Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SHEILA MARLIN O'NEILL | R.I.P., Sept. 25, 2017 (Condolences)

Sheila with Trusty,
Montreal, 1951.
September 26, 2017 – Sheila Marlin O'Neill, the youngest of my three older sisters, died at 8:30 pm yesterday at the Peace Hospice in Watford, England. It was a month before her 78th birthday.

A funeral service is planned in Watford for Friday, October 13.
Shane O'Neill and Sheila Marlin at their

Sheila was the calm center of us six children. As her siblings were bent on shorter-term quests of various kinds, she made long-term plans, and she carried them out.

For many years she headed a group of Montessori Schools in the Watford and Berkhamsted areas of Hertfordshire. At one time there were eleven schools. 

The High Elms Montessori School, near Watford has been operating in a building on the 23-acre High Elms Manor where she has lived for many years. 

In July 2017, she retired because of ill health from teaching and educational administration after a career spanning 50 years.

She was well enough to see visitors just five days before she died.
L to R: Lis, Sheila, Art O'Murnaghan (1875-
1953), Brigid, John. Ireland, 1952.

She was, like her mother and older sister Brigid, a writer as well as an artist. 

In her later years she became a proficient author and illustrator of books for children, typically involving animals such as seals or a goose.

Sheila is the first of the six children of Hilda van Stockum to join her parents in the next life. She is survived by her four daughters Roisin, Catrine, Liadain (Lili) and Ailise, and seven grandchildren. Her late husband Shane O'Neill, who grew up in Waterford, Ireland attended Trinity College Dublin with the late Ben Oakley, who married Sheila's sister Brigid. 

Notes of Sympathy

Olga Marlin, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by
Lis Paice, October 6, 2017.
Sept. 26, Olga (Sister, in Nairobi): I have just opened my mail to find John's message, followed by all of yours.

Dear little Sheila – I have been praying so much for her – that God take her straight to Heaven. It is a great comfort to know that the priest was there to give her the Anointing of the Sick. Masses will be celebrated for her here: three in my Centre, Samara.

We shall miss her!

My special love to all at this difficult moment, with a big hug to each from Olga.

L to R: Sheila, Brigid, Lis.
Sept. 26, Alice (Sister-in-Law, in Geneva): Sheila worked so hard and lovingly for her family, caring for daughters and grandchildren. 
She reaped a precious reward: her daughters, Brigid and Lis were with her almost constantly near the end.

Sheila was always grateful for even the smallest attention. I am sure your presence and the prayers of the siblings unable to be at her side meant the world to her.

John and I are grateful to have had a bit of time with her recently.
She bore the painful curse of cancer so bravely. Warm smiles and appreciation even over that.

We shall all miss her. Love to all, Alice

Sept. 26, Jay (Nephew, in New York): Her laugh, her smile, her concentration while painting, all the big family meals, and skits, or just hanging out with everyone enjoying a sunny day will always be remembered. Condolences to all. Love, Jay

See also: Visit to Watford . Daughters and Grands

I am told that to comment on this post now seems to require a Google account and password etc. I'm really sorry about that. If you wish to send a correction or comment, please write to the blogger at teppermarlin[at] I have substituted [at] for @ to thwart bots that look for email addresses embedded in messages.

Friday, September 22, 2017

SHEILA O'NEILL | Visit in Watford, Sept. 20

L to R: Sheila, Brigid, Alice and Chris (Brigid's
son). Photo by JT Marlin.
Sept. 22, 2017 – My sister Sheila Marlin O'Neill retired in July for health reasons as Principal of the High Elms Manor Montessori School.

This was after 50 years of teaching and educational administration. High Elms Manor is in Garston, near Watford.

She is now being well looked after at the hospital in Watford. Her four daughters Roisin, Catrine, Lili and Ailise visit her in turns.

Alice and I went with Brigid and her son Chris on Wednesday (visiting hours are from 4 pm), and arrived as Sheila's youngest daughter Ailise was leaving.

L to R: Sheila, Brigid and John, three of the six children
of Spike and Hilda van Stockum Marlin. (Photo by
Alice Tepper Marlin, five days before Sheila died.)

Sheila asked us: "Tell me stories."

Sheila and her daughters had their 15+ minutes of fame six years ago as they and their home, High Elms Manor, were the subject of episodes of Country House Rescue, the popular British television show.

The family received great compliments from the show's host, Ruth Watson. She said that no other country house rescuers had been so responsive to her suggestions.

Postscript: Sheila died on September 25. 

