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© Rob McGibbon, 2013

5th February

feel very gay waking up! have been looking forward to to-day for so long. late for premier dejeuner, so have it alone + eat heaps of bread + jam, quite enjoyed it! Lily awfully good! calls for me at 9.30. start off to have a ripping day. go with her to confession then for walk along Champs Elysées, home + read whilst Lily practises. have a lovely dejeuner laugh until feet quite ill, start out shopping 1.30 go to Lafayettes, walk back along Champs Elysées, crowds of people out all dressed in their best! have tea in Miss Frith’s room, heaps of lovely cakes! play piano + sing till dinner. feel rotten now, the days gone! Lily feels same. start for school 8’oclock. arrive 8.30, not late, say goodbye till Sunday, have had a lovely day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6th February

Don’t feel so gay to-day, had such a lovely time yesterday! no letter from home. I did expect one, go through usual day, shall be delighted when to-night comes. reading a lovely book but must not dr read too much english now. Am doing some sort of leather work in the drawing class, it is quite pretty! shall do some more when I get home (Oh! joyful word!) mend gloves + talk till 8 oclock, go to bed with greatest pleasure! at that hour.

7th February

had awful nightmare, but do not mind because it is Saturday which means the end of another week! 8 weeks to-day we go home + 14 days to-day is the short one [?]: Oh! I am longing for it, there is to be a wonderful cani carnival in Paris, everyone turns out for it! have had a letter from Mr Abrahams to-day, was very pleased to receive it, hurrah! Father MacCarthy came to see me, talked to him for an hour + three quarters, have had a really nice day to-day! + Sunday tomorrow, like the prospect immensely, Lily + I must enjoy ourselves extra specially, do fancy work in evening retire 8.15pm.

8th February

get up 7-15. fel feel awful this morning, go to mass, + then for long walk, return + read. Lily comes at 2 o’clock, she feels rotten too, we make a bright pair. go to cinema in Boulevard St Michel, but feel too depressed to enjoy it much, come out 5 o’clock, near school so return early, Lily goes home to bed! neither of us had a very lively day, never mind, its one more gone! 54 more.!!!!!!!!!!!!

9th February

get up usual time, usually feel possitively wretched Mondays, but to-day, I feel quite bright for a change, nothing special happens, have a long talk to Mlle Giomar in the chicken-run, she is very nice indeed + speaks english beautifully, I am in her dormitory. am not sorry when the days gone although have felt brighter than usual, in the evening do fancy work + talk after dinner, usual thing, never alters + is getting a bit boring now, to-morrow I get a letter from Mums, hurrah.

10th February

wake up with a rotten cold, cough + head-ache, go to music lesson but feel to bad to play, so go + lie down in the infirmery, have some hot tea, feeling a bit better, go for a walk with girls think I saw Mrs Keille [?] am not sure, in afternoon feel rotten again, but have heaps of letters + they cheer me up, lovely ones from home, answer them + ask if I can go to bed early as head aches so, find out that I can so do so, have hot grog + all kinds of poultices then settle for night, though dont feel like sleeping at all!!!

11th February

had a fairly good night, feel a bit better this morning, don’t get up till 8 o’clock, talk to Mlle whilst I am dressing she is nice, she always cheers me up, last night she gave me a tangerine to eat in bed. practise + study till déjeuner, go upstairs to watch gyms instead of going out in the chicken-run! never seen such funny gyms in my life! no wonder the girls are short + stumpy! had a ripping letter from Norah [?] with heaps of home news! ah! it makes me long to be there!! never mind, to-morrows Thursday. go to painting in afternoon but head aches so, so stop at 3 o’clock at and sit in Salle d’etude reading + talking to american girl, same sort of evening do fancy work, am not to get up till 8 again in the morning, have a good night, bar waking up once or twice, always feel more cheery when am going out the next day!! + its the carnival in a weeks time nearly, so must buck up a bit!!!!!

15th February

News reaches Thomas Higgins and Peggs that Olive has been struck down with influenza. Peggs sends a telegram saying she will travel at once to Paris, but Olive replies: “Do not worry – nothing serious.”

As usual on Sunday mornings, the girls at the school attend mass in the chapel wearing their black veils.

“On fête days we go to mass twice or once a day wearing long white veils (on other days we wear black veils) + all looking most bridal-like, I only go to mass, Sundays + fête -days.”


19th February

An entry from the journal of the ‘Mother House’ of the order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, the convent adjoining L’Institut de Notre Dame des Champs. Sadly, all the students have been evacuated in light of Olive’s illness and the school has fallen quiet.


“We are having here for the night a young girl from the nearby Institute. All pupils have been sent home due to the very serious illness of a 17-year-old [sic] girl from England. Her parents are by her side. We all share Miss Teillard’s worries.”



[An error in the journal: ‘Vendredi’ is Friday, the 19th is Thursday. However, the school would not have delayed moving the girls out]

21st February

An exhausted Sir Maurice Abbot-Anderson continues to treat Olive, but he is satisfied that she is out of danger.

Today was circled by Olive because it would mark the beginning of an extended holiday for Lent and she would have been staying at Lily’s now.

24th January… Got up feeling very gay, sure something nice is going to happen! yes it does happen, I hear of a holiday of 4 days end of February, how lovely, do hope Dad + Peggs let me go to Lily, also going to move to other dormitory with nice Mlle [Giomar] who speaks English! Have a lovely day with Lily, go to a lovely cinema, best one have ever been to, pictures splendid, never seen such crowds in the Metro before! lose 2 trains in the crush, lovely dinner at No.10, return feeling very gay, 5 minutes late, but beery nose quite nice!! to-day’s indeed been lucky!!

26th January… Wake up feeling extremely gay, could not sleep early for thinking…why can’t I speak French!? Oh it does seem so hard! draw some “Fairies” to send home, can’t wait, must write home about holiday, am getting so excited, receive letter from Auntie + 5/=, very good indeed of her, especially useful at present…day seems to drag! news that I cannot change the dormitory to-night, what a fag! never mind, am very tired, could sleep on a mat!

27th January… write a long letter to Dad + ask about holiday, do hope he lets me go to do Lily’s! Go for a walk in Luxembourg Gds, quite a change…receive a letter from Peggs + one from Frank, feeling a bit homesick, wish to goodness I didn’t get these fits!! usual lessons, one with the old girl (for piano) who has a rotten cold which she very kindly puffs at me! usual evening, bed in new dor’…

30th January …write a long letter to Peggs in the morning, longing to have an answer to dad’s….

31st January …another week gone! hurrah! only 9 more, thats not so bad, 2 letters from Peggs Oh! the joy, but so sorry she’s not very well, how I wish I were at home + not stuck miles away from helping anyone!! good news of the holiday, can go with Lily! Oh! I ought to be happy with everything so nice! + so I am really! except that I would give anything to have Dad + Peggs! music-lesson, how I loathe them in this place, + the old girl too, she’s no idea of playing! anyhow! Easter wont be long now its the last day of January, I could shout, I’m so pleased!! hares and rabbits tonight. hope I get a present this month. 62 more days!!!!!…