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.