The Second Battle of the Marne had ended in Allied victory on 6 August. It was followed two days later by the Battle of Amiens, the first ever Allied offensive which brought together infantry, artillery, tanks and aircraft in a co-ordinated attack. During the battle, which ended on 12 August, the Allied troops gained some 8 miles of ground, destroyed six German divisions and pushed German artillery away from the strategic railway junction at Amiens. Its greatest achievement however lay in the demoralisation of the German army and the dawning realisation that victory for them was unattainable. The Battle of Amiens marked the opening phase of the so-called Hundred Days Offensive that culminated in the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918 which formally ended the First World War. Against the backdrop of such a dramatic turning point, Mrs Armstrong and her daughters continued feverish preparations for Ione’s wedding, putting the finishing touches to her trousseau and writing out a list of invitations to what was to be one of the society weddings of the year.
Monday 12 August
Mike & I were up at about 6-15, & when we had finished breakfast, we went out to call for the others, in Bayliss’s trap. We sat at the station for a good long time, & saw Ione off to London by the eight train, then went up the town & shopped, but sent the trap back first. Then we had buns, & went down to the station to see Mike off to Cantreyn by the 12 train, but it was over an hour late. We met Nitter at the station, she had come from Colwell. Then she gave us lunch at Georges, & then we all four went in the bus, to St James’s, & met Alice & Cousin Aubrey there. We walked about the garden, & then had tea out. Cousin Amy came down for tea. She says Ione can stay with them to have her banns read. We came back to Malvern by the bus, & then came back here by train, & it was nearly an hour late starting. We walked home across the fields, & Muz went to the [—]first. Went to bed at about ten, it is so funny sleeping here again!
Tuesday 13 August
I cut papers & tidied the room all morning, & then went on with the wedding list. Did some mending in the afternoon, & after tea went for a walk with Muz, down to Roxburghs, & the child showed me all the rabbits, & Duskey loved them. After dinner I took Dus: for another wee walk, & went to bed at about 10-30.
Wednesday 14 August
I worked at Ione’s nightdress case all morning, it was easy to cut out, but rather hard to make. After lunch Muz & I walked over to Mrs Bayliss, to see if she could send a trap in to meet Ione, but she couldn’t, so Kathleen Reynolds went on Tom’s bike, to Miss Thorpe, & she can come. We called at the Painters for my bike, & I rode home. Then worked at the nightdress case again, & got it finished. It was awfully hot all day. Then Muz & I drove in to meet Ione by the eight train, in Miss Thorpe’s trap. We went to bed at about 11. Ione got a lovely fur coat, & is going to get it with Poppy’s wedding present. It was £102-18!1
“Ione got a lovely fur coat”
Thursday 15 August
Muz wrote letters & Ione went to the dressmakers, & I finished her bedroom slippers, to match the dressingown [sic], & I finished the nightie case last night. Tom & I went down to the cowslip field & read, & went again after lunch till tea time, then we read in the garden, & Muz wrote letters.
Friday 16 August
Muz & I walked up to Bakers to see about a trap, but he is full up till Monday. Mr Hamilton was to have come today, but Ione got a wire to say he was coming tomorrow instead. We picked blackberries on the way back. After lunch Muz Ione & I lay down for a bit, Muz had a headache, then Tom & I read out in the garden for a bit. We went to bed at about ten. I had a bath, & Muz came up to bed with us too.
A cure for headache
Saturday 17 August
Muz wrote letters, & I went on with the wedding list. After lunch Ione rode in to Malvern to meet Mr Hamilton, & do some shopping. I got tea ready & then Muz & I walked to the dressmaker, about Tom’s dress, & got back for lea. Mr H. & Ione had tea in Malvern & then came out here in a taxi, he is going to stay with Mrs Painter. He went back there for dinner, & then Ione went over there afterwards, & then he came back here with her to have some cocoa, Muz wrote letters, & I went to bed at about 9-30. Ione came up at about ten.
Advertisement for Fry’s cocoa
Sunday 18 August
Muz, Ione, Tom, Mr Hamilton & I went to church. After lunch the others sat out, Muz wrote letters, & I lay down & read. Then they went down to the cowslip field, & I had got tea ready for them, so they took it down, & I followed with the teapots. The Miss Cranstouns & a little boy came to tea, & afterwards Ione, Tom & Mr H. went & helped them to ring the church bells! Muz wrote letters, & I finished reading “The Danger Mark” by R. W. Chambers.2
There is a photograph of Ione in her fur coat in the Armstrong collection. ⇑
The Danger Mark (1909) was a novel by the American author Robert William Chambers (1865-1933). The Spectator characterized the protagonists of the story rather unkindly in its 1910 review as “a set of perfectly brainless people with no serious interests, all of them under thirty years of age” but conceded that “although the book does not quite fulfil the promise of the earlier chapters, it may be read as a curious study of American life and manners.” ⇑