George Archer Hooke Letters 1912
|9 Oct 1912
Of course we forget things and so you receive a letter from home sooner than you would otherwise. You may want this cheque soon and so I send it at once.
Francis and I did not get much of a motor ride but our return was better than the tube although it took a little longer. We could not see a bus to Charing X so went to Ludgate Circus (by a London Bridge bus) for a 1d and walked to Blackfriars Bridge, returning thence by car.
I am not feeling very well today but expect to recover speedily. Notices or rather invitations have to be delivered so I am just off to get rid of some. Perhaps the fresh air will do me good.
I hope you will have a good time and not overwork yourself.
With dearest love,
Your affectionate father.
I thought the PO would want signature on a form. One is enclosed. Of course I blundered. You sign where my signature is struck through. Place form in small envelope and post. No stamp is required. GAH
13 Oct 1912
Although writing two letters on Sunday evening is a new departure I expect two letters on Monday morning will be a double joy. Altogether there is a new arrangements of ideas and one to mark the progress of time.
We are anxious about your box. Aunts Aggie suggests we should write in strong terms to the Railway Co but we have not been able to do that since we could not say at the moment that the box had not been delivered. We hope you did not sit down quietly and wait but that you stirred up the carriers and that successfully. Your mother was wondering where you were having tea today but wherever it is I hope you are happy and comfortable in the knowledge that even if you are absent you are much in our thoughts and that our love does not diminish. Just for a brief space you will be a "fresher" and I hope it will be a happy time.
You will probably want a number of little things the need for which you will not have been able to foresee. You will have to learn your way about and go ahead. Don't forget your exercises of any kind.
I am afraid your surroundings are fast losing their best beauty. As we returned from Church this morning the leaves were falling in a very heavy shower as if the lot would come down in an hour or two.
I think your mother was writing to you yesterday and has probably told you all I have not told you in the enclosure. When you have looked through it please send it on to Mildred.
Take care of yourself in every way.
With very dearest love,
Your affectionate father
20th Oct 1912
Your letter last was much enjoyed. I sent it to Mildred on Friday and got it back yesterday. She was very pleased to read it as it gave her a different view of the events to that you sent her and she can bear to have a lot of talk about Newnham.
Coughs and colds have disappeared and your mother and I enjoyed our trip to Birmingham very much. The sun shone on the country and showed the Autumnal tints to good advantage. We left Euston at 11.30 and arrived at Birmingham a few minutes after 2. In the town the trees were completely stripped of their leaves as the smoke and chemical vapours from the chimneys are not beneficial to vegetation. The people claim that Birmingham is healthy in spite of these chimneys and the furnaces beneath.
There was a crowd on the platform and we wondered whether we would find each other. It is so easy to miss. But we were fortunate and struck each other almost immediately. Our first visit was to the school. Most of the face of the building belongs to the Boy's School. Only a comparatively small portion of one belongs to the Girls. Inside there are fine wide corridors and staircases like at St Paul's but perhaps a little higher. But the building is narrow so that 3 or 4 floors are necessary. I see that it was opened in 1896 but the first scholar given distinction by having her name on the walls passed her Higher Local in 1887. That I presume must have been when the school was held in temporary buildings.
We then went to the Cathedral to see the gorgeous windows designed by the artist Birmingham is most proud of,- Burne-Jones. Afterwards we entered the Art Gallery where there is a fine collection of pictures, more by Burne-Jones.
We then walked up the hill to where Mildred is staying. Being high up it is generally fresh and I daresay it is good for health.
We had tea and short chat with Miss Beasemares. She is a fine one to talk. Small and bright and active she is a pleasant companion and does not suggest 62 years of age.
Mildred is finding her first term rather hard, - much harder than I had expected. It is a long term, it includes more examinations than usual, there are more corrections than usual on account of the exams and Mildred naturally finds everything strange. Next term is to be exceptionally short and when the summer comes I expect she will do things with less trouble.
There is not much news from here. We have the Social of tomorrow evening rather on our minds and then be thinking even more than now of Ella's fancy dress. Nothing appears to be decided yet.
