Brittain, Vera, Diary, 22 August 1915

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
22 August 1915

Brittain, Vera

McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


into the drawing room & showed me her collection of old photographs -- chiefly of her children when they were small. One which appealed to me immensely was of Roland aged about three or four -- a little child with a thick mass of fair curls, gazing with a pathetic expression at Clare, who was a very tiny baby. Mrs Leighton told me that when he was about that age he was so lovely with his cluster of golden curls & large dark eyes that people used to turn round in shops to look at him & become quite silent while he went by. It is certainly rather difficult to believe in that now. One or two of the few discerning people in the world might perhaps look at him twice because of vivid intellectuality stamped on every feature of his face & especially in his eyes, but certainly no one would look at him twice for his beauty!
Even in those childish photographs of Roland there was more than a hint of the almost tragic sadness which so often comes into his eyes now. And even in those days he had a very marked air of arrogance -- that self-confident assurance of being something above the ordinary -- which is so characteristic of him to-day. I noticed this especially in a small photograph of him -- which Mrs. Leighton said appeared on the front page of the "Sphere" -- dressed in a little overcoat & a sailor hat; he is standing with his hands in his pockets and a lordly air, as if the world & all in it lay at his feet.
There were very few portraits of Mrs. Leighton; she said she did not take well. The best one was a snapshot of her talking to George Meredith in his garden. When she showed it to me she told me how she used to spend days with George Meredith -- who seems to have taken rather a fancy to her -- during the last years of his life. He liked to have