Photo: Trixie & Mildred Hooke, Ella Oakden ~1925
18th January 1914
After I had said Good-bye and got out of Euston Station I found the snow falling and I thought you would have a wintry welcome at Birmingham. But the winter here did not last long and I have had no sign of a chilblain lately. Anyhow you will have change of air and change of occupation, - both I hope will be pleasant and beneficial.
Since you went there have been two parties to Quality Street and you will doubtless hear about them from your sisters.
I played chess on Friday and did not finish my game. Whether it will be adjudicated a win for me I do not know. My advantage was a very minute one.
Friday was Hilda Biaggini's 21st birthday and she was singing Jack Pleasant's song
"I can do just what I like"
"Father's given me the key of the door"
She and her sister have been suffering from chilblains and got some tabloids which her father said were made of chalk and milk. She came down triumphantly on Friday saying all signs of chilblains had gone and the tabloids got the credit. I am not sure it was not due more to the milder weather.
To-day is Aunt Ria's 71st birthday. She wears well and is failing only as regards sight. We have not seen anything of Aggie lately.
Your mother went to Gloucester Road (the shop Buff used to manage) to be measured for a new coat. I hope it will be a success.
Cyril had a long walk with the scouts yesterday to the Horniman Museum at Dulwich. He reckons he did 13 miles, which is good for him.
I think you have been interested, as I have been, in the Faithists at the Kosmon Church naturally wondering what they claim to specialise in. They say they are "in sympathy" with all reforms that have for "its object the fulfilment of mankind". Rather vague and not grammatical. Outsiders will judge them mostly readily from their spiritualistic seances. They have meetings for initiates only, at which members unfold their gifts of Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Seership, Healing, Pychometry, Automatic writing, Inspiration, Trance, Speaking with Tongues etc. They say that for 58 years Angels good, bad, and indifferent have come back to talk with their relatives and friends of earth. We have ideas of Angels that make the adjectives not entirely suitable and the 58 is funny whether their society was founded about 1855 I do not know. They examine the Bible, Koran, and Vedas, - call them all Holy Books, - but appear to be rather Theistic from their declaration that they will worship none but the All Highest Creator. If you can tell me which are the Five Towns I should be glad. I have just commenced "The Price of Love" by Arnold Bennett and do not think well of it. So far it contains no characters that appeal to me as worthy of respect or lovable, - none whose society I care for. I admit that it has some interest in spite of the deficiency & perhaps he will improve as he advances. But when one considers the characters in "The Great Adventure" one can see he does not draw any that attract to any extent. The young widow who marries the artist is fresh and pleasant, - possibly capable of something good, but she has no opportunity of showing it on the stage.
The Kikuyu Controversy has come to a close in the Times and Telegraph but is still running in the ChurchTimes. (Ed. note: Follow the link above for more information about two African bishops who were declared heretics by a third African bishop for taking part in an ecumenical communion service - along with Methodists & Presybyterians. The issue was debated exhaustively in the national press for weeks in 1914.) On the whole I should think the High Church win on the letter of the law although the Evangelicals have shown some loopholes or possibilities of evasion. But there is a very strong feeling against being bound by the letter of the law. It cannot be demonstrated from Holy Scripture ( I mean that rule about refusing Communion to all who have not been confirmed) and I do not know exactly how it crept in. Considering a bad man may be confirmed and some good ones object to it I am opposed to so much importance being attached to it. Although it is good in itself.You know Francie & Ella went to a party at the Perry's. It was not much of a success and they were let in for Ham and Chicken which they did not see their way to avoid. Cyril has, apparently, been sounding out people he meets with as regards pork, and does not find anyone to recommend it although they do not abstain. He has been allright this week, - none the worse for Monday last, but has had late hours and given some diffiulty as regards rising. I hope you are a model.
If you would like me to pay your indebtedness to you into your P.O. a/c please send your book next Saturday.
Would you mind sending this letter to Trixie as she may find some of the things I have written interesting. One never knows. I do my best.