Newspaper Stories: Sheila's Retirement . Sheila's Death.

Other Posts: Sheila Marlin O'Neill, R.I.P. . Sheila's Daughters and Grands . Sheila's Funeral

I am told that to comment on this post now seems to require a Google account and password etc. I'm really sorry about that. If you wish to send a correction or comment, please write to the blogger at teppermarlin[at] I have substituted [at] for @ to thwart bots that look for email addresses embedded in messages.

HvS FAN CLUB | 70K Views

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

HvS | 1946 – Dublin, Montreal

By 1946, ERM was working for U.N.
agency I.C.A.O, to be based in

Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington D.C. 15
Feb 25, 1946
Dearest Husband.
I have already written you what I think about going to Ireland. [This plan worked out, five years later. The Marlins lived in Europe 1951-1955, after several vacations in Europe. –JTM]

I'll be able to pay for it and I think it is the right thing to do, considering the fact that Mother [Olga van Stockum] isn't getting any younger and she really should see her relations. I even thought if we could leave the children in good hands, Mother and I could take two weeks off to go to Holland and see Jan [her younger brother, who died soon after]. But of course, there are drawbacks too.
It is almost as expensive to send the children to camp as to go there. I'd have to send four this year. You don't know whether you'd find a house – you've been promising a house for the past nine months, and it is unfair to leave us another summer in Washington. The maids are getting later and less efficient every day, it is high time we went. We'll have to go to Europe sometime and it may as well be when we have no house so we save that. Also, you can claim either the equivalent of our Washington-Montreal Trip, or passage from Dublin-Montreal out of your organization [ICAO], since they can't have it both ways - they owe that to us and it will lessen expenses. Then, in this initial stage you'll be free to do all the traveling you want and you'll have plenty of time to look for a house in Montreal. And if the organization meanwhile decides to move it has saved us a lot of fuss. For the children it will be a very broadening experience and they are wild with delight over it. So is mother.
Providing I get passports and a place on a boat it is possible that it wouldn't be so easy to go back. The troop movement to America is terrific and so are the wives. Miffy seemed to doubt the likelihood of our getting back. Cook's was less sombre. But of course I'd hate to travel with all these children during crowded condition. Would you be prepared to have us stay away, say, till the following spring? Because I am bound in honor to say that's what might happen. I personally wouldn't mind that, since I don't believe you'll be around much anyway and I feel I'd probably see you as often in Dublin as anywhere else. 
It would also make it easier for me to pay if I had only to worry about one trip at the time. (They don't issue return tickets.) Of course then the problem remains what to do with the furniture – you'd have to put it in storage and you know what the Wagners got into when it came to storage. It would have to be well tabulated etc. and you'd have to do it. And I'd have to have my bank deposit transferred to, I guess, Montreal and another safe deposit box. You'd simply have to help. I couldn't do it all alone. I would take enough stuff with me for a year, in case.
You see, it isn't by any means as simple as it sounds, but I can't help feeling that it is the right thing to do. I shall tell you exactly how we stand financially. I have at present one thousand dollars on the bank with one thousand dollars more expected from The Junior Guild. You got a check of about four hundred and fifty dollars of which I sent one hundred dollars to your mother who has had an awful time, a doctor, cleaning her ear, pierced her eardrum and it abcessed and she had to go to a specialist. She suffered terribly. Also, I took money for the girls’ trip to New York, which was about twenty dollars, counting taxis etc. (They are coming home today.) So you have now three hundred twelve dollars and fifty cents.
Then we have in War bonds:
– of the children’s bond value $300.00, present value $221.11
– of us    "                     "               $3475.00,  "                        " $2971.15
I hope to buy with February's money another one hundred dollars which would bring it up to $3046.15
I am in bed with grippe, the second time. Haven't been at all well. It sort of struck me as funny that if someone died here we wouldn't even know how to notify you.
Well, it was you who suggested going to Ireland but you can understand how the idea delights me. I am so sick of Washington. It would be good for the children too. 
I should like to send Johnny to the Montessori School in Blackrock. Mother and I were just saying he is the perfect Montessori child and it is a shame that he doesn't live where he can get that kind of training. And it wouldn't be fair to Harrie [Jameson Kirkwood, in Dublin] to deprive her of Mother when she is so sick. Couldn't you manage to get more work in Ireland so we could stay there for a year? I promise not to ask for any more. As a matter of fact, I should like to see Montreal and it would be a disappointment if that didn't come off. But Paris would be even better. I am going to the passport office as soon as I am better. Please forgive the scribble. And write oftener.
Love, Hilda

P.S. Olga's Sister instructed them on sex. She said if they wanted to know anything to go to their parents. So Olga said: "Of course, I'd go to you. I'd hate to go to Daddy, he isn't the type!!

