her very wel indeed. Billy is home on leave & I saw him yesterday too. He looks v. fit, a Majr, & 2nd in command of his battalion!

A good few expected peace when the first notes were exchanged & are accordingly depressed, but everyone feels thankful & the end must be in sight. But there’s some sickness with the Americans not getting on, it would have been splendid to cut the Huns off in that retreat, but you always said they have no staff to handle the men, and it does seem 10,000 pities that thro sheer silly pride they won’t brigade their men with ours & the French, doesn’t it….

Meg

(more…)

“In Glasgow in Stob Hill Hospital they are lying dead by the tens”

A friend or relative of Lady Mary Glyn had some insight into the mixture of pro-Zionism and anti-Semitism in upper class circles. William “Billy” Ormsby-Gore (later Lord Harlech was a convert to Judaism and a leading British Zionist. Meanwhile the terrible influenza epidemic was beginning to make its presence felt.

Oct 26/18
My dear M.

I had a good letter from Ralph of Oct. 22. I answered his queries re Frank, in a long letter, & as I had lunched with Arthur I had some War Cabinet talk. A curious lunch, it had been arranged by Frank, a Jew officer friend of his violently opposed to Zionism. I thought I should see a grave Rabbi, but enter a bubbling schoolboy type, bursting with his views. It was most comic. A. J.’s interruptions. “We must remember there was a Tower of Babel”. And, when some fears were expressed re the Jews, “Don’t be afraid, they will take very good care of themselves – very good care. Every 6th man in New York a Jew”. Billy Gore was there to put the Zionist view. Stern lunches here tomorrow to meet Buffy. I have an intense desire to fall back on ham as the piece de resistance. Stern by name, & no doubt a German in a past, but in the present body an intense Britisher….

I heard yesterday how the American troops are attacked in the transports with this septic pneumonia. No doctor, no nurses, no medicines. On one transport some nurses going to France banded together improvised a hospital, and by shere [sic] nursing, they had no drugs, pulled a lot of men through. In Glasgow in Stob Hill Hospital they are lying dead by the tens. The Times obviously knows it by its leader today….

Ever
[Illegible]

[Sybil or Niall Campbell?] To Lady Mary Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“I only hope these pacifists will not urge us on to a false peace”

Ralph Glyn’s retired bishop father hoped peace would not be on too easy terms for the enemy.

29 Half Moon St
Piccadilly
Oct 23 [1918]

Darling Ralph

We have been saying goodbye to John, who went off to France at 12.30 today. Maisie is busy house hunting in London, as they have given up the Windsor house & Maisie wants to get something in London….

I suppose you will get back to your quarters today, with your Americans. How well they have done – tho’ we heard that the only thing they wanted was better staff work, & that they ought to have been content to be brigaded with French & English – & not to be “on their own” at present, is this so?

I hope your flue has gone. It must be horrid…

The news from “the Front” is grand – but we have a good deal more fighting still in front of us – & I only hope these pacifists will not urge us on to a false peace.

Your loving father
E C Glyn
E C Glyn to Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)

The conflagration may spread with no governments left to reconstruct the world

Lady Mary Glyn anticipated the Communist Revolution which would take place as Germany collapsed at the end of the war.

30 Half Moon St
London W
Oct 19 1918
My own darling

Railway facilities all much altered by the war….

John is to go for 3 months to GHQ on Wednesday on staff of General Ruggles Brise. Maysie will try to get small house or flat in London & stay near us & help our house hunt.

Your letter today – very interesting, and I find my views are not at all yours! And that you think Wilson has made disastrous mistakes, but I cannot help seeing the danger lies in another Bolshevist rising in Germany? And that the conflagration may spread with no governments left to reconstruct the world if we do not give a chance to the right people to make an enduring peace when the Armies judge the right moment has come?

It is evident that a long fight is ahead of us if the Hun saves the 195 Divisions, and has these and the navy to bargain with? And much is going on we can know nothing of; I have a faith that while soldiers must decide on the terms of Armistice, the statesmen (if we believe there are any left) must deal with the civilian element in all nations, and it is to these people that the decision will be given as to the form democratic government will take?