With very dearest love
Yr fond pa
You may like to have the enclosed notice re. A C Benson
In the Windsor Mag: Christmas Ed'n(?) there is a notice of famous brothers & I find a Mr Wm Benson of Alresford Hants had 3 sons, - Lord Charnwood - Youngest - Politician
W A S Benson (eldest) - Metal designing and architecture
F R Benson - Actor
The Archbishop of Canterbury also had 3 sons
A C Benson - Eldest Enormous literary industry - Alpine climber
Edw'd Fred'k Benson - Novelist - Archaelogical research
Rob't Hugh Benson - Roman Catholic priest & novelist
26th Jan 1914
No doubt you have to write quickly to squeeze your correspondence into as small an amount of time as possible. I hope you will not mind me asking you to pay special attention to the formation of three letters, - C, R, and N. Make up your mind how you are going to write them and keep to it. Don't let the r's be c's or the n's r's. And you will find C as easy as C. You will be able to see about your bike now I have sent some money and I hope you will have it put in proper order as it increases your powers so much.
Of course I am properly shocked at hearing of people working for money on Sunday for the Suffrage Societies. It just shows that lack of a true sense of proportion which lack runs through the whole movement. I always think the sense is an indication of sanity & the lack, a sign of weakness bordering on insanity. I know you cannot do well at anything until that thing looms larger in your mind than it does in other people's but there are limits and some need that grand general rules should not be forgotten.
Your reference to the hockey match suggests all kinds of puzzles. Which are you to play for? Who is to decide? May we suggest alternative titles? Personal Attractions - People who are greater fools than they look. Intrinsic Merit - People who look greater fools than they are.
Have you got that Knife sharpened yet?
am enclosing Mildred's last letter. Please return it next Sunday,
Saturday evening 31.1.14
All alone. Your mother has gone shopping and to the library. Your brother and sisters are off to the opera at the Victoria Theatre. Your mother and I went on Thursday and found the performance very good although many of the audience were the poorest of the poor. The charge for the gallery is 2d and only 2/3 for the best seats except private boxes. The opera is The Daughter of the Regiment by Donizetti and Robert Percival has the principal tenor part. The soprano is a Marie Manson and is very good indeed.
I will send you some money in the course of the next week, or sooner if necessary. Shall be glad to hear what you do about the bike.
My game of Chess last Thursday was successful. If I will play I must not mind an occasional loss. Health keeps fair.
Very glad the weather is milder.
With very dearest love
Yr very affect'e father
7th February 1914
I am enclosing P.O. for 15/- hoping it will carry you on for another fortnight. Money has been going pretty rapidly and so you are getting your share in driblets, but I know the demands upon you come mostly at the end of the term.
The weather has been very delightful here during the past week and I hope you have had some of the sunshine. If so, the bike will have been an important consideration and I hope that is now in going order. I shall be glad to know waht you have done about it. Mine is rather hors de combat.
(Ed, I suspect that Trixie responded a little negatively in her reply to her father's last letter and his criticism of her handwriting - C's R's & N's and he continues as follows:)
You must not mind me making suggestions for your improvement. It is a father's duty. I could fill pages with your praises but it is better for you to know when you are letting things slip.Last week you wrote about lectures on Physical Research and I doubted whether you meant it. On your card to Ella you got an impossible word which I expect you meant for Psychical, (pronounced Sy Kik al) and relating to Psyche.
It reminded me of your match Personal Attractions v Intrinsic Merit. Venus (the former) was jealous of Psche (the latter) and sent Cupid to tempt Psche into an unsuitable alliance, but Cupid fell in love with intrinsic merit (a King's daughter) got into trouble but was helped out by Jupiter and got married to Psyche, living happily ever after.
Psyche = the mind, intellect, soul.
Strangely enough I wrote this to Mildred a week or two ago.
We have been gay this week. On Wednesday & Thursday we had Christmas parties and missed our Cook! Everything went off nicely. Buff and Mr Hoare tied for 1st place. Annie came next and then Mrs Hoare, Mrs Bailey & Miss Goodman tied with 181. We gave prizes to the 4 marked.
On Friday your mother went to a Ladies Bridge Party and got a prize for highest score for honours! It was a box of chocolates and I do not think your help was much needed there. On Thursday, Mr & Mrs Lewis Sellar, Frank & Nellie & Bertha, - and Will Stalker helped us to spend a pleasant evening, conjuring, talking, singing, & whist to say nothing of tea & supper!
