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Lansdowne Crescent: Chapter 17

A party of young friends and neighbours continue their holiday in Devon.

Jean Day continues her account of the lives of people who lived around a hundred years ago in the town of Worcester.

To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/lansdowne_crescent/

The little village of Lee, close to Ilfracombe, is connected in our minds with a rather humorous incident. We arrived in the village at 5 pm, and as usual within ten minutes of our arrival all the village knew that we required sleeping accommodation.

Our luck for once seemed out, there appeared no room at all. At last it was suggested that a farm up the hill might take us in. Frank volunteered to visit the said farm, and work on the good feelings of the owners. Away he went in his disreputable cotton khaki coat, without a collar or tie, and with three days' growth on his bronzed face, looking like a veritable tramp. And as such he seemed to impress the farmer's wife, and in that, as it turned out, lay our salvation. For she, being a kindly soul, was filled with pity at the thought of eight poverty-stricken beings left stranded on the road. She had given up letting lodgings for some time, still for once, to oblige perhaps, she knew how difficult it was for the likes of us to get rooms at a reasonable price. Frank thought to help her out by suggesting that possibly there was an inn within reach where we might go. But she, good woman, squashed that idea at once.

‘There is a hotel,’ she added, ‘but not for the likes of you!’ Finally she decided to take us in, but she warned Frank of the standard of behaviour she was accustomed to, and which we might try to live up to. Some of her lodgers had been very high-class; why, one of them once was a bank clerk! So to the farm we went, and were kept in very good order and right royally fed. I think that she felt that we needed a good feed just once in a way. And when we left she thrust a packet of bread and butter into our hands, saying. “You'll be hungry by and by, and then you'd have to buy something.”

The best of times comes to an end, and the better the time the more speedy seems the ending. As the tour drew to a close one by one began to drop out and to return to their various duties, and at last the day came when we too had to step into the train that would take us back to civilisation. But it did not really end there. Everyone voted it the best holiday they had ever spent, and it has lived on in conversation and memory ever since.

In October Peter went to Keble College, Oxford, and has entered into the delights of the undergraduate life. As the first two terms are perforce devoted to Pass Mods., an examination which presents little difficulty and requires very little work for anyone of average intelligence, he was able to give himself over to other pursuits with a clear conscience, and the first term saw him chiefly punting, rowing, and playing tennis by day, and smoking, arguing, and setting the world straight in the true undergraduate fashion till the small hours of the morning. Though he does not seem to have made many close friends, he is in his quiet way is rather popular among the men of his year, and we hear that his sense of humour and his power of racy writing soon gained him the reputation of being “a bit of a wit.”

Other Lansdowne Crescent News:

John Day has been made Headmaster at Stamford School. He is very thrilled and excited with this promotion, but May feels sad that she will be that much farther away from her family. She of course has her son Tom, who is now 6 and I know she is hoping that she will soon have another child.

Jimmy Day has a new job. He was teaching at Bedford School but missed his time in Egypt, and now with a possible war on the horizon he has gone back to the Ministry of Education in Egypt, and will be in the Camel Corps reserve.

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