Heat is appalling. I was very pleased to get a note saying that Sir Frederick Campbell was taking 15 days’ leave and I was to command the Division in his absence, so this agony ends on the 31st, when we go to Cherat – I really do not feel as if I could have survived much longer down here and even Daisie had begun to groan, to acquire a thirst, and to get prickly heat – things she has never done before in her life.
It is very hot. Our routine is, tea at 5 a.m. When I come back from riding at 8 a.m. I have milk and soda – then Soldiers’ Home accounts etc., then Brigade Office – bicycle back to breakfast 10.30 a.m. back to office, bicycle home 1.30 p.m., a little fruit – mangoes. Bed from 2.0 to 3.30 then tea – writing, bath 5 p.m. We get outside about 7 p.m., it is too hot to go out earlier – dinner at about 9 p.m. Daisie spends most of her time feeding her new found dove which I saved from the crows who were pecking it to death, her rabbits and her pigeons and chickens.
Only a month more and we hope to be getting some fresh air in Murree. It is interesting running the Soldiers’ Home and issuing meat pies and ice-creams to soldiers and it is interesting too to learn the tricks and profits of contractors. The profits are enormous and must run to quite £500 a year! I make a quantity of lemonade that costs Rs 2/- and sells at Rs. 8/-, luckily, in my case, all the money goes back to the men. I do not try to make profit but it just tumbles into my lap! I have 4 private soldiers, 2 barmen, 1 Games and 1 Billiard man, and about 10 native servants. We get up Whist Drives, Dances (ye Gods! temperature of 118º in the shade!), Lantern Lectures, Concerts, Billiard Tournaments. The men steal all the papers, knives, forks and spoons. One in 10 does, the others are as honest as the day.
Note: Rs = Rupees
£500 in 1917 is worth approximately £39,800 in 2017 values. See here for more info.
It has been unbearably hot and life not worth living. Prickly heat very bad. A storm coming on now may cool us. Soldiers’ Home going very well, I give them an address to-morrow.
I really cannot do any more hot weathers – I have done so since 1884, and no nice billets in the hills, one stands them less well as time goes on. Pigeons and rabbits and gardening keep Daisie fit and busy but she looks forward to seeing Susanna in August. Her 6th birthday is on Saturday.
Left Cherat in motor, caught 2 p.m. train from Pabbi arrived Peshawar 5 p.m., not too hot and glad to be home – Daisie wanted to get back to her rabbits and pigeons. But we enjoyed Cherat very much.
One or two hot nights, but there has been heavy rain all round and it is quite cool now – Daisie works daily in the garden till 12.0 and amuses herself with her rabbits and pigeons. I have a lecture at the Soldiers’ Home on Wednesday 20th on Russia.
This affair of Leo’s* is costing me a heap of money, thank goodness it comes at a time when I can just afford it – still it is sad that these financial blows always come just as one fancies that at last one has got one’s head above water. Among other trifles! Dr. Crichton Miller’s fee is £50 for a month of treatment! and now they want me to pay £50 a term for a tutor. I have cabled certainly not – why on earth a tutor? If he has rendered himself ineligible for a first rate school he must go to a second rate one, but a tutor seems to me idiocy – he wants companionship not solitude.
* I have no record of what this is about. I suspect from the rest of the diary entry that Leo, his elder son, has not excelled at school.