George A Hooke Letters 1913 April - June
13th April 1913
We had a very pleasant day yesterday. Your brother and sister must tell you of their excursions. I helped your mother in the afternoon as we had the house to ourselves. In the evening we visited Aggie, - had dinner in style, with wine and a waitress. As we all had had something to eat for tea about 2 hours previously a hearty dinner was rather calculated to make one want to sit and do nothing. We played Bridge and ate chocolates. Mildred, who was my partner, had most of the luck. We were rather late home, & late rising this morning. Today it has been rather cold but not extreme. I expect you are glad of a fire.
We were very pleased to have your card and to know your box arrived before you did. We felt you would be so much comfortable with all your possessions available.
The Marsh's have come to tea; but gave no better account of their mother. We hear Mrs Knight's daughter is seriously ill. Mr Sloane is curate at Holy Trinity. His wife has been ill ever since he was appointed and appears to have died last week. The sermon this afternoon was about the deaths of Lord Wolseley, Pierpont Morgan, and Father Stanton so that my mind is turned in one direction.
We want you to study health. We ought to press it more when you are with us. We felt the need of doing so more when you are away. Your mother is anxious you should practice deep breathing. I believe in regular exercise, affecting all parts of your body.
They are just getting ready for Church and I will leave a little space for a postscript. Take care of yourself and believe me to remain with ever fondest love, ever your very affectionate father
27th April 1913
I have sent my narrative of the week to Mildred this time and have asked her to pass it on to save me writing twice. But I must tell you we appreciate your letters and if I write about what we have been doing and not about your doings it is because I think you would want to know both sides, not that we are interested in one only.
I will send another sovereign in a week's time or sooner if you need it.
We all agreed today that it seems much longer than a fortnight since you left us.
I am afraid there will be no excursions to Cambridge, otherwise I should very much like Cyril to come to see you and your surroundings. I think it would stimulate him.
Do you know whether the Muriel Andrews you mention is any relation to Miss Humphreys? The latter's mother was a Miss Andrew, when I knew her.
Thanks very much for the cowslips - they are a delight.
I hope you are keeping well and that you are learning something about managing yourself. Spots are not a good sign. Fasting would cure them. Some pills would take them away. Good hard physical exercise might get rid of them although unusual physical exercise throws out impurities in Aggie by means of gatherings on the face.
You must find out the best way for yourself. Does the water trouble you still?
With dearest love
Yr affectionate father
27 April 1913
Rather a short letter this evening as I have had 3 services today and visitors this evening. The Revd R Kinght gave us a fine address this afternoon on The Origin of Life. As the Vicar said to me afterwards the preacher talked round the subject and really one can do nothing else. The definition of life is not easy and so we have to talk round the question and leave the actual deductions to be implied. If I can get time I shall write to Mr Knight on the subject, - not critical or praising but developing. Yesterday I had a long day. It was the first Annual Conference of the Southwark Diocesan Union of the CEMS and I went as a representative of the St Mary's Balham. Therre was a Communion Service to commence with at 7am in the Cathedral and I had to be up early. I just got to the Cathedral as the clock was striking the hour.
The Bishop took the chair at 2.15 and the more I see of him the better I like him. York, London & Southwark are good practical men. The meeting finished at 8pm and you may guess I was tired when I reached home about 9. A long night's rest and I have quite recovered. Going out to church this evening we met Aggie & Mr Luckhurst & they turned & went to church with us. They gave very bad news of Mrs Balding and it is a question now how long she will last. Apparently her liver is badly diseased and the doctors hold out no hope. One cannot say how or when the beginning came or what was the cause. I am quite satisfied that fasting periodically keeps the body pure. Whether one has to pay too dearly for the purity is another question. Whilst you are young you are not likely to suffer severely. With plenty of exercise and some aperient medicine you will do allright and neglect will only sow seed of which you will reap the harvest later.
Still I think Mr Knight's daughter, aged about 18, is suffering from something of the nature of cancer and is hardly expected to live. I am quite satisfied that with proper attention to purity and moderation these illnesses could have been avoided but much proper attention is so very difficult for all of us.
Your mother has been poorly this week. On Wednesday she had a bad bilious attack and was hardly fit to go with Miss Goodman to the Civil Service Concert at Baker St but she bucked up and went. The previous evening we had been to the Building Exhibition at Olympia together and found it rather tiring. I do not know whether that brought on the attack. On Thursday she took my plan voluntarily , - laid in bed till 5pm without anything to eat. Biliousness has disappeared but she seems to have some cold hanging about her & to be below par. We must help to get back her strength during the coming week.
I found the Building Exhibition a little tedious at first but soon got interested in the new ideas and thoughts that have been brought to bear on house building. Paints, plaster, asbestos, grates, boilers, various methods of lighting, marking inks, preparations for removing grease, etc etc. made me think of the inventive brains referred to in "MIlestones". In every direction there is scope for improvement and ample reward if one succeeds even in an apparently trifling advance.
I have much more to write than I can find time for so shall be much obliged if you will send this to Trixie to save me repeating it.
Factors are having a good holiday as I have so many other things on my mind. Matters at the Office are rather lively but I am going to attempt 3 days holiday Tuesday to Thursday - as I have not been able to help Cyril much this final week. I don't know whether you have from him any account of his visits to the Albert Hall, - the Theatre, or the Down Hall, Wandsworth. Your mother thinks he is much better for his holiday. The paper chase yesterday week gave him a good start. He has given up Scouts now until after Scholarship Exam.
