Item 178 - Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/1/178


Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu


  • 5-7 Dec. 1917 (Creation)

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24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.—(5 Dec.) Has received his letters from Aden. Urges him to continue sending his Diary, and deplores his idea of retiring from public life. Complains of having to sell all day [at a charity fair at] at the Albert Hall. Last night she dined at Cavendish Square. Discusses the progress of Oc’s ‘matrimonial affairs’. She dined today with Blanche, then went with Cardie and Nellie to a ‘popular’ ball at the Albert Hall.—(6 Dec.) There was a small air-raid last night. She stayed in bed, but Diana had to spend two hours with her mother in a cellar. She dined alone tonight.—(7 Dec.) Is about to set off for Pixton with Diana, Michael, Duff, and Patrick. Work has begun at Breccles.

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      24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.
      Wednesday Dec 5th 1917

      My only darling I only had time very briefly to acknowledge your Aden letters, both of which I loved. For God’s sake go on sending me those diaries, I adore them and am thrilled at hearing exactly what you thought of the pyramids. I cant but deplore your remarks about “public life”. As you know I feel rather strongly on this topic and dont at all like the idea of your retirement. I’m sure you wd yearn after all the bustle and knowledge in a very short time. Remember how you pined after your lost munition boxes this time last year. I’m so glad Lee is a help, I was sure he would be. My days have been made like Hell {1} by having to sell all day at the Albert Hall {2} At a charity fair. See The Times, 4 Dec., p. 11., if there had been anyone to buy it wd have been bad enough but there wasnt a soul. In the 3 days I got rid of not more than £2 worth of muck. Its over now however. Last night I dined at Cavendish Square, not very exciting, me, Oc, Betty Manners, Freyburg, Sylvia, Cardie Violet, Birrell, Davies, Bongie. The usual vile food. Dinner opening with a piece of haddock and going quickly on to small bits of mutton, this diluted by thin white wine. I didnt gather any more news as to how Oc’s matrimonial affairs were getting on. The only hopeful sign being that she was wearing some furs he had given her. This evening I dined with Blanche and after Cardie Nellie & I went off again to the Albert Hall where there was a “popular” ball to which I’d promised to come. We’d meant to have a supper party here after, Diana Duff etc. They didnt turn up but instead we found Diana Wyndham & Rosemary. Then the question arose as to how to get home. It was bitterly cold. As we were standing outside the Hall trying to persuade a taxi to take us 2 exquisite officers came up & offered us a lift, after some demur Diana W. Rosemary & I got in, leaving Cardie & Nellie to follow. I felt obliged to ask the young men in for a sandwich & a glass of wine, as they had been so kind, they were very nice, I forget their names now and behaved with far more aplomb than any of our friends wd. They didnt stay long and I’m now in bed about 1.15.

      Thursday. We had a slight air raid last night, nothing much, but rather a bore as I was woken at 3 by our old friends the soldiers, at 5 by the guns & at 7 by the all clear. It was very unalarming and as it was a very cold night I stayed in bed. Poor Diana had a very dreary night of it at home, woken up by her mother and made to spend 2 hours in the cellar. She was feeling the effects today. The cold is cruel. I now never stir from the house if I can help it once I’ve done with the hospital. Tonight thank God I’ve dined alone and shall go to bed very early as I’m terribly sleepy. {3} I hear there is a supplementary mail leaving this afternoon Friday so I send this off by it.

      Diana Michael, Duff, Patrick & I all go to Pixton today till Monday

      They have started work on Breccles!

      Much much love


      Mainly written in pencil (see below).

      {1} The writing changes slightly here.

      {2} At a charity fair. See The Times, 4 Dec., p. 11.

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

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