Item 184 - Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu

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MONT II/A/1/184


Letter from Venetia Montagu to Edwin Montagu


  • 23-24 Feb. 1918 (Creation)

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24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.—(23rd.) She had not been writing a letter, as she didn’t realise that another mail would be leaving for him. A mail must have been sunk, as she has had no news of him since 12 December. During the last fortnight she has mainly dined with Duff, Michael, and McEvoy, who is planning to paint her. Is going to Ireland next week and then to Alderley, where Bluey is convalescing. Rationing has started. Discusses the air-raids and the progress of work at Breccles and its expense. Montagu’s bed is nearly finished. Asks him to buy some things in Paris. They will give a party for him and Alan when they return. A few days ago she went to a dinner given by Michael for Sidney, who is home on leave. Afterwards they went to ‘the new Bing boys’ and to a ball at Dudley House.—(24th.) Last night she dined with Duff and played bridge. She may go to Rosemary’s dance tomorrow. She was amused to see that Lady Ronaldsay seems to have got her way and is coming home with Montagu.

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24 Queen Anne’s Gate, S.W.
Saturday Feb 23rd 1918

My darling Ted I may tell you frankly it was a shock to me to hear there was yet another mail leaving for you on Monday, I hadnt envisaged another letter to you and had taken no steps at all about it. I’ve had no news of you since the 12th of December so I suppose a mail must have been sunk as its 5 weeks since I got your last letter.

Looking back on this last fortnight since I wrote to you {1} I find a terrible sameness in my occupations, its either dinner with Duff & Micheal, or Micheal & Duff, with an occasional McEvoy thrown in! Which reminds me to tell you that he (McEvoy) wants to paint me, I dont think he really does but he’s been binged {2} up to it by Diana. As you know I dont like being painted at all, I hate sitting, dont think him a particularly good artist and am terrified lest you should want to buy it when its finished! However its very sweet of him to want to and of course I’ve said I should I should† like nothing as much, I dont know when he’ll begin as next week I am by way of going to Ireland for a little time. Anyhow I think I shall go to Alderley for a few days to see Bluey who is still there tho’ getting rapidly better. He hates tho’ to be told that he is.

Rations start tomorrow, I dont know how we shall manage them, I expect it will be a dreadfull muddle I’m trying to have a dinner on Wednesday in spite of them.

We’ve had two not very alarming raids this week, or rather last and since then its been rainy & squally. I’ve no news of the progress of Breccles, only had to send Lutyens a cheque for £700 yesterday which seemed a huge sum. I think you’ll agree that it will be best to leave the putting in of fireplaces in the attics and in one of the bedrooms till later as anyway I dont know where we are going to find the money to pay for all my extravagances. I’m having an access of financial panic just now. Darling the beauty of your bed is quite beyond belief! Its the only thing that reconciles me to your prolonged absence is† the hope that I may almost have finished it. I do wonder if you’ll leave on the 8th or the later day. Will you if you stop in Paris buy me 3 bottles of Toute la Foût {3} and some chocolates at Marquis! English ones have no sugar in them now and I believe French ones are still obtainable. I really think now that 6 weeks should see you home. {4}

We’ll have a lovely party for you and Alan to celebrate your return, everyone we like best. What fun it will be I’m really getting very excited about it.

No special incidents this week. Micheal had dinner on Thursday, Sydney being home on leave and we dined at the Ritz with him (Diana, Micheal, me, Duff, Diana W, Sydney, Sybil Hart Davis, strange man) and went to the new Bing boys and on to a ball at Dudley House given by Mrs Dudley Ward. I dont know who paid for it for it was done regardless, champagne and other priceless foods, still it was awful and we only stayed for a few instants.


I’ve had a very virtuous day today, hardly been out except to take Huck for a stroll, and paid yours and my bills. Duffy dined in the evening and afterwards a friend of his called Craigie & another man came in and we played bridge till about I. I losing £4.

I think my week is going to be distinctly quiet, tho’ tomorrow I may go to a little dance given by Rosemary. I’m not quite sure if I shall be bothered to go.

I’m amused to see that Lady Ronaldshay seems to have got her way and is coming home with you!

If this is my last letter to you I’ll still write a line to the Ritz in Paris and one possibly to Rome, but I daresay if you dont leave till the 18th another mail may catch you at Aden or Cairo.

Much much love


Written partly in pencil, partly in ink (see below).

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

{2} Reading uncertain.

{3} The name of a French perfume. See the note on A1/186.

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

† Sic.

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