Your mother was enquiring today whether Ihad seen any advertisement respecting excursions to London from Birmingham at Whitsuntide. If you have done so you must let me know.
We were duly flattered at the announcement of Miss Pearson's engagement. She is now an important personage, - much more than she will be after marriage.
Dr Bryant took his text today on the subject of keeping the fire always burning in the temple, how our own body is the temple and we have to adapt the law of Moses.
Now for two jokes.
In a Log Book at the Office a Master said that one of his seamen was taken to the Hospital in an unconscientious condition.
At the Conference on Saturday a man said that Church genius had been defined as an infinite capacity for wasting time.
This is clever but shows only one idea of the best use of time. There is very much in Church work for which there is absolutely nothing to show. You cannot see spiritual development and if there is any fruit you cannot trace it directly to its seed.
Physical health is almost as bad. When anything is wrong it is like a squeak on a bicycle, - you had better grease it all over. Examine every place and see that all is right.
Let is know about your health and whether you have still to lead a very strenuous life. At the Conference yesterday retreats were recommended to renew body and soul.
With fondest love
Yr affectionate father
12th May 1913
Last evening I was suffering from a little toothache and much indigestion so that I could hardly have written to you in any case. My holiday today has been a very poor one although we have Mildred with us to act as sunshine and general stimulant. Just now Cyril and your sisters are playing ping pong in the dining room and seem to be having a good time.It has been very showery today and none of us have been out for any period worth mentioning. Mildred decided against the excursion because of race people and awkward time of return. She has had to pay for her holiday but I hope she will enjoy it.
You made a funny slip in your letter this morning writing "weight" when you meant "wait". It caused a little fun, and I do not suppose you mind.
You did not reply to my question about Muriel Andrews. As you seem to get some cycling I suppose your bike is going satisfactorily. No chance of your going to Ely I suppose. That is 16 miles to the north; but I regretted Mildred did not visit the cathedral. Still it would run into time for a cycle ride. Perhaps you can do it after trip if you are not too exhausted.
Francis was rather tired this morning so she followed my example as far as lying in bed until 12 o'clock was concerned but she did not forego any of her meals and from my point of view failed to reap full advantage of the rest.
I am enclosing an envelope and one set of your exam papers. Perhaps they will be enough to commence with.
With dearest love
Your very affectionate father
Ed Note: The next letter refers to militant suffragettes. George mentions stewarding at St Pauls Cathedral in one of his letters so, no doubt, he would have been particularly concerned by this report of a bomb planted in St Pauls on 8th May 1913
18th May 1913
The news of the week is varied and I do not know where to begin. My illness last Monday passed away nicely and I was allright by midday Tuesday.
We had the sale of work and Whist drive on Friday and theyt were fairly successful. Your mother worked hard afternoon & evening but it brightened her up.
We had a large party at the drive, Will Stalker, Annie, Aunt Maria & the last named got a Booby prize - a bottle of scent.
The daily reports of the misdeeds of the Suffragettes have made me wonder whether you know the destination of the money you obtained for the cause of Votes for Women. It is rather risky and I should be inclined to leave the matter alone for the present. The country can afford not to hurry. I know well there is a disreputable tail to every party but these so called "militants" are exceptionally idiotic and wicked.
Dr Bryant is going away for a fortnight about Tuesday next & suggested he would ask Francie to send on letters.
I will send on some more about Saturday next but do not hesitate to write if you want any before.
We are very delighted with the few days of sunshine we have been having and I generally think of you and MIldred when there is anything exceptional in the weather. it will be quite brilliant by the 8th of June and I hope that there will be much else that will be brilliant at the same time. At least your return will be joyful.
You are now experienced in Exams. Yiou have taken several too much to heart. Don't do it this time. Just chuck it and rest the day before. Be sure that there is a power above that will take care of you with seasonable attention on your part.
Aggie has just been here with rather a nasty cold.
Very disjointed. Very dearest love, yr affectionate father,
1st June 1913
I think we must be passing another "Milestone" and sincerely hope it will be a happy memory for you for many years to come. You have done your best I am sure. We will hope for the best result, - but we will not be cast down whatever comes.
Your card about the "Long I read rather hurriedly just before hurrying off to Office and did not full appreciate what ot contained. I must leave it to you to decide whether you should accept the kind invitation. You will also have to decide about the bike. Is it worthwhile bringing it home for less than a month? Woudl you like me to overhaul it, - grease it, tighten up nuts, or touch it up with enamel? Will it be a trouble to get it to the rail? From KIng's Cross to the Plough will only mean ?? and one of us can ride it from there. Does it go all right? Does either wheel move towards or from the forks? that is does it wobble at all? You should try it. I shall be very delighted when you have a turn at Science as there are several things I shall be glad to discuss with you. We must get the Romance of Science from the Library and have a chat about it. It is delightful to think that there will be an opportunity in less than a week.
I have had a good deal of C.E.M.S during the past week & have another meeting tomorrow evening, - then nothing more for a week!
Next Tuesday is the King's birthday & I have a holiday but am expecting C.E.M.S papers will deluge me this week.
I believe you slack off and do not keep up high pressure during your last week in term and I hope you will have fine weather and a good time.
Ellie & Norah Gobbett have been here today & have just gone. They are nice girls, - I am told Ellie is 24!
With very dearest love
Yr very affectionate father
Letters to Trixie presuimably ceased at this point because she came home for the long University holidays. The next letter is dated 9th October just after Trixie returned for the Autumn term.