Gordon G Hall
Writer and Neo-Philhellene

Other Short Stories

Aunt Elizabeth

Hopfields, Kent
May 1952

Dear Aunty Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for the 7/6d postal order that you sent me for my birthday. It was super. I hope you are well. I am well.

Love From

The Dean School, Oxford
May 1956

Dear Aunty Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for the 7/6d postal order that you sent me for my birthday. I will use it to buy some linseed oil for the cricket bat that Mummy and Daddy gave me. I am in the Colts now and scored 32 not out against Hartlesham School.

I hope that you are well.


Windsor College,
May 1961

Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for the 10/- note that you gave me for my recent birthday. I would love to tell you that I will be buying a book with it, but to be truthful I think it more likely that I will spend it at the Grubber.

I hope that you are keeping well and that you are not rattling around too much at Tattems now that you are on your own. I do so love the old house and have such fond memories of the place.


Magdelene College, Cambridge
March 1964

Dearest Aunt Elizabeth,

I so enjoyed seeing you at Christmas. It was great to get together again at Tattems. I do think that you look after the place so well, and you are such a fund of knowledge about the garden.

I am working really hard here on my Tripos. Cambridge is such a wonderful place to be and I do enjoy the studying so much.

You have always been very kind to me by remembering my Birthday, and of course Christmas. I just wonder if you could see your way to helping me buy some of the academic books that I need. Ma and Pa are awfully good about my allowance and all that, so I don’t really like to ask for any more from them. If you were able to manage £20 or so for by birthday, or perhaps a little earlier, that would be fantastic, and set me up so well.

Your loving nephew

Hopfields, Kent
 August 1966

Dearest Aunt Elizabeth,

As you can see I am back at the parental home – but only pro-tem, following the rather sudden decision to come down from Cambridge. This was a bit of a shame because I was really getting on rather well.

I do think they were a bit unfair about that nonsense, it really was hardly my fault at all. Anyway I have high hopes of finding a job. A few quid would give me a chance to get sorted and move into the world of business so I do hope that you are set fair to divvy up for your loving nephew.

As ever

Flat 2, Ellingham Crescent, London.
Aug 1967

My Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

I really appreciate your condolences. Ma and Pa were central to my life. To lose both parents at once has been something of a shock, but I have some good friends and am sure that I will pull through.

For the moment I think it best to lease Hopfields as I need to be in Town to connect with the right people. To that end I have taken a flat in a charming crescent that will suit me very well. It is a bit of an outlay and I have to tell you that whilst I am looking for work I am a bit short of funds. If you could see your way to bunking up with a couple of hundred a month it really would just see me through this lean patch.

I am so sorry not to have been able to thank you earlier for my birthday present. I appreciate that driving a large car is a little difficult for you now and can assure you that I will take the greatest care of the Aston.

As ever

June 1973

To Miss E Fothergill, Tattems, Kent

Bloody ridiculous them giving me three years. I know it looked a bit off, but I never smashed that girl’s head into a wall, well not very hard. Now I reckon I will only be in here until just after Christmas so could you do me a big favour and get Knotty Allen to get in touch with Christy – he’ll know what to do.

I have paid off most of the debts so when I am released early in the New Year I trust that you will be good for a few grand to get your favourite nephew back on the right track.

G Fothergill-Smythe
No. 2674074

Hopfields, Kent
 April 1992

My Dear Aunt Betty,

How delightful of you to have remembered my birthday, and with such generosity. It seems a lifetime ago since you used to send me those postal orders.

Following your phone call I obtained a valuation of Tattems from Sidebottom and Flanders. They tell me that it is now worth just over three million pounds. Let me know if you have any more trouble with the insurers.

Did you cash in any of those shares I spoke to you about? They are worth so much more now than when you bought them. If you would care to sign the enclosed Transfer form I will re-invest them for you in my name – and thus be able to provide a small income for you

Your loving

Flat 2, Ellingham Crescent, London.
Aug 2002

Betty Dear,

I am so sorry not to have been down to see you at Tattems for some years. I do hope that you are still managing there. I appreciate that you are concerned about its future and I am so grateful to you for saying that it will be mine upon your death (which will be a long time yet). It will be such a pleasure to live there and cherish the old place.

I did indeed split up with Camilla – she took me for just about all the money I had, and kept Hopfields – said she needed it for Josh and Naomi, although what sort of life they have there with that awful Nigel is beyond me. I am so grateful to you for paying for the children’s education, the fees are just so expensive nowadays.

As you can see I am back in the flat, at least for now. Thank goodness you bought that long leasehold. Anyway I might have some exciting news soon, and that will mean I will be moving on again

As ever

3a Kings Walk, London,
 January 2004

Dear Betts,

I do hope that they are treating you well at The Willows and that you have a rather more comfortable room.

I have moved in with Anastasia. I know she is only half my age, but honestly Betts, it will be such an asset having a Russian wife. It won’t be a grand wedding but you know how Receptions get out of hand what with all those people flying over from Moscow. I really am most grateful to you for subbing up for it.

I have told Anastasia all about Tattems and how we will be living there just as soon as you can lawfully evict the present tenants. She is so excited, especially as we have to leave her flat in two years time, when she leaves her work with the Russian Embassy.

Yours ever

32 High Street, Clipham, Kent
August 2011

Attn Mr Gerald Fothergill-Smythe

Dear Sir,

You will be aware that we act as sole Executors in relation to the Estate of your late aunt Miss Fothergill. I regret to inform you that Miss Fothergill appears to have been living somewhat beyond her means, making many large payments to another party for some forty years or more.  

To fund these growing expenses she, some years ago, sold the property, Tattems, upon which she only held a life tenure. As I expect you have known for many years the reversionary interest has been yours under the terms of your late Grandfather’s will, for which Probate was granted in 1950.

Whilst in itself the sale of Tattems would appear to have been improper I must advise you that due to the passage of time such rights as you may have possessed over the property must now be deemed extinguished.

I should also inform you that despite our advice she failed to keep up the payments on the flat in Ellingham Crescent, which has now been repossessed.

Yours faithfully,

pp Watsons, Solicitors


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