I have your bicycle rather on my mind and must let you have scanners and some other things for repairs as without them you are rather helpless at times. Still it is very likely you would lose them if you had them. I should be glad to know how you get on with the bike and what you think of accessories.
The rain is falling this evening and I presume you ride only in fine weather. Do you leave it outside the Halls? Does it get caught in the rain?
Have you heard about Mrs J Bennett's will? She took legal advice and was told she might make a will. It is not at all clear to others that she had the power. She left all to Miss Bonsey and that lady talks of paying up certain amounts if the will is not disputed. The Dollery's are going to find out how they stand before they decide and I think they are quite right.
I talk to your mother about you at times and we are both glad you have friends at Cambridge. We are sure you will be busy and we expect you will be happy although you would like to be I two places at the same time. Have you many new books to get? And have you found where to get them? How do you like the girl you are studying with? We shall rise early in the morning to find out.
I have a few more days holiday and then back to office there are so many splendid things in this world and you can enjoy them if you do not get too much of them! Our only troubles just at present are Francis has a swollen face and I have to make a speech tomorrow evening.
I hope you get your bank book alright. When you draw something out, have it sent here I will deposit more and send the book on to you unless you would like me send a PO direct to you and save some trouble.
Time is getting on, I have to send a few words to Mildred, and then to bed.
Good night, - my dear.
With fondest love
Your very affectionate father.
27 Oct 1912
My dear Trixie,
As another week is commencing I have to review the past to find whether there have been any events to interest you. The Church Social last Monday was successful and I enjoyed it except that standing about as a Steward made me tired and making a bad speech did not agree with me.
Your mother and Francis also worked hard. I did not go to Office until Friday. Being at home did not seem to suit me, - my health was decidedly better when I returned to my regular routine.
Your mother has not been very brilliant but got out to a Cinematograph Show on Friday evening with Mrs Selear and this evening has gone down to Kingston to see Mrs Gobbett who is in bed with something wrong with her leg. She has a clot of blood in her vein and it has to be dispersed. If it gets to the heart it will kill her. How rest and quiet prevents the movement of the clot I am not quite clear; but I presume with motion and activity the blood courses through the veins with greater force. Why ones blood should get clotted I do not know. It is an irregularity of some kind. Mrs Gobbett is very stout and I do not regard a large quantity of fat as healthy although many people sing its praises.
Your bank book arrived a day or two ago but I have not yet put anything in. I enclose PO for 10/- for you to go on with and will send on your book towards the end of the week.
I shall like to know how you are managing as regards books and bicycle.
I have been turning some books and papers out and perhaps you will be in a position to condemn some of your old exercise books on your return.
How are you getting on with your Maths work at Cambridge? Do you find it at all possible to do as I suggested, - to have a sheet in the front of each paper and note on it the principal points and difficulties to be remembered? This will save hunting later when you will not be able to recall the points so easily as if done at the time. I know that some cannot counsel perfection and that another cannot attain it, - but still it is well to try.
I had hoped that Ella would be able to come to visit you I her half-term holiday but she has just told me she must pay a fee of £2 if she wishes to be enrolled as Matriculated at London University. Money goes quickly and I think she will have to wait until next year for her visit.
I wonder whether it feels strange to you to be in the midst of Fire Brigade and Cocous and other functions of which you used to read in Mildred's letters! We are very glad indeed you have made several friends and we are especially grateful to Grace Ingle for her kindness to you.
We had a Men's service this afternoon at which Dr Bryant preached after delivering a sermon from the same pulpit this morning. I like his philosophy and his way of solving problems. This morning it was "To the pure all things are pure". What you see in the world does not depend so much on your eye as your mind and spirit. It partly depends on what you look for. This afternoon it was "A man's religion. He seemed to think that going to Church was religion and I told him I did not agree. It is an aid to religion and it may be a measure of one's religion but I think it is a sad mistake to call it religion. I have hesitated as to whether the part which is worship might not be almost described as religion but I think not. The faith within and that on which it is based is the religion and it is that which prompts the worship.
