[ [Royal Navy wife in 1920s Malta. ] Autograph Diary of Muriel Margaret Medd, wife of Paymaster-Commander Walter Hall Medd, OBE, RN

Author: 
Muriel Margaret Medd [ née Beattie ] (b.1889), wife of Paymaster-Commander Walter Hall Medd, OBE, RN (1886-1952), son of Rev. George Tate Medd, Vicar of Whitchurch [ Malta; Maltese ]
Publication details: 
Entries between 1 January and 13 August 1920. In 'Collins Handy Diary for 1920.' [ London and Glasgow: Collins' Clear-Type Press. ]
£400.00
SKU: 19791

230pp., in 12mo 'Collins' Handy Diary for 1920.' In good condition, lightly aged and worn, with slight damage to fore-edges of front endpaper and first two leaves. Ownership inscription on front pastedown: 'Muriel M Medd, | 123, . St. Torri, | Shema, | MALTA.' The work of a well-educated practical woman, casting interesting light on the day to day life of a Royal Navy officer's wife in 1920s Malta. Her husband is more often than not referred to as 'W.', and the couple have a daughter Anne; and 'Peter' (family dog?). Among their circle are 'the Wildishes', 'Echwarri', 'the Swanns', 'Dr. Chapman', 'Mrs. Yorke'. There are two cuttings pinned in: the first carrying an announcement of the marriage of her brother in Leningrad, the second reporting the death of her brother Claudius Hugo Beatty. Among the topics are: organising tea parties (7 January: 'Food control stops the making of cakes & sweets - & Anne's party is on Sat.!!! Luckily messman of “Iron Duke” fills up the breach!'), her correspondence ('English Mail'), finances (4 January: 'We owe M. M. B. £25. 4s. including expenses in re Blue Peter. All must be paid up by [blank]'), family health, shopping, arranging fittings for clothes, cooking (at the start of the volume are four pages of 'Menus for lunches & dinners'), sport (tennis, golf, horse racing), the arrival of ships (including American and Japanese), entertainments (opera, Manoel Theatre, masked balls, dances), weather, shopping in Valletta, 'Carnival Week' in February, church going, visits to doctor and dentist, choosing of books at the Garrison Library. On 8 January she writes: 'Dined with the C-in-C (Heads of Departments.) I was taken in to dinner by Chief of Military Staff (Colonel Guy.) The Swanns were there too (he is Air-Commodore) Mr. Flood & Flag Lieut. (Alwood) there.' And on 15 January: '”Iron Duke” off to-morrow – W. summoned by C.-in-C. to conference during ball at Admiralty House; trouble in Russia. We have to leave early as W. has to go early to office to-morrow. C.-in-C. decidedly anxious.' Two days later: 'Races at the Marsa – we could not go as W. is fearfully busy equipping an expedition for Russia (I believe) Too busy to get home for lunch'. On 4 February she writes: 'The Atlantic Fleet (in command of Sir Sidney Fremantle) arrives in true Scottish weather! (R. Sovereign, Revenge, Royal Oak, Ramillies & Resolution, accompanied by Wessex, Vesper, Vidette, Venetia, & Westcott.) Ad. Sir Charles Madden, C. in C. of Atlantic Fleet will arrive in the Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by the destroyer Violent, expected on Mon. next.' On 21 April: 'Went to Marsa with W. to watch Army v. Navy Polo Match; Navy beat Army into bits, 5-2.' On 25 April: 'We all went into Valletta to see the procession of S. Joseph (which occurs only once in 10 yrs.), when his image is borne through the streets from S. Joseph's church; it was a fine sight. The Bishop of Gozo took part & the banners & vestments were magnificent, as also the huge massive silver lamps & censers. S. Joseph's image all gilded, rested upon a large wooden platform & was borne aloft by about 16 men & lavishly decorated with flowers; it was immediately followed by 2 boys bearing huge bouquets. We watched from roof of Garrison Library.' On 13 May: 'W. & I celebrate our “engagement” day by viewing mouldy old bones at the hypogeum! Most awfully interesting. It is (apparently) a huge underground village, on the plan of the stone temples; many of the chambers have painted ceilings – curved & spiral patterns, in a sort of dried ochre colour; piles of bones are neatly packed in heaps – disjointed so probably second burials'. On 6 August: Lieut. Patchett's little boy suddenly taken ill with dysentry & dies in a few hours in the nursing home where his poor mother is undergoing rest cure for a threatened miscarriage.' A number of entries concern a party for her daughter with a fishing theme, and there are others regarding house hunting, beginning on 8 April (following a trip to the Garrison Library and the purchase of a cricket bat). On 8 January: 'W[alter]., having hitherto been most unenthusiastic not to say sceptical – with regard to the “fishing” party, suddenly sees its possibilities & is anxious to have scenery & comic fish & eels etc. made!'. On 28 February: 'The Eagar's landlord having assaulted them, they have hastily removed to the house of her father & sister, so that dinner is “off” & we are to meet at the Opera (“liberia”) quite interesting though we never quite fathomed the plot! One or two fine old Russian chants in it, & a nice little harp interlude'.?>