HvS | Links to Letters 1943-1971

1943 – To ERM, O.S.S., London
1944 – To ERM, O.S.S., London (MIA, Death of HvS's brother Willem), Hunger Winter
1944 To Bertha Mahoney, The Horn Book
1945 – To ERM, United Nations, Provisional ICAO Jul-Aug
1946 – To ERM, ICAO
1954-55 – To Joan Dowling and Others – Marlins' Pilgrimage, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy
1971 – To Brigid, Letters on The Borrowed House 1  Evil 2 Epiphany 3

HvS | WW2 1945 to ERM Jul-Aug, ICAO

1945 Other years 1943 . 1944 . 1946

HvS > ERM 1945-7-12
Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington D.C. 15
July 12, 1945

[From April to June, a conference in San Francisco created the United Nations. ERM was there, having left the O.S.S. and now representing the U.S. Budget Bureau. He served as the Secretary of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization in Chicago. He is being asked to join the newly created ICAO at their new headquarters in Montreal  as an officer. On July 10 the Louvre reopened in Paris; on July 11 the Soviet Union handed over control of Western Berlin to U.S. and U.K. forces.]
Dearest Husband -
So glad to get your letter with your views on world affairs. You misunderstood my remark about the vicar of Christ, I only meant that Miffy [Mr. Smith, WW2 roomer from London], not willing to concede to the right of one person who decides spiritual matters in Christ's place, is of course equally unwilling to see someone assume that power in worldly matters. I would never recommend the Pope as arbiter of worldly affairs – not even in an ideal society (which, according to my views, would be a society spiritually united under the Pope). Only it should be guided by the laws of justice indicated by the church. 
As for the atonement – I only meant that it had been a mystery to me for so long why Christ only could pay the debt of sin in the world. They had only been empty words to me which I accepted on the authority of the church, but which I never visualized, having even a faint distaste for the whole thing as utterly unjust. And it is my feelings about the criminals in Europe that makes me approach the meaning – just a faint inkling of what it might mean. It isn't that I recommend that the criminals be let off – it is only that one feels that their state is already so miserable (though they don't know it) that whatever fate befalls them makes hardly any difference and certainly does not constitute a payment for what has been done. You might as well punish flames for devouring a house. 
Only the sufferings of good people seem to have any spiritual value – Which reminds one of the fact that animals brought to the altar always had to be without blemish. And for that reason of course, only the sufferings of Christ, being without sin, would be perfect. 
Another way to approach it would be to say that to exact retribution from the Germans we would have to act like the Germans and be like the Germans. Which would make everything worse all around. And from a loving God we might imagine that the alternative to Christ would have been to give us over to the Devil, only He didn't do it because He is a loving God – just as we don't want to imitate the Germans because we are still civilized. These are only approaches, mind you, but it helps a lot, all the same. 
Meanwhile I agree about the loss of valuable lives, from a worldly point of view. But so you might have said: "A pity that Christ had to die so young." Which is manifestly absurd. The worldly point of view is usually a travesty of the truth and God. Who could raise men from dead bones can raise gifted men from fools, if necessary.
I was interested in your account of the unfortunate little boy. You have the same feelings about him I had about the Peters boy. I felt it was sinful to have wished Elisabeth to be a boy when she is so strong and normal. But I think I would prefer a brilliant boy with an abnormal body than the other way around, though his suffering is much greater. I believe a great saint was just like that – I remember reading about him. He was useless anywhere, so he was stuck in a monastery and he became one of the wisest writers and saints of the Medieval Church. 