With very dearest love ,
Your affectionate father
3rd Nov 1912
We have been very delighted with the long letters you have sent and we are happy to find you are full of work and study and play and friends.
The enclosed sheet which I have written to you and Mildred you might send on to her when you write next.
I expect with all your studies and social engagements you have not had an opportunity to go exploring Cambridge and that when you return you will find some of the views of the town strange to you.
On Guy Fawkes night I suppose you will have to keep in to avoid the rowdy proceedings in town.
As you have said nothing about your health I assume that you are going strong and your Mother's directions about the pills will be all that you want. Personally you know I prefer careful diet and exercise, but one cannot always dispense with pills.
With regard to the bike you must judge by the time the tyre takes to run down whether you shall take it to have it tested for puncture and mended if necessary.
If the weather is as cold with you as it is here today you will have to wrap up for cycling. Unfortunately we have a mist almost amounting to fog.
One of the things in the newspaper interesting to me is a libel case. A man named Stevens has been selling a decoction made from a root (obtained from S Africa,-) as a cure for consumption. The British Medical Association have treated him as a quack and he objects. The jury could not agree and the case will be tried again.
Frances's birthday next Thursday will just about mark your half time.
You must let us know how you get on with your studies.
Buff and Annie and Harold have just been here. Arthur is at Doncaster, - George and Marjorie at Exeter. All very well. They have asked Cyril to go over for the day next Saturday.
Now - good night - You are a dear.
With very fondest love
I remain your affectionate father
10th Nov 1912
My dear daughters,
The first week has been crowded as usual and it would be hard work for us if we diaries. I shall leave your sisters to tell you of their gaieties. My share has been another successful match game at chess but mainly my energies have been occupied with the Men’s Society and exceptional demands at the Office. Cyril went to Brondesbury yesterday morning and does not return until Monday morning so that I do not expect you will get any letter from him this week.
I am afraid my dominant note this week will be rather a sad one as your Grandma is seriously ill and we have no hope that she will recover. She has jaundice and we fear in a worse form than that Ella had. Moreover youth can triumph over trials at too great when the body has got feeble and worn. I saw your Grandma for a few minutes after Church this morning and found her cheerful and in little pain. She is generally in pain but is thankful when it is slight. The case gave rise to reflections which your mother thinks to sad to send although they were mainly assertions that there are no real reasons for sadness.
We have had two visitors here today - May and Mr Mullice and that in addition to 4 services at Church have prevented me making much progress with letter writing until now I find it 11pm.
The girls are just brimming over with spirits and I am sure you would like to hear Ella chattering as hard as she can go.
You will both be too much interested in your own personal affairs to take much interest in the war but the changes that have been effected in the past three weeks are remarkable. They will be interesting to see whether Constantinople will be recovered for the Christians after having been held by Mohammedans for over 500 years. The Church of St Sofia built about 500 by Justinian is one of the wonders of the world. Built by the Christians it contains a representation of Christ and this has been painted or whitewashed over. There is much excitement to know what will happen to it. The Church has been used as a mosque.
It is not a pleasant matter to tell you about villainy but I feel it my duty although I do not know how far it is true. Perhaps I should preface it by another matter. Complaints are made that ships are abandoned and left driving about the oceans as derelicts, and that that they are a serious danger to navigation will stop it is said they run into other ships and sink them a committee has been appointed to enquire into the matter and although many witnesses testify to the danger no one can be found who has actually seen a derelict! Are the things figments of the imagination or very grossly exaggerated?
In a similar way we hear tales about the white slave traffic. We know there is some truth in them but they may be gross exaggerations. It is an unsavoury subject but I cannot rest in my mind until I have warned you. Mr Hoare tells me a girl was invited by a lady (a stranger) to go for a drive with her and a policeman seeing the girl about to enter the carriage and advised her not to go, whereupon the lady jumped in quickly drove off alone.
In another case an apparent lady fainted in a restaurant, a girl went to assist, and the lady (?) On coming round said she felt shaky and asked the girl to go part of the way home with her. She would have a carriage. On leaving the restaurant a commissionaire advised the girl not to go with the woman.