No chess this week, but 2 nights next.
I have no science cuttings this week for you and, so far as I know, the Suffragettes have been quiet. We have a good party going to the Whist Drive on Monday. Francie, Frank, Aggie, the Stalkers, Annie Marjorie & Gladys. The last 2 will stay the night with us.
Sunday Evening - 8.2.14
It is just as well I got forward with my letter writing yesterday as Willie Hudson came over this afternoon and I was left to entertain him. Ella and Cyril got out of the way and your mother was reading all the time. So now at 10pm I have to close up briefly. Certainly Ella looked after him from 4 to 5 whilst I was at the Men's Service at Holy Trinity.
With very dearest love
From Your affect'e pa
100 Drakefield Road Upper Tooting SW London
15th Feby 1914
Yesterday afternoon your mother took me for a walk up to the top of Tulse Hill where it came on to rain. We inspected the neighbourhood but do not think we will move there. In the evening I had C.E.M.S cards for next Sunday and so I got an opportunity for letter writing. My Chess has been successful. On Tuesday I was delighted to beat the Champion of the City Club and in Friday I drew with a weaker player.
We had a pleasan evening on Thursday at His Majesty's but The Darling of the Gods is rather tragic and the principal thing which entertained us was the novelty.
It is rather strange that in three respects this week has tended to maintain interest in the Resurrection of the Body. The play showed the extremes of different values placed by Asiatics upon life. The opening scene showed the heroine catching & killing butterflies, - a sin, as to Buddhists all life is sacred. Then later in the play we had the Japanese Samurais, who lived by the sword and were ready to die bravely, - even committing the happy dispatch when circumstances called upon them to do so.
Perhaps the most interesting event of the week was an interview I had at the Office with a Mr Maase, Consul General for our country at Rotterdam. He has some experience of the East and told me much about Chinese and malaria. I appears that Chinese are very much banded up with Societies, - and, come to think if it, so are we here. But the Chinese organizations, being different from ours, strike us as peculiar. If insurance against burglary is desired the premiums are paid to the Thieves organization. At Shanghai a race meeting was planned. It was desired to be free from cripples and other beggars, so the beggars society was seen and terms arranged. Unfortunately a mistake was made. Two days were specified and premiums paid but later the meeting was arranged to extend over 3 days. The first 2 days the bargain was faithfully kept but the 3rd the meeting was over-run by beggars. The great power of all these societies over their members arises from the quick infliction of the death penalty. A defaulter is poisoned, stabbed or got out of the way somehow but surely. Dr Bryant has leant me a book called "Our Eternity" by Maurice Materlinck, a book banned by the Pope. He does not give any such judgment. The book is rather an enquiry, - a statement of facts as far as they are known now; but I am not at all satisfied with the statement. We do not expect an eternity for our material body and before one can examine the evidence for an eternity for our spirits it is necessary to think spiritually and to learn the science of the spiritual life. Before criticising the book I shall consult Dr Bryant on the notes I sent you on the Resurrection of the Body so perhaps you will sned them back for the purpose.
Mr Maase has had much experience of malarial fever and assured me that only strength of will with regard to alcohol saved his life. He was a teetotaller every day until dinner time, after sunset. He thought a stimulant then was helpful. But others who commenced with a little, - and not an absolute rule, - soon increased in amount and frequency and then death from fever followed with certainty. The fever is caused by a germ inserted by a mosquito when biting. It is strange that the germ remains after the fever has abated and the trouble recurs. Even at Rotterdam he takes quinine & when he gets an attack he goes to bed at once and abstains from food for 3 days! He looks desperately washed out but has no doubt about the course he has to pursue and his talk and his work show that in spite of his suffering he is a very good man.
