20 April 1915

Brinsop Court. Hereford. (Statn Credenhill. Tels Burghill.)


Darling Dina,

It’s absolutely unthinkable that you are not here, and I do know how you are feeling about it, but time and space are nothing, and your dear spirit just wraps me round and holds me close. I don’t feel much, except at intervals but just go on — eating a great deal — and last night I really slept quite a lot. The 2 nights before I had been mostly with Phyllis. You see mercifully there has been Phyllis, Mother and Lesbia, all needing one, so one has just been very busy, and much to write and think of. […]

I have had such beautiful letters from so many kind and real friends, and such a darling letter from George. Father Waggett buried Jim. So curious, don’t know him, but he is a very old friend of Huie’s and Con’s and Brookies — so it was nice to think of him doing the service. No more now but am always yr devoted


This is an extract from a letter written today by Nina Astley (Corbet) to Kittie Calderon, enclosing Nina’s handwritten copy of the letter from Colonel Geoffrey Feilding at Givenchy explaining the circumstances of Jim Corbet’s death (see my post for 15 April). Feilding’s letter had reached Nina yesterday.

‘Phyllis’ appears to be a young relation of Nina’s daughter Lesbia, aged ten. ‘Mother’ is Nina’s mother, Eliza Stewart, then aged about seventy. Dick Sutton mentions in a letter of 13 March 1915 bumping into ‘Father Waggett’ at Boulogne; possibly he was a former Eton chaplain. ‘Huie’ is the former priest Hubert Delaval Astley, married to ‘Con’, Constance Sutton by her first marriage and née Corbet. ‘Brookie’ is Edward Brooke, possibly a former tutor of Jim Corbet’s and Dick Sutton’s. ‘T.O.’ means ‘T’Other’.

George Calderon’s letter to Nina Astley on the death of her son Jim has not survived. She replied to it on 2 May, however, and he received her letter at Fort Brockhurst on 4 May. It will be quoted in full on that day this year. The most likely reasons Kittie could not go to Herefordshire to comfort Nina are that George was at home on leave until today and she was probably still suffering from psychosomatic illness or pernicious anaemia.

Next entry: 21 April 1915


About Patrick Miles

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