Brittain, Vera, Diary, 1 January 1916

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
1 January 1916
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


Sat. Jan. 1st 1916 [Hassocks]
This day last year was the first New Year's Day I had had with Him in my life. To-day is the first New Year's Day I have had with my life empty through the loss of Him. I am immeasurably richer than I was this day two years ago; I am incomparably poorer than I was this day last year.
But this year dawns differently than any other I have known before in that it marks the completion in the change of my outlook on life from a child's or even a girl's to a woman's. It is not years that have brought this alteration - oh no! alas, not years, for many have reached my age without having felt or thought at all, and only a month ago in His letters He was calling me "Dear Child." But now that jeunesse d'etee with all its glory has gone down into the Abyss, and has taken my own youth with it - for ever and ever more.
Clare and I went over to Brighton in the morning to see about her mourning at a shop on the front. Brighton was terribly windy & garish & heartless & cold. The general air of indifference made me almost lose my temper, & I felt it would be impossilbe ever to go back there at all - bad enough to go to Brighton itself - but to the Grand, where we had lunch - never! But somehow I felt sadly distinguished and infinitely lofty in the midst of that overdressed chattering crowd in the hotel; they showed their vulgarity by gazing inquisitively at my mourning as I went by.
We went back by 'bus, which took quite an hour. We were glad of it, Clare & I, for we had the most intimate conversation we have ever had, and wept quite unashamedly at the beginning of it. I made her promise that if ever she wanted any help of any sort, or anything done for her, she would ask me - for I can gain nothing now in life except by giving, and, even as I would have given all to Him, would rather give to his nearest than to anyone else