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The Letters of Eve

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MY DEAR BETTY,–I really think the cheerfullest person in the whole House at the great war debate last week was the boss of the show, the P.M. himself. Positively merry and bright. And calm! Cracked his little joke with the Minister of Munitions as per usual, and altogether gave the impression that it’d take more than a mere war to perturb ‘Squith, as someone I know calls him, tho’ it has been said, you know, that you can: make him peevish if you’re really mo good at auction. i Being the Correspondence of the Hon. Evelyn Fitzhenry with her friend, the Lady Betty Berkshire.i 200, Curzon Street, Mayfair.A 11 the same, even the very best parliamentary style and he hasn’t an equal at that, of course couldn’t quite dis guise the horrid fact that things are beastly serious, and that none, least of all ‘parently the Government, knows what on earth’s going to happen next. Can’t say though that you saw many signs of the very serious financial situation,” or rigid economy either, anywhere round where 1 was. The gal lery’ fairly bristled with pearls and naradises and furs andlaces and things, and I didn’t notice “people hailing ‘buses to get home in either. There was a binge. Behind the good old grille sardines weren’t in it, and on the Front Benchthe biggest were all shoulder,ever seen shoulder t o while mere up to a every W that fell lips.T)allid smiles and a few faint coughs greeted the right hon. jH gentleman’s firm remark that he wasn’t going to get jw out till turned out, or words to that effect. ‘Minded me ra of that old servant of ours who used to;et notice to quit ’bout once a month at least. 5he never took it, and so she always stayed, ‘cos, short of shoving, none quite knew what to do about it. If he weren’t a politician Mr. Asquith would positivelyhave to be an ambassador I never did know such an adept at saying a lot yet saying no thing. You know how the diplomatic men always profess positive eagerness to tell you anything you want to know. And when you think it over afterwards you discover they didn’t really tell you anything, tho’ it sounded quite meaty when they told it. The P.M.’s much that way, too, and when he feels like it, a master at the game. Py the way, I couldn’t help noticing how much more exciting Sir Edward Carson read than sounded. I could hardly believe he’d spoke out so plain when I read his speech in the paper next morning. In the House it seemed to fall ratherflat, but p’r’aps that was because we’d all been listening so careful to the Prime Minister’s announcements that we’d a bit worn our selves out by the time the outsiders began C”^|t a 1 k i n g. ‘Part from the par- liamen B ltary show and the May Serbianbusiness, nothin g very ex- citing has acrowd of ministers squashed togethei quite ‘fectionate members turned A man alert to catch I winged word I from hishappened there was a despatch from French at last, and a fog, and lots of sneezy colds about, and quite heaps of not-a-bit- war-like music at concerts and things, and one or two in-aid-ofs amongst the week’s diversions. Of course there was a little more than that really, but you know what the Censor is when there’s anything really interesting happens he’s down on it like a load of bricks. ‘”Phis week seems a lecture-y sort of a one. At His Majesty’s on Sunday a Labour leader and a duke hob-nob Ben Tillett, to wit, and his Grace of Rutland. The subject’s Life in the Trenches,” which, as the King says, is either of weary monotony or of terrible tumult. Mr. T. knows something about that, you know. He was over there the other day on one of the Labour trips, and the soldiermen told off to show him round determined to do it really quite properly for once, bein’ p’r’aps just a wee bit bored with visitors they’d had such a lot of ’em. So they took him round some very warm corners, and by the time they’d finished their guest, I’m told, had had quite enough. Next week’s lecturer is Mr. Garvin you know, “The Ob server man, Garvino,” as one of the new peers used to call him and he’s got Colonel Harry Lawson, the man who runs The D.T.,” for his chairman. “”Phe others are also “under ducal patronage” Mr. Stephen Graham and Mr. John Buchan at the Duchess of Marl borough’s. Subject the War, of course. Mr. Graham knows all about the Russian side and Mr. Buchan’s been out several times to Flanders as one of the few really ‘ficial correspondents