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Simon, John Allsebrook (1873-1954), 1st Viscount Simon, politician and lawyer
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Letter from Willy Strecker to R. C. Trevelyan

23 St John's Wood Park, N.W. - His application has been refused, and he will be interned in a few days; his wife and children will stay here as they are 'perfectly safe & well looked after'; expects they will get permission to stay though they have heard nothing yet. Has advised his solicitor to do nothing for the moment and 'accept the inevitable'; if Trevelyan could find out whether a petition to Sir John Simon in a month or two might be worthwhile, he should let his secretary Frank Standfield know. By 'papers & excitement may have calmed down', especially if England has had some 'big success' in the war, such as the fall of the Dardanelles, and the department may be less overworked. Knows he could get 'many artists, composers & friends besides 200 employees to sign a petition', and has 'worked a great deal in the interest of music in this country', with 'many poor artists' dependant on him. Standfield and his solicitor are well informed on all these points, but anything that can be done must be done quietly and kept out of the papers, as his 'competitors would counteract it if possible'. Donald [Tovey] might also help to get some signatures or introductions if needed, but for the moment thinks it 'wisest to keep quiet'. Thanks Trevelyan warmly for all the support and help he has given in the past. Adds a postscript that he has not yet written to Tovey but will do so if he has time; asks Trevelyan to pass on his regards if he is interned before he has chance

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

(The British Hospital, Wimereux.)—Few cases stay in the hospital unless they are dying; operations continue all day and patients are passed on as quickly as possible. At the end of the day she was tired and demoralised. More patients have come in tonight, the gas cases being the most harrowing. Has received his letter. Discusses the composition of the new Cabinet and Montagu’s appointment (as Financial Secretary to the Treasury).

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Transcript

May 25th 1915

My darling I foresee that in a very short time I shall become a real war bore. Please, if I do, treat me as harshly as Raymond treated Katharine, its the only way to cure women with my complaint.

All yesterday was swelteringly hot, sun streaming in on all sides, tiny wards crammed with beds, and sterilizers and kettles bubbling ans steaming away. This is practically a clearing hospital, very few cases unless they are dying stay very long and through shortage of nurses and appliances one is able to do very little for them. Operations go on all day long, when we went to bed last night there were 16 men waiting to be done. They pour in at all moments are operated dressed and as soon as possible passed on to make room for fresh ones. Its really rather ghastly But you see it has a deteri[or]ating effect on one even in one day, God knows what I shall do after a month. I shall be too awful, Diana will never speak to me unless I’m very careful.

I was limp with heat and staggered into bed at about 9.30 last night. No sign of the Neumanns which was an improvement, tho’ I am bound to say they are both very kind and take trouble about one. The food is fouler than in the London Hospital. {1}

Today has been a fearful rush & I’ve only just finished at a quarter to 10, I started it well by getting up early and bathing before breakfast which was most delicious, and the only moment of the day when the heat hasnt been almost unbearable. In the afternoon even my love of blood was satisfied as I watch[ed] for about an hour a man have 4 different deep holes cut in him, till I turned green and to my intense shame was sent away. Tonight 60 new cases have come in, one or two gas ones. They are far the most harrowing to watch as they daily get worse, turn purple and blue and I suppose die quite soon. Its all very horrible.

I got your letter this evening, the first and only one I’ve had from anyone, but it was a very good beginning, I loved it. Please go on, I feel so isolated. I’ve just seen a paper with the new Cabinet in it, Pease I’m glad to see is out, but some of the others surprise and horrify me. McKenna & Simon! How will you like Reggie as your chief? I believe he’ll occasion you even more misery than George who at anyrate everyone knew was more than often wrong financially, but Reggie has a reputation which may be difficult to stand against. But I’m sure it will be all right. Dont be sad about it darling.

I’ve seen no one to day, tomorrow I hope to have some fun with Frances.

My hands are already quite dreadful, from acids & disinfectants, I shant dare see you for weeks after I come back, you will be so disgusted by me.

There is one real tragedy about this place & that is that it isnt possible to have a hot bath. Isnt that dreadfully squalid? I feel most ashamed of it, so you see the sea is ones only hope.

My darling I do mind my letters to you being so horrible. I want so to write you delicious ones so that you should go on thinking me a divine woman, and instead I produce these, which are calculated to make any sensitive man completely disillusioned. Dont tell me tho’ if you begin to think me ghastly, I’d rather find out by degrees, tho’ I shall mind dreadfully!