I was interested to know you are reading about Wesley. Your grandfather & grandmother would be pleased. They were sincere Wesleyans. (Ed. I presume this is George's parents, William & Harriett Hooke, as Ellen's parents, Thomas and Hannah Ann Farmer, were Congregationalists according to Ellen's diary) Some time ago I was looking round for men who could work long hours successfully, & I found two, - John Wesley and the Duke of Wellington. Before the latter was Arthur Wellesley he was Arthur Wesley! Each could work some 18 hours a day & sleep only 5 or 6. On this subject see enclosed cuttings. John Wesley was a great man but had extraordinary views and you will not understand them all until you look into his journal which Aggie will lend you if you care to have it. He was full up with remedies but I forgot what he had to say on fasting. He was not a great advocate but I believe he gave it some support. Whose work is it that you are reading?
Francie says she must write to you in the week and if it is toward the end perhaps I can add something more. I certainly want to put down my ideas on Smoking. But attacking these different subjects week by week I expect I repeat myself as I do not remember exactly what I have written. In writing on subjects it will be useful to have a separate paper for each and send it backwards & forwards with wide margin for notes.
But please excuse repetition.
I don't know whether there is anything in this to interest Trixie but you might send it on when you are writing next as it is getting late and I have several letters to write. This afternoon your mother & I went to a service at the Temple Church & bought Aggie back to tea, so you will understand how I have been tied up for time.
With dearest love,
Yr affect'e pa
22nd Feb 1914
Dear Mildred, Thanks for the notes. I was in no hurry for them and should have been content if you had enclosed them in to-days letter. This should have been made clear; but perhaps I did not, or you did not read my letter very closely. You are evidently working under pressure again and I hope you will not overdo it. All fine at home are free from complaints. I have some worries at Office but one must expect a certain number. They do not trouble very much when I am in good condition but they press hard when I am very tired and have many things I cannot find time for at Office, at home, and for the Church. Being short of money is bad but being short of time is sometimes worse. You can understand how I envy John Wesley and his 18 hours work a day; and Edison who can do without sleep.
You will remember that last Autumn I wrote to you about certain mesmeric experiments throwing a person's consciousness back and back to middle age, to childhood, to previous existences. The articles by Maeterlinck have been collected together and published in one book called "Our Eternity" and Dr Bryant has lent it to me. It is a queer fascinating mixture. It contains irreverence and subtle fallacies so that I can understand it being banned by the Pope. But it also contains some illuminating thoughts and speculations.
If I had time I should copy some of the pages and send them to you but I have spent my evening in finding out what the Church teaches as to the ultimate fate of the lost (sinners). You will say I am very clever because it does not teach anything at all! The popular creed, without any authority from Scripture, supposes the sinner's fate unalterably fixed at the general judgment. Apparently about 50 years ago there was a judgment given in connection with "Essays and Reviews" that showed clergymen were free to put their own construction on the Scriptures on the question. There are many who believe in Annihilation and others who believe in Eternal Hope. I am inclined to the former; your Uncle Buff to the latter. He can quote St Paul - "In Christ shall all be made alive". The question takes one into all kinds of strange places as it is one that has occupied the minds of the Ancient Jews and the great Christian teachers of all times. You may like to know the subject is called "eschatology" the doctrine of last things, - and it is well to try to remember the word. Some of those who study the question much became Christadelphians and expect the 2nd Coming of Christ much the same as the Jews expected a King. St Augustine taught that the millenium or Christ's reign of 1000 years on earth, commenced with the establishment of his Church. The questions of purgatory and prayers for the dead are closely related to the subject and inferences are drawn from apocalyptic writings of Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, St John etc.
Strangely enough a book of Enoch was found in Ethiopia about 100 years ago and published. It gives accounts of Enoch's travels under the guidance of holy angels who explain everything to him. It is supposed to have been written BC I think. People get led into very extravagant statements when dealing with the subject. Thomas Aquinas discussed 30 questions amongst which were
whether the sun and moon will be observed on the day of judgment
whether the hair and nails will reappear
It is observed that "Sheol" occurs 62 times in the Bible and is translated 31 times as "grave" in the Authorised Version and 31 times as "hell".
With Christians in such a state of chaos it is not surprising that Maeterlinck writes many things that appear pretty wild.Very few could avoid it.
