29 November 1914

Today, a Sunday, George Calderon presented in person the white and pale blue blanket that he had knitted for his god-daughter Elizabeth Pym. Her christening took place at Brasted in Kent and the other godparents were Cecil Dawnay and Hannah Bartlett.

Mary Elizabeth Pym

Mary Elizabeth Pym
c. 1921
(Reproduced by kind permission of Carol Taylor)

Elizabeth Pym’s father, Captain ‘Evey’ Pym, was unable to attend owing to military duties. Her maternal grandparents, Frederic and Catherine Lubbock, who lived not far away at Emmetts, were presumably there; she had no grandparents alive on her father’s side.

One imagines that Calderon wore his army uniform. He almost certainly walked with a stick. There must have been great interest amongst the party in his experiences at Ypres, which he probably satisfied quite humorously. Although mild, it rained much of the time. George and Kittie returned to London the same day.

George was an agnostic and could be acerbic about what he called ‘the parsonic mind’. However, he evidently had no philosophical problems about standing godfather to his friends’ children. As one of Kittie’s god-daughters told me, George and Kittie were ‘wonderful with young people’ and could give them independent advice.

It is a great pity that the signature on the portrait above is illegible. Elizabeth Pym would have been about seven when it was drawn, and although I met her myself a full sixty-five years later, I can confirm that it does capture her. To me she was a very sweet lady, who made me lunch, had a sparkle in her eye, and seemed tickled by the idea that I was interested in her godfather. Her eyebrows really were that long.

Next entry: Birthday


About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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