Manor House

Naini Tal






Dear Alex


Many thanks for yours enclosing relics of school magazine days, and for scouring old magazines from Alford.  As we too have got a badminton set, we must challenge you to a game when we come home next year.  One can often get things secondhand in India, where people are always on the move, and we got a set with four racquets for about 15/- from the Church of Scotland minister in Lucknow before her left.


Weather has continued pretty wet here, and we have done little other than walking and reading.  I enclose a parish leaflet of the English church we go to (there being no Presbyterian one) which gives an account of the tragic landslip which overshadows all other local history.  The old church – one of the first buildings to be put up after this beautiful valley and lake were discovered by two hunters about the middle of last century – contains numerous commemorative plates to those who were buried in it.


I shall be interested to hear what the Cambridge University Press offer to print the saga for.

I wonder if I should know Sweet Afton now – has she aged very much? Are you still thinking of another Morris?


We are continually planning what wee shall do when we come home next year.  Dad suggested Courbank, Aberfeldy and if we are home late enough, we would join him there.  My own time will of course be very short – I shall only have a month at home.  And we shall have to try and save some rupees to pay our passages.  Then if the political state of Europe deteriorates we probably won’t be allowed home at all.  Quite a lot of ifs you see.


How many fish did you catch on your expedition? And how did you tactfully arrange not to catch a fish before (or a bigger fish than) your chief?


One of our diversions here is to get two horses (large ponies really), climb a thousand or fifteen hundred feet up the steep slopes rising from the lakes edge, and scamper along the hilltop getting pretty glimpses of the lake below, through the trees.














Sylvia Ann is 14 months old today.  She has most of her meals with us in the dining-room now.  When she wakes in the morning (indeed anytime) she first rubs her eyes and then invariably stands up, her head and shoulders appearing above the side of the cot.  She announces the fact if in a good mood by dancing and attracting attention by saying ‘ta” or ‘da” etc.  While if in a bad mood she heaves her pillows and sheets overboard, and possibly – we do not then pay heed to her, heaves her bottle over too.  As it is too early for us to get up, she has her rompers put on and explores the bedroom floor and sitting room till seven o’clock when our morning tea comes in.  She then sits on the bed with us and joins the party consuming toast and milk.  She has also reached the stage when she loves to be chased, and roars and roars with laughter when one pretends to chase her.


We have a mystery woman staying at our boarding house just now.  Can you explain her? English, aged 53, a widow, has been 26 years in India but fresh country complexion (unusual  here), with literary interests, a very interesting talker on almost any subject, widely travelled (according to herself), pleasant.  I took her in fact to be an inspectress of schools!  A few days after she arrived we received a police warning that she has a very bad record in poisoning cases and to avoid her.  We asked her to tea, but all we gleaned was that she had done medicine for two years, given it up, studied chemistry in Germany, and now makes a hobby of the study of native drugs and herbs.  She also described herself as being a person who “all intellect and without feelings”, so presumably she becomes so absorbed in her studies that she must try out her drugs! (her bag is said to have included two husbands).


That’s all the news,


Love from all to both,