specially favoured by H.Q. He’s a rather wonderful young man, you know, the son of a Scotch minister, who did brilliantly at Oxford, where he wrote novels while he was! still at B.N.C., and now he’s the head of a big publishing firm and’s married .to one of the Grosvenors. A nd talking of books, My Own Past,” by Mrs. ffoulkes, has been on most of our drawing-room tables this week. She helped Lady Cardigan and the ex-Crown Princess of Saxony to write their Pasts,” as, of course, you know and in her book she almost surpasses even their stories with just a few of her own about them. Lady Cardigan’s opinion, that it was exceed ingly tactless of a certain much-beparagraphed lady not to have .chosen a lover somewhat after the type of her husband because her children would have matched better,” really is rather amusing, isn’t it And here’s a side-light on the Victorian as against the Georgian morals It’s a habit with men to tire of itheir wives now/ x adays, but when I was a young woman -it was looked A. unon as a crime.” /rfTLhich reminds me, two weddings this week Lord Campden’s and Lord Henry Seymour’s. No invitations and no reception for the latter, but I ‘spect there’ll be a fair crowd of relations at the Guards’ Chapel. The Campden wedding’s at the Oratory, of course, which, with lots of tall madonna lilies and things, always rises well to the occasion at these times, doesn’t it The future Lady Gainsborough’ll be mistress of some lovely places, won’t she Campden House, which stands on one of the Cotswold Hills, is real Stuart, I believe, and deliciously gabled and dor- mered and oriel windowed. Exton, their Rutlandshire place, is rather lovely too, though whether we’ll any of us be able to run one, much less two, country houses when Mr. McKenna really gets into his stride with those new taxes seems a doubt ful sort of a proposition, doesn’t it jV/Tiss Daphne Fitzgeorge’s engagement to one of the Yorkshire Earles isone of the latest engagements she’s the last unmarried grand daughter of the Duke of Cambridge, one time boss-in-chief of the British Army, as you’ll remember. By the way, I can’t help hoping the craze for tying up one’s head a la Red Cross nurse at weddings isn’t going to spread too rampantly. At the Kil- connel wedding the other day it looked all right in real life, thebandages being of something ethereal in the way of pink chiffon. But in the pictures oh, dear These flashlight photo graphs are rather trying to brides and people, aren’t they TDeople seemed to think Peace, Perfect Peace,” which was one of the hymns at the wedding, rather funereal. But Bill said he thought it most appropriate and such a change after years and years of “Oh, Perfect Love,” which, however, of course, we had too all right. I think I told you last week of all the charity shows JB coming TV off shortly Lady Jellicoe opening a WaifsTME LETTERS OF EVE– continued.and Strays bazaar on Wednesday, the Doll Show at the Grafton on Friday, and’ Lady Ancaster’s Stepney Women’s War Club concert on Wednesday week at her house on the other side of the park. Russia’s Day (Lady Paget in charge, of course) comes next, and the day after the King and Queen are going to be at the matinee at His Majesty’s for the Australasian wounded. AAho, by the way, whatever they may think of our climate, won’t, I guess, have much to complain of in the way of hospitality when they tell the tale of how England treated her gallant sons from across the sea. I’ve just been having a good look over the perfectly splendid new King George and Queen Mary Club for N.C.O.’s and men of the dominion forces which Mrs. Moncrieffe’s been fixing up at Peel House, Regency Street, Westminster, lent to her by Sir Edward Henry, the Police Commissioner man. 1/T ade me quit
e wish I were a colonial or something myself, you know, it’s all so well, everything as it should be. Mrs. Moncrieffe’s bought all the furniture and everything herself, so it’s all rather original and different and not a bit ordinary or clubby. There are some really rather good pictures, amongst them some old etchings of Queen Victoria and Buckingham Palace and places which the Duchess of Argyll sent along, and some oil paintings done by Sir Ian Hamilton’s brother you remember, Mrs. Moncrieffe is Lady Hamilton’s sister. The domestic side’s run by the Woman’s Volunteer Reserve and people a khaki staff, and a jolly good one, too, judgin’ by appearances, and of course all their work’s voluntary. And as well as some 259 