On 26th December 1945, Evelyn Waugh writes in his diary about his first postwar family Christmas:
“Maria Teresa and Bron [his daughter and son, Auberon] have arrived; he ingratiating, she covered with little medals and badges, neurotically voluble with the vocabulary of the lower-middle class—“serviette,” “spare room.” Only on points of theology does she become rational. On Christmas Eve we went to midnight Mass at Nympsfield. I was moved to remit the sums owing by the nuns for the losses and damages of their six years’ tenancy of this house. We managed to collect a number of trashy and costly toys for the stockings. We had a goose for luncheon and a tasteless plum pudding made for us by Mrs Harper, a bottle of champagne. By keeping the children in bed for long periods we managed to have a tolerable day. My only present, a very welcome one, a box of cigars from Auberon. I have seats for both Bath and Bristol pantomimes. The children leave for Pixton on the 10th. Meanwhile I have my meals in the library.
“Home for a cold New Year’s Day. My children weary me. I can only see them as defective adults: feckless, destructive, frivolous, sensual, humourless.”
On 8th February 1952, Deborah Mitford, the Duchess of Devonshire, writes to her sister Diana Mosley about her visit to their sister Jessica, communist and journalist, in California:
“I got off the aeroplane after all night and was walking to where you go out and a figure appeared who somehow was Decca [as Jessica was known] and yet completely different. Oh dear it was frightening and in a way so terribly sad, I couldn’t believe that this complete American could ever have been her. I was so overcome I simply stared at her and I must say so did she so perhaps she was equally amazed at changes in me.
“So we went into the restaurant and there was Bob [Treuhaft, Jessica’s husband] and the youngest child. Oh Honks [Diana’s nickname], Decca has lost all colour even her eyes look different but I suppose people do change between twenty and thirty-four, and also this dreadful airless climate must be bad for people. The accent…