As you have been reading "Ecclesia Anglicana" I wonder whether you have seen the letters between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Zanzibar. (Ed. Complete sequence of letters here.) I find them very interesting and am pleased that the Bishop thinks the case has been given against him. I think you will also like to see the enclosed leaf from Everyman, now that we are of one mind on the Franchise question. The criticisms are done in a style which you will find pleasing. Sir Almroth Wright does not appeal to me. I do not like his theories about women (Wikipaedia: Wright was strongly opposed to women's suffrage. He argued that women's brains were innately different from men's and were not constituted to deal with social and public issues. His arguments were most fully expounded in his book The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage (1913). In the book, Wright also vigorously opposes the professional development of women) or his experiments with bacteria. (Wikipaedia: He is notable for developing a system of anti-typhoid fever inoculation, recognizing early on that antibiotics would create resistant bacteria and being a strong advocate for preventive medicine.)
He is the man who injects into the blood dead microbes to make life not worth living for those who are already there. Apparently he assumes those bacteria are not cannibals and do not like eating their own kind. But reptiles and disease germs are not so particular as human beings.
I had only one Chess game last week and, alas! I lost it. There had been too much crowing and I was ver tired last Monday. We went to the Lecture on Medical Missions on Wednesday. Aggie was here on Tuesday, and Thursday evening I had to write for the Parish Magazine.
To save me writing this again will you pass on the letter and enclosure to Trixie. She may like to read some of it.
This afternoon Mrs Denison told us "Discipline" could not be defined. It was something a disciple would do, - apparently obey his master.
In the morning Mr French appeared on the point of explaining the origin of evil.He said it was entirely the result of a lack of charity - using the word in its widest sense.
By the bye, - did it even occur too you that re-incarnation was suggested in the question, - which sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Re-incarnation cannot be based on the reply. I wonder whether you wish I would write my letters on some other day than Sunday. You would only be out of the frying pan into the fire. Germs, and pigs, and fasting, and utilising waste, etc/ etc. are just as bad as theology. well good night dear. 10pm. All the others are gone, - for a wonder.
With very dearest love
Yr affect'e pa
1st March 1914
I was very glad to receive your good wishes and can assure you that Inever had a finer birthday so that I can do very well with many happy returns of such a day whether it comes on the 28th of Feby or at any other time.
If a week at Leith Hill will do you I agree. I am afraid a fortnight would be giving you more than I might just at present having regard to other claims: not more than I should be glad to do if I could. If the weather promises well your bike would add to the enjoyment and I think that reading or study should be left until the evening. You cannot sit about reading in the open air at this time of the year and if you want to read indoors you may as well be at home. But there is much fine country to be seen round Leith Hill and with your bikes you might plan out a different run each morning, - say from 9 to 1. Dorking, Box Hill, Homewood Common (Holmwood) Shere, The Silent Pool, Mr Eveleyn's Park, Friday Street, are all places worth seeing and requiring a bike. You must have a good map and perhaps I can find a Field Park Guide which will give you more enjoyment even than your cycling excursions. You need not fear you will be wasting time. The rest and recreation of mind and body will repay you.
We are going on fairly satisfactory. You must settle with your mother whether you and Mary should spend a night here on your way. On what date exactly can you leave College and how free are you as regards fixing your own time at the farm? What will your address be when you are there?
My idea would be that you should send your box home and then that you should take only a hand bag with clothes and a couple of books for study purposes. Mary should book her luggage right through as luggage in advance. But perhaps there are no suitable arrangements for delivery and that you will have to hire a trap at the Station to take you and your bikes and your luggage to the farm. An advantage of coming here first would be that you would arrive at the farm about midday or just after when you are fresh and getting about is more convenient than after dark.
Your mother asked me to let you know that my birthday present was finally left to my selection and that it is to be a Trousers' Press which Cyril can share to some extent. It will be permanent and a thing that I shall value for the rest of my life, partly on its own account, but principally because it will be a sign of love of those who are dearest to me. I am finding that more important than ever as I am getting older. During the past week I have been fortunate enough to win 2 games of Chess I have 2 more to play - to-morrow and the next day and shall then give it a rest.
Your mother's cough improves slowly. This afternoon I took her round Putney & Wimbledon Common. It seemed to do her much good so she she looked 20 years younger than in the morning.
