Floods and deluges of rain – servants’ houses all flooded out and one washed right down. I am so pleased at having my proper pay of Rs.2100 a month that life seems quite different. My arrears are also Rs.1200 which enables me to pay all my debts at the shops. What a huge war this is. Bay writes from Belgium, others from France, Watts from Mesopotamia and Egypt, Irwin from East Africa, Cunliffe in West Africa, Bob and Wattie are in Salonica and here are we on the Afghan frontier. Bennett writes from Persia.
*Rs = Rupees
No ladies are allowed at Landi Kotal fort, but Sir George Roos Keppel gave me special permission to take Daisie up to have a peep at Afghanistan, and Pears, the Political agent, Khyber, asked us to lunch. We started in Major Finlay’s car at 9.30 a.m. after the parade service of Intercession, 2nd anniversary of the Declaration of War – Arrived there, 30 miles up hill about 11.30, wandered about the country, had lunch and returned by 4.30 p.m., roasted to death as we had the top off the car to see the view. It is hot and sticky after the rain.
My meeting of the Church of England’s Men’s Society on Tuesdays is rather interesting – there are some good fellows among the men and some humbugs. We got the news of Townshend surrendering at Kut el Amara yesterday with 6000 native [Indian] and 3000 white [British] troops. Not important as regards loss of men, but will stir up Mahomedan excitement in India, Persia and Cabul – however we’ll take whatever comes. Our muddleheaded pacific nation that despised its soldiers in peace time deserves these blows and the poor soldiers suffer.
Daisie tries keeping pets with miserable results. First 2 sparrows – cat got one, then another sparrow enlisted, mysteriously disappeared, and the third died. Then a dove, Daisie took the dove for a walk in the garden and it was carried off by a kite, now 2 quails and we’ll see what happens.
This is being a wonderful year so far. Heavy rain yesterday and black clouds now, quite cold and no idea of thin suits or punkahs – it is most abnormal. The War shows no sign of flagging, goes on just killing, killing, killing. I suppose it will end some day. Good news yesterday, the vile traitor, Roger Casement*, tried to land in Ireland with arms and was captured – everybody except Roger is very pleased. Am going up to Landi Kotal to-morrow to have a peep at Afghanistan.
I have given both the boys a good start in stamp-collecting and I hope they’ll take an interest in it and not swop valuable stamps for tame rabbits or white mice.
* Roger Casement was knighted in 1911 for his humanitarian work; yet, having been born in County Dublin, was a sympathiser of Irish nationalism due to the British oppression of the Irish. He was captured leaving a U-boat in April 1916, having tried to muster support from the German government for an uprising in Ireland. Despite his failure, the Uprising went ahead, on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, in Dublin. While the uprising was crushed, it ultimately led to Ireland being granted Home Rule and paved the way for Eire (southern Ireland) to become independent of the United Kingdom.
Some doubts exist over the circulation of diaries purporting to show Casement as gay, which of course was a grave crime in 1916. These diaries removed any sympathy to his plight and he was executed for treason on 29 June of that year.