Brittain, Vera, Diary, 22 March 1915

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
22 March 1915
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


Monday March 22nd
When I arrived down this morning I found a registered envelope on my plate, addressed in Roland’s writing. I quietly moved it to my knee at the time and opened it when I was by myself. It contained a brooch – just the kind I like best & should have expected him to choose. It was made of one large amethyst – my favourite stone – set in gold & surrounded by tiny pearls. I like them best because they are full of depth and light and a soft purple intensity so that they almost seem to have a soul. The stone from its white case winked in the light & scintillated brilliantly from its many facets – I looked at it till tears came into my eyes. With it he had enclosed a card with his name on it, & written on the back “In Memoriam. March 18th 1915.” Both the words & the colour of the stone were symbolic of mourning - & yet, like a good omen, the amethyst was full of light. I held it up in front of the fire for a moment & the red glow reflected in it made it look like a great drop of blood. I scarcely shall dare – as I told Roland – to wear that which is the visible sign of so much. I brought him his fountain pen this morning – I only wished it could have been something better, but I suppose anything not merely [?] useful would be little to the purpose in the place where he is going. Then I started to write him what will probably be the final letter of farewell before he leaves England. I told him I could not bid him goodbye on any but a note of hope. I wonder how much there is of resignation about his attitude – him whom I must leave now to Time & whatever is God. I trusted, I told him, that from the crisis of nations a brighter future might dawn even for such as him & me, when the shadows have fallen away. I said I would not, could not say goodbye – since I believed that “through much tribulation we come into the Kingdom.” I sent him all that was most precious to me too – the best of love & hope – and so – until we meet again – bade him “au revoir.”
I tried to work to-day, & with some success remembering that if I could not feel interested in my work I must do it without feeling interested. Such is the only form of courage I can practise.
Our housemaid is very troubled about her young man