Kittie

George Calderon had now been dead four days, but no-one in Britain knew that.

At Brasted Chart, near Sevenoaks in Kent, Kittie continued to support the Calderons’ friend Violet Pym, amusing Violet’s three children Jack (aged seven), Roly (aged five), and Elizabeth (aged seven months), reading to them, and accompanying them on their excursions. Violet was thirty-three. She had lost another son at almost full-term in 1913. Her husband, Captain ‘Evey’ Pym, was a professional soldier and at the moment absent most of the time. The two women were very close. Despite their age difference of fifteen years, they were a great comfort to each other. This was as George had intended.

June 1915 was dry, and today in Kent temperatures reached almost 80 Fahrenheit.

Although the Visitors Book for the Pyms’ home, Foxwold (q.v.), records Kittie as having stayed there from 1st to 10th June, she evidently was spending some of her time at Violet’s parents’ home, Emmetts, about a mile away. Apart from being the widow of Violet’s mother’s half-brother Archie Ripley (d. 1898), Kittie had helped Violet’s father Frederic Lubbock lay out the Rose Garden at Emmetts in about 1908. Whilst staying at Emmetts now she probably helped with the gardening and weeding. She doubtless read a lot, and she may have painted some water colours. Sometime before 1910, she had also designed the garden at Foxwold.

Today Kittie received two letters from George redirected by her housemaid at Well Walk, Hampstead. They were out of sequence, since they were George’s letters of 25 and 30 May 1915 from the Orsova at Lemnos and from the KOSB at Helles respectively (see my posts of those dates 2015). George’s letters from Alexandria (22 May) and on arriving at Gallipoli (27 May) had not yet reached Britain.

So she now knew George was at Gallipoli. She was probably not anxious, but she still had to juggle with the fact that his reassurances in those letters were over a week old.

Next entry: 10 June 1915

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About Patrick Miles

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