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Testing - Dix

[George Ll.D. to Sylvia Ll.D.]

Tuesday, March 8th [1910]

Dearest Mother,
  The crowd at the station was terrific. I wondered about for some time with Johnstone looking for a seat, but we couldn’t find one, so we decided on honouring by our presence a very smelly little van. At Slough we changed into a slightly more roomy van. Finally we reached Windsor and walked down to my tutor’s.

  I was rather surprised this morning to find I could get up punctually at a quarter to seven. I woke up after a terrible dream in which Uncle Guy brought Miss Dix down to Eton. She was little and ugly! Heavens above! But I’m afraid I rather bore you by continually talking about her. Perhaps it is a little tiny bit silly!

  I had rather a good game of fives this afternoon in which I and Austen-Cartmell managed to beat two others. Of course my hand has regained some of its purple! I don’t know when it won’t. It seems to be a little bit better than it was a week ago.

  I must now do an extra work and a construe.

      Your loving son


  In what play George had seen Miss Dorothy Dix [1892-1970] and fallen victim to her charms, I don’t know; but he “got it badly”, and had to submit to a good deal of ragging on her account from his brothers. His mother was tolerant enough of this first adolescent passion, as a later letter indicates, to send him a photograph of the charmer; it probably came from an illustrated paper, as I doubt if Miss Dix ever attained the dignity of a picture postcard, for the embellishment of silver frames in the shop-windows of the day along with the Marie Studholmes, Edna Mays, Lily Elsie’s and Gertie Millars. She may have played lead now and then, but was not either then or later in the front rank. Candour compels me to add that to my own eyes she was no great shakes, but that may have been the automatic reaction to one’s brothers fancies, or simply because at 12 years old one would have found no higher praise than “not bad” or “fairly decent” for Helen of Troy herself. George, as I have said, was sorely smitten, and I expect she was ravishing really.

[AB: Peter was wrong: I found several postcards of Miss Dix on eBay, as well as sheaf of professional photos on the National Portrait Gallery’s website, taken later in 1916. She was only a year older than George, with a strong and striking face, not unlike his later fiancee, Josephine Mitchell-Innes. The play George probably saw her in – or at any rate saw a postcard of her – was A White Man (1908) in which she played a Tiger-Lily-esque Indian called Nat-u-Ritch, aged 16.]


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