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


& I were a little subdued by the recollection of the last few hours, and I think perhaps the others felt we were in spite of their being out of the happenings of them. I hoped after supper I might get a chance of seeing Mrs. Leighton alone, but Mr. Leighton insisted on sitting with us at the table (which in the dining room is the only place to sit) until a very late hour. (Mrs. Leighton afterwards said it was very unusual for him to do anything of the kind.) We three sat at one end of the table and talked mostly about literary things. (I forgot to mention that Mrs. Leighton had a conversation with me about literary things and my own ambitions in that direction, in my room this morning, and told me how everyone had to start by walking in the mud before they reached the heights and that no one had ever attained greatness by a jump.) She talked a little about her stories & said one day she hoped to write something very different, possibly plays. She had indeed written one play from which she had hoped great things, but the War had come & made it out of date (for it dealt with that state of society which a year of warfare has even now made old fashioned) and she would have to rewrite a good deal of it before it would be of any use. While we talked Mr. Leighton (who since his deafness prohibits much conversation has read seven books on the war in his spare time) sat at the other end of the table and reconstructed in matches the formation of the various armies in different battles. Occasionally he broke into our conversation with remarks on the situation in France, and once asked us to come & see the strategy of the Retreat from Mons, as depicted in matches on the tablecloth. He demands so little of anyone