Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine



Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine


Writes of gardening and family issues. Notes that Mrs Stenzel has had a job offer with Quakers which might speed her journey to the United States and means she will leave next week. She would now be alone for winter and will take up her Russian again. Reports hearing Churchill's speech and continues with baby and other news.



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Four page handwritten letter


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[underlined] No. 10 [/underlined]
August 24th
Darling Johnny,
I have been doing a spot of gardening this afternoon. I have cut the hedges by the rubbish heap at the top of the garden and started a new dump there. The gardener dug over the whole of that plot there and it looks very nice now. Then I also did a lot of weeding & cutting back & tying up in the long beds in the garden, and it all looks a lot better now, Though emptier.
There seems to be a sort of fatality dogging our relations with your people. I suppose you wrote a very outspoken if not truceulent [sic] letter to them about Mrs Stenzel; it now appears that she probably won’t stay with me for long after all, and so probably there would have been no need
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to mention the subject to them at all! That’s the third piece of sheer bad luck and mistiming already.
I shall be very sorry if Mrs Stenzel does leave me, but she has the offer of a job in a Quaker school as assistant cook which would apparently not be too hard work & is well paid. But the chief recommendation is that the Quakers may be able to help her to a job in America if & when she goes over there & that of course is a very important consideration for her, because it would probably mean she’d get there quicker if she had a job to go to. So what with one thing & another she’ll probably go at the beginning of next week, so I might just as well start steeling myself again now to face the long winter blackout evenings & nights alone. It might be a good idea to take up my Russian again. Or
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perhaps I’ll get somebody billeted on me, tho’ I don’t really think that’s awfully likely somehow. It’s a bloody business, but I’ll just have to get used to it.
We have just been listening to Churchill’s speech, which I found as stirring as ever, & not quite so sombre as some.
Yesterday Frances was put in her big cot for the first time. It poured all day long, so for variety’s sake & to give her more room to kick & roll about, I removed the Karrikot & fixed the side on to the big cot, & she lay there looking very grand. However she still sleeps in the Karrikot as it is cosier, tho’ it will soon be too short for her.
Sundays always seem interminable with no letter coming from you. However I generally get rewarded by two on Monday.
Mrs Stenzel & I went for a walk this afternoon with
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Frances in the pram, & called in at the allotments to see Mr Thomson, who is now working there full time. I wanted to get some leek plants, but he says they are very difficult to come by, so I probably shan’t get any. However I’ll certainly have enough seed to grow thousands next year! He seemed very pleased to see me & admired Frances. I shall pop down on my bike one day soon & try to get some Spanish onion seeds from him, I had no money on me today.
I must go to bed now, & will leave a little spare in case there’s something to be answered in the letter I hope to receive from you tomorrow, my darling. How I love you & long for you!
[underlined] Monday [/underlined]
Thanks for letter No 14 of 21st Aug. I popped Frances in her gasmask again yesterday & wore mine at the same time, & she didn’t seem to mind much. I hope you do go to a doctor – the tone if your troubles don’t mend. By the way, Mrs Stenzel says that salad cream & mayonnaise can still be bought over there. I should be most grateful for some if you can get it. There’s no hurry. You could bring it with you when you come. The honey is delicious. Your letter No 15 of Friday has just come – so sorry you are in such cramped quarters again. All my love, Ursula.



Ursula Valentine, “Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 5, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19613.

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