August 13 1939

Sunday 13th August.

Didn’t wake up until 10:0 when Mrs. McKissoch’s friend came in. Decided to wait until stewardess arrived & ask for tea & toast, so we did that & it was very nice. Up & out at last & found Nora & Maurice up bright & cheery- more or less! Played ping-pong a bit & amused ourselves.

Had lunch to which Wilkie manage to totter. Afterwards we all grabbed cameras and rushed up on deck as it was nice & sunny, but most frightfully windy. Took some funny groups – Wilkie, Maurice, the Doctor, Jimmy, Ritz, Bob, Nora & me – all positions. Then dashed downstairs & saw the immigration authorities.

Went downstairs & watched Maurice play in the Final of the Ping-Pong Tournament – he beat Wilkie yesterday in the Semi-Final- a great battle- Wilkie is terribly cunning, but Maurice is really the better player.  Maurice this time was playing a little fattish man- awfully good, but he played marvellously & won. Nice work.

The two finalists & Nora & I then went & had tea to drink the health of the Champ! Up to the Smokeroom then & sat until Nora & I decided we must use up the films on our cameras by taking photos of Henry & Egypt, so we dashed off much against Maurice’s will, & found the two amiable gentlemen & took their photos after much fuss. Didn’t bother to stay, but found Bob & Wilkie wandering around so we took some more snaps of them. 

Decided next to go to the back of the boat to take more still so collected Maurice & wandered through. Stopped & saw Wilkie’s cabin on the way & found the Doc there, so he joined the party. Lost our way a few times, but eventually got there, took the snaps & wandered back.

To the cabin & packed. Down to dinner & the two gentlemen opposite treated us to Liebefraumilche.  Very festive. Afterwards Nora longing to get merry so treated me to a Manhattan. Maurice & Ritz found us drinking & came & wrote on our menus– everyone did.

Eventually decided to go upstairs to the ship’s concert as Jimmy was playing.

Arrived to find the place crowded Wilkie & the Doc waiting for me & then with Harlan Heath- Maurice’s friend – an ‘Honourable’ incidentally! We all sat round & drank Tom Collins & after the Concert was over danced- greatly teased with my menu & bag & everything. Maurice showed me his Year Book – awfully interesting. Waited & waited for Jimmy to appear but he didn’t for positively hours.  Ritz & Beatrice went eventually & the doctor – Wilkie asked me to walk but Maurice would’ve been left, so I didn’t. Nora went down to Wilkie’s cabin & got the remains of a bottle of Scotch, but there wasn’t much & I loathed it anyway. Jimmy finally appeared when only Nora, Bob, Maurice & I were left. The five of us decided to make a night of it, so we just sat & slept & fooled around. I tried to persuade Jimmy to play, but he only had spasms. I slept on Maurice’s shoulder & we played a silly trick with sixpences. 

Maurice’s Confession.

Saw the dawn come & the sun rising. Arriving at Cherbourg at about 6:30. At quarter to six Maurice & I danced- very nicely & we were extremely proud of ourselves. At about quarter past Mamma appeared – very mad! I was hauled to bed- but made it up before I went!

August 12 1939

Saturday 12th August.

Breakfast with an even greater effort – 15 minutes late, but found Nora, Egypt & Wilkie all missing. Up to ping-pong room & found Maurice there. Played with him and also Bob who appeared. Felt weak about 11-ish so Maurice & Bob took me to find beef tea. Left me in the Garden Lounge while they searched & Egypt pounced on me! They were away ages, but eventually came & rescued me – minus beef tea. The horrors had very nearly left me to my fate! Down & found I could join the tournament- but could find no one to play, so the steward put me in the semifinal. Played some hot fours. Ritz & Nora arrived sleepily after a while & the Doctor, Wilkie of course, not until lunchtime.

After lunch went & stood in a queue for hours to get tickets from Southampton to London. Then downstairs & played in ping-pong tournament. Discovered I couldn’t be in semifinals. Beat 2 women, then got beaten by a Jewess who eventually won.

Up to tea dance with Maurice & tread a pretty measure! Afterwards down & played more ping-pong.

Dressed for dinner – in red brocade. Maurice quite bowled over with my appearance – or so he said! He also approves of my white skirt & fluffy yellow jumper. Amazing! After dinner Nora & Mummy went to the pictures. I went up to the lounge to dance with Maurice, Wilkie, the Doctor & Bob. Danced quite a bit, then when they started Keno we went down to the smoke room & had a drink – Tom Collins! Amusing discussions – especially about my clothes!

Programme of Daily Entertainments

Upstairs again after a while and collected Ritz & Beatrice. Dance music & then Jimmy played the piano – I danced a lot – with Wilkie, Maurice, Ritz & the Doctor. Maurice unfortunately has sprained his foot at ping-pong but still hobbles around. Persuaded Jimmy to play a long time. Wilkie & I danced the last dance & then he took me to bed-3:30! Nora very matey with Robert one of the men from our table!

