I have inserted the following section into https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/05/a-knights-tale-10-after-the-revolution/
Mabel further tells us:
“Hardly a night passed without hearing shots and people shouting and running. After a while I got accustomed to it so that it did not wake me.
At night the soldiers would raid the grocers’ shops and get out the wine. One day outside my house I saw a stream of wine running down the gutters. The soldiers had been ordered to get rid of all the wine they could find, and they were pumping it out of the cellars.
Clothing got to such a price that people were often stopped in the street and forced to take off their clothes, boots, and other articles, going home almost naked. A girl of 18 years was made to take off all except her chemise. “now go home, dear, or you will catch cold, they said. She was a friend of one of my pupils.”
It seemed an important omission.
To continue, in Mabs’s own words:
“One of our first preparations was to have a sale of our smaller properties – such as linen cloths, embroideries, and objects which we could not take home with us. Then followed a very curious sight – English ladies standing in the street displaying costumes, coats, etc. How eagerly these were bought by the Russians. On the day of departure the drossy driver, who came to fetch my elder sister with her luggage, stopped her when she was to clean out her porridge pot before giving it to him. “Oh, please let me have it as it is” he cried, not wishing to lose even a mouthful of food, so precious as it was. The journey was by no means pleasant – one consoling thing being to be able at the different stations where we stopped, to take our teapots up the platform to the hot water supply and get a cheering cup of tea.”
Remembering that WW1 was still not over, this was their convoluted route home:
“We travelled via Finland, crossing the Gulf of Bothnia to Sweden and through to Norway.
At Voss in the hotel we had a most wonderful meal, the best we had had for months. I am afraid we all looked like a pack of ravening wolves, and indeed manners seemed a detail. The waitresses just stared at us in amusement. One day we were taken for a lovely drive round the fiords.
The came the dangerous crossing from Bergen to Aberdeen.
After staying one night in Aberdeen we arrived in London in October, about two weeks before the Armistice.”
Mabel and Ethel stayed at a hostel in London. After a few days they both found jobs: Mabel, fluent in German, at the Prisoners of War Bureau; and Ethel doing secretarial work at the Grand Hotel.
After the Bureau closed down Mabel returned to her normal profession in May 1920. This was a pleasant two year post teaching the four daughters of General Hessey at Hellingley, near Eastbourne.
Each summer, in order to keep up her languages and foreign travel, she took holiday engagements in Holland and Belgium.