Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine



Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine


Writes of bathing and progress of baby Frances. Reports Mrs Stenzel will arrive Friday. Catches up with family news and a book she has read. Reports arrival of mail van, socks and sweets but no letter. Asks him to let her know how exams go.



Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage



Four page handwritten letter


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Thursday Aug. 21st
Darling Johnny,
Barbara is upstairs bathing Frances, as a special treat, so I will take these few minutes off to write to you. By the way I do hope, when you next come on leave, that you will bath her too, she is such fun now, occasionally splashes about in a still rather aimless way, and is not nearly so fragile and nerve-wracking to hold as she was as an infant. She hasn’t cut any teeth yet and I can’t see any imminent signs of them, but when I give her the teething ring to play with now she does manage, with a tremendous effort of concentration, to get it as far as her mouth and bite on it a few times before her strength (or patience?) is exhausted. She tries to sit up sometimes too & lifts her head & shoulders off the pillow but can’t get any further unaided. So sometimes I let her take hold
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of my fingers & gently haul her up, & then she looks awfully pleased with herself & sits swaying perilously on her little bottom until she flips over again or I lay her down. It seems incredible that anyone should be so unsafe on their own seat, but she certainly does not seem to find a broad enough basis on hers! However I mustn’t do this too often until she is strong enough to support herself, and then she’ll learn quickly enough on her own.
I have received a telegram from Mrs Stenzel to say she will arrive tomorrow Friday but I can’t make out from her letter whether it will be 8 am or 8 p.m, and as the phone is out of order it is awkward to find out. If it were the morning, Ba says she will meet her, & if the evening I should be able to arrange it, but if the worst comes to the worst she will doubtless find her way as she has been here before, &
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I don’t think she has much luggage – she didn’t have time to take much when the police whisked her off.
Mother said [deleted] le [/deleted] in her last letter, written after she’d had our cable saying I was going to Fairfield Mains, that she & Daddy stayed at the Orangefield Hotel when Daddy went on an official visit to Glenfield & Kennedy, at Kilmarnock. I suppose this firm hasn’t anything to do with your cousins Kennedy? They are a pretty big engineering concern, I believe, & supply Daddy with a lot of his pumps & stuff. Mother’s friend who knew Fairfield Mains is a Mrs Watt, I don’t remember the Howies mentioning that name ever.
I have just read a book by Naomi Royde Smith called “Outside Information”. The publisher’s blurb talks a lot about a collection of rumours, a diary of the war & all the rest, but actually it is a purely personal diary,
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including a few letters from friends in different parts of the country, doubtless interesting now & later to the immediate family circle, but really I can see no possible excuse for publishing such drivel. The rumours weren’t amusing or particularly interesting or complete as an anthology. If someone kept a complete list of all rumours & tracked them back to their source it might be interesting & instructive. Altogether I feel I could have written a more entertaining war diary myself but you will be glad to hear that I shall refrain from doing so. Or at least it won’t be for publication!
Here’s the mail van – probably your socks. – Yes it was, [underlined] and [/underlined] another lovely packet of sweets. You [underlined] are [/underlined] a darling to keep sending them, we haven’t nearly eaten the previous lot yet, but it’s lovely to have some in the house in case people come etc. Do you have much trouble in collecting them?
There has been no letter from you today so far, but I had two yesterday so I must put up with it I suppose!
All my love to you darling, let me know how the exams go, & your eyes & taste. Yours always Ursula.




Ursula Valentine, “Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19610.

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