I may not write to you tomorrow, so dont curse me if I dont, I have very little time.

I wear my lovely pearls day and night and think a great deal of you.

I must go to bed.

Goodnight

Venetia

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Partly written in pencil (see below). Written at the British Hospital, Wimereux.

{1} The writing changes from pencil to ink here.

Letter from Sir George Trevelyan to R. C. Trevelyan

Welcombe, Stratford on Avon. - Caroline received a most interesting letter from Bessy this morning; he has ordered Drummond [his banker] to pay thirty five pounds into Robert's account for Julian's 'little affair' [an operation on an umbilical hernia]; 'quod optime eveniat!' [Latin: may this turn out well]. Sends George's account of their 'little ceremony of Boxing Day'; asks for it back. Has been reading Herodotus, 'with a play of Plautus between each book'; has reached the last book and wishes there were nine more; Plautus grows on him more with each reading, as also happened to Macaulay when he read and re-read him in India. Is now going to read Thucydides, again with a Plautus play between each book. Sir John Simon stayed last week, and mentioned that he had shown Thucydides 2.71-74 to Asquith as 'a curious parable to the story of Belgium'. Was glad to find the narrative easy to read.

Letter from Lady de Fels to Lady Frazer

135 Faubourg St. Honoré - Jeanne Frisch, comtesse de Fels, asks if they have received the invitations to the Interallié's reception of Sir John Simon; encloses an introduction card for Monsieur Chastenet of 'Le Temps' who can put her in touch with the Chief Manager of publicity [not present]; her husband is suffering from rheumatism and has been 23 days in bed.

Letter from Donald Tovey to R. C. Trevelyan

Bryn Eisteddfod, Clynnog Fawr, Near Carnavon. - Asks if Trevelyan is likely to be at the Shiffolds by Saturday; if so, he will come on Sunday. Has to go on via Ridgehurst on the 4th then up north for a fortnight, but it would be good for both him and the opera if he could also come to stay towards the end of September. Hopes [Richard Douglas] Denman will be able to help him convince [Sir John] Simon that it would be desirable to release [Willi] Strecker [from internment].

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

18 Mansfield Street, Portland Place, W.—Oliver cannot come on Monday. Hopes that Simon does not go to the War Office. Is planning to see Excie’s vote of censure tomorrow. The Prime Minister looks well; it is fun that they (the yachting party) are back. Asks after Violet.

(Dated Tuesday.)

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Transcript

18 Mansfield Street, Portland Place, W.
Tuesday

My dear Tante

You very kindly said I might bring Oliver with me on Monday but I’ve heard from him that he is already engaged that evening It was very nice of you to ask him. I am vainly trying to arrange some fun for him when he is here, but its very difficult as he knows and likes so very few people.

I do hope Seely doesnt go to the War Office, dont you? It isnt a very glittering selection to choose from is it? Couldnt Simon go?

I am trying to go to the House tomorrow to hear Excie’s vote of censure Will the P.M. speak. I saw him for an instant I think he looks very well. It is fun that they are back. Did you have a good talk to Violet.

This letter is a series of questions.

Yrs
Venetia Stanley

Letter from Venetia Stanley to Edwin Montagu

18 Mansfield Street, Portland Place, W.—Was unable to find his motor-car. Suggests lunching together on Friday. Is lunching with the McKennas tomorrow and dining with Sir John Simon. Is eager to hear about India.

(Dated Wednesday.)

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Transcript

18 Mansfield Street, Portland Place, W.
Wednesday evening.

I tried after all to find your motor, but failed, as I suppose it was still on its way from here.

What about lunch on Friday or do you go early to Cambridge. {1} Tomorrow I am lunching with Pamela McKenna and Excie (you see how little six months changes our habits) and all the evening you’ll probably be at the House, anyway I am dining with Sir John Simon; {2}

Can you, if you know your plans already, let me know about Friday lunch. I shall be in till about 12. If you havent settled it doesnt really matter and you can tell me in the evening.

Eliza tells me you hate being asked about India, but I want to know about it too much to spare you.

As you see my lameness is rather nominal. I am supposed not to walk at all, but really do a great deal.

Arent you glad to be home?

Your
Venetia

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{1} Followed by an asterisk. In the margin is written, after an asterisk, ‘We can lunch early if you like for father & I are alone.’

{2} A word has been struck through here.