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.


her talk to him or listen to him talking; this became rather a trial as he was so very deaf and somewhat crotchety. She told me he had had two wives, both of whom left him after quite a short time; she said it was strange that a man like Meredith -- an ardent feminist with such a reverance for Women -- should have been unable to find a woman who could endure to live with him. Roland after this showed me several photographs of his regiment, in all of which he comes out very well, & with the usual appearance of self-sufficient arrogance.
When I had finished looking at the photographs Clare & Evelyn had gone to Church, Mr. Leighton had been invisible since breakfast, & Mrs. Leighton soon disappeared, presumably to do some writing. Roland also had temporally vanished with the photographs, so I remained in the little room between my bedroom & the hall. It appears to be used as a sort of library; There were copies there of all Mrs. Leighton's books, all the books for boys Mr. Leighton used to write in rather earlier days, and almost all those of Sir Gilbert Parker, who seems to be a great friend of the family.
Eventually I found Roland playing about with his papers in my room. I had previously asked him if I might be graciously permitted to see the poem his Mother had told me about in her letter. When I came in he handed me the notebook he always carries about with him & pointing to a particular page said "This is the Villanelle you wanted to see." The poem was dated April 25th 1915, and was called "Violets". I remembered how on that day he had written me a letter - he was then in Ploegsteert Wood - enclosing some violets from the top of his dug-out, which he said he had first picked for me. With this recollection in my mind I