Cyril brought in his friend Freckers to tea and we sat talking with them after supper so that now I am short of time. You might send on the enclosed to Mildred when you are writing. It refers to the effect of mind upon body but I hope you keep up your physical exercises so that you will be in a good position to take advantage of a country holiday. "To him that hath shall more be given". Your holiday will do you more good if you start well. I could keep on writing if I had time but must pull up & write to others.
With dearest love
Yr affecte pa
8th March 1914 Please send enclosed letter to Mildred
You have come to the last week and no doubt it will be very full so that it will flit by quickly. I hope your mother will be quite well in a few days and well able to receive you and Mary on the 16th. There is much I could write if I knew the address of the farmhouse at which you propose to stay, and something as to its position, - distance from Rail etc. I am sorry that I shall not be able to be at home on the evening of Monday, the 16th as there is a Demonstration against Welsh Church Bill.
Mrs Evans is looking forward to the return of Hilda to obtain her help in the School, the Assistant Mistress having left and poor Mrs Evans hardly knows how to struggle along alone. How will you stand as regards Exams this year? Will you have to do anything in May or June? How do you like the idea that more than half your college career has passed? The remainder will seem les than the first part, - that is, it will appear to pass more quickly. But there, that is nothing. Don't let us worry. Let us look forward, - onward, upward. Don't you get to love science the more you know about it? Does it make you atheistic or more reverent? The former I believe is the more usual at first. It is only a wider knowledge that enables one to comprehend the great Power behind. He has planned the great machine so wonderfully that it works perfectly, does not require interference, and many say there is no Power behind.
And how are the suffragettes? Are there many with you who believe in force and war? The wars of soldiers have done good but not the good that was hoped for or to those who hoped to gain by them. There are commercial wars, building strikes, disputes of all kinds and they bring their own punishment. The same thing applies to the militants, They injure others but not so much as they injure themselves. They lose that which is really worth having. I don't know my beattitudes very well. Is this right? Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Anyhow it is finer than "Thou shalt not ---------- etc.
There is one thing that is very hard to learn and this is Proportion, - the relative value of things. The vote is good, and I should be glad to see women have it, - but it is not worth what is being paid for it. Very likely your grand-daughter will get her degree at Cambridge but it will not be an unmired benefit. This afternoon there is Men's Service at Holy Trinity and I am sidesman at St Mary's this month. This evening we have the Crucifixion after a shortened service, and I must stay although I should have been glad to have been with your mother. I feel quite well now.
With very dearest love & looking forward to a good letter in the morning.
Yr affecte pa
3rd May 1914
I managed to get an attack of indigestion yesterday and remained in bed most of to-day to cure it. It is very much better but I have not much energy andd hardly expect to get much until I have had a square meal. Then matters will imrpove. We have had a busy week. C.E.M.S. has taken a good deal of my time and yesterday as your sisters will have told we finished up with wild frivolity. We saw a play translated from the French. It was wild farce and kept us laughing the whole evening but the background was not quite nice.
We are now preparing for changes, -the return of Francie and packing off the others to school.
I have had supper and feel better!
Last Thursday I went with Cyril to a big meeting at the Albert Hall and both of us were very interested in the speeches. It was the first time I had heard Bramwell Booth of the Salvation Army. It was the Annual Meeting of the Alliance of Honour. (Ed. The Alliance of Honour was a "social purity" organisation that attracted 100,000 young men prior to WW1)
I am glad it keeps fine and hope your bike is going satisfactorily. We have all resolve to be up early to-morrow morning for various reasons and your letter will be one of the attractions.
A few days ago I made the acquaintance of a Clergyman who is settling down at Peterborough. That will be a bit too far for you to visit but it is a place I have often desired to see.
You might let me know which is your favourite study. Do you like Practical Chemistry? I was always terribly slow at it andd much preferred theory. I had a fancy that I should have liked blowpipe analysis but never got time for it. Are you doing anything else besides Botany & Chemistry? Are you forgetting all your Maths and French and German? Your tennis racquet has been restrung and I expect to send it off to-morrow. How do you manage about Church going? Are your tastes the same as MIldred's or do you give them all a turn? The colouring of the walls at St Mary's has commenced and it will greatly improve the Church.