Are his parents Catholic? I believe the Church has great consolations for children like that.
As for going to Montreal [with ICAO, which the family did do], I would think it a delightful adventure if it weren't for my "healthy stream," I really quail at a a new household without help. I know that comfort is often opposed to happiness – but somehow the confusion of six children without help seems to me a happiness I can do without. All the same I leave the decision to you. Jane Gorman is heartbroken at the idea of my leaving.  She was telling me a funny thing – her daughter Susan said to her:
"Mother, if Mrs. Marlin gets to Heaven before you, do you think she'll help you in?"
Shows you the hero worship going on in that family!
Randal would love you to visit his camp for a week-end. Mother didn't tell him about Montreal because she is afraid he'd be too upset. Richard and Gilroy are the world to him at present!
HvS > ERM 1945-7-25
From: Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington D.C. 15
July 25, 1945
Dearest Husband.
We are the last ten days in The Toils of Birdie's Vacation, so I'm just as glad you didn't come. It makes me less than eager to start existence without a servant. 
I have those two interesting communions and I manage to keep on working, did two and a half drawings the first Birdieless week, but of course the even monotony of the days suffer and the house runs down. 
The children quarrel in the rain, Mother is in bed with rheumatism and my only vice is cherries. I buy too many for the budget and I excuse myself that it's about all I eat (no meat since you left) that I don't spend money on myself in any other way and have no other relaxation. 
Still, I am myself down to one pound a day and then I went to Mrs. Gorman and brought her the pound I had "saved." She was so pathetically glad – she had looked at them all summer, she said, but couldn't afford them. I felt like a filthy Croesus and wished I'd brought her two pounds. I am really being a help to her – she has difficulties with her husband and I help her straighten herself out but I might use my own advice sometimes, I think. Only I do think it's hard for a woman never to have any money of her own and I know I am terribly lucky to be earning and to have a husband who allows me free use of my own money. 
I think there is something essentially unjust in an arrangement by which a woman works as [hard], or harder, than a man (she does all the washing and cleaning with only some help for the ironing) and always has to feel she has to account for every penny she spends without any money ever for her own. 
Now her husband accuses her of wastefulness and is taking the management of the money himself, only allowing her money for food. And food prices have gone up so she can't manage and she is at her wit's end. I told her some economies she could make, but she says she has done that already, and she doesn't want her children's health to suffer. 
Of course, they haven't managed things as well as we. She isn't a member of a coop and hence she hasn't got the saving in milk and spends ten dollars more a month. She isn't a member of Group Health, and though she has a garden she didn't fertilize it so she hasn't got a crop. Those things are a matter of foresight and knowledge and in these things they are a little hobbledehoy. 
Then she has a passion for reading and buys a book occasionally to her husband's disgust. I think he ought to be pleased to have a wife with only that extravagance, but of course I don't tell her that. I tell her that I can see his point of view, that he wants to save for emergencies and that if he got a cut in salary she'd have to manage too. I tell her simply to buy less of the expensive food; but as she says, you can't always get it. 
Corn costs a dollar for a dozen ears now! I have ceased to buy it, cherries are cheaper. Even without meat and vegetables (I have my own now, plenty of beans, carrots, squash, cucumber, onions, parsley and spinach) I spent almost three dollars a day just on bread, butter, melons, oranges, cherries, peaches and, occasionally, ice cream. And not extravagantly either. Fruit for one meal at a moderate quantity, comes to almost a dollar. Prices are terrific. I am glad I don't have to buy meat. I was able to give the Gormans almost eighty red points [ration coupons]. They were so glad. But, you see, they do spend it on meat and so they can't buy the fruit. 
The garden is a lifesaver, for vegetables are almost as expensive as fruit this summer and I couldn't have melons or cherries if I hadn't labored over my beans. [The victory garden is featured in The Mitchells, which is about WW2 Washington, D.C.]
The weeds are terrific on account of the rain. And the squash is up to my head almost with a profusion of blooms. I had to spend three dollars on insecticide too, but it will last me the rest of the summer.
I told Miffy about Jane's problems and he said: "But they have a good salary and they ought to be able to manage. Some people have to live on two thousand seven hundred dollars a year." I agreed, it is what has been worrying me all along, but I don't think it is possible in Washington. That's why all these women are working and children are neglected. Unless you put up your own food from a large garden, keep your own chickens and bees and own your own home you can't do it, certainly not with six children. 
That's why people won't have children any more and it's all wrong. But it's no good saying: "It must be possible," because it isn't. Though they don't have a maid more than once a week they have a car and a house to pay for and clothes and doctor's bills and a tonsil operation, etc. He took his vacation camping out with his two boys, to do it cheap, but that didn't benefit her, did it?
Meanwhile this increase you were going to get boils down to four dollars less a payday, and I suppose the same goes for them. A queer increase!
Meanwhile I did a little article for Literary Guild and got the choice of eight books for it. So I thought of your birthday and got two for you – a six-dollar book in two volumes by [Alexis Charles] Henri de Tocqueville called "Democracy in America" which is supposed to be excellent and probably the sort of book you'd want to own and "The Mechanics (or something) of Peace," by somebody else, also supposed to be very good. 

