Since November 1917, Russia had been searching for a way to call a halt to its participation in the Great War. An armistice with Germany and Austria-Hungary had been reached in early December 1917, and negotiations begun at Brest-Litovsk on 22 December to determine the terms of peace. However, these proved elusive. On 10 February 1918, the frustrated Russian Foreign Minister Leon Trotsky, deeming the Central Powers’ terms too harsh, withdrew from negotiations and announced the demobilisation of Russian troops without concluding a peace treaty. Germany responded at once by resuming hostilities, and both Trotsky and Lenin realised that Russia in its weakened state would not be able to halt the enemy’s advance. Peace negotiations resumed later in the month and, on 3 March 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Soviet Russia and the Central Powers was signed. By the terms of the treaty, Russia had to give up Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Germany and Austria-Hungary and recognize the independence of Ukraine, Georgia and Finland. Along with a third of its population, Russia lost most of its oil, coal and iron stores and much of its industry. When Germany surrendered to the Allies in November 1918, the treaty was annulled, leaving the location of the western border of Russia subject to violent and chaotic power struggles for decades to come.
Monday 4 February
We went out with Poppy in the morning, & went to the garden. In the afternoon we went down the wood again, & up the Badger’s walk. After dinner we sat in the smoking room & talked, & went to bed at about ten. Sent Ione some violets – to Both1.
I have been for writing some time past but kept putting it off in the hopes of hearing from you & then came Mrs Gee’s letter saying you were awaiting a letter from me. You will I am sure know how annoyed I was, & I know Pat would have been just delighted for you to see the Divisional troupe & it was just a little thing I could do for him. I was so pleased to get a letter from Jess & Tommy, they seemed to take in a measure [of] the place of yours which I have missed so much.
I enclose herewith the two letters which I received in your last one. I am afraid the Boy has joined Pat. You would be surprised how many of the letters I have received from old officers of the Division contained references to Pat, nearly every one of the Dublins2 wrote & said how pleased Pat would be but one of the Padies [sic] was best. He writes, “I can imagine you looking at the photo of dear Pat & his face wreathed in his most appreciative smile, a smile many of us loved so well. How pleased & how proud he now is [sic] of his old Staff Captain”. I know you will like to read the above for it is only one proof of thousands how he was loved by all. It has been such a long time since I heard from you that I was getting anxious but the letters of the girls reassured me somewhat. I feel guilty of neglect in not seeing you when I was home last & hope to make amends at an early date. I have left it for Mrs G. to decide whether I call the first or last day of my leave which I hope will be in about fourteen days time.
The Brigadier is on leave for a month. We had a ceremonial parade a few days ago & I had my Ribband [sic] presented by Gen de Lisle. I felt very proud of it. I enclose a cutting from the local paper for you to keep as I know you will enjoy it because Pat was always teazing [sic] me about when I charged the Bosch lines. The Brigade moved up into the support lines yesterday. Now I must closing [sic] & shall eagerly await a letter saying you are quite well & telling me when you will be returning to Folkestone. Love to the girls & How is Ione.
Tuesday 5 February
It rained hard all day. Poppy & I went up to the Herd’s house, to see Bell making the new tank up there. Muz read & wrote letters. We went out again after lunch, & went up to see the new bullocks, that arrived this morning. We got very wet, & then changed, & read in front of the drawing room fire. Poppy went out again, & then he came & sat with us, & we talked in the smoking room after dinner.
The drawing room at Moyaliffe Castle
Wednesday 6 February
We were up earlier, & finished packing & started by the ten train, it was raining hard all morning, we went to see Tony first, & then met Zooie at Fullers & had lunch there, & then saw her off at the train, & saw uncle Monty & Violet D’arcy Irving. Then we went off to get Muz’s spats made, & shopped, & then went to the Shelbourne & wrote letters, then had dinner, & went to Kingstown by the eight train, & went on to the day boat, & slept there the night, in a private cabin, we were very comfy but rather hot!
Thursday 7 February
Muz & I had a salt bath, at about eight, & then went back to bed again, before the boat started. We slept some of the time, & it was only rough when we got nearly over. We got in at about twelve. We read in the train, & had to change at Chester, & had about 1½ hours to wait, then we changed at Shrewsbury too, & had a long time there too, & had tea there, & got to Bridgnorth at about seven. We told Heppie & Tom all our news etc.
Friday 8 February
Muz & Tom went in to the town, I wrote letters etc. Then Rosie came up. I read, & finished “Fanny Lambert”.3 Tom & I went in to the town in the afternoon, & went to see Mrs Welch for a few minutes. Then we read in the evening, & I went to bed at about ten, & Heppie brought Muz up later.
Saturday 9 February
Heppie went in to the town in the morning, Muz wrote letters, & I read, & finished “Mother Carey”.4 Then Tom & I went out for a lovely walk, through the Dingle, & home the other side of the brook, the dogs had great fun hunting. We came in to lunch soaked! We read nearly all afternoon.
Sunday 10 February
Muz, Tom & I went to church. Read for a bit after lunch, & then I wound wool & cut it, for the mats, all afternoon, the H. & I had a race, cutting, & I won by 15 minutes! Muz worked at the mat & Tom read.