Another case. Mrs Gobbett told your mother that a lady took two daughters to a fashionable drapery establishment, left them for a short time to go into another department and whilst gone a woman went up to the girls, told them their father had met with an accident and they were to go in a taxi with her at once to the hospital. They went and were never heard of afterwards.
Mr Hoare believes that had the girls gone in his cases they would have been kept prisoners after having been drugged and would practically disappear. I have my doubts. Such cases would get into the papers and there would be a big search. I have seen something of the kind but anyhow there can be no harm to be on guard.
I’m find I must close on account of time.
With my dearest love to you both
I will write again soon, better than this.
You’re very affectionate father.
Please send this on to Trixie.
|24th Nov 1912
My dear daughters,
Dr Bryant was preaching this evening about a 12 hour day, and said that 12 hours of joy slip by all too quickly whereas 12 hours of pain is like an eternity of misery. You may be sure I thought of you both and hoped that time was flying quickly with you, he said also we should not measure our lives by years but by deeds. I am afraid he might preach another time against the rush of modern life, the result of cramming many deeds into a short space. About the middle of last week I felt rather old. Some of my energy and power had gone and I had very many demands. I got off a memorandum on the Supply of Seamen at the beginning of the week. It took a good deal out of me and I was pleased with the result although the only remark of my chief was that it was rather too long! I have been to Grandma’s nearly every evening, - sometimes twice. She has varying times, has got a little stronger but not more free from pain. She does not look so bad after sunset but in the daylight she looks intensely yellow. Buff and Annie came over to see her this afternoon. They send their love. Arthur is still in Doncaster. The others are well.
In On Thursday I was at Church house in the morning at St Paul’s Chapter House afternoon and evening, then at a lecture on old songs afterwards at Grandma’s and sat up until 1am to write a column for the Parish Magazine. And that was my worst day. I have bucked up with a little rest yesterday and Church always does me good. You may take it I am all right now. Your mother has also been down for several days. She saw very much of the gloomy side of everything. Today she has brightened up considerably. I am sure she will be better still tomorrow. This afternoon we had a Men’s Service and Mr Williams made joy dependent on humility. Hitherto they had appeared to me not connected in any way. I shall have to write to each of you in the middle of this week so please excuse me not rambling on any further.
The enclosed cuttings from yesterday’s Chronicle will show you the tale I told you has now got into the papers, - but that does not make it true.
With dearest love
your affectionate father
28th Nov 1912
I don’t remember how much money you have had but it seems to me you have been very economical. However settling up at the end makes a lot of difference. Perhaps the 50/-enclosed herewith will be sufficient. If not you must let me know in good time. I don’t want to delay your return. I have only sad news about grandma. She had a bad time last Monday with sickness and pains and has not been out of bed since. This evening she complained of weakness. She has said for some time that her stomach has ceased to be of any use. But her brain is quite clear. Parting is sad but it is part of the scheme to educate us all, to link us all together, to make us fit for a higher life. There is always some reluctance to plunge into anything new, -even in going to College. You are now getting fairly at home away from home and you may be sure we are hoping you are working well, playing well, sleeping well, and generally doing well in everything.
Our Christmas may not be a gay one but if we have a full seven in health we shall be very thankful and feel there is much happiness in being together once again.
Cyril has been sitting for School this week without any thought of success. It will give him some insight into what is needed and what he has to work up to.
I am sorry to hear about your chilblain. Such things are a nuisance I show no sign yet, and fancy I shall bear this cold better this winter.
When you have finished with the bike, take it to some shop to be cleaned up. When you go for it in January you can make up your mind what shall be blacked. Don’t tell them now. See it clean first, otherwise the black will be no good.
With very fondest love
I remain your affectionate father
A postcard acknowledgement will do, but I shall be glad to know you have read this.
There is now a gap in the correspondence until 26th January 2013. This would be due to Trixie coming home for Christmas. Grandma Hooke, suffering from jaundice as described in these letters, passed away on Dec 10th 1912.