August 11 1939

Menu Cover

Friday 11th August.

Up with an effort & down to breakfast. Nora down too, & Egypt, with whom we are still on quite amiable terms. Wilkie not down. Nora and I decided it was a nice day & so went & changed into shorts then out on deck, but nothing much happening. Very spray-ish in our chairs. Nora’s cabin companion very sweet & complimenting me on how charming I looked last night – all overcome!

Down to the ping-pong room. Found Maurice there & he persuaded me to play – great fun- found I was still quite reasonable. Maurice very good. Nora doesn’t play. Played quite a bit – singles & doubles-with Maurice, Ritz, a Dutch boy & a Lancashire girl Beatrice. There was a ping pong tournament, but I was too late to join. The steward is going to fix it if anyone drops out though.

Big American man that I taught the Lambeth Walk to last night came & asked me if I knew Mr. Wilkinson so I promised to show them each other although Wilkie hadn’t yet appeared.

In to lunch & after a while Wilkie arrived. Very solemn- Mummy said he was in a bad temper. After lunch I went & told him about the big man who is going to play him in the ping-pong. Instead of being grumpy he was merely sleepy having slept until quarter to one- the big laziness!

Up and played ping-pong afterwards with Wilkie & Maurice. Mummy thought she would like to see Cabin Class and Tourist, so she asked Egypt to take her – with Nora & me as chaperones! He was very pleased & acted guide most efficiently. On your left the something & on your right the something else! Found Henry & traipsed all over, saw the swimming pool & cabins & all. Up on deck & William took our photos holding the Queen Mary life belt – very funny. Then Nora & Mummy had tea on deck- no more appeared, so Henry & William took me into the covered deck space & we had it together. Henry gazing at me intently and paying me compliments – especially about my eyes. Dear Henry! He must be nice!

Back to Mummy & Nora & then all back home. To the ping-pong room & found Wilkie there. Played with him & talked about American experiences. Also, a Scottish Doctor from Glasgow & Bob, a young man from London.

Bob, Nora & Wilkie

Ping pong eventually finished so Wilkie off to swim. Nora, Bob, the Doc. and I went upstairs & chattered. They then went into early dinner & Nora & I got dressed.

To dinner & felt quite crazy. Upstairs afterwards to dance. Mum to the pictures. Nora & I with Wilkie, Maurice & Ritz. I was quite crazy- much to everyone’s amusement! Refused Egypt’s invitation to go 1st class! Wilkie’s hat fascinated me – bright green cloth – very squashable! Danced then Horse Racing started, so we just sat & were fun to ourselves. Bob arrived looking very lonely, so we asked him to join us & we all drank Tom Collins. After a while dance music came on again & we danced & then Jimmy played the piano & we danced more. The Doc. joined us, also very full of amusement – altogether great fun and games. A Bulgarian sang some marvellous French songs & Jimmy played until he nearly died! At last to bed, Wilkie escorting me tenderly.

August 10 1939

Thursday 10th August.

Up betimes and to breakfast. Nora and Egypt also there. All quite well. After breakfast up on deck and found chairs- quite sheltered but in the lower part of the ship & we get rather sprayed upon – however, salt is frightfully healthy! Talked to Frank, a small dark man who used to play shuffleboard with me on the Mauretania- an Australian. Sat and slept & Egypt came and read with us.

To lunch and afterwards found our trunk. Egypt and Henry took Nora & I through to show us the Tourist part of the ship by daylight. Most frightfully possessive, my dear! Saw the swimming pool – v. nice. Very nice decks for Tourist, but you feel the vibration more than in our part. Very hot on deck- watched the horse races for a while and then all had tea on deck very nicely together. I then decided to go & find Mamma & Nora came too- our two swains leaving us to find our way home by ourselves, much to our annoyance. Back to our cabins and unpacked a bit more. To Nora’s cabin & talked a bit to her & her roommate – an oldish lady. Up to Garden Lounge & saw end of horse racing there – Egypt also there – incredible person. Backed a horse for me but of course it lost!

Down & got dressed for dinner – green muslin with black bows. In feeling very cheery – a Get Together Dinner – I was longing to get together! George, our steward – a funny little Cockney – very full of beans – insisted on signing menus for us all so we all signed.

Caps and balloons and whistles – such fun! An awfully nice big man at another table, very amused at us. I asked him to sign my menu- he is an American from Philadelphia, name Jack Wilkinson & he has lovely blue eyes & a most humourous smile.