I'll send them as soon as I get them, or perhaps I'll just send the peace and keep democracy in the bookcase for you, for that's more a thing to dip in than to read, I imagine. I hope you're glad – they were the only titles worthy to be kept I thought, the other things on world affairs seemed sort of temporary, like books on how to deal with three hundred photographs on New England and a book on contemporary American painters. 

For mother I got a new biography of Tolstoy and a light novel by Elisabeth Corbeth whom we both enjoy. For the children I got "All the Mowgli Stories" by Kipling and "The little book about God" by Lauren Ford. I think, considering the amount of ephemeral tripe there was, that those are not bad choices. And they amount to about twenty-five dollars. Of course I could have gone to town on picture books for the children but they have enough already and will get more from Viking. I felt they should only have their fair share, and classics are most hard to get at present. Most of them are out of print.
Father Gorman saw the picture I did of the sacred heart after being infuriated with the one I had to hang in my room. (I then dropped it "accidentally" behind the bookcase and had to retrieve it for father Gorman to compare it with my own. Luckily I could then make him a present of the old one and have it off my conscience.) He is going to write to the promoter of the sacred heart about it.
Love to you -

HvS > ERM 1945-8-3

Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington D.C. 15

August 3 (?, n.d.), 1945
Dear husband.
Enclosed is Olga's last letter and a comb case which she made for you with your initials on it. She looks stunning. 

Both girls look well and brown but Brigid [7] is all teeth and hair still. But Olga [10] has a radiance that takes your breath away. She has brushed her teeth regularly and they are sparkling white, her hair is long now and bleached golden. She is much thinner, her legs are beautiful and she is almost as tall as I am and has gained in "poise." She and Sister Petra got on famously this time.

Pop Polak came to see me yesterday, though her husband is in London. She was left behind.


HvS > ERM 1945-8-27
Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington D.C. 15

August 27, 1945
Dear Husband.
Just got your notes. Please realize that whatever you decide will be all right with me. Your wistful wish to see the pictures has made me hang on to them until you see them. Though I don't know whether you'll like them if you do. The only thing I can say is that they're not like other people’s Bible pictures. I saw some in Woodward & Lothrop's bookstore and it is just as if people were scared to draw natural when they are doing it for the Bible. 
They, the promoters of the sacred heart, sent back my sacred heart picture with a nice letter saying they didn't like the face and I agree with that. I realize you need a model and there is someone I can use beautifully, Father Blaise of our parish, a young Franciscan monk with a beard. I'm trying to get Father Gorman to persuade him to sit for me. Mrs. O'Sullivan who lives down the street has a plant which was used for the crown of thorns so I can get that straight too.
I have got into a fight with Mr. Dougherty about LendLease but he is fair and granted me some points. The funny part is that the American grievance is so illogical.
a) England should have known and she can get credit. 
b) England won't take credit which is terrible because she never pays her war debts.
It sounds absurd, but that is the way they reason over here. Also:
a) England is finished and she may as well realize it and all this protest is insincere because 
b) We all know she is much richer and more powerful than she pretends to be and she only pretends because she won't face the fact that she is finished.
You won't believe it, but that's the way they argue. 

Randal will be at your mother's on the twenty-ninth and you can pick him up there. I'm afraid your mother and Ruth would want to come with him. Otherwise and at present I have no place and I am curiously tired – I don't want any more fuss than is necessary.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

HvS | WW2 1943 to ERM, OSS

HvS and Children, about 1949
Clockwise from HvS: John, Brigid,
Randal, Sheila, Lis, Olga
[2017-9-3 Thanks to Jay for typing!]

HvS>ERM 1943-1-11

From: Hilda Marlin
3728 Northampton St., NW
Washington 15, DC

To: Mr. E.R. Marlin
O.S.S. Detachment
APO 887
Postmaster New York City

Jan 11, 1943


I lost your letter asking me for underwear, please write me another, it is ready to be sent but they won't take it unless there is a request. I have three union suits, park wool $4.00 each, long, size 42 (they said that would be better since they shrink). 

So please write to ask me for them. I also have a pair of leather gloves, wool-lined (from your Mother and Ruth) and a beautiful little pipe of imported briar ($5.00). Very prettily curved, soft and light. A present from me.  If you like some candy or tobacco I can send that too but you must ask for it. 

You ought to read “The Screwtape Letters” by a Mr. [C.S.] Lewis (Anglican), very good. 

The children liked the ballet all right but preferred "Cinderella". One little girl, when the two sisters were leaving Cinderella in the kitchen, cried aloud: "Why don't they hug her?" 