With dearest love
8th May 1914
My very dearest daughters,
As we are preparing to go to Cobham to-morrow I do not anticipate being free to write on Sunday and will it off my mind now. Last week end was a bad time for me and I am pleased that it is a thing of the past. It is lovely to be free and energetic again. Cyril has had a funny turn. Trying on new clothes in my bedroom he was running about in his socks and a needle ran into his foot. He believe a piece broke off and remained in his foot. He has remained away from school for 3 days, his mother has poulticed his foot, Dr Jewell has been to examine it 3 times and now he is off to Scouts as if nothing had happened. All humbug. But if he feels there is a piece of needle embedded in his foot I suppose it will mean photo: with X Rays. Tantalising expense and waste of time. He has made a pretence of doing about 3 hours work in the 3 days, - but really he does want a lot of help and I feel mad that I cannot give much more time to helping him.
Naturally I looked around wondering what made me poorly last week. First I thought I had eaten something unsuitable. Naturally, - you say, - nasty things! Later I came to the conclusion it was mental affliction. Sally Stalker and Dr Bryant stoutly maintained it was climatic. Both of them had suffered from the weather of last Saturday and knew of several others who had done the same. It may have helped but I was harmed mainly by my disgust with the way Cyril goes on at home and the way things have been arranged recently at the Office. At no time are things quite right anywhere but when one is in a peculiar condition of mind the irregularities trouble one a great deal more than when one is healthy in every respect. It was stupid of me to be disgusted. These are my tasks. I have to make the best of them and there is no reason why I should not have faith that all will be well and that I should not come up smiling.
If the causes of the ills are partly mental so are the cures. Faith healing puzzles plenty of people. Sometime ago a Committee was formed of Clergymen and Doctors to investigate the matter. They published their Report this week and I enclose a newspaper notice respecting it. I have tried to get a copy of the Report itself but there is a big demand and I shall not receive it until next week. When one considers that one does not know how a body heals a wound, how a cut heals up, how a fever is thrown off, how a body gets rid of any disorder, it is obviously impossible to say that a state of mind which may affect the whole body will not assist it when it is attempting to heal itself. For sometimes it fails. Sometimes a cut will not heal. Sometimes a fever kills, instead of working itself out. How is it possible for prayer to get the needle out of Cyril's foot, if it is there? Dr Bryant told me Doland's boy has had a needle in his knee for months and by photos they can see it moves about. Your mother tells of a case where a needle went in at the leg and, months after, came out of the arm. Are the forces which move the needle pure chance? There is no doubt the body does eject somethings which are objectionable. My toe did a few weeks ago. I helped by poulticing; but mainly the toe did it. Is it not quite imaginable that the body may act differently if the mind is in right order & the body consequently quite comfortable?
Some of these questions border on philosophy which is puzzling to the greatest minds and yet attracts large numbers. The enclosed account of Bergson and his lectures (The Problem of Personality) should interest you. There is one thing however to be noticed. It is said he is perfectly clear. It is a pity that newspaper reporters are not equally clear. The brief notices of his lectures which appear in the newspapers are not very helpful. If you come across any I am afraid you will be disappointed. The remarks do not remove difficulties: they only create fog. At times there are glimmers of light.
I am also sending the Debate in the House of Lords about Women's Suffrage. It may be useful to keep it for reference. It should contain the best that can be said on both sides on the question. You will be pleased to see the Archbishops and Bishops all for the measure. The Bill may not be perfect but it would have been a step in the right direction. Still I should have allowed militancy to have influenced me to vote against it, saying why I did so. Perhaps you will find the last speech of all the most interesting, if not the most enlightening. (Ed. Clearly the bill failed, here are reflections on the reason why - militancy.)
I am sending this to MIldred expecting she will have most time on Saturday & hoping she will send enclosures gradually on to Trixie. They are not urgent. And I am not sure how far they will interest. But there is no compulsion to read them! I took your mother to Francie's concert on Wednesday and enjoyed most of it very well. Do you remember Wilfred Stracey? He is an old St Mary's boy and entertained the audience vastly. He looks very well. It is strange how the rain kept off until Tuesday morning when school commenced, - just as Mildred wished!
Now good night dears
Yr affecte father