Meantime it seems to me to be the most solemn time when tremendous issues are at stake and that no human power can hold and keep the mind of man in place but the Divine Power, and in our recognition of what we call for want of a better – the “personal” Rule of that God in whose image we are all made. So it is a time for faith, & a glorious venture of faith. The demonstration has come – the vindication of the Righteousness for which we have ventured everything – that we should not mar and deface this glorious revealing through any passion for vengeance now which is not the avenging of divine justice is the paramount need, and I should trust Foch even more than Clemenceau? Clemenceau is said to be a man of no faith? It would be our undoing now not to be guided by men who believe in the powers of the world to come. We hold the lantern in our hands of a light that is not our own. We have to see that lantern is not darkened.

The world we know is full of private & individual sorrow, poor Norman Lang has lost his wife with this dread influenza…

My darling – how wonderful it would be if we were to have our Christmas together…

Own Mur


Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)

The Americans have saved the situation

Some resented the Americans’ domination of peace negotiations.

St Mary’s Bramber
Oct 16 1918

My own darling

The news in the evening paper is all good and I wonder what you think of Wilson? It satisfies me as quite adequate, but Dad is full of resentments! I do not think there is anything to be wondered at that he puts his own country first? They have saved the situation & in order to save it he had to become the spokesman for his very mixed country, & make clear to them why & for what they had come in. Having done this, he was then responsible for his 14 points which were not those of the Allies, and it was up to him to interpret them in the light of this present, a present he had more than any man alive brought to pass. But it does not bind us or even control any action in the field – how could it?

It cannot be altogether a matter of congratulation that the Hun thought he could make of Wilson another Lenin or Trotsky, and Wilson’s utter repudiation is a glorious vindication of the sovereign people’s right to speak. If the Hun wishes to ignore the crowned sovereign representatives in the Alliance he has found the thing itself there in that utterance & he is up against a Majesty he has failed to recognise, and which may teach the Hun People a new lesson, – illuminated him within that word now. It must be so wonderful to be with those armies as you are, to have to do with the men who are to represent this revolution when the Armistice can be signed – with the insignia the President cannot have – the crown of personal sacrifice, the anointing of the oil of a gladness only they can know who have learned what it is “to be joyful as those that march to music, sober as those who must company with Christ”. And if this is so the Coronation service is no dead letter even if it is a people being so crowned – King, Priest and Prophet, and I believe that office left out in our Kingmaking service is to be restored when a true democracy recognises the Theocracy.

Wilson’s answer comes very near to it – it is a great solemn warning – “the power not ourselves that makes for righteousness” is surely in it? Do tell me all you think. It has set me thinking, and I have to write it out to you…

I am not happy about Willie Percy. Mar: says he is so poorly the Doctor says he must come away from Jerusalem to another climate….

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“Wilson is doubtless very able & clever but he is thorough American”

The Revd E C Glyn was concerned that the Americans should not dominate peace negotiations.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex

Oct 14 [1918]

My darling Ralph

I do hope you are all right again by this time & have entirely shaken off this ‘flu & its horrid effects…

I am wondering “where we are” after Wilson’s first reply to the Germans – & I am rather angered that we & W have been addressed alone, instead of the whole body of the Allies. As one unhappy consequence of his “individuality”, I see the Times today in its article divides him & us & speaks of the “Americans & the Allies” which does not look well – & if the Huns can break us even so far, it is bad enough – & we must take care that the unity of the whole bunch of allies is not weakened or impaired. Wilson is doubtless very able & clever but he is thorough American – & I dread our English distrust of Americans, doing a bad work for our real unity of purpose & action….

Your loving father
E C Glyn

E C Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

It is wonderful to be alive, to be all together to see this breaking of a great day of God all over the torn mangled world

Lady Mary Glyn was excited by the approach of victory.

Oct 13 1918
St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex

My own darling

…I am still without a maid and a kitchenmaid. And what does anything matter now with all the wonderful news from the front, & the Sunday papers “Germany throws up the sponge”. What bathos of language for such an event! But I am thankful Foch is to have his say, and the Allies have not yet only subscribed to Wilson’s 14 points. The news is so bewildering in its greatness, and one wishes to remain with old Bunyan in the Interpreter’s House, and to try to see these new wonders in proportion…

This Irish mail boat horror together with an American transport transport tragedies are a nightmare of sea loss & misery. Will it bring Ireland in as the Lusitania brought in America?…

Darling own Ralph, how I do long to know there can be a real lasting peace, and you once more set free. It is wonderful to be alive, to be all together to see this breaking of a great day of God all over the torn mangled world.