It is always noisy with comment – most of the spectators are very small children. On Randy's birthday there is going to be a magician at the same place - good coincidence, eh?

HvS>ERM 1943-1-30

From: 3728 Northampton Street NW
Washington 15 D.C.
Letter No. 23
January 30, 1943
Dear Husband,
Today we are living in Irish fashion with a temperature of fifty [degrees F] in an oilless house but with two wood fires burning. We were able to get wood at last, for twenty dollars a cord. They say they may come with oil tomorrow. They are three days behind in delivering on account of thick snow. 

Snow is jamming all the roads and clinging thick to the trees, yet it goes on snowing. One has to wade through lakes of yellow mud to cross a street and the bus goes bubble-bubble and as slow as a snail. I asked the bus man if it was hard driving and he said very. I asked him how the woman drivers were doing and he gave a crooked smile and told me they had only two and they left.
Birdie [one of two domestic help in Washington; the other was called Weeshee] feels exceedingly injured because it's hard to get to work in the mornings. She has to see empty bus after empty bus pass, and then she has to mount one that can hardly hold people. It is hard to convince her that racial prejudice is not involved. 

I am writing this by the radio and through a concert program I suddenly hear a message of someone who has had an accident on Pennsylvania Avenue and is told to wait until the traffic cop gets there. Interesting. I suppose it's all on account of the weather. The meat counter (oh, they are telling the cops to halt a hit and run driver, it's just like a detective story!) is very empty. I only could get two hamhocks and a slab of veal today. The rest was all just bones and chickens. The one too low and the other too high. 
I have good news for you. Miss Bertha Gunterman [Editor at Longman's Green] likes my drawing very much and wants me to continue the woodcut style for the book and May [Massee, Viking Press], who hadn't told me she had accepted "Gerrit and the Organ" suddenly sent me a page of manuscript to ask whether I liked that type for it, so apparently she has taken it. I told her I wanted to know what she thought of it.
Randal is a funny little fellow and he seems to have an enormous attraction for some people. I had paid him for sitting for me and he lost two dimes in the snow. He told me about it while I was shopping in the Safeway, and I was hardhearted enough to say I wouldn't replace them, that it was his loss. The silent tears trickled down his cheeks and so one of the shop attendants gave him two dimes. 
I love my children, they're very sweet. Randal, Brigid, Sheila and I went out this afternoon and we met Mrs. Sullivan and stopped to chat. In the course of conversation the topic became germs and I told her how the children pick chewing gum off the street to eat it. She wanted to impress on the children how dirty that was and said: "A great big colored man might have had it in his mouth," as if a colored man's mouth was necessarily more dirty than a white man, a completely unnecessary addition to the moral and one that made me squirm. The children looked at her with limpid eyes.
Afterwards Brigid asked me "What did she mean, colored man?" 
Randal had understood her to say "Car man."
"Oh," he said carelessly. "She meant someone who has a car."
I could have kissed them both on the spot, but I didn't.
I am starting a class or club for Olga. Every Tuesday afternoon Olga is going to have four friends who are going to sew with her. I felt she needed nice friends and she seems unable to attract them herself so I believe this is the answer. Randal won't have any trouble that way. You should see the girls who go to his class when they meet him accidentally on the street. They're quite ready to elope with him. By the way, he is getting an expert at arithmetic by counting his pennies and doing all sorts of sums with them.
Sheila has Christened John Anthony "Johnnyboy". Did I tell you that Baroness van Boetselaar [relative in Occupied Holland] has a son, a Caeserian birth? She lost one at four years with a weak heart and had several miscarriages but this one is said to be sound. So nice for her after two daughters. She seems to be doing well and to have been very brave. I suppose you heard about Margriet Francisca, I'm sure the Consul has elaborated on it. Congratulate him for me!
I have got you a letter from someone whom I can't place. It looks like Blissaine Dell or Dull and she lives in Ingleside Terrace and has lost her mother. I'll have to condole her without having the faintest notion who she is and whether she is married or not. I shall have to feign illegible handwriting. She has apparently been to our house, but I'm sure I never saw her name spelt and anyway, I always felt as if you were a kind of file I could consult in these matters. It's very awkward having one's file walk off on one. But I'll have to do the best I can.
Oh goodness, that reminds me I have to thank Edna Gorman for the presents she sent the children at Christmas so goodbye for the nonce. I may have to write you less frequently in the future with two books to illustrate. Please pray for me and I'll pray for you.