beds or more (all in separate cubicles), there’s a ward where men who’ve been maimed or disabled can be put up and get any help they need. k ‘”The club’s to be open to all overseas troops, and looks like “filling a badly-felt lift want,” as the papers say. There’s a huge billiard-room with several full-sized tables, and a ripping concert hall and a cafe chant tint for sing-songs (for which they H want a piano, by the way), and a jolly library and lots more things I’ve forgotten Wm everything, in fact, and a little more than you get at a Piccadilly club, only without Hy the trouble of having to pay an entrance fee or a subscription. Like the rest of us W Mrs. Moncrieffe, who evolved the whole idea, wants to show how grateful and proud and pleased we are to welcome our colonial cousins, and the club motto’s well chosen, isn’t it Hands across the Sea.” They’ve come along so gallantly and splendidly to help us, and any help any of us can give to them will be in the very best of causes. ‘”Phere’s been quite a sort of a little peace-time controversy arisin’ out of Lord Redesdale’s Memories,” ’bout whether King Edward really did or did not j, influence politics abroad. Lord R. says he did, of course, being nothing if not a ft courtier of the very best kind, and, in fact, makes the late King out rather different ft from the popular idea of him which is, of course, that of a man of the very worldly B world, quite devoted to all the good things of life and not too keen on the dull and serious side. And he, too, tells some quite nice little stories. One I rather liked is about the American who was boasting of a new town that he anticipated would H grow up round his solitary log hut. All that is wanted here, sir,” he said, is a little water and good society.” “Yes,” said his listener, and the same remark applies to Hell.” TOut sometimes these Victorian biographers clear up little popular errors we’d perhaps rather not have cleared up. Seems the idea that Beaconsfield’s favourite flower was the primrose arose entirely from Queen Victoria having laid a bunch of primroses on his grave with the inscription, His favourite flower.” Lord Redesdale says that the his referred to Albert the Good and not to poor dear Dizzy at all, who I guess preferred orchids or tiger lilies, don’t you ore and more the theatres seem to be taking to afternoon performances, don’t they and even that abode of correctness and smartness, the St. James’s, has now made them the regular rule, with only one evening show a week. Just imagine it! The St. James’s, which somehow one never thinks of except as all stalls and aigrettes and evening cloaks. Much the same thing, I believe, at the Duke of York’s, where Owen Nares and the American girl, Doris Keane, make such a romantic couple in Romance. At the Kingsway, where there’s a soldier man’s first play on, they’re also putting on matinees and taking off evening shows. I’ve been wondering who on earth they’ll get to go to all the matinees. But I suppose there are always heaps of women who really can do a play every afternoon of their lives if they get the chance. Such funny people go to theatres, don’t they abs has flown to America, I see, talking of things theatrical hairless dog, blue boots, pink veils, and all so we shan’t see her all smiles and pearls and tulle lunching at the Carlton any more for a while. But for a little, anyway, while we’ve got any money, that is even the optimistic Mr. Asquith seems to think that won’t be long we can still go on being amused by just a few of the other French actresses who seem to like England so much. Polaire’s the latest, in the last new revue, where I’m told she speaks English,” but I don’t know whether it’s quite so funny– or so sweet as Gaby’s. “Out really, nearly everywhere the war seems gradually coming home to us. They say that even the smart hotels and restaurants and places are feeling the draught at last, and swear they can’t pay dividends now. Seems that though it always looks at any rate as if there are heaps and heaps of people lunching, there’s been a terrific falling-off in dinners and suppers, specially the last, what with the darkness and so many people going off. Don’t know what the chorus ladies do now, I’m sure the new race of Tempy. Sec. Lieuts. surely can’t afford to treat them as they’re accustomed to be treated, and the supply even of them isn’t inexhaustible. Yours, Eve.

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Issue 750. - Vol 58

Nov, 10 1915