Own Mur

Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

The Americans “have indeed done splendidly – & better than one had dared to hope & expect, & our own men have shewn another example of what the British soldier is”

Retired bishop E C Glyn was impressed by our American friends.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex
Oct 10 [1918]
Darling Ralph

You must have had a very interesting & exciting time in your visit to the front – & I expect you had a warm welcome & encouragement to go on with your good work with the American Expeditionary Force. They have indeed done splendidly – & better than one had dared to hope & expect, & our own men have shewn another example of what the British soldier is.

I only wish that our brutes at home, e.g. [illegible] & Co, could play the game in answer to the army. The country seems divided in opinion about the election but I suppose it will come to pass as LG requires it….

Letter from the Revd E C Glyn to Ralph Glyn

“I did not think you were down that line and on the trail of the cauldron horror”

Lady Mary Glyn was closely following the war news. The ‘cauldron horror’ may be a reference to the Red Terror in Russia, or more likely the last bloody fighting in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line. Ralph’s current role was attached to the American Expeditionary Force.

Oct 8 1918
St Mary’s
Bramber
Sussex

My own darling

Your letter of Saturday night here this morning… I see papa Joffre has Flu, & there is so much of it about and I wish you had had the jolly medicine with you. I did send some to your AGF address.

I had been reading so carefully word for word the story of that attack and wondered just how it would strike you, but I did not think you were down that line and on the trail of the cauldron horror. Only the Morning Post believed in the factory. Both D. Chron: & Times believed in the smash in of a shell. But when I got hold of enclosed last night it seemed to me a good hint for BM to AEF & now your letter comes confirming it….

Own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“When Palestine is handed over to them the liberal Jew will have as little place there as they had under the Wall of wailing”

Claude Montefiore (1858-1938) was an Anglo-Jewish preacher, writer and thinker who founded Liberal Judaism and was an open opponent of Zionism.

St Mary’s
Bramber
Oct 6 1918
My own darling

I have had a good long read of the Observer & the Sunday Times, & hope you will read Marsh Sykes on Damascus. Spenser Wilkinson makes one understand all that must be between us & peace unless the Hun gets broken inside, which after Austria collapses may well come about.

Also I have been reading Claude Montefiore’s Liberal Judaism & Hellenism with ever more intense interest. A wonderful book, and makes one understand how in some ways they are further removed from us than the orthodox Jew, and when Palestine is handed over to them the liberal Jew will have as little place there as they had under the Wall of wailing….

Very own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“All news from Russia is horrible, and it is like seeing a criminal lunatic asylum self governed”

Lady Mary Glyn was struggling to cope with the wartime shortage of domestic servants.

30 Half Moon Street
Oct 4 1918

My own darling

I have stayed in bed till luncheon time trying to understand all the dazzling news of these victories, but the fighting is dreadful, and the struggle far from over. How glad you will be to have Armentieres in our hands again.

I am still without a maid. The really good ones can get enormous wages & I must try to get a more settled establishment before I can make anyone comfortable. It is so absurd when everything of domestic bliss hangs upon a nonexistent kitchen girl.

Ressington in today’s Morning Post is good – I hope you see it? – on the American army & methods. All news from Russia is horrible, and it is like seeing a criminal lunatic asylum self governed….

Very own Mur

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C2/5)

“That fighting round Cambrai is such as to leave a weal on one’s very soul”

Lady Mary Glyn wrote to her officer son Ralph as he fought in France, with news of an aristocratic friend.

Oct 2 1918

My own darling…

I do miss you and long for you, and yet I know you must wish to be with BEF at such a moment as this, surely the greatest in all history for our world, and for the whole world, but that fighting round Cambrai is such as to leave a weal on one’s very soul.

I have just seen Georgie Leicester [Georgina, Countess of Leicester of Holkham] & Katie Westminster [Katherine, Dowager Duchess of Westminster] and they say Gerry Grosvenor [Lord Gerald Grosvenor, a younger brother of the Duke of Westminster] looks so altered, & with all he has gone through stamped on his face, though he himself says his treatment “was not so bad”. Sibell Grosvenor said she felt as if she had seen Lazarus!…

Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph (D/EGL/C2/5)