Mary Russell’s War (twenty-five): Miss Russell moves on

19 January 1915

My aunt is a perfect virtuoso of the arts of delay. Under our roof the immoveable object has spent the last week meeting the irresistible object…and it has moved.

The delays of bank signatures and explanations, and the troubles of wartime shortages, and the foul weather, and the increased risk of German invasion on the South Coast, and more and more.

But today my aunt has accepted defeat.   The legal gentlemen have agreed that, young as I may be, I am nonetheless the legal owner of the house she lives in, the coal that fills her fireplace, the wine in the cellar that she pours into her glass each evening. When my aunt had left us—I would say that she flounced off, but that would be lowering myself to her level—my mother’s legal gentleman permitted me a brief look at the record books. He does seem a superior sort of individual, one of the few men I have met who did not seem about to pat me on the head. Most irritating, to be patted upon the head.

As I said, I was only given a brief look at the books before he folded them away and had his assistant bring me cocoa and a slice of terribly sweet cake, but at some point I shall have to return.

But in the meantime, I direct the packing of my possessions, and arrange the purchase of books and a few things I will need (including another pair of shoes, I’m afraid.) We go to Sussex tomorrow, and my aunt, or the weather, or even the Kaiser himself cannot stop me.

But first, I shall sit in my room with the January issue of the Strand, and read again the latest episode of Valley of Fear.  I am not certain I fully understand where this story is headed.


  1. Merrily Taylor on January 19, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Even at this early age, Russell proves herself a formidable force. One of these days I hope to learn just how her aunt managed to become so bitter, and so alienated from her family – and from her remarkable niece. What a waste of what could have been a loving relationship! But one’s heart lifts a bit seeing the date “January 1915” – Russell is moving toward a meeting that will change her life (and of course, ours!).

  2. Roger Webster on January 19, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I realise Mary may still be recovering from some of the effects of the accident, but surely she would have recognised that the “immovable object” should be countered by an “irresistible force” (not “object”)! Perhaps she hasn’t yet learned the skills of proof reading!

    • Laurie King on January 19, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Yes, thee journal entries definitely need a proof reader.

    • Bill Edwards on January 19, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Actually I don’t agree! I think it makes more sense, and is fresher, to speak of a person as an “irresistible object”!

  3. Chris on January 19, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Mary’s Christmas, in all the joys of a physical paper edition, has dropped through my Scottish letterbox today. May these installments, into which I have dipped and which will look SO lovely in a matching paper volume to purchase, and read in one ‘shut the world out’ evening, follow suit……


  4. Mary Achor on January 19, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I received my “Mary’s Christmas” a few days ago, and hunkered down at bedtime for a delightful read. And I got it. Loved it. Although I sort of wish Uncle had shown up at the end…

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