Upstairs to the Garden Lounge for dancing. Sat a table with two American boys- only discovered one wasn’t American. His name is Maurice Chaundy & he was an exchange student from Rugby to the American school Choate for a year. He is rather nice, but looks & speaks quite typically  American. Talked for a while and my friend Mr. Wilkinson came and smiled at  us.  Then Egypt once more appeared with Henry & insisted on us going Tourist. I didn’t want to go at all, so Mummy said we must only go for 1/2 hour & off we trailed. Got there eventually & found instead of dancing- community singing! Very bored, so went back in prompt 1/2 hours time. To find dancing finished & revolting game Keno going on. Deserted Egypt & Henry & sat & talked to Maurice & Mr. Wilkinson & the other American boy, Jack. After a while Keno stopped & recorded dance music came through. Danced à la American with Maurice, Jack & Wilkie- most successful. Maurice & I even danced cheek to cheek but it made me laugh rather! Nora didn’t manage so well – she doesn’t look much of a dancer though.

Mum to bed & after a while the music stopped. Then Jimmy McKenna started to play the piano and he was marvellous. We danced quite a lot, and sat listening & at last went to bed at about 2-ish. An hour off every night – terribly awkward for sleeping! Wilkie saw me to my cabin in the most sweet way.

August 9 1939

Loving goodbyes in stateroom.

Wednesday 9th August

All up early. Finished packing. Margs & Bibi off early. Quite het up in case we were late. Mum & I off with Monie in the car plus luggage. The rest by tube. Hellish hot & a lousy journey through the city. Arrived at last deposited luggage safely & got rid of it. Then through the barriers – saw Eileen & her mother too- & onto the ship. Made our way to the cabin & found the rest there. All up to the Smokeroom & sat. A terrific crowd- couldn’t see the boat at all – eventually time to go- said goodbye to everyone- Uncle Artie- Aunt Phine- Bibi- Aunt Ettie- Aunt Moo- Aunt Trix- Margs- Monie- Peg & Bill. Boxes of candy from Uncle Artie & Bill. Up on deck & tried to see them – very crowded, so got some men to heave me onto deck chairs & saw beautifully but very tough on the feet. Mum up too. Away, at last – waved & waved until we could see them no more, then downstairs as it was so hot.

Went straight into lunch & just sat anywhere – we are at a table with a peculiar American woman & rather masculine English female. All quite matey.

Inside Travelgram.

Down to the cabin afterwards – a four berth- rather small, but with Peggy not coming we have an extra berth which makes more room. The other lady in the cabin is rather a howl – Mrs. McKissoch – American – plump – 35-ish – very racy language & hard boiled, but friendly and amusing. Mum & I upstairs afterwards – lots of the Bulgarians from the Mauretania on board- all full of joy to see us – then who should I meet on the stairs but Nora – Sammy’s blonde of the last night on the Mauritania. All of us very matey, she travelling by herself so we all joined up. Went to the Smokeroom and talked & talked & talked- great fun. Had life boat drill. Very absurd! Out on deck & met Eileen & her Mother- chattered & was introduced to her brother Jimmy who came over on the Georgie- a funny sort of bloke. Left them – booked chairs – & tried to get tea, but none going, so Nora, Mum & I to the bar for an orange juice!

Unpacked a bit more & to dinner – Nora had to go to first setting, but we went to second. To a big table- 2 middle-aged married men opposite – very jolly- one from N/C called Murphy – two Scotch ladies- one married- two other men, quite jovial and an apparition! A large dark man with wavy black hair, curly mustachio, flashing smile and diamond rings! He sat next to me, & we talked after a while – rather amusing broken English – he is an Egyptian – a jeweller – and called William Anawati! All terribly funny. He takes 4 months holiday- has spent 2 in America- all over- & now has 2 to spend in Paris & on the Riviera- lucky devil.

Finished dinner & left the dining room escorted by William! Met Nora being pestered by a drunken Swede, so rescued her and arranged for her to come to our table at meals. Up to the Smokeroom with William and there met his friend Henry – a Swiss – very charming. He is travelling Tourist. Terribly hot, so Egypt suggested we go on deck plus drinks – Tom Collins! We all went up & stood in the pitch dark & drank & smoked- Mummy, Nora & I, Egypt and Henry – terribly funny. William got ticked off for flashing a torch, then brought out chairs from the lounge, and got ticked off for that! What a man! Mummy left us after the 2nd Tom Collins, Nora & I braved a 3rd, then Henry suggested we go through to Tourist, so we went through all first class & finally arrived there and lay on very comfortable chairs and gazed at the stars. All very romantic – especially as I sang! William then produced more drinks- Cointreau this time – very strong liqueur tasting of oranges, so I passed mine onto Henry & he very obligingly drank it.  Nora & I then decided it was time to go, so we started back. Egypt tried his technique on Nora who got quite alarmed. I tried to get Henry to go to the rescue, but he was merely amused! Then Egypt changed his tactics & transferred his affections to me, so there I was surrounded by Egypt so to speak. I found my way out though quite safely, and everything ended quite well. Back home & to bed.

Inside A Happy Trip.